Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Aftermath

my house is a mess. It's not because I haven't been cleaning it. I've cleaned every room at least twice every day. Christmas makes it's own messes.

We had boxes in the livingroom and no space for them in the garbage. Those are out on the carport now, but not until after a discussion about and an attempt to build a playhouse with said boxes in the previously messed up livingroom. That party ended with the first fight . . . five minutes after playhouse construction began. I do hope my children do not try to become home contractors.

We also have many new books. Joshua got two, Sarah got three, Rilla got one, Matt got two and Libby got five. We already had no space for the books we do have on the bookshelf. I know it's time to do some thinning out, put some away until we have room for a second (or third) bookshelf, but it's hard to bring myself to do it. We love all our books.

We now have a house full of dinosaurs as well. Matt got five. He likes to make them roar. Because Matt likes dinosaurs, Libby does too. She makes them roar. It's a cute, small roar, though. We got her two Little People dino sets. Those are dang cute.

All in all though, my house is in chaos. This isn't a new thing. I will be glad to get the peace back when the older three go back to school. I am enjoying them now though. It's fun to see them playing together and the crazy stuff they come up with. I had no idea there were that many themes you could choose for a club. They have a new "club" everyday and the only members are themselves. That is a good thing in my mind. They think of themselves as a group. All together and working toward a common idea. Which is exactly what we wanted when we decided to have a large family. It's nice to see it coming to pass.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

adding to the candy repetoir--Penuche

I have no idea how to pronounce this (and a little help would be apreciated on that, lol), but it's good stuff. Penuche is a brown sugar fudge. It has the flavor of carmel and the texture of fudge. If you are a carmel lover, or if you have a hard time getting carmel to the right texture, this would be a great recipe to try.

If you've used my recipes before, you'll recognize this as a modification of my grandma's vanilla fudge recipe.

3 T butter
1 1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c lt corn syrup
1/2 t salt
1 c cream
1/2 c milk
2 t vanilla
1 c chopped nuts

If you like a less intese flavor, use 2 c white sugar and 1 c brown. To make the fudge: combine butter, sugar, karo, salt, cream, and milk in a 4 qt. heavy bottomed pan. Cook over med heat, stirring constantly until it boils. Cook and stir occasionally to stoft ball stage (236 degrees.) Remove from heat and pour into a mixing bowl. add 1 t vanilla. Cool to luke warm (110 degrees) beat until it loses its gloss. knead in the nuts. Press into a 9x9 buttered cake pan. cut, then cool. makes about 1 1/2 lbs.

if you haven't made homemade candy before you may want to check out the full series in my sidebar (it's under the "what we're reading" section.) There are posts on many different kinds and lots of tips on how to get good results the first time you try. Have fun!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Maybe he's not dreamy but he is a lot of fun

On Wednesday nights I help out with my church's youth group. This last Wednesday, we had a game night. Playing Apples to Apples with a group of 12-14 year old girls is a very intresting thing. They do not vote for the cards you think they would and they say insane things like "who's Sean Connory?" (a sure sign of the degeneration of the educational system in this country, along with the non vote for "Victorian England" played on the "unnatural" card.)

The best part of the night happened after a play of "dreamy" for the green card. A discussion was started as to whom is truly dreamy. The 12 year old next to me looked through her cards and declared that two of them were, in fact, quite dreamy.

"I really like this one, he's totally cute." she said, showing the card to another adult.

The adult looked at the card and replied in the nicest way she could, "Um. That's not a person. That's an event."

The girl had been crushing on "Mardi Gras."

Can't say dreamy is an adjective I've heard to describe that . . . .

Thursday, December 14, 2006

My Secret Desires Fulfilled or how I got over that dream

This last Saturday, Steve spent the entire day somewhere else. It was rainy and cold and I was in charge of children who had too messy of rooms and too much energy not being put to clean said messy rooms. I also had 12 loads of laundry to do. I'm not kidding.

It wasn't a good day.

late in the afternoon, I was stressed enough I needed a break. I headed for my room (um, stormed might be apropriate, but I'm not admitting to it.) I shut my door forcefully and collapsed onto my bed to read. I had a nice relaxing couple of chapters with Miss Woodhouse who was still getting over her embarrassment for misreading Mr. Elton's signals. After a few more deep breaths I was ready to enter the fray again.

I turned my door knob. Door wouldn't budge.

Turned the knob a little harder and tugged harder. nothing.

Pulled and tugged. nothing.

Kicked it. nothing, but then I wasn't expecting that to help.

Pulled again.

Tried to pull the door knob off and it was pretty firmly attatched.

The door knob, 50 years old and original to the house, had finally broken. I had asked Steve to replace it over a year ago and even bought a door knob which has since disapeared because it wasn't used and that's what things do when we buy them and then don't use them for a year. It's like a time activated black hole.

Steve's points value was swiftly plummeting in concordance with the rising screams of contending children from the other end of the house. The end of the house I couldn't get to because I was locked in my own dang bedroom.

It was at this point that I realized I had the best excuse in the world for spending the rest of the day in bed hanging out with Miss Woodhouse as she trips through her pebble-y social life (not rough enough for rocks.)

Then Libby screamed. again.

It suddenly occured to me that I have two ground floor windows in my room and the locks are conveniently on the inside.

I did wonder as I pushed out the screen what my neighbors would think of seeing me climb out my own window. Were they looking for smoke from the roof? Checking for bruises and an angry husband? Thinking I finally went mad?

I spent the next hour completely ignoring the last five loads of laundry. I was not about to go climbing through my bedroom window again just to get the laundry baskets.

Steve was a smart man and sent me out alone to buy a new door knob while he did laundry. I bought a pretty one.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I could save them time with a repeat button

The other night we were at Walmart buying gifts for cousins and I snagged a Blue's Clues DVD out of the bargain bin. My hope was to add some variety to our tv watching. Libby has reached the Blue Obsession stage of her toddlerhood. We have two VHS and one DVD with Blue and I was getting a bit tired of the constant repeats. I don't know what I was thinking because what has happened is exactly what I should have expected to happen: they watch it constantly. The thing gets over and they hit the play button again. At the current rate of viewing the DVD should be worn out in 2.3 weeks. I'm starting to miss Rugrats. (Babies! Repar! raaarrr! says Libby.)

I do have to admit it is cute when she does the Blue impersonations, though. "bo-bo-bo!" All my kids have done that. They got it from me. Blue is the only "voice" I can do and I do it well. It's such a common thing to hear for them that most of them have called Blue "bo-bo." Yes, it's cute. Have you ever met a 2 year old who wasn't cute?

On the present front: nothing. I'm two days behind on the schedule I made out so I wouldn't stress out anymore. However, the cousin presents are all wrapped. that's something isn't it?

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Why the primordial scream? It's December! This year I decided to be a creative mom, a crafty, cool mom. Why am I speaking in italics? Because I'm that stressed. Deciding to do two home made gifts each for five children and a sister tends to stress you out when December 1st rolls around and all you've managed to complete is the one thing for your sister (who you are hoping desperately isn't reading your blog and thinking "she made something? Oh crap. I'm getting a scrapbook." because even if the gift isn't a scrapbook, and I'm not saying at this point whether it is or isn't, you don't want someone thinking that about your scrapbooks.)

I have left to make: two twin bed quilts. two red velvet dresses, five pairs of pajama pants, although I would love to have time to do seven, a necklace for my oldest daughter, a Gameboy case for my son, 14lbs of candy for my in laws, 5 more lbs for friends, etc.

See, I'm stressed. Wouldn't you be stressed too? Especially when you add on an unfinished website that I'm designing myself because I'm too freaking poor to pay someone or even buy a crappy template. ( please be aware that I don't have my portfolio active yet, because I don't even have the photos chosen and resized yet.)

Why do I let December stress me out? Why? I always do this. I get grandiose plans and then crash harder than the Red Baron.

My high school graduating class voted me most organized. HA! (This of course speaks volumes about how much my graduating class really knew me, but that's beside the point today, although it would make a good blog entry . . . in January.) The point is, I'm not organized. I just talk big and dig myself into big, deep, dark pits that are impossible to get out of while still maintaining a full head of hair. Which begs the question: how did my husband manage to go bald when he never, ever does this to himself?

Ok, I've used up my italics quota for the next two years. You can now get them over with in one post and you don't have to suffer through them again. Isn't that a nice, homemade gift? Merry Christmas.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Teddy Libby

Libby has a strange mind. Lately she has decided she needs to sleep with the stuffed animals at night. Now, I'm not talking about a teddy bear or a baby doll in her bed with her. No, I'm saying she wants to sleep with all of them . . . in their bed.

The stuffed animals at our house sleep in a baby cradle my father made. Since we no longer have babies to put in it, we have set it up for the girls to put their stuffed toys in. Libby thinks this makes a comfortable bed.

I just got tired of fighting her on it. She would throw big toddler sized fits over being refused this wonderful experience, so I let her do it. Every night. Yes, I'm a bad mom. We put her to bed in the cradle, carefully cuddled and supported by twenty stuffed toys and the odd plastic doll. Then after putting her back there fifty times, she eventually falls asleep and we transfer her back to her own bed.

The teddy bears seem to be rubbing off on her though. About three or four times a week, she wakes up at 3 in the morning and comes and finds me. She climbs up in bed with me and cuddles close. She used to wiggle and squirm, keeping me awake, so I would have to take her back to bed. Now she lies still, curled up next to me sleeping, the perfect teddy. I love laying there next to her, smelling her sweet, baby scent, just enjoying my last toddler in a quiet moment.

So if putting her to bed with the teddies means she'll stay my teddy just a bit longer, I'm going to keep doing it. I wanted my oldest to rush through growing, to get to the next stage. I cheered her on. My youngest I want to hold back. Don't rush headlong through life. Toddle. Nice and slow. Stay little. Stay sweet. Stay. Just stay.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Learning to Spell

Bubba: Mom. Mom. Mom. I know how to spell Mom.

Me: really? how do you spell it?

Bubba: A . . . M . . . Y

Me: : )

Monday, November 13, 2006

My Protege

I have a few talents. Things I've worked hard to improve on in my life. I can take pretty good photographs. I make a mean chocolate chip cookie. I can ignore housework like nobody's business. However, the talent that bemuses my husband the most is my ability to stack dishes in a dish drainer.

He and I both grew up in homes without a dishwasher. (Ok, my parents got one when I was a teenager, but that still counts as doing dishes many years without.) You would think he would understand the usefulness of such a skill. Nope. He teases me about my leaning tower of dishes and the pots and pans that bump the bottom of the cabinet (my cabinets sit about two inches lower than average.)

I can see why he's so fascinated with my stacking skills, because the man can not stack at all. He sticks the tall plates in the middle of the drainer and the big bowls in front of the small bowls and can't figure out why nothing wants to stack for him. In other things he's got great spatial perception; he just doesn't use it when standing over a sink of hot soapy water.

Lately, my stacking skillz have been allowed to rest because I have passed the dishes torch onto my oldest. I'm only doing a couple of batches of dishes a week and it's heavenly. Most of the time, she does a decent job. Every once in a while she tries to have her water too cold and we end up with greasy dishes, but other than that, she's not bad.

One area she's managing to excel: stacking. Her dish drainer sculptures make my heart proud. The other day I went to get a dish and almost took a picture. She had carefully stacked a pot on the backing racks, extended them out over the edge of the drainer, and set something else on the other end, perfectly balanced.

She has learned well, my Grasshopper.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


I keep thinking about things I could blog about, but then I remind myself that as a mommy blogger I must report on Halloween. Since I haven't done that yet, I can't talk about anything else. So my Proustian musings must wait for another day.

Halloween was stressful. I did way too much running around and I had too many things I was trying to take care of and not enough time to do it in. It definitely made it hard to enjoy the day. Everyone had costumes this year and we only spent $12 buying a ninja costume for Joshua who was quite happy with his store bought costume and not at all sad I didn't stress myself out more to make something.

Which is good, because Sarah came up with her costume idea at the last minute. She came out her bedroom the evening of the 29th and said, "I know what I want to be for Halloween." finally, thank you. "I want to be a Greek goddess. Maybe Aphrodite or Athena, but Aphrodite is the goddess of love so I don't really want to do that. Maybe Athena. What's she goddess of?" Because of course, we have to choose our dieties carefully, don't want to choose something potentially tease worthy. Athena is the goddess of war, wisdom, and industry, so we were safe with that one. (I think it says something about my daughter and the Greeks that they find those three areas logically connected.)

Monday morning I researched ancient Greek costume so I could historically acurate. We can't put a Greek diety in a Roman toga, after all. Thankfully, the Greeks weren't anymore up on sewing than the Romans were. A Greek dress (called a Chiton) is basically two rectangles sewn in a couple of places and belted. We found an old white bedsheet and cut it up for her dress. I sewed the shoulders with two inch seams so she had the little scarf thingys at the sleeve and we belted it with bronze colored decorator cording. We wrapped the cord at the sleeve too. Then we found some leather strappy sandals on clearance at Walmart for $5. We did her hair with a high bun for half the hair and ringlets for the rest. She looked very pretty.

Rilla was supposed to be Little Red Ridinghood except mommy somehow lost the hood. At the last minute we had to switch to Snow White using a dress that was missing it's yellow ribbon. We did still have the cape. (stressor number three.)

Libby's costume ended up being a last minute thing as well. I basically put her in a onsie and leggings and tied her tutu over it: instant ballerina. She refused to let me put her hair in a bun though. (Stressor number four.)

Matt borrowed his cousin's dragon costume. non stress. I needed that.

We spent the day at my mom's trying to help with doughnut making. I forgot my camera so I don't have good pictures of either the doughnut making or the kids. The plan was to leave Mom's in time to make it back for our church Trunk or Treat. We left late and I misrembered the time by 30 minutes, so we basically missed the entire thing. They got the dregs, but it was cold so they really didn't want to be out much longer than they were anyway.

Next year we will have to make changes in the schedule. It was too hard to do things that way. I know it doesn't sound like much, but there was a lot I'm not saying here. It wasn't a good day for me, but my kids had fun and that's what matters right?

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Steve and I are both trying to lose weight. We both have the same amount to lose and of course, he's doing better at it with a total of 15lbs to my 5lbs. I think it has to do with motivation.

When we first decided to try again at this, Steve came up with a whole series of motivation rewards for himself every 10lbs along with a reward at 25 and another at goal. He knew what would get him to work on the weight loss and it really does. When he's faced with food choices, I can see the wheels in his head turning, remembering the motivation. It's very cool to see him work hard at this.

Not that it helps me any. I have no will power and aparently my motivation reward is not good enough. I only picked one for a goal reward. It's not very motivating. The problem is it's too far off and doesn't feel close enough to reality. I guess I need to choose something to motivate me, but the only rewards I want that are non food related are also too hard to accomplish. things like a lunch out by myself somewhere, new clothes. Things that are totally dependent on the situation we are in at the time. I still don't think they would motivate me like Steve's do him.

Honestly, I want to lose weight. I do. it just feels so unreal though. I've been struggling with this weight for five years and I've gotten nowhere with it. I exercise regularly and it doesn't do anything. I watch what I eat, doesn't do anything. I just feel stuck. I've been tested for hypothyroid before and came up negative. I have all the same symptoms I did then, so I doubt the results would be different. Somedays I just feel like I will always be this size. Always have the awful fat rolls on my stomach and the butt that's way too big for one person. I do know I'm fat. There's just not a lot more I can do about it right now.

Anyway, I didn't start off to write a downer post. it's just something that's been preying on my mind lately. I just wish I could lose weight like Steve. He tends to yo-yo, but at least his yo-yo goes down half the time. Mine just goes up.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

We would all like to think ourselves unique

But unfortuantly, statistics have shown that our name isn't. I've been faced with that reality since a small child. It's sort of a joke to me actually. Now I can make my total genericness completely official:
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?
My only comfort is that Steve is one of 7,284 and is therefore even more generic than I am.
Although, I'm starting to wonder if giving my youngest a name shared by over one million other women was a good idea.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


I have grape juice in my house. Lots of it. 20 quarts. I processed 7 quarts of juice. I also bought six boxes of pectin to make jelly. I've never made grape jelly or cooked jelly of any kind, so I'm a bit nervous. It should be interesting to say the least. I always put off my Holly Homemaker stuff to late and the stores are sold out of canning lids. I have to hunt some down today.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I'm not ready for this.

Sarah is in middle school this year. Sixth grade. She informed us at the beginning of the year that there would be dances at school. We decided that she wasn't old enough to go to school dances yet. She's still young. She has her whole life to worry about boy/girl stuff. We don't need to rush it.

So Friday she came home and told me about her day. One of the boys at school asked her to go to the dance with him. An eighth grader. She told him she wasn't allowed to go to the dances. She then said she would have told him no anyway because he was so much older than her.

I guess we have been neglecting part of our parenting. It never even occured to her that going to a dance with a boy is a date and she's definitely not old enough to do that.

But hey, it's nice to know she's not attracted to older men. I sure hope that lasts, at least through high school! LOL

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Write More Please

When I write I say things I don't say outloud. These conversations I have with my blog are not conversations I usually have with anyone else, so I guess you could say you can see in my head a bit when you read these entries. I don't very often have anything intresting to say. I'm not funny or terribly clever and I definitely won't ever get the views that Finslippy gets (google her. she's good).

But I'm not doing this for the views.

It's like thinking outloud. You know, how when you are shopping in the grocery store and you are standing there looking at the soups and the woman next to you starts talking. "ok. so where did they hide the cream of mushrooms . . . not there . . . I hate it when they move stuff around . . . ok . . . found it . . . man, prices are going up . . . now I need . . . rice . . . ." and then she wanders off pushing her cart and you look to see if her clothes all match and that she's not sporting a Blanche DuBois-like vague look, following behind to be sure she doesn't say something about depending on the kindness of strangers. Yeah. That was probably me.

And that's what I find facinating about blogs, not the whole crazy woman at Walmart thing, but the thinking outloud thing. Blogging weakens that filter we have on our brains, the one that keeps things in that should be said. Which is how I'm managing to get the point of my entry here. All this is to say: Steve, please write in yours more. I love reading your thinking.

If you haven't read his blog, the link is to the right. He says things in ways I never would have thought to say them. He also says things that we never say face to face, even though we often stay up an extra hour just talking after we've turned out the light at night. There are things that are easier to type to a blank page than say outloud, so that's how we say them. But these are things I want to know. So blog, would ya?

Oh and it's good writing practice, Mr. Songwriter. ;)

Friday, September 15, 2006

You Know You are a SAHM When:

-You can recognize a new episode of Barney after 15 seconds.

-Nap time is a ritual that must not be interfered with for any reason.

-Library reading hour is your big outing for the week.

-Walmart with kids is considered "fun."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Dangers of Trying to Be Too Cute

Sarah and I bought the same shoe style at the beginning of the year. We wear different sizes, but they look alike.

This morning she left the house in my shoes.

You would think she would have noticed that they were three sizes too big.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Old Traditions

Today I will can green beans. For some, that might seem like a pointless exercise, especially in a world with canned green beans at the grocery store that go on sale periodically. It's a lot of work, a lot of time, and a lot of heat but I do it.

Growing up, my parents always grew a huge garden with double rows of every vegetable you could think of. There would be a huge patch of squash and watermelon, six rows of carrots, a couple of rows of red potatoes, beets, radishes, many rows of corn, peas, and of course green beans. I think my mother is really partial to green beans. She's never said so, but anyone who grows six fourty foot rows of green beans and spends three weeks canning them really has to like them more than the average individual.

Yes, six. Well, growing up that's what we had. One year we grew four double rows of beans. Huge long walls of green that seemed to last forever when you were crawling on your knees trying desperately to get to the end of the weeding before Price is Right was over and a sunburn developed on the back of your neck. Or when you were slowly digging through the vines, bucket in hand partly wanting to search only halfheartedly for the beans but doing a decent job anyway to avoid the embarrassment of Mom or Dad picking behind you and pointing out all the ones you missed. The year we grew so many we sold them to an open market and my parents used the money to help pay for a new tv for the family. Hard work earns you something was apparently the lesson we were supposed to learn from that. I think I mostly just learned to hate picking beans.

But not eating them. Mom always grows Blue Lake pole beans. Somehow these are just better and that's why I'm canning beans today. They are worth the time. Besides there's a sense of accomplishment that you can only feel as you look at rows of green beans lined up on a towel on your kitchen counter. My husband provides for our family, but this is one way I can tangibly contribute to the household. This is my part. Food for the winter, work that is given for the good of the family in the same way my grandmother gave. I do it not for traditions sake, but because the contribution still makes sense.

Monday, September 04, 2006

No Labor Day Plans Here

Steve is a Physical Therapist Assistant at a nursing home. Ooops. sorry, long term care center. This means almost all his patients are quite old. It also means he's never guaranteed a holiday off. Since none of his patients are actually going anywhere, you would think that a break of one day from thearpy wouldn't be a big deal, but Medicare doesn't seem to think so. It is written to not allow holidays.

And all that means in my life is we spend about two weeks before the monday holidays reminding family and friends that Steve will be working that day. Now ask me if it's fun to have your husband work on Christmas. Luckily they arrange things so he only works a couple of hours every three years. Which makes me luckier than the average policeman's wife. Oh and my husband has no chance of getting shot at, so there's that too.

See how easy it is to think positively?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Libby turned two recently. I love two year olds. I know, that makes me somewhat strange, but that's only a small part of my strangeness, so I'll keep it. She is growing so fast and changing so quickly, I don't want to even blink.

She says thank you when you give her something. "tant to," quickly spitting it out as she runs off to play. She also says "k," as in "'ilk? . . . . kay? kay?" I agree and she says "kay! kay!" and jumps up and down without leaving the floor the way toddlers do, her legs bending and springing up to her tip toes and back down again, never with enough height to overcome gravity. Kay means yes. She would ask me something and I would say "ok," so now that's what she says when she wants me to say yes.

See? two is perfect.

Monday, August 21, 2006

stealing my brother's story

but he doesn't have a blog, so I hope he forgives me. He did tell it better than I will.

My brother is on the fire department for a very small town. It's all volunteer except for the fire chief. So he's sitting home yesterday morning with his call radio on and it starts crackling.

"dispatch, we have a potential dynamite threat at a yard sale."

long pause.

"call the fire department!" They did and my brother was called out along with rural fire and every fire department for sixty miles around and two bomb threat units from larger cities.
so yeah. there was dynamite at a yard sale. Two and a half sticks. Over sixty years old. Apparently this makes dynamite very unstable. So does the completely corroded metal between the blasting caps and the nitro.

So the fire department shows up and they start trying to evacuate people and no one wants to leave. The police department had to threaten them with jail to get them to get out of their houses and get out of the area already. There were fire fighters and bomb sniffing dogs all over the place. The big city sent a news crew who filmed as long as they could before they had to go to make the five o'clock news. (it's five o'clock news here on Sunday.)

The dynamite was brought to the yard sale by a family that lives several miles out of town. They decided to participate in a multifamily sale so they had gone out to the barn, loaded up all the old stuff, and brought it in to town packed in the back of a pick up. It was hidden in a Korean War era back pack and they had no idea it was even there.

So they finally get the civilians cleared out enough to do something. My brother made a sled out of plywood for the dynamite to be pulled to the middle of the street on. Apparently, you don't want to carry around unstable dynamite close to your body. huh. who'd of thunk?

They separated the blasting caps from the sticks and proceeded to make a nitro bonfire. My learning something new yesterday was discovering you can burn nitro glycerin without it exploding. The blasting caps were set in a sandbag bunker (just a small thing) and set off with plastic explosives. Just a little bit. The bomb squad was explaining how they were going to do it and said the sand should absorb most of the explosion. It shouldn't been too big anyway. So he suits up in his hazmat suit and carefully carries the blasting caps in front of him at arms length, slowly scooting forward a bit at a time. He places the caps, gives them wide berth and sets them off.

BOOM! huge explosion. Sand blasts straight up thirty feet. Everyone is looking just a bit dazed and the hazmat guy says "that was a bit bigger than I expected."

So ended the Big Event of the Year for my hometown. It will be a story for everyone for a long time. You might hear it in person sometime, after all, who can resist telling about the time there was dynamite sold at a yard sale.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Almost Famous

Remember way back in October when I was bragging about getting a story picked up for a Chicken Soup book? Aparently, the Chicken Soup people send out press releases to the local papers of each of the contributors.

I got a call from the local paper. They sent a reporter to my house and she interviewed me. Now, keep in mind that Bedlam is a small town with a very small paper. My reporter graduated from high school two years ago. She showed up with a blank steno and says "I'm not sure what to even ask you." She managed to put together a story, though. It appeared in the paper yesterday along with a cute picture of me with my three girls. Well, my girls look cute.

It was fun and a bit surreal. I've been laughing about being in the paper. I'm sure my attitude about it is perplexing a few people. Honestly, to me being in the local paper with a circ of a few hundred isn't a big deal. And it's a bit of a joke for me. I know so many extremely accomplished women who every day do the most amazing things. They never have the newspaper call. Most people don't even know what they do. I manage to get accepted to a book that does press releases as a brilliant marketing tool, and I get an inteview. It's one of those ironies that I find funny. It's not that I'm making fun of being in the paper. It's just so not deserved, that I have a hard time taking it seriously.

It was fun once and the girls got a kick out of their pictures being in the paper.

ps. Mom, I have a copy. I'll bring it for the birthday party so you can see.

Monday, August 14, 2006

All New Inside Jokes!

I went to Park City this weekend to hang out with some Squirrels. They were all cute and chittered on about paper and beads. They are also a group of friends of mine and in no way furry because they are quite dilligent with using razors. and not squirrels anyway.

I have a group of friends that meets together every year for a girls weekend. We met on 2 Pea and still talk every single day. I love them all dearly and I very much look forward to our Squirrel retreat every year.

We rented a condo and hung out. I learned how to make jewelry, well as long as someone sits in front of me and I can get all whiny and needy about directions every two minutes. I almost finished our Disney mini album, and would have finished it but aparantly I neglected to print two photos I needed.

I also laughed. a lot. I laughed so hard I cried more than once. We have all new inside jokes and there are words that will send me off giggling that would make the rest of you say "huh?" So I will spare you that.

I've chatted already with them since I got home but I have to say, hey squirrels, I miss you already.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

My latest time waster

I do almost all my layouts from sketches. I like to draw these myself and I have them all together in a notebook. They aren't organized in any way, and that's been fine. However, I decided the other day it would be nice to have a way to see them according to photos on the page. So today I spent some time scanning my sketches. I have created a blog to post these on. It's a fun way to organize them and it's free.

Of course, I was half way through when I realized that using PSE would be a much easier way to go through the layouts and choose one. ah well. This way I can share. You can see my new blog here:

The Sketch Library

feel free to save the link and use the sketches if you like, just make sure to leave me a link to your creation. I'd love to see it. I will be posting more sketches next week. I haven't even come close to posting half yet. btw, the link is also in my sidebar under cool websites. let's pretend it fits there, ok?

Monday, August 07, 2006


just scrapping an old photo of Libby. isn't she the cutest?

Talking to Herself

Libby plays with dolls now. Ok, she played with them before, but not like she does now. She prefers little dolls. Ones that fit in her hand and she can manipulate easily. She takes them to the step between the kitchen and addition (really bad remodel here that we did not do. bad explains the step.) anyway, she takes those dolls and faces them toward each other and they visit. They visit in the cutest little baby talk. We can't understand a word they are saying but those dolls understand each other and that's all that matters.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


I realized it's been ages since I updated. I think summer just slips by and I forget to say things. There isn't a lot happening in Bedlam. Kids are wild. I send them outside. They come back in because it's too hot. They are wild again. Rinse, repeat.

I have accomplished one thing this summer, however. I made this:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I still have to put it together, but this is the front for Sarah's new Christmas stocking. I'd say there's at least 100 hours in this. My goal was to have it done by July 31. I missed it by two days. I finished up at midnight last night.

This is the stocking that started the whole thing:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I started that one when I was pregnant with Sarah, when I was positive I was having a boy. I knew I was having a boy. I was so sure. I didn't guess with any of the others. ;) I set the stocking aside after Sarah was born, and ignored it for years. About four years ago, I picked it up again and finished it for Joshua. I intend to do one for Rilla by Christmas, Matt's and Libby's the next year, and the year after that Steve's and mine.

Many years ago, when I was a teenager and gas was a $1 a gallon, my mother subscribed to cross stitch magazines. (There's a magazine for everything.) Better Homes and Gardens had one that was my favorite to look through. They started publishing a Christmas stocking every year designed by the same person so they coordinated with each other. I loved those stockings and I determined when I was married with babies I would make one for all of us. BHG published a book with all the stocking designs I loved together, so my mom got it for me as a birthday gift after I had already started Joshua's stocking. Now I have them all and the book has our names written on it next to each design I'm doing. These stockings will be the last cross stitch I ever do. It's just not my thing anymore. I'm glad I will have the stockings though. Heck, I may even do some for grandkids eventually. gotta keep everybody matching. ;)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Polar Bear Press

I got the best mail yesterday. A big box of papers, stickers, and rub-ons. They sent out the CHA release to the Design Team and it was a fun box to get. I loved the stuff so much I sat down and scrapped last night.

The first set is called the Rustic Retreat collection and it was designed by my good friend Kristy Lee. I love it! she did such a great job.

the second set of papers were designed by Ursula Page. They are so dang cute! Sherbet Ice. lots of fun pastel colors and tone on tone patterns.

I can't wait to play more!

Monday, July 24, 2006


Sarah. today.

I still remember the exact time she was born. It's one of the very few things I remember from her birth. (It was difficult for me.) The doctor said, "make it 8:23" and two minutes later they gave me blissful oblivion in the form of general anethesia.

Today, she is eleven. She has three friends over and they are camped out in my livingroom. I offered a movie that none of them had seen before, and they turned me down for board games. They didn't need me to entertain them; they had it all worked out themeselves.

Which is good for me. That's my favorite type of party. One where I can actually relax.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

I gave in

I've been avoiding the word verification feature on my blog for a few reasons. Today, those reasons became insignificant in the face of the onslaught of spam in my comments. I spent 2o minutes getting it all off. From now on you guys will just have to use the word verification. sorry about that. :( I wish people would just buy their own advertising instead of trying to use my blog.

permissiveness strikes again

Did I mention my son will grow up to be a used car salesman. He's got a great mind, very intelligent, but he could sell a sedan to a cowboy.

This week my salesman is sporting a mohawk. yup, sides shaved, long on top. It's as ugly as hair can get. And I let him do it. He wanted one so he worked on us for weeks. Every time I talked about cutting his hair, he would mention how I was going to cut it into a mohawk. This is his system, by the way, he talks about his wishes as if they are fait acompli. There is no "If" in his brain. It's always when.

I am going to shave the ugly thing off tonight. I may let him do it up once just because his hair is so perfect for the punk boy look. It's so corse and thick it practically stands on it's own. Then it's gone. Six days of fun I could handle.

Now that he's got his way on this, we're steeling ourselves up for the next battle on the horizon. It should come around about the end of August. It seems he's convinced himself that his father is going to give him $150 at the end of the summer. He's already started talking about it. Planning what he's going to buy. I'm ready to hide my wallet because there's no telling how much he'll be able to talk us out of.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Dream Dating

A: I had a dream last night that Johnny Depp propositioned me and I turned him down. Aren't you impressed by my faithfulness?

S: that depends. Which Johnny? Pirate's Johnny? Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Johnny?

A: Peter Pan Johnny.

S: ooooh. well then I am impressed.

I'm almost caught up

with the century. We now have a car with a CD player, a DVD player in the house, DSL internet, and the new addition, a cell phone.

Yes, folks, I have survived these last three decades without a cell phone. My 62 year old mother had a cell phone before me. That's how unhip I am. I know. It was difficult. I can hear your heart breaking for me from here. The sympathy is apreciated.

Of course, my lack of portable leash was my own decision. Those things are really quite expensive. Why, I could have been paying as much for an ear leech as I pay for my DSL. And since I never actually get up from my DSL and go anywhere, it really seemed a bit pointless to pay for it.

Until I discovered the pay per use system. I know that minutes are technically cheaper when you pay for them in chunks, but since I never use them in chunks, it's a bit of overkill. It's like buying the five pound bag of salad at Costco and only eating a pound before it goes bad. Cheaper in theory; expensive in practice. I've been wanting a pay-as-you-go phone for awhile and i've been researching and waiting for a plan that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. So I invested in a T-Mobile phone.

So now when I go visit friends in August, I don't have to be a phone mooch to call my sweetie at home. I'll have my own minutes to use. I feel so almost up to date.

2000 here I come.

Monday, July 10, 2006

A wedding report of sorts

I have had a long two weeks. Good. But long. The last two weddings were Saturday. Steve and I attended my brother's ceremony at the temple and then drove another hour to get to his sister's wedding. we got there at 1pm and left at 8:30. All three weddings were beautiful and I'm glad we could make it for all of them. I do have over 700 pictures to edit because of that though. LOL.

I am about 20% through editting Nicole and Jeremy's photos. I have posted a few teasers here: Photos of Bedlam


Sunday, July 02, 2006

About that cookbook . . .

It seems my links are highlighted the wrong color. I left a link for you guys in my last entry so everyone could be sucked into the ATK (America's Test Kitchen) as much as I am. so here is a link you can see:

Cooking at Home with America's Test Kitchen

that's a link to Amazon where you can not only see the book you can read reviews and dump it in your cart imediately. This:

The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

will be my next Amazon purchase, along with HP 1, because my copy is a paperback (hey, I bought it in '97, I had no idea how cool these books would be.) and currently lost.

The wedding was beautiful. I am exhasted. I will give details when I have pictures to go with them.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

I Blame my Brother

A couple of months ago, my brother who lives in California called me to get him a recipe. Said recipe was on the internet on a cooking website which I had to register for in order to get. Jared tends to call me whenever he needs something from the internet because he doesn't have a computer at home.

I didn't really think about the incident much until about three weeks later when I got a solicitation call from the website. It is associated with a magazine and a PBS cooking show, which of course means they have a "companion book" that goes with the series, because all the PBS cooking shows have one. This phone call offered to send it to me "risk free!" and a "free" trial issue of the magazine as well, just to see if I might like them. Isn't that nice? They caught me on a bad day. I was distracted by my kids and I was weak. I said yes, they could send it to me. I figured I'd get it here copy out the two recipes worth having and send it back.

The trick is when you have a plan like that you should never read the book. I read the book. They aren't getting it back. There's only one recipe in the book I don't plan on making and that's because it's fish and we don't eat fish around here. (Well the kids and I don't. Steve would like to but he has to suffer with a wife who can't even stand the smell of it cooking anymore.) We've tried several recipes now and each one has been fabulous. Steve's comment last night when I let him try the Orange Flavored Chicken was "wow . . . that's really bad. You should just let me eat it all." Silly boy. I wasn't falling for it because I had tried a piece myself before I let him try it. Oh and the recipes in the stupid magazine are just as good. And dang it, I want to subscribe to it too.

Now all the raving aside, the book and magazine make me giggle. This is the most Type A cooking I've encountered. I've never seen a recipe book that took so much pride in recording the process of perfecting a recipe. Each one comes with it's own little write up telling us that they tested fifteen different methods and this one is the perfect one. You musn't cook a pot roast with too much water or too little (and here's exactly what they mean by that.) Orange flavored chicken must have exactly two oranges. Pancakes are too eggy with two eggs. The scientific process of cooking is there in all it's obesessive glory. Most recipe books just give you the recipe, not Cook's Illustrated! They want you to know every single excruciating detail of creating the recipe.

Even though that's what makes me giggle, it's why I like the darn book so much. They do go to extremes to perfect a recipe. It is the best way to make teriyaki or pot roast or pork and the write ups help because it details exactly how they got those results and it makes getting the same results easier. (And also I tend to lean toward type A and I sercretly admire their thouroughness.) I also like them because the food is aproaching gormet good, but it's not even close to gormet expensive or gormet fussy. This stuff is within my budget to make and I'm pretty cheap with my food.

Which all means that when I see my brother today I can thank him for introducing me to this company. He's pretty lucky though, most people who get me to sign myself up for solicitations don't get off so easily.

Monday, June 26, 2006

T-minus 3 days and counting

Did I ever mention why I'm not blogging much these days? It's because I'm busy. not busy as in trying to get out and have fun with the kids. Busy as in going insane with all the stuff I have to do and none of it is really for me busy.

1. My sister is getting married on Saturday. It will be a lovely outdoor ceremony in a beautiful location with lots of beautiful things. She is also doing this wedding for under $2500 which means lots of stuff has to be made. Including the attendants' dresses. In my family, this means three. (my poor oldest sister had to sew five. ) Two are done and hanging in the closet and I'm working on mine right now. I'm excited to get to wear mine, because a girl can only be excited about ivory duponi silk, but I'm not excited to sew it.

2. My sister in law is getting married on the 8th. I'm not doing a lot of prep work for that but I am doing the photos. I'm starting to get a rash thinking about taking pictures in an LDS Church cultral hall. Think of the worst elementary school lighting you know. It's about that bad. I dont' think even custom white balance is going to help when the light from the bright side is white and the light from the shadowed side is a sickly green-yellow.

3. My brother decided to move his wedding from August to . . . . the 8th. which means my imediate family misses his reception and I have to be up at 6am so we can make it to his marriage at 9am an hour away, do pictures right afterward and go another 60 miles to my SIL's wedding.

4. because my sister and brother are getting married a week apart, much of the family is staying the full week. My oldest sister and her family are staying with us. They show up on Thursday. This means I'm expected to deep clean. I'm thinking she'll be lucky if my deep cleaning gets as far as the computer desk. I'll make sure the floors are picked up and vaccuumed but the baseboards are just going to have to go undusted because . . .

5. I have also had several photo shoots this month. Not complaining. I love that I'm getting business. However, it does add stuff on my schedule.

6. I still have laundry for seven people.

7. I still have to feed seven people. (and I do not have the money to let the restraunts cook it for us for the next week.)

8. I still have to take care of my kids and schlep them to swimming lessons.

9. after the weddings I get to proof the photos.

10. I have two fonts to make as well, hopefully to be done in July.

Luckily I get a mommy sanity trip the beginning of August. I think I'm going to need it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Analgesic Bandaids

You know, you don't have to buy special ones to get this. All bandaids have analgesic properties, but only in users under the age of ten.

Last night Joshua hurt his foot. Steve gave him a bandaid and Joshua went off happily to bed, content in the knowlege that his scrape would no longer hurt just because there was a bandaid on it.

This morning Joshua is up and roming the house for an hour with no problems at all. Then suddenly, he starts hopping on one foot and moaning. He had just noticed his bandaid had fallen off over night. He hopped to Steve to show him the sore, which Steve declared healed enough to go without a bandaid. Joshua argued with his dad about that; Joshua's main point: it still hurt. Of course, it didn't hurt before he noticed the bandaid was missing and technically the bandaid wouldn't help that anyway. Joshua didn't think his dad was using logic at all. Steve distracted him with a minor biology lesson and Joshua left content, if not completely satisfied . . . but not hopping.

Makes me wish bandaids were still magic for me, too.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

In Bloom

We have a mature catalpa tree in our front yard. I don't know if I've mentioned this tree before, but I do love it. The house I grew up in also had one of these trees so I have that nostolgic connection besides the fact that it's just a beautiful tree. I was once told that catalpas are native to a more southern zone and were imported here. I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case, mostly because of the flowers.

You see the catalpa is a flowering tree. In our zone, the only native trees that flower grow fruit and stay somewhat small. They are ornamentals and look lovely in the yard. The caltalpa on the other hand grows 40 ft tall and produces no fruit. It also is one of the first trees to lose it's leaves in the fall and one of the last to grow them in the spring. All the leaves will fall in the same day, and if it's a normal fall, they don't even have time to change color. They just all drop at the first hard frost. But back to the subject at hand. Imagine a 40ft tree covered in clusters of white flowers. They have a soft, sweet scent that drifts under the canopy on warm afternoons. The flowers are my favorite part of the catalpa. They make me want to grab a blanket and lay out under the tree for a nap. (not something I actually ever get time to do, I just want to.)

This last week, we had a wind storm. It blew down full clusters of blossoms from my tree. The next day, I gathered up the stems and brought them into the house and placed them in a pint jar on my table, a large bush of white brightening the room. That evening when the house was quiet and the room was lit with two lamps, the scent of the blooms filled the room, a promise that summer was just beginning.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Lasts and Firsts

Steve found a a cute toddler bed at a yard sale this weekend. Since the crib was worn out, we decided to make the switch right away. When the bed got brought into the house, we introduced Libby to it. She sat on it and thought it was the best thing ever.

So I took Rilla and Josh to their ball games and came home to the crib in the trash and the new bed in place. She had napped in her crib but Daddy had neglected to take a picture of her last time sleeping in a crib. He doesn't think like a scrapbooker. Her first night in the bed was hard. She didn't go to sleep until eleven and then was up twice in the night. Sunday she just didn't nap and then at bedtime fell asleep on the floor. I woke up this morning to this:

on the floor again with an empty bed. She refused to sleep in it. At least she didn't wake me up to tell me about it. LOL!

the transition has been harder for Libby than it has for any of the other kids. This is the youngest we've ever made the switch and it shows. She just wasn't quite ready for the bed. I konw she'll love it in a week when she's used to a bed she can get into and out of by herself, but right now, it's not what she's used to so she's resisting.

Part of me wishes we could go back to the crib. I wasn't ready for her to make this switch either. As long as she was in a crib, she was still a baby. She's in a toddler bed. She's a little girl. It's weird to think that I will never have need for a crib again. Right now, Libby is napping in her little bed, too tired to resist the bed anymore. Laying peacefully on her pillow and catching up on all the sleep she shorted herself over the last few days. I think she's starting to transition. It's a bittersweet moment.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Summer Hits

and I mean that quite literally. Summer always hits me between the eyes. I don't see it coming. I'm happily enjoying the beauty of late spring, the flowers, the weather, the bird song, and then BOOM! it's the last week of May and my peace is at an end.

Summer is in full swing in Bedlam. We have been doing baseball/softball/t-ball (which I always call baseball and woe betide the nitpicky child who knows what I mean and still chooses to correct me when everyone is yelling and three people need to be in three different places involving a sport of some kind at the same time.) We have a few weeks left of _____ball. The kids are enjoying it but then we don't take sports seriously around here.

We also have a pool pass. I'm still using it in the mornings, but there are times when I think life would have been easier if we had bought an individual pass instead of a family pass. This moring we went to swim lessons, then to lunch at the park and then back to the pool for free swim. By the time we were done I was done. I'm almost ready to start ingesting caffine just to get me through the summer.

So does Mountain Dew taste as bad as cola? ;)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Musings while folding laundry

Wanna know my favorite thing about summer?


I hate folding socks.

Friday, May 19, 2006

They Grow in Spurts

Sarah participated in a talent contest on Tuesday night. She loves this competition because it's basically her only chance to sing for a crowd. She spent two months working on her number and then came down with a cough a week before the show. It gave her a scratch throat and that high E that she was already having difficulty reaching suddenly became almost impossible. She did well though. She didn't place, but she performed well and really wowed the crowd. How can you not be wowed when you hear a 10 year old belt out "Defiying Gravity" from Wicked? Ok, so maybe if you are a judge and tend to be overly enthusiasic about 7 year olds playing simple songs on the violin, but otherwise, really, how can you not be impressed?

It struck me that night as she was getting ready how old she is. She's been in my life for more than a decade. Just recently, she's started really caring about making sure her lip stays waxed and she plucked her own eyebrows. I'm sure that soon she'll want to shave her legs and I'm not ready for that. (She inherited her father's dark body hair.) She wore her new lavendar skirt and white sweater with her silver sandals. She looked so pretty and grown up as she sat and visited with her grandma, leaning in with one leg crossed over the other.

Last week, she wasn't that old. I swear she wasn't. They don't grow gradually, flowing from one age to the next in a coniuous process. They jump and hop in their ages just like they jump through life, moving along in spurts so one minute they are small and the next they are entering junior high.

I don't normally get wistful about my kids growing. I know I've said that before and I mean it. I rejoice in their getting older and growing as human beings. However, Tuesday night my heart couldn't help hurting for that little girl I used to have.

She still will fly at you to give you a hug and that little girl thing I hope never leaves her.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Out of Commission

It's been a while since I posted because Spring flu hit our house. It took out all the kids for a week, and the onset of symptoms was only staggered by a day or so, which means that I had five kids sick at once. I've never had that happen before and usually my kids are pretty healthy. I think they've each been on antibiotics maybe twice in their lives. Needless to say, this was not a set of circumstances I was prepared for. The kids are back at school but the house is trashed and I'm now sick from the same thing.

But that's not what I wanted to blog about. Friday, I had to keep all three of my school kids home. Sarah had to go to school sick on Thursday because it was the day of the major social studies fair, the culmination of months of work and not something she could make up later. She gave her class presentation that day, because she knew she would miss the next day. So Friday, she missed seeing all the presentations. She was sad about that. Joshua, however, was completely heartbroken. A real, live children's author was visiting his school that morning and in the afternoon his class was hosting a Mothers' Tea complete with a play for entertainment. Rilla, being in kindergarten, still just thinks every school day is special.

So in an effort to cheer up my children, we hosted our own Mother's Tea. I spent all morning baking and we did enough different things that everyone got to help with one thing. We made bread in the bread maker, muffins, three kinds of cookie, and weiner wraps (bite sized.) There was also apple slices and carrot sticks and special punch (koolaid with sherbert melted into it) because there was supposed to be special punch at the second grade Mothers' Tea.

We set the table with a nice table cloth and my china, including the tea cups and saucers. They all ate pretty decently although I have to admit the carrots and apples were very much neglected and Matty only ate the muffins (he's a muffin freak.) I got a kick out of the fact that I actually owned a punch bowl for my punch (hey, Mom, you wanna use it for some weddings? lol!) and I had a use for all my pretty dishes. No one spilled anything and no one fought. All in all, it was a good day.

I'm posting this so I have proof that once in a while, I can be a fun mom. Here's a pic of our party minus the bread and weiner wraps.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Just a layout I did this afternoon.

journaling reads: Maybe it's because we've learned to pick our battles. Maybe it's because she doesn't exactly ask. Maybe it's because we don't want to trigger a meltdown. Maybe it's that 7:30 am isn't the best time for mommy. Maybe she's just too cute to say no to. Whatever the reason, my 20 month old has taken to eating her breakfast (of dry cereal) on the floor in front of the television. It's highly apparent that we have become . . . permissive in our old age.

ETA: yes, I noticed the spelling error. It's all fixed now, thanks to UnDo. Please imagine a cute polka dot r between the e and the m. Thank you.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

And for only $100 donation I can get the DVD of tonight's program

At least once every six weeks, my father in law asks me if I watch a TV show that he watches. It's usually a different one than he mentioned last time. For a normal family, this would be a nice question and show that he is interested in what his daughter in law likes. For us, this shows an amazing lack of perception and retention of facts. You see, every time he asks I give him the same answer: no I don't watch that show. We don't get network television. We only get PBS and this has been the case for seven years. At first I'm sure many of you think, "oh well, your memory goes when you are older." Since he's not even 55 yet, I actually give him a different excuse.

He can't remember this because we are weird. What family in America actually chooses to go without television? Who can't stand around the water cooler and maintain their side of a Survivor or American Idol conversation, if only to say they would rather discuss CSI? A family usually either chooses to not own a tv at all on moral grounds or they have it all. We don't fit in either category. We just sort of fell into our situation.

When we moved to this town seven years ago, we quickly discovered that getting tv reception was difficult. I know, the average adult would have already called the cable company and never actually discovered this one, but money was tight and we were going to forgo cable for awhile in an effort to actually pay some more pressing bills. Yes, it was weird, but we had just graduated from college and we were in our "responsible adults" phase. We could, however, get reception from the PBS station, so Sarah watched Sesame Street and Barney and we talked about getting cable in a year when finances were better.

A strange thing happened though. We learned to love PBS. I mean love it. We really enjoy Nova; we look forward to American Experience; I'm upset if I miss an episode of This Old House. We make jokes about slimline white telephones and candle light suppers. PBS is fun. No there's not always something we want to watch on tv, but that's when we turn it off or watch a movie. (We do have a Netflix subscription.) There's enough good stuff on and most of it is stuff we really learn from. (Don't bring up hydrogen fuel, because we can talk your ear off about that.) Educational TV doesn't stop with 10 year olds. And suddenly it's seven years later and we still only talk about getting cable or dish as a "someday" thing.

A few years ago, we were visiting Steve's parents. The house was relatively quiet on a Sunday afternoon, so I turned on the tv just to see what was on. I flipped through six channels and settled on PBS. That's when I knew I was well and truly corrupted. I'm sure there is hope for me, but in the meantime, I'm saving $30 a month and learning an awful lot about roof repair.

Friday, May 05, 2006

This Is Why I Will Never Be Nominated Mother of the Year

So. I'm going to have eight eight year olds invade my house tomorrow. Ok, seven will invade and one will already be here. And yes, he won't be eight until the next day. Let's stop quibbling over details, shall we? Anyway. Planned a birthday party. Ok, I got emotionally blackmailed and pushed into a birthday party. Joshua will someday be the World's Best Salesman. You think I'm kidding. I'm not. He doesn't stop. I'm lucky I didn't get talked into letting him invite the whole class. You can all be happy for me that he was ok with seven friends because if not, I would have the entire class over here tomorrow afternoon. He's that good.

I"m in total denial about this party. I have not planned any activities. I have not even bought the birthday cake mix. I may just break down and buy a cake. I never buy cakes. I hate store cakes. So nasty! Mine may not look all that great but at least it's worth eating. This is how crazy I am right now. I'm thinking I should buy a ball of some kind. Or maybe water balloons. burlap sacks? rope and duct tape? Valium? These things go through my mind only when I'm thinking about the party, the rest of the time I try to forget I'm doing this. I'm not one of those mothers who lives to do THE BEST BIRTHDAY PARTY EVER!!1!!1! I love my kids. I love that they have birthdays and we always have at least two family parties and make a big deal out of them the whole day. We buy them fun gifts, like this year the boy is getting a new bike. However, that many kids gathered together, high on sugar and hyped up from the idea of a party totally stresses me out.

The ignore the party technique worked just fine until last night. Last night when my husband called to confirm a time for a project he had commited to help with three weeks ago. When do they need him? Exactly the same time as the party. Eight eight year olds and just me. Oh and four other children of my own. Don't you wish you were me?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

News Flash: Pretend Business not so Pretend

why? Because I got my very own checking account! I know. It's about time. I could seriously be much farther ahead on saving for equipment and investing in advertising if I had done this when I first started taking pictures for money. But it's done now and I'm excited. In a few weeks a checkbook will be arriving on my doorstep that has just my name on it. I will be using it for things like tearing out the deposit slip in the back and depositting lots of moolah into the account. Well, that's the plan anyway.

I opened the account with two checks: a photography session fee check, and a royalty check from Polar Bear Press. The royalty check arrived on Saturday and that was almost as emotional as seeing my rub-ons for the first time. Yes, I'm a girl. Not only have I designed a scrapbook product, a company produced it, and people bought it. It doesn't get much cooler than that.

Monday, May 01, 2006

A true (digital) photographer's child

Matt walked up to me as I was editting photos from a shoot on my computer. He stood there for a second and he said: "It's a little bit dark."

He was right.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Seven Minutes in Heaven

This morning when the alarm went off, I hit the snooze button.  I tend to avoid doing that.   The snooze only gives me seven more minutes, but this morning I wanted that seven minutes.   I wanted to snuggle up against my husband as he slept away, oblivious to the alarm.  I love how warm and cozy my bed feels when I'm supposed to be getting up.  It's that little bit of childhood comfort coming back to me for a few minutes.  I can snuggle down under my down comforter and rest my head against Steve's shoulder, give myself just a few more minutes of safety and joy.  Heaven my way.  

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The singing starts early

Libby has started singing. Her favorite song is Bob the Builder. You can't recognize more than two words in the entire song, but she's got the tune down pat. If I knew how to embed sound files I would do that for you all. Everyone needs to have their heart melt a bit once a day.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Termite Problem

Steve spent all yesterday tearing out the wall in our livingroom. This is what it looked like at eleven pm:

notice that there is no window in that wall nor is there a door. The still weren't even done framing at that time. Steve's friend Brad helped so much. It's good to have good friends like that who are willing to rearrange their schedules to help us out.

I still don't have dry wall on the wall, but we do have a window and door in place. We are thinking that the termites contained their damage to that one wall. If that is not the case, I really don't want to know. LOL!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Slow Learner

I got a Pottery Barn Teen catalog in the mail the other day. Lots of fun, bright colors and patterns. (BTW, polka dots are back in.) Steve was looking over my shoulder while I flipped through it. I stopped for a moment on the page for this lounge set. "I want that!" he said, stabbing the page. That would be awesome in the family room. (The one we don't have yet.) I looked again at the prices and said, "If you want to spend that much on a couch, I could find a really nice one for that."

"I don't want really nice. I want comfortable and relaxed. I like that one."

"but it's so expensive. I could make it cheaper. Really, all I would have to do is . . . " and I detailed the process of building the lounging couch.

Aparently, I learned nothing from the Evil Skirt episode.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Shoe Torture

The other day I was discussing with my baby sister (who's 24. you never get over being the baby. Of course, I tend to think of her as the baby more now that I have a baby of my own that I would dearly love to stay my baby forever.) where was I? oh yes. Talking. We were discussing me buying shoes. Well, I was discussing. Ranting more like it. I was off on my favorite rant about how no one carries W in cute styles anymore. 10 years ago I could walk into a Payless, find a cute shoe and then find it in W. not now. There are about four W in each size. One basic pump, One ugly loafer (think nursing shoe,) One basic running shoe, and one truly horrendous sandal. The cute ones? the trendy ones that all the teenagers are buying? no wide. In fact, the straps on the sandals are getting tighter. I swear they are.

My sister listens politely for about 3 seconds (you think she might have heard this before?) and says, "well why don' t you just buy a bigger size? Just keep going up until it fits." Which I find out is what she does.

And suddenly, I'm faced with the horrible thought that this is why I can't find inexpensive, wide shoes. Because everyone else does this. And they don't care that the foot bed is too long and the toe of the shoe sticks out farther than it should, so you look like you are a little girl wearing your mother's clown shoes.

I care. Which is why I don't have very many shoes in my closet. There's always a trade off, isnt' there?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

something different for me

I don't usually do this. This being put out quotes on my blog. I believe that inspiration is very personal. Something is inspiring to me and makes me think because of the particular place I am in my life. The things I'm struggling with, trying to change, to make better determine what inspires me and I can't pull inspiration from something that doesn't speak to that place. I'm sure other people can. I can't. If I'm not in the right place, often these "inspirational quotes" sound trite and pompous to me.

But today I was in the right place to hear a song for the first time. Sister Hazel, whom I don't normally listen to. This morning, the cd player held a single song burned to CD and it played over twice as I drove to and from the pool. I'll only post the pre-chorus and chorus:

Yeah yeah
I bet you haven't heard
A word I've said
Yeah yeah
If you've had enough
Of all your tryin'
Just give up
The state of mind you're in¡­

If you want to be somebody else,
If you're tired of fighting battles with yourself
If you want to be somebody else
Change your mind...

My mind has been changed just enough recently that I could hear the wisdom in the words. I could hear and say, yes, that works, and yet still see that I have more changing to do. The changes I have made have been good. It has been a struggle to keep going until the results came. But they are coming now and I want more of the good stuff in my life. Changing your mind doesn't happen in a moment. The life epiphany doesn't change you. It helps you see that change is needed. Changing happens over weeks and months. And so I'm changing. Little changes. Step by step. It's a good path.

Monday, April 17, 2006

For the Love of a Skirt: a comedy of errors

Once upon a time there was a skirt. She stood in the store window tempting the passers by. She was a magic skirt. She could make women stop in their tracks and lose the ability to speak and become single minded in the persuit of her.

I was enchanted by that skirt. I thought about her often and thought of how I couldn't have her because mean old Ann Taylor wanted $100 for her and I can't spend that much on one skirt, even if it's the most fabulous skirt ever made. So I decided to copy it and make myself a skirt exactly like her.

It's at this point that I began to realize that the Beautiful Skirt was evil. You would have thought that I would have had some idea before this, what with the enchantment of a one track mind and imposed covetousness, but no. I missed it. Yes, Beautiful Skirt was angry that I would attempt to copy her fabulousness, especially with cheap JoAnn's fabric. (ok, it was expensive fabric for JoAnn's , but that's not saying much.) I made a trip to JoAnn's to buy the fabric. I was also buying fabric for a skirt for my daughter and I found a cute print for a second skirt for myself. The first indication of the curse that was on this project was when I had finally chosen everything, I looked at the clock and I had to leave my mother with an armload of fabric because I had to leave right that minute or my kids would be home from school before I got there. She bought the fabric for my daughter's skirt but I had to go back to get the fabric for Beautiful Skirt's Imposter.

I went back and of course I forgot my 40% off coupon, thus costing myself $6.

The Evil Skirt expanded her curse to all my projects as I prepared to sew. I washed the fabric that could be washed. Then I tried to cut out Sarah's skirt. Tried. The fabric had shrunk and I no longer had enough no matter what I tried. I slipped into denial as I manuvered printed tissue all over the fabric. There had to be some way. Oh, Beautiful Skirt was evil. Sarah's skirt was supposed to be her Easter present and, me being me, I had started this project with less than a week to go. I gave up on the first piece of fabric and had to make an evening run to JoAnn's to buy a second piece. I chose to get what I thought would be just enough to finish cutting out the skirt if I used the first piece as well. I brought that home and washed it. Then I discovered that I had bought the wrong color of lavendar linen. oh yes, I did. Luckily I slipped under the curse by managing to squeeze the whole skirt onto the second piece. The curse on that skirt was mostly broken at that point, but Evil Skirt wasn't done with me yet.

So I went to cut out my other two skirts. The lovely Imposter and the kicky print. I didn't have enough fabric for the contrast fabric on the Imposter. yes. Another trip to JoAnn's. Did I mention that JoAnn's is a 15-20 minute drive from my house? I went to cut out the kicky print. a cute tropical red and white print that was supposed to be made into a slightly longer than knee length number with inverted pleats all the way around with a lining to add body. Only I didn't have enough fabric. This time I was six inches short. There is no way to adjust the pattern. I'll have to use a different one, so there will be no fashionable, kicky inverted pleat skirt for me.

I persevered through the bramble forest, my mind focused on achieving the castle and wearing a fantastic skirt to the ball. Evil Skirt pushed onward with her curse. Causing much ripping of seams as I made more mistakes on one piece than I have made since I was twelve, including the oh so fun ripping of a seam at least two yards long. But I did it. I broke through the curse at one thirty Sunday morning. The skirt was done.

I proudly wore it on Sunday, a visual display of my victory over evil.

The moral of this story is of course, if you see the perfect skirt in the window of a store, do not attempt to sew a copy. Just buy the darn thing and save yourself the torture.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Why Every Woman In the World Needs a Digital Camera

this, my friends, is worth the price of the digital camera:

this is also why men who's wives have blogs, should really refrain from wearing their daughter's birthday tiara.

(oh, the chicken suit was for a Cub Scout den meeting.)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Fashionista Wanna-bes

Knee high boots were so cool when I was a teen. They were also expensive and I was expected to buy all my own shoes. I never had a pair. I think I was a bit scared of them. They were the ultimate cool person shoe. They had to be worn with just the right outfit or you looked like an idiot. I still wanted them, I was just too chicken to do it.

So last fall, Steve and I were at Wally's and they had a pair of knee high boots in the perfect color and just my size (which is rare at discount places because I wear a wide.) I did not want this latest reincarnation of the fashion to pass me by. I love them. I wear them quite a bit. A couple of weeks ago when I was wearing them Sarah asked if she could have a pair like mine.

Of course!

So Saturday when we were at Wally's buying her jeans, we found boots on clearance in her size. And wouldn't you know it, they had them in Rilla's size too.

Don't we look cute?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Uninvited Guests

We have some guests in our house that we did not ask to come. We actually went out of our way to make sure they didn't. Commited premediated murder. They must have gas masks, because they made it through that incident and carried on with their deconstruction of the livingroom wall.

Steve discovered the termites on Saturday when he was replacing the front window. We knew there was dry rot. We expected some past termite damage just because they are so prevalent in this area. We did not expect to find living creepy crawlies crawling in our wall. We did have a pest inspection and termite spray done when we bought this place after all.

When we bought this house, we knew we were buying a fixer upper. We did that on purpose in order to increase our equity by doing most of the work ourselves. I did not intend for part of that work to be tearing down my livingroom wall. I just got my shelves hung!

Ah, the joys of home ownership.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Gotta Love Costco

We're standing in the baking aisle at Costco discussing which bag of chocolate chips to buy, the 3lb bag or the 10lb bag. I reached for the 10lb bag.

"Are you sure . . . " and Steve trailes off.

"You weren't about to ask me if I was sure if I could use 10lbs of chocolate chips were you?" I respond incredulously.

That's just a silly question. Any woman who can write a five paragraph essay on cookie baking can most definitely use 10lbs of chocolate chips. I thought he knew me better than that.

Friday, April 07, 2006

my life summed up on Google

Someone today found my blog with this search:

Bedlam insane women pictures

A more accurate search term for my blog can not possibly exist.

A Confession

Steve and I chat at movies. Steve is really bad. He actually heckles the screen, even with movies he likes. Quietly, but he's still talking. In a packed theater, viewing Return of the King on opening weekend, we're watching the end, the part where Frodo can't go on. He's crawling up the mountain and too exahsted, stops moving. Sam delivers his great line "I may not be able to carry it, but I can carry you!" picks up Frodo and struggles up the mountain. I have tears in my eyes and I'm all caught up in the moment and Steve leans over to me and says:

"Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!"

It's very hard to laugh that hard quietly.

So we have sort of stopped attending on opening weekends. You can thank us now.

Wednesday night was perfect though. Steve took me to a movie and dinner for my birthday. We do that so very seldom that it was a fun treat. We went to see Failure to Launch. A very cute rewrite of How to Lose a Guy. The theater was blissfully empty. We were the only two people in the movie. We could chat and laugh as loud as we wanted. It was like watching movies at home (if you don't like talking during a movie, don't come to our house) only with great sound and a big screen. Loved it.

Now all I have to figure out is how to get a baby sitter on a school night on a regular basis. ;)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

A big Thank You

first, thanks everyone for your well wishes. I had a fantastic birthday. I spent a wonderful day with a good friend and a wonderful evening with the man I love. I had hugs and kisses from my children and phone calls from loved ones. It couldn't have been more perfect.

I know as an adult it's very easy for birthdays to be just another day and I firmly believe that everyone should have at least one day a year that celebrates how wonderful you are as a person, even if you aren't turning six.

I stopped wishing other people would make my birthday special for me a long time ago. Instead I celebrate myself and invite everyone to celebrate with me. Who could read my mind anyway? No one knows what I want unless I say what I want, so now I make my own plans. Steve is wonderful and enjoys helping me celebrate. I think my friends make a bigger deal out of my day because I'm making a big deal out of it. It's my birthday. It's my day. Yes, I'm turning 32 and that means I'm getting older, but I'm still here. I exist. I have a good life. That life is worth celebrating. It's very easy for me to get caught up in the daily grind, the little things that chip away at the good stuff. For one day I make it a special point focus on the good.

And it was a good day. thank you for helping me with that.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Big Picture

I bought this book a few weeks ago. I had heard so much buzz about the Big Picture, how good it was and all that. It sold out of it's first printing in a matter of weeks, so I'm thinking the buzz is probably pretty accurate.

I finally sat down and really read it last night. The philosophy of the book is totally my philosophy. Don't worry about scrapping every picture. Do the everyday. Capture your real life. all those things. It was like a little piece clicking into my brain. I don't have to stress myself out about scrapping. I don't have to be perfect. I don't have to get everything published (or anything for that matter.) I can just enjoy the process.

So I did.

It's very derivative of Stacy Julian's work in the book, but that's ok. It took me all of 15 minutes to do. And it was fun. And I used a bunch of stuff I haven't touched for years. I need to do more like that.

I'll still submit to magazines. But I'm not going to keep track. I'm not going to scrap for the calls. I'm not going to stress. I have to have this epiphany about every six months or so it seems. I'm hoping this time it sinks in.

Monday, April 03, 2006

So You Do What To Your Face?

Last night Steve and I were sitting on the couch talking and playing around. He has very loose skin on his face and loves to mush it around. He mushed it all together in the center and said something goofy. I laughed and said, "no, you say 'hello, my name is chubby'." He said "what?"

"Chubby. you know, the Chubby stories."

He gave me a very blank look.

"you don't know the chubby stories."


and my world view was rocked just a bit.

Steve and I didn't know each other growing up but we lived 45 miles apart. There was definite communications between our towns. He knows about Orange you glad I didn't say bananna, pinching on St. Patrick day, noogies, the proper response for "and now you know!" All the standard playground jokes. How could he not know Chubby? Chubby was part of growing up. There were four stories of the adventures of the little Chubby which must be told with your hands at the side of your face squishing it all in, a very goofy way to tell a story, which is why it's so funny to an eight year old. You don't even laugh at the story, mostly because it's pretty dumb, it's the way the person telling the story looks. Chubby is about as un PC as you can get and if I hadn't heard them growing up I would probably be slightly miffed hearing them for the first time now.

Instead, I tried to tell my husband the Chubby stories last night (complete with actions) and I was laughing too hard to get it out.

Ah Chubby . . . . sigh. good times. good times. tell me the rest of you know Chubby.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

And this is why the world will never make sense

I have a favorite professional photographers message board where I go to see how other people are photographing kids and get some ideas and technical help. There's a forum for beginners on this board. In this forum is a thread called (basically) "Come see pictures from my new 5D!!1!1!!" For those of you who don't know, a 5D is Canon's new pro camera. It sells for the cheap price of $3,500. Yes. That would be a beginner with a $3,500 camera. oh it gets better. She is not the only beginner with this camera. And then you open their threads and they say inane things like "which lens should I get?" and "why do I need one of those big flash things?" and "what's white balance?"

sigh. If I were to break a comandment and get all covetous, I would covet this camera. It's a fabulous camera. All the bells and whistles, full frame, spot metering (which the beginners haven't the slightest clue what it is much less how to use it.) It's a lovely camera. However, I've been at this photography thing for five years. There is no way I feel ready for a 5D. If I had a spare $3,500 I would not spend it on this camera.

It's insane to me that women who have no clue how to choose a lens think they are ready for pro level photography. They spend a couple of months learning how to do close ups of cute kids for their scrapbooks and think they are ready to start a business. And then, of course, they hit the message boards and expect those who know what they are doing to spoon feed them everything, including poses and basic camera knowlege (like depth of field and the difference between white balance and mega pixel.) These women can't even google or buy a book. The info is out there, extremely easy to find, but they don't even search the message board they are on for previous posts on the same subject, much less the web in general.

I'm sure that a lot of my feelings toward these crazy women is based on the fact that they are succeeding where I am not. If you can afford to drop $3,500 on a camera, you usually live in a nice house and have friends who have money to burn as well. And of course, they know someone with money to burn. So all of the sudden they have a huge list of contacts and their schedules are filling up and they haven't even the slightest clue about anything.

I sit here, having struggled to buy my XT. It was a huge, huge splurge and sadly I doubt my business will earn enough to cover it for many years. I don't live in a McMansion and I don't have rich friends. Word of Mouth doesn't work for me. I struggle to find contacts and ways to expand my business that don't cost a lot. I probably need to do more advertising of some kind, but the fact of the matter is it's a struggle to start a photography business in an area where Walmart pictures are seen as good enough and Sears is a splurge.

So, yeah, I'm jealous. That doesn't make it any smarter to drop that much money on camera equipment before your business is making enough to balance it out on your taxes.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

8 days

and counting until my birthday.

just needed to remind my mother. She used to needle me about how I was born six weeks late and she had major health complications because of that. Then she forgot my fifteenth birthday. Literally. Forgot. My sister asked what I wanted for dinner that night, it being my birthday and all, and mom said "huh?" sheesh. didn't even try to fake it. We are so totally even. ;)

This is also for Steve who likes to have me make wish lists even though he never ever sticks to it.

1. a small camera bag for my XT. not just any small bag. I want this one: Crumpler 3 million dollar home It will fit my XT and the kit lens and I can take my camera with me places without looking like I'm about to head out for a major photoshoot.

2. the odd size measuring cups to match my William Sonoma set. Yes on the list again. I seriously want this, people.

3. a reflector stand. Steve does not want to buy this for me because it's for my buisness (ha! ok, my pretend business we all pretend is real) and he says it's not a fun gift. dude! it's fun! really!

4. a gift certificate to a scrapbook store. not scrapbook stuff. a gift certificate. I like choosing stuff myself.

5. A Wacom tablet. this would be so cool. especially since I want to enter the Carolee's Creations scrapbook aprentice contest and it would be excellent for designing papers.

6. and just to throw it out there: an Alien Bee strobe. I could live with one right now. really. I could . . . but only if I had a reflector stand. LOL! sorry, only funny to me aparantly.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

How to get around a mean mom

My children have a knack for getting other kids to give them things. I swear everytime they go somewhere they come home with a new toy they got off their friend. They tell me that they don't ask for the things; their friends are just generous and offer them the stuff.
This drives me nuts. I don't like my kids begging or making their friends think that they have to give their stuff away to be friends with my kid. It's partly a charity abhorance and partly they have enough stuff of their own and partly the idea that if my own kids gave away anything other than McDonalds toys I'd be mad (extenuating circumstances do apply.)
How they manage to get junk off other poeple I don't know. They are power manipulators, I guess. I do know they are too smart for their own good. Yesterday, Joshua came home with another toy from a friend's house . . . and this note:

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what the heck do I do with that?! sigh.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Starting Over

I have a hard time with exercising. I hate feeling tired. I feel that way nearly all the time anyway, so why would I want to make myself feel worse on purpose? I also hate sweating. I can fix the second problem, though.

I've taken up swimming. so far, I've only completed one week's workout. Three days of 30 minutes of continuous lap swimming. I'll be alternating adding five minutes and adding crawl laps into the routine. Right now I just do breast stroke the whole time. It's not the hardest workout ever, but it's what I need. Just to get started.

I've done workout routines in the past. I remember my first try. Sarah was 18 months old and I bought Cindy Crawford's workout tape. The first few times I did it I made myself literally sick. Then I found out that I was pregnant. I have tried walking, workout tapes, eliptical machines at the gym, whatever, I've done it and dropped it. It's that whole making myself tired on purpose thing. I don't get the energy burst from workouts that people talk about all the time. Even when I keep it up for months, i don't get that. I get lots of burned calories, but not much in the way of energy. It makes it hard to keep going, to get myself up an hour earlier, to go work.

So, I'm starting over. I want to keep it up this time. I want to get back in shape, to wear a smaller size of jeans, to actually look nice at my sister's wedding this summer. I have a feeling that I'll be starting this goal over many times over the next few months, but as long as I keep starting over, I'm ok.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

sigh. not as cool as I thought I was

so yesterday all the calls were made for Creating Keepsakes Hall of Fame contest (all this spelled out for my mother's sake, my friends know what HOF means.) I was feeling pretty good about myself because I didn't get all crazy hanging over my phone. I didn't start throwing things when everyone except Creating Keepsakes called. I even felt happy for all the people who did get calls.

I was feeling so good about myself. I'm a cool person. I am in control.

HA!! today the calls are being made for the honorable mentions in the same contest. I'm a wreck.

excuse me, my mixer says it needs to make cookies. and maybe pretzles. and my car says it wants me to run to the grocery store for chocolate.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Steve on Points

Steve: I got 500 pts for that? cool!

Amy: do you know how my points system works?

Steve: no. but it's probably like frequent flier miles and you have to get a million to get anything.

darn. he's got me figured out. I did forget to tell him that the prize you can cash in for at that level is one day of not nagging about the garbage. He works so hard for his points. I didn't want to ruin the glow.

Husband Scoreboard now reads: 500pts

Steve was at a gas station yeserday buying a sandwich and saw they were giving away their candy racks. So he brought me home one. it's pretty cool. It holds a ton of stuff. the bottom shelves would hold 12x12 paper but I don't trust Libby to leave it alone. LOL! so I spent my morning organizing.

because it's a candy rack it's got those little slots in the ends of the racks so I can slip lables in. I'm going to use patterned paper too so the whole edge of the rack will be cute.

here's my rack:
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