Monday, March 31, 2008

a rambling list with no cute pictures because I am out of time

There are so many different things on my mind lately that I came up with a master list so I wouldn't lose track of them. (that's been known to happen to me, oh, all the time) After all the work I put into this list (15 minutes on the couch with a smoothie) I thought I'd post it here. Might as well get a blog post out of it too, right?

As far as lists go, this one isn't super organized. It's roughly organized and tends to ramble. (kind of like me) Some of these things need to be done soon, some of them are for the future.

The Great Outdoors:
  1. Start veggie & flower seeds indoors. I found this website as a good reference for those of us in WI.
  2. Start seeds in empty yogurt containers and toilet paper rolls
  3. Plant a Square Foot Garden this year. (4x4')
  4. Do some pruning outside (soon)
  5. weed our rock gardens
  6. finish other rock garden that we started last year (remember our obsession with river rock? it lives on)
  7. Join the Arbor Day Foundation, get 10 free trees & plant them (Heidi told me about this a long time ago and I still want to do it)
  8. MAKE A RAIN BARREL (this is a priority...we talked about this so much last year, too. sigh) Directions here or, if you live in Dane Co., you can buy one here. (thanks for the sustaindane info, Zoe)
  9. Divert our grey water from washing machine out to the lawn. This might take some work but imagine how great it would be! (This says we shouldn't do that but there's a lot of other things we can do...must keep researching.)
  10. Find (and cough up the money for) organic weed killer
  11. fire pit
  12. clothesline (whimper)
  1. Put aerators on faucets (got them this weekend, hope they are the right size)
  2. Find a good low flow shower head
  3. Deal with the trauma of letting go of my lovely decorative shower head
  4. Start worm compost bin (Patrick doesn't want me to but he doesn't even have to know until it's up and running and the kids will love it!)
  5. If it's yellow, let it mellow (thanks, Heidi)
  6. Put something in toilet tank to reduce water flow (I think our toilet is low flow but I'm not sure, just going to try this)
  7. Continue to replace any burnt out bulbs with fluorescents (nice to do it this way as the round globes are $5 each and our kitchen fixtures need 5 EACH)
PERSONAL: (not that personal or it wouldn't be here, but personal nonetheless)

  1. Floss regularly
  2. start waking up earlier than my kids again
  3. 5 fruits/veggies a day (green smoothies are great for this)
  4. Try the diva cup
  5. drink more water
  6. start walking again
  7. lose 15 lbs by sister's wedding (next summer
  8. pray out loud with kids more (I pray a lot in my head throughout the day and they could easily be included in this...I'd like to show them now that you can talk to God about everything)
  9. keep going to church
  10. continue working on our budget/grocery budget (new post coming soon!)/meal planning
  11. Make a phone call or send a card to one loved one per week
  12. continue to get have a babysitter so Patrick & I get some time alone
  13. be outside A LOT with the kids this spring & summer
  14. Try to limit trips to Madison (this is hard)
  15. try bread making again
  16. continue with OFFLINE by 9 rule (I am pretty good about this and am not even online much anymore at night. I like that)
  17. Find somewhere to volunteer regularly. I'm thinking either the Mother/Child Resource Center at church or the Nehemiah Foundation.
  18. Sell some of my cool vintage stuff in an Etsy shop. And maybe some stuff I sew.
SEWING: (see? rambling)

  1. Summer dress for Ruby
  2. Mei Tai for Heidi (see who else wants them & decide how much to charge) (some will be gifts)
  3. New summer bag for me
  4. Finish Erin's apron (I am so close, must do this)
  5. Apron for mom
  6. wine bags for sister
  7. Cloth pads to send to girls & women in Africa. Read about it here, find out how to make them & where to send them here
  8. (try them myself!)
  9. little belt for Ruby
And, just because, here are some simple changes I've made that I feel good about. Some of these things I've done for a long time, others I've read about online or in books or magazines. These have been the easier changes I've made...a lot of stuff on those lists up there will take more time but probably be even more rewarding.

  1. Line dry a lot of our clothes (I have lots of lines in the basement and think this has so many benefits: less energy used, clothes last longer, less static so no need for dryer sheets) (static is caused by drying anything that isn't all cotton...I just learned that)
  2. Use no heat dry function on dishwasher and better yet, when I remember, stop it after rinse cycle and let it air dry overnight
  3. Signed us up for our power company's Second Nature Program. I think 100% participation for us costs $12 a month and there are so many benefits. Most power companies are offering this now. Yay!
  4. Switched to paperless statements for all of our bills (still get bank statements) and online bill pay.
  5. Signed up to stop getting all those credit card offers! (I hate them!)
  6. Switched to Marcal Toilet Paper. (read more about it here) It is cheap and 100% recycled and our bums are just fine. (don't worry, Dad, we will get Charmin when you come over) (We get it at Woodman's)
  7. I love using the 4-0-mine and vinegar for my cleaning and the microfiber swiffer cloths
  8. Turn heat off when we leave during the day (simple but I haven't always done this! dumb.)
  9. Switch to phosphate free laundry detergent
And, finally, some things that I feel guilty about doing but don't seem to feel guilty enough to stop. (any words of encouragement welcome)
  1. still using disposable diapers
  2. and wipes
  3. and paper plates
  4. we use a lot of gas

Allright, I must go start on my list for today that looks like this:

  1. laundry
  2. laundry
  3. laundry
  4. laundry
  5. laundry

Any comments, ideas, criticisms, experience welcome and appreciated! What do you do?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

super creepy

Lemon, originally uploaded by edrodgers731.

I do believe that most food purchased at most restaurants is contaminated in some way. I try not to think about it or read about it but sometimes I make myself. This is super creepy.

I may not be requesting a slice of lemon next time I'm out.

You're welcome. :)

EDITED: The link didn't work when I blogged from flickr...fixed now. :)

Friday, March 28, 2008

love & logic works

I'd like to tell you (my mother) that all is well here. Now. 15 minutes ago? Not so good.

I was innocently sitting on the kitchen floor looking through our suitcase (I said a week, it's not been that) to find James some clean socks. He walks by swinging a pair of jeans (previously mentioned pants with loops) and nails me right in the head. Hard. I reacted by yelling, "Get to your room! Now!" Hey, it hurt. (I know, I know.) I called him down a minute later and a few minutes after that I asked him to never hit me in the head with anything again, kidding or not. Then I apologized for yelling. He got that look on his face and hugged me.

"When you scream like that it really drains my brain, Mom. Yeah, it drains my brain energy."

I hugged him harder and he smiled (that pasty little smile) and said, "I can feel my energy coming back now."

That is totally a love & logic line. See? It works! (even on me)

Now we are fine and off to Zoe's. xoxo

grumble, grumble

I'm cranky & pouting because I was rudely jolted out of sleep by James jumping on me and Ruby hollering. I asked both of them why they don't give Patrick this morning glory as he is RIGHT NEXT TO ME. They both just blinked at me and he scrunched down a little deeper into the blankets. whatever.

Okay. I'm good now. Well, that's a lie. There is still a dark cloud over my head but not so dark that I can't type in a normal tone and mostly mean it. This cloud will surely dissipate as soon as I go make some coffee and hug those little beasts who call me mom and (still) suckle at my breast. Okay, that was a little dark and only one of them is (sigh) still suckling.

Who am I kidding? I don't have time to post right now! James needs some pants with belt loops and Ruby wants MILK! IN! SIPPY!

While I am away joyfully fulfilling my role as a mother, please enjoy these pictures of the Verona Library. It is fairly new and beautiful but painfully lacking in the kids area. Feels like a tomb in there. The Duluth Public Library has an excellent kids area so if you're ever in Duluth, check it out.

xoxo Happy Friday! Stay Sweet! BFF.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

one of many

beautiful books I saw last night at the bookstore:

I want it. It can be found here. xo

cuppie love

I've been reading and adoring the cakespy blog for a while now and had really wanted to order something from Mrs. Cakespy's etsy shop but couldn't decide just what. One day I saw these appear and ordered them about 1 second later. I love them, they totally crack me up. My mom must have had the Valley of the Dolls book around when I was a kid or something because the image is so familiar to me.

If you've never read cakespy you have to go check it out. Jessie, Mrs. Cakespy, is creative and hilarious and so talented. And you know what else? She is so nice! She always responds to comments (unlike me...sorry) and seems to be having so much fun with what she's doing. You can read her blog here, buy her art here, and see her flickr stream here. So much cuppie love! (this was one of my favorite funny!)

I have 5 cards that I'd like to send out to anyone who would like one. Leave me a comment and email your address to stephaniekg AT yahoo DOT com and I'll get one in the mail for you.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Well, hello there.

I am trying to get us back into normal mode but I know it usually takes me a week to catch up so I'm giving in and just enjoying the slow pace. We had such a fun was really wonderful in a way that you don't always expect when you travel with kids. Oh sure, there were those moments, but really only a few of them. I wish I could always travel with my entire village. I bet the kids do, too. We are missing everyone and every once in a while James just says, "I miss my Annie" or, "I like Uncle Thomas' house."

I like Uncle Thomas & Erin's house, too. I am so happy for them and amazed at all the work they've done in such a short time. I felt so at home at my brother's house and that made me so happy and thankful. It's hard to explain but it's fun to have another home in the feels like an extension of my own in a way that no one else's does. I hope they all feel that way at our house.

Can you tell I'm a little emotional today? If I kept on writing it would become painfully obvious as I rambled on about Patrick and the sunshine outside.

Instead I will tell you that I made some Hershey's type syrup yesterday afternoon and boy, is it good! Patrick and the kids like chocolate milk and I shudder when I read High Fructose Corn Syrup as the first ingredient on that brown bottle. I used this recipe and it has such a good flavor. I don't really like mochas but I squirted some in my coffee this morning, with cream, and it is very yummy. I think I need some vanilla beans because a simple syrup, boiled with a vanilla pod, might just give me that good vanilla flavor I've been missing.

One last thing. Why didn't anyone tell me there is an Anthropologie store at Hilldale mall? I was so sad they didn't have one at the MOA and went to their site this morning to order a catalog. Just for fun I checked Wisconsin store locations and saw one in MADISON. cool. Their stuff is so lovely to look at...just look at all the apron ideas I can steal be inspired by!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

a few pictures

ruby's finally forward, originally uploaded by stephaniekg.

I've got maybe half of my pictures up over on flickr. More soon. xoxo

ruby's tuesday

DSC09622.JPG, originally uploaded by stephaniekg.

We're home.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

last Easter

0408a 016, originally uploaded by stephaniekg.

I am just about all packed up and ready to roll. We have 5 DVDs waiting to be picked up at the library and a van full of snacks. We should be all set. :)

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and very happy Easter! xoxo

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

grocery budget breakdown #2

I have been getting so many emails asking about our grocery budget that I figured I better give an update.


But really, I haven't forgotten about this already, I've just been so busy posting about the other fascinating aspects of our lives.


My totals are a little higher than they would have been because on Saturday I purchased enough snacks to get the kids and I safely to to San Diego, even though we're only going as far as Minneapolis. (I hadn't been to Target in a few weeks and I ended up going a little crazy...I have to admit it was fun.) So for the last month (31 days...figuring Patrick is set until next Monday) we've spent $550.00 at the grocery store, $125.00 eating out and about $75.00 on snacks/groceries for our trip. (I did buy a lot of stuff for the kids to eat in the wasn't all cheetos.) Wow...about $250 less than the last month I counted! I'm really happy. I think the biggest change has been from Patrick bringing his lunches (he's actually keeping a fridge in his office stocked with sandwich supplies & fruit) and watching the trips to the drive through. $35 of that $125 was just at Famous Dave's on Sunday, too. I'm sure I'll be getting some Starbucks on the drive tomorrow (and throughout the weekend) but that comes from our vacation fund and doesn't count. :)

Finally, for my reference, here is the breakdown from my last big grocery shop:

Snacks: 21.00
Produce: 38.00
Meat: 58.00
Baking: 2.00
Dry: 15.00
Soy: 22.00
Dairy: 41.00
Bread: 6.00
Lunch Stuff: 17.00
Froz Fruit: 7.00 =$227.00

I'm not going to breakdown what I spent after this as I am not that uptight. (allright, I totally would have but I can't find my darn receipt!) I do know it was mostly on soy & dry goods, though.

And now, finally, I will put you out of your misery and end this. xoxo

Monday, March 17, 2008

number of additional children I'm dreaming of having: 0
number of kids who slept in our room last night: 1
number of couch cushions Ruby colored on with marker today: 2percentage of marker that has been removed with hand sanitizer borrowed from neighbor: 80
number of kids who've napped today: 0
number of kids who needed to: 2
number of times I've changed my shirt today: 3
number of ounces of pickle juice I've cleaned up today: 8
number of easter candy "recipes" I've tried to create today: 2
number that have worked: 0

number of minutes after I conceived this post that they did this: 5they are lucky.
:) xoxo

the weekend wrap up

much happier than I appear to be (free, I was free!!!!)
sunday dinner at dave's

sledgehammers are so much fun
why I stopped going to Targetcute

sigh. this little cupboard is back in the kitchen

but I did like organizing it
lower level cleaned out!
sewed a new stroller lining as the one it came with ripped, kind of wonky but it works
friday night sundaes
wrapping up a little gift
James washed these (note the suds)
2 bookshelves became one (this made me really happy)
grating apples for the delicious (if I do say so myself) waffles that we make
art project at Zoe's
so cute!
I wanted some of these old needle books and found some at d&s!

the end. xoxo

Sunday, March 16, 2008

rubes & gramps

rubes & gramps, originally uploaded by stephaniekg.

I was going to post pictures from our weekend but then I got sucked into this photo set on my flickr. Don't you just LOVE pictures? I do. Talk about taking you right many good times.

This set was marked private but is now public. Mom & Dad - you'll want to go look even though you've seen them before. Some of my very favorite pictures are there.

good night! xoxo

Friday, March 14, 2008

short & sweet

Sorry about being MIA yesterday. I've been busy having fun, staying up late reading Fall On Your Knees, and quizzing Patrick about which meal he liked best this week: the fatty ham or the dry steak? heehee. This morning we are off to have some fun at a friends' house.

Above are a few pics from the school program yesterday, the one in which James did decide to participate! (up until Wednesday he had said that he didn't want to and though we struggled, we had come to terms with his decision) It was so stinking adorable and we had a really good time.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

good stuff today, wednesday

(looks can be deceiving)
  1. I'm really excited to go to the Twin Cities next week and see everyone. Thomas & Erin are hosting Easter in their new home and my parents, Annie & Ronan are all going to be there. Erin manages a brand new hotel and scored TWO rooms for me & the kidlets and my mom at a super rate. (thanks Erin!) Patrick decided to stay home and get started on the lower level while we're not all underfoot. We'll miss him but HOO-RAY! We also have lots of delicious family in that area and I cannot wait to see everyone. Some day I'll have to tell you all about my cousins Jessica, Sarah & Eryn. xoxo And Auntie Lee, of course, and Uncle Ben & Isaac. (I love my family so much) We are also going to the Mall of America. I haven't been there in years and am looking forward to taking the kids to Underwater World.
  2. Tonight I'm hosting craft night. I wanted to make a delicious treat but will instead settle with store bought brownies. I burned a batch of bar cookies last night and that's all she wrote on that front. Brownies it is! Oh yeah, and that fabulous beer dip. But, mostly, people are coming to craft. Patrick keeps asking me when my vegan, tree-hugging craft group is coming over. ?? He gets the strangest ideas in his little head.
  3. Oh, maybe his ideas come from the fact that Zoe invited me to a lesbian quilting weekend even though I am neither a lesbian or a quilter. Heehee, I am kidding. It's a quilting weekend put on by her church which is gay friendly (UCC) but it's not specifically a rainbow quilting weekend. She called and asked if I could still come even though I wouldn't be quilting. They sighed and said they supposed so. It's next September at some camp and the idea of a whole weekend to sew in the woods with like-minded women (and one friend) sounds really fun. I imagine getting a jump start on my Christmas gifts. (we'll see.) (so maybe patrick got lesbian confused with vegan and the camp part made him think tree hugging?? who knows.)
  4. I switched to half & half a while ago and am a little sad. I miss my partially hydrogenated Vanilla creamer more than I thought I would. boo hoo. I have been buying flavored beans but it's just not the same. I had a peppermint white mocha from Starbucks yesterday and almost wept with joy. I remember that feeling now and hold tight to it knowing that someday I will taste it again.

Allright, I'm sad now. I knew I shouldn't have brought up the creamer. Must buck up and head to the library & grocery store. After all, #8 on my to do list for the day is have fun with kids. :) xoxo

c'mon kids, let's do a puzzle!

I found this old puzzle at D&S a few weeks ago. I had no idea if all the pieces were in there but figured it was worth a shot. "Hmmm," I thought, "must be about pigs or something as it's called Jiggety Jig, this might be fun for James." I set it on my printer, right here by the computer, until we could find some spare time to put it together.

One day I glanced over at it and noticed some writing on the side that I hadn't seen before.

um, yeah. Super glad I caught that. Can you just imagine James as we put the last piece in to place?!

(dear Erin, our little puzzle lover, would you like to put it together at Easter? I'd be happy to bring it along!)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

hahahahahahah, so much patience, hahahhahahah

(by the polar bears)

We met Kate & Natalie at the zoo after preschool today. It was lots of fun until the puddle splashing as that was when James realized his boots are not waterproof. There was much wailing and gnashing of the baby teeth when I wouldn't let him ride in the stroller (instead of Ruby) on the way out. I gave him a choice of cutting it out or having no tv time this afternoon. He couldn't manage to cut it out and when he realized the consequence of his actions, the wailing, teeth gnashing, trying to hit my back (haha, nice try with those mittens, buddy!), trying to tip the stroller over (I got a little mad here), and so on, continued. Ruby also chimed in at this point. So, here I am, pushing a stroller on the ice with one 4 year old going "WAHHHHHH" and "I WANT TV, I WANT TV!" at the top of his lungs and one nearly 2 year old trying to crawl out of her stroller and mimicking her brother's bellowing.

I kept looking at Kate and laughing and later she remarked how I had so much patience. HAHAHHA. All that "patience" was just a smoke screen because inside I was madly thumbing through my mental Love & Logic Handbook looking for the chapter that covers your kid being a total moron in public. I am glad it appears as patience rather than, say, an URGE TO KILL.

Once I got them safely (and very securely) buckled up, James calmed down. He later referenced how sad it was that he doesn't get to watch tv this afternoon but there hasn't been any more wailing, thank goodness.

It was fairly warm today (41) and sunny so I'm glad we got a chance to be outside. Ruby also loved the puddles and was sad when I made her stop "swimming." (there are a few more new pics on flickr!) (they go onto page 2, ma)


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