Saturday, May 1, 2010

Days of Play--May Day Butterfly

Happy May Day!

Soon the butterflies will be here (I keep telling myself that even though it is only supposed to be 40 degrees in WY today ...)!  If you are having the not exactly spring or summer blues like I am, these little butterflies will help brighten your day. Even if they don't brighten your day, wouldn't these be cute to make and take to neighbors in celebration of May Day?

What you need:

  • pipe cleaners (cut in half)
  • coffee filters
  • plates (paper or otherwise)
  • watercolors
  • paint brush
  • water
  • fishing line
  • tacks 
What to do:

  1. Put a coffee filter on a plate.
  2. With your child, paint the coffee filters making sure to cover as much of the white part as possible.
  3. Dry
  4. Fold the butterflies accordion style and secure with the pipe cleaner.  Leave some of the pipe cleaner for antenna. 
  5. Tie on some fishing line and hang from the ceiling.
For older children:
You can make some very vibrant butterflies by allowing older kids to spray or squirt paint or food coloring on to the plate and then swirl them around (This can stain though so be careful!).

Friday, April 30, 2010

Date night In--Roll of the Dice

Here's the newest installment of date night in.  As always, get the kids in bed, set the scene, and prepare to have fun with your spouse.

Before the evening you'll need to make your own pair of dice.  If you don't know how, here are some good instructions.  After you make the dice personalize them.  One die should have body parts and the other activities.

Body part die--
  • chest
  • legs
  • arms
  • back
  • face
  • surprise
Activity Die--
  • rub my
  • caress my
  • kiss my
  • massage my
  • tickle my
  • surprise
On date night, as previously stated, get the kids to bed and set the scene.  We pretty much always make a blanket pallet in front of the fire.  Dim the lights, light candles, turn on some music and roll the dice.  Do what they tell you.

You and your spouse decide how long to do what.  And as always, you can make this event as PG or R rated as you want!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Things I Love: Dressing up jeans and a T-Shirt

I'm so not afraid to admit that I spend plenty of time wearing jeans and long sleeved T-shirts.  That combo is just SUPER convenient when you have little kids.

Is it possible to make jeans and t-shirts look pulled together?  You betcha!

How?  You know my answer--accessories!

So in this photo I'm wearing a pair of my favorite jeans and a chocolate brown long-sleeved T-Shirt.  But to make it a bit more pulled together I added a scarf (in orange to make my neutrals pop), a pair of super trendy gladiator sandals, and my new bag.

American Eagle Favorite Boyfriend (similar)--I got mine from Plato's Closet for $18
Gap Long-Sleeved T (similar)--$15--I got this 3 years ago
Orange Scarf (similar)--Plato's Closet for $5
Green Bag (similar)--Plato's Closet $10
Sandals (similar)--Forever 21--$7
Bracelet (Premiere Jewelry)--a gift

Just so you know, I love my "newish" bag.  It's a Kenneth Cole Reaction regularly $299 but I got it for $10.  Be prepared to see it with lots of my outfits!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What I Think About--Sibling Relationships

In the newest edition of my favorite magazine there is an article on how to stay close with your siblings.  You can read it here.  It's a charming little Top 10 article that made me laugh (actually I was reading this while bathing the kids and fell off the potty in a fit of hysterics--lid was down--when I read one in particular ... I'm not divulging which one!).  On a side note, my kids still think I'm crazy.

Its no secret that I struggle in some relationships.  Who doesn't?  Let me give you some background (on at least one of them).

For about 20 years of my life I wished I was an only child.  I have one older sister and she's a real nightmare.  Really.  5'10", 115 pounds.  Luminous skin. Clear blue eyes. Perfect reddish hair. Funny.  Smart. A social butterfly.  Did I mention she's drop dead gorgeous?  And if people didn't love her because she was breath-taking, then they were taken with her sweet nature, good-humor and amazing fashion sense.  Egads.  I'm not kidding you when I say that growing up people always told her, "You should be a model."  (These same people would tell me, "maybe you could be a teacher").  You get the point.

Middle school is hard enough without the town's hottest chick being your uber likable big sister.  I can't count the number of times I cursed my bad luck that I (the over-opinionated, frumpy, mousey-blond hair geek with a bad attitude) had to follow in her footsteps.

My big sister, Randean with my nephew Kaeden.  
I say this with no malice. She dyes her hair.

But then we grew up.  Now I think, what would I do without her?  On days when I don't think I'll make it through another tantrum, she understands.  When I'm angry with my mom's disease, she gets it.  When I need to vent, she listens.  When I need to laugh, she can make me.  When I need to cry (which is almost never), she pretends she understands my non-sense blubber talk.  We have not had a perfect relationship but I can't count the number of reasons I'm grateful that she is a part of my life.

She's my best friend.

In honor of my sister, I'm responding to the author of "How to Stay Close to Your Siblings."  If you don't understand the stuff in italics, that's cool. It's for my sister Randean anyway. (I know what you are thinking.  Their parents named them Randean and Reagan? Tell me about it.  My mom's name is Rilda.  Does that help explain things?)

  1. Childhood is like Vegas. Let what happened there stay there. When it comes to petty fights or embarrassing moments, I couldn't agree more. But if you can all look back and get a kick out of a memory, I say, "why not reminisce?" In that same line of thinking, if there is a deep-seated unresolved issue, I think it needs to be addressed.  Remember fighting over how to wear eyeliner?  We can laugh about that now, right?  We'll save "eating our beans" for another day ...
  2. Make a cameo appearance.  I agree with the author that if you want to be close to your family you need to spend purposeful time together.  By the way, purposeful means beyond token holidays and celebrations.  Get together for the heck of it.  Skype date?
  3. Stop being the family mole.  In essence, stop gossiping behind family members' backs.  Luckily my family is small and direct enough that we pretty much just say what we mean (this doesn't mean we are totally healthy in the way we address conflict but at least we yell at the source of our problem rather than ignoring each other or yelling at our mom because of something the other did!  We are our own brand of dysfunctional and we all function well in it. How scary is that?).  And all I can say is, AMEN to the no-mole business.  Do I have a story for you--j/k!
  4. Mind your manners.  Remember how you treat strangers with respect?  Do the same thing to your family.  If you wouldn't scream at Joe Schmoe for eating the last cookie, don't scream at your sibling.  And if you'd forgive a friend for posting a bad photo of you on their blog (twice), forgive your sibling.  Sorry about that whole mullet thing. Both times.
  5. Fight Typecasting.  Every family has the "baby" and the "favorite" child.  But really, no family does.  We all grow up so if you still think your parents like your brother better, it might be time for you to put on your big girl panites and get over it.  (If you are still acting like a baby, see my previous comment).  Give your siblings kudos for growing up and changing.  Give your parents credit for doing the best job they could. You might be hotter but I have prettier nails.  Na na na na na na!
  6. B Gr8 Txt Frnds.  On the surface, I agree with this. Texting is a quick method to communicate.  But I think you should really make an effort to share your time with your siblings.  Yes, that sometimes means talking on the phone.  Luckily my sister and I don't struggle with this.  Ask our husbands and they'll tell you how important it is to have a land line with unlimited long distance.  I'll call you when the kids are down for quiet time.  Unless I need you before then.
  7. Quit being jealous of other people's sibling relationships.   Remember my post about chick-flicks not being real?  TV/Movie sibling relationships aren't real either.  So if your family doesn't get along like the Family Stone or the Cosbys, that's cool.  Love your family for who they are and for who you are when you're with them.  Our relationship puts the fun in dysfunctional but I wouldn't have it any other way!
  8. Play nice with your brother's (not so nice) spouse.  It always pays to be the bigger person (repeat as necessary).  Go the distance and never give your in-law the opportunity to say you didn't love, didn't reach out, didn't share or didn't try.  Heap burning coals (and if you have no idea what I'm talking about, check here.)  Thanks for marrying Jeff.  With a body like that who needs hair?   
  9. Get out of dodge. Okay to be honest, the idea of vacationing with my sibling, without our children, sounds dreamy.  Add in the husbands and kids and I say, no thanks.  (At least not for long trips). The November extravaganza is on but hopefully you understand if we skip the trip to Alaska!
  10. Avoid hot-button topics (politics, religion, high fructose corn syrup).  In general families know who can handle what discussions.  Don't stir the pot if you want to stay close to your family.  On the other hand, don't be afraid to have important discussions about your relationships. If someone's words or actions are hurting someone else the worst thing you can do is walk on egg shells and pretend you're okay.  False peace is just that.  False.  I must caution you to approach the issue directly, in love, and Biblically (go directly to the person--remember no family moles!) Don't even get me started.
Randean and her hubbins Jeff.  By now you understand what I went through as a kid.  

Can I add two more? Of course I can.  It's my blog :)

  1. Don't give up.  Sometimes sibling relationships are awesome.  Sometimes they suck.  Sometimes they make you wish that you were an only child (or that your spouse was an only child).  But FIGHT for your relationships.  They are worth every ounce of blood, sweat,  and tears you pour into them.  In the end, you end up with the people from your beginning.  Thanks for hangin' in there during the bad years.  All 20 of 'em.
  2. Forgive.  If you are still hanging onto some hurt, forgive.  If you've hurt a family member with your words or actions, seek forgiveness.  Nothing destroys a relationship faster than someone who refuses to seek or accept forgiveness.  Remember that forgiveness breaks the cycle of isolation and retaliation.  I apologize for what I said that time we had a fight at The Outback.  

What do I think about sibling relationships?  They can be amazing and are worth the work!

Have a sibling relationship that could use some work?  E-mail me and when I say I'll pray for you, I mean it!

Have a sibling relationship that sustains you?  Tell me about it.  Today's comment line is yours to celebrate a sibling memory or moment.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesday's Too Clean Tip--Dishwasher Trick

Don't ask me why but I have a love/hate relationship with my dishwasher.  I'm so grateful to have my little helper but I get increasingly cranky every time it needs to be unloaded.  Can't anyone create a dishwasher that washes and puts dishes away???

I stumbled across this trick a couple of years ago and it might not save a ton of time but it makes me happy!

So what do I do?  Each compartment of the silverware section only holds a certain piece of silverware.  One bin is for adult spoons, one for kid spoons, one for dinner knives, one for steak knives, one for forks, one for cooking spoons/spatulas and one for miscellaneous items.

Now when it comes time to unload, I grab a handful of silverware and they all go into the same drawer slot.  No more shifting and sorting.

My sister always laments that she'd love to do this but her family isn't on board.  Here's a little tip.  My family isn't totally on board either (Matt is but the kids don't quite get it).  So sometimes I'll get into the dishwasher and there is a kid spoon with a sharp knife.  No problem. I just re-arrange.  I'm convinced that it saves me time in the long run.

At least that's what the voices in my head keep telling me :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Randeaner Beaner Weiner

For my family spiritual growth has been long and slow in coming.  It isn't that there hasn't been belief but that belief can sometimes decrease in hard times (Remember Jesus basically telling John the Baptist that He wasn't going to save him and then saying "blessed is he who does not fall away on account of me"?).  Sometimes it is hard to NOT fall away when things aren't going well--my family is living proof.

For whatever reason, in my family, God has made me a bit more firm in faith and to be honest, sometimes I've pretty much wanted to pull my hair out by the roots in frustration of my family's walking and waning.

When my mom was diagnosed with CADASIL in March of 2008, I sort of had a crisis of faith but it didn't have to do with my faith but rather my family's faith.  Is this making sense?  I guess what I am trying to say is that I feared that this disease would pull my family away from God rather than pushing them to Him.  What really stunk was knowing my only option was to "be the Bible" for my family and pray for them (though if you could make someone strengthen their faith by hog-tying and torturing them I might have tried it).

Mayo doctors gave my mom less than a year to live and here it is, two years later. God is good.  It is heart-breaking to watch my mom's mental capacities decrease and to see my dad and mom watch their dreams fade before their eyes.  But God is good.  My folks are struggling financially.  But God is good.  My mom won't live as long as we hoped she would.  But she's lived this far.  She has seen and knows and loves her grandchildren.  And either way, God is Good.

Here's the praise: This weekend, along with my sister and her husband, my mom was baptized.

So her illness sucks and I won't sugar coat that.  But CADASIL has re-ignited a passionate faith in Jesus in my family.  And if disease it what it takes--then so be it.  Right now I'm so faithfully inspired that the line from The Count of Monte Cristo keeps running through my head, "Gentlemen (satan), do your worst!"

Congratulations Randean, Jeff, and Mom!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What's Cooking 4/26-5/3

FYI---I'm away from my computer and am likely enjoying a great weekend with my sister.  Today, Sunday April 25, 2010 both my sister and her husband are getting baptized!

Hip Hip Hooray!

Anyhow, here's what we'll be dining on this week:

Monday (my last day of sadistics statistics!)--BBQ Chicken with steamed veggies
Tuesday--Lasagna with salad and crusty bread
Wednesday--Cheesy chicken with steamed broccoli and cauliflower
Thursday--Asian flank steak with onions, peppers, and rice
Friday--Dijon pork loin with red potatoes
Saturday--Red Enchiladas
Sunday--Baked chicken with mashed potatoes and steamed carrots

FYI--Matt ended up being out of town last week so prepare to see a re-do of last week's menu next week