Thursday, August 30, 2007

Goodbye For Now.

We have a weekend trip planned to this place:
Minneapolis, MN

We are driving through the night tonight - which I am dreading. But once we get there it will doubtless be an exciting frenzy of soccer games, late nights with old friends, greasy food at the State Fair, long talks with sisters, and a birthday party for a very handsome two-year-old! All in a matter of two and a half days!


Then we'll be heading to Wisconsin for Labor Day and another b-day celebration with family. This is what you get when your family lives scattered all over the universe...hundreds of b-day celebrations every year!


So, bon voyage to me and the family. I shall see you Tuesday with LOTS of stories and pictures to share.


Ooohhh...I just looked out the back door and saw two butterflies and three hummingbirds in flight. Now how's that for lovely?!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Luxurious.

Sateen sheets. Scented bubble baths. Facials. Sleeping in. A new BMW. The South of France. Bed and Breakfasts. Massage. Long-distance phone calls to old friends. Champagne in first class. Chocolate and strawberries.

All are luxurious.


But I think nothing can be as luscious as a sweetly-scented baby falling asleep in your arms. The way her eyes drift shut. Her bowed lips pursing in a dream. The body growing heavy and limbs hanging limp.


Yes, this is the deepest of all pleasures.


Sweet newborn Evie.

Gettin' Scrappy



I was lucky enough to be invited on a scrapbooking excursion with a friend. We spent the afternoon at Archiver's. We cropped, glued, bradded and adhesived (not a word, I know).


Here's part of what I got done. A 2 page spread with pictures from our trip to the lake that I blogged about earlier in the month.




It turned out more simple than what I usually scrap, but I kinda like it that way. It felt like a clean, fresh day and I wanted the layout to reflect that. Plus, the pictures were so crisp and adorable that I couldn't muddle them up with stickers and quotes and all the other cute jumble I usually add to my pages.




I got another project done. But it is a top secret one that I cannot share until I give it to the recipient it was intended for. I reeeally like this secret project and it was what made the afternoon worth-while. I have pictures of it and ready to upload as soon as I am free to do so. Stay tuned!




I am semi-creative. I like the process of creating and I love the outcome. But I am no where near as talented as this lady...








Heather Bailey is the creator of Freshcut Fabrics. She does a fabulous job of making timeless yet up-to-date prints that are simply a feast for the eyes.



I would love to get a few of these fabrics and have my mother (since I am not a sewer) make Miss Evie an old-fashioned pillowcase dress or a colorful quilt.


Pillowcase Dress from Pillowcasedresscottage.com

Now, I am off to chase my speed-crawler, Evie down the hall and through the house. Oh yes, and speaking of children...Beck has yet to pee in the potty for the second time. I'm beginning to think it was a total fluke! Such is life...

Welcome, Baby Danika

Baby Danika was born to our far away friends Mr & Mrs. B. last week. Isn't she just a beauty?
She joins her lovely parents and three older siblings, Tommy, Alexa and Natasha.
Welcome, Sweet Danika!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Summer Nights

Sunday evening was a rare cooler night. Mr. B. and I loaded the chickies in their red wagon and headed to the park. I pulled the sweet babes as Mr. B. dribbled his beloved soccer ball down the middle of the quiet street.

The boys jogged through the field, running off their endless energy. Evie and I parked ourselves near the bleachers and watched contentedly until the bugs began to bite.

Delighted to run.


Content to watch.

Thank you, Lord for the blessing of healthy, sweet children. Thank you for a godly man to share them with. Thank you for this night and the promise of fall on its way.


For My "Seester"


I made this sweet little accordion book for my sister's new dorm room. She's off at college for her first year and I figured she may like a bit of craftiness from her loving big sis.

The front.


A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves - A special kind of double.
~Toni Morrison
I rather like how it turned out...
I gave it to her while we were visiting last weekend. She loved it!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Do A Little Dance.

A pee-pee dance, that is!

He did it! Beck peed in the potty for the first time tonight!

He might not do it again or this might be the start of a beautiful relationship between Beck and his mini-pot...but it's so exciting!

He was just such a cutie sitting on his tiny throne reading a book and eating fruit snacks. What a guy...it took a snack and a book to get him to do the deed.

What a great kid. And not even two years old!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

What's that on your chin?

Wipe the drool away as you look at this blog and marvel at the stunning pictures. This is my dream style.
Sluuurp!

Bloom

Bloom where you are planted.
My fourth grade teacher quoted that a lot. It's one of those sayings that just pops into my head unbidden but at the perfect time. It has started "popping" more and more lately.
While it is not a decidedly Christian quote, I think it's coming from God.
I have not been blooming. I have been glooming.
The past two years have been hard. Let's not pretend they haven't. I recently took a life stress evaluation - you know, those tests with the list of major stressors in your life in the past two years? Any score over 300 was supposed to put you at high risk for a major stress-related illness. My score was 672. Hmm...
I have to admit, I've been wallowing in self-pity and digging myself into this terrible hole of depression. (Sorry to get so nitty-gritty on my blog of all things "lovely.")
I'm done. I'm ready to bloom.
I may not adore where I am living. I may have less than the ideal amount of money. I may feel that life is a bit monotonous. I may...
But I will stop lingering on those things. I will invest in me. Throw a little fertilizer on the seed; if you will. (the un-stinky kind, please!) That's partly what this blog is about. Writing makes me feel better. It is a creative release. It helps me bloom.
This is what I look like. In bloom.

Friends help me bloom too. So, you may find me making like a butterfly and getting social.

Domesticity helps me bloom.

My children help me bloom.

Reading helps me bloom.

Ultimately though, God makes me bloom.


I'm planted here. I don't know for how long. Maybe a few more months, maybe a few more years, maybe all my life.

That doesn't matter...I am in bloom.



Seriously Yummy Fruit Pizza

A friend of mine makes this beautiful dessert whenever she's called upon to bring something sweet to an event. It gets gobbled up very quickly.
She finally emailed us all the recipe and it's so great I just had to pass it along.

Fruit Pizza
Crust:
White cake mix
1 egg
1/2 c. oil
2 tsp. plus water (I use 2 overflowing tsp. of water - I didn't know what she meant by "plus")
Filling:
8 oz. cream cheese ("whipped" variety is easy to mix, blends quickly)
1/4 c. sugar
2 tbs. sour cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Glaze:
1/3 c. sugar
1 1/2 tbs. cornstarch
1 1/4 c. orange juice
Mix crust ingredients and press into a 12-in. deep dish pizza pan. Bake at 350-375 degrees for 13 - 18 min. and cool completely. (I think I cook mine at 365 for 18 minutes) Beat filling ingredients and spread over cooled crust. Top with fruit. Her suggestions include: strawberries, halved grapes, sliced peaches, blueberries, banana slices, sliced kiwi, pineapple tidbits, etc. I haven't used bananas so I don't know if they do well. Mix glaze ingredients and stir until boiling for 1 to 2 min. Cool and pour over fruit. Keep refrigerated.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Swell Sweater

I cannot wait until...

F A L L


There are many reasons. But this sweater is one of them. I bought it at this store. A grand place for mommies on a budget who love lavish things for their babies.
Isn't she just a doll baby? I've got visions of apple orchards, bonfires and babies in brightly striped sweaters dancing in my head...

Brunchity Brunch

A little glimpse of the table
New friends + Brunch = Splendid!
I had some ladies for brunch today. There were six women, four toddlers and three beautiful babies. What a perfect recipe for a fun morning!
The Menu
Fruit & Creamy Fruit Dip
Cinnamon Strusel Muffins
Blueberry Muffins
Apple Strudel
Cheese Strudel
Maple Sausage Links
Hash brown Sausage Casserole
Iced Coffee
Juice
For the Kiddies
Breakfast Trail Mix
Capri Sun
Applesauce
I had a request for the casserole recipe. Casserole...I detest that word. It just makes me think of...I don't know...icky-ness. But alas, that is what I made and it tasted delicious.
Hash Brown and Sausage Casserole
  • 1 lb mild ground pork sausage
  • 1/4 c. chopped onion
  • 2 1/2 c. frozen cubed hash browns (do not thaw)
  • 5 lg eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 c. (8 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 3/4 c. milk
  • 1 c. bisquick baking mix
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown sausage and onion in large skillet over medium high heat for 5 minutes or until meat crumbles. Stir in hash browns and cook, stirring occasionally, until sausage is no longer pink and potatoes are lightly browned. Drain mixture on paper towels; spoon into a lightly greased 13x9-inch baking dish.

Whisk together eggs and next 5 ingredients; pour evenly over sausage mixture, stirring well. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, and let stand 5 minutes. Makes 8 servings.



Nothing says "breakfast" like fresh flowers and muffins

I hope the brunch was a welcome break from the monotony of crushed cheerios in the carpet and hurried bowls of soggy Raisin Bran for the lovely ladies I had the pleasure of hosting this morning. Being a mommy to preschoolers isn't an easy job...but it sure has it's perks.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Amen to that, Sister!

This is a question and answer article from some unknown source (I found it through another friends blog). But I love the response made to the lame-o question asked by the childless, abandonded friend.

Carolyn:
Best friend has a child.
Her: exhausted, busy, no time for self, no time for me, etc.
Me (no kids): Wow. Sorry. What'd you do today?
Her: Park, play group . . .
Okay. I've done Internet searches, I've talked to parents. I don't get it. What do stay-at-home moms do all day? Please no lists of library, grocery store, dry cleaners... I do all those things, too, and I don't do them EVERY DAY.
I guess what I'm asking is: What is a typical day and why don't moms have time for a call or e-mail? I work and am away from home nine hours a day (plus a few late work events) and I manage to get it all done. I'm feeling like the kid is an excuse to relax and enjoy -- not a bad thing at all -- but if so, why won't my friend tell me the truth? Is this a peeing contest ("My life is so much harder than yours")? What's the deal? I've got friends with and without kids and all us child-free folks get the same story and have the same questions.

Tacoma, Wash.



Dear Tacoma, Wash.,

Relax and enjoy. You're funny.Or you're lying about having friends with kids.Or you're taking them at their word that they actually have kids, because you haven't personally been in the same room with them.

Internet searches? I keep wavering between giving you a straight answer and giving my forehead some keyboard.

To claim you want to understand, while in the same breath implying that the only logical conclusions are that your mom-friends are either lying or competing with you, is disingenuous indeed.

So, since it's validation you seem to want, the real answer is what you get. In list form.

When you have young kids, your typical day is: constant attention, from getting them out of bed, fed, clean, dressed; to keeping them out of harm's way; to answering their coos, cries, questions; to having two arms and carrying one kid, one set of car keys, and supplies for even the quickest trips, including the latest-to-be-declared-essential piece of molded plastic gear; to keeping them from unshelving books at the library; to enforcing rest times; to staying one step ahead of them lest they get too hungry, tired or bored, any one of which produces the kind of checkout-line screaming that gets the checkout line shaking its head.

It's needing 45 minutes to do what takes others 15.

It's constant vigilance, constant touch, constant use of your voice, constant relegation of your needs to the second tier.

It's constant scrutiny and second-guessing from family and friends, well-meaning and otherwise.

It's resisting constant temptation to seek short-term relief at everyone's long-term expense.

It's doing all this while concurrently teaching virtually everything -- language, manners, safety, resourcefulness, discipline, curiosity, creativity. Empathy. Everything.

It's also a choice, yes. And a joy. But if you spent all day, every day, with this brand of joy, and then, when you got your first 10 minutes to yourself, wanted to be alone with your thoughts instead of calling a good friend, a good friend wouldn't judge you, complain about you to mutual friends, or marvel how much more productively she uses her time. Either make a sincere effort to understand or keep your snit to yourself.

Can I get an 'Amen' from all the mommies out in blog-land?!




Evie with her faux-hawk saying, "What was that lady thinking?"

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Bananacado.

That's what Evie is having for lunch today. Doesn't it sound appetizing? I'm sure you're dying for the recipe.

1/2 Avocado

1/2 Banana

Rid each of their skins and the avocado of it's pit. Combine. Mash.


That's it! Isn't that easy? Now you must go try it and gobble it all up for your own lunch...somehow I don't think you will.


I tried it. It's actually not too bad...stop grossing out! Stop it!

Well, I'm not going to be replacing guacamole with bananacado, but it's decent for baby food.
That's the extent of my culinary genius for the day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Monday, August 20, 2007

Things I Just Love...


  • Neat handwriting


  • Lists with bullet points


  • Photographs (of myself!)


  • Diamonds...large ones


  • The Barefoot Contessa


  • Home Decorating Magazines - Living, Home Companion, Victoria


  • Cute doggies that do not shed


  • Funny, beautiful friends


  • Blogs


  • My artsy sister


  • Curly haired toddlers


  • A brand new day planner


  • Autumn smells


  • Clean spaces


  • Novels


  • Coffee with loads of flavored creamer


  • Tropical vacations


  • Mr. B's abs (did I just say that?!)


  • Chicago style pizza


  • Shabby Chic when it's less shabby and more chic


  • Things to look forward to


  • Chicks who make funky music


  • Robins Egg Blue


  • Dessert


  • My red Bible

  • Naps

  • Camping Trips in the Fall

  • Friends who comment on my blog! If you're reading...leave me a quick comment and tell me what you love!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

and The Hillbilly Award goes to...

Me!

I took my children to the grocery store barefoot today! I just didn't have the time to run around searching for shoes that Beck had tossed into some obscure corner.

My one saving grace: they are both still in the cart-riding stage of life. I don't think I would ever go so 'hillbilly' as to make them walk through the store with no shoes on.

But, in the game of motherhood I've learned to never say "never!"

Perfect Powder Room.

I am absolutely drooling over this great shabby-chic bathroom I saw in a blog I read religiously.
If I had the time and money my whole home would be decorated in this airy, bejeweled prettiness. Someday...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Big Girl.

Today Madame Evie turns eight months old! Is that even believable?
Here she is with her silly, song-singing Auntie Alli.

Happy eight month birthday, my little fire-cracker!

Escapades.


A pleasant view of the ancient pier and pontoon at Lake Dalecarlia.


We are back from another of our little escapes to grandma-land. The kids saw three of their five grandma's this time! (I am including great-grammies in the count.) They will see the other two in a couple of weeks. It is a blessing to have even one loving grandma. But to have five?! That is purely exorbitant!



My grandma "Sunshine" and my mother.


My sister chugged in on the train last Saturday afternoon. Before we could come home from the Amtrak station we had to stop and fill ourselves with burgers from Blueberry Hill. Afterward, we made a quick detour to a tattoo parlor (a place good little girls like us don't frequent). Sis got a couple of tattoos she's been contemplating for quite some time and I got my nose pierced! (A little something I've been dreaming about since high school.) All the while, grasping each other's hands tightly and giggling nervously.

Can you spot the delicate little birdie in flight on Alli's neck?
So cute!

I have since removed my piercing. After having it in for only three full days! It was fun while it lasted.

Sunday night the kids, Alli and I headed north to my parents. We didn't arrive until late. So we hugged mom quickly in the dark, let her peep and quietly exclaim at our daring new additions, and kiss her grand babies before heading to bed.

The next morning we headed to grandma Sunshine's charming home for a visit and a dip in the lake. The cousins were there to greet us and took the babies off my hands so I could relax.

Cousin Brayden and Beck.
Me, completely grossed out by lake water.

I took my first wave-runner spin. I squealed and clutched Brennan around the middle the entire time. We made it around the lake a couple of times without mishap and saved our dip in the lake until we were almost safely to the pier. Apparently if you cut the engine and lean too far to one side, the wave-runner tips over. Who woulda thunk?

So, I had to brave the icky depths of the lake as I swam all of 40 detestable feet through the murkety murk to the safety of land. Gross.

Next day we made the journey to my other Gram and Gramps house. After lunch we were so graciously entertained by my 77 year old grandpa jumping up and down and dancing hilariously for the kids. He is a very ADD...er, um...ahem...energetic old man. We love him dearly.

I also got to visit with my cousin who used to be my best playmate at family gatherings. It was good to see him and all of the updates he's done to his little fixer-upper house.

The rest of our days were spent lazily at my mom's. We talked over coffee. Laughed over old jokes. Planned for our future's.

My sister is my best friend.
She's going away to college in a week!

Two new and lovely things I experienced on my trip:

Zucchini Parmesan at a great Italian restaurant housed in an old church called Baci's. (They also have bruschetta that is to die for.)

Alli and I saw Becoming Jane. The movie about Jane Austen that stars the beautiful Anne Hathaway. A film you must go see with your very best girlfriend and a huuuuge tub of popcorn. Be ready for love and heartbreak. Sigh...

We journeyed homeward last night and got in late - once again. It is good to be home.

Me, relaxing in a stripey hammock.
Don't you wish you were there?