Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Blogging insecurity and holiday crafting

I don't know about you, but as a mom, I often go through "blogger's insecurity" when I browse blogs of moms who seem to be crafting all.the.time with their kiddos.

There, I said it. It's been weighing on me and it feels good to write it down.

I really want to do it more with mine, but I don't for a number of reasons. Mostly, I get overwhelmed with all the options out there and want to make sure I make the *best* choice for a future craft. Therefore, I often end up doing nothing because there are too.many.choices. and I feel overwhelmed. I also feel like I don't do grand and glorious crafts with my kids (like so many moms I see) so why bother?

But, I'm learning, albeit very slowly. I am trying to craft weekly with my kiddos (mostly Mags) and I'm learning to just *make a decision* and move forward with said craft. Even if it's a store-bought put-it-together one, or a simple nature walk and to collect leaves and do rubbings, or taking the camera outside and telling her to snap pictures. She knows no different and is thrilled to be creating. That's the key.

This week it's been inexpensive, wooden ornaments ($1 each at JoAnn's Fabrics) to paint and foam crafts to assemble (available at Michael's or Target; I bought last year after Christmas for pennies). Maggie has been having a ball and Curren even got in on the painting.

Crafty McCrafterton: burlap window decor

The title is inspired by my friend Casey, who is quite crafty and inspires me! I made this burlap garland after seeing it on a Simple Mom blog post. I really like how it turned out.

I bought 1/2 a yard of each color (red, green, brown) at Joann's for $1.50 each. Using Google Images, I found this pattern for a stocking and this pattern for a tree (minus the presents and star); of course, you could choose anything you wanted. I reduced them by 50% when I printed them, then traced them on the burlap, then cut them out. I free-handed the candy canes. Burlap is very forgiving.

I strung jute yarn across the windows and used pushpins to secure each side. I also added this fun, sparkling, white, wintery glue to both the candy canes and the ornament shapes. Finally, I secured each piece with a clothespin.

Quick & simple, festive & inexpensive. Love!

happy thanksgiving

Hard to believe another year has passed! It's been a incredible year for our family, so much to be thankful for. I truly love this holiday as we stop to purposely think on our many, many blessings.
We enjoyed a lovely day at Aron's aunt's house in San Diego. Above is a sunset view from her sprawling backyard.

Monday, November 29, 2010

first sledding

While in Bishop, we took the kids about 20 minutes into the mountains surrounding the valley and enjoyed our first ever sledding. It was snowing lightly, too, which made for some awesomely fun memories! Maggie could not get enough of the snow, Jacob was over it in about 15 minutes, and Curren last about half an hour.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bishop, CA

My bestie and amazing sister, Shannon, and her sweet family live in Bishop (about 5 hours northeast of us) and we spent the 5 days leading up to Thanksgiving with them. It was a blast, though the house was crazy, full of 5 children 3 and under. But, we survived and the cousins had so much fun together! I love that my 3 have 2 cousins that are not only close in proximity, but in age. Highlights of our trip include leisurely mornings with lots of coffee, lounging in jammies, sledding, long talks with Steve and Shannon, alone time with my sister, and lots of cousin play time.

iPad love
Coloring together
Sweet Stella (9 1/2 months months) and Kate (3 1/2 months)
Our beloved fall picture aka: "it-took-a-thousand-takes-to-get-one-where-they-are-all-somewhat-looking-happy"

Friday, November 19, 2010

my first yo-yo's

My good friend Katie taught me how to make yo-yo's and it's seriously so easy, even for someone like me who *wants* to learn to sew, but just doesn't have the time. It's as easy as choosing fabric, cutting a circle, hand-stitching the edges, pulling it tight and closed and sewing a button on top. Voila!

I added my newly made yo-yo's (which, did I mention, took me a total of 10 minute to make, start to finish) to a pair of felted shoes I purchased at Target (clearance, $2.50).

I first saw something like this idea here, then my friend Amy made yo-yo's for hers, told me how easy it was, and I had to try it out. I love it!

Mel, you should be so proud of me.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Green Eggs and Ham

The last couple of years have felt sort-of like Dr. Seuss' timeless children's tale: I offer eggs to Maggie on a regular basis (Curren loves them) and she always refuses. Maybe I should have offered them dipped in chocolate. Anyway, that's beside the point.

She asked to try eggs today. Completely. Out. Of. The. Blue. How could I refuse?

And you guessed it, she LOVED them. Amazing! I'm super stoked I can now get her to eat this great source of protein.

I could have also titled this post "Runaway Bride" as I have served the eggs to her in a variety of ways and so far, she is a scrambled girl all the way--no to hard boiled and no to over-medium.

cowboy wedding

My friend Jessie, from high school, got married on Saturday. She and her husband own a home in Fallbrook that has a saloon in it! So, they went with the theme of Old West and it was really fun; many people rented elaborate costumed (think those vintage photographs where families dress up in flowing dresses, parasols, bowling hats), but most people came in jeans, flannels, and boots. I guess we did OK.

Kate was AMAZING and chill the entire time. Except when this photo was taken. Go figure.

I thought it was time to post a new pic of both my Love and me. :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Happy birthday to me!

I don't normally shout accolades of birthday joy to myself (although I'm a HUGE birthday lover), but wanted to share the incredible birthday gift Aron gave me. He took Monday (the day after my birthday) off from work, cared for all 3 kiddos, and sent me down to the San Diego Botanic Garden to have a vision/reflection day.

All day.

It was absolutely incredible.

He knew just what I needed, sacrificially gave of his time so I could be renewed, and put great thought and detail into my "agenda" for the day.

It started with having me find a quiet spot to reflect and pray and settle my heart. I chose the above bench under a grove of trees; my soul felt at rest immediately. Aron had me journal and reflect on the past year: what were my greatest joys? My greatest sorrows and failures? I took time to pray and reflect and seek the Lord. Aron allotted a certain amount of time for each activity (ranging from 15 minutes to 60 minutes; I modified as I went).

The meat and potatoes of the day was writing down my *3 Hopes* for the coming year, in great detail and with practical application; this is something I've been really struggling with (possibly the greatest understatement of the century) for quite some time now. I want to DO so much. All the time. I want to be good at EVERYTHING. I want to excel in ALL areas of life. And I cannot. I'm learning to embrace my humanity and my limitations and instead focus on what I AM good at, what I LOVE, and what I want to LEARN.

The poem I wrote on the giant chalkboard above (it was GIANT) summed up my day, despite a misspelling (I loathe misspellings): "Solitude brings chaos and amidst the chaos quiet and hope." One of my activities Aron laid out was to create something; I think this counts?

I walked away with a renewed sense of vision in my life. I really did. I'm forever grateful to my sweet husband.

The day ended with a manicure and pedicure and a delicious Thai dinner out.

(If you are interested in the actual doc he wrote up, let me know and I'll email it to you).

8 wonderful years of marriage

September 29 marked Aron's and my 8 year wedding anniversary. I started this post on the actual day and forgot to post it. Why now? Because I must once again proclaim my deep and profound love for this man; a great gift of God's grace in my life. I am a better woman and mother because of his love for me.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Garage Sale Resale

I found these Pottery Barn Metro Mirrors at a garage sale for $10 each. They were in perfect condition. I decided to sell them on Craigslist for a profit. It took several weeks, but a buyer paid $125 for both. Sweet!

New hobby? I think so.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

fun dip

First "Fun Dip!"
"I'll share with you!"
Crushed, when the sharing is through. No more fun!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Kate: Month-by-Month

Kate is 3 months old today and still the sweetest baby. She is cooing and "talking" more, laughing and smiling daily (she loves to stick her tongue out when smiling), and still sleeping like a champ. In fact, in the last 7 days, she has slept through the night 3 times! Amazing, amazing. I feel so blessed. This morning after her morning nap, I found her lying on her back...apparently, she can now roll over! I love these milestones!

Katers, we love you and are so glad you are in our family.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Maggie "reading"

We have several "books-on-CDs" that we love to listen to in the car, thanks to my friend Nicole. One book is Bears New Friend by Karma Wilson. Maggie has memorized most of it and I just found this out yesterday when she scooped up my Charmin coupon because it has two bears on it and proceeded to "read" it like it was the aforementioned story. It was so sweet. I love her inflections.

She'll be reading in no time.

two words: ginger molasses

Maggie and I whipped up a batch of these babies last night. These cookies are one of my top 5 favorite cookie recipes and are the epitome of fall to me: ginger molasses. I like this name better than "gingersnaps" because a gingersnap denotes a store-bought-crunchy-not-fresh-taste in my mind. And these cookies are far from that. They are warm, chewy, but not gooey, and have the perfect texture and flavor meld. Plus, this recipe differs from a few others I have seen where others call for baking powder (not soda), white sugar for the brown (I prefer the brown), and no cloves (which I love in this spice medley).

Thanks to my good friend Rachel (baker and chef extraordinaire) for making them for Aron and me 4 years ago on a visit to Chicago; fall has never been the same.

Tell me you feel the same way. Oh, and I'm serving them up at our MOPS group tonight with a side of pumpkin dessert dip (seriously not-healthy, but so tasty especially with these cookies!).

¾ c. shortening
¼ c. molasses
1 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground cloves
2 ¼ c. flour
¼ c. sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, mix together all ingredients through the egg. Beat until well combined. Next, beat in 1 cup of flour at a time. Then, using your hands, add ¼ c. flour as necessary—you don’t want to the tough to be sticky (as you’ll be rolling it into balls), so add a little more flour, feel the consistency, and add enough until the dough does not stick to your fingers. You may add a little more or a little less than ¼ cup depending on how if feels.

Shape into 1-inch balls and roll into granulated sugar to coat. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, until edges are set and tops are starting to crack (in my oven it’s usually around 8 minutes). Enjoy!