Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I'm still stuffed

So much to catch up on, so little time.

Over the weekend we worked on the dressers a little more. We're down to the last of the polyurethane needed to finish the dressers. Once it's all dry, we'll put the last of the knobs on and put them upstairs. I'm very pleased with how well they're turning out. Not bad for a beginner, right? Monday Amy and Mike came over to the house. Because I'd missed the Super Saturday Relief Society meeting a couple weeks ago, Amy brought the plates I'd bought, 3 smaller square plates she'd gotten for the kids to paint, and the paints to do them. We taped the pictures to the front of the plate, then painted the back and coated it with a sealant. Now the plates look cool and you can use them, too! The plates are the same size (12" or so) but the camera on my phone doesn't like to send pictures in the same size. I kept the snowman and gave the penguins to my M-in-law for Christmas. I love the little guy with the hat pulled down over his head! This was so much fun that I've decided to get more of the smaller square glass plates over the year and paint them for Christmas cookie gift platters for next year. That's right, folks, you too could be the proud recipient of my December cookie-baking-bonanza cookies on your very own hand-painted plate! :) If I do this every year, you could start a collection of different holiday designs or something like that.

I took Wednesday off last week for the trip to NY so that we could leave on Tuesday evening. We ended up arriving at 1am Wednesday morning and slept most of the morning away on an air mattress we brought with us. Ugh, my back still aches, but it was better than sleeping on the floor. We took the kiddos to the park and watched a movie or two with Grandma and Grandpa and had G-Grandma and G-Grandpa over for dinner.

For Thanksgiving, I helped Grandma in the kitchen (what she would let me), and we took all the food over to the G-grandparents' house for dinner. There was so much food! I tried to get a little of everything, but I think I might have missed the fruit salad. :( There was even a lot to take home.

We left Friday after taking a trip to Savoia's bakery to get Tim his cookies. Mmmm, tasty. We got home around 6 or so on Friday evening, watched Kung Fu Panda and ate dinner. Tim's mother sent 3/4 of a cherry pie home with us... it didn't last the night.

Sunday I went to the fireside at the stake center where they organized the Falling Waters (Spanish) branch or "Rama de Falling Waters". They asked me to do a cake (or pastel) for the occasion with a waterfall and the stake center and all of the flags of the Spanish speaking countries of the world. I took a picture of the cake, but not the flags (my bad). I had several people ask for a piece with their country's flag on it. This is another "water color" like cake where I painted fondant with food coloring like the Preach My Gospel cake. Over the week (and end) I've been working on finishing the afghans for the mystery crochet-along, but during the trip I started the baby blanket for my B-in-law and his wife. He actually got to see part of it Saturday, but it'll be a surprise for her. :) I'm about 1/3 done. This is the first time I've tried to knit using circular knitting needles, using two colors at the same time, and cabling, so this has been an adventure and a learning experience. I'm using a new yarn that is also very soft, and that's before I've washed the sizing out of it. My last hint about it's look is that it is light blue with a white boarder. Sorry H. when you read this, that's all you're getting until it is done.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Still Crocheting

I'm waiting for Wednesday's post over at blog.bernat.com with bated breath. They're supposed to give the last clue for the border of the mystery afghan. I can't wait!

I've been trying to put the afghans together. I've finished sewing one together, and I've laid out the squares on the second and safety-pinned them together, but I won't be able to sew it together for a few days. The third is still in pieces. As soon as I get it together I'll post some pictures.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Kind Strangers

Yesterday after the kiddos and I got home from church, we were pleasantly napping when I got a phone call. The caller was nice enough, asking if we were home, wishing to deliver a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving. Wow.

I couldn't believe it. There they were, the family of five, with a box of assorted dinner items, a huge bird, and the pan to roast it in. They delivered and left, and I'm sorry to say that I didn't catch their name. When asked how they got our name for this delivery, they said that someone had turned it in to their church or organization. Wow again.

Somewhere out there is an awesome someone (s) who cares for us. I talked it over with Tim, and we decided that because we weren't going to be here for Thanksgiving dinner, that we'd pass it forward to someone that could use it more than we can. The kiddos and I loaded it all into the Trailblazer and made a trip into Inwood to deliver it to the Bishop and ask him to find someone who needs it.

I don't even want to know who it will be.

Just as long as someone can enjoy it.

Events like this renew my faith in the kindness of people.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Does this mean I'm getting old?

Tim and I were discussing a bid he wanted to make on EBAY last night, and right in the middle of the discussion, he says, "You have a grey hair!"

Me: "NO, I don't"

Tim: "Trust me, I'm the expert on grey hair." (runs his fingers through his own head of salt and pepper hair) "You have a grey hair."

Me: "I don't believe it."

Tim: "It's right here! Do you want me to pull it out and show you?"

Me: "YES."

So he pulls is out... I wrap it around my little finger so I can see the color...

... and it's not grey!

Chloie: "Mommy, you have a grey hair! Daddy pulled the wrong one. I can see it!"

Me: "Are you serious?"

Tim: "She's right. I'll pull the right one out this time."

Sure enough, it was grey. Really more white. There it was, a 2-inch long white hair from my own head held between my thumb and index finger. I didn't even have to wrap it around my finger to see it. It was WHITE and there was no denying it. If this little hair is any indication of what the rest of it will do, I'm in for a thick white curly mop later in life! Why couldn't I be more like my great-grandmother and still be naturally blond well into my 80's? And to think I almost made it to 30. It looks like I'll have to start investing in some hair dye.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dresser update

Oh, the things we can do with wood! And the best part is... we're almost done!

I've taken some pictures of the latest progress. This is the drawer runner I came up with. It's a mash-up of ideas from my father, my father-in-law, and some pixie dust from me. :) Dovetails are genius. That is all. Here is the underside of the top that shows the half round and coving we used.
The bottom edging (feet I guess)...
The polyurethaned top of one of the dressers that includes another shot of the runners.One completed cabinet.
All I have to do now is install the runners in the second cabinet, polyurethane everything, and put the knobs on the drawers. After that we take them upstairs and start putting clothes in them. I'm hoping for that to happen Saturday.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Parent Teacher Conferences

We talked with Audie's teacher last night, and I'm glad we did. It turns out that the things we've been noticing weren't us just over reacting. Audie's been having trouble reading. Funny thing is that he doesn't have as much trouble reading scriptures each day with us, just the stuff from school. His teacher confirmed that he gets distracted easily, and as a result gets frustrated when he has to catch up. She recommended some ways to help him from home, and even agreed to send his reading book home an extra day during the week so that he can practice more. I think we'll start seeing some progress.

I really like his teacher (and her in-classroom helper). They really care about their students, and were willing to discuss at length the progress of our son. I don't remember some of my teachers being that nice when I was in school.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Cake is not a lie.

I walked into work this morning with a cake for my boss. As I passed a co worker's cubie, I jokingly remarked, "The cake is not a lie."He got this confused look on his face, so I had to explain about Portal. Such an awesome game! And they did it without blood or indecency! My favorite (or most memorable) level was the companion cube level; apparently this was also most memorable for a lot of other Portal players. I think I've decided to make the companion cube in cake for my birthday next year. It should be interesting to see if I can pull it off. There are a lot of *interesting* angles there.
I can't wait! :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Grateful Pumpkin Says Thank You

I might have officially lost it, but that was the best I could come up with. I bought a little pumpkin a couple weeks ago from Wal-mart for $.50 on clearance to use this Sunday. We talked about translations don't always fully cover the meaning of a word or phrase from one language to another, but there is always a way to say thank you. We even learned how to say it in 10 languages (I didn't know there was a primary song already, but we still had fun). Then we learned the song "My Blessings" and played hot potato with the pumpkin, and who ever had the pumpkin when the song was over got to say what they were thankful for. Even the senior primary had fun with it.

The kiddos and I did our grocery shopping Saturday, then started working on the dressers. The 1/2 round and coving are now on both of them, and the base has been attached to one. The runners have been attached to the drawers, but not the dressers yet. This weekend I hope to do the base on the second dresser, put in the cabinet pieces of the runners, and start polyurethaning the snot out of them. Soon, very soon!

We did get to surprise Tim on Friday. He's been bugging me to let him get the new Call of Duty, but we haven't had the money. I talked to the kids and asked if they wanted to get it for him as an early Christmas present. They were super enthusiastic about it, so they each pulled $20 out of their piggy banks and we went to the Game Stop in the commons. I thought it was funny to see them put their crumpled, kid-folded money on the counter; that poor lady had to unfold it all. I paid the tax, and we met Tim at Chick-fil-a for dinner. Since he's been working overtime we haven't seen him much, so I thought it would be a nice night out. We gave Tim his game at dinner, and he immediately opened it to read the book inside. It would still be a couple days before he would actually be able to play it, but he was very appreciative and thanked the kiddos with big hugs.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Post about Mail

First, email! I received my first email from my website! Yay! Since then I've contacted the sender, and I'll be participating in a breast cancer awareness expo of women vendors next year. I'll have my own booth with tasty treats and everything! I might even be participating in a heart disease event in February... more on that as I get info.

Second, snail mail! My RS President and I (as the VT Coordinator) decided that we would group all of the inactive sisters into one companionship (the two of us) so that we could send them letters each month, but so that our other VT companionships could focus on more active sisters. We consider these our special cases that need a little more focused attention. I've been writing for 2 days, and I've almost reach the 1/2 way point. Each letter is hand-written on parchment paper (no typed or copied letters here!) with a copy of the most current RS Lamp. It's not a long letter, only a brief introduction and words of love and encouragement, but I hope that each sister feels the love we have for them. I was even able to wish one sister a happy birthday!

It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The monster square...

is out to get me...

Actually, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I finished 2 1/2 of the 3 I need to do last night, so it's not all that bad. I'll have pictures of it here tomorrow along with one of the flower square.

You know, it doesn't seem like I have enough for the afghan they say I should have. Just saying. And I still have a lot of yarn left over. Maybe this big reveal is the final square?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Gang, I think we've almost solved this mystery!

I'm still recovering from clue 5 and making 16 for each of the 3 afghans I'm crocheting. I've managed to complete clue 6, and am now moving on to clue 7 and 8. This is my progress so far:

These are the colors I chose for my afghan. The colors for my visiting sisters will be a surprise reveal after I give them their afghans.

Clue 1: bottom right, made 2 (6 total)
Clue 2: bottom center, made 4 (12 total)
Clue 3: bottom left, made 8 (24 total)
Clue 4: top right, made 8 (24 total)
Clue 5: top center, made 16 (48 total!)
Clue 6: top left, made 4 (12 total)
Clue 7 is a monstrously HUGE granny square that equals 4 of the 8" squares we've done so far. Thankfully we only have to do 1 for each afghan we're making. I also just printed off clue 8... it's a flower... how cute! They said on the blog that next week is the big reveal, and I can't wait!

Monday, November 08, 2010

The ART of thankfulness

Yesterday was my first normal day in Primary. I say normal because it wasn't a 5th Sunday solid music block bonanza. It was a little sticky for opening exercises because I had practiced the wrong week of music. Oops. It didn't help that the kiddos didn't know one or two of the songs. No worries, though, because we'll learn them soon.

So then starts my 20 minutes with the junior primary. We reviewed "We'll Bring the World His Truth" that we learned last week, then launched into learning "I Am Glad For Many Things" and talking about being thankful. So I taught them the song and told them things I'm grateful for... warm fuzzy socks in the winter, hot chocolate, blankets, kiddos, and most importantly my Savior. They seemed to respond well and had some ideas of their own. So we sang the song, and then I chose 3 helpers to draw their ideas on the white board. We continued this cycle - sing, draw, sing, draw - until we ran out of time. They were grateful for many things, of which the most popular was family. There must have been 8 drawings of families up there; how humbling to know that children that young already know the importance of family! There were also presents, clothes, pets and the like. Such artwork!

I had a 20 minute break to rest the voice and ogle over Scarlet Markland. She is such a cutie!

Obviously drawing wasn't going to work on the senior primary... you know the older kids that are too cool to do anything like that...

Yeah, OK.

So instead we chose scriptures from the Topical Guide headers under thank, thanks, thankful, and thanksgiving. We sang and took turns reading between verses. I even got to offer a nifty tidbit of information about how the topical guide was formed and why. Love the BYU channel. In any case, they left with slightly more understanding than when they came in which is OK by me.

Then I got to do nursery. Oh. My. Goodness.

I think 10 minutes with them wore me out more than the 5th Sunday solid music block bonanza. I've discovered that until I fix the pain in my back that I shouldn't sit on the floor. Ever. The bitties seemed to have fun with the songs. Even more so when we sang "It's Autumn Time" and Sister Gilbert started making the leaves fall. Everyone got a sticker with a smiling sunshine on it and walked away giggling. It made all the pain worth it.

I'm still trying to recover. In reality it started a couple days ago, and not bad at first, but standing in the work shop probably didn't help, and neither did sitting on the floor. Tim has popped the difficult bones back into place twice in the last 4 days, and that's a record. Usually I only need it after a week of standing in the kitchen for a cake, so I think it *might* be getting worse. Maybe it's finally time to see a doctor about it... or not. We'll try a hot soak and icy-hot and see what we get.

In the mean time, I owe you an update on my mystery crochet-a-long progress, and I'll post pictures of everything I have done to this point tomorrow. I've finally finished clue 5. It only took me 2 1/2 weeks to do it, but now I finally have time to catch up on clues 6 and 7. You'll see why tomorrow. :)

Friday, November 05, 2010

How long have you been home?

I got to take my bubble bath last night and relax. Oh, it felt SO good! I thought I heard someone moving in the hallway, but I chalked it up to my FIL. Out of the tub and dressed, I headed to the kitchen to put my glass next to the sink and saw the light on and the door to the garage unlocked.

I didn't do that.

The light in the garage was also on.

I might have done that?

So I went out into the garage to see if I was imagining things, and to lock the door and turn off the lights if I wasn't. Turns out that Tim had been home for about 45 minutes of my 1 hour soak, thought I was asleep, and decided to tinker with the bike. He managed to free up the brakes so that it moves freely now. I can't even begin to tell you how difficult it was to move the thing while the brakes were locked up. Now he can move it by himself. Yay! I think it's cute to see him so happy tinkering with it.

On a slightly related note, I received shipping confirmation on the regulator assembly that I ordered yesterday to repair the rear driver's side window in the Trailblazer. UPS and Amazon.com are on the ball... it's on a truck for delivery TODAY! We could fix it tonight! How cool is that???

I'm also due today to make an appointment with our favorite body shop to get the deer damage fixed. Yay there, too.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Gospel Truth in a Fortune Cookie

Randy, a coworker, and I went to lunch at Jumbo Buffet in Ranson. After a tasty lunch, we cracked open our fortune cookies and read aloud from the slips of paper. Mine said,

"Right now there's an energy pushing you to stay on your path."

Randy said, "Wow, that's suitably vague."

I said, "It's suitably accurate."

How comforting to know that the Holy Ghost is there with me, guiding me, "pushing" me to stay on the right path. I was grateful to have a brief conversation with him about it. Who knew a fortune cookie could spark a missionary moment?

The Coveted Bubble Bath

I LOVE making cakes. I really do. The only problem is that they're stressful.

Is the color of the icing right?
Why did the fondant crack?
How will I transport it?
To stack or not to stack for movement?
How do I fix the air bubble?
Did I bring enough icing?
Where will I put the cake until I'm done with it?
I need how much more fondant?
Do I have enough (butter, flour, sugar, milk, vanilla, chocolate, marshmallow cream, ...)?

You get the idea.

In response to these and other *fun* cake-related situations, I instituted the bubble bath. At the end of a cake run, I get to lock myself in the bathroom with a cold glass of sparkling raspberry juice, a good book, and a tub of almost too hot water and bubbles in which to soak. Que the scented candles and incense. Do not knock on the door, because I promise you that I won't answer. Then again I usually wait until the kiddos are in bed and Tim is playing his game. He understands this ritual and knows not to disturb the bubbles.

One a side note, I delivered the Young Women's cake last night (the last in this particular cake run). I humbly submit for your viewing pleasure the cake...

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

A bald eagle. On a cake. That is all.

For those of you guessing about the movie quote, it was Mickey Rourke's character Ivan Vanko in Iron Man 2.

Here, my faithful blog followers, is the boid... ...on the cake.
Our young Eagle Scout was thoroughly pleased with the cake and the bird. One eagle for another. Go Parker!!!By the end of the reception they were picking the chocolate feathers off of his back side and eating them. Who knew eagle feathers were tasty?

For my next trick, I'll be putting The Incredible Young Women of Winchester on a cake... stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

I want my bird.

Bonus points if you can tell me what recent movie that is from. Really it was pronounced more like, "I want my boid." Any takers?

I was up late (midnight) last night working on this bird... for a cake... due tonight. It's huge. I managed to transform it from a vague lump of green floral Styrofoam into a detailed chocolate-covered bald eagle. Yep, you read correctly. A BALD EAGLE. Lofty goals, much?

In truth this cake is for a young man in our ward getting his Eagle Scout tonight. I remember talking with him and his mother in passing last year about it. I told him that if he earned his Eagle, that I would put a 12" tall bald eagle on a cake for him. Well, he did it, and so have I.

I'm so proud of our Scouts. Audie and others in his den have earned their Bobcat badge, two of our scouts have recently earned Arrow of Light, and this is the second Eagle Scout in as many weeks. We have an active pack! I was surprised when Audie got his Bobcat and he got to pin me with a mini Bobcat badge. As I was new to scouts, I wasn't expecting it. I was expecting the dads to get all of the credit because they do the camping trips, hikes, etc. Way to go Moms!

I promise I'll post pictures of the finished cake after I deliver it tonight. I can't fully assemble it until I get it to the church. Did I mention that chocolate feathers are delicate?

Monday, November 01, 2010

Hokey Happenings

Yep, it's that time again when the kiddos can't make up their minds about what they want to be for Halloween. We finally decided on the following three candidates:

Audie testing out his ninja skills. To his credit, he really is a sneak... especially when he's in costume with mask and all. He was "practicing" all week.Dougie posing as Iron Man. It's hard to see here because it is after the evening's festivities, but his face is painted to look like the mask.Chloie as a water bender. While the other two were store bought, this one was home-made. We're looking at a bathrobe, curtains, and retired ribbon.Of course, the evening wouldn't be complete without cake. This duo was for the trunk-or-treat at the church. Because we forgot what time it started, we got there 1 hour late so it didn't sit on the table long. After I hacked it up for all to eat, it lasted for even less time.

As for my first official day as Primary Music Director... well, lets just say we all survived. I've learned a few things in the last 24 hours.

1. Junior primary are easily entertained.

2. Senior primary not so much, but they will sing for food.

3. 40 minutes of solid singing is tough for the uninitiated. Next time I'm bringing a water bottle.