Thursday, November 29, 2007

Busy and missing a week

No one has ever tagged me with that "8 random weird things about me" meme that's always going around. But if they did I would have to put down that I have a very bizarre sense of time. Also, that I can totally and firmly believe two completely opposite things at the same time. For example- last Sunday I knew that the date was November 25th. I was going to a cardmaking party and it was on the invitation. We were reading the newspaper that morning and I remarked to my husband "It's exactly one month until Christmas". So I knew the date. I also know that November has 30 days. As my mother used to say- Thirty days hath September, April, June and November.......
Another thing I knew, as well as I know my own name, I knew that I had one more weekend before the month of December. I'm telling you people, I would have bet money on it. Until someone at the party (who shall remain nameless but here's a link to her blog) told me that the following weekend was December. I tried to tell her as gently as possible that she was quite wrong. Then the others at the party started ganging up on me and taking her side and before you knew it "poof" one week of my life just disappeared! Now I need this week -I was going to organize myself. I was going to buy and wrap all my presents. I have a half decorated tree in my living room. My Christmas village is only half set up. We just watched a documentary on extreme weather and my little village kind of looks like it could be a homeschool diorama- "Christmas Village....After the tornado". But the thing I am most behind on is making 75 handmade ornaments for a Christmas Party favor. The party is always on the first Sunday in December. Which,as it turns out, is in fact this upcoming weekend and not the week after that. So that's what I've been doing the last couple of days. I'm making little wreaths out of puzzle pieces. I 'm pretty happy with how they're turning out. The top photo shows a few of the finished wreaths and stacks of the wreaths that are still waiting for bows, poms poms and hangers. The photo under that is of piles of candy for the treat bags. Whoever makes the ornament also brings 75 little bags of candy, one for each child at the party. It takes longer than you'd think to put these little bags together. If only I had one more week....

Monday, November 26, 2007

Lucky me!

Ever since I won a contest in third grade and got to take home the class guppy, I've known I was lucky. The guppy had babies the next day- Lucky! Yesterday was a particularly lucky day for me- after spending the afternoon at my friend Laura's house (more on that later) I came home to find out I won a cupcake in a blog giveaway over at The Mosaic Queen! I'm so thrilled- I love all her work but her cupcakes are my favorites - you've got to check out her site- it just makes your mouth water. She sent me an e-mail to let me know I won and told me to pick a color and style but I just can't- they're all too pretty. I wrote her back asking if she could surprise me. So- if you are wondering where I'll be for the next week or so- I'll be on my front porch waiting for the mailman to come. Thanks to Michelle for her blog giveaway and a big Thanks to Michelle's husband for picking my name!

So another reason yesterday was so lucky for me- my good friend Laura hosted a craft party. She called it a cardmaking party but there was so much more to do. I made a beaded keychain and a bunch of Christmas ornaments. There was also Quilling and giftbags to decorate. Laura is so generous with all her crafting supplies- she puts a ton of stuff out on the tables and lets you know thats not all of it- just tell her what you need and she'll get it for you. She puts out a beautiful spread of food and she gives out party favors too! She's probably the most generous person I know- she even gave me her quilled snowman! See- again with the lucky.

Of course, no lucky day would be complete without hearing from my Johnno. He sent me an email from Prague! He's traveling there with his friends Marta and Vidar. Next week he goes to Dublin- he's lucky too. Sometimes these things run in a family.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Crop 'til you Drop

Today my sister JoAnne treated me to a early Christmas present. She paid for us to go to an all day scrapbooking event. We cropped from 8am-8pm! It's called a crop because you cut up or "crop" your photos before you mat them and stick them on fancy scrapbook paper. Then you cover every inch of the paper that's not pictures with diecuts, stickers, fibers, buttons, glitter, etc. until you can't really see the photos anymore but it's oh so pretty. You are supposed to save room on your page for "journaling". Journaling is a handwritten account of what is going on in the photos on the scrapbook page. I refuse to journal because it always comes out too goofy or corny. Kind of like this post but with worse penmanship. My sister is a journaler extraordinaire.
She has also been known to "triple mat". That's scrapbooker talk for crazy.

Of course I had someone take a picture of me at the chocolate fountain. And because it was a scrapbooking event no one even looked at me funny. These are people (myself included) who never leave the house without a camera. Scrapbookers can actually buy scrapbook paper and scrapbook stickers that have scrapbooks and scissors and such on them that we can use to make a scrapbook page documenting ourselves in the act of scrapbooking. Really.

I brought my photos from Europe to the crop. I spent a little time organizing them and then I got to work . Photos above- three pictures of the stages of a mosaic I made of John and I at the Eiffel Tower. When you become a scrapbooker it changes the way you take pictures. While I was there at the tower I was thinking it would make a good mosaic page so I took some close up photos of the iron work. Back in the states, I wasn't really happy with how it was looking on paper so I chopped up and added some of the pictures I took at the flower stand a couple blocks away from the tower. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

12x12 Photo Mosaic Tips

Tips for creating a Mosaic out of photographs.
  • Choose photographs that have a common theme. You will need about 8 - 10 photos for a 12x12 page.
  • Don't use one of a kind original photos. Always have negatives or make copies.
  • Start with choosing your main photos. These are the photos that will be the biggest on the page and the focal point. Trim them to the size you want.
  • Save all trimmings from photos.
  • Choose the paper for the background. Light solid colors with little or no pattern work best.
  • Using your choice of adhesive, attach main photos to page. (top photo)
  • Begin with the largest images and start filling in the rest of the page. (middle photo)
  • If you start to have trouble with the placement of the photo pieces, try looking at the page from more of a distance. You can also try letting your eyes go out of focus. This usually helps me decide which piece belongs where.
  • Lastly, and probably most important- don't get all caught up in perfectionism. The cut bits of photo are more interesting if they are different sizes. It's near impossible to get the pieces aligned with the exact same amount of background paper showing. Just relax and enjoy the process. Happy Scrapping.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Welcome to the family Conrad. If you only knew what you were getting into.

Tonight my mother hosted a little get together to celebrate my sister Suzanne's engagement.Above photo- Suzanne and Conrad,the happy couple. He's from Canada, don'tcha know.Now they are living in Denver. It was such a funny night. My stomach actually hurts from laughing so much. They haven't set a date yet but they're thinking maybe in the spring.

Either my boys are getting taller or my Mom is shrinking.

Tim and my mother's good friend, Joyce.

Yup, he's gonna fit in the family just fine.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Bird is the Word

On the turntable-

In the oven-

Today we spoke to Johnno over the internet using Skype (FREE! I'm thankful for free!) He's doing Thanksgiving with about 20 or so of his friends. They got a 27 pound bird in the oven- he made an apple pie and people are bringing side dishes. Sounds like fun but I wish he was home.
We woke up at 5:30am to put our turkey in. If I had to prep the raw turkey- we'd be having frozen pizza for dinner. I'm a total carnivore but I could turn vegetarian every time I handle raw meat. So Tim wakes up with me and rinses out the turkey while I stand behind him and make retching noises. Ah- holiday traditions. Tim's parents and one of his sisters are coming for dinner at 1:30. We eat early because his parents like to be home before dark. Hope you all enjoy your day!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Free Associations

I've seen this around blogland for a while now- It's fun!- Try it yourself-

From- Unconscious Mutterings


Free association is described as a "psychonanalytic procedure in which a person is encouraged to give free rein to his or her thoughts and feelings, verbalizing whatever comes into the mind without monitoring its content." Over time, this technique is supposed to help bring forth repressed thoughts and feelings that the person can then work through to gain a better sense of self.

  1. Treadmill ::Gerbil

  2. Stroke ::Paintbrush

  3. Exclusively ::Yours

  4. Lash ::Eye

  5. Red carpet ::Oscar

  6. Credit card::Yes,please

  7. Points ::Credit card

  8. Domestic ::Cat

  9. 21 ::Drinking

  10. Inject ::Shot

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Broken Vow Thursday

Now I'm not saying I can control the weather or anything- but the temperature has gone down 15* since I bought this coat today at a rummage sale. Really. The coat was $4.00- the vintage dish towel-25 cents. Today was homeschool bowling and Riley bowled two strikes in a row!! One of the strikes was for his friend because he was playing a video game when his turn came around but the second was on his turn. My Poppy K spent a lot of time at the bowling alley- he once bowled a 297! So it's just in our blood to have sweet bowling skills.
It's been about ten weeks since I made a solemn vow to never ever ever host a sleepover again. So guess what we're doing tonight- evidentially ten weeks is my cut-off date for never ever ever. They have promised to go to bed by midnight and I'm going to hold them to it. We've had pizza- we're making milkshakes with leftover halloween candy in them- and we rented this movie. I might be the only one filling the birdfeeders for the next few weeks.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

W.I.P.* Wednesday

Here's a couple projects I've been working on. Top photo- today we got about halfway through spray painting 3000 puzzle pieces for a Christmas Party favor ornament I volunteered to make. I'm making 75 little wreaths out of puzzle pieces and mini red pom-poms. Even though I was outside and tried to stay upwind, I think I inhaled some spray paint- I have a metallic taste in my mouth that's just not going away. Bottom photo- I'm making a three layer "cake" out of disposable diapers for a baby shower gift for my cousin. Griffin walked by and said it looked just like a cake with fondant frosting- that boy's been watching too much Food Network!

*W.I.P. = work in progress

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Some Rocking Cool Art

Tonight we went to a really cool art exhibit. It was a collection of photographs, gold records, handwritten lyrics, concert posters and original art by rock stars. It was sponsored by a local radio station so there were some games and contests. Griffin won us five tickets to go to a concert by The Machine, a Pink Floyd cover band!

The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List

Just received this today from a homeschooling e-mail list I am on-I thought it has some good points and is also pretty funny-

The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List

From Secular Homeschooling Magazine, Issue #1

1 Please stop asking us if it's legal. If it is - and it is - it's insulting to imply that we're criminals. And if we were criminals, would we admit it?

2 Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you're talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent grasp of both concepts.

3 Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to socialize.

4 Don't assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.

5 If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a "reality" show, the above goes double.

6 Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling. You're probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you've ever heard. We all hate you, so please go away.

7 We don't look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they're in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if we're doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling.

8 Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.

9 Stop assuming that if we're religious, we must be homeschooling for religious reasons.

10 We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.

11 Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I didn't have to complete a course in catering to successfully cook dinner for my family; I don't need a degree in teaching to educate my children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can't teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there's a reason I'm so reluctant to send my child to school.

12 If my kid's only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he'd learn in school, please understand that you're calling me an idiot. Don't act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.

13 Stop assuming that because the word "home" is right there in "homeschool," we never leave the house. We're the ones who go to the amusement parks, museums, and zoos in the middle of the week and in the off-season and laugh at you because you have to go on weekends and holidays when it's crowded and icky.

14 Stop assuming that because the word "school" is right there in homeschool, we must sit around at a desk for six or eight hours every day, just like your kid does. Even if we're into the "school" side of education - and many of us prefer a more organic approach - we can burn through a lot of material a lot more efficiently, because we don't have to gear our lessons to the lowest common denominator.

15 Stop asking, "But what about the Prom?" Even if the idea that my kid might not be able to indulge in a night of over-hyped, over-priced revelry was enough to break my heart, plenty of kids who do go to school don't get to go to the Prom. For all you know, I'm one of them. I might still be bitter about it. So go be shallow somewhere else.

16 Don't ask my kid if she wouldn't rather go to school unless you don't mind if I ask your kid if he wouldn't rather stay home and get some sleep now and then.

17 Stop saying, "Oh, I could never homeschool!" Even if you think it's some kind of compliment, it sounds more like you're horrified. One of these days, I won't bother disagreeing with you any more.

18 If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you're allowed to ask how we'll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can't, thank you for the reassurance that we couldn't possibly do a worse job than your teachers did, and might even do a better one.

19 Stop asking about how hard it must be to be my child's teacher as well as her parent. I don't see much difference between bossing my kid around academically and bossing him around the way I do about everything else.

20 Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he's homeschooled. It's not fair that all the kids who go to school can be as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of anything but childhood.

21 Quit assuming that my kid must be some kind of prodigy because she's homeschooled.

22 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of prodigy because I homeschool my kids.

23 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of saint because I homeschool my kids.

24 Stop talking about all the great childhood memories my kids won't get because they don't go to school, unless you want me to start asking about all the not-so-great childhood memories you have because you went to school.

25 Here's a thought: If you can't say something nice about homeschooling, shut up!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Shopping spree and Feng Shui

The heck with decluttering anyway- we went on a shopping spree at a rummage sale today. Most of the time the boys don't come with me on my treasure hunting- but this church has always has a wicked good bake sale so I was able to talk them into tagging along. Of course if they had stayed home we wouldn't have a cool keyboard or a glittery new bowling ball to call our very own!

A couple years ago I took a class in how to Feng Shui your home with my sister JoAnne and my friend Julie. (Shout out-- Hey) The class taught us that the front door and porch is the face of your home. Well my "face" had lots of dead and wilting plants and cobwebs on it so yesterday I feng shui-ed my front porch.

Tips on how to Feng Shui your front door-
  • Paint your front door red, a high energy hue that symbolizes good fortune. Or you could place a red wreath on your door.
  • Hang metal wind chimes outside your door to attract positive energy.
  • "Plant" three coins just before your threshold to boost your family's prosperity.
  • Place a charcoal or black doormat by the door to attract water energy, which brings good luck.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

In Honor of Election Day

I first saw this quiz at my blogfriend Eden's -her regular blog is down so for now she can be found here -

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Reality-Based Intellectualist, also known as the liberal elite. You are a proud member of what’s known as the reality-based community, where science, reason, and non-Jesus-based thought reign supreme.

Take the quiz at

Monday, November 5, 2007

Ketchup connoisseurs

We had a ketchup taste test tonight at dinner. I picked up packets of ketchup from England, Italy and France to bring home and of course we had good old American ketchup on hand. Riley is The Ketchup Kid and I have to say I was very impressed with his advanced palette. He guessed them all correctly. I had removed the packets so it was truly a blind taste test. The end results are- American Ketchup is number one!!! The ketchup in England was a close second and basically if Riley ever finds himself traveling to Italy or France he will defiantly be bringing his own bottle along.

*Number of times I wrote the word "ketchup" in a one paragraph post - six - seven if you count the title- that must be some sort of record.


The weekend started with me vowing to do something about my clutter problem and ended with me picking through a couple garbage piles. How could I possibly leave those picnic baskets behind- or that old stenciled child's chair? It was made in Romania!!! I'm thinking that they will be good for plant stands. Still- the clutter thing is getting out of control- the living room is nearly impossible to walk through. It has piles of Halloween decorations all over. I am pleased that we got the decorations down already- I've never been a big fan of leaving decorations up for too long after a holiday. I've got to box everything up for Tim to put up in our little crawlspace of an attic. That and the huge knot in Griffin's hair are my projects for the day (I asked Griffin if I could take a picture of the back of his head for my blog and he said NO! so you'll just have to use your imaginations but think big !)

Also- I know my trip was so two weeks ago but if anyone besides me still cares to read about it - John has updated his blog!!! He wrote about the days we spent in Rome and Paris here.