Sunday, March 30, 2008

feeding kids

I often say the cooking for my kids can be compared to Bach composing music to be performed at the School of the Deaf. I find that the more effort I put forth, the less the kids want to eat. Forbid I put anything green in food.
I have experienced several pleasant exceptions lately. On Friday, I got my pasta maker out for the first time in a while and made pasta. This is a great kid activity. The kids can pull a chair up to the counter, watch me prepare the pasta. When it is time to cut the pasta, they can each cut a few pieces and they feel they have helped, but they are getting bored and I can finish cutting the remainder myself. Since they have so much time in the kitchen, they are more than willing to leave and do something else when I begin to boil the water. On Friday, I served the pasta in a simple, kid-friendly brown butter, parmasean sauce. When I served the pasta, the boys knocked of the whole bowl in minutes. I had a modest serving, then they ate the rest. They were still begging for more after it was gone. I am willing to make the extra effort to make fresh pasta when I know it will be passionately consumed. David was bummed when he got home and did not have any left overs to enjoy.
Today, after church, I stopped by the organic grocery to check for free produce. I found lettuce, cucumbers, corn and bread. I brought it home and made a lunch from it. The only things I used from my kitchen were, oil, vinegar, parmasean and butter for the corn. We had a lot of corn, so I shucked four for our family and the rest was for the chickens. I let each boy take a corn cob out to the chickens. David went out with them and Christian gladly gave the chickens the corn. Liam would not. He is a hoarder who does not like to share and he is also not a big fan of delayed gratification. Today, he could not wait for me to boil corn. He ate his cob, intended for the chickens, raw. He ate all of it. David and shrugged our shoulders and commented to each other that we should be greatful that we have a child who is so passionate about fresh produce that he will eat even if it is uncooked.
Here are some recent layouts. I have some fun ones coming on Tuesday from kits getting released on Tuesday at Elemental Scraps. Stop by and see the site remodel
I used Daisy Fantaisy by Liz Thompson & Impressions of Peace the March Studio Graphics Collab kit for this

I used Grate 4 u on this layout

I used papers Altered Ego & Frosted paper by Jennifer Howland and Stitching by Becki Kress for this layout.

I used Spring Mist by Lindsay Jane Designs for this layout.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Judge not lest you be judged

I might be the only person who encounters unsightly situations and passes judgement on all people involved.
Today I learned once again that life is not always black and white.
I took the boys to the neighborhood school to play for a while. It is about 7 or 8 blocks away, so I only brought my keys, cell phone and a book to read while the boys played.
I was sitting on the bench reading and thinking how nice it is that the boys seem to be getting big enough for me to read while they play.
I looked up and and Liam was dumping stuff on the slide. The stuff looked an awful lot like dog poop. I walked over to check the situation out and indeed he was piling woodchips and dog poop on the slide.
This was a problem on many levels. First, I did not bring wipes or anything else to clean Liam's hands. I had to get him home and I was not going to touch those dog poop covered hands. Second, there was poop on the slide. I feel this need to leave places in the condition I found them in. I also find that with children this is not always possible. I looked around to find a stick or something to get the poop off the slide, but there are not trees or anything like that at the playground and I needed to keep Liam contained.
So....I grabbed Liam by his shirt and we left to go home. This week is spring break so the school is empty. If school was in session, I would have tried to call and explain my situation so they could send someone out to clean the poop off the slide. I guess I just have to pray for a big rain tonight to clean the slide off.
I imagine that people driving by watching me drag Liam down the street by his shirt while I had an angry scowl just thought that I was one of those horrible people who have no right even trying to raise children.
I sent Liam straight to the the bath tub when we got home. Liam loves taking baths and apparently he loves playing in animal poop so natural consequences are not really possible in this situation. I am also glad that he is on antibiotics.
When we were at urgent care last Friday, I was commenting that I don't know how Liam gets these weird infections. I guess it would be playing in things like dog poop or whatever else he seems to find.
There have been a couple of times that we went to a park and the slide was covered in dog poop. I have always become very angry and either thought or told people that people who do things like that belong in jail. It may be unruly youth responsible for things like this or it might be three year olds who get a little too curious.

Seattle pictures and highlights

It is spring break and we got back from Seattle last night. Let me start by saying, I love school breaks. It is so nice to relax, not worry about drop offs and pick ups. I can't wait until Summer vacation when I get a three month break from all of that.
We went to Seattle for a few days. We had fun, but everyone was glad to sleep at home last night. The boys both slept in late this morning. We stayed at a hotel by the Space Needle. It was a good location and a decent hotel. I can do without sleeping in the same room as my kids. The hotel also had hot water issues, so if you did not grab a shower first thing in the morning, you were out of luck. We did complain about this and get a discount off our room. One thing they had was a breakfast buffet which we enjoyed.

We used some of our memberships to keep the cost of the trip down. The first place we went was Woodland Park Zoo, where we got in with our Oregon Zoo membership. They had an Easter Egg hunt going on. Both boys enjoyed the hunt. They just gave out empty eggs and wanted the kids to recyle them and then get candy as they left. Liam is a total pack-rat, hoarder, so there was no way he was letting go of his eggs. We did dump a few out so he could carry his bag. We offered to hold it for him several times so he could climb and get around better and he would not let go of it.

After we left the zoo, we drove down towards Puget Sound to see if we could find a park where we could eat lunch. The first miracle was that I did not get lost. I have spent more time in my life lost in Seattle then I would like to admit. I was able to find the major streets and go down to Golden Garden park. This is very nice park. The beaches are great and there is a great wetland area. They boys were thrilled to see a beach. Liam would not even eat lunch, he insisted on playing on the beach. We were there for a couple of hours. The best part of this was that like the zoo, the beach was free.
I would love to live in that part of Seattle and on nice days, just grab the kids and spend the day at the beach.

We woke up to rain on Sunday (just like the weather forcast said). We went to the Seattle Science center (also free because of our OMSI membership). I went there with Christan in Septemember and we have yet to see the entire center. It is so big and there is so much to do. I also like the Seattle Science center because it is close to a Starbucks and when I went out to get David and I drinks, they let me bring them back in without giving me attitude.
They have a wonderful butterfly garden there, but next time we go, I need to take my Zyrtec. It was very pollinated and I had a bad allergy attack after being in there.

We got up early Monday morning and drove up to Anacortes to catch the San Juan ferry. We missed the ferry and had to wait at the terminal for a while. We found an outlet and grabbed the portable DVD player from the car. I have never been more thankful for technology than I was yesturday morning.

After a long wait, the ferry finally came and we enjoyed a wonderful ride through the islands. Liam gets motion sickness, so we had to give him medicine before the ride. The medicine keeps him from throwing up on us, which we like, but it makes him very tired and irritable. He had a rough time and fell asleep on the ride between Friday Harbor and Orcas Island.

frames by Julie Bullock - Grateful 4 U

Friday, March 21, 2008

trip preperations

It is 10:34 and the car is packed.
We could not find our suit cases this morning since they are burried under all the stuff we brought back from storage, but have not got around to orgnaizing yet. David found one for our clothes and the boys clothes are going in a laundry basket.
David got the car vacumed out so it looks good, for now.
The boys and I went to the store to get food for the trip this afternoon. I bought some fun snack foods and Liam had a hard time understanding why he could not eat them now. He is not one for delayed gratification.
We went to the gas station that is affiliated with the grocery store since we get gas 10 cents a gallon cheaper there since we spend money at the store. Since it is so expensive, anything helps. There was a long line since it is the Good Friday and many people are traveling for Easter and for spring break.
We came home and ate dinner and when I was getting Liam ready for bed, I noticed that his feet were both red and swollen. He has had foot infections in the past and I did not want to be out of town away from our doctor with a full blown infection. We went to the urgent care. The doctor said that he was developing an infection and we got drugs. He fell asleep on the ride home.
I finished packing the car and printed up all the maps we need tonight.
I just need to sync the iPod and we are ready to rock.
I got my deep conditioning and hair cut yesturday. My hairdresser, Chelsea, was doing her first "official" human hair cut. I put official in air quotes because, she said that she has cut friend's hair many times. Haven't we all cut our friend's, kid's or our own hair before.
It did take a lot time, but she was very accuarate and did a good job. My hair is getting so long that the applying the lanolin is taking much longer then it did a year ago. It is nice to be rid of the fried red ends. I can run my fingers trough my hair without them getting caught in tangles.
I went on another free fruit run at New Seasons while I was in that neighborhood and got a bunch of bannanas and a pimelo (very large grapefruit). The thing I am loving the mnost about the free fruit other then the price is that they boys are very willing to try the different fruits. It must be murphy's law that if I bought the fruit, the boys would turn their noses up, but if it is free, so it's fine.
I have also figured out that if I feed the boys later (at about 5:30 when normal people eat) instead of 4:00 when they start begging for food, they eat much better. They boys both sucked their food down yesturday and Christian was even willing to eat pesto pasta even though it had some green in it.
We are going out of town this weekend. I cleaned the car out last night (always scary). If anyone hears a news story about our van getting stranded in the woods, don't worry too much. We have enough food crumbs to eat for months. David is going to get the car vacumed today so we can trash it again tommorow.
On a scrapping note, I have been in love with boxes since I first saw them and wanting to try to work with them. I saw that Sweet Digi Scraps had a kit using boxes in the Elemental Scraps store and downloaded Remember Me Always and did a layout with it.

Here is my layout. I also used Lori and Jeany by Claudi Designs, Ultimate Element Collection by Natalie Bird, My Oh My Mats by Melissa Bennett, Brackets by ShellyRae Cuthbert, Curbside Containers by Stephanie O'neill and Grandmas Dried flowers by Weeds and Wildflowers

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Foot Book

For many years my friends and I have enjoyed taking "foot" shots, especially when we were travelling. I will have to get some of these old pictures of cd so I can work with them.
I have also seen some beautiful children's foot photos and decided I had to have some.
We were at a local garden last week and I asked the boys to take their shoes off and sit on a wooden bridge and then by a little waterfall. I stepped away and used my telephoto to get the shots. I was amazed at how the photos turned out. It was a cloudy day and I think that gave better lighting to the photos.
I used Lindsay Jane Designs Spring Mist for this layout

I am going to International Beauty School for a long overdue hair cut, deep conditioning and eyebrow waxing today. The benefit going to the beauty school is the price, $15.00 for all three. The draw back is that it takes so much time. One reason that I am so overdue for this is that I have to find a large block of time that I do not have school pick ups or any other plans. I bring a book and the beauty school is next door to a Starbucks (my old store) so I can get some food and caffiene when needed. It is also a couple of blocks from New Seasons, so I can run over there and look for free produce if I get caught in a big delay.
We bought a pool pass for last summer to go to local pools whenever we wanted. That "pool" hair has not hit my ends, so I am really looking forward to loping them off. My hair is the longest it has ever been now, so it is amazing that I have so few split ends.
Since I am of Sicilian/Jewish decent, my eyebrows grow in very dark and very thick. Think Micheal Dukakis.

My dream eyebrows are Halle Berry's.

A few years ago, after Halle Berry won her Oscar, I went in and asked for her eye brows. The waxer just shook her head and said eyebrows like that are genetic and I don't have the genes.
I guess is safe to say I have almost presidential eyebrows.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Papaya Smoothies

The boys and I went to New Seasons (a local organic grocery store) yesturday. I usually park back by the loading dock when we go and when I got there I noticed that there were boxes outside the back door with food in them and a sign saying that the produce and bread was free. I grabbed a box of papayas and melons thinking I could feed them to the chickens. When I brought the box home, I looked over the fruit and saw that it was bruised, but still edible. I cut up a papaya for the boys. They did not want to eat the fruit plain, but then I tossed some into the food processor with some vanilla yogurt. I had a hit on my hands. I ended up making a second batch of smoothies with Liam crying while I made it because he wanted seconds so much.
I will be over in that neighborhood tommorow to get my hair cut and I will be checking out the loading dock for more free fruit.
Here are my latest layouts and projects
I used a kit called Grateful 4 U which was a free kit created by several designers as an appreciation gift to creative team members. It is a beautiful kit and I am enjoying playing with it.

We are finally letting the boys play with the big boy Legos, we still only let Liam play with them under adult supervision. They both love them. Chrisitan likes to build things with wheels. I saw a big educational box of legos with wheels to build cars and such. I hope I can find a smaller package. I used Pack o dots muted colors by Green Elephant Designs by Nicoli and Several items by Natalie Bird for this layout. Check out Natalie's store here.

I did this layout for a challenge at Weeds and wildflowers. The dried flowers are available at their blog as a freebie. Check them out on the bottom of my links list to the right.

This is a hybrid project I did last weekend. I bought the letters at Michaels and a bottle of Mod podge. I used Cotton and Cologne by Liz Thompson. This kit has great Easter colors.

I love this picture that Christian posed for last week. Check out my gallery link to the right for credits.

Friday, March 14, 2008

chicken talk

We are getting one egg a day from our chickens and I made a dutch baby using their eggs. They color is so much richer and darker then store bought eggs and the taste and texture of the Dutch Baby was even different. We have been feeding the chickens most of fruit and vegetable scraps as well as the weeds we are pulling up as we prepare our garden and worms and bugs we find. We even fed them beetles I found in one of the gardens last week. They were thrilled. With everything that we are feeding them they are not eating as much chicken food. This makes their egg production more profitable for us. They are also confining most of their poop to the top of the hen house so it is easy for us to clean and we having been adding it straight to the gardens. This means that they do not produce waste. I was looking at the cost for organic eggs at Trader Joes and a dozen runs 3.29 and you do not even get free fertilizer as part of the package. We got our first chickens about a year ago and ended up with roosters. It is nice finally have eggs, a clean low weed yard and very little waste.
Here is a picture of Liam and Allie B. Jr. (Allie B. Sr. was one of the roosters) I used Get Dirty by Sweet Digi Scraps, Fun Metal Words by Anja J. & Felty Critters no. 1 by Becki Kress as wells Oh My Mats by Melissa Bennett and Curvy Text Paths by Shelly Rae Cusbert

The name the blog contest at Satellite Sisters inspired me to do this layout. One of the entries was One Cup of Coffee at a Time. I voted for this name. I used Nicoles Coffee by Green Elephant Designs by Nicola

I took this picture last summer in Hood River and did the layout for Sherri Tierney a month ago. She just released the kit, A Touch of Whimsy today. It is on sale for $1.50 at Elemental Scraps

In case you are wondering what a dutch baby is, here is my recipe:
Heat the oven to 350 and add 1/4 cup butter to a shallow baking or pie dish and put it in the oven to melt butter while you mix other ingredients.
Add 3 eggs to a bowl and whisk well.
Add 1/3 cup milk and whisk it in with the eggs
stir in 1/2 cup flour mix well until flour clumps are no longer visible.

When the butter is melted, pull the rack with the dish out and pour mixture in and bake for 15 minutes.
I usually use a 8 cup liquid measuring cup to make pouring easy. It also works best if you put the rack on the bottom rung in the oven.
Add your favorite jam or topping and eat.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Temper Tantrums

Yesturday I took the boys out to feed the ducks. There is a little produce stand close to our house where I can buy bags of food for the ducks for $1.00 each. I bought one for each boy. We went to the garden and Christian fed the ducks fairly quickly. Liam fed the ducks a bit, but was not feeding them. I thought he was just waiting to feed them at the other pond, but Liam is not one for delayed gratification, so that would be out of character for him. He was just hoarding the duck food. As we were getting ready to leave, I told him that he needed to feed the ducks or I would take the food and let Christian feed them. He refused to feed the ducks or share his food, so I took it from him and Christian and I fed the ducks the rest of his food. I also took some pictures of his response.
There was a young couple with a baby around a year old there when Liam was screaming and I was taking pictures. They looked on in utter horror.
When we got home, I put Liam in his pajamas. He took his shirt off, so I asked him to go to his room and choose a shirt. He came back with shorts and tried to put it on as shorts, he got very upset about that too. A bit later we went to the bathroom to brush teeth. I like to brush Liam's teeth first and the he can brush for a while after that. This usually makes him quite mad. Last night he was foaming at the mouth with toothpaste crying and then grabbed the tooth paste put it on his brush and did it again his way.
I did a layout capturing these moments.
I used Easter Trails by Lindsay Jane Designs

Here is another layout I did from Christian's last snack day at his preschool. The papers are Just So Funky by Creative Confusion, the Alpha and Stitching are by Becki Kress, The holes and cardboard shapes are by Lucky Smith, Frames by Natalie Bird, Janosch Designs & Lucky Smith and the word strips are by Honie Desins. The compete credits can be found in My Digishoptalk Gallery to the right.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Gardens and layouts

We have been working a lot in our garden lately. We have been preparing the soil with coffee grounds from Starbucks, chicken droppings and compost. We planted the first seeds yesturday. We will plant onions, potatos and garlic soon. I hope all this preperation pays off.
Here are several layouts I have been working on.
I used Touch of Class by Sherri Tierney

This layout used My Little Star by Amanda Geils, In Stitches and Stitched Alpha by Becki Kress, Newspaper Alpha by Julie Bullock, Realistic Rips - Edge by Grace Bennett

I used Altered by Honie Designs

This layout used Bunny Trails by Lindsay Jane Designs

I used Spring Meadow by Lindsay Jane Designs

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

This is my first creative team layout for Designs in Digital. Everything is by Natalie Bird....Eclectic Bits & Pieces, Latte Papers, Twinkle Twinkle Stars and Ultimate Element Pack. Friday was Christian's snack day and I took some fun pictures of him playing on the playground with my telephoto (I always get the best kit pictures that way). This picture is my favorite. Christian's preschool is in an old Cathlioc School that is next to a Cathlioc Church. I have always loved the design of this church. David and I used to walk by it when we lived in that neighborhood many years ago. I have to admit that I breifly thought about attending this church just because the design was so beautiful..

We are assigned one Designer a month to do a layout for at Elemental Scraps. This month I was assigned Lucky Smith, who is one of the newer Designers there. She does such fun designs and I was thrilled to "have" to create for her. As a member of creative teams, I am glad I always keep my camera handy and snap pictures of the smallest things. I took some pictures of Liam resting and sleeping in our bed when he was sick last month and then when I went to the store to choose a kit by Lucky, I found Cootie Bugs, which was the perfect theme kit for this layout. Lucky has also been busy creating a line of "Perfs". I used the Perf Frames & Shapes. She also has an Numbers and Borders. I also used Empty Holes, Funky Mats 12x12 and Glitter Scribbles .

Washington Post ran an Opinion piece by David Kuo on Sunday. I have not had a chance to read the whole thing, but it sounds interesting, Not Your Father's Religious Right. He also spoke on Talk of the Nation on NPR yesturday and it was an interesting disscuion.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Lots of layouts

I have several layouts to post today.
I used Spring Meadows by Lindsay Jane Designs & Oh My Mats 1 & 2 by Melissa Bennet for this layout

This layout uses Impresstions of Peace which is Scrapbook Graphics March Collab kit. When I post this I keep typing Impesstions of Peach. Maybe that can be summer collab kit. This layout was featured on the Scrapbook Graphics Blog yesturday. Stop by and visit, there many gorgeous layouts featuring this kit.

I used Urban Monkey Papers & Elements by Liz Thompson

I used: Kimono Papers & Elements by Liz Thompson for this layout

I used It's a Spring Thing by Pyralis Designs, Oh My Mats 2 by Melissa Bennett & Word Paths by ShellyRae for this layout

I was invited by Designs in Digital to be a member of their creative team. Stay tuned for some fun layouts. Natalie Bird is one of my assigned designers this month and I have been working with her designs over at Elemental Scraps. I am also working with Green Elephant and Honie Designs. Stay Tuned. I am excited to get started.
One other last note....One of my layouts is featured today at Lidsay Jane's Blog