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