Thursday, March 31, 2011

And now it's time for silly songs with Ella

The is the part of the program where Ella sings...a silly song.

If you have no idea what the above song is, you are not alone.  The only word I am actually sure of is "pretty."  I think.

Music is important in our family.  We introduced it early.

We sing a lot each day.  I love teaching Ella songs, because, for awhile, they will be sung my way.  Inevitably, though, at some future date, they change forever.  Have you ever heard of the following ?

In His Toes {Sung to the tune of In His Time}

In His toes
In His toes
It's so preciously, loverly, doverly
In His toes!!!!!!

 - or -

Aunt Becca's Coming Round the Mountian

which includes verses like

Aunt Becca's wearing red pajamas when she comes!!!...

 - or -

Jesus Loves Lily, This I Know

 - or -

Old MacDonald

...And on that farm he had a cow and a tractor and a red chicken and an alligator

 - or -

Old MacDonald Ice Cream Shop {sung to Old MacDonald had a Farm} - this one is because she calls McDonalds Old MacDonald and thinks that it is an ice cream shop.  Obviously.

Old MacDonald Ice Cream Shop
So yummy you don't want to stop
With a Mmmm Mmmm here and a Mmmm Mmmm there....

I could go on.  What a silly girl.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Handsome Hero and me

I am married to Handsome Hero, also known as Bill.

He's my hero for several reasons. 
1.  He loves Christ more than me.
2.  He loves me and is my best friend.
3.  He is a rockstar father.

If you didn't know us very well, you would learn of my goofy side pretty quickly.

Handsome Hero's crazy side takes awhile to show up.  But it's there.  Otherwise I couldn't have married him.

The above picture is actually more of his "I'm so tired" side, but his goofy side is in there.  It just doesn't photograph well.

I'm going to talk about how wonderful Handsome Hero is.  Don't you love hearing people talk about how wonderful their husbands are?  It is so encouraging!

Like how he lets his little girl give him a pedicure. 

Or how he's so secure in his manhood that he will use an infant carrier.  Little known fact: lots of dads won't use them because they aren't manly.  But you can't fault the specimens of manliness in the picture above.

In our Titus 2 group back in Washington, our leader, Gail, would often ask us what we loved about our husbands at that moment.  Well, here's what I love about Handsome Hero right now.

These are from him after the loss of the baby.  They are my two favorite flowers.  They represent simplicity and elegance to me.  Daffodils were always growing wild where I grew up, and tulips were what I carried in our wedding.  They both have lots of joy attached to them.

Handsome Hero is an engineer.  He has the brain of an engineer.  In other words, he doesn't think like a human.

The thing is, he knows this.  So, he's been very purposeful in asking how I'm doing, even two weeks later.  He wants to know how to love me better.  His comfort is based on Christ, and he is leading me to seek His will for our family.

{Pardon the photography.  I didn't realize the power cord was in the shot until today}

This makes him a wonderful husband.  It makes him a great dad for a daughter, because he's always listening.  It makes him a great dad for a son, because he'll teach him how to do this for his wife someday. 

I am blessed.  What a hero.

Yarn wreath tutorial

I have a thing for wreaths.  When we bought our first house, I couldn't wait to buy our first Christmas wreath.  Way back then I didn't realize how easy or fun they are to make.  I've since been converted.  This one is a burlap wreath on our front door {it's only on the microwave for the picture}.

This is a wreath made out of a hymnal from my granddad's house.  Naturally, it's by my piano.

These are wreaths I made at Christmas for the french doors.  They are so cute, I made them for my sister and my mom for Christmas.  They are made out of a curtain panel I found at Goodwill for $2.

Wreaths are often the first thing people see when they come to your house, so they set the tone.  Kind of like a wedding invitation indicates the style of the wedding before you go.  They say something about who lives there.  Best of all, because you change them out with the seasons, you don't tire of them. 

A couple of weeks ago, while Handsome Hero was out of town, I needed a project.  This is what I made.

This wreath is a great base for any decoration.  I'll show you how I did it so that you can make your own.  All three of you. Minus Lydia, who has already made one.  So all two of you.

What you will need for the basic wreath:
Wreath form
Glue gun {straight pins or tape would work, also}
Straight pins

What you will need for the decorations:

So, as you can see from the picture above, just wrap.  No, not r-a-p, w-r-a-p!  Although, now that you mention it, I do have a good rappin' rhythm in my head....

Yo, yo, yo!
My name is Beth
and I like to make stuff
like this wreath made from yarn
or a pillow made from fluff!

I totally missed my calling {sigh}.  Okay, back to the wreath.  My recommendation is to do this in front of a really good movie, because this takes awhile.  At least it did for me, because I wanted it to be pretty smooth.  I also did two layers of yarn so there was no white showing through.  After you wrap it, glue the end down.

Now flip the wreath to the backside and make a loop with your ribbon.  Attach it to the wreath with straight pins.  Now you have a hanger.

Now for the fun part.  Embellish with absolutely anything you want!  I decided to make some flowers from satin and put them on with pretty thumbtacks.

I like it, but I'm not married to it.  This would look great with brooches that you already have, or silk flowers, or Easter eggs.  It would look awesome with one hugely oversized flower!  I might try that one.  I think I'll glitter some styrofoam eggs and add them for an Easter wreath.  Hmm.  Oh, the possibilities.

I like simple and streamlined wreaths.  This fits the bill.  It also fits the Bill.  He likes it. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How babies are made

{In advance, please pardon the potty talk, but when you have little wonderkids, potty talk is awesome just part of life.}

Did you ever wonder how babies are made?
Today, Ella asked me if I had a baby inside of me.  I said that I didn't anymore. 
She said, "Did it die?" 
I answered, "Yes, it died and went to Heaven." 
She pondered this for awhile and then looked brightly at me.  "Well, Mama, you should eat lots of food so you can have another baby!  Did you know that's how babies are made?  You eat lots of food, and instead of becoming peepees and poopoos, they turn into a baby.  You can make another one quick if you want to!" 

You know, having a four year old therapist works for me.

Her approach is unconventional, like shock therapy.  She's very smart, my Ella, but then, she has Handsome Hero's big shoes to fill.

Two {ahem} well children

Yesterday, we had two well child checkups, so, of course, both kids got sick.   How did that happen?  Let's examine the evidence.

I mean, it's not like they put legos in their mouths, pretending they're ice cream, and then share them, is it?

Oh, well, maybe she feels some responsibility.

Oh.  Clearly not.  Hmm.  Maybe we should work on that....

I was very excited by their growth, though.  Ella is in the 95% for her height and 50% for weight {no surprise}.  What a girl!

Jack, my little shrimpie-no-longer, is now in the 60% for height and 45% for weight! 

{Please excuse the picture.  He is quite agile, and is hiding his leg.}

WOW!!!  Congrats, guys! 

So, back to our sick house.  We are taking it easy and Mama is in high demand.  I am thoroughly enjoying a little girl who wants to sit very close and read, and a little boy who just wants to put his head down on his mama.  I want them to feel better, but I'm going to milk it while I can!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

She's FOUR!

I can't believe my little girl is FOUR YEARS OLD!  We just had her party.  I made some party hats, which would not have gotten done if the template hadn't been cut out by my friend, Joslyn.  i dont kut good.

The kids each chose a hat when they came in.  They were a hit!

Streamers and balloons go a long way on a short buck {is that even a saying?  If not, you may quote me, as long as you site your source}.

I made cake pops instead of making a cake.  They are so cute, and leftovers freeze really well.  I learned about them here.

I forgot to get a "before" shot of the spread, but it was pretty.  I promise, Mom!

Ella opened presents from her friends.  That's Jon in the background {Jon, not John, as he informed me when he asked for a new cup that spelled his name correctly}.  Jon was very excited about the gardening set they gave Ella.  Side note:  Ella is very into wearing two layered shirts.  She always asks to do that.  Either she just wants spring to come, or she's copying Handsome Hero and wearing her version of undershirts.

Now, I am a planner.  After years of trying to pass myself off as a from-the-hip kind of girl, I admit that I like to have a plan.  I even write it down.  Last year, we had game time, craft time, singing time, and reading time, in addition to presents and food.  I had a plan.  It made me comfortable.  I felt all warm and fuzzy, because I knew what was going to happen, and I was in charge {does anyone else see a small spiritual issue here?}. 

This year, we invited three families.  Those three plus our family made for FIFTEEN kids!  Did I mention we had a snowstorm this week and going outside was out of the question?

For obvious reasons, I wanted to do some games or have some organization, but we didn't.  Firstly, our guests ranged in age from infants to nine years old.  Secondly, every game or activity I could think of that could accomodate the age range and the number of kids, Ella didn't have any interest in playing, and it was her party {notice - willingness to admit it's her party and not mine.  Progress!}.  In the end, the kids just played by themselves and that was fine. 

It was a good time, and nothing fell to pieces because of my lack of control.  

Actually, that's not true.  Jack fell to pieces, literally.  During the party, Jack got away and climbed up the stairs, or tried to, while holding his water bottle.  He fell and hit his head on the corner of the post at the bottom of the stairs.  Because it was a head wound, it was really horrible looking, but he's fine, though I wonder if he'll ever grow hair in that spot. 

Don't worry.  I'm fine, too.  A little traumatized, but fine.  Prone to holding on to him a little too tightly and a little too often, but fine. 

Favorite store: ReStore

As soon as we found out we were moving to Wisconsin, I hopped online to see if some of my favorite stores were here.  Stores like Trader Joe's {no}, Costco {no}, and Ikea {no, big tear}.  Also, there are a million and one children's consignment stores in Washington.  I counted.  There is one that I've seen in Wisconsin.  I counted.  

There are, however, some good places in the Great White North.  A few months after moving here, we discovered ReStore.  It's a Habitat for Humanity resale shop.  You can't take unused tiles or old doors or sinks or what have you to Goodwill.  When you redo your kitchen or bath or any other room, you take your leftovers to ReStore.  It's an amazing space, filled with perfectly fine tiles for 10 cents, beautiful solid doors for $5, or spray paint for $1.  It's a DIYers dream.   Want to spray paint a chandelier orange like my dear friends Lydia and Steve did, but don't want to invest in something you may not like?  Go to ReStore!  You can find great ones for $10!   You can also find very ugly ones for $10.  You choose!

I like to wander and let my imagination take over when I'm in ReStore.  Yesterday, while the whole family {Handsome Hero included} were taking naps after Ella's birthday party {post to come}, I took the opportunity to roam.  On a shelf filled with vintage power tools in their original packages that labeled themselves as being "handy" there was this.

An old tool box.  It. is. AWESOME! 

I'm not sure what I'll use it for.  Put canning jars in it and fill them with plastic silverware on one side and put napkins on the other for picnics?  Clean it up, maybe paint it, and put hand towels and toiletries in it for guests?  Use it as a {gasp} tool box?  Oh, and did you see the price tag?

I love ReStore.

I also got tiles to make some coasters {tutorial to come}, and a large board that I am going to make into "art," a term used oh, so loosely.  All for three dollars.  Except that ReStore has a policy that any purchase under five dollars must be in cash, which I didn't have, so I had to buy two candy bars to get my order up to five dollars.  It was a hardship.

p.s.  Handsome Hero decided this morning that he could make a frame for my "art," so off to ReStore again this morning, where we bought two prefinished gorgeous pieces of baseboard for $1.84.  He had cash.  No more candy bars.  Bummer. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Oh, you didn't!

I was in college, greeting an acquaintance coming back from the summer break.  I asked her how her summer had been, and she said that her mother had passed away.  I was so shocked and flustered that I said, "Oh, I'm so sorry!!  So, how was your summer other than that?" 

I know. 

When we lived in Washington, I had a friend who had trained very hard for months to run his first marathon.  Handsome Hero also had a friend who had just run the same marathon.  His friend had completed it in a Boston Marathon qualifying time {which is a big deal, for those of you who, like me, didn't know there was a Boston Marathon qualifying time}.  His friend is in his late 60's.  So, when I asked my friend what his time was, he proudly told me.  The first thing out of my mouth? "That's great!  Bill's friend, Bill, who's in his 60's, ran it in [insert faster time that I can't remember]."

I know.

Every time I think of these things, and others, I still cringe.

Sunday, I met a girl worse than me {should I feel good about that?}.  I went to the gym, which has a movie theater with cardio equipment instead of seats.  Pretty nice, eh?  Except for THE INCIDENT.  A man was running on the treadmill in front of me.  He left to get water or something but didn't turn off his treadmill.  While he was gone, a lady came to get on the treadmill, not knowing it was running.  Of course, when she stepped on the machine, she flipped over and fell on her face.  It was awful.  We all jumped off of our machines, some going for help, and some attending to the lady.  The receptionist came in.  I'll call her Buffy.  I'll call the man who left his treadmill running Bubba.  Perhaps it's better to write the next part as a script.

Buffy:  Are you all right?
Hurt Lady:  My right arm is numb, my right foot is cramping, and I may have broken my neck.
Buffy:  But are you okay?
Hurt Lady:  I need an ambulance.  Is it on it's way?  I think I may have broken my neck.
Buffy:  You really think you need an ambulance?  I have to call my boss first, you know.
Hurt Lady:  Just dial 911!  Can someone else call, please?

{someone does}

Buffy:  So, what happened?
Bubba:  I just left my treadmill to get some water.  I had to leave it running to keep my time.
Buffy:  I know what you mean.  You just wouldn't think anyone would get on without looking at the display. 

{looks of disbelief from concerned onlookers}

Bubba:  I mean, it was only running at a 5.3.
Buffy:  Oh!  That's, like, nothing!

{looks of disbelief from concerned onlookers}

Buffy:  How are you now?
Hurt Lady:  My right arm is completely numb.  I am pretty sure I broke my wrist, but that is inconsequential because I think I have broken my {enter very technical term for upper back area}.
Beautiful concerned onlooker who will be played by Sandra Bullock:  {to Hurt Lady}  What's your name?
Hurt Lady:  Molly
Beautiful concerned onlooker:  Are you a nurse, Molly?
Molly:  No, I'm a doctor.
Buffy:  Really?  I'm studying to be an E.M.T.

{more looks of disbelief as we anticipate what it would be like to be "helped" by Buffy}

Ambulance arrives and curtain closes.  Cast exits stage Left, leading blank faced Buffy.

Curtain rises.  It's the next day.

Beautiful concerned onlooker has arrived at the gym again, and is surprised to see Buffy working.

Beautiful concerned onlooker:  Did you learn how Molly is doing? 
Buffy:  You know, I haven't seen her yet.  I guess she isn't coming to work out today.

{look of disbelief from beautiful concerned onlooker}

I could write a screen play.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Climb Every Mountain!

When Ella was little,

we found out that she could open doors on the same day we found out that she could crawl down stairs.  She was playing in her room upstairs with the door closed, and when I next saw her, she was three steps from the bottom of the stairs, playing with the scissors that had been at the top of the stairs {that I hadn't worried about, since she was securely in her room}.  That was when we welcomed The Gate.

Since moving into this house, I have felt a freedom to run upstairs for something, leaving Jack downstairs, because he could not climb upstairs.  But no more!

Look at me, Mom!

Aren't you proud?

See?  I can go sideways!

Ooh!  A cheerio.  Snacktime!

Why are you crying, Mom?  Aren't you happy?

Of course, the way I found out he could climb the mountain stairs was when I heard, from my bedroom, ku-thud thud thud thud BOOM....WWWWHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!

He's getting better everyday, and may someday even venture to come back down.  Someday.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Flower Pillow Tutorial

This is a fun project!  My sister's birthday is this month, and I wanted to do something fun for her.  I saw this tutorial back in the Fall, and have been saving it for this occasion.

Before we begin, I have two disclaimers.
1.  I am not a perfectionist and I don't follow patterns.
2.  I have never sewn anything but straight lines until now.

Therefore, you, too, can make this pillow!

Fabric  - a little over 1/2 yard {I couldn't decide between the polka dots and the suiting, so both are pictured}
Felt - not the craft sheets, but the stuff on the bolt.  Between 1/4 and 1/2 yards, depending on how big your flower is
Large and small cups {small one around 2 1/2 inches and the large one around 3 1/2 inches - it doesn't need to be precise}
Plate or bowl the size you want your flower
Sharpie/Marking pencil
Sewing Machine {not pictured}
Pillow form

1.  Trace your circles onto the felt and cut around 35 large and 25 small circles.  I was able to cut two at a time and then finess my cuts.

2.  Cut your circles in half. 

3.  Now, I am going to horrify my mom, but cut your fabric in one piece the width of your pillow form plus one inch, and the length of at least four inches longer than your pillow form.  Translation:  My pillow is 12x12", so my fabric was 13x18" to allow for overlapping so that I can stuff the pillow form in without it showing.

{I like the picture above because I have my coffee, which I almost listed in the supplies
category, and my awesome socked feet.  Domestic goddess am I.}

4.  Trace your plate {shown above}.  I used a hi-lighter, but you can use anything.  It won't show.

5.  Here's the fun part.  Take your half circles and fabric and head to the sewing machine.  If you absolutely loath sewing, you could {gasp} use hot glue.

Notice how my mom numbered my sewing machine so I could thread it.  She knows my failings well.

6.  Place a larger felt piece on the circle and gradually work your way around, adding the next piece as you go.  I found it helps to place the next piece slightly under the corner of the one in front, the opposite of what you see here.  I learned as I went.

7.  When you get to the end of your circle, start moving inward.  You could start bunching them a bit as I did so they raise up from the pillow, but it isn't necessary.

It will start to take form pretty quickly.

8.  At some point {your discretion} you will want to move to the smaller circles.  Keep going until you get to the middle and hand stitch a center circle.  You could put a pretty button or some seed beads there.  I might do that on my next one.  Hmmmm.  When you are done, it should look like this.

9.  Fold over the short sides twice and sew a neat seam.  One of these will be seen from the back, so you want it to look good.  You could use hem tape if you want, but it won't be quite as strong. 

10.  Fold over the ends until you have a square 1 inch bigger than your pillow form {13x13" in my case}.  This makes your pillow "inside out," so your flower should be on the inside.

11.  Sew the edges, allowing for 1/2" seam allowance.  Yes, Mom, I said seam allowance.  You're rubbing off.  Turn right side out and stick your pillow form in.  You have yourself a pretty pillow.

Photography is another talent I don't have.  Hopefully you can see it well enough.

Enjoy your new pillow!