Tuesday, February 26

kids in the kitchen

i was soooo tired yesterday.  it really does take that many "o's" to describe how beat down, dog tired i was.  i had worked out hard at the gym, ran errands all afternoon, and was just tired.  i wanted a nap while my 4 year old only wanted mommy to read one more story (i've read to you for an hour already!), watch one more tv show (no, you're done.), have one more thing to eat (you've already emptied the fridge into your belly!), and play one game of "in a pickle" (just plain, no, baby.)  and when this mama's is this tired, her nerves become a little raw.

by the time i had all three kids home, i wanted nothing more than to be by myself.  but in our small home, that just doesn't happen.  i wanted to lock myself up in my bedroom, but i had to cook dinner. i start browning the ground beef when my daughter comes in the kitchen to ask to help.  i told her that it would be best if i just cooked dinner by myself because i want to be alone.  that's when that sweet angel of mercy says, "yes, but you can be in your bedroom by yourself, while i cook dinner."   i didn't hesitate.  i handed her that wooden spoon, told her to be careful and went to lay down.  by myself.

my husband came home, saw how tired i was, and told the kids that he was going to be mom tonight.  (bless him.)  i came out from hiding when i heard them finishing the pasta for dinner.  i didn't want to get up, but i knew i had to get the side salad done.  i go to wash the lettuce and my husband tells me that natalie had already made a fruit salad for dinner.  that bowl of blueberries, grapes, sliced strawberries, and chopped apples absolutely made my night.

and THAT mamas and papas is why we teach our children how to cook.  so that when i'm tired and don't want to cook, they can pull a meal together instead.  teach them how to use a knife, how to handle a hot skillet, how to season foods so that YOU can have a night off!  most people will tell you that kids should cook because it makes them more likely to try new foods, it teaches them self-sufficiency, it helps them to know where their food comes from, and blah, blah, blah.  while all that is well and good, i'm hear to say that the best reason is that they're cooking and you're not.   woo-hoo, can i get a big amen on that one? nothing is better than laying late in the bed on a saturday morning having a quiet conversation with your husband while your kids are whipping up buttermilk pancakes from scratch.  well, there is one thing better....when one of your sweet young'uns brings you a hot cup of coffee that you didn't have to brew.

of course, just to put this in perspective...my kids aren't always eager in the kitchen.  there are many mornings when they can't seem to pour their own bowl of cereal.  (insert exaggerated eye roll here)  they don't cook a whole lot but i'm determined to dump this task on them encourage them to take on the challenge of cooking more often.

and one more note, i spent a lot of time WITH my kids teaching them how to cook BEFORE i trusted them to be around the hot stove and sharp knives without me.  i started them young, depending on their own maturity level and dexterity.   and then slowly gave them control.   i still won't let my daughter use the BIG chef knife, but she knows which in the block she can cut with.   they have to learn somehow and i don't believe in shielding them from all possible danger.  all i'm saying is don't be stupid about when it comes to having your kids in the kitchen.  :)

Thursday, February 21

new pillow!

i was lamenting last night on facebook the difficulty of sewing with knit fabrics.  is anyone else with me on this?! several years ago, i did make my youngest son the cutest and comfiest pj pants out of a nice, thick, easy to work with knit.  he loved them and wore them forever.  he looked so precious in those pants!  and then feeling all confident or something, i thought i'd make myself a knit skirt.  i had several from old navy, i think they called them yoga skirts, and i live out of these type of skirts in the summer.  i figured it'd be fun and easy to make one just like it, i mean i DID make the pj pants. 

i managed to make one even though i had my doubts about the quality.  you know, it looked handmade and not in the cool, indie handmade kind of way.   i even wore it one time to an outdoor concert with the hubbby.  it was a not a "good outfit" night for me, esp. with the shirt i had paired it with.  the man taking the ticket thought i was pregnant...in his defense i do have a large abdominal separation and look perpetually 5 months pregnant, but still it's never cool to look pregnant when you are not pregnant.  that comment, along with the most massive pimple smack dab between my eyes that night just seemed to taint the whole outfit!  i haven't been able to wear the skirt or shirt ever again.  they were banished from the wardrobe rotation forever. 

but i loved the color and feel of the knit i made the skirt from and hated to just throw it away. so i sat on the fabric for a good year until i thought i'd try my hand at knits again, this time in  a pillow.

oh, i love it so!  i'm so glad i didn't "chuck it in the river"  like i wanted to do.  stitching the knit "shags" were super easy, mainly because i cheated.  i sewed the strips onto a knit background and knowing how slippery it would i ironed on some interfacing to the back making it nice and stable.  the problems came sewing the knit front to the knit back pieces.  luckily, the picture doesn't show the poor seams nor does it show the big hole i was able to hide in the seam allowance luckily.  nor does it show the huffing and puffing sounds i made trying to sew it.  if i were ever to do this again, i'd definitely use a user friendly cotton as the background. and i highly recommend that to anyone wanting to make a similar pillow unless you're just one of those freaks of nature who can bend the evil knits to their will.  unlike me.   

i give this pillow about 24 hours before my daughter sneaks it for her own bed.  i do love it now so much more than when it was a skirt.

Thursday, February 14


the hubs and i are far from the gushy valentine type of couples.  we fall into the "valentine's day is commercialized"  and we will not "feed into this corporate holiday" because it is only about "guilting you into spending money."  luckily, we both feel this way so there are no hurt feelings when one spouse does nothing!

however, i do so love talking about the story of us.  so i thought i would repost our marriage story from a couple of years ago on this hallmark holiday.

but, first, on a side note i entered a blog contest on farmgirl paints (i love how real she seems!)  with my love story in the comment and i won a fabulous selection of bath and body products from Eco Natural Soaps.  I won the contest the day before my birthday and I received the goods on Valentines Day.  I love the lip balm already, I got it in Lime, and the Citrus Sunrise soap scent is amazing!  I swear I opened my mailbox today and it smelled so nice inside!  I knew right away what was in the box before I even pulled it out.  Go check them out!

onto the story that was first written back in April of 2010....

ten years ago today, i didn't marry my soul mate.  i didn't marry my best friend.  and he most certainly didn't marry the wife he wanted. he didn't marry the person he could no longer live without.  i didn't wear a white gown.  i wasn't walked down the aisle by my father.  my father never got to officiate the wedding.  my mother didn't get to sing at my wedding.  i wasn't surrounded by my friends and family on what is supposed to be the happiest day of my life. we did not gaze into each others eyes.  neither one of us really wanted to be there if we're honest.

but ten years ago, i did marry.   i married my husband in a courthouse with our two month old son beside us.  we barely knew each other.  i had only met him about a year before.  we lived in different cities for nearly the entire duration of our premarried relationship.  we were not prepared to get married, let alone raise a baby.  we seemed to have nothing in common.  i married him not because i loved him, but because i wanted to keep him from marrying someone else down the road who would be the mother to my son.  i had this image of who he might marry and i didn't want "her" to help my raise my son.   even though i didn't know it at the time, i discovered many years later my husband married me for the same reason.  he didn't like the type of man that he thought i might one day marry being a father to his son.

it's messed up, i know, you don't have to point it out to me.  (in a twisted way, it's kinda romantic.  in a really twisted way, right?)

we were not happy.  we were selfish.  it was pretty ugly for while there.  there were mean words, mean actions, nasty grudges held. bitterness.  apathy.

sounds kinda bleak, doesn't it?   are you ready for the best part? over these past ten years, we began to love each other.  i hesitate to say "fall in love" because that is such a passive statement.  it wasn't something that just happened to us, we made choices to be better people.  we made that choice to love and appreciate each other.  and now we have a deep, sincere love that has been put through the test and found true.

in the past decade, we learned that we actually have a lot more in common than we ever knew.  we learned to sacrifice our own wants to focus on the needs of the other.  we learned that true love takes a lot of work.  we learned how to be each other's biggest supporter. we learned that marriage is a partnership.  we learned that we are stronger than our circumstances.  we learned that marriage can be tested, can be tried, can be put through the fire and it can survive.  my husband did become my best friend and i did become someone he can't live without.  and in that decade we added two more wonderful blessings to our first son; a daughter and then another boy.

even though our marriage began far from ideal, even though i never had the wedding i had once dreamed of, even though our marriage went through hard times of our own making, i would not wish it to have been different.  if we had never persevered through the hard times, i never would have been able to see the grace God poured out onto our marriage.  if our marriage had been easy, i would never be able to tell of the strength God gave me.   if our marriage had been always full of love, i would never be able to know how precious the gift of love is.  if our marriage had never gone through the darkness, we would never be able to fully enjoy the light.  our marriage has been worth all the heartache we experienced in the beginning, i would hate to be on this ride with anyone else but him. i'm so glad we didn't give up in the first part of our marriage, we would've missed out on so much joy, happiness, laughter, and love.

Wednesday, February 6

my first guest post!

i had a wonderful opportunity to be a guest blogger. the site is VendRaleigh, a local networking and business site for small business women, who happen to all be moms.  it was my first time guest blogging, and it felt so nerve wracking...like being back in school since i had to hope the blog owner liked the post!  but it was easier than i thought it was going to be, whew.  sigh of relief that it was well accepted!  :)

hop on over and take it peek at it 

Friday, February 1

February Shop Update

i listed a good number of new and different items last month.  i had so much fun making these tote bags.  i took a heavy duty canvas and added all sorts of fun fabric to make these bags. i don't use canvas tote bags that are premade, i often  find i don't like the quality of those.  i have several different designs, but this "read" bag is my favorite!

don't you love this cowboy and indian fabric!?  i love the vintage feel.  

 i do have some new dish towels listed, as well.  i'm in the process of stitching up quite a number of new towels, but some are listed already.  this little birdie if a personal fave of mine!  i love the black outline stitching and the detail is creates.

one question i receive from people is whether or not the trim holds up well in the wash.  have you ever wondered that yourself?  well, in the effort of full authenticity i wanted to show a picture of two of my personal dish towels, one with pom pom rim and one with ric rac.  i've used these in my kitchen for months, and they get used, too.  mine are not just for pretty!  i didn't iron these, because i wanted to be shown in all their used glory.  the trim holds up so well!

the pig towel is precious to me.  the fabric had once belonged to my grandmother.  she gave me her fabric stash shortly before she passed away.  i treasure it!

Thursday, January 31

how can january be over?!

so start with a super busy craft show season, then throw in all the kids home for 5 weeks at christmas time, add in a couple of illness, get everyone back healthy and back to school for a few days and then throw in three more weeks of illness and then you end up right here where i am at today.

i'm so thrilled that things are finally back to normal for the family.  it's like i've left a dark cave and am no groping my way in the sunlight because i'm not use to its brightness.  i'm having to get back in the habit of dinner planning, maintaining a clean house, and middle school math homework (honestly i have never had to find the surface area of a triangular prism since i left school, but whatever, i'm having to pretend to my son that YES it is important to know.  ugh) .  i've even started filling back up my etsy shop. shocker, i know.  so if you're kind enough to have read this blog post you can be rewarded for an amazing offer- buy one item in shop and get one half off.  place your order and let me know you actually read my blog post and then i'll modify the price for you before you pay.  it's a little thank you.    stay tuned for some more recipes, more home improvement projects (like a major decor change in the master bedroom!), and more family life.

Thursday, November 15


you know, i thought things would go so much smoother around this house when the littlest one went off to preschool.  and it did for awhile.  he was doing amazing things on his own that i could only accomplish with a fight....like washing his hands after using the potty.  i was really busy during his preschool hours sewing and trying to focus on etsy business.  and i've done a lot...i've done two craft shows and have been preparing for several more before christmas.  but something is amiss.  not sure how to correct it.

"i hate you."

as a mom, i figured i'd hear those words at some point from one of my children.  i'd didn't think it'd be my oldest...he hates conflict and discord.  he's super nice and respectful.  i thought my daughter, whose 8, would probably be the first to utter those words.  but not until at least she hit puberty and those hormones sent her raging.  or when i won't let her wear that skirt or go to that party.

but never, never, did i think my four year old would scream those words to me.  i blame preschool.  ;)  it has to be those other kids, right?  i mean we don't tell each other in this family that we hate them. 

of course, i also never thought my four year old would get so angry that he'd hit the glass door and shatter it.  we don't hit things in this family.  we don't call each other stupid, we don't kick and pull hair, we don't scream "no" in each others faces, we don't fight over everything.  i mean every.single.thing.

yes, i've seen my share of tantrums, but we've hit upon something so much more than that.  the rage that this little thing manages to experience is something like i've never seen before, his desire to be destructive belies his young age. 

oh, how sweet and wonderful and helpful he can be!  my heart melts when i overhear him singing along to a favorite song in the car.  i adore when i pick him up from preschool and he grins big and waves as my car pulls up.  i sing inside when he eagerly helps take things to the table at dinner.  and when he prays over the food, i smile deep inside.  

they always say god gives you at least one to keep you on your knees.  and, boy, did he ever.   the balance act of trying to keep a clean house, run errands, cook dinner, taking care of the kids, sew to help support our family's budget,  and all that usual stuff that happens during the day all while an incredibly angry and volatile volcano is erupting through out the day has made me a tired mama.  my home is not at peace, which means my family is not at peace.  i'm sure this is just a rough patch that we have to get through, but until then i'm tired.

i'm tired and sometimes, i admit, mothering can be "not fun".    the emotional roller coaster i'm put on everyday when he goes from pure rage to sweet and helpful within a short span of time and then we repeat this pattern numerous times during the day, has left me emotional and physically drained.  it makes me count down the days til he goes to kindergarten.  but then i feel awful for ever thinking that.  and i hesitate to even write that, b/c it's one thing to joke about it...it's a-whole-nother thing to actually mean it.

before anyone tries to be helpful and offer suggestions, trust me we've tried it. oh, yeah, i've tried that one, too.  what i need is prayer.  prayer that i can make it through the day and make it through this awful phase we're going through.  because it's intense around here and i need some intense prayer. 

and a chance to just write this down and get it out.


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