Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A new year

...a new toy box.

Or kid box.

The toys have officially outgrown the tub many of them (although not close to all) were living in, so I decided to use some money the kids were given for Christmas to invest in a toy box. So far, it seems to be a great investment! I love that they're covered up and out of sight-if only until morning.

In the process of putting the toy box 'in' we also did some heavy duty reorganizing, and:

Elsa FINALLY moved into Oliver's room!!! Yay.

That move has been a work in progress for some time. About a month or so ago, she was still getting up at night (she was 1 in Oct). One night-at 4 in the morn- we got fed up with her late night party, and finally evicted her from our room. Since then, I've been taking her pack-n-play up and down in the living room, daily. But, she's sleeping through the night. And, now, her bed finally fits in Oliver's room!

With her and the Christmas tree, as well as a lot of toys out of the living room, man, have we got room! *insert a little sarcasm here*

Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Back to 'normal'

Well, the tree is down, the decorations put away. Christmas is over for another year. Whew. It was a wonderful season, I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it, and am sad to see it go. However, not so sad to enjoy the first peaceful-stay-at-home-day in the last two weeks.

Oliver has loved having the decor up, and his face fell and he said "No! Put it back!" when he realized that I was taking it down...for a minute.

Next minute, he was fully engaged in helping saw it down.

The chainsaw was the present I was excited to find a while back-and so far, I was right. He loves it, and has been busy. He's only been disappointed that he can't actually take it outside to help dad make firewood.

The days leading up to Christmas were busy, but fun. My brothers all made it home, so they were filled with visiting, baking, and more visiting.

Elsa's favorite Christmas gift was this stuffed kitty. She loves hauling it aroun. She was funny opening presents. Unlike Oliver at her age, who loved pulling the paper off the gifts, she would hide her face and say 'don't' and 'stop!' while we ripped it off, then get all excited about the present.

Oliver emptying his stocking-not sure I mentioned this, but I took up 'knitting' a while ago and made this and one other stocking (I call it 'knitting,' because I used a Knifty Knitter, a loom that is extremely simple and requires no talent.) However, they turned out quite well!

As I finish this post many hours after starting it, I'll revise: I sort of enjoyed an exhausting, bounce off the walls, hair pulling out day at home. But I WILL enjoy the peaceful hours coming now that it's bed time.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A calm day

Leading up to a busy Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

I'm putting in my hours at the 'office,' then at some point I'll be off to join the festivities! I know I'm looking forward to all the family, food, gifts, and in general, Fun!

Merry Christmas to everyone! Hope it is filled with warmth and blessings.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I just fried my teapot.

Guess what happens if you put tea water on, then sit down and blog-hop?

You just might kinda forget and fry your teapot.


Any ideas on how to turn a copper teapot copper again?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

More winter!

More snow. A good reason to stay home. A great reason to tell work I've. had.enough.I' And I felt like adding: SO THERE. (Today's client lives in tim-buc-tu, they didn't desperately need me)

Ahh. A much needed day at home.

Stay warm and dry!

Friday, December 19, 2008

One marble at a time.

I'm loosing it.

The calm, relaxed, enjoying the holiday season feeling of a few weeks ago? It's gone. This week has completely done me in.

What had been a very regular-you-can-plan-on-not-changing-schedule for work all of a sudden became, let me see-the best way to put it, is AAAAHHHGG! I ended up with a new client as of this week, and the shifts were nights; also I'm doing two weekends in a row (this was NOT something I agreed too..) Add to that being stranded for a few days in the snow, a previously planned bring-mom-to-the-dr./shopping trip, (which worked out well for all; but before hand, I was starting to feel a little anxious at hardly having any shopping done..or cards, which I also picked up.) Multiply all that by the fact that I didn't get to make it to the ladies Christmas party (always a rejuvenating experience) and will not be at the program on Sunday (also due to work), and, oh yeah-the fact that they've got me Christmas Eve and the day after, and I'm starting to feel like my chance to enjoy all the parts of Christmas have been snatched away!

On the plus side, my shopping is done, and so are those cards I just picked up yesterday! There was one good thing about working last night.

Then there's also part of me wondering if it pays to decorate that empty tree that showed up in my living room today, since I don't think I'll be home much...but, I don't think I could go without a tree, so I will, Tonight.

My ultimate question is, who decided to gang up and completely change my nice, lesiurly schedule THE WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS?? Someone out there is watching my last few marbles roll across the floor. Hope they're enjoying it.

Oh, yeah, they're enjoying it. I just heard forecast of another blizzard coming our way this weekend. If I get stranded again...

In spite of it all-MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I did make it home

I haven't made it on here since far as anyone knows, according to this, I'm still stuck in Perham. I bet I'd be really crabby if that was true. Actually, I did make it home on Monday at about noon. The roads were wonderfully cleared..until I hit the gravel roads a few miles from home-no plow in sight on these until late that day. Once again, I was happy for the four wheel drive Jeep!

Our yard still isn't plowed'll be nice when Eric gets the payloader ready for plowing. eta:The plowing guy just arrived!! Yay!


The other day, I came upon Oliver inspecting his belly-
O: Mom, where'd it go?
M:Where'd what go?
O: Where'd IT go, Mom? Where'd it go? Rubbing fingers on tummy.
M: What? Your belly?
O: Where'd the TICKLE go, mom??
Sorry bud, can't tickle yourself!


To add to our wonderful week of weather related stuff, Monday night the power went out for 1 1/2 hours. It was about -20. Not my idea of a good time. In this wonderful house, I could feel the cold seeping in. We do have wood heat, but of course the blower on the furnace requires juice. I spent the time wrapped in a blanket with a cup of tea and knitting by lamp light.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Yup, snowed in.

So. Now, here I am. This time in good ol' Perham. Urg. I just drove for two and a half hours on some of the worst roads I've seen, and I made it to Perham.
Still about 30 miles from home. Whew. I finally stopped, but only after trying my 'darndest' to make it home.

First, tried the regular route...but the very rutted-over-a-foot-of-unplowed-snow-on-the-road and my nerves just didn't get along very well. So then, I, in all my great wisdom, was going to attempt going by way of Wadena (come ON, I just wanna be HOME!). Back to Hwy 10 I went, since when I had left it, it was at least drivable...but, I guess Someone smarter is looking out for me. 'Cuz I think it was right about the time I went through that one drift in the 'enter ramp' and the snow actually went over the entire Jeep and I felt like I was in a snowbank that the alternator/battery and who knows what went into cahoots and in no uncertain terms, informed me that I. am. staying. here. I guess Eric doesn't call me a stubborn Finn for nothing.

Shoulda gone home and stayed there, shoulda stayed at work and at least got paid...shouldacouldawoulda

Ah, well. As I said. Here I am. Cold, wet toes (but I do have my slippers!) not at all impressed but safe and sound.

Welcome winter!

Oh, yes, at least I have that gallon of milk I was supposed to pick up...and some pork chops, a loaf of bread...whoo, hoo. Um, I won't starve? ;)

Snowed in....?

So, here I am. At work. At work, 1 1/2 hours from home. Until 7pm. And its snowing and blowing. And supposed to keep on snowing and blowing. Hm, I wonder what the roads will be like then? Wonderful I'm sure. Well, good thing for the Jeep and four wheel drive! (and hopefully unneeded boots and long johns and shovels and sleeping bags...I came prepared.)

I stayed in DL last night in order to make it to work this morning. I spent the evening doing some Christmas shopping (finally!), and I must say, I'm quite pleased with my success. I love it when I find a few things that I'm sure are 'just the ticket' rather than just okay. Not that Oliver and Elsa are old enough to really care, but I think these are actually gonna get played with for a while! The other things for other people are pretty decent as well. :)

The place I stayed at looked a little 'sketchy' from the outside, but I figured that was a sign of hopefully low prices. It wasn't too bad- (she gave me the 'trucker and stranded nurse rate', heh). Figure what I would have spent on gas, (and stressful driving) well worth it. Anyhow, I was pleasently surprised-the rooms weren't bad, and I even had two whole beds to myself. I contemplated getting up half way through the night and switching, just to get my money's worth.

I didn't.

Anyone at home read this before 7 tonight, let me know what the weather's like there! Thanks.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Six Things...

We went for a walk this evening, it was beautiful out, and the sunset worth watching. I never got around to buying a double stroller, but the kids don't seem to mind this method. Maybe they're warmer this way. heehee.

Jen tagged me to put six things about myself that you might not goes:
  1. I hate using cheese graters. I'm always scared I'm going to grate my knuckles, and yesterday, I did. Ouch.
  2. I enjoy the site On it you can enter the artist, song or type of music you want to listen to, and it plays similar songs. Lately, it's been all Christmas songs around here! A free way to enjoy great music.
  3. I just got a batch of Young Living Essential Oils, and am excited to start using them. So far around here, they've gotten rid of skin rashes, dandruff and helped constipation...
  4. This was the first fall that I didn't go back to school since I started kindergarten. I must say, I really enjoyed it and look forward to many more!
  5. I ran Grandma's Marathon once, and plan on running more...the problem is, both times I started thinking about training for one, I ended up pregnant.
  6. My nose is still wrinkled about the toilet water thing. They seem no worse for it, however.
There you have it. Six things about me. And now I have no secrets left.

Would you look at that, Oliver just fell asleep on the couch for the first time ever. And Elsa's sleeping too. Looks like a nice, quiet evening in store. GRIN. Maybe I'll go make more of this yummy mulled apple cider.

Oh, for....disgusting.

Ever tried toilet water? How about drinking it out of large-sized lego blocks? Not appetizing? Hmmm, you mean I should STOP those kids?

Um, yeah. The house grew strangely quiet as I was transferring my newly made laundry detergent into jugs. And I soon discovered why. Yuck. My nose is still wrinkled.

On the laundry detergent thing-I just made a batch of soap that Jan had linked from her blog, and although it has about the consistency of, well, snot, it seems to work as well as the store bought kind. Yay! What I'm really loving is the cost: about 70 cents for two gallons of detergent! (and you still only use 1/2 cup, same as the store kind.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Things to do

Oliver: Dad have a BIG horsie.. me have a little horsie to ride.
A few moments of contemplation...
Mom have a cow.
Gee, thanks.

This came while Oliver and Eric were looking at Mother Earth News. Have you ever read that magazine? Eric brought one home, and I really enjoyed it; it's given me the itch to be very ambitious both now and next spring. Things to do that came from that magazine:
  • Get that chicken coop done and get some chickens. Not only will we have our own free range eggs, but hopefully it'll cut way down on tics and maybe (?) mosquitoes.
  • Plant a decent size garden, maybe with 'heirloom' seeds, then save our own seeds for next year.
  • Get over to Gramma R's and learn how to make those awesome wool braided rugs she makes. Then make some for our house.
  • Learn the art of making good compost.
  • Make more of that awesome refrigerator 5-minute a day artisan bread I've been making, but try the whole wheat version they have in this issue.
  • subscribe to this...but then I might have more on my list than humanly possible...
I realized the other day that with being done with school, I have no real 'deadlines' anymore. I go to work, do my thing and come home. Even at work, deadlines don't exist, as there are no ongoing projects or anything. This is great! It leads me to think I'm actually gonna get a chance to do some of those things on that list. Not to mention that life is much more relaxing. Sometimes. Today wasn't 'relaxing' so much, (it was really one of those days, I don't know how many times I heard "Hold me, hold me, hold me, hold me") but at least there were no deadlines to deal with!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

It would be nice...

You know what I'd love? A camera that takes the picture the moment you wanted, not the goofy looking moment after. With these two, quick reflexes and lots of anticipation is what it takes to get a good photo...and even then, you miss all those 'cute looks' you wanted...ah, well, someday.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A masterpiece.

Last night:

Oliver, scribbling with a black marker...
Me: "What does that say?"
O: "Dad took me for a tractor ride."
Me: "How bout that one?"
O:"Dad read a book...a TRACTOR book."
Picks up a purple marker.
O:..."dad working on the payloader..."
now green... a mark here, a dash there, a circle here...
O: "Arms...body...mouth...eye...legs."
Me: "What's that?"
O: "DAD!"

This morning, Me: You wanna go tell dad happy birthday?
O: Yeah! Eyes bright, off he scampers, finds the present and card, unwraps them for Eric: Here, DAD!! Happy birt-day! Points at my doodle on the card: A TRACTOR!

Now, that's a masterpiece.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Leave me your thoughts...

Being the curious me that I am, I installed a counter on this page (look to the left..). I was wondering if anyone actually stopped by...and apparently, a few do. So, now, I know you're there! Leave your thoughts-let me know who you lurkers are! And thanks for stopping by!~

Simple Gifts

Ah! Something that made me say "my thoughts exactly!" I was just reading Better Homes and Gardens (turns out we're getting one decent magazine for free) and came across an article about kids' toys. Turns out they actually do enjoy those simple, boring, non talking/flashing/beeping toys more! I've always thought this, and now the 'rest of the world' has discovered the simple truth. I had to chuckle at the little girl in the article who left her fancy doll at a friend's house, and said, 'that's ok, mom. That doll talks to much.' I guess it's more fun when you can tell your doll what to do, rather than the other way around.

This made me think of something we talked about at ECFE one day last year. It stemmed from a MPR report about the decreasing ability of kids to 'self regulate.' A study done since I don't remember when has measured the length of time kids of different ages are able to stand still, without moving. Today's 7 year olds are preforming at the level of the 3 year olds of 50 years ago. (I might be off a little on the age...but you get the drift. They fidget.)

Why is this? It's being attributed to the increase in structured play and elimination of free playing time, along with stricter limits. Back in the day, the area kids were aloud to roam covered many city blocks. In a recent Reader's Digest article on the same sort of thing, a dad 'let' his 12 year old daughter play in the driveway by herself. Gimme a break.

I see a corrolation with increasing ADD/ you? conclusion? Yes! Not only are the blocks or other simple toys my kid-o's will probably get for Christmas cheaper and less annoying-they're making them smarter!! And then, when they start to drive me nuts with their antics, I can send them, (or right now, mostly Oliver) outside by himself and consider it at least one parenting job well done.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The wonderful world of family...

We spent Thanksgiving day in the cities with my mom's side of my family. It was a wonderful day, filled with good food and family. (and yes, the pies survived the trip and were enjoyed-I think, since I went for the pumpkin instead...)

There is something about getting together with my mom's side that just speaks of the holidays. I suppose it comes from all the gatherings over the years; when I think of childhood holidays, birthdays or other goings'-on, one thing that comes to mind is cousins..slews of them. There's somewhere around 70 first cousins on that side (hundreds of seconds, I'm sure.) I landed in the middle, I'm not sure where. The middle, a wonderful place to be when it comes to growing up and family.

So this Thanksgiving was kind of amazing to me. I walked into the town hall (no one's house is big enough for all of us..) and walked into a slew of kids. Only this time, I was arriving with my own little ones in tow. Added all together, we realized my Gramma's 50th great-grandchild is 'in the oven' and will arrive sometime this spring. Wow. (and just think, my youngest cousin is around 8 months old...we've a way to go before the final tally...)

I love that we all still get together now and then for things such as the holidays. Not only so I can see everyone and visit, but so Oliver and Elsa get to be in the middle of a slew of cousins. They are the only grandkids in mine and Eric's family, so their experience is so, so different than the one I grew up in. It's wonderful, they are loved and doted on like you wouldn't believe, but yet I love that they get a taste of having cousins around too. It's a wonderful world to experience.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

And we all survived...

The goal was to make two apple pies to bring to Thanksgiving tomorrow. I succeeded! They even look pretty. But the process of getting there-that wasn't quite so pretty.

It took:
  • 10 or so apples, run through the peeler/slicer/corer by a determined Oliver;
  • A walk to clear my head and wonder if I really wanted to continue,
  • At least five mixing bowls since everyone needed at least one;
  • Lots of flour...everywhere (The picture below doesn't do the end product justice);
  • A couple piles of flour/water goop..strewn across the floor;
  • A large pile of kitchen towels;
  • Multiple washings of the table in between rolling every crust to get rid of the goop;
  • And a large dose of patience topped off with quite a few quick reflexes...
Baking things that require a bit of space is always an adventure in my kitchen. The adventure comes in trying to find the space. I started these pies on the table, and by the time I was finishing off pinching the crust, I was balanced on the two inches at the edge of the sink (Have you ever realized just how versatile that little space is? I use mine quite a bit) By this time, Elsa was taking a nap, so Oliver and I built a "Pie Man" from the left over crust. I melted some butter, scraped the remains of the pie filling (a little apply-sugary-cinnimony stuff) from the bowl and mixed them together, then spread it on the guy. Oliver made him a face and buttons out of chocolate chips and into the oven he went. A tad bit later, out he came. Oliver was purely excited, until I broke off an arm for us to try...then he was convinced it should be "put back on!!" Oops. But hey, he tasted good!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Our New Arrivals

Blender. Marie Claire. Entrepreneur. Maxim. Men's World. Ebony (2 issues). Not the list of magazines you'd expect to find at our house, is it? I never would have thought so either. But, there they sit, along with a few others. Weird. The even weirder part? We didn't order them, buy them, or ask for them in any way. They just showed up. Actually, they showed up at Eric's ma and dad's over the last week, addressed to Eric, at his parent's PO box.

Mysterious, and kind of disturbing. Seeking the answer to this mystery, I called a couple of the magazine's 'subscription offices' and asked why we they were gracing us with their unsolicited presence. These kind people didn't know, but said that a clearing house was in their database as the one that signed us up. 'Sometimes they do this to promote a shouldn't be getting billed.' My thought? Um, GOOD! Then, saying they would kindly cancel the subscription if we didn't care to receive it, (and sounding sort of disappointed that I wasn't ecstatic about getting their magazine for free) they gave me 800 numbers to those other that didn't work at all, and the other that made me into a piece of voice mail. So, the answer still lurks out there somewhere., so, strange.

My only real question: Why couldn't at least one be something good??

But...don't look a freebie-gift-horse in the mouth, I guess.

If you're looking for me, I'll just be increasing my punk rock, black culture, how-to-look-like-a-model, entrepreneurial knowledge.

*hmm...Men's World...does it give clues to the way a guy thinks?? Maybe this one could be useful...:)*

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's all fun and games...

Until somebody gets hurt.

Isn't that what our mom's always told us? I guess that must be one of those things I'm supposed to do now that I'm the mom. Oops.

Not to worry, it's nothing that drastic. Just last night we were all going a little crazy, playing hide-n-seek, and I was chasing Oliver. He slipped and fell into a kitchen chair, ending up with a fat cheek. Why must those face boo-boos bleed so much?? Well. That was the end of that. This morning Oliver required oatmeal...the cold cereal he tried first made him cry. Yup, guess I'm supposed say stop...but where's the fun in that?

While I was hiding I made a discovery. Another reason we need a bigger house: there aren't many places to hide. It's all well and fine right now; hide-n-seek with these two isn't really to requires a lot of whistling. But give 'em a few years.... Yep, we need a new house.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Here comes Winter...ready or not!

It's snowing out. Yikes. I'm just not quite mentally ready for winter to arrive. I've done things in preparation...picking up the yard toys, putting the storm windows in (still waiting for the plastic...), even went and bought some sorely needed new snow boots from L&M. (I thought they were a pretty good deal, as long as they live up to the claim of 'rated to -50'...but of course, I opened L&M's ad this weekend, and whatdyaknow, they're on sale for $6 cheaper. Humpf.) But...WHERE did fall go???

Speaking of the L&M trip, it was a rather spontaneous COMPLETE family outing the other night. I say complete, because it seems so rare that Eric and I are actually in the car together, headed in one direction. This was a nice change. Anyhow, Thursday night rolled around, and being as this is my weekend to work, I was in need of lunch-type foods. (I work every other weekend-Fri afternoon, then 7-7 Sat-Monday, hence the need for quite a few choices..) So, off to PR we went. It was shaping up to be your typical trip to L&M and J&B, until we arrived. We walked though the door of L&M Fleet, and there in all their shining, perfectly-eye-catching, yellow and green glory were three junior sized John Deere tractors. Oliver's jaw actually dropped. Out came a 'Ooohhhh....tractors..a loader!' Said with all the enthusiasm of a two and a half year old in his absolute glory. So, after sufficiently (I thought...he didn't agree) checking them out, we continued through the store in search of the above mentioned boots, mittens for the kids-where have all the mittens gone??-and a few electrical pieces for the sawmill. It wasn't a quiet ride...'But I NEED one.' and 'No...I don't need gloves..I need a tractor maybe.' I didn't mind. It was pretty cute actually, the lengths he was going to to convince us he couldn't leave without a tractor. Such sincerity has never before crossed his face. Now Oliver has his wish list for 'Mit-mas': a big shiny, eye-catching, green and yellow pedal tractor...with a loader, of course.

Ahh, well. The snow is kinda pretty. Hello, winter.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Joining the Blogging World...

Blogging...How to start? I 've been reading the blogs of some of you others out there for a while, and every now and then have had an experience or thought, then thought 'hmm...that'd be kinda fun to share...' Most often, my source comes from those two wonderful, goofy children of mine, but also from other parts of life. If you happen to stop by-I hope you'll enjoy the few things I have to say!