Hearts for Valentine's Day

When I saw Made by Joel's felt heart garland I knew I wanted one too. I liked his red, white and black color scheme. Looking through my stack of felt, I chose red, orange and yellow with a little black thrown in. Since I'm not friends with my sewing machine, I hand-stiched everything. If you were machine stitching, you could probably make this in a couple of hours. But this took me a couple of days working in front of the TV after the kiddos were tucked safely in bed. 

I tried it out first on my mantle and it was okay. But I lack the mantle-decorating gene. So I moved it to the dining room wall. It at least looks festive there. I would guess the cost was under $3 ... four pieces of felt and maybe 1 1/2 yards of ribbon.


The print says "Be happy for this moment this moment is your life."
Amanda at Kind Over Matter very kindly shared it with her readers. 

I especially need the reminder when the boys are driving me nuts. 

I need the reminder a lot.


Big-boy school

Like every Thursday, I dropped my two boys off at school today ... we call it school but it is a Parents' Day Out program. For Joseph that means he gets to play with folks his height. But the curriculum changes as the kids age. Will's 4K classroom is very close to kindergarten with structure and instruction. I know all the kids in his class. I know all the parents. It's been a warm and safe bubble for close to four years now.

My bubble is about to pop.

This week Chris and I are putting in the time to pick a kindergarten for Will. Lots of options of there ... lots of price ranges. We have taken two school tours, another one coming up and at least two more to schedule.

I don't think William will have a problem moving to a new school. He might be nervous for a second but he is my social butterfly and makes friends wherever we go. I didn't think I would have a problem with it either ... I've always secretly scoffed at moms who cry dropping their kids off. What's the big deal? The separation is just a few hours. But I'm afraid it might just be me crying when the time comes. Because the big deal is my baby is growing up and going out into the real world without protection.

Have I taught him enough to let those taunts from bullies roll off his back? What about peer pressure? I will be dropping my baby off with strangers ... what if the teacher doesn't like him? Will it be the right atmosphere for Will to learn to his potential? It's the unknowns that are putting knots in my stomach. And I've got to hide my insecurities so Will doesn't mimic them back to me.

We will feel better when we make a decision. We will have all summer to get used to the idea of going to big school. And I'll have a box of tissues with me the first day.


Pink, red and free

Valentine's Day will be here soon. Here are some (free) printables and ideas 
to get you in the mood ... to craft and decorate!


At Second Street

Spell LOVE and BE MINE ... At Second Street

Simple felt heart garland ... Made by Joel ...  I love the black/white/red color scheme

Valentine Snowflake Garland ... Peppermint Plum

Subway Art/Posters

Sprik Space

I love you spelled out ... Sprik Space

Keep Calm and Kiss On ... The Hands-On Housewife

Subway art that can be so much more ... It is what it is

A reminder what LOVE is ... Betty Crocker Wannabe

Owl Always Love You ... It's a Crafty Life

Kids' Valentines

30 days

For the boys (and girls) obsessed with cars ... 30days ... Will just asked to make these

Everything you need for a classroom party ... It's Always a Party at the Parkers

Or you could use this one ... Catch My Party (they have lots of free party printables!)

12 ideas to make for classmates ... Skip to My Lou

For presents

Hello, Good Gravy!

Bright and cheery tags ... Hello, Good Gravy!

XOXO ... Take the Side Street

Happy Valentine's Day!

(Not enough ideas for you? Tatertots and Jello has a huge roundup.)

 Linked to Weekend Wrap Up Party at Tatertots and Jello
and the Hugs and Kisses Valentine's Party at It's a Blog Party


Bunny love

You may remember that I wanted to nickname Joseph "Linus" for carrying around a pillowcase. Everywhere Joseph went so did the pillowcase and his stuffed monkey, aka "Kitty."

But these days there is a new person that dominates his life, or should I say, a new bunny. Bunny goes everywhere. On the few occasions that Bunny is not in Joseph's arms, Joseph will wander around the house with the most pitiful expression moaning, "Where's Bunny? Where's Bunny?"

I dared put Bunny in the dryer one day after Bunny had a drink in the cats' water bowl and you would have thought it was the end of the world. Joseph stood crying in front of the dryer until Bunny was rescued though still slightly damp. We can't look at bunny books at the bookstore because Joseph will cry until he is back home holding Bunny. Bunny now rides in the car. But we can't take Bunny to school because Joseph got very upset with his classmates. Nobody messes with Bunny.

It really is precious. We did not go through this with Will. Will pretty much wanted us to hold him all the time and wasn't so concerned with holding anything himself. He did eventually latch on to a baby doll that he named Scooter Hatrider. And then this last summer he had a brief fling with a Barbie. But when Will was little, it was just him and a blanket in the crib.

Joseph has a whole party in da crib. There's Bunny, a back-up Bunny, Kitty, a pillow, blanket and just today he added the life-size Winnie the Pooh to the mix. It's fun to see Joseph try to carry everyone at once. And we certainly can't all fit in the rocking chair to read stories but we sure try. Not sure how long this new love will last, but I'm enjoying watching Joseph love and care for his Bunny.

Now, are you ready for some super-cute photos?


LEGO punk

You could consider me a LEGO fangirl. Will has enthusiastically taken to legos and mommy and daddy are right there with him. And so are the grandmothers. Will gets tons of sets at birthdays and holidays. One of his favorite stores is the LEGO store at the Galleria (his other favorite? The Apple store of course).

We like legos because they are fairly inexpensive (a treat for son and dad is to "pick your own" bricks at the store for $8) and inspire creativity. You can make just about anything and then play with it. We are lucky to have the LEGO store in town ... they host free monthly builds and special events.  

Recently I saw this picture (sorry, don't remember which blog featured it) and thought ... $250??!!! It's nice and all, does have a diamond but heck, for $2.50 I'll just make my own.

Which I did in about 5 seconds. Supplies include legos (I bought my own and Will was right there making sure I didn't raid his box), hot glue and ring blanks. I had a very hard time finding ring blanks at the local craft stores so bought some off Etsy. Glue ring blank to lego, making sure it's centered, and you are ready to build in style. For fun, add some "bling."

See, mine has a "diamond" too!

In no way am I trying to claim originality. I made mine without looking up instructions but there are plenty of folks out there making these. Chris likes them so much that he suggested I make some to sell but a quick search on Etsy turns up close to 200 hits. If we ever travel to a LEGO Con (oh yes, there are conventions) maybe I can make some to trade. That would be cool.

Here are some more cool LEGO jewelry ideas ...

I love the heart shape of this necklace, the clasp is the legos!

For the ultimate Lego fans, these could stand in for wedding rings.

Here is another more expensive but very mod Lego ring that you can build on.

Want more jewelry? Ubrickit is the mother lode.

FunkyTrend did a whole post on interesting Lego jewelry.



Wannabe foodie

A neighbor recently offered up a huge amount of cookbooks — first come, first serve — so my cookbook bookcase got some new additions. Hopefully I can find some inspiration within because I've been in a food rut this week. My little boys, like most kids, are a challenge to feed ... one could eat the same thing everyday without complaint and is suspicious of new foods while the other may like one thing Monday only to not like it Thursday. 

I am a wannabe foodie but in reality I'm the everyday PB&J chef, while Chris is our specialty chef. He likes to cook but doesn't get to cook often so when we have guests or a special occasion, he gets to play in the kitchen. For several years now we have not gone out for Valentine's Day. Instead, Chris cooks me a wonderful gourmet meal and I make him a decadent chocolate dessert. Win-win!

Favorite cookbooks

"Make it Fast, Cook it Slow" by Stephanie O'Dea, also writer of one of my favorite food sites*
"Hershey's Homemade," can't go wrong with chocolate
"Bell's Best" and "Bell's Best 2," this is where all of grandma's recipes end up

Wish list

"More Make it Fast, Cook it Slow" by Stephanie O'Dea
"The Family Dinner" by Laurie David
"Mad Hungry" by Lucinda Scala Quinn
"Apples for Jam" by Tessa Kiros

Favorite food Web sites 


What I see

An angel to watch over me.

Connections to the past.

Pretty things to contemplate while washing dishes.


Where I am

If there are lags sometimes in posting, like this last week, chances are I've been doing a whole lot of this ...

And we are starting to really enjoy this ...

Back to regularly scheduled programming soon.


This is how WE do it

I live on one of the best streets in the whole US of A ... seriously, other folks are jealous of my neighbors (as they should be). Friday night I was down at one end of the street celebrating the end of the holidays into the wee hours. Sunday night, roaring bonfire at the other end. Doesn't everyone have a bonfire when it snows?

Don't you just dig this flamed fire pit? Designed/made by neighbor Shea.

Neighbor Mavis pulls Will and Moses in the sled as her daughter Guinevere follows. At this point, the flakes were really coming down. Of course the Scullys would have the most rockin' sled.

Joseph takes a turn with Will. Both were in their PJs when it started to snow. Oh well, we threw warm clothes over their PJs and headed outside to play.

After it snowed a good bit, the fun ended and the sky send down freezing rain instead. Which made our nice, fluffy snow very crunchy for the next day. Too crunchy and hard to walk on. You could skate on the road with just your sneakers. So instead of building snowmen, the kids spent more time sledding.

You know, you can slide down a hill on just about anything ...

Joe after his turn down the back alley in the kayak. There was much fun with this. My action shots turned out lousy but all the little and big boys had fun taking a ride. 

I know folks up North have to laugh at our panic over a few inches of snow. But what really got us all worked up this time was the ice ... snow and ice are not common events so we do not have the driving skills needed. Everything closed Monday and barely started to open today. Heck, I may still not leave the house Wednesday. Thankfully we did not lose power and weren't stuck home alone. I'll weather any storm with my great neighbors!

Stuck home

We've had some snow here down South but a nasty glaze of ice came with it. Stuck inside I made up my own flurry of snowflakes. Will didn't want to make any but used his scissors to cut out his own shapes while I worked.

I used the 5-pointed paper snowflake tutorial on How About Orange for variety. I had been wanting to try it for awhile. Pretty simple to follow and makes unique shapes.

I taped my flakes to the window. Rather cheesy.
These however are not cheesy ... check out here, here and here.


Fabulous Friday — bada bling

Check out this ring! Bada bling!

At the mall the other day, some jewelry in the window of one of those trashy stores caught my eye (you know, one of those places with stuff only teenagers could wear) and all the costume pieces were on sale cheap, cheap, cheap. They also had this owl in gold but I like the turquoise. 

Sure it's pretty gaudy and not quite my style but I love it! Sometimes, you just have to buy the stuff that makes you grin every time you wear it.


Random pictures

Instead of Random Thoughts Thursday, it's random pictures I'm bringing to the table today. As I am putting up Christmas this week, I wanted to share a few things.

One of my favorite presents to receive this year was three vintage Christmas Golden Books. I would show you a picture of them all laid out nicely, but Joseph had other plans. Overall, we had 25 books come into the house over the course of the Christmas season and that's not counting these or the ones we get in the mail. Whoa! I bought some, Santa brought more, grandmothers added to the mix. 

Here are my felt trees that took forever to finish. Okay, the first two were finished well before Christmas, but the last one on the right I finished last night. I saw a picture last year and thought, I want to make one but I couldn't stop with just one. Mine are a little different so I'll share how-tos next Christmas. I'm happy to say they have already got several compliments.

What, you didn't have robot to watch over your Christmas decorations? 
Will saw it at a local crafts fair and I had to agree, he's pretty cute.

Do you have an Angry Birds champion in your house? In fact, as I type this Will is happily playing away on my iPhone. He loved getting this shirt for Christmas from mommy and daddy.

And that blue tinsel tree might be one of my new favorite Christmas decorations. I had a regular green tree in my hand while out shopping after-Christmas sales but Will spied the blue one. He didn't want to put it up after Christmas but I convinced him it would be safe in the attic. I look forward to decorating it with him next year.

The new year

So January is here. Doesn't feel much like a new year to me yet ... still feels like 2010. My days are very similar and I don't always know the date anymore. But still, it's a new year so maybe I should start acting like it. One big change is that Joseph started school this semester ... we figure it's about time for him to socialize with other little ones to learn how to play, share, etc. He's a homebody, sleeps best in his crib, loves to explore but always within reach of me so we'll see how this new phase plays out.

So with two kids to get ready for school twice a week, I need to get to bed earlier the nights before and every night. Yes, and eat better, more exercise, floss, blah, blah, blah ... this momma should take better care of herself but I don't.

One thing we need to do is eat out less. Chris and I both enjoy going out ... the boys love Moe's and Chick-fil-A. And I'm a sucker for getting a Happy Meal when Will's been good. I am not anti-fast food. I went to McDonald's every Sunday for almost four years with my Dad. It's amazing that he survived all that artery-clogging food. I kept Will from McDonald's french fries until he was almost 3 (because they are crack I tell you, yummy delicious salty crack) but Joseph already loves them and pizza. So eating out less would also be healthier for everyone. And that takes menu planning (sigh) and better grocery lists with organized coupons (which I should cut weekly not monthly, double sigh).

I decided that Chris will recycle our glass once a month instead of the four times a year we might be doing now. We have to cart it to the downtown recycling center and I'm tired of the comments as I unload box after box. Plus it will free up some space on the porch for actual play. Chris said I can't make a resolution for him so I asked if I can resolve to nag him about it instead. Not surprisingly, that idea was met with silence. Overall I want the porch to be more company-ready instead of the dumping ground for miscellaneous it is now. Same goes for the foyer. Oh what I wouldn't give for more closet space!

But I don't have more closet space so this clutter that we don't even see anymore has to go. Time to toss, toss, toss. It won't happen overnight but little by little, maybe I can make a difference by next Christmas. That's the goal anyway.

I swear I did not set this up. 
More of this. Less television and computer time. 

Other goals include spending less time on the computer finding stuff to make and actually make said items. Working more on friendships, old and new. Writing more letters. Organize the photographs. Refine Will's table manners. Joseph will have to lose the bedtime bottle soon ... not looking forward to that change.

Okay, I think that's about enough resolving for one year. May it be a good one for all of us.


Joseph's new adventure

Joseph started "school" today. He's going to the same Parents' Day Out program that Will attends. When I dropped him off in the classroom, there were many tears like I expected. I'm a little worried but they were heading to the gym area soon where I hope the balls and riding toys will distract him. 

Now, what is momma to do with three whole hours to herself?!

* Yes, those are matching jackets. I've been buying the same jacket from Old Navy for years because it wears and washes well. Joseph is wearing Will's old coat and has many years of hand-me-downs ahead of him.


Life with boys

I find the boys' toys everywhere — in the bathroom ... 

Hiding on the bookcase ...

On the trunks ...

At least the cats don't seem to mind.