Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bret's Girlfriend

Ella was happy to come alog to my friends Kate and Kevin's baby shower today. She was excited that Livy was coming along too, who is a friend that used to work with Bret at the Clearinghouse many years ago. Ella was wondering where she lived when we were headed to pick her up. She asked me where we were going to find daddy's girlfriend. I laughed and told her that she is just a friend. Ella with all seriousness, said, no mommy she is a girl and daddy calls her so she is daddy's girlfriend. Ella even introduced her as such later. So if you hear Bret has a girlfriend, he does. Just not in the way we think of it!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Birthday Party Coming Soon!!

I am having a hard time believing that Lars' birthday is just around the corner. He will be three March 2nd. I decided to ask Nora if we could join forces to have a birthday extravaganza for her two February birthday girls and Lars. We have a lot of the same friends so it works well! The party will be on Valentine's Day so we have a theme that is fun and easy. Valentine treats are so easy this time of year! We also will have a craft table where kids can make their own valentines. Nora and I are renting out a gymnasium which provides toys for playing and jumpy air houses which the kids love!

This party fits all my requirements; fun, safe and cheap! I am really glad that we found a way for the kids to play and celebrate and still to save money. The other options I checked into were outrageous and overpriced! This will make several birthday children very very happy!

Best of all we are forgoing gifts for donations to the crisis center. Our kids have too much stuff! They will still get stuff from us and from grandparents which is plenty! If the kids wear pink or red, we will have a prize for them to choose from. We are still working out all the details and I am sure it will be a great party! I can't wait!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


outside, ice I breathe
crunching overhead I see
crust through trees shine

25 Things About Me

1. I love to do crafts and sew.
2. In a prior life I was a waitress and used to have nightmares about burning down the restaurant and rolling silverwear (not at the same time!)
3. I love being a mom.
4. I did not think I was going to have kids for a long time. It was not a goal.
5. I am pretty good at fixing electrical things and repairing house stuff in general.
6. I have been to traffic school for speeding. (13 years ago!)
7. I have been to more than 15 Phish show concerts. And I would like to see them this summer. Dream!
8. I love movies in general! But I really love well written and directed movies. They are often ones I can't watch til the kids are asleep.
9. I am slightly obsessed with my children's closets. I love to bargain shop at Stuff & Goodwill. Garage sales are just around the corner.
10. I worry about my mom - a lot. But not sure how I can help.
11. I am thankful to have my mother in law be one of my best friends.
12. I'm sad a close friend may move away this year. I am in denial.
13. I cannot wait to get my own classroom next year. Not having a room SUCKS! No matter how many times I smile and say I can deal, I still hate not having my own space.
14. I hated gardening as a kid but now I can't have a summer without one.
15. I love living in Iowa City. I think it is a great place to raise my kids.
16. I used to go by Jeni.
17. Clothing is meant to be dried outside. Best smell ever!
18. I really think crocs are the ugliest thing ever invented! (though cute on kids!)
19. When I met Bret, we had a "Shot of the month" club. Wild turkey for November.
20. I am a good skier. I even taught a blind student to ski!
21. I don't get people who are mean. Perhaps I am too nice.
22. I used to be a ravenous reader. Now I am lucky to read one book a month.
23. It is a great thing that my husband is also the one who knows what I am trying to say when I can't say it.
24. I think religion and politics should bring people together not polarize neighbors against one another.
25. I love my daughter's smile and son's dimples, and absolutely everything about them!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


This is the best tradition I am planning on stealing for my own! At book club the other night, Quenby shared a family tradition with the group which I think is adorable. She proceeded to tell us that her mother had made her cupcakes for MLK Day. I thought it was sweet but when she proceeded to explain how the cupcakes were symbolic of what he did for the civil rights movement. You see they are made with white and chocolate cake batter and it is about how they "go together" to make the cupcake. I cannot wait to make these for my kids at some point! Perhaps next year..then I can actually spend more time explaining who MLK is.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hail to the O!

I am proud to be an American today! This was a moving ceremony and I can't wait to see what the next 4 years brings my family as well as my country. We watched the inauguration at school today and I am not sure all the kids understood everything, but they knew this was a moment of history and they were all witness to it!

This is a "wordle" that takes all the words from his speech and extracts most commony used words and displays most common by increasing their size.
  • Today
  • People
  • America
  • new
  • nation
  • must
  • work

Monday, January 19, 2009

Ten Things in my Fridge

Ten things in my fridge:

1. Two containers of Dora and Diego yogurt
2. Gallon of skim milk- we are never without this!
3. Leftover chicken tetrazini (yummy)
4. Leftover spaghettio's
5. Pears that my dad picked and they are still good!
6. Ten bottles of various salad dressings
7. Four half empty bottles of BBQ sauce
8. Shredded cheese- various kinds, we love cheese
9. Two containers of "pulp free" OJ (Bret loves the pulp, I hate it!) Thanks Bret! He does the shopping!
10. One bottle of Corona Light

Please feel free to do your own fridge post! CHALLENGE!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Free Range Children

Ella prepping green beans she just picked from the garden.

Here is an interesting blog you should all check out. It is Free Range Children- kinda like free range chickens but how that term applies to our children and their freedom and independence. I am particularly taken with this concept as I think I had much freedom as a child and I hope I can find the balance to ensure that my children learn how to be independent and find success at doing things without the help of their parents. As a child I remember;
  • walking to the local drug store to spend whatever money I had on candy of my choice
  • running around the entire neighborhood- reporting home when the streetlights came on
  • hide and seek played on the entire block
  • heading to the nearest elementary school 3 blocks away to play- on our own
  • playing under the grapevines for hours- hiding from everyone
  • playing in the yard- digging, piling, crawling around, creating-imagining
  • walking to the grocery store- fetching things for mom
  • I realize now traffic was my biggest fear- we weren't allowed to cross major intersections, thus limiting our "free range" to about 5-6 city blocks
I really hope that I can realize as my children grow that giving them freedom is an important part of growing up. Letting go will be hard for me (I know) but if I can look on it as giving skills needed for growing up, just like reading and math, the gift of independence is one that will be remembered forever and will make an impact in trust, faith and encouragement. Read more on this movement if you think any of these are ideal you may have.

I think is is too easy to fall into the overprotective role and I need to remind myself I am raising a child to be a person I will be proud of. I choose to look for ways to instill independence and freedom and I refuse to be held hostage to fear that something bad will happen to my children everywhere I turn. If you know me at all, you know I tend to lean towards the positive and I look for the good in people and life. I would wish that view for my children as well.

Nora reminded me that many of the ideas are similar to that of Montessori in terms of creating independence. I wonder what Montessori would have to say about supervision in today's world?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Saskatchewan Screamer

It seriously is cold! I am not quite sure the last time it has been this cold! Has global warming brought us these extremes? School has been canceled in Iowa City 3 days in a row- which as far as I know is unprecedented. Poor Iowa City teachers will have many to make up- but I guess we do too. Does this make 4 or 5 for Clear Creek? I think 4 and we have the first two all ready built in. Looks like we might be going until June 4th. I am not sure how I feel about that. I hope I have daycare!

This morning as Lars was watching the news, they were doing a story on the weather. Well he was watching pretty intently and turned to me and said, "Mommy it is dangerous outside." I nodded and told him this is why you have to wear hats and gloves! He nodded in agreement. Wouldn't you expect, when we get ready to go outside, he gets his hat and gloves on, but since he has a sweatshirt on- he does not want to wear his coat. Go figure! I need to be careful what is ont he TV with him!

Wee Lil Cocoa

Last year I purchased a couple of small mugs from the Small Hands catalogue. I particulalry think they are so cute and adorable. It really is much easier for them to use and handle when drinking th hot cocoa when we come in from the arctic air. I also introduced Ella to toast dunked in the hot cocoa and she is obsessed with this! I have memories of my mom making stacks of toast for when we came in from the outside and we would just eat away!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Need to Knit???

I have really wanted to learn to knit. In fact I have tried, a few times now. Several of my firends knit and I think they could show me. I am not sure why I am so impatient to figure it all out. Well, along comes Petit Elephant with a super extravaganza of knitting goods including some yummy scrumptious yarns! I would love to win this stuff to add to my collection of craft things I do and learn how to become a knitter! If you would like to try to win this wonderful collection of knitting stuff I suggest you go check her out!

Shabby Apple...Not so shabby!

I found this new company Shabby Apple on the internet and discovered some beautiful creations from some of my favorite fabrics. They are also having a Picture Princess Contest! One can enter to show off the cuteness of their child to win a photo shoot and a wardrobe of Shabby Baby clothing! I am in!

Ella is a great candidate as she is beginning to love to model off her mommy's creations (I sew) and she loves to get dressed up when in the mood. She is my little princess! Ella is all ready learning to accessorize and loves going to the fabric store and find fabrics to put together for new creations. I am having a hard time keeping up with her requests!

"Peach Cobbler"- from Shabby Baby is my fav for Ella!
It also happens to match (exactly) a cami shirt I have been making from Amy Butler fabrics for myself) LOVE IT!

Ella dressed up for a wedding and striking a pose. Pink from head to toe tonight! I think she wore these pink sparkle tights for almost a week solid she loved the combination of pink and sparkles too much!

Showing off in her actual flower girl dress.

Fourth of July smile- almost 4 here!

On a plus side, I loved the adult clothing on this site as well. If you take short body 3 question survey, they will hand pick garments designed to flatter your body type. Mine was very accurate! Check it out! This is how mine turned out:

Monday, January 12, 2009

First Day Kleinscheule

Change is a good thing, so I need to remind myself but it is pretty easy when your kids love change and in fact seem to relish with it. Lars began this week at Kleinschule, in Amana at my school, also where Ella goes for her preschool this year.

This week Lars has:
  • gone pee in the potty at school
  • napped everyday with NO problems (in fact they are brave enough to do underwear. I told them that I think we can wait a couple of weeks.)
  • climbed and licked the radiator
  • drank all of his chocolate milk (Friday only)
  • successfully ate only chicken nuggets for lunch one day- but a lot of em
  • plays with others- and he is learning how to work it out
  • sings and sings
  • hugs all his teachers without prompting (Such sweetness!)
  • maintains a positive yet separate relationship with his sis
  • gone potty 3 time before we leave for school
  • attempted to go potty at school on his own- took down his pants and pull up himself- only to find a runny surprise- yuk! but the good news was, I did not have to clean it up!
  • sits for reading time & listens
  • loves to join in the older kids and count
  • and he loves to talk and talk and fact they teachers were happy that he could express himself so well!
Amanda asked me on one of the first days if Lars responded better to something other than his own name because he did not seem to be listening very well. I laughed whole heartedly at this because Lars uses his selective hearing majority of the time as he is 2 1/2. I wished her good luck!

Here is is when I picked him up afterschool. He was playing amongst a group of kids and singing quietly to himself. Note the hips swaying as he was also dancing a bit. He did not notice me for about 1 minutes so I was able to get this sweet pic. Then he yelled, "Mommy!" and proceeded to run to me and give me a big hug. Love and kisses!

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Years Resolutions

I have never really been big on making New Year's Resolutions but I have a few goals for myself this year. In short I want to demonstrate financial and physical fitness.

I always intend each year to be more financially responsible than the year before. I really am going to stick to that this year. I want to be able to make a budget and stick to it. I am going to track my spending in hopes of working towards this.

In the other realm, Bret helped me get started with a membership to North Dodge. I am working on just getting back into the routine of working out then really stepping it up. I also want to watch the food intake- ho many cookies did I really eat this holiday anyway?

Lastly, I want to spend quality time with my family having fun. We have a pass to the museum but I think the kids are getting older that I may be able to explore some new things to do with them. I will need to brainstorm a list of things to do for kids ages 2-5 in the area, especially new ones we have not yet done.

I hope this new year has lots of firsts, laughter and new discoveries for our family!

Holiday Cards

So , in case you missed the Hackathorn hoilday card, here is a version of it. It is missing the text of looking forwards to "January 19th and Hope! " which greatly annoyed many friends and family as they weren't immediately sure of what we were referencing. Below are several of my "contenders" but they just did not make the cut....check them out.

In case you did not know what we were referencing with our Jan 19th statement, think Obama and inauguration. Coming soon!!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Jublin at Woot

This is another of my new favorte things to do everyday. I go check out Woot. If you have not been to Woot yet, I suggest you try it out. There is a WineWoot, ShirtWoot and regular Woot. Everyday there is something new for sale. Just one item though and if it sells out - that is it for the day. Items go on sale at midnight. WineWoot obviously sells wine, ShirtWoot sells shirts but Woot sells electronic stuff. You never know what will come up and it is always at a discounted price. You can comment on the Woot and track sales across the country or by the hour. I particularly like to Shirt Woot because there is a contest as well. You can see a bunch of cool designs and then go see what other things those artists have designed. I ran into this designer, Jublin, at shirt woot. I like this drawing of his a lot. Check his website out here.

Santa 2008

Ella and Lars really wanted to see Santa but I just was not all that keen on standing in line and paying $25 for a picture. I also checked out the Santa at Coralridge and it was not the one from years past. he was much shorted and I must say he looked slightly ill as if he may pass out at any time. A certain cheery smile and twinkle in his eye seemed to be missing- infact I thought he looked in pain each time I saw him. I then remembered someone telling me that Sycamore Mall had a Santa so we decided to check him out.

Lars and ella waited through 2-3 kids in front of us and did such a great job. Then we went up. Lars went righ tup and told Santa he wanted a remote helicopter and cars. He just stared and looked at Santa for some time. Ella was hanging out checking him out- she is very wary of bearded strangers (always has been) then she went onto his lap and proceeded to tell him all she wanted was a purple dog with a heart on his bottom. This unfortunately was the last toy I told her she could not have from Stuff. As she is asking for it I am groaning in pain! Bret's mom went to look for it but looking for a stuffed animal at Stuff is like a needle in a haystack.

I think they liked seeing Santa but Ella wil figure out the charade soon. She is very weary of the "fakes". She did tell me that this one had a real beard. I also enjoyed when she told him how we put out reindeer food the year before in Africa Santa gave me a look as if he was not sure to believe them. I laughed and reminded Ella how we had to let Santa know where we were.

I need to remember to really keep things a better secret next year. I alsmost spilled the beans a few times. Also separate wrapping paper!!! I did do that, but I think I can be more mysterious next year. I think now that Christmas is over we can rest Santa until next year.

Tis the Season

Kids 2008

I discovered too many cute pictures of these kids that I just need to post here. They aren't silly or weird, just cute pics and make my heart ache a little every time I see them. Happy New year to all!

Best of Ella 2008

Bow Head Ella

Hitting Ella

Dancing Ella

I don't want my picture taken- Ella

I have come to discover that there aren't nearly as many silly pictures of her as there are for Lars. It may have to do with the fact that she squeals and runs away when I attempt to take her picture but it may also do with the fac tthat she just really tries to look cute in pictures most of the time. It is much more difficult to catch her doing something totally silly than her brother! Cast your votes now.