Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas Lip Dub

Wishing You a Merry 'Vintage' Christmas! from Jared Foster on Vimeo.

This is the coolest video from a great blog, Melancoly Smile. I love the idea of involving the whole family in such a project. Perhaps next year I can get my hubby's evil mind involved in some diabolical plot to make a smashing Christmas card or vid. You will have to wait and see!

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Shoes...need I really say any more. I love shoes (especially for kids). I like the See Kai Run shoes but sadly my kids are too big for this cute line. Hooray for companies making larger sizes of cute shoes like Eleven. I particularly love the 11 Trainers for Lars. The pink boots are called "Nora". If you love them, they are 20% off right now with free shipping!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Best of Lars 2008

Possessed Lars

Look! I eat my hand Lars

Smile! Super Lars

Cast a vote for your favorite Lars in review for 2008.

Creating Crayons

Another snow day activity here! We cleaned out the crayons and decided to try to melt them down. I threw a little water in the bottom of each mini muffin tin and broke crayons up into small pieces. Then I threw them in the oven at 200 degrees for a little while. after cooling off on the porch for a bit, they popped righ tout and were these cool little crayon discs.

The only weird thing was that something separated the wax from the color and on the top of each there is a layer of wax that does not color. Ella figured out how to turn it so it did owrk and she thought they were pretty cool. It was a fun sorting exercise and all those broken crayons are gone from the crayon box. It's a good thing!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Amana Petal Tree

This picture does not do this beautiful gift justice. It is a petal tree from Amana which is their version of a new kind of marble run. You put a marble (or many) on top and it goes around the petals and makes a very satisfying plinking sound. I purchased on of these for Karin as thank you for all the wonderful things she has done for our family over the past 4 years as our daycare provider to first Ella and then later Lars. Ending my daycare relationship with her was hard, but we have realized it will just turn into something new. Karin and her family are just too close to us to let her go.

Snow Day Cakes

We also made snow day tree cakes. They mixed up the box and helped scoop it into the little cake mold pans. Once all was cool I frosted with a powdered sugar frosting and there were paints for them to decorate with- did I say they were edible! Ella's is very rainbow like and Lars' was more like dots. Then we sprinkled red sugar on top for the real holiday look. Then they each had a piece. It was pretty good- but all the fun was in the making!

Christmas Creations

So let the onslaught of my Christmas creations begin! I was very creative an busy sewing fun gifts for friends and family this year. I found the pattern for a yoga bag and knew immediately I had to make it. I was going to make it reversible, but I found this new stretchy fusible interfacing and it finished the material off so beautifully that I did not mess with a lining. The beautiful fabric is orange hills with golden peaceful dove. Perfect to enjoy yoga with a zen feel.

Next is a traditional apron from 2 contrasting materials. I did not take any close ups of the orange rick rack, but who doesn't love rick rack? This one had more than 4 feet of bias tape but I can tell you that I am certainly getting more practiced at bias tape techniques. It was easy and well worth the pain of the bias. I can't wait to give this one away!

Next is my 2 layer apple apron. Her eI modified the strawberry apron I made for Ella's teacher last spring. I used some pretty orange fabric for the waistband them yellow for the ties. I am making my ties all extra long so you can have one big bow or you can wrap them and tie int he front. I love the versatility of that idea. This one could also be reversed if you so desire- but the apples are so beautiful! And again- rick rack- red this time!

Last is my second version of the daisies apron. I made the ties longer and I like that much more. I really practiced using the serger here so the back is actually as pretty as the front. I have an idea to use old tablecloths to make a pieced together apron much like this one.

I hope you enjoyed all my creations. I think I have a baby bonanza I will be looking for beautiful baby items to create. I may just make my own ideas too! You never know!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Snow Day Haiku

Ice, snow on the ground.
At home indoors with both kids.
Paints, crafts, indoor fun.

2007 Santa

So this is what Ella and Lars saw when they went to see Santa last year. Ella was so excited and Lars was so sick. He is fighting off a cold and the millionth ear infection ever. I will admit that this Santa at Coral Ridge sure beats Gary the guy who played Santa for me in 1974. I abhor the wait but seeing how excited they get is worth it. I recommend a Monday or Tuesday wevening as the mall is usually pretty quiet.

Retro Santa

I am age 4 here, same as Ella is now. I showed this to her and explained it was mommy as little girl. Ella then proceded to tell me that there was someone under there. She then was convinced it was not really Santa although she could not exactly tell me why.
Of note- this is a terrible beard, but it looks like I did not care at all. I do not rememebr seeing Santa every year, so this was likely a very special event. I also can tell you my daughter definitely has my feet. Don't my feet look huge for a 4 year old? Ella currently wears a size 12/13 at age 4 1/2. Lars is wearing a size 9 at 2 1/2. I also love my hair- looks like I attempted to cut my bangs. And just for Nora- another short hemline. I think it was the style in the 70's. Ella is so retro these days. And what is there to say about the white tree? Love it!

Backyard Snow Sliding

Here is Ella waving goodbye to her Mommy right before she hurls herself into danger! I need to clarify that this was in no way shape or form even close to my idea. In fact I really was not sure how this would go at all. I was torn between taking pictures and taking the kids in.
As you can see...I took pictures.

Lars thinks I am being silly since I peek through my fingers. But I really do not want to look!

Here they go sliding down the slide, then down the hill in our back yard. This kind of stuff makes me nervous, but the kids love it. I figure it is Bret's job to encourage the stuff that scares me. They loved it! I think I remember Ella did not want to come in at all!

Snow Day

Look at all of the reindeer we made! Easy as can be and we did these in many steps. Glue them- wait to dry. Paint them. Wait to dry. Glue eyes on or paint eyes and noses. Wait to dry. hang ribbon on and write name on! Done!

I am hoping these ornaments are gifts for all care providers to go along with small gift cards. Holiday crafts are always so much fun. I was so happy to have a snow day today to do this!

Homemade tree ornaments. I added pictures later and think these turned out pretty cute!

As if we had not all ready done enough, Lars wanted to finger paint. He really got into it this time. Much more than I am used to him getting into it.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Cute as Button

This is becoming the holiday where I am making a large majority of my gifts for friends and family. (Please do not feel left out if you do not get something I made. I cannot get it all done! I am working on a plan so all will be involved sooner or later...)

But this blog is all about the adorable hair clips I made using 5/8 fabric buttons (which I made) and glued onto clips to make barettes. I want to give these to cousins and Ella's friends. We love these clips here at home.

I also made a clip holder and below is a semi tutorial on how to do it! I stole this idea from Sew Simple. I like the magazine because it takes basic stuff and messes with it- just in the same way I like to. Enjoy and enjoy more creations to come!

Take a piece of felt ( about 10x15) and use a zigzag stich at a large setting to sew a ribbon or yarn down the middle. Sew between the pins so 2" is unattached on either end. Ribbon/yarn will hang over quite a bit.

Flip case over and fold in about 2-3" depending upon size of original. Pin in place. Use a straight stitch and stich around the entire case, catching ribbon in your stitching.

Viola! Fold case in half and tie ribbon. Such a cute little holder for clips. I think this will be so much better to have than clips thrown in a plastic baggy in the bottom of my purse.

Blurry pic of the fabric buttons. I may need to look for a more clear one.

Final clips all lined up. I used E-6000 glue. It smells kinda funny but dries clear and attaches pretty much anything. The button sticks up a bit, but in the hair it looks adorable!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Where Santa Lives

Let me begin by saying I just love this story. I went to pick up Lars from Karin's today and she just couldn't wait to share something with me. She told me that Lars was going to see Santa. I found this interesting but it sounded like something he might say. He apparently is obsessed with some kind of truck with Oscar or Ernie for Christmas too. But the best part was when Karin played along and asked him where Santa lives. Well Lars knew and replied quickly, "Target." Of course! If you know me at all, Target is a regular part of our routines. So it is no surprise that Santa lives there. This is really the only toy place we really go to on a regular basis. I love the idea that Santa lives at Target. I guess he already has a red shirt!

Christmas Songs

Ella received the letter informing about he upcoming holiday presentation at the preschool. I explained that daddy, mommy and Lars will all attend. She was so excited to have a party all about her school. We talked about how she will dress up and have to learn several new songs. She was excited to learn them right away. I could not belive how serious she was. When she woke up in the morning, she wanted to sing them on the way to school. then she asked if they would learn them all at school today. I told her to ask her teacher about htat. I think that should be fun for Joanna her teacher, as she will have several eager faces wanting to learn the new songs- immediately! Fa La La La La!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sorry Bret...

Major admittance here. I actually forgot our anniversary. The irony (If you can call it that) is we were married on 11-11 so I would never forget, but I did. I knew on the weekend that it was coming and I was even excited. Well, it fell on a Tuesday and I can get in a groove during the week. I had 2 days of meetings in Cedar Rapids, so I had to prepare for them and my mind was going a million different ways. So I forgot the unforgettable date.

Needless to say, we had a great weekend! Brenda took the kids and we went out Friday to the Hilltop. Then Saturday we went to the Purdue football game with friends from Cedar Rapids and Des Moines. It was cold! But nothing we weren't able to keep warm with by dressing with layers and drinking warming beverages. Much thanks to Libbey's mom for the tastiest bloody marys. We had fun at 808 with Ron and his buds. How do they do $1 can of beer? Then I also need to thank Matt and Tracy for the warmest tailgate and the best walking tacos. It was the perfect snack to follow up the game. I jokingly told Bret I wanted nachos at Carlos, so he gave me a hard time all night that I wanted to go to Carlos O'Kelly's for our anniversary dinner. I just wanted nachos!

Bret & Jen - 14 years and still loving life

Herky & Purdue Perry ? fighting over the hammer

Kevin & Bret celebrating a great game and a great time

So we went home to rest and then much later had a fantastic dinner at Givanni's. I have been gong there since before our rehearsal dinner there in 1994 and I will say that I have rarely been disappointed! Bret did think the spinach polenta with my chicken marsala (instead of the usual garlic mashed potatoes) was anarchy. He, of course, had his gnocci- he always does. It was a wonderful evening without kids! I went to get them the following morning and was surprised how much I missed them. It was nice to have time without them and spend time with my dear husband, but I loved having my babies back in my arms!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Night Haiku

Bret sits on the couch
Counting as the votes come in
Obama he hopes...

My Chatterbox

Turns out that once a child learns to talk, they never stop! Lars was never a super loud child but he was more action than words. Now, I am rethinking that statement. He loves to talk. He loves to tell me about his day. He loves to tell me about a problem or a story. He loves to make things up- which is always interesting.

The other night, he woke up in the middle of the night (I love daylight savings time) and he proceeded to near cry and tell me that he needed to come to my room to sleep becasue there was a big spider in his room and he could not sleep. I was so exhausted, I did not argue- I just wanted him to go back to sleep. Well- he came to my room then after a short while he wanted to go back to his room. Bret took him back and I heard him retell the entire spider ordeal to Bret, then he went back to bed. Interestingly, in the morning, he retold me the spider story in his super fast, no punctuation, no breath, manner of toddler talking. Do you remember the fast talker guy from the commercials in the 80's for Fed Ex- kinda like that! I swear all his words blend together. I think it is amazing I ever understand him at all!

Some of his favorite garbles:
gardigan-- Backyardigans
Powers- means the Hulk
Ole Macdonald- McDonalds
I will need to think of more...

When he sings "Where is Thumbkin" & "Freres Jacques"- he combines the two. It is some kind of naughty version of "Where is my cock at?" We truly just laugh at him and move on.

Potty Progress

Is this embarrassing enough when Lars is 21?

Just reporting for my own memory and in case you are interested, that I think we are turning some kind of corner in the potty training area. We have totally backed off from the push this summer and he has shown a huge interest in wearing underwear and going on the potty again. Over the past few weeks, he has been content to "poop" in the corner of the living room- much to my disgust. I think he is also reaslizing how much more comfy his underwear are and I also am thinking he really is identifying with being a big boy. I anticipate when he makes the move to Amana he will make another big jump!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Hostess Cupcakes & Apple Pies

No this is not the new lunch menu at our home, but rather ingredients to impress upon our 2 1/2 year old who does not seem to care about following directions or acting appropriately towards others. He learned the word "stupid" from his sister and just won't let it drop whenever he is upset. He will call people stupid when he is unsure of a situation or gets the answer 'no' or just plain does not like what a person has to say. I have been trying , unsuccessfully, to get him to say what he really wants but he persists with this word.

Needless to say , it worked. So enter the Hostess cupcake. They look really yummy and come in packs of 2. He was gorrible at the airport the other day. Just refusing to listen and wanting to explore on his terms. Then he called another adult stupid. We left pretty much right there and he was not happy becasue he wanted to stay. I pulled over at the roadstop to give him a time out because he continued the stupid rant in the car. Ella pointed out that htere were snack machines. I wondered if there was something there that might help me in my situation. Hostess cupcakes sounded great! I proceeded to give Ella one and she was very excited. She talked about it and how yummy it was and how it had filling inside. Then Lars realized he was not going to get one. But he was most confused because he saw two in the package. He screamed and cried pretty much the whole way to Coralville. I refused to talk to him until he calmed down. He did eventually (15 minutes later) calm down. He wanted to have the treat in the car, but I would not let him have it in the car. I would not even discuss it with him until he calmed down. Ahh the power of the cupcake. one things Lars may need is motivation to change some of his naughty behaviors.

So for lunch today, Bret had 2 apple pies. When Lars started goofing off, Bret gave his apple pie to Ella. She actually knew what we were doing and played along really well. He finished his eating and ceased all goofing off behaviors immediately when given the chance. Now- I do not want to develop a sugar monster here but this seems to be all that he really wants. He can't wait for trick or treak, now I guess I know why!

Friday, October 24, 2008

He finally did it!

I have been trying, unsuccessfully to get my children to eat tomatoes. They always wanted one of the cherries from the garden because they looked so red. I think it reminded them of grapes. So they would put them in their mouth. Then out came the tongue with tomato usually with a huge- YUK!

Until Sunday. Lars wanted what mommy was having since he helped me pick the last remaining tomatoes. I wondered if he would eat it if I put sugar. Apparently a spoonful of sugar can make anything go down!

There really must be something going on with my kids right now. Ella also ate an acorn squash. Not a few pieces or some mashed up. She wanted a half just like mommy's. So I showed her how to scoop it out and mix it with the sugar mixture in the bottom of the bowl. She proceeded to eat all of hers and some of mine. I was impressed!

I am blessed to have such good eaters. They frustrate me at times but then they surprise me too!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Have you seen my front yard?

This is the old sign, the kids were able to help prime it. Boy they had fun. It was a great mess- but fun!

Its a bonus I know- but here is a peek at Lars as a pirate. Ella's costume is not done yet so she was a ballerina and mom as some weirdo crazy retro girl. They church had a party for the young kids for Halloween so we wore our costumes.
It was tons of fun and we had pictures right before it with the big Obama sign.