Monday, June 30, 2008

Family Time

We spent a lot of time with extended family this weekend. My nephew's first birthday party, and then a picnic at a local park with a creek and a fishing pond ...

Some of the children played in the creek. Making dams. Sliding down the slide into the creek. Catching minnows and crayfish.

Some went fishing. They caught and released. The pond is over-populated and the boys were asked to release the fish into the creek.

And, of course, there was eating. Lots and lots of eating. And a little tiny bit of sewing ...

Friday, June 27, 2008


After my discouraging thrifting trip recently, I was happy to see a very small church-owned thrift store on my route one morning while driving Taylor and my nephew for an overnight scout campout. Unfortunately, it was closed the day I was in the area, but lucky for me, we had to pick up Taylor the next morning, and it would be open then.

It was a very small thrift store, but it was one of the good ones. One of the ones that is trying to make a little money, not price gouge.

I found this little doily (after starting my patriotic doily) and it almost made me give up working on mine. I still need to remove that last dangling square, but look how cute it is!

These milk glass vases were so much cheaper than in other thrift stores I've visited. Instead of $3+ each, these were 25, 10, and 25 cents.

When I saw this chenille bedspread, I nearly died. No one else was in the room with me, but I snatched it up quicker than anything, just in case the volunteers realized it wasn't supposed to be out there ...

The kids loved playing in the "fort" it made while drying on the line.

And this is the kids' favorite find of the day ...

It's a vintage Fisher Price swing/record player. You turn the handle and it plays music and swings the people around. It had a record, but it's been misplaced since. We have a Fisher Price record player with a full set of records, so I'll have to dig those out. The record had Do Re Mi and Blue Danube on it. I don't think we had those songs previously.

This was Joe's find. He was sitting in the car when he saw the lady pick it up from outside the store, price it and carry it in. He followed her into the store and picked it up. I'd say for 50 cents (!!), he did an awesome job!

I also picked up some costume jewelry for Spenser, for like a quarter apiece. All in all, I spent less than $4 on this trip.

Maybe, just maybe, the thrifting gods are looking after me, after all ... Now I just need to find some more sheets.

Happy weekending!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Made Something!

Try not to be too excited. After you see it, you won't be so impressed.

After painting my little table for my bedroom, I realized I didn't want to set my bedtime glass of water directly on top of it.

After mulling it over in my head, I decided it needed a doily. And then I thought how cute a red, white, and blue doily would be (and patriotic, as I started it around Flag Day). It has been quite awhile since I crocheted anything. (Other than some wire spider webs, I was pregnant with Sawyer! And before that, it was before I was had children.)

Anyway, the pattern itself was not for multiple colors, but I thought it would be simple. The changing of the colors, in itself, was simple. The finding-a-proper-place-to-change-colors, was not.

I don't love it, but it's finished and it will do until I find a different pattern. This little project kept me busy during our drive to Sesame Place, while the kids were playing outside and late at night when they were asleep. I'm almost sorry it's finished.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Good Times

I haven't been crafting much. With school out ... And six kids home (five are boys) ... And I'm still partially recovering from surgery last week ... And Joe's out of town ... There's not a lot of time or energy.

This is not an apron that I made, but one that we received in the mail from Cindy. She emailed me last week and said she had a little something for Spenser that she wanted to send. It was addressed directly to Spenser and, boy, did the children think that was cool. The boys stood around to watch Spenser open the package. Cindy also kindly sent me the vintage fabric underneath the apron. I have ideas for that swirling around in my head already ...

Thank you, Cindy, you made our day!

Last night when we came home from Pack Meeting, the lightning bugs were all over the place. The boys immediately started to chase after them. Usually I'm ready to go in and get baths and showers started for the boys and get them ready for bed. Last night I decided to let them run around instead. (And I even let them just wash their feet before bed and forget the bath/shower entirely. They can swim later today.)

Try to ignore the weeds. That big thing is a weed that is impossible to get rid of. The roots are always there, I just trim back the thick stalk.

And funny things are in abundance when hanging out with the kids. Mason chased a lightning bug and as he set it free he yelled, "Enjoy your life!"

At one point one of the funny things came out of my mouth. I didn't realize how it must have sounded until a childless neighbor walked by at the same moment and laughed. The quote of the night is: "No, don't put lightning bugs down your pants." It's a good rule to live by.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Lawn/Porch Ornament

This morning before breakfast, I sprayed this little thrifted ceramic lamb. He had been hanging around for a few weeks and I didn't know what color I wanted him to be. It was around 1 a.m. this morning that I realized he needed to be pink. I almost did it then, but I didn't want the neighbors to think I had lost my mind. (Oh, by the way, my plant is dying. 'Nough said.)

I think the urgency for painting this lamb was due to the fact that the boys and I have been reading Goosebumps: Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes. I decided we needed an "evil" lawn (porch) ornament to keep them on their toes. We just finished the book this morning after breakfast. And they're begging for more ...

Every summer I read Goosebumps books to my boys. It's a tradition I started when Taylor and Carter were younger. Taylor no longer stays to listen, and half the time the younger ones are too afraid to listen, yet they beg for more, while covering their ears. Today (after they tidy their rooms) we will start Deep Trouble. We have quite a selection of Goosebumps, thanks to thrifting and eBay.

And look at my poor little man. Yesterday morning Sawyer took a tumble off the back of our floating sofa and fell head/face first into a toy box. His poor little eye is swollen and his cheek and nose. It breaks my heart.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Saturday morning we had to pick up Taylor from an over-night scout trip. We decided to make it a family day of fun.

After the awards and closing ceremonies, we headed to a thrift store (more on that later in the week).

And then we had an impromptu picnic. I ran into a grocery store in the area and picked up lunch and snacks and plenty of fluids. It is these impromptu picnics that make me have several opened bottles of mustard in my refrigerator.

We geocached at the park where we picnicked. It is a quarry that is filled with water, turtles, and fish. The boys found some fish food on the deck and were throwing it into the water. Sawyer found a hole in the deck and deposited the food in there.

The boys were having so much fun feeding the fish and turtles, that we actually bought some food and didn't make them scrounge around and pick up the dropped pieces.

Another geocache took us to this park, so we stopped for a popsicle break. The temperature was hot. It was humid. The boys loved to jump over the stream. The water was refreshingly cool and we cleaned off in it.

It was great for those sticky hands and faces. And arms. And elbows. And knees.

Our last cache of the day was at a natural spring. We sipped on the water ...

and played in the water for a bit.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Thrifting and Lamenting

Last week I had the chance to run into the thrift store. Sans kids. I know. Very rare. I decided to hit the housewares department before the sheet department, which is different from my normal routine.

I immediately noticed this vintage Pyrex casserole dish. There is some confusion as to the name of this pattern, but it has green square flowers.

I also found this milk glass vase. I like the pattern that runs down the sides.

When I saw this set of milk glass lamps, I knew they would look cute in my bedroom. I need to come up with an idea for shades? Any suggestions? I was thinking pompom fringe, but other than that, I'm stuck.

When I went to check out at the register, I got some of the worst possible news. They are no longer carrying sheets. I know. I'm having a really difficult time with this. They had the largest, loveliest vintage sheet collection I've ever seen in one place and they salvaged it all. All the bedspreads, blankets, tablecloths, sheets, towels, aprons (!). All gone. Forever.

I was so devastated, I immediately placed an emergency S.O.S. call to Karyn. And then I had to break the news to Joe. After I told him, he said, "I thought you were going to tell me something bad." Uh. Hello???? Do you live with me? You should know this is bad!! Anyway, it's so bad that Joe pointed out to me on Wednesday night that I have been talking about it everyday for a week. I have told just about everyone I know. So, now I never ever want to cut up a vintage sheet again.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Remember this dresser? It's finally finished!

I say finally because this is the third shade of red I've painted this thing. The first was too orangey. The second shade was nice, but it was streaky. Then I realized I should have sprayed it all along. Duh!

So $3 and one can of Red Cherry Krylon spray paint later, here it is. I added glass knobs, as I intended and it's now in my bedroom. I love it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Thank you for your kind wishes yesterday. Each one touched my heart. I am home and recuperating. Everything went well. I am loopy from my narcotics, but I feel no pain.

Joe planned to surprise me with a bracelet for our anniversary and told the nurses he wanted to put it on my wrist after surgery for when I woke up in recovery. Unfortunately, as soon as they removed the oxygen from my nose and started to move the bed, I woke up. His plans were thwarted. The nurses came up with a new solution. They gave him a teddy bear and put the bracelet on the bear. He is so good to me. I picked a winner.

So I had two new lovely bracelets to wear for my anniversary.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ever Thine

Thirteen years ago today we were married. We didn't know we would have six children. It still surprises us. Sometimes it's hard to separate the role of parent from spouse. The role of parent never stops. Or even slows down in our home. It has been a few years since Joe and I went out to dinner. Just the two of us.

Our wedding bands are inscribed Ever Thine. I never take it off. Today I will need to remove it for a few hours as I head into surgery. I know it will be in safe hands, awaiting my finger. Until then, it will be on Joe's pinkie.

Happy anniversary, Joe. Thank you for your generosity, love, kindness, compassion, sympathy, compliments, humor, and friendship. Ever thine.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Can You Tell Me How to Get

How to get to Sesame Street?

On Friday afternoon we started a little weekend getaway. Thanks to Anheuser-Busch, we were able to visit Sesame Place once again this year.

There were lots of water rides, which we needed in that hot, humid weather ...

And roller coasters ... to blow us dry.

And lots of furry people to shake hands with ...

I think they purposely targeted Taylor because he was the oldest and tried his hardest not to have fun (or show that he was having fun).

And Harlem Globetrotters to meet.

Here Curly (right) is counting our children to Sweet Lou (left).

Friday, June 13, 2008

Summer Goodness

Summer is in full swing here. It's crazy. And hot. And hectic. And busy. Here are a few things that have been keeping us busy.

Snacking on blanched green beans. Yum. (Plain or with salt or with lemon juice or with basil mayonnaise or with ranch dressing. Can't. Get. Enough.)

Making homemade peanut butter with the kids. The shelling of the peanuts was the most fun, unless you asked Taylor. We I sang Found a Peanut at the top of our my lungs until we I got stuck after "ate it anyway." I remember the story line, just not how the words fit into the song.

Little hands shelling nuts and little hands eating nuts.

Jammin' to the kids songs on my ipod.

Walking on pavers as Daddy works.

Loving vintage Pyrex given to me by a friend from church. Thanks, Kat!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Last Day of School

So it's over. School has ended. Summer has begun. And I will officially lose my mind this summer.

The afternoon started with our traditional walk to get ice cream (or Slurpees) to celebrate the last day of school.

The cool treat was a welcome relief to the heatwave we've been experiencing. The walk was a hot one.

Our day ended with karate. The four boys attended their last karate class until fall and Taylor had an advancement exam.

Here he is with his instructor in a take-down. At the end of the exam, Taylor went from green belt to 4th degree blue belt. He skipped purple belt. (photo on flickr)

Congratulations, Taylor. We are so proud of you. Straight A's on your report card (again). Six earned merit badges. And now a blue belt in karate. Well done, son.

Trips to the School Nurse official tally for 2007-2008 (see sidebar):

Taylor: 2
Carter: 14 (including a visit on the last day of school)
Jackson: 11
Mason: 26

More than likely, there were more visits than this that I didn't know about. The school nurse started to identify herself on the phone to me as "Maureen, your new best friend" because we talked so frequently.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Teachers Gifts

Today is the last day of school for the boys. It's a half-day.

Every year at Christmas and at the end of the year I struggle with gifts for the teachers. I want to show my complete gratitude for these men and women who are educating my children and nothing seems adequate enough to express it. Then I have to find something affordable enough to have multiples. Eight this year.

This year (after bouncing a million ideas around in my head) I decided on a tote. I wanted to make one for each teacher, but I thought eight might be pushing it with my time constraints. I decided to buy pre-made canvas totes from the craft store and decorate them.

I used my sewing machine's embroidery feature and embroidered the teacher's first name. Then I sewed rick rack along the top seam. I made fabric flowers and sewed each one onto the tote itself.

The verdict in the end is this: They were affordable, yes (three bags for $9.99). The canvas bag itself is nice. The handles are not. They are nylon, not cotton. I wish I would have had some cotton webbing to change them out, but I didn't. And I didn't have the time either. And they were more time-consuming than I expected. I had Joe on flower-cutting duty last night as I assembled the flowers, made covered buttons, and sewed them onto the bags. Would I do it again? Probably not.

My question to you is this: How many teacher gifts do you give? And to whom? I feel like I should give something to their homeroom teacher (because they handle all the administrative stuff for the children, whether or not they have the teacher for any classes) and something to the teachers they have for subjects (not including "specials" like art, music, media, P.E., etc.). Oh, and for any teacher's aides (in Kindergarten). I wish I could give something to each "specials" teacher, the office staff, etc., but I have to draw the line somewhere. (I sent in a large chocolate bar for the bus driver who transports my children to and from school and to Taylor's instrumental band teacher because he taught Taylor how to play the clarinet.) What do you do?