Sunday, July 17, 2011

Curb-Find Furniture: Antique Cabinet

I know I haven't been around, but I had to share these pictures. I finished my curb-find project!


Before and After - Curb Find


I used Restor-A-Finish:
And Feed-N-Wax:
Bought glass knobs here:

It was a $30 project and I LOVE IT. It was a few weeks ago that we were driving home from grocery shopping and I saw this beautiful piece of furniture sitting on the curb just down the street. I couldn't NOT have it, so it's been living in our garage ever since. I worked on it as I could, and now it's fantastic :)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Long time no see

Sorry for the hiatus; life has just taken off, in a good way. I spent the afternoon working on this though and thought I'd share...


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My friend lost her 16 day old daughter last night. She was born at 28 weeks and was doing incredibly well until last night. I am so heartbroken for her and her family. I was honored to get to meet her when I photographed her on Saturday.


A memorial fund has been set up to plant a tree in her memory at the arboretum where my friend and her husband were married. That website is here: Donate to Rosie.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hello there

Hello there, blog. I haven't forgotten about you. I think about you often. And then I realize I don't have much to say or it's likely that I've said it elsewhere on the internet and don't feel like repeating myself.

Life is well. Spring is on the horizon. My suspected cold urticaria is proving itself when I spent a half hour at the park in 50 degree weather and broke out in hives on my cheeks again versus the time spent out today when it's in the 60s and I am fine. It has me dreaming of moving to a warmer climate even though I know that will likely never happen.

Spending time at friends' (single family) homes has me dreaming of houses too. And while that is much more likely to happen, it's not going to any time soon. I'm feeling closed in here in this little townhouse, particularly after celebrating Lily's second birthday and having the number of LARGE toys increase. Speaking of, I should try to put away her tent while she's napping and see if she freaks out over its absence.

Oh, she loved her birthday though.


Off to put the tent away...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My kid is cute.


She also likes apples.


I'm experimenting with my backdrop (that's made from PVC pipe and some yardage of black fabric). I need more PVC to make it sturdier before taking it around other peoples' kids, and I also want some white fabric since my brown-haired daughter tends to get lost in the dark background, especially when I'm only using available light.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


10 days post-illness and I feel like a normal member of society again. It actually took a while to get used to being in public and conversing with humans after such a long hiatus from the plague.

Lily's 2nd birthday is fast approaching and I've prepared by sewing her a Ponyo doll...


...and taking photos of her...


And because I'm probably crazy I'm having a go at the photography thing in a slightly more professional setting. We'll see what comes of it!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Getting sick and healing a tattoo are two very not good things to combine. I managed to take a nice hot bath with my leg propped out of the water, but I feel like I've been hit by a bus. The fever that Lily had overnight on Tuesday hit me Friday afternoon and has been striking on and off since. No digestive output like poor Lily who has had at least one gross diaper every day since Tuesday, but I've got the gurgly threats of the same. I'm thankful this struck on the weekend so Art can take care of me starting with when he found me shivering under the blankets in bed next to a napping Lily Friday evening and kindly brought me ibuprofen and water. I am so completely done with this. I better wake up feeling better tomorrow.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


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My brain still hasn't recovered from the little sleep I got in anticipation, the few calories I consumed for my lack of planning, and the 4 hours of needle-jabbing I experienced this afternoon :P But I will say that Hannah Aitchison at Deluxe Tattoo in Chicago is one fine artist! And Art is a saint for hanging out with Lily all afternoon (even handling nap time successfully)!

Off to elevate the ol' wrapped-up leg some more and enjoy my ibuprofen...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Yarn, food coloring, and a crock pot

I'm in the process of trading my knowledge of magic-loop knitting for some really fine 2-ply wool or alpaca yarn. There's 150 grams of it, it's on a cone, and it's clearly mislabeled, so I honestly have no idea what I'm working with.

So, I decided I might as well dye it! Here's my process and results...

I had to first wind the yarn from the cone into a hank that I could work with. Then I put the yarn in my crock pot with just enough 50/50 water and vinegar to barely cover it. Then I turned it on high.

After 30 minutes of heating up I added my "dye" (two 1/2 cups of water--one with 10 drops of green and 10 drops of blue, and the other with 12 drops of red and 8 drops of blue).

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I carefully poured each cup onto half of the yarn in the pot, then I popped the cover back on and let it ride out until bed time, which was barely an hour. The water was already clear though, meaning the color had sucked into the fiber, so I wasn't too worried. After a very careful and thorough rinse I dried it by pressing it between two junk towels (unnecessary, it didn't bleed any color at all) and then I hung it to dry!

Here it is wound into a cake this morning...

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Looking back I would make sure to arrange the hank more carefully in the crock pot so that all of the yarn was spread evenly in order to allow the dye to get to all the nooks and crannies. I don't mind the white bits though in this round--adds character!

I'm happy I have a ton more yarn left on the cone, and I'm also happy that this method of dying is SO easy! I've already had another go at some random Fisherman's Wool I had lying around, and the color turned out even more vivid (I used more water and more food coloring, plus I let it soak for longer while heated). Pictures of that yarn to come soon!

I cannot imagine parenting without B(.)(.)BS

Sorry for the B(.)(.)BS up there, but it makes me chuckle. Also, I'm new at this idea of carnival posting, so sorry for the technical errors to my current followers! I've decided to have a go at Code Name: Mama's Carnival of Natural Parenting, and the prompt is "I cannot imagine parenting without _______."

I would have never, ever imagined, prior to actually being a parent, that this would be my answer to the prompted question. My pre-parent self probably would have said something like "a good car seat" (I do love my Radian) or "my husband who is so helpful" (and he is and I love him to bits), but breastfeeding has forever changed me.

Growing up, I knew I'd breastfeed, much like so many people know how many kids they want when they grow up (a number that still eludes me). My ideas were different then though. I don't know where my teenage brain came up with the 6 month figure, but it did, and prior to actually considering parenthood that was the magical number that I just *knew* I'd nurse. El. Oh. El.

I'm not sure what I thought happened at 6 months--if babies magically existed on rainbows and unicorn farts or what, but I look back and chuckle at my conviction to do something without having a clue what I was talking about.

Once baby fever struck and we weren't quite ready to reproduce, I invested a ton of energy into reading about parenting. This is when I learned that "you should breastfeed exclusively up to 6 months, then your baby will eat solids, and you should continue nursing until 1 year." Of course this became my new mantra on the subject.

Then Lily was born. And at nearly 2 she still nurses not just for thirst, comfort, and sleep, but for nutrition. Real honest to goodness nutrition. Because otherwise I'd swear she really was existing on rainbows and unicorn farts; she has one of those food-is-for-suckers toddler appetites.

Breastfeeding has forever changed me.

In fact, I am now--as of last week--an accredited volunteer with an international non-profit breastfeeding organization where I will lead local meetings and answer phone calls from nursing mothers. (I'm not so sure about coming out with that information, less it becomes something that defines me in my internet presence, hence the not-so-vague-ness there.)

Nursing puts Lily to sleep for naps and overnight. It keeps her asleep when she stirs during naps and overnight. It comforts her when she's hurt or scared. It satisfies both thirst and hunger when suitable drinks or snacks aren't around. It's a running joke in our family to "nom" on her "baby nursh" while she giggles uncontrollably at the irony and the tickles.

It has become a passion of mine to correct misinformation and support mothers seeking help. I've even found an area group to volunteer additional time with that organizes conferences and dinners for medical professionals to better their knowledge about breastfeeding by bringing in experts from all over the country.

I went through my teenage years bemoaning my too-small breasts. I complained my way through pregnancy about my aching breasts. And now I sing their praises--for their ability to save my sanity, save the day, save the world!


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Not Without Him — The love Starr at Taking Time shares with her husband is the foundation of her parenting.

  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without B(.)(.)bs — From an uneducated dreamer to a breastfeeding mother of a toddler, nursing has forever changed Kristy at Strings to Things's relationship with her daughter and her outlook on life.

  • Raising a Child in the Internet Village — When Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction has a question or concern about parenting, she turns to the Internet. What did parents do before Google?

  • Partner in Crime and ParentingBethy at Bounce Me to the Moon can't imagine parenting without her husband's sense of humor - he brings her laughter and love every day.)

  • I Make MilkPatti at Jazzy Mama can't imagine trying to mother her babies without her breasts, but she could do it if she had to.

  • New Perspectives Bring New BeginningsMJ at Wander Wonder Discover, who is a former authoritarian mamma, has gained perspective via parenting.

  • Time Out!Mrs. Green at Little Green Blog explores how time apart can increase your capacity to give unconditionally.

  • Unimaginable Without HimKristina at heyred designs is celebrating her amazing partner, without whom none of her parenting experience would be possible.

  • My Parenting NecessityClaire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl needs "me time" in order to be the Mama she wants to be.

  • Babywearing As a Way of LifeDarcel at The Mahogany Way talks about the benefits of babywearing in everyday life.

  • Parenting Partnership — Sometimes Abbie at Farmer's Daughter doesn't appreciate her husband enough, but she definitely couldn't imagine parenting without his help.

  • Parenting EssentialsMomma Jorje loves her parenting products, but she needs you even more.

  • My Parenting Must-Have: SupportJoella at Fine and Fair wrote a letter to her daughter about the role that support from friends and family plays in her mothering.

  • It's More Than Just Hair — Think doing hair is full of fluff? Too girly? Useless? Karli from Curly Hairdo Ideas used to think so too.

  • The Minimalist Parent — The parents at Living Peacefully with Children embrace a minimalist perspective when it comes to baby gear. A good sling is all they need.

  • Without My BreastsCharise at I Thought I Knew Mama can't imagine parenting without her breasts; here's why.

  • Loves Books, Loves PeopleSeonaid at the Practical Dilettante discovers that the library is a perfect fit for her family's needs.

  • An Ode to the Maya WrapRevMama's next child might be named Maya, because of her fondness for the sling.

  • Avoiding the Padded RoomPecky at Benny and Bex is here to testify that it takes a village to raise a child.

  • My parenting essentials, from Tivo to battery-operated monstrositiesLauren at Hobo Mama presents a list of parenting essentials you didn't even know you needed (and probably don't…).

  • Attachment Parenting Through Separation: It Makes It a Little BetterJessica at This Is Worthwhile talks about how she couldn't survive her separation without attachment parenting and the bond it's afforded her with her 3 year old son.

  • Parenting EssentialsDeb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the principles she used to parent her children from infants to adults.

  • My Parenting Essentials — The things that are truly essential to Kim at In Desperate Need of Entertainment aren't things at all.

  • I'm No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama.

  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without...Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about what she needs to raise her children.

  • February Carnival of Natural Parenting — Through her experiences over the last five and a half years, Casey at Love What Is has discovered her most important tool for parenting is using her instincts.

  • CNP: I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without __________.The Artsymama discloses the one thing that gave her back control of herself as a parent.

  • Laugh Until I Cry — Laughing with her sons keeps Acacia at Fingerpaint & Superheroes connected and grounded.

  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting WithoutLuschka at Diary of a First Child realizes what the one thing she can't imagine parenting without is, and it turns out it's not a thing after all.

  • It Takes Two — Here are a few of the reasons why Jenn at Adventures Down Under cannot imagine parenting without her fabulous husband.

  • Stopping to Listen — Though it wasn't easy at first, Knocked Up - Knocked Over cannot imagine parenting her daughter without listening first to what she is telling her.

  • The Essence of Parenting — There are many wonderful resources that make life easier for Michelle at the Parent Vortex to parent, but the essence is the relationship between parent and child.

  • What I Cannot Live WithoutSybil at Musings of a Milk Maker considers her computer to be a parenting lifeline.

  • True Blessings: White Noise and GrandparentsKat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment can't live without her white noise machine and the support of her parents.

  • The Necessities! — What "stuff" does a natural parent like Lily, aka Witch Mom really need? Not much, it turns out.

  • Mama Showed MeMama Mo at Attached at the Nip writes about how parenting wisdom is passed on by example.

  • Ode to the Loo — For Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch, the bathroom is her safe place, where she can take a minute to calm down if she is feeling touched out.

  • Go, Mama. Go!Andrea!!! at Ella-Bean & Co. has been able to integrate her many roles through her get-up-and-go parenting essential, exercise!

  • My Other HalfBecky at Old New Legacy realizes what a relief it is to have her husband parent alongside her.

  • Grace, Love, and CoffeeMrsH at Fleeting Moments realizes that lifelines can take the form of the profound, or the mundane. Both are ok.

  • Supportive Spouse, Check! — There are so many parenting tools and gadgets that are superfluous, but the one essential, for Danielle at, has been her supportive spouse.

  • Why I'm a BabywearerMeredith at Becoming Mamas reflects on the ways babywearing has enhanced her mama baby relationship...and made life easier to boot.

  • It's Marvelous Out Here, Kiddo!Rachael at The Variegated Life can't imagine parenting in the big city without the marvels of Prospect Park to share with her Critter.

  • Yes, Thank YouAmy at Anktangle offers tips on how to ask for and accept help, an essential for successful parenting.

  • Parenting Essentials Checklist: Mom’s Inner Rebel and Her Kids’ VoicesOlivia at Write About Birth reflects on raising global citizens and saying no to societal norms.

  • Eco-Mama Online! — An Eco-Mama living in the mountains of a nature island, Terri at Child of the Nature Isle finds it essential to connect to nature and to connect online.

  • Sorry, We Just Sold the Last OneNev at The Adventures of Lime confesses she missed out the day they handed out patience.

  • LaughTashmica at The Mother Flippin' Blog reveals her super power, her talisman agains mean mommy.

  • My Priceless Parenting Resource — What do books, a magazine community, my mother and the local playgroup have in common? Lucy at Dreaming Aloud tells us...

  • The Gift of Shared TimeTree at Mom Grooves strives to experience the world from her daughter's perspective.

  • Follow the GigglesDionna at Code Name: Mama can’t live without the sound of her child’s giggles - come watch her video and you’ll agree!

  • Can I Mommy Without Boob?Emily at Crunchy(ish) Mama shares her fears about weaning and losing part of that the mother/child bond.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A successful toddler craft!

I think this project contained enough new ideas with enough old ideas--Lily enjoyed it :)

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I busted out some coffee filters and natural markers (I'm sure Crayola or whatever would work fine too). She enjoyed coloring on the coffee filters, I think, because they were different than normal ol' paper. Then I swapped out the markers for a paint brush and small glass of plain water and let her go to town "painting" the filters. This was also a hit! She enjoyed having free reign of the paint brush, and I enjoyed not worrying about where "paint" could get flung.

When she was done I set them flat on the kitchen counter to dry, and once they were dry I cut heart shapes out and glued them to "cards" (i.e. white computer paper that I signed her name to). Valentine's cards--done!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hey guys, it snowed!

Here's what our table on our balcony looked like yesterday, before...

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And, after!

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This is the greatest snow EVER.

Front door? Psh!


Second floor balcony door? Ha!


Art and the neighbor shoveling their way to each other...


Though this!


And Lily?


Great big giant fan of it right here. We had to peel her away from it to come inside and warm up.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cloth diaper trainer pattern

Click here to download PDF pattern.

I cut about 1/4 inch wider than the printed pattern to allow for seam allowance, and here are the approximate maximum measurements I got with the finished product...

Waist: 21 inches
Thigh: 11 inches
Rise: 14.5 inches

Alright! To start, cut out 1 layer of PUL, 2 layers of absorbent material (in my case, an old receiving blanket), and 2 - 4 layers of absorbent material for the soaker.

Sew in the soaker to one layer of the absorbent material.

Then sew the sides of the absorbent part of the diaper together.

Sew the PUL sides of the diaper together too.

Place the inside of the diaper into the outside of the diaper as you want it to look.

Then there's what threw me the first try, so here's my secret. Fold in both the inside and the outside of the waist to look how you want it to when it's turned and stitched. Then stick your hand in a leg hole and pinch the two sides together and DON'T LET GO. Turn the whole thing inside out and stitch around the waist. I let go the first try and pieced it together how I *thought* was right. And, well, it wasn't.

After you've finished the waist stitching, turn it right-side-out again, and you've got a peak at what's to come.

I used about 4 inches of elastic stretched over about 3/4 of the back half of the diaper.

Tack it down real good and zig-zag stitch across.

Almost there! Since I'm still working on proportions, the leg openings didn't need any elastic to fit Lily, so I just turned them under and stitched around.

Ta-da! If I were to do it again I would make the rise just a touch higher, and probably add a dip in the front so it's more bikini style since I didn't add elastic in the front. The pattern will certainly need a bit of tweaking, but I thought I'd offer it out there as a starting point for you! If you decide to have a go at it, let me know!

Edit: Deeefinitely make the rise higher! I'll probably do up another one of these in the next few days, so stay tuned for the updated PDF file.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The kindness of strangers

And this was a stranger I truly have no chance of ever meeting.

I've been going through a gigantic headache with my serger. I always preferred it over my sewing machine because it simply always worked for me. And then it didn't. And this thing is WAY more complicated than a sewing machine. (Not that I have any chance of repairing either without assistance regardless.)

So, my serger. It wasn't cutting. Well, it sort of was, but then it was sucking up what it had cut and shoving it into the stitches it was sewing. The end result wasn't pretty, and every bit of tweaking wasn't fixing it. I took a guess and ordered new blades. No dice. I took it in to a repair place and paid $85 for "just a good cleaning." No dice. And then I posted all over the internet crying for help because I was feeling so eternally frustrated and helpless.

A kind woman from Oklahoma replied. We eventually moved our conversation to instant messenger and she trouble-shooted with me; she used to repair machines for a living. I took parts off, tested different settings, and eventually lowered the upper blade so it was making full contact with the lower blade and TA-DA! Doesn't that sound simple now? How could I have over-looked that? Oh yeah, it's because I only knew how to thread the machine and press the pedal to go.

I am so, so, so thankful for her getting me out of this pickle. The thought of going back to the repair place and trying to communicate what I couldn't understand in the first place was mortifying. And the second thought of not having a serger--my main source of income (I do some simple sewing for a client that requires the serged edges)--was nauseating. My head was about to explode from the frustration and this kind, sweet stranger swooped in and saved the day.

I thanked her profusely, but I really hope she knows how wonderful she is. I really have no idea how long it would have taken to fix the machine otherwise, leaving me without a way to, oh, pay for groceries. And groceries are pretty important.

We have a winner!

And it's Alexis! Thanks everyone for playing. Maybe I'll uncover more goodies to give away to you soon :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Angry Birds crochet patterns

I wrote an Angry Birds crochet pattern--three angry birds, red, blue, and yellow!

Ravelry link


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Not so artsy for now

I've been making a conscious effort to do more arts/crafts/activities/experiences at home with Lily. I also need to make a conscious effort to not take it personally when my ideas crash and burn.

A few days ago we had a go at "painting" with shaving cream in the bath tub. I thought she would love it! She loves finger painting with the stuff I make on the stove, so why not in the tub where she can make all the mess she wants? Well, a mess must not be what she's after, because she promptly freaked out once the shaving cream got on her arms, belly, and legs. Thankfully we turned the water on and all was well.

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Oh, that's a California Raisin from Art's childhood hanging out in the tub with her, not a, um, surprise.

Also, a few days prior to that, I had the crazy notion that she would enjoy gluing paper shapes onto plain white paper. Oh, the ideas I had for birthday cards, valentines, and completed works we could hang on the fridge. I carefully cut shapes out of construction paper and found a glue stick and let her have at it after showing her the process. She immediately freaked out that the shapes got glued to the paper and proceeded to rip them off, which was less than successful. Cue additional freaking out, and I tried bringing in markers to save the day. That lasted for all of 10 seconds.

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Note the serious face. She was ticked after the gluing incident. I probably should have called it quits.

I guess I'm just eager for the day that she'll actually seek out these activities and want to have a go at them for more than 3 minutes. Then again, there's not much that she wants to have at for more than 3 minutes right now. Mentally I've already placed her at two years old for a while now, and that's not very fair of me. I guess once the less-than-pleasant toddler-y behavior set in around one and a half I just lumped it into the "normal two year old behavior" category and it stuck.

So, here's to an artistic *future*, and plenty of casual opportunities to explore in the meantime.

(And, as always, don't forget about my snack bag giveaway this week! Entries close Sunday noon!)

Wordless Wednesday: I love sleeping in

I like birthdays

I especially like Lily's birthday. I plan way in advance. Hence, it still being many weeks away, and me planning and completing this simple little felt crown for her silly little head as we celebrate two whole years with her. Two. Years. Ah!

It really is simple, even if I cheated by machine sewing the front and back together, along with the elastic scrunchie for the back. It would have been just as easy to hand sew it all, but I wanted to finish before nap time so I could try it on.

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(Miss Sassy Pants had to see herself in the mirror, which was in the bathroom, which of course meant she had to brush her teeth...)


I used 1.5" elastic, but any size would work. And the scrunchie to go around it is nothing more than a long tube of fabric that's just a smidge wider than the elastic. Thread it through, sew it on, and done! You've got a felt crown!

(Pssst...Have you entered my giveaway yet? You have until Sunday at noon to enter!)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

*Another* giveaway?

Go check out my dear friend's (in real life, to boot) giveaway for an Inspired by Finn amber teething necklace! I've known Sara since I was, oh, about 9. It's so neat that we're both parents together now with similar ideals.

And don't forget about my own snack bag giveaway; leave a separate comment for each entry on that post, please :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

A little redesign

I've been less than impressed with Blogger's available templates, but I've been too lazy up to this point to do anything even moderately custom. After photographing my grandmother's recipes that were typed up on old food-stained note cards, I took the opportunity to freshen up the place. Well, sort of reverse freshen, since I'm working off of photos of food stained note cards that were typed up sometime when Eisenhower was in office. But I like them. A lot. Maybe it's just me being sentimental about these recipes, but there's got to be something good about an "Engelbert Humperdinck Bar," am I right? Or how about a wine recipe that involves frozen grape juice concentrate and a balloon?

I'm a little scared to try, well, maybe more than half of the recipes, but it sure has been fun documenting them. Doughnuts, anyone?



P.S. Don't forget about my giveaway!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Giveaway, Part Deux!

That last post sure was a downer, wasn't it. I'm almost embarrassed by it. Okay, I am.

How about something a bit more cheerful, like a giveaway? I know the last one wasn't all that successful (maybe you all don't like snack bags), but I have a surplus of these suckers, so here we go again!

Want to win three small snack bags? You don't have to use them for food, but they work great for little snacks like pretzels, dried fruit, nuts, and the like.


They each measure approximately 3x5" and are made from 100% cotton outer with a nylon inside so that they're wipe-able, but not waterproof so they dry quickly. They close with a single plastic snap and have serged edges.

You can enter up to *three* times for this giveaway. Please leave a *separate comment* for each entry stating what you did. To enter:

-Tell me what your favorite part of my blog is (narcissistic much?)
-"Like" Strings to Things on Facebook (don't forget to tell me your name here)
-Blog about this giveaway (and don't forget to post the link here!)

That's it! I'll close the giveaway a week from today, so Sunday January 30th, at 12:00 noon, and announce the winner then.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Rest of Us

It seems that I come across two types of blogs in my genre of choice (this crunchy parenting thing). I used to enjoy reading both types--inspired, smiling. And now I only relate to one, and want to wipe mud on the walls of the other.

Type 1: The Perfect Life. These moms have it all together. They sew all their own clothes and cook everything from scratch from foods they grew in their own garden. Their children are leaps and bounds ahead in milestones and clean up after themselves meticulously. They don't own a television, they never yell at one another, and their photographs are just as beautiful as their spotless children and thoughtful homes.

Type 2: The Rest of Us.

Lily loathes my art project ideas. The closest thing to homemade I've served this week was a slow cooker meal in which I opened a bunch of canned foods, threw them on top of chicken, and turned it on for 6 hours. Lily forgets about her mission to pick up the crayons she flung all over the room before she even starts it. I nag at Art and he nags at me. I cleaned the house this weekend and it looks worse now than when I started. See aforementioned nagging. Lily seems to exist entirely on orange juice and breast milk, other than when we're around other kids and she eats all of their food instead of ours.

I should clean, cook, play, work--heck, even knit--and somehow an entire day goes by and I've accomplished absolutely nothing.

I'm sure tomorrow (or next week) I'll be able to write a million happy things I love, but...

Okay, Lily just threw herself on me with a, "Mommy? Hug!" Cue melting and a slightly more optimistic outlook on today.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Slow and steady

Here are some "before" and "during" photos of my cleaning efforts from the end of last year...

And here are some "after" corners of my home. I'm not THERE yet, but the end is in sight! And then it's onto actual *cleaning*. Yuck.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"Okay, chief"

Want to know what my latest crazy unoriginal idea is? Of course you do. I can tell you're on the edge of your seats. Okay, maybe not literally, but I sure have piqued your interest and dragged this out long enough now, haven't I?

I want to travel the country--sell our house, convert some sort of large vehicle to veggie oil, bring along only what we need, and see what this place has to offer coast-to-coast.

I'm not quite sure how to accomplish this. My only idea so far is that I can become an awesome famous blogger and be able to write about my life and have people so interested that they throw money at my feet (or bags of produce and gallons of veggie oil?).

That's probably not the most realistic plan. Maybe I'll leave the money thing to Art and I can keep on dreaming, which I'm so good at it.

(P.S. The title? Lily's new most adorable phrase ever.)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A new year

So, where have I been, dear readers? (You are out there, yes?) Well, mostly I've been right here, where I always am. But in between the usual I have been successful at maintaining a moderate level of productivity around here (in real life that is, clearly not blogging). And what does that mean? It means that I've been purging all the way back to the deep dark corners of every single closet and cabinet and drawer around here, and it feels GOOD. Some local friends have put together a challenge where we each set our own daily goals, but *must* get rid of a set amount each day. I resolved to one garbage bag full. Per day. And I've managed to do it. It sounds insane, I know, especially after how much I've already done in previous months, but there have been some scary closets cleared out, and I'm feeling better and better as each bag gets to the curb or the donate bin. Paring down to just what we use, need, and love is so much nicer than hanging onto junk "just in case we need it someday."

Of course, whenever productivity increases in one area, it decreases in another. Or at least for me. While I've been staying on top of, oh, doing the dishes while in the midst of this crazy thorough purge, my cooking has gone off-the-charts terrible. For lunch today? I seriously pulled some bread out of the freezer, toasted it, slathered on some marinara from a jar, sprinkled it with mozzarella, and then microwaved it. I don't know what I was thinking. Thankfully, my toddler happily called it pizza and shoved the whole thing in her mouth. I choked it down and washed it down with a cupcake. And then an oatmeal raisin cookie. And then another cupcake.

It's a good thing I didn't make any weight loss goals for the new year, huh.

Another thing I set out to do is use my DSLR on the manual setting at least once a day, every day, in my own special 365 challenge. It's only been 12 days, but so far I've stuck with it, so maybe there's hope for me yet. You can check out those photos in this Flickr tag set.

I should head off to cook now. Actually cook. Like, cut up vegetables and turn on the stove type cookies cooking. Total Freudian slip there. Oh, this sweet tooth of mine...
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