Saturday, April 30, 2011

The royal family portrait

I thought it would be cute to take a photo of the kids and I wearing tiaras to celebrate Wills and Kate finally tying the knot.
We tried to do a self portrait...
I tried a photo of Sammi by herself (which Jack insisted on being partially in)...
Jack tried to take his own picture (when was the last time he washed his face for goodness sake?)...

and this is the best David could come up with of the three of us. (umm, hello breastfeeding-not wearing a proper bra-cleavage.) Just what is Sammi doing anyway?

(And my new cheap camera leaves a big yellow date stamp on all the blurry photos it takes. I bought it because it was supposed to be easier to take self portraits with.)

Perhaps some ideas are better left in me old head.

At least it makes me laugh.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Some days

Some days you will drive yourself to the thrift store...
even though it will mean breaking the no eating out rule to get Jack Taco Bell on the way...
and the baby will cry the entire time you are in the car...
and she will keep crying the entire time you are there...
and all it has done for two weeks is freaking rain...
and at this rate there will never be any garage sales...
and how much cooking and cleaning and butt wiping can you really do in a week anyway?

Besides, all this vintage fabric and these great big spools of bias tape were calling too loudly to be ignored.

(If only the colors were more true because there was a little sun. Hurry up sun, we need you!)

P.S. I am featured on CRAFT today! Go check it out!

National Infertility Awareness Week

This week is national infertility awareness week, and while I am out of those trenches right now, I know that there are so many women who are not.

Infertility is still very much a disease of shame.

Your insurance company doesn't want to pay for it.

Your friends and family don't want to talk about it.

You can't find a decent doctor to help you.

I want to encourage each and everyone of you who are still in the trenches to come out with it. Tell everyone who asks an inadvertantly insensitive question about your children or lack thereof, "I suffer from primary (or secondary) infertility."

Don't just smile and nod.

There is strength in numbers.

Look at the breast cancer movement. Think about what they have done by standing together. There is an entire month for breast cancer awareness. You can buy a pink everything under the sun and donate money to breast cancer research.

It hasn't always been that way, has it?

Infertility affects as much as 10% of the population according to many statistics.

That's a lot of voices that have yet to be heard.

You are not alone.

I am not alone.

You can find more info this week at RESOLVE and help to raise our voices.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Enabling and Conversations

For someone who really likes to sew, I buy very, very little new fabric. Most of my stuff is old stuff I cut up (clothes, sheets, blankets) or thrifted fabric. But lately I have gone hog wild over some of the fabric in the fabric stores. (And I've bought myself a few sewing books too, once I discovered that our new Joanns will let me use coupons on books! And umm, new scissors and a bias tape maker. No garage sales? I will console myself at Joanns.)

So, shall I be an enabler for a moment?
The color is not very good here (it JUST KEEPS RAINING), but these toadstools fabrics are purely awesome. Lavender and red! Love. Cannot wait to make something swell for Sammi. These are from Hancock.
By now everyone knows there is Denyse Schmidt fabric at Joann, right? I nearly wiped them out of this print. I bought a LOT of it. (Thank you coupon Gods.)

And I bought more than a little taste of every other print they had that I loved.

They also have some really, really love white fabrics white now. The paisley I used in the laundry, a white pin tuck, a white eyelet. I've been acquiring quite a little stash of those too.

So, when I was buying the ds quilts fabric the lady in line behind me kind of snorted and said "well, those are old fashioned." Ha! That's why I love them lady.

Other conversations this week:
Random lady in the fabric store, "wow, that baby sure is spoiled from you carrying her around all the time like that." Sigh, that's right lady, she is spoiled from my taking care of her.

Jack - "Mom, why is Sammi's skin so soft?" "Her skin is new." "Oh. Yours is soft too. Except on your shins. Prickly shins. Mine is only soft if I wash with soap." LOL

Jack - "Mom, if we had twins we would have to get another mom." "Why?" "Because you only have two 'pimples'. Oh, wait. You could breastfeed one and pump bottles for the other one." LOL. Pimples!

Jack was doing his homework and the "bonus" question was to write 5 problems with a sum of 5. He does the usual - 3+2, 4+1, and then he says "mom, do 'points' count?" "What points Jack?" "You know, 2 point 5 plus 2 point 5."

That's my smart boy. We are still waiting on his gifted test results. I am pondering having the school see if he can test out of the first grade and into the second grade. I feel like kindy was a nice, gentle (much needed) intro to school, but now he needs a challenge. Anyone have kids skip a grade? Thoughts?

Ruh roh, that "spoiled baby" is calling me again, so off with me.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Frugal Friday - It never hurts to ask

First let me say that I woke up the sweetest note from a new blog reader this morning. Despite blogging for 6+ years at this point, I still really enjoy hearing from you! That little note completely made my morning on a day that promises to be full of grocery store and target chaos and not much fun.

Second, I know it's Thursday, but tomorrow is a day off for everyone around here and I don't anticipate checking back in again until the children are wearing their bunny ears. :-)

So, I needed a rug for the living room. And quickly. We kept bonking Sammi's little head putting her in her play gym and she needs to practice rolling over somewhere safe. I looked at a few places but it is shockingly hard for me to find rugs that work in our house. (Oh yes, let us not forget that debacle with Sammi's rug.)

Dave and I spotted this one at Homegoods and figured it would work. Flowery, colors are right, thick enough, not too modern and not too classic.

It was already on sale (from $300 to $200), but there was a flaw near the edge. So we rounded up some Homegoods employees and very sweetly asked if it could be further discounted when we pointed out the flaw. Off the manager went. And then he came back and took another $50 off the rug. Still pricey at $150, but, it is a HUGE rug, so it's actually a fair price.

When we were building the house I spotted this light fixture on the clearance cart at Lowes. It was a special order returned and marked from $300 to $126. I picked it up, admired it, then loudly (accidentally) exclaimed it was priced too high. An employee heard me and said "I will sell it to you for $10." Me, "Wha? SOLD!"

It was a good reminder to me to always ask for a discount. It never hurts! I have successfully negotiated discounts at hardware stores (both Lowes and Home Depot), Target (their limit is 10%, no matter who you ask), and Homegoods on several occassions.

If you want to test your bargaining feet:
try the hardware store first, they seem to be the easiest and the most random
be sweet! you catch more flies with honey
have a price in mind and be willing to walk away, it's a lot like the flea market
remember that once you buy it marked down like that it will be an as is sale, you are the owner no matter what
enjoy the extra money in your pocket!

Now, I am off to work some coupon magic for Easter dinner. Happy Thursday to you!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

100th day

My Dearest Sweet Cheeks,

Today you are 100 days old! Someone on Facebook told me that babies start to really mellow out around 100 days. Now, I am not sure if that is true or not, but there are some exciting things happening around here.
We've said goodbye to:
the bassinet
the borrowed swing
and the swaddle
We've said hello to:
funny faces
your toes!
grasping toys on the play gym (and never letting go. You can get hold of it but you can't seem to figure out the let go part just yet.)
food. Lots and lots of food. Non stop food. You had four bottles in one day PLUS plenty of breastfeeding.
the cats! You've finally noticed the big furry beasts.
the beginning of what I am fairly certain are going to be big brown eyes. They get darker every day.
And here we are. 100 days in we are all madly in love with you. Your brother asks me at least once a week when we are going to have more babies. We also have conversations that go like this:
Mom, why is Sammi's skin so soft?
It's new.
Your skin is soft too. Except on your shins. (Ha, hairy legged mama!)

As for me, I feel particularly blessed to have you.

Love you baby girl.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


After I made the laundry room all fancy it's next door neighbor, the pantry, looked pathetic. So I spent two days in there organizing everything. (This will also help with my coupon quest, since I now have a good grasp on what we have in there.)
Even organized it still needed a *little* something. I rummaged around in my sewing room closet and pulled out some plastic lace I have been hoarding, erm keeping, forever.
I clipped lengths of it apart and voila! A cuted up pantry.
After I made that little mooshy bunny for Sammi, Jack started asking what I was going to make for him. Time to finally make the bunny bowling! He is still asking me every day what I made for him. I had to sew it in the carpool line and try and hide it in the car everyday. LOL
Joann did not have twill in cute colors like Ellen used, so I tried dying some twill. I think it turned out bad 1980's denim colored, but whatever. I used Daddy's old workshirts for the ears. I love the ears so much that I am itching to make Jack a quilt using those shirts.
And just because Kim asked for it, the Easter tree. I did not get out many Easter decorations this year (one more thing to do, or maybe I am burned out). But I did manage to hang up a whole bunch of random easter stuff on the tree.
There is everything including the kitchen sink on that thing this year.

And the birds from Sunday are all repaired and perched on it too.

Off with me to get a new driver's license. With two kids in tow. Wish me luck on that one. LOL

Monday, April 18, 2011

Making for Easter

When I agreed to do Shara's egg swap again this year I do NOT know what I was thinking. I started to panic a little at the thought of trying to make eggs and juggle the kids. So, when I spotted some foiled eggs at Homegoods I knew they were going to be my answer.

I just added some Martha Stewart adhesive ribbon around the middle (the ribbons are plaid), a Martha monogram sticker for each participant and switched out the fishing line hanger for a prettier ribbon.

And actually? I REALLY liked them. If I could have found more of those eggs at Homegoods I would made one for each of us.

I also managed to make a bunny for Sammi for her basket. (Which, ummm, I only realized she *needed* a basket a few weeks ago. Because OF COURSE the Easter bunny will bring her something too. Thanks for that little reminder Jack. LOL) I used this tutorial and a slightly faded baby romper I bought at Goodwill.

Which I cannot show you a photo of because my computer totally died last week.

We broke down and bought a new one for me yesterday because I was going insane. I spend so much time nursing and nursing is my only surfing time!

With that I am off to finish Jack's bunny gift.

And change my shirt. I smell like baby puke. BLECH.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Flea Market Sunday

A little bit chilly this morning, and the pickings were really slim until the last booth.
A tiny tin chick (this woman SWORE there was a set of three of them and she spent a good 20 minutes looking for it's mates before deciding to sell me the one. I am guessing the others grew legs, if you know what I mean.);
A little pink jug that doesn't look very pink here;
a gaggle of vintage reflectors;
a herd of old birds that have already visit my repair shop to get new feet and tails and for other minor repairs;
a small aqua wool coat, which is a little moth eaten, but the color is really yummy and I am thinking it might make a great little stuffed animal...

sweet little details. Too bad it really isn't suitable for wearing anymore!

Sammi is calling. Loudly. Off with me or off with my head!

Happy Sunday.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Need a paper hanger?

I hung that vintage wallpaper in the laundry room this week. And first let me say this - if you are going to hang vintage wallpaper, do not consult your fairweather friend Dr Google. He will fill you full of lies! He will go on and on about you had better hire a professional right now as housewives should never, ever entertain the thought of hanging precious, fragile vintage wallpaper.

But ladies, if I can do it*, so can you.
And I am IN LOVE. Completely, utterly, hopelessly crazy about that wallpaper.
From a tiny, really bad photo on ebay to the most glorious thing in my house.
I want to wallpaper the whole house.

I want to marry the wallpaper.
I also bought myself a new shaggy rug in the most perfect aqua color at Homegoods. I swear this thing is made from dryer sheets.

And this. Well, this is almost as good as the wallpaper. One of those coveted french wire laundry baskets. Do you know how long it has been on my flea market wish list? Every other time I have seen one I have promptly been told it is NOT for sale.

And I found it at the flea. It was painted a horrible orange color and I nearly overlooked it. I lined it with this wonderful paisley eyelet fabric.

My laundry room? Serious love right now.

And just because I find this part interesting, here are some money stats on this room:
The green quilt cabinet was a yard sale find, $15
Blue dresser, yard sale find, $30, covered with free glidden paint
The pink glass knob rack, yard sale find, $1
Wallpaper, ebay, $15
Wire laundry basket, flea market, $20
Fabric to line it, Joanns (WITH coupon, it was pricey), $20
Shaggy rug, Homegoods, $20
Door mat, antique store, $10
IKEA chandy, $40
Iron birdy key holder, garage sale, $1
Mail sorter, thrift store, $8
Aprons part of the collection
The mercury glass is from Ikea and a yard sale (price long forgotten)
Basket from my dad
The clock was my grandparents

I easily have less than $200 in the entire laundry room, including my storage on the other side and my apple crate trash can.

*It was challenging. The paper does really want to tear since it isn't vinyl. But apparently I love a good challenge, as no curse words were wasted in the making of the laundry room!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Frugal Friday - On a mission

To answer a few questions first:
Stacking = using a store issued coupon with a manufacturer's coupon. So you can use two coupons per item. For example = Target issued coupons for $1 off Dove men's care, and the newspaper had a coupon for $1 off Dove's men care. At target you use both coupons and get $2 off. You can also do this at walgreens using their newspaper coupons and coupons in those coupon books you can get in their stores. The target ones are available on their website, but it must say TARGET WEB COUPON on the top, some of them on their website are manufacturer coupons and will not stack.

Are we buying things we wouldn't otherwise buy? A little. BUT (and this is a big but), my grocery budget is always so tight that I generally buy NO extra stuff. No cookies, crackers, granola bars, fruit snacks, etc. With coupons I have been able to add that kind of stuff back to our pantry.

Now, that might seem like an unhealthy move, but (here's the second part of the but), not having that kind of stuff often leaves us feeling like "WE HAVE NOTHING TO EAT IN THIS HOUSE."

Which leads to a lot of eating out. Which is crazy expensive. And totally blows my food budget and gets me in an endless cycle of short on grocery money, too much eating out, and nothing to eat in this house.

Which leads to this month's frugal mission (I want to do a different frugal mission each month) -

I would really like to get us into a rhythm where we only eat out once a month. That's it. As of April 15th we are right on track. No matter how exhausted I have been at the end of the day I have not given in to the urge to just eat out. My pantry is much fuller thanks to those coupons and I have been able to make something work every day.

It has meant a few more trips to the grocery store to buy more lunch meat and more produce and make your own pizza fixings (which are our new Saturday meal) so that when the weekend rolls around we are not tempted by the drive through.

And it has been hard! It's a tough habit to kick. (A new chick fil a opened by our house. I love chick fil a, and I used to have to drive far to get it. Sigh.) But progress is good and our wallets are fatter for it.

Here's hoping we can hold tight for another 15 days!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

16 months later

We did a MASSIVE amount of work on this house in a super short period of time. Completely gutted and remodeled in about 3.5 months, from top to bottom.

But there were a few things that never got done.

We've been slowly ticking them off the list as spring starts to arrive.

We finally have:
paint on the inside of the front door (I went with yellow after seeing that yellow door I showed you a few weeks back on another blog);
screen doors!;
a cheap swingset for the kids (still waiting to build the "fort" with that blue slide you see in the yard, but this will work for now);
door knobs! (vintage glass with retrofit kits from ebay, it's kind of hard to live without door knobs for so long);

and a house number (not perfect, but it will work just fine until I find "perfect").

Too bad the "crap I want to do to the house" list never is actually finished!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Getting Clever In My Old Age

I know, two posts in one day.

You might remember that I mentioned that Jack is NOT responding to stranger's inquiries about his sister or his experience as a brother well at all. In fact, he is downright rude. I don't think he means to be rude - he is shy and generally doesn't do well with questioning (even from me), but rude he is.

The other day after another day of being frustrated with his growling and grunting and refusal to answer I thought I might probe the situation a little.

I asked him if he knew the appropriate responses to the questions he is always hearing and he assured me he did. Then he demanded silence and no more questions from me.

In a lightbulb moment I decided to offer him a quarter if he would be polite to strangers (he is VERY motivated by money).

So today we are in Costco and a grandpa sees him reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid. He comes over and asks Jack how old he is (he was surprised to see him reading that book).

And whaddyaknow? Jack answered right away.

He didn't growl. He didn't grunt. He didn't hide. He just said "six."

And when the man didn't hear him and asked again? He just said "six" again.

Sometimes I am pretty clever. LOL

Finished. And science too.

I clearly remember a point in Jack's infancy where I became DESPERATE to make things. To do something that had a finite end, a real result, when the demands of mothering a tiny baby seemed to be a thankless job with no end and no results in sight.

I have hit the same wall with Sammi right now. There is just so much crying and walking and rocking and shushing and feeding and diaper changing and so little else*. I am driven to make things, to decorate something, to have a project with a satisfying result.
So, I already repainted that big yellow turd of a chair. It's lovely in blue. And comfy too.
Now if I could find another rocker we could get that plastic one off the porch. Clearly I need to "cute up" my porch a little!
Usually David is the one who does a bedtime story with Jack, but because I am so ready for time away from Sammi come 7 pm, I have been doing a portion of it. The other night I was choosing a book when I spotted this one on the bookshelf, something I picked up for him at a garage sale years ago because I remembered loving it myself as a child.

One of the best parts are the illustrations of what you see when you would look in the microscope.

It has definitely sparked an interest in his microscope and he has asked to play with it after school today. I got it out this morning and to my disappointment I remembered how much I HATE toy microscopes. So I have been busy scouting a real student microscope for us on Amazon.

Ahh, the joys of having a biologist for a mother. :-)

With that, the baby is crying. Again. (And I have already stopped writing this twice!)

* I don't want that to be misinterpreted. But one of my least favorite parts of the mothering job is when they are dependent on me 110% for months on end. I remember with great joy those moments when Jack was able to do even little things for himself - pick up a cheerio with his tiny pincer grasp, roll over, be entertained by the cat. Sammi is a lovely baby, but watching them grow and become really is what exciting to me about motherhood.

And I know most of you would disagree as most people seem to love the blobby baby stage. :-)