Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Sparkle

I finally, finally, finally took some pictures of my tree. I know, right? It took forever. I took a few close-ups of some of my new favorites just for your enjoyment. My tree is in the process of turning into a sparkly, shimmery, winter woodland wonderland. I've been buying birds,
a few pine cones, some new icicles, leaves, and anything else I think qualifies. And my wonderful baby sister (though she is the mother of two little boys, she will always be my baby sister) even bought me two glittery butterflies.
I admit, I was skeptical of the butterflies at first, especially because of the glitter, and, who sees butterflies in the winter when there is snow all around? But, now I love the butterflies. In my imaginary, winter woodland wonderland, butterflies are all around. They are magical, and every Christmas tree needs some magic, right? So, without further ado, the Christmas tree! (insert hand flourishes, ta das, etc., here)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ummmm, another month has passed

I can't believe it!! Another month has gone by. I've been doing most of my "computering" on my iPad, and the Blogger interface doesn't like me on there. Or maybe I don't like it. Hpmh. Anyway, life has flown by again. Last time I posted it was the day before Halloween. Now the Christmas season is upon us. Thanksgiving, as usual was lost in the holiday shuffle. This year I saw Christmas stuff up with the Halloween stuff. That makes me sad. Sad because Thanksgiving gets forgotten, and I feel like Thanksgiving is a great time to focus on what we are thankful for, and get us thinking about the upcoming holiday season. I am a Christian, so the thing that I am most grateful for is Jesus and all He has done for me. Thinking about my blessings at Thanksgiving time helps me to focus on Him and helps me to remember what Christmas is all about. Right, Linus? I pretty much got my Christmas shopping done this summer. I do not enjoy all the hustle and bustle and stress of the season, and I abhor Black Friday. There is nothing that I need so bad that I have to go shopping before midnight until nine the following morning. Nothing.

Instead I helped the Dear with our storage room in the basement. It was much more fulfilling than spending all morning shopping and then being a grump the rest of the day. Saturday we worked on the storage room some more. And we went to Home Depot to buy some more paint. The kids and I looked at the Christmas decorations (they love those stuffed animated animals!) while the Dear did his shopping. And then we did some more work. We have church at nine on Sunday morning, and then, to give us something to do for the rest of the day, we put up the tree. I bought a bunch of new ornaments last year, after Christmas, so we were able to put those up this year. It was so fun. I am loving the more "naturative" feel of the tree. Birds, acorns, leaves, pine cones (both real and fake), berry branches, icicles, snowflakes, and some poinsettias. Not to mention the regular ornaments. I become more in love with my tree each year. :)

After I had my nativities all set up, the Dear made a comment about how now I should have enough, since we just got a hand-me-down porceilin set from his grandparents. I only have three multi-piece sets (one of which is the Little People set), two single piece sets, and then three ornament sets (two are just one ornament, and the other is a plush baby Jesus with some animals set). I still have two empty bookshelves. I need more nativities. :) Oh, I also have a gel window cling nativity set. But still, not enough. I love that the children have so many reminders of why we celebrate Christmas. As I type this, Mr. B, who is three is playing with the plush ornaments and the Little People Baby Jesus's. So sweet. The kids have all the Little People characters piled into the Little People bus. I wonder where they are going? I hope they always keep the Spirit of Christmas with them and that they don't focus so much on the presents. I think it helps that there are no presents under the tree, but the Little People nativity, and that I'm not spending my free time running around trying to find that perfect gift. They have plenty of toys. We will spend some time over the next week or so buying some gifts for the Salvation Army Angel Tree, but that is all. Our big present will be having Grammy and Grampy move here. We are looking forward to next week with happy anticipation.

One of the blogs I follow, I Am Momma, Hear Me Roar, had a challenge last week to write 50 things you are thankful for. I procrastinated, and never wrote them. But it's something I've been wanting to do, so, even though Thanksgiving has past, I am still going to post them. Here they are, in all their glory (and in no particular order):
1. My husband
2. Miss A, especially her willingness to be helpful
3. Mr. B and the times when he is happy (he's been a total grump as of late, so I cherish each happy moment and hug and cuddle)
4. My warm home
5. God, of course
6. Jesus Christ, and His Atonement for my sins
7. My job. I truly love it, and the people I work with!
8. That my kids can be in the same building as me while I work. Today I walked out of one of my classrooms to do some copying, and Mr. B was out in the hallway looking for me so I could help him zip up his jacket to go outside. I love still being able to help them, even if I am at work.
9. My children's teacher, Celinda. She's great, and I'm so glad she loves them.
10. My husband's job. I better stop with the explanations
11. My sisters
12. My parents
13. All of my in-laws
14. Nieces and nephews
15. Sunshine
16. Good friends
17. Great neighbors
18. A king-size bed
19. Modern medicine
20. Awesome people at my physical therapy place
21. Food
22. Clothes
23. A car
24. Electricity
25. Indoor plumbing
26. Hot, uninterrupted showers
27. Nature
28. A body that is in decent physical condition
29. That my wrist is gaining back its range of motion
30. Church teachers that love my children
31.Freckles on noses
32. Deseret Industries (Idaho's version of Goodwill)
33. Saving money
34. Insurance
35. The fact that there is no snow to shovel outside, even though it is almost December
36. A garden that provides food for us
37. How to read
38. Knowledge in so many different forms
39. Silence
40. Good music
41. My iPhone, so I always have my calendar with me
42. Safety gear that keeps us safe. Without it, I could have died this summer
43. The gospel of Jesus Christ and the faith I have in God's plan for me
44. Technology, when it works :)
45. The talents and skills I've been given and learned
46. Love, kindness, and understanding from others
47. Empathy
48. The Armed Forces that keep this country relatively safe
49. My education
50. All of my memories, and the ability I have to remember so many things.

And there you have it. Of course some things are silly, and some are rather serious, but above all, I'm thankful for my family, my faith, and that I am still alive and God protected me this summer when I could have very easily died because of my own stupidity. I must do better and do something good with my life, since it's been preserved for some reason.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Oh my goodness!

I can't believe how long it has been since I've posted here! I feel like I've been so busy.

Work has been going good. I seriously love my job! I work as a part time teacher's aide at my kids' Montessori school. So, while I am working Miss A and Mr. B are in class (the same class, since preschool and kindergarten are combined) working too. I love working with the 4th-6th graders. It is my favorite age group. When I was working on my Elementary Education degree my favorite grade was fifth grade. I love the content and the kids are still a good age. They are the total turds that you get in middle school and high school. Granted, there are still some turds in my two classes, but all in all, things are great. With working 4 hours a day, I come home pretty spent. For some reason my body revolts after working for four hours, so I usually end up vegging for about two hours after I get home. Things are not getting done around this house. Then, with the inevitable start of winter (we always have an early snow the first week of October) we've been trying to get the yard and garden and everything closed down for the winter. And, my parents bought a house six miles away, after living 2000+ miles away, so now we are harvesting their apple trees until they move out here.

I'm really looking forward to my mom being here, because maybe then I will be able to get my craft on again. I have some big plans. Revamping an old steamer trunk, refinishing my nightstands, painting my living room, painting my kitchen, and lots of little sewing/mending projects. Plus, I'm sure with their house there will be plenty of projects too. I think she'll want some landscaping done, but that will have to wait until next year. With the move of my parents, that means lots of tools too, so maybe I'll get ambitious on my blocks again. I have yet to sell a set, but maybe someday. :)

Halloween is tomorrow, Miss A is probably going to be a fairy, in the costume my older sister made for her several years ago (Heather, I finally took out the last extra hem!). And who knows what Mr. B is going to be. For the church Halloween party he was supposed to be a knight, but he didn't like the costume. He really wanted to be Cinderella, but the Dear said "NO!" LOL. Mr. B has plenty of options though, so we'll see what happens. I'll take the kids around the 'hood, and the Dear will stay home and hand out candy. We only have a few bags, so I might need to run to the store tomorrow, in between school and PT, and cleaning the house some more. The Dear helped out lots yesterday, and we got the kitchen mostly clean (still need to sweep and mop, but Sunday is a day of rest). I need to finish putting away the laundry that mostly got washed on Wednesday, except for a second bout of flu this week for Mr. B yesterday, so there are plenty of linens to put away.

Does anybody else ever feel like their little people only contribute to messes, and that there is no way you will ever get ahead? And do you get discouraged and give up at least twice a week? Oh, good. Glad I'm not the only one.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mostly Fixed

Whelp, it's been almost a week since I got my cast taken off. I still don't have much movement in my wrist, which is bugging me, but I'm trying. At least now I can type with both hands and write with my right hand again. There's quite a bit I can do, but I'm not much good at lifting heavy things yet. I have a little bit of inflammation in my wrist joint, which, if not taken care of, could turn into arthritis. 30 is too young to have arthritis. So I've been massaging the joint with peppermint lotion, until I can get my hands on some peppermint oil. And I'm taking some ibuprofen to help with the inflammation. And it seems to be going away a little bit. My surgery scar is still pink, and the skin pulls around it, but I'm hoping with time (and more lotion) that too will fix itself. All in all things are going well for my wrist. My voice is another thing.

Ever since I started working at my childrens' school, I've been fighting a cold. No surprise there really. Well, around Friday it finally started to get the better of me. When I'm working I don't get many opportunities to drink a lot of water, so my system has had a hard time flushing everything out. So Friday I was a little hoarse. Saturday my voice was pretty much gone. But I had a nice massage at my chiropractor and he suggested orange juice with cayenne pepper for the hoarseness. So I've been drinking lots of that. And even though my voice was still pretty shot on Sunday it's about back to where it was on Friday. I guess I need to drink more OJ with cayenne pepper to get it back to full force. And, in case you were wondering, I can't really taste the cayenne pepper. Maybe I'm not putting in enough? Oh, and I'm still not drinking as much as I would like, so I'm having a hard time flushing my system, and I probably need to rub my lymph nodes more, but I'm getting a little bit better. Now if I could just find time for projects again.

See, I work in the mornings at the school, so by the time I get home and have lunch I am beat. And I still have my chores at home that need to be done. Between the wrist I broke on July 29th, surgery on August 5th, and starting work on August 15th, I've had a hard time finding a groove. And do you realize how hard it is to sweep with just one working hand? Yeah, not very much fun. Did you realize your forearm can take the place of your hand when you are desperate? Yeah, I didn't either, until I got desperate. (Enter sarcasm) That was fun. I used my forearm to help sweep, to operate a paper cutter, to hold lots of things, it was great. (sarcasm finished) So, anyway, now that I'm mostly fixed I hope to catch up on housework, get some more canning done (though it's been great having my husband help out so much), and hopefully get back to crafting. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Travel Report

For those of you who are curious:

Put an X by the states you have been to. The average is 8; how do you match up? Just for fun, put an O beside the states where you have lived for 4 weeks in a row or more. For curiosity's sake, I'm making bold all of the states I've been in this summer alone, from May through today. Airports don't count!

Alabama - X
Alaska - X, O
Arizona - X
California – X, O
Colorado - X
Connecticut -
Delaware -
Florida - X
Georgia - X
Hawaii -
Idaho - X, O
Illinois - X, O
Indiana - X
Iowa - X
Kansas - X
Kentucky - X, O
Louisiana -
Maine -
Maryland -
Massachusetts -
Michigan -
Minnesota - X, O
Mississippi - X
Missouri - X
Montana - X
Nebraska - X
Nevada - X
New Hampshire -
New Jersey - X
New Mexico - X
New York - X
North Carolina - X, O
North Dakota -
Ohio - X
Oklahoma - X
Oregon - X
Pennsylvania - X
Rhode Island -
South Carolina - X
South Dakota - X
Tennessee – X, O
Texas - X
Utah – X, O
Vermont -
Virginia – X
West Virginia - X
Washington - X
Wisconsin - X
Wyoming - X
Washington, D.C. - X

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Well, I got myself into some trouble. My brakes on my 4-wheeler failed me when I was going to fast. I broke my wrist (in two places!) and the 4-wheeler. I'm having surgery on Friday to fix it (one week to the day from the wreck), and until I'm healed I won't be posting. I broke my right wrist (I'm right-handed, of course), and typing and/or crafting with my left hand only doesn't work too well. For those of you who like gross bruises and swelling, here are two pictures taken last night (Tuesday, August 2nd).

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

I had to take a somewhat unappetizing picture so you all don't show up on my doorstep begging to help me eat it. :)

As I said in my last post, we had quite the crop of strawberries when we got back from our trip. And we still have a lot sitting in our fridge, and there are more that need to be picked. Our strawberry patch is about 20 feet long and three feet wide, so it isn't very big, but it has been producing like crazy, which is great, because we only got one strawberry last year. So we've been eating them, putting them in smoothies, and eating them some more. And every time Miss A and Mr. B are in the backyard they are eating more, right off the plants. But even with all the eating there are a ton that need to be used. Like in the next day or so. And I've had whipping cream and half and half sitting in my fridge since November (well, the sell by date was November somethenth). So, I did the sniff test (in case you were wondering, you just sniff to see if it smells sour, if it does, make tacos (kidding), if it doesn't smell sour, it's still good), determined both cartons were safe to use, and then decided to make strawberry ice cream. I have a KitchenAid ice cream maker, which I love, and since it's stored in the deep freezer in the garage, it's always ready to use.

And the recipe I used was pretty simple:
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream (or whipping cream, or half and half)
1 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups mashed fresh strawberries.

In a large bowl combine it all and mix. When mixed, pour into your ice cream freezer and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.

Simple, I know! What I like about this recipe is that it can be used as a base for any other ice cream flavor simply by omitting the strawberries. We've made peppermint ice cream, root beer ice cream, M&M ice cream, and peach ice cream. And they were all pretty good, though I do recommend using fresh fruit, not frozen. Frozen peaches do not mix well at all. :)

So, I know you're wondering how it tastes. I can answer that. D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S. However, I am going to share it tomorrow at a playground committee BBQ. And if there's any leftover, I'm going to hide in a dark corner somewhere all by myself and eat it all gone.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Where did June go?

Wow, June was one busy month for us! I can't believe it went so fast. The first weekend of June we drove down to Utah, because our twin nieces got baptized. Miss A and Mr. B love their cousins, and we had a lot of fun just hanging out with them. Miss A is to the age where she can have a slumber party, so she got to sleep in the twins' bedroom. She's done that the past few times we've gone down for visits, and the girls all love it! Mr. B, however, has problems sleeping (still, and he's almost THREE!!!) so he has to get sequestered somewhere away from everyone else. This time it was in the office (well, it used to be the office, now it houses the twins' craft supplies to keep them away from little sister who is one). We have a PVC tent that we made for Mr. B that fits around his AeroKids bed (an air mattress with raised sides for kids). We call it his sensory deprivation chamber. It seems to work pretty well. So, first weekend in Utah, hanging out with the Joneses. Great fun. Then we came home, and Miss A had her first two weeks of swimming lessons for this summer. She loves swimming lessons! And once swimming lessons were out we headed to Illinois. We drove. From Idaho.

Are we crazy, you ask? Why yes, I think we are. Three full days of driving each direction. I think Mr. B took one nap on the way there and one on the way home. Miss A took zero naps. But we brought along plenty of diversions. iPad, iPhone, DVDs on the laptop, eight books, new coloring books (but I forgot the crayons, thank goodness I had two packs from Texas Roadhouse in my purse), the license plate game (we found all but five: Hawaii, North Dakota, South Carolina, Connecticut, and Vermont), BINGO, PEZ, and lots of snacks. Thankfully our kids are learning how to become good travelers. In the fifteen (yes, 15) days that we were gone, we went to 8 states and spent way too much time in our truck (thank you Chevrolet for making 2004 Silverados so roomy!). The worst parts of the vacation: ticks, chiggers, and humidity the first day in Illinois. The best parts: Going to the top of the Gateway Arch, Holiday World and Splashin' Safari, and Grant's Farm. And there were so many other great things too, like catching lightening bugs with my Aunt Karen, and the cutest nephew in the world. Seriously, he's so cute. And swimming at Karen's, and getting to see my cousins, and getting to know Jenny better, and of course, my cousin Brianne's wedding. One of the main reasons for going on this trip. Brianne and Blake are so awesome that they postponed their honeymoon so they could hang out with my sisters and me. We don't often get back "home" since it's so far away for all of us. Seriously Mom and Papa, when are you guys going to move here? We could all homestead together on a hundred or so acres here, with our own houses. Doesn't that sound like fun?

So, with all that going on, now we are already getting into the thick of July. This month is going to fly by too, and before I know it, school is going to be starting again. This month we have more swimming lessons, then a family reunion in Southern Utah (woohoo, more driving!) at the end of the month. Then more swimming lessons, then it will be time for school to start, then my babies will be turning five and three! Wow, time really does fly by. Six years ago yesterday I figured out my Dear liked me, and in under two months we will be celebrating our sixth anniversary. I can't believe it. Stay posted as I slowly post some pictures from our vacation.

Oh, and did I do anything crafty while I was gone? Yes, yes, I did. I made a set of wood blocks for Brianne's kitchen that say Eat. They are red, white, and black, and have a cute little white polar bear on one of them, because her kitchen has a Coca-Cola theme. Once I get a copy of the picture from my mom, I will post it. I couldn't use my camera because both batteries were dead by the end of our second day in Illinois, at the top of the Arch. And guess who didn't pack the battery charger? Yep, me. I guess back-up batteries don't hold a charge forever. :) Oh well. Lesson learned. Both batteries are now charged, and I will bring the charger on our trip to Southern Utah in a few weeks.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Finished Summer Blocks

These are the blocks I made for the give-away winner, Mindie. I really like how they turned out. I'm not sure what my favorite part is, but I do really like the ink on the edges of the paper. It adds depth and dimension, and I like that. Like, like, like. I think I need a knew adjective.

In other news, I'm still trying to get rid of all the crud, but it's getting better. The cough is mostly gone. At one point it was so bad I woke myself up at night coughing, and the cough was so bad I literally sat up in bed from the power of it. It rose me from the bed. The Dear was not so happy about that one. Especially because I was coughing for about twenty minutes in the middle of the night, and he gets out of bed at 4:20 in the morning. My sore throat and ear ache is also gone. Hooray! Just in time for a two week road trip to Illinois to visit my parents and extended family for my cousin, Brianne's wedding.

If I get time today I'm going to make a set of blocks for her kitchen that say Eat. At some point, when I have time, I'm going to make a set of Eat. Pray. Love. blocks. This isn't a plug for the movie though. I didn't like the movie, but I do like the sentiment that it conveys, and the versatility of the set. Good for a kitchen, living room, or dining room.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Not Well

Hey all,

I've been sick for the past week. I don't know if it's a cold or allergies, or what, but last week it was off and on, so I decided we were all well enough to go to Utah for the weekend. I was wrong. I got way worse while. Ear ache, sore throat, coughing, lots of nose blowing and congestion. Yeah. Not pretty. We got home Sunday night, and me in all my optimism, thought I would get better. I thought maybe, just maybe, it was that dirty Utah air and pollen. I think I was wrong. It's now Tuesday afternoon, and I'm still feeling pretty cruddy. So cruddy that after my Dear woke up this morning, I went back to bed for about 45 minutes before he had to leave to go donate plasma. I think most of that time was spent in bed coughing and trying to rid my body of all the junk stuck in my throat. Or wherever it is that all that junk (you know what I'm talking about) gets stuck. I'm taking a cough suppressant (no expectorant, though if I were feeling up to the task I might go buy a combination of the two) and cold and allergy medicine. It's not helping much.

But in happier news, Mr. B and I went to the dentist this morning for cleanings, and we were both great. He is only 2.5, so I would hope there weren't any cavities, but still, I'll take it. Miss A and the Dear will have their appointments in July. Miss A had to have hers rescheduled so she could make it to swimming lessons on time. Which is another blessing. I didn't have to take her to swimming lessons, and keep Mr. B entertained while said lessons were going on. HOORAY! And, I think swimming lessons are only Monday-Thursday this year, so that's two less days each session that I don't have to spend at the pool, keeping Mr. B entertained. Double Hooray!

And, when my lazy butt is feeling better, I plan on posting some pictures of the blocks I made for the give-away winner. I really loved how they turned out, and so did she. For now, a teaser: they are blue, green, and display the word "SUMMER". So, someday I will get this butt off the couch, and walk into the kitchen to figure out where Miss A put the camera when I told her to put it away this morning when we finally started unpacking for our trip. Hey, don't judge, I told you I'm sick. Plus, the Dear is working nights this week, so we all know what happens to my motivation then. It all goes out the door with him when he leaves for work, because then I go into survival mode. Dry cereal for dinner, anyone?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sugar Scrub

So, I made a coffee sugar scrub, because Mrs. Hill loves the smell of coffee. Me, not so much, but I had to test it out anyway. But first, a funny story.

I don't drink coffee. Most of my neighbors don't either, because most of us are Mormon. Fortunately for me, my next door neighbors are Lutheran, so I went to their house first. Well, they aren't coffee drinkers either. They are Diet-Coke-to-get-going-in-the-morning drinkers. Darn! But I was in luck (and, as it turns out, doubly lucky). Tony's parents, who had just been visiting the week before are coffee drinkers, and they left a can of ground coffee behind! There was much rejoicing. Then I was offered some cucumber dip. Okay, just so you know, even though my mom is allergic to cucumbers, I love them! I said, "Just one chip." And I started with "just one chip." And I ended with "just one chip", but there were many "just one chip[s]" in between. So, I didn't get the exact recipe, but I know it calls for cucumber, cream cheese, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce (who knew?). I would do it all to taste. And they mix it all up with a "Ninja", though I'm sure a blender or magic bullet, or something else would work just fine. They served the dip with plain (I mean Classic) Lay's potato chips, but I think pita chips, or baked Lay's or original Sun Chips, or bagel chips, or, or, or would be equally as yummy. So, I left with 2 cups of ground coffee (happy dance!) and a belly full of cucumber dip (uh oh, I'm salivating again, just thinking about it).

Once I got home, I proceeded to make the body scrub. I found the recipe at LiveStrong, did you know that Lance Armstrong had such a huge website? I didn't. I thought the website would be about biking and cancer, but there are all sorts of resources on there, and tons of recipes for different body scrubs. So, if you don't want to head over the the LiveStrong website, here's the recipe, for those interested.

1/4 cup ground coffee beans or 1/4 cup used coffee grounds
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. honey

And here's what I did:
1 cup of ground coffee (after all, I had two cups, might as well us it)
2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup honey
2 dashes of cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

Mix together first three ingredients, then add honey and everything else.

And here's what I thought: Too much EVOO, plus I don't like the smell of it, so if I can find some almond oil for a decent price, I'll try that next time I make a body scrub. I don't know if I would waste my time again with the cinnamon, vanilla, and almond extract, because I can't really smell it because of the coffee grounds. I do like the exfoliation of the scrub. The first time I used it my hands felt much softer, but I think I rinsed with too hot of water, trying to get some of the extra oil off (I seriously thought my skin was coated in the EVOO), so my hands were pretty dry again right after using. However, this morning I used it in the shower on my thighs (the coffee is supposed to help get rid of cellulite), and on my arms where I've been having some dry skin issues because of a wicked sunburn a few weeks ago. I had a little bit left over so I put some on my heels, even though I've recently exfoliated them, and on my hands again. Then I used my regular body wash after (I didn't want to smell like coffee all day). So, what do I think? I think I liked it a lot better the second time. My thighs felt baby soft (though I wish they would look as smooth as a baby's thighs, but those darn stretch marks did not disappear), my arms look a lot better, but I should have used more on my hands, because they are looking pretty scaly, but they do feel soft. So, would I do it again? Well, I still have some in my little ziploc container in the shower, so I'll use it until it is gone, and then we'll see what sort of results I'm seeing on my skin, to decide if I make more. After all, I still have a cup of ground coffee in my cupboard that I need to use.

Oh, as a side note, do not use it on your face or sensitive skin. Apply to moistened skin, rub in circular motions, and pat dry. If you do make the scrub, let me know. I'd love to hear what other people think of it. Tonight I think I'm going to make a straight brown sugar scrub for Miss Ashley, the aide in Miss A's classroom.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Teacher Appreciation Gifts

I know Teacher Appreciation Day was at the beginning of this month, but as the school year winds to a close, I am again reminded of those choice souls that choose to teach our children for us. Especially so in my case. Miss A and I do not work well together on learning activities, so I will be eternally grateful to each teacher she has, that teaches her, so I don't have to. You won't find me home schooling, no sir, no way, no how. Mr. B, on the other hand, I might consider...but, I digress.

Choice souls, yes. They are amazing. I thought I might be a teacher at one point in my life. Well, at many points in my life, starting with kindergarten, and my wonderful teacher, Debbie Hadley. There were two brief stages, one where I wanted to be an astronaut, but what kid didn't? And the other where I wanted to be a marine biologist. Again, what kid, especially girl, didn't want to play with dolphins all day. But always, always there was teacher in the background. So, when I went to college, it was quite easy for me to declare a major. Then after my first semester, when I had thoroughly screwed up my GPA (who knew that you actually had to study in college, whereas in high school you didn't have to?), I thought I wouldn't be able to get into the elementary education at my university (it was a very competitive program). But I did get in. And I was stoked! I couldn't believe it! My dream of becoming a teacher was coming true. Until one day it came crashing down around me. Turns out I wasn't well-suited to teaching. I failed my second pracitcuum twice. I finally passed it the third time around, but by then I was disillusioned with the teaching thing. I didn't want my own classroom. I wanted to teach science and social studies in someone else's classroom. So I never did my student teaching, and I never became certified to teach. Which brings me back to the people that are actually doing it. Teaching, that is.

And so, that brings me to my next point. Teachers can be very underappreciated. Not because of my child, or even yours, right? It's that other kid, you know the one I'm talking about, right? Anyway, in Miss A's class there are quite a few of those other kids, partly because they are at school for 6.5 hours a day, and they are either in preschool or kindergarten, and that's a long time for such a little kid. And, even though, as a room mom (did you know that I'm crazy?), the class made her a huge card, and chipped in on a gift card for Teacher Appreciation Day, I still feel like the amazingly wonderful Jessica Hill deserves more appreciation. Plus, sadly, she won't be coming back to our little school next year, so I really want her to know how much she rocks, and this is where the topic of the post finally comes. Teacher Appreciation Gifts.

I don't know of any teachers that want coffee mugs. I've never heard of it. And some teachers don't want homemade goodies (because, let's be honest, if your little dear helped, there just might be a few "special" ingredients). And most don't want another candle, and some are really particular about lotion (heck, I know I am!), so really, where does that leave us? Well, cash speaks, that's for sure. And gift cards (as long as they like the store), and lots of them like books for the classroom library, but really, these teachers need to stop being martyrs, and they deserve something exclusively for them. So, we gave Mrs. Hill a gift card already. And a hand written note and card at Christmas time (which, by the way, hand written notes are also a great gift), but I want to do something I haven't done yet. So, I'm going to make her a sugar scrub. It's not lotion, so I'm not going to be too cliche here, but her hands are sure to appreciate it in the warm, dry climate that is Eastern Idaho. Ya gotta love those high altitude deserts! Now, I personally haven't tried the scrub yet, but I should. My hands got a sunburn a few weeks ago, and the skin is starting to flake. Not peel, no, it seems my skin is too stubborn for that now (though I used to peel when I was a kid), but flake. And it's annoying. So, if I can manage to peel (hehe) my butt off this here couch, I might go make me a scrub, and see how lovely my hands feel afterwards. I've seen quite a few "recipes" floating around the blogosphere, so when I settle on one, I will update the blog with a new post. I know I promised you a post about it in the last post, but I tend to procrastinate, and get lazy, and read my children books (sometimes, though the Dear wins the book reading award for today), and help them clean the play room, and empty the dishwasher, and make food, and, and, and. I think you get the idea. So anywho, stay tuned!


Monday, May 23, 2011

Give-Away Winner

Well folks, the moment you've all been waiting for.....DRUM ROLL, PLEASE!!!

Ummmm, yeah, I could never do a drum roll, no matter how hard I tried, but I can do a slow, mean paradiddle. :) Anyway, there were 32 comments spread out over two posts (this means some of my followers didn't comment, since I have 32 followers, and I know of several people that did multiple comments, but I digress) and came up with #31. I decided that #1-31 were in the original give-away post, and #32 was in the bonus post, and #31 is bysb! Congratulations! I have your e-mail address, so I'll be sending you an e-mail ASAP. I sure hope you live in Idaho Falls, so I don't have to pay shipping! I'm cheap like that :)

BTW, Mom, other family, and local friends, my heart sank when I saw the results, only because of the shipping. But then again, I am cheap like that. Thanks for everyone's entries. Stay tuned for another post soon about end of the year gifts for teachers (including an easy-to-make sugar scrub).


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Like I said before, one of my loves is gardening. There's just something about being outside, picking your own food, and getting a wicked sunburn. I love it! Last week the weather here in Eastern Idaho was GORGEOUS! A lot of my free time on Wednesday and Thursday was spent outside, working in the yard. By the time Friday rolled around My arms were getting pretty red, but it was My Dear's Friday off, so I skipped out on helping at school (I try to volunteer in Miss A's classroom every other Friday), so we could get more yard work done. That darn Dear of mine though! He beat me to the lawn mower and he was the lucky one that got to mow the back yard. And that is not sarcasm, I actually enjoy mowing. I've gotten some high quality weeding time in, and I'm itching to start planting our garden here at the house. Alas, it is not to be. Yet. The tomato and pepper seedlings are still under lights in the basement, and I'm wishing, and hoping, and thinking, and praying, and planning, and dreaming (does anybody else want to go watch My Best Friend's Wedding now?) that those little seedlings will grow. I put some mild fertilizer on them when I watered them on Sunday, so hopefully they will grow some more leaves.

Our pole beans got to tall, and they had to be brought upstairs. My kitchen now is the home of 16 pole bean plants. Hopefully by this weekend they will be residing in our garden at Taylorview Farms. See, my church, it has this huge farm due south of our house, a few miles, and each year they set aside some of the land for people to have their own garden plots. Some of these people don't have any space where they reside to grow a garden, and some (like us) just want more space to grow more. So, all of our more hardy things (well, the pumpkins and cucumbers aren't so hardy) will be planted out at Taylorview. The tomatoes and peppers will stay here at the house, because they aren't ever quite ready when the frosts start in the fall.

Yesterday evening (Monday) we went out to Taylorview and started planting. We planted rows and rows and rows of carrots, a few rows of onions, three pumpkins (we have four seedlings under the lights too), lots of sunflowers (hopefully they grow fast and make a good wind break), quite a few rows of cucumbers (we want to make pickles this year), and a few rows of brussel sprouts. Sometime today I'm hoping to get back down there and plant pole beans and peas. We'll see if I make it. It'll probably be after picking up Miss A from school (mental note: bring a snack to keep the kiddos happy). And when I remember I will bring a camera down there and take some pictures. Right now it just looks like a lot of dirt, because not even the farm fields behind our garden are planted.

Oh, and as a side note: I have 29 followers!!! The give-away is still open though, since I changed the date to May 22nd, so go comment on the give-away post to enter the contest, and I will post the winner on the morning of May 23rd, and, as long as I have the winner's e-mail address, I will also e-mail the winner. Remember, you need a separate comment for each entry! And, if you look through my blog posts, there might be a bonus entry opportunity! ;)

And tell me, do you garden? Have you gardened in the past? What sorts of things have you grown, or would like to grow? And if you don't garden, what sorts of home grown foods do you like to eat?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Deadline Extended

I was hoping I would be able to reach 25 followers, but I only have 18, so I'm going to have to extend the give-away for two more weeks (this way I have more time to advertise it on some of the give-away blogs). So, to recap, I only need 7 more followers, and there are two weeks to find them. That's only half a person a day! That should be doable, right? Right? Hello, is anyone there? Oh, there you are. So, you say I should be able to get seven more followers? Oh, great! And you say you will spread the word again? Great! Oh, what will I give you in return, you ask? Well, if you comment on this post, I will give you an extra entry in the give-away. That's a total of five possible entries! And if only seven more people become followers, and many of them only leave one comment (meaning only one entry), well, my dear friend, that makes the odds pretty fantastic for you!

Stay tuned as I gradually move my digital scrapbooking blog over to here. It will become it's own separate page up at the top, under the title, next to the wooden blocks tab thing.

I hope all you mothers out there had a fabulous weekend. I got to sleep in until 8:00 am, and my Dear, Miss A, and Mr. B brought me breakfast in bed. Dry Cinnamon Life! I love it. Easy clean-up and I actually eat my cereal dry, since I have this slight problem with dairy. :)


Friday, May 6, 2011

Getting Closer

I might have to extend the deadline for the give-away another week. I have 17 followers right now, I only need 8 more, so we'll see what happens by Sunday night. Tell me, followers and guests, what would you like to see me post about? As of late I've been in a creating funk. I switched medications for my depression, and it's been a rough go, with the medication taking two weeks to kick in, and then female troubles probably complicating matters this last week (TMI, maybe?), but I'm trying to think of something to do.

My daughter's school is having a Spring Carnival that I'm helping with, and I'm probably going to donate a set of blocks for the raffle. The same deal that I'm doing for the give-away. A set of already made blocks, or a custom set.

Now that the weather is getting nicer I've also been spending more time outside. I wish I had something to show for it, but it's mostly involved dethatching our grass and aerating the lawn. It's been slow going. I'm longing for a power rake now. Maybe that's what I should have asked for for Mother's Day, to go with the step aerator my Dear got me for Mother's Day a few years ago. A romantic he is, right? :) Whelp, have a great day, spread the word about the give-away, and make sure you do a separate comment for each entry. And, please, do tell, what would you like to see me posting about? I need inspiration!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Give-Away

Okay, I've decided, I'm going to do a give-away. Right here, right now. Here's the deal:

Right now I have 9 followers. That's right, 9. That saddens me a bit. I appreciate the 9 of you though, but somebody just isn't spreading the word. In order to get the word out, I'm going to do something I saw on Clean Teen Fiction just the other day. See, she was having the same problem as me. She had a new blog, and she wanted to up her readership. So she's hosting a give-away. In a few short days she went from 8 followers to 20! I think I can do that too. So, this is what I'm going to do: When my blog reaches 25 followers, I'm going to give away a set of my blocks. The entry period starts now, and goes until May 22nd (that's Mother's Day). So the winner is going to get a late Mother's Day present, but such is life. The winner can choose one of the sets I have listed in my Esty shop (just don't buy it from the shop), or can let me know if they want a custom set (such as a first or last name, or just a word like faith, love, dream, etc.). Winner chooses.

So, entries: To be entered to win you must be a follower and leave a comment on this post. Please leave a separate comment for each entry. You can get another entry if you talk about this blog/giveaway on your Facebook status. You can get another entry by posting about this blog/giveaway on your blog. If you put a link on your blog sidebar to I'll give you another entry. You can get up to 4 entries in the pool. If you do one of the blog entries, I must be able to view your blog to verify the post. I know that sucks for the private bloggers, I would know, I'm one of them (I have a private blog, in addition to my two public blogs), but such is life. Good luck!

Another Give-Away

So I stumbled upon the world's most awesome giveaway today. I think the prize pack is something like $6500. No, that is not a typo. Six THOUSAND five HUNDRED DOLLARS! There are 138 different companies/vendors in the giveaway. Sure, some of them are local pick-up in the greater Phoenix area (does anybody else think about that shipping company commercial, where the guy wants to ship something to "Pa-hoe-nix, only the largest city in Arizona" when you try to spell Phoenix?), but the majority of them are NOT. And I can't deny myself the opportunity to possibly win something so fabulous. And on the rare chance that I do win (there are already over 1000 entries), there are some great baby prizes that my sister Kari could use. So many cute things! Kari, you better be having a girl! So anyway, if you want a chance to win (I hope you don't!) go check it out:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Seedlings, at last!

I'm so excited! I went down to water the seedlings this morning, and we have gobs of green growth! I've known for a few days about the green beans, but today I saw what I believe to be the tomatoes starting to grow, and what I hope are cucumbers and a pumpkin. And this is why you should always mark your flats when you plant the seeds. But the guessing game is kind of fun, I think. Each flat has 8 pots in it, the flats in the top left corner aren't really doing anything, so I'm guessing they are the peppers, which typically need warmer soil temperatures than some of the other stuff.Mostly tomatoes, except for the arch shaped large one in the foreground, which I think might be a pumpkin.
In the foreground are what I'm hoping are cucumbers, then green beans, a flat of something (maybe peppers or another variety of tomato), then more green beans in the back. What's happening in your neck of the woods right now?


One thing that I love to do (when I take the time) is read a good book. I have a degree in Elementary Education, and I don't know if it's because of this or because I never grew up :) but I have a special love of children's books. Some of my favorites: Harry Potter (of course, though I didn't start reading them until after I saw the first movie, I had sworn I wouldn't read that witchcraft book until I was forced to for Children's Literature), Fablehaven, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, The Westing Game, The Giver, Number the Stars, the list goes on and on and on.

I've been known to pick up a book and not put it down until I'm done. I do take breaks to feed my children, sleep, feed myself (well, fix food for myself, then read while eating), feed my husband, take care of personal matter (you know what I'm talking about, right?), and maybe even check the mail. But mostly I just cuddle up on the couch and read. I neglect household chores while doing so. I maintain that once the book is finished I will be able to concentrate on the matters at hand better, instead of constantly thinking about whatever book I am reading. Does anybody else do this?

With that being said, I was introduced to a new blog yesterday. It's called Clean Teen Fiction and the author recommends books that are free of sex, drugs, and foul language. I think that's great! So often now I find teen books that have sex and/or foul language. I haven't really come across a drug problem, though there was one character in the Tomorrow series (by John Marsden) that uses recreational marijuana (and likes to drink), but it wasn't really part of the essential plot and can easily be overlooked. So, basically, I'm excited to follow this blog and see what new books I can find. Right now Kathryn is hosting a book giveaway (if she gets at least 15 followers). So head on over to her blog and check it out if you are as interested in reading as I am!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Seed Starting

Well, the Dear (Mr. S) and I finally started our seeds this past weekend. For those of you in warmer climates, you might think we are a little slow on getting going. However, our average last frost is May 25, so we might be a week or two late, but better late than never, right? We are a Zone 4 here (though some say we are a 5, however, all we need is one cold winter to bump us back to a solid 4, so we claim zone 4) and our average growing season (from the average last frost in May until the average first frost) is around 120 days, with the average first frost on August 23. Yes folks, that's right, AUGUST 23. I love short season gardening.

With that being said, in these parts you need to get a head start on the growing season indoors. You California and Florida people are baffled, I'm sure, but it's true. We actually start growing our tomatoes, peppers, green beans, cucumbers, and pumpkins indoors. Shocking, I know. :) So that's what you'll see in the following pictures. Our 100 (yep, one hundred) little pots that are each harboring a seed from one of the previously listed plants. We want them to get the best start possible. We love our little seeds. :)

So, without further ado, our photos, with explanations before the picture. Up first, what our little growing area/makeshift greenhouse looks like from the outside (well, from the bottom of our basement steps, it's set up in part of our future downstairs bathroom):

Next up is what it looks like when you pull up the painters' plastic, and yes, that is a space heater keeping things warm under there. The upstairs of our house is a balmy 65F in the winter, so the basement is around 60-65F, not warm enough for most of our seeds to germinate.

And another view of underneath, a 10x10 grid of 5"x5"x5" pots in the solid bottomed black plastic planting trays (available for $.97 each at Home Depot). We add some water to the bottom of the trays, mostly to add some humidity to the air, but also for the plants to get a little drink if they need it. In past we have only put water into the trays, and let the plants soak up the water from the trays, to ensure all of the soil was watered. This year though we are watering from the top using one of those hand held pump sprayers that people usually for killing weeds, don't worry, we bought a brand new one for our little plants-to-be. We are now the proud owners of three such sprayers. :) P.S. You can see part of the sprayer on the left hand side of the first picture. And, in case you were wondering, it's a two gallon sprayer.

And finally, a view of the heat bubble (or if you want, the top of our little makeshift greenhouse). I've tried to weigh this thing down, but it's not really working. I might start calling it E.T.'s earthly home, because it reminds me of that part in E.T. when everything is covered in plastic and stuff. You know what part I'm talking about, right? Right?!?
If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I used to be a Master Gardener (I'm not taking the classes this year, due to other commitments on my time and energy). And tell me, what are you planting this year? Do you usually start seeds indoors, or are you blessed to live in a warm(er) climate?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Resurrection Eggs

I don't know about you, but during this Easter season I see a lot of items in the store geared towards the Easter Bunny, Easter Egg hunts, and all things commercial. I don't see much about Jesus and His sacrifice. This really bothers me. I have a friend in Tennessee, and her son, who is in kindergarten, was given an assignment to write a letter to the Easter Bunny. Now, I'm all for more literacy in the classroom and all, but having your students write a letter to the Easter Bunny?!?! Yeah, not a fan. In fact, I don't even talk to my children about Santa Claus, yet somehow they are still getting indoctrinated. Sadly, most of the indoctrination came from church. But, back to Easter...I want my children to know why we celebrate different holidays, and I really want them to know more about Christ and His life. I think the Catholics have it right with celebrating Lent. Why doesn't the rest of the Christian world celebrate Lent? Are we too selfish? Christ fasted for 40 days. 40 days, people. Now, I can't even fast for 24 hours, let alone 40 days, but why shouldn't I give something important up for 40 days to help me remember Christ? I didn't participate in Lent this year, but I'm thinking it might be a good thing to integrate into our family. We celebrated Advent to an extent this past Christmas season, and I think my children really liked it. Our Advent calendar was a puzzle of sorts, that became a picture of the Nativity scene when it was completed. The children really loved it!

Okay, back to Easter again. In an attempt to teach my children more about the importance of Easter, I had my mom help me come up with some Resurrection Eggs. I didn't pull all the scripture verses and egg ideas from one spot, because there were some things that I wanted to include that weren't in any one post/website/blog/whatever. So, here's what I came up with, that I love.

1. The Last Supper. Mark 14:22-24. A small cup, which my church uses to administer the water during the Sacrament. (besides, who wants to keep replacing bread every year?)
2. Judas gives up Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Matthew 26: 14-16. Three dimes.
3. Jesus is bound. Matthew 27:1-2. A piece of jute.
4. Pilate washes his hands. Matthew 27:24-25. A small baggie of soap.
5. Crown of thorns. Matthew 27:28-29. I was fortunate to find some sort of brown twist tie not made with paper, so I used that. Other ideas are brown florist wire, or brown craft wire, or some small brown sticks that you soak and then braid.
6. Jesus is nailed to the cross. John 19:17-18. A nail and a toothpick broken and wrapped back together using thread.

7. The sign above the cross. Matthew 27:37. A small piece of cardboard, card stock, or paperboard with "This is Jesus, The King of the Jews" written on it.
8. The soldiers cast lots for Jesus' garments. Matthew 27:35. Some dice (if you're anything like us, don't forget which game you borrow the dice from).
9. The earth trembles and quakes. Mark 15:33-34, 37-39. A small baggie of rocks and dirt.
10. Jesus' body prepared for burial. Matthew 27:59-60. A small piece of white cloth.
11. Pilate's men seal the tomb with a stone. Matthew 27:62-63, 66. A rock.
12. Jesus rises from the grave. Matthew 28:1-2, 5-6. Empty, for He is Risen! I've also seen ideas of putting a picture of the resurrected Lord in this egg, but I didn't want to spend a lot of time trying to find a picture that small to fit in a standard-sized Easter Egg.

Feel free to use my idea. If you do post it somewhere, I would appreciate a reference. Thanks! Have a Happy Easter, for Jesus is Risen, He is our Savior and King!
P.S. I used scrapbooking stickers for the numbers on my eggs. I know vinyl is all the rage right now, but I had the stickers lying around, so I used them.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Montessori: Two things that make it great

Miss A is in preschool at a Montessori school this year. I probably wouldn't have given Montessori much thought if I weren't for her previous preschool teacher (we love you, Miss Maren) making the decision to not teach preschool again this year. That same day (or maybe the next, but for sure in the same week) I found out about a charter school opening up in our county that was a Montessori school and they had room for 27 preschool students. Well, hot dog! I knew I had to jump on that chance! Idaho school aren't really known for their academic excellence (shocking, I know!) and with all the obsessive mothers in this town, wanting their child to be the best, smartest, cutest, fastest, highest over-achiever, I knew I had to jump on this before all the spots were full. Well, as it turns out, Idaho moms are also pretty cheap, and the $222 per month for tuition wasn't exactly their cup of tea (or can of diet soda, since so many of them are LDS, and see tea as being a huge taboo (more on that some other time)), so I was able to get Miss A in without much effort. Well, I was excited! My daughter was going to get an exclusive Montessori education (and for those that know me, I'm sooooooo into exclusivity (insert eye roll here)). Well, according to Them (the Montessori educators?) it takes six weeks for a kid to "Normalize" and get used to the Montessori way. It's been my experience in volunteering in Miss A's classroom, that for some kids it takes an entire school year, but that's not the point of this post.

The point is, I like Montessori. It has taught Miss A independence. She's able to choose her "works" and do what she wants to do. Sure there are days when she only draws pictures and eats snack, but most days she comes home pretty wore out. Now, I'm in no way an expert on Montessori (although someday I might consider getting Montessori training), but from what I've been able to ascertain and been told, is that when students are engaged in a task of their choosing, they spend more time on the task. I've seen 4-6 year olds working very diligently and intently on one task for 30+ minutes. Granted at the same time there are other kids not on task, but I still think it's pretty impressive that these small people can work so hard on their own, without a teacher constantly on top of them, telling them what to do. The other thing that I've learned is that children are ready to learn different things at different times. And the activities that they are choosing are the ones in which they will learn the most. The places where their learning is ready to explode. I've seen Miss A learn a lot this year. Sure, the first three months or so were rough, and she wasn't on task a lot of the time, but through regular communication with her teacher, we've really been able to get her going well.

I'm going to do a number of posts on Montessori over the next little while, until the government gets their budget worked out. My husband works for a contractor for the Navy, so we are affected by the budget problems, and until a budget gets settled on, we are keeping our money close to our chests, so I don't have much of a budget for creating. But I do have some ideas floating around in my brain I would love to work on.

Monday, April 4, 2011

One of my loves

I have this uncanny knack for spying crack. I don't know why, I guess I have a crack-dar (like a radar, but for butt crack). But (no pun intended), anyway, I found some major crack on Mr. B the other day. Now, Mr. S (my DH) is a very handy guy (he has two of them, buh-dump-chee), and has done many improvements here at our house. I guess at some point Mr. B started watching him, because he's now learning to be a plumber. Crack and all. The crack is probably the easiest part of becoming a plumber. So, I guess when we get around to finishing the bathroom and wet bar in the basement, the Mister will have some help from our little man. And at the rate we are going, the little man just might be a full-fledged plumber by that point. :) So, here's one of my loves (well, I guess two, if you count the crack as a love).

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Getting Going on Gardening

In my neck of the woods (SE Idaho) there are days when it is spring, and days when it is winter. Yesterday was Spring, the day before was Winter, today is dreary and the forecast calls for more dreary for the next five days. The stores have their gardening supplies out, and have since Valentine's Day, so the gardening bug is digging in deep. However, there is one HUGE problem...Our average last frost falls around May 25th. Yeah, that's a long ways away. And just to be safe, we don't plant our garden until the first week in June, because the weather Memorial Day weekend (which would be a great time to plant) is ALWAYS crudy. Cold, wet, rainy, gross. So we wait. However, it's almost time to start seedlings indoors. And that's exciting!

What Mr. S and I have done the past two years is make newspaper pots to start seeds in. These actually break down in the soil (as opposed to those biodegradable peat pots) over the course of the season (heck, some of them start breaking down, and roots start escaping before we even get them into the ground) over the course of the growing season. I've enjoyed using these, and that means less newspaper to haul to the recycling place, and the newspaper also helps improve the soil (an in case you were worried about the ink, newspapers used soy based inks in their normal printing. Use caution with glossy ads though, which might contain some metallic inks). Win-win. Last year Mr. S and I did an informal scientific comparison. We planted his seeds in plastic cups and I did the newspaper pots. With the newspaper pots, I plant the entire thing in the soil, and maybe break down the sides and bottoms a little bit if they haven't started breaking down on their own. Mr. S takes his plants out of the cups and transplants the plants only in the soil. I hypothesized that my newspaper plants would do better. He hypothesized that his would. As I said, this was pretty informal, and I accidently broke one of his peppers (it really was an accident), but I think overall his plants did better. So this year I think we are going to save ourselves the trouble of folding all those newspaper pots and just use plastic cups with holes punched in the bottom and sides.

Another thing we do with our plant starts is that we buy those black planting trays and only use the solid ones (as opposed to the ones with holes in the bottom for drainage) and we put all our pots in those. Then when it's time to water, we pour the water in the bottom of the tray and the water goes up into the cups through some scientific term (I'm thinking osmosis or diffusion, but I think there is something else, that involves the water moving upwards against gravity...checking google...hmmm, maybe transpiration or capillary action) and the water goes all the way to the soil surface. This way we know that the plant has been thoroughly watered and we minimize the risk of plant problems the occur with watering from the top down.

And for light, we have some of those wire shelves and we bought some lights (with just a regular florescent bulb) that we put on chains so we can adjust the height of the lights as the plants get taller. We keep the rack covered in plastic (just painter's plastic) and put the lights on a timer. The plastic helps hold in the heat from the lights, so we don't have to use too much supplementary heat to keep the plants warm, even in our basement.

It's been so fun to do this the past four years or so, and it gets exciting when the plants start poking through the surface. Then it's always great to watch them grow bigger and bigger and bigger, until it's time to harden them off and plant them in the garden!

This year we are doing a salsa garden, and lots of cucumbers (to try our hand at making pickles). We'll also do some pumpkins. We have a decent sized garden here at our house that we'll do a lot of tomatoes in, and maybe some carrots and green beans too. We are also planning to get a plot of land out at a farm our church owns where we will do the cukes and pumpkins and some more tomatoes and peppers and the onions. I saw some huge onions growing out there last year, so hopefully the soil is just made for onions. We are looking forward to it. And that's pretty much our garden plans for this year. What about you, do you have any plans for a garden? If so, what are they?

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Hey you guys!!!!!!

I just wanted to share a quick thing. Support National Nutrition Month and become a fan of Yoplait on Facebook today to explore delicious and easy ways to infuse more nutrition into your lifestyle. I did, and I'm going to infuse more nutrition into our family by eating healthier. We used to eat a lot of red meat around here, but I've been cutting back quite a bit lately. I've also tried to make more meals that are meat-free too. Miss A and I really enjoy "candy tomatoes" (homemade sun-dried cherry tomatoes) in our pasta. Miss A used to get upset whenever I told her we were having "noodles" for dinner, but just this past week she requested elbow and cheese square (ravioli) noodles for dinner with sauce and candy tomatoes. HOORAY!!!! But we also like yogurt too, and I can usually find some good coupons for Yoplait in our newspaper. I think my two favorite flavors are the orange cream and Key Lime Pie ones. Ooohhhhhhhh, yummmmmmmmm.

Disclaimer: Yoplait asked me to spot this, via MyBlogSpark, and I could win a Yoplait prize package.

Friday, March 4, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Decorations

In addition to my leprechauns that I made many, many years ago out of brown paper grocery bags, I created a shamrock garland for the front window, and some "Lucky" blocks, since it's too cold and snowy for my "Spring" blocks to come out, and the "Winter" ones have been out for too long.

The leprechauns were a bit time intensive, but pretty simple to do. I free-handed the different body parts on the paper bags, then painted them with Cermacoat paint and used scrapbooking supplies to embellish them. My mom had a paper crimper that I used to make the hair have texture, and that thing was AWESOME! And I used brads to attach the various body parts together. I think they took about two hours to make, but I can't remember for sure.

The blocks are easy too. I will give a step-by-step process.
1. Gather 2x4s (we always have tons of scrap pieces laying around that I use)
2. Cut 2x4s to random heights. I don't even measure. I just eyeball some bigger, some smaller and don't worry about perfection.
3. Sand 2x4s as needed.
4. Gather scrapbooking paper. The pieces need to be 3" wide, by whatever height you need.
5. Coat wood with Mod Podge and attach papers.
6. Cover papers with another coat of Mod Podge and attach letters.
7. Cover letters with another coat of Mod Podge and let dry.
8. When Mod Podge is dry add desired embellishments.

For my rainbow I used colored tape that I got from Oriental Trading Company years ago. You could just use a rainbow sticker or something though.

And for my garland, I keep the grapevine up all year long, and then change out the decorations. For this I had a shamrock die cut that I traced on coordinating pieces of scrapbook paper, and then cut out. I ran a ribbon through the grapevine, and tied the ribbon in several places to the curtain rod. To attach the shamrocks, I used gold brads that I put through the paper and the ribbon. And I attached some butterflies that I bought at Michael's to the grapevine. The butterflies came on wire, so I just wrapped the wire around the grapevine. Pretty simple, but I like it!


Thursday, March 3, 2011


No pictures today, but I just wanted to tell you a little secret about curtains, just in time for Daylight Savings.

My kids are pretty good sleepers, well, Mr. B still struggles some nights, and he's two and a half, so it's kind of a pain. But they wake up most mornings right around 7:00 like clockwork. However, this morning (and maybe another morning this week, but I can't be sure, because they all blend together) they both woke up at about 6:20. I was not ready for 6:20. I went to sleep between 10:30 and 11:00, but woke up at 2:00 when I heard a little boy trying to get out of his room. I tried to ignore it, hoping he would find his way back to his bed, but it wasn't really working, besides, DH was breathing pretty loud (not snoring, just heavy breathing), so going back to sleep easily wasn't going to happen. So I got up to check on my little man, and found him covered in puke. So, 20 minutes later I headed back to bed, after changing his bedding in the dark (the children share a room) and whatnot. So, by about 3:00 I think I was back asleep. Anyway, I'm not sure if the children are starting to wake up early because of the light (it's still pretty dark here until 7:00, being so far north and all), but with Daylight Savings coming up, I knew it was time for blackout curtains.

For those of you who know me, you know I'm pretty cheap, so I wasn't about to go out and buy new curtains. Besides, I made the curtains when Miss A (or was it Mr. B?) was a baby, so they have some sentimental value to me. So all I did was sew some black-out fabric to the back of them. The curtains were made somewhat like a pillow, where you sew at least three sides, wrong sides together, then turn right-side-out and finish sewing. The fabric on the back of the curtains was longer than the front, so I was able to fold that fabric over the top and turn it into a pocket for the curtain rod to slide through. Needless to say, I did not want to rip the seams out, all across the top, so I just did a simple straight stitch to attach the black-out fabric on the back. Yeah, I couldn't find the dark blue thread, and yeah, the two seams don't line up, but it's way up high, you can't really see the original seam (because the thread is basically the same color as the fabric), and it's a children's bedroom, plus, I'm not trying to win any decorating awards today. So, if you find your children waking up too early in the morning, you might want to try sewing some black-out fabric to the back of their curtains. Oh, did I mention that black-out fabric doesn't fray, so you don't need to hem it? I think that's the second best part, besides the children sleeping (hopefully). Have a great day!

Monday, February 21, 2011


They are finally finished! Well, except for a coat of poly, and another coat of spray paint on the baskets. And maybe a spray coat of poly on the baskets too, because there are already black scuff marks on the shelves from the baskets being taken down and put back up. Right now Mr. B's shelf is too tall for him, but that's okay, I wanted something that would be the right size for a long time. And Miss A's shelf is just barely low enough for her. She can get the basket down by herself, but struggles to put it back up. But who cares? The closet area is much more manageable now. At least it would be if DH would keep his stuff cleaned up. :)Miss A's shelf (obviously)
Mr. B's shelf (again, obviously)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I know you've all been waiting on pins and needles to see my shelves. If it makes you feel any better I've been waiting too. In fact, I'm still waiting for them to get installed, but until such a time, here's a teaser. I say teaser because some day these bad boys will be installed, the baskets will be completely black (no matter how many times I've spray painted them (okay, only twice, but still) from various angles there is still white showing through), the children's initials will be hung, and jackets, boots, gloves, snowpants, etc. will all be in their proper places. But until such a time, this is the larger of the two shelves, with will become Miss A's (she is older after all, and girls have more accessories than boys, so it only makes sense, right?), which was lying on my living room floor for the picture. But how awesome would shaggy carpet be on a wall? Ummm, yeah, that's what I thought too. I don't even like it on my floor, but considering how expensive carpet is, and that this carpet is only 5 1/2 years old, new carpet will just have to wait, no matter how flat it is.And now, the moment you've all been waiting for.....How I made them!
1. Take measurements of the place where you want to hang them.
2. Go to the store and buy some wood. If you don't have a planar, I would suggest shelling out the extra dough for the nice wood. That's what I did. I bought 2'x8' pine boards, because it's cheaper, and it's easier to make it masquerade as something else (unlike oak). And since you are already at the store, go ahead and pick up some hardware. Hooks to hang things from (like jackets) and also some sort of hardware to hang the shelves on the wall.
2. Bring wood home and start measuring the wood to cut it. The old adage, "measure twice, cut once" really does go a long way and saves you lots of frustration in the long run. Now, if you have a table saw you are in luck, you can cut each board in one cut and not have to worry about flipping the boards over and trying to line up the first cut exactly, perfectly right like I had to do using our chop saw (AKA miter saw). I cut my top and back pieces first, then the sides. My top piece was about 2" longer than the back piece, just for looks.
3. To cut the side pieces I cut a square first (I think the boards are actually 7 1/4", not 8"). Remember, measure twice, cut once. Then after the square was cut I rotated my saw blade so it would cut a 45 degree angle for the diagonal side.
4. Once all the pieces are cut, sand the edges (especially if you used a chop saw like I did). Try as I did to get my cuts to line up, none of them did, so I have some major sanding to do. Not a big deal, because I kind of like the rough look, but I didn't want things looking too rough, if you know what I mean.
5. Wipe off all the sawdust and stain your boards. Remember to stir all the way to the bottom of the can of stain, and follow all label directions. :)
6. If you want them to be a little bit shiny, instead of having a matte finish, do a top coat of polyurethane. This also protects the wood and finish.
7. Put the boards together. I used a nail gun (WAHOO, first time, go me, go me, go me!) to connect the top and back pieces first. Since I wanted the top shelf to be a little wider, I had to attach the boards differently than I originally planned, but that's okay. Then after attaching the top and back to each other, attach the side pieces.
8. Pre-drill holes for the hardware screws, then attach the hardware.
9. Hang up.

All in all, the project wasn't too hard. I still need to do a coat of poly (if I ever get around to it), and of course they shelves still need to get hung, but at least the shelves are assembled, right?

Monday, January 31, 2011

Homemade Bread

I never thought I would be one of those moms that make bread. My mom really didn't bake bread when I was growing up. In fact, I have fond memories of going to the Hostess Bakery Thrift Store with her. However, in my quest to be a little more self-sufficient I went to a class on bread making and found out how easy it is. And for all of you that have a ton of wheat in your food storage and you don't know what to do with it, may I suggest making your own bread? As long as you have a wheat grinder, that is. Without further ado, here is my recipe:

5 1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup wheat gluten (I found mine at a well stocked grocery store)
4 tsp. yeast
2 2/3 cup warm water

1/4 cup oil (vegetable, canola, salad)
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp. salt
4 tsp. dough enhancer (I had to get mine from a natural foods/health food store)
1 1/3 cup flour (more or less as needed, I usually need more though)

1. Place 5 1/3 cup flour in mixer with dough hook (see note below about mixers). Add yeast and gluten. Add warm water and mix for one minute, or until everything is mixed. Cover with towel and let sit for 10 minutes.
2. Add oil, honey, and salt. Turn on mixer and add dough enhancer and the remaining flour until dough cleans sides of bowl (it's better to add less flour than too much)
3. Knead bread for 7-10 minutes. Preheat oven to 150 F (mine only goes down to 170, which is fine too).
4. Oil hands (olive oil), divide bread into two equal portions, shape into loaves and add to greased pans (I use Pam, which works wonderfully)
5. Put loaves into the oven, shut the door, turn off the oven, and let rise for 25 minutes.
6. Turn oven on to 350 F (with loaves inside). When up to heat, bake for 25 minutes. If you want, you can put a pan of water on the lower rack of the oven. This helps the bread to not be so crusty.
7. Remove bread from oven and pans and let cool on a rack.
8. Cut and enjoy!

Note on Mixers: If you are using whole wheat you need a serious mixer. I have a KitchenAid professional mixer, and if I let it mix for too long (the dough hook helps knead the bread) the motor gets pretty warm. You cannot make this using a standard mixer. A good Bosch would work too. I don't think the miniature one would work though.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Project Report

Can I just say that I love that I put my list of projects up here? This way I'm able to self-check and make sure I'm getting things done. And getting things done I have been (too bad my house isn't as clean as it should be, so my budget for next month will be a little tight).

Things I've completed:
Love Blocks
Pink flower hair clips for BIL's wedding
Vinyl Nativity Glass Block
Redecorating for Valentine's Day (this was easy because all I have is two small metallic garlands and two sets of gel window clings (and now the wooden blocks too!)

Things in the works:
The coat hangers/shelves. I've stained all the wood (still need to do a coat of poly on top) and spray painted the baskets ($3 at DI!). Need to get the nail gun back from a friend so the bad boys can be assembled and installed.
Seed packet wall hangings. I figured out where to put them, but I need to take down the other ones, putty, texture, and touch-up the wall, then rearrange them all, since they are all going together. That's why it hasn't gotten done yet. So many steps, and so much laziness. It took long enough just to figure out where to put them. :)

The skirt idea got scratched off the list, since I found a super cute eyelet sundress at DI for $5. It does need a cardigan to go over it, but I'm hoping a few more trips to DI should solve that problem. Can you tell that I love thrifting?

Something I might do soon:
Work on my quilt. It would be nice to have done, but it's such a big project, involving pulling out the sewing machine and making a mess of the living room. Oh how I wish I had a craft room.
Oh, and I might work on painting those wooden fences from the dollar store. They will be super cute hanging on a wall in my living room if Spring ever shows up. Which should be around June here in Idaho.

And, some eye candy:

These blocks are so easy to do! If you have a huge stockpile of scrapbook paper and scrap 2x4s, they are basically free! These papers I actually printed off my computer. I have a former roommate that designs digital scrapbooking materials, and this is from one of her kits, Sweet Love O' Mine. Go here to get it. Go here to visit her blog. Yari is awesome and I love pretty much everything she designs! So, to make these blocks, cut some 2x4s. I don't measure I just cut some bigger, some smaller and really just eyeball it. Then I measure so my papers will be the right length. The papers need to be 3" wide, and whatever length. Mod Podge the background papers to the blocks. If you have a Silhouette or Cricket cutting out letters is easy. I don't, so sometimes I use an alpha set from a digital scrapbooking kit, but this time I made my own using a font from Photoshop, and then using the masking text tool and a few other steps to make the font, including a layer style to get the ridges around the edges. So, after I Mod Podge the background papers I Mod Podge on the letters, then put another coat of Mod Podge over the top. This can all be done in about an hour, if you don't have littles (children) distracting you. Or husbands, or pets, or life, or whatever. I might still add some ribbons or flowers or something, but I still have bathrooms and a kitchen to clean.

My vinyl Nativity. I love how this turned out. I ordered from the site Say it on the Wall and was very pleased with the outcome. Laura has an offer for people who become "affiliates" so I got $5 in free vinyl from her! I did have to pay shipping, but that's okay. And this was a custom design. She had quite a few Nativity designs, but I wasn't completely in love with any of them, so I asked her to tweak the "O Holy Night" one, and she was more than happy to oblige. She was great to work with! And her vinyl was the easiest to work with that I have ever done. I thought the hay in the manger was going to be a pain, but it was EASY! It was actually the bottom corner, under Joseph that almost ripped because I wasn't paying attention. But it didn't. Thanks, Laura!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Super Easy No-sew Tutu

Another guest post:

A tutu for Miss A. that Mr. B wears about as much as she does.

A Fall Wreath Tutorial Guest Post

I did a guest post on a friend's craft blog (well, I actually did two).

It's a fall wreath I made for under five dollars!

Go here to check out the tutorial:

Two Winter Projects from Last Year

These are two of my recent crafts. I made the wreath this past weekend, out of a store bought wreath, felt, glitter glue, thread, ribbon, and some safety pins (to secure the mittens to the wreath).
And finally, my "Winter" wood blocks. I'm going to outline the letters at some point in time, since they are a little hard to see.

My Newest Blog

I've had this idea floating around in my head for awhile. I see lots of crafty blogs in the blogosphere and some of them are fantastic. I have a digital scrapbooking blog, which has been a fun creative outlet, and I have a private family blog. But I really needed another outlet for my projects. The thing is, I don't think I'm very funny, so I don't know how many readers I will get. My goal is to do at least one post a week (this way I get some projects done, right?) and hopefully be able to help others get their craft (or other hobby) on too.

A little bit about me...

I'm a 5'5" natural brunette with the most beautiful blue eyes (I don't mean to brag, but my daughter gets compliments on her eyes so often, which she gets from me, that I can't help it :)). I like virgin pina colodas and don't like to take walks in the rain. Something about getting soaking wet just doesn't appeal to me. I'm a SAHM of two kids, Miss A who is four, and Mr. B who is two. My DH is an engi-nerd that convinced me that I was madly in love with him, and two months after that we were married.

My loves and hobbies...
My Heavenly Father is my first love and my family is my second love. My hobbies...oh, that's a long list. Since 2007 I've been an Idaho Master Gardener (no, I don't grow potatoes), but this year I'm going to take a break from the MG program. I used to paper scrapbook, but since having children (I don't have any kids, goats aren't allowed in city limits) I've taken a break from that and now enjoy digital scrapbooking. I used to make cards, but again, the children. What I do instead: occasionally sew, pretend to quilt (I've been meaning to make a quilt for my bed for the last year, and even had the whole top put together until I realized the colors were too bright for my bedroom, so I gave it to my mom), buy Christmas decorations for cheap, buy gel window clings, decorate my living room for various holidays, reorganize, make dollar store crafts, and just craft in general.

Projects in the works or planned:
Coat hanger/rack things for the kids
Quilt for my bed
Wooden fence wall hanging things bought at the dollar store and needing to be painted
Quilts for the children
Flower hair clips for BIL's wedding for the nieces
Possible skirt for BIL's wedding for me
Glass block and vinyl nativity set (mostly just need to purchase the vinyl from an online store)
Hang some seed packet things that I bought and framed a long time ago
Redecorate for Valentine's Day

Yeah, so I think that's a lot of projects to keep me busy for awhile. And having them here holds me accountable to you, dear reader, whoever you may be. In the mean time, I'll see if I can find some of my old tutorials to post for your crafty goodness.

Have a fantastic day!