Friday, February 27, 2009

I Thought You Wood

Introducing the latest at Joy Beadworks: Wooden rings with fused glass. They are made from a highly durable sustainable exotic hardwood. The glass is designed and handmade by the artisans at Joy Beadworks. These rings are the perfect amount of chunk and statement to MAKE an outfit. Choose from our current selection, or order something custom. The rings are available in whole sizes, 6-9. Of course, they are available in my shop.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Reason Numer One Million and Twelve Why I Love My Job:

Even the most mundane tasks can be lightened by the neverending ability of my kids to make me laugh.
Let me set the scene: I was cleaning yesterday and came across this trash can in the "nice" bathroom (the one that only guests use). Can you see that it is jammed with candy wrappers? I can only imagine what was going through their heads as they were stuffing themselves with the remaining Valentine candy (no doubt that this happened right before dinner): "Mom will never know if we just stay in this tiny bathroom, eat as much as we can all at once, and dispose of the evidence in this handy trash can".

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Anticipating Some Green

According to every catalog that I have been getting in the mail, and every aisle at Target, Spring is coming soon. This is Not based on any actual weather indicators, as it is snowing inches right now. But, alas, there is hope in retail. (And I'll take any kind of Hope that's being handed out right now).

In anticipation of the glorious season yet to come, I made myself a new bag! Time for something fresh and full of that great spring green that we are all craving right about now. This bag has a sturdy, stiff bottom that holds the bag's shape. I made this one with two huge pockets inside. Order yours how you like: Custom made bags are available in my shop.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Questions I'd Like Answered About Ebay

Ahh, Ebay, my 3rd or 4th part time job. I just love getting rid of things that we just don't need. I don't have to clean around them or organize them, or wash them or just plain keep track of their whereabouts. I'm ready to list about half of the contents of my house at the moment.

Here's my question: Why is it that I can list McDonald's Toys till the cows come home and sell them for way more than they are worth...I guess people collect this stuff?? And, more importantly, why is it that I can list really good stuff, like unopened Nintendo games, and not get a single bid...not even a watcher?

And while I'm at my questions: When is it time to dump and run? In other words, once I've listed and gotten a NO SALE, then I re-list for free, and still: NO SALE. Do I try again, and again? Keep in mind, this is the good stuff, not the McDonald's toys, they were shipped weeks ago.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Oh Yeah...Pretzels!

There's something about pretzels. Not the hard plastic bag at the grocery store kind, I mean soft pretzels. Ever since I was little I have loved them.

There's such disappointment when the perfectly browned pretzel is too dry, too bready, or too salty. There will be none of that here: I have found the best pretzels, and they are in the South Side of Pittsburgh at The Pretzel Shop. The bakery is family run, and they sell little more than pretzels. They have pizza pretzels, cheese and pepper pretzels, pretzel sandwiches, but mostly pretzels, large, medium and in stick form. They sell them by the brown bag. When I make the trip, I get a dozen and freeze some.

They are perfectly moist and flavorful. You'll have to try some.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I Got a Red Box for Valentine's Day

I went to the grocery store the other day and quickly zoomed around some people standing around a vending machine. It seemed a little odd at the time, but the thought left quickly, as I was probably late for pre-school pick-up.

Since Tuesday, I have read about this thing called about Red Box and my brother has told me about it. Time to stop back at the grocery store!

It' s a vending machine that dispenses movies! They are first run, very current and they have a huge selection. For $1 a day! That's right, $1. And if you keep it for 2 days, your credit card will be charged $2. You can even browse online and place an order for your movie. This feature is hugely recommended since there's usually a line, and no one wants to wait behind you on the sidewalk while you browse the hundreds of available choices. Slide your credit card once you get to the Red Box, and the movies you reserved will be dispensed.

Happy Valentines Day with Nice Notes

My older kids, grades 3 and 4, did not have the traditional Valentine's day celebrations at school this year. Sure, they made ice cream sundae's and had punch, but they exchanged "Nice Notes" instead if the traditional Valentines. Every child in class had to write a letter to every other kid, and the letter had to mention at least 2 compliments or qualities that my child found admirable.

The kids are becoming less intimidated by writing a letter, they are practicing their cursive writing, and they are learning the life lesson that even though not everyone is your favorite, everyone DOES have good qualities, (even if you have to look very hard.)

As a result, my son and daughter have a fist full of compliments from their peers, classmates and friends. I know that they will read and re-read them for a long time. What a great idea.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

You've Got To Admire This Guy's Optimism

I went out yesterday to do an assessment of our melting igloo and I heard this....splashing. (?) I looked around and found this big guy swimming around in the inch of water that had formed on top of the ice. I'm pretty sure that he awoke a little too early from his long winter's nap, but sometimes animals know more than we do. I'll take it as a sign of an early spring!

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Great Kid's Birthday Party!

Let's face it, we all agonize over the whole kid birthday party planning. They are expensive, require way too much planning, and if you haven't thought about it WAY in advance, everyplace is booked.

I personally allow my kids to have a "kid" birthday party every other year. And, because it works for me, I remember who's year it is because the girls are odd years, and the boys are even. (the girls are #1 and #3, The boys are #2 and #4..see?).

And then there is the whole issue that the kids get too much stuff, maybe I'm sending the wrong message. It's hard to do a "No Gifts Please" for a kids party.

My sister in law came up with the perfect solution and covered all of the bases. Her son is a huge dog lover. She called the local pet shelter and worked out the following plan:

The kids will get an informative, field trip style tour of the shelter and then they'll get to play with the dogs in a big kennel. The shelter was able to provide a "wish list" of items that they really need (food, collars, shampoos etc.) All of the invitees are being asked to bring something from the shelter's wish list in lieu of a birthday gift. After their visit, they plan to go to a local park to play and have puppy cupcakes!

What an amazing win/win idea. The shelter benefits because they not only get items that they need, but they get an opportunity to inform a wider audience about their goals. They may even find an animal a home? The kids benefit because they get to have fun playing with the dogs, and learning a little about something new. They also are learning a little more about thinking beyond themselves and how they can make an impact or a change in the wider world.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Do You Igloo?

The conditions were perfect...for building and Igloo, that is. We had a day recently when it was above freezing, but with tons of snow on the ground. Good "snowball" snow, as we call it.

My husband was out playing with the kids, and thanks to inspiration from both our neighbors and the Discovery Channel, they decided to build an igloo. He had all 4 kids sit in the snow, and then drew a circle around them...that determined the size. (He wanted to make sure that they would all fit inside.) We used a bin for a block mold (shown) and started with the circular pattern. It took a good long time, but the snow was the consistency of cement, so it was easy to work with. I was inside when the roof went on, and let me tell you, I was doing some quick calculating figuring out how much wet snow weighs and how long it would take me to dig out if the whole thing collapsed in on me. We had a nice hard freeze the next night, so it's as solid as can be now.

The kids even slept out in their creation one (school) night...(See how brave we are.) I mean how many chances in your life are they going to have to sleep in an igloo? Most of the kids bailed throughout the night, and my sweet husband said that he slept in 20 minute intervals. But, my little adventure girl 6 year old stayed out there all night and was still snug as a bug when I woke her up for school the next day.

I give my husband so much credit for sacrificing his good night's sleep and making a memory that the kids will never forget!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Here's a Little Project to Keep the Kids Busy

One of my little ones came home from school today excitedly describing what they did in science class. She went on to explain that's it's called a milk explosion....whoa there...sounds explosively messy. I was assured that it was not quite an explosion.

Here's what you need: Milk, food coloring, dish soap, a flat plate, and a toothpick.
Pour the milk onto the flat plate, surface area is the key here. Drop a drip of food coloring in the center and then dip the toothpick in the dish soap...then place the tooth pick into the center of the food coloring drop. The color immediately retracts from the dish soap..explodes, if you will. Try it with various colors. Very fun.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Buying Criteria

It occurred to me the other day while I was shopping with a friend, that I have a certain set of buying criteria embedded in my brain. I'm sure that this little checklist was not there before I had kids. Pre-kids, I used to buy clothes, furniture, housewares, based on looks. That has all changed.

I think the beginnings of this transformation started, of course, when we had kids. I first realized that there has been a change when I found myself involved in a painting project. I had painted some poster boards with color options and then, because it made total sense, I smeared them with: Peanut butter, jelly, and spaghetti sauce. The paint I used, of course, was the one that cleaned up the best.

I have realized that after a few years of experience, my buying criteria has been honed down to this: If it gets puked on, can I A): Clean it? or B): Throw it away? Pretty simple and to the point.