Silhouette Fun
First World Problems
Life With Teens
A Month of Instagram: January 2015
Another Birthday
Nutcracker Peg Dolls
Harvest Sacrifice
Nutcracker Fun for Everyone


After a few years of drought, May 2015 was the wettest month on record.  Evah. We built an ark, but didn’t use it because as soon as May ended, the rain returned to a far more reasonable schedule.  And with 8″ of rainfall in one month, our creek held and I think maybe we can stop worrying about flooding from the Waldo Canyon burn scar.


Boo is working the whole summer at a local BSA camp, teaching new scouts important New Scout Skillz.  Being under 18, he comes home every weekend for a little less than 24 hours.  He also brings home a friend, a fellow Catholic who goes to mass with us and is seriously the epitome of good manners.  I affectionately call him our summer son.

We also picked up an AF Academy cadet or two to sponsor through their time in the academy.  Their “Doolie Day Out” is coming up and we will be providing them with a soft spot to land, an opportunity to call home and a yelling-free zone.  We may actually have them AND our summer son here all at the same time.  Pumpkin Girl is not amused at this sudden influx of brothers, no matter how temporary.


And I’m painting again!  I found a new online watercolor sketching class, this time by Jane LaFazio.  I’m a little rusty, but it’s coming back.  Honestly, I went from being the one struggling the most in my last class, to being right in the middle of this class. For comparison, here’s an assignment on mixing and using greens from my current class, followed by a quick sketch I did of the same plant, way back before I started taking lessons.  Go me!

oxalisafter oxalisbefore

Silhouette Fun

I got a Silhouette Cameo cutting machine a little while back.  I’ve seen projects around Pinterest and blogs for a while, but I didn’t think it was something I needed.  Plus, it’s expensive!  But you know me, I’ve rarely found a craft I didn’t like and all of a sudden I needed to have one.  Mostly because I can no longer find the vinyl saying in my music room and I want to replace it after we paint.  So yeah, had to have it.


I started with a label for my homemade laundry detergent.  I totally stole this idea from somebody else.


I made some Christmas presents, including this lighted, frosted glass block.


And ring bowls for Pumpkin Girl’s friends.


All those projects are vinyl, but the Silhouette can do paper projects, too.  This one was for another of Pumpkin Girl’s friends.  I even made the matching envelope!


I’m totally impressed with myself, er…the Silhouette. The birthday card and glass block are just files I purchased from the Silhouette store.  I made little Valentines for my children from purchased files, too.  (They seemed to have disappeared, so I can’t share pictures.)  I created the laundry soap label and the names for the bowls myself, just using fonts I have on my computer.

I really did need one, didn’t I?  Now…just to get around to that Shakespeare quotation.

Life With Teens

We’ve got two teenagers in the house now. It’s a much different experience than I was anticipating and I have to say that, for the most part, I am pleased.

While we seemed to have escaped door slamming,  and “I hate you”s, we do have loud music and constant texting.  Of course, there is the whole issue of dealing with the opposite sex.

Mostly we limit Pumpkin Girl’s contact with boys by keeping her locked up at the ballet studio with mostly girls, for hours at a time.  So any free range boys that come sniffing at our door will turn away in search of greener pastures.  So to speak.

Of course, she went and made friends with the three boys that are her age that dance at her studio.  Two of them are part of her Game Night Group – five friends who take turns going to each other’s houses, emptying the fridge and causing a ruckus, all while the host parents keep a watchful eye to make sure that are no shenanigans.  Though most of them are homeschoolers, so their idea of a wild night is playing both Carcasonne and Settlers of Catan in the same night.

Our turn to host Game Night is this weekend and we are laying in a supply of food that will feed a small army.  Five teens, coming directly from all day dance rehearsals – I just hope we have enough food.  Hmm, might want to get air freshener, too.

Meanwhile Boo is driving.  He’s still got his permit until  he gets enough driving hours to get a license.  We paid a local driving school big money to sit next to his novice self so that we don’t have to.  We drop him off and go home, while he drives around town, going exactly the speed limit for two hours.  Last week they let him on the freeway.  I was at home, softly humming that song from “Jesus Christ, Superstar'”- “Don’t you know everything’s alright, yes, everythings’s fine”.  I almost believed it.

(Actually, Phil tells me that Boo is a good driver.  I’ll just have to take his word for it.)

You know what?  Other than messy rooms and the occasional eye roll, we’re enjoying the ride.  Helping our kids reach important milestones, helping them navigate through life, getting to know their friends  – it’s all good, nothing but love.  We wouldn’t have it any other way.


A Month of Instagram: January 2015



1.  My Christmas present fits Pumpkin Girl, not me. She looks super cute, so I might keep it anyway.
2.  Classic California
3.  This here’s the room where we keeps the womens.
4.  Must be time for the Safety Dance!
5.  Standing on a corner in Winslow, Az…
6.  Heading home with an elephant on my lap.
7.  A beautiful day
8.  Nobody is going anywhere today.
9. The perfect mug to accompany a discussion of Hitler’s invasion of Europe.
10.  My kids think my hands are freaky because my thumb bends back but my pinky can’t stand up.
11. Pumpkin Girl and I were wondering which merit badge involves a turkey leg and pencils.
12.  “Whaaat?  I got you present!”
13.  A text from Pumpkin Girl, with a picture of Pipsqueak with a bucket on his head.


How is it that today is the 19th of January already?

I turned 45 today and it doesn’t bother me at all.  I am grateful for all the years that I have lived. I know that many people have a crisis at about this age and that is understandable.  It is hard to think that most of your life is behind you and to look at yourself and wonder if this is all there is.

But I am comfortable with who I am.  I wear sequined Minnie Ears and scream like a loony while riding The Matterhorn at Disneyland.  I make up moves to “Safety Dance” with my kids in the kitchen.  I am learning that I cannot change how people act, but I can change how I react to them.  I am trying to give grace everywhere I can, but to accept that sometimes you need to walk away.  Or run.

I will never win housekeeping awards, but my home is filled with love and laughter.  I know which one I like better.

I cry unashamedly during “Tangled”.  I color my hair. I think Captain Hook in “Once Upon A Time” is dreamy.  But there is nothing better in this whole world than being held by the man who knows why I cry and who would love me no matter what my hair looks like. (He also tolerates my fanmom crush.)

I worry more about my weight than my age, but at the end of the day, neither number matters.

I may die tomorrow or I may have another 45 years left.  Hopefully something in between.  But whatever happens, I hope that people will say that I lived well, laughed often and loved much.

Yes, this is me at 45.


Another Birthday

I have two daughters.  They were both born at Christmastime, one 3 days before Christmas, one three days after.  Both at 8 PM.  How clever they were, planning that out together before they left Heaven.

I remember that second Advent that I was pregnant, 11 years ago.  I was heavy laden and uncomfortable and I was feeling one with poor Mary, who at the end of her pregnancy had to travel on a donkey to some strange city.  I was in a strange country, though I had arrived by plane. My baby was actually due right before the New Year and I was a little worried that I would go early and end up in the hospital for Christmas.  I thought Winter Solstice would be nice, but the day came and went.

Or so I thought.

Winter Solstice moves, I learned later.  Sometimes it is December 21st and sometimes it is the 22nd.  When I failed to go into labor on the 21st, I just prayed to be home for Christmas and settled in for a few more days of pregnancy.

Philip went off to work on the morning of December 22 and just as I heard the front door close, I felt my water break. I was able to get myself downstairs and out the door fast enough to catch him and call him back.

And so our second little girl was born on December 22, Winter Solstice 2003.  We named her Rebecca Maria.

Happy 11th Birthday, my darling daughter.  We love you and miss you.


Nutcracker Peg Dolls

I couldn’t help it, I had to make another set of Nutcracker toys for Pipsqueak.  The paper ones are fun, but let’s face it – he’s a 4 year old who is going to be rough on paper.

So I created these peg dolls.

I started off with sketching my ideas for the costumes, front and back.  I decided to go with the traditional Waldorf  idea of only putting eyes on the faces.  Mostly because faces are so darn hard.Nutcracker Sketch

Clara, the Nutcracker Prince and Drosselmeyer are based on Pumpkin Girl’s and the cast of Ballet Idaho’s costumes from last year.  Clara is a brunette, of course.  She always will be, in our house.

Clara and Nutcracker

Fritz was inspired by Pumpkin Girl’s costume with her ballet company, also from last year.

Nutcracker Peg Dollsabove: Rat King, Drosselmeyer, Clara, Fritz, Nutcracker Prince, Soldier

I got the idea for the Rat King from the dolls on tumblr here: Biciclette.And the soldier was inspired by this blog: Everything Etsy

Soldier and Rat KingPipsqueak loves his new set of Nutcracker friends.  They wage epic battles all over the house.  The Nutcracker usually wins.

Pipqueak with Peg Dolls

Harvest Sacrifice

Every year, just a few days after Halloween, we set our jack o’lanterns out on our lawn in a tradition that has come to be known as the Harvest Sacrifice.   If our pumpkins are found to be tasty and pleasing, then the local deer herd will consume them, thus conferring blessings upon us for another year.

This year our offerings have been accepted.

HarvestSacrifice1Harvest Sacrifice 2

And the peasants rejoiced.


Nutcracker Fun for Everyone

October is here and for the first time in several years we are not completely overcome with the madness that is Nutcracker Rehearsal Time.  Pumpkin Girl has chosen to only participate in one Nutcracker production this year which leaves our Sundays completely free.  Bip and Boo are no longer playing soccer, so even our Saturday schedule has lightened up.

With last year’s All Nutcracker, All the Time schedule, Pipsqueak became quite enamored of all the characters.  He said he even wants to be the Rat King when he gets older. For now, he has his very own Nutcracker stuffed friend from Build-a-Bear, a gift from his godparents, and he was eyeing the custom dolls I had made for Pumpkin Girl, until she put them out of reach.  Not before he manage to straighten one of Clara’s curls, though.PipsqueakWithNutGuy

I went in search of some sort Nutcracker toys that I could make for him, but there isn’t really a whole lot out there.  Most everything is decorative, for display only. But I did find these really cool paper puppets. And even better, Clara is a brunette like Pumpkin Girl and the Nutcracker Prince has a similar costume as her prince.

(This is the point where she would say, “Mom, I can’t believe you’re talking about Clara again!”  Tough.)

Nutcracker Paper DollsHere I have them artfully posed just like in the pas de deux  that Pumpkin and her Prince dance. (Shush, honey, this is MY blog!)

FritzAndDrossThe Fritz paper doll looks nothing like Pumpkin, but that can’t be helped.

What I like about these is that I can print them out at home (I used card stock) and use mini brads that are easily found in craft stores.  And if they get ripped, I can easily make more.

The only thing is that Pumpkin Girl decided they are for her, so I need to make another set for Pipsqueak.  I may try laminating them with my Xyron machine first.

NutcrackerPaperDollsYou can purchase these paper puppets, including a stage at this link right here: Nutcracker Suite Puppet Theater


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