Friday, May 30, 2008

New Hope & A Red Rocker

After what has seemed like endless days of cloudy weather and a massive thunder & lightening storm that dropped 2 1/2" of rain on us overnight (and scared the crud out of us), we are having a glorious day. An a renewed hope for summer.

And look what my mom bought for me on her visit this past week. An antique rocking chair from my favorite store, Weathered and Worn (thank you, Mom!). I love that it matches the color of my front door. I bought the old Roberts milk crate that same day and decorated it with cute (and HEAVY after the weather last night) pilfered objects from elsewhere in my house. Anybody want to bet on how long it takes for my pansies to croak?

You still have until Saturday night to get in on the pinwheel pin giveaway!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Pinwheel Pins

As promised, I'm posting about one of the projects my mom helped me with during her visit this past week. I'm in a card exchange and the theme for this month is 4th of July or Summer and the challenge is to use something metal. I have made cute little pinwheels like these out of paper before, but I thought I'd give it a whirl in fabric and just so I'm challenge compliant, I made them into pins. Here's how you do it.

First, use a piece of fusible webbing to iron together the wrong side of a red striped fabric to the wrong side of a blue starred fabric.

Next, cut a piece of the fabric into a square...these are two inch squares. Then, cut from each point of the square about three-quarters of the way diagonally to the middle of the square.

Then take a needle and thread up through the back of the center of the square and take the left corner of one side of the square onto the needle and pull the corner into the middle. Repeat with all four corners and then push the needle back through the center of the pinwheel so the needle is on the back side of the pinwheel.

Sew a button onto the front center of the pinwheel and tie off thread to the back.

Hot glue a pin back on the back of the pinwheel and you're done! I think these would be darling visiting teaching gifts.

I added mine to a card (for my card exchange) and added this quote by Thomas Jefferson. "God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that the liberties are the gift of God?"

Want one but don't want to make one? Leave a comment between now and Saturday night and I'll send one to a lucky winner!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Spouses Spring Spa & Grandma's Visit

For the past several years, the community around the base has put on a dinner and "Spring Spa" for the Air Force spouses, catered by Outback Steakhouse. So a bunch of the girls decided to give it a whirl. As a group, we gave the dinner two thumbs way WAY up, but the spa part??...not so much. We wandered around, but really only went home with a free Avon product and a flower. However, it was such a fun night out with the girls!

For the past week, we have had Grandma Nichols at our house! We did a lot of hanging out, shopping, and comforting a very sick Joshua...but did brave the rainy weather yesterday to hit some of the indoor exhibits at the zoo. The aquarium was hosting a "petting zoo" and the kids really enjoyed touching the sea creatures.

We also crossed the first thing off our Summer To-Do list...we visited the new Butterfly and Insect Pavilion. Sam and I thought it was VERY cool, but Anna was a little "bugged" (get it?) that the butterflies weren't in cages or anything. She was pretty convinced that they wanted to bite her. Do butterflies even have teeth? Thanks for the fun visit mom. Give Breea a smooch for us!

Looking back on my last couple posts, I've noticed a serious lack of craft posts. Well, that is all about to change. Having my mom here was very inspiring (she's not only creative, but is great at cheering me on) so I'll be posting some of the things we worked on while she was here. And there might even be a giveaway or two thrown in for good measure.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fun Idea #3--Summer To-Do List

Tony and I are all about lists. Nothing feels so good about crossing things off a "to-do" list. So Tony came up with a great idea during our last move. We researched the route we'd be taking across the plains and made a list of things we wanted to see and do, and then also an extended list of things we could do with the kids while we waited for our house to close. It became a kind of fun game to see what we could get done, and the kids had a ball. Plus, we didn't have to try and come up with an idea when we were bored...we had already come up with a bunch of them. So we did the same thing for our summer vacation. Here's our list.

1. Butterfly & Insect Pavilion at the Henry Doorly Zoo.
This a brand-spankin' new exhibit that opened last week at the world's best zoo. And since Grammy Joan treated us to our family's yearly pass, all our trips to the zoo this summer will be free.

2. Durham Western Heritage Museum.
Not only is this museum going to have an exhibit about the Amazon rainforest this summer, but they operate an old-fashioned candy counter and soda shop...right inside the museum!

3. Papio Bay Water Park.

4. Omaha Royals baseball game at Rosenblatt Stadium.
Rosenblatt Stadium is not only the home of the Omaha Royals, but it also hosts the NCAA Baseball Championship series every year.

5. Strategic Air and Space Museum.
This museum in Ashland has an awesome static display that you get to walk right up and enjoy the planes without ropes. Sam is gonna love this place...but we have to go with Tony because he knows all the cool stuff about the planes from his Intelligence days.

6. Omaha Sprinkler Park.
Just a great outdoor sprinkler for the kids at 120th and Center.

7. Wildlife Safari.
Tony and the boys did this while Anna and I were in Utah and it was a huge hit. We'll be going back this summer.

And in Lincoln...

8. Lincoln Children's Museum.
JUST the greatest children's museum EVER. Every time I go back, it reminds me of taking Sam there when he was a toddler.

9. Folsom Children's Zoo.
A nice, smallish children's zoo that you can do in about an hour. It's a nice chance to get closer to the animals than you can sometimes get at the Henry Doorly Zoo.

10. Morrill Hall.
This UNL science museum has an awesome collection of dinosaur and mammoth bones as well as a planetarium and static stuffed animal displays. And it is the home of Archie, Nebraska's beloved mammoth skeleton.

We'll also be participating in the local library's summer reading program. Hey, gotta get my $30 worth.

Have a great summer...what will your family be exploring??

Friday, May 23, 2008

Memorial Day

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

--JFK Inaugural address, January 20, 1961.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wascally Wabbits

I cursed our little garden (see I really AM a plant torturer) when I posted about Tony's green thumb on Monday. Besides the propensity towards butterflies in our lovely little community, we also tend towards rabbits. So, it really should have been no surprise this morning during breakfast when Sam noticed not one but TWO little fuzzy rabbits munching on Tony's garden, apparently having a little breakfast of their own. I've never seen Tony move so fast...lickety split, he was out the door and halfway across the back yard before the rabbits wised up and fled.

But that's not the end of the story. As Tony was making his way across the backyard, my darling daughter, who still sleeps with a little stuffed bunny, starts yelling, "Use a stick, Daddy! Use a stick!" I guess it's better to know now that beneath those pink princess jammies beats a murderous heart.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I had one of those days yesterday. Josh didn't nap well, the laundry went unfolded, I had to take all three kids to Target (torturous, I tell you), and I lost my temper with my sweet children. And to top it all off, Tony didn't get home until after the kids were already down for the night. I was frustrated. I felt like a terrible mother. Pretty much like an utter failure. But most significantly, I felt for the day the frustration single moms must feel.

When I went up to get ready for bed after my run, I found a note on Tony's nightstand from Sam.

While at Target, Sam saw a display of Indiana Jones toys that included a whip. Well, Sam has been really into Indiana Jones lately and wants to be Indy for Halloween. And Indy MUST have a whip. But I told him I couldn't buy it for was too much money and we were only halfway into the aforementioned torturous trip to Target. So he asked his dad to buy him the whip.

Now, when you marry a man, you hope and pray that he will be a good father. After what could only be described as a day ten times worse than mine, my dear, sweet husband penned this response and left it out by Sam's breakfast dishes for him to see this morning.

I am so grateful for the wonderful men (both big and little) in my life. And today will be a better day. I just know it.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Farmer Tony

In our family, Tony has the only green thumb. In fact, I have killed, nay TORTURED and killed every single house plant we have ever owned. And you know those little potted pansies that they give out on Mother's Day at church every year? Dead by Father's Day. In fact, I think the only things that I have managed not to let die are our kids, which is actually a pretty great trade-off if you ask me.

So when Tony suggested several years ago that we start a garden, he knew he was on his own.

The first weekend in May, Tony and Sam planted our first garden at our new house. They more than tripled the size of the original garden box, prepared the soil, drew out a garden diagram, and planted their plants and seeds. Two weeks later, I am pleased to report that the pay-off for all their hard work has already begun.

Tony started everything from seeds (except the tomatoes and strawberries), and we already have sugar-snap peas, squash, pumpkins, and cucumbers coming up.

I'll keep you posted on the garden's progress. And I promise not to touch anything.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Grammy Joan

Look who we've had at our house this week!

Grammy Joan picked the best week to come visit. It has been warm and sunny so we've spent lots of time outside, eating popsicles, going for walks, and we even pulled Sam out of school early on Thursday to spend an afternoon at the zoo.

As usual, Josh was a charmer. But his stubborn streak is showing and he still is refusing to take his first steps...even for Grammy Joan.

We even took Grammy Joan to visit Tony at work and to ham it up in the courtroom.

We love you, Grammy Joan! Thanks for the FUN visit. Have a safe trip home and come again soon...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

And It's Cook... For The Win

So, it's to be a battle of the Davids.

Anyone who can make a Mariah Carey song this HOT?? Well, he's got my vote.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Homemade Birdfeeders

My next door neighbor made the mistake of mentioning in passing to my 7-year-old budding zoologist that he had seen a finch in his backyard eating at his bird feeder. We became instant birdwatchers at our house. So, I did a little research and decided to make a bird feeder for our backyard. It turned out so neat that I made one for each of the ladies we visit teach for the month of May. Here's how we did kids helped with every step.

First, we filled a grapevine ball with popped popcorn and tied a length of twine securely through some of the vine to create a hanger. (I found the grapevine balls for cheap at my local Hobby Lobby.)

Next, we spread peanut butter all over the outside of the ball in a thin layer and rolled it on a cookie sheet filled with purchased birdseed.

Then we let them dry on a wire rack for about 48 hours to allow the peanut butter to harden a bit.

And so they look oh so nice in presentation, I wrapped them in cellophane (making sure the length of twine is out the top) and then tied it off with raffia.

If I were a bird, I'd be all over these things.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful women in my life.

And to Joan, and my Mom especially, thank you. For everything.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Fun Idea #2 and The Host

I belong to a really great book group. It is a fabulous group of ladies who love to read books, get together, chat, and eat. And one of the best things about this book group is that we love to share our book treasures. Usually, between us, we have two or three copies of the book we are currently reading floating around and they get passed from home to home and enjoyed (or NOT enjoyed, depending). So during our last get-together, someone (please forgive me ladies, for forgetting exactly who, but your idea was BRILLIANT!) tossed out the idea that as you pass your personal copies of your books around, that those who borrow them and read them should sign and date the first page so you can remember the little adventures that each of your books has had. Mine often even travel by mail. So, this morning I created and placed labels in my three new acquisitions from this week explaining this idea. I can't wait to see the names of my dear friends down the road inside some of my most treasured reads.

AND, has anybody else finished The Host?? I'd love to know what you thought. So I'm not a spoiler, here is the link to my comments about it on GoodReads.

Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Bag Tag

Thanks to Rosanne, here is a sneak peak into the chaos that is this mommy's favorite red handbag...

Sweet Mint Orbit gum
1 cherry chapstick
lip gloss
mailbox key
handful of dum-dums
Josh's diaper tote
binky and back-up binky
the necklace I wore to church 2 weeks ago (don't ask)
moleskin and scissors (for my psycho heels when I run)
baggie of V-8 Fusion lids for Sam's school fundraiser
6 fine point Sharpie markers in assorted colors

Play along if you'd like.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My Epiphany & A Grateful Heart

I had what I can only describe as a deep awakening today as I was driving Anna to joy school. I listen to a lot of talk radio. And it just so happened that it was the top of the hour and the news was beginning. Leading the report, was the horrible details of human suffering in cyclone destroyed Myanmar. 22,000 dead. 41,000 missing. Hundreds of thousands of people that don't have access to clean water. President Bush literally BEGGING the military-ruled country to allow us to come in with aid and supplies.

I listened, horror-struck in my safe, air-conditioned car, with a tank full of very expensive gas; two of my full, clean and healthy children behind me looking outside at a couple of guys playing golf in the middle of the day, in the middle of a work week; green grass, blue sky, a paved road...

...and I almost threw up. We are so very blessed. So very, very blessed. I will think twice before I complain about any small inconvenience again.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Anna & Breea's Photo Shoot

When I found out that Anna and I were going to be in Utah in April, I contacted Heather at {unwrapped} who takes the most fabulous photos to see if maybe she would be willing to shoot some cousin pictures of Anna and little Breea. She was more than happy to fit us into her busy schedule and today, we got a peak at the great work she did. For more pictures from the girls' photo shoot, click on her name and it will take you to her blog.

Isn't she just fantastic??

Thank you so much, Heather. You are a talented, talented lady. It was my pleasure to meet you! And by the way, I'd LOVE to have you as Anna's mother-in-law...

Friday, May 2, 2008

Happy Anniversary, Tony!

Twelve years ago today, I married my sweetheart in the Salt Lake Temple.

And it's been one heck of a thrill ride ever since. So today, in honor of twelve wonderful years with the man of my dreams, here are twelve reasons I think Tony is pretty great. By no means is this an exhaustive list...I'm sure you have other blogs to browse today...

1. He encourages my independence. He has always seen me as an individual person as well as his wife and partner.

2. Tony loves my cooking. He never complains about anything I cook and so we've had to adopt a 1 to 10 rating scale for new recipes so I can figure out whether I should bother to make it again. And the guy LOVES taking leftovers for lunch.

3. Despite challenges, together we have managed to bring three little miracles into our family. I still have trouble believing that God trusts us enough to give us these little ones to raise. Tony is a very hands-on dad and despite all the time I spend with the kids, he is still their favorite parent.

4. Tony has always supported our family so that I could stay home with the kids. There was never another option in his mind.

5. Whenever Tony sees a news alert about a shark attack, he emails it to me. I think he's just trying to assure me that my irrational fear of being eaten by a shark is well-founded.

6. He lets me drive the nice car while he gets the hand-me-down...even if it means driving around in a 14-year-old purple Civic. Excuse me, PLUM Civic.

7. He lets me obsess about Rob Thomas without too much flack.

8. Tony is constantly reminding me that he fully intends for me to get my master's degree when all the kids are in school all day. And he assures me that art history is a VERY worthy career path.

9. He's hot.

10. We have the same dreams for our future.

11. He is the most kind, honest, honorable and righteous man I know. Period.

12. He lets me beat him in Jeopardy.

I love you, Tony. Here's to the next twelve years...and many more.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Happy May Day!

Almond Joy

I'm a little bit of an almond fanatic. So when I found this recipe on the back of my almond extract bottle several years ago, I gave it a try...and it has been a favorite ever since. They don't look like much, but taste like a soft, almond version of pecan sandies. Yummers!! Thanks to Randi for hosting her Recipe Box Swap this week...who can ever have enough cookie recipes??

Double Almond Cookies

2 cups flour
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds (I use my blender)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. pure almond extract

Mix flour, almonds and salt; set aside. Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Blend in egg and extract. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Have a great Thursday!