Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Serenade

Caroline sang me to sleep on the couch. Must have been a nap, I don't normally spend the night there :)
video
 
 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Guck

We had to try another project from tottreatsures.blogspot.com before we denounced her as a fraud (it's much easier to denounce her than to denounce myself as an inept crafter) - we went for GAK. Another project with only two ingredients, one of which is glue - how could this possibly go wrong? Again?

If you're waiting for a funny story about how my project went woefully wrong and my Awesome Mom-ness turned out worse than an idea by Tim the Toolman Taylor himself, weeeeell forget it. I WON this project!

First, I picked the color - blue! No pumpkin guts here! Second, her directions were a little more specific, and I made sure to follow them closely and in the same order as she did them. Third, it was a less expensive project so I liked it better already. It required one bottle of regular glue, which retails for $0.34, plus a teaspoon of Borax, which I already had on hand; slime required 2 (and actually 3, after I did the math, but I only bought 2) bottles of clear glue, which cost $1.77 each, plus a bottle of starch, which is $3.50. If stopping Armageddon required me to iron a shirt, it might happen - if that shirt required starching, we'd all be dead. Clearly, liquid starch is only for crafting at my house., so now I am FORCED to attempt slime again at some point just to get rid of it. 

So with those three positives on my side, we spent a very nice hour playing with GAK! Actually, my kids called it "guck," which works too.
The worst part of the experience was that orange serrated "knife" you see in three of those pictures - if Gak was gold, that knife was diamond-encrusted platinum. It's a tool from a kids pumpkin carving kit, so it's not sharp, but it IS popular and I only have one. Looks like this Awesome Mom needs to do a little shopping come Halloween time. The second-worst part was that each Gak recipe only makes a very small amount. I was in no way sure that this project would work right off the bat so I didn't double the recipe or anything, and each kid only ended up with a teeny-tiny amount. Luckily, they're kids, so they come with teeny tiny hands, and it wasn't the end of the world and nobody complained they wanted more (unlike their favorite playdoh from http://musingsfromasahm.com/2012/02/easy-homemade-playdough-recipe, which they constantly demand more of).

In the end, I highly recommend Gak (from http://tottreasuresnorthbay.blogspot.com/2012/01/gak.html) because it's a) easy, b) cheap, and c) it lasts - I bagged it up when we were done and we played with it again today! No rubber balls here!

That's it here, Awesome Mom OUT.












Monday, March 25, 2013

Slimer

Trying to be an Awesome Mom while we were under the weather but before the plague struck full-force I wheeled the kids through Wal-Mart (just wait, I'm not to the Awesome Mom part). We picked up clear glue and liquid starch - the only ingredients you need to make slime! My kids love to make things and to get messy and they love snot and this should be basically the same consistency... SURE to be a hit. tottreasuresnorthbay.blogspot.com assured me it would be, see her little chica playing in rainbow-colored slime like a dream come true?

So let's begin. We dumped the starch in first.  I later came to believe this was our fatal mistake. Then we added glue, and the kids chose orange for their slime color (I wasn't about to go all gung-ho on an entire rainbow). Personally, I would have picked green, but hey, you can't win 'em all. Apparently this wasn't one I could win MOST of, even.


Ethan hung out in his bumbo and chewed on a bag of small paintbrushes. This worked out great... until he got hungry, and it didn't, but that plays into the story later.


First, the slime was definitely two textures, which I believe was the result of adding glue to starch, instead of starch to glue. It took a long time for the glue to drizzle in, and as it drizzled it stayed in a rope-y texture, the starch binding around it so it didn't stick to itself. That made leftover starch, so it was firm glue ropes in a watery starch goo.
We also mixed it with a spoon first, which didn't really merge the two ingredients - you definitely need to get in there and knead it with your fingers. Patrick was excited there were only 2 ingredients; he was already feeling yucky that morning so he declared, "If I feel like I'm going to throw up I'll run over to the trash can and not throw up in this bowl because throw-up is not one of the ingredients." Is throw-up EVER an ingredient? To anything? I hope not.



Second, the orange color plus the tough ropey texture made it EXACTLY like pumpkin guts. That's all I could think the entire time.

The more the kids played with it the more solidified it got, which was good for the ropey-ness but bad for the playing because the glue melded together in a tough way, like making resilient rubber balls. Orange rubber balls covered in leftover starch goo.  See, rubber ball in her right hand, starch goo in the bowl.

Of course as the kids are playing, making the best of it, Ethan started freaking out and desperately needed to be put down for a nap, so I ordered to kids to NOT make a mess or get anything on the floor. They hadn't budged since we started, so I figured I was pretty safe. NOT SO. Never so, really. As I was nursing Ethan in his room upstairs I heard feet pitter-pattering to the basement, so I yelled and demanded that they stop whatever it was they were doing. Eli burst out crying that Patrick and Caroline had gotten toys (they were pitter pattering down to the toy bins) and so why couldn't HE have HIS electronic toy dragon, too? Oh, crap, they have now gotten electronic toys to play in the goo? Dollar dinos, sure, but since I didn't know what they had, I demanded (from the top of the stairs) that they lay down all toys and not leave the table until I get down there. All this yelling was accomplished with Ethan attached to my boob, which is why I didn't even make it down the stairs to investigate further. I finally got Ethan down for his nap, and my return to the kitchen involved stepping over several gobs of orange glue goop - not a good sign and I SERIOUSLY hoped there were no gobs on the carpet! (There weren't). The kids were dutifully back in their seats but were then discontent with the slime adventure because I had banned toys and they all declared they were done playing. For good measure, Patrick threw in "this wasn't as fun as I thought it was going to be." Rub it in, Patrick, rub it in.   

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Comments, decoded

First, what the heck? I hadn't realized my post on being sick un-published. Now it's reposted.

Second, what the heck? I hadn't realized my sisters thought they could offend me. So this post is about their comments on my last (newly republished) post.

No matter how many (or how few) people read my posts I can pretty much count on comments from my sisters, Elsha and Kari. Unfortunately for them they can count less on comments from me - specifically Elsha, because she has lots of readers and I think getting more than 8 comments is just greedy, and usually by the time I get on and read her post she's already had 9 or so. No comments for you! Kari doesn't post so much, so I rarely have to comment anyway. But when we do comment, there is so much left unspoken. Or un-typed. Or whatever.


Elsha said, "Kirsta. How does your family get sick SO MUCH?! Sorry lady"

Kari said, "Walking through your house sounds like my worst nightmare ever, lol. Do incidents like this make you want to be a germaphobe? Antibodies, schmantibodies! Maybe you'll have to start the glass-of-grape-juice-a-day routine to fight off bacteria and see if it keeps the sickness away. I hope you and everyone else feel better SOON! And I'm not too sad about being gone for the week while you air out your house. (This is all said very lovingly) :)"

In response to Elsha, I will say my family has been much LESS sick since we've moved to Pueblo. Seriously, Kari and I have discussed this, we really were always sick in Thornton. It was especially noticeable since we had rarely been sick in Fort Collins and Patrick was, until our move, a very healthy kid. What was the deal? First I blamed it on nursery at church, he ALWAYS got sick on Monday or Tuesday, meaning he picked it up a day or two earlier, and we were ALWAYS at nursery a day or two earlier. Besides, he started going to nursery the week we moved to Thornton, so it was impossible to compare to Fort Collins, maybe he would have come home sick on Monday there, too. But then it was bigger stuff, like how he suddenly developed really awful eczema at 18 months old, right when we loved in. Or how the winter we moved there he developed terrible asthma and was constantly doing breathing treatments, especially if he had any hint of another illness (which was often). We don't have any history of asthma and he hadn't shown a single symptom before, so again, what the heck? Eventually we chalked it up to "sick building syndrome," SBS, an idea I doubt we would have considered had we not both been exposed to it during various college courses. SBS! It's real! Like, REAL real! Legionnaire's Disease, which is spread through HVAC and water systems, was in the news 6 times in 2012 for outbreaks from Chicago to Spain! We didn't suffer from Legionnaire's Disease, of course, but what I'm SAYIN' is that SBS is REAL. I linked that sucker, it's at http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pdfs/sick_building_factsheet.pdf. And we're pretty sure that somehow our house contributed to us getting sick a lot, or staying sick a lot - maybe our immune systems were compromised from being there so when we picked something up it felled us instantly.  Kari decided (or noticed), in hindsight, that she got sick during or immediately after every visit to Thornton, so she backs up our theory. Even prior to my discussing our SBS with her, she and her husband talked about us (behind our backs! *sob!*) and had to admit that maybe they were wrong and we don't have "the sick kids" because since moving to Pueblo we've rarely been sick. UNTIL NOW, of course.

So Elsha, you have accidentally lumped our "sick all the time" Thornton sick with "rarely sick but unfortunately on death's door when we are" in Pueblo. It's two very different things.

Now for Kari, my house IS her worst nightmare. It's MY worst nightmare, and I'm not easily scared. I actually had a very stressful dream last week about winning the Lottery, but this was MUCH worse (and with much less money involved). I had no false ideas about hanging out once it was clear this was going to be serious because I know she's a germophobe. I don't think this awful episode will really change me - I still let me kids finish each other's snacks and drinks, we share everything from toys to baths to beds, Ethan gnaws on stuff off the floor (toys! not, like, dirt clods), and it's just how it goes here. I'm always up for more antibodies, but maybe I WILL have to try the glass of grape juice a day trick... it won't last long, though, I can already tell you, because my kids would drink my entire grocery budget in juice if I let them. I've spent much LESS money on food this week, if you're in the mood to reeeeeaaally stretch for a silver lining.... but it HAS changed how much I do laundry, wipe down door handles, and bleach the tub, so I think I'll be sticking with some small habit changing.

I realize both these comments are, as Kari spelled out, "said lovingly," and that's the funny thing - I don't think there's a single comment my sisters have ever left that I've taken less than lovingly! We take our lives and sculpt them into posts and Elsha points out my incorrect grammar as GrammarGirl, I point out outfits in her pictures that I loved on my own kids!  It may seem we've missed the forest for the trees, but the truth is we ARE the forest, we three (and our hubs and kids), so we might as well point out the trees, eh? I doubt there's much my sisters could say to my face that would hurt my feelings, either. After so many years growing up together, rooming together, fighting, agreeing or agreeing to disagree, I have this weird buffer that makes me not take anything too harshly from them. My sisters can tell me I gain weight in my face when I'm pregnant, have legs like a saguaro cactus when I don't shave (as usual), have curves like a ruler, and am totally NOT my dad's favorite child (well, only Elsha would say that, Kari and I know the truth), and I know it is all said lovingly and it doesn't bother me at all. It is SO WEIRD. For you other folks at home, don't tell me my face is fat. But from my sisters it's honesty from a deep loving, understanding, stark naked place; I don't have to freak out that their comments reveal that our relationship is superficial and they've just been talking about me behind my backs all along. Except Kari... she's suspect. I say that lovingly :)

Worst Days in the history of Bad Days

Back in January we caught the stomach flu - slowly, one at a time, stretching the flu out over practically the entire month of January. Sucky, but manageable. This week we ALL got the stomach flu. The good news is that we'll all get better at the same time and keep it short-lived. The BAD news is that we're ALL SICK AT THE SAME TIME.

Thursday morning I leaped out of bed to the sound of someone (Patrick) throwing up. No an auspicious beginning. The rest of my day involved LOTS of leaping, from swooping Eli into the bathroom when he burst out crying, meaning he had just had uncontrollable diarrhea in his pants; to calming down Caroline who would be suddenly and immediately be inconsolable that her tummy hurt; to cleaning up Patrick who has the worst sense of where is a good place to throw up; to saving Ethan from his regular woes of being stuck on his tummy/in his crib/wedged half under the couch/being hungry/etc.  Obviously all the puke and poop meant lots of laundry, too, so I did a load about every 2 hours - all stuff that wasn't dirty that morning but had since then been soiled. LOTS of laundry. Topping it off, my own stomach was less than reliable, and I felt under the weather the entire day. Unfortunately the constant chorus of wailing plus my own general malaise shortened by short temper and I ended up yelling at my poor sick kids to "JUST WAIT,  I AM CLEANING UP POOP OFF THE CARPET AND THEN I HAVE TO CHANGE PUKEY SHEETS BEFORE I CAN GET YOU ANY CRACKERS." Totally not their fault, so I felt bad for yelling. But seriously, for hours on end I would have to wash my hands at least every 5 minutes because I'd just come in contact with bodily fluids. Joe was at work in the morning but felt achy and came home around 11 a.m.; he slept until 5 p.m. when I woke him up so he could possibly sleep that night. I made healthy, delicious, homemade chicken noodle soup, which he and I ate but the kids still felt too yucky for, and that was the end of my less-than-reliable digestion. After dinner it became THOROUGHLY unreliable and I went to bed at 7:30 dying of stomach cramps.

Stomach cramps ruled the rest of my night and have been my severe task-master today. Fortunately the kids seem to be on the upswing, so there's no leaping necessary, but I inherited all their awful symptoms for myself. I have been DYING all day, and the poor kids have had to dress, feed, and entertain themselves. By "dress" I mean new pajamas, by "feed" I mean granola bars, and by "entertain" I mean and endless stream of movies. That almost sounds like their perfect day! There was a long string of toys in there, but 2 hours of toys hardly overcomes 6 hours of TV. Poor Ethan has born the brunt as I can't stomach much of anything, so I'm not making any milk for the guy, so he's taken very short naps - thereby returning the brunt to me. Patrick fed him baby food while I lay moaning on the couch, but it was a sorry substitute.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Caro

Caroline's now 2 1/2 years old, which means she's 2 1/2 years crazy! Very much a "big kid," but also very much a toddler.

She DID potty train successfully - it was great! There WAS some extra laundry, she had a couple #1 and #2 accidents, but fortunately nothing was too terrible (even the #2 accidents; while not fun, they could have been much worse). And best of all, since she took it upon herself to potty train, there hasn't been any cajoling or bribing or threatening, she is very proud of herself and loves to go potty. This does not mean I'm a good parent. Hey, I like to think I'm a good parent, but I think potty training success has more to do with the kid than the mom so I'm giving CAROLINE pats on the back, not myself. We are so pleased with her success!

Caroline and I were sitting on the porch swing watching Patrick ride his new bike and inside we heard Eli start freaking out (which he does if he can't figure something out in 2.5 seconds). Caroline marched herself inside to announce to Joe, who was cooking dinner, "Eli being a turd muncher!"

Sometimes nicknames are longer than given names; for instance, Caroline is something Carolee-aroline and Patrick is Fafi-Kadhafi. It sounds middle-eastern, which is kind of inappropriate, which is exactly why it stuck. Caroline's full-time nickname is Poony, which is also totally inappropriate (and if you don't know why it is, I'm not explaining), which is exactly why it stuck. We use their nicknames far more than their given names, though, even when we yell at them. Some people get very formal when their kids are trouble, calling them by their full name (including middle, if they have one); we keep it loose and call them my totally inappropriate nicknames while loudly informing them to knock it off. At any rate, Poony... er, Caroline has started calling Patrick "Fafi-adafee," leaving off the K. It's the cutest thing and sounds much more endearing, and less middle-eastern, when a sweet little girl is saying it as she looks for her big brother.

She's very into wearing pajamas at the moment, and her favorite are from Paul Frank. She loves that monkey! So often getting up and "dressed" involves just getting from one set of PJs to another.  And I'm okay with that.

Everything is "I do it!" which I try to let her have as much control over as possible, even if it means me un-doing something so she can do it herself. Turning the sink back on so she can turn it off herself. Shutting the door so she can open it herself. Putting the shoes back that I picked out so she can get them herself. Turning off the light. Clearing the microwave. Unzipping the jacket. You get the gist. Joe is much less relaxed about this and more often than not it turns into a battle of wills, but I think sooner or later he'll catch on that you can never win a battle of wills with a girl. And if you do, she'll resent you, and we all know girls can hold a grudge WAY longer than a guy. So just let her re-zip the dang jacket.

On the baby/toddler side, she still can't pedal a tricycle so she's stuck scooting around after her brothers as they zip around the neighborhood on bikes. She still goes limp and throws a mean tantrum if she's not getting her way. She still wears a diaper to naps and bed. So she's still growing, but she's so enjoyable each day in all these fun and funny ways! We love our biggest little girl.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Unloading stuff? Look no further

Kari and Jonathan are putting a bunch of stuff in storage while they ready their house to show in the hopes of selling it and moving even closer to us (we are irresistible)(and also that's not the real reason), so Kari's been offloading some awesome stuff on me! Like this beauty: finger paints and huge rolls of craft paper. I immediately put my kids to work making a masterpiece.







Monday, March 18, 2013

Eli, my man

Eli is THE COOLEST KID when you get him alone... It's just really tough to get him alone! Not that he's NOT cool when other kids are around (although he is LESS cool because other kids create tantrum-throwing situations) but when other kids are around, he's not around. He's busy! Off running and biking and digging and playdo-ing and whatever it is those kids do. But alone? SO AWESOME.

Case in point: He's been in Sunbeams at church since January (though he refused to go for 3 weeks), and there are 2 or 3 other kids in his class, including his cousin Amelia, so even though he goes now he is very reserved - he leaves it to other kids to have the personalities. Last week, though, he happened to be the only one, and after church his teacher came to me and said "he talked SO MUCH today! It was incredible!" Yep, get that guy alone and you won't be able to get a word in edgewise.

So Eli took a long, late nap the other day and stayed up 'til 9:00 with Joe and I and we were both having fits of laughter with how he was acting; he kept making this funny lip and he'd cock his head and roll his eyes up to the corner - we just died every time! Maybe it was a had-to-be-there kinda thing, but I tried to at least catch the lip for posterity.
 
Sadly, today he was practicing being awesomely sick. He's already the 2nd easiest kid this side of the Mississippi [with a nod to Elsha's baby Daniel in 1st place], and he seems to be even easier under the weather. For instance, he requested both a nap (which he took) and bedtime at 6:15 (which he went down at). Requested it, folks! Took his medicine without complaint! Complained a little when I made him wear a diaper, but eventually acquiesced anyway! Poor guy had a case of the runs and I have no idea how his night went down last night since I managed to completely sleep through it, but in the morning I found FOUR pairs of soiled pajama pants in the laundry basket. In the words of Ron Burgundy, "that's amazing! I'm not even mad!" For a 3-year-old to change his clothes four times in the middle of the night without crying AND put them in the hamper? W-O-W.  But to avoid the same situation tonight I put Eli, who has been potty-trained for 18 months now, in a diaper. He handled the shame pretty well. Hopefully tomorrow brings relief and his funny personality back.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Cribs, Pueblo Edition

Ethan has REALLY started getting a move on! He wiggles and squirms and bucks and rolls his way around the room, and it's really fun to watch! Not so much fun for bedtime. No more swaddling (these pictures were probably the last time of the last day that I swaddled him), he gets out of it in less than 2 seconds. Now he rolls over and gets stranded on his stomach in the night and wakes up to let me know he's NOT happy about being face-down, so I have to do midnight rescue flipping. Rescue flipping means the cradle is done for so now he is in a CRIB! Not a huge step, since lots of babies start in cribs from their first night home, but we in this family prefer cradles. Or bouncers. Or swings. Or in bed with me. Not cribs. So now that he's moving and is in a crib my heart is broken, my baby is becoming less of a baby every day :(

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Good Mourning

Even before she was pregnant with me my mom says she knew I was coming along because she kept hearing a baby cry. She'd check on my sister Elsha, who was still a baby, and she'd be completely peaceful, so my mom would go back to what she was doing. Then she'd hear a baby cry AGAIN so she'd check on Elsha, who was still peaceful. So she knew I was coming.

What she DIDN'T realize was that it was actually just mourning doves.  Garrrrr! We have these doves around our house and they fool me no less than 10 times a day, ever single day. Birds outside when I am inside should sound pretty quiet so I am always surprised when I've been fooled twice already in one morning and then I hear some very loud cries - now I am 110% SURE that it's a kid and not a dove. But NO! It's the doves! At breakfast, doves. In the shower (I can hear them in the SHOWER! Of course, we have a window in our shower, which is right next to some branches of our big tree, so it's not *quite* so miraculous), DOVES. Reading a book, doves. Getting ready for bed, random dogs barking. Okay, NOT doves that time since the doves are quiet at night, but I always get caught thinking a small neighbor dog yowling is one of my kids. Does this happen to other people, or I am I just insanely easily to fool?

Don't answer that.

Friday, March 15, 2013

ScrapGirl to the rescue!

Hold on, did I just call myself ScrapGirl?  And I'm rescuing you? When did THIS frame of mind hit our dear deluded Kirsta?
 
Well, I was reading my SIL's blog (hey Amy!) and she was saying that getting into scrapbooking can be tough - it's so permanent! So personal! She WANTS to, but it's hard to get started. So I was thinking of things I might say on her comment space, a tip or a trick that I use when I'm stuck, and I realised that I had LOTS to say. I've been scrapbooking since I was 16 (oh, heavens, that's been 13 years now, this is embarrassing) so I've got *ahem* a few years under my belt, and I've made some mental notes during that time that help me out. So I whipped up an email to her with all these ideas and when I was done I was so pleased with myself that I took the entire email and first turned it into this blog post right here, and then gave myself a superhero alter ego named ScrapGirl.
 
Okaaaay, maybe I'm not good enough to have an alter-ego, but yay for scrapbooking!  13 years ago when I started, stamping was big (remember that trend?) and scrapbooking was nonexistent, so I've always viewed it as an artsy means of mass photo preservation; now I think mostly what you see is highly decorated pages designed around 1 or 2 photos with about $20 of flotsam on it... and those can look GREAT. I'm not knockin' the flotsam. But that's like a photography excuse to make an artsy page, all backwards for my way of thinking. So if that's not your style (or in your budget) you shouldn't kill yourself trying to recreate that! Lots of other people choose scrapbooking as an upscale medium for preserving photos - LOTS of photos, not so much flotsam. Like I said, I fall into this second category - I hate to buy scrapbooking supplies (I love to SHOP for them, I just hate when it comes time to hand over a stack of Benjamins) but I LOVE to scrapbook; also, I have tons of photos I need to squeeze in and I can't highlight every single one. SO. With that in mind, here are some suggestions to help get your scrap on....

1. Start now... like, stuff from 2013
If you go back to when your first child was a newborn and try to scrap chronologically from that moment forward, the sheer volume of stuff you have to cover will be overwhelming. Instead of feeling fun, scrapbooking will feel like a chore, and who wants to do chores? Not me. It's much more inspirational to me to start with very recent things and then when I WANT to, when I have TIME and INSPIRATION, I go back and fill in the gaps. I scrap all the time and there's still plenty of
times when I fall woefully behind, so then I just jump ahead, start from NOW again, and go back and fill in later. Also, I'm much less attached to my recent photos, they're so easy to reprint if I completely mess up, and I can usually recreate them anyway (pictures of playing in the yard, dressed in funny getup, etc). Feeling more free in my scrapbooking approach by using recent photos can spark ideas for things I want to do on my more precious photos.

2. Get inspiration
Sometimes I'll sit for an hour debating over paper colors, possible accents, agonizing over what angle the pictures should be... and then I don't actually get anything down on the page. An easy way to skip that is to get a book about scrapbooking that you identify with. Like I said, people interpret scrapbooking lots of ways and there's plenty of reference books I look through and think "yeah RIGHT!" because it's not my style; then again, there are plenty that I look through and think "I want to recreate THAT PAGE (minus some expensive flotsam)." So hit Barnes and Noble or the library and find something to take home and get inspiration from. Then, as best you can, copy a favorite page. "Copy" sounds so ugly, like "plagiarism," but it's not - immitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  Now don't go crazy and drag yourself to Hobby Lobby to find the exact same materials or anything, but copy (or "be inspired by") the background color, photo layout, lettering style, etc with materials you already have and you'll be seriously surprised at how great YOURS looks. Ta-da! All the design flair, none of the wracking your brain!

3. KISS
You might not always feel the creative flair, even if you're copying, so I always say that less is more. Black and white? Perfect. Straight lines? So sleek and elegant. You don't have to cut your pictures into a collage, just keep them square with an accent square of paper behind it on a complimentary background, and you'll be pleased with how put-together it looks without feeling like you might regret it in the years to come. Ta-da! Upscale photo preservation in the guise of scrapbooking. I've never regretted a less-is-more page.

4. "Done is best"
I heard this saying about home projects - people tend to not finish them because of one or two small obstacles that they're not quite sure how to tackle, they know the project won't look or be perfect, so they leave it unfinished for years. Decades, even. Well, perfect or not, DONE is best. I tried to think of an exception to that saying and, well... I couldn't. Done IS best. Same with scrapbooking. I have plenty of un-favorite pages, color schemes that didn't quite pan out or pictures I wish I'd cut differently... but at least they're not stashed in a box where nobody can see them! (Not that you do that.) Some of those un-favorite pages I have gotten compliments on from other people, too, so it's not like they are AWFUL, they are just not MY favorites. And if I ever get really inspired and have loads of time on my hands and want to re-do them, I DO have them all digitally stored by year, separated into months, so I could easily find them again to reprint. But for now, DONE is best!

5. Digital Backup, baby
Final idea: burn your organized photos to CDs and label them; there is often a cd sleeve inside 12x12 scrapbook covers just WAITING for this. Then you have a record of all the original pictures (even ones you didn't scrapbook), untrimmed and un-glued down, that you can whip out and show an entire slide show of all the awesome moments, without tying yourself to SCRAPBOOKING all those awesome moments. It frees you up to scrapbook just your absolute favorites. Hey, you might even be able to do a flotsam-filled single-photo highlight of your kid on their 3rd birthday if you have all the other boring ones (necessary, but boring after 3 years, like unwrapping gifts) burned on a CD that's rightthere, chillin' in the CD sleeve. 
Take from this what you will, and scrap happy!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Time Wastin'

I have 4 busy kids and a kitchen that's mid-paint-job, so I shouldn't have much time to waste, but I manage to carve out a few minutes each day to do something I shouldn't - nap, read, scrapbook - anything BUT work on the *actual* project.  So the last 2 nights while Joe was at work I got busy scrapbooking, which I haven't done for MONTHS.  Thank goodness for painting cabinets, otherwise scrapbooking would never get done! I've also been engrossed in not one but FOUR novels, finishing "The Paris Wife" and "Water for Elephants" and still in progress on "The Sun Also Rises" and "A Moveable Feast." I don't normally bake, but this week I "found time" to make homemade cinnamon rolls AND 2 loaves of homemade oatmeal bread - soooo yummy, and soooo time-consuming! And why not re-start my canning hobby? That's right, I bought a 25-lb bag of carrots and got busy canning. How about blogging? I've been pretty good, right? Playing the piano simply HAS to get done, since I've decided to get some friends (who won't judge me too harshly) and have a mini-concert in May. When I don't want to read or scrap or bake or work on food storage or practice piano or blog... you can find me organizing our bar/countertop area (ALWAYS a mess) or cleaning out our magazine stash - I find it impossible to throw away a magasine unless I  I have fully reviewed it and torn out any articles/recipes/ideas I'd like to keep.  Then you can find me filing away those articles/recipes/ideas in my various folder.

NONE of which helps the kitchen cabinets get painted. Go figure. Can't wait for Joe finish up his work "week" and get me back on task! I need a little (lot) of prodding sometimes.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Practice makes perfect

My sister disagrees with the title; she always asserts (and rightly so) that "practice makes permanent." So let's make good habits permanent!

Patrick immediately wanted to take piano lessons when I got our piano; I wasn't so gung-ho. He was only 4, after all, and I think you need to be very motivated to be your child's teacher, otherwise your habits (*cough*laziness*cough*) will take over the motivation to keep up something new. Ethan was still so very new (it was, after all, gifted to me the week after he was born), so I certainly wasn't motivated. Now he's 5, Ethan's grown a bit, so I finally relented and he has had a few lessons, and though I enjoy giving him lessons I hate to nag about practicing! Nagging sucks. But there's no point in having lessons if you won't practice!  As a step in the right direction I put together a practice log; it's based on the log I kept for my teacher when I took lessons, but much bigger for my early-reader and with stars instead of # of minutes (we aim for 10 a day, small and manageable).

Still, practicing was sporadic at best, and he seemed to think if he had practiced once he had done his duty for the week. Uhhhh, no. Even twice isn't going to cut it (that's why I started at "3 days of practice"). So as an incentive to practice even more each week I came up with these jars:

Quart-size canning jars. GENIUS touch, I wrapped them in paper so the other kids don't get frantic for treats every time they look up on the piano, and I'm much less tempted to steal from the stash since I can't see it and there's a lid on it. They each hold "prizes" for practicing either 3, 4, 5, or 6 days each week.  Got 5 stars on your practice chart? Pick a prize from the "5 days a week" jar! The prizes get progressively bigger and better, of course, the more you practice.
 
3 days: little army men, hard candy, or a penny


4 days: Bubble gum, Reeces minis, plastic insects (trust me, these are good incentive for Patrick!), or a nickel

 
5 days: Milk duds, plastic animals, Spiderman toys (a paddle ball, top, yo yo, or kaleidoscope), or a dime. The boys are very into action heroes, so hopefully he'll aim high for the sake of Spidey.


6 days: WAY COOL dragons, mini snickers bars (by far the biggest candy), or a quarter

He can either have instant gratification (candy), extended gratification (a toy) or long-term gratification (saving his money up for something of his choice). All prizes came from the dollar store, so $10 got me prizes to last the year and beyond - not a bad deal! I'm also planning on putting notes in each, prizes like "stay up 15 minutes extra at bedtime" or "mom drops everything and bakes a batch of cookies" or something. I'm interested to see which ones he chooses!

Finally, I should note that I fully accept that this is a bribe.  "Wanna treat? Sit your butt down and practice."  I don't do bribes for things I consider necessities, like picking up toys, going to bed without a fuss, being good while we're shopping, being nice to siblings, or even using the potty (you HAVE to do that eventually, and we don't all get candy because we pooped. Just doesn't happen). But playing the piano is an extracurricular that I would like my kids to do, but I want THEM to want to. And if it takes a bribe to WANT to... so be it.  

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Pinned there, done that

I try not to be a terrible hypocrite, so I figured I should show that some pinned projects have been completed!
Pinned there...
 
Done that...

 
Pinned there...
 
Done that...

 Pinned there...
 
 WORKING ON that...
 Oh, yes, that gigantic mess will be lovely some day soon, we just got all the doors off and primed last night. Tonight we'll do the drawers. Then it's up to me to convince Joe that two-toned cabinets are the way to go instead of all white.

 And I pinned this, too, and made it for my parents for Christmas, but I never took a picture of it. Ours was different colors and said "Special Days" instead of "Family Birthdays" because it also included marriage anniversaries and dates people were sealed in the temple.

 Hooray! Pinterest CAN be fun and inspiring, not just a maddening mess of over-the-top ideas!


Friday, March 1, 2013

You pinned THAT?

Let's talk Pinterest for a second here. I thoroughly enjoy Pinterest. Enjoy, not love. Let me tell you why: people are OUT OF THEIR CRAZY MINDS when they pin stuff sometimes.

I think you should "pin" things you are seriously interested in, projects you might ACTUALLY do, recipes you have the time (and skill and ingredients) for, rooms in houses you could possibly afford to LIVE in, etc. Who creates an entire board dedicated to shoes, though? Oh... wait, I know about 4,000 girls who did. But who of those 4,000 has the cash flow for those SHOES?! Aren't we adults? Don't we have some bills? (No, just me? Oh, okay.) How about you pin one or two pairs of cute shoes you might actually purchase from your local Kohls (with your Kohls cash and coupons, I know you're not spending serious cash on shoes [because of those BILLS]) and NOT those designer spike heels/sky-high wedges you would never wear and can never afford. Why are people pinning things they will never buy?  Or how about the low-calorie meals? I'm sure they are delicious, but you're never gonna make rice with peanut sauce wrapped in lettuce ("only 158 calories in 3 rolls!") because you're husband is NEVER gonna accept that as an actual meal. And neither are you, sister - you will DIE OF STARVATION on 158 calories for your dinner. I SAW the 8-layer chocolate/cookie dough/ice cream cake you pinned, so who do you think you're kidding? You're not on a diet. You would immediately scarf the 8 layer cake after dying of starvation on those crazy peanut rolls. (Well, maybe not, since you'll probably never make either). Unless, of course, you plan to negate the cake by following through and doing some of those crazy excercise routines you pinned - 1) run for 5 minutes, speed 300. 2) do 65 squats with hand-weights (60 lbs). 3) Get your 8-layer cake-butt back on the treadmill, run for 5 minutes, speed 300. 4) 250 crunches. GO.  Then.... TA-DA! You will look like that INCREDIBLE (and incredibly underdressed) body you just pinned! You know, the one that has washboard abs, tones arms, lean and tan, big boobs, no freckles, no moles, no stretch marks, no hair, no cell..u..lite... wait a second. Good heavens, that picture has been photoshopped! Turns out, you actually canNOT look like that picture, in spite of the peanut wraps and the crazy workouts, and your legs would not look that incredible even if you DID drop $890 on Christian Leboutin heels (but they had hand-beaded deeeetaaaails!). Besides, you'd fall on your cake-butt if you tried to walk down the street in your overpriced footwear (that you wil nevereverever buy).

STOP THE MADNESS!

And stop pinning guys you think are so hot, I would be totally offended if I were your significant other. Would you put that poster up in your bedroom? No, it's in bad taste (like so many other ridiculous things you have pinned - bwahahaha!). And YOU would be totally offended if your significant other started pinning hot girls. In fact, you might even go on a rant about how they're all photoshopped and all that... "and don't get me started on the overpriced fashions that hot girl wears and what a crazy diet she must be on"...

In the meantime, don't be surprised if you see a completely snarky comment from me on Pinterest if you've pinned something I deem RIDICULOUS. Well, somebody had to call you ot on it, and today that somebody is ME.

You know what I do love? Craftfail.com (see it over on my sidebar? Yeah, over there to the right?) -  it calls outprojects (primarily from Pinterest) and shows how they REALLY turn out at home. Not pretty, folks! Funny! But not pretty.

Battle of the old(er) men

Grandpa versus Santa

On Christmas the kids got up a bit earlier than usual, about 6:30, to see if Santa had come and bring presents.

This morning the boys got up at 4:45, SO EXCITED, to see if Grandpa had come (he should get here around lunchtime).

And the winner is.... GRANDPA!