Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The kids and I did something fun this year that I think will become a family tradition for us. I came across the Samaritan's Purse website and I thought my kids would really enjoy preparing shoe boxes for their Operation Christmas Child project.

I was a little nervous that they might have a hard time picking out a bunch of stuff they liked and then giving it all away, but I didn't need to be. Other than one isolated incident involving Noah trying to take a Jolly Rancher from one of the boxes after they were all packed, they were really excited about sending presents to little kids who wouldn't otherwise be getting very much, if anything, for Christmas.
Emma, Noah, and Allie each got to send a box to a kid in their own age group, although we helped Allie with hers, of course. We went to Target and the dollar store and picked out a bunch of fun goodies to fill the boxes. After we bought the stuff, Emma and Noah drew pictures to put in the boxes, along with photos of themselves.Yesterday we brought our boxes to the drop-off place and watched as hundreds and hundreds of shoe boxes were loaded onto a truck. I'll be getting an email that will tell us where our boxes went and possibly some info about the kids who received them, so we're all looking forward to that. I already marked this on my 2010 calendar and am excited about continuing this tradition every year!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ta-DAH!I mastered the granny square, so on Saturday morning Steve and the kids dropped me off at the yarn store and drove around while I browsed and picked out yarn for an afghan. I take my kids a lot of places, but going into a yarn store with a five year old, a two year old, and a one year old is not something I am willing to do. I can just see the employees ringing up hundreds of dollars worth of expensive yarn that my kids managed to unroll, tangle, and destroy in a matter of minutes.

Since I picked out the yarn, I have been granny square-ing as fast as I can, which is admittedly not that fast. I have stayed up way too late the past two nights, working on my squares, so hopefully it won't be too terribly long before I have a completed afghan! Hooray!

A couple weeks ago I had to run into an Eddie Bauer store to check and see if they had something, and while I was there I stuck my hand into a fluffy-looking slipper. The inside of it was so wonderfully, incredibly soft and fluffy that I immediately considered buying the pair. I talked myself out of it, mostly because I always prefer to have bare feet and therefore have never been a slipper person, and also because the slippers looked like they should be worn by someone who is about 98 years old. Several times in the next week or two, I realized that my feet were a bit chilly and I thought longingly of those warm and cozy slippers that I hadn't bought. Saturday evening I couldn't resist anymore, so we went back to Eddie Bauer and I purchased the slippers. I am telling you, these slippers are absolutely heavenly, and I've been wearing them nonstop since I got them. And if I happen to look like I should be shuffling around in a nursing home, so be it. That's a small price to pay for comfort of this magnitude.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Well, I never got the basement cleaned and organized (which probably shouldn't be a surprise to anyone) but I did make some progress in other areas. After studying various youtube videos last night, I made my first attempt at crochet. Are you ready for this? It's going to knock your socks off!Impressive, huh? Not sure why my stitch count seemed to be decreasing with each row, but it doesn't matter anyway, because I today I started another piece and apparently I corrected whatever I was doing wrong the first time. I know it's hard to believe I could create anything that would surpass my original work, but here you go:After that I was feeling confident enough to attempt a granny square. You might notice that there is absolutely nothing "square" about this at all, but don't let that bother you because I think I've figured out what I was doing wrong.Today I also managed to drag out and work on an old unfinished project,
as well as something new.Be ready for more crochet excitement to come soon! (And if you're asking yourself if crochet and excitement belong in the same sentence together, just wait!)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My mom came to visit this weekend, and just left this morning. Her visits are always so great that I feel a little down in the dumps when she leaves, but today is not so bad. Right now it's chilly and yucky outside but warm in here, I have soup cooking on the stove and bread rising on the counter, and (best of all) both babies are sleeping. We will also be seeing my family again in less than two weeks so that helps too!

The only bad part about my mom's visit is that she played Candy Land with Noah, and now that's all he wants to do. I strongly dislike Candy Land to begin with, but Noah's version mostly involves a lot of throwing the cards around, and guess who is usually stuck picking most of them up. For that reason, Candy Land is now hidden back in the game closet, and hopefully soon forgotten.I have not done any sewing or knitting in quite awhile, but lately I am itching to start doing those things again. My goal this afternoon is to get the basement cleaned and organized so I can at least get to my sewing machine without having to wade through mounds of toys and clutter. In addition to new things, there are many (many, many, many) unfinished projects that are calling my name. I also need to learn how to crochet because I want to do this. Of course, it's so easy to sit here at the computer and be inspired by other people's projects; the problem is actually finding the time to work on projects of my own. However, today I am vowing to make that a priority, so hopefully I'll have some crafty things to show here pretty soon.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

On our first Valentine's Day together, Steve and I had been dating for almost a year. For his present, I made him a scrapbook of of our first year together. (I obviously didn't know him very well then because Steve doesn't care about that kind of stuff at all and, although he didn't say so at the time, I'm sure he thought it was a lame present.) Still, I really liked making it and I wanted to keep scrapbooking after that. I had good intentions and I still worked on scrapbooks after Emma was born, but by the time Allie was born five years later, I had about two years worth of scrapbooks and three years worth of photographs shoved in a shoe box. My last scrapped page was before Noah's birth, and the task of trying to catch up seemed pretty daunting - especially when I thought about the huge mess of scrapbooking stuff I had to drag out to do it.This summer I started looking at my friend Christina's blog, in which she posts pictures of her digital scrapbook pages. Her pages were so cute that I was inspired to give digital scrapbooking a try. It's cheap, fun, and best of all - no mess! I started scrapping current pictures and worked my way back and it didn't take me long at all to get several months finished. Once I had eighty pages complete, I ordered a photo book. I was so very pleased with how it turned out! The quality was excellent.
In addition to the first book I had printed, I now have almost two more complete. I am completely up to date, and have gone all the way back to when Allie was born. It's a great relief for me to get these pictures scrapped, and making the pages is a lot of fun for me as well.Right now, I'm feeling a little stuck because the next pictures I need to scrap are of Allie's birth. My friend Deanna took over 500 wonderful pictures during her birth and I need to go through them and pick out the ones I want to use. Mostly though, I am not sure how to create pages that can portray the emotions involved in her birth. I want to make them special, something more meaningful than just another typical afternoon-at-the-pumpkin-patch type of page.Anyway, I guess the point of this post is, if you are considering trying digital scrapbooking, I highly recommend it!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Here's a tip. If your baby learns to spit her water and thinks it's funny, don't encourage her because she might never again take a drink without spitting it out afterward. Really, don't do it, no matter how cute it might have been in the first place.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Emma apparently can't get enough of school, because every afternoon she sits at the table and draws and writes, and writes and draws, then draws and writes some more. She is very into learning to read and she spends a lot of time trying to sound out new words and writing them down. Yesterday afternoon she was working on something that she wouldn't let me see and she only asked for my help once, although I was kind of confused about why she was asking me to spell "ing".

Last night when I went to bed I found this on my pillow."Thank you for love ing me very much."

Thank you, Emma, for making it so easy.

Monday, November 02, 2009

We spent the weekend at my parents' house and, as always, we had a great time. After Trunk or Treat at school the night before and then a day of general Halloween festivities, the kiddos were plum tuckered by the evening when it was time to go Trick or Treating. Noah, who has never ever ever in his entire life admitted to being tired, said that was too worn out to go on after only about two houses. Allie fell asleep in my arms a few minutes later, so it turned out that Emma was really our only Trick or Treater.

Every year we spend Halloween at the house of some good family friends, and I wanted to bring some sort of cute Halloween treat to share this year. I stumbled across Bakerella's Halloween cake pops, and I thought they would be perfect. While all of hers are super cute, I thought it would be a good idea to make mine a little simpler. Not only would they be way less trouble, considering I have three less-than-meticulous helpers, but they would probably be more pleasant to eat, given that there would be no black licorice or anything like that to pick off before eating them.Emma and I rolled the gooey cake mixture into many, many little balls. I thought that was the messiest job ever, but no. The part where we dipped them into chocolate was much, much worse, probably because we also enlisted the help of Noah and even Allie. You would not believe the huge globs of chocolate that were flying around my kitchen. Note a couple of those globs in the picture below.In the end, the cake balls were absolutely delicious, and I think everyone liked them. We also wrapped each one in cellophane and tied them with little orange ribbons so they were cute too, although not quite on par with Bakeralla's. Still, have you ever seen anyone look more excited about a cake pop?