Thursday, January 28, 2010

The big reveal...

Here are the Valentines! First up....Lauren's valentines for her preschool friends:

Second up....for Lauren and Grant's playgroup friends:

Cute idea, huh? I borrowed it from the 24 7 365 blog. So stinkin' creative! And while we're on the subject of photography (well...we sort of are) are the 8x10 canvas prints I ordered just before Christmas from Canvas People. They were (still are I think) running a promotion for a FREE 8x10 canvas - you just pay shipping & handling..which I think was around $14. The special is one per address, so I just had one shipped to my Mom and one shipped to a neighbor to complete this grouping.

This is my formal dining room (yes, that's clutter in the corner...we're looking at the wall here people...eyes up!):

I just ordered a 12x18 canvas print from ArtsCow for a grand total of $9.99, which included shipping! (wow! THAT'S a deal!) Use code 12x18CANVAS at checkout. This time I ordered a wedding picture. We don't have any up in our home, so I thought this would be a good one for the master bedroom? (Is that where you all put a wedding picture?) This offer is good until 2/1....go get yours now! Here's the picture I ordered for that print:
This morning I attempted a "photo shoot" with the two smallest of 'em. I needed a good shot with their fists stretched outward for an AWESOME Valentine's Day card idea I found on someone else's blog (oh what would I do without the crafties out there in blogland?!). Anyway - I figured it wouldn't take long (HA!). I mean - I only needed a quick shot with fists out and a nice smile. How hard is that?! (Attention children's are SAINTS!)

First I started with an individual of Lauren for her preschool classmates. This was not easy..but we got it. I'm deciding between these shots - feel free to vote in the comments section! I like the horizontal shot, but I'm worried it won't leave me enough room under her hand to do what I need to for this "craft."

Next up was a shot of the two of them together for their playgroup friends. I wanted them to hold hands and then hold their clasped hands outward...and I wanted them to look at the camera at the same time...and I wanted them to smile...and I wanted them to HOLD STILL! And I would really like world peace.

I thought you might enjoy the pictoral storyboard of this one:
So it's between these two shots for the final product. The first one is the best...but their hands aren't outstretched...and I really need that for this project. So I'll probably go with the 2nd shot. Feel free to vote on this one too though!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ice, Ice, Baby!

I don't think we've had a full week of school since before that possible? If this is what it feels like to thanks!

Here's a few shots to show you what's going on in the "Heartland."

YESTERDAY: (frozen fog left beautiful white ice on the landscape, but roads were fine. Doesn't it look like an old-fashioned freezer that severly needs defrosting?) Also - a great big sarcastic THANK YOU to the city for completely plowing the fire hydrant under. Hope there isn't a fire...because it is going to take a fire axe to get through the frozen snow and ice to dig out the hydrant. Ok - I feel better now.

TODAY: (Freezing rain - not so pretty. Schools are closed (AGAIN!) and roads are bad. They are predicting 1/2" of ice when it's all said and done.)

(view from our big front milk glass!)

Thank goodness for this guy today!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Good to the Last Drop

Lauren: "Mommy? Did you know that chickens' eggs come out of their butt?"

Me: (in a pre-coffee, just-woke-up haze)...uh-huh
(If I had been more awake I would have added....we don't say "butt."

Lauren: "And that's called POOPING an egg."

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I need help! I know I am home all day (eating bon bons and watching soaps...getting pedicures and searching for things to do), but taking care of the kids and doing laundry are a full-time job! Too bad there are a million other chores to be done to keep our home barely presentable and semi-safe. Too bad there are a ton of things OUTSIDE of the home that have to be done each week too, like shopping for groceries, taking kids to/from school, returning library books, taking kids to/from school activities, etc.

I'm not complaining about being a stay-at-home Mom...I love my job. I feel VERY blessed to have this gift - to be able to be witness the crazy things my kids do each day, to be present for the teachable moments I wouldn't otherwise share with them. HOWEVER, I think it is VERY easy to lose yourself in the necessary tasks of taking care of others PLUS the household....and although I've tried for 5 years now, I am waving my white flag. Trying to do it all has only made me feel sad, mad, frustrated and like a complete failure. It is benefiting NO ONE. So....

I need help. I tried a family chore chart awhile back. Remember this?
It was met with much criticism and little to NO cooperation. My message (cry for help) was lost. Well, probably more likely ignored than lost.

Then I tried asking for help...actually verbalizing my need for help. Deaf ears. Maybe I'm not being assertive enough. Maybe I'm feeling too guilty because I don't "work" outside of the home. I don't know. All I know is that what I've been trying to do for five years is not working. At least it isn't working for me.

So here's my new idea. Although I don't eat bon bons or watch soaps...I do have a bit of a distraction called INTERNET...specifically GOOGLE READER!!! But I do gather a lot of useful information from these sites....many pertaining to bargain-hunting, couponing, home organization, sewing, meals/recipes...all "job-related" if you will. Anyway - I'm trying to better manage my time researching these things. Oops...there's guilt again...sorry...back to the idea. While reading one of my crafty blogs awhile back, I stumbled on

This is kind of fun, right? And maybe they'll buy in? Maybe they'll want to help because this is sort of like a fun game, right? Maybe I'll even put a prize in when the task is complete they get the prize found in the tin? I'm going to make it....and then PRAY it works better than the chore chart did.

Disclaimer....MAJOR disclaimer: My husband works VERY isn't like he comes home and then just sits on the couch and plays on the computer or watches TV. He is a great husband and father, a good provider for our family and loves us all very much. I'm sure he's more than happy to help - I just haven't found the right way to deliver this message. Same is true of my oldest daughter. She usually is very willing to help...I just have to spell it out. So here it goes...I'm S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G it out, family. Mom needs help...I'm drowning and I'm exhausted. I want to do better...BE better...but to do that I need to rally the troops. We can do this! (Lord, I hope I'm not in the doghouse for this post!)

If YOU have found a method that engages your family, please leave me a comment and tell me how you're doing it! Or if you think I should be able to do all of this on my own, tell me how YOU do it....and what medication does it involve? (cuz I'm gonna need me summa that!).

Love my husband, love my kids, love my home....just trying to do all of those things better.

--The Mom of 'Em

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Take THAT! Shouldn't be having a shortage of normal-sized coffee filters anytime soon. 700...SEVEN-HUNDRED!!! Thanks, Costco!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Why do you hate me, Joe?

The first thing I do every morning (after changing a diaper, handing out sippy cups and letting the dog out), is make a pot of coffee. Confession: sometimes I even start the coffee before I change diapers and dole out breakfast drinks...what's another couple minutes in a wet diaper, right?). Every morning I wonder why I don't use the auto-brew feature so my lovely would be waiting for me when I rise. But instead I do it in the morning and then wait, wait, wait for the pot to brew. It takes FOREVER to brew when you are desperate for a cup, doesn't it? Especially on MONDAYS!!!

I just bought new coffee filters last night, because we had one...ONE left. That's dangerous! cutting it close! I added the coffee to the filter, poured the water and hit BREW and went about the business of distracting myself from how long it takes by pouring bowls of cereal and feeding the dog. Soon I started to smell the aroma of my lovely, wonderful hero, Joe. I raced over to grab my mug and to my HORROR, found water and coffee grounds all over the counter! ALL. OVER. THE. COUNTER!!! AAAAAGH! I cleaned it up and realized I forgot to put the filter BASKET in...just the filter in the big open guts of the coffee-maker.

So I cleaned it all up and set out to brew another pot. Since I had used up our last filter, I had to crack into the new package...only to discover I had purchased filters for machines that brew 1-4 cups. ONE to FOUR CUPS?! Who makes 1-4 cups of coffee? These people shouldn't even be allowed to own a coffee machine. And now I like them even less because their stupid filters ruined my 2nd attempt at coffee this morning. I bet they are brewing de-caf to boot. ugh.

I tried to brew the coffee anyway - careful to make sure I had the filter basket in this time and that my coffee grounds were within the boundaries of the mini filters. I poured in 12 cups of water and hit brew....and walked away. When I returned....water everywhere!!!! WHAT?! WHY DO YOU HATE ME, JOE! I LOVE YOU!!!! TAKE ME BACK!!!!

apparently I didn't wait for the pot to empty before I cleaned up the first mess and poured in my new pot of water. This created MORE than 12 cups of water and it didn't have anywhere to go...but on my counter and floor...and down my cabinets...and inbetween my cabinets and the stove. (Can I go back to bed now???). So I cleaned up THIS mess, unplugged the coffee pot, turned it upside down to dump all the water and tried again...AGAIN! This pot seemed to be brewing okay, but there are a few grounds in my cup because of the dumb teeny-weeny filters.

But I don't care!!!! I'm finally drinking my coffee!!! I have my Joe wrapped in my loving hands once again!!! Now here's hoping the rest of the day goes better.