Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Quiet Play and Two Year Olds Don't Mix

If you have ever tried to get a two year old to play quietly for more than a few minutes, you know that it is an excerise in frustration. For both of you.

So how in.the.world. am I suppossed to get Kylie to only particpate in quiet play activities for TWO WEEKS!!

I have decided that if it is so important to keep a child from running, climbing, jumping, dancing, and all manner of things that they could do that would result in falling or getting hurt, that you should put a cast on their leg.

That wouldn't stop the play. But it would slow her down.

Yes, this is where I find myself on day five post-surgery. 

Kylie is MEAN!
Kylie is CRANKY!

and by gosh, she's going to CLIMB!

Let me see, so far this morning,

I've been yelled at.  
I've been spit at.
I've been hit.
I've changed the sheets on my bed due to medicine being slapped out of my hands.
I've had a shower due to being COVERED in sticky hydrocodone.

I'm expecting that things will get better.

And to remind myself ... here is an adorable picture of my goose. And oh shock. She's on top of a table.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

40 Bags in 40 Days Update

40 Bags in 40 Days for Lent.  In case you missed my initail post, click here for the background.

Otherwise, here is an update.
As you saw in a previous post, I got the laundry room finished. Yeah! It's so useable and clutter-free. I was even able to fold laundry on the counter! Amazing how wonderful it feels to have a clean and easy to navigate space.

From there, I cleaned out my closest and dresser. I'm not much on having excess clothing, so I just got rid of a bag from each.

Next up was the section of the kitchen that works as an office/china cabinet type area.  In the picture below, it looks almost clean. In reality it is a junk storage area!
From this area, I got rid of a couple of boxes of just random junk, old computer software and a lot of trash! 

The hardest part so far was going through my recipe boxes. I got rid of three of the four boxes. In the past, I was one that would cut out interesting recipes and glue them on notecards for future use.  I had hundreds of cards. But today, if I need a recipe, I just google it and go. So, no need to keep them, just to keep them. I did keep the recipe's that I use or that I have from my grandmother, but so long, never used recipe for some exotic concoction.

Today, I sorted clothes. I got rid of at least three boxes worth of kid clothes plus a large box of my own out of season clothing.

In addition to all this, we've gotten rid of TWO TRUCK LOADS of stuff from the garage!! This alone counts for probably 50 bags!

Doug mentioned that at somepoint I'll have to stop getting rid of stuff, but for now, we are both loving the 40 days of cleaning out the house!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Tubes, Adenoids, and Tonsils

Poor Kylie.

So long adenoids and tonsils.
Hello ear tubes.

Immediately following surgery Kylie consumed 3 Popsicles.

Waiting for a room.
In her room.
Yeah, she just had surgery.
Can you tell?

So as of this post, she's been up for 12 hours straight, except for the drug induced forced surgery sleep.

But beyond that,  NO SLEEP.

Oh man. Poor Mommy and Daddy!

If all goes well, it will just be one night and then home.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Maddie's Team 2012 Bracelets rival Christmas Morning!

You would have thought it was Christmas morning here tonight!
 Maddie's Team 2012 bracelets arrived!!

 Everyone got in to the fun and had to wear lots of bracelets. 

The bracelets will be given to students when they pay their $1 to wear their hats in support of Maddie's Team on March 9th at all of the schools in our community!!

What's interesting, for a lot of my high school students, they just want the bracelets. So we ordered plenty to sell!!

If you would like to support Maddie's Team, for just $1 you can have your very own bracelet! email me for details.

And here is our poster girl in all her finery!
 Team colors this year, in case you didn't see.. are lime green and purple!
 Purple tshirts for the walkers.


Isn't she beautiful!

Monday, February 20, 2012

40 Bags in 40 Days: Day One, The Laundry Room

In case you are wondering... I started early. I know that I'll get behind quickly, but I had a relatively free evening and decided to get a head start!

When I made my 40 Bags list, I wasn't thinking about how much WORK it was going to be to clean up the laundry room. I just knew it needed to happen.


I started with things looking like this.

 I finished with this!! OH YEAH!! SWEET!!
But getting there took a while. I cleaned out a couple of bags worth of fabric scraps, craft junk and a pile of trash. 

Look at that monster Ikea bag full of goodies that are leaving my house!!
 And here it is. The clean and de-cluttered laundry room!!

Let's take one more look at the organized thread...
I repurposed a ribbon organizer that never seemed to really work. I love it in this use.

Yippee for organization, repurposing and decluttering!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

40 "Thorns" of Kindness. What? A Great Lent/Easter activity for tweens.

How do you teach the meaning of Lent to a group of 3rd- 6th graders? How do you do so meaningfully, but while doing a craft? That is tough!! My role in our Sunday School rotation is to do an art project/crafty thing with the different groups so that they get an artistic bible-based lesson once a month.

It's a great idea. It's a little harder in practice. Unless I just want them to color a worksheet. Boring!!

So, today was my day for Maddie's group. Since she lives with me, I have a little bit of a knowledge base on what the kids know about the church year and all that.  Basically, they've heard of Lent. They've heard of Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday and all those churchy things. But, when asked the why's of why we do something, things get lost in translation.

I truly didn't want my lesson to be yet another one of those times.

Did I succeed in teaching anything? I don't know.  But here is what I did.

We made a variation of a Crown of Thorns.

It was a "40 Thorns of Kindness"

Take a look at Maddie's below. She didn't write on hers since it was a sample.

The basic idea is that while the kids might not be interested in giving up anything for Lent, acknowledging the sacrifice Jesus made for each of us, is the point of Lent. So, in their case, the sacrifice could be that of doing something for someone else. Hmmm... could this be harder than just giving up sweets?
Each person was given twenty cardboard rings. Yes, these are toilet paper rolls and paper towel rolls. They are different sizes, some 1/2 inch, some probably 1 1/2 inches. Different sizes are nice. So, just cut away.

Then, each person hole punched the ring in opposite sides and strung them on purple string. I iinterjected a little about the color purple here and how it plays into the colors in church.

Some of the kids cut their rings in half and then strung them, but the crown looks better if the pieces don't just fit together. If they string the rings first, the "thorns" poke each other and remain separated.

Once all twenty rings are strung, cut the rings in half on the diagonal to makes pointy edges.

Once everything was cut, the kids decorated the thorns. Some colored the tips, some "splattered" them and so forth. Then the hard part. They had to think of 40 things they could do to help other people and write each one on a different thorn. Some of our suggestions were: "help with laundry," "10 minute back rub," "clean kitchen" and so forth. I did point out that they shouldn't write down things that they already had to do as that would not be a sacrifice. (Interesting, a good discussion of what is a sacrifice came from this.)

Below you can see one of the wearers. I like the "splatter" marker on his.

And there you have it. The goal for the kids is that when Easter arrives, all they have left is an empty string. Fitting? 
So, if you are looking for an easy and SUPER cheap Easter/Lent activity to do with your tween, you might consider making a 40 Thorns of Kindness ring. However, be ready for some discussion about sacrifice and Easter and all those wonderful things we wish kids would talk to us about. For here is my 2 cents: if you want kids to talk, give them something to look at and do. THEN ask the question. But then be ATTENTIVE and LISTEN to their answers.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

40 Bags in 40 Days

What are you giving up for Lent?  It's a common question this time of the year as Ash Wednesday is this Wednesday!  This year, I'm not giving anything up. Well, not any one thing.  Some years I've given up chocolate, some sugar, some caffeine and so forth.  But this year, with life and kids and stress, I decided that giving up one thing was just going to add to the stress level and I didn't need that.

So, instead, I'm doing 40 Bags in 40 Days.

Google it and you can read a dozen or more articles/blogs about it, so I'm not going to list just one for you.

The idea is that during Lent, you use the 40 days to refocus your life and declutter your home.  I like that. A LOT!

You would think that after moving twice this last year that we would be clutter free. We aren't. I look around the house and the amount of stuff that we don't use is staggering. So... 40 bags, oh yeah. Now, I'm not planning on emptying the house of our worthwhile keepsakes and things we use everyday, but I KNOW that we can come up with at least a grocery size bag of stuff from every corner of our house.

Here is my list:

And here is my challenge to me, that while I am cleaning out rooms/closets and drawers, that I declutter mindfully. That I ask myself to be honest about if we use something and that if we don't, we send it to a new home with grateful hearts.

Because Lent is a time of preparing our hearts for Easter. It's a time to focus on the gift/sacrifice that Jesus gave us. It's a time to declutter our bodies and to be mindful of the gifts God has given us. So this year, I'm not giving up sweet tea for Lent. I'm going to purposefully and prayerfully focus on our home.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I hate Asthma.

My poor Maddie has asthma.  Most of the time it's controlled by daily medications.

Well, 11 days ago, Maddie had an asthma flare.

Her peak flow (which is breathing into a little tube and seeing how hard/far you can make the line move) was less than half of what it is when she is well. That meant she was in the Red Zone. The bad, take this medicine and call the doctor zone. 

So we started doing (and have been doing) breathing treatments every four hours and taking all kinds of extra medications to help her breathing. We've driven two hours one way to see the doctor. TWICE.

And still today, she's no better.

I hate this.

There is nothing else that I can do, but it is so frustrating to watch your child suffer. Day after day, and not have anything you can offer, but to rub her back.

So, if you are a prayer person, say a prayer for Maddie. She could use a lift.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Eat, Pray, Love: Custom Dining Room Wall Art

Last weekend it was the fabric portion of the dining room.  Here is the reminder picture. If you missed it, you can CLICK HERE to go back and check out the starting point of this project.

Once I had this, the traditional paintings that I had up just didn't fit. As seen below. While I like mixing styles and such, the contrast between the contemporary graphic quality of the floral fabric and the romantic paintings just did not work.

So, I decided to do something fun and different. No, I haven't seen the movie. I didn't even think of the movie while I was making the pieces. My students however, were nice enough to point out the movie title to me! So, I really hope the movie is decent since it appears that I am advertising it!

How did I do these? Well... first, I bought 3 black stretched canvases. Then, I used my Pazzle and designed the images (or you could use a Cricut if you have the fonts and pictures). I cut the art and the words in white intermediate vinyl and adhered it to the canvas.  My awesome dad offered the tip that if you heat up the vinyl with a hair dryer, the vinyl will adhere to the canvas better. It did and now it looks like the vinyl was painted on!! Hooray for having a super awesome creative dad!

After getting all the vinyl on the canvases, I bought twill tape in a nice red and some 1" thick Heat N Bond Ultra and ironed it on to hide the staples.

And there you have it. Truly custom dining room wall art!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Genetics Conundrum

Life in my house is a roller coaster. We truly live in survival mode most of the time.

This is one of those seasons. I won't bore you with the details. However, in the last two weeks we have seen 4 different specialists. One for each child, plus an extra for Maddie.

Last week, Lexi saw a Metabolic Geneticist and we had some interesting discussions. We don't have results from any of the tests yet. One of the interesting things done was a full family tree complete with circles and squares and lots and lots of questions asked and answered.

Today while talking with a different doctor, a disease/syndrome was discussed and the doctor mentioned that it's an inherited disease from some gene mutation. While the discussion progressed, he stated that well, we would know such and such because my sons, brothers or uncles would have it.

I don't have sons.
I don't have brothers.
I don't have uncles.


How's that for a conundrum?

See, I have three girls.
I am one of four girls.
My mom is one of four girls.

So, we don't know if we have the gene mutation.

Only time will tell. Thankfully, if we do have it, the syndrome is much less severe in females than males.

And that leads me to wonder, is this why my family line is that of girls? And I can't help but think about the lost pregnancies. Was Maddie's twin a boy? I know, it doesn't matter, but I can't help it. A few years ago a doctor mentioned in passing something about genes and girls and inherited issues and boys and some other mumbo jumbo. Now this. And so, this mother's heart begins to wonder.

And there you have it.

An update on our genetics conundrum.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Kidney Walk 2012!

It's that time... Kidney Walk time!

The Fort Worth kidney walk is on March 24th. We invite all of our friends and family to come out to the Trinity Park on Saturday morning, March 24th and support Maddie in raising funds for kidney research.

Our team goals this year are: 75 team members and $5,000.

Colors: Purple T-shirts. (we will order tshirts on March 1st. They will be purple with lime green Maddie's Team)

Click on the link below to join our team today!!


The kidney walk is such an important day for Maddie. It's the one day of the year that she is truly celebrated and supported for who she is.

If you can join us on the 24th, but are not up to walking, we will have a tent set up for the non-walkers!

Any questions? Send me an email!

An Interactive Color Wheel

The Virtual Instructor is a website that I love and use in my classroom a lot. 

Here is the interactive color wheel!  Click on the above image to take you to his website.

And while you are there, check out his art lessons as well.  They are free!!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Fabric Wall Art Tutorial. This is a home decor project even the NON crafty can do!

I was going to wait to show off my dining room when it was all done, however, I'm so proud of it even half done, that I had to brag!! :)

Here is the finished wall.  Follow my step by step process to make your own! It's soo easy  I hate to even tell my secrets! And how cool is this, it's a Technique Tuesday!!

  1.  Go to the store and find a couple of yards of fabric that you love. You can choose a bold  pattern like mine, or you could use a smaller pattern and then cut a larger image/picture out with a template. For example, large flowers could be made with fabric with small print, using a different fabric for each petal...
  2. Purchase some Heat N Bond LITE. Get the LITE if you plan to remove this image from the wall later. If you use the ULTRA, it will probably have more staying power.
  3. Iron on the Heat N Bond LITE using the directions on the package.  I didn't worry about wasting some of the backing as the package was I think around $7 for enough for more than 5 yards. And it's way easier to cut the fabric after you put the backing on it.
  4. Cut out the pattern or your desired image. You can see the backing on the back of the fabric. The backing tightens the fabric and allows you to cut out the image with minimal fraying.Make sure to use sharp scissors! And don't forget, move the fabric around and hold the scissors in pretty much one spot.
  5. Below is a section cut out.
    Below is the backside of the fabric.
  6. Choose a small piece to start with.  It's really easy, all you do it pull of the backing paper, position where you want the piece and IRON IT ON THE WALL!! 
I started in a random spot. You might plan ahead more than me, but the really cool thing is that if you hate where you put it, pull it off the wall and iron it down again! It truly is awesome :)
 And finally, here is the pattern on the wall!
Good Luck!
And I challenge you, even all you noncrafty people, iron some fabric on the wall!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Fabric+Iron+Wall= Art!

It's still a work in progress, but I love it sooo much, that I had to show off my dining room wall!

I can't wait to finish up and post pictures of the entire dining room.

But for now, here is the motif that I put in a small section of the room. I love the whimsy and the colors. It's more vibrant that you see through my camera phone.

How did I do it?

Well, I found the pattern was perfect. I ironed on the bonding backer, cut out the pattern, ironed the pieces to the wall and there you have it.

I'll put a tutorial on here asap! You will love it as much as I do! 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Lamp Borrowed, A Tableau in Progress

My mom collects lamps. Maybe calling it collecting is too strong of a word, but let's just say she has more than I do. So, this weekend as she was rearranging things in the house, I asked if I could borrow the lamp in the picture below.

Isn't it a great lamp!  I've always liked it. My sister's and I gave it to Mom quite a number of years ago for some occasion, so it holds special meaning to me, but in addition to that, it has just always appealed to me.

Now it's going to live at my house for a while.

Doesn't it help the tableau in progress? !? I'm still on the lookout for a plant to go into the rooster,(except that the rooster is Doug's so I'm sure at some point he is going to want to use it.)  So... I'm still on the lookout for a plant in a cool container to go with the hurricane.

And in the picture below, you can see one of my absolute FAVORITE things in a house.  Empty wall space and an uncluttered floor.  You see, it has become a pet peeve of my mine that you can walk through so very much of my house and not even know if I have baseboards or not because everything is on top of each other. 

I LOVE having some empty wall space!! I know it looks weird in the picture to have this void, but in real life it's wonderful.  (And to be honest, in order to take the picture I had to move the doll-sized highchair and a board book, so really, it's not empty space, it's just furniture free space!)
And there is another glimpse into my home.  I'm hoping soon I can post a picture of what my living room looks like when it is clean!  Don't hold your breath :)!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Why should you have flood insurance when you live in Texas in the middle of a drought? This is why.

In case any of you dear readers didn't know, I live in Texas. Actually I live in Central Texas where water is at a premium. In fact, we are in the middle of a drought.

Things are dry. Well, they were.

Until a week or so ago. Then it rained.

Six inches in one day. On dry ground.

Dry ground does not absorb water, it causes it to flow.

How do I know this?  Look at my poor floors.

The first two pictures are of my laminate flooring in my dining room, hallway and into my living room.

Just for clarification sake, the seams should not be obvious. The seams should be flush with the rest of the board. The seams should not catch your foot when you walk. The seams should not cause you to trip. This is no longer the case. fun.

And here is my bedroom. Remember the new carpet that we put in just two months ago? Yeah, that carpet.
But the carpet is okay because we pulled it up over half of the room, took the pad out and let it dry outside and had four fans running under the carpet for days.
If only the laminate was salvageable. :(

And NO, it is NOT COVERED by our home owner's insurance policy.  Why? because once the rain hits the ground it is SURFACE WATER. It's not rain anymore and insurance doesn't cover surface water without a flood policy.  Now, if the rain had come through the roof, they would cover that. If it had come through the window, yep, that would be covered. But because it had the audacity to hit the ground first, it's not covered. Yes, I'm a little bitter.

Because really, we live in the middle of a neighborhood, in the middle of town where the closest creek bed is at least a couple of miles aways, in the middle of Texas where we haven't had more than a dab of rain in forever. But yeah, I should have been carrying FLOOD INSURANCE!

What are we going to do about the laminate? Live with it for a while and be thankful that it wasn't the whole house.