Sunday, January 31, 2010

Outdoor Play

Logan is starting to feel better. So I took the tv away again. I know, mean mom. lol... it will take a few days for him to readjust, but I have a plan. Outside I set up play areas (yes, even in the rain) for him to be out there and be active. He hasn't been able to be outside since we moved here because he can now open both gates... and that just isn't safe. I miss it, and I can tell so does he. So I locked them yesterday with padlocks and set up a 'pounding station' at the edge of the yard. I have plans for a few more areas (like a digging area, a building area, and perhaps a tiny swing set) in the works for Spring, but this one was plenty for an hours worth of good, outdoor, tv free fun.

I added one of the hard hats from his birthday (I got the nicer ones, which are awesome... he uses them all the time!) and he was all set. He walked out there, saw his little hammer, and went to town. All on his own. Of course, I had to go and grab the camera.

The Man was concerned with smashed fingers at first, but honestly, with a tiny hammer, and huge nails (that I start in the log for him) if it happens at all, it will not be serious and will quickly be self correcting.


I just love simple toys.

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It's the little things...

I was grumpy this morning. Today is going to be a long day and we are headed into bad change over (which means the state swipes my husband for the weekend, so he works 8 days strait) so I just felt grumpy. Plus the weather... rain may be pretty, but it sure does NOTHING for ones motivation. And on top of that, I was on my way to go to Old Navy to return two pairs of jeans that were long enough in the store, but magically shrunk in the wash (even 'preshrunk' stuff shrinks in length. Grrrrrrr...). The girl didn't give me grief, and she was probably lucky. Anyhow, after that, I hit Micheal's. All I needed was red cardstock. I figured I would look for heart shaped suckers for our Valentine's, but really, all I was looking for was cardstock. I walked back to the cardstock isle and low and behold there was a crazy sale. And when I say crazy I mean CRAZY! ALL of the cardstock packs were on sale for $2.50 each. Even the ones that are normally $12.99! So I grabbed 4 of those huge ones, and two of white/grey/off white and got out of there with $75 worth of cardstock for $18.22! I was THRILLED! It truly made my day. Some days, it really is the little things.

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Rain...

It's raining.

Sigh.

It sure is pretty though.

Looks like another soup and story night for me and the kids. Tonight we are having black bean soup and going on a continued adventure with Captian John and his siblings in the book Swallows and Amazons.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

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Art and Inspiration

This picture has nothing at all to do with this post... except that it is me. And I'm the one typing. ;)

This post is about inspiration.

Inspiration is a funny thing. Rarely, as a homeschooling mom of three kiddos, do I have the time to really craft. And for some reason, when I DO have the time right now, inspiration runs screaming from my head the second I get a moment in the studio. I find myself hiding in the computer... hoping that all the inspiration I get from all of your genius posts will somehow stick. As if the only way I can have good, productive thoughts right now is via osmosis.

I feel that in today's world people rarely grasp how overwhelmed they are by the things they have. I recognised just how overwhelmed I was when I found myself with an entire evening to spare. The kids were in bed, Don was working, the dishes were done and I had vacuumed the bedrooms and changed the sheets. There was nothing to do but craft. Whoohoo! But when I looked at the boxes upon boxes of fabric, paper, old calendars, scraps, pens, pencils, scissors, zippers, ribbon, lace, etc that I have everywhere in this room (and elsewhere) I thought "I can't do anything with this crap" and I went on to watch a video online... when I could have been creating something.

Recently I went through and really looked at the things I had in my art space. I spent an hour going through all the pieces of paper with the recycle bin in hand, waiting for my heart to say "I LOVE this". The things I loved went into a small box, the rest... well, didn't. I did the same with the ribbon, the zippers (really, who is going to use a huge plastic hot pink zipper?), and the other art supplies we had. I got rid of all of the crayons. We don't use them. Why are they taking up space? I sharpened all the pencils and got rid of more than 3 of one color. I got the coloring books that the kids haven't used in forever. I took out some pictures from each, put them in a three ring binder (once again, my undying love of binders shows through!) and put them on our 'rainy day' shelf in the closet. I got rid of UFO's (UnFinished Objects) and anything else that seemed to be yelling, rather loudly, that all I did was waste my time.

It felt so good I can not tell you. Now when I look at my space, I am surrounded by things that inspire me. There is no clutter although I still have plenty for whatever project that catches my fancy. Now granted, this doesn't mean I have any new amazing projects to post right this second. In fact, I am off to catch my weekly dose of Desperate Housewives online... but it does mean that the next time I find a evening where I feel wonderfully free of my 'to do' list, that I may just come up with something brilliant.

What inspires your crafty side?

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Ecolovies ~ Forcing Blooming Shrubs Indoors

This time of year is dreary for me. This year it is especially hard with all of the heartache that has been going on around our area, but it is always a dreary time of year. I often thank God for giving me a winter baby so I can keep my mind off of being dreary for just a little while, as I plan for Logan's birthday party and rejoice in how amazing my baby is. But now even that is over and it isn't yet Spring and it's just dreary!

The other day I brought in these twigs. I had cut some off of my bushes and decided I was going to see if I could make them bloom early. I had done this before with Forsythia from my last yard. It was such a joy to have these blooms a couple weeks early in my home. The rest of the year, the Forsythia is a rather bland plant... it looks much like Scotch Broom does for most of the growing season. But in the Spring, Forsythia is a wonderful blooming shrub with these hundreds upon hundreds of pretty yellow flowers on each long gawky stalk. It was my first 'forcing' experience and I have loved it ever since.

This is my first Winter in the new house, and although I knew I didn't have Forsythia, I do have Flowering Quince and Flowering Current.... they are both flowering on my table right this second, bringing a little bit of the dreary out of my days.


To force flower on your own blooming shrubs... first, you need:

~ a pair of good garden shears or scissors

~ a jar or cup of water.

~ A couple flowering shrubs. (Great canadiates for forcing blooms are Forsythia, Flowering Quince, Flowering Current, Crab Apple, Pussy Willow, and fruit trees such as Apple, Pear, or Cherry.)

Then you:

Look at the buds of the plants you want to cut... if they are starting to turn green and get 'fat' looking, then you can most likely force it indoors to bloom.

Cut each twig at an angle. This will allow the water to be more easily absorbed, and make it more likely that it will bloom for you.

Place the twigs directly into the water after cutting. You can put small rocks or glass stones in the water after cutting to make your bouquet more stable.

Bring inside and set in a sunny spot (it doesn't have to be direct sun, just sun in general.)

Wait...


In about a week, you will have the beauty of Spring right in your own home!


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Thursday, January 28, 2010

ER Trip and My Thrifty Thursday

Last night was a long and hard one. I stopped getting the headaches about four days ago... and after one day of feeling almost like myself I got a cold. Not a bad one... but after being sick for 10 days, and only one day of real rest, it knocked me off my feet. Yesterday I started to feel much better. Then Logan started to cough after nap time. Not just cough, but that seal bark cough that is always related to croup. It just got worse and about 2:30am last night, Don took him to the ER. Just like last year, they gave him a Neb treatment and within a couple hours he was doing much better. Today he sounds like he has a wheeze, but he doesn't sound like someone is sitting on his chest and so as I put him to bed, finally, around 8am this morning, I decided the big kids and I were going to leave. We went and got muffins and cocoa at Starbucks and then headed to Goodwill. We spent until 1pm there, looking through the treasures and enjoying being together.

As much as I could complain about the day, it was actually wonderful. I am dog tired, but feel almost 100% and I knew Logan was resting, now that he could breath properly again. My other two kids are healthy and were dancing with the clothing on the racks, searching for 100% wool sweaters for me, and sitting in the book section reading someone else's used-to-be treasures. It was a great morning. I came home to find Logan up and watching Mary Poppins, and Don (who is also dog tired as you can imagine) dosing peacefully snuggled up against our baby. Really, for a sucky night, it sure has been a beautiful day.

Now on to the score!!

In the center of this picture is a tin camping cup, a camping bowl, and a enamelware frying pan. I don't know if it is Le Creuset, but it says "France" on the handle, making me think it probably is.

Even if not, it is in great condition and I was terribly excited to find it for $2.99 today!

Awww... my love of good books.

This basket is just lovely! It has a stain on the inside liner, but I am going to try to get that out. Other than that it is well made and in PERFECT condition. As is the other one (with the stripes). Usually the baskets I find at goodwill are missing a handle, have a hole, etc... but these two look great. I am excited to add them to my crazy basket collection.

This beautiful Zither needs to be tuned, but it is in great shape and it was only $4.99.

I love thrifty days!

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Handcrafted Holiday ~ Floating Hearts Craft


While I made dinner tonight, I had my daughter make these beautiful floating heart chains for our front window.

You need:

  • heart hole punches (or you could always cut them out yourself, but make sure you do two at a time so they are the exact same shape)
  • a glue stick
  • colored cardstock (we chose red and pink)
  • fishing line

Just punch the hearts out of the cardstock and glue them together with the fishing line sandwiched in between. From a distance they look like they are floating.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Spontaneous Gratitude for my Friday

I know most people would call this Monday, but our week ends on Mondays right now, so it is 'our Friday'.

I am feeling better today. Not 100%, but much less like I have been run over by a truck. I am feeling especially grateful for everything today. The weather has been mild and beautiful all day long. I spent part of my afternoon collecting rocks from the would be garden beds and placing them in the rose garden that boarders my patio. I had help with this. And the whole time my children were diligently finishing their school work, on their own. And they called it the 'best school day ever' because I slipped an organic hard candy into their nature study workbox. It was a beautiful day.

The history of Spontaneous Gratitude.

Today I am grateful for:

Pretty flowering Quince branches being forced on my table.

Amazing children, doing their work quietly without complaint.

And playing quietly when they were done.

My little helper.

The dump truck being used for the forces of good, and not evil.

This beautiful day.

Evidence of Spring.

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

A new day

I woke up without a headache for the first time in ten days today. And I realised that I am so very lucky. Not just in the way of waking up to healthy body, wonderful family, and a warm home lucky... but lucky to be alive. Lucky to have my husband be alive. THAT type of lucky.

I want to share something with you all... I don't talk about it on here much for safety reasons... but my husband is a police officer. In a large, relatively violent city. This city, and the city's surrounding it have been hit hard with grief lately. I put together this video as part of our family video of our year.

These pictures are not mine.

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Under the Weather

It has been a long week. I haven't been on the computer much. Even Logan's birthday party day I was stricken by a terrible headache that goes along with other body ailments like joint pain, muscle cramps, and stomach issues. I have no idea what is going on, but it is surely no fun at all.

I am guessing, honestly, that I have yet another stress related illness.

It has been a really long year for us here. I am not sure what to do, as my life, and my 'work' require me to be 'on top of it' and I am just not right now. But such is life. There are so many worse places to be than with a loving family in a safe place yet uncomfortable. It just stinks is all. The 'being uncomfortable' part of it really stinks. I hate being irritable because my head is throbbing yet again, and I can't seem to pull through it.

Started a elimination diet this morning. I am easing my way into it, but trying to go mostly raw/vegan for a while and see if that helps. I don't plan on sticking with it, as I don't think it is healthy long term, but for a while, I am hoping it can give me a boost and set my internal clock again. Gave up coffee (for the 5th time) three days ago. So far doing ok with black tea and rice milk.

I hope that this passes quickly and I can be back to myself before long. Garden season is coming... and that is good motivation to get my rear end healthy again. We shall see.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

CAUTION!! Party zone!

Logan's third birthday party was this morning. I had never had a morning party before, but I honestly may be a convert. I was able to get 90% of the stuff done the night before that I would have put off until 'party day' otherwise, and it went easily together and with much less stress than normal.

Alex had the idea of putting all the hard hats on our coat rack which made a wonderful addition to the decor as you walked in the door.

For the rest of the decor I went super cheap this year and used our local library for every construction vehicle book I could find.... then put Logan's collection of dump trucks around the house along with caution tape placed across framed photos. I turned out really charming!

I took most of the toys out of the party area, but left the blocks, the car mat and the cars stuck at different ends of the room for the kids to play with.

All the tables were covered in black plastic with masking tape down the center so they looked like roads.

Mostly, the kids just played, but I did have an activity set up for them in the other room. I called them in groups of three and had them make a 'monster truck painting'. Not quite on theme, but they all LOVED it. Even the older siblings. So I consider it a success. :)

This is what they look like when they are done and mounted on constriction paper (see... it IS in theme... constriction paper! (*I am such a dork.))

Logan's birthday cake was the easiest I have ever made! I made two wonderful devils food cakes, cut them into pieces after they cooled, added crushed Oreos and gummy worms, and put it in a wax paper lined dump truck... (which was also Logan's birthday gift from me and daddy.)

The cone candles brought the whole thing together and Logan's spent lots of time telling me how great they were. Warms a mamas heart!

He LOVED it!

The favor bags were simple orange bags with white ribbon tying them and a small printed "CAUTION" sign as a tag.

They had dump truck stickers, a little construction truck, a fruit leather and a CD of Logan's favorite songs, 2010... which of course, started out with Ralph's World "Dump Truck".

It was a huge hit. And it just so happened to end right around naptime, so as they all came down off the sugar, parents could just whisk them into bed. Logan is peacefully sleeping and I think I will join him. But it was a great party! *Yawn*

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