"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Clean Sweep

Thank goodness I have this little helper to sweep the floor. What would I do without him?

He's totally obsessed with the broom for some reason.

Look, you can sorta see his darling little front teeth. Oh, this boy makes me smile.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Should Have Known Better

...and, YES, that would be ME coming down with the flu. Just hours after posting about how I was the only one that missed out on all the flu-time fun, it hit me like a freight train. It was lovely ladies and gentlemen.

I'm just now coming around to the land of the living. There are still some pots and pans in my kitchen sink from Sunday that I haven't had the energy to wash. (SOOOO Grody, I know.) The laundry is piled sky-high. I had to go to the store this morning because we were out of.. everything. The entire house is a disaster. I still can't really breathe. BUT I'm feeling much better now.

I have to be completely honest here, there was one day there that I'm not sure I was a competent parent. Presidents Day. The kids were all home from school and I could not get out of bed. I'm confident that the television was on the entire day. Good thing we only have PBS. They ate cold cereal every time they were hungry. When I finally emerged, every bowl in the house was on the counter filled with bits of really soggy cereal and pools of milk. The house looked like a bomb had hit. It was probably a blessing that Rylan was sick at the same time. He just hung out in my bed with me all day and slept a lot.

It will likely take me a few days to climb out of this hole and get my bearings again, but I'm so happy that we are all well once again! Life is great when the family is healthy. I'm really grateful for another 3-day weekend enlist my children in hard manual labor! [Insert evil laugh here]

I hope everyone else is surviving the winter Blegh! season. I have a camera full of things I intended to blog last week. I don't remember what any of them are, but hopefully in the next few days I'll get around to it... (But if I don't, I'm sure you'll understand why.)

Friday, February 18, 2011

This Week in Numbers

5 - Sick people at my house. All but me.
6- Bottles of Tylenol consumed this week for fevers, headaches, and general influenza symptoms. 2- Junior Strength, 1- Infant, 2-Childrens, 1 Extra-Strength Adult (though the entire bottle was not consumed).
6 - the number of gigantic green smoothies I have consumed so far this week. (I think I'm claiming them as my reason for not getting sick.)
8 - The number of days of school Mason has missed this month due to being sick.
3- The days of school Ellorie missed this week.
16- the number of math worksheets completed at my kitchen table last night.
14 - Times I had to get up out of bed last night to help various sick children.
8 - the AVERAGE amount of times I have had to get up out of bed to help various children this week. No exaggeration.
.01 - The number of dinners consumed by children at my house last night. I think Mason took one bite of a noodle.
5- The number of total and complete meltdowns by Averie yesterday. (It's best not to elaborate. Though I will say that the ornery, grumpy, mean, and nasty behavior AFTER the illness is much worse than the actual illness.)
247- The number of times I have washed my hands this week. Thank goodness for cold-processed soap.
19- the number of "sicky" blankets that now need to be washed.
3- boxes of tissues, completely consumed.
1- Made up word, used by Ellorie to describe something very, very big: Hugiamong (Like huge + giant + humongous.) It made me laugh.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Viral Valentine

We are sick.

Rylan and I aren't (yet). Just everyone else. Influenza, I think. Though Mason already had the flu, so maybe a different strain? Who knows. A virus anyway.

Poor, poor Ellorie was sick Sunday and Monday and had to miss her much-anticipated Valentine's Day party at school. Mason probably should have stayed home, but duped me into letting him go. He came home from school with a fever and directly crashed on the couch. Not so much of a holiday.

We opened our giant heart-shaped mailbox and distributed valentines. The kids read them in silence, smiling occasionally.

Mason gave me ALL of these cute valentines. So sweet.

Averie and Brandon both came down with fevers in the middle of the night. We are a lively bunch! Poor Brandon had to go to work this morning anyway. Tax season knows no illness. Last year a guy at the office got Foot and Mouth disease and brought it to the office. Nice.

So last night, instead of a nice V-day dinner, I made homemade chicken noodle soup. With heart-shaped carrots. I had to throw in SOMETHING valentine related, right?

I hope your Valentine's Day was more cheerful than ours!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine Gifts

When my baby sister was here we crafted and made some Valentine gifts. I was threatened within an inch of my life should I blog our project before the big day. But today, my friends, is Valentine's Day. Time to share!

We made felted pincushions out of wool sweaters. It was such a fun and labor-intensive project. I think we spent at least 8 hour making these babies. I love the way they turned out.

They are surprisingly sturdy and stable. Kelsey is the master of rolling up the felt. The sweaters we picked were awesome. Well, most of them. We found them at a second hand store, but it was really tough to find 100% wool sweaters that were not terribly ugly colors.

Do not attempt this project with sweaters that are not 100% wool, and then make sure it is well felted. (i.e. washed in hot soapy water in a washing machine several times and then dried in a warm dryer.)

Our supplies were 5 felted sweaters, 2 packages of ric-rack, large and small pins (for sprinkles), and needle/thread. We used an entire bottle of fabric glue as well.

It took some trial and error to figure out what to do. There are plenty of images to look at on the internet, if you want to make some of your own. The mugs are my favorite, though the cupcakes are perhaps a bit more practical to use for sewing.

The moral of the story is, do NOT throw away your 100% wool sweaters. Ever. Bring them directly to my house. OR make yourself some felted pincushions if you are so inclined.

Thanks for crafting with me Kels. I probably would have never gotten around to doing this one on my own. Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentine Gum Ball Necklaces

I saw these darling little gumball necklaces ages ago, and decided that Valentine's was the perfect opportunity to put this craft into action. Since buying all the stuff, I have seen the project all over the internets, so it's probably not so "original" anymore. Oh well. I'm posting it anyway.

We decided to make these cute necklaces for all the girls in both Ellorie's and Mason's school class. The boys are just getting a cute little package of gum. I was going to attempt to make something creative for the boys out of gum and ribbon, but no. Not this year.

We have a great place nearby to get discount ribbon, so I scored enough for 30 necklaces for $2. Sweet! I actually had a really hard time finding the gumballs around here. I ended up buying a bulk container of them at Walmart for about $6. It had 680 gumballs, which was way more than I needed, and they were much smaller than I was hoping to find, but it was all I had available. If I ever do this again, I think I'll try to order my gum online ahead of time.

First of all, let me add a disclaimer that this project is NOT as easy as it looks. The gumballs are really brittle and nearly impossible to make holes in with out cracking them. I'll tell you my trick though: Heat up the gum first in a barely warm oven. Make the holes in each side (instead of piercing all the way through), and then - this is the important part- let them cool completely before stringing them on the ribbon. I wrecked a whole lot of gum balls figuring this out. The size of the ribbon, needle, and holes are also important.

Another trick is to use thin rubber gloves to string on the gum. Not only does it keep the gum "clean" , but it makes it much easier to pull the thick ribbon through the holes.

I'm not gonna lie, this project is a pain in the you know what. It took me nearly all day yesterday to finish. I hope they appreciate it... Brandon, my voice of reason, said to me before I started the project, "Uh, you know the kids are just going to eat that gum as soon as they open it and throw the rest away, right?" Yes. I know. That's what they are for. And they did turn out really cute, so I think it was worth it...

Here's the package, as well as the "boys" valentines:

Monday, February 7, 2011

10 Minute Painting Challenge

I painted today. Thanks to my wonderful husband that helped me keep the house clean all weekend. I usually spend Monday working like a slave to get the house back to a reasonable state. This morning I woke to a pristine house and I found myself with some "spare" time for once in a great while. What a breath of fresh air! I put Rylan down for his morning nap, got out some watercolors for Averie, and headed to the "studio" (Otherwise known as the basement.)

Yesterday, I happened upon a painting challenge on an art website I follow. I decided to take today's challenge. The "challenge" was to choose one object and paint it in ten minutes or less. Then repeat the same object until you have the desired amount of paintings.

These are pastel on 5 by 7 inch boards. I posted more about it on my art blog if you want to read about it there. But here are the paintings I finished:

It was really fun. I'm going to try to do this more often.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


When your birthday is the first week of the year, it just keeps giving and giving. Ellorie just got a belated birthday gift last week from her awesome Uncle Shane and Aunt Carlee. It was very cool and I hadn't seen anything quite like it, so I thought I would share.

It's called "Fuzzoodles". It was completely new to me. (But then again, I live in the boonies and don't get out much.) This is what the package looks like:
And this is what you can do with it:

It's sort of like the Mr. Potato head concept, but much more tactile and creative. My kids all love it! You can re-use the pieces over and over again. Such a fun idea.
(Thanks Shane and Carlee!)

Cousin Tucker

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Kelsey Comes to Visit

We don't play favorites, but Aunt Kelsey just might take the title of "Favorite Aunt" if we did. No offense intended to any of our other wonderful sisters/sisters-in-law/aunts/other relatives out there. We love you all!

We were just SO very excited that Kelsey was coming to visit! Especially Averie. (Averie does play favorites. She likes approximately four people on the planet. Her mother is only one of them occasionally. Kelsey is on the top of her list.)

Kelsey is my baby sister. She is hilarious, witty, fun, ridiculously creative, silly, serious, comfortable, kind, cheerful, and she'll tell you if you have broccoli stuck in your teeth. She also comes along with a darling little Yorkshire terrier doggie named Tucker. "Cousin" Tucker is the only thing that Averie likes more than Aunt Kelsey. She has a "Tucker shirt" that she outgrew so long ago it comes closer to fitting Rylan than herself. She wears it daily unless I hide it.

Some cool things about Aunt Kelsey:

She will play games with the kids without complaining. Even the really boring, repetitive ones. I'm not sure they realize that she is an adult.

She will stay in her pajamas all day with me while we create crafty things for 8 hours straight. (Pictures of "said" crafts to come soon. No spoilers here.)

She has an infectious laugh and says hilarious things. All the time.

Oh yeah, and Cousin Tucker is her baby.

We had a splendid time! Please come visit again soon.

I really wish she lived closer.
But then again, if she DID live closer, our obsessive crafting may get us in to extreme trouble. More evidence to follow....

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Painting Again

Every so often I fall off the artist wagon. I get so caught up in my mommy "duties" that I sort of forget to be a person. Or an artist at least. One of my new year's resolutions is to get painting again. And to start exercising more regularly (but isn't that everyone's new year's resolution?)

So this week, I started and finished the painting that I promised to the winner of my giveaway WAAAAAAY back in October. I have apologized to her profusely, but again, so sorry Kirsa!

Anyway, here is her painting. I'm mailing it off A.S.A.P.!

Remember to keep an eye out for new paintings on the side bar, or add the art blog to your feed reader. It's www.brittanylaneartwork.blogspot.com. I have a couple more in progress that will hopefully be posted in the coming weeks.

It's Never Too Early...

... for Valentine cookies.

Though, if you are timid about sharing saliva, I don't recommend eating cookies that Averie has frosted.