Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Playroom

Hi again,

Okay so in light of yesterday's events, I felt inspired to do a little showcase of the Dashiell Playroom.
I hope it will serve as a glimpse into our philosophies on children's toys and spaces.
Maybe you are looking to cut down on the amount of toys in your home. Maybe you think this is still a lot! Either way, I will share and describe to you what our two children have and why, and I hope you enjoy the tour.
Here goes:

A rare moment of cleanliness/nonactivity -- Ella was at school ;)

So this room is about 14' long and 9' wide.
Not very big by most current American standards, but just perfect for a playroom for two children (or more when we have playdates!). The key is few toys that offer open-ended play and a nice space to do the playing in. I believe in and try to adhere to the Simplicity Parenting set-up for a space for kids and their possessions. Well-meaning family members can make that challenging at times, but that's what donation centers are for -- yay! Pretty much, less is more when it comes to children and filling their lives with material presents (as a way to make up for lack of presence, is my guess) is not always that great an idea. When a child has only a few favorite toys, he/she are more apt to appreciate and respect said toys, since that is all he/she has! I hope to instill that into my kids: respect for their possessions because they're not "easy come, easy go" -- they are here to stay if you can just care for them in the right way to make them last! That means the materials the toys are made of should hopefully be sturdy as well...and my personal preference is wood.

But anyway, I digress.
Let's take a closer look at the room:

The far wall, beneath the window.
I found this red organizer thing at a used shop down in Santa Monica and I like how it's nice and at kid-level, and is open so that you can see what toys are where. Part of the trick to a simplified place-space for the kiddos is not having containers/bins that you can fill with stuff and have to dig through to retrieve things from (we have one major exception to that in the room, which you will see later). Anyway, with this set-up, what you see is what you get.

The Cuties box on top contains the bigger books we own, then there's a basket of stuffed animals, and then the princess castle Dash built her for her 3rd birthday. I'm proud to say that those are the only stuffed animals we own. As many of you may know, people just loooove giving them as gifts, so that you can very soon find yourself swimming in them. Well, I've done what I can to keep them to a minimum.
As for the compartments down below, from left to right, they go as follows:
- 4 puzzles
- music makers
- random toys
- dress up accessories (jewelry and shoes)

The "random toys" slot includes things like a jack-in-the-box, jump rope, kaleidoscope, and spinning top among other things. They are the most likely to be donated, because they are mostly plastic...and yet they inevitably get played with whenever a friend is over. Go figure!

The basket of shoes is a little gratuitous I know -- when Ella's abuela learned that she wanted "pretty shoes" for Christmas two years back, she got her 6 pairs. Plastic high-heeled pairs. @_@ Abuela's heart was in the right place, but the ensuing shoe chaos was a little much for a while there. Thankfully, Ella's calmed down about them and they've all but fallen off her radar...
Anyway, moving on:

The space to the left of the red compartments.

That wicker tower thing is something I salvaged from the side of the road some years back. It holds all the smaller books on top. And the space behind the pretty much empty. It holds a couple Barbie dolls and the clothes I made for them. But not much else.That basket on the floor is "baby friendly toys" (rattles, soft things, etc) which will be shrinking as William gets older and more interested in things that offer some kind of imaginative play, I'm guessing. The basket I received for free from a garage sale.

I hope you don't mind my constantly mentioning where I acquired the furniture in the room -- I can't help sharing with you how people's excess wealth has so conveniently fallen into my lap and filled the need for things that might otherwise have been pursued in a store. One man's junk is another man's treasure, right? :)

The wall to the right.

Here we have Ella's basket full of dress-up clothes (I warned you about that above...but know that they are the most played with items...daily!), three dolls (also something we have to constantly keep in check, because how many dolls does a girl really need? Not that many, thank you!), and chalkboard easel. Oh, and there's a basket of balls below it (alliteration!) Kids love balls! That chalkboard gets serious attention every single day. Yay for toys that require participation!! Really, we are not about toys that do the playing for you so anything with batteries in won't find here.

Directly beside the door.

Here we have the kitchen.
Another serious point of interest, especially when kiddos come to play. The green basket is full of play food and utensils that we've received. And the shelf is something I found on the side of the road and is at a perfect height for toddlers and preschoolers.
That thing in the corner is a drum -- Dash likes to play guitar in the playroom so a lot of music goes on in general here. Yaaaay music!!
Also, the play sink/oven set was found at Goodwill along with that child-sized broom leaning up against them. This is before I became anti-Goodwill. But more on that another day. ;)

Thaaaat's pretty much it.
As seen in the first shot, there's a trampoline that our friends got me for my birthday and that all  kiddos simply adore! And a rocking horse (Goodwill score!) that Ella is too big for, but William is starting to enjoy. Oh, and blocks! Blocks are a great toy for any kid...would've preferred the non-plastic kind but Dash went ahead and got them without me knowing. In fact, I do believe that's the one new thing we've ever bought the kids. Ever!! The rest was either second-hand or received as gifts. Scoooore.

So yeah, we are all feeling very happy with the arrangement of the playroom and its contents.
Good for kiddos of most ages (baby through preschooler at least), both genders, and parents too! :D

Oh, wait. I almost forgot to mention Ella's collection of Princess dolls.
There's a plastic pail of them that we keep mostly out of sight and I have a love-hate thing for them. I don't like their plasticity, nor the way that they feed the urge to "collect them all" (along with their plentiful wardrobes), nor the fact that they narrow down imaginative play that much more because of the storylines that come with them thanks to their movies, ... But at the same time, I must say Ella can spend many an hour making up stories with them and using either her blocks or that castle to create scenes for them. So they're not all bad.

That being said, I don't want to bring any more of them into our home (or any more Princess brand anything for that matter, thank you) and am just patiently tolerating this phase in the hopes that it will eventually run its course and be gone before Ella gets exposed to any more stronger forms of consumer culture through it.
Family. Friends. Your cooperation in this would be much appreciated!

Well, that just about wraps up the Playroom Tour.
I hope it gave you an idea of how many toys these kiddos have and how they really don't need any more toys. Experiential gifts will benefit them far more anyhow. And by experiential gifts I mean non-material gifts like classes (ballet, anyone?), trips to cool places, and the like.
I wrote about things of this nature back in 2011 in preparation for Ella's 2nd birthday, in the hopes that we would not be inundated with more stuff not much avail.
But hopefully this time the message will stick.

And if you feel compelled to buy some material gifts for our kiddos, please consider the following:
- art/drawing supplies that are good quality and will last (we've got a budding artist here!)
- play silks (so versatile and beautiful)
- anything homemade for them will be priceless

Well, I certainly did not mean to make this post so long and to cover the topic of gifts/toys, but oh well! I guess it was enough on my mind to put it out there.

What's your take on toys (type and amount) and what do you love (or hate?) about your kiddos' play space.

I look forward to hearing from you, and until next time, Happy Playroom!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Vacuum

Howdy all,

Let me tell you about something that happened today.
It all started with a knock at the door.

When I opened to see who it was, a smiling young lady greeted me, handed me a flyer, and said pretty much "Hi, I'm with a vacuum company that is opening a new store in your town and as a part of promoting it, we're offering to deep-clean/shampoo the carpet of any one room in your home for free."


I was a little surprised. "Free? As in...really free?" was about all I could ask.

"Oh yes, totally free."

Well, that was all it took for me to say "Yes, please!" so she agreed to come back in half an hour to do the job and I hurriedly cleared out Ella's playroom because the carpet in there was in rough shape (kid piss, kitten piss, chalk, some fresh William spit-up/puke(?), etc). I was so stoked!!

Now, this was at 3pm.
This lady and her supervisor did not leave our home until 7pm. @_@

Let me explain what happened:
What I did not realize was that this was not just some amazingly generous promotion. This was a door-to-door vacuum sales scheme!!
Don't get me wrong, everything was legit about this vacuum cleaner -- it did a sick job cleaning the carpet -- but of the four hours these people spent at our home, three of them were spent trying to sell me on this vacuum cleaner. I thought I was just getting a free carpet cleaning, but like they say "in life, nothing comes for free".

This vac is called a Kirby and apparently the brand's been around for nearly a century. It's 100% made in the USA, has a lifetime warranty, will suck up everything your regular vac can't, etc etc.
And the price tag on this beauty? $3000!!


If you know us, you know that we do not have $3000 to spend on a vacuum cleaner of all things.
But I didn't realize this whole "promotion" was to get me to buy anything!! I thought they were just trying to demonstrate the great product that they sell at the store to drum up some business.
But no. They wanted me to commit to buying this Rolls Royce of a vacuum cleaner and in no uncertain terms, it had to happen right then and there.

Before I knew it, I was being shown all the accessories, she was doing sample cleanings of everything from my sofa to my air vents, and telling me very impressive carpet-care facts.
And I'm such a softie when it comes to matters of money that I couldn't just say "save your breath lady, I just want the clean carpet. Now get to it!"
No, no...I played along: ooed and aahed and let them know how impressed I was with this amazing machine...thinking I was doing them a favor by being "respectful"!

But by the end of the night, I was racked with guilt knowing that they had spent so much of their day in vain. They'd been hoping I would agree to pay them $3K on a machine I really don't need for a carpet that doesn't really take up that much space in my home, that's made of a material (wool) that this vac shouldn't even really be messing with anyway!! But in the end, they had to go home emptyhanded. I couldn't help but I had done them wrong.

Uuuuugh...! >_<

To look at the bright side, the carpet looks amazing now. (I'd show pics, but it just doesn't do it justice. You have to see/feel it up close. It's like walking on a cloud...)
But I would have liked to have bypassed all the guilt.

Granted, it's not like they were trying to lay the guilt trip on me. It was all me! But man, those salespeople. They must have degrees in psychology, because they knew just how to tug on my heartstrings: pointing out how this young lady is a new associate and in the running to win a trip to Mexico if she can just land 15 sales...warning me of the real health dangers to my children by letting so much dust and dirt remain in my carpets, especially their playroom!...finding any point of connection, really, to remind me that they are regular people with families to support too (complete with kiddos just about my age!)

Aaaaanyway, long story short, I resisted the urge to pity-buy it from them!
Yes, I am that big a softie, the thought was definitely in my mind: "They've already spent so much of their day with me, and they have to put food on the table too...maybe I should buy the vac!"
Guuuuh, I do not do well with sales transactions! I get way too emotionally invested with the person on the other end. >_<

From now on, I swear only Dash is allowed to answer random callings in the middle of the day. When it comes to solicitors, he just knows how to confidently tell them "no" and close the door in their faces.
Me? I am just too nice...

Have these Kirby folks come by your home yet? How'd you handle it?
Are you happy with the vacuum cleaner you already own? ;)

And with those thoughts, take care and Happy Vacuums!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

50 Fairy Things

Greetings once more~!

So despite this head cold, Ella Rose and I were actually able to get a wee bit of creative crafting done of late.
It's a decorate wall hanging that doesn't serve much purpose, but was made of completely reclaimed materials and now fills what used to be quite a blank space on her playroom wall:

Pardon the crummy photo quality, I used my webcam

I did the line work and cut out the flowers and Ella did all the coloring.
It doesn't look like much, but it's quaint and charming in real life -- come by and check it out! ;)

Also, by "reclaimed materials" I mean that the paper used to construct it came from the backs of a couple of notepads I once had. You know how notepads typically come with a hard piece of board on the back? Well, instead of toss those boards, I've been saving them...and for good reason, too, it seems!
And the embroidery floss is from my stash bought at Goodwill.

Anyway, I can't take credit for this idea.
No, it came from a book I got from my MIL last Christmas called "50 Fairy Things to Make & Do"
It combines two big things in our household: fairies and making!!

I have to say, we've really gotten into this little book, and of the 50 projects in it, we've done at least twelve of them. Most of them involve drawing techniques, paper cutting, and simple materials like tin foil and pipe cleaners.
But they are very sweet and some time I will have showcase all our creations (though a number of them have gone to other people as gifts ;) )

So, if you see this little book in the store or anything, pick it up! It is just easy enough for your toddler/preschooler to really help out with.
A great gift from my MIL, thanks!!

Until next time, take care and Happy Fairy Crafting!!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

When Sickness Strikes...


(How's that for a greeting?)

Okay, so I got over that stomach bug ASAP but now I have...a head cold. >_<
I know that a measly little cold is nothing compared to what I had before, but I must admit, that it really puts a damper on things for me. Mainly, things that involve a screen.
I'm sure you've all felt it before. That stuffy head-full-of-cotton feeling.
And the runny nose that keeps you sniffling all day.
That's me.

So pardon the lack of a real post, but that's what happens when...sickness strikes!

Hopefully, I'll kick this thing soon as well and be back here tomorrow with a more inspired post.
Until then, stay well and (un)Happy Sickness~!!

Friday, February 22, 2013


Greeting again!

First, let me tell you that we have completely bounced back by that nasty bug that hit! Really, it was just a 24 hour or less issue. 24 hours for Dash, more like 18 or so for me. Not bad!

And you can see what I chose once I started feeling better:

In particular, I want you to notice that blue "shawl" I'm wearing. It's actually a kanga that my mother got me while visiting my brother, George, during his Peace Corps stint in Tanzania.

Khangas are really nifty pieces of fabric. They're basically a rectangular colorful piece of fabric that you can use for one a myriad of uses: decorate a wall, lay over a table to protect it, wear as a skirt, fashion into a sling to carry a child, wrap around your head for warmth, and more!

Here, I'm wearing it as a shawl. I've really been into wearing shawls more, ever since my 2012 Resolution inspired me! Around the waist is my favorite way for a splash of color and that much more warmth...
 But wearing them around the shoulders has only been reserved for low-activity occasions (going out to dinner, etc) and not so practical for around-the-house and playing-with-the-kids kind of days. The reason being that they would always slip off!
But then, I saw Soule Mama's blog entry about her knitted shawl, and was struck by the genius of tying it behind your back!!

And hence a whole new chapter on shawl-wearing commences...
You can't see it in the in photo above so much, but that is what I've done with my kanga. Tied it in the back~

Anyway, another thing about kangas.
What's particularly interesting about kangas, to me, is how they always come with a Swahili saying of some kind. Mine says "Uchungu wa mwana aujuae mzazi" which means "A parent has the ultimate feelings for her/his child".
Couldn't be more fitting. ;)

Well, that's all for today.
Hope you are doing well and try wearing a shawl or two! It can really spruce up your wardrobe with a very versatile piece of cloth.
Until next time, take care and Happy Kanga!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013



All sick here...
Nauseous, achey, tired.
Dash vomitted all night. Me, I somehow kept it in.
We'll see how today goes~

Hope you're not feeling too shabby and, Happy (non-)Sicko Day to you!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Howdy all!

Today we had some fun with pumpkins that we bought waaaaaay back in October.
My god, pumpkins are immortal.
One was for eating and the other for playing and they are just as good as the day they came home.

Pumpkin #1

Became Pumpkin Soup!
Using a recipe from the Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant cookbook, I cooked up a huge batch of pumpkin soup (for the first time in my life, me thinks!)
I only used 1/4 of it and still it made so much soup!!

Yes, that is my hand/camera reflected in the soup. Weird...

Delicious and copious enough to eat as leftovers on Thursday (is the plan)

Pumpkin #2

This little beauty became a coach for Cinderella!


Some empty spools and rubber bands = a golden chariot
I knew saving those empty spools would come in handy some day! Now to figure out what to do with the other dozen or so I still have...heh.

Well, now our home is officially squash-free.
Last night, I cooked up a squash our friend grew and gave to us some time in the fall.
I swear, I am completely in awe of squash now!!

Do you have any pumpkins left from autumn season?
If so, how are you going to use them up??

Til next time, take care and Happy Pumpkins!!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Great Weekend & Ramblings


Wow, what a wonderful week and weekend it has been.
I must tell you about what we've been up to.

Okay, firstly William's walkingness.
It's been a little under a week since he started taking his first steps, and it's all just so riveting for me!!
I mean, when it comes to babies, there are those "milestones", right?
And after the walking one...there's not that many left!!
Running, maybe. Talking, definitely. And then?? They're not really babies by then at all.
Feeding themselves, giving hugs & kisses, giving up naps, getting out of diapers, eventually weaning...
It's an interesting thing, the specialness surrounding the babyhood of your child.
Such a fleeting time, that in the midst of the hardest parts can feel like an eternity, but that we all cherish for being just that -- fleeting.
For finding babyhood so precious, so much of our language around it is geared toward them growing up and out of it: "Is he crawling yet?", "He's fitting into 12mo clothes already!", "We're down to one nap a day", etc etc.
There are things I love about William being a baby...but I must admit I am also always looking forward to him being less of a baby.
For instance, I love his generally agreeable nature (he'll wear whatever I put on him, no argument!) but it will be nice when he doesn't rely on me so much (being held constantly, for instance) and I can get things done in my life that are "important".
Gaaaah...there I go again, wishing away his babyhood in favor of things that are "important"...which I will probably wish I had never wasted on time so that I could savor this more!!


Anyway, so William is walking in a very stilted and funny way, but you can see the gears turning in his mind as he tackles problems of balance and momentum on his little "jaunts". This evening, I'd say he traversed a good eight feet. Throwing out one leg, reeling a bit from a bout of imbalance, steadying himself, and then throwing the other leg out. One in front of the other, in a less-than-graceful way. But getting him where he needs to go!

Also, last night (Saturday) was really very special for the whole family.
We decided to throw all sense of schedule and rhythm out the window and attend a "Turning 30!" birthday bash that started at 8pm. Most social functions we go to, barely go until 8pm!
Both kids had some wakeful times and some sleeping times, but it just felt so good to celebrate such a big year of our good friend, meet new folks, catch up with others, and (best of all) get to the party and back on foot.
I swear, when we're not venturing outside our house after 6pm, it can be easy to forget that we live in a college town!! The sounds of house music thrumming through flimsy apartment walls, gaggles of long-legged college girls making their way to their next party...and a random siting of college guys dressed in red dresses jogging down the street.
Loved it!!

Then today we deep cleaned the house for another set of friends coming over guessed it...brinner!
Are we on a roll? Maybe.
No joke, though, I have a "hit list" of people to have over, because I am through with always only saying I'll have so-and-so over, and not actually doing it. Hopefully, that ends now. :D

Anyway, we had the good Putman folks over for a delightful evening where I got to learn a lot about them and have many a good laugh. I hope some day William and their little James actually play together!
At the rate things are going, that will be all too soon me thinks.

Well, that was a long and pictureless blog entry. But thanks for sticking it out and reading the whole thing.
Wishing you an awesome end to an awesome weekend, and Happy Ramblings!

Saturday, February 16, 2013



Dash shot this video of William this evening.
I hope you enjoy it:

I do believe he gets around better without bulky diaper in the way - ha!
And with that, I bid you good eve.
Til next time, take care and Happy Multitasking!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentines Potato Stamping

Yo, yo!

Okay, now that Valentines Day has come and gone, I'd like to share with you the Valentines that we put together for Ella Rose's preschool classmates.
In this post, you saw the teaser image of the hearts in production.

Well, what we did was create little stuffed hearts.
We simply machine sewed two hearts together (right sides touching and leaving a little inch or so open), flipped them inside and stuffed them with plushie stuffing material.
Ella Rose did most of the stuffing and then I sewed up the little opening:

Each heart was made of two different fabrics, one for each side.

Ms. Christine, the Peach Blossom teacher, had requested that we only put the name of the giver on the Valentines (no recipient names), so here's how we did that:

Daddy crafted a potato stamper using little knives and an eyeglass repair tool too!

Always remember to do the letters backwards~!

I've never done potato stamping before, but it really is such a nifty medium!
Using a sharpie as the "ink" for the "stamp", the names got stamped on the hearts:

Soft and plushie, they can double as baby pillows?

Ella Rose enjoyed that part of the production process too.
And I must say Dash and I loved it too!

Growing up with parents that were too busy, whenever Valentines Day rolled around, the most effort we made was going to the store and purchasing premade cards with whatever the latest kid-targeted brand was (Barbie, Jurassic Park, etc).

I remember once, we hadn't even had time to go to the store, and my mom randomly suggested that I just make some cards. I know her heart was in the right place, but it ended up being a very dismal experience for me. By that point in my life, I was so used to the creative process being taken over by companies and believed that prefabricated was uniform and therefore more beautiful, that my attempts were pathetic and depressing. I remember literally crying to my mom about how inferior my cards they'd be the worst in the class! My mom tried to encourage me saying that homemade is heartfelt...but I feel she was forgetting the second half of the equation. If only I'd had the tools and know-how of actually creating to work with paper, and color, and put things together. I didn't know a lick of it! In the end, I submitted my sloppy crayon scribbled cards (the best thing I could come up with was a squirrel with a nut saying "I'm Nuts About You") and just put my face down on my desk for the duration of the card exchange..

I remember that Valentines Day disaster very vividly and hope to imbue in my kiddos real knowledge on how to create things for themselves so that they don't have to rely on buying whatever they want or need. I think it's also a confidence booster, because you don't feel as helpless and consumption-dependent.

Anyway, sorry for the long-winded trip down memory lane.
Hope you all had a good V Day and that maybe this inspires some more crafting in your lives too!
Until next time, take care and Happy Potato Stamping!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentines Day Cake


And Happy Valentines Day ♡

Today I'd like to share with you the special cake that Ella Rose and I baked for the occasion.
The recipe was by no means ours. I merely plugged in "valentines day cake" into and we followed this nifty recipe video!

If you've never watched a video to follow a recipe, I would highly recommend it!
It was a first for us too, and very effective.

Anyway, the one thing we did that made the cake somewhat personalized was "masqued powdering" as I like to call it.
Here's what we did:

Cut out shape from paper and lay on cake

Sprinkle powdered sugar all over the cake

Peel away the paper cut-out and enjoy the resulting effect!
It's definitely not rocket science, but it's really very easy and satisfying.
Ella's very excited about her Valentines Day cake which we will be eating for a while, me thinks ;)

Until next time, take care and Happy Valentines Day!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentines Crafting

Bon jour, folksies~!

That special time of the year is coming up again.
That's right -- Valentines Day.
I always feel a little torn about the big ol' V Day.
On one hand, I tell myself  "Hmph! Who needs one particular day to express how you feel to loved ones?"
But on the other hand, I know that I need this holiday to remind myself to take the extra time and energy to be that much more loving toward my husband...
Ah well, c'est la vie~

As a solution to all that internal tug-of-war, Dash and I have agreed to just go chill this year.
We're going to make V Day more about what we can do as a family, since Ella Rose is a lot more into the holiday this year than ever before. For starters, we've been making more Valentines Day cards than you can shake a stick at.
Which brings me to the item at hand:


This little beauties will become the Valentines Day cards for all of Ella Rose's Peachie friends from school. I don't want to spoil the surprise and show you the finished product (some Peachie mamas frequent this blog ;) ) but I will definitely show them off after the fact.

And with that, I hope you all have a lovely Valentines Day no matter what you decide to do.
Love is a daily thing, always available, and always something to be practiced!!
Take care and Happy Valentines Day!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

First Steps!!

Howdy howdy!

It's happened!
Today, William has officially taken his first steps!!
By no means am I going to say "he's started walking" because these are really just little baby steps (literally) but the prospects are good.

Behold the video evidence:

(The coughy/unhappy version)
And forgive my poor camerawoman work -- I randomly decided to rotate the camera sideways. Smart one, Chrissy. Really.

Just a couple more steps. All taken sideways again.

And this is him just being cute with our prayer bowl:

Okay, so it's just a couple of steps.
But it's exciting!!
He'll be 10 months by the end of the week, so he's holding true to the Ella Rose "standard" -- that is, Ella Rose was taking her first steps at this age too. And I think I've mentioned before how much I'd hoped that his milestones would be in synch with Ella's...because I don't trust myself to remember two unique times. Now I only need to remember "before they were 10 months old" and it applies to both kids! Score!

Well, I hope you enjoyed my lopsided videos and are having a lovely evening.
Until next time, Happy Walking!!!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Glorious Teething Necklace

Good evening, friends:

So I usually am not one to promote baby products (in fact the point of this blog was to demonstrate how little one really needs to raise a happy/healthy child).
But truth be told, there are some things that have come my way that have made parenting easier.
Item #1 is the Moby Wrap which I will have to demonstrate some time.
Item #2 is the newly found teething necklace.

Lent to me by the lovely Sophie, this charmer is just what the doctor ordered for William's pain-ridden teething. Ella Rose's teeth came in with no such discomfort, but William is a whole other story. I can feel the frustration emanating from him when his gums are particularly painful.
But this has solved all this problems:

From the creator's Etsy page
It's called an "Etno Mama Nursing Necklace" and it's by KangarooCare. The owner is from Estonia and her skillz are the real deal.

Apple wood beads with tough thread crocheted over them tightly to form these delectably gnaw-inducing teething nodes. The apple wood gives off such a lovely scent and the thread feels so satisfying to William, I can just visualize the fine layers of cells giving way on his gums to let his teeth through.

Workin' 'em goooood.
And the necklace Sophie lent me comes in the delicious colors of avocado, forest, and mint green. Mmm!

Okay, I look like a freak.
 Isn't that a happy little boy? :)
I, on the other hand, look like I'm in pain or something.
But William here looks like he could be selling something on TV. Like, "Aaaah, nothing hits the spot like apple wood beads. Thanks, Mom".

And with that, I bid you a good night and hope your teeth aren't bothering you!
Take care and Happy Teething!!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Social Sunday~!

Hi, all!

Today was another very social day from beginning to end.
Although we skipped going to church, I did get to catch up on much needed sleep by napping with William for his morning nap. Buya.

Upon waking, we biked on over to a one-year birthday party for our dear friend-neighbors' daughter, Annika. How crazy, I remember a year ago receiving the text  about the birth while on the airplane before we took off for Spain. That was a year ago?? Really?? Crazy...

Anyway, we then hung around (even crashing the following birthday party -- oops!) and got to catch up with a lotta folksies from town.

At home, Ella Rose opted to hang with Dada while I went on to a "chocolate desserts and letter writing" party!! Again, the ever hospitable Putmans invited us to partake in the "A Million Thanks" campaign where you write to men and women in service who are far away from their friends and family.
I ended up being the only person who showed up so I got to have them all to myself! Such a lovely visit and I got to indulge in delicious hot chocolate too - yum!

The evening wind-down at home was fun too. William was an absolute goof with hide-and-go-seek:

And Ella Rose showed off her artistry.
(Can you see that pregnant mermaid princess in the center??)

A wonderful way to begin the week.
Wishing a good one to you and yours -- Happy Sunday!!

Saturday, February 9, 2013


Good evening~

We got to spend tonight in the lovely company of the Grow-Schuffs again! :)
We got together for brinner, and for those who don't know what that is, read on:

Brinner = breakfast for dinner~~~!!!

Dash whipped up pancakes, bacon, sausage, hashbrowns and bean omelets. Oh! And mimosas!!
Then Sophie brought homemade marionberry and strawberry sauces, lemon curd, and cinnamon buns. Mmmmmm!!!!!!! Delish~

We should have pulled the camera out during the stay to "capture some memories" and at least to document the expanse of the feast. But, as always, it completely slipped my mind!

I would highly recommend brinner to those who haven't tried it, and especially when having people over.
I recently learned a handy frugal tip and that is, instead of inviting people over for dinner...have them over for breakfast! Pancakes feeds a good crowd for a fraction of the cost of what it would to feed them steaks! ;) And there's that undeniable good feeling that comes with breakfasty foods.

Well! Give it a try and tell me how it goes~
Until then, take care and Happy Brinner!!

Friday, February 8, 2013

28 ¾

Hello, Dolly!

That's right, we watched "Hello, Dolly!" again tonight for what must be the family's 153rd time.
We seriously love this movie, and watched it a lot immediately before and after William's birth. I will always have that "new baby" feeling when I watch this movie, I swear...

I (re)realized that the character Cornelius Hackl is 28 ¾...and that's just how old I am now!!
And I was born in Yonkers, where he lives and works -- coincidence??

Most lovable goof ever

As he says in the movie, there are some things he's never done before and ought to by his age:

Cornelius: 28 ¾ years old and I still don't get an evening free. When am I gonna begin to live? Barnaby? How much money have you got?
Barnaby: Huh?
C: I mean, that you can get your hands on?                 
B: About three dollars. Why?
C: Barnaby, you and I are going to New York.

B: Cornelius, we can't. Close the store?
C: We'll have to, cos some rotten cans of chicken mash are going to explode.
B: Holy cabooses! How do you know?
C: Because I'll light some candles under them. They'll make such a stink that customers won't be able to come in for 24 hours. That'll get us an evening free. We are going to New York and we are gonna live. We're gonna have a good meal, be in danger, get almost arrested. And we're gonna spend all our money.

B: Holy cabooses!
C: And one more thing. We are not coming back to Yonkers until we've each kissed a girl.
B: Cornelius, you can't do that. You don't know any girls.

C: I'm 28 ¾. I gotta begin sometime.

Aaaaah, gotta love that Cornelius.
What he said got me thinking about my own status at 28 ¾. Have I done all the things he wanted to do? Let's see:

[x] Go to New York
[x] Have a good meal
[x] Be in danger
[x] Almost get arrested
[  ] Spend all money
[x] Kiss a girl

Not too shabby!
I think the closest I got to "spending all my money" was when I took out all the money in my account to buy a couple of original pages from Hopeless Savages: Ground Zero by Bryan O'Malley back in college.

Maybe someday they'll be valuable...?

Since that was back in college, there probably wasn't that much money in my account, but I'm pretty sure I completely emptied it out for those pages. I was a devoted fan of Radiomaru to say the least.

Anyway, back to "Hello, Dolly!" -- I have to say it was one of my all time faves, right there along with "Groundhog Day" and "Kiki's Delivery Service".

Great music! Great dancing! Great costumes!! Dancing waiters!!!

Yes, please.

If you haven't watched it yet, you can catch it on Amazon Prime.

Until then, enjoy and Happy Dolly!!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Ella Rose's Hair

Howdy, howdy!

Today I just want to take a moment to share with you something that Ella Rose is very proud of.
Her long, long hair! ;)

Wait, isn't that Rapunzel? Just kidding...

I think it really was ever since watching Tanlged, that Ella got pretty fixated on wanting to have wicked long hair. So I joined her in her Long Hair Campaign, and we are both growing it out as long as it will go.

Also, I've always loved mermaids, and for anyone who's seen how mermaids are historically portrayed, you know that they tend to have their hair cover their breasts (oh, so modest!), right?
Well, that was always what I thought was a good "hair goal" -- hair long enough that it can double as a modesty barrier for your boobs. Like covering your nipples is so darn important or something! But hey, that's how young Chrissy thought ;)

Anyway, Ella Rose's passion for long hair was also what got her eating her vegetables better!
Whenever she turns her nose up to some kind of new vegetable, we always remind her, "Vegetables help your hair grow!"
Works like a charm (almost) every time.

Well! I just wanted to share that with you all.
And maybe the veggies=long hair trick with work with your little ones too~ ;)

Until next time, take care and Happy Hair Growing!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ages & Stages

Hello, all:

So, I feel like I don't have that much to report today because I am just work-work-working to finish this (past due!) deadline.
But I will say really quick, that we just did the "Ages & Stages Questionnaire" (from the Live & Learn With Your Baby Class) with William...and he is right on schedule. :)

For those of you not familiar with it, the questionnaire is just a run-down of the developmental milestones (socially, gross motor, fine motor, etc) that our kiddo should be meeting during any given range of months.

Keep in mind, it's not a test or anything. Just a questionnaire.
Click the link above to try it with your kiddo and you'll see what fun it is to watch your little one "passing"all the activities ;)

Well, that's all for now.
Back to work!!
Until next time, Happy Ages & Stages!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Hello again!

So I am feeling bounced back from my low mood yesterday.
Maybe it's this bit of homemakery I get to share with you today. :)

Truth be told, I did this a couple of weeks ago but haven't gotten around to sharing it with you.
But here it is:

You're probably wondering, "Okay, what's the big deal with this skirt? Did she make it from scratch??"
The answer would be no, I didn't.
But I did mend it after many years of it waiting in the attic for me to brave its many rips and tears.
This skirt has a fair bit of history which I will share with you now:

To be honest, I'm not quite sure how I came to own this skirt, but I'm pretty sure I didn't pay for it. That doesn't mean I stole it! It means I probably procured it from a Free Box at college. Or maybe a friend? Who knows. Aaaanyway.
This skirt was my best friend for most of the end of my pregnancy with Ella Rose, and my primary go-to piece of clothing up until she was about 5 months old.

Especially when Ella Rose was 3-4 months old. That was the month when we put all our belongings into storage, packed our car only with the necessities (including all of her cloth diapers + diaper pail!) and wandered up the West Coast until we reached our home of Corvallis. A month-long endeavor where we scouted many a small town, relying on our iPhone to feed us information on different destinations via Wiki, and traveled as far north as Portland. But it was Corvallis that called to us most -- with its "small size" (relative to L.A.!) and higher education, it was perfect. :)

Anyway, I wish I had some photo evidence to show you just how attached I was to this skirt. I wore it every day, cross-legged in the back of the car with baby Ella Rose, and in our new home too as we unpacked and got to know the town.

It was all fine and dandy, until some time during our second week in our new home that we went to a park with our dog, Tak'e. Maybe it was his newfound freedom and the novelty of this unknown terrain, but he got so wildly excited that he decided to "play" rough and chomp onto my dress, yanking at it until it got torn up pretty bad!! >:(
I was pretty upset, but still very unsteady with the sewing machine so I just washed the skirt, folded it neatly, and stowed it away in the attic.

That is...until now! The tears in the skirt were no big deal in the end, and I revived it in like 5 minutes!
Maybe you'll see it around town and think, "Hey, there's that skirt that I know way too much about!" :D
And maybe you have a piece of clothing like that too. That has some kind of problem with it (tear, stain, etc) that you are procrastinating getting around to fixing.
Well, if you do, I hope this post inspires you to finally tackle it because it's probably not that big a problem to deal with anyway! :)

Until then, take care and Happy Reviving!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Feeling in a Slump...

'Allo, 'allo

Sorry I missed writing on Sunday.
I did not sleep well Saturday night -- I was up from 1:45 until about 4:30.
Mostly anxiety, I think.
And now here I am doing it again! It's 3:00 a.m. Monday "night"...guuuuh...

Super Bowl Sunday was supposed to be a bit of shindig at our house, but our guests all cancelled on account of their children not feeling well.
Then I ate a bunch of chips and pizza (albeit homemade!), and drank a lot of beer and I think it was just too much salt and alcohol because it did not leave me feeling very energized.
At least Dash enjoyed the game between the Ravens and the 49ers -- it's always fun to see him get all revved up.
I randomly decided to wash and iron the kitchen curtains during the game. So that was good.

Then "today" (Monday) I brought Ella Rose to a painting class for kids that she really enjoyed.
William was a bit of a handful -- he's not being his usual jolly self. I think it's more teeth coming in because he seems generally discontent and whiny.
We'll see how Tuesday goes.

Well! Sorry for the bit of a downer post, but hopefully this cloud will lift.
Wishing you all a better start to your week.
Happy Positive Energy~!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Another Social Saturday!

Hey hey!

Today was a doozy of a day!

The first half of the day, I went with the kiddos to LBCC's Family Fun Day in Albany.
I had wanted to take the bus, but I idiotically waited at the bus stop on the wrong side of the street, and so missed the bus. It wouldn't come by again for another hour and so I opted to take the car. D'oh!

But anyway, everything was fantastic once we got there. Admission was free and then for mere quarters a piece, Ella Rose got to partake in everything from playdough free-for-all, obstacle course and bouncy house to crown creation, face painting and rice trough (a trough full of multi-colored rice...kept her entertained for like 30 minutes!). I also got to see many friends whom I haven't caught up with since before the holidays. So that was good.

The minute we got home, we then got ready to go to a Crepe Party!!
Hosted by the same lovely folks who had the Epiphany Party, it was a fantastic crowd and fantastic eats! I got to flip my own crepes and did not too bad! Photos coming soon, I assure you~ ;)

Back at home, we then had a visit from our neighbor-friends across the street. I tell you I cannot get enough of talking with my friends! If only our children could play peacefully without so much intervention. Oh, well! That will only get better, right? :)

Tomorrow is the Super Bowl and we had planned on quite a bit of company (split between two families) but it is looking like it might actually a small and quaint gathering. That, too, is always welcome after a day like today. Phew!

Until then, take care and Happy Friends!!

Friday, February 1, 2013

A Beautiful Start

Howdy howdy,

Today was a beauuuuutiful way to start February.

The first crocus of the season!!
We could actually see blue skies and blazing bright sunlight!

Ella rockin' a hippie look -- with bright sunlight outside!
There were more people out and about, so we decided to join them too.

He couldn't reach the wheels but it was still fun seeing him on a trike.
Away to Central Park we went!

Tak'e taking in the sights.

William in mid-swing
Hope you are all enjoying February so far ;)
Until next time, Happy Sunlight!!