Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Top of the Cupcake

Lubbock's friend, Joey, from down the street turned two this week and we went to his early birthday party over the weekend. There was lots of bubble-play, swinging, running, and sugar!

When it was time to sing "Happy Birthday," the kids were so excited. Having been to a few parties lately, I think Lubbock was starting to get the hang of this birthday party thing.

Singing = cupcakes. Some pretty good math!

Except that Lubbock's mom takes the fun out of cupcakes. I am not crazy about messes, so I always wipe the frosting off the cupcakes before giving it to him. Can you tell by the look on his face that he is quite aware that he's missing something?

Joey had so much fun that I was told he went inside after his party and sprawled out on the couch ... worn out from too much fun.

His big sister, Eleanor, was so gracious about letting it be Joey's day. She really seemed to get it, which is really amazing for kids at this age ... must be great parenting!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Star Dance

Do you have a "star dance?"

Oh, sorry ... you don't speak Natalese. Let me explain.

If you are so excited about something you literally cannot stay still ... you do a little dance ... maybe just in your head, maybe you pump your fist. Or, if you're me ... you actually dance. It's a star dance.

What brought on my star dance today? A trip to JoAnns to pick up some glue. I have to walk up and down the clearance section when I visit any and all craft stores. You know ... just in case there's some fabulous deal that I just cannot live without.

Or ... in this case ... a free very sturdy Sharpie display! Can you believe it? Free! Yes, free. All I had to do was:
  • notice said empty display sitting in the clearance section
  • find employee and play dumb about seeing if something is for sale (of course it's not, it's just a display case that ran out of 50 cent Sharpies)
  • wait while employee tracks down manager
  • ask manager what they plan on doing with it (while thinking "please let me have it, please let me have it")
  • smile and do your star dance when the manager helps load it into your cart

I suppose you're wondering why I'm so giddy about this Sharpie display, huh? Well, I was just saying the other day that I needed some sort of organization tool to help control small die-cut paper. If I cut too many trains or ladybugs or circles, I need a great way to store them. This will be great! I should be able to start a small inventory of commonly used shapes. Yay!

One other free thing to mention ... my friend, Melisa, is having a giveaway relating to a website called Handipoints. This website helps parents with getting kids involved in doing chores around the house. Kids love it ... from what I hear. It's geared toward kids of at least 'computer-using' age. So, if that sounds like something you could use ... get on over there and check it out. It's free!

So, if you win, do me one favor ... do a star dance!

What makes you do a star dance?

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Half Birthday Wish List

I'm writing this entry to celebrate my half birthday. To know me is to know that I love birthdays of every shape and size! Especially half birthdays.

I told someone that the theme color this summer is orange. And since I'm trying to focus on buying green and/or handmade products ... I've discovered the perfect combination:

An ornj tote sit double and a wrightsan recycled plastic wallet to go with it. Do you have to ask what's on my wish list?

The bag is made from used construction fencing by artist, David Shock of Detroit. "Creating boldness out of blight" says his website. Agreed!

The base of the tote is reused corrugated plastic and the handles are bamboo.

If you're worried about items falling out ... add the recycled sweatshirt liner.

And this wallet would just send me over the moon!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Blue Want

It's almost midnight and I can't sleep ... so ... what do I do?

Cruise Etsy, of course!!!

In recent facebook discussions, I have come to realize that some people actually don't know about Etsy ... *gasp* ... so, if you know about Etsy, great. But, have you heard about Artfire?

Back to Etsy ... I ran across this really cute pendant. I can already say that I love these since I have the brown and green ones. I love wearing them. And when people notice what they are ... they are a little tickled. The tops of bottles! How green ... and blue.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Butterfly House

Since I learned about it over almost a year ago, I've wanted to visit the Butterfly House at Peck Farm. When I finally got around to going ... it was closed for the season. I was so sad. I suppose that is a huge difference between Texas and Illinois ... seasons. While I enjoy most things about them ... things being closed for months at a time is certainly not one of them.

So, when I read it was opening on May 23rd, I did not wait long to visit. My Wednesday playgroup rounded up the kids and went on a butterfly watching adventure. We let the kids play outside of the tent for a while to let them burn off some energy. The tent is somewhat small and we didn't want them to bring harm to any of the fragile little beauties!

There is a small room where they let you in (and keep butterflies from getting out) and then the kind workers explained the rules. I'm sure this was intended for the moms as seven toddlers can't follow the simple rules of: don't climb on the rocks, don't touch the butterflies, and ... oh, I forgot the rest. But, I think they were very well-behaved and (that I know of) no butterfly wings are missing.

A few funny stories ... well, not funny ... but stories:

- When the lady explained the rules ... she mentioned something about butterflies eating when they sit on the flowers. Two of the kids piped up that they eat, too! They were pretty excited to have something in common with butterflies, I suppose.

- One butterfly was sitting on the walking path and just about everyone tried stepping on it (not on purpose, of course). The kids would get very close and were very observant. Then, it would move a few inches quickly and all the kids would jump back ... Joey saying "ow!"

- Hailey is fascinated with all things moving ... she kept getting really close to each butterfly and would say "hi!" It amazed me that these butterflies were so calm and just sat around enjoying the flowers and bright sunlight.

In other news ... Kevin and I joined a softball team. We're not great. We ended our first two games thanks to the 'slaughter' rule ... you know ... where one team scores so many points, they just put you out of your misery. We scored two runs in our third game. Go us! Last night ... we topped it all! We were actually leading at the end of the first inning ... and scored three runs! The other team scored nine ... semantics.

We celebrated adult-style and are very fortunate for a college-aged babysitter who's allowed to stay out after midnight. Yes, on a work night!

My friend, Kris, gave me a present last night ... a recycled wool business card holder! She hearts wool and I think I'm becoming a bit obsessed, too. I'm also very impressed with her ability to sew! It's got a cool balloon and stitched string on it ... so cute for my shindigs for kids business cards! She made this from bits of wool sweaters that have been 'felted' ... or ... accidentally washed and shrunk. I didn't know people did that on purpose! Either way ... there's so much you can do with that sweater. And Kris will tell you all about it at Resweater.

And now ... speaking of handmade and butterflies ... way to combine two topics, Nata-Leigh!

Why, thank you!

I found the cutest little upcycled crayons for a certain someone's ladybug themed party and they arrived in the mail today ... along with a butterfly one. I'll build the suspense for the ladybug ones ... but here's a look at the butterfly. Just about the cutest thing ever! I heart drawing with it because no two lines are the same color. Fun for all ages! And a great use of old, broken crayons. You can make them yourself ... or if you lack the patience ...

Scrappers by Design is having a moving sale if you want a few for yourself. But, act quickly ... I think today is the last day!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Training Train

I have completed the fronts of Joey's 2nd birthday party invitations. I can't really take full responsibility for the whole "two toot" idea ... even though Heather told me I could. But for some reason, I feel that wouldn't be completely honest to post it without saying so.

On the inside ... "we're on track for a toot-in' good time." So cute!

The one great thing about doing these cards for friends is that it is providing me with an excellent training opportunity. It's helping me determine pricing structures and get better at determining how long it takes for each element in a card.

I've got lots more to learn, I'm sure. But, for right now ... I'm having so much fun starting this new adventure.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Un-Gardener

I potted some flowers for the front porch and had enough left over for one pot in back ... yes, orange flowers.

This is the theme color for this summer. All orange, all the time.

I did buy a big yellow watering can and Lubbock likes to help me water so much, I decided he needed his own little can. So, he enjoys helping me water with his own can.

Apparently, he also loves unplanting the flowers. Not that they were really planted to begin with. I kinda sorta just pulled each plant out of the little square and placed it on top of the soil in the pot. I was in a hurry and meant to get back later and fix them. But, alas ... I haven't gotten back to them.

I'm so envious of people who have the patience to grow flowers and vegetables and spend hours a day weeding and pruning. I'm not sure it's in my blood. I do love looking at them, though.

In fact, I think I need to get to Morton Arboretum soon to have a nice long walk through all the pretty flowers and gardens. That sounds so relaxing! Anyone wanna join me?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Review of the Zoo

When I was in 5th or 6th grade, our family visited a zoo. I was bit on the back of my leg by some kind of bird. I remember it as a duck for some reason. It left a little blood blister, but I was fine. The only lasting consequence was my disdain for zoos. Ever since then, I can't stand the thought of going. The smell of animals, the sight of the little plastic melty waxy toys you can buy in the vending machines, and the feel of the feed you buy in the gumball-like dispensers all take me back to "the attack." Yes ... that traumatic!

My Wednesday playgroup has scheduled Phillips Park Zoo a few times in the past, but the weather never seemed to work out. Darnit. They have attempted to convince me that it doesn't smell, there aren't animals loose, and it's free ... attempting to appeal to my cheap-ness. Most of them had already been and promised me it was a great place to go.

Last Wednesday, it was on the calendar again. And so was rain. It looked like I dodged the bullet again, except it was only occasionally sprinkling. So, everyone decided to chance it and go. Sigh.

I'm so happy we went and now it's one of my new favorite places. I'm sorry it took me so long to get there, but I promise not to drag my feet next time. The animals don't smell and the only thing loose was a snake for the kids to touch. It was securely held by a zookeeper.

They have a large playground area with plenty of covered picnic tables. I wouldn't suggest going there unless the ground is dry (it was really muddy on Wednesday). But, it was still fun.

A side note to the playgroup ... don't think this makes me want to jump into a big zoo like Brookfield. I wouldn't call myself a zoo-fan yet ... just a person that tolerates this zoo!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Burn and the Fire

I've never been known to take a fall gracefully. This was no exception.

My friend, Rutu, was up from Texas with his fiancee (of about one week ... congrats, man). I was really excited to head over to Chicago for dinner and drinks and to see other friends like Nadine, Cormac and Deven. I even convinced my sister to tag along. I had on a super cute jean skirt and my new yellow shirt (from Lubbock's party).

We walked out the front door, made it down the porch stairs and as I was doing my last minute "make-sure-I-have-my-cell-phone-and-wallet" check ... bam!

I forgot I have another set of steps at the end of the sidewalk. It wasn't a very graceful fall. I landed with my skirt hiked up and everything! Oy!

So, I went in and washed off my knee and put some ointment on and thought ... I'm a tough girl ... I should still go. But, then I looked down and the blood was dripping down my knee. Hmmm. Maybe I should stay home.

I texted my apologies (along with a picture as proof) and tried to figure out what to do with my night.

Of course! Build a fire!

We bought a fire pit last week in hopes of using it while our friends were over for an evening grillout, but we never got around to it. If there's one thing I learned from growing up around two Eagle Scouts and a Queen Scout (the Canadian equivalent ... yes ... Queen Scout) ... it's how to build a fire. Well, there's other things ... but I'm talking about fires right now.

So, I got some dryer lint and dried up clumps of grass and small, medium, and large twigs and built myself a tee pee. Kevin tried helping, but all he was doing was putting logs on before it was ready. He almost killed my fire three of four times. But, I triumphed and had a roarin' fire shortly! Go, me!

My sister got her tent out and set it up (to make sure she had all the parts for her trip to Wakarusa this weekend). Lubbock loved going in and out and in and out. I think he needs a tent, too. How fun would that be?

I'm not a big fan of camping. I hate being dirty, I hate bugs, I hate peeing in the woods. In fact, I think the last time I went camping ... a tornado warning was so close to where we were that we decided to pack up and leave. (You can imagine my disappointment.)

In shindigs for kids news ... I have my first two 'gigs' booked! Thanks, Audrey and Heather. They're friends, but I think they count. Audrey is doing a ladybug themed second birthday party and Heather is doing a train party for Joey's second birthday. Both are going to be super cute. In fact ... I have the outside of the ladybug cards complete ... what do you think?

They're very three-dimensional ... the ribbon going from the '2' to the ladybug making it look like the ladybug is flying. I couldn't decide if I liked the loop or the lazy 'S' better, so I did some of both. I hope Audrey likes them!