Saturday, July 30, 2011

You Get What You Pay For

Or, rather, "You gripe about what you don't even have to spend money on because you are 14."

This is what I found one morning when I opened our pantry. Robert (14) had critiqued our bread...The label now reads "'Healthy' White Blandwich Bread."

Yes, "Healthy" is in quotes. I guess Robert already doesn't trust food labels, and yet he shamelessly copies a mayonnaise commercial's use of the made-up word "blandwich."

My 14 year old also criticizes our cereal purchases:

Note: I don't buy "good" cereal (by his standards) because it lasts somewhere between 2 and 3 mornings around here.

This next shopping list, though, is by far my favorite one. Robert (whose real name starts with an "N") had made a list of things he needed/wanted. I added "N's this, N's that" to the list--you know, before he could think of any other "needs." He wrote his response to my addition, and I added my response, too, trying to mimic his handwriting.

Hmmmm...wonder why he scratched out that part? ;)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WFMW: Sew much fun!

Since I obviously haven't been blogging lately, what have I been doing?

You mean besides searching eBay,, and (and a few other sites) for the last remaining school books we needed for the rapidly-approaching 2011-2012 school year?

I've been sewing.

Years ago, I ran across an old bed sheet (the tag says 1978) that was in perfect condition. I kept it because, even back then, I imagined using the sheet to make some cheerful-looking curtains. Well, I finally did it! Presenting...

My new laundry room curtains!

Jason's first words? "Woah! Those are...some curtains!" Hey, they're behind the door in my laundry room and I'm likely to be the only person in this house who sees them for more than five seconds. Nobody else has to like them. :)

The sheet was in great condition and the gingham print made it very easy to make precise, straight lines. Oh, and I left the "1978" tag on my new curtains...well, just because.

There is more than enough of the bed sheet left over to make Grace a dress from it. (She asked.) Hopefully that won't take as long to get around to doing. ;)

For more details on sewing curtains using bed sheets, check out this post where I made curtains for our French doors.


What else have I been sewing? "Bean bags" for a bean bag toss game! Inspiration for this idea struck after going to my sister- and brother-in-law's home and they had a new bean bag toss game in the back yard. I (eventually) thought of this structure

February 2009
Left to right: Robert (11), Grace (2), and Josiah (6)

which no longer looks anything like that because two sides were damaged with holes. Still, there are two sides of the playset that are in great condition, and these are the sides with the round holes which would be great for a bean bag toss game, right?

Of course they would! This is what Josiah (a.k.a. Josiah the Builder) came up with to secure the two functional pieces together:

I was thinking of looping rope through those holes at the top, but I guess metal stakes would work just as well.


I looked through my little box of fabric and found some pieces of Jason's old work pants in two different colors for two "teams." I sewed to make three closed sides

and turned it right side out.

Instead of the more expensive plastic "beans" you can find at Michaels, I put about 2/3 cup of uncooked rice in a ziploc bag

and folded the bag to fit inside the cloth so that the rice would be protected from moisture, dirt, mud, bugs, etc.

I pinned the remaining side

and carefully sewed the last side shut, taking care to avoid sewing the plastic bag.

I could have sewn the bags closed with matching thread but these will be sitting in the dirt. I'm not as picky about things that will be sitting in the dirt.

I made sets of bean bags for Josiah (9) and Grace (5) to play with inside, too. Josiah practiced his running stitch with some of these.

Grace wanted to learn to sew, too, so at first I was letting her practice handling pins at the table while I was there sewing with the sewing machine--she practiced running pins in and out of a scrap piece of cloth. Next, I let her loose with a threaded needle and a scrap piece of cloth, and she stuck herself with the needle less often than Josiah did. When she was done, Josiah saw her work and commented, "Wow! She's really good at making BIG stitches!" :) He's such a good brother--there truly wasn't even a hint of sarcasm in that. But there were some really BIG stitches.

Grace persisted with wanting to sew, so I drew some small dashes on another scrap piece of cloth and showed her how to cover up the dashes with her stitches. She did a great job! She can be pretty precise when she wants to be. Future seamstress in the making? Hmmm...

Friday, July 22, 2011

"I just don't remember it being this orange."

My blog post title, which came from a line in my favorite movie*, is what came to mind as I uploaded some recent sunset photos from my camera.

I want to say a special "thank you" to my husband Jason, who frequently tells me when there are pretty sunsets and wanted to be recognized for that. ;)

*Do you know the name of the movie that line came from, and/or who said it?

UPDATED to add:
My friend Nancy posted the correct answer on Facebook...It was from the movie While You Were Sleeping. Sandra Bullock's character said it as she was recounting childhood memories of her father. Yay, Nancy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

I couldn't decide on one photo of the sun setting behind our church, so I'm including two photos this time. :)

I love the brilliance of the sunlight in this shot

and the greater contrast in this shot.

Photos are SOOC.

Visit 5 Minutes for Mom, Shibley Smiles, and Baba's Farm Life for more Wordless Wednesday photos.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Overheard: Huh?

As I was walking past Josiah (9) and Grace (5), I caught one small part of a particularly animated conversation.

Josiah: No, the devil wasn't Jesus' pet.

I just kept walking...I didn't want to know.


Grace is highly interested in reading now, and frequently asks me, "What does this spell?" as she tries to decipher the world around here.
Grace: What does "OBST" spell?
Me: Um...where did you see that?
Grace: In my brain, where I *think*! [gestures emphatically at her forehead]  I really saw it there.
She was had such an intense expression it was hard not to laugh at her. :)


At the library today...
Librarian: Are you having a good summer?

Grace: Yes.

Librarian [trying to draw a little conversation from her]: Have you done anything fun?

Grace [matter-of-factly]: Not yet.

Excuse me?!?! All she and Josiah do all day long is play together!
Librarian [trying again]: Well, have you gone swimming?

Grace: Yes! We went swimming yesterday in someone else's pool, and my friends were there!

And then she admitted that it was fun.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Overheard: Ummm...Big and Tough?

As Grace was getting ready for VBS one morning, I overheard her singing a made-up song to herself at the bathroom mirror.

Grace: I'm big! I'm tough! I'm big and tough! No one can defeat me without my fist!

First of all, I don't think that's what she really meant to say (since it, well, doesn't make any sense) but she was singing it over and over again with much enthusiasm.

Second, it's hard to take her seriously--even with such "tough" words--when she's standing on her tippy-toes on a step stool...with white patent leather shoes on and a girly headband in her freshly brushed hair.

Grace has since changed the words to her song:
Grace: I'm big and tough, and I'm ready to puff. [as she punches the air]

Yeah, that's more appropriate for her. My guess is that a certain older brother told her that "fist" didn't rhyme with "tough."

Still, what kind of VBS is this that she has to give herself a pep talk?!?!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Water baby

Grace (5) loved playing in her aunt and uncle's pool during our 4th of July visit! She's taking a break here.

Photo is SOOC.

Visit 5 Minutes for Mom, Shibley Smiles, and Baba's Farm Life for more Wordless Wednesday photos.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Works For Me Wednesday: My new clothes line

This is the first time in my life that I have ever had a clothes line. I am allergic to, well, everything. Seriously--dust, mold, mildew, trees, grasses, cats, dogs, tobacco smoke, cockroach droppings...See? Everything. The first time I was tested for allergies as an adult, I remember my doctor sitting across the room, marveling at how he could see the reactions appearing on my skin from that distance. Fun times.

So I imagined that have a clothes line wouldn't be a good thing for me, what with all the grasses and trees that tend to be outside. However, I am significantly more allergic to dust than grasses and trees, so I figured I would give it a shot since I do pretty much OK with the dust bunnies that reside in hard to reach and/or neglected places around here.

And then we were hit with the hotter than normal early summer temperatures, plus we recently had a porch added to our home, so I figured this was as good a time as any to attempt a trial run with a clothes line.

I sound full of optimism, don't I?

With our new porch addition, I had the idea of running a clothes line between the two support posts at the edge of our back porch. The support posts are vinyl, and I didn't want to drill holes into them, so I found small, tight bungee cords I could wrap tightly around the posts. I bought the cheapest ($3) clothes line I could find at Ace Hardware (remember my optimism with this plan) and ran that through the bungee cords on each post as I wrapped the clothes line once around the posts. This effectively held the line in place so it wouldn't slide down the posts with the weight of the laundry.

I've tightened the line once so far due to stretching and will likely need to again, but it's easy to do since it's tied off at one post.

I had a small supply of clothes pins on hand that my mom had given me years ago when I first moved out of the house, and improvised for the ones I lacked by using pants hangers until I could get more clothes pins. Also, I hung neighboring items with shared clothes pins when it was practical.

Since it's a short clothes line, with only two lines, one load of laundry tends to overflow a little into the laundry room, especially with a load of whites. I usually move these outside once there's room after I take well-dried items off the line.

I can only wash one load at a time unless I plan on using the dryer. The clothes line is shaded most of the day but, with the heat (Did I mention the heat?) and a good breeze, laundry tends to dry quickly enough to do two loads in the morning/early afternoon if needed. This is usually enough to keep me caught up on laundry for our family of five.

I searched online for tips on how to hang laundry the most efficient way, and have found other things by trial and error. For instance, I found that the t-shirts I wear on a daily basis stretch out too much if hung by the bottom seams, so I hang these on thick plastic clothes hangers (the kind with a metal hook, so I can pin the hook to the line).

I made a clothes pin bag that hangs across my body using a salvaged pocket from a child's badly worn cargo shorts and an old shoelace. I don't particularly care if it's not pretty--It does the job. And, as an added bonus, my husband will hum the theme song to Indiana Jones movies when he sees me wear this.

So...bottom line: I spent $3 for a money-saving project. Not bad, especially since this project will (1) save electricity, (2) keep the house cooler, and (3) slow down the wear on our clothes. And that works for me!

Want to see the new "expansion" of my d.i.y. clothes line?  Check it out here!

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