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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Happy Spot

 The Nesting Place is having a fall mantle party, and no, no mantle here, but here is my favorite "fall horizontal surface" at the moment.  Most stuff, if you read my blog, you have seen before. 
The rundown in cheap-ish decorating:
The pumpkin/black-eyed susan pillow made by me using a gift certificate to purchase wool=FREE
The wool acorn, a gift=FREE
The basket, a goodwill find, painted and then distressed=$2
The quilted square, something I bought long ago--I turned it over so just the backside was showing giving me something neutral to work with--I'll count it as free since I'm "using what I have"
"Long Island Cheese" Pumpkin=$2.50
Faux bittersweet, cut apart=$2.99
Grapevine garland, grabbed a handful from storage, more "using what I have"
The banner, scraps of burlap, quilting binding, and a sharpie marker I had laying around=in the $5 range
 Oh, and the dresser everything is sitting on, $20 on craigslist, and some black paint and "nickel" spray paint I had laying around--
Having an area that makes my heart so happy every time I walk past?  Priceless. ;o)

 If you're interested in looking at some beautiful fall decorating, head here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Few Firsts

Yesterday not only did Owen discover the joy that is opening cupboards, climbing inside, and setting up housekeeping:
 But he also happened to do this thing called W.A.L.K.I.N.G.  Three whole steps.  Now, I don't see him giving up his crawling anytime soon, and I think the walking was actually an accident--he was squatting, rose to standing, and then I think he miscalculated how far away I was sitting from him.  He reached and then did these three lunge-y steps until happily falling into my lap.  And I watched him in shock, thinking, "I am not seeing this!"  That little stinker of a nine month old! ;o)

And then there was a first that I wasn't exactly pleased about.  Have you any idea what this is?
If you guessed "Isabella's cheat sheet for her spelling test" you win the prize. :oP  I was giving her a test today and noticed her looking down after the first and second word.  I thought it looked suspicious, but seriously where would she ever get the idea of a cheat sheet?! I asked her what she was looking at and guiltily she showed me.  *jaw drop* Just goes to show how inherently sinful they are, huh?  We had a little talk about how cheat sheets are a big no-no.  As Josh put it though, "What kind of first grader comes up with a cheat sheet?"  In my head I quite saucily answered, "YOUR daughter. " Some things are just better said in my head though, you know?  ;o)




Monday, September 27, 2010

The Scarecrow Patch!

 So, blogger has changed the picture uploading process, consequently all my pictures are out of order and wonky--bear with me. ;o) Up first, my last picture of the day! On Saturday we drove out to the Grand Island area, which yes, is a ways when you're in search of a pumpkin patch, but we had a free family pass, therefore canceling out the gas mileage, or something like that.  Check out The Scarecrow Patch.  I've been to many a pumpkin farm, and I enjoyed this one, the focus on fall and fun and not on all that scary stuff.  There were slides, corn boxes, a pumpkin sling slot, a duck pond, a menagerie of farm animals, "steer" roping, and just lots of good wholesome kid fun.
 Emmett loved the horsey.  And he got a ride.
 We ALL enjoyed the "gunny sack slide" it starts our super fast, but slows down nicely at the end.
 Kitty love.  They had a barn with a hay loft, swings, a slide between floors, and BABY KITTIES! Any time I couldn't find Emmett I would return to the barn and he would be there with a kitty.
And of course, the pumpkins--25 cents a pound.  We got many, and if you come over to my home you'll find them inside (all the "specialty" kinds) and outside (the orange ones).  I even got myself a blue hubbard squash, which I guess you are supposed to eat, but I thought it looked cool.

If it were closer I'm sure we would go back.  In past years we have also enjoyed Bloom Where You're Planted and Roca Berry Farm (I just don't get into all the scary stuff there).  Too bad I couldn't spend every fall weekend at a patch . . . As Josh noted, buying my annual pumpkins is always one of my biggest delights of the year. ;o)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Owen~9 months old!

So, this little guy is really hard to photograph.
Out of all the pictures I tried to snap real fast (on a quickly waning battery) I have just one where he is actually looking at me and smiling.  It'll work. ;o)
At nine months:
Mastered the art of stair climbing--and is getting faster by the day
Will stand for a few seconds (particularly if he doesn't realize he is doing it)
Has five, but very close to six, pearly whites
Has his first little shiner above his right eye from attempting to scale the slippery bathtub slope
Loves his mama a whole lot
Enjoys pinching his mama while nursing--she has bruises to show for it
We *think* we heard him repeat ball, but whatever the case he does "ba-ba-ba" quite nicely ;o)
He's become a little dancer, boppin' to Isabella's heavy-handed (and repetitive) base lines on the piano
Really enjoys feeding himself, and has a particular fondness for shredded cheddar

You would think, having done this so many times before that watching a year slip by SO FAST gets easier.  But it doesn't.  I just don't know where the time goes--how is it that we are so very near that first birthday already?  And Josh keeps nervously reminding me five is enough . . . 
I know.
In my head I agree completely.
But my heart wishes there would always be a little baby,
to love on
kiss on
cuddle up
and thrill over.

I'm so thankful I got to do it "just one more time."
Happy 9 months sweet Owen!

Happy First Day of Fall!!!

The chalkboard greeted the kids this morning, which was a fun way to start the day.  Jackson told me those were his *favorite* pumpkins, which says a lot because he's a harsh critic.  And what better breakfast to have than APPLE CIDER DONUTS:
Oh, are these good! I'm going to be the first to admit that besides the intriguing title, I really struggle to distinguish the apple cider flavor (perhaps because I coated them soundly in cinnamon sugar?) but these are excellent donuts.  We washed them down with some fresh cider.

And then, seeing as their teeth were thoroughly sugared up, we set off for the dentist.  Unfortunately, our "no cavity run" came to an end today (I have no idea why . . .).  Isabella was found with a tiny one on the side of a molar in the back.  Boo.  Of all my kids to get a cavity I'm actually glad it was her--she's the toughest, a quiet strength she possesses in the face of pain (the others have a tendency toward ummmm LOUDNESS for lack of a better word). ;o)

Tonight's the harvest moon! Be sure to watch for it.  The first day of fall, homemade donuts, harvest moon, and have I mentioned the pumpkin fudge I've been snacking on these last few days?  Doesn't get too much better than that!

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Sticky Situation

Last week I purchased a different style of toothpaste bottle for the boys, thinking maybe the old-fashioned tube style was just too tricky for them to handle.  You know, explaining why the kids' bathroom is always plastered in toothpaste? 
Unfortunately, this toothpaste (pictured in background) is no better.
I think at this point we will chalk it up to a U.E.
(user error)
I am still puzzling over the HUGE blob on the mirror up near the vanity lights.
I think you have to TRY to be this messy.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

My Marissa Girl

A few of my favorite shots of her from yesterday . . .

As I go through my pictures, I usually find just one or two that I really love--although sometimes whatever it was I was "going for" I don't find evident in anything I photographed.  What is funny to me, in my head I'm thinking "I need a really nice photo to be her '9 year' photo--or Jackson's '5 year' photo."  In the end I always love the pictures where they are just being them the best--those are the pictures that truly make me smile.  Like all of Jackson's silly pictures . . . don't be surprised if you come to my house and find one in a frame!  Someday when I'm old and gray I think it is those pictures that will be so very dear to me. I want to see joy and life and vibrancy and happiness--and I hope it is always there.  And just maybe I can freeze it in a picture so I can always remember them just that way.

Photographing Jackson

Apparently, he has a real fondness for his tongue. :oP

Yesterday, I wanted to get some pics to cover Jackson's already past birthday and Marissa's upcoming one (Marissa pics are coming . . .).  Jackson was fairly cooperative, but of course *endearingly* silly.   A few conversations we had yesterday.

1) "Mommy, when I get to be a big daddy can I jump out of an airplane?" said after watching some sort of sky-diving type people land on the field at the Lincoln Christian game. Me--*sigh* "I guess, but I would rather you didn't."

2) "Mommy, when I get to be a big boy can I play football?" said while watching the players take the field.

3) "Mommy, when I get to be big can I be a baker guy at McDonald's?" said while we were handing over some money to a guy in the drive-through, a little shake for me, water for the boys . . . ;o)

That boy--he can drive me crazy, but oh does he ever amuse me too!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Be still my heart

Last night, Josh came home bearing gifts:
Yes, a whole box, 18 cans!!!! of pumpkin.
And I was ecstatic.
If you remember the "Great Pumpkin Crisis of 2009" you will know stores around here had not one can of pumpkin for nearly a whole month.  Every year, September hits and I am bit by a baking bug--usually pumpkin is involved.  I thought last year was just an off year.  But about three weeks ago I asked the Wal-mart guy where the pumpkin was.  He informed me it was seasonal and I wouldn't see it until Thanksgiving time. *gasp*
Every time I went to a store, I checked.  I told Josh he must check too.  Between the two of us we cased out many a store. No pumpkin. :o( My mother-in-law "lent" me her last can a few days ago and I've been pondering just which recipe I should use it for--I didn't want to waste the very last can available! 
FINALLY
some appeared last night at a Super Saver here in town.  Because Josh knew it would delight me to no end he got me A LOT of it. And some of my favorite tea too because I was all out. ;o)
Unfortunately, he did pay full price and we all know pumpkin gets crazy cheap come November.  I'll overlook that fact seeing as I'm back in pumpkin business again--pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins--some with chocolate chips/some without, pumpkin bars, pumpkin fudge, pumpkin donuts, and of course pie . . .
Good eating up ahead!
And Josh says we will never be caught pumpkin-less again.  We plan on stockpiling it this fall. Should you happen to visit and open my pantry it is highly possible you will discover one whole shelf devoted to the storage of my precious cans of pumpkin. ;o)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tools of my trade--

Last week I treated myself to three, brand-spanking-new . . .
laundry baskets.
 (it's okay to look, I tucked all unmentionables out of the way) ;o)
They're my favorite, three handles, a contoured hip, gently holds one load of laundry, or two really, really squashed ones.  Actually, technically it is not a load of laundry, but get this, 1.25 bushels.  At least that is what the sticker said, claiming how much it could hold.  I shared this fact with my farmer father, tickled by the idea that while he is out harvesting bushels of corn I've got my own harvest going on--bushels and bushels of clothes.  Each weekend it is my goal to get caught up, usually, come Sunday evening I'm pretty happy with the state of the laundry.  I think I can coast on Monday.  Today I was busy, and still basking in the "I'm so on top of my laundry" afterglow. So when I went down this evening and divvied up the piles you can be sure I was shocked to discover:
2 loads of towels
1 load of dark
1 load of light
All of Emmett's bedding
I don't know how many bushels of laundry I do each week, I always plan on counting, just out of curiosity, but I have a feeling some things are better left to my imagination. 
Hence, the reason I treated myself to three new baskets.
Well, that, and the fact that the "laundry toboggans" of last fall proved not-so-kind to the handles.  I think a few times it's fine, but it's not a good idea to make a habit of it.  Particularly if you've managed to squeeze a good three bushels of laundry into afore-mentioned basket . . . That poor basket doesn't stand a chance upon impact.  And if that three bushels happens to be full of sopping wet towels from a bathing experience gone awry?
Yeah.
I've had better ideas. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

School Stuff

(subtitled: the summary of weeks 4&5)
I wanted to be better about keeping track of what we're doing school wise.  Unfortunately, when we are in the midst of a school morning, rarely do I pause for pictures.  It is REALLY busy during those hours.And if I'm going to be honest, today I realized why it is so crazy during that time.No, it is not because of all the subjects the girls and I are delving into.
It's all the little boys on the loose in my house!
Josh took them out to do some "men's work" this morning (currently there are a few mornings Josh has "free" each week). Can I tell you how quiet, peaceful and easy it was to get our work done with no interruptions?  Things went lickity split!! Unfortunately, that can't be the norm . . . ;o)We've been learning about ancient Egyptian culture, pyramids, and some of the fall Jewish holidays.I wish we were doing more of the projects, but they have yet to materialize.  I did find some coloring pages to print off online--one of a shofar, one of a Sukkoth--so we'll add those to a section of our notebooks.  I've consoled myself with the fact that technically Sukkoth occurs later in September, so even if I don't do anything when the book says, I could make it more "real" and do it when it is actually supposed to happen. Right? ;o)
~
The boys and I have been working on the ABC notebooks, and have changed out our veggie books for apple/fall books.  The favorite has been one that details the applesauce making process.  I think we might try to do that sometime in the next few weeks--hopefully with apples we will pick ourselves.  A fun little play-dough activity we did (got the idea from a Montessori blog):
I used my normal play-dough recipe, added red food coloring gel and lots of cinnamon and apple pie spice for "apple" play dough.  Then I broke a small pile of sticks off of my grapevine (I tell you, that stuff can really multitask!) ;o) and went outside and robbed a boxwood of some of its leaves.  And VOILA! all the materials needed to make a bunch of apples.  Jackson really enjoyed this!  And truth be told, I had fun too. ;o)
~
This week starts up Awana activities--I have four children involved this year!  That just seems wild to me.  Sunday begins Girls of Grace (our evening church class for elementary age girls), and Isabella is very excited that she gets to start this year.  I guess that means we are at the point where "all systems are go."  I think we'll keep busy . . . ;o)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Labor Day Fun

(So, I kept looking at "siting" thinking something is wrong, for some reason thinking of the word "site" as used when describing, well, a site.  However, this was not the version of "site" I needed. OF COURSE!! I meant "sight" I was just seeing if anyone else was paying attention.  And I would go back and fix it, but truthfully, that is just more work than it's worth right now.  I do want to assure everyone that I CAN spell, and haven't completely lost my mind.  Although as Marissa informed me when I was remarking on my forgetfulness, "Well, you ARE getting older." Hmph.)

I'm finally getting a few shots posted from our Labor Day weekend.  I have decided that Labor Day should not be on a Monday but on a Friday--you know that whole "work first than play" saying?  Monday felt like a Saturday, and Tuesday felt like a Monday, and I was completely confused and feeling behind all day yesterday.  And now tomorrow is Thursday and I'm wondering where my week went and there were so many things I had wanted to do school-wise that I'm not sure are going to happen. 

But back to celebrating, it was our 3rd (or perhaps 4th? But I'm to lazy to research . . .) annual hot dog and marshmallow roast around the campfire, and the evening was just brisk enough to warrant a toasty little fire.  The wind was rather wild so we picnicked inside Grandpa and Grandma's shed.  At one point a rather strange and distinctive smell wafted our way, and we questioned the children as to exactly what kind of WEEDs they were throwing in the fire.  They claimed it was just dried oak leaves and pine needles, but I'm not so sure. ;o)  A few brave ones hopped in the pool one last time, but the hot tub ended up being much more welcoming.  In the end it was a very fun evening for us, bidding our summer adieu!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Redeeming a Week

I must say, we are ending up our week much better than we started, and with the breeze outside teasing of fall, I think all is right with the world. ;o) Things I'm delighting in--
Asking Josh to pick up some "big marshmallows" at the store--I didn't realize he would find BIG MARSHMALLOWS!!!! Check the size comparison to my hand:
~
A minivan sold for parts=$200 in our pockets
~
Cookie baking, ginger snaps yesterday, snickerdoodles today. Yum!!
~
The kids catching 15 frogs, and hanging a sign on our house that says, "5 cents to hold, pet, or look at a frog."  I think we have the edge on that market. ;o)  The leopard frog that's leaping from the container is the favorite:
~
Making time for an afternoon chai latte--daily--with whole milk thank-you-very-much. ;o)
~
Jackson adding to the bits of fall we have gathered (I'm curious where he found those flowers, but I'm afraid to ask . . .)
(Oh and Carolyn--the wild bittersweet opened! So pretty!! I think I will head out to my parents to see if I can scavenge up some more!)
~
Pulled out the sewing machine, hemmed up a pair of Josh's dress pants (not my favorite sewing project, but one of the most practical) and put together this little burlap banner:

It was a very easy project, involving burlap, some sort of quilt binding "stuff," and a sharpie marker.  And yes, all of my fall stuff is present and accounted for . . . has been for a few weeks now. ;o)
~
And for now, my head is in a better place--a happy and refreshed place--as we head into labor day weekend and squeeze the last bits of summer out of the next few days.  Wishing you all a wonderful time of rest, relaxation, and whatever else!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Stuff

It's been a long week.
There have been a lot of rotten attitudes--they hit first thing Monday morning and they really haven't let up.
Jackson's been . . . I guess loud and full of motion would be a nice way of putting it?
Emmett has been waking at strange hours of early morning (between 3 and 4 a.m.) and tucking himself into the foot of my bed.  He's been a rather angry child--maybe due to poor sleeping habits?  I hear this often:
"Bad Jackson!"
"No, bad Emmett!"
"Bad Jackson!"
Ad nauseum until one of them is crying because the other descended upon with intent to silence.  Emmett has this huge mark on his head because Jackson shoved him into the crib.
A lot of disharmony.  It wears on me and I keep asking myself "What am I doing wrong, what do I need to do better?"  And for the first time I've actually been glancing wistfully at the greener public school grass . . . my home would be so much more quiet.  Maybe I wouldn't be so physically and mentally drained come 10:00 in the morning at the end of the day. ;o)

The old ugly minivan that Josh uses as his main car got totalled out today. :o(  We were kind of counting on that being Josh's transportation for another 1-2 years.  In spite of its "quirks" it really has been a great and reliable vehicle. Only now it's a goner.   We do have an uglier spare car for him, so at least we're not down to one vehicle (yet).  And Josh was not injured, so that's a happy thing. 

All in all a rather discouraging week, and those happen sometimes.  I'm starting a little Bible study, Nancy Demoss's "Choosing Gratitude-Your Journey to Joy."  I'm thinking the title sounds fitting just about now don't you? ;o)  God DOES have a good sense of humor. If life was smooth and easy I wouldn't have the need to CHOOSE to be grateful, nor would there be any journey.  Right? Right. I'll keep working on that . . .