Monday, May 31, 2010

Makes My Monday: Marathon

Jungle Boy's birthday party was a little late this year so we could leverage a 3-day weekend for his heart's desire.

He had his best buddies in the world over for a Lord of the Rings movie marathon.  I have to admit, I didn't think they'd make it through.  He chose the extended versions, which I think are each over three hours.

First they had to see if they were as resourceful as hobbits, so I devised a "throw the ring in Mt. Doom" game.  The "ring" was a mentos mint and "Mt. Doom" was a bottle of soda modified with a foil cone to make it easier to get the mentos in.  Sorry I didn't get the full force of the eruption on film, it was pretty funny though.

Then, what party is complete without a "Pin the tail on the Nazgul" game?

Jungle Boy made this himself after googling the image and using a paint program to tile the picture. 

We served pizza and offered an ice-cream sundae bar.  Then they all settled in and started watching.  I didn't last long but my husband stayed up until about 1:00 AM with them.  When I got up in the morning they were still all watching it.  In total it took them about 12 hours to get through the whole saga.  Apparently they took a lot of breaks for snacks and to play on their ipod touches.

They all went home groggy but triumphant.  I suspect they'll be talking about this adventure for a long time.  In true form for my annual favorite compliment, Jungle Boy told me this was "the best birthday ever!"

Makes My Monday is hosted by Cheryl at Twinfatuation.  Please visit her for more happy Monday stories.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Finished for Friday: Sweet Liberty quilt

This little quilt is from a pattern by Pat Sloan.  It's not the usual colors I work with, but it works in my living room with the patriotic quilts that are coming out for the summer.  The fabrics are hers as well and some of them have patriotic motifs.

What have you been up to this week?  Join in.  See the link at the top of  the page for more information about Finished for Friday.  Everyone is welcome!

And next time you're at the supermarket or the fabric store, pick up a copy of Quiltmaker!  One of my quilts is the spotlight quilt on the last page.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I'm Such a Spammer - learn from me!

Sad to say, my email was hijacked last night and sent spam to everybody on my contact list.  And I mean everybody.

  • The mayor and various city council members (I've served with them on a nonprofit committee).
  • The listserver for my kids' middle school (probably 700 or so recipients there via a single address)
  • All the wonderful tutors I've worked with for years
  • Old college and high school friends
I'm mortified.  The email was inviting them to check out a "great site for electronics."  It was so poorly written that it was somewhat obvious that it was not written by a native English speaker.

I debated sending out a follow-up apologetic email but I didn't, because I think that's almost making things worse.

What did I learn?  Obviously I needed a better password.  How good is yours?  Check it here:

I also need to change passwords more often, I get pretty lazy about that.

I also learned that I got an awful lot of undeliverable mail back.  A lot of my contacts have changed email and not notified me.  Do you let people know when you switch email?

I also found out that there's a universally recommended free tool to check your computer for harmful invaders.  Get it at  It didn't find anything on mine, but apparently it's pretty good at finding the nasty stuff regular software like McAfee can't. 

So.  Did you check your password?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuesday Toonlet

Aiming High

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Aiming High

Monday, May 24, 2010

Makes My Monday: Through the eyes of a boy

Since I am getting more and more limited in my walking (next surgery is in July) I wasn't able to enjoy our annual small town festival.  So I gave Jungle Boy my camera for the day so he could capture his sister in the parade.  Little did I imagine he would come back with 156 pictures.  It was like watching the whole parade and visiting the booths.  I'll share just a few with you that made me smile.

A lot of these curbside-views of cars.
 His favorite snicker of the day.  Can you read the name of the company?  "Doody Calls."  Apparently there are actually services that pick up your dog's doody from your yard.

 He followed his sister down the street and got a dozen cartwheel photos.  I thought this was the most appropriate for the internet.  Notice the nice white gloves?  They were black by the end of the parade but I'm glad she had them to protect her hands.

 There was a booth that featured creatures preserved in lucite.  Besides the usual scorpions and beetles, there was this bat, and a snake's head that was awesome.
 This is one of the jewelry booths I missed.  He said he thought of me when he saw these.  Aww.

As a quilter, I found some of his artsy shots intriguing.  He picked some interesting angles and took a lot of pictures of things like these yard ornaments.

  And of course the fabric hound in me found this group of hand-dyes to be real eye candy.

Seeing through the eyes of my son makes my Monday.  To see more Monday makers, visit Cheryl at Twinfatuation.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Finished for Friday: The Christmas Mystery

Here at last is the Christmas Mystery Block of the Month that was offered by Fat Quarter Shop last year.  I got it done in time - for next Christmas.  Good thing these holidays always come around again.

This is a pretty big quilt, as you can see by the outstretched arms and toes barely visible from my model (Wasabi Girl).  It has some lovely soft blues and nice browns in the mix. 

Some of you might remember that I used the leftover scraps from these blocks to make this doll-sized quilt.  Two samplers for the price of one!

What have you finished up this week?  Link up with a post from this past week showing us a project or book or something that you've managed to check off your list.  Add my button if you'd like, and please link back to me.

I also highly recommend checking out the other participants.  Give them a pat on the back and see some of the amazing creativity out there!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cooking School with Jungle Boy

Today we are making a lovely pasta dish, Red Wine-and-Rosemary Marinara.  Jungle Boy is going to demonstrate the steps.

First, don't bother changing out of your ballet clothes. Just start pulling stuff out of the pantry. Stack them up with the honey bear on top because it's awesome.

Put on an apron when mom tells you to, then get out the biggest pasta pot because it's awesome!  (I'm just quoting here.)

Use the pot filler faucet (wait for it. . .) because it's awesome!   Get that water boiling for the linguine

After chopping up some onion, use the cool wooden mushroom thingy to smash the garlic to get the paper off. (also awesome - can you see why it's fun to let him cook? I never noticed how awesome everything in my kitchen is.)

 Do I even need to tell you his feelings on using the chopper for the garlic?  Who doesn't like to pound one of these things?

Let mom pour the red wine while you cook up the onions and garlic.

Talk like the Swedish Chef while you crumble some rosemary into the sauce.

Prepare a side dish.  This is not the side dish mom had in mind but it works.

Play some air guitar while it simmers.  Then eat it all up before mom can get a picture.  Notice how awesome it tastes!

Red Wine-and-Rosemary Marinara
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (6-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato paste
5 cups hot cooked linguine (about 10 ounces uncooked pasta)

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Add wine and the next 7 ingredients (wine through tomato paste). Bring to a simmer; cook 20 minutes or until thick. Serve over linguine.   Taste the awesome.

  Cooking Light, July 1997

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Usual End of School Year Frenzy

The kids were thrilled when I picked them up from school today.  "Mom!  We have to turn in our history textbooks!  Turning in textbooks means the school year is almost over!"  I may have furrowed my brow pondering this one because the last day of school is June 10, which still leaves a lot of days for study.

"How were your other classes?"

"We saw 'Finding Nemo' in French.  Well, English with French subtitles.  But nobody reads the subtitles."

And on it goes.  They've seen "The Music Man" in band and countless movies in other classes.  In some cases there were substitutes (ok, if you don't know how to play an instrument you can't sub very well in band class), but more often than not movies are being shown again this year to waste time since all the standardized testing is done.

Outside of class preparations are underway for the ballet school's big recital.  Costume fittings (remember to hang that tutu upside down so it will fluff!), extra rehearsals, new clean shoes (who decided male ballet dancers should wear white shoes - were they insane?).

Wasabi Girl's gymnastics team is getting ready to march - er backflip I guess - in our local Hometown Days Parade.  Need to get white gloves to protect her hands.

Jazz band concerts (Wasabi Girl again), Boy Scout swimming tests and merit badges, Open House at school - and of course the important milestone of Drama Girl's "graduation" from 8th grade.  (I hate the misuse of that term.  Graduation means completion of study, where a diploma is granted, such as at a University.  Not middle school.)

It's like August all over again.  A frenzy of activity and writing checks.  Pictures to take, supplies to obtain, forms to sign.

I miss January.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Makes My Monday: Multitasking

Here is a portrait of a busy 12 year old; cat on her shirt and a cat on her lap, reading a book and talking to a friend at the same time.  I'm surprised she's not on her cell phone texting as well.

And yet overall, she looks pretty relaxed and happy.  She'll probably be an expert task-juggler in the future.

Makes my Monday is hosted by Cheryl at Twinfatuation.  Stop by and visit for more happy thoughts to start the week.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Finished for Friday: Lady of Milkweed Manor

Today's finish is another excellent book.  Lady of Milkweed Manor by Julie Klassen.  This it the debut novel by this editor turned author and can be categorized as Christian fiction, although the references to faith were few and subtle and not any reason to avoid this book if you are not Christian.

Lady of Milkweed Manor

Charlotte Lamb is a young 18th century woman who is turned out of her family's house when she becomes pregnant.  The details of her predicament unfold slowly as we read of her lonely journey to a home for unwed mothers in London.  There she discovers the unseen world of foundlings, wet nurses and childbirth.  The book is well-researched and full of fascinating detail about the plight and resourcefulness of women at this time.

Charlotte is a strong and sympathetic character. Abandoned by the baby's father, she nevertheless refuses to reveal his identity to her family or friends.  The choices she faces are formidable and at times heartbreaking.  There is redemption however, in many forms.  There are a number of men she encounters who have the potential to become suitors and keep her from a future of poverty.  The reader is kept guessing until the final chapter, which has a satisfying, and unpredictable ending.

I think mothers in particular would enjoy this book.  It explores the bond of infant care and breastfeeding in a new way.  I felt a kinship and sisterhood with the women in this book.  I look forward to reading more works by this author, including The Apothecary's Daughter.  Both of these books have been bestsellers at Amazon.

What have you finished up this week?  Read any good books lately?  Leave your link below, feel free to grab my button and be sure and visit all the wonderful creative people who link up here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wordful Wednesday: Water Castle

I told my kids last Saturday to quit lollygagging around on their ipod touches and do something creative.  This is what they came up with.  If someone had asked them to make a model castle for a class, they never would have done it, but left to their own devices, they made a working drawbridge and a welcome sign.

"I can't read the sign kids."

"It's in Icelandic mom."

"Icelandic?  Seriously?"

"Yeah, I used a translation app on my Ipod touch."


Wordful Wednesday is hosted by Angie at Seven Clown Circus.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tuesday Toonlet: Weathergirl


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Makes My Monday: Freedom

Jungle Boy decided it was time to release the lizards he has been keeping as pets. I think the daily cricket feasting was finally getting to him. I certainly wont miss the weekly jaunts to the pet store for live crickets, although I did have fun chatting with a twin mom who worked there.

Since he caught them in the yard, he released them back where he found them. A happy moment for everyone concerned.

"Monsoon" the lizard was a little hesitant to leave his artificial cave but ventured off to make new friends. His (her?) friend "Ray" didn't hesitate at all. We think they are Alligator lizards, in case you were wondering.

I told Jungle Boy he'd have to go out there with the heat lamp every day since they were used to it. He even believed me for a minute.

Now he wants a turtle. What do they eat? Thank heavens there aren't any in the yard.

"Makes My Monday" is hosted by Cheryl at Twinfatuation. Visit her to find more happy thoughts today.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Finished for Friday: Girly Crafts

I have a big quilt project underway, but I made a few smaller items I can share today.

First up is another wool pincushion. This must be the millionth one I've made. I'm addicted. And I use them all! This one was made from a pattern at All People Quilt. Wasabi Girl is my charming model.

I think it's cute. It's also stuffed with lamb's wool so it will be needle-friendly. (The pincushion, not the daughter).

I needed some more shopping bags so I made two of these. Apologies to my husband who has to use these at the supermarket, but really! Most grocery store bags are just dreary. I like happy groceries. Drama Girl modeled this one for me, and then she started to walk off with it. Now I need to make totes for both girls in their choice of fabrics.

It looks like we don't own hairbrushes around here. I assure you we do, I just snapped these shots quickly after we came home from a busy afternoon running around.

What have you been up to this week? Just add your link, leave a comment, and please visit the other participants to cheer them on.

Not getting things done? I suggest you head over to "Make Great Stuff" and read the post called "The Tricky Art of Finishing What You Start." Lots of food for thought there.

Edit: So sorry some people seem to have problems creating links today. I've contacted the Linky guy. Please leave your links in the comments. Thanks!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

We Can Build Her Better! Stronger! Faster!

If you're from my era you recognize this line from "The Six-Million-Dollar Man" show. I thought the whole concept of bionics was fascinating. Replace body parts with something better. Little did I imagine I would face the decision to do this myself someday.

The date is now set for my hip replacement surgery. Out with the joint I was born with, in with new materials made out of I don't know what that just might outlast the rest of my body.

I have mixed feelings about it, and a bit of fear about the long-term. Artificial hips don't last forever, and I still have a lot of years left to live. My range of motion will be limited. And no jogging for the rest of my life.

But as the orthopedist so kindly pointed out to me, I have absolutely no options left. It's just bone on bone in there, grinding away and preventing me from walking easily across a room. Yes, it hurts as much as you think it does. I'll be glad to get rid of that whole pain thing.

So July 14 it is. New hip day. Time to make me better, stronger, and since I wobble at a snail's pace now, definitely faster. Wish me luck. And please tell me you remember that show too (and its spin-off, the Bionic Woman).

Monday, May 3, 2010

Makes My Monday: Roses

My roses are late to bloom this year, but they've made up for it with a glorious display. These are the Cecil Brunner roses that the deer didn't eat.

I love seeing this wall of pink beauties on one side of the house.

The canes are arching up into the sky. When the show is over I'll have to hack them back or they'll really get out of control.

Enjoying the sight and fragrance of my favorite flowers makes my Monday. How is your garden doing?

Makes My Monday is hosted by Cheryl at Twinfatuation.

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