Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

#1. Selfish knitting. I will finally make myself the Celtic Icon sweater that I've been meaning to make for years. I added it to my Ravelry queue in Feb 2008 if that tells you anything. Here's a picture stolen off of Ravelry to give you an idea.
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4020/4673460930_cba3e2bca1_z.jpg 
I had an unused gift card to knitpicks, so I ordered some yarn from there. I'll be using their Stroll Sport Yarn in the color eggplant. (They didn't have a wool/cotton blend so wool/nylon will have to do.) Now I just need to wait for it to get here.

#2. Become certifiable. Heh heh. I have attended 3 births in the area and have paperwork for those. I've done the childbirth class. I just have a few more things to complete the certification for DONA, so I can call myself a fully certified Doula and be listed on their website.

#3. More knitting. Someone special to me is bringing a new little someone into the world this coming year. That little someone needs some knitwear. AND the knitwear actually needs to get MAILED. My friends who have had babies may not be aware, but I've knit things for each of them. I'm just abysmally bad at mailing things before said baby would be too big to wear it. *hangs head* This year, I will be much better about that. I might even be making make up items for older babies. Possibly. Depending on time and stuff.

#4. Floss. I say this every year. I do well for a while and then I forget about it. I should fix that.

#5. Pay attention to the food I consume. I had Burger King for lunch today and it is NOT the king. It is not nearly the king of everything and I've felt awful since. I feel so much better when I eat real food, I'm going to make it a point to do that most of the time. Along with that...

#6. Keep exercising. I have been doing pretty well and it shows. I intend to do more and see if it will show more. It also helps with the feeling good.

#7. Improve my photography. This that end, I am going to try to do one of those photo a day things. It will force me to try to capture something every day.

Hmmm... So far that boils down to knitting, flossing, eating well, exercising, and pursuing a goal for working. Sounds like I have it covered! I'll add more as it occurs to me.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thank you, Uncle Ruben!

We've been having lots of fun building Lego Harry Potter!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Merry Christmas!

A small sample of Christmas morning, in pictures.
 
I hope yours was as merry as ours was.

Friday, December 23, 2011

How to remove fiberglass splinters

You'd think that we'd have all these lessons down by child number 3, but the Pixie presented us with a whole new injury today.
We have one of those "Go slow, kids are playing" type turtles that we put out in the cul-de-sac when the kids are playing so the neighbors know they're out there. Said turtle holds a little flag. I didn't know it before today, but the stick that the flag is on is made of fiberglass and has gotten splintery.
The Pixie got a hold of that stick and got herself some fiberglass splinters.
I remember getting them myself as a child, from a friend's mailbox. They hurt, and they're practically invisible so it's not like you can grab them with tweezers and pull them out.
I had no idea what to do for her. She was crying, of course, and I tried pressing packing tape to her hand to pull them out, but that didn't seem to work because she was still crying. I sprayed it with some numbing stuff, put her in a bath, rubbed cream on it, wiped it with a rag... all crying, crying, crying. Poor baby!
So I went hunting online for other ways to get splinters out. I found an eHow article suggesting putting glue on, letting it dry, and peeling it off. But how do you do that when the child in question is only just 3 years old, and is super offended at the horror of hurting hand? John thought to try using the hair dryer to speed things along. Her face was so pitiful, I had to grab the camera.
 
She didn't fight too hard once the glue was on there. It must have been soothing.
 
And it doesn't hurt so much when it's obvious that Daddy loves you very, very much.http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7148/6560294869_d0fda43ee0.jpg 
So she gritted her teeth and dealt with it.
 
And eventually decided to go ahead and have some lunch, until...
 
Success!
She stopped crying, so we must have gotten whatever splinters out. And don't you love how gently those big daddy hands cradle the tiny Pixie hand? He's our hero.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I saw it on Pinterest!

Oh Pinterest, my new addiction. It's like this huge basket of crafty inspiration and really cool ideas. If one of my friends sees something neat and they pin it, I can see it. If I pin something, they can see it. Searchable for ideas, pictures for everything, way better than google searches when it comes to craft inspiration.
I mean, I never in a million years would google for a new way to hang stockings. I'd do the same thing I always do and use a bunch of tiny nails. But one of my friends came across a great idea, and when she pinned it she shared it with all of us so I saw it. LOVELY!
The idea - so simple it's genius:  use a curtain rod to hang stockings.
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Curtain rod - less than $7 at Wallyworld. Add red duct tape for that holiday flair.
Wee!

The annual Santa picture

Today is the first day of Christmas Vacation for the boys, and since we hadn't managed it yet, it was high time to pay a visit to the guy from up north. The head hancho. The boss man, himself... Santa Claus.
I was interested to hear what they'd tell him, since they haven't been on their best behavior lately and they know it. But they were both up front and honest with the big dude, Niall going so far as to say, "I haven't been very good lately and I'm sorry." I'm sure he doesn't hear that everyday!
Santa played his part well, talking with the boys about how hard it is to be good all the time, but he knows they don't mean it, and they must be extra good from here on out. Rowan asked for a remote control helicopter. Niall asked for a hexbug set and a playmobil space shuttle - even though he knows that Santa only brings one thing. I guess Santa will decide which one to bring. The Pixie was quite nervous and wouldn't say a word, but I'm sure he knows exactly what she needs. We got the picture
 
and then carried on our merry way back home for lunch. 
But right when we were getting back into the van, right when I'd just gotten her out of her stroller, the Pixie tripped and fell, konking her head on the plastic hubcap of the car parked next to us. The vulture waiting for our parking spot had to sit while I comforted her, because goodness knows you don't strap a screaming and insulted pixie into a car seat for a 20 minute drive home. By the time we got home, it had bloomed spectacularly.
 
It looks ugly, but she's fine. And at least she waited until AFTER we saw Santa.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Teacher Christmas gifts, the 2011 edition

This year, we decided to mix it up a bit when it came to teacher gifts. The oven was questionable, and I had no desire to try to make enough cookies for four teachers plus the hunting down tins and all that.
But, this year we had a new plan. When we were down at the farm over Thanksgiving, Fran gave me a couple of chunks of beeswax to try making something with it. I looked in her book, and on a few internet sites, and we decided that making a beeswax hand salve was just the thing.
It is SUPER easy. The recipe we settled on only had 3 ingredients.
  • 1 part Beeswax
  • 5 parts olive oil
  • a few drops of essential oil
That's it. Fran also loaned us her double broiler that she uses to melt the beeswax, and Rowan picked out a bottle of lavender oil, and we were in business.

I didn't think to take pictures of every step, but all we did was melt the beeswax, add the olive oil, and keep on stirring until it's all melted together.
 
I'd seen it mentioned a couple of places that we should warm the olive oil before adding it, but I forgot that part. It looked REALLY weird, because when the cold oil hit the warm beeswax, some of the beeswax solidified again and it was all sorts of crazy. But we just kept stirring and hoped for the best.
 
It all worked out and everything got all melty again. I added the lavender oil and we gave it another good stir before I poured it out into the jars.
 
I made sure to put some cardboard down on the counter top first, so I wouldn't have to peel beeswax off the counters. Smart thinking there, because pouring it was a little sloppy.
 
It cooled into a lovely salve for the teachers. We all tried some of the salve the spilled on the cardboard, and it was greasy at first, but melted right into our skin and it smelled really good. I have some beeswax leftover, and I'm going to have to make some more for us to keep!
 
I printed off pictures of each boy and used mod podge to glue them to the lids of the jars. Another coat of mod podge over the top of the picture helps it stay nice. Niall's picture is of him wearing the bee hood, and Rowan's is one of him working the smoker with the great big gloves on.
 
Each jar has a label on it telling what it is, who made it, and where the wax came from. I hope the teachers like it as much as we liked making it!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Thanksgiving part 2

AH! Finally, Thanksgiving part 2 is up on flickr. It was a big upload of 70something pictures, and the internet has been slow lately. Maybe it's all the Christmas shoppers?

In any case, you can see the whole set here. Please ignore the focus and exposure issues. I'm still learning how to use the new camera.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The 2011 Christmas card attempt

Getting a Christmas card with 3 kids, one of whom is a snarly 3 year old, is not for the faint of heart. Telling fart jokes is key.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

7 years ago tonight...

My water broke! And at 1 minute after midnight, I had my Niall!
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All 9lbs of him. We did not expect a baby that big! The first words out of my midwife's mouth were, "Holy Cow!"

He grew and grew and grew! He was busting out of his bucket car seat at 2 months old

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He was giving the Michelin Man a run for his money by 6 months old Image

He was nearly as big as his 3 year old brother when he was 8 months oldImage

He's gotten into everything in the house, and broken nearly half of itImageImage

But for all the frustration, he can really make me laugh.ImageImageImage
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He's such a sweet boy. He loves puppies and babies, and reading, hotwheels and boats.
He changes what he wants to be when he grows up about every hour.
I could go on about him all night, but I have Oreo truffles to make.
He's my anNIALLator, and I love him.Image

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Learn from me

If you give a mom a gold medicine cabinet,
she's going to want to paint it.
Once she paints it,
she's going to notice that the etagere behind the toilet doesn't match,
so she'll head to Walmart (on a Saturday in December) to get more spray paint.
She'll prime it.
Once she's primed it, she'll notice that the bottoms of her socks feel tacky and strange.
She'll take off her socks.
Once the primer is dry, she'll go out to paint the color.
She'll forget that she's barefoot.
Halfway through, she'll discover that her spray finger doesn't work so well because she's already painted the thing once with primer.
She'll call for her husband to help her.
She'll want to go inside, but will then notice there are leaves stuck to her feet.
I mean STUCK to her feet.
She'll also notice that they appear to be very painty on the bottoms,
like hobbit feet on crack.
She'll decide to go wash them before they get worse.
Once in the bathroom, standing in a tub of warm water, she'll notice that her feet seem to be sticking to the bottom of the tub.
She'll tug one up.
Then she'll see the painty footprint left behind,
but also see that there is no noticeable difference in the color or texture of her foot.
She will then panic just a bit, and grab for the scrubby sponge.
This will clue her daughter in to the fact that mommy is sitting on the side of the bathtub.
The daughter will then come to keep her company.
The mommy will be a bit busy with the paint freak out, and not notice the daughter.
The daughter will seize the opportunity to grab the diaper sprayer and give it a good squirt.
This will cause the mommy to yelp because it's cold, which will bring a son in to see what is going on.
The mommy will still be in a bit of frenzy, scrubbing at the painty footprint and scratching at her painty feet, and will ask the son to go get the barkeeper's friend.
The son will leave, and then come back confused and without the scouring powder.
The mommy will have progressed to stripping down and scrubbing the tub because she's leaving painty footprints everywhere.
The son will be dispatched to find the husband.
The husband will find his wife, naked and irritated, scrubbing at the bathroom tub with painty feet while two children watch and ask her for random things.
He will bring the scouring powder and shoo away the children.
The mommy will resume scrubbing.
She will alternate between her feet and the tub until she's not leaving painty footprints anywhere.
Then she'll notice that she's pretty stinky.
She'll grab a quick bath and get dressed again.
While she's doing so, she'll consider what other things need to be done to make the bathroom pretty.
She'll then go admire the freshly painted etagere, but will resolve to wear shoes the next time she paints something.
Especially with spray paint.

Friday, December 02, 2011

$30 plus a can of spray paint

The bathroom project is nearly done. Here's a sneak peek of the new medicine cabinet.
It was gold, but a can of spraypaint fixed that. I love Craigslist!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Keeping busy

Today was a busy day. I helped Joe hang wallpaper border in the bathroom (pics of that once the whole thing is done) and then this afternoon I finally got around to making a Montessori stamp game (for doing math!) for Niall.
I think it came out pretty good.
 
iPod Instagram

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving part 1

I got that new lens, so I had to take a LOT of pictures over Thanksgiving. So many, that I'm breaking it up into parts.
Here is part one - the day at Mamaw's house.
I'm working on part two - the day at Pop and Fannie's house. I'll make another post once that set is up.
Give me a couple of days though... Flickr is taking ages!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pithy little status update

Yeah, I ripped out that back door mat rug. I kept tripping on its flappy edges.

I have so much crafting to do... I need to make mom's Christmas present. I need to make gifts for the teachers. I need to finish the Pixie's cardigan. And what about a cardigan for me? I should have one. And socks. What about that first pair of socks that I've let lay abandoned. And the shutters. I have to finish painting the shutters. And there's the trim in the bathroom and the whole rest of the house trim is looking pretty grim. And that idea of painting the kitchen cabinets green...

Do people really get bored? Why? Can I have some of their free time?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Rag rug project - take one

Necessity is the mother of invention, and lack of funds is the mother of creative house solutions.
We got rid of the carpet because it was old, vile, and nasty. But winter is arriving and it brings with it coldness to the laminate flooring that isn't so nice for the wee feeties that populate this household.
So, a rug is necessary. I stalk craigslist pretty well, but finding something that isn't awful or nearly as much as buying new is just not happening this time. I mean, some of these rugs are hideous! or aqua. or both.
I got the idea of using old T shirts to make a rug. Why not? The material is usually cotton, won't fray, and can usually be gotten for cheap or free. I posted on a local list asking, and scored a stack of old T shirts for free!
Give me your holey, stained, and shrunken...
Cutting up a T shirt is pretty easy, since it's a tube. You start at the bottom and spiral your way around and around until you run into the armpit and can't go anymore. You get a pretty good ball of fabric and the leftover tops can be used in some other project down the line. Potholders or something. Rah!
So I got to cutting. I discovered that cutting T shirts leaves something like T shirt dandruff all over the place. Should you try this, don't wear a black shirt like I did.
Take one before I tore it down.
Trial one was my first idea - log cabin style. But it wasn't working out because I kept needing more T shirt to get to the end of the way to turn around. So I ripped this out and started over. Word to the wise - ripping it out means more T shirt dandruff. Everywhere.
Take two, when gravity was still working.
Trial number two was going great, for a while. It wasn't exactly square but it was doing okay. I figured gravity would kick in at some point. But as it got larger, it got wavier. I thought adding some extra chain stitches at the corner would help it turn the corner a bit, but no... that didn't help either. I really don't know what I'm doing when it comes to crochet, but they don't make knitting needles big enough to make a rug... unless I knit a bunch of squares and sew them together. That's starting to look attractive.
So anyway, I was mad at the flappy rug but Joe told me to just fasten it off and use it as a back door mat. So that's what I did.
Back door mat. Bonus anti-gravity features.
I still need a living room rug. I still have a stack of T shirts here. We'll see what happens.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Brand new lens!

I knew when I got my new camera that it wouldn't be long until I wanted one of the fancier prime lenses instead of just sticking with the kit lens. All the reading I did led me to one surefire buy as a first upgrade - the 50mm f/1.8 lens.
It's good for portraits, and can open wider to let more light into the camera. Yes, it was expensive, but I asked to get paid for some knitting with an Amazon gift card. Some swagbucks money and babysitting money rounded out the rest. I'm considering it my early Christmas present to myself - and a solid investment for me to be able to get great portraits of my kids from here on out.
And even though I only got to play with it for about 15 minutes this afternoon - I'm already super happy with it. I'm finally, finally, finally! starting to get the kinds of pictures I've been trying to get for ages.
 
Eleri was my model today. The boys were busy playing on the computer and doing homework.
 
In other news, Loki got out yesterday while I was at the grocery store. I came home to find Bosco and no Loki - just a backyard gate hanging open. I called John and Mommy in a panic, and loaded Eleri into the stroller to start looking for her. She ended up being found after about an hour through the help of a neighbor and the town police force, and I was so glad to see her again! I was a weepy mess, worrying about that little dog. It makes taking this picture that much sweeter.
 
I'm not going to bog the blog down, so go see the rest of the pictures I took today here. It's mainly Eleri since she was the one who would come outside into the light with me. Now I just need more practice!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

For Mamaw

Mom said that Tuesdays are rough days at the office, so here's a smile to perk her up.

She has to hold her mouth juuuuuust right.