Monthly Archives: June 2010

A first swim


Since Dorothy ended up being available after all on Friday she got to make more beautiful beaded things. She made a lovely long necklace for me which I’ve been wearing with pride. (Although I can’t decide–is it better to have a child use the standard neon plastic beads and then wear her artwork knowing everyone will know it was made by a child, or better do to as I did and let her use “grown-up” beads, giving the final product a quirky and mismatched look for which there is no obvious explanation?) She also fashioned something that I never though of myself in all my years of beading–a beaded crown. She’s wearing it in the photo above. Unfortunately it won’t stay put very easily and she’s allergic to bobby pins after our experience trying to affix her ballet recital tiara to her straight, glossy hair.

We traveled to Cincinnati this weekend with my family and had a terrific time. In addition to taking in the aquarium and children’s museum we stayed in a hotel with a pool, which was probably the little girls’ favorite part. Baby Worth took his first swim and, um, got a taste of his first food–chlorinated pool water. Yuck! Highlights of trip included my brother kindly securing a wheelchair for my grandfather in case he needed to sit, Granddad refusing to use it, then my daughter and niece hijacking it to ride around gleefully squealing “we’re old! We’re in a wheelchair because we’re old!” And being seated at dinner over a table of bachelorette partiers wearing plastic tiaras (and nose rings and glasses and t-shirts that involved the word “bitch”) who were identified by my smitten niece as real princesses. She wouldn’t take her eyes off them the whole night!

Family jewels


I’d been wanting to do beading with Dorothy and had been waiting for the right day. Today seemed good, so I mentally reserved the late afternoon for some mother/daughter crafting. But then my girly, who spent the night with her Nana and Opa last night and apparently slept very little, sacked out all afternoon. After two hours of her nap I went ahead and got the beading things ready–just to have them out. After two and a half I decided to just start without her. I made myself a necklace inspired by the tag-style ones that are popular now. I put little screws in Scrabble tiles with the initials of my two kids and then strung them on a chain I already had with pendants I made from their birthstones.

Dorothy finally woke up from her over three hour nap and was very excited with the new craft. She dug right in (“I don’t need help, Mom.”) and went to work. I’ve had to practically drag her from the table to complete the day’s other activities. And now it’s nearly ten o’clock and as I type this she’s still stringing beads, arguing with her father about the necessity of stopping for the night. I just told her we could make more jewelry tomorrow and she said, “But I just want to do it tonight; I’m not available tomorrow.” Not true (she is, in fact, available), but oh so funny. And I think she’s making me a new necklace. Fun!

All American


I’ve been back at the sewing machine this week, and unfortunately my house is suffering from it. Now I’ve got to put it all away and focus on another open house this weekend–oy. But in the meantime I’ve finished a sweet project for my little cuties. I made the kids matching outfits to wear on the 4th of July and I really like them. Dorothy’s dress is from Simplicity 5695 and Worth’s romper is from Simplicity 5316 (altered for shorts). I was thinking a shorts and shirt set for Dorothy, but she chose the dress pattern from several I laid out for her. The disappointing thing is that Worth’s really doesn’t fit. I’d made this pattern before, as a gift, and thought I remembered it running rather true to size. But when I chose a generous size for my rapidly-growing little man it turned out way too big. In retrospect I don’t think I did a great job leaving enough seam allowance either, which also probably helped it turn out big. I’ll still put it on him for the 2010 4th (and a picture with matchy sissy), but I think it’s more likely to look good on him next year.

The "sweetest" bouquets


Today is the happy day Dorothy and Worth get their grandparents back in town forever. Hooray! My in-laws, who have been living in Saint Louis for the last nine years or so, are closing on a house nearby today. It makes us feel great that we’ll have our whole cast of important people in town and near us. Dorothy and I made a cookie bouquet to take them tonight as a house warming gift (and dinner, but no help from Dorothy on the soup). I’ve done a couple experiments in the cookie bouquet realm over the last few years and I think I’m establishing best-practices, so in case you ever want to make one, here’s how.

First bake a recipe for soft and chewy cookies of any type. I’ve done double chocolate and chocolate chip. Today I used this recipe that I found online and it worked perfectly. You can’t just use any cookie recipe, because one that only makes small cookies (which might not scale) or crisp cookies (too brittle or crumbly to hold sticks) wouldn’t work. When you take the cookies out of the oven, immediately skewer them gently with wooden barbecue skewers. Push the skewer all the way in, but not so far that it comes out the top. Put skewers in more cookies than you think you will need just in case some fall out or break when you’re assembling the bouquet. (Don’t ask how I learned that!) Then walk away and don’t touch the cookies until they are perfectly cool.

While the cookies are cooling, prepare a container to hold the bouquet and some decorations for their packaging. I’ve used clean peanut butter jars in the past, just decorated with ribbon and fabric. A decorated yogurt container weighed down with uncooked rice would work nicely too. Today we used a container that actually came with a professional cookie bouquet we received after Worth’s birth. It already has little holes for skewers. Dorothy decorated it with permanent markers. We also decorated little stickers to put on the outside of the cookies. I used round Avery inkjet labels, which I printed with little welcome home slogans, then let Dorothy decorate with the markers. In the past I’ve printed out simple labels with words in a flourishy font in a color to match the ribbons I use on the cookies and jar–simple and pretty.

After the cookies are completely cool, wrap each cookie individually with plastic wrap and tie it up with a ribbon. Cut off the bottoms of the skewers so the cookies are of various heights, then arrange them in your vessel. Stick the labels on the front of the cookies. Finally, stabilize the cookies by arranging tissue paper around them. I wish I could think of a better way to handle this last step than killing trees by using the tissue, but I can’t. Only tissue paper (that I can think of) can be wadded up at the bottom and splayed out at the top to gently support the cookies all the way up.

Gift the bouquet, then enjoy the leftovers with milk! 🙂
I saved a couple skewered cookies by wrapping gently in foil and freezing. These individual cookie “pops” will make nice hostess or birthday gifts from Dorothy in the next couple weeks.

A hat for me


All the sunhat-making I did a couple months ago for the kids inspired me to alter the pattern a bit for myself. So I did, and this is the result. It’s made from one of the sheets from my thrift store buying spree of a few weeks ago. I have, it turns out, a particularly small head (spare me the jokes–it’s too easy) and thus have a very difficult time finding hats that fit. I adjusted the toddler pattern up just a wee bit, and now I have a hat to fit my own just-bigger-than-a-toddler (oy) head.

And what did the little guy do all this time? This isn’t a flattering picture of him, but it captures the current era. He’s, like, so over being horizontal. (Insert some little baby eye-rolling at Mom if she suggests he lie on his back.) Now it’s all the rage to be sitting up like a big boy, with a smorgasbord of delicious toys to grab and chew on. He’s at that funny stage where he can get toys to his mouth but can’t let go, so in certain circumstances he really causes himself grief by retracting his hand and taking whatever delicious rattle or pacifier was in his mouth with it. Poor kid.

Feet, fathers, and a cold jar of something


I haven’t had much to blog about this week. While recovering from a summer cold, I’ve been spending most of my down time backing up photos and burning our family movies to DVD. I don’t even try to “keep up” with things like that–I just take care of it all in one big effort every six months or year or so and that seems to work well enough. It’s fun when I do, because we have a great time reviewing Dorothy’s progress and re-watching some favorite old family movies.

The picture above is Worth’s feet this morning. I made these shoes (crocheted then wet-felted) during that last painful week of pregnancy, when I just kept churning out booties and hoping to go into labor. I watched the Olympics while I did these one night. I love them, but I don’t know what they are supposed to be. Jester feet? I think they look a little like leaves, as if his chubby little legs just sprouted out of them. I’ve been waiting for him to grow into them, and now he has. Fun!

This project was actually from a couple weeks ago. I was tempted by a set of clear plastic iced tea tumblers at Costco, but felt like I didn’t need any more drinking plastic in my life. So I assembled this instead. It’s a wide-mouth canning jar with a stainless steel drinking straw. I used a metal punch to poke just the right sized hole in a heavy-duty plastic lid, so it’s reasonably spill-proof, easily washable, not plastic (except the lid), and cheap! This week I’ve been guzzling juice out of it as I try to kick this cold. This size jar fits nicely in my car drink holder, but I can use any size wide-mouthed jar.

And last but not least, Father’s Day! Dorothy and I put together a nice little gift bag for Rob with a Dorothy-decorated coffee mug, a picture for his office, a whole stack of Dorothy art, and an impish pair of cufflinks from Etsy with little treasure maps on them. I think he likes it all (although he unintentionally attempted to dissassemble some Dorothy art that was supposed to stay folded–oops!), and now we’re off to spend the rest of the afternoon appreciating him however he wishes!



Two days of painting by my Dad and one late night (pictured) from my husband later, and we now have an extremely attractive newly exposed front porch that in no way resembles the screened-in haven of tea party dishes, half-burnt candles and caked-on playdough we had before. Although I have to admit I was rather fond of my dusty old front porch playroom, this one should look much better to potential buyers.

With the house all cleaned up for the open house, my little family skedaddled out of town to a lovely outdoor wedding picnic and a day at Holiday World. The park was just right for us–I couldn’t believe how family friendly the whole place was! From the clean, safe rides for the four-year-old to the pleasant, air-conditioned space with stacks of clean towels and comfy gliders for nursing moms (hell yeah!), we all had a really terrific day. Dorothy rode the canoe ride (above) so many times that when Rob finally went to drag her off the friendly ride operator told him “Dorothy is a very polite girl.” Apparently they’d developed a relationship and exchanged names during her multiple trips through the start!

Our only unpleasant moment at the park was right after Dorothy and Rob exited the log flume–soaking wet. We hadn’t prepped her that she’d get wet on the ride, oops! She recovered (and dried off) pretty quickly though.

After we arrived back home, however, our little happy holiday was over. We realized we’d left an big wet bag of dirty cloth diapers back at the hotel room. Ick! Cloth diapering only saves money if you wash and reuse–not if you leave them at hotel rooms to get pitched out by horrified cleaning staff. Darn. So I made a little trip to Mama’s Hip today and did some diaper shopping. Luckily, my little chunk is now big enough for the next size up, so although it hurt to replace the wet bag, at least I was able to buy some diaper covers we’d have ended up needing anyway.

Can I haz a tiny little cheezeburger?


Some random things that have made me happy this week:
1. Doing modeling clay with my daughter.

2. Cute, freezing children who are snacking in the shade after running through the sprinkler in the sun for hours.

3. This sweet face.
4. My family’s help getting ready for this weekend’s open house (thanks Mom, Dad and Cam!).
5. My hydrangeas.
6. The one-hour setting on my bread machine, so I can decide mid-morning to have fresh-bread peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with last week’s jam for lunch!

A deer and more house effort


Given that we live on a busy street in a fairly large city, it was quite surprising on Tuesday morning when Dorothy and I looked out our window and saw a deer in our side yard. Rob phoned animal control, but they said they do not deal with “indigenous wildlife.” (Which is cool, I guess, except isn’t it a little dangerous to have deer near busy streets and the nearby airport runway?) We left for a playdate and some errands, and he was still there when we came home six hours later, just bedded down and looking more comfortable. We watched him for a long time–we had a great view! Dorothy felt a little frightened of him and was resistant to taking her nap, and although I was not scared of the deer, it did feel really odd and alternative-universey to be staring at it out of my own window. The animal left maybe thirty minutes after we came home. I guess our presence back in the house made our side yard less comfortable for him.

Meanwhile, inside the house. We’re still preparing in a fast and furious way for Sunday’s open house. My brother and mother came over yesterday to help, and we (meaning actually my brother and a friend) took down the entire screened-in front porch. I hate to lose that indoor/outdoor space, but the front of the house looks much nicer now, since the screens and frames were really not in very good condition. Tomorrow we will repaint the newly exposed porch. I’ve been working on taking down and laundering curtains, and I also made a little skirt and tablecloth (above) for the kitchen microwave cart, which was also looking pretty shabby. It looks nicer now, and I think sewing the skirt was much easier than trying to scrub up the grimy toaster oven that is now well-hidden!