Friday, September 30, 2011

it's sunny! and friday!

Nicky and I are about to go do some errands.  I had 2 etsy sales this week that I need to get shipped out.  I got a new postal scale that I LOVE but am still nervous to print my postage at home.  Isn't that dumb?  :)  I just want to ask them a question first and then I'll be ready.  (she says convincingly.)

I finished the STUPIDEST book ever last night.  I've enjoyed some Anne River Siddons books as they are set down South (many in Georgia) and I love reading books set in places I love to visit.  This one, however, was like she was trying to be Anne River Siddons/Stephen King and it was SO FREAKING STUPID.  oh my gosh.  I was curious right up until the last few pages where it was going, how she was going to make it work, and she never did.  (there were no amazon review when I put it on my hold list, btw.)

I had a nice dinner (though an icky sandwich) with some friends last night.  Yay!  I got turned down by one potential babysitter (too many kids) and am waiting to get the other's phone number.  boo.  I am hopeful, though.  Yay!  This is boring.


Have a great weekend!  I will most likely be back tomorrow with my first simple way to change your life and make you happy forever. 



Thursday, September 29, 2011

I can't think of post titles for the life of me

Something occurred to me this morning. James has been so much calmer and sweeter and generally more agreeable since school started, right? He also hasn't played the WII or computer since we were in Duluth in August. He might watch 30 minutes of TV after school but not even that on most days. (they make up for it on the weekends, trust me.) Could this lack of technology be playing into his better attitude? I bet it's at least part of it.  He has to write 78 more sentences of "I will listen to my parents" before he gets WII/computer privileges back. I kind of hope he doesn't ever get to it. :) (that was his punishment in Duluth for being particularly naughty one day...100 sentences. He's (bitterly) done 22 so far. ha!) So anyways. Here is James with one of his famous sandwiches:
(bologna, roast beef, pepperoni, salami, pickles and mayo on a hoagie)

Here is Nicky with our little friend that was over yesterday.  They are so cute together.  (makes me miss our cousins!)
And here is Ruby at Daisy Scouts last night:
(I am most excited to meet my friends for a beer during the one hour daisy scout meetings each month!)  :)

Sweet stuff, all of it.

Thank you for praying for my friend.  Please keep her in your prayers if you can.  Her life has been totally shaken up this week and she needs lots of extra love. 

I called another babysitter this morning and we'll talk again later today.  It looks like they could take Nicky on Monday or Friday, if I like them.  Our neighbor girl goes there so he'd be with someone familiar again, which I like.  I am curious of the other kids' ages and how many there are.  I'll have to remember to ask her that.  It's not as close as my neighbor was but it's still only a mile away.  As much as I knew I didn't want him at my neighbor's house anymore, the idea of not having that day was bumming me out, too.

I am thinking of joining in with the Nester and doing a theme for the month of October with posts every day.  My idea was to do 31 small things you can do each day to make your life a little bit better.  These would not be earth shattering revolutions but just a gathering of all the things that I really feel make me happier and healthier (whether I do them or not!  ha!)  Is this something any of you would be interested in?  Please let me know if you would be, I'd love to hear from you.

Nicky and I are going grocery shopping in a while.  He did so awesome last time but the store had truck carts and today's store doesn't.  Wish me luck!  (there might be cookies involved.)


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

going on about my kids

I am sad today.  I spoke with a friend yesterday who is going through such a hard time and it's really stayed with me.  You can't shake a sadness like this so I am trying to embrace it and have it push me towards prayer.  Every time she comes to my mind, tears come to my eyes.  Please pray for this woman and her family if you can.  Thank you.


I forgot to mention yesterday that Nicky says bye (sounds like "buh") and waves his little hand all the time now.  He has such a deep baby voice.  He says buh to his penis when we put his diaper on.  He says buh to the trucks that pass us on our walks.  He says buh to daddy and James and Ruby.  He also lifts up his shirt, shows me his belly, then lowers his shirt and signs "where".  He will hide something in a totally obvious spot and sign where.  He will pull his shirt down over his penis and sign where.

Babies/big boys are awesome.

Really big boys are also awesome.  James was pretty wily this summer, excelling in patience testing.  Since school started he is back to how he used to be.  Oh my gosh, it's good.  I think he was either A) sick of Ruby B) sick of me C) bored out of his mind or D) needed some routine like his mama.  Most likely it was a combo of all 4.  He still gets sassy but he has been overall so wonderful to be around lately.  I told him so last night and he gave me the biggest hug and mentioned he might need some new Lego pieces.

Did he plan this all out??  :)  I don't care, I'll take it.

I feel like I should mention something about Ruby now.  Last night Ruby really tested my the tune of screaming at the top of her lungs, "I AM SO DUMB.  I LOVE YOU.  I AM SO DUMB. I LOVE YOU."  for 30 minutes in her room.  Oh dear.  A weaker woman would have kicked her to the curb.  :)  My favorite thing about Ruby right now is when she comes up and tells me what she's thinking about.  Her little thoughts are complex and sweet and funny and slightly dark all at the same time.  What would I do without my Ruby?

I wish you all happy days.  Please pray for my friend and give extra thanks for your own families today, too.  xoxo

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

it feels like a wednesday

Nicky and I just got home after a busy morning of volunteering (making applesauce with Ruby's class) and a trip to the mall (returning swimsuits purchased in July.)  He just went down for a nap so I have a bit of quiet before the big kids get home.
To get caught up with all the bits floating in my brain, a list:

  • I was so excited to meet my friends at Cranberry Fest last Saturday.  So excited!  And then Friday night my throat started to hurt and I got the chills.  :(  I didn't go anywhere on Saturday except to my bed...for nearly 24 hours.  It felt so good and was just what my body needed because I felt mostly better by Sunday afternoon.
  • I watched a lot of TV on Saturday.  It was fun.  (but not as fun as Cranberry Fest with Melissa and Angie would have been.)  
  • I got out bed for 20 minutes on Saturday afternoon to put a roast in the oven.  It turned out DELICIOUS.  I used this recipe with no fresh herbs and a beer in place of the wine and some of the broth.  I also added potatoes.  Delicious.
  • My neighbor that watched Nicky on Thursdays (all 2 of them) isn't going to have the other kid she watched anymore so I decided to pull Nicky, too.  If he's going to sit around with just an adult all day it can be me.  :)  A friend did suggest another sitter in my neighborhood so I might call her tomorrow.  I hope it's not the end of "freebird thursdays" as my sister-in-law calls them.  :)
  • I just bought a Groupon yesterday for a 2 month pass for the Princeton Club for $50.  It needs to be activated by 12/29/11.  I am now deciding when I'm going to start.  I might wait until the last minute so we'll have something to go out and do during those 2 cold months of winter.  They have a beautiful child care facility for Nicky and even the big kids if I ever want to take them in the late afternoon.  Kind of excited about it.  :)
  • I am starting up regular exercise here again - besides just walking with Nicky.  I felt like such a loser last week because I was so tired, had NO motivation and was eating everything.  It's obvious now that my body was fighting a cold but I got pretty down on myself.  (I tend to do that.  sigh.)  I am feeling better now and am figuring out where I can fit exercise into my new schedule.  Looks like early mornings are still it because I only feel like relaxing at nap time.  Wish me luck!  I'd like to lose 3-5 lbs by Halloween.  I think this means I need to stop eating so many cookies.  crap.  
  • The good news is that I maintained my weight loss all summer!  woohoo! 
  • The bad news is that my body seems pretty comfortable here and I'm nervous that it might take a lot of work to push me under this weight. 
  • I put the flannel sheets on our bed yesterday and was hot all night.  Might be a tad too early for flannel sheets.
  • Thanks for the scarf love.  :)  Yesterday morning when Patrick left he warned me not to make too much stuff as the scissors were already out at 8am.  :)
 That is just a quick update of what's going on around here.  I have to go make some coffee now.

As always, thank you so much to my friends and family for reading...and for the rest of you lurkers, whoever you are!  :)


Monday, September 26, 2011

sew day

Today was a blustery day, perfect for coffee and sewing.  I prepped some things while Nicky was awake and when he went down for his nap I got to work.

I recently thrifted this skirt because I loved the fabric:

I had already decided to turn it into a scarf when I noticed it matched a sweater I also recently thrifted.  (It's not my usual color but I bought it because it was A COLOR and not black or grey like nearly everything else I own for this cooler weather.)  The sweater was a bit too big so I threw it in the dryer for 20 minutes this morning and it shrunk the perfect amount.  (Note to self:  do not put this sweater in the dryer anymore.)

The greens are actually a better match in person.  The scarf is silky (polyester) so it shows up kind of shiny in these pictures.

Here is another scarf I had thrifted this past summer but it was big and square and had ratty edges.

I had a plain orange long sleeve tshirt that I was going to get rid of but I noticed today that the two matched!  I took the tshirt in a bit, cut the edges off of the scarf, cut it in fourths, and sewed a long skinny scarf out of it.

(I've since ironed it and it looks much cuter.)  Yay!  Something else colorful for my wardrobe.

I also took in another (blue) (thrifted) shirt and two (beige and green) (thrifted) sweaters today. 

I'm starting to feel a bit better about getting dressed these next few months. 

I love thrift stores.  :)


p.s.  My big kids took Nicky downstairs for 15 minutes so I could type this up.  I don't normally blog when baby is awake anymore because he attacks me to get at the computer.  He loves to sit in my chair and play with the mouse.  Oh, Nicky. 

big rig thing

I really want to go on and on and on about myself but i can't right now. Instead I will share with you these pictures from the weekend before last. Teresa told me about this big rig event at the Goodman pool in Madison where kids could climb all over a ton of different trucks. James wasn't interested but Nicky and Ruby loved it. An added bonus was the open and empty swimming cool to be in it with no water!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


How did 6.5 hours go by sooooo fast? 

I got a ton done today but, seriously!  I can't believe it's nearly 3 o'clock.

I got 6 of these listed on etsy:

 (you can find them here)

I also finished 10 wine bags.  4 were part of a special order of 6 that I received and 6 more are listed here.

These wine bags got me a ton of ridicule when I first debuted (too strong of a word?  :) ) them but they are a consistently good seller for me.  Just goes to show...never listen to the haters.

ahhahahahha!  I am kidding.  No one cared about these enough to hate them.  They were just misunderstood.

Cheers to Thursdays!


just right

I have a lot I want to get done today.  It's all stuff I am looking forward to doing and I'm so happy that I get the chance to do it unencumbered by my (dear) children.

Ruby wore a new outfit to school today without complaining - she picked it! - and looked so darling.

James is having a hard time adjusting to wearing jeans again but is doing his best.  He marker-ed his belly button blue a while ago but it still surprises me every time I see it.  It looks pretty cute.

Nicky woke up happy but was immediately suspicious of the striped scarf I was wearing.  He was happy to arrive at Lisa's but started to cry as I left.  I listened outside the front door and he stopped within 5 seconds.

I just took a 15 minute break to sit here and blog and fb and read a few blogs.  I am dressed (with my shoes on!), listening to Mumford & Sons and have already finished something that I think turned out SO cute.  I can't wait to show you later!  :)


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

catching up

I really needed a day at home today. 

I've spent my morning catching up on laundry, making muffins, taking Nicky for a walk, putting some more stuff up on our bedroom wall and cleaning out cupboards.

Right now Nicky is sleeping and I am quite possibly a little *too* relaxed.  I feel as though I might slip into a coma.

That's not a bad idea, actually.  An hour long coma sounds about right.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

milk free, egg free (SUPER DELICIOUS) pumpkin muffins

Okay.  You have got to make these muffins.  They are super delicious, allergen friendly and super easy.  Did I mention delicious?  Don't count them out because they are egg free (I'm looking at you, Mom) because they are seriously good, with a light and tender crumb.  I actually made my mom mad on Sunday because I couldn't shut up about how delicious they were and she didn't have any.  (sorry, Mom.)

(I adapted this recipe slightly from the vegan goldmine, Vegan with a Vengeance.)


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour  (can use all all-purpose if that's what you've got)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt  (again, use table salt if it's all you've bot)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup canned 100% pumpkin (no pie mix)
  • 1/2 cup milk of your choice
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Optional topping will require:  1/2 cup toasted pecans mixed with 1/4 c sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon  (see below)


Preheat oven to 400°F.  Lightly grease your muffin tins or line with paper liners and then spray with non-stick cooking spray.  (I got 17 smallish muffins...make them bigger and plan on about a dozen.)  Sift together flours, sugars, baking powder, salt, and spices. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, soy milk, oil, and syrup. Combine wet and dry and mix.
Fill the muffin cups 1/2 to 2/3 full, sprinkle with pecan/cinnamon & sugar mixture (or don't and regret it the rest of your life.  or at least the rest of your day.) and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

(over the) Topping:  
While your oven is heating, throw about 1/2 cup of pecans on a cookie sheet and toast them for a few minutes, just until aromatic.  When cooled, crush them and combine with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.  Sprinkle over muffins before baking.  yum.


Monday, September 19, 2011

my new (accidental) signature look

There was a (practically) mandatory meeting for parents at church on Sunday that I went to myself. After church I accidentally ended up at Kohl's (and the mall and Saver's) and happened upon this (not so little) beauty:
I love it.  The colors don't truly come through but it is shiny and sparkly and will be so fun to wear sometime.  It's not the best with my fleece but you'll have to trust me.  :)  I also got the hot mess below because I pretty much couldn't put it down.  (vera wang for 90% off.)
I knew I couldn't wear it as it was so I got out my little pliers and started editing.  I ended up with this single necklace:

and this longer one:
Both are much more my taste now and neither one weighs 40 lbs.  I still have 2 flowers left that I am going to turn into a barrette and a belt buckle.


At Saver's I got these 2 lovely pieces (for $4 total)
and turned them into this:

yay or nay?  Be honest.  I can take it.  (trust me, I've taken some "nays" lately.)  :)


It's almost time for my children to get off the bus.  Nicky and I had a very nice coffee date this morning followed by some grocery shopping.  There are still bags of groceries all over my floor (I put the cold stuff away) but I decided I just needed to chill in front of the computer for a while. 

I am in the process of changing summer clothes over to fall clothes and am SO bored with my fall stuff.  I had lots of cute summer stuff and all my fall stuff seems so blah.  Thus the loud jewelery.  ??  sigh.


Friday, September 16, 2011

bad art to blackboard

My sincerest apologies to whoever painted this
but I just wasn't feeling it.  I did like the shape of your canvas, however, so I scooped it up at the Dig last week.  I gave it a couple coats of blackboard paint this week and finally primed it with chalk this afternoon.  How fun!  I was searching through Pinterest and this list of C.S. Lewis quotes for the first quote this afternoon but couldn't really find the right thing.  I didn't want to put Patrick off with anything too girly or "deep" (or, you know, confusing to him) so it was kind of hard.  Then it hit me.  The perfect words (word, really) for my husband:

hahahhaha!  I can easily change it to "no way" if the afternoon wears me down.  heehee.

Yesterday afternoon nearly killed me.  I was soooooo bored!  James stayed home again, ruining my coffee date (sob), but does have strep throat so I was glad I let him.  (he felt better at first this morning, with his throat a "little" 8:30am he said it was really sore so I called the doc.)  We did stop at Target on the way home (but I forgot poster putty!  gah!) so I had a little bit of a people fix.

Happy weekend to you all, near and far.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

au contraire, mon frère

Lest you think of me (if you do such a thing) here all by myself, enjoying the sunshine and cool air through my open window...

My babysitter texted me yesterday that she was very sick.  No biggie.  I knew this kind of thing would happen (both ways) all year.  There's always next Thursday!  (Lord willing.) 

Last night Nicky* woke up at 2:30am for a bit of milk from mama.  (I am thinking of cutting him off from this soon but am still hoping he will stop on his own.  He is showing signs in that direction, thankfully.)  I had a hard time falling back to sleep but was right on the edge at about 3:00am when James woke up and lumbered into our room complaining his throat hurt.  Sure enough, he had a fever.  I got him set up between Patrick and I and went to fetch some Tylenol.  (he still drinks the liquid kind.  anyone else's 7 year old do this?)  He was tossing and turning and moaning and finally decided to go sleep on the couch.  I got him set up down there and collapsed into bed at about 4:00am.  My body was just floating in that dreamy near-ohsonear-sleep state when I heard Nicky again.  sigh.  I got up and did a little rocking (sorry baby, dairy bar is closed) and laid him down again at around 4:20.  I then slept blissfully for a full 3 hours until Miss Ruby climbed on top of me with her chilly little body and (not so bad) morning breath. 

So here I am on Thursday with 2 kids and we've had a really nice day.  James has been lying on the couch watching TV/reading/dozing all day and Nicky and I have gone about our Nicky and I business.  I am trying out a new (high heat) chicken roasting recipe and have a date upstairs with some vintage magazines in a few minutes. 

Yesterday I took the small boy to Picnic Point and Whole Foods.  We had a lovely walk and got suckered into buying some delicious (and pricey) cheese.  But just a bit.  I need some good beer and bread to go along with that cheese.  mmmmmm.  I might grate a little over our baked potatoes tonight. 

*about Nicky.  Ruby started calling him Nicky a while back and now we all do.  I still call him mr. pickles sometimes and James calls him straight up pickles.  Now Ruby started calling him Bubba and James is, too.  I also call him nicker-bopper and popper-bopper and little nicky noodle.  it's sick.  ALSO,  I know full well that he resembles the little dutch boy with that hair:

but we are not sure what to do with him.  We got it cut 3 weeks ago!  The kid has a lot of hair.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I hate to make it sound like all I did yesterday was lay around and watch TV.  Who would believe it, anyways?  It's all I did while Nicky was napping, though, so I was forced to actually make dinner at dinner time.  That can be tricky.  Nicky wants to be outside with the big kids then (which I can usually oblige if I've already prepped dinner earlier) so he was not happy yesterday to be stuck in the kitchen with me.  I had to think fast and ended up opening a large bag of beautiful beans that I hadn't made yet.  He loved them and they kept him (and Ruby, for a time) busy for quite a while. 

Of course it ended like this:

Toddlers require a special sort of creativity/thinking that feels very rusty to me.

It will come back, right?  Good thing I have this blog to look back on and see what a fun parent I used to be.  :) 

I got to help out at Ruby's classroom yesterday and enjoyed seeing her in her new habitat and helping her teacher out a little bit.

Yesterday her teacher leans over to me and says, "Ruby really is different than James, isn't she?"   


She then told me how the kids were supposed to draw a picture of them doing something they like.  When she got to Ruby she had her explain her drawing because she wasn't sure she was seeing it right.  Sadly, she was. 

Ruby had clearly drawn herself kicking James right in a pair of babboon-like butt cheeks.  (she also pointed out later that he has NIPPLES and underwear on his tshirt but she saved that part just for me, Thank God.)  Trudi (the teacher) suggested that surely Ruby must enjoy doing something else with her brother?  No, Ruby said, just kicking his butt.  Well, she couldn't really write "kicking James' butt" on her paper so she diplomatically filled in "playing."  God bless her.  She has no idea what lies ahead.  :)

I need to go mainline some coffee now and get this Wednesday party started!  woo hoo!

(kidding.  kind of.)


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

please accept this darling face

in lieu of anything else today.

I had nearly 3 hours of Bachelor Pad to catch up on, people.  THREE HOURS.

How do I do it?



Monday, September 12, 2011

I spent a good part of yesterday putting away this: my laundry pile.  I've been adding to it for the last couple of weeks but not subtracting from it so I figured it was high time.  (get it?  high time.  haha.)  (sorry.)

My sewing machine was under that pile and I hope to use it soon.  I've been letting my mind drift and wander and fill with ideas and things I'd like to try for a while now and I am so happy to get the chance to finally try some of them.  Today since Nicky's been asleep I've painted a few things with chalkboard paint (!!), played with some felted sweaters (that time of year!) and made some fabric tape to stick a few pretty things up on our bedroom wall.  I love having some time to b r e a t h e and just do what I want.  Such a gift.

Before the baby (shut up.  he is still a baby.) went down for his nap, we took a long walk.  My instinct today was to hole up in the house and wait for the 87 degree temps to end (tomorrow) but I'm so glad we went out.  There is a gorgeous breeze and we ended up at James' school right about when he'd be coming out after lunch.  We hung around and surprised was so cute.  About 3 times he said he couldn't believe we were there and then asked if we could come every day.  awwwww.  Maybe not every day but probably once a week.  I think tomorrow we'll pop in on Ruby.

Tomorrow morning will be my first time volunteering in Ruby's class and I am so excited!  A friend and I are trading off babysitting every other week so we can both have some time with our kindergartners.  I am also using some of my precious free time to help out in James' class every other Thursday.  I am really happy to be able to spend some time in both of their classrooms this year.

I haven't talked about Thursdays yet, have I?  Nicky is going to my friend's house down the street on Thursdays now.  gulp.  He started last Thursday and did GREAT...even took a nap for her!  I have to say that he actually looked mildly disappointed when I went to pick him up.  The nerve!  :)  Last spring Patrick and I decided that it would be nice (understatement) for me to have some time to myself during the week this year.  I hope to use the time to make stuff and sell it but am happy to be able to do other things like volunteering or appointments (or thrifting) too.  It feels like a luxury and I am so grateful.  I also know that Nicky is going to have lots of fun playing with different toys and another baby one day a week.  My little nugget.  I was so proud of him.  (little sob.)

Happy Monday, dear ones.  I will have some pictures of my darling nieces (and nephew) tomorrow.


more from the northland

Our first night in Duluth we met my Dad at his Wednesday night car show at the Iron Clyde. The Iron Clyde used to be an iron working plant called Clyde Iron. The current owners gutted it and turned it into a cool bar/restaurant. The food was just okay for the price, I thought, but the atmosphere is great. Ruby took a lot of these pictures, as she did throughout our trip.

A different night we met my brother and Erin, my Dad and Mari for Shamrock pizza (a favorite!!) and then went to see my aunt Marlene at the opening ceremonies for her Dragon Boat races.  (My aunt, who lost her husband last January, is a breast cancer survivor!)  There were fireworks afterwards that went off so fast we couldn't believe it.  They were like super-speed and we all just laughed.  We think the people lighting them off were a bit drunk.  nice. 

Another night we dropped the big kids at Grandma's house and Nicky at my aunt Kristy's (bless their hearts) and went out for dinner.  My husband is hot.  The fish tacos at the Brew House were delicious.
We rented one of those bikes again and rode all around.  Patrick insisted we go off course and we ended up sailing down the parking lot of the DECC (a big convention center) was so fun.  We made it back to the Canal to see a big ship come through.  I never tire of this even though I've seen it hundreds of times in my life.

I remember my mom taking us to Canal Park when it was just the canal, basically.  All that was there was the marine museum and a small restaurant, Mr. Nick's,  where they would give you little paper packets of fryer leftovers to feed the seagulls!  Can you imagine?  The rocks that my kids climb on now are the same ones I was climbing on 30 years ago.  Love that.

Love Duluth.



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