Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Musing - End of November

Right now...  1:30 p.m.  All 4 kids are finally napping.  Chilly outside but not snowing.  I'm watching my nephew, so my sister-in-law can get some sleep. She feels crummy.

This weekend...  We had a great get together with family on Saturday for Thanksgiving.  I learned some interesting things.  I can try new things with the squash (never doing that recipe again!); we can try something new with the potatoes (the ranch slow cooker potatoes were good), but I better not mess with the stuffing.  I started making the stuffing about 10 years ago, and it has been my job ever since.  I make an apple sausage stuffing, where I use my home canned apple pie filling.  I wasn't going to make stuffing, we always have too much food.  My brother did NOT like that idea, that's why he came home from college. Mom's pumpkin pie and my stuffing.  Ok, quick change of plans and trip to the store and we had stuffing.  And WHY do I listen to how long they say to cook the turkey???  Why??  Because I started it way too soon, again, and it was a bit dry.  ugh.

Then, Saturday night, K and I went to 7 p.m. Mass.  It was our first Mass with the new translation.  I thought it was very good and that more people actually paid attention.  Only thing I don't like is "consubstantial" - really? that's easier to understand??  Sure not easier to say. 

Sunday, I cut felt, sewed felt, organized felt.  Ugh, I think my brain is felty.  It'll be nice to get the puppets packaged tonight.

Some plans for the week... 
Tonight, I have to finish the puppets and printing out the cards and package them.
Tomorrow, I have to make sure I have everything ready for my craft show.
Wednesday, is the craft show at my husband's work. I made good money at this one last year, so I'm hoping they like my new stuff.
Thursday, December 1st!  Wow!  I have the artist's reception at The Art Garage (still can't get over the artist part, but if it helps sell some of my stuff, I'm all for it!)
Friday, get my lesson plans ready for Cathechism on Saturday and probably mix about 4 batches of cookie dough.
Saturday, Catechism at 9. Christmas program practice right after at 11.  Then, come home and see if the neighbor is home to start the Great Cookie Bakeoff in preparation for the cookie party on the 10th.
Sunday, Mass - Santa is coming after Mass - turn in our Giving Tree presents at church, then go out with my sister-in-law.

If I can find some time for myself, I would like to...  Um, this week is about being busy.  My alone time is during naptime.  But we did start the Holy Heroes Advent Adventure and the kids seem to like it.

I am grateful for...  My husband who helps me cut out felt, even though he doesn't want to. My kids for being so enthusiastic about helping me cut out stuff for my puppets yesterday.

Some special prayer intentions for the week:  For my friend, Teresa's father, he's been in the hospital and suffered respiratory and cardiac arrest last night and they think he has a brain bleed.  I'm hoping they can find peace. She is on her way home to Wisconsin from Arizona right now.  That I have patience with my kids this week to do things with them instead of yelling at them.  That my craft show goes well and that Etsy sales take off, so I can do a few more things with the Giving Tree and maybe send some money out as the Christmas Elf to some people that I know need things more than we do.

Something that makes me smile...  The look on Fixit's face this morning when I declared today a pajama day - for her, not me!  The look on Bug's face when she came home to tell me about the new girl in her class.  K's enthusiasm for life and how generous she is.  She chose her own name from the Giving Tree and wants to use her own money to buy the present for this little girl.

I got the Monday Musing idea from Nadja at Patch of Dirt Farm .  Thank you and I'm so glad that I found you.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Epic Fail

I'm a beginning crocheter.  I knitted many moons ago and could be considered a very, very, beginning knitter.  However, this is about my beginning crocheting.

When I was learning, relearning (because I'm pretty sure that my Mom TRIED to teach me), trying it out last fall, I didn't want to start with potholders or anything normal.  Nope, 2nd thing I made is a 17-skein afghan crocheting 3 strands at once.  That sucker is heavy and my husband loves it.  I've also made a blanket for K.  I have the yarn to do the blankets for Fixit and Bug.

However, none of these items has required the use of a pattern.  They are "supposed to be" rectangular.  They have turned out roughly rectangular.  They are warm and no one complains.

Then, this fall, my sister-in-law has a baby and since we're broke um, since I wanted to give her something handmade... I was going to do my first foray into "gasp" trying to read a pattern.  Honestly, I'm a smart lady. I have a college degree and graduated with honors. I'm a substitute teacher.  I can teach math to 3rd graders.

Here is one of my guilty secrets: I CANNOT count when I crochet.  If you cannot count, you cannot follow a pattern.

So, for me to attempt a baby blanket that wasn't just straight crocheting was a monumental task.  I did it!  I followed the pattern on the back of the yarn wrap and made the blanket.  The hardest part of the pattern was trying to make sure that I had 106 stitches in my chain row.  I must have counted that thing about 10 times and still was never quite sure that I had the right number.  However, the thing turned out and now my niece will have a homemade Christmas present.  Admittedly, it took me about a week to crochet the thing and I'm pretty sure that my mother would have been done in an afternoon, but she has been crocheting for years.

Anyway, on to my epic fail.

I figured if I could follow the pattern for the blanket, I was now able to move on to something a little more challenging, like slippers.  I have a leaflet of 9 "EASY" crochet slipper patterns.  Followed the directions (kind of forgot to check for gauge, but really? people do that!?) kind of.  You know that gauge thing, where it says 4 stiches = 1" and 4 rows = 1".  Yeah.  I didn't do that.

So, the end result is one, count 'em, one, slipper - because I'm not making another one.  I'm actually going to throw this one away.  The pattern I was following was the size to fit Bug, actually to be 1/2" too big for Bug.  Well, the slipper is too big for me.  My foot is 3 inches longer than Bug's.


I'm going back to working on felt and when I feel like it, I'll try to follow a pattern again.  It's not going to happen for a while again.  I have to get brave enough to try and attempt it again.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful Thanksgiving Thursday

It's easy to list the "thankful fors" today on this day when everyone else is celebrating their thanks. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm thankful for little pirates.

I'm thankful for girls with the "I can do it" attitude, even if it means starting over and over, again.

I'm thankful for nephews that tease their cousins.

I'm thankful for impromptu concerts and kids that love all types of music.

I'm thankful for my wonderful husband who does what I ask, even when he really doesn't want to.

I'm thankful for my Dad who lets my kids "help," even when it's faster to do it by yourself.

I'm thankful for my Mom who is always there. (Sorry for not having a picture!)

I'm thankful for lots of homemade canned food and plenty of food in the cupboards and the freezer and the money to be able to buy more.
I'm thankful for my sister being able to come and visit us for a long weekend earlier this year.  Love you!

Thankful Thursdays
A time to remember to be thankful
A pause in the week for praise,
thanksgiving and thinking positively
in addition to the normal daily praise
we need to give God.

p.s. and Thankful for Jamie at Lord, Make Me a Saint for the encouragement she keeps giving me, even while she keeps getting handed the raw end of the deal with this latest pregnancy.  I prayed my rosary for you and your little one last night.  God Bless.  (And for giving me the idea for Thankful Thursdays and the above quote!)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

She Took It ALL!

I'm still amazed that The Art Garage wanted my projects for their holiday show. Hmmmmm

I took in some of my stuff yesterday to Ann, for her to review and decide on.  Wouldn't you know that she took ALL of it for the holiday show.  I took in two mushroom houses, two felted mats - bumblebee fields and the ladybug racetrack.  I also took in 4 whimsys of gnomes, 6 pirate maps with pirate gnomes and sea monsters (formerly dragons), and 4 each of my puppets.  Quite the honor, now I just hope they sell.  And now I have to get back to making more stuff for my craft show next week.
Add caption

See the pet snail and the dragonfly - gnome mailmen hate dragonflies.
How about the flower petal path to this house?
A gnome whimsy.

Bumblebee fields

Ladybug racetrack.

The back of the pirate jacket
Knight puppet - or if you flip his visor down, he's a football player

Fairy puppet
Princess Puppet

Santa and Reindeer puppets

Sunday, November 20, 2011

ACCCKK!!!!! It's a Great Honor!

Gee, that came out of the blue!

I've been busy cutting, sewing, and new idea-ing for my craft show on the 30th and to put things (finally) into my Etsy shop.

You know the route, plugging away, because I have a deadline, but going with the what-I-get-done attitude.  That is, until I get a phone call from a lovely lady who volunteers at The Art Garage .  Ann had noticed what I call crafts last year at craft show - see, craft.  And I displayed some of my gnome houses, whimsys of gnomes (def: family of gnomes), and some needle-felted play mats for their Christmas showing and sale last year. 

Well, I had been getting the emails as part of her mass emails about this year's Christmas show and sale.  No one has been buying my houses and I haven't made any new mats.  I've been crafting.  I've been making my puppet kits and pirate maps.  So, I ignored her emails. 

Then, Ann called me yesterday, which is technically the day after things were to be taken in.  She told me that she was checking to make sure I was okay and if I had been getting her emails. 

Well, yeah, I was getting them, but I'm not an artist.  How did this stuff apply to me?  None of my things had been juried for this year's show.  She DIDN'T care!  She wanted my stuff for this year's show, because she liked what I did last year, that I had an "artist's eye" (still working on figuring out what that means!), and she LOVED the sound of my puppet kits.

So, I'm back in this year's show - sight unseen!  Which translates into - AAAAACCCCCCKKKKKK!  (Meaning, ugh, I've been busting my butt to get ready not only for the craft show, but also for this show.)  She extended the deadline for me, and I have to have everything in for Tuesday.

So, the table is full of felt in various stages of something.  From full sheets, to cut up sheets, to sewn parts, to bits and bobs, and now the sewing machine.  Plus, I have to fill out the exhibitor paperwork, the sales tags, print more puppet inserts, cut out the bag tags, print more business cards, and figure out how to fill out a bio sheet.

This was my 10 minutes of brain-clearing, back to the sewing machine, the scissors, and the glue.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cue Suspensful Music

You know the kind:  Bum Bum Bum Bum like the English mysteries on PBS.

Yeah, that kind.

I wish I could have gotten a picture of this, but it would have ruined the atmosphere.  It was pretty dramatic around here.

The girls were playing together (nicely, without any yelling).  They all slinked downstairs and were poking into this and poking into that around the living room and kitchen.  Opening drawers. Peering around corners.

Not acting normal (as if such a thing exists in this house).

I sat in my chair and just watched this, scratching my head, and not saying anything.  I was intrigued and had to watch this performance unfold.

Finally, after 10 minutes of watching them sneak, slink, investigate, I couldn't take it anymore.  Especially since they weren't really saying anything.  I'd catch a snippet of "Hmmm, not here," or "Keep looking, we MUST find it.

(Proud Mommy moment, the suspense was killing me, but I didn't blurt out "WHAT!  What are you looking for?")

So, Bug came into the living room and I whispered, literally whispered, to her, "What are you guys doing? I don't know what you are looking for?"

Her whispered response, after glancing around to make sure no one heard her, "Shhh, we're looking for clues."

Which prompted my intelligent, "Huh?"

"Mama, we're detectives and we are looking for clues to solve the mystery."

Consider me clueless at this point, "What mystery?"

Now being looked at with disbelief, "We HAVE to solve the mystery."

By this time, K and Fixit have joined Bug in the living room. Obviously, I was an interruption to the game, but I didn't get it.

So, Bug tries to explain it to her mother, again, "We never fail. We always catch the bad guy. We're going to solve a SISTERY MYSTERY!"

Then, I literally get a song and dance routine about solving the Sistery Mysteries and that they never fail. They'll always find the clues.

I was laughing so hard that I had tears streaming down my face.  What a hoot!  Honestly, how much time and thought had gone into creating the Sistery Mystery Detective Team? (and the related song and dance commercial spot?)  Oh, geez.  I'm not sure how we went from Agatha Christie circa 1980 to a Broadway song and dance routine, but we managed.  Then, after I had been singularly enlightened, they returned to the world of mystery.

Cue the jazz hands.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I Shall Be Healed

My sister urged me to share this story.

I have a bum ankle. I fell down a flight of stairs about 18 months ago and never had it looked it.  When I went for my physical, I mentioned it to my Dr. and she gave me a referral to an orthopedist.

4 x-rays later and oh, about two minutes with the Dr., I was told that I might have had a break, but it might only have been the way my bone developed.  He could prescribe physical therapy, but my life sounded really busy, so he would give me the letter and I could try and find somewhere closer to my home.

But, I should know that I don't have to have a bum ankle.  That it could spontaneously heal.  Huh?  Really?  Somehow, I didn't think that spontaneously healing would occur 18 months after the fact.

Picture this:

Revival meeting tent set up.  Crummy sound system playing bad gospel music.

Healer (in a bad white suit) at the front of the crowd calling me forward.

Him telling me that "You shall be healed!" (Slap to the forehead)

"I can walk!" 

Wait.  I could walk before, but now my wrist hurts from slapping him back.

Yeah, guess I keep stretching it and be okay with having a bum ankle.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me

I'm having a feel sorry for me day.  Which translates into whining.  I try not to have days like this, but today, it caught up with me.

I had to take two of the girls to the Emergency Room in September on separate occasions.  Well, we got the EOB's back from the insurance and the two visits are going to be about $1100.  Gasp! 

So, I called the billing department today to have them resubmit the bills, because they billed the visits as ER instead of UrgentCare, which I thought it should be.  Ugh!  They don't offer UrgentCare at that site anymore, so it only gets billed as ER services.  Then, there's the surgery (3 staples is surgery?)  and that was a separate Dr's bill and surgery fee at $500.

Christmas is officially cancelled.  We're broke!

Step Back Satan!

We have more than lots of people and plenty for us. 

We have a roof over our head, beds to sleep in, the propane is already paid for our heat for the winter (and we have sweaters and socks to wear when I set the heat at 66).

We have plenty of yarn for me to make afghans and slippers (guess I'll have to figure out how to read a pattern).  I have plenty of material to relearn how to sew.

We have plenty of food in the freezers and the cupboards and the money to buy more.

We have too much stuff.  So, having bills just means a decrease in our buying things for Christmas, but it doesn't limit our ability to make and give from the heart.

Sometimes, I just need to take that step back, give myself a mental slap, and realize that we have plenty and that God always provides.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Yep, It's Here

Went to bed with the threat of snow today, but the biggest thing the weather had for us was winter weather advisory.


Checked the weather this morning.

Let's just say that the forecase changed, a little bit.

We had been upgraded to Winter Storm Warning with the possibility of 2-8" of the white stuff.  Well, I think we're already at the 2 and there is no sign of stopping.

It just figures that the first snowstorm of the season, I've got to go to town and go to the dentist.  Wish I could call them and change the appointment, but I probably won't get back in until May.

So, say a prayer that everyone else remembers how to drive in this crap, ah, stuff and that I'm fine on the first trip in the new van and driving like a grandma.  The older I get, the more cautious I get.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Another Thing I Never Thought I Would Say

Last night, after Bob got home from work, we were talking in the kitchen.

Fixit was in the kitchen, wandering around.

We didn't notice anything amiss, until we both looked at her and realized that she wasn't just pretending to be a puppy.  She was going to take a drink FROM the dog's dish.

No!  Don't do that. Don't drink from the dog's dish!

But, Mama, I'm thirsty!

Then ask us for a drink in a cup from the sink.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

We Get An "A" for Effort

Saturday afternoon, we decided to go to a local church for 4 o'clock Mass, as a family!!!!!  Everyone loaded in the car and ready to go.

Something kept nagging at me. I KNEW something was going on, but darned if I could remember what it was about this parish this weekend. 

No.  We're good. Keep going.

We literally got within 500 feet of ABVM parish and I remembered what was so important about this Saturday.  CONFIRMATION!!!!!!!!  With THE Bishop, not just A Bishop.

Ugh....  Momentary panic.  Do we go?  Can the kids handle it?  They had about 25 people getting confirmed during Mass.  They would really learn something. I would get shivers watching them receive the Holy Spirit.

The state of the parking lot and the local streets decided it for us.  Church easily holds 400+ people and it was GOING TO BE PACKED.  No way were we going to get through Mass without a toddler meltdown and probably of Epic Proportions.

Saturday Vigil at our home parish is a no go, because we don't have Mass until 7 p.m., which is better than it used to be at 8 p.m.  However, my kiddos would never be able to stand that.  And with the time change, going to Mass today would have been over snack time - which is never a good thing to interrupt.

So, I'm giving us an "A" for effort for trying to get to Mass this weekend.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I Want My House Back

If you know me, you realize that I am a lazylaid-back housekeeper.  On any given day, I have 3 to 6 children in this house ranging in age from 2 to 8.  This group of children is enough to mess up complicate any cleaning scheme.  In fact, my husband and I have always been pretty good at "The Flight of the Bumblebee" emergency cleaning when people are coming over.

So, for me to admit that I need to be able to see my cupboards and that my living room needs to get about 3 feet bigger on every side is actually a huge accomplishment.

My husband made huge strides towards us being able to gain room, make that REgain room.  He put the flooring down in the newly remodeled guest room/craft room.  He still needs to do the closet, but we can actually put the bed back in there, so I can get back on the front porch.

Then, we will be able to move the extra craft supplies that I purchased at an estate sale, that are currently inhabiting the new game closet, will be able to at least go into the craft room in a stack, so I can list them on Ebay.  Then,, we can finish the games closet by painting and putting the shelves.  This will allow us to move the MOUNTAIN of board games from the front porch to their home in the game closet.

By clearing off the front porch, I can guarantee that I will have a home for the hundreds of cookies that will be decorated during our annual cookie decorating party, which is ONLY 5 weeks away from today!  Gaaaaacccckkkkk!

This knowledge that the cookie party is coming up sooner than I thought it was, is probably the reason that I NEED a clean house.

Another thing that has to happen is for my canning things to be finally put away.  After I finish another couple of batches of apple, cranberry, cherry relish tomorrow, I think I will finally be done and can put away the steam canner. 

The craft room/guest room will also have to have a shelf for food storage, because I have never canned so much food as this year, and every place that I have ever used is currently stuffed to the brim with home canned goods.  I need another shelf.  Then, the "extra" table that we set up in, oh, August, will finally be able to be moved into the craft room.  The crafting stuff currently residing under the "extra" table will be able to find their home in the craft room. 

Then, as a final step, at least for finding my home again, the other crafting stuff hiding upstairs will be able to go into the craft room and the toys will be able to move from the living room to the upstairs hiding area.

I'm going to gain at least 80 square feet of living space between the kitchen and the living room.  My house is going to feel huge.

I can't wait.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Field Trip to the Children's Museum

I'm only a few days late posting this, I'm blaming it on having to download pictures (never on not being able to get my butt in gear!)

Friday, my hubby, took the day off, so we could have a family day.  (Hurray!) 

We contemplated taking the kids to a matinee movie, but there wasn't anything we wanted to watch or that I thought was appropriate for our kids. (I'm pretty strict about what I let them watch regarding rating and quality.)

Thanks to Grandpa, we knew that IHOP was having their "scary face pancakes" all day.  So, the kids got their free breakfasts.  Bob and I each ordered a breakfast with some extra sausage or ham and shared with the kids.

Bug's requirement of eating at a restaurant. Check.

Next, we headed to the Building for Kids, which is Appleton's Children's Museum!  Thanks to my sister-in-law, Bonnie, who suggested it and asked us to check it out for her.

We ALL had a blast!  We were there for just over two hours (could have spent more time, but I couldn't figure out how to get into the parking garage and the parking meter only gave us 2 hours...I found the entrance to the parking garage after we left....)  The kids played solid for those two hours.  I think Bob and I had just as much fun watching them as they did playing.  I took a TON of pictures.

2-story treehouse with net bridges connecting the branches

Fixit playing in the giant garden
Bug & K have the "whole world" in their hands
Isn't this COOOOOL!?  Bug is sliding down the aorta!
K is peddling to light a street lamp, that I forgot to take a picture of.
Even a fire engine!
You have to be serious when you're heading to a fire.
Then, there was the WATER ROOM!  I think we spent half hour in there.  They even provide rain coats for the kids to wear, otherwise they would be SOAKED!

What a great day.  And as a total side effect, I think we all recharged our batteries.