Friday, May 27, 2011

Something Special Saturday - 5/28/11


In two more months, I might not say that with quite so much enthusiasm, but it sure is how I feel today!  As much as I appreciate the wonderful opportunities my children enjoy from our excellent local schools, I do a happy little dance at the thought of having them home to stay for a few months.  I love the simpler days of summer and the way it seems to free up our schedule.

That being said....I like to have a little structure to our days.  Flexible structure, but I like having a few ideas of what we're going to do each day.  This year, I have visions of craft projects to go along with the books we'll be reading.  I've been pinning lots of ideas on my Pinterest boards.  I'll be honest, I've selected the crafts before the books.  But hey---I'm an English major.  I'm all about finding layers of meaning in literature, right?  I bet I can find a layer or two in any book that goes along with the following fun art activities.

Painting with wax on rock from 5 Orange Potatoes.

Paint with marbles from The Mother Huddle.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Pretty Apron

This week I'm republishing a popular post from last spring in honor of The CSI Project's Refashions {Upcycled Clothing} Challenge.  
Once upon a time, I dropped by Goodwill to check out the glass aisle.  I was in the mood for making more apothecary jars--and possibly some cake stands, too--for my sewing room.  On the way to the glass aisle, I passed the Wall of Dresses.  I rarely ever give the Wall of Dresses anything more than a passing glance.  Usually that passing glance lands upon someone's old bridesmaid dress, and I have a quiet giggle.

This time, however, was different.  My passing glance paused upon these two dresses.
 It was the fabric that did it.  The fabric and that ruffle on the brown one.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Letters of Apology

Here in our little bit of Holland, we have good days, and we have bad days.  We have happy days, and we have sad days.  We have delightful days, and days that are downright trying.  In short, we're just like everyone else.

And, just like everyone else, I think my kids are pretty darn perfect.  Except when they're not.  Believe it or not, there are times when these children of mine get themselves into hot water.
Take the other day.  We were on our way home from church.  I wasn't feeling well.  The Bionic Man was really tired.  The two children in the backseat, on the other hand, were alive and well and telling the world just how good life was with some screechy singing.  Intentionally screechy singing.  The Bionic Man asked them nicely to please stop singing like that, because it was giving him a headache.  The screeching stopped briefly, only to begin again.  I reminded them of their father's request, and of our rule about not making sounds in the car that hurt people's ears.  It wasn't long before the screeching started up again.  The Bionic Man again told the children to tone it down.  And--once again, after a brief respite--we soon heard screeching from the back seat.

Monday, May 16, 2011

True Confessions: My Sewing Room

Remember when I told you I was redoing my sewing room?

{crickets chirping}

Really?  You don't?  That could possibly be because I made that declaration over a year ago.  Oh dear.

I told you all of my good intentions for that room here.  I even provided an oh-so-charming "inspiration board" for the so-called Aqua Poppy Sewing Room.
Then I set about giving the room a complete overhaul.  I mean, really, it needed it.  Remember?  Piles of stuff everywhere?

{more crickets chirping, owl hooting}

Oh, you don't remember that?  Well, let me provide you with a link to my before shots of the sewing room...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Something Special Saturday - 5/14/11

I can't believe it is already Saturday.

Mind if I start today's version of SSS with a bit o' bragging?  And shameless advertising?

I think I've mentioned that earlier this year, I was hired by The CSI Project to do some of their writing.
The best things about my job?  I get to know who wins the weekly craft competitions before anyone else AND I get to discover all kinds of amazing home decor and craft blogs as I write up the different posts.  How amazing is it that I'm getting paid to look at other people's blogs?!?!?!  (Trust me, Bionic Man is still scratching his head over this turn of events.)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Mid-May Madness

Hello, Friends!

While I am happy to report that May 2011 is not half so crazy as May 2010, it is holding it's own.  Last year, our elementary school was closed after the last day of school, so we had all kinds of sentimental memorial stuff going on, plus 5th grade graduation and middle school orientation and a long list of assorted other events.  But this year, we do have Endeavor's track meets and a few other upcoming end-of-school activities.  Good times.

Check out Endeavor after her last track meet:

I'm pretty proud of Endeavor.  For the life of me, I cannot remember how we convinced her to run cross-country and track this year.  She wasn't too sure about it, to begin with.  Practices are tough.  But Endeavor stuck with it, and she's seen some major improvement in her running times.  She's also found that she feels less stressed about school on the days that she runs.  I'm just happy she's found something she enjoys doing for exercise that she'll be able to do anywhere, anytime.

And here we have Justone at the district art exhibition.  His art teacher selected some of his work for display.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I have an anonymous quote on the front of my menu planning binder that reads, "Stressed is dessert spelled backwards.  Coincidence?  I think not!"

I'll give you a moment to ponder that one.

I grew up in a home where some form of dessert was served every night.  Dessert ranged from applesauce sprinkled with crushed graham crackers, to canned fruit in a pretty dish, to delicious made from scratch cakes.  Looking back, I'm impressed that my mom went to such effort.

I don't.  We don't eat dessert every night at our house, but when we do, we definitely enjoy it.  Here was a recent diet-day-off dessert that I invented.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Your Attention, Please

I have an important announcement to make.  {trumpet fanfare}
(That's a vintage microphone.  Nice touch, right?)

Ahem.  As of today, I refuse to believe the claims of {fill in the blank with the name of whichever celebrity gave birth less than eight weeks ago and is currently on the cover of a magazine at the checkout stand}, who credits her amazing post-baby body to breastfeeding.

Unless she provides me with proof that she is able to breastfeed while doing squats, lunges, crunches, hamstring curls, and planks.  If she is able to do a full cardio/strength routine each time she breastfeeds her baby, then yes, I think breastfeeding should get the credit.

That is all.

P.S.  I think there are many wonderful benefits of breastfeeding to both mother and baby.  I just don't think it is fair to make new mothers without personal trainers feel like there is something wrong with them because they look like they just had a baby.  As if they need any more reasons to get teary eyed.  Happy Mothers Day!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Something Special Saturday - 5/7/11

Pretty things I've spotted during the last week.

1.  An absolutely over the top Butterfly Garden 1st birthday party was featured at Birthday Girl.  Ignore the fact that it really is over the top, and enjoy the prettiness.  Can't remember how I stumbled across Birthday Girl's blog, but it is a delightful read when you are party planning.

2.  Speaking of over-the-top parties, after I mentioned how much I liked Pippa's bridesmaid dress, one of my readers sent me a link to a sewing pattern for it.  Thank you thank you thank you!  I will lose 40 pounds and find an occasion to wear it, and then I will make good use of this pattern.

3.  I've been finding a lot of great recipes to pin on my cooking board at Pinterest.  I like the ones with pretty pictures best, can you tell?  This recipe for peach cake makes me want to lick my computer screen.  I could really give my tongue a workout with 50+ recipes for homemade popsicles--in fact, these recipes inspired me to pick up some popsicle molds from the dollar bin.  And, you are going to swoon over the simplicity of raspberries stuffed with white and dark chocolate chips.

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Girls' Rights

In March, I read a post by one of my favorite bloggers, Sarah from Clover Lane.
It was titled, "What About Our Girls?  Growing Up Too Fast."  It definitely made me think, as Sarah's posts so often do.  First of all, it made me grateful for a tween daughter who isn't attached to a cell phone, doesn't worry about having a boyfriend, and who looks the way I think a twelve year old should.  Second of all, it made me pause to wonder  about how much of what Sarah talked about when discussing the pressures surrounding her eighth grade daughter applied to my own little sixth grader.

It wasn't long before I found out.  One of Endeavor's teachers invited me to help chaperone a sixth grade field trip.  Three teachers and four mothers (including me) took a group of about 100 sixth graders to an outdoor challenge course.  Designed to promote team-building and facilitate communication, the course was led by a group of experienced trainers.  They divided the kids into groups of 10-12, and then put them through a variety of exercises that were more mentally than physically challenging.

Spending time with the sixth graders and observing the groups try to work through the challenges was educational.  Here's some of what I learned:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Family Favorite Meal

I mentioned a couple of days ago that I'm playing in another round of the Game On Challenge this month.  As part of the challenge, we get to select one day off of the diet.  Sometimes is frightens me how much planning I put into my day off.  I tend to cook like a fiend on that day, because I can take tastes!  For my day off last week, I made one of my family's favorite meals that is decidedly not diet friendly, but it is easy.

We call this pasta dish Hay and Straw.
My friend Nicole introduced our family to Hay and Straw.  She came to take care of my children for a week during one of Lily's long hospitalizations.  My children loved this dish, and begged for it for months afterward.  At the time, it was so unusual for all of them to like any one food at the same time, that I was happy to oblige.  It continues to be a family favorite.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

April Recap

This is by no means an exhaustive recap of the month of April.  Just a look at some of the fun we've had.  And, um, that doesn't mean the things that weren't photographed weren't fun, right?  Right.

My sister came to visit for Easter weekend.  Looking for someplace fun to take her that wasn't too far away, we took a chance and went to an Earth Day festival downtown.  A good time was had by all.  Probably because just about every booth at the festival was handing out freebies.  What's more green then FREE?

Bionic Man and Justone were fascinated by the hybrid vehicles.  Unfortunately, those weren't free.
Face painting, on the other hand, was free.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Hello, Friends!

I have been curiously absent from the blog lately, have you noticed?  My reasons are really not earth shattering, but I do have reasons:

  • I started attending early-morning fitness boot camp.  It starts at 5:15 A.M., M/W/F, and I have to leave my house by 5:05 sharp if I want to arrive early enough to keep from getting singled out by one of the instructors to do push-ups in front of everyone.  I am absolutely not the kind of gal who feels the need to put on make-up or even run a brush through my hair anytime before 8 A.M., especially if I'm going to be sweating.  (There is a lot of sweating going on at boot camp.)  However, I really don't like to sweat when wearing glasses, and my eyes just can't handle waking up and immediately getting contact lenses jabbed into them.  So, my alarm is getting set for 4:35 A.M. three days a week.  It's killing me, I tell you.
  • So, since I'm getting up super early, I'm trying to make a dedicated effort to go to bed as soon as I get my kids in bed.  Some nights that works better than others.  But it's killing my blogging time!  You know that quiet two hours between kids' bedtime and grown up bedtime?  That's perfect for writing. That time is gone to me, now.  With the wind.
  • My sewing machine is giving me palpitations.  Seriously, I have nearly said several naughty words about it in the last week.  My curtain project has been totally derailed.  It caused me to have such a tearful, dramatic outburst on Saturday that my husband was almost moved to hand over the checkbook so I could go get a new machine one.  I was sorely tempted to sob a couple more times to seal the deal, but in the back of my mind I had a sneaking suspicion that PMS might be more to blame than the actual I agreed to call a repair shop, first.  After all, it is a vintage machine, and that's so on trend.  I've never been so on trend before in my life.
  • I've been on two field trips in the last two weeks, track meets began, it's teacher appreciation week, and we had the Pinewood Derby.  Need I say more?
Oh, also....I started another round of the Game On Challenge.  Considering how many push-ups and squats I've been doing for the last few weeks, I should be seeing some serious results, this time around.  Shouldn't I?  If I don't, that vintage sewing machine might get thrown out a second-story window.  I'm just saying.