Thursday, January 29, 2009

sewing corner

I appreciate being able to have a sewing corner. We have lived in small houses and big houses, and I have always made a priority of setting up my sewing junk (I say that with love). This isn't a corner I would have set out to pick but I realized lately I feel relaxed when ever I work here. I like it for these reasons:

1) It's reasonably bright even on a cloudy day.

2) It's right next to the kids playroom, this is convenient for quick bursts of sewing and Bubs doesn't have to be kept entertained by unrolling spools of thread, he is happy enough dumping out his own toys (okay... this is a lie but he does enjoy dumping out the board games and puzzles that are in there).

3) I can't think of a number three.

4) or four

Anyhow, this is where I think of when I am someplace I don't want to be.

New trims from here. Super fast shipping and reasonable prices.

Hope you are all staying warm!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Kids in the Kitchen

Around our house there is always a waiting list to lick beaters and mix dough. Everyone is at a different level when it comes to cooking. But no matter the age it is always fun to make and serve something to the family. Especially if it is good. We love vintage kids cookbooks. This one has been around since the toddling days of kid #1. She made this cake for the first time when she was eight and it has been a favorite since. It's a step above a regular cake but gives whoever made it an ego boost having to melt chocolate for the top.
Days like today (no school-iced in) are perfect for kids in the kitchen. I treat this as something special, I'm too impatient with the cleaning up part to make it an everyday occasion. No matter how specific I am about wiping counters down and sweeping oats off the floor there will always be a greasy hand print on the glass cupboard, or a beautiful straight line of milk drips along the stove top. I have come to accept this but it has taken about 16 years.
Vintage cookbooks obviously aren't readily available but it is the thrill of thrifting and endless looking that makes it fun. If you aren't up for the thrill check out this book in an ebay store.

Monday, January 26, 2009

My Sisters

I have two sisters that I love equally. Really I do. They are both older than me. I feel as though I am entitled to say this as I have paid my dues throughout my childhood. Here is a teeny smidgen of evidence:

They would create singing and dancing routines behind the house and even though I knew the words and the moves I was banished like a smelly fish. Those two would talk about boys and make up and weekend plans while I would sit nearby not making faces or anything and faster than you could say Dancing Queen I would be shoved to the other side of the door. The trauma of all this is deep. I never quite learned how to style my hair or apply make up. ( Every time I put lipstick on in front of my sister K she laughs--to this day!)

Fun aside, I love them dearly! Here is L's etsy shop. She is a brilliant seamstress.

L, I took these pics off your etsy page without asking. Are you mad? If so I shall just keep blogging about more stuff. Like about how you gave me a teaspoon of Palmolive and said it was my medicine (I had pneumonia!). Shall I go on?

PS I have three brothers, too. They most likely feel left out. They always smelled growing wet dirty dogs and stale farts.

Friday, January 23, 2009

January what?

We have been blessed with two days of warm sunny weather. I cannot brag of this enough. In fact I feel like a spoiled child who has wasted her candy in one big bite rather than savoring or sharing it. Hopefully this warm breeze will carry this weather to wherever you are. In the meantime someone shake me and remind me it is still winter. Bubs and I have been living outside, having our tuna salad at the picnic table and our afternoon story and snack on the front porch. The windows are open gently billowing the curtains and miraculously the birds are chattering was just last week I was saying how I miss the sound of the birds. It doesn't bother me there are no leaves on the trees and the grass is dead, because today the sky is blue, and I shall sit with the warm sun on my face while my youngest child trots around the yard stopping only to pick up a stick and point to the sky. "See? See?" he says. He waits for me to point, too. We both point and smile. I treasure these moments, I know how quickly they go by.

Now, if I could just do something about these glaring, pastey legs.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

sunshine + sewing = good mood

Another lazy days skirt perfect for catching hens. If you don't have hens it's also perfect for spinning circles around and around even if mother says "that might not be a good idea..." as many of the kids are just recovering from a stomach bug. But by all means continue to spin, because that is the best part of breaking in a new lazy days skirt. Each skirt must be rated on the spinning factor. This one rated average as I lined it and the swooshy factor was sacrificed by this.

Also I managed to finish this little doll dress. I might as well have made a wedding dress, this little dress was a project. The pattern was Vogue 7565, the directions could have been a little better. All the same Molly and I both like it and have agreed to share it for special occasions.

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

not just another day

I was mesmerized by the television today. What unfolded before me was majestic. On a normal day I would try and steer clear of blogging about these two topics: politics and television. The first being more difficult to keep quiet about as politics almost certainly enters into our dinner table conversations each evening and it's something as a family we are passionate about, though we never whole heartily agree on everything. It is engaging to discuss politics, my favorite meals back home include a large table surrounded with passionate New England liberals and just as passionate conservatives. Throw in some wine and endless platters of food and usually a good time is had by all. I like to listen. Oh, and drink the wine. Nearing the end of the meal someone usually is swearing and spitting when they talk. (I really like this part.)
Anyhow, today has flown by with my rear anchored to the most comfortable chair in the house and the porta-heater toasting my legs. The last few weeks Ken and I have been watching "John Adams" a dvd set he received for Christmas. It is based on the biography of John Adams by David McCullough. I had the pleasure of meeting him (David McCullough not John Adams) and feel like I need to gush and convince you to buy anything he has ever written as he is a brilliant historical writer. The dvd set is really very good. It has amazed me today to hear many parallels between the birth of our country and the present day.
I suppose I should stop here as I feel a burst of energy that might come out in the form of 14 paragraphs of how our founding fathers would feel today. I am guessing they would probably feel ridiculous in those wacky wigs.
I will sign off with a wish for my children and your children, no matter what shoes they walk through life in, let them be happy. Let them believe in themselves and the world they live in.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

fabric love and other pretty thoughts about life

When my mind wanders it often finds its way to thoughts of my Gram. Though I know she led a wonderful long life I can't help but feel she left too soon. With no offense to my parents who were presented with their own set of life's challenges I sorely miss the comfort of my grandparents. From a young age I loved everything about them. I feel like my Gram knew who I was before I even knew. When my sewing skills went up a level, from the profound doll blanket sweat shop-- in which I thought because I could floor the pedal and sew a rectangle I was a seamstress-- to actual doll clothes, she took note of this. She would bring me bits and pieces of fun stuff regularly. One particular day she brought me a box of fabric she had in her attic. I was amazed as each was about a couple yards worth. No more wee scraps that I could cut and not feel like I wasted it. This was serious business! I still have my four favorite pieces, I am not certain I will ever be able to cut into them.

The blue w/ tiny flower is my favorite, I wonder what she bought it for. The picture is of her with my mother having a tea party.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Have Map will Travel

Actually the title should read: Have Map, Diaper Bag, Camera, Handwipes, Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches, Deck of Cards, Crayons and Paper, Two Dozen Books (which is 22 too many), Water, 100 Pairs of Underwear in Various Sizes, Pillows, an Assortment of Stuffed Animals, Dolls (with pj's, blankets, dresses, hats, and shoes), Misc Electronic Toys (that once turned on and beep only get asked to be shut off for thousands of miles--who invented those????), Husband, and kids-- will travel.

Blogging has been an enlightenment in my life. Each day I read and read all about your lives and feel so inspired. Countless times I have walked away from my computer in a much better mood than I was when I sat down. I love peering in your windows of life and seeing what you are up to. It amazes me to realize there are so many who feel just as I do about so many things. It is empowering. The downside to this is I don't always feel like I reciprocate back that energy to others. I suppose it is that syndrome of , "who me?" Something never developed quite right in my brain when it came to how to handle attention. Never put me in a parade...all those people smiling and waving as you sit on a glittery, flowery float? Never! And what about surprise parties? The worst!

Having kids has seriously helped me with this, that protective mother hen thing overpowers any anxiety that seeps in. Don't mistreat my kids! Ken's job has also helped. The constant moving and settling in leaves no time to hide in the corner. We have been fortunate to live in some extraordinary places. And most recently blogging, as I mentioned earlier, has really changed me. But when it comes to sharing my life it still feels a wee bit strange. I thought by sharing some of our treks it would let you peer into my windows. We like to do stuff, though Ken really deserves the credit for this. He is always ready to go somewhere, I, on the other hand, am always ready to sit with my feet up.

This is a tea/ diaper stop in Turkey. We lived in a southeastern region for two years. At the time it was exciting/lonely/stressful. But to look back now already it has proven to be an experience we are grateful for. I am not certain why Ken is making that WWF wrestling face. And why do I have a coat on and Molly isn't even wearing socks?

Below is Maggie and Sam at a castle not far from where we lived. There are ruins in every direction. Most are just there, you park your car and museums, no admission, and bathrooms. It is a beautiful country, rich with biblical history. As you can imagine our picnics since have paled in comparison.

Below is part of Cappadocia. We traveled here for three days, learning an endless amount about Christianity. I know it sounds strange but it was was like an out of body experience for me.

Ken was lucky to land a NATO assignment in the Netherlands. This was an incredible experience for all of us. It was nice to be involved in NATO and be surrounded by people from all over. We rented a farmhouse on a sugar beet farm as there was no house large enough for us! This windmill was a couple miles from it.

Below is Bavaria, Germany where my family realized "the hills were alive with the sound of music".

Little Molly in the Alps, why is she cold? Because duh...her Mommy didn't bring her coat...or tights... or boots. Actually at the base of the mountain it was very warm and we decided to ride the tram up on a whim which turned out to be amazing. (thanks, Ken.)

Hadley in Cambridge, England. My very favorite overseas country.

And lastly, Sam in Paris, you can barely see the Eiffel Tower in the background. He was posed (and bribed) by his mother. This was so worth a pack of gum.

That is part of what defines me. Tomorrow I will post part II... pics of children saddled with jet lag being dragged through airports, making their legs like jello and absolutely refusing to use a squatter potty even though they drank like two gallons of iced tea.

Friday, January 9, 2009

bye, tree

Recently I reread several posts and learned that I need to take my time writing. I should not try and write while certain individuals are banging on a toy drum and xylophone. I should not try and write while two teenage girls are whispering about stuff I may or may not approve of. My writing often sounds like I am in fourth grade. While I do love things a nine year old might like (ie... Little House books, cherry vanilla ice cream, burning up ants with a magnifying glass) I surely must make more of an effort to be mature. (Pronounce that with the "T" like mah- too- er.)
I also realized I never posted a picture of our tree. You might not care what our tree looks like. But I would like to look back at it in the future, so go suck on a lemon. Does a nine year old say that?

This splash of pink in the house has given me the umph to clean Christmas up. You can always tell when my house is a wreck as the pictures on my blog will be real close up. It always makes me sad to take the tree down. Christmas went by faster than I have ever felt. I miss it.

Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

sometimes boys are gross

Time seems hectic lately. I didn't want to start the New Year off like this. It must be me and the way I process the endless to-do list. There is always stuff on the calendar, that is a given. How can I learn to tackle the have to's and make time for the stuff I want to do? I must work on this.

This morning I crammed a whole day's worth of playing, cleaning, and cooking into three hours. Sam has a Dr appt 2.5 hours away, to get his toe nail removed (gag me with a spoon), I am nervous about this drive, about the pain he will be in and the sight of it. I have a weak stomach and can faint just at the smell of antiseptic. This is not a good quality to have when you are mother to many. Someday perhaps I shall blog a list of places I have fainted. It is absurd, as there is no elegant way to pass out and vomit.

As I was putting on my make up and consuming myself with new freckles and wrinkles, I started smelling bananas. Henry was watching Sesame Street and my keen mothering ears hadn't heard anything out of the ordinary (like the bar stool sliding across the kitchen or the pitter patter of little feet walking right past my bathroom while holding a bunch of bananas) but luckily my mothering instincts told me just to peek. This is what I found:

At least it was bananas and not choc as I had just put on his last pair of clean pants that aren't three inches too short.

That's my story today.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Checklist: Makings of a Hick

Not to sound frou frou...last year at this time we lived on a golf course, a rather lovely neighborhood with stately homes perfectly landscaped. If someone had a brown spot in their lawn everyone would surely take notice as they went for their evening walk in their Rockport walking shoes and matching warm up suits. But this is the honest truth; I didn't belong there. Well first of all, I don't own Rockport shoes. Secondly I am an avid thrifter. Often I think I have "vision" and buy the 70's brown plaid chair just "knowing" I can transform it into the likes of a make over magazine centerfold. Sometimes I would park my junk in the middle of the driveway and try and find time to work on it only to have someone need to go to the Emergency Room or tell me they need 48 cupcakes for school the next day. So I would think about redoing it while it sat there, on display for all the warm up suit/Rockport people to gag and grunt over. It's hard to explain how you enjoy cutting down your maternity clothes and sewing them into knit pants for your three year old to someone who has no yearning to use spray paint so much the tip of their finger is numb.

I realized today on this beautiful 78 degree day (it will be 40 degrees tomorrow) that this family is definitely in a country bumpkin comfort zone. And it makes me happy as a hoot-n-nanny, whatever that is.
I think we meet all the requirements:

Tool Time with Maggie.

Daughter who is teaching mother loads about woodworking. ("Mom, you have to hold the drill level", and after I stripped about a dozen screws..."Mom, that is like so bad for the drill bit.") But Bless baby Maggie, we worked on our chicken coop endlessly. She is a natural!

Underwear on clothesline.

Poor Sam, he is still not used to this. Don't tell him I put them on the internet.

Beat up old rusty truck.

I love love love this truck. My sister and I used to fill it with a mountain of junk going to yard sales. Now my kids drive it in the back pasture, around and around. Yee Haw.

Five year old with brother's BB gun. As much as this alarmed me (yes mother, Ken was with her) I was more horrified she was wearing this summer dress in the middle of December. By the way she is a very good shot!

My adorable husband was strutting around the yard wearing white socks and loafers. He thought I was taking a picture of him as he stood all smiley and cute. Poor Ken, he'll find out soon enough he was a blogging victim. I love you, baby!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Wishes for a happy healthy New Year

My in laws are visiting, they make the house feel warm and happy. I miss family so much! I love waking up to hear my father in law and the noises I associate with him, the way he walks through the house, the way he clears his throat. He likes to keep busy and is very good at finding projects. This morning he yanked out the trash compactor (yippee, it was so very ugly!) He is the epitomy of an ol' New England Yankee, dropping all his "r's" and wearing LLBean flannel 24/7. He lives for the Red Sox and Celtics. Do you want to know more about him? Too bad because I want to tell you he is tall and very skinny, and that he has the prettiest blue eyes I have ever seen. I love him. I am lucky, eh?