she takes me back home

;) – A thousand miles

I have a tutorial for you but I’ll do that later in the week, today I wanted to show you the other awesomeness that my sister made this year.

blue-tree-gnome

First we have tree gnomes/elves. I have 2 and they were on our tree growing up. They sorta, um, guard the tree until Santa gets here. That kinda thing.

My sister made new ones for the girls :)

girls-tree-gnomesgirls-tree-gnomes-back

Aren’t they awesome!?! and they have jingle bells inside!

saebs-gnome-in-the-tree

Toots

And I feel a little better than I did before

;) – much further that I thought we’d get tonight

As promised.

In an effort to keep from going insane during the 12 Days of Being-at-home-with-my-girls, I have endeavored to find all sorts of things to keep the girls occupied and engaged and away from each others throats so that everyone will remain well away from my last nerve.  To that end, my Mom sent home a huge bag of heavy stuff – mumbling something about fun with the girls and didn’t I used to like these things – which turned out to be 5 old Make-it Bake-it sun catchers and bags and bags of extra colors of plastic beads. These had belonged to a family friend whose own grandchildren had outgrown them. Lucky me. It was fun with the girls and do I still like these things.

seabs-mb

The 5 that we had in the bag were from the Disney Small World Series. Aurelia chose the French Can-Can Girl and the China Boy – seriously those were the names. Saebra chose the African Native and the Hula Girl. uh-huh. I’m not telling you what I did, you’ll find out next week,  but here’s a pic – sorta.

my-mb-detail

It took 2 hours with spoons and tooth picks and tweezers to fill these things in and I ended up helping Seabra with hers, she chose all the colors though. Then we pop them into a 375 degree oven and wait for the plastic beads to melt and the gentle scent of hot plastic to waft through the house.

res-mb

See, the whole “smell of the eighties thing” from yesterday,  this was what I was talking about.

girls-finished-mbs

The girls are thrilled with how they all came out and can’t wait to hang them up/gift them away….uh, they’re a little undecided at the moment. 

hula-girl-detail

After the suncatchers were done I was feeling all nostalgic, food wise, but we are at Defcon 4 in the kitchen – cabinets almost bare! With the holidays and all we didn’t do a big shopping trip last week and we’ve eaten most of the leftovers and well it doesn’t bode well for baking until I realized I had everything I needed for 7 layer bars! Psyche!!

cooked-bars-detail

You will need:  

 

1 package of graham crackers crushed to bits – it is so theraputic! 

1 stick of butter

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup coconut

1/2 can sweetened condensed milk – I’m not sure what to do with the other half of the can but I don’t want a double batch of this in the house!!

butter-melted-in-pancruched-packet-of-graham-crackerscrumbs-poured-over-butter

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and place your 9×13 pan in the oven with the stick of butter in it. When the stick has melted – and may be bubbly around the edges – take it out of the oven and pour your cruched crackers on top. Smooth this all out to the same thickness with the back of a spoon and try not to burn yourself – that thing was just in the oven for cryin out loud!

chocolate-chips-and-pecanswhite-chocolate-chips-and-coconutand-now-with-sweetened-condensed-milk

Pour on your chocolate chips, pecans, white chocolate chips and coconut – you could add in butterscotch chips, these were my Nanny’s favorite – blech to me, peanut better chips, walnuts, whatever add as many layers as you want! Once you are all layered up drizzle on the sweetened condensed milk.  Pop it into the oven for 20 – 25 minuted or until the milk and coconut have turned a dark glossy brown. Take it out and let it cool!! You can not unpan these goodies until the butter mixed with the crackers has had a chance to set. It will still taste just as good but you’ll have to eat it with a spoon.

soon-to-be-devoured-bar

We ate ours while we watched Stardust. Enjoy!

Toots

Don’t look for love in faces, places

;) – It’s in you that’s where you’ll find kindness

Another holiday half-way through. 

xmas-tree-2008-flatty

Its been pretty good so far. Patrick and I jumped the gun, as always and tossed our gifts at each other well before Xmas. We’ve been doing this since the year before we got married. We have never made it to the actual holiday before giving each other all we have gotten and there is usually a complete lack of wrapping as well. He got new ear buds, new shoe laces – I’ll never understand that mans ability to wear through a pair of laces in mere months – a burlap bag full of burlap bags – for cider pressing next fall – and a small hunk of cash towards his new, maybe used but new to us – possibly, maybe in the spring, evaporator. I got new wooden spoons – cuz I’ve been asking for them, the list has been on the fridge for months – and a new pizza peal. They’re Mario Batali brand – oooooo – Pat says all I need now are orange clogs….

orange-shoes

um. done.

double-spoon

see that little wooden spoon? it has another even smaller spoon on its other end. :)

(Yo Dawg. We heard you like spoons, so we put a spoon in yor spoon so you can mix while you mix!)

I think the kids have crested the wave of crazy and they’re gliding into the shore. I think. We still have a full half of  the holiday left. Next Saturday we’ll go spend half the day with my Dad and Step-Mom and the other half with all of Patrick’s family. 

elizas-poppy-setShrinky-dink poppys for my sister.

I’ve actually enjoyed making gifts this year and I haven’t really felt rushed or harried…hmmm. Can’t quite explain that one. I was making right up until I left to go to my Mom’s on Xmas eve…hmmm.

elizas-tree-setTree pendant and earrings for the same sis.

gift horse and all.

moms-tree-detailMom’s tree pendant.

This seems to be the year of  “do-stuff” gifts. Almost everything that the girls have gotten from family, us and Santa has been something to do or make. Aurelia got a whole embroidery kit from Santa and she’s already stitching her own designs on all the plain colored clothing she can find in her drawers – this book was part of the kit – love it!! Saebra got a kit for making paper purses and a whole pad of really cool fabric-like paper to make more when her kit is empty. 

My Mom got me a bunch of frames – also on my list this year, I never have a list, this was a first! – so I can grown-up my living room a smidge with some nice art bits. pics in the months to come. My favorite so far has to be what my sister made for me.

nature-bird

nature-bird-detail

nuts, seeds, beads, and she hand drew the design. She said she had originally planned to make these for everyone but after this one took weeks! she pared it down to just me. Lucky me!! its so awesome…

I should be able to get back to my regular crafting in the next week. I already sorta started. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday, and are – possibly – still having it, cuz I am!

pile-of-stuff-from-last-night

the smell of the eighties and – EEEW! not in that way – super delicious yummies soon.

Toots

Then the petals fell

;) – Thrown to a passing breeze

Well, there it is

start-of-the-storm-2-pm

the storm finally started – the one they cancelled school for. No school today and the snow is just starting, at 2 pm eastern standard time. I would be sitting in my bus as middle school students climbed aboard at this point. Silly school departments. The girls were out today too. So I find myself with laundry on the toss, dishes done, livingroom tidied up and 2 children screaming with fun out in the snow. What is a girl to do. Oh yeah – blog. That thing I do occasionally.

I have been the queen of get-it-made these last 2 weeks. 5 stuffed animals for a co-worker at Webs, these 3 are my favs. they’re only about 4 inches tall.

ami-ele-1ami-cow-1ami-monkey-1

I’ve gotten a plethora of knitted gifts dome for the family. I still have a couple pairs of slippers to finish up for the girls and a hat for my Bil Adam. A couple little trinkets for the ladies in the family and I’m done.

I also participated in the 3rd Annual Holiday Ornament swap. I made pinecones. They were killa easy and I love them.

pinecone-cluster

dark-double-pinecone

I kept that last one for myself. They’re all packaged up and sent off now, I hope the peeps like ‘em. I need to put up the tree this weekend and make cookies for all the kiddos on the bus as well as for the girls teachers and bus driver. I may not make it back here before next week so if I don’t

in-progress-for-holiday-pile

HAPPY HOLIDAY my little chickadees!!! Love you!

Toots

A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere

;) – And I cannot guess what we’ll discover

(Dude, watch the video. I so totally want to make the ripple afghan on the keyboard!)

Guidelines:
1) Link to Green Meme Bloggers
2) Link back to whoever tagged you. 
3) Include meme number
4) Include these guidelines in your post
5) Tag 3 other green bloggers.
Green Meme #2
1. Do you use baking soda toothpaste or baking soda shampoo? If not, would you consider it?
Actually I used to. When my Dad’s youngest sister – read: totally cool, hottest chick I’d ever know, totally wanted to be her for years! – was dating a dentist he got her to brush with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. She did it so…I did it. But man it was SO gross!!!! My kids would never brush their teeth if we did that, and I think Patrick would rather eat sand. Instead we use Tom’s and I’m looking into making my own soaps and shampoos next year, growing stuff in the garden and searching out local suppliers for the stuff I can’t make for myself. But I really like the soap we use now.

2. Do you make any home cleaning products?
That’s also on the list for next year. For awhile a couple years back we made our own laundry detergent and I’d like to get back to that, and I’m making some dryerballs for when we’re not using the clothesline. I made my own swiffer covers – we have all hardwood and linoleom floors – no vaccuuming :)

3. What is your top green issue at the moment?
um. Oil dependance, I think. We have to do more. And I’m sorry but the fact that installing a solar set-up will cost 30K after all the rebates and tax breaks is RIDICULOUS!! The gov’t should be begging us to build them.
4. Given unlimited cash, what is on your fantasy green wishlist?
Geothermal, solar, green home on an awesomely cool  – read: tourists come check it out! – completely sustainable fiber farm.
5. Have you implemented any new green act/behaviour/product this month?
Well nothing totally new but we really started using the timer dial on our oil burner in November. The Hubby wrote about it here. I love this thing – I don’t think my Mom does. Our heat is not ON. Those of you who have rads/radiators/radient heat served up by piping hot water or steam up into your house know just how much oil you can burn through just keeping that tank warm so its on standby for when you want heat or hot water. Well, ours is tankless but it is OFF most of the time and I just turn it on when we need it. We seem to average 2 times a day for 1 hour each time, instead of what we used to have whicj was the oil kicking on once every our or so. Now I crank the dial once in the morning to heat up the house (When I wake up at 5:30 its around 54 F) and provide hot water for showers and in the afternoons when I get home with the girls, hot water for dishes, showers, and to warm up the house a bit. Sounds like we’re shower freaks :0 And even when we heat the house I’m not talking about 75 degrees, we live quite comfortably at about 60-65. Sweaters and socks will do wonderful things for body heat, wonderful, homemade, wooly sweaters and socks. Oh and we’re still using the same tank of oil that we bought in April!
I’m not tagging anyone, participate if you wish, I’m sorta doing this as a way to keep myself on track. I think.
Also I was nominated for  a Tree of Happiness Award!
Thanks Kittyboo.
tree_of_happiness_award_thumbnail
The rules of this award are:
1. Link to the person who gave the award to you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. List six things that make you happy.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog
6. Let the person who awarded you, know when your entry is up.

One: Quiet reading time. Now that Saebra is really reading on her own, today she likes this, the girls have 15-30 minutes each night before bedtime to read, alone, to each other, to me. It great and it has slowed down the madness and almost completely ended the chaos and mess that bedtime used to be.

Two:The alone time. Have I mentioned this yet ;) . Time that is just for me with no one else. Patrick worked third shift for the first 6 years of our marriage, he switched to days after Saebra was born. I used to think that my sometimes short temper and freak outs came from our family expanding from 2-4 in only 18 months but it wasn’t until last year that I realized it was the quiet, alone time that I was missing.  I am NOT a solitary creature but I love my occasional – oh who am I kidding, daily – solitude.

Three: My husband’s sense of humour. That man can make anything funny, at least to me. I laugh everyday with him. Saebra says that as long as he keeps me laughing then I won’t have to divorce him. Funny how kids can boil the whole thing down, huh. But, if he did stop making me laugh would I really HAVE to file for divorce? Who would enforce that?

Four: A few good friends. Friends that will come hang out at my house while I do dishes and make scrumptious goodies. Friends that I can call on short notice and know that they are there for me. Friends that I can go hang out with and let the kids battle it out while we laugh. Friends that know they can call on me when they are stuck or add me to their emergency contact list. Friends that give great hugs, that like to go to the movies (or watch them at home:) ), that also bake scrumptios goodies, that are just good friends. Thanks ladies, you know who you are.

Five: My kids. My girls. They are the best things I’ve ever made.

Six: Music. It has always been important to me. My Dad was a musician, Mom sang me to sleep, I sang in high school and after for a bit, at friends weddings,I belt it out in the car, sang the kids to sleep, i like music. I have pretty eclectic taste, there is almost always music in our house – even more so now that we don’t have tv. Way back in pre-baby days we bought a stereo system that included what was the late 90’s equivalent to and i-pod shuffle, the 51 disc CD changer. We still have it and its fully loaded. If I don’t have stuff playing on the computer then I just turn the stereo on – hours and hours (well, days really) of music. I like something with a great bass line that makes me want to dance, I was into house music for awhile, I still like it for long car trips. I like big band – love Sinatra, New Wave, everything really. I’ll try it all once. Its part of why each of my posts starts with music. The titles are lyrics from something i’ve listened to that day and if you click on the wink, or that second line of lyrics, you can go and listen to whatever it was that got stuck in my head that day. Who knows, you might find something new that you like, and that makes me happy too.

I tag…

Marti

Ellen

Olivia

Sarah

Carina

Melissa

Maybe you lot could do the Greene Meme too, but ya don’t hasta do either – I’m just adding to your traffic stats :).

Toots

and he loved the way her hair fell across her dress

;) – it was a fine day in the fifth grade

Man, stuff is just falling out of my brain today and I’m having trouble keeping up. I started this:

is-this-anything-walnuts

because the grey cat, the snowflake and the mittens sitting in my lap – all needing to be finished this week – just weren’t holding my attention. So went I and dug for some yarn, grabbed a hook from the top of the pile and let it fall out of my brain.

yup-walnuts

Walnuts. Proves I’m nuts if this is what comes out of my head, doesn’t it?

toots

Captive to the wind, time running thin

;) – simple as the sight of feathered wings

Such a grey start to my day. Cold, rain, fog, and the emotional sludge left after a long family filled weekend. I did not want to leave my husband’s side this morning.  Do you have those bubble mornings? Your life exists in a perfect bubble for an instant and then the world/children/alarm clock burst in. Most mornings I look forward to getting ready for work without any interuptions but this weekend he let me sleep in every morning (8am is 3 extra hours of sleep for me), and I think I’ve gotten used to waking to the sound of him in the house. See, sludge. 

verns-ganomy-top

We had a good FULL holiday weekend. Thanksgiving meal at my Dad and StepMom’s and dessert later at my in law’s. Patrick worked Friday so it was just me and the girls all day cleaning and talking about holiday wish lists and letters to Santa. Saturday was Thanksgiving part 2 with all my in-laws and then my Mom spent the night at our house. Sunday was her birthday so we went to the movies and out for a meal with my sis and friends Annie and April. 

weaving-in-ends

We saw the new Bond film first, kick-ass! met the ladies for a laugh filled meal and trooped back to the mall for Twilight. For a movie marketed and made for 14 year-old girls it weren’t bad :) I had a great day but I’m happy for my alone time today. It can be so quiet in this house when I am here alone, it recharges me.

mitten-in-my-hand-still-so-small

I’m finishing up some holiday gifts for the girls, putting together my final gifts-to-make list so I can make sure I have everything I need to make said gifts, listening to this Sonya Kitchell song on endless repeat – its the link at the top (I heard the song on WMUA this morning and I came right home to get it. Love it), writing up the menu and making the weeks grocery list for Patrick.

I have to scoot back to work but the sun has come out and there’s a beautiful mist floating around out there. I’ll have ornament ideas and more gifts on the make to show you soon.

Toots