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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

I'm back!

Well, technically- I still feel like I'm in the "between holidays fog",
but I am posting, so that's a start.

Hopefully you have a fun New Year's Eve planned- it's sounding like we're going to be ringing in 2009 in a very laid back and quiet style 'round these parts.

But, that's okay too.

Have you made your New Year's Resolutions yet?

We have!
That's become a tradition that I like- even if half the time at least half the items on the list never make it to completion.

In the last couple of years I've tried just picking one or two things
to work on for the year. I think doing that helps me
actually meet my own resolutions better.

Here's what a couple of our main goals are for 2009:

1.) Finish last year's goal of getting the entire house organized.
This got a good start in 2008, and we're hoping to finish up in 2009.
The biggest accomplishment we saw towards this goal in 2008
was that we really pared down our "stuff." I have to admit, I was
the worst culprit when it came to having too much stuff- most of
it was piled in our basement (to the point we couldn't even walk
through it all!), and most of it was preschool/daycare related.
I hadn't used any of it in the five years we'd been married, so
I "bit the bullet" so to speak and did my best to just let it go.
Half of it was thrown out, and the other half was put on the
annual
daycare garage sale. A lot of what went on
the sale was
bought, so this summer I'll try
getting rid of the rest of it-

if it doesn't go it's getting thrown out.
Anyway, to complete this goal has turned into more work
than we expected. We thought we realized, when we
bought our house, that it didn't offer much for storage.
While working towards this goal in 2008 we realized
that the no storage problem is much worse than we
originally thought. So, in order to finish this one up, we're
going to have to find ways to creatively come up with
better storage from what we already have, or buy/build
better storage solutions. In order to have an organized home
every item needs a place to be kept. We don't have many "places"
at this point. Because of this, our organizational goal
leads into a kind of "sub-goal": finishing the remodeling
that we've started. Our kitchen, for example, has been
unfinished since 2004. And we've been waiting to build
medicine cabinets since, hmm, 2006? I don't know exactly-
it's just been too long.
Ideally this organizational goal will be met by the
time we finally have our first child.

And,

2.) Create a much healthier family diet.
Both Pete and I have slowly gained a bit of weight over the
last five years. Well, first I lost a lot, then gained some back, so
I'd like to get back to that weight that I felt the best at. We
found a site that calculates your BMI, and discovered we're
not as bad off as we'd feared- but we are still setting
goal weights. I'll admit, I'll probably end up doing most
of the work on this one- smaller portion sizes, smaller
serving plates, healthier meals will end up being up to
me as the family "cook" for the most part. But we've also
decided to find a way to commit to exercising (anything from
running to walking to an actual work out that will get our
heart rates up) 30- 60 min. a day, five days a week.
We both got miserably sick the day after Christmas and
were couch bound for three days, so what did we do?
Watched "Super Size Me". We made this resolution
immediately after. Need I say more?

Obviously, one of the most important goals we have
(but don't have a lot of control over) is:

3.) To have our first child.

Wish us luck this year. :)

Here's wishing you and yours a wonderful year in 2009.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Save Quality Handmade Children's Toys

Most of the toys I provide in my childcare program have been either handmade or made by a small (usually family-run) company in either the USA or other trusted countries like Canada or the European Union that have high standards for toy safety and have very good toy safety protocols in place.

Unfortunately- because of all the toy recalls we've seen coming from unsafe toys made in China- the government is considering putting into place a system of toy safety control that will put these proven, and trusted, smaller handmade toy companies and makers out of business.

Please read more about it here, and do what you can to help.

We should have safe toys for our children- by all means!- but there is no reason for that to cost these toy makers so much that they are forced out of business.

Holiday Daycare Highlights 2008

Since I'm aiming at a much more handmade holiday this year, I decided to make my main presents for my two daycare kids too.

I made my sweet girl a rainbow colored scarf...



And my cute boy two felted balls from wool yarn.






So far we have decorated cookies every year. This year was no exception- except that I made the cookies in advance to give us more time for a new holiday activity
(which you'll see in a minute).






While I made supper the kids watched "Jack Frost"- a classic (since 1979) holiday movie that I hadn't heard of until this year.





For supper we cut cookie cutter shapes out of bread and made french toast! (Thanks for that great idea, mom!) It was fun and so good too. We had french toast, turkey bacon (crispy, thankyouverymuch!), blueberries and blackberries, and milk for supper.





Then we opened our gifts. Always the best part, right? :D

After that was the new activity- one I'd heard of but had never done before.



We made cranberry/popcorn garlands and dried orange slice ornaments to decorate our little outdoor tree for the birds! It was so fun that I'm hoping to make it a holiday tradition.







After the decorating was done, we warmed ourselves up with some homemade hot chocolate. Yum! We each had a left over sugar cookie, and a Christmas decorated doughnut.

Then we kicked back and read stories on the couch till their daddies came to pick them up.

Such a fun night with two of my favorite kids of all time! :D

Friday, December 19, 2008

All Wrapped Up


A few simple things for my two special daycare kids.

We're having our Christmas Party tonight, and we've got a lot of fun stuff planned.
Can't wait to post pictures later of all the fun we had!

Ho ho ho!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Uh Oh


I'm trying to remember that this is what happens to your body if all you do is sit and knit.

Note to self: Begin exercise routine ASAP!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Someday, When I Have the Time...

There are many, many books I would like to read.

Especially about knitting- because I, so far, am absolutely loving it!

Here are some that look interesting...


This is one I've seen on more than one knitter's blog...


I have made one scarf so far. The most basic, simple scarf- it's quick and easy and so versatile, because you can create it in any color or color combination imaginable. It would be fun to learn how to make other cute scarves...



And, there are even knitting MYSTERIES out there to read!
Heehee, I just thought that was funny. :D



I've only seen a handful of this guy's cartoons (yes, a guy that knits!), but they are funny!



I looked through this one briefly online, and it looks like a great "beginner's" book. Lots of tips, tricks, and easy to understand how-to's.

Anyway, I'm just dreaming here. There's no way I'll have the time to even get through one of these in a short amount of time. But, I love books and I love reading, and it's fun to keep sort of a "to read" list.

What's on your reading list?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Miscellaneous

Okay, today it's back to the happy!

At least, I hope so. ;)

Non-seriousness, anyway.

To start off, here's another sneak peek at something for the holidays.

(Ha, I know, it's not exactly a stumper, but I just love all the pretty colors! :D )



My new shelf for all my fabric-y goodness. Thanks dad for buying it, and thanks Pete for putting it together. I love it.



Me! Looking oh so cute this summer for our backyard play area re-do.



A little something pretty from warmer days.

(Anything from warmer days is welcome right now!)




Please forgive me, Jay, but this is one of my favorite pictures of you.

I tell you (and the world) this in nothing but love.

:D



And, a funny (well, to me) video of our puppy Ceiba.

Keep in mind, it was taken the day after Thanksgiving, we were all "drunk" on Turkey and the tons of food we had stuffed ourselves with. Things were getting goofy.

And, no, I am not sobbing- I was laughing so hard I could hardly breathe. One of the reasons I love my husband is that he loves me despite my very horrible laugh. :D

video

Monday, December 15, 2008

Whew...

A big sigh.

Whether it's of relief or frustration is yet to be determined but, in either case, it feels good to be breathing again. :)

Our appointment with the surgeon went much, much differently than we expected but, all in all, I'm putting it under the "good" category. (Full update here.)

One more infertility thing down- much, much more to come.

A Big One

I don't have much to say today.

My mind is preoccupied with the appointment I have this afternoon
with the surgeon- it's a big one.

We're supposed to find out today if I'll need just one surgery
(for Endometriosis) or two surgeries
(for Endometriosis and to remove portions of the ovaries).

Any thoughts and prayers for us will (as always!)
be much, much appreciated today.


My Baby Sister


I'm so proud. :D

My little sister is all grown up.

She's married now, and a photographer in the Twin Cities.

Check out her work at Erica's Blog.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I Just Can't Help It...

Baby Lucas

He's so sweet, I just can't help but share the news that he's here! :D

Some very wonderful people I know just got to welcome this little guy
into their family yesterday.

Congratulations you guys!!! I can't wait to meet him!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wow!


I had heard of this documentary before, but hadn't had the chance to watch it until today.

All I can say is, "Wow!"

I am utterly amazed at God's creation. Both of us as humans and how our bodies work, and at the natural birth process itself.

I think this is one that is definitely worth watching, no matter what your opinions on the subject are. It does an excellent job of showing what birth used to be in America, what it still is in most of the world (even the "developed" world!), and what birth is like in America today.

Amazing, amazing, amazing.

I literally cried once or twice just watching some of those new moms. It was wonderful.

I watched it online at Amazon, but it's available for purchase too.

Please, please take a peek. No matter your opinion, it presents a clear and wonderfully done picture of a view of birthing that is no longer prevalent in the States. I also think it shows a fair view of both ways we (in the US) view birth. I love that it's firmly fact based.

Please note though, that it's not appropriate for children, not because of the acts of birth portrayed, but because there are two mothers who (in the heat of labor and in remembering being in the heat of labor) use a four letter word beginning with "f".

Favorites

What Are Your Favorites?

1. Favorite book? Ever? Probably "Anne of Green Gables".

2. Food? Hmm, this is a tough one. Maybe pizza?

3. Item of clothing? Sweats! Warm and fuzzy ones.

4. Hairstyle? Out of my face.

5. Beverage? Maybe hot cocoa.

6. Facial tissue? Kleenex brand, or Puffs without the lotion.

7. Place to sit? In a big comfy chair.

8. Person? Pete, my hubby. :D

9. Animal? My two puppies.

10. House? My favorite house ever? Well, this one's probably a tie- there's one just outside of Grimes along the highway, and there's one on the very edge of Pierson. Both of them are big and white, and combined together in certain ways would make up my dream house.

11. Smell? Um, non-food would be my perfume (Ralph), food would be something like steak or pizza cooking. Oh, and I couldn't forget CHOCOLATE. :)

12. Activity? Well, I'm not a big "action" kind of girl, so it'd be something calm like reading or scrapbooking. I know, I'm boring.

13. Color? RED!!!

14. Day of the week? Friday

15. Time of day? Lunch time, or mid-afternoon.

16. Hot thing? Maybe (just to get off the food thing), a nice hot shower?

17. Cold thing? Ice cream!

18. Game? Umm, any fun board game. Preferably one that I'm good at. :D

19. Hobby? Oooh. Scrapbooking or (very amateur) photography. I've also just started knitting and am liking that.

20. Season? Fall.

And, if you've read mine, I tag YOU to go do this one too! :D

Monday, December 8, 2008

Nice. Real nice.





I generally try to keep this blog as my "happy place" but, as you can see, we were vandalized this morning.

Sometime between 9:30 and 10:45 this morning, in broad daylight, right on Main Street (the main "drag" through town), not caring about being seen or reported by any of the surrounding homes or businesses, some very nice person apparently drove their large vehicle or truck at a fast enough speed into our mail box to completely destroy it.

They must have been coming on at a really good clip, because I had to pick up that largest wooden piece a good twenty feet away, in my driveway.

It's nearly impossible to see in that last picture, but there are tire marks up on the curb/lawn area.

I can see teenagers "joy riding" at night, out in the country, smashing up mailboxes- not that I approve in the least, but I can see it happening.
But, to actually run one down with your vehicle, in town, in the middle of the morning, broad daylight, lots of houses around, several businesses close by, on a street that gets constant traffic- that feels personal. Like someone was wanting to make some kind of point.

It's been reported, so we'll see if things go anywhere.

Again- nice. Real nice.

Knitting Fever

Nikki and I had our very first knitting class on Saturday, and I have to say, I think I'm hooked!

We're starting off with a "Booga Bag".

(heehee, "Booga, Booga!"- I love saying that.)

I chose red yarn and a gray yarn with multi colored flecks, lots of them a matching red, in it.

We bought our needles and yarn- yikes! I thought when the lady said "$10.00" that meant per class, for a total of $30.00 for the entire class and project.

But, I was mistaken. The needles, metal circular ones that are really nice for beginners, apparently, and are great at holding the yarn in place, were around $22.00, the yarn (4 skeins) was around $30.00, and the class itself was $10.00. For a grand total of $62.00.

Ouch.

But, now our supplies have been purchased, so I'm guessing it will only be $10.00 each time for our next two classes. Still, it would have been nice if that had been mentioned somewhere on the website. Oh well!

It was a lot of fun, and I'm picking up on it a lot faster than I expected!
(Yay, me!)

Here's my class project as of now (sorry for the poor picture quality, the flash was just not agreeing with the yarn- waaay too glary), still on the needles because I don't know how to "cast off" yet. This will be the bottom of my Booga Bag.
(hehe, "Booga, Booga!!!")


Saturday, my first day of knitting EVER!, I made plenty of mistakes.

It's hard to see, but holding up the section I knit you can see several holes on the bottom portion. Oops. :D


I went just a little too far (put in a couple rows too many I think), so I'll need Susan (the Yarn Lady) to show me how to fix that. Since I have to wait until Saturday again to learn more, I decided to practice what I already know, just so I don't lose it all. I might be knitting just a bit too much though, because I find myself playing the stitch over and over in my mind. It's like mental knitting! :D



Here's what I'm working on as a practice piece. Can you guess what it is? :D



My stitches are looking much better now. Yay!




Plus, a sneek peak at something for the holidays! Shhh! Don't tell! :D


And, since I got to see my bestest buddy this weekend for a wedding, she gave me some new reading material. "The Friday Night Knitting Club"- she thought it was fitting, as I've just discovered a new passion. I haven't cracked it open yet (too busy knitting, you know), but it looks like it'll be a good one!

Happy Monday!

Friday, December 5, 2008

She Got Me


Okay, so because I went and read a certain someone's blog, I got TAGGED! ;)

That's okay though, because I LOVE this kinda thing.

So, here it is: The 4 Tag
(I'm giving it a name, because I don't know what the actual name is- or if there is an actual name.)

Directions: Go to your 4th picture folder, post the 4th picture there, and tell us 4 things about it.




1. This picture is of the SOLD sign for my bestest buddy's FIRST house ever!

2. I have this picture in my picture folder because I had just gotten my camera not long before and hadn't learned to delete anything yet.

3. I also have this picture on my camera because it was my "job" to be the picture taker the weekend we helped them move. Then I was supposed to send them the pictures of the move.

4. This tag has now reminded me to send them the pictures from their move.

:D

TAG! You're it!
(unless you've already done this one recently...)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Greeting the Season


I would love to be the type of woman who's home, both inside and out, looks picture perfect and lovely and decorated for each season. You know, like a page out of a magazine. I, indeed, know a few women who somehow manage to pull this off and are even still lovely people that you would enjoy spending time with! (wink, wink)

But, hey, reality check!, this is ME we're talking about here, so that will never happen!

(Not only because I don't have the budget for it, but also because, in general, as a person, I am an unorganized mess!)

ANYWAY, I did get into the season a bit more this year- and I'm finding that I like it! Plus, I think it will be good for me to keep some "pretty" going on 'round here- otherwise I have a tendency to get SAD. So, now we are ready to meet the Season of Snow head on (well, kind of, I mean, this is winter we're talking about- how prepared can you get for cold, ice, and blizzards?).

Here's what you would see if you came over to my house.
(Although, if you ARE coming over to my house, please call first- you see, the great thing about photography is that you can crop out what you don't want seen- namely, the horrible mess that my house typically is!)







(And, yes, that orange blobby thing in the top left corner of this photo IS my pumpkin "display", left over from Halloween. What! I told you I was unorganized! I'm going to get rid of them soon- today I think. It's just that it's COLD outside...)

So, Season's Greetings! :D

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I Need Input!

Okay, what do you all think?

My little sister, the professional photographer, took pictures for us at Thanksgiving.

(It's so GREAT to have a photographer in the immediate family! Yay! Lifetime supply of great, affordable pictures- woohoo!!!)

Which one should we go with for our "family" picture this year?


Number 1:

Number 9:

Number 10: