Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I love a good list

My plan was to spend one week on 3 different big jobs on my to do list.  I got our garage cleaned out today (my task for week one) so now I can focus on outdoor sewing for

I must stop now and tell you my key for a letter after G is not working.  So I cannot say it is _ot outside, I must say it is warm.  I can not say t_e swingset, I must say our swingset.  It is difficult (not _ard) and annoying to write like I am writing. 

Anyways.  I must get it fixed soon. 

I did get a canopy sewed up for our patio swing but now must do a seat, a more difficult task.

I cannot blog like t_is.  It is so annoying. 

Big score, before I go pout.  I got a Radio Flyer Retro Rocket for Pickles today for .50!  It was 5.50 at a t_rift store and I used a $5 coupon!  super cute.

I _ope your letter _ works.  W_o knew _ow important it is?!


would you like that with or without pickles?

With.  Please.


Monday, May 30, 2011

trust me, I have lots of pictures

but they are all on my camera, upstairs.

I am downstairs and oh so tired right now.  I am trying to summon the strength to take a shower but I'm not sure that's going to happen.

But it has to!  I have an early dentist appointment tomorrow.  sigh. 

Patrick is at work for a few hours tonight and then going to a movie with a friend of his.  He is the birthday boy today.  Awwwww.  My little bunny is 40.  I remember when he was 1/4 Century Boy like it was yesterday.  xoxoxo, bunny.

I just got word that my ice cream maker shipped.  Yay!  That was one of the treats I bought myself with the money I earned making charms for people.  Fun.  I can't wait to get it.  (I have a few left if anyone wants one!  Thanks to all who ordered.  :)  )

The rest of our weekend was pretty darn wonderful.  There was a little bit of everything.  I think the highlight for everyone was having a fire out on the patio last night.  (we got a little fire pit!)  Patrick made up cozy beds for all of us (of course.  he is the king cozy bed maker.) and we laid out there for a long time.  James, Ruby and Patrick all fell asleep but I just laid there looking up at the stars that had just come out and feeling incredibly grateful.  Patrick woke up after a while and we had some wine (SHIT FACED) (kidding.) and talked before carrying the kids up to bed.  Perfect. 

The hard thing about this weekend?  All the good food!  Those burgers (I am dreaming of them, even now), berry pie and ice cream, wine, coffee, cinnamon rolls, grilled cheese, brats...yumMY!  Oh!  It was big news, the grilled cheese.  James had his first one!  (We have also had quesadillas and enchiladas lately and he's loved both of them.  So fun to have a few more dinner options.  He can eat cheese that is just melted, not necessarily baked.)  (it is so strange.)

I have a super long list of stuff I'd like to do this week.  I'm not sure how that's going to go but if I really get into it I might not be around much.  I had one of those moments this morning where I want to throw everything in our house away.  That usually means I need a good purge.  :)

I hope you are all enjoying the end of your long weekends and feeling refreshed for the (short) week ahead.  xoxo

Saturday, May 28, 2011

holy good stuff

I had ten things on my outdoor to-do list and I finished ALL of them.

Patrick took a nap on the patio.  He's never, in the 6.5 years we've lived here, been so at ease in our backyard.  (love)

He also made some flipping delicious burgers for lunch.  They had crushed pretzels in them, were topped with caramelized onions and placed on toasted buns.  OMgosh.  I ate one and a half.

(insert bad thing here:  The kids just slammed the door and woke pickles up from his late nap.)

But now we get to go to Home Depot and Starbucks for mulch and late afternoon coffee!

The canvas on our swing is shot (sun rot) but instead of buying a new one ($200) I am going to attempt to sew a new seat and canopy.  Wish me luck!

Hope you're having a good weekend.  I am a bit nervous about the next 2 days as this one has been way too good.



Friday, May 27, 2011

I apologize in advance

for not having any pictures today.  My camera is MIA, most likely in the sinkhole that I call a van, and I don't have the inclination to go look for it right now.  I did get some cute shots of Ruby's graduation yesterday.  It was very sweet and she had a lot of fun.  Patrick was thankfully there because I could have never handled Nicholas for the hour-plus program without him.  We basically passed him back and forth, feeding him goldfish crackers (Patrick) and breast-milk (me.)

I realized that I am in a transition period right now along with my baby.  His explosion of growth and development has totally taken me by surprise.  I feel kind of groggy about how to handle it all...like my toddler (gasp!) parenting skills were in a deep sleep and just now being shaken madly to WAKE UP!  WAKE UP!  WE NEED  YOU OUT HERE!  Which of course, they were and are.

Thank God for google.  For being able to read about 13 month-old development and seeing that Nicholas is totally within the normal range.  I do feel like he is doing some stuff about 5 months earlier than my other two but I've heard that 3rd children can be like that...in a hurry.  I am slowly recalling things like:  sometimes the best way to handle a situation is to avoid it in the first place and how to ignore the dirty looks as you push your screeching child through Target, furiously scrambling to get the box of goldfish crackers open. 

I'm also mourning my previous situations a little bit.  When James and Ruby were babies I was surrounded by friends with kids of the same ages.  We could talk and laugh about the irritating behavior and see what was next in the older children.  I don't have that anymore and I miss it.  I am now the old lady with the baby.  :)  I don't really want to go make new friends, though I wouldn't be opposed if it happened, so I will have to figure out new ways to get myself through this.  Luckily most of my friends still remember it so they can be sympathetic.  That helps a lot.

The flip side of Nicholas' new behavior is, well, Nicholas.

Patrick and I recently talked about how perfect his face is to us.  Can you imagine someone asking you to design a face??  Where would you even start?  It blows my mind that God has created billions of unique faces and that the one He gave my boy is the most perfect face in the world to me.  (just like the faces of James and Ruby.  They are all my favorite.)  Just stopping and looking at his face softens my heart.  He is so freaking cute.

He is also super funny and LOVES a good laugh or joke.  He gets when stuff is funny.  We also (of course) think he is super clever and has excellent fine motor skills.  He is learning to go backwards down the stairs now which is awesome.  He understands so much of what we say and that is amazing to see again, even for the third time.  He will bring me tiny things he finds on the carpet and is super happy when I let him hold the forbidden Legos for a few minutes.  He is a little cuddle bug at nap and bed times and gives me the sweetest kisses.  He will put up with a lot of crap from James and Ruby (mostly Ruby) but does have his limits.  He adores Patrick.  (They are like two naughty peas in a pod.)  He has no interest in books yet but LOVES cars and trucks.  He also enjoys balls and a good block tower.  He feeds himself pretty well with a spoon and fork and is now shrieking if I give him the "baby" spoon.  He wants a silver one, DAMMIT.  He has the tiniest butt and, like I said, my favorite face.

So I might choose to vent here about the hard stuff (because I know that hard usually equals funny and I do like to laugh about it all...afterwards.) and I might choose to gush...I'm sure some of both.    I love having this blog because I can go back and see what my life was like 4 years ago, when Ruby was 1.  It was a lot like it is now and that is comforting because I don't remember that in my head.

And now the tiny baby bobcat is awake and growling in his crib.

As always, thanks for listening.


Thursday, May 26, 2011


This little nugget is graduating from preschool today.  (yes, again.)

When I look at the pictures from last year I cannot believe how much she has grown up.  Her face is slowly losing that baby-ness.  :( 

I am a bit emotional today.  Next is kindergarten.  Wow. 

Oh, Ruby.  What would I do without you?


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

the very long story of our fence and patio and how sometimes you (meaning me) have to be very patient and keep your mouth shut

Last night Patrick grabbed the one lonely wine cooler that was still in the fridge from last summer.  "Let's go out on the patio and get shitfaced," he said.

I do love that man.

We each had a couple big swallows but didn't really get shitfaced.  It was fun, nonetheless.  Summer is here!  Let's booze it up!  :)  Haha, we are such party animals.

The summer sun is gone for a couple of days but I love the patio, even in the rain.

I have plans to make a new cushion (and maybe canopy) for the swing and our wicker loveseat.  It involves some of our old cushions, fabric, thick plastic sheeting and lots of duct tape.  I'll let you know how it goes.  ;)  I bought new cushions for our chairs this year and they are not cheap.  I'd like to get by with some homemade stuff for the other pieces as we still want a fire pit and maybe a gazebo.  One step at a time, I'm telling myself.  The most important parts are in place.

How long have you been reading my blog?  I'm totally curious so let me know if you'd like, but what made me think of that was this post.  I've been wanting a patio for years so this is pretty fun for me.  :)  I made do for a long time. 

We got the patio itself poured last summer.  I was thrilled with that but soon realized that the neighbor kids (and my own  - but I can control them for the most part) all saw it as a big play slab as it was so easily accessible.  They basically wrecked our swing, move everything not nailed down, play with my plants, dig through the deck box...drove me nuts.  Then there was a little pickle this year who tumbled right off the edge every other step (he is already learning to "turn around and go down" but still!) and loves to run to the street.  No relaxing for mama with that stuff going on and I wanted a patio to RELAX on.  Thus the idea of putting a fence around the patio was born.

I put the idea forward to Patrick and he immediately said no.  He thought it would be stupid and look out of place.  I reminded him that I let him get whatever honking TV he wanted last winter (for the same money as the fence would cost!) and didn't say a word.  He said no one can see the TV but us.  (insert heavy sigh here) 

Over the next month we kept talking and started compromising.  We got estimates on having planters built all around the patio.  (63 feet of deck boxes would apparently blend right in in Patrick's eyes.)  Too expensive.  We talked about just one privacy fence on the street side and prickly poisonous bushes planted everywhere else.  (kidding.) (kind of.)  We talked about just getting a gazebo and talking with the neighbors (nicely) about keeping their kids off our crap.  We briefly considered a moat.  We talked kindly with each other even though on the inside I was thinking, "He is sooooooo dumb!  He has no vision!"  I was exasperated but I knew getting pissed at him would get me no where.  I learned this the hard way, about 10 years ago.  :)  (not that I never get mad at him but this was so important to me and my gut was telling me to tread softly this time.)  Instead of yelling at him I seethed to my sister, mom or friends.  I prayed.  I got an estimate on a fence just for the fun of it.  I waited.  I gave him an excellent hand drawn rendition of my vision:

Can you believe he didn't like it???  (hahahhahahahhahahahhahaaa.  I am not an artist.)

We didn't talk about it for a while and I finally just said again, "Can we please just do this?  It will mean so much to me, Patrick."  (I had said that at first but he apparently hadn't heard me.)  He gruffly said I should get another estimate so I did.  It was a lot cheaper (but less decorative) and I felt like I might have him.  I did.  And here we are!  And it only took lots of waiting and compromising and prayer and complaining behind his back and I got exactly what I wanted!  :)  (why isn't everything in life this way??)

I love it!  The kids love it!  Patrick even loves it!  He is a private guy so he really likes that it feels a bit secluded, especially at night.

I have already thought that it might be kind of a pain when Nicholas is around 3 and wants to be in the sandbox and I want to be inside.  I can't really see the sandbox from the sliding door like I could before, but you know what?  When that time comes I will suck it up and deal.  Nothing is perfect, right?  And I will never, NEVER complain about it to Patrick.  :)

We plan on (slowly) landscaping all around it.  Right after we mow.  Haha.

Want to come over and get shitfaced on my patio?  Call me!  ;)


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

tuesday, part two

Hey there.  How is your week so far?  I can't believe it's Tuesday already!

kidding.  :)

My week is pretty good so far.  Of course, we got our fence!  Here is a peek:

It's like a giant play pen and Nicholas loves it.  Yesterday he was standing on the one step from the house to the patio and, INSTEAD OF SHRIEKING, he signed help.  Be still my heart.  How do I teach him to sign "GIVE ME THE EFFING..."?  That's what he'd really like to know.

Ruby is done with pre-school on Thursday.  Yay!  No more $$ every month and no more being home by 11:30am!  (I'm trying to see the bright side.)  This is an adjustment period we are all heading into and I remember last year was kind of rough, especially right at first, for James.  I hope knowing that might happen will make this year easier.

I am trying to figure out how to get my exercising time in with all the kids home this summer.  I think that getting up earlier will probably be the best bet so I'm trying to get into that habit now.  If I try to exercise while Pickles is sleeping I KNOW J&R will bug me and I will get ticked.  It will be hard enough to keep them relatively quiet during nap time.  Keeping them quiet while working on my fitness?  No way.  That is always my biggest challenge as baby naps are quite sacred around here.  :)  I think we will most likely spend his nap time OUTSIDE.  It will let him sleep but also give me some time with them to just do big kid things, which will be good.  I also think he'll shift to one nap over the summer so that will make things a bit easier.

I am down another pound, so 16.5.  Whoopee!  That was said a bit sarcastically as I haven't been trying my best lately.  I am actually back on track now (as of last week) but really took it easy for the week and a half before that.  I was walking every day but no weights or harder cardio or anything which I really missed.  I am super excited to hit 20lbs.  I wonder when I will? 

I find it funny, this whole losing weight thing.  Yes, my clothes fit better and some are way too big.  Yes, I am stronger and feel some changes in my body.  I *know* these things but it's going so slowly (now) that I don't always remember/appreciate how far I've come.  I get stuck thinking of how far I have to go and that isn't fair to myself.  I've read stories about women who've lost weight but they still think of themselves as they used to be.  I haven't lost a drastic amount by any means but I can see what they mean.  As I sit here my belly feels just as big and squishy as ever.  It's hard not to focus on that part of it.   Just an observation.  Like before, I am thankful during these times that my eating has changed enough that I'm not gaining any weight when I let it all ride for a while.  That is a good thing!  Something to celebrate, right?  :)

I have to go now.  Ruby has her 5 year check in a while.

Have a great day!  xoxo

playing hooky

James had an early dentist appointment last Friday morning. I knew it was going to be a beautiful day so I decided to let him play hooky and brought all the kids to picnic point.

yay, picnic point!
It never disappoints.
James applying Nicholas' sunscreen:
He was loving this:
bare bum:
hard to resist:
Nicholas tried (and succeeded!) over and over to get the little straw back in the juice box hole.  I loved watching his intense concentration:
The rock wall at the entrance was a big hit this time:

Ruby talked him through it:  :)
Baby was tired out and happy to watch by this point:


Well, we got our fence yesterday.  And I love it.  LOVE IT!

Patrick has been anti-fence since the beginning but when he got home last night (at around 10pm) we sat out there surrounded by the sweet smelling cedar...and he liked it! 

I knew he would.  I'm so glad.

More about that soon.  I need to go get my workout on.


Monday, May 23, 2011

charmed, I'm sure

I got my larger size charms last week and the first one I made was for a friend who has three boys, all with 4 letters in their names.  It turned out so cute that I made this one for myself next.  When I was making it I wished that I could fit Patrick's name on there, too.  The first thing Patrick asked when I showed it to him?  Where's my name?  :)  The kids love this but also asked where daddy's name was.  I am thinking of a plan to fit them all on.  My little loves.

I have accepted 5 orders so far and would love to make one for you, if you'd like.  Here are the details:

  • The cost for one stamped charm plus one bead charm is $10. (example here)
  • Cost for additional stamped charms is $5
  • Cost for additional bead charms is $2
  • I can do up to 5 letters or numbers on the small charms and up to 7 on the big ones.  (maybe 8?  If you need 8, email me and I'll check it out)
  • You can layer a small charm on a big one and see both names (kinda like this but I only have 2 sizes)
  • This does not include the necklace.
  • Charms are stainless steel
  • Shipping is $2
  • Email me at stephaniekg AT yahoo DOT com and we'll talk specifics
Thank you so much!  :)


Thursday, May 19, 2011

mr. pickes, the tiny baby bobcat


My tiny little baby pickles is growing up a little and changing a little.

He can really get around now and is not the shy type.  He is a very curious little fellow and loves to explore.  He especially loves cars and trucks and the street.  He hates when his mama redirects him or, GASP, stops him from doing something that he loves.  He shows her (me) this by arching his back and screeching as loud as he can.  He does this because he cannot yet say, "Mama, please stop."  He is like a tiny baby bobcat now, sometimes.

A tiny baby bobcat that, along with his new independence, has a renewed interest in breastfeeding.  A tiny baby bobcat that his mama (me) needs to put to her (my) breast 4-5 times a day.

The tiny baby bobcat is smart because this provides his mama (me) more oxytocin and prevents her (me) from growling and snarling at him all day long.  It may even allow her to eat more snacks.  Mamas do like more snacks.

The end.


(p.s.  I know this is a very weird post but when I sat down to write, this is what came out.  I am going to bed now.  xo)

I was dying on the inside.

And no, it's not because I need my roots done.  It involves a certain 13 month old giving me a refresher course on tantrums.

More later!  I hate mornings like this when I can't decide to skip the nap-time quiet (and exercising, chores, free time) and go thrifting or not.  ARGH! 

Life is tough sometimes. 

(in the best ways, I know.)


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

how to make metal stamped necklaces

I thought I'd write up a quick how-to post about making those metal stamped necklaces.  This is less of a tutorial and more of me sharing all of the sources I found through a little bit of research (aka googling.)  :)

First of all, you'll need a hard surface to bang on (like a concrete floor or a piece of steel) and all/most of this:

  • Pliers - These make attaching the little jump ring to the stamped charm very easy and are also used for making the charms out of beads.  It was a happy day when I found all the pliers I needed right out in Patrick's tool box.  You can buy them at Jo-Ann's, Menards or here as well.  (or many other places, I am sure.)  
  • Metal Stamping set - I got the metal stamping set at Harbor Freight Tools in Madison but they sell them online, too.  I heard Menards carries these as well.  I have read that some people have trouble with the ones I got not lasting.  If they don't, I might purchase a more expensive set on Amazon.  The ones I have are great for just starting out, I think.
  • Blank Discs - I ordered my blanks on etsy.  Just do a search, there are tons of options available.  If you don't have a metal punch, make sure and order yours pre-punched like I did.
  • Beads, Jump Rings & Bead Findings - I actually had some findings (the long skinny things), jump rings and beads in my craft stuff.  I have dabbled in jewelry making over the years and just kept everything even after my interest faded.  (Hey - I'm a Gemini.  This happens a lot.)  (even though horoscopes are EVIL and from the DEVIL.)  (that was for you, Melissa.  :)  )  ANYWAYS.  I digress.  You can get all the little pretty stuff at Jo-Anns, Michaels, Hobby Lobby or online.  Here is one example of a little kit you can buy.
  • Sharpie & Hammer & OH YEAH! Baby Wipes - Oh jeez.  You can get this stuff anywhere but probably in your own junk drawer.  The baby wipes are for wiping the sharpie off the stamped charm at the end.  Q-tips will help too.
Okay!  So you have everything you need!  Excellent.  Now, put your little disc down on your hard surface (if your discs come with a protective layer - leave it on while stamping), place the letter stamp on top of it, hold steady and give it a good whack with your hammer.  Plan on practicing on a charm a few times to see how hard you need to hit it.  I've found my stainless steel discs need one GOOD whack.  If you are unsure, hit it twice but DO NOT move the stamp in between.  Repeat until you have a tiny little adorable charm that you cannot believe you just made!

But you're not done yet!  Now peel off your protective layer (if you have one) and scribble sharpie all over the imprinted letters.  This helps define them.  Let it sit a minute and clean most of it off, it will rub off pretty easily.  Here is a picture of the ones I made yesterday before cleaning them up all the way:

My second A in SADA was not as deep as I would have liked it.  The sharpie helped bring it out some and from a distance I didn't think it was very noticeable.  We'll know for sure when Cheryl gets this.  :)  I did clean it up more after this pic but didn't get it too clean since the marker was really helping.

Now you should have a very cute little charm.  Admire it for a while just as it is.  If you want to add a cute bead/pearl charm to go along with it, you can use this tutorial to help you.  She talks about cutting your wire (she must be a real jewelry maker!) but instead just use one of those findings.  Like she said, it might take you a few tries to get it just right but be patient.  I found that holding the top loop with my pliers and doing the twisting with my fingers worked the best.  Then I pushed it in tight with my needle nose pliers and cut off the excess with my cutting pliers.  This will sound confusing until you try it.  I liked the twisting on my sister's bead charm the best so far:  (beginner's luck)

Please let me know if you make some of these - I'd love to see them.  They, like most crafts, can be kind of addicting.  :) 

All of this being said, if you just don't want to get all the stuff and try it  yourself, I will be happy to make a charm for you, my dear readers!  I will post about this tomorrow, maybe.  I'm not going into business or anything (there is tons of competition) but if you want a simple charm & bead for $10, I'm your girl.


mr. pickles gets a headlamp


Tuesday, May 17, 2011


  the zucchini thief 

Vegetables can rest easy in crisper land once again.


number 5

Ruby chasing her buddy:
After the party:
The birthday girls:
Telling them about the pinata plan:  (Kelly is a teacher and took such excellent control of the crowd!  Wendy and I were quite impressed.  :)  )

A t-shirt I made Ruby after Andrea told me how much she loved the 5 shirt Auntie Kristy gave her for her 5th birthday:  (and I totally remember that shirt!)
With her gifts and chocolate shake:*  (see story below)
James giving it his best:
Standard birthday procedure:
Ruby, getting ready:
my little birthday girl:

2 friends and I decided to have our girls share one big party (their birthdays are either close/on the same day as Ruby's) and it was so much fun!  We split the responsibilities and the cost and I think all the girls (and guests) had a good time.  

Ruby's actual birthday was the next day so we had some fun stuff planned that day, too.  We took her to pick out a new bike and a couple of goldfish!  She was so excited.  The goldfish were from Gramma Sue and she is saving her birthday money from Gramma Kris to buy more fish/a bigger tank if these ones make it.  :)  We also ate lunch at Noodles (her choice) and got a vanilla milk at Starbucks.  Oh yeah, she named the fish Shotgun and Bomb.  (sigh.)  (that's my girl.)

*The chocolate shake story.  One day last winter I let Ruby get a strawberry shake from McDonald's when her and I were going to Target.  She had never had a shake from a place before and was literally moaning in the backseat over how delicious it was.  She said all she wanted for her birthday was a chocolate shake.  (the other flavor that looked good to her.)  Because of James' allergies we never get ice cream treats out so this was a BIG deal to her. 

On the way home from her party last Saturday I was starving and decided to get a chicken snack wrap from McDonalds.  Ruby asked if she could have a shake (I was planning on getting her one the next day at some point when James wasn't around) and I said I wasn't sure...it wouldn't be fair to James.  James said, "She can have one!  It's her birthday."  I thought that was so sweet (and that he was right but it would have made me feel so sad to make that call.)  When we got there he said, "Maybe I could have a Dr. Pepper for a treat?"  :)  We never let him get pop to drink so I let him and they were both happy. 

To make myself a little teary, here is Ruby at One, Two, Three, and Four.  She has really grown up on this blog, hasn't she?


Monday, May 16, 2011

shut up! they are so cute!

(not a paid advertisement, though it could be if anyone ever offered to pay me!)



boo! hiss! / yay! love!

Due to the crappy weather last Friday putting them behind, the fence guys can't come today.  (that was my news I was waiting for earlier.)  Sigh.  Next Monday is our day.  Hopefully.  Knock on (red cedar) wood.

I am not that bummed.  The baby is sleeping, the sun is shining and I have a tasty (salty) english muffin with sunbutter in front of me.  mmmmmmm.

I want to show you what I made last week.  I have wanted to try this for a couple of years but never got around to getting the stuff.  I will tell you another time where I got it all but you can google it if you want to know, like, NOW.  (I don't want anyone (who might, say, have 2 little girls) who might be reading this to make themselves one because I might be making one for them!)

I will just say that I love making them and they are easy and I love them!



For some strange reason I decided to try these biscuit donuts on Saturday morning.  This was the day of Ruby's party and I thought, "Oh, I have plenty of time to make and frost those cupcakes later."  Ha.  Anyways.  I don't have a frying thermometer so my oil got waaaaaay too hot and I burned most of them.  When they started coming out right I cut them up so we'd all get a few.  The kids loved them and James was happy to taste a fried donut instead of the usual baked ones that I make.  (not that I make them all the time.)  (I love donuts too much to do that.)  (I tried these a few years ago and they didn't work at. all.  Oil was too hot then, too, I suppose.)

Anyways, try them!  They are good.


Blogger put up my post from last week that had gone missing.  Mom, it should be right under the snake post. 

This may or may not be a big day for us.  I will find out by 8am.  :)


Friday, May 13, 2011

ruby spears?

Every time I see her with this snake,

I can't help but think of her:

It doesn't help that she always carries it on her shoulders.

Oh, Ruby.


(p.s.  blogger is having issues (aren't we all??) and took yesterday's post down.  It should be back later.  Thanks for the encouraging words on my arms, Sarah.  xoxo)


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