Friday, April 30, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
In the free category:
Josh scored this baby for me and it's headed to the boys' room after it gets a coat of chocolate brown . . . maybe a hardware change too, but maybe not. They have a big walk-in closet, so it will be in there, and not really seen. Plus they're known for bludgeoning/stickering furniture, so I don't want to invest too much time and money in it. ;o)
~~~Next in the "2 for $20" category these nice and sturdy end tables. I admit to having a love for legs, the stouter and curvier the more I like them. ;o) Although it does not make the painting any easier. These I envision as nightstands for Josh and I. Our bedroom set originally came with one, and it has always bothered me to not have a matching pair. I'm thinking either an antique white or a pale blue. I've got this developing plan in my head of farmhouse meets shabby chic . . . We'll see. ;o)
And lastly in the "my husband thinks I'm crazy" category, a tiny glimpse of transformations happening to what was a ridiculously ugly $40 desk (those legs and curves sucked me in again). ;o) The lighting wasn't best for a picture, but it's the light blue I'm thinking of using on the end tables. Hopefully I'll finish this up in the next few weeks . . . I am currently awaiting Josh's help in cutting out a new bead board back. I am REALLY loving this desk. I'm hoping to find a spot for it in my bedroom (may have to kick out the computer). ;o)
And because it helps to have other eyes out there looking for me let me know if you come across any old locker baskets (less than $5), white ironstone pitchers/platters (less than $10), or big fancy frames for pictures or mirrors (less than $20--don't care what color as long as it's spray-paintable). I've got some ideas . . . ;o)
Monday, April 26, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
And also, I got the ingredients to make my most favorite spinach artichoke dip--it starts out with fresh spinach which you cook down. Yes, it's a bit more time consuming but it is AWESOME. If only one could live on chip and dip alone. And tea. Head here if you're in need of a good dip recipe.
We're enjoying a dark and rainy day here. Just perfect for tea . . . biscotti . . . hot dip . . . hmmmm. ;o)
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
Marissa wrote Josh a song in honor of his birthday today. She's a bit shy to have me record her and consequently you can't quite understand all the words, but I typed them out below (I'm not going to lie, it was hard to keep a straight face through this one). ;o)
Title: Happy Birthday Daddy
Written and Sung by: Marissa, age 8 1/2 yrs
Daddy, Daddy you are 31, you are 31
Daddy, Daddy you are 31, you are 31 today.
You used to be 30 but not any more
And now you're five feet seven inches off the floor
(me here . . . um, yeah he wishes!!)
Daddy oh Daddy you are 31 today
You used to drink water but today is milk
You look more handsomer in your belt
Daddy, Daddy you are 31, you are 31
Daddy, Daddy you are 31, you are 31 today
You're a lot more stronger I have to say
Your love and happiness make me really really gay
(me again, she means "happy gay")
Daddy, oh Daddy you are 31 today
All days were normal but not this one
'Cause we are celebrating Grandma and Grandpa's youngest son
Daddy Daddy you are 31, you are 31
Daddy, Daddy you are 31 you are 31 today
Oh you are 31 today
Yes you are 31 today
(In the event you didn't catch that, he's 31. Today.) ;o)
Sunday, April 18, 2010
We had a great day in the Omaha area on Saturday making use of our "memberships"--one to the Om.aha Chil.dren's Mu.seum and the other to Font.enel.le Fo.rest. Personally, I do believe Lincoln's museum is better, however, it's always fun to have a change of pace. Josh mainly got this membership because it gets us in free to so many wonderful science museums too. We've never been to Font.enel.le For.est before, but really enjoyed it. They have an "outdoor classroom" that is similar to the one in Nebraska City . . . these are sooooo cool. If I had a big backyard I would want my own outdoor classroom. ;o) There are miles and miles and miles of trails . . . we are looking forward to exploring more on future visits.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
1. A no-brainer for our family . . . DRIVE don't fly. Can you imagine how expensive it would be to fly a family of seven? We could buy another vehicle for that amount! Besides that, we really like driving. We get to see so much more of the country that way . . . what's that saying, something about "life is the journey, not the destination." The same is true of vacation. ;o)
2. Pack picnics. On the way to Connecticut last year we had three days of driving. We ate out once. Some of our favorite memories are of picnic-ing at rest stops. We packed "extra-special" picnic fare, like egg salad, chicken salad, potato salad (yep, I bought the biggest jar of mayo and went to town!). . . going beyond your plain ol' sandwich. And when we did eat out, we planned this meal. I researched a restaurant that was unique to the Niagara Falls area, "The Silo" and we have a great memory of dining out overlooking the Niagara River--rather than if we had just picked a Micky D's somewhere. ;o)
3. Priceline your hotels. We had never tried this before, but it is AWESOME. You enter the town you want to stay in, pick how many stars you want your hotel to have (I think we chose 3 1/2). That way you are guaranteed to get a pretty nice place. Then you enter what you are willing to pay. First we tried $30 . . . but none of the hotels bit on that one. ;o) I think we ended up paying right around $40 for a $130 hotel room! The bad thing, once a hotel accepts you offer, you HAVE to go there or lose your money. But if you are choosy on the amount of stars your hotel has, it shouldn't be an issue. We stayed at some nice places, full-out breakfasts, pools . . . One place in South Bend, Indiana had THE BEST bed I have ever slept in.
4. Take advantage of your free stuff. FACT: EVERYTHING costs money. A zoo membership you have here gets you in free or reduced somewhere else. We discovered our children's museum membership gets us in free to lots of science museums across the country. This year we also have a membership to SAC/Fontanelle Forest and this gets us in free to other nature centers across the country. Do some research! We'll be hitting the science museum in Chicago this year.
5. Have a father-in-law who has a baseball ticket source. Thanks Bears for getting Josh tickets to the Cubs/Cardinals game in Chicago . . . he's on cloud nine. ;o)
Overall, have a plan and stick to it. RESEARCH everything you want to do. Plan a lot of cheap/free activities and maybe one big splurge item (that was our New England Aquarium outing last year). We let the kids pick ONE souvenir type item. But they found a lot of free souvenirs too . . . a dead crab in Plymouth Rock . . . buckets of shells along the beach in Connecticut . . . ;o) It makes me happy to hear my family reminisce about last year's trip--some of the best memories are the ones that cost us nothing. What about you? Do you have any great vacationing tips to share? I'm always looking for more! ;o)
Sunday, April 11, 2010
(If you're thinking that's a stick, guess again . . . it's a SNAKE!!! Marissa was bummed she couldn't bring the little guy home.) And then their fun Daddy took them to the SAC Museum!
And where was I? Hint:
It was home school convention time. I'm pretty much set for books for the next school year. I had a great two days getting refreshed and as always find myself reassessing everything we do and looking for ways to improve. I was reminded of the fact that good parenting is intentional. We all have these grand ideas, but the thing is, they don't magically happen. Sometimes, the day in and day out, year after year intensity of this thing called parenting is downright draining. It's easy to let laziness and even apathy creep in at times. I NEED days like this to get me regrouped so I can "keep on keeping on." Too bad there wasn't something like a monthly convention . . . (Then again tempting myself with bright and shiny new books on a monthly basis probably wouldn't be a good thing). ;o)
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Monday, April 5, 2010
A picture might be worth a thousand words, but what these pictures don't tell you--
--It was a BEAUTIFUL DAY . . . perfect spring weather
--Jackson did not find very many eggs because he had to stop after each one and check what was inside
--Tommy Dog ate himself a good deal of hard-boiled eggs, shell and all
--Marissa gave Papa Roy the Farmer a little lecture on why he should not use Atrazine on his crops (because it makes the male frogs produce eggs). She presented a good argument, but I don't believe he was swayed. ;o)
--The kids spent nearly the whole time outside, decorating dog graves and building some sort of house/fort thing. They returned home thoroughly dirty.
--As I get older I appreciate more and more the opportunity to hang out with all my siblings again . . . we all have our own lives now, but when we're together it's still so much fun.
Anyway, the dresses:
I ended up doing a few things "my way." First, I should have made the skirt part of Marissa's a size bigger. It was a bit too short for my liking, so I added some wide lace at the bottom, which took care of that problem nicely. I'm not sure if she'll be able to wear this dress more than one season though, so that's kind of a bummer. (Although Isabella is rubbing her hands together with delighted anticipation because she's quite fond of all that lace). I also used store-bought bias tape because that saved me a WHOLE lot of time. Lastly, my machine has always done awful button holes, the thread bumbles up all over itself and I just can't get them to turn out right. I ended up doing them by hand, cutting a slit and then whip-stitching around it. It's not perfect, but it does the job, and in the end the button covers it up. So, I can't say I tackled my button hole fear, but I found a way that works for me . . . perhaps that's cheating, but I have two functioning dresses, so I'm happy. All in all it was a fun experience, and actually the first time I have ever made their Easter dresses. Marissa told me, "Oh, it looks like a REAL dress!" Which was encouraging, but I'm not sure what it says about all the other clothing I have made for them. ;o) I LOVE getting to customize their clothes, picking just the color, just the buttons . . . it kind of makes me feel like a designer. But now, back to my real life of maid, teacher, chef, chauffeur, nurse, and whatever else it is I do. ;o) Have a great week!