Things I Love Thursdays

And here we are again.

It is February.  And that means it is cold, and dark (but getting lighter!) and I’m in the thick of the most challenging part of my year.  But all is well!  And the kids are (at least for today, and this minute) healthy!  Though there is a constant, unyielding stream of snot at my house.  SO MUCH SNOT.  Ugh.

So here is a mid-winter installment of TILT for you – fun, light and lovely things to offset the seasonal blahs…

 

Tulips! They start arriving at my local grocery store in mid-January.  Ten stems for $4.99!  I buy them every week because they make me happy every time I see them.  I fill a vase with ice and water, trim the stems and pop them in, and they last for 7-8 days without drooping.

tulip-for-hapiness-1559712-1280x960

Milestone Baby Cards from Anthropologie.  I’m sure you’ve seen the stickers or blocks that are used as props in baby photos?  You know, the ones that say “One Month Old,” “Two Months Old,” and so on and so forth?  These are similar.  They are the modern, iPhone era version of a baby book entry.  And they are adorable.  They would have been perfect for Pistachio, my third, who is in a lot of photos, but whose baby book is pretty sad and empty.

Click on the photo to be brought to the Anthropologie page.

Click on the photo to be brought to the Anthropologie page.

The kate spade champagne bottle clutch is ridiculous and impractical, but maybe that’s why I like it? 

Bubble

Heather Ross fabrics designed for Windham Fabrics.  These make me want to sew things.  Or quilt things.  Or make cute smocks, and dresses for my children and friends’ children. Only I don’t actually know how to do any of those things.  Maybe someday!  I just adore the Tiger Lily and Briar Rose collections.   

Briar Rose Collection by Heather Ross

Briar Rose Collection by Heather Ross

 

My favorite from the Tiger Lily Collection.  Ms. Ross was inspired by her childhood summers in Vermont.

My favorite from the Tiger Lily Collection. Ms. Ross was inspired by her childhood summers in Vermont.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all – I hope you get lots of love and chocolate.  And maybe some tulips, too.

Things I Love Thursdays

I love vacation, I love September, and I love stinky cheese!

The end.

No, not really.


Dye! Dye!!

I did some fun cooking and crafty activities with the kids during vacation.  Tie-dying with children under the age of 6 is… interesting.  But the kids loved it, (some of) the shirts look great, and those tie dye kits make it really easy.  If you are daring and like semi-permanent messes, I say go for it!

Tulip Tie-Dye Kit from Amazon.

Tulip Tie-Dye Kit from Amazon.


Duck, duck, soap!

Thanks to an adorable DIY kit from a friend, we also tried out soap-making last week.  So easy.  Melt glycerin, add fragrance, glittery color and oatmeal, stir, pour in molds and you have adorable duck-shaped soap.  The bonus? I’m all for crafts that encourage my children to wash their hands or other kid parts. If I made them again, I’d use less of the fragrance and skip the oatmeal.  The orange glitter stays, though. Quack!

Ducky Honey Soap by Makers|kit. They make all sorts of affordable crafty kits. Image from Open Sky. Click on photo to go there.

Ducky Honey Soap by Makers|kit. They make all sorts of affordable crafty kits. Image from Open Sky. Click on photo to go there.


Some Good Advice

A lovely video from CBC/Radio Canada on how to age gracefully. Stay weird!

clip


Happy Fall Y’all! 

(I couldn’t help myself with that one.)

PS – As always, no affiliate links – they’re just there for your convenience.

Things I Love Thursdays

I’m not sure how, but somehow along the way this regular feature changed from things I LIKE to things I LOVE.  I probably should have stuck with “like,” since I’m a Yankee and we don’t like to over-emote in public.

I’ve been Christmas shopping (duh) and of course have found some lovely fun things that I want to buy for myself.  Maybe I’ll get a few things, wrap them up and put them under the tree.  That’ll confuse ’em!

An Outing for Foxes by Natalie Groves (available at www.minted.com) I’m always drawn to whimsical depictions of anthropomorphised animals. I know that is weird. It may be the result of a childhood full of Beatrix Potter, Frog and Toad and Tasha Tudor, but I’m not sure.  

Look! Foxes riding a bicycle built for two!

Look! Foxes wearing clothes and riding a bicycle built for two!

 

Lorann Oils Lip Balm Making Kit.  My inner 12-year-old is totally pumped about this kit. And even though my 36-year-old self doesn’t wear much lip balm, I still think this is totally cool.  I found this kit (and the photo) at Williams-Sonoma.  You can buy it for more (but why would you?) at Staples and for less at LorAnn Oils and Flavors

Crafty, useful AND scented? Yes, please!

Crafty, useful AND scented? Yes, please!

Emily McDowell‘s, clever, cheeky stuff.  I’m not sure why I don’t own a bunch of her stuff already! (All photos are from emilymcdowell.com.)

Typically, I'm pretty chipper in the morning.  But 2 of my 3 children are VERY early risers so this mug hits home. Photo is from emilymcdowell.com, click on it to be linked there.

Typically, I’m pretty chipper in the morning. But 2 of my 3 children are VERY early risers so this mug hits home. 

As long as my husband and I don't text each other from opposite sides of the bed, we're normal, right??

As long as my husband and I don’t text each other from opposite sides of the bed, we’re normal, right??

I'm probably not cheeky enough to carry this tote, but it cracks me up.

I’m probably not cheeky enough to carry this tote, but it cracks me up.

 

As always, no affiliate links here.  I just think this stuff is great. 

Admissions of a Tired Mom – Part Three

1. First of all, don’t serve kids rice.  Or couscous.  You’re just asking for trouble.  But if you do, and if (when) they dump it on the rug, don’t clean it up immediately.  Let it dry.  It is so much easier to clean up once it is dry.  If I was going to add a hashtag to this post it would be #WENEEDADOG.

 

2. My kids don’t have dedicated rain gear.  I’m just not going to spend $40 on a raincoat they’ll wear twice and outgrow.  Sorry kids, you’ll dry out quickly enough. 

 

3. It is wasteful and silly, but I throw out bread heels. I know I should freeze them, compost them or make bread crumbs or something, but I just don’t.  

 

4. In the middle of hanging photos I couldn’t find our tape measures. Anywhere.  Even in Pickle’s room.  So I used this:
Measuring the Marigolds

Images from Amazon. Not affiliate links.

Why?  Because the back of the toy looks like this: 
Marigolds

Inchworm indeed!

 

5. I am suspect of juice cleanses, multi-level marketing and artificial sweeteners.

 

6. One of my least favorite things about being a mom (besides the worry, guilt, fear, sleepless nights, etc.) is that I am FOREVER PACKING AND UNPACKING BAGS FULL OF KID STUFF.  I am hopeful the day they can do this for themselves is fast approaching (yeah right). 

The Real Christmas Card

The Real Christmas Card

(idea shamelessly lifted from my friend, Ellen)

Anyone with small children (or pets!) knows that getting a good photo of a clean, still and shiny small person/pet is nearly impossible.  If I made my Christmas card using the actual photos I’ve taken over the last year, it would look something like this…
card
Clockwise from top left:
  • Blurry memories.  How many of my photos are blurry?  All of them.  Kids don’t sit still.  And if they do, it is only to stare at a television.
  • Pistachio’s ultrasound photo.  Or Skeletor’s.  Or something.  Who the hell can see anything in these?
  • Photos of cute sibling love always end up being of injuries, or other dangerous kid behavior. (Her eyes were fine.)
  • Don’t take my picture! #1
  • Pickle’s Actual “Smile” Face
  • Violent Kid Love.  Hug or choke hold?  You be the judge.
  • Plum’s Actual “Smile” Face
  • Don’t take my picture! #2
(I have left out the entire collection of photos my husband has taken of me and the kids this year.  First of all, there are about 8 photos.  When the kids get older they’re going to wonder where the heck I was during their entire early childhood. Second of all, he tends to take photos when I am grumpy, not expecting a photo shoot, or sans pants. Or all three.  Awesome.  You’re thankful I left these out, trust me.)

 

Note: I found this cute card template on Shutterfly.

Friday Confessions

I’m coming clean.  Admissions and deep thoughts for a Friday afternoon…

1. I dislike Sandra Boynton books.  Intensely. I’m sure I could write them myself in 6 minutes. Maybe 4. The artwork is another story – that is something I cannot do.  But the words? Do you realize that the woman has a degree in English from Yale? Sometimes, for fun (which probably speaks volumes about me and my marriage?) my husband and I have Sandra Boynton Slams, kind of like Poetry Slams, where we speak in Sandra Boynton-esque prose.  It cracks us up every single time.*

Boynton's Super Cute Hippo from her website. Click the photo to go there.

Boynton’s Super Cute Hippo from her website. Click the photo to go there.

2. I don’t really get the amber teething necklaces. I’m not against home remedies or alternative therapies, but I just think they look and seem a little silly.  Then again, I tend to not accessorize my children. But somehow these necklaces seem a bit like those Magical! Therapeutic! Magnetic! Bracelets! you see at the mall.  I’m not buying it.

3. I once mommy-judged a woman feeding her child a pop tart for breakfast. I then realized that my child was eating a doughnut at the time.  Lesson learned.

Donut with Sprinkles

4. My son’s 3rd birthday is approaching.  Sure, I’ve scoped out Pinterest and Garnish for cute ideas. I’ve considered paper straws, jute, twine, mason jars, personalized labels, buntings, colors and themes.  But you know what? Ain’t nobody got time for that. I believe that kid birthdays should include three things: running around, pizza and cake.  Because that is what kids like – at least mine.  Maybe someday we’ll add a pinata, because he also likes candy and hitting things with sticks.  Sandwiches shaped like dinosaurs? Personalized juice boxes?  He’ll be too busy running around, jacked up on sugary frosting to give a damn.

Whack me!

5. We got a wonderful new kitten.  The kids adore her. When she meows, Pickle gets down on his hands and knees and asks her, in all seriousness, “What is wrong, kitty?” and then tries to comfort her, yelling, “It’s okay, kitty, I’m right here!  I’m right here, Honey!” Sweet exchanges between kittens and small children? Cuteness overload. Plum tries to catch her so she can “pet” her – which mostly means giggling and attempting to whack her with an open hand. Luckily kitty is fast.

She is a positive and cuddly addition to the household for sure.  However, I have had a few moments (like this morning, collecting and dropping off her stool sample at the vet – fun!) where I have realized that there is yet another little creature in the house I will have to feed, and cuddle, keep well, and wake up worrying about.  Sigh.

Fast friends

Fast friends

* In all fairness, I have to admit that Boynton’s website motto, “Trying to Think of a Motto Since 1973” has knocked my dislike down a few rungs. Damn you, SB!

 

Things I Want Right Now…

… besides world peace, a nap and a lottery win…

There is no good reason for me to want this ridiculous rabbit door knocker from Anthropologie.  Who uses door knockers anyway?  In my neck of the woods, a better question would be, “Who uses the front door anyway?” But I like this thing.  I’m beginning to think I have a thing for bunnies (see my post about nursery decor).

Swinging Hare Door Knocker from Anthropologie

I found this when I was looking for nursery items.  I love it. Oh etsy, you are such a time suck. I love the brights and the almost unorganized look.  They’re squares… but are they? How did they make this work?  I want a big one of these for my bed.

Sadie Baby Quilt by GoodWishesQuilts on Etsy.com

Why didn’t someone think of this before?  Sculptural AND practical? Yes, please!  Spread your butter, spread your jam and don’t worry about it getting on the table.  The MoMA store  has such interesting items – it’s worth a browse.

Standing Knife from MoMAstore.org

Resolve Revisited.

At the end of 2011 I dedicated a post to my New Year’s resolutions.  I’m revisiting those resolutions here and giving myself grades for each one.  Self-assessment = brutal = ouch.

 

1. Use up bath products

The good stuff:  I threw away my self-tanning products.  (Okay, perhaps I threw them away in anticipation of this post, but it still counts, damn it.)  And while I was under my sink, fixing a slow drain (please, no applause,) I got rid of some more stuff.  Sigh. Sometimes it is just so hard to part with things. Even things you didn’t really want in the first place.  Years ago – YEARS, people – I received a big box of high-end hand soaps and lotions.  I never really used them because they weren’t my kind of stinky.  I’m sure they smelled great to someone, just not me.  But I couldn’t make myself throw away bottles of $30 hand lotion.  Until today.  Goodbye stinky expensive lotion.  I tried to make it work, I really did.  We just weren’t meant for one another.

The bad stuff: I bought these giganterous (new word, I like it) buckets o’ shampoo and conditioner at Target when they were on sale so I’m not using up my old shampoos and conditioners like I could be.  I also realized that I have about 40 mini-perfumes in my drawer.  Many moons ago I went through a buy-a-lot-of-mini-perfumes-from-eBay-phase.  Not one of my better phases.  I haven’t really worn perfume since 2008 – I just kind of stopped.  Wait, that is about the same time I stopped wearing cute, uncomfortable underwear AND it is the same year I got married.  I am sensing some unfortunate cause and effect here but that is a post for another day.  Anyway, I don’t know how I am going to work my way through those tiny little bottles of smelly.

Grade: B-

 

2. Freeze Something

The good stuff: I did freeze a bunch of things in prep for Miss Plum’s arrival.

The bad stuff: A lot of it is still in the freezer dying a slow death.

Grade: B

 

3. Make something.

The good stuff: I MADE A BABY.  FROM SCRATCH. (With hubby’s help, of course.)  That has to count for something.  I made a blog.  I made some neat Shutterfly books (okay, I’m stretching here), and I started writing a children’s book.  A rhyming children’s book.

The bad stuff: The sewing machine sits, alone, unloved, unused, weeping quietly.

Grade: B- (saved from a “D” by Miss Plum!)

 

4. Read something.

The good stuff: I did read some books.  I don’t remember what they are (except for “The Hunger Games”) but I did read some.  Clearly, I should read better, or at least more memorable books, eh?

The bad stuff: Magazines aren’t books.

Grade: B

 

Overall:  First, I am much chagrined by the fact that I have the most to say about my bath product resolution.  Ouch.  That is sad.  Second, based on the first half of the year, this gal ain’t graduating with honors.  But, all things considered, I am making slow-but-steady progress.  Next week I will revisit the topic with my mid-year resolutions.  Any suggestions?

Resolve!

I’m not big on resolutions.  I suppose I subconsciously make a “lose weight’ resolution every year… or week, really.  But that’s never really happened (except in 20 pound chunks here and there – which I quickly put back on with some bonus pounds), so I’m vowing not to make that resolution again (and again and again).  I did feel a sort of head-nodding relief when I read Tara Parker-Pope’s recent article in the NYTimes Magazine, “The Fat Trap”.  An interesting read.  It helped me feel at least a little bit validated that perhaps what I’ve always felt about my own weight struggles are true – that in order for me to lose and maintain that loss, I have to eat much less than other people my size and exercise twice as much.  It doesn’t seem fair, and I’ve said as much to my doctor, but it seems to be true.  My Mama Pajama was right, “Life isn’t fair.”

(Aside: as I’ve gotten older, I’ve pretty much figured out that my mom was right about most things. Even about wearing comfortable underwear.  So annoying.)

So this year I’m going to make some resolutions that are easier to keep – things that are sort of on my to-do list anyway.

1. Use up bath products.  I know this seems silly, but honestly, I have a lot of half-used, and still good hair products, shampoos, lotions, and the like.  I am going to first clean house (see my Exorcist Needed post) and throw away all of my self tanning products because I finally realized after 12 years that I am not meant to be tan, and I am not dedicated enough to slather/spray/goop myself every morning or every other morning to become so.  I am then going to throw away anything that has made it through 3 moves (aka anything over 7 years old – yuck).  And then, I’m going to knock those bottles down one by one!  I am not looking forward to having to use up the “Scrunch Spray” I bought when I thought that enough goop could make my straight hair “wavy”, but resolutions aren’t supposed to be easy.

2. Freeze something.  Baby is coming in 10 weeks.  I am going to plan a few menus, and cook up a storm.  When Mr. Pickle Pumpkin was born I didn’t eat enough, and I didn’t eat well.  It is a little thing I can do to take care of myself when Baby Plum arrives.  Plus, I was lucky enough to receive a perfectly sized little chest freezer for Christmas from my parents. Please, no comments on my extreme level of excitement relative to receiving a freezer for Christmas.  The lameness factor is not lost on me, just let me revel in my little icy joy.  Great posts on prepping a freezer for a new baby can be found on Annie’s Eats and elephantitas alegres.  I’ll be using some of their recipes for sure!

3. Make something.  I have a lovely sewing machine.  I have fabric, and all sorts of sewing accessories.  I am capable of following directions.  I am in desperate need of a creative outlet.  AND I have a Home Ec teacher for a mother, and she is always just a phone call away.  I’m going to make something.  Perhaps starting with something simple, like little decorated cloth diapers for my sister.  They are made by sewing a piece of ribbon onto the diaper.  Straight lines.  That’s it.  I have a degree from the Ivy League, I should be able to handle straight lines.  Should.  Expect more  posts on my sewing adventures…

4. Read something. I have a toddler, a full time job, and will be welcoming a baby in 10 weeks.  I’m not under the illusion that I’ll be crossing a bunch of to-read books off of my list.  What I would like to do, however, is always have a book going.  It may be that I read only one book in 2012 – one. slow. page. at. a. time.  But I love to read, and books are good for me.  So that is resolution number 4.

Things I like Thursdays!

TIL #1 – Etsy Seller krakacraft

I don’t know Ms. Krakacraft.  Apparently, she is in Slovenia.  Her (although I suppose she could be a he?) dolls and hand-stitched lovelies are amazing.  I adore them.  I have ordered three, and will order more.  Two of her little birdies hang above my desk at work.  They make me happy.  Meet Daffy…

krakacraft's Daffy

TIL #2- Nut Grinder by King Arthur Flour

Weird, I know.  But I love this kitchen gadget and I use it more often than I ever thought I would!  It is useful, does what it is supposed to, and takes up very little space.  And check out the King Arthur Flour site too, they have amazing goodies for baking, cooking, and everything in between.  Definitely worth a visit.

As usual, krakacraft and King Arthur Flour don’t know me from Adam.  I just love their schtuff. So there.