Wednesday, December 30, 2009

writer's block

From the time Sam could put pen to paper he made books. He would sit with a box of markers and a spiral notebook and write away to his hearts content. He became quite a prolific author. I often found his stapled together books strewn over the living room floor and supplies were constantly across the kitchen table. Sam wasn't an author who disdained his audience. Oh no...he invited the audience in adding an "I hope you enjoy this book" or "this one's a really good one!" to his title page. He even dedicated his self published little volumes. This pile of books grew and grew and grew. I confess, but only to you!, that I'd periodically cull through his stack of books and shred those that didn't make the cut. He never really noticed. There were a few narrow misses when he'd ask "Where's my book of mixed up aliens volume 2?" or "Have you seen my Pond life book?" but I always managed to dodge the bullet.

I'm using the past tense because last year Sam stopped making books. Last year was a really rotten rotten year. My creative talented young author was unable to push past his anxiety to even take part in a pasttime he loved. He just lost all zest for an activity he could hardly get enough of a short time ago. Writing was now all about capitalization, punctuation, spelling, following a set formula. He was told he couldn't write about certain topics anymore. He was made to copy over entire pages of work. He was made to cry when he got scolded because his writing was no longer legible due to erasing and scribbling out. It became a punishment when he had to stay in and watch his peers playing at recess out the window while he finished a journal assignment. I didn't realize. It still hurts my heart that I just didn't realize what was going on. I can hardly fault him for not wanting to write anymore. It wasn't fun. It had evolved into something that made him feel shameful and lonely and wrong.

After discovering all that was wrong about last year, I realized why Sam no longer churned out one best seller after another at home. And as much as I missed the little books and as much as I knew how he adored creating and sharing them, I would not push him back into writing. I figured if I did he'd just resist and I was not about to become part of the problem. I heartily hoped that given time, the joy that writing books was to Sam, would return. I gave him spiral notebooks and markers and at first he just made lists. He listed all his favorite jungle animals, foods he liked, foods he didn't like, snakes he wants to meet, natural disasters that scare him, and on and on and on. He filled an entire three subject notebook with his lists. Sometimes he illustrated them but mostly he didn't. He likes to number his lists and tally things up every so often. Sometimes when he was making a list, I'd lean over and ask him to share it with me. I'd give him my input (umm...there aren't ANY snakes I want to meet!). Still no books but I could tell that the stress and anxiety was beginning to ebb away.

A couple nights before Christmas I had tucked the girls in bed and Sam was tucked in on the couch. I was wrapping presents or working on the Christmas cards or something when the cat began doing something that had Sam and I in stitches. The girls joined us and the four of us were literally holding our sides from laughing. After all the hilarity had passed, I tucked the girls back in and came out to find Sam at the kitchen table with a pen and several pieces of scrap paper. Even though it was past his bedtime, well past his bedtime, I let him be. He left this little gem of a book on the kitchen counter for his Dad who was at work.

To Dad
Last night's news Kitten vs Reindeer food

I was minding my own business when Marie who was in the kitchen called me. Marie told me that Baadaabooty had jumped on top of the counter and grabbed the reindeer food.

Then I saw Benjamin Baadaabooty Ben 10 Blotner had the bag of reindeer food in his mouth. I took the reindeer food went to tell the girls and put the bag on the counter.

And he did the same thing over and over again. Then we decided to put the reindeer food in the fridge. The End

Here is the accompanying illustration

It may not be Pulitzer prize material but it's a start. And he smiled the whole way through, from beginning to end. I adore a happy ending.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

a Christmas tradition

I have been going to visit Edaville Railroad to see the Christmas lights since waayyyyy back when I was a very little girl. I have fond memories of watching to see the lights as the train wound it's way through the woods and bogs.

I cannot express how happy it makes me, or even why it makes me so happy, to pass this tradition down to my children. My kids love, no...adore, Edaville. They have no need of a park map because they've been so often they know where every last ride, popcorn stand and train engine is. We decided to head to Edaville on Christmas Eve to take part in this years Festivel of Lights. I still have no idea how to take photos of lights in the dark but I think it looks kind of cool anyways.

There must be millions of lights strung on trees, buildings along walkways. The archways above line the walkway when you first enter the park. There are dozens and dozens of illuminated figures too. Many having nothing whatsoever to do with Christmas. Like dinosaurs, pirate ships, and much to Sam's delight...bison.

There are several of these little rooms along the walkway too. They date back to the early days of the park because I remember them from my childhood. In each one is a different Christmas scene...Santa's reindeer, Mrs. Claus baking cookies, elves crafting toys.

On the train waiting for it to pull out of the station. There was no pulling them away from the windows because they didn't want to miss a single figure.

I know it's blurry but it's the only picture of me from the night so I'm including it. This is a tame enough ride, not sure why Kate's clinging to me for all she's worth. It was quite the opposite story on the ferris wheel. She gleefully threw her arms into the air each time we came over the top and shouted "MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A BRIGHT NIGHT!"

Katie and Daddy on the Drummer boy ride too.

Sam and Teresa went on it as well. Rest assured we went on just about every other ride in the park. I, however, was lazy and cold and didn't continue to pull out the camera.

There was a time period when Edaville was closed down and I was delighted when the year we moved back to the area it reopened. My In-Laws came down for a visit around the holidays and I thought Edaville would be the perfect place to take them. My Mother in Law couldn't walk long in the cold without her asthma bothering her so she used a wheelchair. Little did we know that wheelchair came with an express ticket. As we stood in the very long line for the train a conductor came over and escorted us past all the cold people standing there in line, all the way to the special car ecquiped with a wheelchair lift. Unfortunately the wheelchair lift was not working that night and they fiddled with it and tried coming up with alternative ways to get the wheelchair, with Mother in Law in it, onto the train. After several minutes my exasperated Mother in Law shouted "To HELL with it!" and she stood up and walked up the steps. At my Brother in Law's "IT'S A MIRACLE!!!" we all collapsed in laughter. I'm not so sure the other passengers watching the whole thing were laughing with us though.

The millions of lights, a broken wheelchair lift, family stories that have become legend, kitschy decorations, hot chocotate warming my hands, laughing at the delight in a four year old's face as she surveys "the whole world" from the top of the ferris wheel, childhood memories of riding the same train to see the same lights, racing to keep up with the kids as they run from one ride to the next and back again, for all these reasons and more I agreed with a sleepy Sam later that night, that Edaville is the best most favoritest place!

Friday, December 18, 2009

gingerbread decorating is serious stuff

You wouldn't know it from the pictures but the kids really did enjoy decorating their little gingerbread houses. It is a tradition of ours to decorate the houses sometime in early December. Sam has, from the first time we first decorated a gingerbread house, been all about minimalism. He has perfected this tecnique of putting frosting to each candy without getting it on his fingers at all. Heaven forbid he get his fingers dirty! He studies his house and his choice of candies and makes a plan and then gets started. He's usually finished in all of fifteen minutes. My girls, however, are a different story altogether. Teresa could bathe in the frosting and it wouldn't bother her a bit. She dabs her fingers in it, smears it across the roof and does not stop until she has run out of frosting. Katie is not quite so hands on but getting a little frosting on her fingers means she gets to lick it off her hands and that there is reason enough to decorate a gingerbread house. The girls tend to haphazardly decorate; jumping from door, to roof to walkway. Katie often decides Teresa's ideas are exactly what she was planning, which annoys her sister to no end. They bicker, I say decorating will be over if fighting doesn't stop and there's a truce for a few minutes. Until Teresa uses Katie's candy or Katie copies yet another one of Teresa's designs. Teresa keeps globbing on frosting and candy until her roof can hold no more. While Katie tries to keep up but loses steam before Teresa does. When we first started with this back when Sam was three and Teresa just over a year, I had to hold myself back from "fixing" their handiwork. I've come to realize though, that their creations are far more whimsical than anything I could dream up. Now I just sit back and let them show me the right way to decorate a gingerbread house. The finished houses are unique, despite the copying, and delightful to behold.

candy canes

We made some festive candy canes with Crayola model magic dough. I LOVE this stuff. If you've never used it, you don't know what you're missing. I don't use it for playdough play but for projects to dry and save it is perfect. It is soft and pliable and dries lightweight and quickly. I gave the kids some red and some white dough and told them to roll them out into snakes. Then we used a plastic play knife to cut the ropes of dough into little pieces. I demonstrated how to squish the pieces together and let the kids loose. I told them we were making candy canes so when they finished they should shape it to look like a candy cane. However, what Katie heard me say was "candy K" and she made a perfect little candy K. Kids, you just never know how they'll make you laugh next. Her friend A decided she wanted to make a candy A after she saw Katie's K. The other kids were too young to join in on the letter making and decided to stick with the candy. They dried overnight and ours are hanging on my kitchen curtain rod. A fun, quick and festive activity that can keep little hands busy while you're making cookies.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We won!!!

I say "we" because while it was my name that was chosen as one of the winners to Liz's bow giveaway, my girls reaped the benefits of the winning. Liz was so sweet to include a bow for each of the girls even though we won just one. Thank you SOOOOO much Liz...they LOVE their new bows. She addressed the package to the girls. I got home from a meeting after school yesterday and Teresa came running up "Mumma! Mumma! Katie and I got a package in the mail!!!! Can we open it?" At my yes, they grabbed the package up (I noticed one corner had already been pried open...further interrogation revealed Teresa to be the guilty party) and tore it open. Each bow was wrapped in tissue and they squealed with delight after unwrapping each one. They also insisted on wearing them immediately. Adorable!

Sam asked why he didn't get a present in the mail. He was none to pleased when I told him he was welcome to wear the bows too.

Thank you Liz! They are beautiful!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

habits...not bad, just...a little odd

I am the only one with odd little habits that are virtually ingrained into the soul? Things I don't know if I could change, even if I wanted to. I read an article that said if we could change up some of our little habits and ways of doing things it would strengthen the connections in our brains and make us sharper. I am all for that. So I gave it a try. And...I utterly failed. I just didn't feel comfortable. My world just didn't feel right when I switched things around. Oh well, I guess I'm just going to have to resign myself to being stupid.

What silly habits could possibly be more important than strengthening the synapses in my brain. Well now, how about I enlighten you?

When I put on my socks and shoes, I always put on one sock and then the shoe then move on to the other foot and do the same. Putting both socks on then moving on to the shoes seems like such a waste of time and motion.

My towels in my linen closet MUST be facing with the fold out. I actually take the towels out of the closet and fix them if Joe has put them in the "wrong" way.

I always eat the foods on my plate in order of least liked to most liked. I like to save the best for last.

I look at my food very carefully before I eat it. Someone actually commented on this habit when I was in college. I think it stems from the time the food closet/pantry in my parent's house had a moth infestation. Finding moths floating in my milk after eating all my Raisin Nut Bran will do that to a person.

I like making foods like shortbread because it requires so few ingredients. Just goes to show you that foods don't need lots of fussing to be real good. Plus it just tickles my fancy that the pioneers who settled the prairie a hundred fifty odd years ago probably made shortbread. Flour, butter, water and a little bit of sugar. I'm sure Laura Ingalls' pantry contained those basics.

I'm realizing many of my quirks revolve around food...I wonder what that means?

I cannot start anything, cooking, quilting, scrapbooking or whatever, with a mess staring me in the face. Even if I know I will make more of a mess with whatever I am about to begin, I HAVE to clean up beforehand.

I talk to myself in the supermarket. I mutter about my list, menu, and any items I forgot to get and need to return to a previous aisle for.

I know I'm not alone in this. I can't be the only person wandering around the supermarket mumbling about acorn squash and whole wheat wraps. What pray tell, are some of your quirky little habits?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

eye candy

Remember ribbon candy? Every Christmas my parents received a box of it from friends or a family member. There was never very much of it in the box, especially when there's thirteen people all hoping to get a taste. I actually didn't love eating ribbon candy, I just liked looking at it. The colors were eyepopping and each piece was so unbelievably delicate. They shimmered like glass ribbons and I used to open the lid of the box every time I passed by just to get a glimpse.

For one of our crafts this month, I decided we would make some ribbon candy ornaments. I didn't think it would be all that hard. What I thought would be the easiest part of this project was actually the most difficult; finding the right ribbons. I didn't find exactly what I was looking for. The ribbons we used were Christmas colors and ribbon candy uses more tropical colors but I figured they would do. This craft is only for the preschoolers or older. Besides the ribbon (I used wire rimmed ribbon) you will need pipe cleaners, pony beads, adult scissors and a hole punch.

To prep for this activity I first cut lengths of ribbon. I actually made a test one first to work out the kinks and I found a ribbon about 18" worked well. Then starting from one end I punched a hole about every 2". This was also difficult. My hole punches had a hard time coming through the ribbon. I actually broke one (the spring release mechanism broke). If you can think of an easier way to punch the holes through the ribbon, please share! For each ornament, thread a bead onto a pipe cleaner all the way to one end and twist it onto the end. Now you can let the kids loose with this.

It's actually very simple. I told my 4 year old and 5 year old you work in a pattern...poke, bead, poke, bead, poke, bead, poke, bead. And as they worked they chanted "poke, bead" to themselves. The children poked the pipe cleaner through the first hole in the ribbon and pulled it all the way through and then took another bead and threaded that on and pushed it all the way down. They continued to do this until they ran out of holes in the ribbon. Add one final bead and then using the excess pipe cleaner twist it to make a loop. Cut off the extra pipe cleaner, fluff up your loops of ribbon and voila!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Need a bow...or two?

Liz over at These are the days is having a giveaway. She recently started making beautiful hairbows and has made so many she doesn't know what to do. What better than to have a giveaway for two of them to a lucky little girl...hopefully my little girls. ; ) If you have a little girl who likes to get all beribboned head over and enter...or not...because then I will win. Hee! Hee!

Monday, November 30, 2009

a birthday letter

Dear Sam,
I feel like I've known you forever and yet, it seems like just yesterday when they placed you in my arms for the very first time. How did nine years pass by so quickly? You, my boy, are my heart. You are so loving and giving, not of your things, but of yourself. You are always on the alert for ways to make someone smile, whether it's making my bed or playing Barbies with your sisters. It seems unfair that someone as generous and loving as you should have to struggle the way you have. Sometimes I want to rail at the world that you have to deal with so many challenges. Challenges that sometimes seem like they're too much for you, but they aren't, and they never have been.

I remember forcing myself to sit in my chair when you were just a year old, watching you with your Early Intervention teacher. She would be trying to get you to reciprocal play or sign the word help or stop spinning wheels and play with the car. You would be protesting...shrieking and turning yourself away from her. Sometimes you turned to me, with your arms stretched out and your face pleading with me to rescue you. But we strapped you into your seat and there was no where to go. You had to learn to do these things, even though they took you out of your comfort zone and tested the limits of your abilities. And I had to let her do this. It took every ounce of my being not to jump up and undo the buckle and hold you till you stopped your fussing. My heart broke into a thousand pieces every single time. I physically hurt inside that I couldn't help you in the way that you wanted.

Month by month I watched and you began to take baby steps; steps so small they were barely noticable. You rolled the car to Sheila, instead of flipping it over and silently spinning it's wheels. You smiled at her and prodded some playdough with one finger. Then you began to sign. Nothing in this world will compare to the time you first signed your very first word..."more". You slid down a slide and at the bottom looked up at Daddy and I, and took your tiny little finger and poked it into the center of the palm of your other hand. It wasn't exactly the right motion but we knew what you were saying. Much like any parent understands their child's baby talk. We were so overjoyed I think we let you slide on that slide all afternoon...crying with delight when you'd sign "more" at the bottom each time. As the months passed you added many more signs to your vocabulary and then you began to speak.

The years have flown by too fast. I still watch you struggle with things that are outside your comfort zone. I still have to hold myself back from jumping in to save you. My heart still shatters every time you turn to me with tears in your eyes from dealing with a world that sometimes seems too difficult. I still marvel at your strength, determination and perseverence.

People sometimes say to me "He's come so far...because of you and all your hard work." I am not the one who's had to do the hard work though. I can't take credit for the person you are, for the things you can do. You find within yourself all you need to take on the world and succeed. I am no more than your pit crew. I'll find the tools and help to get you on the track. But you win the race all on your own. I'm proud of you Sam. I remember when they placed you in my arms, you took my breath away with your perfection.

You still do. I love you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

turkeys, berries and oranges

One of our traditions, both in my family and with my daycare friends, is to make cranberry orange relish the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. It's a quick easy recipe and is really good. I especially like it smeared on a turkey sandwich the day after Thanksgiving. My recipe is scribbled on little piece of scrap paper and I can no longer remember where I first got it from. I could have picked it out of a cookbook, recieved it from my Mom, or even from a magazine. Usually I use my trusty food grinder but when I took it out, it was rusty and I just wasn't sure it was safe to use. Instead we used my mini cuisenart food processor. Truth be told, while the food processor made the job easier, I like making the relish with the food grinder. I don't know why...makes me feel all pilgrimish or something, not that pilgrims used food grinders but, whatever.'s the recipe

Cranberry Orange relish

1 cup fresh cranberries
1 orange
1 Tbsp finely grated orange peel
3/4 to 1 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)

peel orange and separate into sections.
put orange and cranberries into food grinder or food processor and grind into coarse pieces
add sugar and zest and mix well

See, told you it was easy.

We also made these fun little turkeys too. Red, orange, yellow, brown and black paint, a white piece of paper and a teeny triangle piece of orange are all you'll need. Children dip their hands into the red, orange and yellow paint and print them onto the paper in a fan shape. Let this dry. Then paint the child's foot and print it on top of the handprints with the toes facing down to the bottom of the fan. Dip a finger in black paint to make the eyes and a thumb in red to make the wattle. glue on the triangle for the beak. This guy is so cute you won't be tempted to cook him up for your Thanksgiving dinner!
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

trees, beer, bread and butter

We made these easy and sweet Thankful trees yesterday. I wasn't sure I could pull this project off with my younger ones but they all did a great job. I cut out all the leaves. I traced a leaf shape onto a piece of construction paper and then layered a few more underneath it and cut them all at the same time. Makes it faster and your fingers won't cramp up from all the cutting. In addition to the multi-colored leaves, you will also need a large piece of construction paper, brown paint, markers and glue. You are also going to need a wet cloth or wet paper towels on hand before you start.

First paint the child's hand and forearm brown and press it down on the paper to form the trunk and branches of the tree. I wipe down the forearm and have the child make several more handprints so the tree is really full.

Let that dry and move on to the leaves. Earlier during our circletime we read Celebrating Thanksgiving by Joel Kupperstein, Thank you, Thanksgiving by David Milgrim and Giving Thanks by Chief Jake Swamp. I then had an informal discussion about what we are thankful for and as the kids volunteered their ideas I jotted them down on a piece of paper making sure to initial who said what. Having done that, later at the table, I passed out one leaf at at time and using my notes asked the children to draw one idea on each leaf. The children came up with a couple more as we worked at this and we included those as well. You want to make sure each child has at least five leaves on his/her tree, otherwise the tree looks a little bare. After each drawing was completed I used a black sharpie to label it.

Once the children finished illustrating all their ideas they used a glue stick to glue all their leaves to their now dry trees. I finished it off by adding "I am thankful" with letter stickers but this could just as easily be handwritten.

This is my favorite leaf of Katie's..."snuggling with Mumma" Aren't the two little faces peeking out from under the blanket the cutest darn things? She was also thankful for going to the beach, berries, trees, flowers, playing, her friends M and J, her aunt Carol, Sam and Teresa because they kiss and hug her and relaxing with her stuffies.

Now it may seem like an abrupt change of topic but it follows in my mind because here are a couple more Thanksgiving projects I did with the children. I love to cook with my children and the daycare children. It exposes them to math, scienece and literacy and you get a goodie when all is said and done. It's just a win/win situation all around. I had planned on making butter with the kids for them to bring home and share with their families for their own Thanksgiving dinners and what better to accompany butter...but bread. I opted for a Tastefully Simple beer bread mix. It's quick and easy and oh my God! yummy. We used two mixes and made one big loaf to share today and a couple small loaves for the daycare kids to take home.

Our bread baking was effortless and my house smells like heaven. I couldn't have been happier with how it turned out. I wish the same could be said for our butter making. First I gathered the cast of characters and realized I did not buy the correct cream. I usually use heavy cream, not whipping cream. But beggers can't be choosers, so I crossed my fingers and hoped it wouldn't matter. (It didn't.)

I have also always used a baby food jar and a marble to do this activity. However, I do not recommend a glass jar anymore. After pouring in the cream and dropping in the marble the kids got to work shaking the jar vigourously to change it into butter. About six minutes later they were tired and bored with this and asked me to take over. I thought I would shake it extra hard to really get the cream really churning. Big mistake. The marble actually broke the jar and cream went everywhere. It is not a fun thing to clean up either. So for round two, I used a plastic cup that has a fitted lid. We shoke it and sloshed it for about 10 minutes and lo and behold, we made some butter. I must be very easily impressed because no matter how many times I do this, when it begins to change over to butter I call out as excitedly as the kids "butter! look! look! it's butter!" We put the butter into a small tupperware in the fridge to set up.

For lunch they all had a slice of beer bread smeared with butter, all made with their own two hands. They gobbled it up and I don't think they've ever enjoyed bread and butter as much as they did today.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I hate to correct them because they always make me laugh

Teresa must have learned a new word at school because she came home and used it in every other sentence that came out of her mouth. The only problem, she wasn't using the correct word. A few examples...

What's for dinner Mom? Chicken? Could you be more PACIFIC?

I'm reading a new fairy be PACIFIC, it's called Tia the Tulip Fairy.

I like your picture Katie. Can you tell me about it? Be PACIFIC!

Sam is no stranger to flubbing some of his new vocabulary. He came to me very upset because he was trying to read in the same room his sisters were choreographing their own ballet complete with music and lots of arguments between the two prima ballerinas. I just want to read my book without any destructions! he wailed.

Katie came out with a couple of my favorites though. When choosing a bathing suit to wear in the pool this summer...

Mumma, I want to wear my zucchini!

And just the other day she asked me this thought provoking question.

Why does Daddy always yell "CHEEZ ITS!!!" at the t.v. when he watches football?

Friday, November 13, 2009

a day at the cranberry festival

We headed out to Edaville Railroad for the cranberry festival. My kids have been to Edaville more often than I care to count but it never fails to deliver. We always have such a good time in a small town kind of way. It's not a big place and the rides are very mild mannered but we could spend all day there. And on this incredibly gorgeous fall day....we did. We arrived just after ten in the morning and didn't leave until after four in the afternoon. Can I add that there is maaaaayyyyybeeeee ten rides total in the park...not including the train ride. Yeah, we must have gone on every single ride at least a dozen times each. All the ride operators knew my kids by name that day. Especially the tilt a whirl guy. Good Lord, we must have gone on that a thousand times. They figured out which car twirled around the most, number seven by the way, and woe to the world if we didn't get that car. Did I also mention that because of her height, or lack of a few measly inches, Katie required a grown up to go with her on just about every ride...and yep, that was me most of the time. My sense of equilibrium is still trying to recover. Thank God my brother Dan showed up because I was Done, with a capital D, so I handed him my bracelet and called it a day.

Dan, Sam and Teresa enjoying the ride, even though it wasn't the twirliest one. I was sitting with my head between my knees at this point.

The girls on ole reliable number seven. They didn't stop twirling long enough for me to even get a good picture.

Here I am on the ferris wheel with Katie and Sam and Teresa are coming along behind us. The miracle of this picture ISN'T that I'm actually on the ferris wheel. And it ISN'T that I'm smiling. And it ISN'T that I actually released my death grip on the bar to wave, notice my death grip on Katie is still intact though. Poor Katie, she's so smashed into my side it's a wonder I didn't suffocate her. It's that Joe, all on his own initiative, PICKED up the camera and took a few pictures!!!!

We finally made it on the actual train ride through the bogs and forest. This has got to be one of my favoritest things in the whole entire world. We sat in the open car because it was so beautiful out. The train ambles through the woods and bogs and you can't help but relax and enjoy yourself.

Unless you're trying to take pictures of your kids and then you end up sweating and swearing because "GOD D@#A$@#!&$*! Can you all just F#@^%@*@@# look at the camera at the same F@#@#&$R time!" Just kidding...a little. Swearing at them doesn't seem to'd think I'd have that figured out by now...but no. I guess I'm a slow learner.

My one and only picture of the harvest because I was so busy trying to get a group shot of the three kids I think I missed it all. In my defense, it's only a twenty minute train ride.

Teresa's favorite pink caboose on our way out. Thanks Edaville...we'll be back! We'll be the fools twirling around in car number seven or swearing at each other on the train. Good times, I tell ya!

I'm so sorry about the underlining through the whole first part...I have no freaking idea how that came to be and hence there was no freaking way to figure out how to undo it. Believe me, I did try. After twenty minutes, I admit defeat and the underlining stays.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

sneak preview...Katie's quilt

These are the fabrics she chose...

...and this is the design. It's called Star Struck.

I was a little concerned that the black would be too dreary for a child's quilt. I kept showing her the same pattern without the black but she remained adamant that she wanted the black and brights. It's her quilt and I aim to please so black and brights it is. The borders on her's will not be the blue and purple but pink and green...her two favorite colors.

I am itching to start cutting the fabric but my sewing machines are both in dire need of tune ups before I can do any sewing, so I need to take care of that before I start cutting anything. I have high hopes that I can finish the top over this winter. I plan on quilting in the ditch around the bright stars. I make no predictions on how long that will take me though. My track record's not so good. With any luck she may get it for her fifth birthday. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

have you thanked a Veteran?

We have been talking about Veteran's Day around here. Who are Veterans and why we have special day off because of them. Teresa has really taken it to heart and decided to thank any passing Veterans by making a flag for the yard. I think she actually understands and is grateful to America's soldiers. I'm proud of her for acting on her gratitude. Maybe we can all follow her example and take the time today to thank a Veteran. We Americans take for granted the way of life we have here in America. But were it not for the sacrifice of the men and women in uniform, our lives could be very very different.

There is a veteran I'd like to thank in person, but I think it would make him uncomfortable. He served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and came home to us all in one piece. For that, we are grateful to God. While serving in Afghanistan he worked towards getting schools built, temples rebuilt and gave support to the local Afghan run government. The schools the people were working to build were little more than sheds and woefully undersupplied. This man contacted his high school Alma mater faith in action program to see if they'd like to donate school supplies. Thanks to his outreach over 400 pounds of school supplies found their way across the world into the arms of Afghan girls attending school for the first time ever. This soldier could have just completed his mission as given but he didn't. He saw a small way he could help make things a little bit better and he worked to make it happen. He saw how desperately the people in Afghanistan cherished their newfound freedom and he wanted to give more. I believe this is typical of our armed servicepeople. And I am grateful they are our ambassadors to the world and proud of all the work they do for us and for the citizens of our world. So I want to say thank you...for the freedom to bitch about our government...for the freedom to choose where to send my kids to school...for the freedom to work at a job I enjoy...for the freedom to live without fear...for the freedom to worship as I choose...for these freedoms and so many more, I am grateful to JPC and all his brothers, and sisters, in arms.