Monday, March 30, 2009

Imagine My Surprise...

We were all at Home Depot 2 months ago for something that I'm sure we desperately needed. The check out aisle was loaded as usual with gum, candy, miniature flashlights, batteries and all sorts of things to lure the unsuspecting customer into buying "just one more thing".

Well, along with the usual suspects, the brilliant workers at the Home Depot rolled this cart of succulents out near my check out aisle. The kids just begged to get one each. I initially said no, (don't we all). Then, I thought maybe it wouldn't be so bad to have some green in the house, and" holy what the" they are begging for plants? I must be really mean.

They have been brightening my kitchen windowsill for months now. When I notice them, I can't imagine why I fought the idea.

This cactus (?) shot out this balloonish blossom that I watched develop for weeks. I didn't even know that they flowered.
I kept waiting for it to pop. And it did! To my surprise, this huge hairy, pinky burgundy flower burst forth. So interesting.
So I lean in for a sniff...I can't even describe to you the offensive odor that I got a nose full of. I had to do some research, and found that this particular plant is usually pollinated by flies, so it smells of rotten flesh (I thought this only happened on TV). Still, it's interesting and very unusual, just don't get too close!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Go Clean Your Room...Ok, THAT'S Not Working...

As every good Mom knows, it's all about the presentation, the particular spin that you put on things to get it done.

My kids are off on spring break this week, and I have to tell you that as a result, my house is a complete disaster. I now have 6 people, full time, to pick-up/clean-up after. Jennifer Juniper nails my feelings exactly on her blog.

So I was trying to figure out how to get the kids to clean their rooms. The idea struck: Go Mine Your Room! " What?", you say? I gave them 2 laundry baskets and a trash bag. The trash bag was, well, for trash. The green laundry basket was for Goodwill. The white laundry basket was for Ebay items to sell (and I let them keep all money from their sales!) Their rooms were dumped in no time! It took some time to sort and list items, but as a result, I have dropped 3 huge bags at Goodwill, and I have 70 things listed on Ebay right now! The kids did all of the listing, so don't judge me on any spelling errors or flowery descriptions this week!

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Trip to Baltimore Full of Kid Chaos... As Always

I can only imagine what people think. Then again, maybe I can't. I'd LOVE to know what they're thinking.

I drove with a friend to Baltimore last week. It was a total spur of the moment type of thing. The deciding at 7pm, and ready to go at 8am, 11 hours later kind of thing. Surprise the kids, fit in some fun, maybe work in some history.

We have 7 kids among us. Most are under 10. I consider us especially lucky in so many unpredictable ways. I think that most people simply brand us as "crazy" and that we must have a very loose grip on "normal". Chaos buzzes around us like flies on roadkill.

The trip was a total blast for the kids...non-stop party, endless sleep-over, pillow-fight mania.

For the Mom's it was just shy of exhausting. Weaving, bobbing, keeping track of, "I'm Hungry"s and "I have to go to the bathroom"s, let's all stay together, can you just hold my hand? . Sure, there was the cup of tea in the afternoon, and let's not forget the much anticipated glass of wine in the evening. But, as all of us Mom's know, if the kids are happy, then so are we (without question, exhausted or not).

There are Two Things I Like Here

On a recent trip, I took these two pictures of doors I liked. More about the trip later, but here's what I like about these doors: This one is just plain funny, you open a rusty, metal door in an old building to a cement block wall!
This one is just plain beautiful. It was slim and delicate, it was at the entry to an alley. A place of secrets and privacy.

Doors are portals, an entrance to a new place. The beautiful ones especially make me immediately optimistic about what happens when one passes through them. The grungy ones are just as intriguing to me because I know there is an interesting story there.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Top O The Morn'in to You

I hope that the crazy Leprechaun did his best to make you laugh this morning. Ours wrecked some havoc with the furniture, made the milk green, and hid gold chocolate coins all around for the kids to find. They were so surprised, they had completely forgotten that it was St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Can Explain....

This is what it sounds like around here at 4:30. (I know it sounds the same at your house at the same time, but indulge me here). My part of the conversation is in CAPS (the kids are all in a mumbo-jumbo lower case):

DO YOU HAVE HOMEWORK? I did it already, You just have to check it. Do you know where my skates are? Hey, It's My turn. Did you get me any new socks today? What are we having for dinner? Can I have a snack? NO. Can you tighten my skate? Can we make cake? Do we have orange juice? DO YOU HAVE HOMEWORK? Where's Daddy? What are we having for dinner? I'm starving. YES, WHERE IS DADDY?Is it my turn yet? Can I have a snack? NO. Do you know where the red paper is? I can't find a pencil. SPAGHETTI. Where's my library book? I need a hockey stick. DID SOMEONE SAY CAKE? (I could literally give you a real-time rendition, but it would go on for an hour.)

So, during all of this chaos. We made cake. The cake turned out pretty well, and the only reason I agreed was that my thoughts went immediately to the Marzipan's melt-in-your-mouth buttercream recipe that Juniper published a few days ago.

Between monitoring the mixer and the stove and the homework, I forgot half way through that I was halving the recipe. So, as a result, I don't think I had enough egg whites to sustain the amount of sugar and corn syrup that I mistakenly added.

The up side is that the kids didn't mind spooning the icing back onto their cake one little bit.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Do I Smell a Skunk?

I 'm adding to my long list of beauty disasters.

My list includes the near cancellation of Thanksgiving festivities because I had my eyebrows waxed er, I mean torn off or burned off 2 days before Thanksgiving. I looked like Ronald McDonald. I went to Thanksgiving anyway, because I was too embarrassed to say why I wouldn't come. I gooped the whole eyebrow area with Neosporin, makeup, and newly cut bangs. Then, I just never looked in the mirror. Pretty good strategy, right? We are all pressed for time these days, and my hair just started to look like it needed a little "re-freshing". When I realized that I just might have enough time yesterday between pre-school drop off and pick-up to get my hair done, I drove right to the no appointment necessary place.

Well, here's that latest: Let's just say that the word "natural" means nothing to the girl with purple hair at Supercuts!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Four Things We Should All Do For Our Kids

I have been doing lots of reading lately on parenting...I just want to make sure I'm not missing anything, and trying to stay ahead of the kids as they get older. I've read Dan Kindlon's Too Much of a Good Thing, Faber and Mazlish's How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, and tonight I went to listen to a speaker and author talk about the challenges of raising kids that will have jobs that haven't even been invented yet.

Throughout most of these books, there is a common theme. Statistical data abounds that supports the following 4 things usually result in, or have a much higher chance of developing a good person, a person with solid morals and a sense of character.

1.) Eat dinner with your kids every night. Talk about your day, and theirs.
2.) Give your kids responsibilities at home, like keeping their room clean. (And don't pay them to do's not a paid position, it's a pitch-in and do your part kind of thing.)
3.) Have your kids get involved in some sort of community service. Preferably something that involves relating to someone that is somehow different than they are, or not as fortunate either physically or emotionally.
4.) Praise the effort and not the achievement. A good work ethic that involves problem solving, working through frustration and some honest hard work give a person more sense of himself than any award ever will.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Sewing Machine is on The Counter

I took my little girl, and her girlfriend to lunch and then to the fabric store so that the girlfriend could choose her own fabric to make a bag. Apparently she is very interested in sewing, but has never tried it. It was a total thrill for her to see this little carry-all created in one afternoon. I really liked the polka-dotty fabric she chose.
I have had several requests for some new spring bags, so here's a sample: This one makes me think of a chocolate cupcake for some reason.

This one makes me think of a friend that is Irish, and she often refers to the 27 shades of green in Ireland.

I also made pajama pants with lizards on them this morning for my little guy. He wanted a matching shirt too, maybe that's tomorrow's project.

Then again, the dishes are piling up, the laundry is literally blocking the door to the laundry room and I've got so many fun new things to add to my Etsy shop. Stay Tuned!