Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Girl with a Plan

Being a mom to a preschool aged kid is pretty fun.  Sarah is five now and will be starting Kindergarten in the fall.  She's full of interesting questions and thoughtful observations.  One thing she enjoys doing is illustrating her day, or in this case her plan for a Friday when she was off from preschool.  The text was added by me after she "read" the list to me.

I love how everyone is happy (even when she's sleeping).  I love that her day includes a unicorn.  I love that she used my shopping list notepad like this is an actual "to-do" list.  

Monday, February 27, 2012

Spring Tease?

Everyone in Pennsylvania knows about the second most famous groundhog in Pennsylvania (Gus), but of course the REAL celebrity is Punxsatawney Phil.  That rodent was dragged from his hibernation on February the Second to tell the world that there would be six more weeks of winter this year.  Well, it seems that Phil was either lying or his skills as a meteorologist aren't what the folks on Gobbler's Knob would have us believe.

February weather has been erratic.  We've had warm days up over 60 degrees where kids are running around the neighborhood in t-shirts.  Then those days are generally followed by the harsh reminder that it is, indeed, February and the temperature drops down to the 40s.  The wind ripping through leaving me to wander the yard in search of lawn furniture and my doormat which often disappear on blustery days.  I was wondering whether the warmth and sprouts of spring were just a tease.  I hope not.

I sincerely hope a March blizzard isn't in our future.  I'm sure this little crocus Sarah found growing next to the driveway is also hoping for an early spring.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Everyday Pics - Chris in February

Every once in a while (like 2-3 times a week :)  I just take a bunch of kid pictures.  The everyday pictures are my favorites by far because they're the ones that will remind me of what the little guys were like when they were little.  They'll help me remember how much Chris loves blocks and legos, how messy his hair always is, how he's constantly drooling, and how he smiles at everything.  Here's some of my favorites from this week.

Puzzle time!

I got this mom.

Whoa, this is harder than I thought...

I did it, right?  (Not really, but I still love you)

Hold on, gotta update my status to "Pooped my pants.  LOL!"

And then Elmo played the piano - it was awesome! (looks like he's telling some great story)

I will steal your soul.  (Mommy needs to figure out red-eye)

He's such a sweet kid.  I hope he stays this way forever.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My dog ate it...

So a while back I needed some cash for something at preschool and I snagged a $10 out of Jason's wallet in the morning before he headed to work since I don't usually have cash on me.  And annoyingly when I got to preschool drop-off, the money was gone.  So I had to go to Wawa (love that place - but I really need to stay away from there and their chocolate chip muffins) and I got cash.  The whereabouts of the bill from earlier was still unknown, however.  And it wasn't until later that evening that it was discovered.

As if the post title wasn't a tip-off, yeah, the dog ate it.  This is what Jason found in the back yard.:

Do you think the bank will take it back?  Probably not.  I don't think it has a complete serial number.  And I wasn't about to go searching anywhere for the remainder of it.  

How can I be mad at this?

She's just a baby who still loves a binky :)

P.S.  I created a new blog header.   Valentine's Day is over and I'm already looking forward to spring!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Things are looking UP!

Part of the mega-whole-house redo that I teased about here is turning the first floor bedroom from a playroom into a bedroom for Sarah.  Part of that process is figuring out lighting.  The bedroom lacked a ceiling light fixture and the switch by the door worked an outlet across the room.  We had been making due with a halogen torchiere lamp in there for a while but the bulb died a few weeks back and so the room was plunged into darkness.

I started looking for new lamps because I never really liked that one anyway and it dawned on me that we should just put in a ceiling light.  So I asked Jason and he said sure, so off I went to Ikea (more on that here) to find the awesomest light ever for a kid's room.  Meet Skojig. Isn't she cute?
Now I won't pretend I know the first thing about wiring, but I requested that the switch by the door work the new ceiling fixture and that the outlet on the other side of the room be disconnected from the switch and turned into a regular "always on" sort of outlet.  Jason said no problemo and he went to work on a Saturday morning.

Wow - it was a pretty quick process to put about 6 holes in the wall and ceiling to get the wire snaked to where the light should go.

So many holes were necessary because he had to drill through that many ceiling joists.  Once the holes were in and the wire was snaked through, Jason hooked up the new box where the wires will connect to the fixture.

The light went up without too many issues (please note that this light fixture did NOT come with screws to mount it on the box - you'll have to save ones from an old light).  Jason wired up the switch and BOOM!  DONE!

You may be more comfortable hiring an electrician to do the wiring (if Jason didn't know how to do this, I'd definitely hire someone).

Next up - patching the holes!!!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Big House Plans!

So the ideas are still swirling around in my big old head, but big things are in the works!  We've been living here in this house for 5 years and when we bought this place I wasn't quite sure how I felt about style and color so we picked some things and it was OK.  A few years later with looking at blogs, furniture stores, and Pinterest (by the way - you can follow me on Pinterest by clicking HERE), I have a much better sense of what I like and what isn't quite me.  I look around and it just isn't doing it for me anymore.

So what to change?  The change is more than a few throw pillows or new accessories.  I've been doing THAT for 5 years and it always helps but doesn't feel quite right.  The BIG change is a full-on-whole-house color switcheroo.  Oh my.  Sounds daunting, right?  It is going to be a lot of work, but it's going to be worth it  :)

Our goal is to pick colors that flow well on the first floor (with the exception of the room that will be for Sarah - that's likely to be pink whether we like it or not!).  We need to find a living room color to "go" well with the curtains because I like them.  I have an idea already, so we'll do some test swatches in a few places to make sure it will work.  The dining room will be trickier because we have that lovely blue chandelier that I want to keep.  The kitchen wont' be done for a while, but it's going to be part of the plan.  The bathrooms also won't change because I love the colors we chose there.  Like I said, whole house switcheroo!

So I'm a little excited and a little nervous.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!!

So today is the big day and for those of you who haven't been reading - here's a quick round-up of what we've done this year.  Valentine's day is a minor (but fun) holiday, so this will be brief :)

Patchwork Paper Heart

Pretzel Love

Our plans for the day are very low key - we'll exchange cards, kisses, maybe some sweets.  No dinner out for us though.  Tonight we'll cuddle here together and talk about how much we've loved one another for all these years.

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Gingerbread House Love

I bought a gingerbread house kit in November at Ikea, but as the holidays got busier I just never got around to doing it.  Add to that the fact that Sarah spent an afternoon with my mom and came home with a fully decorated house, I figured the last thing we all needed was TWO candy houses here, so I put our kit aside and there it sat - until TODAY!

Well yesterday, actually.

I decided that Valentine's day was a great time to decorate a house.  Stores are full of tons of different candy making it easy to do a house that's decidedly Valentine-y (no candy canes on this guy!).  Think conversation hearts, cinnamon hearts, pink sugared gel hearts.  

I put the house together on Saturday evening figuring it would be good to give it some time for the frosting to firm up. For frosting I just used a few plain old store bought tubs of vanilla/white frosting with about 5 drops of red food coloring per tub.  I piped it on with a disposable piping bag - no tip, just cut the end off.  When I opened the package a few pieces were broken, but I was able to use a graham cracker "glued" to the back as support to hold it all together.

Today we decorated.  My role was piping.  Sarah was the decorator extraordinaire.  

Final product with the artist:

As a project this was super easy, lots of fun, and a chance for Sarah to explore her creative side.

Bonus: we have leftover M&Ms

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Pretzel Love

Sometimes necessity is the mother of....well trying something new.  Today we needed a few things, but call me lazy but I really just didn't feel like going anywhere.  And truth be told, most of the things we "needed" weren't really needs, just things we had run out of  -  snacks, sweets, etc.  So I did some thinking and decided to make something sweet, savory and warm and delicious - SOFT PRETZELS!  Sarah had tried some Auntie Anne's a few weeks ago and said they were awesome, so I figured I'd give it a shot.

I found this recipe on allrecipes.com, but I tweaked it just a bit and here it is below:

  • 4 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (~110 degrees F)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 4 cups hot water

melted butter
salt and/or cinnamon sugar

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes to let the yeast get all frothy.
  2. Pour yeast mixture and oil into the bowl of your mixer and using the dough hook mix in the 1/2 cup of sugar and 4 cups of flour.  This should form a nice dough.  If it's dry add a bit of water, if it's sticky add some flour. 
  3. Turn the dough out onto your counter and knead for 5 or so minutes.  It will be stretchy and tough.  
  4. Oil a bowl.  Put kneaded dough into bowl and turn to coat with oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for one hour.  It'll be big!
  5. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in hot water.
  6. When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape. Once all of the dough is all shaped, dip each pretzel into the baking soda solution and place on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 7 minutes, until browned.
  8. Remove baked pretzels and brush with melted butter.  Brush a second time and sprinkle with either salt or cinnamon sugar.

These things were so delicious!  Totally amazing.  Oh and in honor of the season - we made hearts! <3

Note on photography (a term i use loosely to refer to the pics here) - I really need stop baking at night, daylight photos always turn out so much better.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A trip to Ikea

I may be the only one but when I think of Ikea I immediately think of the song "Maria" in West Side Story - just sub in "Ikea" for "Maria" and instead of "I just kissed a girl" you sing "I just love the store".  I may or may not have been singing this in the car on the way.  And on the way home.

Anyhoo, we got there, parked, headed up to the Childrens Ikea section where we perused, Chris got to run around a bit (when you go at 10am on a weekday it's delightfully empty) and Sarah asked that we buy everything they have because it's "So cool".

We picked out a ceiling fixture for the playroom (weekend project!!!)

Then Sarah checked into Smalland (wahooooo!) and Chris and I got to mosey around the marketplace.  I picked up a few great things - an enormous lampshade for the floor lamp redo I mentioned a few days ago, of course the pillow insert to replace the one Rosie peed on 2 weeks ago.  I also got some napkins, frames, and a basket to hang under a shelf (not sure where this will go yet).  Oh and my most exciting find is curtains for our bedroom.  That's right folks, we've been in our house for 5 years with no bedroom curtains.  We do have blinds to keep the peepers away - cause I wouldn't want anyone to see me attempting a Zumba DVD.

And now that I've brought all the new fun stuff into the house I need to put it away!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Can ya dig it?

About 4 weeks ago we saw there were some brightly colored lines on our street.  Two weeks after that we received a notice in the mail that "they" were going to be doing work on the street - replacing water mains and it would begin 2/6 and the work would finally be completed in May.  MAY.  That's 3 months away.  Three months of dug up streets, closed roads, detours, etc.  I'm not a fan.

Today was the first day they were working directly in front of our house.  This means a few things.  Numero uno - we get the delightful view of the port-a-potty right in front of our house.  Charming.  Numero dos - we cannot get into our driveway during the day.  Schweet.  At least I was clever enough to park on the next block so poor Sarah wouldn't be stuck at school.

There is an up-side.  Cheap entertainment!  Both kids have been glued to the full-glass storm door since we came back from pre-school pickup.

Chris keeps saying "Woooooow!"

Sarah just wonders if we'll ever be able to park in the driveway again.  She's a bit dramatic.

I love how quiet the house is with no tv.  Although the rumbling trucks and scraping on the street is loud, it's not quite as painful shrill Dora or mind numbing as Yo Gabba Gabba.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Patchwork Paper Heart

I stood in my living room this week and realized we still had a Christmas print hanging on the wall.  Oops.  Down it came but I didn't want to put the usual picture back up so I decided to get on an idea that had been swirling around in my head for a few weeks - a paper patchwork heart quilt.

I can't claim this as an original idea as I was definitely inspired by something I stumbled upon when I was clicking around in different blogs.  The inspiration piece was for Christmas and I ought to have pinned it to save it so I could give credit to the original artist, but I didn't so here we are with nobody to credit with the idea.

I needed a few supplies from the craft store.

  • Scrapbook paper (4 sheets at $0.20 - $0.60/ea)
  • Backer cardstock (2 sheets at $0.60)
  • Frame ($7.00)
  • Glue sticks (already had)
  • Scissors (already had)
  • Ruler (already had)

Measure and cut your squares (or if you want to get fancy, choose another shape - hexagons?)  I made a bunch of 1.25 inch squares for this project.  I used plain old scissors here, but if you're a scrapbooker you probably have all kinds of fancy-schmancy cutting tools that would make this faster and much more precise.

Cut out your heart shape.  I did this by taking a spare piece of random paper, folding it in half, and cutting out a perfectly symmetrical heart. I then traced it onto the good cardstock (so we wouldn't have a crease) and cut that out.

Draw a few guidelines.  Using my ruler I drew a guideline lightly in pencil so I'd be able to easily center my squares down the middle of the heart then I started placing my squares.  I let the squares flap over the edges since the plan was to trim them once we were finished.

Since the plan was to frame this up, I didn't worry too much about heavy duty gluing.  I used a glue stick, but you can also use glue dots or even double sided tape.

Once I had all my squares in place I let it sit a few minutes to make sure that nothing would come loose, then I flipped the heart over and trimmed the excess squares.

I then took the second piece of white cardstock centered the completed heart and tacked it down with the glue stick.  Popped it into the frame and TADA!!!

A simple and inexpensive project to make your house a little more Valentiney :)

Happy Valentine's Day!

Note: Sorry for the weird lighting in the pictures - this is what happens when you do crafts in the evening at our house.

Wahoo!! A THOUSAND!!!

It may be lame, but I'd like to acknowledge that the blog hit 1000 total pageviews today, and that doesn't include mine!

Thanks for taking the time to pop over and read here from time to time. I enjoy sharing tidbits of our life with you guys :)

You may wonder why I always post pics of Chris with his eyes closed and the reason is that this is his "cheese face".  When I hold up the camera, he says "CHEESE!" and smiles so hard his eyes close.  Sarah used to do the same thing.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Scouting Projects: Busted Lamp

It wasn't that long ago that I wrote up a post about putting up a swing-arm lamp (using power tools - I was very proud of myself).  And if you recall the reason I went ahead and ordered the swing-arm lamp was that Chris had pulled the floor lamp down and the thing finally broke beyond repair.  So I put it out on the back porch until I had the chance to put it on the curb for the trash and in the few days that it's been standing there it's been staring at me.  It's been taunting me and daring me to make it an upcoming project.

You'll see it here hopefully next week - Floor Lamp Re-Do.  I'm thinking paint, wiring, new shade - it's gonna be great!  The only trick will be trying to keep Chris away from it so he doesn't break it again!

This kid is trouble!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Beagle Love

It's been about two and a half months since we visited Barren Hills Beagles and brought home our girl Rosie (check that out here), and in that time Rosie has been getting accustomed to a very different life.  

Other than regular visits with her sister Darby (like this playdate here), Rosie lives a solo beagle life.  She's our only pet (I'm not counting Sarah's fish), which I think makes her both the center of attention but also maybe a little lonely.  

Rosie is now a suburban beagle instead of a farm dog.  For the first few weeks, she smelled very "farmy", like a dirty cow field or something.  The aroma eventually faded and now she smells perfectly beagle-y.  Especially when she's wet.  She has a crate inside (farm dogs sleep outside).  And instead of roaming with a pack of friends, she spends her outside time on a cable in the back yard where she likes to see what's hidden under the grass. 

This past week I've found myself wondering if she's really happy here.  I mean, she's got dog toys, good eats, and a warm place to sleep.  She gets lots of love too.   But I still wonder if she's as in love with us as we are with her. 

And then I snapped this little gem a few days ago:

 Note the full on tongue-face contact.  I think she likes us :)  


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