Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Crafting Game-Changer

I think I've said it before, but I'll say it again, Pinterest is horrible sometimes!  All of the crafts look so easy.  You see tags like:
"No-Sew Blankets in 30 Minutes!"
"5 Easy Steps to a Clean House"
or the worst...
"3-ingredient dessert for only 200 calories!"  (But it's never 200 calories, and always has a few more ingredients.

But, of course I still look on Pinterest, pinning crafts, quilts and food with the greatest of intentions of  doing them ALL. 

And sometimes, my job requires me to look on Pinterest ( I know, dream come true).  I have recently taken up the position of Coordinator for the night time MOPS and once a month we get to make a craft.  Where is the perfect place to look for crafts?  Pinterest of course!

I decided to choose a pretty intense craft.  Blocks of wood painted with fall colors and lettering on one side, and winter colors and more lettering on the other side.  The only dilemma being, I am not so great at painting letters.  They always look  a little crooked and seem  to be too thick in some areas and too thin in other areas.  And then my boss said the most amazing thing, "Let's get a Cricut!"

We would not only be using the Cricut on this craft, but on many others.  An investment.  I was ecstatic.  It was a crafting game-changer!  When it was delivered I immediately set it up, and started fiddling around with fonts and clip art.  We purchased the Cricut Explore, which hooks straight to your computer with a USB instead of using cartridges.  So font and clipart options were endless. 

The blocks that I cut for the project
So, I started cutting out all the letters that we'll be needing for our craft and it looks so professional!  No more fat/skinny letters!  I made one craft project to make sure it looked okay, and I think it turned out pretty decent.  The cost wasn't too bad either, especially with things at Hobby Lobby always seeming like they are 50% off.
Happy Fall!

We'll be making around 20 over the next 3 weeks, here's to hoping everything goes very smoothly!

Friday, August 15, 2014

The (Unspoken) Rules of Large Trash Pick-Up Day

I have guilt.  I feel guilty every time I throw away a piece of trash that I know will be loaded up in to my large trash can, then dumped in to a larger trash compactor, to finally end up in a huge landfill.  My guilt has led me to recycle, but living in Bryan, you can only recycle #1 and #2 items.  What about all the #5's??  That drives me crazy for some reason.

 I buy large containers of applesauce instead of individual containers.

We have been composting for the past 6 months.  It was absolutely amazing how much food items we were throwing away.  Of course, I avoid composting meat, milk products or anything fatty (mainly grease).

But none of this guilt compares to the HUGE guilt of Large Trash Pick-Up Day

It is one day a week (Friday) where we can put anything by our curb and they will come pick it up. The rules are different for different places.  My parents in Austin have it every two weeks, and they won't pick up huge items, like couches.  Of course, they don't pick up anything toxic, like tires or paint.  We have a Toxic Recycling Day twice a year to recycle those items when needed.

Driving around the neighborhoods on Fridays, you will see TV's, couches, mattresses, washer and dryers, moldy things, broken things...the list could go on forever.  And all of these things will end up in a landfill, being buried in our Earth.  Sort of makes me sad when I think about it too much.

BUT...There is a silver lining!!

There are many people (myself included sometimes) who drive around and collect these items to be re-used, re-purposed, or recycled.  I found a brand-new stainless steel trash bin one time.  Just sitting there on the curb one time.  So shiny and new.  I left it there, thinking it must be a horrible mistake, because who would want to throw away such a nice looking trash can?  I have friends who found a washer and dryer (still working) on the curb, dressers, toys from garage sales that didn't get sold.

So, last night (Thursday) I dragged items to my curb.  The old owners had left a plethora of things just shoved in to a corner of the back yard.  So, 6 months later I decided to finally get rid of the items.  There were pots, pot stands, some old chicken wiring, netting and an old bouncy chair that the baby had grown out of.

I went to bed crossing my fingers, hoping that most of it would be gone by morning.

And it was!!

I spied my front curb loading the kids up in to the car, and what to my wondering eyes did appear?  An empty curb!  They had taken all the pots, pot stands, bouncy chair, metal items but had left the netting.  The pile had considerably shrunk.

And with my pile shrinking, so did my guilt.

That is of course until next Friday...

Saturday, June 28, 2014

I'm Leaving On A {Jumbo} Jet Plane

As Peter, Paul and Mary say, "I'm leaving on a jet plane", but mine will be bigger and I DO know when I'll be back again.  If you are missing this reference, download the song :)

I leave in 5 days, and am not ready.

  • No packing done, but I have started a few piles around the house
  • No laundry done...a work in progress. On load #3 right now.  It doesn't help that I'm doing four other peoples laundry as well.
  • Have not emotionally prepared myself to leave my children and husband for 10 day.  Tears will be shed, I'm sure of it.
  • No supplies bought, but I have made a huge Target shopping list including "travel size" everything, and all medicines that will cover any ailment that might arise while I am gone.  
This mission trip to Germany will be different from any of the other ones, because I'm flying solo this time.  I keep telling myself that I am a big girl and it's fine that I won't have kids to be a mother to, or a husband to lean on when a problem arises.  But as time passes, I seem to be more dependent on the roles of "mother" and "wife", and less dependent of the role "Patsy".  

That is why this trip will be good for me.  It will make me step out of my comfort zone.  Not too much out of my comfort zone; I know what to expect from camp, culturally, and know a large portion of the people already there.  I'm praying that this will help me grow spiritually and set a good example for my kids.

Please pray for Greg and his parents, as they take care of the kids while I am away.  Patience will definitely be tested.

Please pray for me that I will have the right words to say to these kids, to have a good attitude and good health while I am there.

Hopefully I'll have a blog update from Germany in about a week!


Friday, May 23, 2014

Why Gardening is Fun!

I love my little garden.  It gives us fresh veggies for the tale end of Spring and a good part of the Summer.  We have recently moved and there was a raised garden bed at the new house.  Quite a bit bigger than our old one, but not REALLY big.  Haven't taken a tape measure to it, but my guess is 8'x12'.  Here are some reasons why gardening is fun:

1.  Planting herbs and having fresh pesto...mmmmm.  Above is our purple basil, but it apparently doesn't want to be purple anymore, the leaves are turning green.

 2.  From the Garden to the Table.  A great concept for the kids to learn.  We went and harvested yellow squash, zucchini and green beans earlier this month.  I let the kids chop them (with very close supervision) and we set them on the stove to cook.  We plated up the beautiful bounty and sadly, they didn't gobble it up.  But they DID try it, which says something because squash and zucchini are not their favorites.  Greg and I did enjoy eating what they didn't eat :)
 3.  It's a jungle out there!  It happens every year.  I convince myself that the garden is just not growing fast enough, and it's pitiful.  Then, a few good days of Spring rain, and everything grows like crazy.  Tip for next year:  mark your rows!  I accidentally planted my squash on top of my potatoes and it's a hot mess in there.  I'm a little worried that digging up the potatoes might uproot my squash as well.  Live and learn.
4.  From seed to plant.  This was the  first year that I planted some things from seed.  We planted bush green beans as well as potatoes.  It's amazing to see those little plants pop out of the ground.  I almost wanted to cheer for them, they were working so hard.

5.  Mystery Plants!  We started composting as well and I guess we go some seeds in the compost.  Now we have random roma tomato plants all over the garden as well as some jalapeno.  Greg pulled some up thinking they were weeds. After I pointed the other ones out to him, they have safely stayed in the ground.  Also, we have asparagus!!  These were planted by the previous owner, and magically appeared in our garden this year.  I had to Google it to see what it was.  We had ONE asparagus stalk, and Greg was going to wrap that ONE with bacon and it was going to be delicious.  A squirrel beat us to it, and ate it.

I try not to be too critical of my gardening skills.  I feel like I learn something new each time I plant.  Of course, I am guilty of comparing my garden with others.  We planted onions and they just didn't get big.  But a church group planted onions around the same time, and theirs are huge and beautiful.  I'll be asking for some tips next year.

Happy Gardening!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Jesus' Phone Number

Oh, the conversations I have with my kids while confined to a car.  Here's a little gem that happened yesterday between me, Mallory (age 4), and Nolan (age 6).

Mallory:  "Mom, what is Jesus' phone number?"
Me:  "Why do you need Jesus' phone number?
Mallory: "To call him and see what kind of party he wants."
Me:  "Are you throwing Jesus a party?"
Mallory: "Yes, and we are inviting all of his friends."
Me:  "Like who?"
Nolan: "You could invite Noah, Adam, Eve...who else mom?"
Me:  "Jonah, Joseph, Matthew, Mark, Paul..."
Nolan:  " can also invite Acts, Romans, and Corinthians!"
Me:  "No baby, those were letters Paul wrote."
Nolan:  "Ok, let's invite Paul."

Me: "Mallory, you really don't need Jesus' number, you can talk to him whenever you want."
Mallory:  "Oh, okay."

I don't know about you, but this party sounds pretty legit and I want to be invited!

Gotta love car conversations!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Mama is FIERCE!

While I was watering our garden for the past few days (we are already 6" below) I kept on hearing this squawking .I look up and a bird is dive-bombing my head.  I veer to the left, and it makes a circle to come back around and try again.  I kept on imagining Alfred Hitchcock's famous movie, "The Birds".  I look around to make sure I'm not dealing with a flock, but only one.  I turn on my hose real fast and give her a few squirts.

Why was she flipping out?  I start walking the perimeter of the garden watering, and I find two baby birds, still not able to fly hanging out on the wires of our tomato cage.  I absolutely understand why that bird tried to attack me, her little babies are vulnerable and her fierce "mama" attitude came out.  I quickly turned off the hose and ran inside as to avoid any pecking.

I sympathized with the bird because I had my Mama Bear moment a few weeks ago...

We signed Nolan up for soccer and excitedly went to his first practice.  I kept on looking for his team thinking all the boys seemed so much bigger than Nolan.  Come to find out, he's in the 1st through 3rd grade league.  Nolan's in 1st grade, and a young 1st grader at that.  I felt like they towered over him.  A week later, we arrived to practice again, and they asked the boys to run a lap to warm up.  They started running, and I heard one boy yell at Nolan, "You run like a girl. hahahaha."   I held my breath to see Nolan's reaction.  I guess this isn't a big insult in 1st grade, because Nolan didn't really respond to it.  Then, they line up to do corner kicks.  They were asked to stop the ball with their foot and keep it there.  The boy in front of Nolan kicked it out from Nolan's foot and sarcastically says, "Go get it."  Nolan was annoyed, I started fidgeting.  He hustles for his ball, gets back in line where he was, and the same boy kicks it down the field again and says, "You can't cut, go to the end of the line."  I felt the claws coming out.  Especially when Nolan hustled to get his ball AGAIN, and was visibly upset.  The coach thought he was goofing off, and told him to hustle up and control the ball.

I seriously had to hold myself back.  I wanted to go over to the kid, kick HIS ball as hard as possible and yell in his face, "GO GET IT!"  How horrible of me would that have been??  I didn't say a word though, just gave him evil eyes from the sidelines trying to send telepathic messages to cut it out.

The term "Mama Bear" is a pretty new phrase to me.  My oldest is only 6.  My definition is: "a mom who is protective of her children."  Sometimes I think there is a fine line between being protective and being a hindrance.  I was protective of Nolan, and made sure I kept my eyes on the situation.  I was not a hindrance by interfering in the situation (i.e. tackling the other kid).

 I need to push down the urge to solve every little situation that might arise.  There is so much to learn from kids working things out by themselves, I just have to step back and actually let that happen.

I will continue to still be fierce Mama Bear, but only from a distance.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

From the Eyes of Mallory

During Spring Break we decided to take a camping adventure.  We went to Lake Limestone and spent 2 days and 1 night there.  Mallory was always underfoot and I needed to start cleaning up our camp site.  I gave her my camera and told her to go and take some pictures.  Out of over 200 pictures, here are some of my favorite:
Casey Bear and Papa Bear

Her fishing chair, pretty isn't it?

I've come to the conclusion that she really likes the shoe pictures.  She must have been fascinated by her shadow as well.  Her nature shots aren't too shabby either.  I love the perspective of her 4-year old self.  

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

You Know You're a Mommy When...

Happily, most of the things listed below remind me that I am the mother of 3 kids.  Hope you say yes to a few of these as well.

You Know You're a Mommy When...
  • Spit-up and boogies don't freak you out.
  • Having someone whisper your name right by your face, in the middle of the night doesn't make you call the cops
  • Mac and cheese and chicken nuggets are a balanced meal
  • Your dinner comes from the leftovers on your children's plates
  • You can clean anything with a disposable wipe
  • You hide the good food, so you don't have to share (in our house: ice cream and chips)
  • You can make a toddler cry with "THE LOOK"
  • You know how to remove marker scribbles from walls...and floors...and carpet
  • You can maneuver through the Child's Playscape at any local fast food joint with stealth and agility
  • You know all the places where "Kids Eat Free" and use it to your advantage
  • You can soothe them back to sleep from a nightmare like no one else
  • Your kids are bathed and dressed better than you
  • You can carry a diaper bag, a toddler, a baby carrier and unlock the front door without dropping anything
These are just a few that came to mind, the list could go on forever.  What was your Mommy moment?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Mommy-hood is hard

Yesterday was rough.

Well, actually it started Saturday night with a little girl telling me her tummy hurt.
After 2 bouts of sickness, 2 sets of jammies, 2 showers, scrubbing the couch, scrubbing our carpet, rolling up our rug and putting it in the garage for later cleaning...I finally got Mallory to sleep on the living room floor while I slept on the couch beside her.

The next day should have been better.  I got a break from Little Ms. Sick as I took the boys to church and Greg stayed at home with her.  I knew that Greg had to go to work for the rest of the day right when I got home from church, so I was a tad worried about having 3 kids by myself, one of them being sick.

It went downhill after Greg left.  After the kids were fed lunch, it should have been rest time, but none of them were having any of that.  Casey (11 mos.) slept for a little over an hour while I sword-fought with Nolan.  After Casey woke up, it was as though I was being pulled in 3 different directions.

Mallory wanted to snuggle
Nolan wanted to battle
Casey was...a handful.  He would cry if I would hold him, cry if I put him down.  What do you do with that???

I tried to be the good mom and get Mallory and Nolan to do an art activity.  That lasted 5 minutes.

I tried to be the energetic mom and sword-fight.  That lasted even less time and Casey got hit with a sword.

I tried to be the guilt-trip mom and put in a movie.  They were interested for 10 minutes.

Then, we all just sort of sat around, listening to Casey whine and cry for what felt like FOREVER!
(It was one of those days where you look at the clock and say, "Ok, it's 2:00 pm, I can make it!"  And after what you feel like has been at least an hour, you look at the clock and it is 2:05 pm)

I knew if I could make it to dinner time I would be okay.  But getting to dinner time was hard.  I felt like the worst mom.  I think I told Nolan, "Give me one more second." about 15 times.  Eventually dinner rolled around.  Casey was finally happy with a stuffed belly, Nolan was full and Mallory hadn't gotten sick all day.

The routine of bedtime is something I love.  It was my silver lining to yesterday.  I got to give Casey a bath, which he loves and he quickly went to sleep.  I read Magic Tree House with Nolan and tried to teach him to play Solitaire.  I finally got to cuddle with Mallory and watch My Little Pony.  I got everyone to bed, picked up the toys, did the dishes, sat down and realized (for probably the billionth time) that Mommy-hood is hard.  The good, the bad, and the ugly...and yesterday was pretty ugly.  It's something that I signed up for and do every day, the rewards are sometimes few and far between but I wouldn't change it for the world.