Tuesday, December 20, 2011


There are so many things I want to show you, but all the lovelies are going to those that may happen upon this blog in the next couple days.  Normally I wouldn't care, but some of these are just to obvious. 

Instead, I will show you some really cool ideas and happy things I found while browsing Pinterest in the past couple months.  When all else fails, browse Pinterest. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Gift

Late Sunday evening.

I finished frosting the cut out cookies with natural food coloring so that all members of my family can enjoy. The yellow is great. The blue appears as a vibrant purple. The red is lovely. The green, well, we still need to figure out how to mix yellow with purple to make green, not brown.

My tree cookies match our real tree. We picked a dud tree. It hasn't taken in any water since we bought it over a week ago. Needles are falling and it's lush green is a little bit like mixing purple with yellow.

Shopping is done, baking is done, the wrapping is nearly done, and it feels good.
Just before I sat down, I was wrapping a homemade gift for Sam when I smiled. Earlier, I read a friend of mine was overjoyed with an early Christmas present. A present that is from a high end shop, one in which we could never afford, nor particularly want.

I smiled at the simplicity of the object I was wrapping.  Just a little hand crocheted and felted starfish in red.  The color and size and shape was very important to Sam.  I hope it is exactly as he imagined.

Here's hoping for a boy that is as overjoyed with this "yarny" as my friend was for her gift. 

Remember what your mother always said, "It's the thought that counts."

So as you rush around this week, take a moment to smile and find joy in something simple.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Photo Class

My father and I took the "Nuts and Bolts" Photography class taught by Mary Frost at Campos Photography aka iprintfromhome.com.   This class was great.  We brought our cameras and our manuals and were taught a few simple techniques to get better photos out of our cameras.  It's amazing what a couple clicks can do for a photo.

I've fallen in love with my camera once again.

Our assignment was to shoot in Program Mode and adjust our light.  Couple clicks down and a couple clicks up.  But mostly, Mary taught us that if we take a photo, to always look at the histogram.  The black and white mountain graph.  If the black mountain climbs a wall, adjust your brightness.  Since last week, I rarely look at my photo, I'm mostly looking at the histogram.  This let's me know that I have captured all the information in the photograph and if I need or want to, I can edit the photo in software.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Our First Snowfall

We live in Buffalo.

Buffalo, NY.

The town with the bad rap when it comes to snowfall.  It is December 9th and this is our first snowfall of the year, aside from light flurries that melted before they hit the ground.

O was upset.  I had promised the grass would be covered by the time they got off the bus.  Alas, the weatherman was wrong...once again.  What a great job.  You can be wrong half the time and still be considered a good weatherperson.

These two boys are having fun, regardless of the amount on the ground.  They may have to move to the neighbors' yards for more snow, but that doesn't seem to matter much today.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


The big green machines.

I am lazy when it comes to rolling change in those wrappers.  The time I would spend is surely better spent doing something else.  And that is why giving 9.8% to CoinStar is okay by me.

I had planned on getting the cash back, until I saw they now have Amazon.com and iTunes gift cards for your money.  All of your money.  They don't take a penny.

Before you deposit your money, you select the gift card (basically a gift receipt) that you desire, and agree to all the legal language.  Once you complete dumping all of your change into the machine, a receipt prints out.  That code is available immediately.

This is a great opportunity to purchase items on line, if you are worried about your credit card.  You could put cash (yes, paper money works in CoinStar) into the machine, and get a gift receipt for Amazon.com, then make your purchases, feeling safe that your information is secure.  I haven't tested this theory of not having to enter a credit card number, assuming your certificate covers the full amount of your purchase, this should work.

Either way, when kids get money as gifts or allowance and would like to buy something from Amazon, they could deposit this money into CoinStar and get the receipt for no cost.

And for my coffee loving friends, Starbucks is no fee certificates, as well as ToysRUs, CVS, JCPenney, Land's End, Gap and Regal Cinemas.  A full list of the no fee certificates are here. 

You can even donate to the Red Cross through CoinStar.

Something for everything.  I'm looking at my coin jar differently these days.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Cactus

My thumbs aren't green.  They aren't black, either.  Sometimes I have luck, other times I just have dead plants.

I have found the plant for me.  The Christmas Cactus.  Loves being dry.  Like rock hard dry.  And after you forget about it for months, it comes back with the most abundant and interesting flowers ever.
I wish I could have timed this one a bit better, as in a delay of a week or two, but I'll take it.

My orchid...isn't doing as well.  It makes me nervous. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Stuffed, Clean and Trying to be Prepared

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Stuffed myself on chicken wing dip and gluten free stuffed mushrooms before the turkey even came out of the oven. 

Today, we did a big cleaning of the house in preparation for the holiday season.  I truly enjoy a clean house, why is it that I let it get out of hand?

Yesterday, I tried to be proactive and not be stressed at the 15th of December trying to come up with a Christmas card picture.

This was the best one.  I kid you not.  It was an epic fail. 

Sadly, I'm tempted to use it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

As I realize that tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I know, it's been on the calendar for 364 days, but holidays always seem to creep up on me, no matter how hard I try.

This morning, as I turned on my computer to check work email, I saw this.
My big guy.  Working on a book.  At 8:00 AM.  Our dining room table has become the author studio.  I think he loves all the paper and pencils and tape and markers and 'craft line cutter' all strewn about.  It's almost a rustic mess.

Last night, he told me he is going to be an Author Illustrator, but more of the Illustrator part.  He is going to be famous and his book, this book, will be available in the library.  Perhaps even made into a movie.

I love this kid and his creativity.  He told his brother that being creative and making books is healthy.  And he is unhealthy because he is always playing computer games.

And the big guy is right.  He is often playing some electronics.  Our new rule, you want to play iPad, you must do 30 math facts.  You want to watch TV, you must do math facts.  Math Facts on the iPad are so much more fun than flash cards.

We have a healthy mix of activities here, we can always do better, but for now, I am thankful how things are working.

And I'll be sure to let you all know the date that the big guys book is available for purchase at your local bookstore, or if so inclined, as an eBook!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


It's no secret that O is a loving boy.

He is playing Pokemon Yatzee with his father.

Big Brother is watching, and I am "working".  I've been doing data entry for what feels like months.  Oh, it has been months.  Hopefully the looming work will dwindle as the brokers seem to check out for all of December.

So, as I am entering some data, O kisses his big brother. 

What a good, kind, loving boy.


Big brother just returned the sentiment. 

I must be in another dimension.

The shops have been busy this week and I'm trying desperately to get some more items in the WashMyCloth shop.  I have a couple purses, a pillow and some new stockings that will hopefully show up before Christmas!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Imagination and Creativity

We have new neighbors across the street.  The mom is from Japan and asked me the other day about some American customs and proper American etiquette.  Oxymoron?  American Etiquette. 

She was afraid she wasn't being a good mom and wanted some advice on the most important things to teach her kids.

I told her that if they use Please and Thank You, they will be all set.

On Friday, I was watching my kids out our front window setting up this mini obstacle course, like they have done before, and realized I need to add two more things to that list.

Imagination and Creativity.

Imagination to realize your dreams and set goals.

Creativity to not sit in a box and copy what others have done before you.  This doesn't mean you have to make clothes, or build shelving, or develop the newest software.  Just explore your mind.

This is my parenting advice for Monday morning.  Say Please and Thank you and be imaginative and creative.

And if you didn't ask for it (which you didn't) too bad.  And if you don't have kids, still use Please and Thank You.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Morning

 I am smitten with this project.

It is so easy, so cheap and I think it looks funky.

The photo from Pinterest and my post last night, showed the original just painted white.  I have enough plain walls in my home, that I wanted a little more color.  I picked up a dark blue that looks like denim.  I thought I would paint it heavy, but as the sponge brush was sliding the paint down the grain of the canvas, I had to stop.  The glue took the paint 100%, and the white canvas soaked in some of the paint.  My brush took much of the paint off as well.  I used about 1/3 of a small bottle of acrylic paint.

This is another view with light catching it in a different way.

Now...the possibilities.

Kid's art?  Christmas Tree?  Spring flowers? 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saturday Night

I've seen this come up on Pinterest a couple times.

And I've thought...so easy, I need to try.

And so I did.

Elmer's Glue on a canvas.  That is it...until it dries.

Friday, November 18, 2011

{this moment}

So maybe not the most intriguing, sentimental this moment post, but I do want to remember these pomegranate seeds...how beautiful and sweet and tart at the same time.  But mostly, I want to remind myself that this bright red from nature is the only kind of red dye we need.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Monsters on my Driveway

We had a great couple days around here.  It was warm enough to pull out the chalk.

Chalk led to monster mouths.  Teeth all over my driveway.  Apparently, if you step inside a mouth on the driveway, you will get eaten.  This is not good news.

Especially if you want to go inside...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Crafting with My Boy

We got an early start on our "Homemade Christmas".  O was very willing and interested in making a gift.

Unfortunately, that interest fizzled out when approached by his older brother to play.

So, we have one completed homemade gift.  And if that weren't enough...hold on to your seats (especially my mother), O and I assembled little bags for his classmates for CHRISTMAS..yes, an event over a month away.  Completed. 

Something is happening to me...I even had to ask my Sister-in-Law to update my nephews' and niece's wish list...she is usually asking me!  Maybe it's the weather.  Maybe it is the new year I added on to my age.

Or perhaps I'm just procrastinating so that I don't have to clean the house?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Perfect Cupcake

 via Pinterest

Seriously beautiful.

I'd like to imagine these are red velvet AND gluten free.  Play along with me, won't you?

I also found the most adorable little hat.


And since we are Pinterest and I am too lazy to see if I have any post worthy photos on my camera, and I have a pile of things for the shop I want to finish, I'd like to leave you with this...

Source: ffffound.com via Bill on Pinterest

Monday, November 14, 2011

Leaves Are Gone

Sometimes, I think I got "the" picture.  This time, I was pretty sure I didn't. 

And then I saw this one.  So silly.  No idea what O was doing here.  Earlier in the day, the boys were playing with face paint sticks.  Love face paint sticks.  Beats the Sharpie on the face any day.  And yes, we have had Sharpie on the face in the past.  This rain and wind has taken the last of our leaves to our neighbor.  I love a good wind.

As I am typing this, the boys, all three of them, are watching The Hobbit.  The cartoon version with all the songs.  This is the movie that Tom loves.  He tried to have me watch it multiple times.  And for each time, I fell asleep.  I just have a hard time getting interested in a cartoon.  But this time, I think will be different.  This is the second time for the boys watching it and already they seem to be re-enacting and talking about different scenes.

It will be interesting to see if they hold this movie as dear to their hearts as their Dad.

The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.
Today and tomorrow are yet to be said.
The chances, the changes are all yours to make.
The mold of your life is in your hands to break.

The greatest adventure is there if you're bold.
Let go of the moment that life makes you hold.
To measure the meaning can make you delay;
It's time you stop thinkin' and wasting the day.

The man who's a dreamer and never takes leave
Who thinks of a world that is just make-believe
Will never know passion, will never know pain.
Who sits by the window will one day see rain.
The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.
Today and tomorrow are yet to be said
The chances, the changes are all yours to make
The mold of your life is in your hands to break.

The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

BNL Bad Day

The Barenaked Ladies have a great Children's Album called Snacktime.  The songs are true to the BNL exciting, funny and up tempo style.  One song has caught my heart, Bad Day.

Now don't get all down thinking that I'm down in the dumps, I'm not, I just LOVE this song.  The BNL version is so much better - I just don't know how to get that on to a blog from a CD, new computer, rights and all.  So this will do, this guy does a fairly good job and if you google BNL Snacktime, you can hear some of the live clips from the BNL tour.

If you have a child on your Christmas List and need something different...this is GREAT!  Parents will even enjoy it, and by enjoy it, I mean not tear your eye balls out when the kids request 'children's music'.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

It's All Greek To Me

O got a Wii game for Christmas last year.  He is just now getting into it.  And by into it, he is now talking in tongue.

"Mom, you won't believe this but when Hyperion attacks Rhenoinal with his fire power then that unlocks the doom dimension and releases the ultimate Firenenioloid.  According to my calculations if we just get Rhenoinal and you just need to get the bonus on we know how to do it."


Friday, November 11, 2011

{this moment}

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

 If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chicago Fruit

I have been going through my old photos, editing, deleting, saving and came across this one.  It is from Sam and my visit to Chicago in August.  We had just completed our drive by of our home on Eddy Street near Pulaski and Addison.  Oh, how I love that neighborhood. 

Surprisingly, not much has changed since I last saw the neighborhood.  The house looks like it did when I saw it last, except that poor tree in our front yard.  Tom and I planted that tree.  We were so proud of that little tree.  I want to go help by just standing there with my hand supporting the 55 degree angled trunk.

I miss that old house.  From the Zodiac neon contact paper used as wall paper in the kitchen, to the checkerboard siding used in the foyer to the 23 layers of paint on the banister, I loved it all. 

This wallpaper was the best...

This was Sam's house...I remember these days so fondly...

Now I'm all nostalgic and sad...at the time, those days seemed so hard, but now, they seem so easy.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

You are Valuable

This boy is funny.

This boy is smart.

This boy is sassy.

This boy is sweet.

This morning, he jumped in my bed, snuggled for a bit, then told me, "You are valuable".

Where does he come up with this stuff?  Does he have any idea how much I loved it?

We finally made it to the Lion King.  That was a long 4 month wait.  Well worth the wait, nonetheless.

O loved the show.  He was so excited.  Each time a new character came out he would ask what they are supposed to be (grass and leaves were a bit tricky for him to conceptualize at first) and at the change in each scene he would ask if the show was over.

It was great.  It was a nice day for me and my baby.

I think it is important to have one-on-one days.  In exchange for this day, Sam got a long weekend in Chicago (which I don't think I ever showed you...).

And remember, you too, are valuable.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Saturday night, we celebrated the ninth birthdays of my niece and nephew.  While there, we chatted about the primal diet, school teachers and TV programs.

The dawn of Netflix instant streaming and borrowing DVDs from the library are making for a great new week.

Luther.  A six episode mini-series by BBC featuring Idris Elba.  Wow. 

From the website:  Luther is a gripping, psychological thriller driven by a brilliant and emotionally impulsive detective tormented by the darker side of humanity.

Beware, that the website gives away a crucial bit of information in the second paragraph About the Show that happens at the end of season one.  Skip the website, go right to Netflix.

Excellent show.  Excellent.

My Sunday

Daylight Savings Time...why?  Why must we do this?  It messes with my head for three days after the 'bonus' hour.  It's only a bonus when you are without children.  Children don't understand and when they wake up at 6 AM to 'play', you must oblige.
The one aspect I enjoy, is the earlier darkness that messes with my kids' heads.  Seven o'clock looks so much like 8 o'clock at night and therefore, their internal clocks help me with earlier bedtimes. 

Early bedtimes are good times.

(I've missed two days of posting for the month and it kind of bums me out, so I'm catching up)

My Saturday

Aside from my own, these are some of my favorite little people.
Photo shoot at Margaret Louise Park, Amherst, NY

Friday, November 4, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Chistmas...

...Mostly on my Pinterst Boards.  Pinterest is great for quick ideas without all the extra words and links.  Loving this wreath made from canning jar lids.
Source: etsy.com via Carrie on Pinterest

This cute ornament reminds me of my Grandma Ruth.  She used to do paper quilling and I often see the supplies at the store and think about trying it, but haven't yet taken the plunge.  Something like this may just help me jump off the edge.

Garland!  How cute, just two pieces of felt with short cuts in the middle and feed the ends of the felt through the slit.  I think this would be adorable in lime green and red (perhaps to match my polka dot garland).

And this is the tree skirt I dream of...

Someday...of course, it needs a touch of lime green in there somewhere.

If you don't already use Pinterest...take a gander.  It's lovely.  You can start here, with my boards.  Once there, just click on the Pinterest red logo at the middle of the page and it will take you to the home page.  Or just click on the red button to the right of this post, toward the top of the page titled "follow me on Pinterest".

It's breakfast for dinner (again).  This time, Tom is out, so the boys and I will enjoy Gluten Free Pancakes.  I'm listening to them playing Pokemon on the Wii (no school tomorrow) and it's a totally different language.  I'm amazed at O's language skills.  Ambipom, Truccera, Turtwig, Grottle and  Blazacur fall from his lips like dog, cat, run and ball should at the age of five.