Friday, December 22, 2006

Insert Evil Laugh Here

Guess what I'm doing? Wrapping Christmas presents.
Guess what I made? Mwa ha ha (is that how you spell it?)

The ever elusive red and white twisted twine. This is how you do it. I used embroidery floss.

OK. See you in 2007. For real this time.

Merry Christmas

Here's wishing you (and me) a peaceful and relaxing Christmas surrounded by those we love. Safe travels, best wishes, and hugs!!! See ya in 2007! :)

p.s. Gumdrop wreath courtesy of Isn't it cute? We don't have a decent wall to hang it on, so it serves as our kitchen table centerpiece. I've caught the kids licking it and picking at it more than I want to remember. We'll see how long it lasts. hee hee.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Fa la la la and a freebie

Well, I'm finally caught up on the laundry and have restocked the fridge after throwing out all the spoiled food. Thanks for all your well-wishes after the storm. Can't believe some of the comments. Pregnant and in the basement for 7 days? Holed up for a few days in the cold with a 10 day old baby? Ahem! I feel very very fortunate (and wimpy). Anyhoo.

Working like a crazy person to get the Christmas cards done and mailed. Don't know why I'm hurrying so, since they are FOR SURE GOING TO BE LATE ANYWAY!!!

I was being all serendipitous over at Say La Vee and saw this post and knew right then that I needed to have the "three wee kings" stamp for my Christmas cards. Found it on ebay. There you have it. It's one of those things I'll use just once. There aren't that many moms of 3 boys out there, are there? If you'd like the stamp for next Christmas leave me a comment. If there are multiple people who'd like it, I'll draw names. ;)

Here are my 3 wee ones. Getting this photo was a ton of work. The only way I could get them all down like that was to tell them they were having a crawling race.

ETA: The stamp goes to Africankelli. Send me an email with your address, Kelli, and I'll get it in the mail to you. :)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Warm again

Coffee--the old fashioned way:

Thanks to last week's windstorm we've been without power since Thursday night. Things weren't so bad on Friday. We were hopeful that the electricity would be turned on soon. We had plenty of firewood for the day and our gas cooktop for heating water and doing simple cooking. Then we drove around in the van to stay warm and got to see the actual damage. Holy moley. In our little neighborhood alone, there are at least 15 downed trees. One of our neighbors managed to have a tree smash down on their car AND their house, blocking their front door. Friday night we scoped around some more and went to the only grocery store around that was open (running on a generator). It was full of people, but there was hardly any food. No bread, no milk...we bought some canned soup and Ramen noodles. It felt like a war zone (minus the war, of course) I know why my dad and mother-in-law and anyone else who has lived through a war seems to have a perpetually well-stocked fridge and pantry. We went home got out our sleeping bags, roasted marshmallows and camped out in front of the fireplace. Saturday morning we woke up to a 50 degree house. We drove around to survey the damage and then realized that it all looked exactly the same as it had the day before. Radio reports were very Seattle-centric, which is fine normally, but when you want to find out specifically how things are doing on the eastside, forget it! No info about how things were progressing and no one was willing to commit to anything.

Here's a recurring conversation:

me: Awww. Mikey's crying. What do you think is wrong?

hubby: Well, is he hungry?

me: No. I just fed him. Maybe he's not feeling well. He does have kind of a runny nose.

hubby: Maybe he's just cold. Yeah. He's cold.

We finally decided to go to a hotel. We had to drive about half an hour to find one with electricity and a vacancy (of course). It was a hotel that normally charges about $130/night for a room. . . not a fancy place at all. They charged us $280. Because they could! We got one of the last rooms. People behind us in line were turned away.

Anyway, I won't go on and on with this story. I'm just glad that we're back home and we're warm and we don't have to wonder anymore if Mikey's crying because he's cold. They're saying that in some areas people won't be getting electricity back until at least Thursday. Brrrrr.

A couple of pics from around the neighborhood:

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Something useful

Last night I was making cookies for a cookie swap. They were double-dipped in chocolate, and since the chocolate hadn't fully set yet, I wasn't sure how to package them. I didn't want to just pile them on top of each other, because that would ruin them. I didn't have enough plastic containers to single layer 3 doz. cookies. And saran wrap on a paper plate wasn't going to work either. So this is what I came up with. (Didn't take a picture last night, so I'm reenacting this for you ;))

Put your cookies on a paper plate:

Put another paper plate on top and snip through both plates where indicated:

Take your string, ribbon, or raffia and wrap away. Those little snipped areas really hold the string nicely and keep everything together.

Now if I could only find some of this red and white string, I'd be all set!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Thank you, friends!

Got some more goodies in the mail. Thank you Beki for the adorable appliqued bib and onesie. So sweet! Mikey just started eating solid food this week, so the bib came just in time. Actually, who am I fooling? He's been wearing bibs for a while now, since he is the world's most drooly baby. I love the get-up Beki! Thanks so much!

And Lera sent me this soap she MADE!!! Not the melt-in-the microwave glycerine kind. The kind they made in the olden days with lye. Am I right, Lera? It so lush-like. And smells yummy. Good thing it has "Do Not Eat" on the label, because it smells very edible. Hope my kids don't say any naughty words or I might actually make them eat it. (It's a joke. My kids are very pure and would never say anything naughty!) And did you see the little ornament that she sent me too? The little snowman is so simple and rustic. I love it, Lera! And speaking of Lera--she made the cutest little baby shoes.

And speaking of baby shoes, any one who uses my pattern and lets me know about it will be my new BFF. So there! Check out the new ones on the flickr group. Especially these. She made them with silk brocade. Aren't they so very Petunia Picklebottom? I need to make some diaper bags out of silk brocade and sell them for $150. Do you think anyone would buy them?

One more thing--thank you for those of you who comment. I honestly don't know why you do--I've been so bad about commenting back lately. I'm really trying to just keep my head above water here, with hubby being out of town, and trying to just maintain my sanity some days. I can totally relate to this post and this post on the frustrations of being a mom. I think I really need a vacation.....

Friday, December 01, 2006

Grateful Friday

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We went on a road trip to Portland for Thanksgiving and then had Dave's parents visiting with us the week after that. They left yesterday, and we already miss them terribly. I've been blog reading, but not commenting, but hope to get caught up on that.

It's been so long since I've posted that I don't even know where to start. I think I'll just write what's been on my mind lately. Non-crafty content coming up, so if you're not interested, that's ok. I won't mind if you click away now.

This was the year we were going to indulge in a couple of things. First, we decided to get new sofas. The old ones were 9 + years old and we bought them before we had kids, so we foolishly chose white, and they just got uglier and rattier as the years went on and I just couldn't put up with them anymore. So, yay! New sofas. The second thing is that we decided to have the exterior of our house painted. It badly needed it. Our house (and original paint job) is 20 years old, and here in the PNW, where it's damp and moist, that's already past the limit, I think. So we had that taken care of too--early last month. Things started snowballing from there...

1. We had our ducts cleaned. Figured they were due, since we moved in to this house over 4 years ago, and who knows when that was last done. The duct guy had to go into the crawl space to reconnect a duct. He noticed some poopies.

2. We had to call an exterminator who said we had rats. He set up traps (no rats were found--thank goodness), but he went up to the attic and noticed some sunlight streaming in.

3. We called the roof guy to come out and do a patch job. He said to keep a close eye on things, and that we could maybe hold out for another year or two. In the meantime the painters stepped all over the roof (it's cedar shake and doesn't respond well to being stepped on), and now it turns out our roof can't wait, it needs to be taken care of ASAP. So that's on for next week...

4. In the meantime, our van broke down. The same stinkin' van that was in the shop the week before my due date. It's broken down pretty consistently--let's see. Mikey's 5 months old now. The van's been in the shop 3 times since then. Yeeesh. It's our only vehicle that can take all of us (Dave drives a Ford Ranger). So it stinks being stranded. We wanted to drive the old van until it died (have you ever read The Millionaire Next Door? We aren't millionaires, but the whole simple-living and the "living beneath your means" aspect of the book really appeals...more on that some other time.) So we bought a van last week, a gently used but reliable one. Sigh.

5. By the way, did I mention our dishwasher broke down a couple of months ago and needed to be replaced?

6. OK, here's the kicker. After the van, we were in a weird way feeling relieved. After all, we didn't have anything left that could go wrong. Right? Yeah. 2 days after the van, Dave came downstairs and tried to boot up the computer and the dang thing wouldn't start. So merry early Christmas to me. I'm right now typing on my new laptop.

Why after all this am I grateful on this Friday? I'm certainly not glad all of this happened. I'd much rather have the money in the bank than all the new "stuff." But I do recognize that for some people any one of these things could have been a huge setback--possibly affecting their livelihood, or ability to stay at home with the kids, or possibly even pushing them into financial ruin. We are and pretty much always have been scrimpers and savers. And now the scrimping and saving has paid off when we needed it to. I'm the type of person who balks at spending $9 for a yard of fabric and I hardly ever go to Joann's without my 40% off coupon. I sometimes feel like we're grown ups now and so maybe we should replace our IKEA table and chairs with a set from Pottery Barn. But you know what? I'm so over that. At least this month I am. From here on out, I'm going to stifle those jealous feelings I get when I go visit people who have it better than I do...great furniture, huge house, slab granite countertops...enough! I'm SO extremely grateful that when all these things happened and needed to be addressed we were able to address them. Being grown up isn't all about buying the good stuff. It's about being able to take care of yourself.

I'm grateful for parents (on both sides) who weren't ashamed to buy store-brand, who taught us the value of a dollar and the value of hard work. And I hope that we can pass that on to our kids as well. And yes, we're approaching the Christmas season when money seems to flow like a river, right out of people's wallets. Not much is left in our wallet this Christmas season. But who really cares? That's not what Christmas is about anyway.