Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A new discovery

Guess what I discovered today?  There is such thing as a yarn of the month club.  Not just one, but a lot.  Different manufacturers have their own yarn of the month clubs.  There is one official "Yarn of the month" club and they send out samples of different varieties.  That particular one is pretty cheap, especially compared to other "of the month" clubs that I have purchased for others such as beer, cheese, chocolate, etc.

Anyway, with a bit of the profits from my new direct sales endeavor, I decided to join a yarn of the month club.  I decided to go with one from  I picked it because I do get to pick from a couple color options, it is a different fiber type every month and if I wanted to order more of the color to make a bigger project, I can at a discounted price.  So anyway, that was my decision.  I had to jump on it because they sell out.  Can you believe it?  Some people are very loyal to their yarn of the month club, I discovered, so you kind of have to wait for people to drop out to get a spot.

I am hoping to try some new projects.  I have been in a rut with blankets and hats.  I need to branch out.  I am looking forward to something being picked for me and I just have to figure out what to do with it.  It is a challenge.  I am intrigued.  Maybe yarn of the month club subscriptions will be my new go to gift request!

I got invited to drop in and knit over the next couple weeks at a friends house.  I am hoping to finish this blanket that is my nemesis and get my first delivery of yarn so I can make something for Ava for Christmas.  So stay tuned.  I will share my new yarns and projects for those who are interested. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hello old friend

It has happened!  After a year without it, we have cable again.  We have had an antenna in our bedroom, which allows us to have some major networks but that is about it for live tv.  We have had subscriptions to hulu and netflix too.  Recently I have been less and less happy with them.  So on the main tv downstairs we just could watch things streaming on the roku and upstairs stuff on the antenna.  Now we have basic cable downstairs.  It is still way less than we used to have.  No dvr, much fewer channels, only one tv with it.  So now I think we will be canceling netflix and hulu.  We are saving money by having cable.  What are the chances of that???  Ava is happy.  She regularly would tell me that she wasn't happy that we had canceled tv.  She is very happy that she can watch all of her disney shows on demand.  The funny thing is, they didn't watch a single thing that was live. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Did you ever wonder...

Do you ever imagine a different version of your current life?  Like if you reorganized your schedule and priorities and replaced your personality and drive with something else?  I do this often.  I plan out my days with some ideal version of myself, that I would probably hate if I met on the street.  It would never work out if I tried to implement these changes.  I would lose focus just about the time the alarm clock went off.

Here is my pretend life.

Wake up at some unpleasant time in the morning, long before my kids get up.  Put my slim and toned self into cute, matching work out clothes and go out for a fast paced, easy run.  Come back and start some amazing breakfast, hop in the shower and use amazing smelling products.  Get dressed, putting on very expensive jeans that fit perfectly that I happened to get on a great sale so I get a sense of triumph while wearing them.  I will have good hair and nice make up on and a cute shirt on that isn't too much like a t-shirt but just casual enough that I don't feel bad wasting it just ithe house.  I floss my teeth.

I come downstairs to my immaculate livingroom and finish up the breakfast prep, setting the table on place mats that don't have a spot of food on them.  I walk easily into my kids room to wake them up, not worrying about stepping on a random car or Barbie shoe.  They get dressed and ready without any fighting or arguing.  We all have a delicous breakfast together.  I have already put most of the dishes in the dishwasher so it is a fast clean up. I pack Ava's lunch of all healthy, fresh foods and we are out the door with time to spare.

I come home from drop off and spend the day not trying to undo messes, but really just doing deep cleaning tasks.  When I do laundry it is all folded and put away that same day.  I don't have bags for Goodwill laying around my house because I never put off bringing them downstairs and actually dropping them off. I play with Rhys and take him to some class at the park district.We have a delicious healthy lunch and I once again clean up the kitchen.  Rhys takes a nice quiet time, I spend it doing a Bible Study and beginning dinner prep.
I make a delicious dinner and dessert. I am always trying new recipes and we never are missing just the one key ingredient.  Ava has a nice healthy snack to come home to....

Ok.  Fantasy is over.  I just got tired making that list.  Here is my reality.  I woke up and checked my email on my phone.  I got Ava up and argued with her to get out of bed for 10 minutes.  Rhys had his coat and shoes on before Ava got int he shower.  We had cereal for breakfast in the last three clean bowls in the house.  Ava ate in her underwear because I forgot to put all of her uniforms in the dryer last night.  Ava couldn't find her shoes and kept messing with other things when she was supposed to be putting them on.  Rhys took off his coat while Ava was getting her shoes on and refused to put it back on.  We walked out the door with Rhys crying and me wearing pajamas and boots.  Ava got to school 2 minutes before it started.  I came home and did a load of laundry and dishes.  I then lost motivation and decided to browse recipes because that is productive, right? Then I wrote this post. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I'm dreaming of a cheap Christmas

I know we haven't even hit Halloween yet, but when you are going to be working with very limited resources like we are, you have to start planning ahead.  This year we will be headed into the holidays with the most limited budget ever.  I am talking EVER!  We probably had more to spend when we were in college and could just save... or we just charged it, if I am being honest.  We are going credit card free.  They are literally frozen in a block of ice. All accounts that I have cards saved to for online shopping are linked up to debit cards.  Actual dollars in hand only.

One suggestion has been made to do layaway for Christmas.  I considered it, but since our income is very unpredictable and there isn't a lot of extra, I can't count on being able to finish paying off the layoff purchases.  I don't want to lose the money that I had already put towards it. 

I fully think it is the thought that counts, so I don't feel bad if people don't open some big expensive gift.  I do not care that I found a great gift on sale for $5.  I am not going to go spend an additional $20 on that person just to make it equal in spending amounts.  It is impossible to be totally equal unless you give gift cards but that just isn't as fun.  This also takes away the idea of just not giving people gifts.  I am doing something even if it is making a dozen cookies.  It is the thought that counts.  Getting a gift means you are thought of and loved.  To do nothing gives into the capitalistic idea of Christmas.  Just think back to the Christmas scene in Little Women. Wasn't that fun?

I am trying to get creative with gifts.  Realistically creative.  In the past I have made stuff, but that actually costs a lot if you don't do it right.  It doesn't mean that I am going to make everything.  It just means I am going to try to do something cool with a little money.  I also started planning months ago.  I have already finished Christmas for 2 people and have started collecting things for Rhys and Ava. They get really pumped about stuff they see in the dollar section at Target?  Why should I feel like I have to get them big like a DS?  That is my own issue.

How do you handle cash only holidays?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A reprieve

Ava had another laser treatment today.  We scheduled this one and the next one about 6 months ago.  We just went ahead and had scheduled out the rest of the year so we could get the days we wanted.  Well today, the doctor told us she doesn't want to do anymore for a while.  She said she wants to take about a year off.  We will either go back about a year from now or in January, depending on where we are with our deductible.  (Nice doctor, always thinking.) She doesn't think that Ava has been making any real progress and she has maxed out the capabilities of the machine.  She says this just means she is done for now.  Lasers change, the vascular system will change as she gets older.  It is mixed news, but in reality, we always knew there would be a point when we couldn't do anything else.  I think we honestly thought we would have hit that point a couple years ago.  I think we are all ready for a break from it so this is a good thing.  We will see what happens in a year.  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I had so many things to say

I had so many lovely things to write about.  I really did. 

Our computer has died to writing takes forever on a tablet and now I forget what I wanted to say.

Hopefully I will have some system back up soon so I can write more often when I am actually thinking about the actual posts.  Until then...stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Just a little glimpse of reality

Just thought I would share the after effects of the kids playing "JCPenny."  They dragged everything they could find into the livingroom and made piles so they could have a store.  Little by little the store got dismantled and we were left with this.  Yes there is a juice box on a shoe.  It blends into the mess and now I see it in the picture.
The first week of the new job went well.  It definitely is a different thing working during the week and during the day.  I am definitely enjoying it but I have to juggle a lot more stuff.  That stuff mainly being Rhys and cleaning.  I have been going to bed around 10 every night too which is very weird for me. I kind of like it!
Ava is going to start taking piano lessons in October/November.  The exact start date hasn't been established.  We obviously don't have a piano in our house so we had to get a keyboard.  I found a great sale online and ordered it yesterday and it came today.  I am very excited for her to start.  She has been asking for lessons for a little over a year.  Hopefully she sticks with it.  I don't think she will have much of a choice at this point.  I am a little nervous about adding something in at this point, but such is life.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Rhys' first day and other randomness

Rhys had his first day of preschool today.  The kid is going to end up going to preschool for two years.  We didn't do that with Ava, but they are different people with different skills and experiences, so it seemed like the right decision.  Anyway, he was very excited to go.  I don't think he realizes that he doesn't get to go everyday that Ava does.  

He was very excited to come home and tell me what he learned in class and that he listened and had a good day.  He wanted to know when it was time to get Ava.  I think he is more excited about telling her than anybody else.

I turned 32 yesterday.  It was a really nice day.  HOT, but nice.  It was fun to have my birthday on a national holiday and get to see family.  Ava and Rhys made me breakfast in bed.  I really needed to go grocery shopping so it was pretty slim pickings.  They made me a bowl of granola with milk.  The milk was in a pitcher so I could pour it on my cereal.  I also got a cup of coffee and a Curious George book to read.  Rhys  apparently thought reading material was necessary.  Justin did the dishes while I ate breakfast so it really was a very nice morning.

I got all the requirements to join the Daughters of the Revolution.  It is a little bit intimidating, but not impossible.  It will definitely be a long process.

It is already Tuesday.  I feel a little scattered and am wondering what the heck happened to my house this weekend and who is going to clean it.  I think the only answer is me and that makes me wish it wasn't Tuesday.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Do I stink?

I think I have been worried about smelling bad for pretty much as long as I can remember.  I don't know if I worry about smelling bad exactly, rather I want to smell good.  I love things that smell good.  I will just sit and sniff someone that smells nice.  I appreciate their shampoo, body wash, deodorant, fabric softener, perfume, cologne, anything that gives them a smell. I will usually identify that person with a particular smell too.  As long as I could remember my grandma and grandpa each had their own particular smell.  I loved that I wouldn't see them for 6 months and they would still smell the same.  It was always so good.

Needless to say, I am very into perfumes.  I remember I first started wearing Soft Jasmine by Loves.  I then wore Sweet Honesty by Avon.  I wore this spray called something "botanicals".  I don't really remember what it was.  I then wore CK One.  I think I got one of those little tiny bottles, then I moved on to CK Be.  I always wanted to have a smell that was just mine.  Some fragrance that would always be associated with me.  When I was 16, I got Cool Water for Women by Dannoff.  I think I have had at least 4 bottles of that in my lifetime.   This was all during the time when you could not get away from apple or freesia from Bath and Body Works.  I was an exception to the rule among my friends, wearing a regular perfume instead of a body spray.

By the time I got to college, I realized there were so many different good smelling perfumes.  Throughout college I added in  Oui by lancome, Happy by Clinique, and Heavenly by Victoria's Secret to my Cool Water rotation.  I found that different perfumes gave me headaches or really changed smells on me and I didn't like them.

I am torn now.  I still like having the idea of a smell that is just what I wear, but I can't do it.  I stop smelling it if I wear it all the time or sometimes depending on where I have been in the baby making/having process they don't smell good on me.  Chance by Chanel smelled great and I loved it.  It was the most different for me, spicy and warm. I had Ava and I couldn't stand the smell of it on me anymore.  My post kid favorites have been Mediterranean by Elizabeth Arden.  It is always clean and fresh smelling.  Watch out for leaving the bottle in the sun though, the smell definitely turns as it ages.  I also love Beauty by Calvin Klein.  It is soft and feminine.  It is definitely more of a floral smell than I usually wear.  I wonder if it makes me smell like an old lady, but I can't help it.  I love it.  I don't think anybody else does though which makes me pause. (see I care if other people think I smell good.)  When shopping for a new fragrance, I always am drawn to Beauty.  I can't get away from liking it.  Nothing has passed it up in my mind.

I have asked Justin what kind of perfumes he likes.  I guess if I want to smell good, he should be the person I smell good for, right?  So he said he likes sweet smells.  He hates going perfume shopping with me though, he thinks it gives him a headache.  So I have to go to the store, narrow it down, spray my wrists and come home and have him sniff the options.  It has been narrowed down to Sexy Graffiti by Escada and Viva La Juicy by Juicy Couture.  Do you have a fragrance of choice?  I am the only one who has such delimas?  I would own all of them if I could.

Friday, August 31, 2012

new season, new colors

I am not as obsessed as others, but I do like a good nail polish color and I do like variety.  I have a hard time just doing the same color over and over.  All in all, it is still much cheaper to buy a new color when I am feeling the itch than to go get a manicure.

Well, if you'll notice while you are out and about, the fall lines have come out.  They are all so tempting.  Some are similar to a former color, but just a tiny bit different.  I really love the Essie nail polish colors.  They all just speak to me.  I haven't really seen many that I wouldn't love to own.  They also go on so thinly that it is much easier to get them all the way dry without smudges.  So... my recent aquisition and what I am currently wearing.

It is called "pilates hotttie".  It is actually from the yogaga collection.  I don't make up the names.

I took a picture of my nails but the color didn't come out right.  This is a much more accurate reflection of the color actually on my nails.  I have been a sucker for the non-shimmery grays and taupes lately.  Really can't get enough.  But there is a lovely dark burgundy color in the fall line.  

This summer I was given a little bit of crap about wearing a turquoise color on my nails.  She thought it was ugly. It looked great on the toes though.  Look at this!  I have been redeemed! That is my exact same color. The same color that got me started on the whole essie nail polish line, to be exact. 

And as a side note, I am in need of dress shoes to go with my dress clothes that I will have to wear to work. Weird that cheap dress shoes do fall apart after 10 years especially when the last 4 they have spent mostly hanging in a closet.  So I have seen these shoes at Target for a while and wanted them, but didn't need them. Now they are on clearance and all sold out!  It is a tragedy if minor proportions. So if you see them in a 6.5, buy them like you have found a great prize, rejoice in your win and give them to m. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Summer is definitely over

I think we have had such a slow paced summer that it has been a real shock to the system to get back into the swing of things.   We haven't even started everything yet!  Ava has decided that she loves school.  She had to get her root canal yesterday and I had to pick her up early from school.  She was upset that she didn't get to stay the whole day. She doesn't even fight me quite as much as she used to with getting out the door.

Monday night we had curriculum night for Ava.  Her teacher seems really excited about this year.  It is clear that she really is committed to her job and loves her students.  Tuesday night we split up.  Justin took Ava to his Kidstown meeting (Sunday school program at church) and I took Rhys to the preschool orientation.  He was one of two kids there but he did ok.  He found out his teacher is Mrs. G.  We are going to meet her and pick up his bags tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile I have been filling up my calendar with things that I need to get done for work.  I have two overnights left at my old job and then training the week of the 10th for my new job.  I am not working that many more hours than I have been, in fact less than I was just a couple months ago.  It is just split up so differently that it seems like a lot more.  I was wondering what I was going to do about a meeting I had during the day once a month.  It is only an hour so I didn't want to have to drive far.  A friend from church messaged me, not an hour later after telling Justin I had to figure something out, asking if we could trade babysitting services.  I will be watching her son on Wednesday mornings and she will watch Rhys during my meetings.

As you know, I struggled with Ava's Girl Scout leader and troop.  I found out today that her current troop is being disbanded and she is getting transferred to a new troop with a new leader.  The meeting times work out much better for our schedule and hopefully she will actually get to do some activities.  I am pretty sure this means I don't need to be a co-leader, but honestly that is fine.

On to dinner making and maybe some dishes.  Only three hours until bedtime and I am ready.

Monday, August 27, 2012


I finished a blanket today.  I am making it for a friend's baby who is coming in about a month.  I need to still block it and sew in the ends.  I then have to get around to actually mail it.   I made this blanket out of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino.  I love the softness and drape.  I am excited to see how it turns out after blocking it. All the little bumps should be flattened out with the blocking.

I already have the next project ready to go.  I am going to make a few more hats too here and there.  Most of my upcoming projects are gifts for people who actually read this thing so I am going to have to keep them to myself for now.  I have decide that it has to be a great pattern and a great yarn to really make me finish thing things.  It has to be enjoyable to to work with and see the pattern emerge.  I am sure this isn't really that surprising to anyone.  In fact, it is pretty much common sense.  I just always try to do without one or the other and it doesn't really work out.  Anyway, just wanted to post about this project before I forgot and got distracted with the next one!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Offered and accepted

It is official.  I am getting a new job. No really, I have a new job.  It just doesn't start for about 4 weeks.   I am moving on up. I have worked in the same position as a case manager in the emergency domestic violence shelter at my agency for the last 5 years.  I am now leaving that program (mostly, I am still going to be emergency back up) and moving over to the transitional housing program and will be the program coordinator.  It is still part time.  I pretty much get to make my own schedule and do some work from home.   The program is changing formats in January, but until then I will be working at the office while Rhys and Ava are in school school, a couple evenings a week, and Saturday mornings.  The job is kind of hard to describe.  I will still be doing case management with the clients in the program, managing the program's budget, and writing reports required for the grant.It is a lot more responsibility but I am really looking forward to it.

Monday, August 20, 2012

It's a new world record!!!!

Today was Ava's first day of 1st grade.  It went as smoothly as it possibly could.  Justin stayed home to take her to school for her first day.  I am sure he knows that our normal mornings aren't all sunshine and smiles like this morning was.  It included waking up happy, no crying during getting her hair done and breakfast of choice for the first day of school.  Justin and I dropped Ava off at 8:15.  We walked her into her classroom, saw her to her desk, and left.  She didn't even look back at us.  

Rhys was sad.  He didn't know what to do with himself.  We went grocery shopping right after we dropped her off.  We were done by 9:30 and he was already talking about it being time to pick her up. Around 11, he wouldn't agree to anything because he wanted to wait for Ava.  We went to the park after lunch and he actually walked around just kicking the mulch.  Funny thing was after I woke him up from his nap to go pick Ava up, he didn't want to get her.

Ava still hasn't figured out how to open the van door from the outside.  Pick up time makes me really miss not having those super cool remote doors.  She gets in the car and says, "Guess what I found out today.  School is fun!"  She said the best part of the day was hot lunch.  She didn't have "hot lunch" but now that is something she most strongly desires.  You order hot lunch a month ahead of time in her school, so she is a little mad that she doesn't even have the option until October.

And now for the world record.  Ava had homework.  She had to fill in a worksheet with the numbers 1-100.  We got home at 3:50, emptied her backpack, had a couple cookies, (I made her chocolate chip cookies for her first day.) and started homework.  We had talked about it ahead of time that it would be best to do homework when she gets home and then she can just have her evening free.  It took her an hour and 40 minutes!!!!!!!!!!!  There were tears.  There were two broken pencils.  There was the kicking of Rhys.  Rhys was a distraction.  Ava didn't want to try.  I sat at the table with her the whole time to keep reminding her to keep going.  Remember this moment when I consider homeschooling.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

the most boring post on the face of the planet

I was just checking my blog feeder and I thought to myself that I should probably post something.  What?  I have no idea.  I want to write about Ava's birthday, but the pictures are all still on my phone and I don't know where that is at the moment.  (I don't remember the last time I used a camera, primarily because there is sand in the shutter of our camera so it doesn't really focus.)  So that post will just have to wait for another time.

Two week days left of summer vacation for Ava.  We are trying to have some fun.  Today I took the kids to their favorite restaurant, Noodles and Co. for lunch and then we went to go see The Odd Life of Timothy Green.  They had been watching trailers on the Disney app on the roku for weeks.  They had no idea what we were going to be seeing.  They didn't even know what we were going to see when I bought the tickets.  I don't know what they were looking at but they definitely weren't paying attention to what I was saying.  Ava loved it.  Rhys thought parts were scary.  I don't remember him being scared at all.  I just think it was a bit over his head.  He wiggled a lot.  Mostly on my lap.

I am so excited about the first day of school.  I always loved starting the new school year.  I  liked all my new school supplies.  Maybe that is why I love the movie You've Got Mail.  I can completely relate to the line about bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils.  I would go back to school just so I could buy new school supplies.  I know that just as when I was in school, I will get tired of it quickly.  I am soon going to be tired of getting up every morning, waking kids up, arguing with them to brush their teeth, and get out the door on time.  I am probably going to get tired really quickly of arguing with Ava over doing her homework.  I know all this, but I am still excited about it starting again.  I am seriously looking forward to the structure her school schedule brings to my day.  I feel energized, like I will be more productive somehow.  I doubt it will happen for long, but one can hope.  I will imagine being busy around the house, fixing stuff, cleaning things, organizing, purging and maybe even working out a bit.  It will be just like when I used to imagine that I would read every page assigned to me and always study and be completely dedicated to my school work.  Me and my school year resolutions.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Ahhh, this is the life

We are three weeks into my new work schedule.  I am still definitely working.  I am sometimes going to be working more than before, sometimes less. I just have a different schedule.  It is lovely.  I am at home most evenings now during the week.  I feel definite pressure to make the most of this time.  I am not sure what all that means.  I just feel more motivated to get stuff done.  For example: this morning I got out of bed and started cleaning Ava's room.  I didn't even go downstairs first.  I had been half cleaning it all summer, to try to assist her in the overall cleaning of her room.  I just decided it would never really happen unless I did it all the way first and then she just had to maintain it.  Either way, it didn't even take an hour and it looks so much better.  The kid has a ton of big stuff.  She has a huge room and all the walls are occupied.  I wonder what our house would look like if my mind didn't think I had to line the walls with things and ventured out into the room with stuff.  Rhys' room is next on my attack list.  Once one space is all the way clean I really like to make the rest of the house match.  Believe it or not, I like having a clean house.  I like it to be neat and smell nice.  I just hate being the person to make that happen.

School starts in a week.  I have some last minute school supplies left to get and I need to label everything.  We drop it all off on Thursday, so I probably do actually need to go to the store soon.  I also have to strategically plan my trip to Costco for when I get paid on Friday.  I have to pack Ava a lunch everyday.  On pinterest there was a woman who made a different lunch and took pictures of it everyday and then posted them to give you ideas.  I don't know why this standard has even been suggested.  I don't think Ava likes that many  things.  Also, I am not going to do it.  I am just not!  Ava will be lucky if she gets something different every other day.  I have a feeling she will have close to the same thing Monday through Friday and I really don't think she is going to complain about it.  I just don't see what she will really eat that will make the effort of changing it up worth it. Do I get a thermos so I can send reheated mac and cheese?  Really, how much is there really to put in lunches?

With school starting I am definitely going to be home a lot more during the week.  I am sure that will mean I come up with more projects. It is hard to have playdates with kids.  Maybe it is time for Rhys to start going on playdates without Ava.  I am going to have to start figuring that out.  Maybe seek out his 3 year old buddies and see what they will be doing in the fall.  It is going to be so different having only one child during the day again.

In other news, I am only 9 books behind now in my reading goal.  I have a bunch of books on hold with the library but meanwhile I am kind of at a stand still.  I think I could catch up if I just found some good books that suck me in.  I was trying to read The White Queen.  I had read other books by the same author but it was killing me.  Probably because they were killing everybody in the book.  I might just have to go back to it out of boredom.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Etsy or not to Etsy

People have been suggesting that I sell some things I make on Etsy for a while now.  I have never really been up for the challenge.  I guess I have thought they aren't good enough, original enough, something like that.  I also worried about getting more orders than I could fulfill.  The opposite worry of my first worries, which is odd.  But fears aren't always logical.  So what is the worst thing that could happen?  I try and nobody buys anything.  Then what?  I have things to give away as gifts.

I have decided to go ahead an open up an Etsy store.  I have two hats that are finished and ready to go.  I even have a willing and ready baby to model them and her mom is going to take pictures. (Thanks Rachel for having a cute little baby at the exact same time I decide to do this!)  I don't think cell phone pictures help the sales at all.  So we are going to visit today and bring some banana bread, the blanket I made for Keira Q., and take some pictures of my hats.

The only debate...what do I call my etsy shop?  I honestly have no idea.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Weeds are expensive

I had both kids try on clothes today.  Rhys has outgrown all of his 2t pants.  He has a couple pairs of 3t's that he got for Christmas.  Ava has a whole bin of winter clothes ready to go.  I went through all of her stuff at the beginning of the summer and took inventory so she is ok.   She actually needs less regular clothes because she wears a uniform 5 days a week.  She did try on her uniform pieces from last year.  Not a single shirt fits.  They also aren't in that great of shape.  Things I have learned from last year.  She has to change out of her uniform as soon as she gets home from school.  All of her stains came from dinner or after school snacks.  The shirts are in pretty bad shape.  She has a bunch of skirts that fit.  None of her pants fit.  She can wait on getting those until it starts getting colder.   She has gym shoes that we bought towards the end of the school year.  I would like to find some navy blue school shoes but they definitely aren't necessary.  Socks... I might have to just buy a ton of white socks.  She stains her socks up so badly.  I am going to just start bleaching them from day 1.  

I don't think I have ever had a season where both kids grew so much that they both changed sizes at the same time.  Or maybe they didn't change sizes over the summer.  Both of them have always tended to outgrow a size midwinter.

I was helping in Ava's class at church on Sunday, Ava was standing with her Sunday school class.  All of the kids are her age and she is definitely one of the youngest.  She wasn't the shortest, or even the 2nd shortest.  In school, she was the 2nd smallest in her class.  She has just shot up.  Seeing all the 1st graders who are going to be in 2nd grade was crazy.  They just look so old!  Apparently this year Ava is going to fully turn into a kid and leave all the toddler likeness behind.  I don't know how I feel about that.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Making the most out of the summer #1

Notice that this post is listed as a #1, like there will be a series.  Wouldn't it be horrible if I never wrote a #2?  Horrible is really too strong of a word.

At the beginning of the summer, we made a list of things we wanted to do this summer. We being, Ava, Rhys, and me.  Due to the insane heat, budgetary constrictions, and Ava's midsummer laser treatment we have been a little restricted.  As I started to feel guilty about the summer being 2/3's of the way over and speeding up every week and not doing anything, I realized that we have gotten do some things.  We worked in our garden, we have played with friends, though not as many as originally hoped. We have gone to quite a few movies since we discovered our cheap theater.  (Rhys actually thinks it is named "Cheap Theater")  We have gone camping, to a beach, to a zoo, and to a couple parks.  We have gone swimming in a pool and had my neice sleepover.  I also have realized that we can't do summer awesome all the time because then I don't get stuff done.  It takes time to maintain the chaos of our house and life. 

Well today we woke and realized it was beautiful out.  Barely 80 degrees and sunny.  We packed a lunch and headed out to Blackberry Farm.  I think I went there once when I was around 5.  I only remember riding the train and people dressed up in period dress.  Rhys and Ava both behaved perfectly.  It was like a lovely vacation from reality.  No arguing or whining.  It was a great day.  If you haven't been to Blackberry Farm, it is kind of like a museum/educational set up to see what life was like in the early 1800's.

While we were on the wagon ride, we stopped off to see the log cabin. Another family got off to look with us.  They appeared to be the grandparents and two little boys.  By the ride back Rhys decided he was now good friends with the younger boy, Max.  He was telling me that he had a new friend and put his hand on Max's back.  I don't think Max was a toucher or a talker.  I am pretty sure this friendship was completely one sided.  Rhys was trying to teach him how to give the thumbs up sign.  Max just stared at him. When we were going our seperate ways, Rhys started to follow Max.  I told him he had to be with us and he got a little upset.  I told him to say good bye.  He yelled "Bye Max!" at least ten times, trying to get Max to acknowledge him.  The grandparents did tell him to say good bye and Rhys was able to go on with his day.

Ava has decided that she wants to learn how to spin yarn with a drop spindle.  She saw the demonstrations and heard that all the kids would learn how to do it around the age of 4.  I might actually indulge her sometime and get her a drop spindle and some wool.  I wouldn't be opposed to messing with it if she decides it isn't as fun as it appears.

Next week is my last week of working during the week.  It should free up more days for summer fun.   I think the last 4 weeks of summer could be great.  I only have a couple outings planned in my head but I am hoping to fit in more playing with friends. We will see how it goes.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Just a little pet peeve

Now that there is facebook and before that, myspace, I see this constantly and I can't stand it.  "RIP so and so."  Really?  You love your friend so much you can't type out the rest of the phrase?  The phrase "rest in peace" is nice.  It is over used, but at least it gets the point across.  "RIP" is for halloween decorations or poor, hand carved tombstones that you had to pay per letter, or really just took a long time to carve.  It is tacky.  That is just my opinion.  So help me, if I die and I see "RIP Emily" anywhere in the internets, I don't know what I will do.  I will do something.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Would you like some fries with that?

I am starting to prepare for my ascention into full time domestic goddessness, I am thinking a lot about what I would like that to look like.  I know that I am probably not going to always accomplish everything I set for myself.  I know that about  myself.  I will take a week off and just read a book or make a huge mess with some new project I have come up with.  But I do have some practical goals. One of them has to do with dinner.

I generally am a meal planner.  I don't always stick with a schedule, but I want to have meals planned out, so I know what to buy at the grocery store.  If not, I just end up with a cart full of random things and then go pick up dinner because I have no idea what to make with them.  Recently I have started to keep all my recipes on Pepperplate.  It is a website that allows you to compile recipes from all different websites or import your own.  You can also menu plan and make a grocery list.  Since I am going to be home every night that means there is the possiblity of dinner every night.  Believe it or not, this should actually going to save us money.  No more needing to buy food at work because there aren't any leftovers.  I actually do like eating food at home.  I actually prefer the food I make at home for dinners to fast food.  I am looking forward to this whole thing.  Over the years I have compiled quite a list of good recipes.  I am working on getting them all into the same place.  I am definitely not a make the same thing every week kind of person.  I am more of the make the same thing every month.  At the most, every two weeks.  I do try to coordinate recipes so I can use ingredients in multiple things to make it cheaper.  I have the issue of side dishes.  I have no idea what to make as a side dish.  I tend to go with casseroles or all inclusive dishes so I don't have to think about it.  When we have vegetables, they are usually just steamed.  The problem is with side dishes, they tend to not be very healthy.  Do you have this problem?  I don't want to have a nice baked chicken and then veggies smothered in cheese and butter.  (Well I do, but my scale doesn't want me to.) So my new challenge is to come  up with side dishes.  Maybe we won't ever eat them, but I want to try.

Friday, July 6, 2012

I fixed it!

I think I fixed it all!!!!!!!! Yay!!!!!! 

As I am trying to think of what to say other than, "I fixed it!! Yay!!!"  The theme song from Doogie Houser, M.D. is going through my head.  Here is where I should be typing something thoughtful and profound, but I won't.  I don't have many of those thoughts that I feel like sharing these days.  Moving on.

I made it out to our garden today even though it was actually 100 degrees out.  I gave the plants a good soaking.  I hadn't been out there in over a week so I had no idea what I would find.  For all I knew, everything was dead.  It was far from dead.  It was overrun! Weeds everywhere, knee high and bigger.  I got some pulled out that were easy to seperate.  I am going to have to go back and get down to business in the radish/green onion area.  That section is a mess.  Our lettuce has gone to seed, literally.  It looks like a giant weed.  I wish I had planted the cabbage where the lettuce was planted and vice versa, because Ava's pumpkins are next to the cabbage.  Her pumpkin leaves are huge!  It definitely adds to the whole overgown look.  We have some peas, tomatoes, and peppers that are showing up and growing.  We have a lot of flowers on the cucumbers, but they aren't vining and climbing the trellis like I had planned.  I have to hope that they won't rot on the ground.  We did have one success though.  Rhys' sunflower, though he claims he didn't do anything to it so he didn't contribute to the success.  After a while he did acknowledge that he pulled some weeds from around the flower so it could grow better.  As you can see behind the flower, we have a weed situation. Most of those are actually in the mulch, but still my problem.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

HTML woes

So I still have no header on this puppy.  I tried, but I am horrible at HTML and usually just make a bigger mess.  Justin will usually fix it for me but our computer died.  It keeps trying to die its final death and we are not having it.  A new battery is on its way so maybe in a few days he will feel like trying to fix things.  I think I installed commentluv that I was introduced to by everydaymom but I have a feeling it didn't work. 

Ava has a laser treatment coming up on Monday.  I know I scheduled it.  I know I knew it was taking place in July.  I know that I thought it would be better than during the school year, but now I am just irritated that it is right in the middle of summer.  It has been so hot the last couple weeks we have spent a lot of time inside and I think the little people already have a little cabin fever.  I feel like I have used up a lot of my cheap and free indoor options.  I am just going to have to schedule more playdates for the next two weeks I guess.  The cheap theater has a movie out that we haven't seen yet, so that is going to be one activity.  I have a feeling we will get a lot better at uno.  I am considering making some playdough.  I need more options!  We can do some outside time in the second week, as long as she wears a hat, but we can't do any pool stuff. 

Ava had her eye doctor's appointment today.  Her pressures were up to 25 in her left eye, which is not good.  The practice is getting a new pediatric glaucoma specialist so for her next visit in October, Ava will be seeing him and her regular eye doctor.  It will be a long appointment full of pupil dialations and pictures of her optic nerve.  Her current eye doctor always has surgery in the back of his mind.  Her pressures aren't ever good, but her nerves seem to tollerate it.  We have had two surgery consults in the past.  The University of Chicago doctor said no surgery.  He said the same structures that seem to cause the increased pressure also give her nerve increased strength.  The Children's Memorial doctor said surgery, get it on the books, bam bam bam.  Her decision didn't sit right with us. I am sure she knew what she was talking about, but it was very fast and she didn't even check her pressures or get a cooperative Ava to look at.  Her regular eye doctor did some other consulations and we decided to put off surgery at that time.  I guess it is a possibility again.  We will just have to wait and see I guess.  As long as her eye drops work, I would much rather keep up with the drops and avoid surgery.  Eventually she will get big enough that she can try oral medications instead of the drops.  It is all just wait and see I guess.

And to randomly end this post, Rhys "made his hair."  That is all hairspray.  He soaked his hair with the actual hairspray.  It smells nice...

Monday, July 2, 2012

50 books in a year?

Thanks to this new app/website Goodreads, I am keeping track and have set the goal to read 50 books in 2012.  I have mixed feelings about this app.  Mostly I like it.  It has provided some decent suggestions and I am actually keeping track of how many books I am reading.  I think sometimes I over estimate and others, definitely under estimate.  The bad thing about it is, if I am being honest with the number of books I read, then I also have to be honest about the caliber of books I read.  I do go for some serious books sometimes. I like things that are really well written.  At other times, I just go for fluff.  I go for a book I can read in a few hours.  I don't always enjoy them but they pass the time.  They are the lifetime movies of books.  What a horrible analogy.

So according to my tracker, I have read 15 books so far this year.  I kind of put myself in a tricky situation at the beginning of the year by getting into a series of books that contained 7 books that were each about 1000 pages long.  I loved them, but now I am approximately 20% behind schedule.  I should be right around 30 books by this point in the year and I am not even close.  I will catch up though, I think.  Do you think I can do it?

At the dentist

Did you hear that title sung in the song from Little Shop of Horrors?  I don't even know if those are the words, so probably not.

Ava and Rhys both had dentist appointments today.  Last summer we were referred to a pediatric dentist that I really, really liked.  Ava had started out going to one when she was 2.  It was a far drive and I didn't really like him.  Then she had just been going to our dentist.  That was fine, but not great.  She had a large cavity, which resulted in our referral to the pediatric dentist.  She really had five cavities and needed a root canal and crown.  He said that if she had been getting x-rays from the beginning she would have never needed the root canal or crown.  They just missed it until it was so big they could see it.  Needless to say, we have stuck with the new pediatric dentist.  Rhys had his first appointment with them today.  He loved it.  He was already comfortable with the office because they let him go back and play while Ava had all of her work done.  Ava and Rhys got their cleanings at the same time which was also nice.

The dentist told me that Rhys' teeth are completely different from Ava's.  I am not sure exactly what he meant by that, other than not rotten?  Neither of them had any cavities today.  He made reference to Ava's teeth being very crowded.  He said it is good that she hasn't lost more than two teeth yet.  He said the longer it takes for her to lose teeth, the more room she will have for adult ones to come in.  He asked about my teeth and whether or not I needed to have any pulled or crowding issues dealt with.  I am sure he is just laying the foundation for future conversations about orthodontia. Rhys was very excited because he got to bring prints of his x-rays home and he got Sponge Bob toothpaste.

In other news, summer is flying by.  I can't believe that it is July already.  I have seven more weeknight shifts and then I am done.  I am changing my hours.  I will only regularly be working the overnights on the weekend and then picking up extra shifts here and there.  I will probably be primarily working the weekends or half shifts at night.  It will be a big change for us schedule wise, but I am definitely looking forward to it.

Justin is finally finished with school.  We had a little graduation party for him this weekend.  He isn't walking in a ceremony or anything by choice, so I do wonder when he will get a diploma.  It just seems so unsettled without it.

I am also having some technical difficulties with my layout.  The header was a mess, so deleted my old lay out.  And now I am missing my header so there is a huge blank space.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I like to party all the time, party all the time, party!!!!!

I am a super party planner...NOT!  But I just took care of some important party plans pretty quickly.  Justin is graduating in a couple weeks so I thought, eh, why not celibrate it somehow.  I had originally thought we would go to a pub of sorts and have people meet us there.  It is cheaper for us because it is essentially BYOB, but then I would have to worry about  numbers and tables and kids.  So instead I decided to throw a very casual gathering at our house.  It is going to be outside because a ton of people won't fit in the house and we just don't have that type of seating, plus it is summer and beautiful.  I would love to have a firepit, but we don't have one and it would be in an odd spot since our patio is surrounded by juniper bushes that I hate.  So we are just going to be outside in the dark with chairs.  I will have a have some drinks and snacks and that is about it.  I am so glad that I planned more for a new years eve party in 2001 with 6 people coming than I have for this party.  I am just hoping to get to spend time with friends and family and enjoy a nice evening outside.  (Let me know if you find any tiki torches for cheap or come up with a firepit plan since we can't put them in our grass.)

Ava has been talking about her birthday party since pretty much the day after her last party.  I don't know what it is about kids parties now, but it seems like people from her school all have big parties.  I just can't rationalize spending that much money on a 2-3 hour party.  I also can't imagine having 25 five year olds at my house if I were to go the cheaper route.  So I proposed a family weekend.  I asked Ava if she would be ok with not having a party if we went somewhere as a family instead.  She thought about it and asked if she would still get presents and a cake.  I said yes.  Justin isn't able to take any vacation days at work right now so even though it is summer, we were pretty limited to the weekend of her birthday.  After spending 2 nights comparing prices and resorts and mileage, we ended up with booking Key Lime Cove.  It is an indoor water park by Great America.  The cool thing is, they had a promo going on, so we are also going to Great America.  It will be pretty awesome and I think she will have a ton of fun.  So sorry to offend those who wanted a party for Ava.  We will be living it up in the lazy river.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Last week I started up my free two week trial of  It was pretty easy to trace things back because most of it has already been done by people and they shared it publicly.  I loved finding the little stories and pictures of people.  It turns out my Great-Great-Great Grandmother and Grandfather lived in the same town I currently do, in 1860.  That is extra interesting since none of my biological family is from Illinois.  There were pictures of them listed also and civil war documents.  Out of 8 family lines (great grandparents) 7 of them go all the way back to the 1700's at least , in America.  One line is very well documented.  Simon H. was the first person to come to America. He was a Quaker from Ireland.  He moved here with his children in 1712.  He had many children and they all had many children.  There are pages and pages of records for this family. In fact there is an entire society for ancestors of Simon H.

Many records were kept because of their involvement with the Society of Friends.  Simon's grandson Joshua, Jr. is a documented Patriot of the Revolution due to his providing supplies.  There are pages and pages of records for this family.  In fact there is an entire society for ancestors of Simon H.  On another side of the family, Godfried (Goodlife) N. came to America from Germany in 1759 and immediately became involved in the French and Indian War.  He was in the New York Provincial Militia.  See p. 89.  I haven't gotten as far with my mom's side of the family because my aunt has already done it.  She has things listed back to the 1500's.  It is all pretty interesting to me.

I am actually very interested in trying to join the Daughters of the Revolution.  I don't know why exactly, I just am.  I have requested to be contacted to apply, but I haven't heard anything back yet.  (They apparently take the summer off.)  The book series I have been reading this year is currently set during the American Revolution.   Maybe that has me really invested in the story or something.  Anyway, that is my newest story.

Friday, May 25, 2012

People living with animals

"Did you know that on a farm people live right there with the animals?"  This was Rhys' observation about our trip out to a farm to pick up our bulk food order.  I am now the proud owner of 25 pounds of flour, 25 pounds of popcorn kernals, 12 pounds of sugar, 1 pound of whole cinnamon sticks, 8 ounces of Mexican vanilla, large bag of vital gluten, bread conditioner, buttermilk powder, 3 whole chickens, and 2 dozen fresh eggs.  I want to get baking!  It is going to be 90 degrees.  Oh the humanity!!!!!  I used up my old flour tonight making two loaves of bread.  It allowed me to use my gluten and buttermilk.  They taste pretty good.  I am thinking tomorrow morning's breakfast will be toast made out of my bread and eggs.  I wonder if fresh eggs will taste different.  With all my plans for baking comes the realization that I am missing supplies!  I want bread pans, good pie pans that look nice, something to grind up my cinniman sticks.  I did recently buy an egg slicer so that serious need has been filled. 

I can totally see how people can become hoarders.  It is comforting to me to know that I have 25 pounds of flour.  I can screw something up and start all over because it is ok.  There is more.  Just imagine what all I would buy in bulk if I had a basement.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Update on the hat and other stuff

I think I mentioned a couple weeks ago that our dermatologist had suggested bringing extra hats to school for other kids to wear during recess after Ava has a laser treatment.  If not, that was the gist of it.  Ava had some self esteem issues after her last treatment and was moping around at recess.  I talked to her teachers about it and they said they noticed a difference only during outdoor recess when she had to wear her hat.  So I bought Ava a new hat (the old one had lost some stiffness and was extra flopping and dirty looking) and another one for her to bring to school.  Her teacher said that it has been a big hit and the kids actually beg to be the one who gets to wear the hat and take turns with it during recess.  She suggests bringing in even more hats next year. 

My hand is finally starting to recover.  I am just able to use my thumb a little bit.  I am hoping to get back to crocheting next week sometime.   That is my only hope of actually finishing some projects on time. 

I notified my supervisor that I will be dropping down to a substitute worker in August.  I might work just as many hours here and there and mostly keep the overnight, but it will be much more flexible.  I pretty much will work mostly on weekends.  My schedule the way it has been just doesn't work with Ava in school all day and also with Justin's job.  I guess we will see which is more stressful, a crazy schedule or super tight budget.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

We did it!

Today marks the deadline for volunteer hours for Ava's school.  I only have one child enrolled there, so I just had to do the minimum hours...20.  I finished them yesterday with .5 hours to spare.  Each child means an additional 20 hours a year.  Once Rhys starts school this is going to require a concentrated effort!  I am already planning out how I am going to get my hours next year so I don't have to do a scramble at the end of the year.  Most of the things I get to do to earn hours are pretty enjoyable so it isn't bad.  It also allows me a chance to get to know other parents.  I was a lunchroom helper last week.  Ava got to stay in the cafeteria with me and color which made things easier.  It reminded me once again, why I love her school.  The custodian asked her if she would like a table set up.  He got a table down just for her, set it up so she could see everything and even got her a "fancy" chair.  During the middle school lunch time Ava pointed out an older boy.  She said he helped her up when she fell a few days ago.  It was raining and she slipped when she got in the school. She said he helped her up and asked if she was ok.  She also said he now waves to her every time he sees her. I love it that  it was a fellow student that helped her up, not a teacher.  I love that they take care of each other. 

I also earned the $200 required with gift cards!  Thanks to everybody that helped.  We have already started earning towards next year's $200.  It is definitely doable and will be easier the more I get used to thinking of using gift cards for regular purchases.

Things have been really busy after school.  Ava has had 5 birthday parties in the month of May.  She has another one tomorrow and another next Wednesday.  As a result she changes her mind about where she will be having her birthday party this year.  Did I even say she got a party?  Did I say she could invite her whole class?  I am going to have to set her out on the corner with a collections jar.

The garden is coming along.  I have three more things to plant and then we have to set up the trellises.  So far the lettuce looks beautiful.  It really looks so nice that I am looking forward to the late summer planting so I can grow so much more.  We haven't had anything eaten by rabbits.  We do have a serious weed problem though.  I don't know how to keep up.  Last week the kids and I spent well over an hour just pulling weeds. I filled up a 5 gallon bucket 4 times.  Rhys continually steps where he isn't supposed to, but it is really cute to see him try to be helpful.  He puts on his gloves and asks if there are any hard weeds that we need help with and then grabs it with both hands and puts his back into and yanks it out.  Sunday I spent 2 hours out there without kids (more time spent working, less time spent redirecting) and used a hoe and a rake.  I could easily spent another hour just pulling weeds.   I am putting so much work into it, it makes me want to put MORE work into it to make sure I am always watering and maintaining so I can get a good harvest.  My worms need to get down to business.  I need some compost to put on my tomatoes. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

White it is

It is crunch time in baby blanket land.  I decided to push forward with the white blanket.  I had started another one (so that would be three going at once) and I don't like it so I am going to pull it out.  It makes it much easier to decide to go with the blanket that is 1/4 of the way done for the baby that is due in a few days.  The only problem is my arm is really hurting.  I am hoping to get an hour in this afternoon at the park.  That means that my little lovely children will be happy at the park without me pushing them on swings for an hour.

In other news...less than one month of school left for Ava.  I can't wait.  Rhys is a little antsy and I am not the person he wants to play with.  He hasn't learned to play alone this year.  He has learned that he doesn't like it.  I can't believe she is almost done with kindergarten already though.  She looks old.  She has lost a tooth!  She goes to friend's houses after school.  She is asking to give her phone number to friends...Soon she will be asking for a phone to have a number for!

Grandparents' Day 2011-2012 school year

Pops and Lollies 2011-2012 school year

What happened to this little "big" girl? 

mmmmm yeasty

As you know, we have been eating organic.  I recently got organic cane sugar.  It worked perfectly fine.  I have also been getting organic flour.  I can pretty much only go to one store to get these, at least at the prices I am willing to pay.  In comes local bulk co-op ordering!  I am so excited.  I just ordered 50 lbs (which I am splitting) of organic, unbleached flour.  I am also splitting 25 pounds of organic cane sugar...and some mexican vanilla.  (anybody want in on that?  We got A LOT!)  That means baking!!!!!!  I know it will be summer and turning on the oven will be a big negative, but oh well.  

It is also means I am completely unwilling to cut out grains and dairy.  In fact, I bought some gluten just to add to my bread.  I am making french bread right now.  I love how it smells when it is rising. Mmmmm yeasty. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Where its at!

I got two turn tables and a microphone.

That has nothing to do with anything I am about to say.  I finished a blanket. I even used a sewing machine and feel confident that I could use one again in the future for some basic projects.  I am trying to resist making my list of things to make that I had always said I would like to do if I could use a sewing machine.  I do believe my mom is giving me a sewing machine, so I have a feeling the projects will begin sooner, rather than later.

Anyway, here is the blanket I made.  It isn't perfect, but I do love it and it will actually be kind of hard to give away.  Not that I need another baby blanket in this house.  As it is I need to go through all the ones we have and secretly get rid of the ones that aren't favorites.

I made crocheted one side of the blanket using Dreambaby DK yarn with a G hook.  It took 5 skeins of yarn.   I then put on a backing of flannel and trimmed it with pre-trim.  (My mom sewed on the trim.)

I am very sorry. I don't take good pictures of my projects at all.  I use my phone and natural light when I can.  That is about as far as I get.

The entrelac is currently on hold.  I don't not like it.  It just takes concentration and I didn't have time for it right now. So this is where it stands.

I have started a new blanket.  I think it should go pretty fast.  It is kind of lacy looking though.  Originally I had it in mind for a baby boy, but now that I have seen it, I am not so sure.  Thoughts?  If you had a boy would you think this was too girly?  I am anti-typical gender roles and Rhys was often in a pink blanket because I didn't care, but I know other people do.

I am excited about making more backed blankets.  I am wondering how many different patterns of blankets would work well with a backing. Hmmmm.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The never ending school debate

I have been debating what I should do about school since Ava was about 3.  I am exposed to so many people who have chosen different paths for education that the obvious choice of public school no longer became the obvious choice.  It came down to what I wanted for Ava and her education.  (These all apply to Rhys too, she just came first.)  I wanted her to be challenged and learn to think.  I wanted her to develop a real love of learning.  I wanted her to do more than sit and fill out work sheets.  I wanted many other things, but those are the major ones.  I looked into our public school.  I read all the reports from the state on performance.  I read all about the curriculum.  I even went and found some newsletters to parents to see what they were sending home.  I decided it wasn't an option for us.  I am not going to go into all the reasons why I didn't like it, but I will just say I didn't.  It fell short.  It just didn't have the qualities that I was looking for.

Based on a referral, we had found a preschool that we really liked.  It was part of a K-8th grade school.  We had pretty much decided to go ahead and do public school for kindergarten until I had spent a lot of time in the pick up line watching all the older kids interact. I started to think, "Oh I would love for Ava to have a school experience like that."   Over the next few months, I really researched school options.  We debated public school, homeschooling, and the different private schools in the area.  We decided on the school where Ava had been going to preschool.  We have been very happy this year.  It has met all of our expectations for sure.  We went ahead and registered Rhys for preschool and Ava for first grade.

Next week I have to pay the tuition for Ava.  Maybe it is because I will be writing such a big check.  Maybe it is because as of right now I am not able to see the long term sustainability of this educational choice.  Maybe it is because the school board mysteriously voted to not offer the principal a new contract for next year.  Either way, it has made me go into a mini-panic.  Are we making the best choice?  I feel very confident that public school is still off the table.  It hasn't suddenly improved academically.  My debate is private school vs. one of the many home school options in the area.  I just know I don't want to go back and forth.  If I decide to home school, we will home school through at least all of elementary school.  Maybe we will get to the point where private school isn't financially possible.  At that point I will probably look into some form of home schooling.  Then I follow my thoughts down that little wormhole and think, well if I am willing to do it when we can't afford private school, then why not do it now?  Then I remind myself that I don't think that I am the best teacher for Ava at this stage of the game.  So for now, I think we are sticking with private school.  This doesn't mean that I am not going to rehash my thinking for the next 12 days until I write that check.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Organic transition

I just thought I would follow up on a previous post where I talked about transitioning to organic food choices.  I will admit that I often don't stick with any types of changes I try to implement.  I always think things sound great but then I don't actually like them.  We have really stuck with the organic thing.  Since Justin's job change and the financial changes that have come along with that, some things we haven't been able to stick to.  Other things I am not ready to change.  I loved the grass fed meats that we got.  I have been getting organic meat instead lately out of convenience but it really isn't any cheaper so I will probably go back to the grass fed.  I am really not willing to compromise on that, though that also seems to have the biggest financial impact.  We have been sticking with organic fruits and vegetables when we can.  Whole Foods has a bad reputation, but if you shop the outside of the store and sales, I think it is pretty comparable to other stores.  The processed and packed foods are more expensive for sure though.  Though when you go to more of the organic pre-packaged foods, it is always expensive.  We have stuck with the organic, cage-free eggs, thanks to Costco.  Recently we gave up the organic milk and are now drinking the hormone free milk instead.  It was just too expensive.  I am still transitioning into organic grains and sugars.  We have gone back to commercial cereals and cheeses because of cost alone.  It turns out I didn't like traditional maple syrup though the fake stuff is horrible for you.  I would say at this point in time, we are about 35-50% organic.  Some meals are completely.  Some not at all.  So that is where we are at.  I am happy that 6 months later we are still on track.  I also think that more and more organic options will become available and make this easier.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Wooohoooo!!!!!!  Yesterday's post was my 400th post!!!!!  I must have posted much more frequently years ago. 

Ava had an eye appointment today.  It was just a quick one.  I was dreading the wait, knowing that it was spring break and in the afternoon.  It wasn't bad at all though.  The place was pretty empty.  Anyway, everything looked good.  Her pressures were 20 and 20.  That is still in her good range, so nothing is changing.  She can throw a fit all she wants about getting the drops.  She still needs them because they are keeping her from needing surgery.

The yarn I ordered yesterday shipped.  I am hoping it comes by Saturday so I can give my sister in law hers.  That wasn't a very exciting update.

We have started planting our garden.  I should have gone to water today, but I honestly didn't have any time.  Hopefully tomorrow we will get out there.  I also need to get some carrot seeds and this round of planting will be done.  When Ava and I were out there Tuesday, our plot neighbor offered to rototil our patch for us.  I said no because we were on a time crunch and I didn't want to have to be rude and leave while he was in the middle of things and Rhys and I had already planted some seeds the day before.  I am definitely going to have to leave some spots clear of seeds.  I thought Rhys and Ava might be more interested in planting but they aren't.  We will clearly have some semi-neat rows and some clusters where they each gave up and dumped out their hand.  They pretty much each just want to dig.  The need their own shovels and their patch of dirt that they can dig in.  They also want to get some decorations so we are going to have to see what the dollar store has to offer.

Rhys is 90% of the way potty trained.  He just can't do #2.  He says he doesn't feel it until it is too late.  I say 90% because he only goes #2 once or twice a week.  He is dry at night most of the time too. He hasn't wet the bed in a month.  Until last night.  It was my bed. That is all I have to say about that.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Babies, babies, everywhere!

So in the last few weeks, there has been a pregnancy explosion. I have quite a few very good friends who are expecting. Some have actually requested that I make their baby something which means I have a lot of things to make. It is so much more motivating to work on a deadline and babies definitely have deadlines. I have about 5 months to make 4 blankets and whatever else I can make to coordinate. That is definitely doable, but sometimes, depending on how much my hand lets me work, it will take a month to make a blanket.

So due to fiscal responsibility, I have to rein myself in when it comes to the yarn. I don't like giving gifts that don't look good and feel good. That is part of why I am so picky about yarn. So as a compromise with myself and with the assistance of my sister in law, I came up with a plan. I am going to try to do a backing and trim in fabric. They should hopefully be variations of this:

I am going to be following instructions on assembly from Nikki In Stitches. Hopefully it will turn out well. I am not sure if this style of blanket will be desired or not or if they would rather have the drape of a good crocheted or knit blanket. I guess it depends on the feel of the yarn. So on to part one of my yarn compromise. was having their anniversary sale and they also discount yarn when you buy over a certain amount. This is typically not hard if you are making a bigger project, but since I was buying cheaper yarn, my sister in law and I combined orders to get the discount. This got me a full blanket of yarn for $15 plus shipping. Not too bad! For reference Ava's blanket cost about $60 in materials. It was probably more than that, I just don't want to think about. Darn you Spud and Chloe! I love your yarn so much! Why must you be so expensive!!!!!!!

Part two of my yarn compromise was to actually use yarn I already have. I know, I know. Common sense, but yarn inspires me and if a yarn lost its mojo, chances are, it isn't coming back. I had bought a yarn that I love the colors of for a sweater for Ava. Turns out the yarn kind of sucks to work with and the project was horrible and tedious and not looking good at all. So I pulled it all out and then was left with an assortment of colors in various amounts and couldn't figure out what the heck to do with it. Until now! The yarn still sucks to work with. It is Cascade 220 Fingering weight. I just find the texture odd and it is really splitty. I am glad I have a plan to back this particular blanket because it is really thing and has no drape.

Anyway, on to the cast of characters. Here are the colors I am using.

I also found directions on youtube for an entrelac style crocheted blanket. It is using a technique called Tunisian crochet which combines knitting and crocheting all at once. It turns out that I had a Tunisian crochet hook and didn't even know. It just thought it was kind of cool looking and I bought it because it was on clearance. This blanket will build from the middle out.

So that is where I am at with it today. We are on spring break so I have high hopes of getting a lot done but if I look at our schedule for the rest of the week and my work schedule, I don't really see that happening much. My hand is also killing me so I should maybe just really try for one hour a day instead of a marathon afternoon.

Now that I have made my triumphant return to blogging, maybe I will post again this month. It is only the beginning of April so chances are good!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I got worms!

Spring has jumped on us. There wasn't much of a winter this year at all. Really, we only had one decent snow. I kept thinking it would just be a mild winter, but instead March has been full of record setting highs. Temperatures in the 80's and all that. I am loving it. It has definitely made me start planning for the summer. In past years we have tried to grow vegetables in pots and in the actual dirt around our patio. Being in a townhouse means space is limited. I have tried to be creative and it hasn't been very successful. Things taste bad because of the dirt. The landscapers mow down everything. The wind tunnel behind our house makes pots fly all over the place, even if they are weighted down. So....

NOTE: I just wrote the entire post and it crashed and this is where it was saved to. You have now missed out on a ton of very exciting and relevent information about our lives. I know. You are sad.

Anyway, so while I was signing Ava and Rhys up for gymnastics at the park district, I notice that the park district was starting up organic community garden plots. We booked one. The kids and I made lists of what we wanted to grow. We mapped it out. We bought seeds. We also researched organic fertilization. That means compost! We are back to the original problem of living in a townhouse. We found another solution. Worm composting! I went on the internet and bought some worms. Who knew you could buy worms on the internet? I didn't. Ava helped me research this and how to set it up. She drew diagrams to help explain it to Justin. She was collecting banana peels to feed the worms. She is so excited about it. Hopefully I can handle the added responsibility of worms. Research worm composting. Eventually my worms will reproduce enough that I will have some to give away. You could be the lucky person who gets them!