Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rockin' like a Big Kid

Today, I learned that my one year old can climb onto the rocking chair in his room all by himself. He can climb on the couch and other chairs that are stationary but every time he's tried to climb on the rocking chair, he turns away. As soon as he touches it, it glides and he doesn't even attempt to climb it.

That all changed today.

His sister was sitting in the rocking chair reading a book. He grabbed a book for himself, toddled over to the rocking chair and climbed right up to be with her. He wiggled his little bottom into a spot beside her and proceeded to read in the rocker just like his big sister. Bless her heart, his big sister took the book that he had brought with and "read" it to him. The contented smile on his face let us all know that that was his intention all along. He wanted to climb up and have his big sister "read" him a book.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pipe Cleaner Fun

Today, I had some time alone with my one-year old son. His big sister was out feeding the ducks with her Grandma and Great-Great Aunt. I don't have much time to play alone with my littlest one which is kind of sad for me. I feel bad that he is often neglected of the one-on-one time because he is the second child. So, rather that feel bad about it, I try to make the most of the one-on-one time when we do get it. I got out a few supplies to allow him to explore various textures. He was immediately drawn to the pipe cleaners. He didn't want anything to do with anything else - just the pipe cleaners.

He had so much fun feeling the fuzziness of the stems, banging them together and on the table, twisting them, and throwing them. We played together with these for an extended period of time. He had so much fun.

Later, I pulled them out again when I needed to load the dishwasher. He sat in his booster playing independently at the table with the pipe cleaners while I got the entire dishwasher loaded. That never happens! I never would have thought that he would have so much fun with such a simple activity but he sure did. I guess I needed the reminder to keep it simple. The best learning happens in those simple moments when children are just allowed to explore.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Modified T-Shirt

I recent saw belly bands and nursing covers like these or these and thought that they looked easy to make. So, I grabbed a t-shirt, cut a straight line from the base of the armpit to the base of the other armpit and whah-la...

...a free, recycled belly band!

And, I think it looks pretty good for getting the layered look without all the bulk.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Freezer Stencils...AGAIN!

Sometimes I get crazy ideas in my head at the worst possible time. Yesterday, I decided that we needed matching shirts for our trip to the pumpkin farm TODAY!

I only had two shirts at home to paint. So, since I had to run to Walmart anyway, I picked up two shirts so that each of us had one to wear. I had to then wash the shirts, dry the shirts (without a dryer since ours just died), and then put freezer stencils on them. This project would have been much less stressful if I would have done it a week ago. Sometimes I think I work better under pressure.

I realized long after the rest of the family had gone to bed that the orange paint that I had was puff paint. Not exactly what I needed but I thought I would give it a try. Late at night, hours before you need to actually wear the shirts, there isn't much time for changing plans. I tried it and it turns out that puff paint doesn't puff when you brush it on the fabric. It turned out just like regular unpuffy paint. Pretty cool, eh?

Here's how they turned out...

And here are the action shots...

We had a ton of fun and wonderful weather!

Here's my mighty mouse...

Isn't this pattern beautiful? We loved that the "hearts'' formed a "star" in the center...

Oh, so many pumpkins...

Get me higher so I can see everything...

The two kiddos worked together to find the perfect pumpkin...

I just realized that I didn't include any pictures of my hubby. That's because he decided that just having an orange shirt was enough for him. I tried to convince him but to no avail. I think he just wanted me to wrap it up and get to bed. Ah well, at least he had on an orange shirt to match us. Yes, indeed, we were a matchy, matchy family!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Debate: Who to Believe?

Tonight, we watched the Presidential debate. I hate to admit this but it was actually great fun. We had four generations sitting in our living room sharing the experience together...my children, my hubby and I, my parents, and my great-Aunt visiting from out west. It was a lot of fun to share our different perspectives and opinions on what each of the candidates said. It probably would have been more fun if we weren't all so like-minded!

If you didn't have a chance to watch it here's a
transcript of tonight's Presidential Debate if you're so inclined to do that much reading.

Afterward the debate and after saying goodbye to the extended family and after getting the kiddos in bed, I hopped online to see what others had to say about the debate. I wanted to hear the "spin" if you will. I ran across two very interesting links that are probably old news to many but they're new to me.

Both of these links take the statements made my the candidates and put them through the truth test. They compare what they say with how they've voted, previous statements they've made, and the proposals that they have made. After comparing all the info, the reader can decide, based on the facts given, if they are they telling us the truth. Isn't that what we really want to know anyways?!?!?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Patience is a Virtue

We're having trouble with our tires. I have shelled out more quarters for air this summer than a normal human being should have to in their entire life. We thought the problem was fixed a month ago when we took the car in to have the tires fixed. This week, the problem recurred.

So, knowing that we need to have the car fixed before our long drive to the pumpkin farm this weekend, I volunteered to take it in to have them re-fix the problem. My husband estimated that it shouldn't take too long since they already know what the problem is. There is a McDonald's next store to the tire repair place, so here was the plan...

  • Drop off the car at the tire store shortly before lunch.

  • Shop for shoes for the kids in Sears since it is next door.

  • Walk to McDonald's to have lunch with the kids.

  • Pick up the car.

  • Go home.

  • Nap time.

Here is what the day looked like...

  • Drop off the car at the tire store shortly before lunch.

  • Shop for shoes for the kids.

  • Buy shoes for the kids.

  • Walk to McDonald's.

  • Eat lunch.

  • Take a trip to the bathroom.

  • Take a walk around the strip mall.

  • Take a long rest on the park bench.

  • Walk around Sears.

  • Test out all the riding lawn mowers.

  • Walk around Sears some more.

  • Play with all the pillows in the bedding department.

  • Walk around Sears some more.

  • Pick out paint sample chips.

  • Walk around Sears some more.

  • Look in every. single. washer, dryer, and refrigerator in the appliance department.

  • Walk around Sears some more.

  • Dance to the music videos being played on the 20+ big screen TVs.

  • Walk around Sears some more.
  • Take another trip to the bathroom.
  • Walk around Sears some more.

  • Test out the exercise equipment.

  • Bandage Mommy's bloody foot that got smooshed by a little girl on said equipment.

  • Walk around Sears some more.

  • More paint chips.

  • More TV.

  • More lawn mowers.

  • More pillows.

  • Did I mention we walked around Sears?!?!?!?

  • Pick up car. (3 hours later!)

  • Go home.

  • Nap time.

  • Be greeted by grateful husband bearing a Mocha Blast.

  • Enjoy every last sip.

The kids were amazingly well behaved. I felt like I was in some really bad dream where you just can't leave the mundane. I felt like I was in the movie The Terminal or Groundhog Day.

So, what did I learn? Don't trust a mechanic who says, "Eh, it should take us about an hour.

More importantly, I learned how important it is to show your appreciation. All that waiting was so worth it because my hubby truly appreciated the fact that I did it. The Mocha Blast was a nice touch but hearing him say how bad he felt about how long it took and how tough it must have been for the kids made it all worth it.

And, as an added bonus, tomorrow morning we can sleep in since he won't have to rush the car in to get fixed before we begin our busy day. That is, if the kids let us!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce!!!

A few weeks ago, I used tomatoes from our garden to make spaghetti sauce. However, I cheated a little. I used Mrs. Wages Spaghetti Sauce Tomato Mix instead of making it from scratch. I am so happy that I did it that way. This is my first year canning and I found the thought of it daunting. However, we had an overabundance of tomatoes in our garden this year and I had to do something with them. The packet made the whole process so much easier for my brain to handle.

Well, the tomato plants haven't stopped producing and I am trying my darndest to keep up with them. So, today I made spaghetti sauce for dinner and I made it from SCRATCH!!! I did not have a Mrs. Wages packet on hand and I figured since I had gotten my feet wet already I might-as-well jump right in.

I loosely - very loosely - followed two recipes in my Better Homes and Garden's cookbook. Why 2 recipes? I first thought that the Tomato and Basil sauce sounded yummy but after I started cooking, I thought the marinara recipe sounded even better. So, I took a little of this from one recipe and a little of that from the other recipe and came up with my own variation. Then, I threw in some ground Turkey for good measure.

I love that so much of this meal came from our garden...tomatoes, basil, onion. I should have thrown in some green bell or banana peppers. I didn't think of that when I was cooking. Ah well, next time!

We had it over Whole Wheat Rotini. The 4-year-old loves the spiral shape and the 1-year-old can get a better grip on the spirals compared to other pasta shapes.

Here's the best part... EVERYONE like it!!! Both kiddos had more that one helping...shock! My hubby ate several helpings - but that's normal for him with any meal. The man likes his food! I definitely liked it the least but I don't like tomatoes or onions that much so the fact that I even ate it is good progress for me.

The only problem with the meal...baths were a necessity afterwards. Our youngest had spaghetti sauce everywhere that was not covered by the bib. His hair was especially disgusting. What a mess!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Today the kids and I went to the park to meet Daddy for his lunch break. While we were there, we saw ducks and geese in the water. The one year old was fascinated with the waterfowl. Thankfully, the playground area is fenced in so that he can look at the water without wandering to it.

Currently, we are signing a lot to our little guy. His big sister thinks this is great fun! He grunts and points to what he sees and we try to provide the sign for it. Our daughter knows a lot of signs but today we realized that none of us knew (or remembered) the sign for goose. I am sure that we learned it but we must have forgotten it. So, while we were at the park, all the geese were "ducks" since that was the closest sign that we knew.

When we got home, we quickly got out our sign language dictionary and learned the sign for goose...

Then, the funniest thing happened. Every time she does the sign for goose, our daughter covers up her face with her arm while she attempts to make the sign.

Why? Take a look at the page in the sign language book.

All the other pictures have heads on the person signing. For some reason, the goose picture is headless. So, she figured she would make the goose head her own.

Monday, September 22, 2008

What are you doing November 4th?

My husband and I went to see former Illinois governor, Jim Edgar speak tonight. He gave a great speech full of stories and anecdotes. I would like to share a quote from him that inspired me. He currently serves as a distinguished fellow of the Institute of Government & Public Affairs at the University of Illinois. He said that when he speaks with students today, he is filled with hope for our future. He said that most people would assume that he would want to persuade young people to be Republicans since that is his party affiliation. However, he said that he tells people, "If you're not going to be a Republican, then be a Democrat." It is such a simple statement but so very true. Voting is a privilege that we have in this country and everyone, no matter their affiliations, should participate in that process.

I heard him say that and I it stirred a memory in me. On January 30, 2005,
Iraqi voters went to the polls to vote for the first time in 50 years. They dipped their fingers in ink to cast their vote. Despite threats and violence all around them, they were willing to risk their lives for the opportunity to go to the polls to vote. They left with stained fingers, proudly bearing the mark of their expression of freedom. I was inspired that day by the pictures of men and women holding up ink-stained fingers. I haven't thought of that image for quite some time but I thought of it tonight. Voting is so easy for us. We fear no violence as we go to the polls. It is easy for us. We can vote absentee, we can early vote, we can go to the polls on election day...yet so many Americans don't bother. Why? I don't have an answer but whether you're Republican, Democrat, Independent, Green, etc. we all should exercise that right and cast a ballot on November 4th!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?

Once upon a time, way back in high school, I knew how to make a button using a button maker. Some friends and I tried our hands at being entrepreneurs and made buttons to sell. We made a variety of "Support our Troops" and "God Bless America" buttons. It was our little way of taking our minds off the Gulf War. (I remember fearing that the draft would be reinstated and all of my male friends and family would be gone.) We sold those buttons to all our friends and family and we even spent our weekends sitting in the grocery store entrance trying to sell our our patriotic buttons. We made a few bucks but not too many. We probably gave away as many buttons as we actually sold.

I haven't thought about that entrepreneurial adventure in years, but the memories came rushing back to me today. I found myself once again making buttons. A friend of mine recently had surgery and was struggling to get ready for the start of the school year while balancing pain management and three small children. I offered to help and this was my assignment... making button name tags for her students and parent volunteers. Her button machine is much different that the one that I used 17 years ago. So, today I learned how to use a fancy modern button making machine. I made 40 buttons... 38 for her classes and 2 for my kiddos.

My daughter was fascinated with this whole process. The two that were for my kiddos were made and designed by her. I told her that she could make one for her and her brother. She worked diligently designing them and picking colors. At the last minute, she decided that if she could only make two, she would make one for her brother and one for her daddy. Here's the button for Daddy...

I ask her,"Who did you draw in your picture?"

"That's me and Daddy on a date," She answers emphatically and my heart melts into a pool of mush!

Daddy was proud too. He showed his pride by mowing the lawn proudly wearing his bright pink button honoring his special dates with his daughter.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


This evening, my husband was looking at a hard drive online. When I asked him if he was thinking about getting a new hard drive, he said, "This one's half a terabite. That's more that we'd ever use!"

A terabite?!?!? What the heck is a terabite?!?!?

A terrabyte, he informs me, is 1000 Gigabytes. So, this hard drive that he was looking at had 500 Gigabytes. Apparently, that's a lot!

So, this made me a little curious about this lingo that I know nothing about. I looked it up and found my answer on
WikiAnswers. There is a whole language out there that has to do with bytes. I really only thought there were Bytes, Megabytes and Gigabytes. That is where my knowledge stopped. It's like a whole place value system for computer bytes. It goes like this:

1000 Bytes = 1 Kilobyte
1000 Kilobytes = 1 Megabyte
1000 Megabytes = 1 Gigabyte
1000 Gigabytes = 1 Terabyte
1000 Terabytes = 1 Petabyte
1000 Petabytes = 1 Exabyte
1000 Exabytes = 1 Zettabyte
1000 Zettabyte = 1 Zottabyte
1000 Zottabyte = 1 Brontobyte

To make sure that I had all my info straight, I read this chart to my hubby. He pointed out that I forgot to include bits. The only bits I know about are
Kibbles 'n' Bits. That's not the bits he's talking about. In his lingo, 8 bits equals one byte.

I don't think I'll ever use this info again. But typing the word "petabyte" made me hungry for my favorite restraunt...
Pita Inn. I want a petabyte of hummus...yum!