Thursday, October 30, 2008

Finished for Friday: Halloween edition!

My haunted neighborhood quilt is finished. I put it up on the wall for a picture, but Wasabi Girl is insisting I take it down so she can wrap herself up in it. Guess I'll let her break it in.

Link up and let us know what you've finished this week! Costumes? Jack-o-lanterns? Books? A spooky manicure? Let's see it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wordful Wednesday: Halloween past

It's "Wordful Wednesday" again, brought to us by Angie at 7 Clown Circus.

Can you tell I let my kids pick out their own costumes? This was back when they were 8 years old, and as you can see, she is a witch, and he is a monster, so the shirts aren't really derogatory. I like the horns Jungle Boy made from some foil and one of his sister's headbands.

I don't think these costumes will go down in our family history as the most creative, but they make me smile. Wait till you see what they've cooked up this year.

Don't forget! This friday I'm hosting "Finished for Friday!" Show us your jack-o-lanterns, homemade costumes, candy-wrapper art, whatever. You can also link up to a post about a book you've finished. I can't wait to come visit you!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dear Cat

Dear cat,

Why do you eat the plants? You have a bowl of nutritious yummy crunchy food that's always full. It even cleans your teeth as you crunch. You know every morning you are going to get a can of that wet stinky food you crave. So why must you attack my innocent plants?

It doesn't even seem to deter you that I place them in spots out of your reach. Your drive and ingenuity would make one think you are younger than your 17 years. But perhaps with age comes cunning.

So you teeter on stacks of books and leap across chasms to get to the beloved object of your desire, from which you sample a dainty leaf before jumping down with a crash.

Then the fun begins. Don't you remember how much eating plants makes you sick? If I had regurgitation episodes as violent as yours, every single time, I think I would give up on the endeavor.

Or perhaps the gut-twisting is part of the whole enterprise. Your timing is impeccable. Usually your tummy has it's little upset about 5:40 am, when we humans are in the deepest point of our sleep. And yet the sound is so loud and horrible that you manage to wake us up.

Perhaps, like me, you enjoy the game we humans play. The one where I pretend to be asleep while my husband, trying in vain to ignore the episode, finally gets out of bed because he has to use the bathroom so badly. Then he does the entertaining "try to step over it, wherever it is" dance. It's like watching the kids play the hot lava game.

This morning you outdid yourself, however. It was the most loudly musical of all retches. I pictured a gallon of regurgitated horror on the needlepoint carpet. I played dead for all I was worth. My husband did the dance, turned on the lights and. . .nothing. No evidence of upchuck whatsoever.

Brilliant kitty. I know you're just playing with us, but I have to admire the level of expertise. You are an artist at your craft.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween Candy Law

In an effort to keep my readers informed, I am going to spend some time today explaining an important, but often overlooked, law that will affect all of us in the near future.

I'm speaking of the Candy Tax. Not only is this a Federal statute, I think it is worldwide. I believe this law will soon be put before Congress for a vote to amend the Constitution.

Simply put, the parents of any youthful recipients of large amounts of candy are entitled to a percentage of said candy. This percentage is up to and including any and all snickers bars if they constitute 10% or less of the total haul. Candy that has been collected in pillowcases or other outrageously large containers is subject to a 15% Candy Tax. This covers the time and stress of the parent having to manually inspect each piece upon re-entry of the youthful person into the home.

In the case of really awful sour candy being the sole form of candy collected, the candy recipients may petition for a deferment of the candy tax until such time as they receive a form of candy acceptable to the candy assessor. For example, if at Halloween the recipient returns home only with awful sour candy, they owe the parent the ears and feet of the next chocolate Easter bunny they receive.

Additional taxes may be levied in the case of a parent creating a homemade costume. Because said costume was created in an effort to assist the Candy Recipient in accumulating more candy, the parent may collect up to and including all snickers, 3 Musketeers, and Hershey bars in compensation for their time.

The payment of the tax is at the sole discretion of the parent, and may include substituting Reeses for Snickers if they so desire.

Candy eaten on the way home from trick-or-treating still counts towards the total haul, and parents should take into account not only the number of pieces of candy, but the number of wrappers present during candy inventory.

If the candy tax is not promptly paid, the candy may have to go on time out on a high shelf in the kitchen until such time as the parent can properly inspect it and collect the tax.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Scary villain?

Lit and Laundry

related []
Lit and Laundry

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Finished for Friday: Cute, Useful, Scary

Did you do any projects this week? Finish a scrapbook page? Plant some bulbs? Repaint a wall? Time to be proud of your accomplishments and add a link to them. I'll be hosting this every Friday in the hopes that it will spur me to get some UFO's (unfinished objects) finally finished.

I finished my first Amigurumi this week. I think that's Japanese for "ridiculously cute tiny little crocheted animals." I got this pattern from a book, but I've since found there are lots of patterns online too, so there will probably be more of these in my future. This might sit on top of somebody's Christmas gift.

Next up is a wool felt needlecase. I stick needles in pincushions all over the house, in corks, the arms of chairs - anything that's nearby that I can stab. After I made this I looked around to see if there were any needles I could put in it.

This is embarrassing. I have a needle problem, clearly. Here are a few of the needles I rounded up. There are doll needles in here, double-pointed needles, quilting needles, and on and on. I think I need a few more needlecases.

Finally, here is a little quilt I whipped up. This gives you an idea of the type of really scary decorations around my house. I love the giant ric-rac. This quilt is about 27"x31." Not very big.

Add your link to Mr. Linky and show us what you've worked on this week. I can't wait to see!

Vintage Thingies Thursday: Sewing Table

Here is the headquarters for my creativity when I'm not at my sewing machine. I'm showing it in it's usual messy glory. I've got a wastebasket full of threads, works in progress on the table, pattern printouts from the internet, different threads and pincushions and a coaster for my mug of tea.

This is where I plant myself when I get a spare moment. It's a jumble, but functional.

The real beauty of this table, though, is what's inside. It's an English sewing table, and if I clear the stuff off the top you can see the beautiful silk-lined interior. Very functional, although I think in the old days they probably didn't keep as much junk on top of it.

For more vintage goodness, visit Confessions of an Apron Queen today.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wordful Wednesday: Autumn Quilt

Angie at 7 Clown Circus is hosting Wordful Wednesday, for those of us who can't handle that pesky "wordless Wednesday" meme because we can't shut up.

I'm trying on a new header today, to see if I like how it looks. I finished this quilt a while back after it sat around as a UFO for a long time. (That's "unfinished object" for those who may not know quilting lingo). One of those projects that was easier to create in my mind than it was to execute in real life.

Every part of this quilt was an experiment - choosing colors, choosing fabrics, combining them, the techniques I used to applique them. After a while I think my head just exploded and I moved on to other projects.

This one sat on the design wall for a long time before it was assembled. My design wall is a large plywood cabinet at the back of the garage to which I have stapled some neutral-colored flannel. I pin the blocks to the flannel. At that time, I could actually park the car in the garage. (Before the remodel nightmare - but that's another story). So every day, we would hop in the car and I'd look at that quilt as I backed up and it diminished. It's a great way to get a range of perspective on a piece, but also a great way to run over stray cats if you're not looking. Luckily, I didn't hurt anything in my process of color contemplation.

I'm glad I finally stopped dithering and finished it. It's hanging over our bed now. Here in earthquake country we don't dare hang anything heavy over a bed, like a picture or a shelf.

This project was finished a while ago, but to see what I've finished this week, and to join in with your own masterpieces big and small, join me on Friday for "Finished for Friday."

G.I.R.L. Party: Fine Food

Marcy over at The Glamorous Life is hosting her monthly GIRL party, where we get to show just how fabulously glamorous our lives really are. It's so hard for me to choose just one aspect of my fabulous life to spotlight.

I love to cook. I love to read recipes and clip them out. I love to try new things. So of course, I am blessed a family that's, shall we say, adventure-impaired.

A good week might have a roast and homemade lasagna, carefully designed soups and exotic salads. I use cooking software to plan each day. I shop for fresh ingredients and prepare every dish with love.

So what is their favorite food? "Make your own pizza." A concoction I started when the kids were tiny. Here's the whole recipe: split an English Muffin, slop on some pizza sauce, toss on a little shredded mozzarella, and top it with some turkey pepperoni. Throw it in the oven for 8 minutes at 450.

They could eat this every day. They beg for it every day in fact. They are routinely disappointed when it's only lamb stew or a pork loin. Glamor. We're all about glamor around here.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Scary enough

Lit and Laundry

related []
Lit and Laundry

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Finished for Friday: What have you done this week?

I confess that in elementary school I loved show-and-tell. Even at that tender age I could tell it was an exquisite waste of time and chance to brag. And frankly, it's just fun to look at other people's stuff.

I know a lot of bloggers are also crafty creative types in addition to their writing skills, so here is your chance to show us what you've been up to.

Welcome to "Finished for Friday," where we'll gather for show-and-tell. Give us a link to your scrapbook pages, stitches, culinary wonders, gardening triumphs, newborns - whatever you have managed to produce this week. I promise to come oooh and aaaah at all of them!

Since this is a new meme, please feel free to add your link this weekend, if you don't have it ready yet. You don't have to limit yourself to things finished this week, any show-and-tell will do, but it is fun to congratulate newly finished projects

This Friday I have two more Christmas ornaments I've finished. I think stuffing them and putting on the trims takes me as much time as stitching them.

Add your link to Mr. Linky below and show us what you've been up to!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Vintage Thingies Thursday: Pyrex, sweet pyrex

Tired mom takes Jungle Boy to thrift store to get items for Halloween costume. Tired mom swiftly peruses housewares. Tired mom finds fabulous turquoise pyrex giant mixing bowl with kitschy hot air balloons all over it. Tired mom nearly weeps for joy. Tired mom pays $2 for it and takes it home. Tired mom decides it has been a great day.

For more vintage delights, visit Confessions of an Apron Queen.


Friday is the inauguration of "Finished for Friday." Please join in with a link to something you've finished up this week, or just show and tell about something you've created in the past. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


What a Card tagged me for this one-word meme:

1. Where is your cell phone? Nearby
2. Where is your significant other? Atlanta
3. Your hair color? Blonde
4. Your mother? Well
5. Your father? Cranky
6. Your favorite thing? Family
7. Your dream last night? Fire
8. Your dream/goal? Grandchildren
9. The room you're in? Family
10. Your hobby? Quilting
11. Your fear? Fire
12. Where do you want to be in six years? Here
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. What you’re not? Beautiful
15. One of your wish list items? Book
16. Where you grew up? Portland
17. The last thing you did? Twittered
18. What are you wearing? Jeans
19. Your TV? Off
20. Your pet? Cats
21. Your computer? Toshiba
22. Your mood? Distracted
23. Missing someone? Husband
24. Your car? Van
25. Something you’re not wearing? Makeup
26. Favorite store? Thrift
27. Your summer? Relaxed
28. Love someone? Many
29. Your favorite color? Pink
30. When is the last time you laughed? Morning
31. Last time you cried? Morning

I need to pass this along, but I'm not sure who's done it yet. I'll tag Widney Woman, Cheryl, Monkey Memories, Tonya, and Amy.

The next one also came from What a Card, although indirectly. It's a request to show the 6th picture in the 6th folder. I had to pick the 6th in the 6th in the 6th because I have so many folders.

This one definitely didn't make it into the album. This sweaty little softball player who needs a haircut is apparently trying to show me the softball gear her build-a-bear bunny has. I've taken cuter pictures of her.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Moms Secret Magic Words

Lit and Laundry

Lit and Laundry

I am posting about this today over at How Do You Do It?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

We interrupt this blog

  • I've written almost 200 posts on this blog
  • My current volunteer work is taking about 4x as much time as I anticipated
  • I'm going to start substitute teaching again
  • I have a little health challenge right now that I need to focus on fixing
  • I am crafting my little fingers to the bone making goodies for Christmas. I think most of my gifts will be handmade this year.

So I am cutting back from my daily posting routine. Thank you for your understanding, and plan to join me by posting your "Finished for Friday" projects. Come here Friday to add your link and show us what you finished up this week. I'm looking forward to seeing your progress!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Finished for Friday

I'm going to start holding myself accountable for the stacks of unfinished projects around here. Here is the first, an ornament that I assembled yesterday. I'm afraid you're going to start seeing more and more little Christmas projects as the holiday gets closer.

I'm not sure what Mrs. Claus is holding - maybe an accordion? I think it's supposed to be something she baked. I love the vagueries of tiny needlepoint projects.

Let me know if you suffer from unfinished projects (of any kind) and maybe I'll start a blog carnival.

Hope you have a great, productive weekend.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Vintage Thingies Thursday: Winifred's Sacrifice

I have quite a few novels from the turn of the century, and this is one of my favorites. Not only do I like the cover, but it's a good read. It's by Mrs. Georgie Sheldon, copyright 1899. The pages are a little yellowed and brittle, but it's been well loved and cared for, and I think I know why.

Don't you just hate it when you're sitting in your opera box next to the elderly robber baron you were forced to marry to pay off your father's gambling debts and save his house on Long Island, when you look across and there in a box is the love of your life who you thought was killed by Indians way out West but was really found by a crazy old prospector who turned out to be distantly related to you?

That love of your life, who saved you when you were sleepwalking close to the edge of that cliff, but luckily he just happened to be walking by there in the middle of the night. The same dashing young man who saved you when you were careening down the hill in that runaway carriage that you jumped into to save the life of the baby inside.

What to do? You'll have to read the book yourself to find out. Here's a hint: it has a happy ending, thanks in part to the crazy old prospector.

For more vintage goodness, visit Confessions of an Apron Queen every Thursday.

Humans Lie

I'm not sure this box really went into outer space. I got inside for some space exploration and when it was opened up later, I wasn't on some exotic cat planet. I was someplace that looked suspiciously like a vet's office.

And the first alien I met held me down and put a thermometer in a very delicate place. Who dreamed up this kind of torture?

I could hear my sister crying from her spaceship but I was too nervous to answer her. I was so nervous I purred. Loudly. Then I started to shed profusely. The big alien made some joke about how he was wearing a fur coat now. I was so embarrassed.

Then I was placed back in my spaceship and the hatch was closed again. I prayed for a better trip this time. I landed back on my mother planet.

I am never flying again. I expressed my displeasure about this trip by exercising my delicate area on the persian rug. Then I threw up a few times in the hall just to get my point across.

But you know what I think? I think that "Cosmic Pet Shuttle" didn't really go into space at all.

I hate false advertising.

- Ashleigh the cat

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

You're Going to Want an Elf

Last year we adopted an elf for the Christmas season. Seemed like a harmless thing to do. We heard that if you left out a nice letter for Santa with some water and saltine crackers sometime after Thanksgiving, then he might let one of his elves come and stay with you for the Christmas season.

The problem with elves is that they can be a bit mischievous at night, and apparently they are so bad at time management, that they fall asleep in the middle of whatever they happen to be doing. So kids awaken each morning to find their elf someplace unexpected.

Our kids left the letter on the mantle (where Santa always picks up his mail) and dutifully set out crackers and water every night before bed. (There's a whole story behind the crackers and water, but I'll save that).

Our elf, named Duncan, arrived one morning with a little letter of introduction. We soon learned that he was a bit of a naughty little guy though. One night we forgot to leave him some crackers so he dug them out of the pantry himself and redecorated our village.

One day the kids were thrilled to find that his friend Meteor the reindeer had joined him. Duncan and Meteor didn't always play nicely however, and we often found them in the morning doing things like this:

Apparently they held roller-skate races one night.

But Duncan often appeared in the morning with gifts for the kids. So he was forgiven.

On Christmas Eve, we all said goodbye and Duncan went home to the North Pole with Santa. I have a feeling he'll be back this year though.

If you would like to play along at your house, I suggest you check out Elf Magic. You can either use one of their elves, or find your own. There are lots of ideas from other adoptive families there. Elves have been known to keep blogs and myspace pages. It's a pretty funny little tradition.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Hold Everything

I'm a planner. I have this week, and especially today, all planned out. If I do about a thousand things a day, I might keep on top of my schedule. If I have no distractions or setbacks, I will have a bunch of tutors set up at the elementary school, groceries in the house, dinner on the table, and a stack of handouts on the budget and taxes for the PTA meeting tonight.

The only way to make it all work is to put my head down and charge.

So of course today, one of my kids woke up sick.

I could leave her at home while I run around on my errands, but when you're sick you need mommy, and a pleasant time on the couch.

I could ignore her while I fuss and fume over the financial statements I have to untangle, but when you're sick, you need to know someone cares.

So today I am doing the mommy balancing act. Efficiency and compassion.

Don't expect any dusting to get done.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

How to Make Blondies

We love blondies at our house. Gooey sugary goodness that's quick to make. My kids tell me that they bring them to school and other kids have never heard of them before. Let me introduce you to some gooey goodness, courtesy of the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.

First, send two kids off to rehearse the Nutcracker all day. Ask the cutie remaining at home what she wants to do. Act surprised when she says "bake cookies!

Let her pick an apron to wear. She went for the cute "Cookie's diner" fabric with lots of ric rac and pockets.

Set oven to 350, Grease a baking pan and heat brown sugar and butter.

Stir constantly until it makes wonderful melted goo.

Let it cool for a bit, so the eggs don't cook when you drop them in one at a time and stir them.

Dry ingredients go in next. Stir and stir and stir.

Pour it into the prepared pan and sprinkle lots of semisweet chocolate chips on top.

Pop it into the oven and watch Gone With the Wind for a while.

Sample the delicious result and blog about it.

2 cups packed brown sugar
2/3 cup butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
1 cup chopped nuts (unless you have a picky eater who hates nuts in cookies)

1. Grease a 13x9x2 inch baking pan; set aside. In a medium saucepan heat brown sugar and butter over medium heat until butter melts and the mixture is smooth, stirring constantly. Cool slightly. Stir in eggs 1 at a time; stir in vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder, and baking soda.

2. Spread batter in prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with chocolate pieces and nuts. Bake in a 350 oven for 25-30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean (avoid chocolate pieces). Cool slightly on a wire rack. Cut into bars while warm.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Don't vote

There's a cute video circulating now, with an interesting approach to voting.

The premise is good. Cool young people talking straight into the camera, talking to you like you are their friend. They hook you up to a new google website that helps you find your local voting location. It's worth watching to the end just to see how cute Dustin Hoffman still is.

Their argument is as follows; don't vote, unless you care about the economy, education, choice, global warming, Darfur, etc.

What bothers me, is that they are implying that you will solve the world's problems by voting. Apparently for anyone. Just the act of voting will save the world.

I couldn't disagree more. I would rather all the people out there who are fired up by this video and other "get out the vote" campaigns stop and think before they vote.

I would rather have somebody not vote at all than make their decision based on limited information or reflection. It aggravates me that some people wait until they're in the voting booth to make decisions. If you don't carry convictions with your vote, don't vote. If you don't understand the issues or where the candidates stand on them, don't vote. If you haven't done your homework first, don't vote.

But if you have done your homework, or you will before November 4, then by all means follow the advice in this video and get registered online right now.

Voting is a privilege, a freedom, a right, and one that we must not take lightly. I'll take my kids with me when I vote in November, and I'll let them help feed the ballot into the machine. And I will try to help them understand how much I care about the issues. And yes, I'll teach them that if they don't understand something on the ballot, or they're not sure, don't vote.

Same house, different planets

Lit and Laundry

related []
Lit and Laundry


Here we go. Let the 'age of me' begin. I love my Drama Girl but her attention doesn't go much farther than her own navel these days.

How do you combat that sense of entitlement? I don't think I've really spoiled her that much, but she has her moments when there's just a little too much diva for me.

Can't wait until I have three teenagers.

Actually, I can.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Vintage Thingies Thursday: Plant Stand

I guess it must be obvious at this point that I'm fond of pink. I couldn't resist this vintage plant stand when I found it. And what do you do when you have a vintage plant stand?

Fill it with bunny planters, of course! These aren't particularly old, and I can't remember where I found the cabbage dish, but it seems to fit in with the rabbits.

If I keep doing these Vintage Thingies Thursdays, eventually you'll see my whole house I think. Go visit the Apron Queen today to see more wonderful vintage things.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Happy Birthday Prince Charming

You put up with a lot around here. Chaos, menu experiments, new trees to plant. Just when you got used to the idea of one baby you found yourself with two more.

You're the tall guy we joke about never seeing, but the reality is you are more in the moment and there for us when you are home than my father ever was. You are a modern parent who changed his share of diapers and knows his way around a kitchen.

You clean up the cat poop. Not just when the poor 17 year old cats get lost and forget where the box is, but you clean out that box every day.

You watch chick flicks with me, vintage Bugs Bunny cartoons with the kids, and enjoy every trip to the circus and the zoo and Disneyland.

You endure every piano recital, ballet recital and school concert. You go to softball games, little league games, musical productions. You even remember to take pictures.

You held my hand when I decided to have the first baby without drugs. You held the oxygen mask when all the chaos happened with the emergency c-section of that second twin.

You send me flowers, buy me chocolates, pour the wine and let me win at Gin Rummy sometimes.

You let me blog, because it keeps me entertained.

You know that chocolates and flowers are great, but a gift certificate to my favorite quilt store makes me delirious.

Your motto is "Dream big, fall hard" and we all know you're joking.

You volunteered to be a scout leader, even though you didn't really want to do it. You embraced the role with enthusiasm and are inspiring our son to be a great man.

You are teaching our daughters that there are wonderful men who can be kind and can be trusted.

You've helped me become the best person I could possibly be, and I can't imagine my life without you.

I love you. Happy Birthday.

LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs