Sunday, December 30, 2007

Cookies and quilt progress

It really has been calm around here. There is always so much build up to Christmas it is really nice to just hang out when it's over. We aren't big party people so New Years isn't a big deal. We'll let the kids (older 2) stay up to midnight if they can behave ( I love bribery), welcome in the new year and send them off to bed. I liked it when we lived in Denver because we could watch the ball drop in Times Square at 10 pm after coming back from the fireworks display downtown. That was a great way to do New Years with kids. Hot coco, fireworks, and early to bed!

Today we did have to make up a batch of cookies for a belated Christmas present to go with one of the ornaments I made. I tried substituting the Crisco with real butter and using whole wheat pastry flour instead of white flour. It came out pretty darn good. I think I have holiday guilt from indulging in all the candy and cookies so I was trying to make the cookies a smidgen better. Seth was a serious fan.
(Dan took these pictures for me. The second one has an odd angle to it but I love the grin on his face.)

I have also made some progress on the Chocolate quilt. I am quite pleased with the results so far.

Let's see, I sewed a blanket stitch around the edge of the circles. I had decided on using the same thread color to hopefully show consistency.
Next I quartered them. It's very nice that my ruler is 8.5" wide.

I put a few blocks up on the design wall to get a feel for how it'll look. I like it. Do you?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas and Chocolat Quilt

Christmas was wonderful. Nice and quiet. If you know most of my family there is usually some type of drama at every holiday so sometimes it's nice to be thousands of miles away. :) Santa was good to the kids and brought Hannah and Simon scooters and Seth got a tricycle. The trike will be great for the summer time. They were trying them out in the house until I told them it was ok to play outside. I mostly didn't want them waking up the whole neighborhood at 7 am.

My mom and Paul came over to enjoy Christmas dinner with us and open presents. I love how close we are. It make the get togethers so much easier. Oh, and I got some good stuff as presents. My husband got me a GPS (sweet!) and my mom got me an awesome coat and sweater. I am so lucky.

Other than Christmas stuff things have been pretty mellow.

I've gotten a bit of work done on my latest quilt top. No surprise but I went with the larger block size. I love this yummy fabric line. Chocolat designed by 3 Sisters for Moda.

Finished all 25 circle. Yea for compasses.

Ironed the shapes onto the back side of the fabrics and then cut them out.

Peel backing paper away. Leaving fusible web on fabric. Coolest stuff ever.

Fold to find center of the square and circle. Line it all up with pin.

Now, what color thread to use? Same color for all circles? Different colors to match fabrics? Hmm.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Winter Break

Ah, winter break is here. A whole week off of school for the kids. Which means I get to sleep in a bit (maybe a half hour) and I have to entertain the kids all day long so they don't turn into couch potatoes.

Since my last post Simon took the test for his next belt. He got an orange belt. Yeah, for Simon! I have to say I am confused about the orange belt and will ask about it next week. I guess sometime between giving him the test form that said "high yellow" on it and the actual test day they decided to do away with the high belts in the lower colors... or something like that.

Thursday Simon's class had a little caroling performance. It was so cute. I am hoping one of the moms will get some of the pictures she took emailed to me. I ran out the door without my camera! For shame! After their little performance they got to have a snack which consisted of sugar with some sugar on top of it. Wow, those kids were wired after the cupcakes, cookies, and juice.

(Edited to add photo and video)

Yesterday, I went on a hunt to find fusible web for my next quilt. I am going to cheat and fuse circles to a large square and then quarter it to make drunkards path blocks. Confused? I'll show pictures as I go. The only thing I am still debating on is how large I want my final block size to be. The lazy part of me wants big 8" blocks but then I think it'd look cute with 4" blocks. When I am talking about a queen size quilt it makes a huge difference! We're talking maybe 100 8" blocks or 400 4" blocks. Phew, that makes the bigger size sound so much better already!

In my quest to find mass quantities of fusible web I went to a quilt store not to far from my moms. Paul and mom met me there. It's so cool that I can see her that easily. After buying my webbing and a book (merry Christmas to me!) we stopped in at Starbucks for a a cup of Chai. Mmm, Chai. I am going to go back to this quilt store soon. Love their stuff! Maybe I can drag Misty with me... there is a cute yarn shop right next door to it.

Dec 22nd also marks my baby's 22nd month. He is almost 2. Really, it's right around the corner! Tick, tick, tick. I am not ready for this. I should have been warned about this. 2 is no longer a baby, 2 is definitely on it's way into toddlerhood and so close to kid. 2.... I don't like it.

Just in case I don't post again before Christmas...


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

'Tis the season... bake cookies. Fa la la la la la la la la.
Help! I have been buried under a mountain of cookies! I prepared the Anise Cookies on Monday night so I could bake them Tuesday morning. We also are going to give sugar cookies and an ornament as teacher presents this year. Which meant start baking! I totally cheated on the sugar cookies though. I bought a kit that even had the frosting mix in it. Phew, that made things easier. Still we had to do all the shape cutting, baking, and frosting. Seth's idea of helping was not helpful at all. He'd swipe the flour onto the floor and grab a handful of nice, smooth, flat, rolled out dough. His idea of frosting was the best. He frosted his hand instead of the cookie. His little hand was stained pink from the red dye. I think they had fun. I told them they could eat one when they were done frosting. Wow, I had some hyper kids at bed time.

I did manage to make a few more ornaments yesterday. Since I can't seem to stop myself from being crude I'll just ask. Would you like to see my balls?

At least they are pretty and decorative, no?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


As of yesterday my middle child in now officially 7 years old. I swear they are growing up to fast! 6 was the roughest year in this boys life. Brain surgery kind of takes the cake in my book. I hope all the rest of his many, many years are better. He is truly a fantastic kid. So strong, brave, and lovable.

We had a little birthday party for him here on Sunday. He invited some of his friends from school. Now, as some of you may know Simon is full of energy. Multiply that by 6 and you have a serious party! It was loud and crazy but over in 2 hours. They had a great time playing games and doing the cake and presents bit. Dan saved the day by letting all the boys take turns playing Simon's new Lego Starwars game. I think Dan wanted the game as much as Simon did.

Once the party was over I had to bake cupcakes for Simon to take to class the next day. I was going to buy them but when I saw how much they cost I decided to do it myself. Simon came out of school yesterday wearing a yellow crown. Silly, but fun. He also got to choose what we had for dinner. Instead of Mickey D's he wanted Burger King. My stomach was none to happy about that for dinner.

Today I took him to the doctor so they could check the fit of his brace. It seems to be fine. While he's wearing the orthotic (brace) he is adjusted to from 26% to 14%. It doesn't mean that he'll correct to that number though. The goal is to keep it from getting worse. I asked again about how long he'll be in the brace and was told probably about 8 years as long as the curve doesn't worsen. I guess some people are just prone to scoliosis.

Being the mean mommy I am I took Simon to school after his appointment. He'll be marked as absent for the day because he wasn't present for attendance. Oh well. I'd rather he went to school to learn a few things than have him home griping about how bored he is and could he play on the X box.

Well, I better go put the Anise Cookies away and make some more ornaments while Seth is napping.

I still can't believe my little man is 7.

Oh, Simon gets to test for his High Yellow Belt tomorrow.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Santa on the farm

We went to see Santa today at Longstreet Farm with the Erickson's. It's such a cool little place. I like that you don't have to stand in a huge line all day just to see Santa. Also, you can take your own picture or they'll take one and print it out for you. All they ask for is a donation. Seth had no interest in sitting on a strange mans lap. Can't say that I blame him. How often do we just hand our little ones over to some big fat man in a red suit? Once a year, yeah, yeah! I had to get in the picture too. I didn't have my camera out and ready so I just let them take one. It turned out to be out of focus but I don't really care.

Since it is a farm after all we went to see some of the animals.

The horses were a hit. My kids picked the grass off the ground and fed it to the horse. Once Seth saw the big kids do it he had to do it too. It made me nervous because he doesn't know how to hold his hand flat. The horse was using his lips to take the food but I still was a nervous mommy. We went up to the big house to look around (and get warm!). They had ginger snap cookies and warm cider in the kitchen. The lady finished in the kitchen and asked Hannah and Simon if they'd like to milk the cow.

Off to the barn we went. I couldn't believe how excited they were to try it. Both of them gave it a shot, or should I say a squirt! I couldn't get a good angle for a picture.
That's Simon's arm.
There's Hannah's arm.

Seth got to see a rooster too. He tried to say cock-a-doodle-doo! It was quite cute. Meanwhile Chloe talked up a storm the whole time. I asked Seth, "Are you listening? That's what you should be doing?" The boy barely talks still. He gets his point across, understands, and gets what he wants... just not a lot of words yet. He'll get there I know.

The rest of the day was spent playing with fabric to make some ornaments and me breaking down and helping Simon clean his room. I had asked for his room to be cleaned up before we left to see Santa. I even had Hannah go help him. When we got home I went in his room to vacuum and discovered they had stuffed things under his dresser and behind his desk. AHHH!!! I think they are trying to make me go insane. My father was right about some things. Insanity is hereditary, you get it from your kids.

At least my ornaments are cute!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Braces, shopping, and finally office pictures!

Shopping, shopping, shopping. I love to go shopping. Especially at Old Navy. I can't tell you exactly why it's my favorite place to shop but it is. Maybe it's the prices or how cute their stuff is? I think it's a healthy combination of both. Although for the kids clothes I also like The Children's Place too.

Why am I telling you this? Because I was forced at gun point to brace the ice and rain to go to the mall! Ok, there was no force and no gun but it is alternating rain and ice pellets. Yucky weather. This morning while helping Simon get dressed we discovered that only his sweat pants fit him. I figured since we have to sinch in the sides on all his pants that they'd fit over his brace. No such luck. I decided after Seth and I talked to the people about Hannah's new fangled braces she needs (more on that issue) that we'd hit the mall in search of pants that either have elastic waists or maybe come in husky sizes.

They had a couple of options for him and they were on sale. I love that word. Sale. It makes you think you are getting such a good deal that you buy more than you intended too. Oops. So, I picked up some pants for skinny girl, two shirts for Seth and a sweater for myself. I love sweaters.
Simon's pants and a few shirts to go with 'em.

The other loot.

So- Hannah's braces. She'll get a spacer put in first. It will take a few appointments for it to get done. Once they've expanded her top bite then she'll get braces for just the front 4 adult teeth. They'll get the two teeth moved forward. Once that's done she will wear a retainer for a while. This isn't so she can have perfectly straight teeth either. The whole spacing and braces thing should take 12-18 months. All the low bargain price of, are you ready for this, $2500! Don't worry, they have 4 different payment plans! Yikes! Unfortunately this is something that could mess up her other adult teeth coming in so it has to be done. C'est la vie.

Two kids in braces at once. Just different kinds.

On to the office. I realized that I hadn't shared pictures of the room since the paint was completed. This should probably be a post on its own. The color is SO MUCH BETTER than before.
I think I'll hang a quilt on the blank wall by the door.

Ah, a design wall. It isn't perfect but it will serve its purpose. Do you like the baby quilt? I think it needs an inner border.

Desk and sewing table, obviously. Next project is all stacked and ready to go!

I like the new curtains on the closet. It hides my mess. Isn't the book shelf cute!

There you go. Pictures of my office. The only angle your missing is the attic door. If you really think you need a picture of it I'd be happy to take one!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Today as I walked out of the grocery store with a screaming toddler under one arm I had to ask myself a question. Is this actually my sweet son or perhaps the spawn of Satan? You see, he is all toddler and some days that means he is enchanted by the world around him and then sometimes he totally loses his cool.

There is a train suspended in the air at Wegman's. He loves to look up at the train as we walk by it. Today the train wasn't moving. We looked at it and then went on to finish up our shopping. He kept wanting to go back to it and I did my darnedest to distract him but he had other plans. He melted. Puddled on the floor and began his temper tantrum.

I thought to myself, "Are you freakin' kidding me!!"

He won't walk, he won't cooperate, we've reached thermonuclear meltdown folks. I tried to carry him on my hip but he hit me so I faced him forward. All the while I am trying to navigate one of those monstrosities of a cart that has the stupid car on the front. They are so very hard to steer. I got to the check out lines and they were kind of long. Thankfully they opened a line and got me checked out as quickly as possible. It was one of two things. Either, "Oh, let's help that poor mom" or "Hurry and get that damn kid out of here." Either were fine for me!

Once I wrangled him into his car seat I closed the car door and just stood there for a moment enjoying the quiet. Sweet, blessed quiet. Breath.

By the time we got home he was done. I think it's funny that once the fit is over they are just sad from getting all worked up. They don't even remember why they started crying in the first place. I wiped more buggers off his splotchy little face, gave him a big hug, and got him a snack.

He is now down for an early nap.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Assorted things

The new dryer got here this morning! Hooray!!! I have quite a bit of laundry to get done today. We decided on a new one because the old one also had a habit of catching the clothes and tearing them up. It literally ripped one of my bras in half. The new one is pretty, shiny, has lots of buttons, and holds a bigger load too! Oh, and best of all it drys the clothes in like 40 minutes! (I am easy to please, aren't I?

Seth and I were supposed to go to a playgroup this morning but seeing as he has bright green buggers coming out of his nose and a cough I opted to stay home. Since we are all home, Dan is sick too, laundry will get done. Dan went to the doctor yesterday (he will only go if he is close to deaths door) and he has a double ear infection and we'll find out today if he has strep! Ah, will we ever be healthy again? I swear the school year starts and the germs come flowing in the front door. It's tempting to live in a bubble sometimes. Anyway, the doctor thinks it's a possibility that Seth gave Dan strep. I hope so because the little guy just got done with a round of antibiotics for his ear infection and I hate to have to give him more. The poor kid had the trots the whole time he was on them! (Don't you love how much I share?) So far the rest of us seem ok.

This last weekend we got our tree up. Hannah is already a tree hugger!

It looks very nice in the dining room with all it's decorations on it.

We had to turn the table sideways so there isn't as much room but it will do. We got the tree on Saturday. When we got it home and all set up for decorating and we found out that our string of lights was half dead... it's always something isn't it? I was meeting the girls for coffee in a few hours so I decided to wait and hit Target in the morning. Alone. All alone... ahhhh. I was able to pick up some Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers. I am amazingly almost done with the shopping!

Oh, and since I didn't have time to make a Christmas themed wall hanging I put a quilt I already have up. I think it looks pretty festive. What do you think?

Friday, December 07, 2007

Fun and games

We do still have lots of fun around here even if our dryer goes. At least we try too.

On Wednesday Tiff and Chloe took us to the Children's Museum down by Philly. Seth had a great time. He spent most of his time in the science room and in the construction room. Chloe and Seth mostly went there own way but at this age tandem play is all you get. If you want them to play together that probably means they'll be fighting over toys in no time flat. Anyway, it wasn't very busy there so Seth was able to explore and not get pushed around by bigger kids. Big kids don't mean to push, they just do.

I love watching Seth play. He really figures things out quickly. In the science room there was a tube that had air flowing through it and you opened it up, put a scarf inside, and it would zoom through the tube around the whole room really fast and land in a bin. He watched it happen and immediately did it all by himself. He sure is a smart boy. He figured out that the scarf would go in easier if you balled it up. Otherwise the air flow would blow it back out at you. So smart. He did that many, many time.

Daniel had a meeting in PA yesterday so the kids and I were on our own for the evening. Thankfully they were cooperative and bed time went smoothly. I remembered to get Simon in his brace on time and I remembered to give Seth his antibiotics. (Did I mention he did have an ear infection?) Before reading time I went through their book shelves and unearthed all the winter/Christmas books I could find. I ran upstairs after bath real quick to do something very important. Ok, ok, it wasn't important, I wanted to trim the table runner I'm working on so I could sew on the binding. Hey, I had some shows to watch and I could work on the binding while watchingTV. God, I need a TV in my office... Of course, I'd never leave my sewing room then would I?

I came back down to one of the best things ever. The kids were all sitting together reading a Christmas story. I had to grab the camera! (Yes, Seth has food on his chin.)
Tomorrow we are going to go get our Christmas tree. I feel like it's still too early but then isn't it already the 7th? That's not too soon. Heck, some of my neighbors had their Christmas decorations up the day after Thanksgiving! Dan and I don't want to deal with trying to get a tree next weekend seeing as there will be some little boys birthday party that weekend!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

If it's not one thing, it's another

The dryer died yesterday. It will toss the laundry but not heat it! Yeah... it sucks. I swear we must have angered the gods or someone put a voodoo hex on us. The washer died last summer when we moved here, the hot water heater went out last year, the furnace gave us a bit of grief this fall, and now the dryer. I do wonder when we get a break. This stuff isn't cheap, ya know. Couldn't it have waited until after the holidays?

I just had to bi!^h and moan a bit. Thanks for listening. As if you had a choice, right? :)

Tiff very kindly let me use her dryer today to dry up a load that was sitting in the washer from yesterday. I have another load that has been tossed with cold air for hours and hours. I think it's approaching all dry now.

Oh, Simon is sleeping fine in his brace. He is such a trooper.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

First snow of the season

We woke up to snow on Sunday morning. Hannah and Simon couldn't wait to go out and play in it even though there was barely enough to cover the ground. I made them wait until they at least ate their breakfast! Crazy kids. It was cold and I was still in my pj's so I didn't get any pictures from when they were out.

Seth got to go out a bit later when we got home from Costco. He loved the snow!
He loved it so much he threw a fit when he had to come inside.

I took him back out again after lunch time and he came in nicely on his own when he finally got cold.


No real tornado, that is just the name of the colorful pattern on Simon's new brace. Should I call him the Tasmanian Devil now? How appropriate that would be!

The appointment today was very long. They tried it on him, made some marks on it, and then took it downstairs to cut it. Again they put it on, made more adjustments, made marks, and took it to trim it. We had to be shown how to put it on correctly. Once we were shown then we had to put it on him to see if we got it. I think we're gonna be ok. It is hard to make sure it's all lined up right and sitting correctly. We'll be old pro's in no time.

The first week he'll just wear it to bed. We are to put it on about an hour before bed. It should be at it's tightest setting and then right before bed we can let it out a bit. Once we've all mastered wearing it for sleeping he'll start wearing it to school the next week. I'll have to talk with the nurse about helping him in and out of it for gym class. What a mess that will be.

All in all I think things will be ok. I am sure he'll be kind of sore since it pushes on one side of his ribs and supports/pokes up into the armpit of the other side.
Seth jumped right on into the pictures. The cute part is he is wearing a pair of pj's that were Simon's. It's hard to imagine Simon that small.

I'll let you know how the first night goes. I might get as much sleep as a mom with a newborn but so far he's sleeping soundly. He did gripe about it quite a bit when he had to lay down though.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

More braces

Oh boy, I feel like I haven't posted in forever but it's only been a few days. Things are chugging along as usual. This week seemed to be all about Hannah but not in a way that she really liked.

On Tuesday I took her to the orthodontist. When we saw the dentist a few months ago (yea, again I am a slacker) he told us she needed to go see an orthodontist. Well, the kid needs braces. She has what's known as a cross bite. Lucky us, two kids in braces at once. Just two different and probably equally expensive braces. Hannah isn't amused with this turn of events at all. We've all told her to trust us that she'll like having a beautiful smile with straight teeth when she is older.

Wednesday was parent teacher conference time. Both kids got good reviews. Hannah apparently likes to point out when people are wrong, even the teacher. Ah, oops. Simon is doing well academically but he blurts out answers without raising his hand. Self control is something he is still learning.

Then on Thursday I had to take Hannah to the optometrist. She repeatedly told me, "I don't want braces and glasses!" Ah, tough sh^t if that's the case kid. I had to get her eyes checked because the school nurse did a screening and found her to be 20/50. Great. Since our insurance plan covers every 24 months for routine screening for kids we had to pay out of pocket for this one. 88 smackeroo's for an exam. Part of the exam would have been to dilate her eyes but for 20 extra dollars they can take a digital image of the interior of the eye and they'd have it on file for future reference. Grr. What's another 20 bucks, right? Let's just roll it on over a $100 shall we to save her the discomfort of having her eyes dilated....grr.

Her eyes are fine. Can I send the school a bill?

Thursday was a good day though. I had my first Stitch and Kvetch with the MOMS Club. It turned out to be Misty and wonderful lady that Misty has been raving about, Susan. I had a great time. Coffee, muffins, scones, sewing, and best of all a well behaved Seth. I am working on a table runner that I actually pieced for the quilt store a few years ago. It's pretty nice but I am not sure if it will go with my other holiday stuff. This feels more formal to me.

Today my mom came over to try taking our Christmas card picture again. We had tried on Thanksgiving but we lost the light outside and most of the pictures where just a touch to dark. My kids also looked a bit disheveled. Today was a success. We got a picture where all of us looked good. My mom also got the picture at the top of the post too. Hannah's so darn cute. She'll still be adorable with braces too.