The Road Less Traveled…

I have this problem where I have to take something simple and easy and make it much more complicated and difficult.  For example when I made the Princess’s quilt, the first quilt I ever made, instead of following a kit I made my own pattern.  I bought the material on my own and I came up with my own layout.  Now I’m working on a quilt for the Professor and of course, I’m using my own layout again.  Maybe the next quilt, I’ll use kit…maybe.

So when my little Princess asked me if I’d sew her some clothes for her American Girl doll I knew a typical pattern would never do.  The pattern pictures show ill fitting clothes on the front of the envelope.  They all look homemade and really plain compared to the actual American Girl doll clothes.  I’ve made one outfit from the patterns months ago and it just didn’t measure up.  I knew I had to take it up a notch, so I called upon my pattern making skills back from my college days and started creating.  I’m pretty sure my parents didn’t send me to school to make doll patterns for their future granddaughter, but at least it didn’t go to complete waste.

 

I still have much more to do.  My pattern making skills are rusty but they’re coming back to me.  I’m excited to see the finished project and I’m even more excited to give my little girl her new doll clothes on Christmas morning.  I hope they measure up to the ones from the store.

Daddy Says… Smoochies

Our little Milk Monkey is a bit of a handful at times. Sometimes he can be a chubby little ball of terror, and other times, he’s a screech monkey, but through all of that – he’s an adorable little sweetheart.

He is learning to express himself in various ways, he says “Meeeee” when he wants something, while alternately pointing and opening and closing his hands.  He sings along with his favorite songs from The Wiggles, or Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood – and of courses dances along.  But, I have to say, one of the cutest things he does is give “smoochies”.

    

At nighttime as we’re getting him ready for bed, I’ll tell him “Ok little guy, go give Mummy Smoochies!”  And he goes running over with his lips pursed & hums out a big “Mmmmmmm” and gives a big ole kiss on the lips.  It’s the perfect way to say goodnight!

The List

I have a list of books that I created 9 years ago – books that I want to read in my lifetime.  Not all the books are literary fiction, nor are they classics.  Very few are main stream books, at least they weren’t at the time they were added to my list.  Some actually have been turned into movies…Life of Pi, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Lovely Bones to name a few.  Some of the books I added because they were so original – The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse,  and some actually are classics – To Kill A Mockingbird, 1984.

Today I decided to show the Little Professor my book list.  He was really impressed by the idea.  I encouraged him to make a list of his own and he thought it was a great idea.  That, of course, made me smile.

Not every book I read is from my list.  In fact, the majority of books I’ve read have nothing to do with my list.  I’m not sure how to explain what qualifies a book to make the list.  Each book has earned it’s place because something about it spoke to me, whether it’s the title, the description or the author.  Some books I read years ago and added them on my list to read again – The Handmaid’s Tale.  Not every book has started off great, some were very slow going at first but I’ve yet to finish a book and find it not worthy of being read.  I haven’t read every book on the list yet, but I’ve read quite a few of them.

I’d like to share my list with you….

Title Author
Life of Pi Yann Martel
Diary Chuck Palahniuk
Fahrenhiet 451 Ray Bradbury
The Five People You Meet in Heaven Mitch Albom
The Dogs of Babel Carolyn Parkhurst
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell Susanna Clarke
The Know-It-All: One Mans Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World A. J. Jacobs
The Hollow Choclate Bunnies of the Apocalypse Robert Rankin
Brave New World Aldous Huxley
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time Mark Haddon
The Stones of Summer Dow Mossman
Shade Neil Jordan
The Secret Life of Bees Sue Monk Kidd
The Alchemist Paulo Ceollio
East of Eden John Stienbeck
The Catcher in the Rye J. D. Salinger
Grapes of Wrath John Stienbeck
Saint Training Elizabeth Fixmer
Flyboys James Bradley
The Great Divorce C.S. Lewis
Blessings Anna Quindlen
Unless Carol Shields
To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
Great Gasby F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini
Lord of the Flies William Golding
The Time Machine H.G. Wells
The Eyre Affair Jasper Fforde
The Lovely Bones Alice Sebold
The Time Traveler’s Wife Audrey Niffenegger
1984 George Orwell
Water for Elephants Sara Gruen
The Help Kathryn Stockett
The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood
The Chrysalids John Wyndham
The Night Circus Erin Morgenstern
Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy

Daddy Says… Christmas Stroll

Every year, our town has a “Christmas Stroll”.  They close down the main street through the center of town, and various merchants and local organizations put out tables with free goodies for the kids.  There are some that have items for sale as well, and most of them benefit local groups like the Boy Scouts & Girl Scouts or the Lions club.

It only lasts a few hours, but it’s always a popular event and is always pretty busy. It seems most of the town shows up and walks up & down the street, saying hi to friends, old & new.

The kids look forward to it every year, and they were pretty excited when we discovered that the stroll was this weekend.

The kids with Frosty!

We stopped into a local bank and the kids each had a Santa hat made with their names on them.  It was only $2 for each hat, but they really thought they were great!

The Professor & Princess waiting for their hats.

This year it was pretty cold, so we didn’t spend a lot of time outside, but we did make our way up and down the street once, had a cookie & a cup of hot chocolate and stopped into a local church for a bowl of some delicious soup!

All in all, it was a fun time and really kicked off the Christmas season for us!

My Wonderful Life…

This morning, as I was getting out of bed I was met by a toothless boy who insisted I needed to stay in bed and have a cup of coffee first.

He took off down the stairs yelling, “Daddy, Mummy needs a coffee!”

A few minutes later there were footsteps coming up the stairs and a Little Professor complaining that he wanted to deliver the coffee.

Instead, Daddy appeared with two mugs of coffee and we actually sat for a little while drinking coffee together…alone.

That never happens!

We enjoyed our time while listening to the chaos going on downstairs.

Eventually, it came to an end and we made our way downstairs.  Daddy built a fire and then disappeared into the kitchen.

A little while later he returned with homemade, from scratch, Banana Coconut muffins!

Yes, that’s my life…coffee in bed, roaring fire in the morning and homemade muffins worthy of small town bakery!

No complaints here!

Thankful…

There are so many things I’m thankful for…

If I listed them all it would take all day to read it – maybe not all day.

What I’m most thankful for is my family.

I’ve been blessed with 3 beautiful, healthy children and an amazing husband.

I am so thankful we get to spend so much time together.

I am thankful for their kind and gentle hearts and their thoughtful ways.

I’m thankful for the privilege to watch my little one’s personalities blossom.

I’m thankful my children have an amazing father who sets an example of patience, love, and self sacrifice for the benefit of his family.

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

I hope you spend the day surrounded by those you love.

Fashion Designs…

Lately, my little Princess spends a great deal of time drawing fashion.  She likes to grab a pad of paper and her crayons and sit on the kitchen floor by the toe kick heater and draw clothes.  I’m sure this is just a normal girl thing, but for me it’s a little more special than that.  As a little girl, I spent a good portion of my childhood drawing fashions.

I’ve kept this one for at least 28 years now!

I would spend hours upon hours drawing and painting outfit after outfit.

The other day Daddy was up in the attic and came across my portfolio that had all my drawings in it.  Not only did I draw fashions throughout my whole childhood, I went to college for fashion design.

To say my little Princess was impressed would be an understatement.  There’s just something about that special look that only my children can give…it’s pure admiration.  It’s the look that makes me feel like I’m the greatest person on the earth and that everything I do is perfection – even when I know that’s clearly not the case.  But in their eyes it’s the honest truth and I love it!

I have to say, the admiration flows the other way too.  My little Princess impresses the heck out of me with her drawings.  She spends a lot of time concentrating on making each one.  I love when she comes to me for advice on how to draw the eyes, or do I think a hat would go with that particular dress.

 I’ve been trying to think of a way to take her love for designing to the next level.  I was thinking about creating our own paper dolls and then making outfits for them.  This idea led to a memory of sitting at the kitchen table as a child with my mum.  She was creating papers dolls with me and teaching me how to draw.  Now I definitely have to do that with the Princess and who knows, maybe she’ll do that with her little girl.

Tonight the Princess asked if she could keep some of her drawings in my portfolio too.  What a wonderful idea.  I can’t think of a better place to keep them!

Daddy Says… Upside Down Fire

One night last week I was stumbling around the internet on Stumbleupon, and found a method for starting fires I had never heard of.  The Upside Down Fire Method.  It turned everything I had known about starting a fire upside down – literally!

I had been taught that to get a fire going, you needed to build a small fire out of paper & kindling, and then add in larger & larger pieces of wood until you had a really good blaze going.  As it turns out, there is a much more efficient method.

You start out by building a base of large logs – making sure there is no space between them.  From there, keep building higher using consecutively smaller pieces.  Again, with each layer, try to keep the wood touching as you go.  Finally set some paper on the top with some small kindling or some of those fire starter sticks.

Light the paper and watch it burn!  As the small kindling catches, it drops embers onto the layer below, igniting that layer as well – and so on down the line. Which is why it’s important not to have any gaps between the wood, so the embers rest on the wood, smoldering and igniting the next layer.  Once you’ve got the top layer lit, it just keeps burning it’s way downward and you don’t even have to mess with or poke around with the fire at all.

It also burns very hot & very cleanly, with minimal smoke.  The paper and kindling burning on top preps the chimney flue allowing the smoke to flow easily up and out.  There’s no backdraft of smoke into the house, which is great!

I’ll be trying this method out on our next camping trip.