Saturday, October 29, 2011

Shameless Self Promotion

I have some exciting news! Every year around this time, one of my favorite blogs, Apartment Therapy, hosts their Room for Color contest. And every year, I think "I'm not ready, but I have plenty of time to get ready to enter next year." Of course next year comes around, and I am still not ready.

So this year, I decided that ready or not, I was entering. And I did! And our living room was chosen as one of the entries.

Even more exciting, we are first place in our division right now. I can hardly believe it, because there are so many amazing rooms in the contest, and mine was just done by me, on a shoestring budget, so it's kind of surreal seeing it on there.

Even if we don't win, it has been a great experience. For one thing, my living room is really clean and decluttered--you might have guessed that it doesn't always look like the pictures. For another, I took so many pictures that I finally figured out how to effectively adjust my aperture and shutter speed. How cool is that?  Now I won't feel so outclassed by my camera.

If you're interested in seeing more pictures and voting, you can do it here.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fifteen True Facts About My Day

1.  As soon as Brad got home, I went to the store just to get out of the house and away from the kids.
2.  I stopped to get gas on the way, and almost started crying because I didn't have my wallet.
3.  Actually, I did have my wallet, but it was in the console between the seats instead of in my purse.
4.  I vaguely remembered putting it in there the other day, but not why I did it.
5.  When I got to the store, a woman smiled at me and held the door.
6.  Then I did start crying.
7.  Yes, I should probably be starting my period any moment now.
8.  While I was in the bathroom, I realized I was still wearing the ponytail holder Lissie "made" me. The one where she took a blonde colored ponytail holder, that totally doesn't match my hair, and tied little pieces of light blue fold over elastic all around it to make ruffles.
9.  I listened to the song Gloria by Laura Branigan the whole way to the store.
10.  And the whole way home.
11.  While driving home, I ate six Newman's caramel cups. That's six individual cups, not six packages.
12.  (although if I had six packages, I might have eaten them all)
13.  I still felt grumpy when I got home.
14.  Until I pulled into the driveway and saw our house all lit up, which gave me a nice cozy feeling.
15.  And when I saw the jack-o-lanterns the girls carved with Brad while I was out, sitting on the porch with candles in them, my heart melted.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ribbon Streamers

This week we're reading "How Witchamaroo Became the Pocket Witch" from Autumn Tales. I was planning to make pocket witches for our craft today, but I realized early on that it wasn't happening.

Instead, we made ribbon streamers. I may make pocket witches for the girls for their "Halloween Fairy" baskets. You might be wondering what is a pocket witch? Yes, so am I. That was part of the problem today; I probably could have planned a little better.

For our ribbon streamers, we used ribbon and these cool wooden circles I found at Michael's. I can't remember what they are called, but they had a strange name and were with the knitting supplies. I think they were cheap. Actually, who am I kidding?  I bought them, so they must have been cheap.

I had visions of lovely reds and golds, and some vague idea of the girls dancing and pretending the ribbons were autumn leaves swirling around in the breeze. But then reality set in and I was at the dollar store with two kids, so we ended up with pink, lavender, mint, pink and lavender.

These were very easy to make. I got the idea from somewhere a while ago, but I can't remember where.  It seems like they might have used small grapevine wreaths, which would certainly work well too, if you can't find round wooden things in the knitting section of your Michael's. We measured a piece of ribbon from each girl's shoulders to the floor, and then doubled it--you can go a little longer, but you don't want them too long, or they'll be a tripping hazard. We did some a little shorter too, so the streamers would be different lengths.

Then, you knot the ribbon around the wood, somewhere near the middle of the piece of ribbon.


Repeat again:

We ended up with three ribbons on each one. I was thinking we'd do more, but three is a good amount.

And now for the action shots:

Wait, I don't have any action shots. The girls only danced with them for about ten seconds (to Willie Nelson's Rainbow Connection CD, if you were wondering) before declaring them "airplanes"and and throwing them at each other. I made them stop throwing, and that's when Lissie started using hers as a whip.

Maybe we'll try again tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Paper Princesses

So, you know those weeks where one of the kids gets sick and it goes on for a few days and just when you are thinking maybe it's only going to be the one, the next one gets sick, then suddenly you're sick too and so is your husband, and the last child is right behind? Then everybody is sick and miserable and not getting any rest and what seems like it should have been a simple cold lasts for two weeks? And suddenly it's the weekend your husband is going out of town and taking only one child with him. And of course that's the weekend the boiler goes out.

Yeah, so do we.

But the good news is, our boiler is working again and aside from Max's runny nose, everybody is healthy. I admit, we've not done much schooling. Everybody got sick right around the time we read The Paper Princess Finds Her Way and I had planned to make our own paper princesses that Wednesday, but Lissie  spontaneously made her own on Tuesday, on Wednesday, and then again on Thursday.

So we ended up with quite a few of them. I had plans for something a little more elaborate, but I think these are sweet. I also think we may have started out with a few more, but they must be off having adventures.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Additives and Addiction

I know I haven't posted in a while. Last week was exhausting.

Apparently the classic Rice Dream is acceptable on the Feingold diet, but the enriched Rice Dream was not. Guess which kind I bought last time I was at the store? Two cartons of it.

She had it four days in a row, and we could not figure out what was going on. I didn't think to check, of course, because I thought the milk was okay. What's the difference between the two? I am not sure, except that the enriched contains Vitamin A palmitate and the classic version does not.

You might be wondering what's wrong with Vitamin A? Well, Vitamin A palmitate is sometimes preserved with BHA or BHT. BHA and BHT are preservatives which can cause problems for certain individuals. Like Lissie.

The thing that really gets me about it is, how much Vitamin A palmitate is even in a carton of Rice Dream? And how much preservative was added to it?  It's like nothing at that point, wouldn't you think?  And yet, it throws Lissie into a complete tailspin for five days. Five days! Because she had a few glasses of "enriched" Rice Dream.

Also, this:

No matter how long you put it off, and no matter how many times you do it, it does not get easier.

And to top it off, we've all had the sniffles for a few days and are feeling a little under the weather.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Elisa Kleven, Where Have You Been All My Life?

I admit to being a total book snob. In our house, we tend to think that children's books from days of yore are far superior to those of today. We're much more likely to read Goodnight Moon or Where the Wild Things Are than anything to do with llamas or pigeons.

I can't say why, exactly. There is nothing that says an older book is better than a new one, or that new books aren't good. I just think that the old ones have proven themselves. They've stood the test of time, and time has weeded out the bad ones.

Don't get me wrong, we do have plenty of recent books in our collection. I am just not as apt to buy one on a whim. That's why, when I found a copy of The Paper Princess Finds Her Way at the thrift store over the weekend, I picked it up and put it back no fewer than three times. My inner dialogue went something like "ooh, butterflies." "Glossy cover, ugh." "But I like the illustrations." "Not another princess book." "It's a paper princess." I flipped through it, and for ninety-nine cents, my curiosity got the better of me.

I got it home and read it. And I loved it.

I know Waldorf is supposed to be storytelling, but I bungle them every time. So for school, I've been using printed stories and reading from my binder to avoid illustrations, because that way I can just sort of glance down and pretend I am telling a story. I decided to go ahead use a book this week though. The timing was perfect, because the end of the book has the monarch butterflies migrating south.

I am not sure whether the book would be considered Waldorf. It fits with our philosophy toward toys though; when she encounters a group of noisy, plasticy toys, they end up in awe of the little paper princess. I was impressed with her too, actually. She understood that it was better to face the unknown than to stick around in a familiar situation you're not happy with.

So we read it today, and Lissie loved it too. I am not sure she spoke once through the entire book, and that never happens. It turns out this author has written a bunch of other books, with great reviews on Amazon, and yet I have somehow never heard of her before.

I guess that's what I get for being a book snob.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Meet the Elder Brothers

Yesterday we made "elder brothers" out of felt to go with our story, "The Elder Brother".

We gathered leaves on our walk earlier in the week, and used some of them as patterns.

I cut the leaves out ahead of time. I debated whether to have Lissie do some herself, but am glad I decided not to. She could have done it, but the felt was really fiddly to cut through and even with the leaves cut out, these took a long time to put together.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Buffet: Before and After

I finally finished painting the dresser/buffet we got from my mother-in-law, and I am thrilled with it. I originally planned to switch the hardware, but the handles that are on there have two screws about an inch apart near the top of the handle and there was about zero chance of me having time to fill in and redrill holes for hardware anytime within the next decade. Chances are, by then I'll want to repaint anyway and I actually really like how the old ones look with the new paint, so I guess it all worked out.

Here, once again, in all its 1970's laminate glory, is the before:

And the after:  (I was SO CLOSE to getting the exact same angle for both pictures.  Dang!)

Not sure what happened to the wall color in the second picture, but it's more accurate in the top picture and I swear it does match. And that Farrow and Ball paint? A dream to work with. An absolute dream.  But don't worry, I won't be repainting the interior of my house anytime soon, because I am still madly in love with my full spectrum colors from Ellen Kennon (that's Honeysuckle on the walls, for those who care). I think I'll be using F&B eggshell on furniture from now on though.

Fall Fun

This week our story is "The Elder Brother" from the book For the Children's Hour by Carolyn S. Bailey, and we made these leaves of clay.

Monday, October 3, 2011


So many pictures, so little space.

The Feingold Diet: One Year Later, part 2

Part one can be read here: The Feingold Diet: One Year Later, part 1

After reading about the effects that artificial colors can have on some people, I still didn't get it. I told Brad we should write down everything Lissie ate and keep track to see if we noticed any trends. The next day, I took the girls to Taco Bell on the way home from school.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


We didn't get to do much ArtPrize sightseeing this year, but we did make it downtown for the Kids' Art Fest today.

First the girls dressed as ghosts