Monday, April 30, 2012

Every wonder if space bags work?

Well, they do.  But, not for clothes.  For big, bulky items such as my king size comforter, it worked like a charm.  Shrunk that thing down to less than half it's size, and its stayed that way for days. 

BEFORE AND AFTER


However, if you are good at packing up clothes, they are pretty much worthless.  I don't see any reduction of space, and instead, all my baby clothes I packed up and tried it on are now all smooshed together in this super stiff plastic bag that cannot bend that takes up pretty much the exact same amount of space.

So, yes for big things, no for clothes.  I may get a few more bags and pack up some pillows I have as well.   

Sunday, April 29, 2012

My pictures, as usual, seem to take forever to upload to blogger, so none for this post tonight. 

We have had a very busy, but at times extremely relaxing, week.  It was the first week that wasn't crazy busy for me at work and I am back to my FWA (flexible work arrangement). 

It started out with Sunday, as I mentioned in an earlier  post, with Evan having a bad diaper rash.  And by bad, I mean, BAD.  He stayed home on Monday and Tuesday, and his whole class at school had had strep.  So, on Tuesday, my day off, I took him in and they checked him and he did not have strep.  It seems that whenever Evan gets a virus, he ends up with bad diaper rash.   apparently he has a sensitive butt.  I blame Christopher.  He has sensitive skin too.  Good grief - sometimes he goes fishing in April and it's cloudy and he comes home all sunburned! 

But, Evan and I were able to get lots of things done around the house still on Tuesday.  I have really started tackling my "list" of things to do, along with the cleaning that has been neglected for months.  And I mean the deep, get into the corners, under the dressers, on top of the molding, in the vents cleaning. 

But Tuesday afternoon and evening was gorgeous, so Evan and I decided to quit around 4pm and we went outside and played and relaxed and had a beer.  Then Daddy stopped on the way home and picked up chicken, asparagus, bread, and mushrooms to grill and the grandparents came over and it was a fabulous night. 

On Friday I worked for almost two hours on the shower and the bathroom, and then I finally gave up and told Christopher I think we needed to strip some of the old caulk in our shower and put in new, because the mildew/mold had grown into it in a few spots. 

He came home that night and took care of it...yae!  Another thing off the list.  Today we also did the outside high-up windows....and since we had all the stuff out, I did all of the basement windows with the exception of one...which is great!  Less windows for me to do during the week. 

Chris is still working away on our basement bathroom.  It seems as if we started it a very long time ago...I realize it is still April and there is a ton to do, but I am like, dang, can't it be done?  I want my sewing area back...

patience...patience....

We are actually hiring some people to come and redo our hardwood floors...we are going to scheduled that for two weeks from now and stay at the Grandparents for a weekend.  It will be nice to "farm out" at least one project. 

This weekend Chris is going fishing on Lake Michigan.  Salmon fishing.  My dad goes every year and Chris has ALWAYS wanted to go so he is really excited.  Nathan is excited because I said one night he could sleep in my bed with me...and, he gets to go over to Grandma Jayne's and play Hungry Hungry Hippos. 

Chris has also been building himself a computer - a desktop. He hasn't had a new one for probably 12 years.  He is really excited for this new game that is coming out and  he is due for a new computer--- it has this new type of harddrive that boots up in like 3 seconds.  Last night he came upstairs grinning like a Chestire Cat and told me all about it.  I am happy for him...I appreciate that he likes to wait for things and only buys new things when he really needs it.   So many people these days want everything right away even when they don't need it at all (many of my family members come to mind).  

I finished my first prayer shawl for the church.  I think it turned out lovely.  I wore it last night after I finished it and I realized what a comfort a shawl really is.  I think I will make myself one actually...but with a different yarn than what the church uses---I think I will make mine with something a little more silky soft. 

Well, that's all for now....definately bed time!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Quick table topper and an old afghan...

I have been finally catching up on reading other peoples blogs, and I feel like I have wasted months NOT sewing!  But, unlike other tax seasons, this year I actually worked on a small project or two...

Below is a little table topper I made from a kit...it was so cute I couldn't resist...and I am a sucker for pinks and browns (or blues and browns).....


 I set it on the piano bench to take a picture, and Nathan goes, "Oh good, now I can play piano and my butt won't hurt."  That made me laugh.  So I think I will leave it.

Speaking of butts, poor Evan has come down with the worst diaper rash I have ever seen.  It was actually bleeding.  I felt awful.  We kept him home today and let him run around diaperless for quite some time.  We will see if he stays home with me tomorrow (yae for having days off again!) or not.  No big deal if he does...I have chores to do around here and he can help me. 

Another thing on my "list" has been to put all my patterns I have in a book and put pictures of the items I have made in the book as well.  I finally have started this, and have most everything in the book but now just need to make notes on the pictures. 

Below is something I made a long time ago...started it before I got married.   It is a classic ripple afghan...yes, each stitch lovingly made by me...it took some time, if I recall, and I haven't done a full size afghan since.  And, honestly, now that I can quilt, I probably never will do one again (although, I do have a bunch of yo-yo's I have crocheted...perhaps someday those will be sewn together....)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

bubbles and onions

the kids got bubbles and bubble makers from the grandparents.  Evan didn't know what to make of it at  first....


until Grandpa showed him how...

and then we got the classic Evan smirk...

Evan is definately growing up.  He wants to do whatever his big brother is doing...or, eat.  He loves to eat.  And when he wants to eat, or thinks he wants to eat, and he doesn't get to, he cries.  And lays on the floor and whines. Or stares and bawls at the closed cupboard in a sad, pathetic sort of way.

The other night I just couldn't take the crying anymore...the kids were going to wait for dinner, and that was it!  So I pulled a chair up next to me and said, Evan, here, you watch me cook.   The kids love helping and watching. 

I chopped up some onions.  Evan asked if he could have one.  I smirked.  Muhahahahah, I thought, this will teach him!

I gave him an onion.

He put it in his mouth....and....wait for it......asked for more!

Seriously.  WTF kid. 

I gave him more. 

He ate more.

He grabbed the bowl.

I grabbed the camera.


He is so definately part Speltz!  We are onion-eaters! 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Plowing along with Grandpa

My dad doesn't spend much time with the grandkids, so when he does, it is pretty special, and boy, did Nathan enjoy this!

He even told Grandpa, "I never got to do anything like this before!"


I just love this picture...

Great job Nathan!

Way to plow up the field!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Recipes for Church Cookbook - classic!s

We recently switched churches, and it was one of the best things I feel I have done in a long time.  Although, I still haven't informed the old church that we left....whoops!  Anyways, they are doing a new cookbook (don't you  just love church cookbooks?  They always have the best recipes!) and these are the four I submitted -- all mine with the exception of the one below noted from my mom:


The first is a marinade I made up after trying several and taking the things I like -- I haven't found anyone that doesn't enjoy it or ask for a recipe, so I figure it must be good:

Chicken &Beef Marinade
1 cup vegetable oil
¾ cup soy sauce
½ cup lemon juice
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup spicy brown mustard
1 ½ t. coarse black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced

Mix well.  Marinate meat in bag 4 - 24 hours.  Great marinade for kabobs or for grilling steaks/chicken.

This following recipe was inspired by a salad made by Dayton's in their downtown Skyroom...Chris and I love it --

Broccoli & Bacon Salad
1 cup salad dressing (Miracle Whip)
4 t. lemon juice
1 t. sugar
6 cups broccoli florets
1 cup. extra sharp cheddar cheese (finely shredded)
16 slices cooked bacon, crispy and crumbled
2/3 cup sunflower seeds or pine nuts
2/3 cup dried cranberries
½ cup chopped red onion
Mix salad dressing, lemon juice, and sugar.  Toss with remaining ingredients.  Let chill an hour before serving.

This is from my mom.  It's not fancy.  It's not time-consuming.  It's not hard.  It's just good. 

Meatballs and Gravy
1 lb. ground beef
2 T. minced onion
1 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
1/8 t. celery salt
1/8 t. garlic powder
½ cup cracker crumbs
½ cup water
Flour
1 can cream of mushroom soup
½ cup water
1 beef bouillon cube
Mix meat, onion, seasonings, crumbs and water.  Form into small balls (20-24).  Roll in flour.  Brown in a small amount of oil (just need to brown).  Remove fat from pan and then return meatballs to pan.  Mix soup, water, and bouillon and pour over meatballs.  Simmer for 30 minutes or so, adding more water if needed.  Enjoy! 

This is a bar recipe that I had and have modified to my liking -- not sure where the original is from...but anyways, if you know me, I rarely make something for dessert without chocolate in it (why bother you know)...but I made these, and I really love them. Probably because I love cranberries...

Cranberry Bog Bars
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup flour
1 can (15-16 ounces) whole berry cranberry sauce
¼ cup butter, melted
½ cup pecans, finely chopped
½ brown sugar
1 cup old-fashioned oats
Mix first four ingredients together and press into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan.  Spread cranberry sauce over this.  Mix remaining ingredients and crumble over cranberry sauce.  Bake at 350ยบ for 25-35 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool and cut into bars.  Makes 2 - 3 dozen.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

This is my 400th post!  yae!!!!

These were my eggs...I always put them in color order when I am done. I like the purple the best...although, the blues were so bright - the picture doesn't do it justice. 

Nathan was really proud of his eggs...
Easter Morning! I wasn't going to hide any eggs, but I decided aroun 11PM why the heck not? There would be time before church...and it was the first thing Nathan saw when he got out of bed -- eggs! He looked all over for those eggs...

He was quite surprised to find one in the bathroom....

Evan found one in the plant!! He was so tired still...

Nathan found his Easter basket! Boy that bunny was generous....

Evan found his, but all he really cared about was the plastic egg he also found...
You know, no matter what is going on in your life, it is truly hard to be sad on Easter Day...because the message is, no matter what you are going through, no matter what happens here on earth, if you believe, you will be saved and the reward of Heaven is so great that we cannot even imagine it. Joy!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Good Friday

Growing up, on Good Friday we always had school off, and we would slowly get up out of bed, lounge around, and then Kevin, Karen and I would spend the morning, into the afternoon, dyeing Easter Eggs.  After that we would clean up and at 2:30 family friends would come over, and we would all head to church for Stations (which I didn't get to go to this year, and missed.  Stations is always such a bittersweet event...I think I cry everytime I go...).  After that we would head home and play with our friends, and have fish for dinner and usually popcorn after that.  

Those were the days!

In an effort to keep some of the old traditions alive, my mom still has us over on Good Friday.  And, until this year, we dyed eggs over there.  But it has been a little too crazy for me the past few years:  10+ people and children huddled around the kitchen table trying to dye eggs without knocking over the cups of dye, people all talking at once, and my Dad doing 10 eggs at once and hogging all the dyes all while complaining, "are there any other colors open?  I'm bored." 

So, this year, I decided, it's time for a change.  We went over for dinner, and then left - no crazy egg-dyeing expanded family event this year...nope!  I missed dyeing eggs with Karen and Kevin, but other than that, it was so nice.  On Saturday I worked most of the day, but inbetween tying out Schedule B amounts to 1099's, Nathan and I dyed eggs while Daddy and Evan sat and watched and ate cookies.  As an added treat...my mom stopped by to say "hi" and helped us for a little bit. 

Here are some  pics from the past two days (it took forEVER for Blogger to download these...annoying!):

Evan's first ride on the H!


Nathan got to go too but that picture didn't download....
Evan and I were starting the fire again...we were burning old pieces of my parent's deck - kind of scary how quickly that wood burns!

Uncle Kevin spending time with his Godson...Kevin said, "I am not sure he liked it!" after Evan went down once....

Before dinner on Friday the kids decided to start riding bikes down the hill...oh my gosh, they loved it.  I was thinking for sure someone would get hurt or hit the big steel clothesline, but no one did...


Saturday morning doing eggies!

I will have to add more pictures later...my computer is too slow!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

After four years...Blaine Easter Egg Hunt Winners!

We have been going to the Blaine Easter Egg hunt for years...it is always a fun three minutes gathering eggs, let me tell you.  For sure I thought this year that Nathan wouldn't be scared of the big Easter Bunny and would get his picture taken, but I was wrong. 

I was told he was "shy" and didn't want to go by the Bunny.  Evan probably would have though...he stared at that thing so hard he forgot to look where he was going. 

We took a few pictures before hand...it was supposed to be warm...ha!   Those weatherman shouldn't bother with forecasts....


Evan always does a "smirk" lately...

I took Evan and Chris took Nathan, since the areas are divided by age and Nathan was in the bigger age group this year.  Well, they blew the  horn and I said to Evan, "come on!  lets go!" and honestly, he picked up one egg and just stared at it, and put it in the bag, and I was like, "hurry, there won't be any eggs left..!  come on Evan!" and by the time he grabbed the next one (or tried to, as one kid almost took it away) it was over. So, Evan got two eggs, Mommy got him five more, and that was that.

You open the eggs to see if you  have a "gold coin" which gets you a prize...there are also a two Golden Eggs on each field, which I have never seen.  We have never found a gold coin in an egg (even though last year we got 35 eggs...no kids came because it was snowing), seen a Gold egg, or won the raffle.

So, you can imagine my surprise as Evan and I were walking trying to find Daddy and Nathan when I heard, "Mommy mommy!  We found a gold egg!"  I was like, no way!  Way to go guys!! 

I think I was more excited than Nathan...

There were all sorts of prizes Nathan could pick from, and I tried to "direct him" as to what was the most valuable prize...but he wanted this big basket of sand toys, and was so excited about it...so that's what he got! 

You can imagine my surprise then when a few minutes later, Evan won the raffle!  So, then he got to pick a prize too.  I picked the basketball basket for him. 


Evan loved the basket more than anything...he was so cute, hauling that cheap basket around everywhere and putting things in it. 

It was such a fun morning...after the egg hunt, I took the kids to the park and it was freezing so we came home and had pizza and went to bed (well, the kids did...I didn't...I cleaned!)

My house is a diaster due to tax season so I cleaned and that was nice...then we went to church and Nathan was very excited to get his palm since we have been reading about Jesus and what happened to him in his kid's bible.  It was a long mass though - an hour and a half!

Lent is officially over...hard to believe Easter is here and my first busy season at the new firm is almost done.  I am so glad I left Deloitte...there are definately very hard days at this firm as well, but I feel so much more positive about the people and how they treat you!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Oh bumpers!

-that's what Nathan says all time.  Have you seen Chuggington? 

Nathan went to classmates birthday party a few weeks ago...he had a great time.  My kid, however, is the one who runs continously, only stops for bathroom and water breaks, and sweats like a maniac.  However, I also had the best eater...I couldn't believe all the Mom's begging their kids to please eat one bite of their food before cake...thank goodness that is one thing I don't have to worry about.

Side comment:  Last night I made my mom's Swedish Meatballs...which I love.  However, Evan loved them more than everyone.  He had 6.  Daddy and I had 5, and Nathan had 4.  Evan also had two pieces of garlic bread and a scoop of green beans.  Not sure where he puts it.  Maybe a hollow leg?

Anyways, here are some pics from the sweaty (but fun) day:



The kid in the front crying - the birthday boy!  doesn't it always happen that way?!  :)

Note Nathan in the back hamming it up! 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

let's go fly a kite...

Happy April Fools Day!

Today at breakfast, I said to Nathan, "there is a spider on your head"...to which he FREAKED.  And I said, "April Fools!  Mommy is just teasing!"  He squinted his eyes and gave me a "look" but checked his hair a few times "just in case". 

I have been trying to post this post a few times...but the pictures wouldn't upload.  I have issues with this program, I tell you.  But, finally, here it is!

A few weeks ago it was very warm and windy, and we all headed to the park for some fun. 

The boys love to play soccer, and to try to get the soccer ball through this hoop thing at our park.  Evan's attempts were hilarious. 


Action shot!  Way to go Nathan!

Daddy got the kite ready, and then showed Nathan how it works.  Nathan and I both thought it was awesome...can you believe it?  I  had never flown a kite before that day!

Flashback:  We made kites in 6th grade, but the day we got to fly them I had to be out of school for a cousin's wedding.  Then, when I brought the kite home, I was trying to fly it, and my older brother came and took over (typical).  Well, since he wouldn't let me try to fly my own kite, I went inside, and he decided then to throw my kite in the garbage.  Crunched it up and everything (I'll have you note, that he didn't get into trouble either....err...)


After a few attempts, he was flying it like a pro!

Below is one of my favorite pictures...my boys and that sky!  Love it.

Evan's hair is so goofy...some of it is so short, and some of it is so long.  Look at how cute he is below with it blowing in the wind...

Nathan and I, flying the kite...