Saturday, February 28, 2009

Oil Pastels Revisted

I mean REALLY, what was I thinking?(notice the sticker on the left-hand side, the VERY same one I was speaking of a few posts ago!)
But this is the wall after the magic eraser hit. Jackson insisted upon being in this picture. I don't know if the picture shows it, but there is a faint haze of pink remaining. Which isn't bad for a section of wall that has been "magically erased" at least four times. This little area is full of dents, goudges, was stamped repeatedly with a red "PAID" stamp, drawn on numerous times, and I think possibly "diarrhea'd" on (too much info?). ;oP So the fact it looks this good is astounding. I hung up my magic eraser last night feeling quite pleased with myself.
By 9:00 this morning I found the very same wall looking like this:

Just start shipping me magic erasers by the boxes. Apparently I have failed to convey to Jackson the gravity of the situation. Or maybe this wall is just destined to showcase our latest artwork. Whatever the case, I'm feeling rather weary today.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Chocolate Play-dough

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/2 TBSP oil
1 cup boiling water
Mix dry ingredients thoroughly. Add wet ingredients. Knead until smooth.
I found that recipe online today and thought that chocolate play-dough might be something fun to do this evening. I was right. ;o) It smells WONDERFUL. My kids have a full-scale bakery going on. As an added perk I have been saving some trays that boxed chocolates come in. I thought they could make their own chocolates that way. Jackson LOVED this idea and quickly rolled enough balls to fill all the trays. Now you might not have a "chocolate tray" on hand, but this situation is quite easily remedied. Head over to the nearest store, get yourself a box (like oh, Hershey's Pot of Gold or something--variety is important), and then proceed in emptying said box. Of course, there really is only ONE way to rid the trays of all those delicious chocolates. It's a big job, but every now and then we must force ourselves to "take one for the team." If you need help, I may have some free moments tonight to assist in such an endeavor.
Enjoy! ;o)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Decorating Inspiration

I stumbled across this blog--which happens when you start following a trail of links. ;o) It is all about decorating and I really think it is AWESOME. Her whole premise is "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful." I love that idea. Sometimes we can become hindered by what we think we MUST have. It has to be THIS way or we can't do it. And sometimes we let the imperfectness of our situation make us discontent or pouty. Anyway she has all of these different ideas, quick and easy fixes (especially if you check out the button at the top called "Best of the Nest." Even though her decorating style isn't necessarily mine I think you can take the ideas and tweak them to your own preferences. I am quickly finding myself drawn to this blog on a nearly daily basis for all the wonderful pictures and ideas she shares. So, if you have a few minutes today, get yourself a cup of tea--or chai (or something warm and delicious!) and check out this site and prepare to be inspired and motivated--just what we all need with spring quickly approaching!
Here's your link:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Home Improvement

Watch out Ty Pennington . . . There's a new guy in town--with fresh ideas that are truly innovative and ground-breaking.
Behold, the sticker on the wall . . .
Who would have known that lurking behind its sparkly facade was this:

Is this kid a genius or what? All that time Josh and I have wasted spackling and sanding and spackling and sanding and then repainting . . . And here a simple sticker would have done the trick, lickity-split. So in the event those die-cast metal trains get kind of "slippery" and find their way INTO your walls, you now have a cheap and easy way (even a three year old can do it!) to mend the damage.

I may have to start charging for all of my expert advice. Just remember, you heard it here first. ;o)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook~February 23rd

FOR TODAY February 23rd
Outside my window...
I suppose it would be considered a nice day for February--it's sunny, but I still find it a bit chilly
I am thinking...
I need to remember the reason I don't "do" caffeine the next time I am tempted by a grande mocha frappuccino
I am thankful for...
the boys taking a nice, long, quiet nap today (particuarly after a night of utter craziness)
From the learning rooms...
Some more states for the U.S. notebook, the California gold rush, and "halfing" and "quartering" objects
From the kitchen...
Roasted chicken, baked potatoes, and steamed broccoli and later a monkey bread to bring to women's study tomorrow
I am wearing...
my grubbies--a long-sleeved blue t-shirt with holes, and jeans with holes (I function better at home if I don't feel too "formal") ;o)
I am creating...
a wool applique pillow and wool chicks (thanks for the idea Kathy!)
I am going...
to ride this caffeine trip out and try to use it to my advantage--laundry here I come!
I am reading...
some more Karen Kingsbury and beginning Instructing a Child's Heart by Ted Tripp
I am hoping...
for a better night of rest tonight
I am hearing...
children chattering
Around the house...
I'm "shopping the house" for things to move around, rearrange, or repurpose
One of my favorite things...
the beauty, texture, colors of the spring florals popping up in stores right now
A few plans for the rest of the week:
I am hoping my plans include a lot of sitting in a chair with tea and sewing or reading
Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Can you find the two things wrong with this picture?
(Yes, the first thing would be Emmett bathing in his jammies. This was actually supposed to be Josh's bath, the boys climbed back in after finishing up their own and then proceeded to empty a whole bottle of shampoo to produce the mountainous bubbles pictured--that would be the second thing!) ;o)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Whatever is Lovely

I am sitting here tonight with a nice hot cup of tea--lightly sweetened and with a dash of milk (my eastcoast-raised mother trained me well) contemplating the concept of living a beautiful life. I will define living a beautiful life as the ability to take notice of the beauty in simplicity--to find joy in the mundane. I was considering this as I went through my day of cleaning--bathrooms, mopping floors, laundry, and just the general restoring of order, particularly to places that have been overlooked lately. I was struck by several things, first the joy and peacefulness found in order. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive or brilliant. It can just be clean and homey, and that makes you feel good. Second, the joy and beauty found in doing the simple tasks that take care of my family. I was kneading dough this afternoon (to become rolls for supper)--with my hands sunk into the warm, soft dough and a fresh yeasty smell enveloping me, and I couldn't help but think how much I loved doing this simple task--and many others like it. What a blessing it is to be the one at home creating a pleasant (I hope!) atmosphere for all of our memory-making to take place in. There is a joy to be found in shining something up, folding a neat stack, smelling something fresh-baked . . . Taking care of a home is truly a labor of love, day in and day out. I know without a doubt there is no other place I would rather be--living simply, but in a beautiful, inspired, and intentional way.
"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things."
Philippians 4:8
I love that verse. So, what around your home is delighting you and bringing you joy right now? Slow down and savor.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Day's End

With March approaching I have been on a mission to remove the remaining winter decor' that is still lingering from Christmas decorating. Now, these are not Christmas decorations, mind you, I did get THOSE down in a timely fashion. My main overhaul is above the kitchen cabinets which I like to change each season. This is what I have so far: It's still looking a bit sparse to me, but then I was thinking, that is spring, sparse--with bits of vivid color here and there. Maybe I'll leave it as is, or I might try to work in some more terra cotta pots (which I have on the other side of cabinets) or something like that. Hmmmm. I'm trying to come up with a few little projects to work on. I love browsing through sites like ebay and etsy for all the crafty things others are selling and using those ideas as a leaping off point. So far I'm drawing a blank . . .

Among others news we had a field trip today to Cam.pbell's Nur.series. It was great to see green and growing LIFE existing and promising that winter won't last forever. ;o) I only managed to lose Jackson once, so overall we will count the field trip a success. Tomorrow's another busy day, I have Jackson's ear recheck late morning and then set-up/Girls of Grace banquet/clean-up taking up pretty much the whole evening. However, I do have a head start on the day . . . carmel pecan cinnamon rolls are rising in the fridge overnight for some fresh-baked tastiness in the morning. Although, I am tempted to bake them tonight so I can have a yummy bedtime snack.

Well, that about sums it up. I will leave you with this delightful little snapshot of the events of our evening:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bloggy News

In the event you had not noticed, I now have music. Should you tire of my music you do have the option of muting it--just scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and you will find my cool little "playlist." Or you can pick a different song to listen to, should you so choose. Yes, I have finally entered the 21st century and am figuring out my way around the internet and computer. And yes, I am quite giddy with my new knowledge. For those of you who struggle with change you will soon find I can be rather fickle when it comes to "redecorating" my blog or choosing a new "soundtrack." My apologies in advance. I do feel a bit like a kid in a candy store. The novelty needs to wear off soon because my laundry pile is not getting any smaller. Well, I take that back. The DIRTY laundry pile is quite managable at this point. The CLEAN pile is now the bigger of the two. But at least it's clean. That's a start, right? Well, I'm off to bed. I need my sleep for all of that rollerskating I plan on doing tomorrow night.

Aunt Patty's News

Guess what? Aunt Patty's has a blog now! And the spring open house is this weekend (Feb. 20-22). No, I'm not getting paid to advertise. ;o) But I thought maybe someone else would find this information as fabulous as I (Kathy?). ;o) They've rearranged the whole store and as always it's beautiful and inspiring. Here's your link:

Monday, February 16, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY February 16th--President's Day
Outside my window...
A bit of a blustery wind but it is sunny and hinting that spring's arrival isn't too far off
I am thinking...
About where I would like to go tonight sans entourage'
I am thankful for...
God's provision this month
From the learning rooms...
We're working on multiplying and getting ready to dabble in division, learning about the Morse code and working our way through a few more states
From the kitchen...
Sage Meatloaf (hmmm, sage has disappeared, we'll substitute parsley), Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Green Beans
I am wearing...
A grey sweater, jeans, my glasses and hair in a ponytail
I am creating...
A clean area in the basement
I am going...
Somewhere . . . maybe Aun.t Patty's At.tic
I am reading...
finishing off a Karen Kingsbury series
I am hoping...
To have everything clean and in order tonight
I am hearing...
The boys playing together semi-politely
Around the house...
Still recovering from our busy Sunday
One of my favorite things...
The playlist site I discovered with sooooo much music that I didn't even know I was missing
A few plans for the rest of the week:
It's a busy one, Brunch Break tomorrow, violin lesson, orchestra, "Skate Night" on Wednesday, a field trip on Thursday, Jackson returns to the dr., mother/daughter banquet on Friday. And I'm hoping to fit in exercising/running somewhere in there. ;o)
Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Fitting End to my Week

I had a fun little adventure at the gas station today. However, you won't fully appreciate my adventure unless I give you a little bit of background information. So, go get yourself a snack and then come back and settle in for storytime!

Once upon a time I was 23 years old. We purchased our first mini-van. I know for some the idea is quite ghastly, but truly there are worse things in life (read on and you'll see). Our first minivan was involved in a minor fender bender at very low speeds but the accident somehow managed to total the vehicle out. Enter minivan #2--a 2005 Chrysler Town & Country complete with "stow and go" that looked like this:
Only it was white.
And then someone--who will remain nameless--brought that van's existence to an end also. (Psst, it wasn't me . . .shhhhhh) ;o) At this point it was in our best fiscal interest to replace it with this:

I know, I know it's very rare, an original minivan. Vintage. And as my oldest daughter was quick to point out it has a different set of hubcaps on each side. How cool is that!
Actually, those really weren't my thoughts the first time I laid eyes on this baby. I was horrified. I was mortified. You want me to drive what!?!?!?!
Now, there are some perks to buying an older vehicle:
#1 The vehicle is bought and paid for.
#2 You can leave your keys in the ignition with a sign that says "Steal me please" and no one bites.
#3 It still gets you from point A to point B
#4 Did I mention it is bought and paid for?
Unfortunately, there are some downsides too. I am pretty sure if you were to cross-reference with the Greek the "thorn in my flesh" that Paul was talking about in 2 Corinthians 12 you will find a picture of this minivan. It's ugly. It has only one sliding door on the passenger side. The oil requires constant attention. There's room for people but not much else. The seatbelt is really touchy (as in I wrestle with it to unlock nearly every time I attempt buckling up). The back has latching issues. But, it's the gas cap that is one of my biggest struggles. The first time I had to fill up I struggled at the pump for several minutes before finally calling Josh and having him walk me through how to get the gas cap off. It was originally a locking gas cap with a little key. However, previous owners lost said key. You can still get the cap off without the key, but it requires me pushing all my weight against the cap and turning really slowly. It's quite an art. Needless to say, I have been embarassed many a time at the pump because I could not get the cap off. And THIS is the point of this incredibly long story!
Today while attempting to fill my van with gas I could not get the nozzle to go in. Here I had made it through the potentially embarassing look-at-the-woman-who-can't-get-her-own-gas-cap-off situation only to be faced with another equally mortifying situation. I kept jamming it repeatedly and it just wouldn't fit. So, I peered down to investigate what the problem was. Are you ready for this?
There was an acorn blocking the nozzle's passage.
Now how, you ask does an acorn get underneath the impossible to remove gas cap? You get one guess, and only one. My girls claim it wasn't them. And I'm pretty sure it wasn't the work of Emmett. Figured it out yet?
So, I removed the acorn and proceeded to fill 'er up, however, I continued to have problems with getting the gas to go in. It kept clicking off, like it was full. At the moment, I'm a bit concerned that perhaps that was not the only acorn involved--perhaps there were smaller ones that somehow made it into the "pipe" --or whatever it is called, that goes into the tank. Which reminds me again, that while I may not be in my dream vehicle, I am still thankful that I have transportation. It can be easy to take that for granted. So, here's hoping that there aren't anymore little acorns lying in wait to cause havoc with the van's fuel intake. And I will continue to give myself the daily pep talk, "I have a vehicle, it may be ugly, but it works." And they lived happily every after. The end.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine Fun

We had ourselves a little Valentine Party today, joined by my sister Lynsi and her crew, and my friend Anna and hers, giving us the grand total of nine children aged 7 and under running around. Our agenda: to decorate some boxes, distribute some Valentines, and eat. Of course, we had to get a little bit of baby snuggling in too: Let the crafting commence!

The kids and all of their spectacular boxes:
What the girls did with the leftover paper once everyone had left:
It's coming up on three and my boys are still sleeping, despite devouring an enormous amount of sugar. That is an accomplishment in itself. The girls are heading out to play in a snow pile and I'm heading over to play in my laundry pile. Disclosure: while it may have appeared to my guests I was caught up on laundry it was really all stuffed into a corner of my closet. And I barred them from checking out the laundry room downstairs. I had to get that off my chest. ;o)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Little Valentine Show and Tell

As each holiday approaches I am always inspired to make something. Unfortunately many of my ideas only get as far as the "inspiration" step. ;o) So, while I had a whole bunch of things I had hoped to get done--I am seriously lacking in Valentine decorations--all I have to show for it are two items. Although I still have one more day . . . Perhaps I will finish my front door heart yet. ;o) This is a cute little wool pillow (not my own design). I have another one all cut out and ready for stitching whenever I get around to it. A project for next year most likely.
A wood sign, made from some wood scraps, leftover paint, leftover stain, and a free font I downloaded. So it was FREE. ;o) I wish I was better at painting--it photographs pretty well, but up close, it's not quite as beautiful. ;o) My hand is not steady enough for all the lettering.

That's all I have. Let the brainstorming for spring ideas begin.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Quick Request

Jackson had the inspired idea this morning to see just how far a cue-tip would go in his ear. I heard a painful shriek--and yes there was blood involved. I'm assuming this means a ruptured ear drum. So we're heading out for a 9:30 dr. appointment--please pray everything goes okay and there's no permanent damage. And pray for my attitude . . . I awoke to discover a nearly full 2 liter of ginger ale spilled across the kitchen floor and dried into extreme stickiness, Emmett dumped half the shampoo down the drain, Jackson had blood running out his ear (and of course the crying and pain that accompanies such a symptom), and all this before 7:45 a.m. I think it's going to be a long day.

UPDATED TO ADD: As far as the doc could tell Jackson's ear drum appears to be intact. I guess there is this curve in the ear canal and most likely Jackson hit the "back wall." It's pretty swollen, so he didn't have a definite answer. We'll go back in a week and a half to see how it looks. For now he will take the antibiotic ear drops to prevent any infections. So, that's some good news. ;o)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Helpful Hint for the Day

Should you happen to live in a household where it is a struggle to use writing utensils only on paper (as detailed here), do not decide now is a good time to invest in other art mediums. Such as, oh, oil pastels for example . . . Think of oil pastels as really intense and bright crayons that go on like butter. "Look! It's red like James!" proclaims an elated Jackson. Yep, it sure is.

My SECOND HELPFUL HINT FOR THE DAY: "magic erasers" are the most amazing things created and will remove even intensely red oil pastels from your walls--crayon, pencil, and marker too! They do however struggle with pen and red ink stamp pads (at least on eggshell paints). Ask me how I know all this . . .

Monday, February 9, 2009

Dinner Conversations

As I've mentioned before, Isabella is the girl with all the questions. Tonight I participated in a rapid fire session during supper time that included (but was not limited to!):

"How did God start?"
"Why do we have to get old?"
"Is lettuce a cabbage or just plain old lettuce?"
"Where does lettuce grow? Why?"
"Who were the first people in Nebraska?"
"Why did God create pointy plants?"
"How are books made?"
"Who is Abraham Lincoln?"
"How do we get soap?"
"How are needles made?"

We also managed to touch briefly on the topic of predestination. Her questions were completely random, coming from who-knows-where in that little head of hers. I left dinner mentally drained and feeling not-so-smart. I'm off to youtube in hopes of finding a video that shows just HOW needles are made. And the first people in Nebraska were probably the plains Indians, right? ;o)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Death to Balloons

Oh. My. Goodness. I just spent about 50 minutes at Wal-Mart, the last 20 of which found Emmett in full tantrum mode. Whoever thought it would be a good idea to use balloons to decorate racks or advertise sales obviously never had a child. Particularly never had a child with an obsession for balloons that borders on pathological. (The last time we brought balloons home from a restaurant Josh and I found ourselves discreetly murdering them--the balloons that is, not the children--the colorful, buoyant creatures were holding us hostage.) And so I found myself today with a nearly full cart and four children, one screaming and arching and refusing to be cajoled. What do you do? I attempted to show him the balloons were tied to the racks. That did not help. I contemplated abandoning the cart and running for the doors. But I was really hungry--I had already spent the last few days being incredibly creative with what was left in the cupboard. ("Sorry guys, here's some dry cheerios for breakfast . . . ") So I stuck it out. Marissa commandeered the cart while I carried the resistant child. We made it through check-out, his screams diminishing to a whimpering "Boon, peeeese, boon . . ." on repeat. We emerged from the store, the crying resumed, but it was OVER. I ran into a lady from church entering as I left. I must have looked murderous. "You survived!" she said with a huge smile. Ha! I buckle Emmett into his carseat--he's asleep in two minutes. Carrying on that long must be utterly exhausting. POOR GUY! (Yes, um, that would be some sarcasm leaking into my tone . . .) So, all that to say, balloons are not my friends and I will think twice before attempting another grocery excursion with four children--even if all I have in the cupboards is a can of kidney beans and some ramen noodles.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

My Amazing Marissa

These last few days God has used Marissa to humble me (in a good way). ;o) She has always been my girl with a heart sensitive to God's Word and truly has a wisdom beyond her years. She takes such joy in serving others and helping me out. Truly, her unselfishness baffles me at times. She always will give Isabella the best of something, the biggest piece of cake for instance, or let her have first choice. She even coddles Isabella, like when Bella is "too tired" to clean the room, well, that's okay because Marissa will do it for her. (!!!) That's just plain abnormal, right? ;o) Of course, she is not perfect, and we do have our "issues." Overall, I would have to say I have been thrilled with the sweet spirit I see growing in her.

Yesterday, Marissa came to tell me that Jackson had put our "Little People" toys away all by himself. I expressed the appropriate wonder--Jackson rarely decides to put toys away on his own. The cleaning he does is usually damage control, like "Uh-oh, I dumped out the hot cocoa mix on the floor and now I hear Mommy's footsteps . . ." kind of cleaning. ;o) I then went on about my day.
Later on, Marissa and Isabella come to tell me that Isabella finished cleaning up the girls' room all by herself. I praised Isabella heartily, because like I mentioned before, Isabella is often "too tired" or her "tummy hurts" or . . . ;o) A few minutes later Isabella comes back to tell me she really didn't do it, Marissa cleaned it all up. Oh, and Jackson didn't really clean up either, but it was also Marissa's handiwork.
Puzzled, I turned to Marissa and asked, "Why did you lie?
She burst into tears,"I'm sorry, I just wanted them to get a reward."
Well, what do you say to that? I was stunned. She did work and then intentionally gave the credit to others so that they could get praised and rewarded. I sat there, incredibly humbled, as I tried to recall if there was ever a moment in my life where I truly desired somebody else to get credit for something I had done. Had I EVER been so selfless?

And then tonight, our "Girls of Grace" program is looking to raise money to donate to a charity that supplies Russian Bibles to people in Siberia. For just $1 they can print up a whole New Testament. As we were driving home from church, I overhear Marissa telling Isabella about it.
"We have $61," she says (this is all they have saved together from allowance, gifts, etc.), "Can we give it all Mommy?"
And you want to know what? Initially the first thing that nearly came out of my lips was, "Well, maybe you should save a little bit of that . . ." But I stopped myself. She has the right attitude. Granted she's seven, and not worried about having to take care of a family and provide them with food and shelter . . . ;o) But oh to have that faith and not hold onto possessions so tightly. Now whether or not she convinces Isabella to "fork it all over" . . . We will see what develops there. ;o)

I just had to share these sweet stories--lest you think all I do is run from one mess to the next. ;o) She truly is a very special girl and I am very blessed to have her for a daughter.