Tuesday, December 13

Self Portrait Tuesday - Reflective Surface #2


Standing at the kitchen sink.

The dishes have piled up and the counters are in a disarray. Christmas preparations have taken top priority lately and the mundane household duties have been pushed to the back burner - way way to the back.

Tonight, though, I reclaim my kitchen and restore order. The coffee is brewing and the whipped cream is standing by. Once the kids are tucked in to bed, I'll push up my sleeves and get to work.

The house is cold so I'm staying bundled. Head to toe wool - a warm hat, a comfy sweater and thick socks. The dish water will keep my hands warm.

Even the most beautiful Christmas decorations shine a little less brightly when surrounded by chaos.

~see more participants here

Tuesday, December 6

Self Portrait Tuesday - Reflective Surface #1


We are a family of 5 (4 of them males and 3 of those males are under the age of 9!) sharing 1 small bathroom. You will often find wet towels and dirty clothes on the floor, toothpaste smudge across the counter and in the sink, and soap bubbles and water spots on the mirror. The door very rarely closes.

More often than not, I have company in the bathroom. If I do get a chance to be alone with the door closed, someone is usually banging at the door or shouting to me through the crack underneath.

We have one small towel bar. It's just big enough for a bath towel and a facecloth. We have very little counter space and it's often cluttered. The only storage space is is the small cabinet under the sink.

The window is big and lets in a lot of light. It looks out on to our back yard and is high enough that we just have lace curtains so as not to block the light. The mirror is also big. Very big. It reflects the light and makes the bathroom feel more open.

The boys told me that they hope that Santa will bring us another bathroom for Christmas. I think that might be a little hard on the reindeer.

Tuesday, November 29

Self Portrait Tuesday - Identity #4

Lost But Not Quite Forgotten

Chris and I met when I was in college. I was young and wild. Sometimes TOO wild! Sure I learned a lot in college but I also had fun. Lots and lots of fun.

We dated for awhile and then got married. After several years of marriage, the kids came along. Three of them in 3 1/2 years! Suddenly I was an adult. Eventually the adult me completely overshadowed the wild me.

Occasionally Chris will comment that he misses the "girl" he married. We've been together for 14 years - I'm older now and I'm a wife and a mom, too. Apparently, in my mind, that equates to being more serious and less spontaneous. You know what, though? I sometimes miss that wild side too.

Monday, November 28

Sleeping Giant


This weekend we took the boys to Sleeping Giant State Park for a hike. We had a great day for it - the weather was perfect! There was some snow on the trails near the top but not at the bottom. It was fun to see the snow as we climbed higher.

The view was spectacular:


The shelter at the top was a treat to discover:


We had such a great time and I can't wait to go again. Chris and I used to hike all the time but we haven't done a real hike in a number of years. (Lots of walks in the woods though!) I've missed it but I didn't realize how much until this weekend.

Sunday, November 27

Celebrating Advent - Week 1


Our family has so many special traditions at this time of year. One of them is our observance of Advent. Today marks the first Sunday in Advent and so tonight we light the first candle in our wreath. This is the first purple candle and it represents "Hope".

Charles gets to light the first candle and say a special dinner prayer. That candle will then be lit each night this week during dinner. (Topher is too young to light a candle so he gets to blow them out). Each Sunday, we have a special dinner and I usually make sugar cookies shaped like stars and dusted with glistening sanding sugar. Tonight's dinner was a favorite of mine:

"Family Favorite" Brisket in the Crockpot
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Last year, Edmund learned a sweet little Advent Song in Church. I'd like to incorporate this song in to our our Advent celebrations at home.


Verse 1:

Light the Advent Candle one
Now the waiting has begun
We have started on our way
Time to think of Christmas Day


Candle, candle, burning bright
Shining in the cold winter night
Candle, candle, burning bright
Fill our hearts with Christmas Light

Verse 2:

Light the Advent Candle two
Think of humble shepherds who
Filled with wonder at the sight
Of the child on Christmas night


Verse 3:

Light the Advent Candle three
Think of heavenly harmony
Angels singing "Peace on Earth"
At the Blessed Saviour's birth


Verse 4:

Light the Advent Candle four
Think of joy forever more
Christchild in a stable born
Gift of love that Chrismas morn


Friday, November 25

First Snow of the Season


We woke up yesterday to a veil of snow. Not quite a blanket but enough to let us know that the season is starting. It stayed on the ground for several hours which was a nice treat.

It really got me in the mood for the upcoming Winter holidays. I'm ready to pull the boxes of ornaments and garland down from attic. Today we are listening to Christmas carols and drinking mulled cider. This weekend we'll pack away the fall decorations and start decking the halls!

I can hardly wait!

Thursday, November 24

Giving Thanks


Some of the many things that we are thankful for this year:

- Family
- Friends
- Our health
- A warm home and a roof that doesn't leak
- Good jobs
- Our Faith
- Apples
- Books
- Yellow

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who celebrate!

... and Thank You for being interested in what I have to say.

Wednesday, November 23

Little Sprouts


Topher is such a little thing. He's in the 5th percentile for height and weight - if he's lucky. Because of this, I have such a hard finding pants to fit him. If they fit in the waist, they are too short. If they fit in length, they fall down because the waist is so big. The only solution is for me to make him some pants that fit.

I whipped up these hunter green corduroy pants in no time. The pattern is Simplicity 5284 and it is indeed simple. I left off the cargo pockets as I am not a big fan of them. I've got a few more pairs planned for him and then he should be set for the Winter.

The sun came out and there are still leaves all around. Topher and I took the opportunity to watch the ducks swim in the pond across the street. The mallards are just beautiful! Topher found a long willowy stick that was perfect for "fishing". We kicked up leaves and listened to them crunch under our feet as we walked along the stone wall. It's one of my favorite sounds of the season!


My own little sprout is eyeing some lovely baby Brussels Sprouts that we picked up at the farm market. They are so tiny - just about the size of a Hershey's Kiss. We'll have them roasted with caramelized onions tomorrow. I can hardly wait!

(and yes, the boys eat them too)

Tuesday, November 22

Self Portrait Tuesday - Identity #3

Mom, Mommy, Mother, Momma

I know that this is an identity that so many of us share. I need to document it as part of this series, though, because it really is a big part of who I am.

I've known many women who feel that they have lost their identity or perhaps it is on hold while they play the part of "Mom". And that is exactly how they look at it - playing a part. Being a mom is not really who they are but rather a role they must assume for a short time. They count the days, minutes, years, until they can go back to work- to who they "really" are.

Being a mom IS who I am. I dreamt of being a mom. I longed for it.

It is a difficult job and often a frustrating job. There are times that I just cringe at hearing "Moooommmmyyyyyy" for the 43rd time in an hour and I fantasize about changing my name. But really, I wouldn't trade this job for anything. When a little face looks up at me with those big round eyes and says "You are the most bestest mommy EVER", I know - I am a mom and I love it!

Monday, November 21

Autumn Leaves


We've really enjoyed the leaves this year. The colors were just beautiful! Unfortunately they didn't last too long and since it is raining (and blustery, too) this week, what is left is sure to be gone soon.

So we've decided to create our own long lasting Fall foliage. The boys and I ironed crayon scrapings between waxed paper and made a garland for the living room. We had a great time doing it and it will be fun to pull it back out again each year.

My new fleece jacket will also be a joy to pull out of the closet each year. It's so warm and cozy, it's already gotten a lot of wear. The pattern is Butterick B4293 and the fabric is from JoAnn's. It was a quick and easy project and I'm already planning of using the pattern again.

Sunday, November 20

Out with the Old/In with the New


I've had this sewing machine for the past 12 or so years. My mother gave it to me right about the time I got married. My grandmother gave it to my mother about 35 years ago when my mom was pregnant with me. She made my baby clothes, costumes, prom dresses, bridesmaids dresses, even my wedding dress on this machine. As a young girl, I learned to sew on this machine. I made baby clothes for my boys, blankets, crib bumpers, and costumes on this machine. I loved this machine.

Unfortunately I put the needle through my finger and nail while sewing last year and the machine has not been the same since. I've taken it in for service but it still is not right. I stopped sewing for just over a year because I couldn't handle the frustration.

I finally realized that it was time to face the facts - my machine has served me well but it is time to be retired. I need a new machine.


Last week, Chris told me to treat myself to an early birthday present and pick out a machine. I picked something with a variety of features but not too elaborate. (I don't need a machine that embroiders.) I've had it for a week now and I've been sewing non-stop. I love my new machine!

I'm not sure yet what will become of the old machine but I'm not quite ready to completely get rid of it.

Friday, November 18

Weekly Weigh In #13

I'm cruising right along!

I made it to my Weight Watcher's meeting today so I was able to "officially" weigh in. I'm down 2.2 pounds from my last official weigh in 2 weeks ago. (down 1.2 pounds from last weeks weigh in at home). I'm as pleased as punch about my progress!

I should probably take some measurements and start monitoring changes in my body and not just my weight. Once I get back to my goal, I know I'll still have a little work to do. I need to perk up a few areas, if you know what I mean. I'm not taking measurements tonight though. I'm not in the mood.

Today's WW meeting was about enjoying Thanksgiving with out overdoing it. Did you know that a slice of pumpkin pie is 9 Weight Watcher points! WOW! Luckily I have a recipe for a much healthier version. Only 2 points if you cut it in to 12 slices, 3 points if it serves 8.

Ginger-Spiced Pumpkin Pie

1 large egg(s)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp table salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
15 oz canned pumpkin
3/4 cup fat-free evaporated milk
1 average pie crust, 9-inch, unbaked

Preheat oven to 425°F (220°). In a large bowl, lightly beat egg. Stir in sugar, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, ginger and nutmeg. Add pumpkin and evaporated milk. Stir until well combined. Pour into pie shell.

Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F (175°C) and bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool before serving.


Wednesday, November 16

My New Purse


Just another picture of the bag my Secret Pal sent. It's very cute and stylish. I just love it and I love using it. I'm just amazed that is was made with something as simple as duct tape!

She got it from etsy. If you haven't browsed there yet, go take a look. There are so many creative people out there selling some really neat things.

Thank You, Secret Pal!


I've been a little remiss in publicly acknowledging the wonderful packages that my Secret Pal has sent. I've emailed her privately but I really need to show off the goodies. They are just too fabulous!

I just received my second package and I barely got a picture taken before I put the goodies to use! I opened the box and was instantly thrilled to see the red tissue paper wrapping. (I love red, you know!) She sent a very clever bag that she bought on etsy (and the proceeds went to Katrina Relief). Believe it or not, the bag is made entirely of duct tape! WOW! (Love the little roses!) I've been using it and I've gotten quite a few compliments on it.

In the bag, I found a luscious ball of Filatura Di Crosa 501. I've never seen this yarn before but I love it. The color is just perfect, too. I've been rubbing the yarn on my cheek - it's so soft. I think it is going to become a lace scarf. A variation on Branching Out perhaps.

Next was a kit to make a felted rose pin. I've never felted anything before (on purpose, anyway). I wasted no time getting started on this project. One episode of E-Ring later and it was ready for the washer. Unfortunately I don't have the best machine for felting so it took a very looooong time but the end results were worth it! I'll be putting the pieces together today.

Also included were three little Ghiradelli chocolate squares. These squares are just the perfect size. Each square was a different flavor and I refuse to pick a favorite. I love them all in different ways.

The last little treat was a little medallion of soap. It's green apple cinnamon and it smells good enough to eat. I had to be careful of it because it almost looks like a bit of candy and I think the kids were a bit tempted!

My first package from my Secret Pal was equally as wonderful. It came last month in the midst of the big game of Chutes and Ladders.

Click the teaser pictures to biggify!

SP6-Package-1-books First out the box were four knitting magazines that I've never seen before. I've been having lots of fun looking through them - planning projects, reading articles, learning new things. I've already bookmarked a few patterns and I'm sure that the more I look at them, the more I'll mark!

SP6-Package-1-yarn Next out of the box were several skeins of Shachenmayr Nomotta Micro. This is another yarn I've never seen (nor heard of) before.) The color is absolutely amazing! Such a rich gorgeous red. The yarn feels heavenly. I want to do something really special with it. I'm just not sure what that is yet.

SP6-Package-1-treats Also in the package were several little treats. There were some homemade stitch markers (which for some reason I was unable to get a good picture of). They are made with some lovely rectangular amber colored beads. I've put the to use already. She included a bottle of French Lavender body milk and bath. Mmm so relaxing! Then there were two Ghiradelli chocolate squares. (yumm yumm yumm!) and a nice little note of a cute card with shoes.

Thanks so much, Secret Pal!! Your packages are absolutely perfect and I really appreciate the effort you are making. I feel like you know me. I just can't wait to know who YOU are!

Tuesday, November 15

Self Portrait Tuesday - Identity #2



I live the life of the (mostly) Happy Housewife. I used to dream of being June Cleaver. In college (and sometimes even now) I was referred to as Donna Reed.

I make weekly dinner menus. I cook from scratch. I bake for my family, for school and for church. I sew. I knit. I needlepoint. (and so much more)

On occasion, I even clean!

I enjoy being domestic. I get a feeling of accomplishment when I make something with my own hands. It's so satisfying to see the kitchen sink shine or the bathroom sparkle.

After 12 years of marriage (8 of them as a mom) I am finally starting to figure it all out. I'm understanding the line that must be maintained to keep a healthy balance. Eventually it will all click.

In the meantime the laundry is piling up but Edmund has new curtains in his room and the cookies are ready to come out of the oven.

Friday, November 11

Weekly Weigh In #12

I didn't go to my Weight Watcher's meeting this week because the boys were off school today. I didn't really want to take them along and make them sit through it. It's so boring for them and they get restless. I also worry about them being a distraction.

I did stand on my home scale this week and I was down 1 pound. Last week my scale measured the same as the one at the meeting center so I'll take that as my official weight this week. Needless to say, I'm pleased. I am 4.5 pounds away from my goal. I'm hoping to get there by Christmas. I think that is do-able.

I've noticed that my skin has been dry lately - my lips especially. Now that the heat is on and the air is dryer, I'm feeling it. I really need to make sure I get plenty of water each day. I have such a hard time drinking enough water at this time of the year. It's so much easier in the Summer months.

Tuesday, November 8

Self Portrait Tuesday - Identity

I've been lurking over at Self Portrait Tuesday for awhile and I love seeing all the submissions. So much thought goes in to them and so many of them have made me think about my own sense of self. I've been tempted to take the plunge and participate but have been a little too afraid to put myself out there.

November's theme is an Exploration of Self Identity. As soon as the theme was posted, I knew that this is the time for me to join. I had an idea and I couldn't stop thinking about it. I'm feeling a little vulnerable but I'm ready to dive in.


Desperate Housewife

- Desperate to have a perfect home. A home that is neat and tidy and organized. A home that is warm, comforting and inviting. A home without scuff marks on the baseboards, with out dust bunnies under beds or stray socks under the sofa.

- Desperate to be the perfect mother. A mother who greets her children each day after school with freshly baked (wholesome) treats. A mother who may occasionally raise her voice but is not a fishwife. A mother who always has clean, sweet smelling laundry and never has to scramble looking for the other sock 5 minutes before the bus comes.

- Desperate to be the perfect wife. A wife who gets up and makes her husband a hot breakfast before he leaves for work. A wife who also packs him a hearty lunch to go. A wife who greets her husband at the end of the day looking fresh and put together. A wife who is never too tired or worn down for a little "adult time".

- Desperate to be the perfect hostess. A hostess who is always ready for drop in guests. Who always has a wonderful little something waiting in the wings to offer up with a cup of tea. A hostess who doesn't need to grab and stash when someone pulls up to the house.

I am failing. I am not perfect and I never will be. No one is. And yet, I desperately dream of appearing that way. I foolishly strive to be Wonder Woman? Mrs. Incredible? Super Mom?

I'm not completely unrealistic though.

I'm desperate to not feel overwhelmed. To not feel like I am clawing my way out of a deep hole while the walls are crumbling around me. To not just see but to actually reach the light at the end. To not completely shut down in the face or stress.

I'm desperate to not feel tired. I'm physically tired, I'm emotionally tired and I'm spiritually tired. I'm worn down and I need to feel recharged and refreshed.

I'm desperate to be a good homemaker. To not let the dishes pile up in the sink, to get the library books back on time, or to not wonder which unidentifiable item in the refrigerator is causing that smell.

I'm desperate to be a good person. To be liked. To feel important.

Friday, November 4

Weekly Weigh In #9, #10, and #11

Yet again, you get a combined update. This time it's 3 in 1. I'll try to do better.

The last three weeks have gone pretty well health-wise, though. I'm down 3 pounds which thrills me. I've lost the 2.2 I gained before that plus a little more. I'm so close to being back at my goal weight and even closer to not having to pay for my Weight Watcher's meetings. YAY!

Last weekend when my sister was visiting, we walked. I love walking. Unfortunately I don't really have many opportunities to walk right now. I also bought a resistance band and some small hand weights a few weeks ago and have been using those each day. Something is better than nothing.

Now that the weather has shifted and it's colder, I'm finding it a little harder to drink all my water each day. This week I really want to focus on that. I've made a little chart to hang on my fridge to help remind me to drink those 8 glasses each day. Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 3

Chutes and Ladders

Not long ago, I read where someone compared her weekend to a game of Chutes and Ladders. What a fitting way to look at all those little ups and downs we face in life. We just have to pray for more ladders (or at least bigger ladders) than chutes.

October Chutes and Ladders-

I am enjoying working. The children are such fun and it doesn't feel like a "job". Heck, I get to play, sing songs, read stories, make crafts and have a snack. - AND I get paid to do it! (Ladder)

Chris also seems to be enjoying his new job. He says he is not feeling the stress he was feeling before. Unfortunately, he is not home much right now. He leaves before sun up. While the rest of civilized society is still sleeping he is catching the train. He gets home after most of us have gone to bed. He has lots of meetings etc during the day so I don't really get a chance to talk to him until the weekends. We all miss him. It's temporary though. He's still getting the company up and running. (Chute and Ladder)

Charles had a "mysterious" accident. He woke one morning and couldn't/wouldn't use his dominant arm. He held it close to his body and did everything (including writing) with his other arm. I took him in to the Dr who, after lots of probing, prodding and questions, decided he wasn't sure what the problem was. Charles was sent for x-rays and blood testing (which he refused to cooperate for) (Chute, scary chute)

Two days later, however, he was fine. It was as if it never happened. The Dr thinks that perhaps he had a dislocated elbow ("Nursemaids Elbow") and that when I was trying to see how much movement he had before bringing him in, I actually (unknowingly) popped it back in to place. (Ladder)

The boys and I took several days and headed South to Maryland to see my parents. My dad had a little date and went to the Symphony. It was really nice to spend some time with him. Plus I got to get dressed up and wear my "fancy shoes"! The entire trip was very relaxing which is exactly what I needed. (Ladder)

I got a fabulous package from my Secret Pal. I'll post some photos and details on the package. (Ladder)

We were all sick with Fall colds. Not fun. Once those left, we were hit with allergies. It's that time of the year. The leaves are turning and the weather is changing. The cold and allergy combo will hit again in the Spring. (Chute)

We got together with some friends for our monthly Couples Night. This month we did desserts and appetizers. Unfortunately the babysitters cancelled so Couples Night turned in to Family Night (We hire a few high school girls to babysit all the kids together). Most of the food ended up being "kid snacks" instead of adult type appetizers. The kids also kind of had the run of the place so it was chaotic. No one could talk or visit. We left early and came home to a little quite time together. (Chute)

The rain finally stopped and the sun came out. We were able to take a trip to our favorite farm to pick pumpkins. It was a beautiful day and we had a lovely time. The drive up was nice and we spent quite a bit of time walking about and enjoying the outdoors. We came home with some gorgeous pumpkins, mums, and a variety of winter squashes. While there, we treated ourselves to apple cider and giant pumpkin cranberry cookies. (Ladder)

My sister came for a weekend visit. We haven't seen her in quite awhile so this was really special. The boys had such fun with their Auntie. She is wonderful with them. (Ladder)

After much anticipation, Halloween came. Topher had a little party at school with costumes. The parents were invited and the children sang some special songs for us. It was so cute! My sister was still here (she came on Sat and left on Mon) so she got to go too. Charles and Edmund's school did a costume parade around the school for the parents. Topher and I went and Oo'ed and Ah'ed over all the clever costumes. Charles' class also had a Halloween party at school with lots of treats and crafts. Edmund's class didn't have a party but they did spend the day as "Mad Scientists". They had to bring in shirts to use as lab coats and they did lots of messy, smelly and exciting science experiments. (Ladder)

Halloween night brought no one. We didn't have any trick or treaters and we didn't see anyone while we were out. I have a bowl full of little bags (about 90) of pretzels shaped like pumpkins and bats. There were only 4 houses in the neighborhood with lights on. Since this is our first Halloween in this house, we didn't know what to expect. As it turns out, most of the neighborhood is members of a rather large local church that is very publicly opposed to Halloween. The houses that did give out treats more than made up for the others. The kids came home with just enough. (They don't eat a lot of candy anyway) They were a little disappointed not to see anyone else walking around but they weren't too disappointed in the number of houses that we went to. (Ladder and a little Chute)

I'm sure there is lots more that went on in October but those are highlights of the things that I can remember. Some chutes and some ladders. Some were big and some were small. In the end it looks like I made it to the top row or at least pretty darn close to it. October was busy month but not a bad month.

If you hit a chute, look for another ladder to bring you back up again.

Tuesday, October 18

Weekly Weigh In #7 and #8

Two (updates) for the price of one!

Weigh in #7 -

I had a small gain. It was not entirely unexpected, though. I was having a problem with water retention and my hands and feet were puffy. (something I plan to discuss with my doctor)

I vowed to try to drink more water to see if that would help.

Weigh in #8 -

I was in Maryland visiting my parents so I didn't think I would be weighing in this week. My mom also goes to Weight Watchers, though. Although neither of us felt like we were having a good week, we decided to go get weighed anyway. (the first step in the right direction, right?!)

I had another gain. I could very easily blame it on being stressed, frustrated, and sick. Really, though, it was because I didn't make good choices, watch my portions, or journal my food.

My mom and I were really good for each other. We encouraged each other. Made sure we journaled, drank all our water and measured our portions. We searched for recipes together and planned meals together. I was lots of fun and very motivating.

I also made an important realization. While at my parents, I had an Egg Beater and vegetable omelet each morning for breakfast. I was satisfied until lunch. Now that I am home and the morning chaos and rush has resumed, my breakfasts don't seem to have the same staying power. Yesterday it was a low fat blueberry muffin and a cup of tea as I headed out the door to get the boys to school. By mid-morning I was scrounging for something to eat. Anything!


In two weeks I have gained 2.2 pounds. Not something I am real proud of but I also can't blame anyone (or anything) but myself. However, I'm working hard to make the scales move in the right direction this week.

Monday, October 17

Back In Action

The power of positive thinking can only take you so far. We were sick. Not nearly as sick as we could have been, though. I suppose that is the positive thinking part coming in to play. We are better now and life can move forward. Finally!

Tuesday, October 11

I AM NOT Sick!

I am NOT sick! I am NOT getting sick! I have NOT been sick!


Friday, September 30

Weekly Weigh In #6

Today's weigh in was a good one! I'm on a roll and I feel so motivated! Being accountable to others really helps. I don't want to come here and say that I did crappy so I stay on track.

Last Saturday night we had our monthly dinner night with our friends. We all bring a part of the meal. There is always lots of eating, lots of drinking and lots of fun. I decided not to leave my choices for the night up to chance. I was responsible for the dessert and I found a wonderful recipe for an Upside Down Plum Torte from Weight Watchers. (3 points per generous serving!) I also decided to bring an appetizer so I would have something that I knew would be "diet" friendly. I brought a huge vegetable tray with a low fat/low cal dip. (There are never enough veggies at these dinners anyway) I found out ahead of time that the main dish would be pasta so I figured out points and serving sizes before we went. I went with a plan.

In the past, I would have had the bread, the heavy appetizers, lots of cocktails, a large serving of pasta and some sort of a rich gooey and very fattening dessert. I would have had too much to eat, too much to drink and felt terrible for it the next day.

This time I ate exactly what I wanted (and what I planned for). I was full but not stuffed. I had a great time and felt good about my choices. I even had 2 glasses of wine and a shot of amaretto in my coffee - and that was plenty, really.

So at today's weigh in, I was down another 2.2 pounds! I am just over half way to my goal. I was hoping to be back at my goal weight by my birthday in December but at the rate I am going, I could be there well before that! Of course we are also entering in to the most difficult months of the year to lose weight - October, November, December or (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Birthday, Christmas)

I think need to make a plan.

Thursday, September 29

International Mail

In the last few days I've gone to mailbox (twice!) to find little packages from far away places. I love surprises in the mail and I love looking at those international postmarks. (Makes for some fun Geography lessons for the boys too)

The first package came from Canada. Not too far away but international, none the less.


My dear, sweet friend Jamie sent a little "congratulations on your new job" gift. She made some lovely stitch markers and a row counter for me.


One has a little charm with a moon and a star. Jamie has a quote on her blog that says"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars." Another has a charm that says "Follow your Dreams". There is also a little round stitch marker that will be perfect for socks. Then there is the row counter/stitch marker. I usually use a scrap of paper that ends up getting lost. Now I don't have to keep going back to count my rows. She's very clever.

Thank you Jamie!

The second package came all the way from Israel. Edmund found that very fascinating.


My Sockpal-2-za socks came. They were made for me by Orli. These were her first pair of socks. She did a wonderful job! I would never have guessed that they are her first. The socks are very soft and comfortable. They are a lovely shade of rose with a hint of sheen to them. I must find out what yarn she used.


Orli also sent along two pairs of store bought socks. She was worried about her own not living up to expectations. No need to worry, though. All three pairs will get plenty of wear. (the Pooh socks will be a hit with the children at work, too!)

Thank you so much Orli!

Wednesday, September 28

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good:


My new bathroom cleaner. This is the Method brand sold by Target. I like the fresh minty smell. I like that I could take a bath after cleaning the tub with out worrying about lingering chemical residue. I like that the build up of soap scum and ring around the tub is gone with minimal scrubbing effort on my part. (That is particularly good right now as I am weak with sickness - nothing serious, just bad allergies and possibly a cold. Draining though)

The Bad:


My towel bar. It is being pulled away from the wall by little boys who feel they must tug on the towel while drying their hands. I need to get out the handy home improvement reference book and figure out how best to fix this. (And then figure out how to prevent it from happening again) Perhaps now would be a good time to paint the bathroom, too......

The Ugly:

I'll spare you a photo of this one. Trust me, you'll thank me for it.

My bathroom after 3 boys. We have a one bathroom house. We also apparently have 3 little boys with no sense of direction. I'll spare you the gory details but let's just say that the floor in my bathroom was NASTY! Thanks to "The Good", however, you could (almost) eat off it. Not that I would want to.

Tuesday, September 27

Bob the Builder


Exciting things are happening in our neighborhood! The house across the street is doing lots of work and the big trucks get to park beside our house. (ignore the large expanse of brown that should be my yard! It's been so very dry here)

Topher had a great time watching Bob the Builder come to life. The men were very nice and very friendly in a grandfatherly sort of a way. When Topher waved, they waved back. When they were finishing up, they came and talked to Topher about what they were doing. They let him come up and see the trucks, touch them and even climb up in them and pretend to operate them! What a thrill for a little boy!


Monday, September 26

Weekly Weigh In #5

Friday was my weekly Weight Watcher's meeting. I lost 1.4 pounds and received my 5 pound award. I love little prizes!

I've been doing a great job changing my eating habits. I'm making wise choices when it comes to food and I'm watching my portion sizes. Several times last week I was tested and I am really proud of the decisions I made.

Now I need to make exercise a regular part of my every day routine. Jamie and Claudia are doing an awesome job with that and I am feeling inspired. I really need to tighten up the belly (3 babies in 3 1/2 years did a number on my muscle tone!) and my fanny needs a little lift. Do you have any suggestions? Tell me what works for you.

Lost in (Cyber) Space

Several blog posts were written last week yet none are here. It seems I was having some sort of trouble with my internet connection. My posts never made it to the blog. I could get email but not send any. I couldn't open at least 75% of the web pages that I tried to connect to and those that did open wouldn't show any pictures. Very frustrating! (and so much time wasted!)

I put my own personal computer guru (Chris) on the job this weekend. All is right in my cyber-world again! Stay tuned for some new (and exciting?) blog posts!

Saturday, September 17

About Me - SP6

It's time for another round of Secret Pals. Here is my questionnaire for Secret Pal 6. I've already heard from my spoiler and I can't wait to get to know her a little more. I've also been browsing through my spoilee's blog and I'm looking forward to getting to know her too.

Let the games begin!

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?
I think I do prefer natural fibers for the most part. However, there is a place in my life for acrylics too.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?
No to both. I've tried to crochet. I found it stressful. Maybe I just needed a better teacher, I don't know. I tried to learn to spin on a drop spindle (teaching myself) but it didn't work. I don't seem to have the right supplies.

3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)
cats and cigarette smoke is about it. Don't send me any yarn spun from a kitten that smokes and I should be ok! ha ha

4. How long have you been knitting?
I've been knitting almost a year. I started right about Thanksgiving of 2004. I don't really feel like a beginner though. I'm not afraid of any patterns and I will willingly dive in to any project feet first. It's a learning experience.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Yes I do. I think it is here.

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
I love roses and lavender. I also like citrus - clean and fresh sort of scents. I'm not fond of overly sweet smells though.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth?
A little bit. I kind of prefer cake to candy, though. I am a big fan of peanut butter and peanut buttery things. I also really like salty snacks like popcorn and pretzels and sour things like lemon drops (and Margaritas!). Right now I am on a mission to drop a few pounds, though.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
Oh I love DIY! I love to do little crafts and projects and the boys love to do it right along with me. I enjoy sewing, baking and gardening (although my yard would suggest otherwise right now!)

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
My computer does play MP3s and I have an iPod that I like to listen to. I have a wide range in musical tastes. I particularly enjoy jazz, country, and disco! Ha! See, I told you my tastes were varied. I also really like to listen to audio books on my iPod. I have a couple of mixed CD's that were given to me (one by my sister and one by my SP5) that I really enjoy. It's fun to experience someone else's musical tastes.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
I love the color red! Love it, love it, love it! I've also been attracted to "mauve" colors lately. You know - like black raspberry ice cream. I like to decorate with yellow - it's bright, cheerful and sunny - but I don't really like to wear it.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
Family situation? Yep got one! I have been married to Chris for 12 years. I have 3 boys that keep me very busy. Edmund is 8 1/2 and just started 3rd grade, Charles is 6 1/2 and is now in 1st grade, and Topher (short for Christopher) will be 5 this month and in his last year of pre-school. We also have 2 hermit crabs, a toad, and an alarmingly big goldfish. (not to mention all those dust bunnies that I am thinking of naming)

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)
You know, I hate this question! Hmm life dreams... Well really I think that I want to be the best mom that I can for my boys. I want to raise them to be good, up-standing young men. I want to be a loving and supportive wife and I want to be a loyal friend. Other than that -and a chance to drive a zamboni - I don't know.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
I don't really know. There are so many yarns I've yet to try. There are so many yarns I've never seen in person!

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I don't like anything scratchy. Other than that, I don't really know. Oh, I'm not too crazy about chunky yarns mostly because I prefer smaller needles (US7's and below)

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?
I guess I would say socks and lace. Socks are so much fun and easy to take along. Lace is kind of amazing to me. It looks like nothing and then suddenly its a beautiful and complicated looking piece!

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I think that would be the same as #15, really. Socks and Lace. I love them! Mittens too.

17. What are you knitting right now?
Socks and lace! ha! Seriously though, I am working on a lace shawl - the Pacific Northwest Shawl. I've got several socks going, too. I've got a few things in the planning stages but I'm trying really hard not to have too many projects going at once.

18. What do you think about ponchos?
I've seen some that I've thought were just horrible and I've seen some that are quite lovely. I guess it just depends on the style and person wearing it. I have one that I love.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
I use both. I like both. Right now I knit socks on DPN's (I like the shorter ones so I don't have a lot of extra needle getting in my way) and I like knitting them that way because they are so easy to slip in to my purse. I've been toying with learning to do them two at a time on the circulars, though. You know, avoid the whole "second sock syndrome" and all that.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
No real preference. I have a mix of different needles - most of which were my grandmother's and I use them all.

21. Are you a sock knitter?
I am. I really enjoy knitting socks. Lots of fun! I want to try knitting some argyle socks (though Chris tells me are out of style)

22. How did you learn to knit?
Mostly from Debbie Stoller's Stitch 'N Bitch Knitters Handbook with a little clarification from internet videos.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?
I started a sweater in the early Spring and then set it aside. I'll finish it this Winter.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?
My favorite animal is a hedgehog. My favorite animated characters are Pepe le Pew and Peter Pan. Maybe Snoopy too. I love that he drinks root beer and he does that little dance!

25. What is your favorite holiday?
I love the Christmas season. The whole spirit of the season is really special to me - spending time with family and friends, children getting excited, hot chocolate, gingerbread and fireplaces, the glow of the lights and the candles, the quiet hush of snow - you know. My birthday also falls right at Christmas (Dec 22) and I think it just adds to the fun of the season.

I also think that Halloween is fun. I love pumpkins and scarecrows, apple cider, falling leaves, the kids and their costumes! Fall is probably my favorite time of year, too.

26. Is there anything that you collect?
I collect teacups and vintage handkerchiefs. Especially those that have images of states or travel things on them. I also collect silver spoons especially the souvenir spoons. (not the ones with the enameled medallions though. The kind that are just silver). I also collect charms. I have a charm bracelet - the old kind with the little dangly charms. It's very special to me. There is a lot that I could say that I collect. I think I have a lot of stuff in my house!

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I don't have an subscriptions. I do enjoy Interweave Knits, though. I really don't have much experience with any others.

28. Any books out there you are dying to get your hands on?
I'd really like a good basic knitting reference book. I have The Knitter's book of Finishing Techniques by Nancie Wiseman which I find helpful. However, I don't have an all encompassing go-to reference book.

I'd also like one of the Yarn Harlot's books.

29. Any patterns you have been coveting, but haven't bought for one reason or another??
I have fallen in love with this pattern. I didn't think I was a shrug person until I saw Alison's. I want to make it in a sort of mauve color.

I also saw some sock patterns once for socks to wear with clogs. They had cables and stuff on the heel so they look good with your backless shoes.

30. What are your foot measurements, and what kind of socks do you like?
I wear about a 6 1/2 shoe. My foot is approximately 9 inches from heel to toe. It is 8 inches around at the ankle and 8 1/2 inches at the instep. I would love any socks that some one took the time to knit for me.

*If you want to know a little more about me, you can read my previous "About Me" post here. There are also little bits and pieces of me in my side bar and here. Anything else, just ask!

Friday, September 16

Weekly Weigh In #4

After last week's disappointing weigh in, I buckled down and got serious. It paid off. This week's weigh in showed nearly a 2 pound loss! (1.8 to be exact) Needless to say, I was very pleased.

This week's meeting was about dealing with cravings and urges. It was a good meeting and a very apropos. I don't have a lot of cravings lately but I do get those urges. You know those urges - you go to the movies and you "need" a popcorn, you go for coffee and you "just have to have" a bit of cake too, you are out doing errands and you think the drive thru would be a quick solution to lunch. Oh those little urges - they can be so dangerous!

My weak moments lately are usually when I am at the market. The smells from the bakery reel me right in. The bread, the cakes, the pastries! Not good. Not good at all. One of the stores that I frequent also has a Dunkin Donuts in the bakery section. Not only do I have the breads and cakes calling to me, but I also have the fresh coffee and donuts too. Ugh!

Do I need it? No. Am I particularly hungry? Nope. Do I really want it? You bet!

Today our leader gave us a little mantra to repeat in our heads at those times when we are feeling the pull of the urges.

How will I feel if I eat it?
How will I feel if I don't eat it?
How will I look if I eat it?
How will I look if I don't eat it?

Simple? Yes - but effective. It is a little like the mantra I tell my boys to repeat when they get frustrated - "Stop, Breathe and Think". When those goodies call to me, I need to stop, breathe and think - and then walk away.

This week's goal - resist the urges! (and do the Ab exercises in today's hand out) What about you? How do you battle the cravings and urges?

Thursday, September 15

Cub Scouts


September is here, and with it comes the start of school and a new year of Cub Scouts! This year I have 2 boys in Scouts. Edmund is entering his Bear (3rd) year and Charles is entering his Tiger (1st) year. What fun!

Cub-Scouts-Emily-EdmundTonight was our first Pack meeting of the year. The boys were thrilled to see some of their old friends from their old school. Edmund was awarded a few badges that he earned over the Summer. Charles was excited and a little nervous about the whole evening.

And me? I was busy, that's for sure. I had a few people to talk to and some awards to hand out. I'm entering my 3rd year as a Cub Scout Leader for Edmund's Den. I've also offered to assist with Charles' Den - as needed.

Tuesday, September 13

New Opportunities

One night late last week I got a very unexpected phone call. The director of Topher's preschool called to let me know that one of her teachers left rather suddenly for a corporate job. Why did she call to tell me this? She wanted to know if I would be interested in taking the job! I was not currently looking for a job so it was quite a surprise! I've known her since Edmund was in preschool. All three boys have been in her school, I've been in the classroom on occasion and I've helped out with many field trips. She likes my "style" and thinks I would be an asset to the school. I had 24 hours to make a very BIG decision. (school had just started and she needed to fill the position FAST!)

I thought long and hard on this. I weighed the pros and cons. I called my mother.

I took the job!

I am teaching 2 afternoons a week. My class is made up of 9 (including Topher!) 4ish year olds. This is kind of a "kindergarden prep" class. These kids all go to the normal 3 day preschool program and this is kind of like bonus. There are 2 teachers in the class (thank goodness!)

Topher is so excited and very proud. He tells everyone he sees that his mom is a teacher - his teacher! He has his "own" class on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings and then we have "our" class on Tuesday and Friday afternoons. We get to pack a lunchbox on Fridays. So far, he has no problems with me being there, either. He does his thing and lets me do mine. He is not jealous of the other children who want to sit on my lap or hold my hand during circle time.

I started last Friday (sort of a "training day") and today was my first "official" day. I had so much fun! I'm going to like this job - it's just my thing!

Last week was also a big week for Chris. He started a new job! (September must be the month of change)

Instead of just working for a high-end graphic arts photo retouching studio, he is running a high-end graphic photo retouching studio. He's sort of gone in to partnership with someone and together they are going to build THE company for the top photographers to go to. It's very exciting, somewhat stressful and, right now, it means we see a little less of him. Good things are happening, though!

Monday, September 12

Secret Pal 5


Secret Pal 5 is wrapping up and with that means a final gift from my spoiler and the reveal.

I was very excited to see a package stuffed in to my mailbox today. Rain was my spoiler and she sent some lovely things! The package was decidedly girly which is wonderful since I am over run with boys here!

She sent 3 skeins of Noro Kureyon in color 102. I've never seen this yarn in person but I've admired it on the 'net. The colors are amazing and I can't wait to come up with a special project for it! (the suggestion box is open, by the way)

She also sent 3 different packages of knitting note cards and some fun little recipe cards (which for some reason slid behind the note cards and therefor didn't make it in to the picture.) I can't wait to write some notes!

I'll be writing those notes with my new pen! That flower in the front is actually a pen. It's so pretty and the boys are sure not to steal it from me!

There is also a bottle of body lotion and bath salts in a rose scent. My favorite! I can't wait for a nice relaxing soak in the tub....Ahhh....

Finally, there are a lovely little pair of earrings. I put them on as soon as I finished taking pictures. They look a little like Rose quartz but I am not sure. I'm not good at identifying rocks. Whatever they are, I love them.

My Secret Pal was very sweet. She wrote a note saying that she really wanted to find me some Koigu (something that I have been dying to try) but she was unable to find any locally. Thanks for thought! I'm so excited to try the Noro, though!

Thank you, Rain! I can't wait to check out your blog.

And who have I been spoiling? Well with the craziness of my summer, I decided to send one big package at the end instead of several smaller ones through out. It doesn't look like it is quite in her hands yet so that reveal will have to wait.

Saturday, September 10

Home Depot


We took the boys to Home Depot for their Kids Workshop. The boys love going to these. They get to use tools, make a lot of noise and build something cool.

This month they made key boxes. Since we don't have enough keys to fill 3 boxes (with 6 hooks each!) they boys decided they will use them to hang their treasures. Clever boys!


Friday, September 9

Weekly Weigh In #3

I did not have a great weigh in today but the meeting was a good one. I gained 4/10ths of a pound. I expected it though so at least it didn't come as a big surprise. I was not good about journalling my food this past week and obviously it caught up with me.

This is a new week and a new chance to do it the right way. This week I vow to journal everything and drink more water!