Thursday, June 30, 2011

Saying YES

There are days I just don't give my kids enough credit.

I raise them to be responsible little peoples who think for themselves and take responsibility for their actions, and then I'm all surprised when they actually do.
My bad, guys.
This week Crazy Aunt Jane & Traveling Uncle Matt sent the kids birthday money for their (collective) birthdays. With the caveat they use it for something fun (a day at the pool "on us!" or an all out splurge at the Dollar Spot. You get the idea.)
Immediately all three demanded we put the crisp new $20 bill into the Holiday World Bank; where all our pocket change and loose dollars have been going for the past two months. I nixed it. I told them they HAD to splurge. They HAD to have fun with it. Or Else. Whose kids are these anyway? So, after a dinner's worth of discussion...

"Can we buy a pony?"
"Can we buy an xbox?"
"Can we buy bubble gum?"
"Can we buy Nerf Guns?"
"Can we buy ice cream?"
"Can we buy new bicycles?"
"Can we save it all for Holiday World?"
"Can we save part of it for Holiday World?"
Yes. was decided that we'd put $5.00 into the Holiday World Bank and that each kid would have $5.00 to go buck wild with at Target. Because, you know, it's Target. It's like the mecca of random shit shopping. We love it there. Collectively. And individually. I mean, it's Target. Anyhoodle. We loaded up the Cavalier and were off.  The entire drive there I'm picturing full-on meltdowns in the toy aisle...arguments over prices and short? something similar to our typical grocery store visits.
What I got? vastly, and pleasantly, different.  I gave each kid their $5.00 and made them *gasp* do math.
They got a huge kick out of it.

Isabelle ended up snagging a paintbook with tiny little paints, a set of miniature dry erase markers for the dry erase board that hangs over her bed, and a pack of gum.

Sebastian hemmed and hawed and carried around eight different items for varying lengths of time until he finally put them all back, opting for the pool & bathtub Pirate Play Set. Which, honestly? Even I want to play with that thing in the bathtub.

And Sophie, well, The Monkey went all out. She found five disparate items all priced at $1 each...just so she could walk around the store with her arms completely full. She chose a bag of cotton candy, a pack of Strawberry fruit roll ups, a pair of Hello Kitty socks, a pack of six colored multi-shaped erasers, and a pack of "Buddle Gum" so she could "blow buddles".

You know how there are phrases that you are loathe to break your kids of, just for the sheer entertainment value they provide? That's one of them. "Buddle Gum". That just cracks me up.  Her brother & sister are already trying to smother it out of her vocabulary, but I let it slide. Because, let's be honest, part of The Munchkins inherent value in this situation is their entertainment value.

There was not one argument.
There was not one standing-to-the-floor-in-eight-seconds-meltdown.
There was no cajoling me for "just one more dollar, mom, pleeeeaaaase?"
There were just three very well-behaved, thoughtful, delighted little people who each had $5.00 to blow on whatever caught their fancy. The novelty of a shopping trip "Just For Them" had them enthralled. And knowing that, but for the price ceiling, I wasn't going to veto any of their decisions made it the perfect shopping trip.

If I'd known $5.00 was their price point? I would have been using this a loooooooong time ago!  But more importantly, it helped me remember that sometimes, it is more beneficial to my sanity to say "sure!" than "no way, jose" when the kids asked for something random and off the wall. More "Yes"es to the extra helping of ice cream, the five-more-minutes playing outside, the one-more-story. Less "No"s just because I'm tired or feeling cranky or out of sorts after a long day. 

I'm hoping this little more-yeses mantra holds true for all that cashola we have saved up in the Holiday World Bank. I'm already giddy at the prospect of being able to say "YES!" emphatically every time one of the Munchkins asks for an ice cream cone, a funnel cake, some dippin' dots...whatever happens to catch their fancy. Just because we can.

^ Crazy Aunt Jane & Traveling Uncle Matt ^

Thursday, June 23, 2011

woodgrain bike

My Newest Obsession:

Isn't it gorgeous?

I want one with an intensity as yet unrivaled in my hunt for the perfect bike.
I can just see myself tooling around town in it, in some Sartorialist-Worthy little get up. Right? (it's okay. I chuckled too)

And the story behind these bikes?
Even better.

New Zealander Rob Pollock, of RobsWoodgrainBikes, turned to custom woodgraining bicycles after a lifetime of painting custom car interiors. His accent in the video is just killer. And I love watching the faux-woodgraining process. Each bicycle for sale is hand painted. Go. Watch the video. I'll wait.

See? Fantastic.

I'm adding it to the When-I-Win-The-Lottery list.
Because with a price of $3,000 (or $1,500 for just the frame and handlebars) it's still just a titch out of my price range. More's the pity.

Photos of this beauty were flying around Pinterest for a while, and I finally traced it back to the etsy shop where they're  available for purchase.
*le sigh*

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Olver + S - Little Things to Sew

It came! It came! It came!
A few weeks ago I broke down and ordered a copy of Oliver+S's "Little Things to Sew".
I've been drooling over the patterns for what seems like forever now...and I snagged a gently used copy on Amazon for almost half the cover price.

After dinner, the kids and I spent nearly an hour ooohing and ahhing over the pictures and then  going through my fabric stash to choose their favorites for capes and vests and bucket hats and bookbags. They're determined to have one of everything in the book. Very nearly as determined as I am to sew my way through it.
I can't wait to get started.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Handmade Phone Case (prototype)

Normally, I don't do prototypes. I don't do muslins. I launch headfirst into a project and rarely look back.
But this time? I'm SOO glad I did a prototype/practice piece.

After a noticing a new score of scratches, dents, dings and tiny greasy handprints all over my phone, I'd decided the following:
1) I'm so glad I got the protective case & screen cover!
2) I still needed something else to protect my poor phone...
Frankly, I'm not all that pleased with what I've seen out on the market. Tacky Crap. Seriously. So...I played around with some fabric, some batting, some interfacing, and some of my scrap stash to create my own... And, judging by the amount of time I spent tearing out stitching, redesigning layout and perfecting pocket placement? I think I've finally found a working pattern of my very own.

These? Oh. They're the best of the worst... it's the closest I got to creating what I wanted...while still screwing several things up. It's okay. It's how you learn. In the not-too-distant future I'll have to post up pictures of my completed case.

The front of the case

The back of the case. Brilliant, no?

In this, final draft version, I used some lightweight felt as an interfacing to add some sturdiness and additional padding to the case. The exterior is just some random muslin I had on hand and the interior lining is the same fabric as the pockets & velcro closure. The exterior pocket on the back of the case is perfect for holding credit cards, cash, ID, etc. The front pocket also has a tiny bit of velcro across the opening and is snug enough to hold a house key. 

Now that I've finally figured out the what and the how...I'm gonna make one for myself this weekend! woot! Better pictures to come with the final product. Promise.

Newest Obsessions

I have a certain fondness for any site that can hold my interest for more than 5 minutes.
These have held it for weeks and months and so on and so forth.
Come See:

*because being a voyeur is fun when you can share.

*simple, gorgeous, child style.
not just a blog anymore, they recently launched their Kids Boutique where you can effortlessly shop the globe for the perfect nightstand or changing table...

Sweet Paul
*both a blog and a quarterly magazine, I fell in love with the crisp, clear photos, amazing recipes the crafts and the candor and the playfulness. It's gorgeous. Start to finish. And if you're hooked like I am? You can order a printed version of the magazine as well.
A Site dedicated to a blog that spurred a momement that launched a documentary...
 Originally a project by blogger Hailey Bartholomew to document one thing (via polaroid) each day that she was grateful for. This one helps to keep things in perspective, kids.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sophie's Luau Birthday

We have a lot of June Birthdays in my world.
No. Really. We do.
Mr. Man's is June 10th.
Pops' is June 11th
The Monkey's is June 20th
Aunt Beccah's is on the 25th...
See? I wasn't kidding.

So this past weekend we had a sort of multi-birthday/Fathers Day Extravaganza at El Ranchero. We even themed it. It was a LUAU!
The kids got a kick out of the leis, the grass skirts, the inflatable parrots, the stuffed flamingos, the hula music, the (plastic) coconut cups...

And, believe it or not we ACTUALLY fit five adults and three Munchkins around my teeny tiny little kitchen table. It's miracle geometry, folks. 
I was particularly proud of the double cakes that day.
Mr. Man requested a chocolate  Batman cake (which somehow evolved into a request for a Bakugan cake in the final hours. So much for the $10 is Batman cake decorations I had! ) And The Monkey put her request in for an Elmo cake at the last minute. I...well...frankly I failed miserably at this. I had no red icing. No googly eyes. No artistic ability to transform her cake into an Elmo at the zero hour.  So. She got a rainbow cake. Which is what I planned for originally. Sorry kid! But man-oh-man was it tasty...

I've seen those rainbow cake and cupcake tutorials floating around the internet for a while now...and I've got to tell you it was SO much easier than I anticipated! Truly!  And, after I swapped out the icing for French Vanilla Cool Whip, it wasn't over the top sweet, just enough to still be called a birthday cake.


And BOY do we love us some birthday cake at my house...
And barbeque...and homemade mac&cheese...and corn casserole...and watermelon by the slice.
The Monkey was in rare "Eating Machine"  form Sunday.!


And I can't help but be giddy whenever we're able to pack as much of our family as possible into one single space... I also can't help but be giddy that The Munchkins had two Uncle's who are AWFULLY good sports about becoming human jungle gyms for a few hours... very very tall human jungle gyms!

We were all the best kind of exhausted after everyone finally shuffled out the door and back to their respective homes. We laid on the floor and did puzzles and played checkers...and eventually three little sets of not-so-chubby-baby legs trudged up to bed...of their own accord...without any prompting from their very tired momma.

It's difficult to believe that these three, who once were tiny enough to fit in the palm of my hand, are now so tall that their feet dangle down below my knees when I attempt to scoop them up. When they climb into my lap now I grunt and groan and shift in order to find a more comfortable way to support their not-so-tiny bodies. When the clamber up into my bed on early weekend mornings, like as not, they'll evict me in want of space for squirming.  How did this happen? Did they grow up when I wasn't looking?  Here's to Happy Birthdays and many more random, multi-birthday/holiday gatherings to come...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lasagna, Cannoli, Peroni, OhMy!

This past Friday marked our annual pilgrimage to my favorite summer festival: Holy Rosary's Italian Street Festival!!!

This year we ate: lasagna, spaghetti & meat balls, bread sticks, salad, a meatball sub, more bread sticks, chocolate cake, cannoli and many, many, many Peroni.

We danced. A Lot. In fact I don't think Sophie held still once all night. She DID manage to pour half a bottle of water all over both my mom and my dad in two separate flooding incidents, but due to the 90+ degree heat, everyone dried pretty quickly...

All the usual suspects were there, sans Sr.Rita who was off recovering from hip surgery, so my menu was sadly lacking in Kojacks. Other than that? A perfect night...

And this year...because our evening out landed on Mr. Man's actual sixth birthday...we even rode the teacups. So I'm practically mom of the year. Because I really hate those things.




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