Saturday, November 29, 2008


I feel like I have the opportunity to take more photos of Dana since she is home all day and Nora is at school all day. I managed to get a couple of really cute photos of Nora this weekend so here they are.

Oh, how I love this! Nora has been really into cleaning the last few months. My lovely Virgo daughter. For a while she loved to dust, and would go around with a dust cloth every day after school. Lately, she has been toting around a bottle of spray cleaner and a paper towel looking for messes to take care of. Don't worry-we use all natural cleaning products so she is safe while she spiffs up the house.

So Nora made a paper version of herself at school this fall. She recently brought it home and has been having a lot of fun with "herself" ever since. Here, the two Noras enjoy lunch.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow!

We are having Thanksgiving with Kevin's family tomorrow, at his mom's cousin's house. My job is to bring dessert, so Dana and I spent the day baking pies. We bought a sugar pumpkin, pulled out the seeds and baked it. When it cooled, we scooped it out and made the pumpkin pie filling. I hope it's yummy! Do you like our mess? Nobody ever said making pie crust is a simple task.

Looks sure can be deceiving! The pie on the left is raspberry rhubarb, Kevin's most favorite. The top crust is a lovely butterfly and heart pattern. See, I had trouble with my crust again. I think I know the problem but it pains me to write it out. See, I used Bev's tried and true crust recipe so it should have been flawless. But again, the crust fell apart when I tried to move it into the plate. The new thing I am doing is mixing it with my food processor instead of a pastry blender. So I am guessing that food processor+pie crust=TROUBLE. So sad. It is so much easier than the pastry blender. So rather than throwing out the top crust that had fallen apart, I used cookie cutters and put the little crust cookies on as a top crust. It looks cute and covers up my ineptitude.

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you enjoy good times and good food!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fun in a Box

Remember how I was saying there is no need to purchase toys for kids? Here is another great example, don't you think?

Nora finally got a booster seat, which she is so thrilled about. She was mortified to be seen climbing out of her "baby seat." When I dropped her off at school a couple of times, she pretended she had been sitting in the middle, BETWEEN the two carseats. So it was definitely time. Anyhow, the box has been a huge hit around here. Three days later, and they are still playing with it. In fact, they are both in it as I write this. The outside has been colored as well. Hurray for creativity!

Here is Dana, modeling her rainbow hat. She selected the yarn herself, though I tried to coach her away from it as it is pretty scratchy. She pretended she thought it was super soft because the idea of a rainbow hat was so appealing. So now it is done, and it turned out pretty cute with a cool pattern and everything, but it is too scratchy. Of course. I have never lined a hat before but I am now going to figure out how to do that so she will wear this.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

More creative fun

I feel like I have a thousand things going on this week! It is relaxing to be creative in between the other, not as fun stuff.

These girls-I tell ya! Nora has been just bursting with fun ideas. She colored a piece of paper, cut out a table top, set it on top of some cups, used upturned bowls as seats, and voila! Dora's mom, Home Simpson, Velma from Scooby Doo and a fairy sat down for a meal! Two days later, this is still in use. With the holidays coming, this is an excellent reminder to me that purchasing toys is totally unnecessary. Clearly what we need is a better selection of craft supplies.

My reluctant model. I have (had) seven knitting projects in line. Ack! How did that happen??? Last night, I was invited to knit with a girl Kevin used to work with and her knitting group. I finished this entire hat! It is a chemo cap for a woman who works with my father in law. It is so soft, cozy and wonderful! I have never met her, but am told she is a tee-shirt and jeans kind of girl and that a simple, dark colored cap would be best. I hope she likes this! I had a great time making it. I had some money left over from my birthday and I used it to buy a size 9, 16" circular Addi Turbo needle and let me just say-WOW! It is such a difference! I knit really, really tight and my stitches always get hung up on the joints of my bamboo circulars. Not with my Addi Turbo! I think I am in love. In fact, my next project is a hat for Dana and I dispo'd my original pattern to find one that calls for size 9 needles rather than size 6. I am knitting with my usual group tonight and am super excited to make lots of progress on Dana's hat. When I am done, I need to do a quick baby hat and then get back to my holiday gift knitting. Lately, the more I knit the more I love it.

Stay warm and dry!

Monday, November 10, 2008

November Fun

Here is what we have been up to so far this month. Just FYI, I have been trying to keep our lives very low key of late. September and October were crazy busy, and the holidays are coming and promise to also be crazy busy. So this stuff may not look uber exciting, but we are having fun staying home and keeping things simple.

Way back in kindergarten, Nora's teacher made volcanoes with the class. They are made of clay and painted appropriate colors. There is a hole in the top and the underside is one big hole. So you put a medicine cup of baking soda on a plate, put the volcano on top and slowly pour vinegar in the top hole. The resulting "eruption" is pretty fun, albeit stinky. This whole activity is much more enjoyable if you are wearing a wedding dress from the costume box. Try it!

On Saturday, Nora invited one of her school friends over to play. They had so much fun and were so creative together. Here you can see them partaking in their main activity of the day: collecting snow. Seems benign enough, but let me continue this story. It snowed just enough to put a small dusting on solid surfaces (this does not include the ground). So the girls got bowls and spoons and scraped the snow off of any surface it had collected on. They brought the snow inside and packed it into a muffin tin. Next, they topped it with sprinkles and put it in the freezer to harden. Finally, they attempted to eat these delicious treats and instead found them not as tasty as anticipated. I coerced them to eat frozen yogurt with sprinkles instead. Afterward, they took the muffin tin outside, removed the snow cakes and threw them at the house. All good fun!

This morning, Dana said to me, "Mom, if we make gingerbread men, will they run away?" I, of course, found this question to be so incredibly adorable that I responded, "Let's bake some and find out!" I should insert here two important facts. First, I do not like gingerbread cookies. I actually greatly dislike them. Second, I do not like making rolled out cookies. This second fact is surprising because I love to bake.

Anyhow, our day began at 9am, when I found an interesting recipe that included orange zest. After we made a big mess making the dough, we put it in the refrigerator to chill. Then we set out trying to find a gingerbread man cookie cutter. I know that every other mother in America owns a gingerbread man cookie cutter, but I do not for the two reasons already mentioned. So we got dressed and went to Canal Park to buy one at the Blue Heron. After looking through their cookie cutter selection and coming up empty, we were told that Christmas cookie cutters have not arrived yet. Duh! So Dana picked out this bone cookie cutter so we could make gingerbread Scooby Snacks instead.

Yup, there is more to this story. So we got home, rolled out some dough and cut out eight cookies before Dana decided she had had her fill. She untied her apron and walked away. I finished all of the rolling, cutting and baking myself. I excitedly asked Dana if she wanted to try one of her gingerbread Scooby Snacks. She took the tiniest of bites and said, "Mom, these cookies taste really NOT wonderful." This was at 3pm. After we had spent six hours on the project. Oh well.

I ended up giving the cookies to Uncle Sam and Aunt Lizzie, who both think gingerbread is tasty. Thank goodness! Nobody in our house likes it. I didn't want to throw five dozen cookies away. As you can see, the bones spread while baking and the result is maybe not so appetizing. At least we had fun, and the house smells nice and spicy.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trick or Treat!

Here are a couple of photos from Halloween. It was a lovely, warm day, which was such a nice surprise! Costumes were also a nice surprise. The girls wanted to go as two of the Hex Girls, which is a girl rock band on one episode of Scooby Doo. Of course, nobody had costumes even remotely close to Hex Girls and by the time they had settled on the Hex Girls, I just didn't have time to sew anything.

Luckily, Nora changed her mine at the last minute and decided to be a witch, wearing a costume out of their enormous dress up collection. I took Dana shopping on Thursday and we searched high and low for something suitable for those darn Hex Girls. She was NOT satisfied with the selection. However, I was able to talk her into being a hula girl. She spent most of the summer in the hula costume at home, so it wasn't much of a stretch. We just bought a new lei and a pretty flower thing for her hair and were good to go.

Posing on the hay bale outside our door pre-trick or treating. You've never seen a hula girl with a magic wand before? We heard that comment a lot last night. Dana did not care.

We did have an unfortunate incident with the wand at bedtime. It cracked somehow and spilled weird glowing liquid all over Dana's bed. She got it on her hands and then, of course, rubbed her eyes. Non-toxic but it still hurt. And the blanket? Weirdest thing I have done in a long time. I took it into the laundry room, laid it on the floor, turned out the light so the liquid would glow, and soaked the spots in stain remover. With the lights on, it was hard to see where it had spilled since it was yellow. But the package said it stains so I had to put in some elbow grease. It was just weird in the dark. Very spooky.

Dana is trying to demonstrate some hula dancing but it is hard to capture in a photo.

After half an hour, Dana told me, "I have enough candy." She was freezing and wanted to go back to Auntie's house. It actually worked out perfectly since Zak had plans and was leaving at 6:30, and Dana made her declaration at 6:30. We just went back and handed out candy and accepted compliments on their awesome Halloween display in the yard. Boo!