Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Happy Birthday Me

I was going to do this big post about the year behind me and the year ahead. Things I've learned. All the growing and progressing on my life's journey.

Nah. I'll just share a pretty picture from the yard. ;-)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Penny wise and Pound foolish---my March recap

(Banana bread given to us by husband's coworker. A lovely gesture to help me get back into a simple living frame of mind.)

My attempt to stop buying newly manufactured goods this year is not only going bust, but I seem to be buying more stuff than ever! I'm buying new and used stuff; needs, wants and whims. So far (hey, the month isn't over just yet) here's a recap:

-A tree, not a simple sapling, but a large, expensive maple tree.
-New DVR to go with the digital cable that we don't need either.
-A toy garbage truck for Nathan (husband's idea as a reward for completion of potty training.)
-Used German encyclopedia for the kids.
-New German language learning kit for the kids.
-New thermometer for the kids, because the new digital thermometers don't seem to work very long; I know mercury is bad, but at least it worked!
-Pool toys for the kids' Easter baskets.
-Shinguards and track pants for Nathan's soccer.
-Makeup for me (that broke my face out.)
-Khaki's for Zack (couldn't find his size used.)
-Gift and bag for a friend of Zack's.
-New dress shoes for Zack
-Canvases and paint.
-Mulch, composted manure and potting soil.

As I go through this I realize there is a lot more to taking on a commitment like this than I ever imagined. First of all, I must be a better planner if I am to succeed at this. I can't wait for the boys to outgrow their clothes, then try to run out and find something last minute. Second, I must do more things for myself. Third, I must scale down the expectations of birthdays and holidays across the board in this family. Fourth, I really want to bring myself out of the creative doldrum I've been in all winter and start to make better alternatives, such as homemade Easter baskets instead of impulse buys. Lastly, I must stay out of Target. Seriously.

Now, the good side is I've spent under $400 on our groceries this month, which is really good. And yet, we ate out more than I care to say. I think I need a seriously fresh look at the way I'm doing things because this week I spent an hour gleaning $25 worth of good grocery coupons, but continue to spent big bucks on a lot of other stuff I don't need.

I'll never say it's a lost cause, though, and April is a brand new month to get back on my horse.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Birthday Season, continued...

Yesterday was our celebration for my mother in law's birthday.

A chocolate ganache covered cake is the best way to enchant a little Austrian lady on her birthday. Can you believe this pretty little cake my brother in law got her? If you're local, you can get this at Piece of Cake!

Yours truly, sporting mojito-induced blush.

The boys were so good! We had lunch at the Columbus Fish Market, which really is pretty nice, and they were perfect well dressed gentlemen.

A little card I put together for my mother in law. She is mad for "Maria Antonia." (Marie Antoinette was from Austria, ya know?) All in all it was a nice event. It's always a mad dash to try to get through all the birthdays in March, but this one was very relaxed.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

We survived spring break at home

Because we are taking a big "wow" vacation later this year to see that silly mouse in Florida, there are no other trips on the docket this year. On top of that, because the husband got a promotion, which is awesome, he found himself unable to stay home with us for spring break.

Thus I was left to find ways to entertain and amuse the boys.

It was easier than I expected.

Basically I quizzed them about things they would like to do, plus we had a few things we had planned, such as seeing their Oma and celebrating birthdays. Other things happened by chance, like the weird snowfall on Friday.

One day we had a playdate with two friends of Zack's. We had them over for 5 hours; the other moms thought I was nuts for sure. Here's what kept 4 boys amused for 5 hours:
-A very large bin of my husband's old super-tiny Legos.
-One pizza, ordered with a coupon, pitcher of lemonade, and melon slices for dessert.
-a roll of drawing paper and buckets of crayons, markers and pencils.
-a stack of movies from the library and another bowl of fruit.

One afternoon, they painted on canvas, which was really exciting for them because they felt like "real artists."

Sadly I only had two canvases, or I'd have jointed them.

"Mud" by Nathan
"Flying Scotsman" by Zack

Though we did some fun things, most of the best stuff was the unplanned things, like yesterday we went on a spontaneous hike at the nearby metro park. Or the trip to the park with dad. Or the fun with stacks of drawing paper and library books. Or the hours of pretending to be spacemen fighting evil aliens with their space probes.

All told it was a typical week in our house, with equal parts fun and me yelling about the mess. Hopefully they'll remember the good stuff.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


My sister Erin's birthday is 12 days before mine, so we celebrate together.

She's ten years younger than me, so I try to spoil her with an assortment of goodies.

She digs my upcycled gifts, which makes it fun.

We both must have had purple on the brain, because she gave me these beautiful pansies. They smell so sweet that I almost don't want to put them outside.

We've been sharing birthday cakes for many years now.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Snow Covered Spring

Last day of spring break, and the weatherman sent us a couple of inches of snow. Maybe he thought we were missing it a little.

Nathan woke up thinking it was Christmas again.

The boys wanted to sled. I knew there wasn't enough snow on the ground for it, but I indulged them. The walk outdoors in the sunshine was good for all of us.

It was kind of nice to enjoy the white stuff again. Especially considering that it's almost melted this afternoon, and by Thursday we'll be back up in the 60's.

I love to see how pretty everything is in our little nook.

The first peek of daffodils, covered in snow, but I think they will rally.

Signs of spring are all around!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A sweet activity for spring break

Today we took the free tour at the Anthony Thomas Candy Company. It was really cool to look down from an observation deck and see all that delicious chocolate in big copper pots. I also dig that it's a family owned company, and most of the employees have been there for decades. And at the end, they give you a free Buckeye! Yum!

The boys were a bit rambunctious through the whole trip, but I think they enjoyed it. They also enjoyed Oma saying they could each pick whatever they wanted from the candy store. I learned something today: "All Day" suckers don't last all day.

Mother in laws don't seem so very "mother-in-lawish" when they tell you to pick out whatever you want from the candy store too.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring is here!

And not a minute too soon, either! I now see that I have been suffering from garden withdrawal. The first day of gardening is always an impossible chore...there is so much to do that we were only able to make a dent. But at least all the vital things are done. Spring break will be busy cleaning up our property, planting early crops, prepping containers, pruning a broken bush, you name it. Hurray!

Feeling like myself again.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Window Dreaming

On the eve of spring, on this sunny, 65 degree day, I can't go outside. Must keep the lads healthy and hydrated and generally amused while they get over the strep. That's okay; I shall forge ahead with the spring cleaning indoors, and plot the spring garden. Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Scrapbook pages

Just to keep the mojo going with posting, I finally finished some layouts that have been sitting unfinished all winer. Plus we have strep here (both boys, ugh) so I was too busy taking temperatures to go outside and take pictures on this gorgeous sunny day. Plus I desperately need to infuse my life with color again!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Making the best of it on St. Patrick's Day

I have to start this off by saying that it is easy for people who blog to make like life is beautiful and rosy all the time, so I will start by saying that this hasn't been the best day, and I've spent most of it in more or less a state of pissed-off-ness.

See, St. Patrick's day used to be one of my favorite days of the year. The wearin' of the green and the going to the local Irish pub to catch some good live music and dark beer with a girlfriend was the order of the day before marriage. Now that's amended to making a dish that involves cabbage and potatoes, washed down by the dark beer, and maybe baking some soda bread and listening to the Cheiftans all day. But today I just felt likepunching leprechauns. I felt frustrated because everyone's been sick and grouchy, and when you're the mom, you're the last to recover from the family "ick." Then the husband realized he'd promised his mom he would help her with a power point presentation, so no big dinner. I forgot the Bailey's and Irish stout (one or the other; I got neither.) And a step on the scales this morning let me know that neither beer nor soda bread would be a great thing right now.

I was so down, I didn't even feel like forcing my kids to watch Riverdance. And nobody felt like doing any crafts or anything.

I was feeling hassled by everything, including toys all over the place. (Though don't you think it's interesting that my 4 year old must have everything symmetrical and color coordinated while building with blocks? Yeah, me too.) I was also irritated at feeling like I can never get projects done anymore.

After getting involved in several chores I didn't want to do, and a toy searching mission before my first cup of coffee (grrr) I grabbed my baskets of pretties and my suitcase of fabric and my determination to have some "me time" and settled in to work on a project I've wanted to do forever, but let St. Paddy's day be my inspiration.

I had good company; and he didn't seem to actually mind in the slightest.

And Ta-Da! Okay it's not entirely finished, but I wanted to get the photo up today. This is an apron I made of completely recycled materials: a vintage pillow case, a lacy hanky for the pocket, and vintage rick-rack, all from the thrift stores, and a couple of scraps from an old quilting project. That and I even dusted off the embroidery hoop. I think it's coming along just fine. I also laid out the items for another apron I am making out of an old canvas bag and some scraps. None of this is my idea; just pulling inspiration from the internet and magazines.

Anyway, it's great what a little infusion of creativity, and a sunny walk to school to pick up the elder boy, will do for one's mood.

I might even tell husband not to come home without some Irish beer.