Saturday, July 30, 2011

7 links on a sunny Saturday

Hey y'all kids, it's Latin time!
So listen to my little rhyme...

No, not really.  Back in college I wrote that special song for my future-hubby's roommate to use during a Latin project.  You're super impressed, aren't you?  I can see it in your face!  Anyway, I've been torturing my actual kids by saying that at least once an hour for the past four days.  Hoping I can pass on the earworm and save us all the agony of hearing me holler it even a single time in the future.

So.  Sorry.  Where was I?  Ah, yes....Jackie at Blueberries for Me!  She tagged me in this snazzy meme called 7 links.  Now, I'm not super sure what the heck a meme is, but basically I think I'm supposed to answer the questions with links from my blog.  I'm a detective like that.  Again, be impressed.

Anyway, my poor darling husband is ill today and the kids are running around like lunatics and so instead of writing a post about that and boring you all to tears, I'll regale you with....

Friday, July 29, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday: Darn It Sauce, my foot hurts

I crack my knuckles...on my fingers AND my toes.  Hah!  And you thought you wanted to know more about me!  Better not ever ask me about my shoulder trick, by the way.  

Anyway, so I'm all flustered-like because yesterday I DROPPED A DRESSER DRAWER FULL OF CLOTHES onto my right foot (I'm smooth like that) and today, every time I try to crack my toes, it feels almost just like it did that one summer when I broke four bones in the other foot.

Dude, what if I broke my foot?  That would be so lame.  Get it????  Lame???  I kill me!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Homeschool Prep 102- In which we do NO prep whatsoever

So pretty much we're homeschooling next year?  Is that right? 'Cause at the rate I'm "preparing" it seems unlikely to actually work out.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not sending them to school.  We just probably won't be ready to do any actual "school" until, say, May of 2017.  That's cool, right?  I mean, like, they could just graduate from high school when they're in their 40s can't they?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: The Best Deal in History

1 enormous table...

3 (three!) separate removable leaves...

Frugal Folk: Click Here for Awesome!

I have failed as a mother.  Or I had been until today, of course, when I realized my sins and made reparations. And I think I've been forgiven.  You see, until today, my kids had never....brace yourselves!...had never actually had the good fortune of patronizing a Goodwill store.


It's truly an atrocity.  I get a little choked up just thinking about it...

Monday, July 25, 2011

New Before and After Pics and a WINNER!

Oh, you would think it would be done.  You would think we'd be having our first dinner party in there by now.  But no.  No.  It's just....not done.  BUT, a good portion is and I think it's high-time for a little before and after action!  Presenting the south side of our den/playroom, a progression from day 1 to today....

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Semi Silent Sunday- painting the den

Whose idea was it to stop all other projects and plans and reading and writing and eating and paint the den/playroom?  Didn't she stop to realize that those rooms comprise more than 25% of the entire house?  Whoever she is, she obviously failed to realize that there are four children who live here too.  Or she's a glutton for punishment.  Probably both.  Coming up on 48 hours and just barely halfway finished.

I think I can. I think I can. I think I can....

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Friday, July 22, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday: Miracles, Snakes, and Wine Tasting

Do you believe in miracles?  If reading this blog thus far has not yet encouraged you to say "Yea verily, miracles are in fact possible for these poor saps hath survived their own foolishness!" then today is your lucky day.  Today, there has been a true miracle.

Oh yes, a miraculous miracle.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What the Kids are Saying: The cracking up edition

Sometimes the things my child says still take me by surprise, even after all these years.  I've finally regained my composure long enough to wipe the tears of laughter from my eyes so I can share these tasty tid-bits with all of you...

"Please mama, please have to PROMISE you won't get mad..."

About what? What could a 10 year old with a conscience of steel who spends almost every waking moment with her parents, have to confess?  I brace myself.

"...if I grow up and become a famous author and end up writing a genre you don't like."


"If an apple was wearing an apron it would say 'Kiss The Cooked.'  Get it?  CookED?  COOKED?  I know, right?!?!?"


"I have so many ideas and start so many projects, but I hardly ever finish any of them.  I just get another good idea before the last one is done.  At this rate, I feel like I'll never get any of the jobs I really want.  I'll end up just doing odd jobs.  You know, like sweeping up after the circus."


"Hey.  Are you writing about me?  Wait.  Now you're writing what I'm saying now.  And now you're doing it again!  Fine, tell all your friends, but make sure they don't steal any of my ideas.  Also, I need to read that as soon as you publish.  Gotta make sure you don't make me sound too deluded."

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Homeschool Prep 101

Wow.  The support and feedback we've received regarding our big homeschooling announcement has been nothing short of amazing.  The comments, the emails, the phone calls....the community response has been wonderful and uplifting.

Thank you.  THANK YOU!

Of course, now all we can think about is this new adventure.  It has made us look at and think about our current adventure in a different way.  Not "we better milk this summer for all its worth" or "well, when the girls go back to school we'll have to....".  Our whole way of thinking has changed.  Our plans are new and exciting.  To be totally honest, we're a little giddy.  Giddy, I tell you!

In addition to the advice and information from experienced homeschoolers (which I am incredibly thankful for and will accept at any time, thankyouverymuch!) many of you who are discerning whether or not homeschooling is right for your family, or are planning to homeschool sometime in the future, have expressed an interest in following along as all this unfolds.  And since this is the beginning, what better time to start than now?

First, if you'd like to read my very first discernment post entitle Confessions of a Wannabe Homeschooler , it might help to know that you're not alone in your questions and concerns.  Maybe we have more in common than you think!

Okay, onto what's happening now...

What I've Been Reading
Michigan is extremely homeschooler friendly.  We didn't know that when we moved here, but God is super clever and has choreographed out all sorts of wonderful "coincidences" in our lives, so this one just isn't that surprising to us in retrospect.  I share this with you because it'll help you to understand why, despite the fact that we live in a very highly-rated school district, our parish is rife with spectacular homeschooling families, some of whom have been instrumental in giving us the confidence to make this leap.

What does this have to do with reading, you ask?  Patience, my friend!  I'm getting to that right now.  One of my fellow parishioners, whose brain I decided to pick during doughnut time after mass a few weeks ago, asked me if I had read Elizabeth Foss' book Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home.
When she discovered I hadn't (after shedding a silent tear inside, I'm sure) she promptly insisted I borrow it from her....along with half a dozen other wonderful homeschooling books from her collection.

If any of you has read this book and know me or went to UD, your reaction to my reaction is probably going to be something along the lines of "Well, duh!" but I'm gonna go ahead and say it anyway: My goodness, I just love this woman.  I love her interpretation and implementation of Charlotte Mason.  I love her appreciation for family and living books.  And of course, I applaud, cheer, do a mental jig at her insistence that people come up with their own ideas.

Books!  Ideas!  Nature walks!  Books!  Art!  Music!  Books!

I'm smitten.

What We've Ordered
I've not planned everything out yet (I know.  It's been several HOURS since we finally made our decision.  What is wrong with me???), but I already know that I will not be purchasing a formal curriculum for these grade levels.  But I did, at the request of my dear children, hop on board with the Top Secret Adventures Club from Highlights Magazine.  Basically it's like "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego", but there are multiple villains who you chase through different countries by finding clues hidden in word and critical thinking puzzles.

The advanced learners program at their school used these and Katie LOVED them.  Because she only got to go to that class once a week last year, they only made it through one country, but now that she'll be able to solve the mysteries seven days a week, something tells me we'll manage to get through a lot more this year!  They cannot wait for the first country packet to arrive.  Japan.  "In only 4 more weeks, mom!  Ohmygosh!  It's gonna be here soon!  Can I be the one to check the mail?  Can I?  Can I????????"

What We're Making
Alright.  I saw this totally adorable and "easy to make" alphabet mat online and I was all "this looks so easy!" and the girls were all like "yeah!" and I was all like "let's make it and we can teach Paul to spell!" and they were all like "double yeah!".  And wow.  I will have to do a post all about our efforts because "easy" is apparently a relative term.  As in "This is easy relative to sewing an elaborate wedding gown for the Duchess of York".  This is about how far we've gotten:
It is going to be so cute and fun and we are GOING TO finish it soon, but it better seriously get the boy to the National Spelling Championships for the amount of time we've put into it.  Sheesh!

So there you have it.  Phase 1.1 of operation Borobia Academy (not its real name.  Pretty much I'm not planning on giving it a name.  Should I?  Feel free to weigh in on that.  Or anything else for that matter).  As always, your advice and suggestions are encouraged!

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Big Announcement

"I know more about science from beer brewing and using that kiln and forging that knife than I ever learned in a classroom."

When my husband was 14, he brewed his first batch of homemade beer.  For those of you who've never attempted, or witnessed anyone attempt, to brew a decent, drinkable beer, let me assure you that it is no easy task.  There is chemistry involved.  Lots and lots of chemistry.  Have you met Chemistry?  He is no joke.  I mean, you can't even guess at Chemistry.  I love guessing.

Then, when he was 16, he built a kiln AND a forge in his suburban backyard.  Not on the same day.  He remembers a night that he was firing some of his own ceramics in his homemade kiln, drinking a 20 oz. of home brewed stout and smoking a cigar.  In his parents' backyard. When he was still in high school.

The man is talented and interesting and fearless.  He speaks seven languages.  He can make creme brulee.  He prepared his first full meal for his family, a real meal in the kitchen, when he was in middle school.  Middle. School.

Can we all please just take a moment to conjure up all the middle school boys we've met in our lives?  If you're a boy, you're welcome to recall your own days as a middle schooler.  Okay, I think we're all on the same page now.  A page of shock and incredulity for most of us I'm sure!

He went on to graduate as valedictorian of his high school class.  He was awarded a full scholarship to our selective, rigorous University.  And you know what?  He hated school.

He hated school.

He knew how to read before he even got there and he learned most of what he needed to know at home with his five siblings, or at FFA with his fellow adventurous friends, or by reading books on subjects that interested him.  He and his sister built elaborate GI Joe-meets-Ewok villages using pulleys and other simple machines.  He was not badly behaved.  He never got in trouble.  He was just miserable.  Those walls and those hallways only served to stifle what he was capable of achieving.

Now before I go on, let me assure you that I am not against schools as a whole, either public or private.  Tommy's mom was a public school teacher for decades.  His younger sister and his older brother are both in public education as we speak.  At least one of my cousins and countless dear friends and readers are all teachers.  Teaching is a vocation.  Teachers are necessary.  Public schools are a necessity.

Because not every child has parents who will allow him to brew beer and build a kiln and forge a knife in their backyard.  Not every child has parents who will read to them or who will let them make a mess of the dinner table creating something magical for their siblings.  Not every child even has parents to ask.  For them and so many others, public schools and committed, brave teachers are a true blessing.

When my oldest daughter started kindergarten, my husband and I were both working full time.  We lived in a small second story condo with no yard.  Homeschooling was simply not an option for us.  There was no inkling in my mind or in my heart.  There was no "someday".  There was no "what if".  There was simply: this is how it's going to be.   And then my second daughter started kindergarten.  And we were living in an even smaller apartment, still with no yard.  And I had a newborn.   There was no "someday".  There was no "what if".  There was simply: this is how it's going to be.  I wasn't sad about it.  I didn't WANT to homeschool.  They went to public school and we were all happy.

So when I share with you Tommy's experience, it's only to tangibly illustrate that not everyone learns the same way.  Different people thrive in different environments.  Whether it was because he was the fifth of six children, or because his parents let him blaze his own trail (probably more out of necessity than out of design, but the positive results were still there), or maybe just because of how he is wired, his most fulfilling learning happened of his own accord, at his own pace, outside the classroom.

So now here we are.  We have a big house.  (Big for us, that is.  Way bigger than our last house.  More than we dared to even dream of back in our southern California condo days.)  We have this property.  My husband and I are both working from home.  We've got chickens and dogs and a garden and a quiet dirt road outside our front door.  We have a pond and a tire swing and an old barn filled with forgotten treasures.  We have the space, we have the time.  And now....well, now I can hear the calling.

You see, when my kids go to school, they're missing all this.  And when they go to school, I am missing them.  When they spend only a few hours awake together per day, they lose track of their affection for one another.  They forget their inside jokes.  They become less a part of each other and more a part of each others' scenery.  Their days and weeks slip away under the demands of their classrooms.  Our evenings are spent preparing for the next day spent away.  For years it was exactly what we needed. And now it's exactly what we don't.

The last four weeks have been spent decompressing.  Reassessing.  Getting to know each others' rhythms as though we've just been reunited after a long absence.  And the more we get back to being us, together, the more we remember just how funny she is and how interesting she is and how difficult it is to compromise on certain things but how important and fulfilling it is to learn how and that we can.  For us, right now, at this stage in our lives, this is right.  Together is right. 

On Friday, July 15th, we made the final decision as a family to give homeschooling a real try.  And let me tell you....the moment the last "okay" slipped from the last child's precious lips, the cheers were tumultuous!  There was leaping and hugging and running and chattering.  Then list making and web searching and giggles and grins.  And of course, we wondered why it had taken us so long to finally commit to the notion.  But at the same time we knew that the appreciation we were all feeling for the final decision having been made was made possible by the fact that we had prayed and discussed and what iffed and discerned together.

We decided together.  We're in this together.

Hip Homeschool Hop Button

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Making our first batch of jam

In case you are under the impression, from all my huzzah-ing and woohoo-ing, that my children do not bicker or disagree or say ridiculous things to each other just for the sake of causing an argument, let me assure you that THEY DO.  Because, like, they are humans.  Very different humans.  Not "different" like "Wow, so unusual!  Someone should do a study on them!".  Just different from each other.  And during these magical weeks since our first real Michigan summer vacation started, I have learned, or re-learned, that the best way to keep peace in this house is tasks.  Lots and lots of tasks.

Sometimes the tasks are inocuous (Hey, can you go put this book back on the bookshelf?); sometimes they are loathsome (Under your bed and in your closet really are parts of your room.  So yes, they have to be clean too!); and sometimes they are the lovely, glorious things that I share with you here.  Lovely and glorious things like making jam for the very first time out of the black raspberries that grow wild on our property.

With the help of a great new blog find, Food in Jars (thanks for the recommendation, Jordan!) we were able to make an entire batch in less than two hours.  Much less.  Our only modification was to ignore the last bits about canning properly in favor of making freezer jam.  But guess what?  The jam was so hot and we had put the jars through the hottest dishwasher cycle to disinfect them "just in case" that the lids done de-poppified themselves anyway.  So now we have real preserves that don't have to be kept cold!  ACCIDENTAL WINNING!

Just check out this gorgeous finished product:
click to watch snazzy photo slideshow of the entire jammin' process
If you'd like to take a gander at our handiwork, feel free to click right there ^ for quick pics set to jaunty flamenco guitar music.  It'll be fun, I swear!

Oh, and I have to throw out this little teaser: we've made a very important, exciting decision at la casa Borobia which we are uber stoked (grown ups talk like that, right?) to share with you.  Very soon.  As soon as I finish eating this jam with a spoon and washing it down with this Cabernet Sauvignon.  Hah!  Just kidding.  Everyone knows that when you are spooning preserves straight from the jar, you wash them down with Riesling. 

EDIT: if you would like to win your very own little jar of Black Raspberry goodness, (*prepared in a home kitchen not inspected by the Michigan Department of Agriculture*.) say so in your comment and you'll be entered to win!  Selection will be made at 9 p.m. EST next Saturday, July 23rd.  And you do need to live in the U.S. to win (mama can't be sendin' no food overseas).

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Friday, July 15, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday: Summer is the Awesomest!

Y'all ready for this?

p.s. If you are reading this in a reader and cannot see this Friday-tastic video, please click over for guaranteed fun times!

With an opener like that, I better come up with something good, right?  Well here's something: My 15 month old daughter was singing "Friday" today.  The Rebecca Black "Friday".  That crazy, annoying, ear-worm "Friday".  You guys: she doesn't even speak English yet!  How is it that she was singing that?  And hopping around?  Oh yes.  I remember now.  Because she's crazy.

Speaking of crazy, Let's go CRAZY!! in 2011 is an amazing post by one of my favorite bloggers in all of bloggy land.  Technically this was her New Years post, but a message like this is good ANY time you need a little inspiration to seek out and follow God's calling even if you and everyone else thinks it's CRAZY!!  Double exclamation point crazy!

On the day of our 1 year Arrive-aversary, the kids and I jaunted over to our farmer's market and picked up some things for a special dinner.  One of those delicious things was homemade garlic mozzarella cheese which we served with tomatoes and basil from our garden (basil from our garden.  not tomatoes from our garden....yet!).  It was fantastic and felt decadent, but was still way cheaper than if we had gone somewhere to eat.  Winning all around!
p.s. as a side note, the very name of the town in which this particular cheese was prepared precluded it from our house-hunting adventures so many moons ago, much in the same way that I refused to attend any college called Colgate (toothpaste) or Vanderbilt (perfume).  I do believe this is the Superpages listing, if you are so inclined.  But don't say I didn't warn you.

There have been so many days this summer that my girls have said "This is one of the best days of my life!".  And not because we've gone somewhere fancy or purchased them something they've been pining for.  'Cause y'all know we ain't got no Benjamins.  Or more accurately: very few Benjamins.  This is just the first summer that we've all been together.  No chauffeuring back and forth to 14 different day camps or saying good-bye to daddy at 6:30 a.m. as he heads out the door to work.  We are just being.  Together.  It has been so calming and eye-opening.  That we really do get along better when we spend more time together, not less.  Which means that maybe God DID know what he was doing after all when he made us a family.  He is so smart, folks.

On the topic of Benjamins, it would not be sad if we acquired a few more of them sometime in the near future.  A new guitar is almost finished to sell, but as with most things, there have been more unexpected hurdles to overcome and it is not quite ready.  Which means we can't sell it.  Which means the Benjamins are sitting tight elsewhere.  So, if you have an extra moment, even right now, to send up a little prayer for my dear husband (who I KNOW is stressing out but is doing an excellent job of staying calm for our sake) that he is able to find peace while he completes this project, I would be oh so super-de-duper thankful.  And so would he, of course.  Actually, I will just thank you in advance.  THANK YOU!!!!!

There's always some kinda makin' going on 'round these parts.  My big girls, who can be quite tenacious (where they could have gotten such a trait I simply DO NOT know.  Ahem. *cough, cough*) followed me around the house all day the other day politely and incessantly asking if I would kindly go out to the barn and dig up my beading supplies.  And because I wanted to be able to take a bathroom break without one of them standing outside the door making this request, I went out there and did it.  And look what they made!

Finally, so that you know I am foolish fool, I will admit that I made dentist appointments for all 4 of my children on the same day.  As in- the appointments are on the same day...all in a row.  4 appointments in a row for 4 children, two of whom posses nary a trace of reasonable decision-making skills.  What is wrong with my brain?  Clearly I need to rethink my no-sleep strategy.

Have a fab weekend, friends!

Oh, and if you have any good jam making recipes or tips, can you please link or send them?  We've got a berry situation up in here, for realz ( HouseUnseen {at} gmail {dot} com )

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Happy 1 Year Arrive-aversary

Yesterday we celebrated our 1 Year Arrive-aversary. 

(See how I capitalized those letters right there?  'Cause it's a real holiday now.  Go ahead and take a moment to do a happy dance, especially any of you lucky government employees who get every single holiday off, like Veteren's Day.  Or Flag Day.  Now Annual Arrive-aversary Day.  You're welcome!)

Can you even believe it?  It has already been a year and I cannot believe it has only been a year.  You know what I mean?  So much...SO MUCH has happened that I can't believe we crammed it all into a single year, yet at the same time it seems like just the other day that we first walked through those doors.

(p.s. If you haven't read the post [well, mostly you just have to look at pictures] Has Mike Tyson Ever Punched you in the Gut? about the first time we walked through the house, now would be an excellent time to take a quick gander.  Brace yourself.)

Despite our seemingly hopeless situation, and I can assure you that we only barely resisted falling into despair at times, I am now sitting at a real table, typing on a real laptop using a real high-speed internet connection in my real, air conditioned house.  My bigger children are playing make-believe in a real tent in their real play room listening to real music while my baby snacks on a banana in her real high chair, framed by the picture window overlooking our real property.  Outside that beautiful window I can see our real flock of chickens, our truly free-range chickens, feasting happily on the seemingly unlimited bugs and lush greenery available to them.
can you count eight?
In our real kitchen, that former disgusting den of unusability.... sweet girls baked a delicious loaf of real banana bread.

note the stained fingers from picking wild raspberries
And our real garden is growing real flowers and vegetables.

We belong to a wonderful parish , have made truly great friends, have found delicious restaurants, and know how to get where we need to be without even using our GPS anymore.  We got three dogs.  We have a barn.  It's all real.  It worked.  Despite the challenges (which have been many) and the uncertainty (which still looms), the blessings have been so abundant that I can barely contain myself sometimes!  It is a good, good life we live and stretched out before us is so much more good and wonder and adventure that I can hardly wait to see what is waiting for us down that road. 

You know that feeling of waking up in the morning the day after you decide something big, that feeling of butterflies in your stomach and wings on your feet?   I feel that almost every. single. day.  The freedom that comes from putting the worry into His hands and just getting to work is incredible.  And just look at the results!  God is so good and so is this life. 

Happy 1 Year Arrive-aversary, friends.  I can't wait to see what the next 12 months holds!

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Being an Instrument of the Lord

The summer before my junior year of college, before I had fully committed to converting to Catholicism, or rather before I fully realized that I had committed, I got in an argument with a boy who I didn't know.  The details of events leading up to this argument are a little hazy and I'm quite sure that this young man doesn't recall our discussion at all, but there was a pivotal moment during our exchange when I made the startling realization that in my heart I was already Catholic.  The Lord was just waiting patiently for my head to catch up.

You see, this boy who I had only just met was yammering on about things he had no real knowledge of.  His perceptions of the Church had been cultivated not by reading primary texts or researching on his own but rather were given to him by others who had also not done any independent research.  His flawed interpretations had been passed down through generations of people who had all clung to the same flawed interpretations.  But I listened quietly with mild interest and a modicum of incredulity because I could tell he was a talker who very much enjoyed the sound of his own voice and I didn't want to get "involved".

But then he said something derogatory about Mary.  The real Mary.  The Mary who carried our Lord in the safety of her womb.  Who was chosen by God to protect our Savior in His most vulnerable state.  Who was afraid and confused but who agreed anyway.  Who was forced to travel a great distance while hugely pregnant.  Who had to give birth to her very first child not in a sterile hospital or a comfortable inn or in the safety of her own home but rather in a barn.  Surrounded by animals.  She was chosen, of all the women on earth and in all of time, to carry out that most harrowing and glorious of tasks.

That boy dared to take her supreme act of devotion, her pure and gentle heart, and crush it under the heel of his bitterness.  That boy, who didn't know any better, who in fact probably knew much worse, thought he could throw out a few seemingly harmless words of condescension and be met with a nod of approval, or at the very least a blank stare of apathy.  Especially from me.  I mean, I wasn't even Catholic after all.

Neither he nor I was prepared for the wave of righteous indignation that washed over me in that moment.  The ache I felt in my heart knowing that he would never seek to love Jesus with same boundless affection as His mother had, that he would never be able to turn to her for inspiration and strength, that he would instead freely cling to a disdain born of an unwillingness to soften his heart, was almost more than I could bare.

The words tumbled forth from my untrained mouth like water rushing through a broken dam.  Words that I could not have spoken of my own accord even if I had a tried.  Words I can only  attribute to the incredible power of the Holy Spirit.  Those words almost certainly did not change that boy's world but that most certainly did change mine.

If I, a girl who laughed too loud and drank too much, not yet even baptized into the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, sitting in the cluttered living room of an unkempt college apartment, could defend the dignity and absolute holiness of the Blessed Virgin Mary, her incredible place in the very fabric of human history, to a boy I didn't even know, what other miracles did the Holy Spirit have in store for me?  How many more signs did I need?  I needed none. But He in fact had many more.  And my life has been miraculous and unbelievable ever since.

If He can work those miracles in me, a selfish, petty, insignificant person who is most certainly unworthy of any special consideration, I ask you: what miracles can He work in you?  How many more signs do YOU need?

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Monday, July 11, 2011

What We Made

Remember a few weeks ago when I told you about that zero dollar shirt we made out of an old torn dress?  And how I couldn't tell you about what else we made with parts of that old dress because they were presents for people who read this blog?  Admit it....I know you've been losing sleep wondering what we made and pining, just PINING, for photographs of our project!  Right?  Okay fine, not so much.  But I'm regaling you anyway, because it is Monday, and I am on a cleaning spreeeeeeeeee (I know.  Can you even believe it?  I'll be a Proverbs 31 woman yet I tell you!) and do not have the mental capacity to delve into any of  the deeper topics swirling around in my tiny, overworked brain.

First of all, can I just tell you how proud I am of my girls?  They have very different personalities and definitely have their share of disagreements, but when they set out to learn something new and achieve a goal, they are really good at just putting those little shoulders to that crafty grindstone.

Alright, even though I know you hang on every word in this world-altering blog and have memorized every photo and every phrase, I will still provide you with this picture of the "before" know, as a little reminder, just in case you (ahem) "forgot":
The top we made into a shirt (as you'll recall, of course) and the bottom was combined with this unfinished skirt (also scrounged up from my half-completed projects/fabric stash)... create this totally adorable apron!  Which is badly in need of ironing!  Ironing is lame!

And because we were celebrating the birthdays of TWO sweet girls, and were so inspired by the ease of the apron making project, we just went ahead and made another one...

(you'll note that the mannequin is wearing a shirt in this second set of photos because my dear Katie thought it would be more "appropriate".  I do love her so.)

If you are looking for an uber-easy, no-pattern sewing project, the only thing I can think of that would easier than these aprons would be....I don't, a pillow case or something.  Seriously.  So easy and totally useful.  Okay, useful if you cook, which I don't.  BUT it's still sometimes fun to pretend.  Who doesn't like costumes, I ask you?  No one, that's who.

Happy sewing, friends!

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Friday, July 08, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday: And they're actually quick!

My quick takes are hardly ever quick.  That should tell you a little something about the astounding amount of gum-flapping I do on a daily basis.  So, in the spirit of challenges and constant improvement, today I'm going to commit to saying no more than three sentences about each thing.   No, seriously!

Deep breathe (you can DO this, dweej!)...

My 9 year old stapled her hand yesterday.  It was right in the middle of her palm, you guys!  Do your children do ridiculous things that have no good explanation whatsoever?

Speaking of children, whose idea was it to give this one the entire yogurt container?  Her mother is clearly a masochistic fool.  Gaw.

  Is this a rooster?

 Because this is definitely a hen...
I mean, it did try to crow the other day...but it has no spurs on the back of its legs and seeing as I don't want it to be a rooster, I am still in denial hopeful about the whole situation.
This is the road we live on.  I know.  I KNOW!!!!

Remember these mystery flowers from April?

They turned out to be oodles of fancy-rific day lilies.

Yes, I am pretty proud of my mad flower arrangin' skillz.

And look at what else is growing: wild blackberries!


Don't worry, though...we've made sure to combat any inherent healthiness by putting them on top of delicious, full-fat ice cream.  Yummers.

One year ago today we packed up the last of our stuff into our silver min-van and drove out of California.  It was a scary, exciting, incredible, surreal day.  Happy 1 year move-aversary, my crazy family! 

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