Thursday, April 30, 2009

Flower Clippies

Going to post and run (the sun is shining, and it's our P day...we've got to hit the park before lessons!) but I whipped these up this morning after breakfast. They're that easy!




Just a few little clippies- some for here, to "to-go" for a sweet little niece .

Wouldn't these flowers be sweet on a headband? Perhaps a cluster just to the side? Oh, I love flowers!






Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A little incentive?


If you will recall, I am currently in a contest of sorts. My twin sister and I have always weighed within a few pounds of each other, with a few notable exceptions (such as my being great with child, and her being...a hopelessly in love and impossibly skinny newlywed) We both had babies last Fall, so we began a friendly race back in January: whoever got to a certain weight, by a certain post-baby week would win a big set of cloth napkins. Well, Aunt LoLo is a chatty girl, and soon her friends were wondering if they could join our group? (Well gee- when have I actually been a founding member of a club? Come on in!)

At any rate, we're heading into month five and have shown considerable progress. Between the 10 of us, we've lost 80 pounds! Still, enthusiasm and motivation are lagging a little so I tossed these earrings into the center of the ring: biggest loser at Friday's weigh-in will get them in the mail.

What do you think? What would it take to motivate you?


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Market Day!



We're 2 for 2 in my goal of getting to the Farmer's Market every Saturday this season. We had been thinking about signing up for a CSA box-- around here, it's about $30 a week for a big box of whatever the farmer harvested that week-- but I had much rather give myself a budget and go to the farmer's market every Saturday.


Last week, I found leeks, spinach, baby carrots, and jerusulem artichokes-- and if anyone knows a good alternative to simply eating them out of hand, I'm all ears!

This week, it's:
  • Leeks, because they are amazing. I'd never had them before.
  • Bok choy. Reminds me of my sister, and her mother-in-law.
  • small Fuji apples. My daughter LOVES apples. So far today, she's snitched three. Yippee!
  • Green onions- these are the monstrous things bundled in blue above. They are gorgeous, but what do I DO with them?
  • Swiss chard. These have a red center, and I felt like I had altogether too much green in my basket. We love chard, and ours isn't growing yet because I was a pansy and didn't plant any winter crops.
Pickings are still a little slim at our market, but I love having fresh produce in the refrigerator and handing cash to the family. Most of our stalls seem to be run by Hmong families, with Grandma cutting and arranging in the background and her english-speaking grandson handling the cash box. There is one exception, an "organic" farm complete with printed twist-ties on the produce "Don't Panic! It's organic!" and run by a round, jovial man with a pony tie in his short little beard. He looks like he'd be more at home on my dad's motorcycle, but he's there every week weighing out the escarole and misting down the produce.

Oh, and here's today's lovely photographer. I phoned at 8:20 and woke her up, and she still agreed to come with us to the market today. What a gal!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How Was Your Day?

Every get the notion in your head that life is too busy...to blog about life? Yeah, that's where we are. It seems like most of my posts these days are part of a "Beautiful Life" linky fest (which I adore doing, BTW, you should totally join the next one) or a "woo hoo!" when I manage to make something.

So. Hi, I'm Myrnie. Here's my day.

6:23- Ernie starts knocking on my door, and I hear the baby start to fuss. "Mom! Baby's awake!" (Sure she is, kid- you just barged into her room, turned on all the lights, shook the crib, and ran out like the East Wind.)

7:30- We've breakfasted and dressed, and Mimi is going down for her first nap/that last hour of sleep she missed. Ernie and I get the bread started. The nap lasts about 10 minutes. I head down the freezer to see if I have any meat. Eww. Pot roast, lamb roast, and pork chops all packaged 10/30/07. Seems like I went on a meat buying spree at the Albertson's sale, and forgot: I'm too lazy to cook meat. Found fresh ground beef though- score!

8:30- Another try on that nap. It takes! Ernie gets to call Nana on the phone, and we talk to her until 9:30. Nana has a Strong Constitution. Ernie wants to know where the button is, so Nana can see her doll?

9:45- Punch the bread down. Baby is awake- everyone in the car for grocery shopping!

10:15- We're at Costco. 25 pounds of flour, 25 pounds of pinto beans, yeast, hydrogen peroxide, asparagus, broccoli (California produce is at least better than Mexico, right??), flour tortillas, 4 gallons of skim milk, and some unsalted butter.

11:00- Heading out of Costco, worriedly running numbers in my head. How much time do I have before we hit the pre-nap hysteria stage? Can I make it through Fred Meyer? I decide to go for it. Ernie has "smiley face" stamps on both her hands from the friendly "receipt checker" and she's flipping her hands around and around as we sing "If You Chance to Meet a Frown." Odd looks from passers-by remind me that there are people my age without kids, that just...don't get it. When did singing Primary songs in the parking lot become my new normal?

11:30- We're home from Fred Meyer. Ernie has decided she wants to save up her weekly allowance, rather than buying a piece of candy today, and purchase a Train Painting Book. This book is $2.99, and she has $1.11. For the rest of the day, she will shake her coin purse in my face and say "Let's save up my money Mom, and go buy Train Paint Book!" You DO know, my child, that "saving up" takes time? I can not magically increase your supply of coins? (The suggestion that she might be able to EARN extra money sends her into transports of delight...but I can't think of a single chore the child could do. Perhaps scrubbing sinks with baking soda?)

11:35- Ernie is in her room for her first time out today. "What do you want for lunch?" "Give me lotsa lotsa choices." "Umm...OK. I could make you toast, chicken nuggets, or noodles." She preferred to roll around on the floor asking for choices, so I chose chicken nuggets and carried my now sobbing child to her room.

11:37- Ernie emerges. "MOM! You forgot to give me CHOICES!!!!" I carry her back in, until she can think of something nice to say. She collapses on the floor "I don't liiiiiike chiiiiiiickennnn!"

11:40- Ernie comes out to eat lunch. "Thanks for chicken, Mom! I love chicken!" (I know you do, kid. We go through a Costco bag a month sometimes!) "You forgot my MILK!"

11:50- I nurse Mimi, and tell Ernie she can read in her bed until I come to turn out the light. Magically, this is a Good Idea.

12:00- Put baby to sleep, sing a song for Ernie, promise to come back in 5 minutes and turn out the light.

12:03- Punch down bread, shape into loaves. Turn on oven to preheat.

12:05- Shake Ernie's hand, and turn off lights.

12:06- Brown the ground beef, and throw last night's pinto beans in, along with salsa, onions, chili powder, leftover spaghetti sauce, and kidney beans. There- chili! Puree butter with olive oil to make spreadable butter, puree steamed pears to freeze for baby food and put in the freezer. Make a half-hearted attempt at cleaning some dishes- if I fill the sink full, with enough bubbles, you can't see them soaking!

12:40- Sit down with a book.

1:00- First piano lesson. (Ernie and Mimi will wake up during this lesson.)

1:30- Turn on movie for Ernie, gather up 15 hangers from the closet, and start ironing. Get 2 napkins and a pair of pants done before I decide Mimi needs supervision/intervention before Ernie takes away EVERY toy in the playroom and piles them on the couch ("No! That's MY toy!") Baby and I go up stairs, where she does laps in the hall, followed by trying to eat my jump rope.

3:00- Second lesson comes. She forgot the music she's been practicing for our recital, and I can't find a copy of Bach's Minuet in G anywhere. Nor Handel's Sarabande. She seems to have memorized them, though. Kind of.

4:00- Third lesson comes.

4:30- Start rice for dinner, and put broccoli in a Ziploc with some salt, pepper, and olive oil to be roasted (after delivery to a friend.) Children start to run circles around my feet. Oh gracious- Ernie is nursing her baby doll again. Never fear, it's not graphic. Apparently, her child suckles at the belly button. What would YOU say to her? I've chosen the "nothing" path.

5:00- Wonder Daddy is home, and starts studying. Ernie and I sit at the table with strips of construction paper, a pencil, and a few of her books: she loves to look for words and copy them down. Today is M day, so she chooses "pumpkins" as her first word, followed by Mr. She gives up when she comes to Comstock (as in Mr. Comstock.) Mimi is under the table. Oh no- I think she's eating leftovers.

5:15- Rice cooker "pops." I scoop it all into a Pyrex, cover it with chili and a little cheese, and bundle Wonder Daddy out the door with a meal of rice, chili, fresh bread, and ready-to-roast broccoli. He'll deliver it to a friend who needed a meal tonight.

5:30- I start roasting our own broccoli, and setting the table.

5:45- Wonder Daddy is home, we eat dinner. Mimi loves chili. And rice. And pureed pears. Ernie is in another time out "I don't like chili! I don't like beans! I don't like broccoli! You forgot my sauce! Where's my milk!" I don't mind if you don't like it, but please don't shout it at me. You can always have bread and butter for dinner, no questions asked.



6:15- Baby is in the bath. Mmm, chili-covered child. Ernie is NOT in the bath- she pushed the baby over last night, she's lost co-bath privileges for a while.

6:30- Ernie is in the bath, Mimi is crawling around naked in her crib absolutely beside herself with joy at her...freedom. Mama needs more arms and more strength- diapers are becoming a challenge to change.

6:45- I am nursing the baby. Ernie is laying a sopping wet bath terry bath duck, lovingly wrapped in sopping wet bath washcloths, on my chair. It's her baby- she's sleeping. Oh, and Ernie is wearing nothing but a towel. Because Bolt (or Nathan, or Cat) is asleep in her bed.

7:15- Mimi is in bed, Ernie is dressed. We read scripture stories, brush teeth, and read story books until 7:50.

8:15- We've sung a song to Ernie, put balls in her jar, and she has "read" to herself for a while.

8:20- Mommy sinks into her chair with a truffle, popsicle, and a book of fairy tales. The dishes are still soaking.


How was your day?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Beautiful Life: A Place to Learn

Welcome to our friends from Melissa's "Beautiful Life" linky fest- so glad you could stop by! Come and add your voice!
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I want our home to be a haven from "the world." A place free of judgment, lousy media messages, and contention. Most everything we do in our decorating right now has kids in mind, right down to the paint color (we have a running theme of pale sunny yellow, basil green, summer sky blue, and bright white trim- we look like a Crayola explosion!) With all the extra art projects we've been doing, I decided to make a way to display her work (and mine) and came up with this set up in the dining room.



It's simple, just some nails, string, and wooden clothes pins, but I think it's important to show Ernie that we find her work valuable.

What about you? What do you do with the kids' artwork?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Create

After reading this post from the 6 o'clock stitch, it got me thinking about a message I heard last year from Dieter F. Uchtdorf. A quick google search turned up a You Tube video (very short, just about a minute and a half) with snazzy music!



So watch the video, and answer this question: What will you create today?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bon Voyage!

It's another stash-busting project!

We attended a "bon voyage" party for an old friend (good grief- I met her in high school, when did that get to be so LONG ago?!) recently. She's moving up to Fairbanks, Alaska for a law internship with a local judge....brrr! My dad used to live there, and if his stories are true (and they always are) she's in for a WILD ride!



I made these little napkins to send with her, to cheer up her new kitchen. Just cotton, serged around the edges, but I loved the stripes.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Panda Family!




I love when projects come together just how I pictured them.

I won a bloggy giveaway over at Craftevolution from the uber-talented Simone- she sent me a sweet little cache of wooden eggs, with a note asking me what I'd do with them. Well, honestly they sat in my to-do bowl in the kitchen a good long time before I had the guts to even think about using them. There's something about USING UP a craft supply that just scares me. I plan progressively smaller projects as the supply dwindles, to make sure there's always a little bit left. (Yes, I was the child who left 2 Tablespoons of juice in the fridge. I didn't drink it all!)

So, when I could put my new craft-blog-crush The Toymaker and my new wooden eggs together, I'm all over it!

I love how the Toymakers things are so versatile. There's something wonderful about open-ended, well thought-out, toys.



Right now, this small family (and their cottage) is sitting on the mantle but I think it will make a wonderful diversionary toy for Ernie when I need a few moments. There's something so magical about playing with a "Special Toy," especially when it's kept on a shelf!

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Flock of Butterflies

I think this is my favorite craft with Ernie so far- she made three, and I made roughly 20! It's so fun to see what the ink will do- where it will eddy and swirl, which colors will mix together, what the final product will look like. We're doing these as part of our F day- a Fluttering Flock of butterFlies.




Fluttering Butterflies

Materials Needed:
Markers
Coffee Filters
Spray bottle of water
String


Color however you like, and make sure the filters are on top of something you don't mind getting ink on- it WILL go through. Be sure and get color at the edges, so it will show after you scrunch.

After they're colored, spray well with water (I do this over a sink) and hang to dry somewhere you don't mind getting drips. The ink will seep and spread. I taped a few lengths of string over a box, lined with some extra wrapping paper from a recent birthday (it's waterproof enough for this.)

When they're dry, scrunch, tie, and hang! It would also be cute to scrunch these with black pipe cleaners, bent at the ends to look like antennae.










Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter, Everyone!

Saturday morning, after a neighborhood Easter Egg hunt/slip n' slide, we dropped Wonder Daddy off at his office and stopped in to chat with his co-workers and show off...err...re-introduce the kids to everyone. I think Wonder Daddy felt like a ROCK STAR, with every female in the office flocking to see his baby and toddler.

One co-worker in particular, I'll call her A, especially loved the girls. She spent at least 15 minutes on the floor, watching Mimi crawl, rubbing her fuzzy head, and gushing "I LOVE babies!" I believe her, too! I knew she was Jewish, so I asked about her Passover plans- they had their Seder last Wednesday (a little early?) and were planning a big Easter dinner for Sunday. Her family also celebrates Hannukah in the same room as a Christmas tree, which I love.

I have to think there's some real genius at work here: celebrate your heritage and beliefs, and celebrate them every way you can. When it comes down to it, Easter dinner isn't a religious affair- it's a wonderful occasion to gather family together and eat foods steeped in history and family-lore.

There's also a real genius in celebrating both the Easter and the Passover, I believe. The Passover is a celebration of remembrance and thanks of the night the destroying angel "passed over" the Israelites, when they were in bondage to the Egyptians. They were promised that if they killed a perfect and pure male lamb, marked their lintels with his blood, and ate his meat for their supper the destroying angel would pass over their house. They would live.

On Easter, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ. He was the Perfect Lamb of God. He was sacrificed that we might live. We take the sacrament in remembrance of his body and blood, and take His name upon us and witness to the world that we remember him.

The Israelite's covenants showed outwardly, and ours show inwardly. We are all celebrating a deep and abiding reverence and love, regardless of how we show that love and faith.

So, to all our Jewish friends: I wish you a wonderful Passover. I wish I knew the right words, but enjoy your Seder. Enjoy time with your family, steeped in thousands of years of tradition.

To all our Christian friends: Happy Easter. "Oh sweet the joy this sentence gives: I know that my Redeemer lives!"

Enjoy this 3-minute video as my Easter gift to you. I'm actually pretty nervous about this! The camera is pointed at a pretty picture, rather than showing me, at 11:30 at night, in my jammies in the basement :o)
video

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Beautiful Life: Starting to Learn

Welcome to our friends from Melissa's Beautiful Life linky fest! So glad you could stop by today!

Along with some blessed and very welcome sunshine, we are making some changes in our house, and it's been a beautiful thing.

--Side note: We are seriously contemplating homeschooling our children and purchasing an RV so we can chase the sun. Wonder Daddy is favoring Southern California for January-March. OK, not seriously...but still...it's a pipe dream.--

We've always filled our days with whatever came along, whether it was alone time, play dates, walks, libraries, or whatever stumbled across our path but this last week I've tried to be a bit more deliberate in what we're doing. Starting Monday, we've spent each day focusing on a letter of the alphabet and working a little bit on math and music concepts. It's been a blast, and Ernie is so much calmer. I'm exhausted at the end of the day, with almost no down time, but it's an HONEST exhaustion. It feels nice to be working so hard. She has such a fantastic memory, it's fun to teach her to read new words every day.

Here are our lesson plans from this last week, so you can see what I mean.

A 4/6/09

  • Find A words in books
  • Scriptures: I Am A Child of God
  • Practice drawing A's (Didn't do)
    • I draw, she gives them faces.
    • I write words, she adds A and we sound it out
    • She makes shapes with chop sticks
  • Make playdough
    • make letters
  • A lunch: strAwberries, grilled cheese sAndwich
  • Nature walk: airplane, cAr, etc.
  • Math: Manipulating chocolate chips (half, whole, addition, subtraction up to 10)
  • A is for Apple accordian book- numbered pages, draw that many seeds on each page.






B 4/7/2009
  • Find B words in books
  • paper Balloons for Grandpa Don's birthday- we can tacky them to the windows and string them from the chandelier (she drew HAPPY BIRTHDAY on them, by herself! I just told her which letters to write.)
  • Nature walk: look for bees, birds, boats
  • Help me make Bread
  • Boats in the bathtub?? (didn't do)
  • Scripture: ABinadi

C 4/8/2009
  • Cups: large tupperware of beans, she used her measuring cups
  • Cake: Decorating paper cake with candles and blueberries
  • playing with "cups" (mini cake tins) and play dough
  • C books
  • Scriptures: Jesus Christ's resurrection
  • Movie: Cinderella




D 4/9/2009
  • D books: NumberlanD (her choice)
  • craft: drawing Dogs
  • Activity: acting like a dog and duck
  • Treat: donuts :)
  • Cut a Daffodil for her room
  • Scriptures: David and Goliath

E 4/10/2009 (we have a playdate, so the plans aren't as firm for today)
  • Easter eggs
    • dye Easter eggs
    • paper easter eggs to hang from chandelier
    • Make string eggs (glue, string, small balloon as form)

And finally, here's a project we started tonight that I hope will take up some of Saturday afternoon when the girls are bored and Daddy is still at work (we are SO excited for tax season to end!) I'll post more pictures, and an explanation, when I'm sure that it's going to work!


Do you have any favorite resources for homeschooling/preschool lesson plans or activities? After a week, play dough and markers start to lose their luster and I'm feeling like a one-trick pony :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Liver Cancer Awareness Earrings

A friend of my dad's passed away suddenly last week- he died of liver cancer. It was so quick, just 10 days between diagnosis and the end. I made these earrings up for his wife- I've never met her, but I hope she'll understand what I'm trying to say: I'm sorry for your loss, even though we've never met.

Sometimes, you just need to DO something, you know? I've never met her, so I don't think knocking on her door and offering a hug is a probable proposition. But I can make earrings, and hopefully they'll help. (According to my google search, yellow is the color for liver cancer awareness.)



What do YOU do when you can't think of anything else to do?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Give Me the Dirt

Welcome to our friends from Melissa's Beautiful Life linky fest. Come and add your thoughts!




I'm going to be straight with you guys: this was a hard winter. It's been a hard Spring. Our area is famous for the widespread problem of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder...basically, we go a little crazy without sunshine.) and if you add that to Baby Blues/postpartum depression and chronic lack of sleep it gets a little dicey around here. To be honest, I haven't felt this low since my hormonal high school days.

So let's lay it out. Ladies, why do we do this? Why do we get so HARD on ourselves? It's as if we don't use the brains God gave us. Let me show you.

A few facts about me:
1) I have a Bachelor's Degree in accounting from a very good school, and a minor in music.
2) I am a talented musician- I can play piano and organ quite well, and have 9 years of classical vocal instruction under my belt.
3) I am a darn good cook. Most people really like what I make.
4) I have a fabulous husband and 2 beautiful daughters, who all love me very much.
5) I was raised in a happy, healthy home.
6) I can't think of a single person that has ever said "I don't like you."
7) I have been blessed with extraordinary health. The sickest I've ever been...umm...well, I had a 24-hour flu last Spring. Other than that, I get a cold or two every year.
8) I take good care of my family, creating a healthy home environment for learning and nurturing, and plenty of healthy food from scratch.

So why do I go to bed feeling like a failure every night? Why do I look at everything through a lens of
  • "Oh, they don't really mean that."
  • "They wouldn't compliment me if they knew that I faked a few notes/lost my temper yesterday/haven't cleaned my shower in 6 months/have been overweight since I was 10."
  • "If I was REALLY ______, I wouldn't ______, so that compliment doesn't count."
Why can't I find the guts to just say "I'm a success" Why can't I look in the mirror and for once in my life say "Wow! I look great!"

Why don't we? Why WON'T we?

So let's try it. A new week is coming up. This is a safe forum. What is it that you can't forgive yourself for, and you won't let go of (even after the issue is solved.) Just say it, I promise you'll feel better (and yes, anonymous comments are allowed.)

And, back to those high school days for a point to ponder.

A little excerpt from Enos:
4 And my soul ahungered; and I bkneeled down before my Maker, and I ccried unto him in mighty dprayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.
5 And there came a avoice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are bforgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.
6 And I, Enos, knew that God acould not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.

The part that completely arrested my attention, reading this after studying on a late and dark night, was "God could not lie." So if He says he loves me, I can trust Him. Even when I can't see a speck of good in myself, or find a way to believe that anyone should have a reason to love me, if He says I'm doing well, I am. And sometimes, a thought like that can be a life line in the dark.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Catch Up On Kindness

I feel like an absolute cad. There are so many fabulous folks out there, doing fabulous things, and I never thanked them publicly!

I've won TWO giveaways from the fabulous Simone over at Craftevolution. First, it was a bag of fabulous hand-poured glycerin soap in yuzu scent, which is absolutely divine, and then I won a sweet little cache of wooden eggs for crafting. I still haven't settled on what to do with them, but if I procrastinate much longer I'll need to wait till next Spring!

Su, over at Vively Online, awarded me with my FIRST EVER blog bling (way back in early March...oops). I have an award! Thank you so much, Su- that's really, really sweet of you!


(And LoLo, I haven't forgotten about your meme...)