Sunday, June 30, 2013

Dream Bunting

I used my Grammy fabric on a no-sew project before I got my sewing machine. I had scored a nice large picture frame for $5 at a yard sale years ago. I ditched the ugly artwork inside, whitewashed the ugly gold finish and hung it above the bed empty. It looked pretty, but was lacking something. Then, I decided to jump on the bunting bandwagon and make a banner to hang in the frame.

I cut out a triangle template and traced around it onto several of my Grammy fabrics.

Cut it out with pinking shears

Ironed the fabric, then glued on large letters I'd cut out on a Cricut machine.

Then, I folded over a little of the top of each pennant.

Since I didn't have a sewing machine (yet) I used those iron-on jean patches to secure the triangles to twine. I cut the patches into strips.

Then I "sewed" the little flap I had ironed down earlier over the twine.

 Then, all I had to do was hang the twine from the corner of the frame. Voila!

Linking up to Kammy's Korner: Trash 2 Treasure Tuesday

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Rough Day

We're climbing the walls around here today.


First, I woke up the boys (instead of the usual other way around) and made them wear actual clothes. Then, I had to shower (a cold one - more on that in a minute) AND get dressed AND put on make-up. All of these things happen in the summer, but rarely all on the same day and never before 7 a.m. They headed to day care and I headed to a teacher conference. All good, right? Sure, but when we got home, holy hellaciousness!  We had exactly 35 mn to make supper, eat, and load up drinks, ball gear, and team snacks so we could head to the second of four baseball games this week. 

Ryan had had a less-than-stellar day repairing our water heater (three times!) so he was not his usual jovial self. To top it all off, throughout this crazy process and all during Reed's game, Small Child was a crankapotamous to the max (pun intended). After an evening of spankins, time outs, and ignoring tears, I had to carry out a threat I made: no snack after the game if you hit me again. "No! I punch you!" Max said, and then he did. 

So when snacks came out, he snuck in there with the players and little kids (Since Calvin's first experience with T-ball snacks, we always bring extra for siblings when it's our turn). Max grabbed himself a juice box and bag of graham crackers and gave me the sweetest smile and "Thank you." It was all I could do to take that snack away, but I firmly believe you HAVE to make good on threats (even if they were really stupid ones in the first place). So I reminded him of his knuckle sandwich from just a few minutes earlier and gently confiscated the snack. Let's just say the walk to the truck was long, loud, and full of stares. 

Somehow, though, we muddled through baths and bed time and now they're all sleeping like sweet little angels in their hammocks (Reed and Calvin have taken to hanging comforters from the top bunk and sleeping inside the fold.)  Ahhhh, summer...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Annoyance Control

You would think I would learn not to announce birthday invitations until the day of the party. But I don't. Instead, I tell the invitees the day we get the invite and then they ask me every single hour of every single day how much longer until the party. So, I wised up and made these countdown calendars. Betcha you can't guess what from...

Birth control packaging! Just remove the stickers, spray paint (if I make them again, I would rough up the plastic with sandpaper or steel wool first. Ours are chipping paint pretty badly)

Cut out inserts for the top (cute paper) and bottom (plain). Place the bottom paper behind the package. Then, use a pencil eraser to stamp dots through the holes. Add dates and stickers or pictures for special days that your kids will bug you about.

When you place the paper in the bottom half, your dots will line up perfectly with the holes, so you can punch one hole each day. 

With your eye...

You can discard the papers and replace every four weeks. There are only 28 days, so I just waited until the first full week in a month.

As if these guys aren't birth control enough...

Monday, June 24, 2013

They Should Put a Ball Pit in Every Grocery Store

One of the joys of our summer is our Wednesday trip to the library. There's always a cool presentation, prizes for reading, and stacks and stacks of books (though I wish they'd hide the Scooby Doo mysteries. I'm so sick of that dog!) One of the woes of our summer is the grocery trip that follows. My sister-in-law recently posted an adorable story about their little girl having a run-in with an angry mama and her boys at their grocery store. If it weren't for the 10 hours that separate us, I could swear that mama was me! Here are the highlights of our recent grocery runs:

- Immediately upon arrival wanting to check out the summer toy display for eight HOURS.
- Sneaking around trying to hide behind aisle displays, then popping out and expecting me to act surprised even though they tiptoed right in front of my cart
- Sitting on half empty shelves, pointing to price stickers, and declaring, "Look! I cost one nine nine!"
- Calvin getting lost on one of his hiding expeditions and being brought to me by a kind grandmotherly type (who, I'm sure, wanted to pin a marvelous mother medallion on my shirt)
- If they're not hiding (or lost in) the next aisle over, someone always, always, always touching the cart or being within1/8 of an inch of being run over.
- Saying, "I WILL run you over," right before an employee rounded the corner. Are grocery store clerks mandated child abuse reporters?
- Wondering out loud (loudly) who that lady was that just stopped to talk to me (when I totally couldn't remember her name or how I knew her!)
- Max pointing out every item that we have at our house. "Coffee! Daddy havs coffee at our house, Mommy!"
- "Can we get this?" 8 billion times, frequently followed by, "It's on sale..." They know their Mama so well. (When we ran out of salad dressing at supper recently, Max said, "We can get some on sale, Mommy?")
- My favorite weekly visitor. One boy gets behind the other and they become (and refer to themself/ves frequently as) "Four Arms," the grocery superhero, who helps load items (wanted or not) into the cart. He's faster, they insist, because he has four arms, duh! Too bad he also has four left feet.
- Purchasing the below-pictured gems within the first minute of one trip (stupid summer toy display). They were $6 a piece (that's four weeks' wages for Calvin!), but they just HAD to have them. Needless to say, they were banished to the cart within two minutes of our arrival. And I was just thinking we needed a few more weapons around here...

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Memory Books

During our How to Train Your Dragon obsession, I picked up a couple of dragon notebooks for the boys. Reed had also recently become obsessed with drawing, and he filled that sucker up with some priceless artwork. I decided to start a tradition on his next birthday. When he turned five, in addition to his other gifts, he got a decorated composition notebook.  Being the nerd that he is, it was his favorite gift. 

It's a real simple idea. Just buy cheap composition books, scrapbook paper, and letter stickers. Cover the front, back, and insides and mark the cover with the kid's name and age. On the first page, I asked a bunch of "favorites" questions to look back at later. I've made one every birthday since (Calvin was super jealous) and I LOVE to see how the boys' interests and drawing skills have changed. Since he started kindergarten, his phonetic writing has added further entertainment.  My favorite page from Reed's six-year-old-book is of a scene from Phineas and Ferb. It says "krsupuoretheplatupus" Translation for those not familiar with Dr. Doofenshmirtz or fluent in Hooked on Phonics: "Curse you, Perry the Platypus!"


The downside to teaching your kids to be independent? Sometimes, when you're not paying attention, your two-year-old fills a cup with water in the bathroom and throws it on you, the computer, and the couch in a gleeful attempt to start a water fight...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Sew Happy!

When I was a little girl, I stayed with my Grammy once and she taught me to sew. We started the cutest pink and white quilt for my doll. It was almost finished when I had to leave, but Grammy instructed me on how to finish it, and I fully planned to do so.

Then, it got shoved in a pile somewhere, and that was it.

I didn't sew for about twenty years. My sister-in-law, Jenica started her own business sewing the most adorable baby creations. Her creativity made me wish I could sew, but I didn't have time for the hobbies I already had, so I didn't lose too much sleep over it.

When my Grammy invited Jen and I to raid her fabric closet (yes, an entire walk-in closet of cuteness!), I accompanied her out of creative curiosity. Grammy, who has retired from making beautiful quilts (including my wedding quilt which serves as the background for this blog) told me to take anything I might want, too. I started reluctantly taking a few scraps from my wedding quilt, then ended up doing some full-on pilfering, feeling a little ridiculous when I came back with a small trash bag full of fabric that I would realistically probably never use.

Two years passed. Then, several months ago, to scratch my creative itch (and, if I'm honest, to get outta the house once a week) I signed up for a sewing class. It was for beginners, and I was the biggest newbie of all. But I figured it out, and made this bag from my Grammy fabric!

Some of those strips are scraps from my wedding quilt!  I was so excited that I asked for a sewing machine for my birthday. But my birthday was over a month ago and I've only recently gotten my gift out of the box.

But, oh, oh those summer nights! I've been in the habit of staying up until the wee hours of the morning working on projects or finding new blogs to stalk. Well one of these nights, I decided to test my unopened present out. And test, I did! In one night, I made:

a burlap bag to hold onions in my pantry

a bag to hold T-balls

Max's curtains

Added a "hem" to the bottom of a giant burlap coffee bag that I then used to make a skirt for our utility sink. 

I was up until 3 a.m. sewing hunched over on the floor with my leg stretched out to the side to press the foot peddle. And after each thing I finished, I'd give a little woop. They're nothing fancy, but what excites me is that something that started years ago finally happened! I've been feeling frustrated the past few years that I've been blessed with a creative mind, but my other little blessings keep me from ever being able to use it! Practicing on these simple projects has given me a new skill that I can have fun experimenting with. In fact, I recently bought a dresser that has missing drawers. I just finished sewing a tiny curtain to cover one of the empty spots. And Max's closet door broke a while back and I decided to sew a curtain instead of replacing the doors!

This summer is giving me some hope! I may still have a bajillion projects swirling in my brain, but at least I can cross off a few. Even if I have to stay up until the crack of dawn to find the time!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Paid in Full

Dear Mom and Dad,

Remember how I used to talk incessantly? About really pointless stuff, I'm sure. Remember how you used to ask me if I could please stop talking for two minutes? And I never could. Remember when I'd eavesdrop on your conversations and then ask you eleven thousand questions about them?

Remember when I argued with you every time you spoke a command? And sometimes when you didn't, just for fun? Remember when my debate tactics and loophole finding skills had you convinced I would be a lawyer? Remember when I would hold to a lie so hard that I convinced myself it was true?

Remember when you had to go in the broom closet "phone booth" because of my ability to impeccably time all my needs to correspond with your phone conversations (and bathroom breaks, I'm sure)? Remember when my favorite word was "no" and I practiced saying it often. Remember when I chose the exact opposite of whatever you wanted me to do?

Remember when you said you were praying I'd have a child like me to help me pay for my raising?

Consider yourself paid. With 300% interest.

P.S. I don't remember if I ever got in a habit of tooting in your general direction and then wishing you a Happy Birthday, but if I did, I've paid for that, too.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Ninety-eight percent of my kids clothes are stained and/or torn. So is my couch. There's an ever-present ring around our bathtub. I could lie and say I try to keep it scrubbed, but let's be real here - unless overnight company is coming, I don't. Dirt and grass are constantly tracked in my house, so the floors aren't clean either. We're a dirty family.

Our kids play with sticks. The pointier, the better, in their opinion. Calvin actually has a stick sword collection on the porch. We have a trampoline with no net (or mat). I let the bigguns jump on it with only distant supervision.  Wrestling is a daily event in this house. We tromp willy-nilly through tall grass. We remove ticks on a daily basis. We have B.B. guns, slingshots, and bows and arrows. The guns and bows are locked up, but the slingshots are in amongst the pirate costumes and superhero get ups, like it ain't no thang.

I'm sure lots of parents think we're a little (or a lot) out there. Our kids are dirty and rough. They might poke an eye out, break a bone, get Lyme disease, or worse.

And they might.

But they also might get leukemia, get hit by a car, or be a victim of a school shooting. They also may grow up scared of everything. Or soft and lazy. So, I guess we weigh the risks and rewards and choose the best scenario. And for our family, that's dirty and rowdy.

Because this:

This is what childhood is all about.