Friday, December 18, 2009


I spent way too long yesterday trying to make Martha Stewart pipe cleaner animals.  Most of them were a disaster (the elephants looked like they hadn't eatten in weeks and the pigs looked like very round pink mice), but the deer came out just fine.

I thought they'd make some great Christmas ornaments, but the kids won't hear of it.  They've been keeping "Rudolph" and "Clarice" safetly tucked away in their pockets, only letting them out for little evening strolls past the Christmas lights.
I guess I'll just have to make some more...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Who's responsible?

If you ask your littlest daughter if she is the one responsible for removing all of the ornaments on the bottom third of the tree...

And she gives you a look like this...

...should you believe her when she says no?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

(Almost) Two out of Three

After several afternoons spent in front of the sewing machine, I finally have the front of Pookie's doll quilt complete. I had no desire (and no time) to do a quilt quite as complicated as Fig's (those pieces were tiny and hard to sew together!), so I opted for a "scrappy" log cabin design.

So glad I did--the design is quick, fun and, best of all, uses up some a tiny bit of the fabric scraps I've been hanging on to. I'm thinking I might have to try making a full size one of these. Maybe during the February doldrums or something?
Now that I have Pookie and Fig's doll quilts almost finished, I need to start thinking about Little P.'s.  And quickly, I'm running out of time!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I'm making very little progress with the handmade Christmas presents. There really aren't quite enough hours in the day, it seems. So in an effort to squeeze a bit more free time into my evenings, I spent today making and freezing about a weeks worth of dinners. Not having to make dinner for several nights should mean enough free time to finish a few presents before Christmas...I hope.

Because really, this should be done by now, shouldn't it?

Recognize it? It's Fig's doll quilt that I first posted about back in April and jokingly said might be a Christmas present. Yes, I am that slow. But, at least it's getting finished, right? There's just a bit more hand quilting to do and then it's going to be a mad rush to get Pookie's and Little P's finished before Christmas.

Or at least before the 12 days of Christmas are up.

This Christmas.


I mean it.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Cupcake anyone?

I know, back to back posts featuring sugary goodness! However, these came in the mail today--or rather, the means of making these cupcakes came today. A little advent surprise package from my parents arrived full of all kinds of goodies including cupcake mix, icing, and sprinkles. Upon discovery of such goodies, a non-stop chorus of "Mommy can we!" and "Mommy puh-leeze!" immediately ensued.
After much discussion, I agreed that the cupcakes could be mixed, baked, iced, decorated, and consumed today if I had help cleaning the playroom up.
The playroom is now clean. The bathroom is also clean. Even the dining room floor is clean.
The cupcakes? They were delicious.
We just might have to make cupcakes more often!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Of Mice and Cookies

Oh my, where has the time gone! Since December first, we've been busy opening advent calendars (and gleefully gobbling up the chocolates found behind each doors), hanging up our outdoor lights, and decorating our Christmas tree. We've also spent a little while making sugar cookies.
Mostly Christmas themed cookies, but there were a few giraffes and zebras thrown in the mix.
These may just go down as the most memorable Christmas cookies ever. Not, mind you, because there is anything particularly memorable about the cookies themselves (they were tasty, but not that tasty), but because of the mouse.
Oh yes, a mouse. As I was removing a cookie tray from the stove drawer, a little mouse stuck it's head out and squeaked at me. Now, I'm not afraid of mice, but I really don't like being suprised by any of there kind.
And I certainly do not like finding a mouse where there shouldn't be a mouse.
So I suppose you can imagine how this went--three screaming little girls, one screaming me, and one mouse noisily running laps around the stove drawer.
I finally took the drawer outside and dumped it on the lawn...only to discover that the mouse was no longer inside. Oh no, that mouse was back in the house, waiting for me. There was one little triumphant "squeak!" and then the little fellow disappeared under the dishwasher.
Recent findings would suggest that he is not the only one of his kind present in the house.
Like I said, some very memorable Christmas cookies...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

We spent the better part of last week in the car driving to and from a wedding. Two days northwest of here, I finally caught a glimpse of the mountains.And there they stayed, just out of reach. There wasn't enough time in our schedule to allow for any exploration...perhaps another time.

And now it's time to start baking some Thanksgiving pie!

Monday, November 09, 2009

New Wall Color

My husband was away on business all of last week and so (as I like to keep myself busy while he's gone) I decided to paint the livingroom. No small endeavor, it took me two and a half days to complete the project.
A quiet blue/grey color making me quite happy.

Friday, October 30, 2009

And Finally....

Little P's costume.
I know, she's in grey. Grey, not really a butterfly-fairy-princess costume color, so we've settled on her being a little moth fairy princess. A twilight kind of fairy.
The dress is a bit of a mess. The bodice went together easily, but the skirt gave me all kinds of problems. It's a little too busy looking, a little too heavy for the bodice, not quite even, lying flat and lifeless here, looking breezy and lively there. After ripping everything apart for the fourth time I decided enough was enough. She'll only be wearing it for trick-or-treat tomorrow. It'll be almost dark by the time we venture out in it. Chances are she will never want to wear it again. Why then does it have to be perfect? So I've stitched it all together one last time and am leaving it be...I think. I can't guarantee that, some time late tonight, I won't be frantically trying to make it look just that much better...but I'm going to try very hard to let it go, call it good enough, move on...
After all, it's almost November. Time to bake some pies or something!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pookie's Costume

With just a few days to spare, I've finally finished Pookie's dress. She was very specific about what she wanted. She drew me three designs for her dress and then proceeded to point out the most important elements of each design. She wanted a flat dress, no ruffles, petals, flowers, long, butterflies, trees, some birds, a necklace...the list went on and on.

We managed to pare the list down a bit and ended up with just flowers and petals. Phew! Thankfully, she's happy with the finished product.
And now I have a half-finished dress for Little P. I need to complete...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Bug Box/The Bug Book

It all started with The Bug Box. A cousin-in-law kindly sent the girls a few insect specimens. My mother packed these specimens in an old art box and added a few of her own to the collection. The girls quickly named it The Bug Box. They loved looking in the box, they loved examining each of the specimens with their magnifying glass and they loved quizzing each other on the names the specimens. But there just weren't enough bugs, so the girls went searching for some more specimens. They found a dead dragonfly, a dead grasshopper, a dead centipede, a dead wasp, dead moths, numerous dead beetles, and about thirty cicada moltings (that would be all those dirty looking brown objects in the largest compartment.)

The girls also found a number of live insects. They were very excited by these finds, but were disappointed that these live insects could not go in The Bug Box. "Do you think it will die soon?" the girls would ask as they followed some poor insect across the yard.

And so The Bug Book began. I would take the girls for walks and we'd look for dead and live insects. If they found a dead insect, we'd collect it for The Bug Box... ...if we found a live one, I would take a picture of it for The Bug Book. At least once a week we print off our latest pictures and add them to our photo album. I'm slowly working at adding names, dates, and locations to our pictures.
It has turned into quite a fun project for all of us. It has definitely made our walks much more exciting (who can spot the next new bug!) and has helped to make us all more observant.We've talked about other book possibilities (like a bird book), but have decided to stick with just insects for now. We have a lot more pages to fill in our photo album and a lot more "bugs" to discover.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Painting Break

Taking a break from the girls' Halloween costumes and doing a bit more stenciling on the walls.
I ran across this stencil company in an issue of Southern Living and fell in love with their designs. I'm currently using the "Trillian Way" stencil in the girls' playroom (hence the pink walls) and love it.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Costume Progress

With Halloween just a few weeks away I sat down and had a talk with the girls about what they wanted to dress up as this year.
"Princesses!" they excitedly told me.
"But you were princesses last year," I pointed out, somewhat disappointed.
"Yeah, we like princesses!" they informed me.
So we talked for awhile about other possibilities and after lots of discussion the kids finally settled on "Butterfly-Princess-Fairy!" which, I suppose, is a little bit different than just a princess...
So, here is Fig in her partially finished "Butterfly-Princess-Fairy" costume.
She's pretty easy to please when it comes to dresses--so long as it is girly/princess-y enough she will wear it. She loves this dress and has spent quite a lot of time showing us how well it twirls and how great the ruffles look when you bounce through the air. I'm thrilled that she's happy with it!
A few more details to add here and there and then I will have one out of three costumes complete. Phew!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Fall Arrives

Last month...
...looking bold, bright, cheery, healthy.
This month...
...sad, tired, brown, crinkly, and suffering from a horrible case of powdery mildew. I suppose I should rip them up and replace them with something more seasonal and cold hardy, but I haven't the heart. Maybe in another few weeks, when they have truly, throughly expired, I will...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Back Again

The boxes are almost all unpacked. There are a few, tucked away in closets, that I plan on unpacking at some point...but not today. Probably not tomorrow either. But at some point, hopefully, I'll unpack them all.
For now, it's time to relax and explore...
...and see what our new state has for us to discover.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Garden Paths

It feels like you've stepped right into the middle of a fairytale or a book like "The Secret Garden." Paths meandering though untamed azaleas, rusted gates entrapped in heavy vines, stone staircases leading to hidden terraces, and the most beautiful peonies and irises of every color.
The kind of place you'd expect something magical to happen in.
I think the kids love the gardens just about as much as I do.
*The gardens are located at the Buttrick Mansion, now called the Old North Bridge Visitor Center. They are a part of Minuteman Park and are open to the public free of charge. They are located just a short distance from the Old North Bridge where the "shot heard round the world" was fired. If you are ever in the Lexington/Concord area, I would highly recommend visiting this portion of the park.*

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Moving Blues

I know, I didn't follow through on that promise at all. Crafty things? Nope. An insane amount of cleaning, sorting, tossing, moving prep stuff. Yeah. Too much. Way too much. So much, that I finally cracked and realized that all this crazy work was really just me trying not to think about what's really bothering me.
I've been trying not to think about how hard it will be living far away from family, how much I'm going to miss all the neighbors (who are just about like family now), and how anxious I am about going to a part of the country I am totally unfamiliar with and where I know absolutely no one.
So I've thought about it all and have come to the obvious conclusion that 1. there is nothing I can do about what is going to happen and 2. while I'm worrying about tomorrow I'm not enjoying today. So that's what we're doing here (and why I've been a bit absent of late), trying to just enjoy today. Using these last couple of weeks to create more good memories like...
...spending a whole afternoon in the backyard painting. Bouncing on the neighbor's trampoline until everyone is hot, pink, and exhausted. Enjoying one too many cups of coffee (or juice boxes depending on your age) and lots of good conversation with family and friends.
...wildflower bouquets for the girls' room and building sandcastles at the beach. Having a picnic for every lunch. Allowing the kids to play outdoors past their bedtime.
Letting this chapter of our lives end on a happy note and...hopefully realizing that the next chapter, though perhaps difficult at first, will probably be just as joyful.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Cakes and cleaning

The husband has had to work late most of this week. The kids are always disappointed when Daddy won't be home before bed time, so I try and find something to make those evenings special for them. A movie, a tea party, or...
a cake. There was just enough sugar left in the house to whip up some buttercream frosting. Some crushed frozen raspberries mixed in made it all just that much better.
I've spent the week doing an absurd amount of laundry, cleaning, decluttering and stressing about the upcoming move. In the process I've learned that I really need to take some breaks to do stuff I enjoy, otherwise not only am I exhausted, but I'm also in a horrible mood by the end of the day. So I'm making a commitment to updating the blog every day next week with something fun or creative that I'm doing so as to guarantee that I will take a break from the aforementioned tasks (if you can call stressing a task...) and do something that brings a little joy to my day.
Time for some fun!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

We Return

We're back! I had only intended to stay away a few days on vacation (at my parents house), but when the meals kept magically appearing on the table and the suitcase was always miraculously full of clean laundry...well, the desire to return home quickly vanished. It was a great week full of sunny trips to the beach, coffee shops with oversized cookies, and unsuccessful, but awfully fun, antiquing.
But, the fun has to end at some point. So here we are, back at home, suitcases and contents still cluttering up the hallways. At some point I'll work up the energy to make the dinners, do the laundry, and put away the luggage. One more cup of coffee might help with that...

Friday, April 24, 2009


Well, here we go--first post of the week on the last day of the (work) week. Of course I fully intended to post sooner, but it's been an impossible week--the husband has had some long work days and I've been hit hard with seasonal allergies. This week has been mostly sneezing, wheezing, coughing, and sniffing with a few headaches and sleepless nights thrown in the mix. A grim week indeed.
There was one good thing about this week though...
...our visit to the butterfly atrium. My mom had discovered this place and, thinking that it would be something the girls would enjoy, she and my dad offered to take us there.
It was such a treat to go--the girls and I absolutely loved this place! I initially thought there was going to be some kind of barrier up between us and the butterflies--but no! You walk through this garden area with some butterflies busy fluttering from plant to plant, others diving in front of you (rather shocking at first!) and still others landing on you and happily staying put for some time.
Not only was it fascinating, but it was also very beautiful. My only regret is that I didn't think to have the girls bring any sketchbooks. I think they really would have loved drawing some of their favorites. Another time!
And so our week draws to end with the promise of better things to come. There is a book sale (which I have been anxiously anticipating for weeks), very warm weather, a little vacation for me, and hopefully some beach trips all coming up this week. And seeing as my allergies seem to be improving it looks like I'll be able to really enjoy all that!
A happy weekend to all of you!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Easter was beautiful (although a bit chilly) and, unfortunately, mostly picture-less. As usual there was just a bit too much going on (dying Easter eggs, making sure all the tights were washed, dresses were ironed, making a blackberry roulade for dessert, eating way too much chocolate etc., etc.) and consequently the thought of taking any pictures just never crossed my mind. Okay, well wait, actually I did think of pictures just once--the family Easter photo. Oh my, getting a decent picture of all five of us is almost impossible these days (and I say "almost" because I think one out of ten photos might be okay.)
So now we're halfway through our post holiday week. It's been a rough week. Up too late, up too early, too much travel, too much chocolate, too much post-holiday clean-up--we're having a tough time getting back into a comfortable routine and as a result crankiness levels are at an all time high.
To try and snap us out of our foul moods I suggested to the girls that we go birdwatching. This was met with much enthusiasm as it meant a real opportunity to use binoculars (something the girls have been dying to do.)
I had high hopes for this outing. Last time we'd taken this same walk we had spotted not only the usual birds (sparrows, chickadees), but had also seen a woodpecker and a cardinal. So I brought along my camera and told the girls we could start a bird book with the pictures we took.
Well, wouldn't you know it, but we couldn't spot a single bird. We heard a few (waaaaay far off somewhere), but didn't see a single one! Thankfully, though it is early spring, we spotted a few other things the girls enjoyed. For example this butterfly-
a Mourning Cloak. Which gave us the great opportunity to discuss camouflage. Now you see it...
now you don't.
And the girls thought these very tiny flowers...
...were pretty cool. They're the only flowers, besides dandelions, out at this time of year. They're called Whitlow Grass and are very, very, tiny. Size did not prevent the girls from trying to pick a whole boquet of them though!
And that was the extent of our nature walk . No birds and, much to Pookie's disappointment, no beetles or caterpillars either. I'm thinking I'll print off these pics and help the girls start a nature journal. Something we'll start....maybe next week when we are all (hopefully!) feeling a bit better!

Thursday, April 09, 2009


Suddenly, after all that rain, cloudiness, and cold, it feels like spring again. Almost warm, partially sunny, a little bit more color every day--so nice! The girls are thrilled, especially as this means that shoes are now...

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Rethinking a dress

As Easter is fast approaching I thought I'd better try that smocked dress on Little P. again and see if the fit had improved any. Sadly, no. In fact, if anything, I'd say the dress was looking worse than before. Although we seem to have our very own little girl version of the Very Hungry Caterpillar living here (really, she eats all day), all that nutritious goodness must be going straight towards vertical growth and not horizontal. So yes, she's taller, but not fatter, and was seriously disappearing in all that fabric. Frustrating to say the least.
On a whim, I thought I'd see if the dress would fit Pookie. And what do you know... actually looks alright on her. Pookie hated it, that is until I curled her hair and suggested she try singing "On the Good Ship Lollipop." Then of course it was a big hit--she thought she looked just like Shirley Temple and lot's of dancing and "Animal Crackers in my Soup" singing followed. So now I'm debating about exactly what to do. Should I put more time into trying to make it work for Little P. or just finish it up and let the older girls wear it?? Guess it will go back in the "almost finished" project pile for bit, while I think it over some more...

Monday, April 06, 2009

Rain and Things

We're indoors again, our noses firmly pressed against the windows watching the rain come down. Lots of rain. Lots and lots of rain.
And as we watch the girls talk about worms and rain and how worms don't like rain or mud. They're concerned about the worms. They're going to rescue them all from watery deaths just as soon as the rain stops. So we're watching and waiting for the rain to stop. It may be a rather long wait.
I've just started working on a doll quilt for Flossie (to be followed by one for Mimi) which was intended for Easter, but has quickly become a birthday (August) present instead and, you never know, may just show up in a Christmas post come December.
Something to help pass the time, while I too wait for the rain to stop.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Lots of Love

I love antiquing. And I really love it when I'm antiquing and I find something I love that is at a price I love. Which is why the girls now have a second lamp for their room......because, at only five dollars, you know they needed another lamp for their room. And really it was a great purchase--you wouldn't believe how excited the girls were about it. They actually screamed "Yeah Mommy! You bought us a lamp! We love it!" *happy sigh* Girls after my own heart. Love that.And at just $4.50 this large bowl (which I really need in order to put...something in) just had to come home with me. Love it.
Other good finds not pictured here--some bookends for my husband (which we have spent well over a year looking for) and, at long last, some art to put on our walls (which up until now have only featured mirrors.) Both were well worth the wait--they're exactly what we were looking for. Love them.
And loving this week which is currently perfectly spring like--a little sunny, a little rainy and a little bit greener every day. Perfect!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mostly Good Muffins

On a cold day, I love nothing better than an oven warmed kitchen and the aroma of hot baked goods. So as it was quite cold and windy, the girls and I turned on the oven and mixed up some pear granola muffins.
The girls had a blast making these--partially because they love cooking, but mostly because it meant they could take turns using the sifter. (They're big fans of the sifter, not such big fans of taking turns...) They thoroughly enjoyed the muffin batter, greedily eating it by the spoonful, and were amazed at the sight of muffins "growing" in the oven. The finished product, however, was not such a hit.
After one bite, Pookie and Fig (unbeknownst to me) quickly disposed of their muffins by handing them off to Little P. who, it appears, thoroughly enjoyed one of her illicit muffins and smooshed the other into every puzzle, game, and stuffed animal in the playroom.
I enjoyed my muffin and took a picture of it on my retro tablecloth...which I just ironed, starched, and burnt.
We'll consider the day...half successful.

Monday, March 23, 2009

In the Kids' Room

Things I'm loving in the kids' room right now.
The addition of this bird (that I was unwilling to part with, but unsure what to do with) to the girls' mirror. A few more, added here and there, have given the room a much more lively appearance.
And this lamp...
from an antique store. The girls love it because the "princess" has such a beautiful dress--I think I love for it for the same exact reason!