"What did you do this summer?"

We got very close to birds at the Memphis Zoo ...

After putting it off as long as possible, we went to Chuck E. Cheese's 
with Cousin Ryder ...

We enjoyed lots of popsicles ...

We checked out the Star Wars exhibit at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center ...

We splashed and splashed ...

Overall, it was a good summer. 


Fabulous Friday

Less than 100 days until Christmas. I know, scary to think about that! But I've got two presents in the closet and I've started the annual "what to buy for who list" because this year is going to be different. This year I'll mail the Christmas cards on Dec. 1 and I'll have all the presents under the tree two weeks early in matching gift wrap and perfect bows. 

HA! HA! HA! That's a good one. 

While my Christmas plans may not be perfect (and who likes perfect anyway!) at least I know that I'll do my best finding perfect presents for friends and family. 

Like this tea mug. It is perfect for Will's godmother. It falls under the category, why the heck hadn't someone thought of this before?! I know I'm not the only one that loses tea bags habitually. The design is crazy good. Which is why I saw this first on Design Crush. I'm still tracking down where to buy it but my understanding is that it is sold in the U.S. 

Tie Tea by George Lee, founder Le Mouton Noir & Co.
(photo by Joseph Hsu)


Random thoughts

"You might try doing what my folks did. Twice a week they would go out for a special meal. . . with wine, good food, and soft lighting. Dad took Tuesday and Mom took Thursday."  — Anonymous

Okay, that one made Chris and I both chuckle.

First up, I want this now! Okay, I can't afford the actual art but I could afford a print maybe. I think it would look really cute in a play room or nursery. Seen on Design Crush. Read more about the artist, Jamie Shovlin, here

Are you enjoying the fall TV premiere week? Glad to see old friends? Have a favorite new show? Two nice guys I know wrote a great preview of what to watch or not. If it wasn't for the DVR, I wouldn't get to watch anything. Unfortunately, that means I still have some shows left over from last season. Honestly, I should just delete them but one day I'll get around to them, right? ... Shows I don't miss are "Chuck" (NBC), "Fringe" (FOX), "The Good Guys" (FOX), "Glee" (FOX) and "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC). I also watch "House" (FOX), "Desperate Housewives" (ABC) and "Private Practice" (ABC) but they're not favorites. New shows I'm going to try out include the "The Event" and "Raising Hope" (FOX). No, I don't have time to watch all these. I'll just have to give up something I love to do like cleaning the house. It will be a hard sacrifice!

I recently watched "Mamma Mia!" (had been on the DVR for weeks, see above) and LOVED IT! I like musicals in general and thought it would be cute but I liked it way more than I thought I would. It was so campy cute. And I've had ABBA songs stuck in my head every since. Meryl Streep really can do no wrong. She's amazing. 

The big project this past week has been sorting the summer/winter clothes. I got Will's old clothes out of the attic for Joseph. He is not quite on the same growth pattern as William but there is a good bit that Joseph will be able to wear. I swear it would be easier to buy new things than to keep track, sort, store, etc. the hand-me-downs. 

I took some to the big consignment sale but not as much as I could have. Bethany of Vermillion Rules is hosting a Baby Clothes Quilt Along and she got me thinking about saving the boys' clothes for that purpose. I ran into one problem though — I've had trouble remembering which cute onesie belonged to who. I think Bethany has it easier because she has a girl and a boy. Maybe I'll just make one big quilt.

That about wraps up Random Thoughts Thursday. Feel free to add your own random thoughts ...


Fall is here

Fall is here. At least, according to the calendar. But around here you wouldn't know it because we still have temperatures in the 90s! Despite the heat, school is back in session, Halloween candy is in the stores and football is the dominate water cooler topic. I ventured out to the shed and found the fall wreath Will and I made last year. Maybe with a little visual reminder, Mother Nature will remember to turn on the A/C.

I saw this wreath first in Scholastic's Parent and Child magazine, October 2009. (Scroll down to the bottom for a picture of their wreath.) I thought, I can do that. And look, we really could. It was super easy. And easy to do with kids. Make it their "job" to gather the supplies. 

Twig Wreath

You'll need:

thick cardboard cut into a wreath shape, about 2-3 inches wide (I used a diaper box)
lots and lots of twigs, more than you think you need
pine cones
leaves and berries (real or fake) 

1. Using tacky or hot glue, start attaching sticks around the cardboard circle. 
I varied the length of the sticks but you could make them all the same. 

2. Go back outside when you realize you don't have enough sticks. 
Or in my case, go back outside twice!

3. Layer on pine cones, berries, leaves and whatever you have on hand. I had planned on just using pine cones but it looked plain. I had the fake leaves left over from our wedding decorations and I think they give the wreath a good pop of color visible to the street. 

4. Hang on your door. Enjoy!


Creative Me party at The Southern Institute



First day of school

Our summer was long! Our school offers short sessions in June and July but nothing in August. And every long, hot August day Will would wake up and ask, "Am I going to school today?" Didn't I wish it. But slowly the light of the setting sun turned that lovely golden shade of fall and the days grew shorter. I could finally say, "Yes Will, you are going to school!"

First day of 4K
AUMC Parents' Day Out
Sept. 7, 2010



So I've already filled you in about my near-death experience. Okay, I wasn't dying but it sure wasn't pleasant!

The illness completely ruined our weekend plans. See Labor Day weekend is my birthday weekend. We were all ready to go to the cabin with Chris' family for one last summer hurrah. Will declared that swimming in the lake was his favorite thing in the world and he just couldn't wait another day to go. There was no way I was going nor would they want me to bring the plague with us. Thankfully, Will did not make a big deal out of the trip being canceled. Rewind a year and he would have collapsed into tears but he's grown up a lot in that year. 

Good thing Will, with Chris' help, had planned my surprise party for earlier in the week or I wouldn't have had any cake at all. With not much notice, they gathered friends and neighbors together while I was out of the house at school orientation. When I got home, Chris calmly said come check out what the boys are doing on the porch where I got a big "SURPRISE" when I opened the door. How sweet that my little guy wanted to do that for his momma. Chris was sure I had a clue but I didn't. Just like he didn't have a clue nine years ago when I threw him a surprise party for his 30th. Good times.

Neighbors and friends on the back porch. Before my arrival, they helped with decorations
including a Happy Birthday banner made by the kids.

Joseph certainly enjoyed eating cake with his momma.
Thanks Will! 
(And thank you Chris!)


In the attic

On a recent trip to the grandparents, some of the more hardier souls ventured into the attic. The search party was hoping to find training wheels to add to Will's new bike. A set was not found, but many other treasures were ...

Someone was a very lucky boy their first Christmas.
Fisher-Price Play Family Airport, dated 1972.

Folds out for play. 

Love the graphics!

Fisher-Price boat, dated 1972.
Hasbro Weebles Camp-About Camper, dated 1972.

I like the sticker furnishings. Detail shot of boat.

So important to have those throw rugs in the '70s. Detail shot of RV.

Fisher-Price Creative Coaster. Very cool vintage piece that shows the love it had.
Chris admits biting the horn off. Dated 1972.

Milton-Bradley Star Bird, 1979.
This was not in the attic but is a prized toy of daddy's that had been hanging out in his old room.
Not anymore as it came home with us. But it was not let into the van until the battery was taken out.
 It makes noise, lots of noise. And according to Will, when it was taken for show-n-tell Tuesday, everyone went crazy!

Treasures for the adults too!

This would look very nice used to frame a similarly framed picture.

My father-in-law took these from an old house slated to be torn down.  

So what do you do with vintage toys? You play with them!

Aunt Rebecca's Cozy Coupe, circa 1980s.


Where does all the time go

Really? I haven't posted since Sept. 1? Dang. Not that I haven't been writing in my head (Do you do that? I've done it for the longest time, even before the blog).

The day I wrote the last post on quilts, I could barely stand up, but I could sit up. By Thursday something had a hold of me that I couldn't even sit up. Stomach flu? An viral infection that messed with my inner ear giving me vertigo? What ever it was, I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. The boys behaved for the most part. We literally watched TV ALL DAY that Thursday. The meds the doctor gave me made me very sleepy so I didn't move off the couch. Not sure how I fed the boys since I couldn't stand the thought of food. Nor do I remember how I got the boys ready for bed. It did involved some tears on my part; Will could not understand HOW MUCH MOMMY WAS HURTING and I just needed some cooperation. But they went to bed, I went to bed and Friday Chris was off so I could rest in the bedroom all day. By Saturday I could sit up and even take a shower. By Monday, it was like it had all been a bad dream.

Then it was back to routine ... school started, soccer started, dishes had to be washed. Life is busy again after the long summer break. Blogging got pushed to the side but it's back on the to-do list. A lot has been happening to share so this week I'll be playing catch up. You guys may not miss me, but I miss me.


Polyester goodness

I love the idea of making a handmade quilt. I even started one many years ago (okay, just eight) with dreams of entering the state fair. That dream is still on my bucket list. But stuff gets in the way. We all know what that stuff is ... just stuff.

When I had to empty the craft closet last week to clean out mildew, I dug in the quilt squares left behind by my Grandmother. I sincerely plan to make a quilt with her squares. Between the squares finished and the ones cut out, I think there is enough fabric. Thank goodness because finding that much polyester could prove difficult. This is genuine '70s goodness! Might make the most flameproof quilt ever in existence. I'm sure there are some quilting purist that cringe at the thought of a polyester quilt but Grandmother was of the waste not, want not generation. I can just imagine her wearing some of these patterns.

Will helped me sort the squares — one huge match game.
Grandmother did not make many quilts. But the ones she made were special. One lean Christmas, she made something homemade for each child (5!) to have Christmas morning. My mom's gift was a quilt. It went to college with me and never made it back to her. Chris brought to the marriage a few quilts made by various family members. They are quilts in the true sense, full of rips and holes from doing their duty over the years. 

My Aunt Catherine has really thrown herself into quilt making in the last five years. (She is so crafty that I haven't seen her not be able to do something yet — our annual Christmas ornament is always a treat.) She made a nursery quilt for Will with little lambs (and the bumper pads and crib sheets) and then another quilt with big rigs for his big boy room. And we got a special anniversary quilt. 

No, he's not sleeping. Just faking.
Joseph on the anniversary quilt.
I really want to make this Night Watch quilt or this Villagers Rejoice! quilt with Lizzy House's "Castle Peeps" fabric. That second quilt is a free pattern.

And then this quilt is adorable ... "Eat Play Sleep Repeat" by V. and Co. It's also a free pattern!

Playmat quilts are fun. Here is one by Little Red When.

I was just about to hit publish on this post when the UPS guy showed up with a huge box. My mom recently asked Aunt Catherine to help with a T-shirt memory quilt for me. And while this project has been in the works for a while, the actual making of the quilt took just a few weeks. Will has been testing it out.

Most of the T-shirts are from college and high school.
My mom picked most of the T-shirts with a little input from me. Some I don't remember at all but she remembers washing them again and again. Some may not be a favorite T-shirt, but represent membership in a group or group event attended. Thanks Mom for my special quilt! Thanks Aunt Catherine for making it!*

*Chris wants to know when he gets one.