Interwebby Link Love

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

  • Magazine bow tutorial -on How About Orange.  I've got magazines. I will try this.  Belle will love it too.  I can just see bows for every occasion.  It's spaghetti night.  Let's put a bow on the french bread!
  • An Amazing Potted Garden-How organized and disciplined this gardener must be.    
  • Twitter backgrounds-free from Ollibird.  I got a new background and decided to get back into twitter.  Despite myself.  I know I turn into a twitaddict when I get on there, but there are so many friends out there with clever one liners that I have to respond to, or at least chuckle as I am pulled back into pouring someone's apple juice. 
  • I must thank Sodderbug for the Pajama Mama pendant I got yesterday!  What a sweet gift!
  • Swagbucks-Kingdom First Mom  actually got a Wii with all her Swagbucks.  If you haven't signed up-do and from this link so I'm listed as your referrer.  No pressure, but Mama needs a Wii.  Actually, I don't think I have the patience to save up all those Amazon cards for a wii...not when I have a cart full of wishes, like Built by Wendy's new book: Dresses.  I really think I need that book.  
Do you swag?  


For the Joy of My Low-fat Mid-morning Snack

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Joy of Cooking is seriously such a great kitchen reference.  I got my copy as a wedding gift, and use it all the time--need menu ideas for a brunch?  (page 21), or a substitute for cilantro?  (spicy basil, page 1060) or wonder how easy it is to make biscotti (which, by the way, they declare low-fat)?  (page 834).  

I love it when a recipe I searched for is naturally low-fat AND I have all the ingredients on hand. Biscotti is a perfect tide-me-over til lunch--it's not a cookie, it's biscotti-- not to mention a strong reason to pour that third cup of coffee.  Don't judge.  I can quit whenever I want.  

Do you have a favorite homemade mid morning snack?


Mailbox Wars

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A daily war breaks out in our entryway each day around noon.

Sometime around lunch, someone decides it is time to check the mail. One person cannot check the mail, but a series of battles happen to determine whose privilege it is to open the front door, the mailbox door and carry the mail.

A pattering of four little feet clamor to the door knob, where fingers grab fiercely. This is the first battle. Today, Baby has won the doorknob grip. He is however, sock-footed. I look down and foresee not a cold from unsuitable clothing, but another pair of dirty socks that will always be dirty even after a hundred washings.


The lack of proper footwear, or even pants for that matter, has not occurred to him. And it likely won't for a few more years, because his older brother by two years, is also underdressed for the mailbox trip. Boo has conceded to Baby the Battle of the Front Door and has now moved on to the fight for the mailbox door.

Both boys jog across the stiff yellow winter lawn in a line to the box. Even though it is in every way a battle, Baby must jump off the height of the lawn and onto the inches lower side walk. It is a cliff he must dive, no matter the importance of the trip.

This jump has cost Baby the second battle, as Boo arrives at the box first.

Boo is a good boy. He remembers the rules that come with the privilege of Checking the Mail. Rule #1: Stay out of the road. There is no second rule. I am watching from the warm doorway, in my own socked-feet, where I can yell Rule #1 if I need to. But I haven't needed to for longer than I can remember. From the side of the mailbox, Boo stands on his bare tip-toes and twists at the waist to peer into the box opening.

On good days, easy days, the post office has rubber banded our bundle of mail. On the other days, it is inevitable that the boys will have a job of chasing dropped mail on the trip back to the house. Today is a good day. Boo pulls out the banded bundle. Tucking it under his right arm, he uses his left to give a good push to the door. It is a tricky door and will need a few more 4 year old shoves before it is sufficiently shut.

Now is when the hand to hand conflict breaks out. It is the triumph of the day to carry the mail across the doorway. Both boys are in every sense aware that the winner of this battle has won the war. Boo eyes the doorway, me, then his brother out the periphery. At the sight of the former, his right elbow and the bundle turn into a wing spread out to protect his path to the door.

Both boys stay on course for the doorway as Baby dips his shoulder to prepare for a side tackle. They zig-zag for a few feet back and forth into each other. Someone lets out a quick cry, another a whine of protest. But the battle is not over until I am reached and the doorway is crossed.

And I watch. I enjoy the show as much the hand delivery service.

There is not a lone winner day after day. If Baby wins, he tells me to sit on the stairs in the front hallway where we sat the first time he won. And on the stairs is where we open each piece of mail and sort into keep and toss piles. He happily hops with the toss pile to the trash to complete the event.

When Boo wins, he may ask to open one piece "for him." I give him a credit card offer or a competitor's insurance quote. He'll take his mail to the couch and open it by himself. I'll pick up the thirty pieces of the ripped-into-envelope later, once I've sorted the other mail by myself.

And I know someday the wars will end. It already has lost one contender, an older sister. And someday, without warning, the war between the brothers will not be fought. The boys will have something else they'd rather do. Something more important. And I will have to put on my shoes and get the mail myself.

Or ask Mr. Smarty to bring it to me on his way in from work.

Valentines Day Canvas for My Babies' Daddy

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I think we have a date tomorrow night.  Woot!  

This is what I made for Mr. Smarty this week.  I've always sung You are my Sunshine to our babies.  I still sing it probably everyday.  So I thought I should paint the words on canvas so I don't forget them.  

 Did you make something for your sunshine? Any date ideas?


Ruched Bottom T-shirt: Another How-To

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I'm liking quick-sew projects -they come in handy whenever I get the urge to call the agency.

Today's project to keep my hands away from the phone was a ruched -bottom t-shirt.  I just made up that name; I'm not exactly sure how you would describe it.  A side-note: My mother taught be how to ruche back in the day, probably when I was an early teen.  I think she also taught me how to do French Seams around that time.  How do the French know so much about sewing?  I want to learn how to do African seams.  or Dutch seams.

But I digress.  Today's distraction all started when I found 2 mega-clearanced t-shirts at Old Navy.

I cut the bottom half off of the second tee, or the first. whatever.  Using a large basting stitch, I made two rows on both sides of the side seams.  Ruching is created when the inside or bottom thread of each row is gently pulled.   See how the fabric is puckering as I pull the bottom thread?

This is what it looks like when I ruched both rows and stitched over them again to keep the puckering in place.

Once both sides are ruched, I pinned and stitched the ruched half shirt to the bottom of the first shirt.  

Now,  I had to use the top half of the cut shirt.  I willy-nilly cut ruffles out the top.  See?

Then folded the ruffles in half and attached to the right shoulder facing inward. My only regret is that I didn't ruche this, too.  It would have made it more frilly.  I guess can always take it off and put it back on ruched.  no?

What do you think?  

Do you ruche?  

PS I'm linking this post to Kimba'sDIY Day and Kim's Get Your Craft On-check them out!

Randomness with Link Love Sprinkled On Top

Monday, February 8, 2010

  • Put up my LOVE sign.  It is February, you know. Printable font is here
  • Read a beautiful book, The Book Thief, last week.  Here's one of three quotes I saved from it
    • "'Look at the colors,' said Papa.  It's not hard to love a man who not only noticed the colors but also speaks them." 
  • Now, I'm reading a loaned copy of Backyard Homestead.  Any seasoned gardeners with tips for a newbie? Like where I can get free, clean dirt?
  • I've been talking to our agency.  No word yet, but I think our baby is at another orphanage, not one owned by our agency, so it is taking a while to get more information.  But soon, they tell me. Soon.     hmm-mmm.  I'll believe it when I hear it.   Adoption is not for the faint of heart.  And we haven't even met her yet.  
  • I'm taking an SLR Photography class starting at our local rec center.  Anyone in the Plano area interested in joining me?  
  • Stop by Better AfterOne Pretty Thing, and The Crafty Crow.  They are really cool sites, and you might see me over there!
  • Enough self-promoting...what are you all up to?


I make my kids play on the computer.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Here is where they play:

Spelling City:  Use their grade level word lists or add your own.  Kids can play word games using their spelling list and be quizzed on them later.  Free site, love it!

Brain Pop: Not free, but it has loads of stuff on it.  Well-made movies on every subject.  Quizzes to follow are optional and at several levels.  I use Brain Pop, Jr. on a weekly basis with Belle (1st-2nd grade level).

TotLol:  This is the Youtube version for kiddos.  Love this because it's safe to let my 4 year old Mario obsessed little boy search without fear that he will click on some sicko's homemade video of Mario saying words he should not say.  Or shooting things he shouldn't be shooting.  Or you get the idea.  I'm confused on whether this site is entirely free or not.  I have not paid anything though.

Do you let your kids play on the computer?  Am I ruining mine?

DIY Kids' Artwork Portfolio

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Our Homeschool Co-op started back up again for the semester, and this time around I'm teaching Drawing with Children, based on the Mona Brooks' book.   Part of my preparation for the class, was making a portfolios for each of the children's artwork.  I wanted the kids to give importance to their work.  And know that I saw their work as significant enough to protect during the semester and when they finally take them home.

These are very simple, and inexpensive, but I think they are pretty cute, too. Just a piece of posterboard folded in half (or two full sheets of posterboard for a larger case-like the ones I use for my kids' keepers at home).  I used red duct tape, because who doesn't loved colored duct tape?  And hole punched the top the case, where I tied red grosgrain ribbon for handles.

I think I've shared this site before, but I love Art Projects for Kids, so I'm giving you a link again.

How do you encourage little artists?