Saturday, October 30, 2010


This, apparantly, is the year of the "Trick-or-treat":  Last night we attended Trunk-or-Treat, an event at our church.  Today was ZooBoo! at the Maryland Zoo, and tomorrow, of course is the real deal neighborhood door-to-door event.  "Dorothy" and our little "Builder" have had a great time.  Enjoy the animal photos (I always take way too many, but there were some great moments today), and Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

i'll be back...

...but perhaps not until the end of the week.  Some unexpected extra hours at work mean less time at home this week with the kiddos, and working on all manner of projects.  Blogging will have to wait. Things should settle down by Friday or Saturday, so I'll see you then!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

trucks and stuff

It has been a crazy busy weekend, mostly good stuff, with some chores and things thrown in.  I'm usually pretty good about knowing how much I can get done but I totally overestimated this weekend, and as a result, I'm just now getting a blog entry done, and there are zucchini on my counter that haven't yet been made into zucchini bread--they will have to wait a day or two, now.

What did get done? Yard sales, farmer's market, deliver daughter to/from a birthday party, dinner out with my in-laws, paperwork, church, laundry, crock-pot meal, and...

"TOUCH A TRUCK"-- a great event put on by our local hospital, where they gathered all sorts of big trucks and public service vehicles, and allowed the kids to clamber all over them.  The little guy and I had a blast exploring every last one while his sister was at the birthday party.  Here's the evidence:

Airport snow-thrower!

Yes, it means..touch a truck! (or 20)

Bigger than him!
Army man!
...or UPS driver...

...or mailman?

All those horns and sirens got loud!

So, that wraps up my weekend. Off to bed.  Hopefully I'll get back into some crafting, some cooking (that zucchini bread!), and some reading in the next few days.  Until then, good night!

Friday, October 22, 2010

{lesson of the week}

The amount of time needed to deal with paperwork (school papers, mail, magazines, bills, etc.)  increases proportionally to how long ago that paperwork arrived in our house.  Not my favorite chore, but necessary.  I'm working on dealing with it more promptly....but I'm a slow learner!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

using my time wisely (?)

OK. So my goal for my days at home this week was to make some progress dealing with the piles of paper that accumulate around here. Trying to be diligent and take care of these things. Its not really my fault that all manner of other projects seem to take over! Really!  Here's what I've been working on (instead) today...
  • trip to Joann Fabrics, for fabric to make the curtains for my little guy's bedroom.  While there, also buy 4 skeins of yarn for future projects.
  • start cutting into pieces the full-sized quilt I found at consignment, again for the little guy's room.  It really was too big for his twin sized bed.  A little scary cutting it up to recreate it in smaller form, though.  Pictures to come.
  • purchase inexpensive frames to frame leftover pieces from above quilt, as wall decor.
  • making snack for our home group (small group Bible study) tonight:  rice-krispie treats complete.  Now I am going to try this recipe: Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies which I just found searching the net. Review to come...but it sure looks yummy.
I also finished a Dorothy (of Oz) costume for my beautiful girl's Halloween costume.  Last year after umpteen hours with a Tinkerbell pattern and silky/filmy fabrics that cost more than the Disney store version, I swore I'd never make her costume again.  Ha.  Back to the sewing machine this year, but a totally different story:  less than $10 in supplies (plus $12 sparkly red shoes), 2 hours, and no pattern, and I made a perfectly cute little blue gingham jumper. I'm sure those pictures will show up here soon too.

Enough talk, off to the kitchen to make those cookies! 
Needless to say, not much paperwork has been done this week.

Addendum:  here's a couple of photos from my projects... the quilt in "deconstruction phase"...and the cookies, which were oh-so-yummy!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

convicting eating habits

So I've been reading Barbara Kingsolver's amazing non-fiction book, Animal Vegetable Miracle, which documents her family's attempt to eat only locally and self-produced food for an entire year.  Its a great read, which is no surprise as I have enjoyed her fiction (especially The Poisonwood Bible) so much.  And it is challenging my view of reality (also no surprise, similar effect as her fiction!).   It makes you think a lot more about just where your food comes from, how it was produced, and how much it cost to ship it to your table (fresh fruit in January, anyone?).

Today at lunch I'm sitting there reading a little bit about her planting the years tomatoes, and realize the contradiction:  I have a bowl of Chef BoyRDee in front of me, and had just been proud of my self for choosing a healthy lunch, as the can assures me I'm getting "15% of daily grains, 20% of daily vegetables and 10% of daily meat per serving, good source of 6 vitamins and minerals".  Since I'm eating the whole can, which is really 2 servings, I'm thinking I'm doing pretty well.  And then it hits me.  Anything called "ChefBoyRDee" and served to me from a can is probably not produced locally by family farmers. Huh.  In fact, as I read the label further, I see it is made by ConAgra foods, one of the big 3 food producers in the US.

Well.  I obviously have a long way to go in being aware of my food choices.  Eating healthier for me would be a good start (and I'm thinking the Twizzlers for dessert were probably not a good choice).  Eating healthier for my family, the worlds food producers, the local economy and the environment would be good too.  Its a good start that I'm even reading the can, I guess. Little steps.  Once again, Ms. Kingsolver, you are rocking my world, and its a good thing. Thank you!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

baby sweater no. 1

My cousin Molly had her baby shower on Sunday, so I can finally reveal the sweater I knit for her!  I love the color and found the cutest little elephant buttons for it.  I figured, there is no better excuse for fun buttons than baby clothes!  Hopefully baby Quinn will stay warm in Monterey later this winter and next spring!

family photos

Here are some of the photos from our family photo shoot on Sunday... I am enjoying my camera more and more, and realizing, maybe we won't need JCPenney Portrait studio anytime soon! You might recognize the location as the same park that had the fall festival last weekend.  I loved the light in some of those photos so much I dragged the family over there for the whole shebang.  A tripod and self-timer go a long way, however we realized a remote for the shutter might be even better than the timer.  Anyway, here's the family!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

can we get some more s'mores?

We had a busy weekend around here! The Daisy scout campfire was last night, so I'll leave you with a few photos from that.  The best part was helping my little girl roast her very first marshmallows, and seeing her enjoy her very first s'more.  It brought back so many memories of my own scouting days, and I look forward to teaching her some of my favorite campfire songs, from "Barges" to "The Princess Pat" and "The Billboard Song".  There will be time for that.  At 5 and 6 years old, the Daisy's were more into "Five little pumpkins" and "The Three Witches", and even "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star."

I am amazed, as I think back, to realize how much my life today truly has been influenced by my many years as a Girl Scout.  I pray that her time in scouts forms as many wonderful memories for her as I have.

Can you smell the woodsmoke? Can you taste the marshmallow ooey-gooey goodness? Mmmm....I still can.

(As for the rest of the weekend, I'll try to process those photos in the next few days...there was a baby shower for my cousin, and family photos done at a local park today, enjoying the gorgeous fall weather!)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

my window this afternoon

Fall is tomorrow I hope to have pictures up of the Daisy scout campfire my girl and I are going to tonight.  For now, here is the lovely view out of our front window this afternoon.

Friday, October 15, 2010

{lesson of the week}

This week I am remembering that I am most productive when I am working from a well-crafted list, detailed almost down to minutiae, divided into categories.  Organized, I am frequently not.  But I make a great list!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

rainy day baking

It is one of those rainy October days when a sweater feels good, even in the house. The kind of day when a nap seems like the best way to spend an afternoon.  The wet leaves plaster the driveway. And there is no wind, so the pervasive feeling is quiet, and calm.  And it is one of those rainy October days which is so perfect for a little baking, for filling the house with warmth, and a little flour, laughter as we mix and make a mess, and yes, yummy smells.  We made banana bread this morning, the little guy and I.   It's my Mom-mom's recipe in her own handwriting, which has been photo-copied from my mom's cookbook, the page spattered with batter from years past.  It's comfort food, pure and simple:  it smells good while baking, it tastes so so good warm from the oven with a little butter, and it brings back memories of family and happiness and times past. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

various thoughts, in no particular order

a lot of things just kind of cruising through my brain today, so here is a sampling!
  • need to get started on my daughter's halloween costume, Dorothy, from The Wizard of Oz.  I have the fabric, but inertia keeps me from doing anything about it!
  • trying to figure out the difference between waiting on God to show the way or for Him to do something, and just plain laziness (see inertia, above!)
  • thrilled that the little guy has had 5 good days in a row of potty training (after 9 months of effort). Are we finally getting there? Or did I just jinx it?
  • thinking about the two scarves I'm knitting, and maybe will go work on one after I finish here.
  • or maybe it will be to go make the banana bread with the 3 1/2 bananas slowly going bad on my counter?
  • wondering when they will finally tow the car across the street in order to finish paving the street. frustrated that getting our street repaved is taking up so much of my brain!
  • realizing the washer has stopped and I need to go put clothes in the dryer.  And feeling blessed to have both!
  • wondering who all these people are who are looking at my blog! I'm glad you are.  I love the Blogger feature that lets you track what country people are viewing from, but it just evokes my curiosity. 
    I have people from:   the US, Italy, Finland, South Korea, South Africa, Iraq, Brazil, Australia, the UK, India, France, Canada, and Croatia on my list-- how cool is that! I'd love to know who you are, if you are out there! Please leave me a comment, just to say hi!
some days my brain is just like this, all over the place.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

on my needles

Just a little preview of what I'm working on currently.  A little Christmas knitting has begun as the baby knitting seems to be tapering off.  I've done 6 baby hats and 2 sweaters in the past 7 months, and I think there is only one more baby-to-come that I'm hoping to knit a little sweet something for.  This scarf is from the book Exquisite Little Knits,  it's called the "Flying V Scarf", and I'm knitting it up in Loops & Threads Impeccable worsted, in the Summerset Ombre colorway. Its acrylic, but oh-so-soft, and I'm finding the colors so lovely to knit.  Plus once the pattern was established, its something I can do without paying too much attention--perfect for TV watching, listening to the speaker at Bible Study, or any other waiting task. What are you working on?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

harvest festival fun

The kids and I enjoyed the gorgeous fall weather over at our local park's fall festival this morning.  Enjoy!


And just because I can't resist sharing: here's my favorite new picture of the kids!

Friday, October 8, 2010

{lesson of the week}

This weeks lesson comes from the little guy:  the tail pipe of the car is hot if you touch it! (especially if you've just gotten home from being out).   He sported a nice big blister on the tip of his thumb most of the week.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

nature walk

Autumn seems to finally be arriving, after a summer which just seemed to hold on and hold on.  Today's weather was perfect for the little guy and I to go adventuring after lunch. We have a small natural area in our neighborhood, close enough for an easy walk for short legs, and deep enough into the woods that you can forget suburbia for a little while.  We enjoyed moss, and sticks, mushrooms, and the creek; a heron, some squirrels, imaginary snakes (the best kind!), and perhaps a house for a real fairy. Enjoy!


And once we arrived home, we enjoyed getting the house ready for fall.  The sticks we collected ended up here:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

book report: the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society

Just finished reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (Dial Press, 2008).  As in, finished this morning.  This was a quick read, especially as I found myself reading in every spare moment over the past 2 days or so.  It never even made it to my "currently reading" list.  But just because the reading went fast, doesn't mean it wasn't without substance or value, in fact, quite the opposite! I think I will have this book in my mind in some way for a very long time.  It tells the story of the Island of Guernsey (U.K.) during the German occupation of WWII, through the eyes of Juliet, a journalist who becomes connected with these people shortly after the war.  Told in the form of a series of letters, it draws you in, and honestly by the end, you feel that you too know the characters like close and dear friends.

The impact of this book on me was that of awareness of suffering.  I was born long after this great war, and it truly humanized all the textbook reading of my high school years to paint a portrait of real people, real suffering, and in the midst of it, triumph through friendship, and yes, books.  It reminds me of the smallness of my own "suffering" (it seems pride to even call it that) in the little hurts, challenges, and difficulties that I face. And it gives me hope to persist in these little sufferings, to trust God, to be strong, to live each day for itself, and to love those around me even more dearly. 

It is cliche to say it but I shall:  I laughed. I cried.  I loved the characters, and I miss them now that I am finished this novel. It changed me for the better, really.  Read it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

i am a tree

OK, before you start thinking that I'm still on the muscle relaxants (mentioned last post), I'm not. Nor is the title of this post some existential wandering in my mind.   The truth is, there is a song that has been much in my mind and heart this past week, and the line that resonates with me is this:

He is jealous for me.
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.

To give proper credit, the song is "How he loves", written by JohnMark McMillan, and popularized by the David Crowder band.  We have sung it just a few times in worship at our church, and I didn't even realize that I had internalized the lyrics until I awoke last Thursday with the words in my mind and mouth.  Thursday was that impossibly windy, rainy (10 inches!), blustery day last week when two tropical storms collided and gave all of their moisture to us here on the east coast.  So the words were fitting to the picture outside my bedroom window when I awoke, and throughout that whole day.  And they have stayed with me over the past five days, through my days of back pain (much better now), and today as I face some unexpected changes at work...that initially drove me to that common and easy emotion: FEAR. 

Today it was as if God was challenging me: what will you allow to sway you (that tree in the wind thing again): your fear, or your trust in Me?  I would rather be the tree bending to Him: His will, His love, His mercy.  Otherwise I just bend under the weight of my selfish fears, and that kind of weight will only cause these fragile limbs to break.  His hurricane love, on the other hand, may bend me, and may change me, but if I am strongly rooted (in Him) then there is no fear that I cannot withstand it.  Today I will choose not to fear, I will choose to TRUST. Because, as the song's chorus reminds me again and again:

He loves us. Oh, how He loves us.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

{lesson of the week}

This week's lesson is that if you are taking muscle relaxants and lots of pain medication, you should probably not be blogging, as it may be incomprehensible.  I will hopefully be rejoining you in the next few days, as my back starts to heal (just a muscle strain) and I stop taking so many pills. See you soon!