Saturday, December 19, 2009


I've been busy making stuff, lately, but I haven't been able to show you because I can't spoil the surprise for my family members who faithfully check my blog for updates...  But, this gift is shareable because its for Elliott and Caiden and they don't really know how to use the internet yet, or even know about my blog.

As I was scrolling through my feeds, I stumbled upon this project and decided that it was the perfect thing to give Elliott and Caiden for Christmas.  They both love doing art and they also love "dressing up"--perfect!

Phased not by the fact that it was 11:30 at night, I began my two projects.  And I don't really like quitting in the middle of things, so I finished them at about 1-ish.  But it was worth it and now I'm really excited for Christmas because I actually have something to give my babies. And I think they're really going to like it!

Its a quick little project that you might want to make, too, if you have any little ones in your life.  Check out the detailed tutorial here.

Without further ado, behold the artist apron with crayon pockets made from a kitchen towel:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Who Says Your Tree Must Be Green?

This year our tree is a little different, as you can see.  We weren't able to get a real tree this year, which is something I normally really look forward to.  At first, I was a little bit sad that we wouldn't have a tree.  But I decided we should still get out the Christmas boxes and try to decorate things up a bit more. 

As Elliott and I dug through our two Rubbermaid containers and took out piles of tangled twinkle lights, I looked up at our big, bare, blank, white, renters' wall.  And that's when it hit me: Push pins! Twinkle lights! Ornaments! Tree topper!...  Christmas tree!

Elliott and I labored over our tree for about 20 minutes while Caiden slept and David worked in the bedroom.  We took out our best and favorite ornaments and hung them on our tree with care.  We stepped back to admire our creation and then we ran and got Daddy to show him the surprise.  We created a tree where there was none!  We were so proud.

Elliott has been so proud and happy with our tree.  I don't think it even phases him that it is not real.  Actually, I don't think he has even considered an alternative.  David asked him what his favorite thing about Christmas time has been so far and he said it was decorating "the Christmas tree."

So I think our little tree has passed the test.  Thank you, Lord, for creativity.

I love my son.  Usually several times a day and toward the end of the evening, Elliott will say, "Momma?  I love you.  Thanks for doing Christmas stuff with us.  I really like doing Christmas stuff with you." 

And then when we put him in bed, "Merry Christmas, Mom.  Merry Christmas, Dad."  Melts my heart.  What a blessing from the Lord our little guy is.

Merry Christmas, guys.

Monday, December 14, 2009

And the Most Efficient Packaging Award Goes To...

Overprotective packaging

This was too amazing to keep to myself.  I hope you enjoy my little video.  Taken with David's iPhone.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Gramshackle Houses...

We had ourselves a party, we did.  Makin' houses.  I had everyone bring a box of graham crackers and a bag of candy to share.  I provided the frosting glue and away we went.  I think we went through 8 pounds of powdered sugar.  Here's the recipe we used for the icing.

Some of these girls were really intense.  One friend even brought a graham cracker "saw" that her dad built just for such adventures.  We had mansions, flat tops, and even a leaning shack.  Also, some of the girl made embellishments to their yards with frozen ponds, ice skaters, stacks of firewood, ice cream cone trees, and more.  It was great to see what everyone came up with.  I'm excited to share all the lovely photos with you...  Enjoy!

Hard at work!

This was a masterpiece!

It was intense...

Some of the youngin's at work...

My icing making buddy...  Great work, B!

This is where B2 and I started taking liberties with Dave's camera...
How cute is that little booger, though?

B2 was VERY camera happy... Good job, B2.  (That's your new name now, by the way.)

"I think there's candy inside that lens!  Do you see it?"

Caught me a munchkin!

Some of the architects...

B standing proud with her house.

B's house.

L's masterpiece.  I'm not sure we should call it house, though...

ER's house.

B2's ramshackle shack.

B2's special saw.  Professional.

Some of the gang.

Not all the houses got a close up, but they were all amazing.

A big, big thank you to everyone that came.  It was so fun and I loved having you all here.  It wouldn't have been the same without you.  You all did a marvelous job.  And thank you for helping me clean up the huge mess we all made! Hearts...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas Lights!

Christmas time is so much more fun with kids.  They get excited over the darndest things... 

Tonight we took them to see Christmas lights.  Caiden loved all the snowmen. "no-man! no-man!" she kept telling me.  It took me a second to catch on, but after I did, we hunted down all the snowmen on the block.

Caiden was enthralled with the lightshow.  She just sat there with her mouth wide open. All the way.  Jaw dropping style.

Boy was it cold!  On the way home, Elliott suggested we all get in bed and snuggle.  I suggested they take a warm bath first, then snuggle.  They were happy to oblige.  My toes were so cold by the time we got home that I took off my socks and stuck my feet in the bath, too.  We then snuggled, reviewed pictures from the night, and tucked them into bed.

If you live in Santa Rosa check out Walnut Court off of Sonoma Ave.  Its a nice little dead end street all done up.  There's a lightshow at the top of each hour from 6-9PM on Saturdays and Sundays.

I hear there's a good street in Petaluma somewhere, too.

Awesome Photography skills courtesy of David Escalante.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Duvet it Yourself!

David and I were 19 when we got married.  We were youngin's with fresh ideas and vigor for life...with no idea or good sense whatsoever about how or what to register for.  So we ended up with 4 toasters and no sheet sets.  We bought one set of sheets the week we got back from our honeymoon, and one sheet set since.  Its been six years.  Sheets are expensive!

I read this great idea somewhere about using duvet covers in lu of a top sheet--easier to make the bed, but still easy enough to wash frequently.  I thought that was a great solution to my problem.  This way, we would only need bottom sheets.  You can easily pick up orphaned bottom sheets at the thrift store for around a buck or two.  I thought I had it made.  But then I looked around the internet and stores for duvet covers and they were upwards of $150 plus.

That's when I decided to duvet it myself...  Whenever I hit up a thrift shop, lately, I check out the linen section.  I had found this cute flowered topsheet for one dollar a while back.  So, I decided to sew two topsheets together to make one duvet cover.  Duvet it yourself duvet cover now equals a mere $2!

Here's all I did:

1) place sheets right sides together and pin edges together
2) sew the long sides together and the bottoms together
3) turn it right side out
4) line up top sides and decide where to place buttons and button holes (my green sheet was longer than the flowered sheet, so I folded the excess green over the top of the flowered sheet and buttoned it like shown)
5) sew button holes and sew on buttons
6) insert duvet into its new home
7) flop into bed and enjoy the labor of your hands

There are many variations you could do with this idea, and because its so cheap to make, you can virtually have a new bedscape scene every other week if you wish...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

You Requested: Pictures of Food

I have this brother--well, actually, I have three brothers--who loves to cook. More than that, though, its what he does. He's a chef. I called him on Thanksgiving. To say hello and 'Happy Thanksgiving' of course, to him and his beautiful family. One thing led to another and as usual, we started in on discussing food. "Food, glorious food!" I asked some technical questions about roasting turkeys, and he said, "Make sure you take some pictures. I want to see."

"Ummm... maybe." was my reply. But, I asked Dave to take some pictures and they turned out so lovely, that I am not at all ashamed to show my big brother, the chef, the food I made. I am not ashamed of you seeing them either.

Even though the smallest turkey I could find was 15 pounds and we probably only ate 8 to 16 ounces of it, it was so worth it. I called Caiden and Elliott to the table as I was still setting it and they clamored and climbed aboard the bench and were just in awe of everything. The table cloth: "Ooooh, wow!" The turkey: "Whooooa! mmmmmm...." The mashed potatoes, "Wow!" etc. etc. etc. for each following dish. We had roasted cauliflower, roasted butternut squash with sage, deviled eggs, baked corn (a family tradition and favorite growing up), mashed potatoes, gravy, and turkey.

They only ate a tiny bit, but it was so funny. They tasted everything as it came to the table. "Oooooo, I like your squash, Mom." It was awesome. But as soon as we sat down to eat, their stomachs were suddenly and mysteriously full. Oh well. Lots and lots and lots of leftovers. Lots. Did I say lots, already?

We had company for dessert. Apple pie, cheese cake, and pumpkin pie. I made the apple pie and cheesecake the night before and Elliott came to check things out. "Oooooo, I like your pie, Mom! What kind of pie is that?"

"Its apple pie."

"Oooh! I wanted pumpkin pie!"

Luckily, his grandma had bought him a pie pumpkin as a decoration, because it was like 9 o'clock the night before Thanksgiving (Thanksgiving eve?) and I was not prepared for pumpkin pie. So, I took his pumpkin and roasted it and made the pie in the morning, right before putting the turkey in to roast. Phew! But it turns out, that evening, a good friend brought over a pumpkin pie that his grandmother had as "an extra." Oh, well. It was a labor of love.

We have a few gluten intolerant friends who came over for dessert so I had buttered a few tartlette molds and poured some of each of the pie fillings into them and cooked them up, too. And for some reason, we had cherry Jello, as well. We whipped up a quick batch of whipped cream, pulled out the vanilla ice cream and dug in...

And that concludes Thanksgiving food talk around here. I'm sure you all have had enough of seeing Thanksgiving food... So, until next year, "Goodbye, Thanksgiving. I am thankful for you!"

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Peanut Butter and Jelly

That's Jelly on the left--raspberry jelly; sweet, kind of funky, with a little kick--and little creamy Peanut Butter on the right; soft, smooth, and persistently sticky.  They pretty much stick together, too.  They're pals.  Although sometimes Jelly thinks she would taste alright on her own, Peanut Butter never lets go.

Peanut Butter has been missing this week, though.  He's old and big--four year old--and already flown the coop.  He's visiting Grandma and Grandpa and doing some beach camping.  He's stoked.

We miss him, though.  I wonder what he'll think of the Fire-Bellied Toad we temporarily adopted...

Dear PB: We love you.  Glad you're having a blast.  Looking forward to your return.  Love, J.