Tag Archives: Parenting

Scrapbook: Home Harvest

26 Jan

I’m still catching up on photos and posts that should have run much earlier in year. At the time I was recovering from debilitating panic attacks so this post and a few others kind of got pushed aside. But I am really proud of my pumpkins and I want to show them to you! (That last sentence was not a euphemism. I swear.)

Aside from the herb garden, which I didn’t take a lot of photos of, we grew pumpkins, butternut squash, a sunflower, and marigolds. I count marigolds because they are a pest-repellant plant and I was specifically growing them for Day of the Dead decorations. Anthony accidentally cleared them out when he was weeding the garden at the end of the season (oops!) so I didn’t get to use them.

I’m really proud of our pumpkins. We were so infested with aphids that I was really worried we wouldn’t get any fruit but we managed to grow three fat orange globes. You can see the other two, plus a helpful PSA, here. Isobel was especially impressed with our pumpkins.

And the sunflower. Which was pretty magical for both of us. When I was thirteen I grew a patch of Russian Giant sunflowers that were easily 15 feet tall. My mom proudly took a picture of me standing next to them. I’ll have to show you someday. We only grew the one, and about half of the seeds are empty, but it was a really fun experience.

We didn’t even have to go to the pumpkin patch this year!

But of course we did, anyway.

The good thing about marigolds, besides the fact they are so cheerful and lovely, is that their petals each turn into a seed, so that by the time the plant has wilted you have enough seeds for a thousand plants. My friend Jake gave me plenty more seeds for next year.

Growing all of these plants was way easier than I thought it would be. Preparing the soil was most of the work done, and daily watering was a chore I had to do anyway. Plus Isobel loves to go outside. I can’t wait to start another garden this summer, but I’m not sure what we’ll grow.

Scrapbook: Little Icicles

23 Jan

I raise the blinds as I do every morning when I notice the entire yard is hung with crystals. Every branch, leaf, and blade of grass is coated in sparkly points of light. A hard freeze isn’t uncommon. But enough moisture for icicles is.

I pull on a sweater, scarf and coat and knot my tangled hair on top of my head. I pull rain boots on my feet that stop halfway up my pajama pants. My neighbors have seen me in pajama pants before. I decide not to worry about it. I grab my camera and shut the screen door so Isobel can see see and hear me. Absorbed in her game of tea all morning, I figured she wouldn’t miss me, but as soon as I step into the flower bed she starts to whine.

“Do you want to come outside with Mommy?”

More whining. A nod yes.

“It’s really cold. Are you sure?”

“I want to go outside with Mommy.”

I hurry back in. Already the morning is warming up. I have only a few minutes before the frozen diamonds melt and turn the ground to mud. Isobel is still in her pajamas, too, but I throw on some rain boots, a sweater and a coat before grabbing her hand to lead her outside.

“My pink purse!” she cries. We can’t forget that.

We step outside and I show her the icicles. The frozen grass crunches under our feet. We explore the flower bed and find unexpected bit of ice that sparkle like shards of glass scattered over the ground.

“The plants are coated with ice. Ice is what happens to water when it gets very cold. Water is ice and ice is water.”

“It’s pretty, mommy!”

“We have to enjoy it now because it won’t last.” I look at Isobel’s hand with her perfect, miniature nails, caressing a branch. I notice her expression, full of concentration. Her tiny body, engulfed by the jacket, little fist clutching her pink purse.

“We have to enjoy it. Because it won’t last.”

Scrapbook: Weekend

22 Jan

Fifty Thrifty Fun Things: Color on the Table

20 Jan

It sounds like a strange thing to say, but one of the best compliments I’ve ever received was from Anthony and it was about the thrifty and creative ways I’ve found to cheaply entertain Isobel. And it’s true: I pride myself on my ability to entertain her for minutes on end (precious, precious minutes!!–that sometimes add up to hours!) so I can do the dishes, drink a cup of coffee, or take a blissful dump in peace.

Many of you reading at home are parents, or perhaps spend some portion of your time with a young child. I’m willing to bet that readers here probably don’t have endless supplies of cash to spend entertaining your little ones, so this year I’m going to share at least 50 simple, accessible, and–most importantly–cheap ways to entertain your kids. Some of these ideas might give you a few blessed hours to yourself, and some of these activities you can revisit over and over again. If you’d like to share your best ideas for thriftily entertaining kids, I’d love to hear them.

50 thrifty idea, number one: cover your table with butcher paper, hand your kid a bucket of crayons and maybe some stickers and let them have at it.

The paper we used is actually packing material that came inside a package my mother ordered at Christmastime. She knows I collect paper like this to use for shipping items from my Etsy shop. That’s why it’s so crinkled. This time I spread  it on the table for Isobel to use instead of adding it to my shipping cupboard. It might end up there eventually, though.

The paper itself is like a very thin paper lunch sack. I like the way crayon and stickers look against the tan brown color. They really pop. I like it better than white paper, but it’d do just as good a job.

This activity bought me an hour. It probably would have given me longer but we had errands to run so I had to stop her.

When it was time to clean up I just rolled the paper up. It still has plenty of life left in it. I can rotate the side if she wants a clean slate to color on, or I can make it new buy letting her put stickers or water colors over the used areas. I just introduced her to the magic of stamps, so I’m sure this will be covered in ink pad markings and fingerprints before too long.

This is also great to save and pull out when she gets into Epic Coloring Mode. She can get so enthusiastic about coloring that she ends up going off the paper with her artistic zeal and then I have to scrub crayon off the table for the fifteenth billion time. She can color on top of this paper and I don’t have to tell her to slow her coloring roll.

Since the paper was repurposed and we already owned the crayons, this activity was free.

My sanity and a happy toddler? Priceless.

Crafty: The Heart-Shaped Box

17 Jan

I am so excited to finally share this project with you. I really didn’t do much in the way of handmade gifts for Isobel this year. Focusing on thrifting, hosting Christmas, and just being with my family took up most of my time so I thought I really wouldn’t bother with handmade gifts for Isobel. She is just swimming in toys and things she carries around to play with that aren’t toys, and I knew she’d be getting piles of stuff for Christmas, so it was easy to justify not making her a bunch of gifts. And I’ve already explained my theory of thrifted gifts and why I’m an asshole anyway. But, when the Pixie and I stopped by the craft store a week before Christmas to pick up supplies for the gift I was making my friends, I couldn’t pass up this sweet little paper heart box for 99 cents.

Using craft paint I already had, I used time when Isobel was with Grandma to paint layer after layer of pink paint on the brown paper surface. I decided to paint the inside of the box red to make it stand out more, which I don’t regret but made the whole thing more complicated because each mistake meant waiting for paint to dry to apply another layer to fix the errant blotches.

The craft store also had these fantastic jewels for three bucks, and I can’t think of a more perfect treasure to fit inside. Isobel adores her heart box, and I’m so glad I took the time to make it. Total cost of the project was less than five bucks. Although I made this as part of Handmade Christmas, wouldn’t this be the perfect Valentine gift, or even project, if your little one was school-aged? It could be filled with chocolate and covered with doilies or modge-podge.

Snapshot: Making Personal Threats & Isobel’s Pencil Room

16 Jan

– Since it’s been awhile since my last snapshot, and since so much has happened, I’m posting it early this week.

– The biggest news (besides me having the most annoying and stubborn cold on the planet) is that we moved Isobel’s big girl bed from our bedroom into the Pencil Room. The Pencil Room is officially Isobel’s big girl bedroom, and now we refer to it as “your pencil room.” The first day was rough. At first she was so excited when I told he we were going to move her bed that she tried to move it herself and then excitedly asked me to help her. Once we got the bed in the room and all set up for her nap, she pretty much cried from nap time to bedtime. She was m-a-d. After she got that out of her system it wasn’t a problem and she’s been sleeping in there fuss-free since the 7th. Anthony and I are so glad to have our room back (bow chicka wow wow) but it did make me a little sad at first. I was so ready for her to be out I didn’t expect to be sad. Having her in a different room after two and a half years of cosleeping was an adjustment for Mama as well as baby.

– I’m almost done decorating Isobel’s big girl room. I posted a sneak peek earlier on twitter. I still need to finish some organizational things and Anthony needs to hang the finishing touches, but once that’s done I’m going to share it here. Hopefully sometime next week!

Bethylicious nominated me for a Versatile Blogger Award! According to the meme I’m supposed to nominate fifteen people and list 7 random facts about myself. I always have trouble coming up with these, so how about we do something else: I will answer seven random questions put to me by readers, either here in the comments, or via email, or on twitter. If I get seven questions I’ll answer them in a post and then nominate my picks for the award. I’m betting there won’t be seven questions.Go ahead and take that personally. It’s a threat. Or something. Yeah.

– The lovely and talented Erica made this gorgeous shawl for me and I am over the moon about it. The deep green-blue color, the delightful scrunchiness of the wool, the fact that it was nothing but a mere string a few short days ago has me swooning for it. Thank you so much, Erica. I hope the basket of vintage goodies I’m about to send you is satisfactory.

Recent Photos:

Little Big Links

Scrapbook: Christmas Highlights

1 Jan

I’m not going to make you guys suffer through another long Christmas post (like I did last year). I’m sure your’ readers are chalk full of them, anyway. If you want the whole Christmas story, feel free to go here. These photos are just the highlights of our holiday celebration, made unfortunately short by the sharing of a family cold virus. Merry Christmas to all of us! Peace and joy to the world! Now let’s all huddle under a nest of blankets on the couch and play Mass Effect till our eyes fall out.

Follow Friday: Cousin Photos

30 Dec

Last summer my cousin gave me a green, Christmas-themed shirt her daughter Victoria had outgrown. “Save it for Christmas,” she said, “and we can take photos of the kids in their Christmas shirts.” I thought this was a great idea, so I folded it up and tucked it away in a safe place with enthusiasm. Fast forward six months later, and that shirt is nowhere to be found.

“Liz,” I had to say, “I’m sorry, but I think I’ve turned into my mother.”

The cousin photos are adorable even without matching shirts, though my cousin made a huge faux pas when she tried to take Isobel’s purse out of the picture. ONE DOES NOT MESS WITH THE PINK PURSE OR ONE WILL BE SORRY. Also, check out that sweet goat Baby’s Sam’s holding. I’m pretty proud of it, as I am proud of the last photo in this series. I think I’ve found my calling: Awkward Unposed Children’s Photos.

What is Follow Friday? It’s a Twitter meme that I have taken a couple steps further.  Learn more about it in my FAQ. See my nomination for a Shorty Award for Follow Friday here. You can read more Follow Friday goodness here.

hollyburnsAll the dates I’m writing in my new 2012 planner are for season premieres of TV shows.

mommywantsvodka I cannot seem to come up with any decent resolutions for the New Year, so instead I will resolve not to become Lil Wayne.

NicLewis I think I’m a reverse hipster. Whatever the musical group you’re talking about, I’ve probably never heard of it.

theRratedBull That caller I just transferred is so lucky! They get to hear “Endless Love” in its entirety without going to an 1980’s wedding.

justaboutagirl The mom of those Invisalign Teen girls CLEARLY has a favorite child.

SteveMartinToGo My holiday twitter hours: Open all day and night. Except Wodensday, of course. Too busy worshiping Woden. Don’t care about Thorsday.

JVdesigns @exlibris I envy not only that you met Anthony Bourdain, but that you have it on a list with goats.

LouisPeitzman Are there charities to raise money for celebs like Ashton Kutcher and Kelly Clarkson who can’t afford access to Google?

Y_U_NOOO TWITTER FRIENDS, Y U LIVE SO FAR AWAY? Y U NO LIVE NEXT DOOR?

milonguera I’m drinking sangria for dinner. Because an hour ago I ate 70 more pounds of Chex Mix.

wordlust Two things I need to say more often are “I’m sorry” and “Choo-choo!”

palinode My review of Mission Impossible IV is that I stayed home and watched Tree of Life.

LaurelKS I’ve missed #oversharewednesday for months and I invented it. Don’t feel bad if you forget.

RideOrDiePudge You guys who habitually change your avatars have given me a chilling sneak peak into living with Alzheimers.

TheMiaWarren Mystikal was a rapper who cared. He told you to shake your ass but he also told you to watch yourself.

jenstatsky I always say no to drugs. Mostly after I take a bunch of em and am like, “hey I’m gonna start talking to these drugs!”

PolyesterPony Picture Tintin as a gay man and you’ve got a pretty good idea what I look like without my beard.

lieberian FB didn’t seem that interested in my new Perry the Platypus T-shirt, but I know you’ll get me, Twitter.

MightyQuinn72 The kids have gone into an After Christmas Electronic Game trance where they don’t eat and growl when I approach them.

MightyQuinn72 The one positive about the kid’s video game frenzy is that I hear there is a shortage of Single Player Shooters in the job market.

sgnp White plastic sheeting over an entire hill is the closest thing to snow I’ve seen all year.

lafix By the looks of this Starbucks, a whole lot of lumberjacks are working on their novels.

joversusvolcano When I go to Hogwarts I’m going to get a wand made out Keith Richards’ femur and unicorn pubes.

paulverhoeven They should have called Close Encounters of the Third Kind POTATO MOUNTAIN.

JRehling  People may say I’m old-fashioned, but e’re the Moone werthe and halpthsome Fairies ag’in the heckerlocke Smythe of Aethyr luvv.

Nathan_Pensky Remember when you tried to use the force on your shoe? You were 19. Not a good year for you. LOSE A TURN. #GameOfLife

warmandpunchy take the path that takes you to college. ha ha idiot, all your money is gone forever now #GameOfLife

 Nathan_Pensky  Who’s that guy from jr high who said his dad knew Patrick Swayze? There’s an hour gone remembering right there. GO DOWN THE CHUTE #GameOfLife

Nathan_Pensky  Feel a weird pain. It’s obviously cancer. Obviously. Think about cancer for three hours while trying to work. GO BACK TWO SPACES #GameOfLife

LouisPeitzman  Watch your health insurance expire right before an illness. Draw from Community Chest. There is nothing there. #GameOfLife

rare_basement  Grandma gives you twenty bucks out of pity. Move ahead three spaces. Hooray! #GameOfLife

notthatkendall  I’m pretty sure you guys are repinning stuff just to fuck with me now.

ClevelandPoet  Manager: “How ya doing?” Me: “I’m doing.” Manager: “You’re doing? Yeah I’m doing too.” Me: “Hooray doing!” Manager: …. #HowJimiRolls

NotActuallyHero  I love when someone’s bio says they’re the official account for someone you’ve never heard of because I appreciate officialness

thecorbettkid  all toys that make sounds will have their batteries removed tonight.

Patheticist  Halfway through War Horse I asked the guy next to me to shoot me so I didn’t suffer any more.

Athenabee  You know what I like to happen when someone comes over? Athena to walk out with my bra on.

BridgetCallahan  It’s hard to explain to someone for the twentieth time why they are literally the worst person you have ever met, which is why I use lasers.

cryanathus  Accidentally punched the door frame while trying to slide across the floor in new socks.

derekblackmon   Just put my 7 yr old in Time Out for not showing me how to split the blue birds.

Greeblemonkey  Good news: Didn’t break my arm ice skating yesterday. Bad News: It is so sore I’m having trouble doing laundry. WAIT. GOOD NEWS ALL AROUND.

jen_talley  So I’m thinking about getting out of pajamas today. I know! I need to pace myself.

theneener And, with delayed comedic timing, my dog has let out an audible fart.

TheBloggess  I wonder if @DalaiLama follows no one bc he’s making a very deep statement or if he just doesn’t know how twitter works.

eliza_evans  Good night, Internet. Good work. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.

BillMc7  Tequila is like Instagram for your eyeballs.

thejennui  The Internet is made of cats.

FannyOvrTeacups If the cat gets any fatter, I’m going to buy him his own wardrobe of tiny woolen cardigans and change his name to Mr. Belvedere.

SpaghettiJesus  If this is a Downton Abbey marathon, I’ll believe in god, but only because it’s obviously a woman with good taste.

Toaster_Pastry  According to Klout I can gain 5 additional Twitter followers if I say the word “boob.” Oh, my boobs ache.

davepolak  “Three blind mice walk into a pub. But they are unaware of their surroundings, so to derive humour from it would be exploitative.”

slackmistress  In case any of you were feeling remotely attracted to me, my bra is filled with brownie crumbs.

ProfessorSnack  Remember my bus ride from DC to Indiana? This time I’m driving! With my family! Made boys go all day without peeing for conditioning.

tehawesome  Matt Damon plays an adventurous father who takes a big risk in the heartwarming comedy-drama We Bought a Zune.

ApocalypseHow  Show of hands: How many of you only remembered it’s Jesus’ birthday from Facebook?

shinyinfo  Mom: “You can check Google but it might be off today.” #Christmas

JohnFugelsang  Happy Birthday to a radical revolutionary who never defended torture, badmouthed gays, or asked a leper for a co-pay.

writingdirty I keep reading it as “Merry X-men”

colsonwhitehead  When the song was written, “bough” meant “corpse,” so you’re singing about decorating your house with the body parts of someone named Holly.

jillsmo  My tombstone will read: “even though she was Jewish, she was still killed by eggnog.”

thejennui  My cat has an inappropriate relationship with my new Snuggie.

steenyweeny  DIE HARD IS ON PRAISE SANTA

Smethanie  A toast to the easiest night of the year to get kids to bed! Cheers!

TheMostTender  The chunk of crab in my cousin’s hair is the least awkward thing going on at this family dinner.

Smethanie No, I’m not last-minute shopping. I’m in the toy aisle on Christmas Eve as part of my Zombie Apocalypse training.

iamfoxyroxie I have no idea what to get my dog for Christmas. #firstworldproblems

johnmoe  My non-American followers should know that the most popular gifts this year are still handguns, cowboy hats, and piles of deep fried things.

WordShore   Hurrah! The Asian corner shop is open tomorrow, so if you are local and haven’t got a present from me yet, you’ll be getting a yam.

Angel__Bee  You guys, I don’t want to jinx it but I’ve made it through the whole holiday season without having to hear that “Christmas Shoes” song

Greeblemonkey  GetGlue is the new Klout is the new Foursquare of annoying Twitter notifications.

shinyinfo  I’m just saying. If there is a siege, the library WILL. NOT. FALL. I have metal bookends I will throw like ninja stars if need be.

MaryHChrist  In the middle east. Pregnant. On a donkey. FML

mrshiggison  When I hear the kids coming up the stairs, I shove whatever I’m eating entirely into my mouth.

palinode I just let something me dismay.

TheRedQueen  Sometimes I wonder why I attempt anything beyond getting myself dressed and not drooling on everything.

badbanana  My New Year’s Resolution, like always, will be to avoid an elk herd attack. I have a good feeling 2012 will be the year.

ecareyo  While standing in line at the store, I whisper “There, there, you’ll be back here very soon” to the Christmas gift I’m about to buy for Mom

meganamram Every time a bell rings, an angel trained by Pavlov starts to drool.

AnnieLowrey  What is scarier: Toy-obsessed, super-judgmental, bearded trespasser, or winged lady who wants to trade dollar bills for teeth?

KagroX  Jingle Bells. They jingle all the way. It’s fun 2 ride in a sleigh w my friends. We dashing thru the snow. We dashing. #RebeccaBlackCarols

thegrumbles when i put my ear up to my coffee cup i can hear the ocean

chickenscottpie  Sorry, lady hitting on me in the fabric store, there’s a reason I’m a dude shopping in a fabric store.

KaseyAnderson Why would I dance like nobody’s watching? People need to see this shit.

What is Follow Friday? It’s a Twitter meme that I have taken a couple steps further.  Learn more about it in my FAQ. See my nomination for a Shorty Award for Follow Friday here. You can read more Follow Friday goodness here.

Best of 2011: Scrapbook

29 Dec

These are my favorite Scrapbook and Adventure posts from 2011.

 

Snapshot

21 Dec

Here’s what I’m up to:

– Woohoo! I am late again this week. Go team.

– My friend Kristi made gingerbread chickens instead of gingerbread men and now I’m obsessed with the idea of making non-traditional gingerbread creatures.

– Have you seen Erin’s creative way her family counts down to Christmas? I couldn’t find a photo to link to, but she writes the count down on a chalk board in her family’s kitchen. It’s so adorable, it might be my favorite advent calendar idea yet. I found several chalkboards while thrifting. I’m going to give this a try next year.

Marie showed off a photo of her Hipster Analog PDA. Is it weird that I love seeing the handwritten way people keep track of things? When I still worked at the library I made my own datebook using a notebook and a due date stamp. Now I use a shared google calendar with my husband but I can’t leave the pen and paper world behind: I have a binder that contains all my ideas, my to do lists, important papers I need to have handy, and my menu plan for the week. I’ll show you sometime if you’re interested.

– Another friend named Erin is making a homemade Huckle for her lucky kiddo this Christmas. It is amazing. She is so talented.

– I’m going through the photos on my hard drive (er, hard drives. Let’s be honest, here) and I’m trying to delete the ones I don’t need to make room for future memories. I uploaded more photos from our trip to Cayucos last March for Chris and Jenn’s wedding.

– I recently got a spam comment that was left by “A Puppy.”

– I was having a terrible night until petersagal posted this tweet: Yo Yo Ma on the floor of a bathroom, with a wombat. Then he said, “There. I just justified the existence of Twitter.” Yes you did, good sir! Yes you did.

– While shopping for supplies for Handmade Christmas at Michael’s, we bought some (pink!) pipe cleaners and had some fun. All other games were quickly brought to a halt, however, when she discovered that I could shape them into hearts. Soon she had covered our tree in heart-shaped ornaments. It was so fun.

– My cat Poppy totally clotheslined herself on the Christmas tree garland this morning.

– I’ve realized that ironically it’s Rich People that are best able to pull off Handmade Christmas.  You have to really work to keep your crafts affordable, and they take so much time. Ideally, participants in Handmade Christmas are independently wealthy, so in addition to having all the funds they need at their disposal they can make their butlers help when their fingers get tired.

– I’m still getting more Christmas cards! Thank you so much, friends! But I’m still not returning the favor till after Christmas. Happy New Years cards are for the fashionably late.

– Speaking of cards, I’ve been doing more portrait work in time for the holidays. Earlier this week I shot the best portrait session of my life–a friend wanted to take the most awkward family Christmas photo with her brothers as their gift to their parents. Think matching sweaters, ridiculous headbands, and too-huge identical sets of plaid pajamas. It was epic and I learned it’s difficult to shoot while crying tears of laughter.

Photos:

I like big buns and I cannot lie.

Bring your pink purse with you on your walks.

Wearing your Flair to the grocery store.

Monorail Cat.

Handmade Christmas.

Multitasking.

Little Braid.

I do what I want.