Tuesday, February 24, 2015

On Making the Most Fantastic Curtains You Have Ever Seen

Well, okay.  They might not be the most fantastic curtains you have ever seen but they are still pretty fantastic.  

First, the back story.  After we moved in I bemoaned the fact that in a fit of senseless frugality I hadn't bought the rest of the sheets at the thrift store that matched the pillow case that was the inspiration for Margaret's quilt because they would have made great coordinating curtains.  Then one night as I was looking at vintage sheets on Etsy (which I'm sure is a totally normal thing to be doing) I found a listing for a set of queen sized sheets in the exact same pattern.  I don't know what the odds are of finding another set of these old sheets but I took it as a sign and snatched them up--ironically for about ten dollars more than it would have cost me if I had just bought them originally.

I then spent a lot of time unnecessarily trying to decide if I should make long elegant curtains or short cute curtains before I just decided to make them as long as I could given my limited amount of fabric and then hem them up if they looked bad.  The length of the flat sheet ended up being perfect, which is lucky since, you know, that's all I had.  I also lined them with the old twin size white flat sheets that I confiscated from the boys when I decided that I wasn't going to make children's beds with flat sheets on them ever again so that's how wide the curtains are.

Clearly I am a very precise and professional seamstress.

It's really hard to take pictures of curtains with light shining through the windows but I did my best.

The men folk round these parts weren't super impressed, but aren't they sweet?   The curtains that is, not the men folk.  Clearly they're a bit grumpy.

Margaret loves them of course.  If she had words or was able to do more than flail her arms and legs while lying on her back I'm sure she'd be dancing around and singing about how amazing they are.

Once I finished the panels I realized that the one thing that would make them even more spectacular was pom pom trim.  I'm pretty sure pom pom trim makes everything better.  I got this trim from the same Etsy seller I used when I made the crib skirt so it would match.

On another note, pleating tape.  Where have you been all my life?  You just sew this stuff across the top of your curtain panels, pull the strings and congratulations, you've just made pleated curtains.  So easy!

See how nicely everything goes?  Note, don't try to stand on your rocking chair to take aerial pictures  of your nursery.  Your photographs will be blurry and you will probably fall off.  Just take the extra three seconds to grab a stool from the bathroom. You're welcome.

Now, make sure to tell me what you think!  Unless you don't like them, feel free to keep that to yourself :)

Linking up with Ana since it's still February and I need more affirmations than my menfolk can provide on all things crafty :)

Monday, February 23, 2015

On Snow Days

It's a little lame to have a Saturday snow day when you know that if it was during the week your husband would have had the day off but we made the best of it.  And by "we" I mean "Chris" who was outside for four hours straight with various children coming and going.

Please note that the children are all wearing snow pants.  Interestingly February is apparently much too late to actually buy snow pants in a regular store--I tried Walmart hoping to grab some on clearance and there was nothing.  They had already turned the whole store over to Spring, including the baby section where I could have bought Margaret all the sundresses and shorts she could ever want but there was not a long sleeved onesie to be found.  So to recap, now that it's actually snowing and most definitely still winter there are no winter clothes left to purchase.  There are plenty of bathing suits though.

Chris found these (after a hot tip from a colleague) at the nearby Columbia outlet where there were still a few pieces left in the clearance section.  Catastrophe averted.

So the boys were warmer as they went sledding at pretty much the best sledding hill ever.  According to Chris when he was on the sled too they were getting air going down those bumps.  I'm just glad I wasn't there to witness all the shenanigans.

Even John had fun although, once again, he ended up napping through sledding time.

He tried really hard to get his trike going in the snow and yes, making some sort of bike port on the side of the house is one of our projects for Spring.  


And here are some bonus sledding videos, because I can........



Hope you all are *still* staying warm!

Saturday, February 21, 2015


So the kids and I didn't actually make it to the Ash Wednesday mass this year.  I had concocted this amazing plan that involved driving the kids to the Pentagon to meet Chris for mass there, but with the snow days and government shutdown our parking pass never got processed and I was not about to trek the kids the mile long walk down to the metro in the snow to get there.  It was probably for the best since the two Ash Wednesday masses at the Pentagon were apparently standing room only which, let's face it, would have been a disaster.  

I did pull together some of our tried and true Lenten activities though and I even managed to make them pretty to boot.  

Note:  The following is mostly for my own records--when I tried to search the blog to find a picture of our Lent calender from years past to see how I made it the only one I found was from Pennsylvania--a total mom blog fail.  I'm not a super "lets do all the activities!" type of mom so pretty much everything we're doing here takes place around mealtimes when I'm most likely to not forget.  Anyway, here's what we're doing just in case you're interested.......

Sacrifice/Kindness Beans:  For every kind deed/sacrifice the kids make they put a bean in the jar and on Easter they are magically transformed into jelly beans.  This is a family favorite and the jars are always filled to the brim with jelly beans no matter how full they were the night before Easter.  David was in charge of picking out the bag of beans from the store this year because I apparently purged the old bag of black beans I've been reusing for the past four years when we moved.  He couldn't quite settle on any one type so he begged for the twelve bean soup bag.  Henry is slowly emptying the bowl of all the giant white lima beans since clearly, bigger is better.

I also printed a copy of Lent for Children:  A Thought a Day because it's simple and free.  We've been reading it after breakfast as part of our 'morning basket' time.  We also light those candles and say our prayers because I've found the best way to get children to pay attention to their prayers is fire.   We've also been attempting a family decade of the rosary right after dinner which has been going about as well as you can imagine.  I like it though since, a convert myself, I don't know all the rosary prayers by heart which is my biggest stumbling block to actually praying one.  So this particular Lenten devotional is good for me and not too much of a hardship for the kids.  Plus, the ones that stick it out nicely get to blow out the candles.  See--the magic of fire.

I also made the same countdown calender I always do from the book Guiding Your Catholic Preschooler mostly because the boys LOVE gluing down the crosses each day and as a bonus, if you don't get to be the one to glue on a cross you can put a kindness bean in the jar for your momentous personal sacrifice.  I didn't have any big sheets of paper this year but I did have the cardboard back of an empty sketchpad so that's what I used which turned out great since I can just lean it up against the wall.  In the past we've had the kids count household objects to earn pennies to give alms with as the book suggests but this year I might let them do chores to earn pennies instead, or not, we'll have to see how Lent goes.  We've also been fasting from TV and sweets which is hard but also a nice reset from the winter induced TV and candy bender we've been on.  You can click here for a much more professional version of the calender complete with printables.....or if for some reason you want my printables let me know and I can send you a ridiculously old word file :)

I love Auntie Leila's advice to just live your own Lent and bring the children along.  I've been attempting to discipline myself to get up before the kids again (which I haven't done consistently since before the big move) in order to pray/start my day in peace which I've had about a 75% success rate at so far.  If I wanted to ensure being up before my minions I'd have to wake up with Chris at 4 AM and I just don't see that happening anytime in the near future.

I would really like to take the kids to church on a Friday and go through the Stations of the Cross with them--not at 7 PM when that's actually going on and the kids would be complete disasters--maybe just during the day when the church is empty?  And I have a vague plan to print and laminate these free, Montessori style Stations of the Cross cards for the boys to work with.  I might have already hit my limit for Lenten crafting though.  We'll have to see :)

How's your Lent looking so far?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

{p,h,f,r} Snow Day Edition

We had our first big snow this week--big enough to shut down the government--which meant Daddy got a snow day also and a free four day weekend to boot!  It's a good thing too because mommy does not like to be cold and these boys would not have been content to simply enjoy the snow from inside the house.

On that note, all of the following pictures were taken from the warmth and comfort of the doorway and/or living room.



Happily helping Dad shovel the walk.  This is apparently serious business when you live in town, with time limits and everything. Can I count this as homeschooling under handicrafts?  Maybe if I throw in the half completed igloo I found outside this morning--or would that be more of a  geography thing?  Both?


Video courtesy of the fun parent who is willing to walk the children down to the sledding hill.

I'd say the boys first sledding experience was a success even if our poor children were apparently the only ones without full on snowsuits partaking in the festivities.  It's just so hard to justify buying and storing that much winter gear for maybe two snowstorms a year.  John did have snowpants leftover from our time in Pennsylvania--somehow the need for bigger sizes never arose in Florida.  The need for bigger winter coats never even arose there.  On the three days a year they might have needed coats we just didn't go outside :)

Don't worry, no one was frostbitten here and I fully intend to look for clearance snow bibs at Walmart this week.


It's so hard to be the one left inside when all your brothers are out frolicking and all of your winter gear is sopping wet.  

John Michael:  "Put shuus on mommy.  Shuuus oooonnnnn?"

Me:  Umm, no.  I appreciate that you found ear warmers but a windbreaker over your jammies does not a snowsuit make.

John Micheal:  "Oh, okay then mom.  What a well reasoned answer.  I guess I'll just go play quietly in the playroom until the boys come in."

Just kidding.


I hope you all are staying warm!  Don't forget to head over to Like Mother, Like Daughter to see even more contentment!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

On Figuring Ourselves Out

Every so often someone on the internet will write a post about Myers-Briggs personality types and it always stirs up a flurry of excited discussion and I rarely participate because no matter how many different versions of the test I take (including the *real* version) it always comes out INFJ--which for the longest time I thought couldn't possibly be right since it's the rarest of all the types, like less than one percent of the population rare.  What are the odds that that could really be me?  I know, I know, probably about one percent.  

Declaring yourself to be an INFJ on the internet seems tantamount to declaring that you are indeed a special snowflake whom no one else could possibly understand or fully appreciate which is not exactly the message I want to send out.  So, I guess what I'm saying is that, while you probably can't fathom the specialness of me, let's try to talk personality typing anyway :) 

For your viewing pleasure I've also included these unrelated, slightly fuzzy pictures of Margaret.  Enjoy.

After seeing lots of recommendations, I've been reading Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence by David  Keirsey to try to get a better understanding of personality types in general and it is so interesting!  For one, I've finally admitted to myself that I am indeed an INFJ which means, among other things, that I'm an idealist--which will probably surprise no one, least of all the facilitator at our marriage retreat who felt like he had to give me a special talking to about my absurdly high "idealism" score on our pre-cana questionnaire.  Also, I've decided that the reason I was voted "most serious" by my senior class probably had less to do with everyone thinking that I was grumpy--which was my biggest concern at the time--and more to do with a certain air of intense pensiveness that not too many of my classmates shared.  I think having a rarer personality type also helps explain why I often felt out of sync with everyone else growing up--or maybe that's just typical of everyone?

Really the biggest take away for me from this book is that not everyone is the same.  I know.  That's probably not a groundbreaking thought, but I figure I'm probably not the only one who could use the reminder.  Not everyone feels the same as me, not everyone experiences the same situations in the same way as me, not everyone will react to the same circumstances the way I will.  And that's okay.

Now as interesting as reading all about my own and Chris' (ESTJ) personality types was, the one thought that kept popping into my mind during all of this was, I need to figure out the children's personality types.  Okay, the thought was more, I need to figure out David's personality type because my child is crazy and makes no sense to me and I need help!  In an amazingly fortuitous coincidence this post on personality typing children  popped up in my reader with just what I needed--a new book recommendation--which I am now passing on to you.  

When it comes to parenting my difficult child (wonderful, but difficult!), thinking of him as someone with a distinctive personality type that plenty of other children also have has gone a long way toward making me feel less crazy. It has also been very helpful to recognize the differences in our specific personalities and the tension that that can cause.  

It's so easy to try to mold the kids into little versions of ourselves.  Well easy to want to anyway, it's impossible to succeed at......unless they happen to already be like us to begin with, which none of mine appear to be--I'm still holding out hopes for Margaret though :)

We tentatively typed David as an ENTP (I think the others are too young to really get a read on them yet).  For him, all the interrupting, the constant flow of ideas and the never finishing of any of the subsequent projects, the way he seems to go crazy when surrounded by other children, getting more and more energized as if he's siphoning the energy straight from me all makes more sense in the framework of his personality.  His behavior also looks a lot less like disobedience and a lot more like a little boy who needs guidance--which is probably a much more helpful viewpoint. I love that the book has pointers for parents on what works with children of each different type at the end of each section as well and the advice there has already been making our days more pleasant.  

So, read the book and figure out your kids and make your days more pleasant and in the mean time take this test and figure out your own personality type and then report back here.  Because in addition to being a special snowflake I'm also nosy.  

Sunday, February 1, 2015


Once again I've run out of energy when it comes to planning something elaborate for poor John's birthday. Luckily this year we finally live close enough to cousins that they can just pop over for a birthday party without much notice!    

Since John's favorite things are dinosaurs and trains we threw him a dinosaur/train party (not to be confused with a Dinosaur Train party, although he does like that too).  And by "threw him a dinosaur/train party" I mean I set dinosaurs and trains pulling dinosaurs out on the table with the food.

With party hats.

The party hats make all the difference.


John's favorite part was the cake.  He even helped me decorate it by standing next to me on a stool and licking the counter as sprinkles ricocheted off of the cake and landed within the reach of his tongue.

And, to make the day even better, John got the dearest wish of his little heart:  a laser blaster gun which may even be louder than the one St. Nick brought Henry and that he's been coveting ever since.

I may or may not really regret this decision.

Now, John isn't technically two until two tomorrow--at which point we will likely celebrate with leftover cake............because two year olds don't know when you celebrated their birthday a day early :)

We love you John Michael!
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