Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Sunny Saturday Afternoon

It's been so pretty here this weekend. I know, those of you up North would like to bean right now. That's okay, come summer the shoe will be on the other foot. 
This 3-wheeled scooter was procured a few years and both boys were too small to manage the coordination it takes to ride the Trikke. Now that they're preteen boys they have energy to spare. They were fighting as only brothers can when I loaded the younger boy into the van to go scoot out his boredom. 
He did such a great job maneuvering the do-dad. I got on and, dang a ding dong, that take a lot of coordination. Walk and chew gum at the same time much? Uh, no. 
He's just coasting here, but that is the best part of this ride. I guess it's time to give away those "little guy" scooters that are sitting in my garage. I hope the boys get adept enough at using these Trikkes because they're a lot fun!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Five Question Friday 01/28/2011

Ah, the last Friday in January. I can hardly believe how quickly this month has passed. In the spirit of trying to be a consistent blogger I have to thank Mama M for providing the grist in my blog mill.  

Onward and upward with this week's Five Question Friday.

1. If you had $1,000 to donate to a charity, which would you choose?

Either Austin Rescue or Emancipet. Both are animal organizations here in town and I since I want to adopt every stray that comes my way but can't, giving my money is the next best thing.  When I pass those pet adoption set-ups I want to bring home someone new. In order to minimize the guilt I buy a round of kibble for the gang. Shhh. Don't tell The Mister (she says secretly like he's not going to read this at some point).

2. Snow days: Do you welcome them happily or are they a pain in your butt?

I'm sorry, what are these snow days you speak of? Today was sunny and in the 70's. Degrees, not decades. I was cold, like in the 30's, a few weeks ago for about 4 days and you would have thought it was Armageddon. We Texans hunkered down like hibernating bears only to return when the sun and warm weather does. So in theory Snow Days sound great!

I would imagine Snow Days to those of you North of the Mason-Dixon line are akin to Ozone Action Days here in the South. During the dog days of summer we get these dangerously high temperatures and air quality alerts strongly suggesting those with asthma (almost everyone in this area) stay inside. Are you kidding me?! These kids are driving me crazy!! We Texans become nocturnal creatures because it's simply too hot to go out during the day. So looking at it from another direction I think I'm going to have to with "Pain In The Butt" for $500, Alex.

3. What talent did you wish you had and why?


Oh, I belt it out like I'm Carrie Underwood or Celine Dion, but I suspect I don't sound as good as I do in my head. Most things I do that impress people - haha - are learned.  Sewing, cookie decorating, organization, even writing are skills. Singing? That's a God given talent. 
But I'll keep singing in the shower and at Bunco night. 

4. Are you a news, politics or celebrity gossip junkie?
News junkie fo' sho'. I can't get enough. I have news on my twitter feed, my breaking news texts, tabs on my browser and apps for all the national press. I'm sure this obsession has to do with having been in the news business before I came home to raise children and chickens. There's a part of me that will always armchair produce a segment.

5. What is your favorite "cocktail"? (Are you a beer person, a kiddie cocktail junkie, or perhaps your more the "Cosmo" kind?! Anything flies...doesn't haftabe alcoholic!)

Margarita! Frozen with salt. I try other cocktails from time to time, but there's no substitute for a frosty 'rita. 

Okay, now you play. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Chalkboard Tags

You never know when you'll need to label something in a box. Since I had some cardboard and just a bit of spray chalkboard paint I decided to get all creative Practical Girl style. I had seen some chalkboard tags in Pottery Barn Kids catalog and loved them, but I'm frugal. And if you've already got the supplies on hand you've got to give it the old college try.  
The first thing I did was cut down the chipboard/cardboard to rectangles. You can trace and cut, but I'm lazy so I used a Fiskars paper cutter on the backing of a Paper Stack
I repeated the process 12 more times, but I'm only showing you six. You get the idea though. Pull out the paint protector which in my case was a couple of lawn bags laid out next to each other. Sometimes I forget to use anything to cover the ground and it ticks The Mister right off. So I'd recommend you do as I say not as do. 
The trick here is to spray lightly and go over several times. This is really a project where layering and patience will produce the cleanest results. Spray off the cardboard, meaning start pushing the spray nozzle before you go over the cardboard and stop the spray once you've passed the edge of the cardboard. That's really a good tip for any spray paint job. I've found this out the hard way through drip trials and blob errors. 
Then you can label with your favorite chalk or in our case the boxes and boxes of sidewalk chalk the boys have collected over the years. The stinkers don't use them anymore so I'm making the most of the leftovers.
I love the way they came out. I cut my tags 4"x6" and that provides enough room to write. I think if I were going to do this again and I will eventually, it would be fun to make themed shapes. Baby, school, music, art, you know the list is endless. 
Now go get organized and make yourself some cute tags to fun up the process. Let me know if you try a variation of this project. I'd love to see the results!

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Five Question Friday 01/21/2011

It's Friday so that means it's time for another round of Mama M's fabulous Five Question Friday. She asks us, we tell her (and anyone else that will listen/read). I think you should play along. It's fun!

Let's do this crazy thing...

1. Where did you meet your spouse and did you instantly know it was love?
I met The Mister at work. It was my first year in college and I got a part time job with the city locating people who owed money for city services so that they could be served for collection. His cubicle was next to mine and while I was learning the ropes I asked him questions. Lots of questions. 

I think he thought I was pest, but he says he liked me. One day he needed a ride home because his car was in the shop. After 2 or 3 days of rides he asked me on date to say thanks, or so he says. We started dating regularly, then steadily. Almost two years later (the November before he was to graduate in May) he proposed. We got married 14 months later. We've been married for 19 years. 

I don't think it was love, but it was really, really "like" and the love grew over time. Heck I was still a teenage! I love him more today than when I first met him and I keep loving him more. He's been an outstanding friend, husband and father to our boys. 

2. What is your favorite room in your house?
All of them. I stay home and, when I work for pay, it's from home. I spend most of my time in the kitchen and at the "formal" dining table when my computer hangs out. I also have a great sewing/craft room where I spend weekends crafting and watching shows on Discovery ID

3. Can you wiggle your ears?
What am I, a rabbit? No, I can't wiggle my ears, but I can roll my tongue. 
4. What is your evening ritual?
Dinner, a show with the boys, getting them through their bedtime routine, tucking them in, cleaning the kitchen while I drink a glass of wine and then in bed to read for me. It's a wild life we lead.

5. How many hours of sleep do you need to function?
Function? 6 hours. A good day is 8 hours. Anything less than 6 hours strikes fear in the hearts of people around me. 

Well, that's all for this week, folks. I'd love to have a 5Q Friday on recent embarrassing moments. It's been awhile since I've had a really good laugh at myself, but I've been working on it. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Third Thursday Thrift Store Scores 01/20/2011

Oh, the sheer joy of finding a bargain! I have wanted a standing wreath hook for a whole week now! I've seen several posts on adorable Valentine's wreaths and they're on a hook on a shelf or some equally lovely place. I had no idea. So imagine my delight to find this at the local Goodwill store for $1.99! I saw her and said, "you're coming home with me, baby" and clearly she said alright. 
UPDATE: It turns out that this is an ornament hook, not a wreath hook. Still I bought it's mine and I can do with it what I want. Call it creative license. Hurumph. 

I love this sign. My house lacks that "open floorplan" that is all the rage. My house was also built in 1979 when the idea of kids and adults sharing space was a pretty foreign concept. I'm beginning to think the 1970's builders had the right idea, but I digress. I found this lovely for $3.99. Yes, it's a bit more than I'd usually be willing to pay, but it spoke to me. No alterations were required. Hang it up and the deed was done. 
Next I found a great tin tissue cover. It was a little rusty, but nothing that a can of paint can't gussy right up. Look for it in another post, but here is a preview. 
So there you have it for this month. The flip side of this treasure store hunt is that I also donated a poopin' ton of stuff that we no longer needed or wanted. I believe I must contribute to the thrift store cycle of life.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Five Question Friday 01/14/2011

A new year, a new leaf. Remember I said I'd try to be better about posting? Well my favorite sport of yesteryear shows up this year. What's that you ask? Why it's Mama M's Five Question Friday!

1. What movie could you watch over and over again and not get tired of?
Fool's Rush In and Where The Heart Is. No matter how many times I've seen them (lots) whenever these movies come on I'm captivated. 

2. What's your biggest pet peeve right now?
People who talk on their mobile phones in public places. I'm standing there thinking about whether I need dishwasher tabs or not and some crazy lady comes through the aisles of Target talking loudly on her bluetooth as if there's not a soul in the store besides her. Look, lady, I know it's allll about you, but shut it. No one give a rat's patoot about whatever you think is so blessed important. Go home and talk while you're unloading the dishwasher. Mmkay? Thanks!

3. If you had to describe your best friend in five words or less, what would you say?
I have several BFFs, but they're all funny, creative, loyal, talented and amazing

4. If you did not have to worry about money or go to school what would you do for a living?
I don't currently have an income and I feel as though sometimes I have more degrees than a thermometer so it's hard to think within those parameters. I guess I'd have to say I'd be a Stay at Home Mom. Well lookie there, that's exactly what I'm doing! 

So maybe the question for me is if logistics (you know child care, dinner on the table, grocery shopping) weren't involved what would I do? In that case I'd love to be a teacher. I love creating lesson plans and putting together projects that will help solidify a concept. I've spent several years as a preschool teacher and substitute teacher. I love being with the kids and I love working with other teachers, but I hate the bureaucracy and politics that comes with public school education. If I could just teach that would be my dream job. 

5. What is your one "splurge" item, that you will always buy, no matter the cost?
Wow, I don't have one of those!  I'm not into name brands or high-priced accessories. the appeal is lost on me, but it that's someone's thing, then rock on! 
My "splurge" items are fabric or Dove chocolate, but these are pretty low cost in the scheme of things. Okay, I do have a big fabric stash. Don't judge. Still I won't buy them unless there are coupons involved. Kind of a chintzy splurge no doubt. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Fun Fleece Hat

At my son's class Christmas Party this year I was in charge of one of the crafts. I have loads of fleece and yarn so the kiddos made a winter hat. 
How cute is that hat on that cute kid? You can't really tell in this picture, but take my word for it, that kid is a doll!

There is some prep work that has to happen, but not as much as other crafts I've done in the past. If you don't have a surplus of fabric in your stash, then you'll need to buy the fleece. Watch out for sales because you can get this stuff for a steal. Fleece is very forgiving and doesn't fray so that cuts on on the set-up and ensures that the hats don't come apart at the edges. 

When you get your supply of fleece cut rectangles of 14 inches by 22 inches. If you're feeling really craft you can patch together a panel with those dimensions. I just went with solids because I had to whip out 24 of these babies and you conserve time when you can.

I used a serger to put the hats together. You could use a standard sewing machine, but be sure to make your stitch longer. At least a 4 because fleece is thick. First put right sides together lengthwise and serge (or stitch). You are sewing a fleece "tube" that is 14" from opening to opening. Stop at the last 5" and serge off (or stop sewing and tie off ends). 

Then turn inside out and serge (or stitch) the final 5" of the tube. The reason you have the seam on last 5" is because you'll turn the brim of the hat up to adjust for the height of the head and the seam will be hidden. Sneaky, huh?
Now you want to tie off the end of the fleece tube that has the long seam. Tie yarn about 3 inches down from the top. You can see an example in the blue and green hats in the lower left side of the image above and below on the orange hat.
Once the top of the hat is tied off you'll cut the top into strips. Use good scissors for this part of the project. The standard class scissors don't work well.  
The strips can be as thick or as thin as you'd like it to be. If you like a particularly floppy top the tie off at more than the 3 inches. No rules really.
Finally you'll want to roll up the bottom of the hat to make a brim. Some of the students did a single brim, some did a double brim. All of them had a blast making the hats and putting their own twist on the creations.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Resolution, Schesolution

I have decided not to make a New Year's resolution. What's the point? I can't even keep up with my promise to blog regularly. I take the pictures, think about what I will say and then forget to follow through. Fortunately this lack of discipline doesn't apply to all areas of my life.  

What have I been doing you ask? Nothing really, but dang it sure did take all my time! You know how it is with the kids and the house and the pets and family. Life just takes you ass over teakettle then you wake up and 2 months have passed.

First of all I turned 40 years old. I am getting to the point where I can say this without weeping. I am 40 years old. *sob*

For the big day my family came over for dinner.  I got a yummy tres leches cake to go along with crispy tacos, rice and my mother-in-law's famous beans. And we also had queso, chips and salsa. 
That's my dad with me in this picture. I think he's amazed he has a 40 year old daughter. I know my mom is certainly shocked. 
Then some of my chicas took me out for pretty toes, Thai food and a glass of wine at Austin Custom Winery. I bought a yummy cranberry Shiraz.  Hanging out with the girls took the sting out of the birthday. I highly recommend it. 

Then with all the hubbub of Christmas and the New Year I just haven't kept up with blogging. BUT I do have a number of blogs that I need to post from some cute school crafts to food to fun stuff I've been creating with my embroidery machine.  

So let's get on with it...