Archive - 2014

Another Birthday
Nutcracker Peg Dolls
Harvest Sacrifice
Nutcracker Fun for Everyone
Full Stop
Pinterest Win: Patriotic Ice Cream Sandwiches
Red Robot for Pipsqueak
All Is Calm: April
He’s An Eagle
Loss and Recovery

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


Full Stop

I totally fell off the face of the earth.  What happened to me?  I got bronchitis.  Seriously.


It’s true.  Ain’t NOBODY got time for that. My life ground to a complete and full stop.  I would drive Pumpkin Girl to her summer dance class and that would do me in.  I spent a good 4 weeks lying on my bed, watching movies on YouTube or Netflix. At the end of the day I would be completely exhausted.

And then, just when I was feeling better, I caught a cold which tried to kill me.  I hauled my sad self back to urgent care, where I discovered that I still had bronchitis and also a sinus infection.

In the end, I was sick for 42 days in a row.  I’m not a good patient and I was feeling very sorry for myself.  It wasn’t pretty. And did I mention that both Phil and Boo were gone for a good portion of this time, and Pumpkin Girl was at class all day?  Just me, my phlegm and my little boys.  Worst. Summer. Ever.

But I’m back now, my energy levels have almost returned and I’m not even taking OTC meds anymore.

Pinterest Win: Patriotic Ice Cream Sandwiches

july 4 ice cream win

I found this idea on Pinterest last June, just in time to try it for July 4th.  It is so simple that you can just look at the picture and figure out what to do.  An easy project with high impact – it’s just full of Pinterest Win.  Just roll ice cream sandwiches in red, white and blue sprinkes, wrap them back in their original wrappers and freeze.

The only thing to watch out for is the ice cream melting faster than you can work.  I would just unwrap each sandwich as you need it, rather than doing them all ahead of time.  I would also recommend making these ahead of time and letting them refreeze.

Wouldn’t these be fun to make with different kinds of sprinkles to match the occasion?

My inspiration for these is from this post at A Thrifty Mom: July 4th Dessert Ideas

Red Robot for Pipsqueak

After a much needed blogging break, I am back and excited to share all the projects I’ve been accomplishing.  Every so often I need to rejuvenate by doing a little crafting.  And don’t worry, I will have both the May and June Christmas planning pages before June is over.

When your 3 year old asks you to make him a red robot (a red one, not a bluuuuue one), well, what can you do but comply? I mean, look at this cutie.  He’s got me totally wrapped around his finger.

I actually found a pattern to make a toy robot on Etsy.  The pattern is for a bluuue robot, but I’m pretty smart and bought red felt for the body instead.


He wasn’t hard to make, just time consuming with about a million pieces to trace, cut, sew and embroider.  The instructions called for an overhand stitch to sew the pieces together, but that never turns out well for me.  I learned to embroider from my aunt and my grandma one summer, and they taught me the importance of using small, neat stitches.  So I used the blanket stitch where ever I could.

Red Robot took about 2 weeks to put together, which seems  kind of  long. I spent 30 to 90 minutes working at a time and I didn’t work on him every day. So it really wasn’t that bad.

RedRobotI’m pretty happy with the way he turned out, but even more importantly, Pipsqueak loves him!

You can find the pattern here: Retro Robot

All Is Calm: April

All is Calm: Christmas Planning Year Round

Yes, I know it’s May.  Good grief already!  Life is just getting in the way over here.  I guess that’s why I like to have a plan in place so that I can get back on track.  So let’s just pretend that this post was written two weeks ago, OK?  And let’s also just assume that May’s pages will be on time.   Onward…

Christmas Planner Apr

This month I have 4 new pages for you.

The Craft Supply List goes with the Crafts Planner from February (links to previous pages will be at the end of the post).  In February, we listed all the Christmas crafts we hope to make.  If you haven’t already, get the patterns and instructions for those crafts and print them out or make copies. Stick them in sheet protectors or a poly folder made for binders so that they are all in your Christmas Planning Binder for you to find easily.  But first, list all the supplies you will need on the Craft Supply List.  This is now your master shopping list.  Watch those Sunday ads and if you have a smart phone, get the app for your favorite craft store.  They usually have a coupon and you just have to show the cashier your phone with coupon and there’s a code they will enter.  Nice!  I’ve provided space for you to write the store name and the quantity of the item, if you need it.  Once again, every 5th line is red which is to help you group list items together.  If that’s not helpful, just ignore it. So once your Craft Supply List is complete, you are ready to shop!  But make sure you have one designated spot for your supplies so that you can find them again!  Maybe use one of the note pages I’ve made for my All Is Calm series and write down where you’ve stashed that stash.

Next up is the Family Fun page. This one goes with a page back in January where we listed the things that make our ultimate Christmas.  Write down the family activity, where it is, the cost and any relevant notes. Maybe you like to see the Nutcracker on a certain weekend, or have a cookie exchange with your daughter’s friends, or go caroling with your church.  Whatever it is, write it down!  You can search for family Christmas activities or Christmas bucket list to get some ideas of what other people do. Don’t forget to look at the list you made back in January and include those ideas, too.

The Projects for Kids page is for you to list the kid-specific plans you have.  I’ve made space for the project name, the source (book, magazine, website) and supplies needed.  You should add the supplies to the appropriate shopping list, like the Craft Supply List from this month or the master Shopping List from last month.  I’m hoping that this list will keep me from letting some things fall through the cracks this year.  I always have so many great plans…in my head! Maybe this is the year those plans become reality.

The Holiday Pantry Inventory is the same Pantry Inventory that you can purchase in my Etsy store, but prettied up for Christmas.  Some baking and cooking staples have a long shelf life,  so you can buy them on sale ahead of time.  The trick is to remember what you already have.  Just write down the name of the item and circle the amount that you have.  And here’s another tip, non perishables can be stored somewhere other than a kitchen.  Grab a container and find space anywhere you can.  Just make a note right on the inventory sheet so you can find it all again.  If you have food in bags, like brown sugar or chocolate chips, just make sure you store them in a sturdy plastic box with a lid and keep it off the floor.  You wouldn’t want any critters to get to them.

All of this month’s pages are available to download here: Christmas Planner April

The previous month’s pages are here:

January, Part 1
January, Part 2


He’s An Eagle

It’s a pretty amazing thing when your child sets his sights on a goal and achieves it.  Words really cannot express how proud I am of Boo for deciding to be an Eagle Scout and for reaching his goal.  He was 15 years old, 1 month and 20 days old when he did it.

The presentation table was set up with his scarf, medal, pins, flowers and a candle display.  Each candle has a BSA rank badge beneath it and they were lit during the ceremony by a scout of the same rank.

COHPresentationTableOutside the room was his scouting display table.  Starting at the left were his Pinewood Derby cars and trophy, and his red Cub Scout vest. When we received his Arrow of Light at the end of Cub Scouts, his den from back in DC where he started, sent him the same arrow given to all his former den-mates.  When he crossed over to Boy Scouts, an Eagle Scout shot an arrow at a target as each boy’s name was announced.  Boo’s arrow hit the bull’s eye.  Both those arrows were part of the display.

COHCubScoutDisplay Next was the guest book and a basket to hold any cards that came.  Then was his Eagle display. (I made the decoration in the background from an idea on Pinterest.)  We had a flag flown at the US Capitol and it’s there in a frame.  Another Pinterest idea was for a shadow box with each of his rank cards and badges, with a space waiting at the end.  His Eagle certificate is just out of the picture, as is his Order of the Arrow sash.  The framed certificate is his registration into the National Eagle Society.  We put all his official congratulation letters into a binder for people to flip through.  We call it his Book of Kudos. COHEagleandRankDisplay

Here’s what the whole thing looked like.COHDisplayHere’s my Eagle Scout with his cake.  I think they both turned out nicely.



I managed to hold it together, just like I did for Nutcracker.  I had to keep dabbing at my eyes the whole time, though.  Look at him – He’s an Eagle.


(You can check out my Eagle COH Pinterest Board to see where I got some of my inspiration here: Eagle Court of Honor.)

Loss and Recovery

Seven years later and I think I can talk about this.

One of my very first blog posts was about my favorite bookmark.  I’d had it since I was a little girl.  It was always in my favorite book of the moment.  It had aged over time and gotten wrinkled.  At some point I had gotten an ink mark on it and I tried to cover it with some White-Out.  Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that the paper wasn’t actually white, so my repair probably made it worse. I covered it with Contact Paper to protect it from further assaults.

My bookmark had no real value, other than I loved it.  I actually I have a whole collection of bookmarks from my childhood…somewhere around here.  But this one was special.  Over the years it would sort of float around, get lost and get found again.  But I always found it.

When I was young and would check out 15 or so books from the library at a time, I learned to check each book quickly for bookmarks before returning them.  I have done this faithfully my entire life.  Without fail.  Never.

And then it happened.  My favorite bookmark was being used in a book I was reading to the children.  A highly illustrated, glossy page edition of “Alice in Wonderland”, if I remember correctly. The children went to library with their dad and that particular book needed to be renewed.

It was not checked for bookmarks.

My bookmark did not return.

It seems silly, doesn’t it, to grieve over something like that.  I could delve deeply into my mind and explain it all to you, but I won’t.  I will sum it up, though.  It has to do not only with the memories of a lifetime of wonderful books but with the way I take care of the people and things that I love. Or fail to take care of them, through no fault of my own.

Pumpkin Girl says I have a wonderfully tragic back-story.  She’s right. Losing the bookmark symbolized so many other things, which is why it has taken me this long to talk about it.

My bookmark is gone.  There, I’ve said it.

The one saving grace was that I had scanned it for this blog which meant that I still have the little illustration.  I tried printing it off, but it came out fuzzy so I gave up and put it out of my mind.

A few years later I tried again but it was still fuzzy, even with my mad Photoshop skillz.

And now I’ve figured it out.  I recreated it.  It’s not the same, but it is close. I can put that particular loss behind me.  And I can make Pumpkin Girl her own copy.


Copyright © 2014. Created by Meks. Powered by WordPress.