Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Emergency Harvest

Inspired by my buddy Monica, without whom I'd be clueless to the fact that we have a frost warning tonight! BTW check the bumper eggplant crop. Hopefully the few winter squash that made it will hang in there a few more weeks.

The compost corner

Pumpkin #2, still has a bit of green on it.

Lettuce is the smartest, easiest thing I grew this summer, and it is loving the cold weather. Salads tomorrow!

Get a load of all these peppers! Plus there were a couple dozen green tomatoes. The tomatoes were a bit of a disappointment, but hey my garden was awesome this summer. I have zero complaints. Now it's time for ratatouille and "Lacho." Lacho is a dish that my husband's mom always made: you basically cook up some keilbasa, smoked sausage or Bahama Mama of your choice, and add to it in a big cookpot lots of chunked up tomatoes (canned, if necessary,) green bell peppers, onions, and garlic. Serve in a giant bowl with cooked rice. It is basically easy and wonderful. Oh and the leftovers are awesome too.

Dining room reclamation, our own little Oktoberfest, and the last day of September

The cooler air has me uplifted and inspired. I was celebrating the orange and copper theme of year of color today, basically looking for anything orange to photograph.

The scarecrow gets his yearly outing.

I finally cleared out all of my craft items and thrift store treasures from the dining room! Doesn't fall just put you in the mood for that kind of thing?

Now the office looks like the dining room. Soon I will begin the process of really, truly making a nice workspace for myself. Until then, I'm still crafting on 10 inches of workspace, lol.

One orange craft item I made this month, inspired by the really hip art over on http://janesapron.typepad.com/

Back cover of the notepad.

A canvas I did, hanging in our tv room fits the orange and copper theme.

Zack gathered leaves to photograph. Aye, what have I started?

Homemade applesauce cooking on the stove.

Getting good use of our cast iron skillet with some potato pancakes.

Our "little Oktoberfest" meal, complete with Reisling.

One of my favorite guys.

One of my other favorite guys.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Be sure to visit my swap partner!

My goodness I almost forgot to include a link to my Sweet and Sinister swap partner Deb's website, It's All Good. She has heaps of cool ideas and be sure to check out her original artwork as well!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Overwhelmed with my swap goodies

The mail lady brought my Sweet and Sinister swap goodies today.


All I can say is many thanks to my partner Debra, because this lot was unbelievable.


Don't you just love the vintage shoes?

This is nearly all crafted or altered art. It is incredible and was completely unexpected. I don't even know what to say. I am humbled.



Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Solution to the kids' television watching AND helping with chores

In our house we have been having humongous problems with several issues: too much tv, refusal to help with simple family chores, and unwillingness to get ready for school in the morning and bed at night. Utilizing newfound wisdome from the book Positive Discipline, we actually sat down with the boys, mainly Zack, and asked him how could we set up a system to accomplish these tasks. We came up with "TV Tokens" which are basically painted metal juice lids, stored in a coffee can with the rules taped to the side.

Here's how it works:
  • Each token is worth 1/2 hour of television.
  • Tokens are issued for the following: being dressed and ready for breakfast with the bed made, clearing and washing the table and sweeping and swiffering the floor after meals, toys away at the end of the day, and dressed in jammies and ready for bed without being asked twice.
  • Tokens are spent at parents' discretion, ie. we wouldn't let them watch five hours of tv in one day.
  • Shows that are longer than 1/2 hour, such as feature length movies and sporting events must be saved for. For example, a two hour movie requires 4 tokens.
  • As an incentive to keep from watching too much television, extra tokens maybe redeemed for 50 cents each.
  • The most tokens either boy may have at any time is 20. After that, they must redeem them for money or use them up.
The important things husband and I talked about were that 1) this should be fun, therefore we do not take tokens away for bad behavior nor do we "lord it over them" to get them to do something. So if they choose not to do a task, no big deal, they don't get a token. The most we have been doing is giving a gentle reminder: "remember, if you don't earn tokens today, you won't have television privileges tomorrow." 2)We are not adding any other tasks to this in the interest of keeping it simple. Therefore, if it's 5pm and they want Ruff Ruffman, and no one did anything to earn tokens, our response is "oh, that's too bad. Well you have 3 more opportunities to earn tokens this evening, so maybe you'll be able to watch it tomorrow." 3) We understand that our younger son, who is almost 4, doesn't really "get" the token concept yet, but that he will hopefully imitate his brother's behavior. And 4) firmness is key to making this work. If one of us cops out and lets them watch without earning a token, this won't work.

So far we are five days into this, and it's really working. Not perfectly; Zack has already figured out that if he has enough for the upcoming day he doesn't need to do anything. But I have been able to remind him about the $ redemption, and that he could save for a model train this way. And so far Nathan has been following right along with things too. I don't know how long this will last, but I do believe that part of what generated the interest was that we asked for their opinions about how we should handle it. I also like that the privilege of television is tied to responsibility, and that it is giving them an introduction to the world of money-by-proxy. In other words, these boys will be growing up in a world of direct deposits and ATM and credit cards. In a small way, I wonder if the juice-lids might be mimicking this.

Feel free to post your family "systems." What did you do that worked and didn't work ?


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wishful Thinking

Hope. And if that doesn't work, fry them in cornmeal. Wishing blogland a very happy and pleasant Sunday!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sweet and Sinister Sneak Peek

For my swap partner Debra

The goodies are *almost* ready to go!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Orange and Copper Inspiration for September


My first pumpkin! We grew this ourselves! It has a nice green sibling further down the vine that is even bigger now.


September's color inspiration is the oranges and coppers of fall. This little beauty is called a Velvet Queen sunflower and I plan to have them all over my back yard next year.


I actually got started on my inspiration board this time.


I always plant a ton of marigolds from the previous year's seeds, and I always have extra, so if you need marigolds I'm your source. A lot of animals don't like the smell, so if you do a perimeter around your plants it makes a good barrier. I didn't make a barrier this year, and the bunnies and groundhogs worked as a team to chew through the fencing, so basically I had a critter salad bar in my backyard. Definitely I am going back to the marigold perimeter next year!

One handsome bumblebee.

I am so glad fall is here!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

We had a JamTastic weekend!

I sent the men to procure Concord grapes from our fave little roadside stand.

Cooking the jam


Preserving the jam

The jam is now parked right where we need it, by the toaster.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Seven

Seven years ago today I married the greatest guy.


Friday, September 4, 2009

First day of first grade

We are two weeks into first grade. This was Zack's first assignment: to make a paper doll that looks like himself. It was a family project, and even Nathan chipped in a couple of ideas. We had a lot of fun gluing things on and planning what "Little Zack" was going to wear.

Zack on his first day of school (he's been a couple of weeks now.) Good likeness, huh?

A friend and neighbor who took our pic on the first day of school Can't you tell she is a professional photographer?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A thrift store trip and the Law of Attraction

I trolled my favorite thrift, no lie, with the idea in the back of my mind that maybe I would find a craft raven for a Halloween project. Lo and behold, there it was! Hidden in a bag of roosters! Though now I have a bag of roosters that I don't need, but it was under $2, which is less than I'd have paid for a raven in the craft shop. Shows you the universe has a sense of humor.

I also scored a huge amount of fancy gift ribbon, so I basically should never have to buy ribbon again in my whole life, especially considering that most of the time I end up saving the ribbons once the gifts are open anyway.

I also found another vintage pattern. I copy the images to use in collage sometimes. I might start selling them on Etsy. I also found a neat little vintage day dress that fits me great for $2.

The deals are all great, but now I am feeling the need to shore up the finances and make some changes in my habits. I'm starting to notice that I will take darn near any excuse to run to the thrift or craft stores, justifying the expense because I am getting a deal, right? Actually after a summer of thrift store deals and magic Michael's coupons my dining room is overflowing with stuff. I find myself needing to either "craft my way out of the hole" or, horror of horrors, actually get rid of a lot of the treasures I've amassed. Any way you look at it, I know I have packratting tendencies, and those combined with overspending tendencies will lead me astray from our family's real financial goals, being to fully fund IRA's and 529's, pay the house off, and pay cash for everything else, and to raise the kids in a non materialistic way. Well, honestly how can I raise kids not to be materialistic if I'm running out to the stores every other day?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sunflowers for fall

I had to keep replanting these because the animals kept mowing them down. There were a few survivors though, and for that I am grateful.


I planted 3 varieties. This one is the Velvet Queen.

It is peaking right now with this blazing red-orange color.

Russian Mammoth, always my favorite.

A visiting bumblebee stopping by for lunch.

I will leave these up through winter to feed the birds. I mainly see bluejays on them.


This one is called Lemon Queen. I truly loved the pale yellow color and I plan to plant a lot more of these next year. They are small enough to put in bouquets.

Lovely day for an iced tea out back, ey?