Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Part 1: carving

Thursday was our pumpkin carving night.  The kids had a lot of fun.  At 4 and 2.5 they are definitely enjoying it more and more every year.  The original plan had been to just carve the 2 big pumpkins and leave the kids' two pumpkins whole and keep using their Mr. Potato like pieces to change their faces.  But once the carving began, ALL the pumpkins were offered up to be gutted.

Daughter taking a break from scooping goo

taking all 4 outside and checking them out from the front yard

Husband and Son's jack-o-lanterns

the next morning the kids wanted me to turn the pumpkins around so they could see the faces from the front door and windows.

I skirted around my long standing hatred for stencils and used a metal cooking cutter to  put 3 bats on mine.  The kids thought that was pretty cool.  And it looks good lit up too.

Daughter said for hers she was going to draw a face on paper and then Husband was going to put it on the pumpkin ... homemade stencil much?   WOW, doesn't he closely resemble Jack from the Nightmare Before Christmas?  yes. yes, he does.

Son said he wanted his to look spooky.  And then gave him opinion on eyes and nose shape.
Husband's.  Looks goofy now but looks spooky lit up.
Fun times.  And I enjoyed the roasted seeds!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Skill Builder Sampler Blocks 13, 14, 15

These 3 blocks are probably my favorite collective 3.   Ever week when I sit down to choose fabrics for the block, I worry.  I worry that I'll run out of fabric.  So the first two made me excited because they used scraps that have been too small for other things. Blocks 13 and 14 came exclusively out of my scrap bag.  And Block 15 features two NEW fabrics.  Yes.  I was worried enough (and the fabric is still on clearance at and I wasn't sure how long until it was all gone) that I bought 4 more fabrics out of the collection that I didn't have yet.  Greens and browns.

Block 13 String Blocks
I made the "center strip" the main green fabric and  used lights for the inner pieces and darks for the outer pieces.  I made the entire center the "accent" non matching green and it looks a little different than I pictured in my head.  I think there is less contrast in the size of the 4 pieces than I wanted.  It almost looks like I wanted them to connect and make a diamond in the middle and just messed up.  eh. whatever. I still like it.
I really LOVED doing this.  I could probably make an entire quilt like this.  very fun.  Plus, it's my first non-knit paper piecing.
Block 14 Crazy Quilt Block
I made a rule for myself on this block.  I had to use every fabric I had, it had to come out of the scrap bag and  I had to cut it as little as possible.  I like the result.  (This was pre the new fabrics arriving in the mail) Also, it had a fabric foundation.  I used a scrap white I had because I didn't want any print to show through on the lighter fabrics.
two of my favorite "fancy stitches"  I used.  
Block 15: Diamond Dash
This one is one of my absolute favorites.  I think the only block I like better is my Churn Dash.  And this is called Diamond Dash.  I guess I have a thing for dashes.  ... (crickets) ...   Anyway, it was really easy plus I was proud of my points.  LOOK AT THOSE AWESOME POINTS!  seriously.  It's nice to see my skills improving a little in this process.  The diamonds are paper pieced.  And this is also the two new fabrics.  I have the designs in other colors but I wanted to add some brown to my selection.
I'm almost bummed this is an off week.  I've really enjoyed this series and they helped me get back in the groove of sewing.

After looking at these pictures, I'm rethinking my "take block pictures outside on the fence" idea. I think I can do better.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

He said he was going to work

 Recently, Son dressed himself. For work, he said.

This is what he put on:

  • a cold weather hat
  • a Jets jacket that was Husband's 
  • blue Handy Manny underwear
  • baby legs
  • ball slippers
  • and his backpack

This little boy cracks me up.  He said he was going to "burm-ham to work with Daddy."  And off he rode, all the way down the hall.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fun in the Yard

I like it when the weather is below 90 degrees.  It means more time outside.

Son took off his shoes and socks and picked up a shovel for garden digging.  (They are allowed to dig in the empty part of the garden)
Tree climbing after sandcastle building
sun bathing
and poor old Charlie is just waiting for me to sit down so he can crawl in my lap.  What a baby.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Remains of the Garden

The garden season is coming to a close.  No fall/winter garden for us.  Good news for the kids.  It means they get to dig and play and pretend plant until their hearts are content.  

Even though I always get that inevitable yearly garden fatigue when I just get sick of watering, picking and bug killing towards the end up August, I always bounce back and start to like the garden again right before the first hard frost hits.  and that is going to be happening soon.  

so, here's a last look at what the garden is offering my family in terms of food.

the last rogue carrot. Somehow it managed to not get picked when the rest of them did.  I noticed it last week and decided to let it stay.  (BTW, those short little carrots were pretty good.)

Son and Daughter's plants have EXPLODED with tomatoes again.  dozens and dozens of green tomatoes that probably won't survive long enough to ripen.

Some Juliets.  Man, I love these.  
I think it's weird that there are blooms on EVERY single tomato plant right now.  All 17 of them.  I hate that esp.  because I seem to have temporary amnesia and once again think that canning tomatoes is fun.  WHAT? seriously.

The red bell peppers are the only other things left.  And they have about 6 blooms on them too.  They've done pretty well even though I think I put them too close to the tomatoes for them to really have enough sunlight.  Next year, I'll space better.  I think I've gotten 6 peppers off and used them in omelets and spaghetti sauces.  They were pretty good.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Add me to the list of people who have read The Help

Yes, Yes. The Help by Kathryn Stockett was our Reading Is Cheaper Than Therapy book club book right before the movie hit the theaters.  And I was number 97 on one library's waiting list and 48 on another's.  And I didn't want to buy the book.  As luck would have it, Cousin Ashley bought the book and then saw the movie.  And she doesn't read books after she's seen movies, so she offered it to me and I gladly accepted.

HURRAY.  Better late than never.

Anyway, it seems like everyone and their slightly illiterate half sister have read this book (and been wildly raving about it) so I'm not going to bore you with a synopsis.  Rather, I thought I would answer one of the questions from the reading guide.  The question that most riled me up when I was reading over them.  I almost feel like I'm writing an essay for Mrs. Stevens or Mrs. Frye.

What do you think motivated Hilly? On one hand she is a terribly cruel to Aibileen and her own help, as well as to Skeeter once she realizes that she can't control her. Yet she's a wonderful mother. Do you think that one can be a good mother and, at the same time, a deeply flawed person?

It's hard to say exactly what motivated Hilly, because the story has three narrators and she's not one of them. But from what I read, I think it's control and power.  I could go on to discuss how racist I believe she is but I think that falls under the control and power heading. And also hatred, ignorance, faulty truth and complete lies.

I have a hard time believing Hilly is a "wonderful mother" as the question leads.  If I remember correctly, she's only characterized as a wonderful mother once and that was by Aibileen when Hilly had her two kids over playing in Elizabeth's backyard.  Aibileen said," One thing I got to say about Miss Hilly, she love her children. About every five minutes, she kiss little Will on the head. Or she ask Heather, is she having fun? Or come here and give Mama a hug."  She goes on to mention how the way Heather looks at Hilly makes Aibileen want to cry because that kind of love is so beautiful.

But really, that's the only example of how Hilly is a "wonderful mother."  She's affectionate towards her children.  And they idolize her.

Later in the book, Elizabeth is invited to the very exclusive country club that Hilly is a member of to go swimming.  Despite the fact that Elizabeth is Hilly's best friend, Aibileen muses that she's been to the country club more than Elizabeth and actually directs her to the pool.  It later becomes apparent to Aibileen that the only reason Elizabeth was invited is because Hilly's maid called in sick and Hilly knew that Elizabeth would bring Aibileen along to look after their three collective children.  So, Hilly may love her children and hug and kiss them, but she's hardly a hands on mother.

But does that make her a bad mother?  The fact that she (or her husband) pays a woman to tend her house and watch/raise her children.  Not necessarily.  Wealthy people have had governesses, nannies and babysitters for hundreds of years.  And certainly women who work outside of the home and have children with nannies and in daycare aren't bad mothers.  Instead they are seen as doing what's best for their family.  Putting their children in capable hands when they aren't able to be there themselves.

So, why do I think Hilly is not a wonderful mother?  You know that saying that someone who is nice to you but rude to the waiter is not a nice person?  Just because Hilly was nice to her children (two little people she has control over) and rude/hateful/ignorant/cruel to an entire race of people does not make her a nice person, a lovely person and esp not a good mother.  I'm sure there are crack whores out there who are affectionate to their children and that doesn't make them good mothers.

Teaching your children willful ignorant hate is pretty much the opposite of being a good mother.  I understand this book was set in the 1960's and maybe in 1960's terms, Hilly was a wonderful mother.  But it's 2011 and Hilly is not a wonderful mother in 2011.

In summation, I will answer your question with a question: Can you be a good mother if you're not a good person?

Anyway, I really enjoyed the book.  It wasn't as dark as I was expecting.  And I flew threw it.  I think I read the whole thing in about a day and a half.  Kathryn Stockett really tells a wonderfully interesting story in a wonderfully interesting way.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Done it List Revised

Sometimes I like to clean.  Most of the time, I do not.  But, well, if I wanted to never clean up after anyone but myself, I probably shouldn't have gotten married and most certainly shouldn't be procreated - TWICE.


Husband and I divide the household chores pretty evenly.  If one of us sees something that needs to be done, we do it. And as the kids get older they are getting better about learning to clean up after themselves.  But the truth of the matter is, I am the responsible adult who is home most of the time.  I should be the one taking on most of this responsibility.  And I don't want my husband to think all the kids and I do during the day is think of ways to trash our house and then do it.

About a month ago I found something on pinterest that keeps with my Done It list idea.  Well, I think it's actually a little more fun than my spiral notebook.  -- I just can't keep record of my cleaning beyond one week.  (man, I am such a nerd)

Anyway, I bought the picture frame at Wal-mart, filled the holes with card stock I've had for a decade (and on the card stock I wrote the things I would be recording: Dinner, rooms cleaned, laundry done and loads of dishes done) Then just wrote on the glass the things I did that day.

I've discovered I'm much more productive when I have a list right in front of me of the things I've done.  Plus, I've committed myself to doing at least one load of laundry a day so it doesn't pile up.  And doing at least one load of dishes a day.  That used to use Husband's job exclusively, but since he's started his new job, he's a lot more tired.  So, I thought one load of dishes a day is not going to kill me ... and so far it hasn't. And that's 20 more minutes Husband gets to spend with us instead of in front of the sink.

BTW, I named my board "Do it! OR be dirty AND hungry!"   I thought that was a little better than things I've done today.

the full board.  I haven't put it up on the wall yet.
Also, in the bottom right hand corner I keep up with  the physical activity I did during the day.  Either W for weights or R/P for Run to the Park (with the kids)
what I did a few Tuesdays ago.  We had biscuits and gravy, sausage and fruit for dinner.  I made tea and lemonade (Husband is on an Arnold Palmer kick and YES, I do consider that a chore worth writing on the board, esp since I don't drink the tea or the lemonade), I washed Husband's whites, loaded the dishwasher once and ran to the park with the kids.
It's been fun to do and I like writing down things after I've done them.  But I'm sure, just like the done it list, I will eventually get bored and have to think of another way to make doing adult things more fun.  wine as a reward? possible.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Columbus Day Adventure to The GREAT Pumpkin Patch

Husband started a new job at the beginning of the month with a lot less coming-and-going flexibility, so when he was off for Columbus Day we knew it might be our only weekday chance to go to the pumpkin patch together (it's cheaper on a weekday and MUCH less crowded).  And wow, it was fabulous.  Much like last year. (man, looking at those pictures and seeing how much the kids have grown ... crazy.)

Anyway, we did pretty much the exact same things as last year.  But this year Son was big enough to climb the huge inflatable slide AND the worker let Husband help him up the ladder until he got the hang of it.  Also, both kids got to ride ponies (TWICE.  heck, the rides were only $1 and THEY LOVED IT.)  Both kids picked ridiculously small pumpkins that they love.  

Daughter ... we spent 30 minutes watching the kids climb up and slide down.  They loved it.
Son, it may be hard to see but he has a HUGE grin on his face
He also has a huge grin on his face.  
the pot belly pigs were the only petting zoo animal the kids were very interested in.  There was a llama and you all know how we feel about llamas!
Son riding
Daughter riding

measuring tractor tire size

on the ride to the pumpkin patch
I love it when she makes this face.  Husband makes this face too.

zeroing in on the pumpkins

Son's pick

Daughter's choice

jumping in the hay is a favorite

MAN. she's fun.

waiting on the covered wagon 

"Hey guys, go sit with those pumpkins so I can take your picture."
Fun trip.  Lots of great memories made.

Monday, October 17, 2011

October Sewing

Last Saturday, JSS, Marie and I (and our special guest, The Subway Tray) enjoyed a fun day of sewing.  I finished up some of my lined totes and zippered pouches I've been putting off for awhile and even crocheted a little.  

Marie working on a baby blanket.
JSS is making a FABULOUS Amy Butler bag. 
And her fabric choices make me even more excited to see the finished product!
One of the totes and pouches and the beginnings of a scarf
I used 2 fat quarter packs of the walmart precuts and two yards of yellow for the liners to make 7 totes and 7 matching zippered pouches.  WOW.  I love this fabric.  The black/grey/yellow/white combo.  fabulous.  PLUS, I also like the quality of the fabric.  I'm trying to decide on a quilt pattern to use this fabric for in the future.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sharing a nap? Sure. Sharing a room? not so much

Husband has this grand idea that our children would love to share a room and have bunk beds and love and kisses and puppies and butterflies and all that mushy stuff.   As someone who shared a room with her younger sister for about a decade, I'll tell you, I'm glad my kids have rooms of their own.  Personal spaces.  

Recently at nap time, Daughter asked if Son could stay in her room and sleep in her bed for nap time. Tight squeeze, but ok by me.  Just stay the bed.  If anyone gets out of the bed, it's over and Son goes back to his room.

Twenty minutes later they were both still awake.  Which is highly unusual.  But they were both still in the bed and just talking so I left them alone.  Soon after, Daughter came to tell me that she was ready for Son to go back to his room because she "needed some sleep."  Apparently, Son is a kicker.

OK.  The only problem was Son REALLY wanted to stay.  So, I asked Daughter if I brought Son's bed in, could he stay. 

Sure. That was acceptable.

He actually stayed in her bed.  I really appreciated how I told him not to get up and he didn't.  I wish he listened that well ALL the time.

tucked in and ready to sleep.  I should mention that Son usually sleeps with 4 pillows.  seriously.  He complained a little about his lack of pillows but did well.
An hour after nap time started they were FINALLY both asleep. Movers, the both of them.
After nap time, I asked Daughter if she wanted Son's bed to stay in her room so they could have a sleep over at bedtime.  Her answer? A resounding, "No, Thank You."

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Frog Pajamas and the two people I grew in my body

It's that time of the year, time to replace the warm pajamas the kids outgrew during the summer. Daughter picked out a blue pair with frogs on them because last winter her favorite pair was pink with frogs on them.  She had the great idea of putting on her new pajamas and letting Son wear her old ones so they could match. Son agreed that it was a great idea.

Hi, Mommy!

I love how they love each other.  I hope they are best friends forever.