Friday, January 30, 2009

Burning the Midnight Oil

Well, tomorrow (today, really, since it is 2:15 am!) we are going to a friend's new baby's baptism. I wanted to bring a little something for the baby... and always enjoy making something. 

I often make a hooded towel for mommies to snuggle those new babies in! When I got to my bin to look for a towel color... I discovered that I may as well be Old Mother Hubbard, 'cause my cupboard was bare! I couldn't believe it... I had no towels with which to make a hooded baby towel. 

DRAT. What to do now??? Hmmm... baby booties? Couldn't get them finished in an evening. Cross stitched bib? Again, not in one evening. What, oh what to do. Pops and Bud suggest clothes. Or lotion. Or baby soap. Yea, soap for babies. 

WHAT? I cannot make an entire outfit in an evening, let alone find and make a recipe for baby lotion or soap. THINK. THINK. THINK. A blanket... I can make a blanket in an evening. YES! 

Wait. My friend is Amy. she writes a blog, "Amy in Stitches" about Faith, Family and Yarn. YARN! She knits. She knits lots and well. She makes her own blankets. 

Come on get it together, I berate myself! If only I wouldn't have put it off, I would be making a towel or a pair of booties. 

Oh, I know! I received the neatest little thing for Bud when he was a tiny tyke. A carseat cover! Pops' Aunt Judy sewed many lovely items for us and I loved them all, especially the carseat cover! I once called and asked her for the pattern and she told me that there isn't a pattern per se. She made it up! So, she gave me the dimensions and I wrote them down. It seemed easy enough, so I didn't press when she said it is so easy. I should have made her type up the instructions of how to assemble it "so easy." I had to fight with my cover and wrangle it into the design I was hoping for. Aunt Judy is an amazing seamstress. I hope that one day I will whip up a "so easy carseat cover." This one seems to be "not so easy, not too hard."
I have a bit of elastic to finish and then sew up the last little bit and will be done. I'll take pictures when it is light out. It is turning out cute even with the little flaws that every artist finds in themselves... I am hoping Amy and her precious new babe will like this delightful way to keep warm and out of the weather while in a carseat!!

Update: These pictures are as good as they can be... I'll have to see if I can get Amy to take pictures of her bundle of love in his carseat with this cover on... Yes, I took the picture of this on the steering wheel... it was as good as I could manage!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The sun is shining.

That means it's a good day!

We've had a bit of cloud cover and fog lately. So, having the sun show up today in full force with blue skies being all that I can see brings to mind a cute little thing that my big boy used to say when he was very little.

Bud was about a year or year and a half old. (He started talking very early... and he really hasn't ever closed his mouth for any length of time on purpose. Seriously. If he is reading or watching a movie he leaves his mouth open ready to spit out his next words. And sleeping? Nope, he drools like his mom and is getting nearly as bad as his Geemah. {So sorry to spill your dirty laundry, Geemah. Just keeping my accurate family records here.} Anyway, back to the story... go on! This bunny trail is OVER!) He started to sleep in our bed at night when I was pregnant with Branch and couldn't function in the mornings. When he would wake up, he would turn to me (or if Pops was still home and sleeping too, either of us) and say, "Sun is up! It's a good day!"

I miss those simple mornings. I think I will wake up Bud tomorrow with that phraseology. He has some trouble waking in the mornings... 8:45 am is a REALLY early morning for him!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snooty Elitist Snob

Time to confess my obsession. One of them. I will confess one obsession. All the rest will have to wait. I have a "thing" with pickles. Dill Pickles. Kosher Spears, Halves, Wholes, Minis. But, I have issue with them. Here's the thing. All dill pickles are NOT alike. Do not be fooled into thinking that all dill pickles are the same. They most certainly are NOT. 
  1. There are items called dill pickles that seem to have been dyed a flourescent shade of yellowish-green.
  2. There are items called dill pickles that are limp and soggy.
  3. There are very large items called dill pickles that are sold individually in bags.
  4. There are items called dill pickles with catchy brand names.
  5. There are items called dill pickles with cute creatures trying to hock their objectionable dill pickles on you.
  6. There are items called dill pickles sold on the grocery shelves next to the black olives.

All those "dill pickles" should be left there on their shelf to wonder why you passed up all of the "dill pickles". You are passing up those items of inferior quality, likened to a can of spam, for one reason. One reason ONLY. The best and therefore ONLY dill pickle on the market and available for purchase at 99.9% of all supermarkets is this beautiful brand that I picked up today at our not so local food mart.
For me, no other dill pickle brand makes its way into my grocery cart and subsequently into my home. NOPE, NEVER. (I know that I just said that terrible word "never" that I definitely know better about. But, I cannot help it this time. I don't eat those other things that call themselves dill pickles, in my own home.) It does not matter to me that this jar of pickles tends to be a bit pricier than other items that call themselves dills. I figure if we are skimping pennies and trying to save somewhere, buying an inferior item calling itself a dill pickle is not the way to do it. What to do if the cost of the only dill pickle is too high to spend? I opt for NO dill pickles. That's right. I have such strong feelings regarding dill pickles that if I can't buy Claussen for some reason, I do not buy dill pickles at all.

Anyway, yes I went to a sort-of nearby larger town today to take the kids bowling with a homeschool group. Since we were there, we had to stop and do a bit of shopping at the save and sack. 

To my delight, there was a wee-bit of a special in the grocers' refrigerator aisle. Claussen Kosher Dill Spears for a MERE 99 cents!! Yea, you read that correctly. I bought a few jars. I am not ashamed. I considered buying more, but didn't want to get them home and have to explain why the milk is siting on the counter and we are having milk, fresh veggies and a jar of pickles for supper. So, I only bought five. I now know that I could have bought 10! They would have fit I am now certain!! 
By the way, on another note that only a few might understand, I want some bargain lessons from Mr. Disberger. Yes, I do! I bet he would have been thrilled for me and my 99 cent pickles. I know, he would have gotten them free somehow, I know. That is why I need the lessons. I have to get over my brand issue here to be half the bargainer that he is, but I want lessons for other things. Not dill pickles. I have my mind set in regards to dill pickles. I can't buy the others just to get 'em cheap or even free. I do not sell out for dill pickles. Claussen... mmmmmm.

Go ahead. Call me a pickle snob. I already know. It's that obsession I have.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Post 2: Kids' Science Museum

OK - I will admit it. My favorite room at the science museum was the bubble room! You see, these were no regular backyard summer bubbles. There were GINORMOUS bubble wands. I had made an attempt one summer to be a super fun mom and make our own giant bubble wands for giant bubbles floating through the summer sky. It didn't work.
When we first got to the bubbles, the kids were trying them the way you do at home with a bubble wand about a half inch in diameter! 
It is hard to set a ginormous bubble free with even a large huff of air.
She huffed and she puffed and she never blew the bubble free!
This was sooooo cool! I got in and pulled the bubble up over Branch, Blossom and myself. Uh, but no pictures of that.  Sort of troublesome to photograph oneself in this situation!
A try on her own even with her fear that she MIGHT GET WET!! The wet was rather negligible, as in a quick spritz of a bubble - nothing earth shattering. But, even THAT when she is not bathing or swimming? Tear producing. Seriously. Water will do that to a girl. Well, this girl.
Since big sis gave it a whirl and didn't cry or get drenched, li'l sis decided it was worth a try, too. She too has issues with water. Oh, how have I already began to wreak havoc on their adult psyches.

Those of you who read this blog and live anywhere near Lincoln, NE  - take your children to the Lincoln Children's Museum. Buy a membership. It is sooooo worth it. The museum in Lincoln is 3 floors of childhood fun. When we used to go visit, we could not fully enjoy every exhibit at one visit. There is so much to see and do. Don't get me wrong, Science Works in Ashland is a great bit of fun. But, boy oh boy do I miss the LCM!! Don't miss out, go and spend the WHOLE day at the Lincoln Children's Museum. Tell them I sent you. They will look at you as if you are crazy. I will laugh if they call me and thank me shamelessly for all this free advertising. Go on. Visit the museum. You'll love it as much as kids do!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Post 1: Kids' Science Museum

Last week, I promised the kids a "fun outing" on Friday if we had all our school work done by Thursday. Well, a mom has to come through on her promises, doesn't she? So, we went to Science Works in Ashland, OR for fun and a great deal of science learning!
The kids were sooo lucky this year for Christmas! I suggested a membership to one of these kinds of museums in our area to Pops' folks and they must have decided it was a great gift idea!
We spent all afternoon exploring! There was definitely something for everyone.
This was a kaleidoscope that you crawl inside - a few too mommies in that photo!
We had just rebuilt this arch after Bud did the honors of knocking it down. 
These last pictures are of the girls enjoying the funnels and watching to see what kind of patterns the sand would make. 
We sure had fun and the kids can hardly wait to go again!
Thanks a bunch, Grandma and Grandpa Tractor! More pictures from the trip another day! 

We had the MOST fun in one of the other rooms that I'll post another day. You don't really want another post a mile long!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

We have a winner!

If blogosphere friends were flowers...
we'd pick you all and put you in this pretty vase!
Branch did the honors and chose this orange stemmed beauty!
She loves me. She loves me not. Take it apart to discover the winner's name.
Congratulations, Lisa!
And to avoid the confusion of 2 Lisa's... I labeled one flower "Aunt Lisa" (who is MY aunt) the other flower was "Lisa" (the kids' aunt!).  So, Lisa who likes the polar bears and had these funny things to say...
Is the winner!  Look for a vanilla scented gift in the mail soon! And since you asked, maybe there will be some black olives in the box for all those boys you have to live with!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

So Long, Cookies

Yes, the cookies are gone. If you were hoping for me to send them to you. You are now out of luck. I threw out a box of them last night. The kids have been eating more than their fair share of them. I ate a few of my favorites. (I'll consider sharing that recipe one day.) So, that temptation is gone. There are other temptations, but Sugar Cookies? It is too hard to pass those up. So they are gone. 

We are on to new things like goals of regular exercise. I have been pondering why I don't like to work out. 

I believe that my Aunt Lisa is onto something as to part of the problem... allergic reaction to exercise -it seems to run in the family. My reaction is that every time I work out, my body expels a salty moisture through the pores of my skin. I have heard that it happens to be an allergy that many people suffer with, but like hayfever, I expected claritin to help. It doesn't. 

Another excuse problem is that whole, what to do with my kids when I go to the gym. So, instead of taking them and hoping that they don't make a disaster of the local gym, I just don't take them and therefore don't go!

Next problem is boredom. I do not like to do the same thing over and over and over. So, we have a handful of items that are useful for exercise at home. I added a new item to our exercise arsenal. Yesterday, Branch and I tried our best. Blossom tried a few moves. Bud rolled his eyes. Pops ran out the door. Thank goodness he had an excuse of "work" or we'd have insisted he try!
I must tell you. Kym is quite scantily clad in all her cuteness. My girls thought that Ashly was their favorite because she smiled "at them" and wore something that they liked. Maksim kept telling us to keep our tummy in, butt tight and tucked, etc. 

My heavens. One go round at the Paso Doble and Samba, an attempt at the Cha-Cha after I removed my tennis shoes so I wouldn't keep tripping on the carpet, and less than a half hearted attempt at the Jive has my calves burning and my hiney screaming to just let 'er jiggle - no need to tone!

Fun video. Decent work out. Learn a dance or two. Try it out a few times a week and on the other days something else to prevent the boredom.

Now, if only someone would make an allergy medication to help me out with those reactions I have been having...

Tuesday On Safari

So, it is on occasion that we visit our local drive-through zoo. I have come to believe that the drive-through zoo is more appealing than the large walk around zoos. All the kids can have their animal map, drink, snack, jacket, book and other various items of interest. When they don't want to hold it anymore, I do NOT have to be the duffle bag. Cup holders, empty car seats and yes, the floor holds all the items that they would normally give to me. I love drive through zoos!
We are lucky that our local safari also has a small walk around area to see a snake or two, some ducks, a cheetah or many little goats to pay a quarter to feed and other assorted small animals. Sometimes we leave all that junk in the van and get out and wander around the small areas, too.
It is funny to be driving along and see an animal walking on the road, coming up over a hill... The kids always seem to scream and holler because they can't quite conceive of how we will drive on the road with these wild animals!  I only worry about the rhinoceros, which was hiding on this trip.
Seeing the hippo was a big treat for us. Usually, we only see it stick its nose up above the water and then go back under the water. I so badly wanted to get out of our van to get a better picture, but there are signs posted all over to stay in your vehicle with the doors closed. Bummer. But, we are really working on following directions over here in our treehouse. I sure don't want to have to explain why I don't have to follow directions!!!
This trip, we were surprised to find animals wandering in different areas. I knew that this was possible, but every time that we have been there the animals were in the same fields as the last time we visited. So, this time many of the animals were "out of order."
This Bison made me laugh. I had just been telling the kids to quit hollering about the animals on the road. The animals are often in somewhat of a hurry to get off the road or walk just along the edge. Not this big ol' Bison! We sat and waited somewhat patiently for almost 10 minutes for it to get to moving. We were kind of in a hurry, though. The safari's hours are until 4pm and we arrived at the gate at 3:15!! So, we were in a mad rush to drive through the whole place. But, we sat and waited out this furry creature and eventually made our way by.
Llamas. Have I told you about my favorite story to read to kids? I will. We will revisit this animal. Llama. Isn't that a fun word to say? Llama Llama Llama Llama. It is fun to say, but NOT to type.
I think that these crazy birds are my favorite creatures. They come right up to your car and say hello. The crazy one in the mirror? Yea, attacking the van with its beak. Wasn't too keen on its reflection - I wouldn't be either if I were looking like that! The other one only popped its head up a couple times. Other wise it stood there with its head down kind of making a grunting and groaning sound. I hope it does it again the next time so I can record that noise. Strange.
Isn't this animal interesting looking?! It is only about 3 feet tall at the shoulders!

I am holding a little give away today. You really should enter. I have only 2 "followers" and a few other people who comment now and then. Your chances of winning are spectacularly high! Feel free to share the love and tell others about the contest. 

What is the prize? Well, I am giving away a lovely "Gazebo Scents Gel Pomander" in vanilla fragrance that is basically a pretty air freshener. The animals were especially stinky so, it made me aware that perhaps I should share some lovely scent to make up for all the stink that was posted today.
Sorry. The kids really wanted me to take a picture of the elephant pooping. They really wanted me to share it with you all. They found great humor in it all... just like all kids do with bodily excrement. I am sorry.  I have to tell you more. Branch said, as this big boy was peeing and pooping, "WOW! That is the biggest poop I have ever seen. Isn't that the biggest poop? And he keeps pooping. That is a LOT of poop." It wasn't much longer before we found pooping everything else, but when we got to the camels... sorry. sorry. sorry. This is to be an accurate record of our family life. When the kids get older and want to know what they were like when they were little. SO SORRY. Bud says, "Hmmm. Those camels poop perfect black balls. They look like very big olives. They sort of bounce when they hit the ground. Hmmm." 

Tonight, we had tacos for dinner.  I served black olives on the side. I wonder if they remembered. I did. Hope you can still enjoy black olives with your relish trays!

OK, so to enter the contest. Leave a comment (you do that by clicking on "jumping in the leaves") with 
  1. Your name
  2. Your favorite animal and why (not necessarily one pictured here)
  3. A random thought about the weirdness of childhood.
Just enter once... your chances are high anyway! If you are dying for a second chance to enter... provide a link to this post on your blog and let me know in your second post where you mentioned this tasteless (ha ha ha) post on your blog so that I can read about how exasperated you are with the strange discussion I have had with myself and the blogosphere about my lovely and polite children.

Thank you for not being to prim.

Contest winner will be decided Saturday morning the 24th of January.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Heads of Steel

The weekend was beautiful. Just in time for my mom to miss it! Anyway, the sun was shining, the wind was calm (It is windy about 2% of the time around here, but I digress.), the fish were swimming - in season. So, pops decided fishing for Steelhead was the perfect option for the day.
What kid wouldn't want to jump on that?! Play down by the river with a great big net, cast a line or two, splash around a bit, walk in the river. You know, a great time! So, kids decided Pops was right and down to the South Umpqua they went.
Plenty of other fishermen around. But enough room to spread out, breathe and enjoy yourself.
The water was running pretty fast, but it wasn't nearly as high as it was about two weeks ago. 
They are learning the techniques for fishing for steelhead - apparently it is different than bobber fishing in a farm pond.
AH! A bend in the pole. Reeling it in quickly...
Here comes the float. Get the net ready, kids!
Reel bad luck. Nothing at the end of that line.
Next weekend maybe there will be more than leaves, grasses, rocks and water in that net! These hard headed fisherfolk want to bring home a steelhead!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Guess what?!

I forgot. They are in there. They are torturing me, now. There are cookies that I made at Christmastime in my deep freeze. They were soooo yummy. I expect that they would be still yummy. I have joined up with the WoWers and I am trying to watch all the sugary eating and all that bologna. Exercise. I know I should. I want to like it. I really do, but I don't. I want to eat a cookie and I think that I will. I mean, really... who will know? Just me and my conscious, right? Well, and the 5 of you who read my blog and leave comments so that I know that you did read it. But, you five won't care, right? Amy, Regina, Jessica, Mom and  Heidi - please don't throw the hammer down today on me when I am really trying to do well at this WoW thing. But, come ON... I didn't eat "my" sugar cookie yet. (Remember I decorate all those and there were 5 cookie people. I was the one in the red and white striped dress.) I think that I will just eat that one cookie.

Mmmmmm. Sorry about the crumbs. It was good. Anybody out there want me to send a cookie to you so that I can get them out of our house?? Let me know soon before I derail my plans to join the group WoWing away! Join me and tell me to PUT THE COOKIES AWAY...

All good things...

come to an end, I suppose.

Today was our last fun day with Geemah. I think that I am the most sad of all. I enjoy having my mom around with all of her sillyness. I like having my mom and friend around to chat and laugh with. Now, we are like any other mom and daughter in that we get on each other's nerves. Yes, we do that often enough. But, we really like to be in each other's company. We love to laugh, and together we do that well.
We like to work on crafty kinds of things together. We worked on making prettied up file folders. What is that, you wonder? Yea, me too. I bought a crafting magazine - Somerset Home, while we were in San Diego and we found these pretty folders that you embellish with pretty papers and stickers and things. We bought a few papers and such and set to gluing one evening. She has 4 beautiful folders to take home for her home and has many ideas on how she will use them. Mom also has ideas for making several more! I made a few and like them well enough, but I didn't really finish. So, I will have to complete them after my mom is gone.

She leaves tomorrow for her flight home. I know that it feels so good to go and get to one's own home and I am so thankful for the time we did have together. But, maybe we should just build her a studio to live in our backyard. I think that would work out so much more pleasing! Hmmm... Pops was taking a woodworking class this past fall. Maybe he can just whip that up in a jiffy and she can have a second home here so that she doesn't feel like she has to get to going home so soon. Somehow two and a half weeks wasn't long enough. Booo hooo hooo. Hopefully she'll be back soon!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tea For More Than Two

A fancy tea party was requested for today. Branch received a little girls' Polish Pottery tea set for Christmas this year from Geemah and PopPop.  She was very excited and we have had several pretend parties and one small tea and pie party.  Well, today was the day that I "stepped up" and created the whole deal for a luncheon tea.

The girls wanted a real fancy party where everyone "gussied up" for the tea. Fancy clothes and such were a requirement for all ladies at tea. I had a few fancy formal dresses in the back of my closet that the girls had NEVER seen. So, while Geemah was folding the last napkins, I ran off to my room and into the closet to sneak into my old formal gown. I hollered for Geemah to join me and eventually she made it to the room (I needed a zip up and she needed to gussy!) and took one look at me and bust up laughing!  She was surprised at just what kind of gussying I had been doing!  She had no idea of what my gussying would entail. When she finally contained herself, I forced her into the closet to put on another formal gown I had stashed in the back. The zipper was partially split, so I had to use some pins and got her all fastened into her gown. Next to the bathroom for dark lipstick and flashy jewelry! Oh, were we a sight!

Sashaying out the door into the great room, we found our princess admirers twirling in dress-up princess regalia. They stopped and could (apparently) not believe their eyes! Blossom followed me around the room. If I sat, she sat. If I got up to move something, she got up and followed me. It was quite funny that all of a sudden I was seen through a new set of eyes!! We had an enjoyable lunch with tasty niblets and the nicest spot of tea...

We had these lovely snail roll sandwiches of Turkey, Roast Beef, Cheese on a tortilla with a pickle and green onion!

Finger sandwiches of chicken salad on white with a black olive topper.

Lettuce wedge salads and fresh pineapple chunks.

The party goers...

All of the children used their finest manners. The whole time. I promise. Really, these are the best ones that they have. Obviously we will need to incorporate table manners into our curriculum, soon!

Blossom impersonates a tree frog...

Bud uses his finest fork and spoon...

And being the lady that she is, Branch would never open her mouth too wide (forget that it might have helped to have a smaller piece of lettuce) ...

Miss Priss taught all how to properly slurp up your delicious tea...

Next tea party scheduled for next week. Feel free to stop in - but don't expect the full regalia... only tea and crumpets!