Thursday, December 12, 2013

Watch This Video

Hey all,

A friend sent me a great TED Talk video that addresses about something I am rather dedicated to in my life, and that wouldn't hurt for others to consider too:


I find this especially relevant during this Christmas season.
I understand this is a time that many people can go above and beyond their means to purchase things for family and friends believing that it is the only/ultimate way to express their love for them. It is a true reality that people will go into the red while funding their "holiday shopping".

That is why I have adopted a "$100 Christmas" goal for our family these past couple of years (last mentioned here). Excluding the occasional mandatory travel costs, I give myself a $100 limit for all things gift related (items + sending costs). This plan has several benefits including: less stress, kinder environmental choices, decluttering our homes and those of our loved ones, focusing on "presence" over "presents", and putting our money toward more productive goals -- for us it's the education of our children; a gift that truly keeps on giving ;).

As I have repeated a couple of times on my blog, I hope to instill in my own children the understanding that Christmas is not a time of gluttonous consumption. Rather, it's about looking out for others. Expressing our love for others with every stitch we knit, every bow we tie, and every cookie we bake. The time and presence it takes to work on these crafty Christmas projects is spent joyously as a family, honing our skills or learning new ones, and always with our dear ones in the forefront of our minds.

So even if our gifts may be small, they are bursting with love for the recipients and are meant to be something of real use to them. I try to avoid knicknacks that simply clog shelves, and instead aim for something that could get ample use -- hopefully daily! Maybe that's just because that's what I prefer in the objects in my life :)

Anyway, I think that's enough preaching from my soapbox.
I'll get down now, and hope that you have time to watch this inspirational video.
And maybe try the $100 Christmas challenge too.
See if it lightens the load of financial strain, motivates you to revisit an old skill or pick up a new one, and shifts the focus of the season from buying/consuming to making/giving! ;)

Until next time, take care and Happy Videos!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Snowy Weather

Hello hello!

My what a weekend we've had since I last wrote on Thursday.
It ended up snowing heavily some time in the middle of the night on into Friday and resulted in school closures, slippery roads, and an all together different kind of weekend for the Dashiell Family.
A real Snowmaggedon.

Even as I sit typing here on Monday evening, Corvallis School District has already decided to close school yet again for tomorrow, giving local kids the rare and much enjoyed 5-day weekend!

This hasn't affected us all too much besides the fact that Ella Rose won't be going to school tomorrow and we haven't had the usual high schooler traffic on our street. Phew!

Here are some things that we've done on our weekend snow-in:

- Christmas present crafting
- beating Super Mario Bros. 3D World
- taking walks
- cleaning house!!
- watching holiday-themed Thomas the Tank Engine
- knitting
- attending a fellow Peachy's birthday party

So yeah, lots of indoor time and not so much socializing compared to usual.
What a weekend for the snowmaggedon to come -- so many events I was looking forward to got canceled. ;_; I'm glad I was not an event organizer for anything this past weekend, because so much had to be postponed, rescheduled, or all together canceled. Boo-hoo!

But it was nice having so much 4-person Dashiell Family fun. Dash has been baking up a storm too, with waffles two mornings in a row, pizza, biscuits, and tonight a pineapple-apple pie. Yum!!

Speaking of food, it feels like we've been really raking our pantries to create meals from what we already have (and neglect) instead of going to the store. It feels like we're really reaching the bottom of the barrel of our spoils from all that summertime dumpster diving. Ha! :D
Now to see what we can score when a faction of the students leave once finals are done at the end of this week. Heh!

Dash has taken many a nice shot of the winter wonderland that became our house and neighborhood but most are on Facebook already, so here is a shot of Dash's hair tonight:

A little hard to see but it's on the left there...

He's got aho-ge!!!
Apparently he thinks he needs a haircut, but I think he looks fine.

Oh! And I should mention that the knitting I've done are in the line of mittens!
Remember how crazy I was about mittens a couple of years back?
Well, I am on a roll again making a new set for the kiddos and for the birthday boy on Sunday!
I even got to implement more duplicate stitching, and made little starts on them.
Should've taken a photo!! >_<
Oh well, maybe I'll ask his mama~

Well!
That is all for now.
Hope you are all staying warm and safe in this snowy/icy weather and until next time, take care and Happy Snowy Weather!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Poisonwood Bible

Hello, hello!

It probably feels like a long time since I made a post about a book I've read, but it's not because I'm not reading books...just not posting about it or plain not finishing them yet. ;)

The last book I read was Proof of Heaven by Dr. Eben Alexander.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1451695195/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=36272853640&hvpos=1t2&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=1009838411873799528&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_4nbgtybolh_e


I read it while on our trip to D.C. for the Leonada (the family reunion on my grandmother's side of the family) back in August/Sept.

It was a lovely read, soothing and reassuring if you choose to believe in the kind of afterlife the author allegedly experienced. Which I have chosen to do. I don't know why I never made a post about it -- maybe it's because I don't feel I can write about it without giving it away or fear of failing to describe it in a way that won't make people roll their eyes with cynicism. Myself, I'm not one to think about near-death experiences or ponder the afterlife, so this book was very different from what I usual read, and one that I am glad I picked up. My mother's recommendation, no surprise there ;)

If you have a moment and are interested in stretching your mind a bit in a direction you don't usually let it go in, then do yourself a favor and pick up this book.
It's a quick read, especially when you read the large print edition which I just so happen to be a fan of. ;)

Now for the most recent book I just finished:
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.



The second Barbara Kingsolver book I've ever been exposed to, but definitely not the last. I aim to read every book of hers that our library carries, if possible. Her prose is so beautiful, bordering on poetry a lot of the time, and always touching upon a myriad of issues that strike a chord with me, even if I don't always recognize that they do beforehand.

I am proud to say that I was able to finish this book in four days while knitting Christmas presents, taking brisk walks, bicycling, and working at the college all at the same time.
How, you ask? Because I technically listened to an audio version of it that I got from audible.com.

My first really good audiobook experience was listening to Douglas Adams' The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul which we listened to in the car with my mom on some long roadtrip somewhere in our early teens... I want to say it was when college-hunting, but I think I was too young for that then. Hmm... Either way, that was the first one and ever since that, I've had a deep appreciation for audiobooks.

Another recent good audiobook was The Road by Cormac McCarthy.
Also a library rental and one that Dash and I enjoyed every evening in bed while Ella Rose slept next to us. It was good to be able to enjoy a book simultaneously like that together so that we could discuss it the next day and always be on the same "page" in it. Though it was hardly an uplifting title, phew!

The narrator for The Poisonwood Bible was the perfect choice because either she naturally had a faint Southern accent or was just really good at mimicking one, because most of the characters in the book are from Georgia and she did a great job with them.
There are themes of conquest-submission, growing up and out from under your parents' influence, the hardships of motherhood, and family bonds in general.

It was a very rich read and I look forward to getting another audiobook soon that I can enjoy while walking the dog or hopping the bike for a quick errand. Just a nice little companion to take on such outings. Or, better yet, listening to while knitting on the sofa and such.

Before that, though, I have to finish this collection of short stories by Neil Gaiman that I am borrowing from a friend. I like reading one little story every night before turning out the light. It's so nice reading good old fiction after what was a pretty long stint of non-fiction.

Oh, well! You learn lots from either type, I think.

Until next time, take care, happy reading and Happy Poisonwood Bible!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

William At The Sink

Hey, all!

Today's the last day of the month, and indeed this month I have clocked hardly nil in terms of posts.
Oh, well!

How was everybody's Thanksgiving?
Ours was swell, but I will have to go into that another day, as today I want to share with you something that has been a part of our daily routine:


This is how William wraps up his tooth-brushing sessions, and it really is pretty cute/risky/over-the-top, so I thought I'd capture it on video. Because he will not be doing this for that much longer as he gets bigger and bigger. :)

I never thought of this as something I should be thankful for, but I'm happy that so far both kiddos enjoy brushing their teeth and don't need to be persuaded or anything.
They even prefer our baking soda over conventional "children's" toothpaste. Phew~!
I hope that keeps up and that they have good dental health and maybe even inherit their father's straight teeth (not their mother's!!)

Well, until next time take care all and talk to you soon!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Siblings

Hey, all!

Man, this month is going to go down as the month where I strayed from my New Year's Resolution big-time.
I bet I won't even hit double-digit posts -- gah!

Oh, well~
Let's just write off this month as "the month where my arm was just not up to snuff, so I had to take it easy" ;) Heh

Well, I was still able to do something a little nice over the weekend and I'd like to share it with you here.

Firstly, Saturday was mellow and plans-free so I did a little aimless wandering around the high school with the kiddos. We hit up a favorite spot: the duck creek

We fed old zucchini bread to the ducks -- they loved it!!
Ella Rose really is something of a "duck whisperer" and when she sits and sings, no joke, the ducks all flock to her. And she is such a good big sister to William while by the water -- making sure that he can feed the ducks too and that he doesn't get too close to the edge. This outing in particular was such an example of these two siblings at their best. I am generally very thankful that Ella Rose embraces her "Big Sister" role so well and, for the most part, doesn't see William as an annoyance she wants to get away from.
They both climbed to the top of the dirt pile in the parking lot.
 As the weather gets colder, I am definitely looking forward to snuggly inside time, but also want to make an effort to get outside. And I don't just mean neighborhood-outside -- I mean out in nature. For being one who values nature so much, I am embarrassed to admit that I don't find myself in it very much. But so long as I have all the right gear to keep us warm and dry, I don't see why we can't go out on a nature walk even in the most miserable weather! So that is my goal for this winter, and probably one you will see on my New Year's Resolution list too :)

I should also mention that on Sunday Dash and I enjoyed a lovely evening date to the theater where we watched a local production of The Sound Of Music!!!!!
One of our favorite films for sure, and one that I watched virtually every day when freshly pregnant with William - ha! :D
The cast was spot-on and the audience was even invited to sing along a couple of times, just like in the movie!!
So that was a good thing for us~

Well, I am making some yogurt and need to go tend to it now.

Until next time, take care and Happy Siblings!



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Doin' Great!

Hey all,

Man I have not been updating my blog in a while!
As I mentioned in the last post, the state of my arm has something to do with it.
Granted, I can type without a problem on the computer, but in my outside life I have been opting to lay real low and therefore have not been up to anything that felt worthy of mention on the blog. Heh!

But then again, I've been having a great past couple of days and today was just the icing on the cake, so I thought I'd blog about it. So here goes:

Firstly, Saturday was just a lovely turn of events when we went over to S.G. and family's for a night of mega tamale making and eating! We split the ingredients needed, and the manual labor, and ended up making over 100 tamales, which we brought a good portion home of. Yum!! We have been eating them for lunch and snacks daily and I just cannot get sick of them! S.G.'s generous contribution of amazing mole sauce might have something do with that ;)

And now this week is starting off just awesome!
The kids hung at a friend's house most of the morning on Monday, and then today we started a child-swapping set-up with the fabulous S.G. yet again!
William will be going to her house once a week from 8:30 or so until 2pm. And we'll take her little girl another day of the week, same times. Yay!!
I can't imagine a better home for him to be in to give mama some time away and to learn to be with another little kid his age and just learn how different folks do different things in their households. In just this one day alone, it seems his communication skills are up! So I have only the highest hopes for this new set-up. :)

Speaking of William, he's also been absolutely stellar with his pottying. He's only wet one diaper a day, and today was zero I do believe. The includes night time -- he's been waking up dry consistently since Saturday. Huzzah!! :)

Today also rawked because I finally got on filling out and sending in my application for new health insurance for the family and it is looking promising in terms of covering our family's needs at an affordable price. Phew!! It helps that we are all super healthy and rarely/never go to the doctor. I will do what I can to keep that up too!

Lastly, I felt very productive both inside the house and outside, as I had some more outside work today with tutoring lessons and whatnot. It's amazing that for having a "bum arm" from the accident, I can still engage in many activities, and the only really challenging one is taking care of William because he requires so much lifting and he's so heavy! Oof!

Well, that is all for today.
I feel happy, hopeful, accomplished, grateful, and overall jazzed about this week and the ones coming.

I hope you are all feeling just as happy and let us all be thankful for all the good in our lives!

Until next time, take care and Happy Doin' Great!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sister Vacation

Hey everyone!

Wow! I have been away from a whole week~!
And I don't just mean from the blog.
I was away from the rest of the family to visit my twin sis, Kathy, down in the Bay Area for seven days!!
What a treat it was!

Truth be told, the initial reason for the trip was to wean William, but it really was so much more than that.
It was a packed week, so I'd like to go over the details of each day just to help me remember the most glorious and indulgent week I've had in a long time. :)
Here goes:

Sunday:
Still grounded in Corvallis, I spent the majority of the day making soap with a lady friend, which was awesome!! I was supposed to leave for OAK via EUG at an early 1pm, but Allegiant Airlines can be unreliable and Sunday proved to be quite an example of that. Granted, itt worked out on account of how long making soap can take, but after a myriad of delays, I finally touched down in OAK at 11pm (!!) So our first day together was not really much of anything. Nah, I take that back. The car ride to her house was full of great conversations about art and whatnot, and even at home we shared many a giggle over imgur and funny things we've seen online. Aah, the simple pleasures~ The week was off to a great start.

Monday:
Whenever we visit one another's homes, we tend to help each other with around-the-house chores and errands that have been put off, so that was the first thing we did. We installed a light that had been sitting around in her home for two years and donated a couple of bags' worth of clutter. That brought us to Goodwill, where we shopped around for some costumes for Kathy's job (see below), and then spent the rest of the afternoon watching Portlandia~ Oooh, such laziness! Then that evening I got to accompany Kathy to one of her costumed modeling gigs which was very cool! So many talented artists, and I got to help her keep time. Yay!

Such a beauty~ Her costume was like an elegant salsa dancer. Lovely!!

Tuesday:
This was the day for the city (San Francisco)!
We hit up the city together on Kathy's motorcycle! First, we stopped by the University of San Francisco to stroll around with my good friend from college and bridesmaid, Shannon. It was great to catch up, and I appreciate how no matter how long we may be out of touch for, we can pick up right where we left off when we see each other again. I appreciate Shannon a lot and love all the time I spend with her.
After seeing Shannon, we cycled on down to Japantown where I picked up some materials for the kiddos, and generally reminisced about all things Japanese. Aaaah, love it.
But!! Upon returning to Kathy's motorcycle, we discovered that somebody had stolen the protective gear I'd been wearing right off her bike!! Grr!! >_< A leather jacket and riding pants. Not cheap, and not cool!! In Japantown, in the middle of the afternoon on a Tuesday?? Come on! But at least we both had our helmets still, phew! And Kathy handled it cool, called the police, etc etc, and then we were on our way to our next stop...
The Viz office to see Hope, Alexis, Fawn, and other friends :) They are at a new building now, and it was great to be in that kind of manga-drenched environment again after so long. I'm so happy they all seem to truly enjoy their jobs.
After that, we rode to Hope & Shannon's pad, where we browsed photos, drank wine, dined and snacked, guffawed, drooled over doujinshi, and overall had a great time. Man, it was great seeing them in their natural habitat (heh) and just sort of marveling at the very different way they lead their lives compared to what I've been doing up in Oregon. No children with immediate needs to be met, or even husbands to have to be considerate of. Just good old young-in-the-city fun. Le sigh~~ :)

Wednesday:
So we totally crashed out at their pad, which was so nice of them to accommodate seeing as how they both had to go to work early in the morning! Kathy and I cycled on home, ate some breakfast, and then did some little tasks we'd been meaning to do. Kathy worked on steno, and I mailed off preschool photos of Ella. Heeee :)
We then took a long walk to the library, then sushi for dinner, then "The Cabin in the Woods" in her living room. All in all, a lovely day where I had Kathy all to myself. Yay!

Thursday:
Here's where things took an unexpected turn.
Kathy wanted to go to at least one class while I was still there, to show me what it's like, so we took bicycles to her campus. But they were not typical bikes, but rather the types that have clip-in pedals that require special shoes and whatnot... So I was very unfamiliar with them, and after 20 minutes of riding, when I decided to stop and adjust my helmet, I forgot I was clipped in and fell off my bike! It was onto hard pavement, and I fractured the radial head in my elbow!! ;_; I actually didn't cry, but I was definitely bummed and incapable of doing much beyond walking. No knitting! No typing! No eating with two hands!! We went to the E.R. but besides getting a sling to rest my arm in, there was nothing they or anybody could do, since only time can take care of such things. By the time we got home from this whole morning debacle, it was 2pm so I napped and stayed on the sofa for the remainder of the afternoon until Martin got home, and we went out to a restaurant. In an act of solidarity, Kathy and Martin ate their meals one-handed, which was very sweet of them. {: )

Can you see that little shard of bone sticking out there? Yeah, ouch.

Friday:
Martin had taken the day off with plans to take us all hiking, but with yesterday's surprise fracture, it turned out to be a very relaxed day, with Kathy translating, me websurfing on the sofa, and Martin chopping wood outside. Wow, I really inundated myself with internet mindlessness as I caught up on old webcomics, read some fanfiction, and hyucked it up on imgur some more. Again I was sweetly treated out to sushi, and then The Walking Dead at home. I had watched the first episode of that long ago and was thoroughly spooked, but either I have a thicker skin or the show is tamer than I remembered, but I was able to watch an episode without feeling as shaken as I had before. So that was good.

Saturday:
More lazing around. Only my arm's mobility was that much more improved that I felt up for another long walk with Kathy before I accompanied her to another modeling session where I managed to knit the entire time!! Go, human body, right?? Interestingly enough, the doctor who saw me at the hospital said that rather than immobilize the fractured bone, they want mobility to keep the muscles from tightening and getting sore/weak. So it's a delicate balance between using my arm but not to the point that I (re)injure it. Go figure! I think knitting is a good exercise for it then, because I'm using the muscle but not doing anything too crazy.
The evening brought a lovely treat of pizza delivery + a casual interview with a ethnographer friend about video games. It was fun getting to talk to somebody who is completely outside the world of video games and share my perspective on it as an extremely casual/backseat gamer. Heh heh!

Sunday:
My flight left at 9am, so we had to wake up early at 6am. Ouch.
But the plane was on-time, there were no hiccups, and I got home safe and sound.
The moment I got in the car and turned around to see William, he said "Hi." and I started crying. He looked like he'd suddenly grown so much and I guess I was overcome with a lot of love and all the "missing" I'd had for the family at a subconscious level suddenly came bubbling up.

Getting to visit Kathy in the world of childfree/metropolitan/warm weather was really a world so unlike my own, it gave me an incredible breath of fresh air. Sleeping in? Zoning out in front of the TV? Sushi dinners? It was great!
I've been a little emotional today, but I think it was a mixture of poor sleep, feeling debilitated because of my arm (can't even hold the little ones!), and almost like culture shock being reintroduced into the old norms from my weeklong fantasy away~

I am sure it will get better in no time, especially seeing as how quickly my arm is healing. I mean look at this, I just typed this entire essay-long entry! So who knows what I'll be able to do by tomorrow even! Besides the limited mobility, there's not much else wrong with my arm so I'll be able to go to some of my own modeling session too. Woot!

Anyway, thanks for reading the entire journal entry about this week in San Jose with my sis.
Do you ever go on trips away like this? They are so good for the heart and soul. Especially when in as great company as family aka sisters. :)

I will talk to you again soon until then take care and Happy Sister Vacations!!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Belated Halloween Post!

Heya heya, everybody!

Wow, it's already November 3rd, and I haven't written since before that most "hallowed" of holidays (ha).
Halloween!
How was everybody's Halloween this year?
Good, I hope!
I must say, ours was a lot more mellow this year. It was a drizzly day, William napped late (and me with him!) and we weren't able to get our act together as a family this year because of a moody baby and computer-bound Dash.

Last year, we all went as Totoros, which was awesome!!
Dash and I were 大トトロ, Ella was a 中トトロ, and little William was a ちびトトロ.
I made the outfits using thrift shop finds with a little bit of sewing, and we were all nice and comfy warm in the wet NW October weather.
We went downtown for treats from local businesses, and did enough trick-or-treating in Albany that we amassed quite a stash of candy that has somehow survived to this day. @_@

Anyway, so that was last year.
This year, the Dashiells planned on going as the cast to another Ghibli film: Kiki's Delivery Service!
I've mentioned this delightful children's movie before regarding Ella's 2nd birthday, and indeed it is dear to all our hearts. :)

The cast was follows:

Ella = Kiki
William = Ket/Jiji's girlfriend
Chrissy = Ursula
Dash = Tombo

Ella Rose is such a natural Kiki!
Just check it out:

Kiki's a friendly witch who makes deliveries on her broom!

I love that smile of hers :)
Unfortunately, I have zippo snapshots of her with her broom, but I assure you it was the perfect prop for her. Love the Jiji plushie too, eh?
Her whole outfit cost $0 in that she already had the broom from Goodwill some years ago, her bow was a ribbon saved from a gift, Jiji was a present to us, and her dress was from a clothing swap. Score!! :)

Here is William's "character":

Oh, my god! First animated gif on my blog ever!!!!
That's right, he played a fluffy female cat -- the "love interest" of Jiji. 
 
He was feeling less moody by now
His costume was just a lamb costume with "cat" face paint on.  Ha!
The lamb costume was also a clothing swap score and the "face paint" was just eyeliner somebody had given me. Cheapest costumes everrrrr!! Gosh, he didn't even have ears, so people would see the little tail and say "what a cute lamb!" but then see his face and go "...wait, he's a cat~?" So he gets an A+ for ambiguity ;)

My character, Ursula, his plain as plain can be so I don't think many people thought I was dressed up at all.
Check it:

Two animated gifs in one post! What??
Ursula's an artist that Kiki meets, so that it was pretty fitting of me to be her for Halloween.
Plus, I've got the ponytail hair and her outfit in my closet already - ha!!
To make some attempt at looking dressed up, I stuck a couple paintbrushes in my ponytail. Besides that, I just looked like somebody poorly dressed for the weather.

All in all, it was fun pretending to be the characters and throwing quotes around to one another...but exactly 0 people recognized who we were, or even knew the movie. HA!!

Oh, and here is who Dash was supposed to be:

Tombo is a geeky aviation aficcionado, and a good friend to Kiki
I swear Dash is such a natural Tombo!
The glasses, short hair, goofy smile, and even the outfit is something he could've pulled outta his closet!
Alas, not this year...

Hopefully, next year we'll be able to all go as a family and this time be something that people can recognize~
And, most important of all, something warm!!!!

Well, with that I bid you adieu.
Hope you all are looking forward to November -- I know I am!! -- and until next time take care and Happy Belated Halloween Posts!!

One last crescent-moon-eyed Ella photo for you ;)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Drawing Development

Yo yo!

So today I'd like to share with you a recent trend in Ella's art:

10/29/13

Usually, she draws people's faces straight on, but as you can see...we have a profile!
And she's been dabbling with pastels these days too.

In general, art is on her mind and we've been pouring over my Alphonse Mucha book quite a bit together.
She'd also been hoping to take a pottery class, offered through The Art Center, but unfortunately it was cancelled. ;_;
Oh, well -- there will be more chances for that in good time. :)

That is all for now.
Are there any updates in the field of art/drawing in your homes?
Do share!

Until next time, take care and Happy Drawing Development!

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Great Weekend!

Hey again everybody!

Sorry for the absence there -- it was a busy and fun weekend, so I figured I'd get back to you after it was all over.
So here I am and here are the updates:

Friday:
After a little work outside the home (always a joy!) Dash and I left the kiddos in the care of the amazing Jesse again and went to a concert!!

I love youuuuuuu!!

Rufus Wainwright played at the Shedd Institute in Eugue and it was a spectacular performance. Truth be told, we were a little late and missed the opening act which was his sister Martha, who has an incredible voice!! But Rufus' gorgeous voice and piano-playing made up for all of that :)

Are you familiar with Rufus Wainwright's work? He did the cover of Leanord Cohen's "Hallelujah" for the end of "Shrek". I think that is how most people know about him. I was first exposed to him through an anime music video. Heh heh heh. I don't even recall which one, just one that was shown at an anime convention back in the day...

Aaaanyway, so it's been just about a decade since I fell in love with him and I've seen him three times so far. At the Wiltern, the Hollywood Bowl, and now the Shedd Institute. :)
And all three times have been with Dash! Hurray!!

After the concert, we stopped by a family restaurant for some coffee and dessert, and had a great time. I was feeling really goofy and at the same time full of incredibly good ideas, and then promptly crashed out at home after seeing Jesse off. So it was a somewhat short (but intense!) date :D

Saturday:
Saturday was the epitome of a lazy day. I had some work to do, so Dash took the kids to the farmers' market and when they got back, William was good and ready for a nap...and so was I! So we crashed out on the couch, and woke up a mere 30 minutes before our dinner guests were due: the Hokazonos!!
Yes, we finally got back together with our long lost dear friends, Kae, Seishirou, Douzen, and Motohira. Going from one kid to two can do that to you!! Dash made many a yummy pizza and the Hokazonos brought a delicious daikon-persimmon salad + ocha muffins. 美味しい!!
It was so great catching up with them, getting to hold the precious little Motohira, and watching as Ella Rose and Douzen flipped out all over the place having a great rambunctious time. Gosh it felt good speaking Japanese again after so long! Besides tutoring it, and reading Japanese books to the kids, I really don't get to speak it that much! So that felt nice :)
Oh, and my period showed up! Phew and yay!! :D I've never been a very regular girl, but I thought two kids and an IUD would do at least something... Guess not!

Sunday:
The first half of the day was taken up by church, which I may have mentioned we are back into going to, which was nice because I got to chat with these really nice gals in the nursery during the service and then got to help with the children's choir practice afterward. I am so proud of Ella's ability to remember the words to songs so quickly and even carry the correct melody. :)))
After church, we did some outdoor work -- raking and prepping the winter garden -- and then spent the rest of the afternoon at a preschool friend's house! January Jewel had us over for yummy apple cider, lots of imaginary play, and even some homemade magnetic letters and numbers that we got to take home! Score!!

We then had a late afternoon surprise visitor, and I was feeling so not in the mood to cook that we went out for mexican! Hurray!

And there you have it.
Our very great weekend. :D
I think this is gonna be a great week, too, and I hope you all had Great Weekends and great everything!!!!!!!
Greeeeeeattttt!!!

Take care!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Instant Upgrades!!

Hi all!

What an incredible day today was.
Well...at least the second half. :)
It feels like both kids suddenly made these great leaps ahead in terms of...I guess "progress" is the word.
Lemme explain/show:

Firstly, in terms of our bicycling situation.
Ever since we got Ella Rose's tagalong about a month ago, it changed the way we get around most places, and especially to/from school:

Ella Rose is always nice and bundled up for our commutes :)

On her tagalong, Ella Rose isn't as much dead weight as before, and can actually propel me forward a bit if she really pedals in earnest. Yay!! It is really making her stronger, I feel, and she loves the freedom it grants her :)

But just today, Ella Rose wanted to accompany me to a friend's house on an errand, on her good old two-wheel bike...and add an attachment to it:

Such a proud big sis, with a somewhat bewildered William in the trailer

Indeed, we attached the trailer to her bike and she toted William the entire way there and half of the way back!!
She loved feeling so responsible for her little brother and I can't believe she's only 4 1/2 and was able to pull him so far for so long!! Watch out, Proud Mama here!! :D

Here's a little video of them in action:


So as if that wasn't awesome enough, back at home, Ella said she wanted to accompany Dada to the grocery store and pull the groceries in the trailer behind her...and before she left, I was able to finally teach her how to tie her shoes!!
It only took literally 5 or so minutes, because I opted to teach her using the "two loops" method. Here is a little video of Ella tying her one shoe:


I'm not gonna lie, teaching her was fast, but her actually tying the shoe takes a little while.
Granted, she's only been able to do it as of this one evening :)
I have the feeling she will get good and fast at it by the time the weekend is through, which is good because then she can use her skills at school to tie and untie her own shoes, saving Miss Christine a lot of work! :)

The icing on the cake, was just before dinner and it involved William.
Dash and I were talking about how Tak'e had to be fed, and how I'd get around to it as soon as I was done with the hashbrowns...when I suddenly hear the sound of dog food going into Tak'e's bowl, and there's William having taken the initiative to feed him himself! He used the scooper in the bag and poured it right into Tak'e's bowl without spilling it or anything!
The smart little fella had overheard us and gone ahead to do the chore for us! What a sweetie!!

So yeah, that is all I have to report for now.
Crazy how in one afternoon and evening, the kiddos sort of "advanced" in leaps and bounds.
Maybe I'm overreacting to these tiny little updates, but to me they feel big!
If we can get William to always feed Tak'e...well wow, that'd be frickin' awesome.
And Ella Rose tying her shoes -- well, that's not going away any time soon so that is great too. Really, Miss Christine had just told me how the kids can't wear lace-up shoes to school because it takes so long for the teachers to have to tie and untie them for them...but now that Ella can do it herself, she can wear her lace-up sneakers and whatnot at last!! :)

And the toting of William by Ella... Too cool!! A great way to keep her strong and give her a real sense of purpose and responsibility, which she loves~

Well, that is all I am going to say tonight.
I hope you all have had a great week and are looking forward to an even greater weekend.
Until then, take care and Happy Instant Updates!!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Creative Clothing~

Hey all!

So I think I mentioned a long time ago that Ella and I like to give a theme to our outfits for the day -- be it colors or plants or what-have-you.

Just last week, Ella was a rainbow by doing the following:
- purple socks
- blue pants
- green shorts over her pants
- yellow skirt
- orange shirt
- red sweater

And today she wanted to mimic the character on the cover of the book:

Over the summer we had at least 50 books from this series in our home @_@

Ella's interpretation. Yeaaaah~ ;)
So yeah, it's a fun way to get her involved in the morning dress-up routine.
And here is William in a lamb suit for good measure:



Well, that is all for now.
We are having more lovely autumn days, not too much work but just enough and lots of getting out of the house ;)
Until next time, take care and Happy Creative Clothing!!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Ladybugs~!

'Allo, 'allo!

Today was another beautiful autumn day.
Really, this has to be the prettiest autumn yet -- such rich colors, and gloriously sunny afternoons.
And today we got to take advantage of it outside with a friend's birthday party!

Ella on the left, Tzippy on the right -- both princessed out~!

Little Tzippy turns 4 tomorrow, so today her lovely family held a "ladybug" themed birthday party. To fit with that theme, our contribution of food was ladybug-esque homemade oreos.

The frosting in the middle was "red"
Miniature marshmallows make the eyes
The finished product looks more like muppet monsters... @_@


I think they went over quite well! I gotta tell you, it is hard to just have one of these little oreos. So...darn...addictive!!
How ironic that my first blog post on them was almost 4 years ago to the day. My, how time flies!!

Ella Rose also wore her black leotard and red tights to look like a ladybug...and the cake at the end was a delicious red velvet cake. YUM!!

Also, while we were there, we got to release real ladybugs into the local park! What a nice act of kindness to the landscaping department, no? :)

William inspecting one -- they are tough enough to withstand his grabby toddler hands

And what was coolest of all, was that we got to take home some ladybugs too!

Their little home~

Ella Rose now has 5 ladybugs in her care named Rachel, Clara, Kate, Laura, and Louisa. She is really enjoying taking care of them, and hopefully they will last longer than "Diana the Snail" from back in early Summer -- bleegh >_<

Well, that is all for now.
Who'dve guessed we'd be enjoying ladybugs at this time of year? :)
Wish us luck with our little ladybug adventures, and until next time -- take care and Happy Ladybugs!!

Proud mama?

Friday, October 18, 2013

New Light~!

G'morning!

So yesterday was a the first day in a long while where Dash and I weren't completely consumed by work.
Therefore, we were able to do a little interior rearranging -- doesn't that feel good to do once in a while? Doing away with inefficient set-ups, obsolete furniture/fixtures, and some much needed clean-up too.

It all started with finally get around to assembling this "puzzle light" my mom got us for Christmas:

Taken with Dash's cell phone -- nifty!!

It's called an Infinity Lights and isn't it just gorgeous?
Our living room is notoriously poorly lit, so by replacing the ancient standing lamp in the corner with this one, the room is far better illuminated.

That switch out, of course, spurred us to shift some tables around, do away with clutter that had been building up on some surfaces and -- last but not least -- update the kids' drawing stations.

You recall how in the summer I came by this drawing tray if sorts for William, yeah?
Well, that was working for a while...until it was evident that he's actually a touch too big for it and likes to try and lean on it, which leads to it collapsing under his weight, etc etc.

Not to mention, two draw-happy children were crowding our tiny hallway as it was!
So we have opted to do two things:

a) give William Ella's desk (the plastic primary colors one), and move it out of the hallway, and into his own little nook next to the fire place:

Now to see about installing that shelf from before here...

b) move Ella's drawing station to the desk upstairs. Remember? The one that we salvaged and fixed up? By having her be up in her room to draw, it should hopefully give her more quiet focused time to draw...without worry of William trying to draw over her art. :D

Well, that is all for now.
I look forward to this new arrangement, and hope that it makes for an overall smoother flow of energy and activities in our home.
Now to get cracking on more of that clutter too...

How about you all?
Any fun home reorganizations/renovations going on with you~?
Don't you love how one little addition/adjustment, can cause a domino effect of changes? :)

Well, until next time.
Take care and Happy New Light!!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

William is 18 months old!

Hello, all!!

I know it's technically the 17th now (by 11 minutes!), but "today" William turned 18 months old :)

I feel like I've been doing posts on what he's up to -- words, video, etc -- so this is going to be a really quick post.
Just recording here that I a) remembered his "half-birthday" b) cared to some degree about that.

Now I can officially say "William is one and a half years old!" No more month-age for him!

Well, until next time...take care and Happy William is 18 Months Old!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Autumn Fun

Hey, hey~!

Man, oh man, after last week's rain, this week has been gorgeous so far!
A real crisp autumn, we are having.
Bright hues, warm sun, cold evenings. I love it all :)

Here is a video Dash took of the kids this afternoon while I was tutoring.

It really captures the essence of an autumnal childhood moment, no? ;)



Well, that is all for now.
I will be writing soon about the pumpkin patching outing we went on and other fun going-ons in the Dashiell household.

Until then, take care and Happy Autumn Fun!!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

5th Anniversary! :)

Howdy, howdy!

I want to tell you all something!
Yesterday, Dash and I celebrated our 5th Anniversary!! :)

It's odd how it can feel like "wow, 5 years already" and "oh, it's only been 5 years?"
It's been a wonderful five years, and I really can't believe how much more I love him than even just a year ago! Or even month ago. Heck, I love him even more than I did just yesterday!! :)
And the love just grows and grows~

To celebrate our anniversary we went out for a nice dinner at Big River restaurant,  and were there for a leisurely two hours. Yesss! So much laughing, and reminiscing, and planning, and adoring. We had such a lovely time. :)

We also shared a bottle of wine from our marriage year '08, which is the only photo I took the entire time. Ha!

Mm, good!

The wine was so good and the meal so filling that I promptly fell asleep when we got home at 9pm.
So it was a relatively mild night, but a great one all together.

Thank you to Angelica for watching William and Ella, and to Dash for being the best hubby I could ask for.

Until next time, take care and Happy 5th Anniversary!!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Tutoring...Barter Style

Hey again, all~

So I'm sure many of you know that my main career is as a Japanese translator.
But did you also know that I tutor the language?

I've been doing it fairly consistently since...I wanna say 2007?
My first "student" was my girlfriend back in L.A. :)

And recently, I've taken on two students who have to be the most brilliant tutees I've ever had!
ジュナイス and マーリー are enthusiastic teenagers who are quick learners and love anime/manga, so we totally relate with each other and our lessons are very fun.

But best of all...in accordance to Gift Economy-esque standards...I've arranged it with their parents so that in place of traditional cash exchange, I am repaid for my lessons with services!
ジュナイス's mom agreed to babysit both kids for date nights (buya), and マーリー's mom is a massage therapist! Scoooore!!

Solace Care Massage & Wellness Center LLC

I just had my second massage from her just this past Wednesday and it was gloooorious.
I would highly recommend her services, as she includes heated stones and cupping in her sessions too! Hurray!! :D

This arrangement is so nice because even if I were paid in money, I probably wouldn't have the discipline to use it on regular date nights and massage sessions, so this way I skip the middle step and go straight to something I really ought to be doing for my marriage and myself. :)

I can't say that I'll always opt for service-over-money arrangements with future tutees as well, but in this case for sure it is working out lovely.

Well, that's all I wanted to say for today.
Do you do anything barter-style with your services?
If so, do share!
 
Until next time, take care and Happy Tutoring Barter Style!
And last but not least!!
For good measure, some recent photos of William (courtesy of Rachel!):

Pretty in pink~ And he looks tickled pink, eh? Eh?? :D

I just love his scrunched up happy faces~~

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

William's Words

Hey, hey!

I feel like I haven't talked about Sweet William here in a while, so here is a post all about him.
Sans pictures though...sorry!!

It's mostly going to be about what he can say these days.
Because boy oh boy he is understanding and saying a lot! And we are especially enjoying his signing.
So in terms of hand signals he can do at this point they are:

- train
- car
- airplane
- milk
- all done
- shirt
- apple
- night-night
- more

Really not a whole lot, but ones that he uses almost daily. Ha!
And he'll respond when I signal things like "potty?" and "water?"

Now for the spoken words, it's a longer list but shown in related sets:

- colors: brown, red, green, blue, orange
- directions: up, down, out
- body parts: mouth, eye, ear, nose, hair
- clothes: hat, boots, shoes
- animals: cat, dog, bird, bug
- random: hot, no, night-night, ow, draw, ball, bath
- our names! (Mama, Dada, Ella, Tak'e, "me")

Hmm... I could've sworn it was more than that, but writing it down here it suddenly doesn't feel like a whole lot.
I guess it's the fact that he'll understand whole sentences and directions from us that makes it feel like he's "talking" more. Like I love being able to tell him to give me a kiss, or say g'night to Daddy and Ella before coming to bed and he'll go and do it. He also loves pointing out body parts when we ask him things like "Where's William's pompees?" heh heh

These past few days, he's also gotten into fetching me a towel while I'm in the shower which is so sweet! :)

And I could've sworn that when I was putting on his bedtime diaper he tried to say "diaper" too! :D

On that note, last week we were experiencing a bit of potty-striking from William.
When asked if he had to go he'd say "no" adamantly...only to pee himself seconds later. And when I knew he had to go and would try to seat him on the potty, he'd fight by arching himself and such.
So that was frustrating >_<
He had a bit of a fever last Thursday, and that was what triggered the start of the strike, which continued even when he was well again. The distracting chaos of the Clothing Swap didn't help either, but finally yesterday and today -- when I made a concerted effort to not get bent out of shape over it -- he starting communicating his elimination needs to me again! So we are back on track with that at the moment, and I am very happy for it. Phew!

Well, I guess that's all for now with my precious boy William.
No joining of words yet, but he definitely seems very bright to us, and he is very sweet and likes to do things that make his Mama and Daddy smile~

I'll try to get more photorific posts up soon.
Hopefully of our fun bicycle-tagalong-trailer train! :D

Well, until next time take care and Happy William's Words!


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Clothing Swap - Results!

Hey all!

So I have more news regarding the Clothing Swap that happened yesterday.

Firstly...we made it on the front page of the local newspaper, The Gazette-Times!
Here is a link to the online version of the story.

Okay, technically the front page was a little blurb about the swap...and then the entire last page of Section A (A10) was dedicated to it! Awesome!!
The story was accurate and positive and the photos were great! There was even a hilarious shot of my friend Susanna trying on a bra over her clothes -- so glad that got into both the online and print edition of the newspaper!! :D It really encompassed the spirit of the event -- goofy, clothing-fueled fun!!
I am going to cut out the story and pin it on my inspiration board upstairs to remember the good times. Yay! :)

The other thing I'd like to talk about regarding the event is why I enjoy cloth swapping so much in the first place:

1) Easy on the wallet
That's a pretty "duh" reason, but one that should be mentioned nonetheless. I would rather spend my money on good quality food rather than clothes in a store when we all know there are tons of clothes sitting in mounds, stuffed in drawers, and overflowing out of closets in so many people's homes. So why not just take advantage of that, while lightening the load of the donors both physically and mentally~? (I truly believe that clutter like that -- like any, really -- can really bog a person down mentally...and sometimes they are not even aware of it! Though I definitely can feel it when it happens to my home~)

2) Easy on the environment
There were no sales tags or courtesy store bags involved in the procuring of these clothes. Because they are second-hand, all the initial manufacturing/transportation/etc has played its role just once, and doesn't need to be repeated by my giving it a new home. My consumption of these clothes does not necessarily deem that more clothes be produced -- that is to say: they did not result in an empty space on the store shelf that needs to be filled up with a new order. 

3) Keeps me honest
When I get home with my Clothing Swap loot it makes me reassess the state of my wardrobe. What do I honestly still wear? Do I really even like every piece of my wardobe? What has been sitting in the drawer for that "one appropriate event" that never came? Or that came and I opted for one of my usuals to go in? By giving it a good hard look, I don't hold onto clothes indefinitely while grasping onto some vain hope that "Maybe I'll be that size someday!" or "But I might need in case (insert unlikely scenario) comes up!"

4) Keeps me free
Because I did not make a monetary investment into any of my clothes, I am not terribly attached to them. I don't mind if they get sullied or worn out. I am okay to see them go eventually. It would not be as vexing if I were to lose any of them either through forgetfulness or to the tragedy of a major spill or other mishap. Maybe some would interpret that to mean that I don't care for my clothes, but don't get me wrong -- I'll clean a stain and mend a hole as best as I can -- but I definitely do not get bent out of shape over it, or take way too many precautions when wearing them like not getting down on my hands and knees with the kids or braving the wet NW weather.
By this point, nearly every article of clothing in my closet was either gifted to me, procured at a Clothing Swap, bought for cheap at a thrift store/garage sale, or even found on the street (no joke).

But there is one piece that I can think of that was before I opened my eyes to second-hand goodness, and it is something I bought at a Ren Faire some years back for literally $300+. @_@ Don't get me wrong, it's a lovely piece...but it's not necessarily something I love nor is it completely functional or sometimes even comfortable -- but it is the lingering memory of that price tag and the money I put down for that keeps me from letting it go. Is that silly or what? And yet, it's the truth. Until I can find a person or cause to give it to, I have a major hang-up about this article of clothing...and all because I feel tethered to it for the "investment" I made in it all those years back. Go figure! :P

5) Fun
Really, the whole day is a mix of maximum alertness to look out for everyone's needs (as well as find some pieces for me) and just reveling in the energy of the place -- mamas-to-be perusing the baby table for their future bundle-of-joy's wardrobe; old friends running into each other; little kids running around and trying on clothes that are novel and therefore totally awesome to them, etc etc.

As I mentioned in the post I made on the Spring Clothing Swap, you should consider holding a clothing swap of your own that you invite your friends to. Even small intimate clothing swaps are fun and can have fantastic results.
If you do hold a Swap of your own, will you promise to tell me about it? I want to hear how it went! :)

Well, that is all for now.
Sorry there are no pictures -- it is late, but I am sure I will take photos of some new ensembles my updated wardobe has to offer soon :)

I have just finished putting away all my new pieces and in the process filled a garbage bag of items that mainly had to do with Point 3 (see above). Tomorrow, I hope to have Ella do the same thing, because oh Lordy Bigordy, the girl has at least two dozen dresses -- does one little girl really need that many?? We shall see~ ;)

Until next time, take care and Happy Clothing Swap Results!!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Corvallis Family Clothing Swap

Hey all!

So today it finally happened.
The Clothing Swap that I have been looking forward to since last Spring!

This is the fourth technical clothing swap that's been held by what I'll call my core group of knitter-friends (heh) and it was hands down the best.

It was just long enough, with just enough help, just enough attendance and just enough leftovers to donate. It just felt so...right! :)))
(And there were no broken mirrors -- score!)

To reiterate what our Clothing Swaps are all about, it's a way to replenish our wardrobes without spending any money and getting rid of clothes we no longer use for ones that we will. In the past, they've been "mama-baby" events, but this time we expanded it to include men too, hence the name change to the "Corvallis Family Clothing Swap" (CFCS).

There were other key changes that included:

- a committee of volunteers running it before, during, and after the event. Eight or so of us total...?
- more destinations to send the leftovers as donations to
- more signs, clearer communication in general
- we reached a broader community through school systems, and parenting programs/groups
- more efficient use of the tables and space
- more snacks and re-energizing wrap-up meal at the end for the volunteers
- local newspaper coverage (rockin'!)
- 3 mirrors around the room to offer easier trying on of clothes

Really, having more voices and hands in the organizing and pulling off of the event made a huge difference! Whereas last time the tearing down was very exhausting and demanding, it was fun and I felt energized the whole time :) Plus everyone had such good input that made a real difference in terms of efficiency and fun~

Best of all, I think we reached the right audience more this time by appealing to mamas-to-be through different venues so that the clothes were going to people who could really use them. Nothing better than helping mamas-to-be not feel the strain of shopping for their little one, because there is so much perfectly good baby gear out there with little-to-no wear on it that they don't have to spend a dime on.
It felt great to see people happily coming in and just being stoked that they could pick and choose whatever clothes they liked...to bring home for free! :)

I really think that we've done all the hard work this time...and the next one (held in Spring '14) will be far less work, since we just have to reuse what we already set in place this time around. :)

Well, enough yapping and on with the photos, eh?
See below~

Somewhat early in the day. Notice we've got a man here! Naturally, our friend Matt :)
A fantastic spread so generously donated by all the volunteers.
Including black bananas courtesy of Chrissy, ha!
This was about the heyday of the event. Lotsa folks, for sure!!
Of course, the ever necessary SAFE ZONE.
That stroller there was mine...and by the end it was covered in clothes!
We made use of the Table Rollers to put the children's shoes on.
There were times in the day when peeps just streeeeamed right in.
Gotta love the social aspect of The Swap. Old friends catching up, and new ones meeting too!
Li'l Henry cameo there too ;)

All in all, I think the event rawked.
The space really worked well even with double-wide tables and kids running all over the place. There were no mishaps and everyone seemed very happy. Ella Rose and I kept trying on outfit after outfit. There were just so many good finds!! As usual, I came with a bunch of stuff to purge...only to end up bringing home three huge garbage bags of loot. Ha!!

In any case, none of this would have been possible without the help of all my lovely lady friends:

R>L: Rachel, Me, Sophie, Sarah, Peachy Emily, Emily M., Kim, and Beth (unfortunately Angela had already left)
(All those boxes on the table in front of us are what went to local charities)

♥♡♥♡♥♡ I love you all!! ♥♡♥♡♥♡

To all those who came, I hope you had a great time and thank you for making The Swap what it is! :)
To those who couldn't make it, don't worry because we'll be holding the next one in the Spring as always. Start saving up your clothes now ;)

I look forward to reveling in all my new scores, and seeing all the CFCS committee members at the next knitting night. We'll all probably marvel at how every item on our bodies was a product of a Clothing Swap. Ha!!

Until next time, take care and Happy Corvallis Family Clothing Swaps!!

(And last but not least, a random shot of William and Ella play-driving)

William loves getting behind the wheel.

G R A V I T Y

Hey all!

After a day of work inside the house and out, Dash and I got to enjoy a lovely date together!
It wasn't romantic by any stretch, but it was fun ;)

First, we got some Burgerville drive-thru, which I stuffed into my pants pockets and under my scarf to smuggle into the theatre.
The movie started at 4:45...we got there at 5:06...and still didn't miss a single second of the film!
That means that a good 20 minutes was solid ads, ads, ads!! >_@
TIL that it's okay to be even a little late to a movie, because odds are, it hasn't even started yet. So I'm glad we didn't end up sitting through car commercials, and Coke ads, and all that junk. Blegh!

Aaaanyway, the movie we enjoyed while chowing down on our burgers was Gravity.


I must say I knew nothing about this movie except for the one line:
"two astronauts face a seemingly impossible plight in space."

That project I've been working on is about astronauts in training and in space, so I knew I wanted to see this film.
And boy was it goooood!!!!!
Riveting, and suspenseful, and gorgeous... and it even brought a tear to my eye at one point ;_;
I don't want to spoil anything, but I'll just let you know that main character has a 4-year-old daughter with brown hair that she doesn't like to brush... Can anyone say "Ella"??

So yeah, I highly recommend this movie.
And in 3D!!

That's all for now~
I hope you had a nice Friday night, and until next time take care and Happy G R A V I T Y!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

DIY Play Dough

Hello again everybody!

Goodness, what a long absence! >_@
Remember that big project I mentioned in the last post or so?
Well, although I enjoy the challenging nature of it...it is also eating up quite a bit of my time!
Today is the first day in a while where I did something with the kids that really felt worthy of posting about.
And it's not even all that worthy -- ha!

It's homemade play dough.
I have been meaning to make this stuff for nearly a year now! But what always held me back was the "cream of tartar" ingredient that so many recipes call for.
Not only do I not have something like that on-hand in my kitchen, but I don't even know what it is!

So today I finally Googled "cream of tartar substitute in homemade playdough", and voila! A recipe came up that fit just right. This is the recipe we followed to make this:

Of course we had to make each color of the rainbow ;)

It was so easy and all the ingredients are so cheap!
At first, I was afraid it was going to leave oil on my hands, but after handling it enough -- especially when applying the food coloring -- that greasy feeling went away and all that was left was a lovely smooth softness. Mmm...

Our system for applying the colors: make a dent, squeeze out drops, roll around!

Ella Rose had been asking for play dough these days after watching a couple episodes of "BabyTV: Art & Music" off of Netflix. I gotta say, I appreciate how it shows viewers art-in-the-making. There is a "Clay World" segment (all of 4 minutes long, I'm sure) where someone's hands builds a little scene, be it a zoo, a farm, or a park all out of clay. Complete with little people and animals! That is apparently Ella's favorite part.

So now we have our own play dough to make such art with too!
The first thing Ella made was a pair of rainbow snails...but I failed to take a photo of it! Sorry!! ;_;

Oh well, I'm sure there will be much art in the Dashiell home with our new set of play dough, so I will catch it next time~ ;)

That is all for now.
I have also been busy preparing for the next Clothing Swap which is going to be even bigger and better than before...so look forward to a post about that very soon!

Until next time, take care and Happy DIY Play Dough!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Mommycation

Greetings again!

So as I mentioned briefly in my last post, Dash is away for a whole week.
You may be wondering: What is he doing away?
Well, he is following the band Further on their (possibly) last tour for a while. He will be seeing them in Seattle, Eugene, and then Berkley. He's taken the camper, picked up a rider, and is "reliving his teenage years", as he says. ;)


To make these daddy-free times less painful and more exciting, we call such special times "Mommycations" (mommy + vacation)


We got the idea from the sweet story "Daddycation" from the "At Home with Martin & Sylvia" subscription found at SparkleStories.com. To make the absence of Mama easier, the Daddy in the story encourages the kids to write down everything they want to do while they are on their "Daddycation" to make it a fun and special time. So here is what Ella Rose has in store for us:

The whole week plan laid out as bunting
"Jewelry store with Clara" -- they are holding necklaces
"Sock Store with Mara" -- Ella Rose is the one with the triangular hair
"Shoe Store with J.J." -- he friend J.J. really does have that long of hair ;)

Evidently, that's a whole lot of shop-visiting going on.
I can't promise that part of it, but hopefully Ella Rose will get to play with her friends. :)
And me as well!
So far, we've hung out with Clara so that's one Mommycation goal down...six more to go! We'll see how the week turns out. So far so lovely and something tells me they will be crashing extra early tonight. BUYA.

Until next time, take care everybody and to those to whom it applies: Happy Mommycation!!