Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Little Linky Love

Sites I've bookmarked lately:

How to Get Your Kid to be a Fanatic Reader - I love to read.  I want my kids to love to read.

50 Rules for Dads with Daughters - since I just so happened to be married to a dad of three daughters, I especially loved this post.  Dads and daughters have such a special relationship, and I admit I got a little choked up reading some of these.

Packing a REAL school lunch &  Laptop Lunches:  I filed these away in the back of my mind when school started and was glad to see them resurface the other day.  There are great tips on these sites for packing a well-rounded school lunch with TONS of examples.

No Grace for "What If" - I bookmarked this site a long time ago, but come back to it frequently when my imagination starts going wild.  This is a great, quick post to read for all you mommy worriers out there.  "There is no grace for our imagination."  I love it.  I need to hear that.

Five Signs You're Decorating Out of Fear - Check, check, check, check and check.  *sigh*  I'm in the midst of really wanting to redecorate.  Like, REALLY redecorate, but get scared and don't know where to start.  I guess I just need to dive in.

Cowgirl Party - My friend Mel threw this A-MAZ-ING birthday party for her 3-year-old.  Need some birthday party inspiration?  (Need to feel totally unqualified to throw another party ever?)  You have to see her party.

Britton's Adoption Journey - my friends Aaron and Jody are in Uganda today meeting their new little girl for the first time.  The thought of it puts a lump in my throat and joy in my heart.  She posted just an hour ago on Facebook:  "she is even more beautiful that i had imagined. she's stolen our hearts already."   Go follow along on her blog and praise God with them!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Off the Market

Ahhhh... young love.  At the tender age of FIVE.

Cam & Addie, age 4

Addie's had a little buddy since her first year of preschool.  His name is Camden.  They've been inseparable for more than two years now, and we've heard more than once that they're going to get married.  (And that's from his Mom!  Okay, and from Addie too.)


Honestly, these two really take care of each other.  They really care for each other.  I've never seen anything like it.  If Cam's having a bad day, Addie is too.

Crazy hair day, age 5

Cam was over yesterday after school, and I had to turn my back on the conversation they were having so I wouldn't get caught listening or giggling.  Cam handed Addie a piece of paper which he'd written on.

Cam:  Read it.
Addie:  No, you read it.
Cam:  No, just sound it out, Ads.
Addie:  Can't you just read it to me?
Cam:  No, I want to hear you say it.


Addie:  Okay.  'Will you go... out to eat with me?'
Cam:  No, try again.
Addie:  Um, 'Will you go somewhere with me?'
Cam:  No, it says, 'Will you go out with me?'
Addie:  Oh!  Well, I can't answer you because you have to make boxes and write 'yes' or 'no.'
Cam:  Oh, okay.
  

Cam:  I also made it a coloring page that you can color.  I drew hearts all over it in my mind.
Addie:  'cause you love me?
Cam:  Yes.
Addie:  I love you too. {pause} You wanna go jump now?

And off they went, jumping off into the sunset.  



 
Brody and his future brother-in-law

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Burlap Curtains

I've had a huge chunk of burlap on my craft room counter for ohhhh... about six months now.  So I finally got down to business and made Brody's burlap curtains last week.  I should call them my "Phineas and Ferb" curtains, because it only took one episode of the show to keep the kids entertained while I made these.  What took me so long?
They are the perfect finishing touch to his earthy, dinosaur room.  They're not the usual brown burlap, but instead they have a greenish hue to them.  I love how rugged and imperfect they are.  I didn't measure a thing - how's that for professional work?  I didn't hem any edges, and there are still frayed bits here and there, but I'm happy with them.

And actually, now that I see the picture, I'm noticing that maybe one side is longer than the other.  And I'm not in love with the curtain rod, which was previously hidden by the valance that hung there when this was Brody's nursery.  But you know what?  Brody doesn't care, and neither do I.  And why am I pointing out all the faults? Pretend you didn't read that part.

I didn't plan to leave the top fringed like this, but I hung the first side backwards, saw that I could just fringe it and liked the look of it!  
Next time, if I intend to have fringe on the front like that, I think I'll make the rod pocket a bit deeper (longer?) so that the fringe is further down the curtain.  But I wasn't going to turn on another episode of Phineas and Ferb to fix it.  ;)

And then I didn't have any plans for tie-backs, so I just took a few scraps and tied them on and voila!  And I love how they're fraying.  Any bets on how long before Brody figures out they fray and I have burlap all over the room?
I'm happy with how they turned out, especially given the whopping 20 minutes I put into them.

Do you know how easy it is to work with burlap?  One thing I always get hung up on in my sewing projects is cutting straight.  I know, that seems so silly.  With burlap, it's a piece of cake.  (You're thinking, "yeah, and with a ruler it's a piece of cake.")

I'm using an old scrap to show you how.  See how uneven this piece is?  It makes me wonder how horrible the previous project looked when it was done.  Yikes.
Just take one of the "threads" of burlap, and pull.  It will gather, but just gently work it out all the way to the end.  (Yes, I need a manicure.  Don't judge.)
You'll be left with a gap where the thread was.  Cut along this line and you'll have a nice, even edge.

And then you can make some really fancy, professional curtains like these.  And a strange thing I love... his room smells like burlap now WHICH I LOVE.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tradition

A few years after we got married, we went to one of my favorite places for breakfast on our anniversary.  The Chautauqua Dining Hall in Boulder has a beautiful wrap-around porch with a backdrop that can't be beat.  On a mid-September morning, the temperatures are perfect, the skies are unbelievably blue, the trees are on the verge of changing, and breakfast on the porch is a must.

We loved it so much that it quickly became a tradition. 
I'm not sure exactly when our tradition started, but the first picture we have is from 2005, when I was pregnant with Addie.  
 

In 2006, with one-year-old Addie in tow, three-year-old Emma took this picture of us.  
It's one of our favorites today because we remember how we had to move around in order to be in the picture.
It was also the year I captured this picture, 
which is my favorite picture of Emma and Gary:

In 2007, we posed for our picture again, and again moved to try to be in the frame, and barely made it!
But is it any wonder with a pint-sized photographer like this?
 
{ I don't have pictures from 2008 or 2009, which drives me crazy! }

Last year in 2010, Brody and a brand-new Chloe were our breakfast dates.  
And with a busy guy like this...
 ...we had to take our own picture:

 Last week was our anniversary, so the tradition continued, 
this time compliments of photographer Addie:
 Our breakfast dates were Addie, Brody and Chloe.  
We sat and talked about how our breakfast buddies will diminish over the next few years until it's just the two of us again.
What peaceful breakfasts those will be.
I'm not sure how I feel about that.
Goodness, how time flies.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fall Wreath and Book Page Flower Tutorial

On a whim, I decided to make a fall wreath the other night.  When I say, "on a whim," I'm not kidding.  It was almost 11 p.m.  Suddenly the creative juices started flowing and I just HAD to make a wreath.  The kids were in bed, Gary was out of town, so my challenge to myself was to use only what I had on hand since there would be no running to the craft store for supplies.  Not that any are open at that time of night.
What do you think?

I started with a straw wreath that I got for $.99 at Goodwill at their Saturday half price sale. Score!  Seriously, shop there for anything crafty.  I think it's where all abandoned craft supplies go to die.
I wrapped it with left over strips of burlap I had laying around.  I hot glued on a tiny twig with acorns still attached, along with a bunch of loose acorns that we found on a recent road trip to Kansas.
Okay, how cute are acorns?  I love them.  I actually took apart each acorn and hot glued the cap back on.  It sounds silly, but they fall apart easily, especially as they dry out.  We'll see how long they stay on there given the addition of recent rodents roaming our yard!
Next, I made some book page flowers, and voila!  A simple fall wreath that cost almost nothing.


Here's how I made the flowers:

Find an old book (or buy one at a thrift store or garage sale) and cut out lots of circles.  If you have a punch, it'll make it easier, but just wing it and cut out a bunch of free hand circles.  They don't have to be perfect, and you'll need various sizes.
Curl one edge of each circle just slightly by wrapping it around a shish-kabob skewer.
I used one of my circles as a base for my flower.  One at a time, add a dab of hot glue and start layering your circles, with the curled edge facing up along the outer edge.
50 points to the person who can tell me which book I cut apart.  And don't worry - I have multiple copies of this book.  I love it!  I should've used The 19th Wife.  I don't love that one.  Also, I didn't realize until I posted this picture that this particular petal has the word Christmas on it.  Odd for a fall wreath, don't you think?  Imperfect is my middle name.
Layer, layer, layer until you have a flower!  It doesn't need to be exact!
I love the texture and three-dimensional look of these little flowers.
For my wreath, I knotted a bit of jute and glued it in the middle.  It seemed like they needed a center, although they're pretty all on their own.  I tried using one of the acorn caps as the center of the flower, but decided I didn't have any acorns to spare.
I'm happy with how it turned out and think it's a sweet tribute to fall.  I think as the leaves start changing, I might add a few sprigs of autumn colored leaves here and there.

Happy wreath making!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Birds on My Fence

There are a bunch of birds sitting on my back fence right now.

Fluffy, fat brown sparrows all lined up, chatting away and eating berries.

I watch them, somewhat envious that they don't have so many distractions vying for their attention.  Facebook doesn't lure them in.  Chores and dinner and school pick up and laundry and meal planning and car maintenance and doctor's appointments and paying bills and replying to emails are all foreign to them.  Well, they do tweet.

"You wanna go hang out on the fence for awhile?"
"Sure!  C'mon, friends!"

And BAM.  Thirteen bird friends just hanging out enjoying each other's company.

Just being.

They ruffle their feathers, chirp some sweet tunes and nibble on the bounty from the bush hanging over them.  Bliss.

We humans make things so complicated.


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This post is brought to you by Just Write, a new Tuesday exercise in writing without overthinking at The Extraordinary Ordinary. Play along -- and let me know so I can come visit you too.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Twelve!

Twelve years ago, 
we were young and in love.
And twelve years ago
our towels didn't have discolored bleach spots
or rips at each end
Our sheets were crisp and new
Without threadbare spots 
threatening holes at the slightest tug 
Our dishes were a complete 8-piece setting
Without chips and cracks and scrapes and marks
And not one piece had yet been surrendered to the trash can when dropped on the floor
And our silverware was shiny and new
And hadn't yet been "distressed" by the garbage disposal
And every piece was accounted for
 But today, place settings like these 
Tend to outnumber anything we had twelve years ago
 And we might look a bit more tattered and distressed ourselves.
But just like our much loved towels and sheets and dishes and silverware, 
We have a history.
This is our life.  It's comfortable.  It's wonderful and well-loved.
 Twelve years later, 
We're still in love.
In fact, I love you more today than I did back then, Gary.
I cannot imagine anyone better for me than you.
Thank you for sweeping me off of my feet all those years ago and creating this life with me that is so full with joy and love and fun... blessings for which I continually thank the Lord.  The joy and the pain, the celebrations and the sorrows... we were meant to experience them together.  Thanks for sticking with me and loving me through it all. 

Happy Anniversary, my love!
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