Monday, December 28, 2009

Experiments in Multigenerational Living

Just in time for the new year we have embarked on what can only be an interesting experiment in the Griffith household. We are trying our hand at multi-generational living.
My dad, who we all adore, has moved in with us. He has a few years until he can retire in Franciscan simplicity to the hermitage of his choice or, the current thought, to a house full of like minded single Secular Franciscans in a mansion owned by a priest he is friends with. This span of years coincides almost exactly with the amount of time Zach has left in school, so we are combining households for the next few years to save money.
The cool thing is that it's not an absolute financial necessity so the pressure is low. Our expenses with dad here make up about 12% of our income and dad's are an even lower percentage of his income, so if anyone isn't happy for any reason things can change. So far, though, it has gone even better than I had expected.
The kids are excited out of their little minds to have Grandpa here and Grandpa seems to enjoy holding the baby while I cook or take a shower, so a lot more is getting accomplished. Surprisingly, given their opposite backgrounds, Zach and my dad get along really well. Dad appreciates Zach's handyman abilities and Zach appreciates Dad's intellectual and spiritual outlook on life.
I'll say this, it's giving my kids a well-rounded education living with the lot of us. These kids are going to grow up knowing how to bake a cake from scratch, fix the brakes on their car and fluent in Latin. How many kids can say that?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Random Thoughts on Decluttering and My Year of Temperance

I can never think clearly when I declutter. I usually stop writing when I am working on a big decluttering effort because as much as I wish it were different, the state of my kitchen and the state of my mind are generally a pretty accurate reflection on one another.

In one week my father is moving in with us. This is a good thing. I promise. My dad is great. He's crazy as a junebug, but in a good way, and a way I think will compliment the nuerosis of the rest of the family quite nicely. The thing is, we are giving him our bedroom. Our lovely master suite tree house room with the lock on the door.

This means that Zach and I have to build a new room for ourselves in what used to be the storage basement. Two years ago when we moved in this room was 450 square feet of what I refer to as Ancestral Clutter, a mix of everything from fine, well made antiques that used to belong to a great-great-great grandparent to my third grade spelling test to, I kid you not, a pewter armadillo.

There's a big lesson in here somewhere and I'm sure a year from now the actual text of that message will be clearer, but for the moment it just feels like a big pile of wrong. This morning I boxed up 75 pieces of stemware. 75. Pieces of stemware. And not wine glasses, because I got rid of 50 of those last year. These were brandy snifters and cordial glasses and toddy cups (I just heard my mother's voice in the back of my head, 'you didn't get rid of the toddy cups? Now what will you do when you want a nice hot toddy? Um. Use a coffee cup?) and even 6 glasses who's purpose is a complete mystery to me.

On the odd occasion when I indulge in a glass of wine or a scotch, I drink it out of a juice glass, a habit that confounds members of my family but one that has never once inhibited my enjoyment of a drink. I drink beer from the bottle.

I'm not trying to be a bummer. It's freeing, in a way, to see all of this stuff go out the door, the ceramic Christmas village and the 12 nutcrackers that will be sold by my favourite thrift shop to support victims of human trafficking, but it does bring up a lot of concerns.

Temperance, the virtue I have been working to cultivate this year is meant to be employed at the point where pleasure conflicts with reason. Clearly, it is a virtue that would have come in handy at some point for my family, but I know that this story isn't really unique. They wouldn't have made pewter armadillos with the symbol of the state of Texas on them if they weren't reasonably sure somone would buy them. How have things gotten so out of whack that the manufacturing of such a useless item would be considered a good business risk?

Sigh. See, this is why I don't blog when I declutter. I'm such a wet blanket. No worries. By next week I'll have worked through this misanthropy and I'll be back to my sunny happy self, minus 75 pieces of stemware and a pewter armadillo.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Let it Snow

Real, Unadulterated Minnesota Winter is finally on it's way. Nothing too severe, really, but 10 inches of snow plus wind plus below zero temperatures are good enough for me. I'm actually looking forward to it. I'm hoping they declare a Snow Day for the girls tomorrow. You never know around here. I remember hopping on the school bus one winter in -50 degree windchills cursing the school administrators as the feeling left my fingers and toes.

Minneapolitans like their kids to be hearty. This is something I've worried about with my California Girls. The first time Cheyenne saw snow she cried. Bella looked at me like I'd betrayed her, bringing her from Pasadena to this frozen black and white land. I needn't have worried.

We decided to take advantage of the last reasonably decent weather day this week to walk in the woods. I spent an hour rounding up long underwear, mittens, hats and scarves and making sure everyone was properly dressed. Five minutes into the walk Bella was complaining about feeling hot. My native Los Angeleno babies have finally acclimated to their mother's home climate. Apparently three years of being stuck inside all winter long has convinced the girls that there are worse things than cold weather. I couldn't agree more.

Friday, December 4, 2009

My New Stationary

Back in October, near my birthday, I talked about wanting to do a better job of correspondence this year than in years past. Well, that particular goal is something I've done only marginally better at so far, but it is only two months into my 31st year, so I figure I still have some time to catch up. In an effort to do better, I bought myself this stamp set for about $15 to make my own custom stationary.

I've always wanted to have stationary with the name of my house on it, but I've never really stayed in one place long enough to make that a reasonable purchase. Now that we plan to stay put until our kids are grown it makes a little more sense. Just a little. I'm not kidding myself, I know it's a little frivolous.

So far it is working. I've had the stamps since yesterday and already I've written a thank-you card to a friend and a letter to my aunt. Good stuff.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

St Nicholas Day and Gift Tag Madness- A New Tradition

This Sunday, for St Nicholas Day, Cheyenne and Isabella, who happily do not read mommy's blog, are going to wake up in the morning to find their shoes stuffed with these pretty little gift tags. My original thought was that, while I want to keep my childhood tradition of a visit from St Nicholas, I really don't want to the focus of this season to be all about getting presents.
Since the girls really enjoy making gifts for people, this year Jolly Old Saint Nick is helping them out with a few supplies. Each of them, in addition to the gift tags, is getting a set of 6 small empty candy boxes, pink for Isabella to go with her flamingo girl and blue for Cheyenne to go with her mermaid. Saint Nick will leave them a note explaining that this is a gift they can give away to six people of their choice. Mommy will help them make the candies to fill the boxes and they can deliver them to anyone they think might need a little holiday cheer.

While preparing this gift I started looking around at various gift tags for my homemade gifts and I think I've developed a slight addiction. Maybe it's because I'm completely and totally gift-wrap challenged, but I just love the idea of popping a cute little gift tag and maybe a little bow onto a bottle of my homemade cinnamon apple pancake syrup or a box of my homemade caramels and marshmallows and being done with the whole gift wrapping thing without looking like I don't really give a you-know-what. Plus, gift tags are cheap. Most of them were about $1 plus shipping.
I got these specifically for Christmas.

I'm not entirely sure why I bought octopus gift tags, but I did and I like them. If nothing else, I'll use them for gifts for the kids. Cheyenne with her mermaid fetish and Bella with her love of all things random and just a little scary would probably appreciate them.

And then, of course, there's the bird tags. I have kind of a thing for birds.

These I bought to go on Easter treats or May Day baskets. I know, that's a long way off, but look at how cheery that looks! Winter will come eventually and these will be $1 worth of happiness when it does.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

NaNoWriMo Update!

That's right! I won! I wrote 50,000+ words in a month. I actually really like the story that developed in this novel even if I'm going to have to rewrite and edit almost everything I wrote. This was a great exercise in persistence, which has never been my strong suit. I can't believe it! I actually did this!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Things I'm Thankful For

-Funny little girls
-Smiley baby boys
-My thoughtful, hardworking husband
-My kooky but very interesting father
-My kooky, but very interesting mother, sister, grandparents and other family
-My kooky but very interesting friends
-Sunny, warm days in November, when by all rights it should be cold and snowy
-A hot cup of coffee, an organic pumpkin ginger muffin and some theraputic knitting
-42,000 words on my novel
-New friends
-The return of my cat shadow who was missing for 6 weeks
-Fabulous neighbors
-Christmas shopping that is wrapped up before Black Friday
-Naps, and the husband that makes them possible
-Parents who understand that we don't need a million blinky light toys and thoughtfully purchased Rosetta Stone Latin software and personalized bookplate stamps for the kids instead
-Two incredibly good parent teacher conferences
-Candy cane hunts, snowman building contests, kicksledding by the full moon, organic food dinners and candlelight walks in the woods all within walking distance of my house
Life is good.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Prayer Tree

So this is the Prayer Tree I talked about in my Advent Conspiracy post. I really kind of stole this idea from my friend Lisa, who every year in the fall, leading up to thanksgiving, makes a Gratitude Tree for her three kids. The idea is that if, by Thanksgiving, you've got a month or so of really mediating on what you are grateful for under your belt, you begin the Christmas season with a better attitude.
As you can see it's just a simple brown paper tree taped to the wall. I have a jar of leaves I made out of scraps of scrapbooking paper (construction paper is fine too) and every day at dinner we sit down and talk about what we are thankful for, who we are concerned for that we'd like to keep in our prayers, questions we have that we'd like guidance on and other good stuff like that. Then we write it on a leaf, talk about it, pray about it and put it on the tree. This picture was taken about a week ago on the first day the tree was up, but it is now full of all kinds of pretty leaves. It's really been a great conversation starter for us and really helped the kids (and maybe the adults too) to think beyond their own wants.
Plus now that the fairies have moved back inside for the winter, it's a great little shade tree for their winter home.

Friday, November 20, 2009

So Proud

The girls have really taken to our Advent Conspiracy challenge. Earlier in the month we had discussed giving each of the girls a Christmas allowance so that they could buy their brother and sister each a gift. The girls were really excited about that idea and quickly decided that they were going to give each other each a headlamp they had been wanting for a while.

After the Advent Conspiracy talk, however, they decided that they really don't need the headlamps, and there's nothing James really needs, so they should pool their money and buy things for people who really need it.

So this is what they bought baby James. A dozen baby chicks to give to someone in a developing nation. They were so excited about this idea that they decided to give their saved allowance money in addition to their remaining gift money and pay for the care of an orphan child for a month. It was so cool to see them so pumped up about doing something good for others.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Advent Conspiracy

This year my church is participating in The Advent Conspiracy, a movement started by a group of pastors from Oregon to reduce the commercialism of the Christmas season and bring it back to it's original intention, celebrating the birth of Christ. I'm really very excited about this. The idea, as it says on their website, is to worship fully, spend less, give more and love all. I mean, who couldn't get behind that!

When we first had our oldest, Cheyenne, five years ago I felt kind of bad that we'd likely never have the resources to give her (and eventually her siblings) the kinds of magical, gift filled Christmases I'd had as a child. While I was deeply comitted to the idea of Simple Living at the time, Christmas had always been such a time of anticipation and wonder for me that it was one area I was reluctant to simplify.

In the end, I am a practical person, however and with Zach working construction and getting laid off shortly before Christmas each year, it didn't make sense to spend a ton of money when what we had needed to last until spring. It turned out to be the best thing for us. We've found other ways of making Christmas a magical experience for the kids, ways that don't rely on big expensive gifts.

This year, though, I want to take it further and really get into the spirit of giving. I think this fits in with my Year of Temperance quite well. I look around at everything I have and it makes me want to go out and do good for the world. I am so incredibly lucky. My kids are so incredibly lucky. We have such a beautiful, wonderful life.

During this Christmas season we want to focus our efforts on looking for need and filling it. I want us all to get into the habit of stepping up to the plate and making good things happen for others. I want us to spend more quality time as a family and more time focusing on teaching the kids about the wondrous and miraculous event that was the first Christmas.

Some of our plans:

-Make a family gift to AFINNET, a charity close to our hearts and the heart of our church. Bishop George and Father Michael who run this charity are two of the most good-hearted people I've ever met.

-Actively look for small ways to help people. Hold a door for someone. Watch the neighbor's kid for an hour while she goes to her parent-teacher conference. Visit the elderly. That kind of stuff.

-Play the Generosity Game

-Storytelling around the fireplace

-After dinner advent ceremony

-Prayer tree (I'll be blogging about this later in the week)

-No Toys in 2010 Challenge (I'll be blogging about this too)

-Lessons and Carols at our church

I think this is going to be a very fun Christmas. I have areas, like my crazy Christmas party, where I'll go all out, but for the most part I really love a more paired down holiday.

Friday, November 13, 2009

National Novel Writing Month Update

21,063 words so far! This has been much easier than I expected, although a bout of H1N1 last week really slowed down my progress. I am still on track, although I'm a little afraid to go back and read what I write while I had the flu. I was a little loopy at the time. Oh well, National Novel Writing Month is not about writing a masterpiece, it's about getting something down on paper and I have certainly done that. I can edit in December.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I Have Parted Ways With My Sanity

It all started with these beauties. I've been browsing at the Bake it Pretty Website for a while now daydreaming about actually learning how to decorate cakes and I stumbled onto these, the Vintage Village and Magical Forest cupcake topper sets.

So I bought them. That's right. I spent $30 (including shipping) on cupcake toppers. So of course, now I actually have to do something with them because otherwise there's really no way to justify a purchase like that. So I thought about it and decided that I'm going to throw a Christmas party for my kid's new school friends and the cupcakes will be the star of the show.
Picture it. My dining room table lit up with white Christmas lights on top of my vintage Christmas table cloth. Fake snow strewn across the table and little Christmas village cupcakes strategically placed to resemble a fantasy Christmas village. But wait. You can't have a Christmas village without a tree. A big one. Right in the middle of town square. But I hate storing things long-term, so I want something edible. Enter, the Cookie Star Christmas Tree.

Now, I may actually print that off and take it to my friendly local bakery to see what they would charge me for something like that, but if not I'm probably just going to go ahead and attempt it myself. Well, now that I have the Christmas tree and all the little villagers, I need an actual Village. You know, at least a church and some houses.

And an ice skating rink, which I'm planning to make out of a circular mirror. And Christmas music. And hot chocolate. And egg nog. And maybe A Charlie Brown Christmas to watch on DVD. And you know what, I told the kids my grand plan so now I'm really committed. It's going to be spectacular. You know, if I'm still awake to enjoy it after all that work. Oh well. I put on a holiday tea for 100 people last year at my church when I was 5 months pregnant. This couldn't be any harder than that, right?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Way to go Barbie!

It is now officially jacket season here in Minnesota, and along with that comes the frequent reminders (to both parents and children) that coats belong on the hook and books belong in the shoe closet. One member of the family seems to have gotten the message loud and clear. Way to set the standard Barbie!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Another Christmas Gift Completed

This set of napkins and pretty handmade (by someone else) soap is my Christmas gift for my friend Janelle. Janelle and I were best friends in our mid teens and then something stupid that neither of us remembers caused some sort of fight and we drifted apart. Over the last 6 months we've reconnected and it is so much fun to have her back in my life. As we' said after the first time we got together again, "it's just like old times except we're not nearly as screwed up." What can I say, high school was not kind to either of us.
I invited her over for coffee, with my mom's pretty German coffee set, of course, and gave her the present early. Her birthday is the week of Christmas, so I want to keep the birthday and Christmas gifts separate. I just love this pattern, and the soap turned out to match almost perfectly.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Adventure Begins

So two days into National Novel Writing Month and I'm feeling pretty good. I've managed to write just over 10,000 words and they don't all suck. I am at the very least entertaining myself, and I've managed to give the kids and the husband their basic quota of love and attention at the same time. So what if the dishes are still in the sink. It's the price you pay for greatness. Or in my case, adequacy.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Fun

For some reason I haven't been quite as excited about Halloween this year as other years. Maybe it's the early snow that has put my brain in "winter mode" about a month too early. Anyway, I decided this week that it was time to stop being a Halloween scrooge and have a little fun. Thanks to Valerie's excellent idea I saved myself some money by making Halloween gift bags out of envelopes. Mine aren' quite as fancy as hers as I lack the ability to fold corners and just left them bottomless. They look really cute and the girls both loved them.

Cheyenne and Isabella have been having spooky playdough fun with google eyes and my Halloween cookie cutters. I love this bat.

I have replaced one cup of my morning coffee with a homemade version of a Hot Apple Blast. We got the apple cider at an apple orchard this Sunday when we went on an adventure. We took a road we had never taken before and ended up in Red Wing, a cute little river town south of the Twin Cities. Along the way we stopped at an apple orchard. In addition to the cider we got some of their homemade honey roasted peanut butter. Amazing! The hot apple blast is just hot apple cider with whipped cream and caramel ice cream syrup.

Tonight we are having a friend over to make jack-o-lantern pizzas, Halloween cupcakes and Purple Mermaid Punch.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

For Aunt Fran

This post is entirely for the benefit of Zach's Aunt Fran, who I just e-mailed the link to my blog. I knew I had been bad last year about correspondence, but apparently I've been worse than I thought. It turns out we had neglected to inform Fran of the birth of the newest Griffith baby! Really. What kind of niece does that?

Anyway, I promised that the blog would be chock full of pictures of my kids and then realized that, since school started, I haven't posted many pictures of them. I'd post more of James, but I'm not kidding, he never sits still and they're almost all a blur.

So here you go, Aunt Fran. Can you even believe how big they've gotten.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Well, Fall finally arrived. I think the leaves were utterly confused. We went from 75 degrees and sunny to snow to 50 degrees and rainy in the span of about a week. Fall is my absolute favourite season even though it lasts, at best, for about six weeks. This week it was more like two. Some of the trees are already bare. I did manage to get out and capture a few nice fall shots though.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Outsourcing my DIY Holiday

Knowing my limits is not something I've ever been good at. That's why I was forced to give up Martyrdom for lent last year. I tend to take on too many tasks and then end up throwing myself an ice cream and hot fudge pity party for myself at 3AM trying to pull everything together.

No where has this been more true than Christmas. I love handmade Christmas gifts. Every fall I get crafty little daydreams and create big lists of things I will make by December 25th, like the year I decided to hand embroider monogrammed tea towels for each of my coworkers in their favourite colour.

This year I have had to concede that my DIY basment remodel isn't going to leave me adequate time for an entirely DIY Christmas, so I've decided to outsource some of the crafting and just buy stuff on Etsy. The first of my treasures arrived today. I bought two of these mermaid soaps, one in purple for Cheyenne and one in pink for Isabella. This is going to be a Santa gift.

This is the year the girls decided to ask if Santa was real. I wish they would have asked their father. I give entirely too much information. It turned into a big explanation about how Santa Claus is really a third century bishop from what is now called Turkey who supposedly gave dowry money to a poor man who had three daughters. Which led to the inevitable questions, "what is a dowry?" and "so Santa Claus is dead?" Neither of which, I am sad to say, had a handy sugar coated explanation. Suffice it to say my cheerfully morbid little girls have been gleefully showing off their newfound knowledge by telling just about everyone they meet that "Santa is dead!" Why couldn't I have left it at "yes?" It wouldn't be a lie. He was real, and if I'd thought of that in time I'd probably have spared a few of their little friends some trauma.

On a lighter note, I also ordered this lovely for two of my closest friends. That's right. It's glow in the dark Eric Northman soap. Mmmmm.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Swim with the Fishes

Last week Zach took a 10 year old kid he mentors to the Mall of America's Underwater Adventures Aquarium to participate in their Swim with the Fishes program where people 10 and older get the chace to snorkle in the Rainbow Reef tank with a guide from Underwater Adventures.

The kid, who I'll call G, wants to be a marine biologist when he grows up, but he doesn't have a lot of confidence and he struggles some with school and friendships. In my opinion nothing motivates a kid to learn more than excitement and this kind of experience would give him a taste for the real thing.

The staff were great. When I called to reserve a spot they made note of his interest in marine biology so the people helping him could encourage him and answer any questions he might have. As the woman on the phone said, "there's nothing like a stingray swimming right by you to get you excited about the ocean."
I'm a little jealous, really. Maybe someday I'll give it a try. It could be a good birthday or Christmas present for the kids when they get older too.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

He Finally Sat Still Long Enough to Get a Photo!

This post is really nothing but a shameless "look at how stinkin' adorable my baby is" post. I have nothing useful to say. Just sit back and enjoy the cuteness.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Party at the Park

The first Friday our new neighbors, Silverwood Park, host their Fireside First Fridays event. It's an evening time party with a nature theme. This month's theme was The Moon. We gathered in the by the gallery fireplace to sing songs and watch a shadow puppet show about the moon.

This was followed by a chance to make our own shadow puppets and try them out with the moon shaped shadow puppet theaters that had been placed in the event hall. Bella made a bat. Cheyenne made a bunny, a girl and a tractor. The moons were made of freezer paper taped onto a big wooden circle. I bet I could do this using one of my very large embroidery hoops and one of Zach's LED shop lights as a light source. The puppets are made of construction paper, brads (to make the parts move) and bamboo skewers. They were really easy and we had a lot of fun. Even our neighbor, a woman about my mom's age who's kids are grown and gone, had a great time making them.
Finally we roasted marshmallows in the patio fireplace. We will definitely be attending more of these Fireside First Fridays. It was a great chance to get out of the house and meet the community and it was a lot of fun.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Experimenting with Applique

I've never done applique before, but I have a couple of tea towels that have been sitting in my UFO basket ever since I messed up the iron on embroidery pattern on them and I decided that, one way or another, it was time to deal with them. Since pattern ink doesn't really wash out, applique seemed like the way to go.

It was ridiculously easy and cheap. I used a scrap of fabric I had leftover from another project and a free printed template from the internet. It worked like a charm. I think I may have found a new hobby. Because I really needed another one.

So Wrong

This was the scene I woke up to on Monday. OK, I know I live in Minnesota, where it has snowed in every month except July, but this is just wrong. I haven't even taken my fall photos yet! Luckily, not everyone shares my negative attitude. Cheyenne woke up, looked outside and proclaimed, "It's snowing! Goodness this is a wonderful world!"

Birthday Sewing

When it comes to birthday presents my husband and I can be pretty unromantic. Neither of us really understands the ins and outs of each others hobbies, so we often just buy our own birthday presents. As nice a gesture as it would be for him to go to Crafty Planet, buy something and wrap it, it's actually more fun for me to do it myself. So that's what I did and I spent the weekend in sewing bliss.
I decided it was time to make myself some cloth napkins. I just love these two fabrics. They are so kitchy and cute. The napkin pattern came from Amy Karol's Bend the Rules Sewing. It's essentially just a hemmed rectangle of fabric. I have seen other patterns that are double sided, but I decided this was just as cute and much easier. Really, they're a utilitarian object. They don't have to be complicated. The bowl covers are just a circle of fabric with an elastic band.
I have enough fabric to make napkins and a bowl cover for my mom for Christmas too. I think these could be cute in a gift basket also. Maybe a breakfast basket with fresh hot muffins or caramel rolls and whipped butter. Wouldn't that be a lovely treat some chilly winter morning?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

National Novel Writing Month

So I signed up to participate in National Novel Writing Month because, God knows, I need more to do. Actually I am really excited. I've been hanging out on the forums reading posts like "Can you make cheese from dolphin milk" and "How many stains can I work into one novel" and I'm thinking I've found my people. I don't really care if my novel entertains anyone but me. I think the experience will be fun.

The Year of Temperance

Sorry about the lack of a photo. I really can't think of what to photograph that aptly represents Temperance. Intemperance, sure, I have a blog full of pictures of that, but temperance is a stumper.

Anyway, my 31st birthday is on Friday and, as I've mentioned before, this is the Year of Temperance. Just a little background if anyone needs it, temperance, is one of the four cardinal virtues along with prudence, justice and fortitude. It's essentially moderation, or the taming of unhealthy desires.

This is going to be a hard one for me. At first, when I was contemplating this theme, I thought about all of the practical things. I broke down the areas where I am most likely to be intemperate; food, coffee, the internet, pulp fiction, and made a list of strategies to go with each one. For example, for every two pulp fiction novels, I have to read something of substance. I was pretty proud of my efforts, but I'm getting old enough to recognize when I'm BS-ing myself and as I looked at my neatly ordered list the alarms were quietly sounding. If it were really that simple, I'd have done it by now.

I have a love/hate relationship with those moments, the ones where I realize that I can continue to pussyfoot around the truth, but it isn't going to get me anywhere and the only way through it is to roll up my sleeves and really do what I need to do. They're an odd mixture of overwhelming and freeing.

The truth is that the habits that have led to things like overeating and drinking a half a pot of coffee a day are my safe havens. They're what I use to cope in times of crisis and fear. They're the morphine masking the pain of old wounds that I don't want to admit haven't really healed. My neat and tidy little list of strategies isn't going to be much help if I'm not being honest with myself.

So maybe I am gaining a little wisdom with age. I'm pretty sure that at 21 I would have swallowed my own BS whole and gone about my business checking off my strategies for two or three months before I gave up and reverted to my old ways. Maybe it's not so much wisdom as a lack of energy. I'm young yet, but I'm too old to be building houses on sand and pounding nails in with my head. If I'm going to do this I'm going to do it right.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Early Birthday Present

My birthday isn't until Friday, but Isabella couldn't wait. I woke up to find her already awake and working on a secret birthday surprise for me. "Happy Birthday Mommy! It has crayons inside so you can colour!" How cute is that? I am definitely saving this one.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fall Leaf Books

I made these last week as a way of dealing with Cheyenne and Isabella's daily "collection" of fall leaves brought in from outside. We did something similar to this in elementary school and I figured I could google the directions.

The books themselves were simple. I used scrapbooking paper as the cover and cut printer paper down to size for the pages.

The directions for leaf pressing can be found , but it essentially involves pressing the leaves between two sheets of wax paper.

Here's the final result. The girls and their friend were thrilled with these and I am thrilled to no longer have the leaf collection on the dining room table.