Friday, February 27, 2009


My wonderful husband comes home, takes his off Friday, and what do I make him do? Clean... =)

But I hadn't cleaned the shower since we moved in, and I was starting to name the mildew patches and be thankful that I don't take a shower each morning wearing contact lenses. I can't use anything with fumes to clean, and my shower laughed maniacally at my all natural cleaners.

That's how it started. It ended with David spending this afternoon on his hands and knees in our kitchen. But thanks to this terrific product, our white kitchen linoleum no longer looks damaged. I kid you not, there was a trail of brown scratch marks going all across the floor from the back door to the living room. We both really thought it was dog scratches that would never come off. Well, Krud Kutter got it off. I wish I'd taken a before shot. The floors look clean for the first time since we moved in. And my goal is that nobody in this house ever has to do it again. Poor guy...

But I feel sooo much better about how it looks. I know; I'm obsessed with clean floors. It seems that I only get more OCD the older I get. Ask my mother sometime about the state of my room as a child. I think she thinks someone gave me a brain transplant while I was in college.

I guess the only bad news is that my chances of getting new non-white linoleum anytime soon just went to about nil. Oh well... =)

And now I shall go outside to play with my husband and my little boy. And listen to the birds that seem to love this end of the cul de sac right now. And enjoy the bed of daffodils that have come up right behind my kitchen window. Happy Friday, everybody!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Time to get those horses tipsy. Guilty... as charged. And the jury wanted to give him more than the maximum sentence. They were ticked. (By the way, both sides can request to speak to any jurors that will talk to them after the case is over. What they say is usually really interesting...)

Husband is back home, where he belongs. And I'm enjoying the sounds of happy screaming and laughing coming from upstairs. What a great treat to have your daddy home when you wake up from your nap...

Naming a baby human...

When I was pregnant with Seth, we decided what his name would be when I was about as far along with him as I am now with Baby Boy #2. And it wasn't that hard. It went kinda like this:

Me: "You really like Biblical names for boys. Hey, isn't Seth a Biblical name?"
Him: "You know, I think it is."
Me: "Well, do you like that name."
Him: "You know, I think I really do."

*This is an exaggeration, but it really was mostly uncomplicated. We went through the ritual of going through some baby name books and writing down names we liked and then crossing off each others' lists, but we came back to the original pick pretty quickly.

This time has been different. Much, much harder different. See, we both have very particular criteria for what we like in a boy name. I like slightly unusual names, but nothing so crazy that he'll get raised eyebrows everywhere he goes for a lifetime. So Igor and Engelbert are out... It is also really important to me that he not be the 5th of something in his class.

David likes traditional names. We're talking Timothy, John, James, Luke. Any of the Apostles would be fine with him.

As you can imagine, we've had a lot of trouble finding a middle ground. We've done the list thing. And we've crossed at least 50 names off. We've got two, count 'em, two names that we can agree upon. Grrr.

So I thought we had one name selected. I confidently said that this was it. We agreed; I thought it was done. And then everywhere I went, it seemed like there was a little boy with that name. I heard it three times one Sunday morning in the nursery area. The little boy sitting next to me at Moe's had that name. Apparently, it's quite popular in this state. And that makes me crazy. So now I'm rethinking the whole thing. Because he will not be the 5th of something in a group. It's just a pet peeve of mine. I know a lot of you don't care about this sort of thing. But I'm having a ranting day. Indulge me.

We can't have another boy. We've got nothin' left. We'd have to resort to David's Amazing Baby Naming Plan. This involves each of us picking a letter until one of us cries "uncle." David said he'd let me go first. How kind. And that's how baby Gravlec would get his name...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My new friend, Ruby...

I have a new friend. Her name is Ruby. She's quiet, gentle, and loves to get dirt and dust off my floors. She's a joy to have around the house. She has this nice little docking station where she rests when we're not visiting. When she does want to come out, I just press the "clean" button on top of her head, and then she starts motoring around the room, picking up whatever she finds, even in the corners.

She slows down when she gets close to the furniture so she won't bump it too hard. She spends extra time on extra dirty areas of my floor. If I only want her to clean one area, I just press another button, and she spends a bunch of time in that one area. And when she's done in my room, she just goes home to her docking station, and there she stays, motoring down quietly, until I ask her to come and visit again.

I think Ruby and I are going to have a long and beautiful friendship. I'm glad to have met her on my 30th birthday. Who needs flowers or diamond earrings? My man knows what I really find romantic... Romance is defined so differently when you have a white floors, a toddler, and a baby on the way...

Friday, February 20, 2009

A tale of coconut cake...

I love a particular kind of coconut cake that my mom has made for years. I made it for the first time for David's birthday when we were first dating. I was not an experienced cook, and it took me forever, especially the baking layers and cutting them in half part. Poor David was being driven around our tiny college town by a friend of mine that he didn't know well so that I could finish the surprise. Finally, it was done. I was sooo proud. He came into his house, blew out his candles, and watched as a generous slab of cake was placed before him. He dutifully nibbled it. It was then that I found out that he doesn't like coconut. End of sad story...

But... this means that I don't get one of my favorite cakes very often. So I asked Mom to make me one for my birthday this year. I went to my parents' Wednesday night through today, partly for a little r&r and partly for help with my toddler who has developed multiple personality disorder (big smiles and laughs... 2 seconds pass... heartbreaking wailing and throwing of blocks). Anyhoo... I happened to ask for this cake right before a major frozen coconut recall. Yup, that's right. Most stores only carry one brand of frozen coconut, and it was taken off the shelves.

My blessed mother, God rest her sainted soul, went to SIX stores looking for frozen coconut. She finally obtained it from Harris Teeter, which carries their own store brand. She was very proud of herself. I was realizing that I shouldn't have teased her in an email about how I'd be fine with it if she just bought a coconut and shredded it by hand for the cake. (David would not let me put a "just kidding" in the email; he's twisted like that.) But, long story short, I got my cake.

Unfortunately, I was unable to eat all of said cake while at their house. I may be pregnant, but I can't put down that much cake at one time. So Mom decided to send the whipped cream and coconut frosted cake home with me in a cooler. Problem. She couldn't get everything in the cooler without taking the plated cake out of the box she'd put it in. So she warned me to just carry the cooler into the house very carefully and put it back in the box before going in the fridge.

We get home in time for a late nap for Seth. I go out to the car to bring in the cooler. As I'm walking up the front steps, I trip and drop the cooler. It rolls over. 3 times. And I skinned my hands and wrists on the bricks catching myself (insert self-pitying whining). My precariously good mood was shot. I did salvage part of the cake. The red Igloo is a different story. Turns out that whipped cream likes cooler crevices. I went upstairs to lie down for a bit, pray, and stop seething.

I fell asleep and woke to find the husband that I haven't seen since Monday coming into the bedroom. We snuggled, and I told him my cake story and how it'd funkified our cooler.

David replied, "You just gotta remember one important thing: It's not our cooler."

Now I remember why I married this man.

P.S. Mom, I will clean out the cooler. But I really needed that laugh.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


This article was not written by a conservative. In fact, it was written by an unabashed Obama supporter who calls himself a progressive. But he does have some interesting insights about conservative economic philosophy, and I think he's dead right in his opinions about centrists. Very intriguing.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Somebody wants to learn the alphabet...

I haven't written a lot about Seth and his development on here lately, probably much to the chagrin of about 6 people. =) But I thought I'd mention that he's recently developed a real interest in learning his alphabet. Colors... fugeddaboutit. Numbers... nah. But the alphabet? Now that's exciting! =) (Ok, well, he is learning colors and some numbers, and he can say them, but they don't hold his attention nearly as long).

Whenever he gets up from his naps or in the morning, I sit down with him in the rocking chair for a minute to unzip his sleep sack (the one he'll be in until he's 12 because he's addicted to it). He sucks it and his thumb, and he begs for the "C book" or "B book." This is the Dr. Suess ABC book, and it has the three letters on the cover really large, so he just calls it whatever letter he's feelin' that day.

For the past couple of weeks, we've been reading this book at least 4 times a day. He wants to point at the letter and tell it to me on each page. I wonder how long this phase will last...

But today I thought, you know, he really likes stickers, and he wants to learn his alphabet. I wonder if he'd be into a sticker book? He's my first, see, and I just haven't been that aware when he's more ready to move onto the next step than I am. =) So today we went down to the new local Dollar Tree (since they have Nature's Own Whole Wheat Bread for yep, $1.00, and I wanted to load up the freezer), and we got the My First ABC sticker book. He LOVES it! I'm excited about this new discovery.

Monday, February 16, 2009

And comin' out of Buies Creek...

Ok, these guys are waaaay too cool to have been born and raised in Lillington, NC. And they still live there. I'm shocked. And stunned. And hopeful for the future of rural kids everywhere. I mean, you've gotta be cool to be featured on Rocks In My Dryer. I only figured out where they were from by watching a short clip about them, and they were standing in front of the Lillington Elementary sign! Dude! =) Oh, check out the Guacamole song, just for the little kids in mustaches.

Felt butterfly barrettes...

Aren't these the cutest? I was looking at Rocks In My Dryer's links list a few weeks back, and I came across this awesome tutorial on how to make felt butterflies. I don't sew, and I don't have access to cool buttons, but I thought I'd give it a try.

You can get everything you need to make these at your local Michael's. Instead of sewing the felt, I just used Super Thick Tacky Glue. That stuff does not come off, and it'll hold the barrettes on the back, too. You can buy little bags of buttons of different colors. I used a dime as a template to draw the circles that I glued the buttons onto.

It's very important not to miss the step of buying stiff felt for the backing. And if you're going to use a light color, like pink, for the felt butterfly on the front, buy white stiff felt for the backing. I also got a couple of tiny magnets, so I may make some magnet butterflies.

I've been in a crafting/nesting mode lately... Gotta hold off on buying more craft supplies in the future until we get the ballooning "eating out" budget back under control... =) I'd been slackin' in the kitchen...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

David, if you're reading, stop now...

Ok, I was really proud of how this card turned out, so I'm posting it. I try to make David a Valentine's Day card every year, but this is the best I've done in forever. =) Once upon a time, I worked at a preschool with an awesome die cut machine with a million die cuts. Around Valentine's one year, I brought in a ton of my own construction paper and cut out a truckload of hearts and flowers. I will probably be using them until our 20th V-day together... =)

Just thought I'd give you some ideas I've gleaned from the internet that you can use to create a special time, on the cheap, with your honey...

- Order a meal from a restaurant and eat in, after the kids go to bed. If you like the same thing, and the restaurant gives a ton of food, you could order just one meal and split it, bulking it out with extra sides. We've done pickup from Olive Garden and Outback Steakhouse. It's great; no fighting crowds on big holidays!

- Play the other person's favorite game. It's a special gift if he loves something like Battleship Gallactica: The Star Trek Edition. Ahem..

- Set the table with china and crystal and a nice tablecloth. This can be used year after year, so you get plenty of bang for your initial investment. Your grandma may have some china that she's dying to get rid of; I got mine from a great-aunt, and I love it. You don't have to have a full set, if you're not into storing all that. I just have a partial set, myself.

- Make dessert together for fun. If you have a fireplace, make s'mores! =)

- Find strawberries on sale, and then cut a V when you cut out the stem. Then cut them in half. They look like hearts. Very cute in a cut glass dish.

I hope you have a great Valentine's Day! Wishing for babies who sleep well for ya and for good conversation and sweet moments for you all.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sad little boy...

I took this on the night of the Super Bowl. He was happy to get to watch a little tv for a change. Can ya tell? But he doesn't look this happy right now...

He's had a pretty high fever since Thursday morning. I was dumb enough that I didn't get the ear thermometer in his ear the right way the first couple of times I took his temp. I finally got a good reading at 5:30 p.m. that day, after his nap. It read 103.5! I was freaked. A call to the pediatrician assured me that its probably a virus, and he just needs lots of Motrin and sponge baths. Poor baby! He's had chills a couple of times, and that is truly pathetic.

It's only 11:45 p.m., and he's woken up a few times already tonight. Last night he also woke up a few times. I'm down in the kitchen, filling a pitcher with ice and his sippy cup to take back upstairs for later...

I know it may seem ridiculous, but this is the first time he's been so sick that he hasn't slept well at night. It's also the first time he's ever run a high fever. The child has been super healthy and illness resistant for about 2 years now, except for one stomach bug and a couple of colds. It's a really unsettling feeling to see your child feeling so bad and be unable to do much at all for them.

So please pray that this fever will break soon. I really want him to enjoy his Valentine's Day tomorrow...

Feeding the homeless...

Awhile back, my sister-in-law, Terri, posted about her new plan for reaching out to the homeless that she drives past. I thought what she did was a great idea, so I'm copying it, and I thought I'd show you how I did it.

In these tough economic times, I feel like I'm seeing a lot more homeless holding signs. It seems to always happen as I leave Walmart with bags of healthy, filling groceries, and I can't help but feel guilty about my van of food as I drive past.

So a couple of weeks ago, David watched Seth while I shopped, and I had the time to think about it and get a lot of non-perishables to give away at intersections. So this is what I did. I bought single serve apple juices, raisins, and some different canned items that had pop tops. I put them in paper bags with a couple of napkins and a plastic fork. I also added an index card with a short note and a Bible verse. (I was going for not sanctimonious and not cheesy, and I hope I succeeded.) Then I stapled the bag closed.

I took the box that the letter trays came in and cut off the sides and top. Then I put it between the van seats right behind me where I can reach it. The apple juices didn't fit in the bags, but I figured that was ok. The goal was to have everything within easy grabbing distance without getting jostled and torn from lots of time in the car.

I gave away my first bag a few days ago. Now I don't dread pulling up to those intersections, feeling like I should do something, but not wanting to give money that might be a temptation to buy alchohol or drugs. Thanks, Terri, for the great idea. I hope it helps somebody else for me to pass it on...
*** UPDATE*** Bottled apple juice starts to smell like funky apple cider if you leave it in the car and it warms up to say, 75 degrees F. I'm sticking with bottled water in the future. =)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thoughts related to CPSIA...

“The government’s view of the economy can be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

“The Founding Fathers knew a government can’t control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing.”

- Ronald Reagan
(hat tip to Tulip Girl)

Sad, sad day for children and learning...

I just found this today. It may be slow loading because there's too much video on her blog right now, but it's worth waiting.

It's hard not to believe my eyes. It's even harder to believe that this is the United States of America. Thousands of beautiful children's books are being thrown in dumpsters across America because of the misguided attempts of idiotic bureaucrats to keep children "safe." They are destroying access to knowledge, often from the poorest children who buy older books at thrift stores, for the sake of some ridiculous and unattainable safety ideal. If you are someone who has children's books to sell or give away, please hold on to them. I pray for a day when sanity comes back to American politicians and it is legal to give little minds the (often) better sustenance of older books again.

I had thought there was a reprieve on implementation of this law. I even read a press release from the CPA to that effect. Guess not...

*I just took 5 minutes to email my senators and my representative. I was respectful, but I did not mince words. We can argue later about whether or not its respectful to call legislation "incredibly stupid." =) You can copy and paste your message and use it all three times. I know that many of you out there feel increasingly angry about what's going on in Washington, and at least for me, the anger leads to feelings of powerlessness that paralyze me. But that isn't the right response, since we're supposed to be citizens of a free democracy where our representatives are supposed to care about what we think. Even if you don't pick up the phone to call, email is still something.

Storing puzzles...

Ok, so this picture is crooked, even though I tried to fix it. I just switched to Picasa, and I'm currently mad at it because any editing I do there isn't showing up when I try to post the pictures. I'm storing them under "My Pictures" in folders there. Help anyone?

But, anyhoo, here is my current solution to the puzzle storage dilemma. Seth likes to do puzzles with me, and if I put them in pile on the floor, inevitably the pieces would fall out and get jumbled. It wasn't working. So I thought, "How do I store these without buying one of those expensive wooden puzzle holders like they had when I taught preschool?"

Then I thought, "An office supply store might have something that would work." Sure enough, stackable letter trays are the perfect fit for most puzzles. You can get 6 of them for $9.99 at my local Staples. Seth is learning to slide them in and out all by himself, and that's a nice fine motor skill development task anyway...

The world's best parent...

"Western civilization's first parenting story is contained in the third chapter of the book of Genesis. Its theme, in a nutshell: the only perfect parent there is or ever will be creates two children who disobey his first instruction. What, pray tell, did God do wrong that caused his first kids such pronounced obedience issues? Freud might have said that Eve resented that Adam was created first, that he was obviously the favored child. Tempting Adam to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge was an expression of this resentment, a passive-aggressive means of lowering Adam's image in God's eyes. Grandma (previous generations) would've scoffed at this. She knew there was no psychology behind the Fall. It happened because human beings possess what animals do not: freedom of choice, including the freedom to choose wrongly. If a perfect God could not raise perfect children who were perfectly obedient, what chance do you have?

The Adam and Eve principle: No matter how good a parent you are, your child is still capable on any given day of doing something despicable, disgusting, or depraved."- p. 36, "Parenting By the Book," by John Rosemond

Now, don't you feel a lot better about things? Does the load of parental guilt feel just a teensy bit lighter? =) Have a nice day!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Decorating my mantel...

It took me until mid- January to take down my Christmas lights and greenery from the mantel. This is me, confessing. Quite frankly, we were gone so much around Christmas that I felt like I didn't get the time with them that I deserved, so that's one reason they stuck around a little longer. But another reason, another dirty secret, was that I had no idea what to do with my mantelpiece.
So I started googling "decorating a mantel." I discovered that Better Homes and Gardens had a nice tutorial with several display ideas. The main idea I was getting was that the simplest designs were about symmetry. Matching candlesticks, one on each end of the mantel, etc. Only one problem... I didn't have two of much of anything.

As part of the "don't buy anything much unless you're sure you REALLY "need" it" approach to decorating that I've taken since we moved in, I wasn't sure what to do. And then I remembered this box of stuff that was sitting in my parent's attic. It came from my bachelor cousin. A lot of good things have come from my bachelor cousin because my great-aunt (surrogate grandmother, really) decorated for him, and he doesn't care about the value of antiques. So he moved a few years ago, and he gave us some really great stuff. Including this box that I couldn't remember what was in it.

So Mom and Dad brought it with them when they came for Seth's birthday. I spent an evening digging through it. I found many mugs with engineering firm logos in the cardboard recesses. There was a very strange wooden frog that Seth loves. I got some more rag towels for emergencies. But best of all... there was also a beautiful collection of Spode items, some pewterware, and some crystal. And there were two of a lot of things. Yes! God is so good, even in the tiny things, like mantel decorating. And what you see at the top is the final product.
Sure, I'd like to have a little more greenery, and maybe I'll add a nice vintage book or two later, but for now, this is working. And its much better than the bare mantel that was there before...

Monday, February 09, 2009

Still here...

I've got the thought vaguely running through my head that I haven't posted for several days... and that was after posting a plea for help with my Jekyll and Hyde 2-year-old. Oops... =)

The day after I posted that, we took a turn for the better. =) I took him to a local free play time at a gym here, and I carefully warned him that we would be leaving in 5 minutes. He cried for about 2 seconds, and then continued playing. When I told him it was time to go and to say "bye" to the gym, he did it, and took my hand without any hesitation. There were no meltdowns that day. Whew! Things have been good since.

Terri sent me an email telling me that this waxing and waning of pleasant obedience vs. kicking at the goads may be my life for at least the next year. That seemed like a sensible way to look at it. =) My nephew is exactly a year older than Seth, and I appreciate the advice of somebody who's gone before me with a little boy so recently. And I got some other good advice from friends who emailed and commented. I think Rachel's idea to have time out in the restroom is a good one...

I'd like to post something coherent and smart, etc., but I have a cold in the head. I have trouble believing that even C.S. Lewis in all his brilliance could write well with clogged sinuses. It totally fogs you up... But we're makin' it through here...

David is gearing up for his third "send a deserving person to the hoosgow" event in a little over a month. Just for a sense of perspective, most of the other folks in his office have an average of 2 of these a year. He will have had 5 in less than a year, and there may be two more by May. And they're taking their toll on his body. He's been unable to fight off a cold he got two weeks ago, and he had a relapse this Sunday. He tallied it up the other day, and he's worked an average of 80 hours a week since the beginning of January. Yeesh. And I thought working for the government would be a really big change from being in the private sector. Hmmmm.... it is, but not in hours worked... sometimes.

So I'm holding down the fort, making more breakfast food from scratch (because I'm tired of cereal and I want something heartier and healthier), doing some crafting, and carrying on with the life that God has still charmed, despite the temporary difficulties.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Terrible Twos...

Ok, so I have a bit of an issue here. I'm not sure if Seth just woke up all of a sudden a couple of days ago and decided that he was now two, and he was going to act terrible, or what... It could just be that he still has the cold he caught on Saturday and is still doing the teething he started last week. I'm not completely sure.

What I do know is that we've had a lot more tantrums around here the past couple of days. And they seem more directly related to his will being thwarted, combined with frustration over not being able to do something, like put a puzzle piece in right. For instance, we've had a lot more meltdowns over leaving things. And yesterday at the doctor's office was a doozy. We're talking all out screaming and bucking. They really shouldn't put a little slide in the waiting room when you have to take your child away from it so that you can see your doctor. =)

So what did you do when your child suddenly started getting mad when you told him to wait or that he couldn't do something, etc.? At this point, I've (mostly) been calmly not giving in to the tantrums. I pick him up and take him where I want him to go, and the tantrums don't get him what he wants. The crying usually stops fairly quickly. But I'm considering adding time outs on top of it... I'm a little confused. The strong reactions I'm getting to being told "no" or "wait" are new territory for us, and its uncharted water.

I also started reading this book that I picked up at a library sale awhile back. He seems to have some good tips and ideas, but I'm a little skeptical of some of it. He wants you to be authoritative so your child will have confidence in the system, but he doesn't seem to advocate much punishment for typical toddler behaviors like tantrums.

And according to him, I also have way too many toys. Well, I knew that already...

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Agent of intolerance... =)

It's way, way too easy to judge your friends' parenting methods.

And I'm guilty. I have a particular pet peeve that I thought I'd share. We now have a flight of stairs in our home going from the first to second floor. At the top of the stairs, we have a baby gate. We asked the previous owners if they would leave it for us, and they were nice enough to oblige.

Now, I am all about the baby gate at the top of the stairs. If Seth is toddling around up there, and he's not incredibly steady, I like to have it latched so he won't accidentally fall down the stairs.

But... I do not have a baby gate on the bottom of the stairs for a reason. And that reason is that I think that everyone whose child is capable of climbing up the stairs should teach them not to climb the stairs when they don't want them to. I spent some time teaching Seth that "no climbing stairs" means "no climbing stairs", and I think everyone should do what I do. 'Cause I'm perfect and all my opinions are always right. =)

Well, I'm in the minority in this opinion of mine. And as a result, my friend's children around Seth's age come over and constantly climb the stairs. Their parents don't like it, but they don't stop it. And so I get comments like, "It's a lot of trouble to come over to your house because you don't have a baby gate at the bottom of your stairs." And this irks me. I don't say anything, but it irks me nonetheless. I tend to think uncharitable thoughts about their parenting methods because they want me to provide a baby gate.

I think everybody has at least 1 or 10 or 12 things that they think all the other parents should be doing just like them. It could be anything and everything. It could be, "Why do they let their kids sleep with them at night?" or "How dare they let their kids eat purple Jello on the carpet!" We've all got 'em, if we'll admit it to ourselves. Everybody could be doing it a little more like us, and then they'd have it down. (Insert back slapping here.)

But last night as I was going to bed, I started thinking about this whole stair climbing thing. Maybe, just maybe, it isn't wrong for them not to require their children not to climb the stairs. Maybe this isn't a particular battle that they want to fight. Maybe I should be more accommodating to people who come over to my house, even if I don't agree with every single parenting decision they make. After all, they are guests in my home, and I should try to make all guests feel welcome. And how do I know I'm right, anyway? I need to be willing to admit that I could be wrong, on this and other opinions of mine about child rearing. After all, you get too cocky, and you get to fall on your derriere, to paraphrase a Bible verse.

This morning, I was still mulling it over a bit. To buy a gate or not to buy one? "But I don't want to; I shouldn't have to..." "But, Ellen, love is patient and kind..." "Yeah, but baby gates aren't cheap, and I'd have to measure and figure out how to attach it..."

We ran some errands today, and Seth and I went to Goodwill to look for some jeans for David. (I've had the miracle good fortune to find a pair of 34-34's there before for my string bean husband. ) There were no jeans to be had, but as I was walking around the store, I stopped dead in my tracks.

Leaning against the wall in a corner was the exact same baby gate that we have at the top of our stairs. For $6. Same measurements, same attachments. Excuses...gone. I think I know what God wants me to do. When in doubt, err on the side of love. And don't let differences of opinion about disputable parenting matters hinder your friendships. The end.

Fast, healthy recipes...

Sarah and I were talking the other day, and she is looking for ideas for cheap, healthy dinners. I ran across this site today, and I was impressed with this list of quick meal ideas. The thing I like about this list is that there is very little processed food being suggested for the dishes. They sound delicious as well as easy... but they do make me wish I had my own garden. =) Maybe next year...

Monday, February 02, 2009

Birthday party bliss...

We had a small, low key, 2nd birthday party for Seth on Saturday. I emphasize the small and low key part. =) For his first birthday, he had a blowout, complete with full chili meal and 20+ people. I decided that was too much to try every year, and that he would enjoy it more right now if we just did something small with 5-6 kids his age. That turned out to be the perfect plan for us.

He is all about cars, trucks, and tractors these days. He talks about them and points them out when we're riding around town. They're his favorite toys at the moment. So, I decided to do a car theme. When I went to Party City, looking for car stuff, all they had was from the movie, "Cars." Disgusted by their attempt to make me succumb to crass commercialization, I resolved not to buy any of it. =) Seth doesn't know anything about that movie anyway!

So I went to Dollar Tree. LOVE Dollar Tree. They had red plastic tablecloths, red napkins, and plates with balloons on them. So I got one pack each for my tiny party. But I was really excited about the gift bag display! There were three different kinds of gift bags, each with a huge car or truck covering both sides! I snapped up three of them and cut them apart, giving me six car decorations for the wall!

It was hard to come up with a good cake idea. I've tried three dimensional cakes before. Those suckers are hard for a cake decorating newbie like me. So I just baked a 9x13 sheet cake from a box, "drew" lines on it with toothpicks, and then cut out the shape of a truck. I got two donuts for the wheels from our local Krispy Kreme. I've had bad experiences with food coloring bleeding on me, so I cut licorice to fit the edges. Tip: lay out and cut the licorice on the cake before you ice it. It's simple, but Seth was happy with it. He wanted to "eat truck." =)

We did a little dancing with a kid's cd I have, but a bunch of 2-year-olds mostly want to play. We moved around a little furniture and put toys in the living room and the playroom. I'm going to have to do that more often for larger groups... it really worked well.

The best part of the weekend for him and me, though, was just having Daddy around. We got to take a walk on the greenway and go out for Mexican, too. And there was even a guitarist at the Mexican place that kept him mesmerized through dinner. I also discovered something else really cool that evening. We got a movie from Redbox, and we learned that our local Harris Teeter has these tiny carts for little kids to push. Seth spent 30 minutes pushing one around the store, happy as a clam. If you need to kill some time with a toddler who wants some space to move in, I'd try it. =)

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Abstract painting...

This $10 yard sale find had a great frame and mat. But I barely tolerated the print inside. What to do?
Commission a new young painter to create an abstract masterpiece...

"I must suffer for my art."

A large piece of blotting paper at the local art supply store cost $2.50. I got another one for future artistic endeavors. A close inspection revealed that the mat had been superglued to the tacky print. Grrr. A little masking tape on the corners to tape over the useless mat, and some masking tape on the back to hold the picture in after all the cutting out I did. And... voila! Perfect art for the playroom...