Thursday, March 27, 2008

Being a Mom

I have been filling out kindergarten forms and calling the doctor for immunization records and making sure the kids are healthy and trying new discipline strategies and working on sharing and encouraging kind words and not allowing baby talk and explaining why washing hands is important and not spitting and all the rest of those 'rules'.


We all know motherhood is a lot of work and it seems like a lot of reminding and persuasion and teaching (or lecturing, if you happen to be on the receiving end). That is being a mother.


What I really enjoy is the Mom part. When I was growing up, I always wanted to be a mom. I don't think I ever said I wanted to be a mother. It was mom. To me, the mom was the fun, cool mom that did creative projects with her kids and took them for walks and bike rides and playgrounds. The mom had kind, thoughtful, creative kids that wanted to do all those things with her. I love when kids get an idea in their head and there is absolutely no way to squelch it. I try to bring the idea down to something a little more realistic. "That's a great idea, but maybe not so big, after all, you should be able to lift it and play with it."


Sam had one of those. Last Friday night. "Mom, can you yarn me a car?"

Simple.

Not quite: A purple car, with eyes and a smile and a tailpipe and windows and a number on both sides and headlights and stickers and a license plate. And then you can make her twin, so Oscar can play, too.

How could I deny my creative little one that loves his Mom? That is what a mom does.

And this is what I did:

Boy with Books

Loving this picture. What you can't tell is that he was very particular with where each book was placed. It was a lesson in stacking. A couple books slid off the pile to the right and he had to re-place them on top of the "pile".

Boy.

Books.

Yum.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Traditions

'New tradition' sounds so much better than 'last minute traditions'.
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Eggs aren't a staple in this house. The little guy hasn't started with them at his age, I am allergic, Sam is ambivalent, and Tom enjoys eating egg salad much more than making it.
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Much to my surprise, Tom bought eggs and the dye kit for he and Sam. I thought it was cute. What made me smile more, is that we colored the eggs on Easter morning. It was one of the calmest, most peaceful and relaxing Easter days we have had, well at least since we had the kids.
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Sam went for a long visit with Granny. It was great for him to spend time with Granny and not have to worry about someone chasing the little one or balancing the 20 minute visit around nap and travel times.
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But most of all, it may have contributed the the "peaceful" feeling of this Easter. Not because he was gone, but because O got to enjoy the space of the house and all the toys without being nudged, pulled, swiped, hugged, or stepped upon. We put some cd's in and he played by himself and his new bunny cars for hours. I am not exaggerating, at least 3 hours. We tried to get him to take a nap, but he would quickly answer "no" and continue playing with the cars and looking at books. Hard to fight with a quietly playing child.
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Not sure if it was the music instead of the television (we really need to work on keeping the TV off) or the full reign of the house, but either way, I'd like to make that morning and afternoon my new last-minute tradition.
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We had a great night with (get ready Keith): A Gluten Free feast including Braised Leg of Lamb with a Rosemary Raspberry reduction, Smoked Maple Cured Ham on the Bone, Four Cheese Potato Onion Bake, Grilled Seasonal Vegetable followed with Chocolate Puddin' with fresh strawberries and pineapple. (Does that sound better than Hopefully fully cooked lamb and jam, ham, casserole and frozen veggies out of a bag?)
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Ahh, the afterglow of a great meal, with great family and fabulous day.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Linking Around


I am still working on the Etsy.com idea and October seems realistic, although I have nothing made for that time, at least I can get all the technical stuff (and taxes) done first.

Yesterday I made a Light Box and am now experimenting with lighting and settings on the camera. I have a LOT to learn. Out of 50 shots, only 6 are decent enough to look at.

Here are some fun links for the day:

Honey Peanut Mini Cupcakes, Yum!

Everybody should own a monkey

Photo contribution for a new book based on hearts Deadline is June 2008, I have to try, right? Any one else up for the challenge, Lisa?

Vintage collage work that is cute

Photoshop disaster. This is why photoshop isn't always a good thing

Monday, March 17, 2008

Header

Just a quick thanks to my awesome sister-in-law and friend for spiffing up my photo of my favorite shuttle that is now my blog header. You can find the magical stylings of Lisa at G Whiz Studio and make sure you check out her Image Factory through Cafe Press. These are her designs that you can put on anything from a t-shirt to a mug. Thanks Lisa!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Mahalo


I hope they don't mind.
We visited Granny for an Egg Hunt and Sam brought along his Ukelele to show Granny.
Very cool, in so many ways. Reminds me of when Grandma Ruth taught me how to play Deep in the Heart of Texas on the organ. Such memories of two pointer fingers touching those keys while keeping the worst time.
Thanks Grandma. I'll know that tune forever.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Two Weeks

If you don't like the weather in Buffalo, wait fifteen minutes.
We have all heard it.
If you don't like the way your child is acting, wait two weeks.
Well, maybe not "wait", but within two weeks, the (at least mine) child will either change the bad behavior with encouragement, or pick up something even worse than the first bad behavior.
Sam is working on a bead curtain for his room. Good behavior gets beads, bad behavior loses beads.
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This is a really boring post.
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Etsy update: I am moving ahead with the business end, got myself a separate bank account to use exclusively for PayPal/Etsy. Now waiting for PayPal to confirm my new bank account. Banks really enjoy the "3-5 days" timeframe. Maybe I'll try that on the kids. Next time they want something I'll say, "sure honey, in 3 to 5 days, working days". Right!
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We need some sunshine and dry sidewalks around here! Anyone agree?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Baby Julia Blanket



Good friends of ours are expecting a little pink bundle of joy.
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What to make...should I just buy something? So much easier.
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There were plenty of options on the registry, but nothing spoke to me. I didn't see anything that was scrumptious. Not a word usually associated with a baby registry, but I think you know what I mean. Something to last, something to curl up in, something to grow with the baby and not be donated three months after the first use.
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I was browsing the web or my self proclaimed: blogumping: to jump via links from one blog to another. I found a gal that made simple burp cloths out of flannel material. Cute idea. Then, I found some really adorable vintage looking fabric with children playing with dolls. After concluding my blogumping for the day, I couldn't find either site. Note to self, mark as a Favorite before blogumping again.
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I wasn't overwhelmed with my choices of fabric at our local chain store. I knew that the colors for the baby's room were lots of pink, with brown accents. The store shelves held lots of typical white flannel (no mother would gift to a new mother anything white - especially something intended for spit-up) with baby blocks in the usual pastels, little chicks, and Spiderman. Oh, and deer heads mounted above a fireplace (there has to be a project for that fabric).
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Then, I found it. White and green toile. Perfect. What girl doesn't like Toile?. Even if it is often pronounced incorrectly (twall as in fall). It is sophisticated, historical, and heartwarming. The toile led me to the coordinating stripe, which became the back of the blanket after I chose it as my favorite over the toile. I picked up a polka dot in green and pink and brown solid flannel. I know, here you go thinking I am crazy with the brown. It's a girl, I know. But the brown chocolatey goodness with the pink is perfect. And, it is a burp cloth, not a dress.
I had a great time making the burp cloths. Measured them by feel and fit. On my shoulder for the standard position. On the floor for a diaper change. Over the head for a mid-day snack (after second reading, this sounds pretty funny, no I don't eat snacks with a towel on MY head). They were all different, backed in opposing fabric and pink thread. Yes, pink thread.
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Then the blanket. Hmmm. What to do. I didn't have much left in the way of full pieces of fabric. Thoughts of my sister-in-law came through (Hi, Brooke!) and her amazing quilting. If you know me, you know I don't follow rules. It is no surprise that I can't quilt in the "perfectly measured-1/8" seamed-matching corners" kind of quilting. Brooke's work is breathtaking. She has a great eye for colors and patterns and her corners are PERFECT! Since I am not Brooke, I did it my "estimated-eyeballed-close enough" way. I stitched some triangular strips of fabric down the long side and after a couple cuts and lines of stitching, came up with this top. I wanted to keep it soft and thin, but warm and didn't sandwich my two layers around anything (neither batting nor interfacing). I think the final product came out great. My edges were a little wacky and a couple too many puckers, but I loved it.
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I think Julia will love it, wacky edges and all.
Two Notes:
I finished the night before at 11:38 pm, time to spare (and sleep).
I used Photoshop on the first pic with my eldest and the blanket. The light from the window was too strong.
Check out my new blog find: Tula Pink. I am also adding it to my list on the right (it's a Quilting Blog, Brooke!)
And welcome baby Ferris (his mom will be carrying his bottles in the pleather-skulled messenger bag!).

Friday, March 7, 2008

Buying Spring



Thanks, Mom! What a difference a little green does for the mind. This picture was taken with my back facing our front window. Had I turned around, you would have seen pure white.

Snow.

Again, or still, depending on how you take it.

Where is that little March Lamb???

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Spongy Lou: An Update


Use fresh baking soda!
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AND it is possible to overdose on homemade sponge candy.
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The second batch still sunk a bit, but left this beautiful sponge. And the taste, this is MUCH better than the first batch. I also bought new vinegar. I failed to mention the size of pan I used, 9x13 - but I would suggest a little smaller. The disposable foil baking pans are easy to pop out the sponge, but anything will work as long as you spray it first. If you don't have a candy thermometer, this will be a tough judgement call, but boil for about 10 minutes until you first smell that burning scent, then remove and add your baking soda.

I was watching Finding Nemo for the second time today (first time at approximately 5:34 a.m.) and felt my mouth water as the young fish were jumping on the sponge beds. Delish!

I can't wait till this chocolate hardens for the 'sampling' to begin.

My mom said it was National Procrastination Week and since we all know how much I LOVE to procrastinate, I found this posting on the NPR website. The title threw me for a second, I promise I didn't plagiarise it with this blog entry from a while back, guess I am not as witty as I thought.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Spongy Lou


Until I moved to Chicago, I didn't know that sponge candy was a regional treat. My co-workers were very afraid when I first offered them sponge candy, but ever since, they still ask specifically for some on my annual visits to the office.

I love sponge candy but it was the last thing on my mind yesterday at the craft show. My mom and I (well, mostly my mom) set up Wash My Cloth (our 'all About Us' page is up, thanks Lisa!) at the local middle school on Saturday. It was less than stellar. However, the day wasn't a bust. I met Louise.

Louise makes beautiful fabric dolls. Raggedy Ann and Andy, finger puppets and those Little Red Riding Hood dolls that turn upside down and inside out to become not only Little Red, but her Grandmother and the Wolf. Beautiful attention to detail and clearly made with love.

When there aren't any customers, vendors begin to commiserate with each other. I had mentioned why I thought selling through Etsy.com was a much better idea than a table in a gymnasium. One vendor heard me and the conversation began.

I was telling Louise about Etsy and she got out her pen and jotted it down on her notebook. I had a preconceived notion about Louise that she didn't know much about computers. I was clearly mistaken. Not only did she know a good amount about computers, she had a Facebook account and plays Scrabble on line with her family in Sweden. Then, we talked about my weaving. We realized we took the same weaving class at Buffalo State College with the SAME teacher. Louise had Nancy Belfer when Nancy just started teaching. I had Nancy the year before she retired. Small world.

But here is the magic. Louise makes her own sponge candy. I can't believe how few ingredients compose the sponge part. Here it is:

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup dark Karo syrup

1 tbsp. white vinegar

1 tbsp. baking soda

24 oz Milk Chocolate (I used chips, melting chocolate would work, too)


Combine sugar, syrup and vinegar in pot. Heat to 290-300 degrees, stirring constantly. Remove from heat* and add baking soda. Mix well, pour mixture in baking pan sprayed with Pam or other quick release spray. Place in cool area**. Once dried, break apart***. Coat in melted milk chocolate. Eat!

* Not totally sure about this, I did remove from heat to add the soda.

** Not sure if it should be refrigerator or just a cool area. I left it on the counter and it seemed to sink. Could either be the lack of cool air to quick cool, or the fact that my Baking Soda could be from 2005.

*** This will yield odd shaped pieces. You won't be able to cut with a knife. Louise lays the knife on its side and taps the sponge to crack it. I jammed the tip of the knife in the sponge and tapped the end and it just cracked apart in decent sizes.

If my sponge didn't sink, it would definitely be comparable to the high end sponge candy. Mine was harder than the usual and didn't stick to my teeth as much as the commercially made sponge.

I am amazed at the small cost of ingredients relative to the cost of the commercially made sponge. Try it, it is easy, and can get some aggression out with the breaking of the sponge. And please add a comment if it works or doesn't work for you. Next time, I am going to try it with new baking soda and light Karo syrup.

I hope Louise doesn't think I am a stalker. I gave her this blog address.

She is going to think I am a stalker.

At least I am a crafty stalker with a sweet tooth.

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Just found this on etsy.com, I must say, I am a bit scared. Talk about smelling like you were out all night drinking...