Monday, December 24, 2007

Google Doodles

I just enjoyed looking through previous Google Doodles.

I'm sure you've noticed that Yahoo! and Google change their logos for special events. Well, this week, I noticed that the Google logo was progressing. My hubby then realized that if you click on the current logo it shows you the progression of the logo changes. Back to me. After he pointed that out, I noticed the URL had a file name with a number. I started changing the number (going backwards) and found a whole pile of prior Google Doodle Logos. It was fun to look through them (they are mostly Winter or Olympic in nature, but I found one from July too).

Merry Christmas!
Suzy :D

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Poems

After reading Heather's GREAT Christmas poem, here's my offering:

The snow is falling,
The roads are slick and cold; brrr!
Friends driving safely.

I always prefered a haiku to the sort of poems where I had to come up with rhymes.

Suzy :D

And They're Off!

This morning I sat in the hotel lobby with Frank, Jack, and Alex while Becky and Abbie slept and Joe loaded the car.
I feel SO SORRY for Becky right now! Yesterday, while watching my boys (so my hubby and I could go for a day of shopping in the city) she came down with Strep Throat. Actually, every since Joe and Becky returned Monday night, she's looked tired and worn out. I figured it was just exhaustion, and maybe it was, but now it's worse.

Yesterday, we drove, and drove. And drove. In a nice storm. Going and coming back from Salt Lake City. It's usually a 2.75 hour drive. Yesterday, we started to head out of SLC at 5:00pm. The storm was settling into the city. The lights were out. The street lights were out. It was slow going. We got on the freeway at 6:00pm (6 miles from where we started) and headed for home. Going into Parley's Canyon, it took us 30 minutes to go three miles. 45 mintues for four miles! In the first hour after we left, we got SEVEN WHOLE MILES!!! There were multiple cars skidded off the road or snuck in the snow and ice, including at least four or five semi-trucks. Those were the BIG hold up. Gratefully, no accidents, just lots of vehicles stuck. That was what the hold up for the hour was. In any case, we FINALLY got home SAFE AND SOUND at 11:20 pm.

Unbeknownst to us, Becky was coming down with Strep yesterday while watching our kiddos. So, we're slow going in the snow, and she's miserable on our couch... I took her to her hotel as soon as we got our van warmed up (I don't drive my hubby's work truck that was already warm). This morning, I took her to the doctor. She got a steroid shot and an antibiotic. After which I watched Alex while Joe finished prepping their vehicle.

Then they left, in another snow storm, for Jackson. It's usally a four hour drive, and miraculously, in the snow, they made it in just under four hours! I'm not sure how Joe did it, but he got Becky to a new place to rest as fast as possible. I just spoke with Becky, and she sounds worse than ever. How would that be? To be in a VERY isolated, cold, snowy, VACATION resort, for Christmas and SO SICK! Hopefully, after a weekend of rest (yeah, with Joe and both kids trapped in a small hotel room) she'll be feeling better in time to enjoy Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Hopefully.

Around here, we've been taking it easy this afternoon. After three weeks of guests, our place is THRASHED. I spent about an hour cleaning up my room, and then snuggled down on the couch with a book. I'm headed back to the book now. Tomorrow will be more of the same. Clean up a bit. Read. Wrap presents.

Suzy :D

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Electric Car for SALE at Wal-Mart!

I just read an article that says as of next year you should be able to buy an electric CAR through Wal-Mart. Wow! That's interesting!!! I'd heard that Wal-Mart may have hit it's prime and was in need of revitalizing, but I just never pictured them selling cars!

This picture actually caught my eye on the story, because I took a couple photos in traffic in Chandler last October, of this car. I had never seen such a small car. It looked funny in rush-hour traffic amidst all the big vehicles, almost like a toy!

Suzy :D

Monday, December 17, 2007

RIDDLE: What Curses Worse than A Sailor?

A Marine!

NOTE: The rest of this post has been removed due to the general whinyness of it's nature.

Suzy :D

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Word of the Day: SKLECTED

Frank "just sklected his way into his room". That is, he moved the Pack-N-Play, Porta Crib away from the door just enough to fit between it and the wall, then he squeezed sideways into the room. After retrieving the desired object, he squeezed out and replaced the crib. I believe that the "sklecting" was actually the "squeezing in sideways".

The word in the middle of his story made me laugh. Every family has their own made up words, I think to "sklect" may become a part of ours.

Suzy :D

Sunday, December 09, 2007

There Were Four In The Tub...

...and the little one said,

move over, move over.

Did you ever wonder how you fit four toddlers in one standard-size bath tub? Here's how...

Have a good night!

Suzy :D

I AM Self-Confident


That is the only way a person could DARE post pictures of themselves looking like this. It had been 55 hours since my friend left her two children with me, bringing my total up to FOUR, ages, 5, 3, 2, and 1. I just finished bathing all four and decided to snap a picture of myself (without any "fixing up".) Here you go...

You'd think I just finished running a marathon or something!

If this is how we Mom's look when we have "HAD ENOUGH", then, I can see why kids look at us with wide-eyed horror! Talk about a screaming Banshee... I wasn't even talking and I scared myself... I scared myself silly...

Laughter... it's good for the soul.

Suzy :D

PS: This post definitley encourages me to take a little time for fixing myself up in the mornings... even if it's "just" to be at home. Also, I think I need to ditch keeping the scrunchii on hand... wowsers! My hair is EVERYWHERE!!!

Sleep - It's a Wonderful Thing!

8:07 am-

Hip-hip-hooray! Last night everyone had AT LEAST eight solid hours of sleep. Three kiddos woke up at 7 this morning, quite acceptable to me. :D

While Abbie's favorite pasttime seems to be squeaking as she chases the cats round-and-round, Alex tends to spend his time playing with the boys, mostly Jack. They're Mischeif Meter has been running a little lower (probably because the initial excitement of seeing eachother is wearing off).

While I was trying to find the best settings on my camera to take a picture of Alex and Jack looking at the tree,

(This wasn't the setting for taking a picture by the tree!)

Abbie snuck over to the other tree and pulled down the bucket of ornaments. Now, since these were ornaments I'd left out for your kiddos to "help" with, I just moved them to the middle of the room and let her at them...

...while I went back to trying to capture Alex's smile.

Either he doesn't smile in the morning or he was just too curious about what a candy cane would taste like, but I never caught his smile.

Suzy :D

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Sleep Deprivation Solution

When experiencing sleep deprivation, look at cute pictures of the kiddo who kept you awake.
Last night Abbie tricked us into thinking she'd sleep through the night. She was asleep by 9:15, but when I snuck into my room and creaked open the closet, she was instantly awake. I had one three hour stretch of sleep, from 12:30-3:30. Other than that, total sleep was about four and a half hours. Here is the offending culprit during her bathtime yesterday.
She looks cute and adorable and anything but a screaming night-time banshee.

Looks really can be deceving!

Suzy :P

Friday, December 07, 2007

I'm Addicted...

... to funny personable, reads. This started with Sarah Meland who wrote for the Nimble Thimbles of the Arizona Quilter's Guild. She wrote their newsletters, and the little blurbs that went out in the monthly state-wide publication. I followed her around and commented on her writing (okay, basically, I stalked her) until she roped me into writing the newsletter the next year. A few years later we talked about taking a creative writting class together... but life and schedules got in the way and it never happened. Now, I live 900 miles away and I'm not familiar with any of Sarah's current writings. I miss reading Sarah.

Suddenly though I've found someone new. She's my introduction into the BIG world of Blogging. I think, perhaps, it will be difficult to find others to match her. Perhaps you even know of whom I speak... The Pioneer Woman. Today I just laughed and laughed over a The Relaxed Homeschooler post of hers. Her blog, Confessions of The Pioneer Woman, has me checking in daily... sometimes more.

I think I also enjoy TPW's blog because of her INCREDIBLE photography. I like photography. Have since high school. I was even "A Portrait Photographer" at one point in my past. I use to sit (for a long time) outside places of worship and watch the brides and grooms going round with their photographers. I would dream about what it would be like to be behind the lens. About two years ago I even got to "assist" a friend's husband, Joe Chott... when he was an up-and-coming Wedding Photographer. What a thrill that was! I love setting the people up and catching the candid photos. I love composing the picture... what I'm not so into is the "tech-y stuff". Perhaps one day, my hubby and I can work together... me taking the portraits and him editing them... hmm... something to think about.

So, homeschooling. I've been thinking about it (really since I was pregnant), and looking into it (for about a year). My son, Frank, missed the Kindergarten cut off by 15 days... I was glad of it. He's not ready "emotionally" for public school (not to mention the emotional upheaval of our recent moves). I wonder if he will be in a year. Anyway, on my recent Arizona trip, I started thinking seriously about Homeschooling. I'd like to start... next month... on a Kindergarten program for him. I can take him through it next year, and, if it doesn't work, he'll still be on track to start Kindergarten in the local Public Schools. But, if it does work, like I think it will, all the better. I just spoke with a local educator who mentioned that with the current BOOM in Wyoming, the schools weren't prepared... many local Kindergarten classes are being taught by SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS! They dont' have enough teachers for the number of students. I know I can give my boys (at a 2:1 ratio) SO MUCH more than a 20:1 or 30:1 ratio! Another thing... I spent a LOT more time with my boys during our move this summer. Well, maybe not time, but with my husband traveling, and us moving from our comfort zone (house, friends, everything!) I learned to be a lot more confident of myself as I observed them learning things naturally. Things that make me go "woah!" Things like memorizing where five different states are and what their names are... without me even trying to "teach" this. Or having my 5yo say "why don't you start at zero" when I'm "counting to three" for misbehaviors.

Anyway, this post is far longer than I'd intended, and I've FIANLLY heard all four kids quiet down, so, time for this lady to get some sleep, because some child will surely be up in the next eight hours and I NEED MY SLEEP!

Suzy :D


"Kitschy". A word I've heard a few times, it seems with greater frequency, but that I can never seem to remeber when I want to use it. Also, I had NO IDEA how to spell it. I just saw it online and thought I'd record it here to help me remember... or at least so I can look it up later.

Let's see what Meriam Webster has to say about it...

Main Entry: kitsch
Pronunciation: \ˈkich\
Function: noun
Etymology: German
Date: 1925
1 : something that appeals to popular or lowbrow taste and is often of poor quality

2 : a tacky or lowbrow quality or condition

Hmm... that's not quite what I thought it meant. I thought it was something to do with the Retro / 1950's / 1960's movement. Let's see what says...

kitsch /kɪtʃ/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[kich] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation –noun
something of tawdry design, appearance, or content created to appeal to popular or undiscriminating taste.

I guess that's a little closer to what I had in mind.

Hmmm... I just peeked at Wikipedia and found this quote...

kitsch is most closely associated with art that is sentimental; however, it can be used to refer to any type of art that is deficient for similar reasons—whether it tries to appear sentimental, glamorous, theatrical, or creative, kitsch is said to be a gesture imitative of the superficial appearances of art. It is often said that kitsch relies on merely repeating convention and formula, lacking the sense of creativity and originality displayed in genuine art.

...which perhaps best describes the 50's/60's flavor I was thinking of, but still, not fully. Am I thinking of the right word here? The first time I heard "kitschy" it was in reference to the movie "Down With Love".

Enough, for now; I'm tired and three of the four kiddos are sleeping, plus, my hubby's home, so, napping IS AN OPTION! YEAH FOR NAPS!!!

Suzy :D

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Like Becky said "The Adventure Begins"

Yesterday my friends arrived from Arizona. I feel honored. They drove 900 miles to bring me there children (3yo boy and 14mo girl) to watch for 9 days while they go the The Caribbean for a family wedding. This really is an honor... to be trusted with the care of someone else's young children, and to think the drove so far so I could help them.

I'm also delighted that after their Caribbean Adventure, they are planning to stay in my town for another five days of visiting and even in the state past Christmas. I'm tickled to get to spend so much time with them. As you may have noticed I've been a little "Friend-Sick" lately, so, it's nice to have them here.

Now, The Adventure, that will begin in two days when they drive to SLC airport and we get to start caring for the kiddos 100% on our own!

Whoo-hoo! Becky's at the table waiting to play a game... I'm going to join her now.

Suzy :D

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Serious Shrinky-Dink Art

Take a look at the jewelry on i love blocks. It just reminded me of some super-fun times making Shrinky-Dinks. I was looking for fun projects for the next two weeks with four kids between 1 and 5... I think I'll have to see if I can get my hands on some of this plastic... I think my Mom use to do it with other plastic too, like from a coke bottle or such. I'll have to check into that. FINALLY something to do with the deluxe, super-sized set of Sharpie (rainbow colored) markers I bought last year.

Suzy :D

Monday, December 03, 2007

Educational Games

4 Dec 07 - Post Script: I just added three more games (Dominoes, Marbles, and Monopoly) and another website ( to the list. :D

Lately I've come across some different looking games. These two are both described as being "cooperative" games (versus "competitive" ones).

  • Fairy Finds Game - Children work together to build a fairy ring in this fun game that teaches cooperation as well as strategy skills. They play against a troll, who wants the beautifully illustrated board for himself, and who can exist only in the form of puzzle pieces kids put together (or not) at the whim of the die. But they can strategize their way out of it.

  • Wildcraft! An Herbal Adventure Game - Wildcraft! is a cooperative game, and fosters teamwork and imagination. Players must work together to "win" the game. However, don't let this make you think it is not an exciting journey! Trying to get back to Grandma's house before nightfall along with all the pitfalls encountered along the way will keep you on the edge of your seats.
They are each $30. That seems like a lot to me. Is that the going rate for a "new" game these days? Does the fact that I can't find them used or on ebay indicate that they are great games and so one wants to get rid of them? Also, both are for ages four and up and don't require reading.

Though we've been playing games more often since moving to Wyoming, I think I need to play regurally (like daily) for a while before allowing myself to splurge on Wildcraft! or any others... like my friend tells me, put it (impulsive items) on a list for thirty days and then decide if you still want it. :D

While looking around, I also found this site (Keen 2 Learn) that looks like it has a lot of neat educational games.

I'm on a Homeschooling for Boys Yahoo! Group, and there has been a thread about games. Here's the list they've come up with for younger kids:

  1. Alphabet Game
  2. Apples to Apples (Jr)
  3. Backgammon
  4. Battleship
  5. Big Brain (they have a lot of fun with this one)
  6. Buckaroo
  7. Candyland
  8. card games
  9. Checkers
  10. Chess
  11. Connect 4
  12. Continuo - a puzzle where you create color chains (Rhombo version)
  13. Dominoes
  15. – this site has user reviews, lists of best sellers, recommendations, as well as lists of award winners (Mensa, et. al.).
  16. Go Fish / Memory - Homemade - using index cards and phonics sounds ("Do you have th for thick?" etc.)
  17. Guess Who
  18. Hi Ho Cherry-O
  19. Hungry Hungry Hippos
  20. Kerplunk
  21. Mancala
  22. Marbles
  23. Mastermind for Kids
  24. Monopoly (Jr.)
  25. games
  26. Operation
  27. Othello
  28. Pirates Cove
  29. Professor Noggin's (we have Earth Science and Explorer's)
  30. Qwitch
  31. Rat-A-Tat-Cat
  32. Scooby-Doo (still tring to learn about it)
  33. Scrabble - for non-readers, just start working with letter tiles to spell words out.
  34. Shoots and Ladders
  35. Slap
  36. Sorry
  37. Sum Swamp
  38. The Amazing Labyrinth
  39. The States Game
  40. Trouble
  41. Uno
  42. Wildcraft! An Herbal Adventure
  43. Yahtzee (one of the kid's versions)

Wow! That's some list! I'd need more than a Game "Cabinet" to hold them all.

Well, that's all for now!

Suzy :D

What I SHOULD Have Said...

So, what I should have said in my last post was not "why aren't you writting me" but, "I really am isolated up here is Wyoming. I often feel alone and out of the loop. I miss my friends, family, and life in Arizona." That being said, I do enjoy living in Wyoming and I'm not sitting up here wallowing in misery, I just have occassional longings ... usually when I here my friends are getting together for a play date or a Mom's Day Out. Then, I feel a little sad.

All-in-all, life is calmer and simpler here. My hands (which are great barometers of my emotions, because they dry out and bleed when I'm upset) have only had maybe three minor outbreaks since moving up here.

I'm spening more time than ever with my husband and sons. Also, I'm actually producing things (like: fabric and yarn arts and baked goods). For instance, on Saturday morning, the snow was softly falling and I thought up, designed, sewed, and finished a product all in one morning. It felt so good and was quite empowering and encouraging to take something through the whole process (thought-up to finished item). Here is the fleece-lined, flannel poncho I created for Jack on Saturday...he loves it (but hates taking pictures)!

Why the non-water-proof poncho? Well, he has a rain jacket and he has a snow coat, but the snow coat, while warm, is too big to fit in his five-point harness car seat. I've found that it takes so long to get him in and out of the jacket, that we often just carry it while he rushes in or out of a building to the van. So, I wanted something snuggly and warm that would be quick to throw on him for in and out of the van trips. I'm thinking of closing up the sides, either by sewing them or buttons or something, but I do like that it can be opened flat and put on him like a blanket (especially when he's in his car seat, because this too is too big for his harness system. Also, I had this fabric (and even the Superman "S" Logo) sitting in my closet and ready to go.

The poncho's such a hit that Frank too wants one... though I think his will be used more for playing --- he always is running around with a blanket over his head, so, I'll make his hood HUGE so he can hide in it. :D

Suzy :D

Friday, November 30, 2007

Is Anybody Out There?

Although I'm enjoying writing these little blog enteries, I do it for you, but since I rarely see any comments, I'm just wondering... "Is Anybody Out There?!!?"

If not, I can just go back to journalling in MSWord or even in a notebook. If you're out there, please, say something!

Suzy :D

There's Something Wrong with Him!

Okay. Finally, after FIVE years, I admit it!

"There is something wrong with my son, Frank."

Not only does the kid not like:


but tonight I had to FORCE him to eat RAW CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH and, guess what, he didn't like that either!

I mean REALLY!

What kind of kid wants a SALAD for dinner and refuses to eat raw cookie dough? I must have done something wrong! Agh!

Suzy :D
PS: Jack, on the other hand, will eat anything we give him ... as long as it's not MEAT. He hardly eats meat, or potatoes, or beans... wait a minute! Don't get me started on Jack's pallette... he isn't even three and he DOES like Cola, and Tea, and Coffee... wonder who (DAD?) slipped him these things!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Easy Cutting Scissor's

Hey! It's taken me 14 months to get here, but this is my 50th post on my very first (this) blog. And, this post is something new, it's a product review...

I spontaneously bought a pair of Spring Action Scissors, because I liked they're Rainbow Titanium Oxide Finish. They are called Easy Kut and made by Tool Tron Industries. I really like them! (I'd give them 5 out of 5 stars.) They are lightweight and easy to use, plus the blades are quite sharp and when used to trim thread on a project, they get right up against the fabric to leave almost nothing exposed. Also, they were reasonably priced. I paid $12.95 at Odegaard's Sewing Center in Flagstaff, Arizona. I've found them online for as little as $10.95.

Definitely a product I recommend, but won't buy as gifts because long ago, my Aunt Lou told me that "you never buy cutting items for people because it will severe your relationship". Now, I don't tend to be superstitions, but for some reason this tidbit has always stuck with me.

If you do find yourself with a pair, let me know how you like them.

Suzy :D

Hot Hollywood Hunks

I've never been one to oogle Hollywood Hunks... at least not publicly! Today I diverge from my usual "good girl" posts and induldge the need for hunks. This week I've been watching Smallville Season 6 on DVD and I'm having hot flashes over something I've never had before... a blonde Hollywood Hunk! Usually I like tall dark and handsome... some of whom (listed in chronilogical order of my lust) are:

  1. Harrison Ford
  2. Mel Gibson
  3. Sean Connery (did you ever notice that my boys' middle names are Connor and Sean... coincedence? I think not!)
  4. Dean Cain
  5. Viggo Mortensen

See what I mean? Tall. Dark. Handsome. That's my MO, but blonde and spikey hair? Pretty weird huh? But if you saw Justin Hartley in action you'd see what I mean. I checked him out on the Internet Movied Database and found that he's only been on TV series so far. I look forward to the future and seeing Justin Hartley on the big screen.

Okay. I think I have The Pioneer Woman to blame for my temporary fit of lustfulness... her and her Chaps / Chinks post yesterday plus Smallville's Arrow episode was just too much good stuff for a girl to handle at bedtime last night!

All right, all right! I'll get back to kids and cooking and cleaning and "good girl" stuff like that now...

Suzy :P

PS: Justin Hartley plays Oliver Queen/The Green Arrow in Smallville.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Familiar Ice

Today I found myself thankful for something entirely new (for me)... safe travel on snowy and icy roads.

It was good to spend the day with so much family (even our "crazy" ones). It's hard for others to understand how we get along... but it's familiar (hey, that looks like it's derived from the same word as "family".) Maybe that's one of the good things about "The Holidays", that it reminds us of our familiar roots.

Suzy :D

Sunday, November 18, 2007


I just found this great tutorial and all I can say is... "Aaaaagh!" I JUST donated a pile of Tom's old shirts (and even thought of saving them for a friend who's used them before to make her kids' shirts)... I've never thought of using shirts to make pants/shorts. Could be SO CUTE! My boys are totally into sweats right now (comfy and warm) but I'm not finding them at the thrift store... perhaps I'll pick up a few nice adult sweat shirts and convert them...

And here's another cute tutorial to remember for the summer.

Suzy :D

Cooking for Picky Eaters

I enjoy cooking. BUT. I often find myself dragging my feet about meals for my family. I think it's because I put so much into the cooking and then sit down to a table full of "I don't like this!" or "I don't want to eat this." or "I'm not hungry." or "You put ___ in this!?" I'm sick of it! So. What are my options?
  1. Eat the same three bland meals twice every week.
  2. Make what I like, get zero appreciation, and eat most of it myself while starving my family?
  3. Yell, scream, and issue threats at each dinner.
  4. Make four different plates of food at every meal.

I go round and round with this. Actually, while cleaning out some old notebooks today I found a list I made in Arizona titled "foods the boys LOVE to eat"... so, obviously I've been working with and struggling over this for a while. Today I was thinking, "what if I make sure to make at least one dish that each person likes at each meal, and I rotate them to make certain everyone's eating a balanced diet..." Then I thought, "that sounds like a lot of work!"

I've never been one for making lots of special foods, I've always thought they should "eat what I fix". I also think it's my responsibility as a wife and mother to cook foods that are healthy, economical, and satisfying for the whole family.

I always have struggled to plan menus. For some reason, that's just a hard thing for me to sit down and do. I've been doing better at it, but as I do better with planning a menu and shopping for it, it feels like my family does worse for the eating of it.

I'm just not sure what to do. Any bright ideas?

On a related note, here's a super-simple treat I came up with a few years back. I call them my "cheater smores". You take whatever vanilla frosting you like (homemade or store bought) and spread it on two graham crackers. Then, sprinkle a generous layer of M&M's on one of the crackers. Top it with the second cracker and enjoy with a glass of milk. Mmm, yum! Here are a few pictures.

Like I said, super-simple and totally yumilicous!

Suzy :D

Friday, November 16, 2007

Paying the Praise Forward

I was at a thrift store today digging through piles of blue jeans, and when I got up to walk to the fitting area, an older lady stopped me and complimented me on what "great, well-behaved kids" I have. I thanked her and said "I'm pretty strict with them" and she said "well it works." Then she went on to say how she thinks mother's with young kids need to hear that they are doing a good job.

She was right. It was very nice to have a total stranger pause to compliment me on my work. That's one thing I've missed with being a full-time, stay-at-home-mom... you generally don't get regular praise for a job well done. When I was working 40 hours a week (for ten years pre-kids) there were so many opportunities for compliments and praise.

I would feel like others would think I was being judgemental if I went up to another strange mother of young kids and said "you're doing a great job", but I'm certain, if I look, I can find and start complimenting others more... "pay it forward" and all that.

Which reminds me... I have a friend who was doing a "Pay it Forward" challenge. I signed up with her, and what I need is three people who would like me to make them something... in exchange, they must post on their blog and find three people that they can make something for. You have one year from the date of your post to make the things and send them on. So. If you would like me to make you something, please be one of the first three to post a comment on this thread.

I had the most relaxing hair cut and blow dry this evening. From a very tired lady at the Wal-Mart hair place in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Her name was Tatyanna. I don't know if it was her or the fact that I just finished my third water aerobics class this week... I started exercising again on Monday... YAY ME!!!... but I REALLY enjoyed my haircut this evening! And, by the way, we mother's of young children may THINK that running around after the kids and being on our feet all day counts as "exercise", but it really doesn't! I've been winded this week after just 1 1/2 laps in a pool (33 laps = 1 mile). It's pathetic really, but I'm invigorated by the water aerobics and excited to be exercising again. I'm enjoying it too!

Suzy :D

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Whoo-hoo! Our House is SOLD!

I JUST got the call from the Title Company, and our house in Mesa, Arizona is SOLD! YEAH! In June a sale on the same house fell through on closing day, so this was GREAT to get a phone call saying "the sale is done and the check's in the mail." Hip-hip-hooray!!!

Suzy :D

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Signature Smallville Training

I just put together a block in a pattern I first found in December 2003, in the "365 Quilt Blocks a Year Perpetual Calendar" called "Twinkling Star". I modified the pattern so the you must sew a partial seam (as opposed to a nine-patch format). My modification makes it so all eight of the star points are complete pieces of fabric without seams in them. I've always enjoyed trying out blocks by making one of them... this block I keep making one of in different colors and fabrics (often with a black "background"). My husband and I think it's becoming my "signature block". I've even used it in block exchanges in the past (two times). I realize that I have a heart one and a snowman/Christmas Tree block stashed away. Now with this new pumpkin one, I think I'll keep making them (as the spirit moves me) so that I can piece a "holiday time" quilt with (at least) twelve blocks all the same "Twinkling Star" but different fabrics and themes in each block.

When Lois & Clark, The New Adventures of Superman first came out, I watched it faithfully. Besides Babylon 5, I can't think of any other TV series I've EVER watched each week on TV. In the past I wrote the producers asking for Lois & Clark to go to DVD. When it came out, I bought them, but I never watched them until this summer. I was still watching them while living with my cousins. After much arm twisting from the cousins, I started (slowly) watching Smallville. When I came home from Arizona sick last month, I threw myself on the Smallville Alter and watched 1/2 of season 2 and all of season 3 in ONE WEEK. I'm hooked! Last night I watched the season 4 finalie and began season 5. I was trembling at the end of 4... and my heartrate was still up two hours later! I can't believe I'm so "into" any TV show! I REALLY enjoy it! It's funny, I was never really a "Superman" fan before, but I'm quickly turning into one.

This gets me thinking... I have watched other TV series on DVD. I like the control you have over viewing with DVD's... like not having to wait a whole week between episodes and being able to watch as much or as little as you want, when you want. Anyway, here are the series I've enjoyed on DVD:

  1. Sherlock Holmes with Jeremy Brett
  2. Babylon 5
  3. From The Earth to The Moon
  4. Firefly
  5. New Battlestar Galactica
  6. Lois & Clark, The New Adventures of Superman
  7. Smallville

These are listed in the order I viewed them, not the order I enjoyed them. Actually, I enjoyed them all. I think a lot of that has to do with the ability to control my viewing... oh yeah, I've also watched a lot of X-Files. But I watch those because my hubby's have wanted to watch them (hubby one and three), they were not things I generally watched without them. Oh! I just remembered another show I use to watch each week, with hubby two we watched "Who's Line Is It Anyway?" I liked that show; funny stuff.

Okay. I'm rambling. One other thing about the Smallville Season 4/5 show... I bit SEVEN nails watching it! I haven't bit so many fingernails in like SIX YEARS! It totally had me on the edge of my seat! Thanks alot Cousin Bobby! I'm COMPLETELY ADDICTED to Smallville now!

The one thing I dislike about cats is kitty litter. I hate dealing with scooping it and smelling it and ESPECIALLY how it tracks everywhere! I've always avoided dealing with litter by having indoor/outdoor cats. Currently though, my cat was adopted and had never been outside. She spazes out when I let her out. So, I (for the first time ever) have indoor cats. I'm also in a tiny apartment without room for the litter to be "stashed away". So, it's in my small bathroom. When we moved in, I ordered the "City Kitty" toilet training kit. After reading through it, I decided to wait until my trip to Arizona was done. As of today, I've started the kitty's on toilet training. Here's a picture of them checking it out right after I introduced it (to them and my boys). The biggest inconvience of this training is that we only have one toilet in the apartment, so, anytime you have to use the toilet, you first have to move the litter pan. With any luck though, we'll be toilet trained by the new year (it typically takes 4-6 weeks for cats to be fully trained). I look forward to a New Year without Kitty Litter sticking to my feet!

Suzy :S

Monday, November 12, 2007

Wall Art, Aprons, and Other Homey Feeling Stuff

Enough was enough! Friday night, after living in this apartment for two months, my husband and I were tired of not having or knowing where our things were. We decided to go to our storage unit with our sleeves rolled up on Saturday. We got there at 8:30 am and worked out a system where he brought boxes to a table, we opened them, peeked inside, I labeled the boxes and then we stacked them out side according to "keep out", "up front" or "who cares! (ie: in the back of the storage unit". In four hours we got through 75% of our boxes and restacked everything in. Hubby tried to make aisles, but we still have too much, so, the aisles got filled in.

As a treat as much for us as for our very patient boys (they rested in the back of the van, played in the dirt and with toys we were finding, and even helped a little), we went to Pizza Hut. We came home exhaused and eventually managed to unload both our vehicles (they were full of boxes and baskets of things we were wanting) into our already cramped 800 sq ft apartment. Perhaps I should mention that six months ago we were living in a 2200 sq ft home. We moved in a whirlwind and had intended to be in another (smaller) home by now. So... we didn't pack for living in an apartment for a long time. Saturday was exhausting, but it was also better than Christmas! So many things we discovered... our things... things we love... before we moved, we eliminated a lot of things we: didn't like, only liked, didn't use, were broken, etc. So, the stuff we moved was (mostly) stuff we still want. Unfortunatley, that last 25% contains most of the items my hubby was looking for. I found everything I wanted and more in our storage dive. I'm rambling...

As a result of the dive, I have a lot of our wall "stuff". Yesterday and today I hung over two dozen things on our walls. The pictures, paintings, and portraits make it feel like "home" and the clocks are just handy to have up.

Besides the pictures, I've unpacked about 5 boxes. I feel like I should have done more... but I'm also quite tired from the dive. Plus, today, I went to water aerobics (for the first time in seven years). Yeah me! While waiting for the teacher I was lap swimming. 1 1/2 laps and I had to stop because my chest was tightening up... what's that all about!? Don't exercise for YEARS and you're body wants to stop breathing! I'm sure I'll be sore by Wednesday, but I really do want to start the water aerobics three times a week. I know it will help me feel better on so many levels.

Boxes make me edgy, like I'm not doing enough. Gotta get through these boxes! Let's see, there are about 15, so, two a day will have be done by the weekend, three by Saturday, no, just go for two. Unpack two boxes a day each day... I can do that! :D

Do you find that certain clothes get you in the mood to do things? When I was hanging all those things on the wall, I put on an apron my girlfriend made (it didn't fit her and I liked it, so, she gave it to me, I fixed it, and it has since become my "work apron".) When I put on my "work apron" my mind just *clicks* into gear and I'm ready to work... especially if I put a bandana around my hair at the same time! I do the same thing with comfort clothes... if I'm not feeling good, I put on some pants with elastic (sweats / flannel / satin PJ's) and my body just *knows* that it's time to rest. I don't feel compelled to push myself like I usually do in jeans and tennis shoes.

The apron is awesome... from a Simplicity pattern #5313 view D. We crisscross the straps across the back too (switch the shoulder seams when sewing) and it stays on better. I love all the pockets, though I've had to repair mine several times from catching the pockets on things (like door fixtures) and I walk by. When I was digging out the pattern, I found the pattern for a kids apron, Simplicity 4286 I was planning to make view D for my boys... perhaps I can throw them together for Christmas. I also found the "lost" fabric to make a present for the friend who gave me the apron in the first place. Guess I was inspired to share my work apron with all of you!

Suzy :D

Thursday, November 08, 2007

No Presents for the Grown-Ups

In response to a friend's blog about her family declaring (this late in the game) a "no presents for the adults rule", I wrote the following. A side note; for many people the beginning of November may not seem like "late in the Gift Giving Game", but for a fellow quilter, and someone planning to be gone for three weeks in December, this truly comes late in the game for my friend. Not quite "fair" for a family who's exchanged presents forever and the crafter among them who started making her presents in January. Anyway, here are my off-the-cuff thoughts on Kid-Only gift giving.

One of the weirdest things about my in-laws is they're standing "No Presents - EVER" rule. Apparently, many years before I came on the scene, holidays had turned into a cash exchange scene. They would each give each other cards with money inside. They realized how ridiculous this was and made the "STOP" rule.
Then, kids started coming on the scene (right as I joined the clan) and suddenly they found themselves needing to buy wrapping paper again.

I am glad they got away from the mass marketing of it all, but I often wonder if they miss out on some of the pleasures associated with giving to others. The most I've seen them give eachother is a box of chocolate, but after a few years, even that has turned into a massive chocolate exchange.

Personally, I blow them off in a minor way... if I see something small that reminds me of one of them, I'll but it and stash it away, then give it to them. Usually it's under five dollars, but as they say "it's the thought that counts". I have yet to receive any presents from them, and I'm okay with that.

My family? They stopped giving me presents long ago. Never said they weren't going to do it, they just stopped. Again, I usually do something for them, probably because I like to shop and find "deals" all year long.

It's hard; because it's fun to open presents and it's great to be surprised with something you really like. I guess though, I find a lot of joy in watching others open things I've given them and I don't really "expect" to get stuff. I feel so blessed in my life (especially since Tom) and have everything I need and MOST of my WANTS too, so, to have people trying to spend money just to be able to "give" me something seems wasteful. I do love handmade / homemade things though! When I was a kid, we were never allowed to buy a present until after we'd made one for the person. My Mom taught us that gifts from the heart meant so much more. Now that I'm older I see that they certainly take more time and effort, and often they cost more than the same thing store bought, but they are personalized. I enjoy making things for other people and usually spend a lot of time thinking about that person while I'm working on the item.

So, after reading my comments, I guess that I understand and appreciate the lack of present buying for adults. Christmastime truly is a mass-commercial time. I also know that I really enjoy giving and receiving things, as long as it's done with love and not because I "have to" or "should". When you receive something from me, it's because I was thinking of you with love. You may get something on special occassions or you may get a package out of the blue, and I think those kind of surprises are great too!

Lay off the stress of the holidays and enjoy the sights, sounds, tastes, and feels of them!

Suzy :)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Sitting on the Wall

I finished appliqueing my pumpkins on a wall and then decided that rather than finishing them as a small piece, I've put them away with several other Halloween items. I have a "Happy Halloween" panel as well as a frankenstein I appliqued a few years back. I also have a pattern to make a witch and a mummy. Frank has requested a pirate too. One of these years I'll finish my Halloween quilt, in the meantime, the project (as well as the pumpkins) will just stay sitting on the wall.

Working on the pumpkins got me to going again with sewing. I pulled out the "Color Me Happy" quilt top I pieced over the summer. This is the first "jelly roll" I've ever bought. It was fun to be able to quickly put something together and I like it, although I normally would mix up my fabrics more (this has like 30 coordinates all from the same line, so, one print is repeated in several color ways.) I decided to use the rainbow stripe I'd bought for the binding as a border instead (I think the stripe (picture on left) "pops" more than what I'd planned to use, scraps (picture on right) of the central colors strung together). Today I took the top and borders to the quilt shop and bought a turquoise to bind it it (Frank's choice after another customer suggested it (instead of the purple I was adding to an already purple-full quilt). I'm tring to decide if I should machine quilt this at home (it will be almost 70" square) or send it out or pay for a class at the local shop and then do it myself on their long-arm (you pay $50 for two training classes, then rent machine time by the hour). I enjoy long-arming myself, so, this would probably be the funnest option, but also the costliest. I'll have to think. I'm also trying to decide how to quilt it. I think I want to stitch all different words in the purple parts (like "happy, joy, live, laugh, love, etc). So, I need to brainstorm a list of words. I wonder what I'll quilt in the striped areas, they are 6" x 10". Oh yeah, if you are curious to make this quilt, it is SUPER SIMPLE!
Quilt Instructions:
Just cut your 2 1/2" strips into 6 1/2" pieces. You'll need five strips per block.
Then, from your background, you'll need two 10 1/2" x 2 1/2" pieces per block.
The finished blocks are 10".
Just make as many as you want and then set them out one up, one side-to-side, one up, one side-to-side (it lays out like a rail fence).
I threw it together very quickly and can see lots of other fun applications for this pattern.
Suzy :D
PS: I am sitting here smelling fresh bread (loaves and rolls) I just pulled out of the oven. I think a few rolls and some honey have my name on them for my bed-time snack! :D

So Much More than a Bread Box!

I want to show you a project that I'm quite tickled with. I should say that this is based of an idea I saw in Better Homes & Gardens where they made a docking station for all sorts of power items wuing a shadow box and a piece of covered foam. We liked the idea and played with several different ideas for housing it and then Tom and I both saw this bread box at the store. We saw it on seperate trips when we were out alone. We both thought it would work well for what we wanted.

Tom drilled some holes in the back (a big one for the power strip to go through, and several smaller ones for air vents). Then, he attached two rails (at an angle) to hold a small shelf. He cut the shelf to fit, added a finger hole and a few notches at the top for the cords to rest in. Total time spent, less than 45 mintues. I still need to find a fabric to cover the shelf with, but for the time being, I'm tickeled with it just as it is.

Now, all those blasted long ugly black cords are neatly contained in one location. When not in use (and even when charging) we can close the lid and know where they are, but have them out of sight. There is room for another power strip (should we need to add more docks). I like my bread box! :D

Go make one of your own and send me some pictures of your conversion.

Suzy :D

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Family Fun

I was just closing down the many web pages I'd opened today and not closed and realized that I only seem to go to Family Fun on special days (like holidays); and that I should go there more often and set out to make every day a day of Family Fun.

Today I worked on a little row of Pumpkins (of my own spontaneous design). The faces are designed and ready to be appliqued on. It was fun and relaxing for me. I designed one pumpkin for each member of my family, then had my hubby and boys set down with their fabric pumpkin in front of them and a sheet of paper the same size for them to design the face for their pumpkin. It's much more random that I would do on my own, but it creates a fun snapshot in time. Just like a project I once did with a Jack-O-Lantern and instead of the "normal" face, I appliqued the face from the Jack-O-Lantern we carved on Frank's first Halloween. Now, I remember his first Jack-O-Lantern face forevermore. :D

I stopped the pumpkins faces in order to make a tote bag from the pattern I stumbled on My Many Colored Crayons (I was looking for a crayon roll tutorial - I found one I want to try at Skip to My Lou). I made this bag for Frank in well under an hour. He wanted to be the Transformer, Bumblebee for Halloween, but I've been quite sick for the past few weeks and couldn't make the costume happen for him. Today we were at Wal-Mart for the fusible for the pumpkin's faces, and we found the Transformer fabric which I got a yard of. I saved a piece for half a pillowcase (24"x22"), then cut the rest up and threw the bag together. It was a happy comprimise for both Frank and I; he had a trick-or-treat bag that he'll get to use again and again (we try to use fabric shopping bags) with the character he wanted, and I was able to make him something he enjoys. He also likes this bag because it "Transforms" from a little roll into a big bag he can carry stuff in. :D

Okay, I've totally been rambling without much thought. I'm listening to some Abraham via Esther Hicks on my iPod Shuffle, while typing, only half-thinking about either task. I'm tired. I think I'll rest.

Suzy :D

PS: We decorated pumpkin brownies today... I know the boys enjoyed all the sweets! :D

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Vacation Wind Down

My road trip with boys is winding down, and as is so often the case, I'm looking forward to resting once we get home. I've definitly learned some things about coming "back home", where we have so many people and places we love to be with and see... namely to make a list of things to do and then to cut it in half! Also, to next time tell people "we'll be here at this place on this day, if you want to see us, please come to us!" We've traveled nearly 1,000 miles to get to Arizona, and once we got here, we kept driving, a lot! Not fun!

We have had fun... here's a great picture of the boys with their life-long (literally) friends at the zoo. They were all together again for the first time in four months (a VERY LONG time when you are two and (just turned) five!)

Suzy :D

Monday, October 01, 2007

Time for Reflection and Celebration

Frank celebrated his fifth birthday today. I could dwell on how fast time goes, but instead I'd rather say that we really enjoyed Frank today. Saturday we had some family over and a little party and we did the same thing today. We're going to do it again for the next two weeks while driving home and visiting friends and family. Tonight I sat watching him, wondering, as so many parents do, what kind of man he will become, and feeling sure that I'll be delighted with him.

I also decided that when there is a birthday in a family, all children under like five should also get presents along with the birthday celebrant. Poor Jack just couldn't understand why Frank kept receiving gifts and even though I had presents for Jack, they weren't the same or as fancy. Tom and I felt so bad for the big, gloppy tears Jack was crying by 5:00 pm... he wound up being rocked to sleep by his Daddy because he was so sad and tired. Why is it that often when one person is very happy another is very sad?

Today my grandparents came to visit. They were with me when Frank was born. They had three children, eight grandchildren, and now have twenty-five great-grandchildren. Frank was the tenth great-grandchild and is the only baby they've ever seen born (of course my GM saw her three, but GD didn't... just Frank.) I like to think this gives them a special bond. They actually waited for him to be born for about a month... they drove from WY to AZ, parked in our driveway and waited... playing Pinochle often... this was a very long time for them to be anywhere. They are usually only gone from home a week to ten days. I am still so grateful that they were there for us! Here's a picture of the boys with "Greybeard" (my Grandad, their Gread-GD). While they were here today, we surprised GD with a little gift (he turns 78 in exactly one week). Also, we got a card for Frank from GD's sister, Adeline. She turned 80 today... Frank was her BDay present on her 75th! :D

At bedtime, Frank got ready by himself - quickly! We think he was worn out from the day. I laid down next to him in his bed and told him about the day he was born and how we named him. He was delighted and I was so satisfied and pleased. As I was telling the story I mentioned he was all snuggled under a quilt I'd made him (on his first night with us) and I paused to go get the quilt. He's still snuggled under it and sleeping now. :D
Suzy :D