Thursday, September 30, 2010

Halloween, Some Pretties, and some aprons of course...

I know, I know- I keep changing my look.  But the weather out there is telling me that Halloween is fast approaching, so I may as well may my blog match the witching hour. Speaking of the witching hour...

This year, the fabulous Vanessa Valencia is hosting her enchanting Halloween Party again this year, and I had such fun last year, I am joining in again. This year's festivities commence on October 16, so be sure to hop on your broom and head over to my witchy little cottage, as I have some fun and treats planned for all my spooktacular friends...

Speaking of treats...

I meet the nicest people at the Farmer's Market, and I come home with the lovliest flowers and tastiest produce! One of the sweetest people I have met lately is Jacqui, of jenandjacdesigns...

 A fellow Etsian, Jacqui makes the cutest little hair clips, and she creates amazing altered couture for kiddos... and she is as sweet as can be. Jacqui makes Market days pass quickly as we talk kids and sewing all day :)

Last Sunday was chilly, but it still was a fine day to head to Market. I even took Johnny with me :) My little helper begs me each Sunday morning, "Please let me go to market with you?" So this week I relented. He helped me pack some toys, a big blanket, and some snacks, and we were off! 

He helped set up the tent and he made my display of hats...

and little fabric veggies!

And he found my camera and took a picture of these lovely ladies who stopped by and found some paper shoes they just had to have :)

Finally, here is a peek at one of my aprons. I think of this one as "chocolate raspberry". Decadent and sweet, with heavy and supple fabrics...
I love the brown and white polka dots, and the fabric ties make the most beautiful bow:) This one has some darling shabby chic rolled fabric roses on the bodice -

perfect for the domestic goddess!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

a clean, well-lighted place...

I don't know about you, but I never fail to be amazed at how helpless I feel when the power goes out. I tend to swear more and get obsessed with odors. It's true. Stumbling around in the dark, trying to find the candles and matches, I stub my toes and swear like a sailor, and suddenly notice every smell. Obviously because I am deprived of visual stimulation, my other senses compensate. And not in a good way.

The cat litter box suddenly is unbearable (even though I just scooped the damn thing) and the odor of last night's rotisserie chicken dinner haunts my kitchen (even though I did the damn dishes last night).

See what a potty mouth I become when deprived of electricity?

But you, you clever thing, are wondering how on earth am I blogging about my blind and smelly ordeal if I am electrically challenged?

I am at McDonald's, basking in their lights and sounds. Coffee never tasted so good :)

I needed to indulge. Try getting two five-year-olds ready for school in complete darkness. Mikey kept sneaking around behind me, then shouting "HappyBirthday! MakeAWish!" and then blowing out the previously glowing candles. Thankfully I had laid out clothes the night before (which I rarely do so I am shocked at my ESP) so I didn't have to dig for clothes in the dark.

Now that the sun is up, I should go home and clean my perpetually messy craft room. I had planned a day of ironing new fabric and sewing new aprons (I will be at Porter's Orchard this weekend for a little festival) but since I apparently need electricity to iron and sew, I guess I will clean and organize. Maybe Mother Nature is trying to tell me something...

Oooh, but before I do that, I will do a little more playing. I went to the Country Living website this morning after being inspired by the pictures at Moxie Fab, and found the most fun thing ever! It is called, "Be the Appraiser" where you have to try to guess what antiques are worth, and once you do you get to read about the antique in question, and learn its origin... so I am a total nerd, okay? I'm cool with that... Antiques Roadshow is one of my all-time favorite shows, so I get to play I'm on that show. I'm not very good at it, but that doesn't mean it isn't fun :)

Hope you have a bright, light-filled day!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Are you a Good Witch?

NOTE** I am entering this hat into the "Crafting with the stars" contest :) Wish me luck!

How can you not love the new Halloween papers from Graphic45? Alice in Halloweenland is perfectly perfect for the projects I love to make: vintage, whimsical, and delicious colors. Adoring all things witchy, I made several of these darling little witch hats. Relying heavily on the graphic45 papers, I also used fabric, ribbon, bottlecaps, vintage buttons, odds and ends... I love to mix materials.

I sold a few at the Farmer's Market yesterday, and may put some up on Etsy. After I got home from Market, I had a bee in my bonnet to take the boys to the Family Fun Fest in Grand Blanc. I think listening to the carnival sounds and smelling popcorn all day made the festival irresistible. So after I rushed home, I changed my clothes and had Steve help me get the kiddos ready. We got a pizza on the way (my picky eaters won't even eat Carnie Food - what is that about?) and had a picnic in the park before going to the carnival. Mikey decided he was content to play at the park playground, as was Dad (he said just listening to the Tilt-A-Whirl made him nauseous), so Johnny and I took off for carnival fun.

He won a blue turtle, went through the fun house, and rode down the Gigantic Fun Slide twice by himself. I was super impressed that he did it by himself, it was super tall (I think I was more nervous than he was). And he got some free balloons from a nice lady, just because he is just that cute. He had an absolute blast, and Mikey was tickled to have Dad all to himself to help him do the monkey bars. It was a win-win for all!

The only not-so-fabulous part was that as I was getting the monkeys in the tub, I started to sneeze. And feel drippy and tickly. Sure signs of an end-of-summer cold. Bluck. I feel icky this morning, but have too much to do to be sick. So I am refusing to succumb to my desire to plop on the couch and sniff all day. I am hoping sheer will alone will heal me :)

Ooooh, and Glee starts tomorrow!

How exciting is that?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Autumny Goodness (What? It's a thing...)

It was so nice to be chilly last night.

After weeks of hot weather, I relished the need to have to snuggle under the quilt and curl my chilly toes up under my legs.  I was at the Farmer's Market yesterday, and the booths were bright with pumpkins and squash, gourds and Indian corn. I instantly wanted to find a caramel apple to eat...

Autumn is cuddly. Warm blankets and socks, hot drinks and steaming baked goods... Not only is Autumn cuddly, it's yummy.  Lookie at all the pretties I found on Etsy:

I know Autumn isn't officially here yet, so I have yet to give up my "summery" colors and fabrics just yet. I finished this apron last week, and the lemon pie sweetness pair with pink lemonade roses are my apron tribute to summer.
Hope you have a great day!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pumpkin bread, Glee, and the house to myself....

Ahhhh.... I have pumpkin bread in the oven, my Playlist going, and I am reading the blogs I love to follow. In the house.


This is my first "real" day without the kiddos. Johnny had his first real day yesterday, but I went with Mikey to his first day. We were there for just about an hour, played with puzzles and playdough, and then came home. Mikey "helped" me clean my craftroom (which is fitting, seeing that he is the one that destroyed it) but it still has a way to go.  I have moved my poor craft room all over my house. It has been in the basement, the guest room, the "office"... and half the time I end up crafting in the kitchen anyway... but I need a place to store my goodies, you know?  Unfortunately, my darling boys are fascinated by all my goodies. They like to stack them. And dump them. And walk on them. And....

You get the idea.

I finally installed a hook and eye locky latchey thing on my craft door. No boys allowed. I had one of those baby door handle things over the knob to try to deter my little destructors, but they were too clever for me. They just figured how to tear that off and get in and have their way with my crafts :(  Sundays, when I am at the Farmer's Market, was their favorite day to do a little breaking and entering while Daddy watched them.  But no more! They are locked out, baby!

At least until they realize they can team up, find a chair to climb, have one spot the other, and unlatch the hook.

But until then, I think my sanctuary shall be safe. I still have some crafty corpses to dispose of, but my goal today is to get my room completely in order and get cracking on a custom order that is long overdue...

While I am celebrating my alone time, I have to admit I got teary after putting Johnny on the bus this morning. Mikey's bus comes at an ungodly 6:50am, and he grumbled at me and was basically ticked off, so there was no Hallmark moment for us this morning.  Johnny and I had to be at the bustop at 7:15am, and as we walked, Johnny looks up at me, and says, "Can we talk about Halloween, Mama?"

Of course we can! So we walk, hand in hand, talking about pumpkins and candy, costumes and carameled apples. I was fine until he got on the bus. I watched him get in the front seat. Totally fine.

Then he turns to look at me. A giant smile on his face, he puts one palm on the glass and waves with his other hand.  The bus pulls away, and I can still see that little hand and his bright blue coat.  The bus goes down our street, and I start bawling my face off.  I cried all the way home.

So now I am baking pumpkin bread (don't be too impressed - it's a mix), drinking a pot of coffee, and listenin to my playlist which is heavy on songs from the best show on television, Glee. It makes me feel better.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A pretty new look, and pancakey goodness for picky eaters...

Like my pretty new blog design? Me too! I checked out Shabby Blogs and found the purtiest new banners and backgrounds. I luuuurve that site.

I almost have a "nesting" urge right now. With my wild ones almost ready to board the bus next week, I feel this urge to become more organized, tidy, and SuperMomish. I hung up this wall organizer thing for the kitchen, and cleaned off the little white board hanging next to it. By the way - a magnetic white board in the kitchen near the door is my best thing ever! I can write myself notes, clip up permission notes... It is like a ToDo list on the wall! And because it is on the wall, it can't get buried under piles of mail, backpacks, dishes, and other goodies that seem to accumulate on my counters.

So in my nesting SuperMom mode, I thought I would share my Most Important Recipe Ever.  The boys call them "Pancakems", but I secretly call them YouDon'tEvenKnowYou'reEatingHealthyVegetablesInYourPancakems.

In the tradition of the Sneaky Chef, these pancakes have pureed veggies and other goodness in them. Excellent books, by the way. This recipe I am sharing I created after being inspired by her concept of putting healthy pureed veggies in "regular" food.  It is a "from scratch" recipe, and my boys love to help make a mess mix them up with me.  I also know that you moms and dad are craaaaazy busy out there, so I also wrote the "quick and dirty" version using pancake mix.  I make a giganto batch of these babies - pancakes reheat nicely, so I can pop a few in the microwave for a snack or breakfast the next few days.  I feel relieved wholesome that I can serve up a hot breakfast every morning - without having to drag out the griddle every time.

3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
7 tsp baking powder
2 TB sugar
6 TB butter/margarine (melted)
2 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup pureed sweet potatoes OR two packs (7ish ounces total) of baby sweet potatoes/mixed veggies ORANGE colored

Combine all the dry ingredients in a big bowl. Mix together well. Add milk and eggs, butter, and veggies and stir it all up! Scoop about 1/3 cup (use an actual 1/3 cup measuring cup - easier to pour) batter onto hot greased griddle, flip when bubbles look like they want to erupt (you can lift an edge and peek to check too), cook another minute, serve. Yields a ton of pancakes... at least 30ish, more if you make smaller pancakes.

These pancakes are super nice and fluffy :) The veggies keep them moist and give a super subtle flavor (only if you know it's there, if you know what I mean). If I have pureed sweet potatoes on hand, I use those, but lately I have been using the baby food. I suggest either straight up sweet potatoes, or a "orchard" or "farmers" blend baby food - my favorite is Orchard Blend Sweet Potato (it has apple, pear, and peach puree in addition to the sweet potato).  Just make sure it is orangeish.  Otherwise, the pancakes will be a funky color and the jig is up.

You can also use 1.5 cups white flour and 1.5 cups wheat flour if you are feeling extra virtuous - which I often don't. Feel virtuous, that is. It makes the cakes a bit flat and brownish.  However, when once-in-a-blue-moon virtuosity does happen to strike, I may use 2.5 white, .5 wheat, or some other such division of the flours.

The simplest version? Take premixed pancake mix, follow their directions, and add the baby food to it :) 

Good luck! If you try it, let me know :) And if you have any suggestions or other recipes, I would love to hear about them! I need all the help I can get to make my boys eat foods other than pizza, PB&J, and pancakes.  At least the pancakes have some veggies in them...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Flowers, some little boys, and the guilt of motherhood

A pretty glorious morning :) My little blog helpers are checking out the new laptop. Like the flowers?  One of the farmers at the market gave them to me on Sunday. Aren't they amazing? They fit perfect my old sap bucket/rusty pail and I love how they look. It is nice to have a pretty spot to blog - even if I have ten little fingers wanting to "help" me type.

Speaking of my little helpers...
The countdown begins... My little munchkin butts are heading to school next week. They have been in preschool, so this isn't like the first time they will be going to "school," but for some reason, because they are five and starting the full day thing, I am wigging just a smidge.  Mikey is headed to the full-day Autism program, and Johnny is going to the Young 5s at the elementary school. The Young 5 program is like  kindergarten, (in my day, I guess it would be the equivalent to what the school called Primary class. Since my boys were born in July, they are considered young, so Johnny was able to get a spot in this program). They were in the same building last year, but now the teachers tell me Johnny is ready to leave the special ed building and head into the land of elementary. Which is a good thing. Right?

 But now he is going to a "bigger" school, with lunch menus and lots of kids and bus stops... At his old building, I knew just about all the teachers, his class was small, I packed his little snack, the bus had like four kids on it and the bus driver would help get the boys to their seats, and Mikey was in the classroom next door... It felt homey and small.  Now they will be riding different buses, not to mention going to different buildings.  They never were in the same class - Mikey's autism is more pronounced than Johnny's - but I was comforted by the fact that they were right next to each other.  Next fall, most likely they will be in the same building. It will be a different building for both of them, but they will be together.
Mikey also has a new teacher this year. He has had the same lovely teacher for the last two years, and this year, his last at the special ed building, is with a new teacher. Luckily, I know her and she is a sweetie, but she is new to Mikey.  Mikey has a hard time with change, and I sometimes so do I. I get comfortable and like routine just like my Mikey.

And now here comes the other side of this whole back-to-school event. In some ways, while I am wigging out and feeling like my babies are getting too old, too fast, I am also soooo ready for them to be in school.  I am with these little guys pretty much every minute every day. So the idea of some alone time sounds so good - and makes me feel like a big fat mean shmuck for wanting that time. I am nervous about them being at school, excited and apprehensive, sad and at the same time guilty.

Being a mom is complicated.


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