Saturday, January 30, 2016

Date Night!

'ey 'ey!

So, last night had the honor and privilege of enjoying another date night with the love of my life.
Could this become something of a pattern? A date every fortnight sounds like a wonderful thing for any marriage. :)

So what did our date consist of?
Well, we caught some more theater, this time at Darkside Cinema, and it was the 2016 Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts.
We had watched the animated shorts nominees two years ago, I want to say, and it really is very awe-inspiring to see the kinds of clever stories and masterful animated work that studios are capable of today.

It was also really enjoyable because I overly indulged myself and ate not one but three bags of candy during the whole presentation. :D I'm terrible, but I totally loved it.

After that, we then headed to Koriander, this funky little "asian fusion and italian gelato" restaurant. I'm gonna be honest, the terrible logo and complicated menu angle had always kept me away from the place, but Dash insisted and boy am I glad we went with Koriander for our dinner :D
Don't I look classy? Ha.

And da food.

Mmmm tonkatsu and pad thai!!

Remember, I had a belly full of candy in it, so needless to say we took a lot of it home.
But I was feeling particularly gluttonous, apparently, because we still went to Shari's for pie to top it all off.
Lemon meringue. Mm-MM!

So yeah, I was pretty bursting at that point, but all that the evening called for after that was snuggling with Dash in bed while we watched X-Files episodes (both old and new!).

I was (and still am!) feeling great, and I just know this weekend is only going to get better!! :)

Oh! Really quick, today was having lunch with the wonderful Miss Erika Schoell, getting the house ready in more ways for our coming visitors, and dropping off Ella at sweet Clara's house for a cool art session.

I guess they have a natural attraction to animal prints?


What fashionable girls, right?
A'ight, and with that I am gonna peel off and wish you all a great night, take care, and Happy Date Night!


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Legwarmers for Mama :)

Hello hello!

Have you noticed I have this tendency to post only every other day?
Not sure what that's all about, but it feels right at this moment in time.

Today, Ella stayed home with a fever while William had a playdate (for once!) with a classmate from school. :)
It was also Kathy-neechan's last day in D.C. and we finally got to have a chat-walk for the first time in what felt like forever.
That story I may have mentioned I'm working on with her? Well, we got another (far more experienced) writer acquaintance to look over the first couple of chapters before publishing it online and his feedback has been so thorough and insightful...that it's really shaken my confidence as a writer! Not that I've ever even considered myself or prided myself in being a writer (far from it!) but it's just nuts how we'd spent hours and hours fine-tuning and caressing our story into what we were sure was a perfect product...only for us to be shown that we have a lot of room to improve.
It's a good thing, don't get me wrong. Just really taking up a lot of my mind right now. @_@

But I guess not so much that I couldn't get some knitting in today!
Finally whipped out a pair of legwarmers for myself, in super chunky yarn on size 13 needles.
NOICE.

It took all of one episode of The Great British Baking Show to make the second legwarmer :)
My, how far I've come compared to the pair I made six years back that took me foreeeever.
And they are key for me because I often wear skirts or cropped pants and insulating the lower half of my leg can make all the difference between feeling cold and feeling comfy.

While knitting, we also watched Dash transform our TV experience upstairs by mounting the TV he'd scored off of CL some months back directly onto the wall!

A little dark, but I'm sure you can see the rainbow theme throughout our master bedroom ;)

Needless to say, I love it :)
This weekend, I foresee a wrap-up of more deadlines; improved health among the kiddos; culminating in a wonderful visit of family from abroad!!! More on that later ;)

Aight, til then, take care everyone and Happy Legwarmers for Mama!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Springs Begins in January

Hey, all~!

My what nice weather we've been having these past couple of days.
That thing is happening again where signs of spring are in the air and on the ground in the jolly month of January.

We took a walk to the Arts Center for Ella's first pottery class, and here are some sights we enjoyed:

Knowing our neighbor's yards pattern,s these will be yellow crocuses!

This one lawn further down the street is always littered with purple crocuses, every year!

Close up the little lovely crocus.
Crocuses were never such a big part of my life before moving here.
Maybe it's a PNW thing, and not an Upstate New York thing. Or maybe I was just never as observant.

Either way, I love them because they signal to me that yes, spring is just around the corner.

We also learned a sweet little diddy about crocuses back in Little Acorns which goes something like this:

Little crocus, little crocus
Rising with the sun.
Little crocus, little crocus
Curl up when day is done. 

That second line may actually be "open with the sun"...I'm not quite sure.

Either way, it's beautiful out there, so if you are in the area, get outside, get into nature, and make your own discoveries.
Quiz: who am I quoting? ;)

Really though, until next time, take care and Happy Spring Begins in January!!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Weekend of Curtains and Letters

Howdy howdy~!

So, last I wrote it was the beginning of what felt like a long weekend (on account of keeping Ella home Friday).

After baking in the morning, I don't quite recall how I spent the rest of the day...
Perhaps working on a deadline.

Anyway!
Come Saturday, I spent the majority of the day working on this sewing project I've been meaning to get to since, like, October!

It's these sets of curtains for my friend's children's rooms.
It'd been a long time since I'd worked on such a large project, and I wanted it to come out right, so I measured and then re-measured and finally sewed the first set of curtains.

Pretty great pattern she chose, right??

That evening, Ella Rose went to a friend's house for a sleepover so it was a relaxed dinner of carrot-soup-turned-cous-cous concoction (don't ask), and then sweet sweet uninterrupted slumber. :)

Sunday brought teaching Sunday School and then a monthly tradition Ella Rose and I enjoy together:
The monthly Letter Writing Social at the library :)

Usual attendance is about a dozen enthusiastic letter writers

This event is about a year old now, and we've been going since the very start.
Ella was even featured on the front page of the Gazette Times when they came to cover it, and you can read about the article here.

I mostly use the event as an excuse to finally get around to long-overdue thank-you cards and regular correspondence with my great-grandmother, Grammy, or family that I generally don't see very much.

My mission, this time around, was to make some DIY envelopes and get back in touch with my college girlfriends :)

For being as DIY as I possibly can be, for some reason I'd never considered making my own envelopes. But now that I know how to do it, and have access to nifty templates for it, I will never purchase another envelope so long as I live.


Just trace, cut, fold, and secure...and voila! Homemade envelope!

A super useful material to glean from for DIY envelopes is calendars, movie posters, and magazines.
Lucky for me, I had a real gem of a calendar to work with...Chippendales 2015 ;)

Here's what one of the more tasteful envelopes turned out looking like.

And the more risque ones look like this... ;) yummy

Knowing my girlfriends, they will get a kick out of this.
Today, I sent off all envelopes + stamps + stationary (BL left over from Comiket) to them in one big envelope, in the hopes that it will solidify a steady back-and-forth of letters between us.

And with that, Sunday wrapped up lovely as well, and I foresee a week of work + cleaning out the house via the Gift Economy + working on my little R&M fanfic with Kathy-neechan. Fun!!

I hope you had a good weekend and are looking forward to an even better week.
If you haven't checked out the Letter Writing Social, they have a Facebook page and I highly recommend it! Great ladies, great stationary ideas, and a great way to keep the dying art of handwritten letters alive!!

Til next time, take care and Happy Weekend of Curtains and Letters!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Corvallis Arts Walk

Howdy hoooo~

Happy Friday everybody!
I must say, it's been such a great wrap-up to the week :)

Last night, Dash went off to a concert in Eugene so I took the kids on our first Corvallis Arts Walk!
For those not familiar, it's this nifty event held every third Thursday where art studios and galleries around town are especially open from 4pm-8pm, providing wine and treats, and giving folks an opportunity to meet some local artists and see what beautiful creations they are making.

I had seen signs about it around town before, but it wasn't until I got in touch with a member of the Gift Economy who turned out to be an artist I'd worked with in the past, that I decided to hit it up! :D
She told me to swing by some time to check out some prints she had featuring me and that the CAW might be a good opportunity to do it.

The weather was fiiiine (50+ degrees, I want to say??) so me and the kiddos headed out on a lovely and inspirational walk.

We hit up...

1) The Arts Center
The kids have taken classes here before and I work some Wednesday evenings in their basement level for the Life Drawing sessions held there. They had a really snazzy exhibit about the "afterlife of tress" and it was cool running into some artist acquaintances and getting to (re)introduce them to the kids and such. :)

Gotta love the space of this converted building~!
I let Ella take home this handmade felt skull. Yay for supporting local artists!


2) Jeff Hess Studio
We dropped by really quick to see his stellar exhibit on yogis. Really creative twist on the usual way certain poses are photographed ;)
Then we moved on to...

3) Brittney West Studio
This lovely lady is not only talented, but also very endearing and gets what the Gift Economy is all about :D
She was so generous to give me some prints of me from her 100-Days Art Series: Love, Yourself and I can't wait to get them framed or at least put up somewhere in the house! I was just thinking how barren the walls in our bedroom are...
Moving on, we then hit up...

4) Kaleidoscope
The local bead shop in town is such a feast for the eyes. Every kind of bead imaginable (glass, wooden, vintage, etc) and the organization set-up is very creative and friendly (like using old library card catalog drawers!).

Beads organized in rainbow order...hnnnghh...
Strands like this were everywhere. Purpllllle

The artist being represented there was a Ms. Jillian Jordan who has a great spiral theme with her metalwork and was such a sweetie to entertain the children by listening to them go on and on like they do...
I wanted to support her work so I got the kiddos some lovely and sturdy zipper pulls that she crafted. I hope they remember this awesome CAW whenever they zip up their jackets :)

We briefly hit up Pegasus, Azure Fine Art Gallery, and Art in the Valley, but by then it was after 7:30 and the kids were poooooped. I would say that all all in all they were pretty well behaved and I especially loved how, when Ella wanted to point something out to me in particular, she remembered to gesture using her whole palm rather than pointing with her finger crassly. Yay! And they were pretty moderate in their partaking of the snack tables at each studio. More or less ;)

After a long trek back home, the kids promptly passed out and I spent the rest of the evening on the phone with Kathy-neechan, thinking up more story ideas. :)))) Just loooove our creative process together!

A'ight!
Well, that's all for now.
If you're in town the third Thursday of the month, I highly recommend it!!! Especially as the weather gets better with the coming spring, what a lovely way to spend a Thursday evening. :)

Today, I decided to keep Ella home since she's coughing a bit much, so we took advantage of our time together to bake up some persimmon muffins for our new neighbors!

Topped with some of that leftover homemade frosting. :D

That's right, we've got a couple of dudes moving in next door and we wanted them to feel welcome (plus I wanted to use up these persimmons I've had since November (??) ) so yeah! Two birds, one stone. ;)

All righty!
Until next time, take care and Happy Corvallis Arts Walk!!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Music in the Playroom

Howdy ho~!

Okay, so this week we have had not one but two class meetings at the kids' school.
The one with Ella's 1st Grade class inspired me to do a little adjustment of the playroom, which I thought I'd share with you here.

You may recall that this particular corner of the playroom was not quite to my satisfaction last time I wrote about it:

A little crowded, resulting in neglected items taking up unnecessary room

Well, in the last two days we've been able to greatly improve what's going on here.

So after we got the carpets professionally cleaned (for the first time ever~!), and we had to completely gut the playroom, I figured it'd be as good a time as any to rethink the playroom space before filling it back up with all the old items.

Now we have this:

Ta-da~! Ukelele wall holders courtesy of Dash. I love my crafty man ;)

That's right, the musical instruments -- which had been practically hidden in that bottom-most corner cubby of the shelving unit -- are now free to be accessed and made much use of!

I also took the opportunity to get that age-inappropriate (messy!) make-up out of there, freeing up a cubby, so that with a little rearranging and some nice wicker containers (thank you, Erika!) there is still room for everything and things feel good around here :)

The conversation at the 1st Grade class meeting that inspired the coming out of the instruments was this tangent we took about live music vs. recorded and it got me thinking that we do have a nice array of instruments for the kids that have been sorely neglected due to poor storage but which are already bringing much joy to the kids (and friends who come over!) now that they are out and about.
Will have to upload a video of some jam sessions soon ;)

The main conversation at the class meeting was about screen time, and it really inspired me to buck up and remedy the lenient policy we've taken on it in our home. So we are back to our September standard of "no screen time except on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday." And even then, no more than a couple of hours in total. I feel like we have a solid grasp on the quality of what the kids see, but the quantity was getting a little ridiculous.

It really helps the kids moods when they have that kind of screen restriction (less overstimulated and more fulfilled), and I can almost literally see William, in particular, exercising his mind in a way that you just don't get from watching shows or playing video games.

Sooooo yep!
There you have it, folks.
Do you guys play music in your home? And what kind of policies do you have about screens in your homes? It's fun to hear about the different environments parents have in their homes for their children and media exposure~

A'ight, well until next time.
Take care and Happy Music in the Playroom!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

POCKET MORTYS

What up, my glipglops??

I have missed two whole days of blogging.
And I blame it entirely on the game that this blog post is named after.

I honestly have so little to report because all I have been doing for the past two days is working on a deadline...and playing this game.
Nothing else.
Didn't even do anything significant for MLK Jr. Day ;_;
And the downpour of rain outside hasn't helped much either.
So yeah, POCKET MORTYS. Check it out on iOS :D

And FYI, my Morty is Level 34 already and I hatched my Egg Morty into The One True Morty.
Aaaw, yeeaaaah!!

I will hopefully have something more wholesome and significant to report next time, so until then take care and Happy Pocket Mortys!!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Date Night & Baking Day


'Allo 'allo!

So I didn't blog about yesterday last night because I had a big wonderful evening with by fantastic husband and just didn't have the time to log onto the computer. Oh, well!

To recap it:
We got the fantastic Miss Jesse to watch the kiddos (whom they'd been missing something terrible!) and hit the town!

First, we watched "The Big Short" which was about the events leading up to the 2008 Housing Market Crash and how some people saw it coming but how general ignorance/incompetence/complacency in the government and Wall Street in general caused the whole thing to collapse.
This probably sounds pathetic, but it really was the first time I felt I got a good handle on the in's and out's about the 2008 Crash...it just took a Hollywood movie to do it. D'oh! >.<

After that, we hit up Sada for some good old sushiiiii.
I love me some sushi!

The sushi hadn't come yet but the drinks had! ;)

I had mentioned it in my New Year's post, but I am trying not to have any alcohol (on account of my rosacea)...but I decided that I can bend that rule and only have it out of the house and not gargantuan amounts. So yay!

After Sada, we were both itching for some piiiiiie so we headed to Shari's...only to find that it was all barricaded off by the police @_@
I won't go into the details or what that turned out to be about here, but you can read one of the initial articles on it if you are curious.

So we hit up Market of Choice instead for some of the sweetest lemon meringue pie (tart) ever...to the degree that my teeth hurt eating it. Uuuugh. >.< Will not do that again.

And Dash got a coffee.

We came home to find William snuggling quite happily with Jesse.

Okay William looks less-than-happy but I know they had a grand time :)

Then we capped off the evening with some Venture Bros. which we had last watched back on Grant Circle...about five years back! Yowza!! :) Needless to say, we love it and it was the best way to end a brilliant day ♡
I love going on dates with my honey!!!!!

Today turned out to be fantastic too!
It was raining (downpouring even!) so I spent it inside, wrapping up the Spanish citizenship process for my kiddos, and then baking with Ella!!!

Dash turned us onto this adorable little show called "The Great British Bake Off".
So we watched two episodes -- where the contestants tried their hand at cake and then crackers -- and promptly sought to replicate those same challenges in our own kitchen! :D

We made a vegan chocolate cake with homemade buttercream...which didn't come out spectacularly so I didn't take any photos.

Then we made good old tortilla dough-based crackers!
A much bigger hit ;)
This is something we used to make a lot more regularly and will have to get back into doing!!
It's pennies to the dollar making crackers at home rather than buying them at the store, so buya!!

Do you see the star-shaped crackers??

And a little shy William~


And with that, the weekend has been brilliant so far.
I have a feeling that Sunday will be a treat as well!

I hope yours is going well as well (despite the events at Shari's ;_;) and that you hug your family extra tight today.
'Til next time, take care and Happy Date Night & Baking Day!!
'

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Super Relaxed Thursday

Howdy folks~

Did you know that the post I made earlier today was actually supposed to go up last night?
What happened is I had the post all ready to go -- I only had to hit "Publish" -- but I suddenly got all sidetracked downloading and becoming completely absorbed in this iPad game.

That's right.
The Rick & Morty inspired "Pocket Mortys" game!!
I am not one to ever play mobile games or iPad games for that matter.
But hello! This is Rick & Morty, so of course I promptly downloaded it last night (it technically was released today but we're on the West Coast, so there you go) and was instantly swept away in all the funny Morty manifestations and revelations of alien names, and the 8-bit version of "Can You Feel It"... Hnnngh!!! @_@

Anyway, I forgot to hit Publish and so the news about Ella's post made it sounded like it had happened today, when in fact it was yesterday (Wednesday).

Okay, so moving on!

Downloading that game and just messing around it was a great way to kick off this very relaxing next couple of days.

Today was productive but never stressful, and I felt very accomplished as well as indulgent.
Got all the documents in order for getting the kids' Spanish citizenship, so PHEW on that.
I mended a few more things, took care of some Parent Council business, tutored one of my students, and made a delicious lentil-on-rice dinner. Also got to listen to the Season 2 finale of We're Alive so I'm officially halfway through the story. Yahoo!!!

It rained rather hard on-and-off all day, so it was nice to have things keeping me busy inside. :)

Besides that, there's not really much to report here.
Just logging another chill day in January in the Dasiell household.

We'll see what tomorrow brings.
You look forward to it to, so until then take care and Happy Super Relaxed Thursday!!

Missing Front Tooth! :)

Hey hey~!

So Ella has had an interesting development in her smile today:

Ella likes them big smiles

That's right, one of her front teeth has been kicked to the curb!
Her left central incisor, to be specific ;)

I blogged about her first lost tooth here, and then her second tooth to go was its next door neighbor.
This second one fell out while we were in Spain actually~! Tia Chita got to play the role of "El Ratoncito PĂ©rez" for Ella, though I don't quite recall what kind of gift she received for the tooth...

I'm actually keeping all of Ella's teeth so far, and plan to do so for as long as I can.
Why? I don't know, it just feels right...

Anyway, now she's got that truly "1st grade" look about her.
I was remarking to Dash the other day at the school's Winter Assembly how almost all the 1st Graders had their fingers in their mouths, probably because they are at that stage where they are losing teeth and it feels weird~! They were either messing with loose ones or feeling new gaps where a tooth had just fallen out.
What a funny time, as I recall :)

Anyway, just thought I'd document this little milestone here to look back on some day when she is long past this tooth-losing phase. Heh.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Swords!

Yo yo~!

So I missed another day yesterday.
But do I care? No, not so much.
I honestly don't remember much about yesterday...
Let's see: I finally opened a bank account for Ella so that was good. Dinner was TRB (tortilla, rice, and beans -- a major Dashiell household staple!). I took a looooong chat-walk with Kathy-neechan after the kids went down.
Huh. Besides that, I don't recall much. @_@
Oh! I did get interviewed in the morning for a local paper, but I don't think I'll go into detail on that until the article actually gets released ;) Look forward to it!

Anyway, today I was tempted to not write anything on purpose because I was feeling just...bleh.
I think it's this rain. And the constantly gray sky. I need to start getting serious about taking my Vitamin D pills!!
Speaking of taking pills, I also finally got to see the dermatologist (the same one who diagnosed me with rosacea two years ago) to ask him about this persistently inflamed spot I have on my left cheek bone.

You can see it in this shot pretty okay-ish. The photo's flipped around because it was taken using Photobooth.

He took one look at it and chalked it up to rosacea (again!) and prescribed me the same pills I was put on last time for it.

My honest-to-goodness hope was that he'd say he would have to cut it out right then and there.

You see, I'd actually done the same thing to myself two years ago when I had a persistent inflamed bump on my temple that just wouldn't go away! Not to get too graphic, but I was able to remove it safely in my own home -- which you can see the bandaid for of in this li'l video.
This is the first instance since then of having something like that again. New place, mind you, and it's been hanging around since October! Guh!! >.<

Anyway, the doctor was smart and said he wouldn't want to go cutting up my face for something that can be treated with doxycycline, which is what I am back on for the next month or two.
Truth be told, I wanted to cry when he told me that.
I probably sound very radical but I was really hoping for a "slice, bandage, off you go!" approach. Heh. Oh well, I know it's for the best...

Okay!
Now to completely change the subject and hopefully turn this mood around!!
I have been meaning to blog about this for a while: the swords that Dash made and sold at the Corvallis Waldorf School's Winter Light Faire last month. :)

A dark photo but you get the idea.

These babies took up the majority of the first half of December and really were a family affair.
The wood was salvaged from an old door, the paints were from our collection at home, and only the gems and varnish spray had to be purchased. Dash would cut them with his jig saw, I would sand them, the kids would paint them, Dash and I would re-paint them, and the gems were applied by Ella Rose.

Waiting for the gems to dry late at night...

We made about a dozen, and they all sold right away at the WLF's "Woodland Village Artisan Market". :) It was a very fulfilling project and especially rewarding seeing the little Faire goers excitedly swinging their new toy swords around.

A (crappy!) close-up.
Dash even made a few rare/special swords like a "fire sword" and a "butterfly sword" which were so popular that we even got a commission to make more before the holiday break! ;)
I wish I could find photos of the butterfly swords -- I could've sworn I'd taken some shots of them!! 
Oh, well. Another day ;)

In the meanwhile, here's one last shot of our beloved swords laid out for you to enjoy:
 
Yay for poor lighting~!

And with that, I bid you adieu, take care and Happy Swords!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Swants!

Hey-hey!

So today was another day of crafting after church this morning.
I finally hit up this pile of felted wool sweaters that have been dominating my desk to make this must-needed article of clothing: swants.

That is, sweater-pants, or pants made out of sweaters.
I'd made a set each for Ella and William back in fall when the weather really started to turn cold, but never took any photos.
Until now!

So, here is the grand gallery of all the swants our family has:

A li'l baggy, this merino wool pair is the oldest and most used.
Dark blue and made out of a sweater Dash just never dug.
The most "legging"-like swants yet. And Ella impersonating a zombie, I guess
The black ones I made back in the fall.
I guess he'd reached critical photo taking mass by this point.
Even whipped a pair for myself! Tak'e is unimpressed

And for those curious, I referred to these pages for tutorials on how to go about them.
I think two pairs for the kids and one pair for me is enough to last us the rest of the cold winter since wool is magical and wicks away moisture and possibly offensive odors. Yahoo! Thermals for the win~~

Hope you guys are all staying bundled up warm and maybe even saving a buck doing so ;)
Until next time, take care and Happy Swants!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Doctor Day & Sewing Saturday

Hello hello!

Sorry I missed another day. Ha!
To make up for it, I'll recount how yesterday went here.

As the title suggests, Friday was a day of doctor stuff. Which does not happen often in our family, I must say.

Myself, I decided to pick a general care physician (for once) and about getting a referral to have my rosacea checked out.
Some of you may remember my post about rosacea roughly two years ago. Well, although I was (am?) on a regiment to manage it, it really is an up-and-down thing, and I want to see if I can get to the bottom of what exactly makes it flare up, the times that it does.

Then, we decided to take William in to see the physician after battling with what we were sure was an ear infection that simply would not quit.
Turns out he had a case of strep throat! After a quick 24-hour treatment, he is already so much more like his old self than he's been all week. Phew! Hopefully that means a more sound sleep for all of us too~!!

So, as for today, I have truly been indulging in the ways that Saturdays should be about:
relaxing by listening to my podcasts as I finally tackle all the sewing projects I've left hanging.
That's because I also finally unpacked and turned on the sewing machine I bought back in November.
I actually broke my personal tradition of celebrating "Buy Nothing Day" on Black Friday, and purchased it that very day from the local vacuum/sewing machine shop. D'oh!

Anyway, as for the sewing, it's really all been only mending. Granted, I do try to make even mended patches looks stylish ;)

I typically favor star shapes, and sharp-contrast against the original color - ha!

I mended three of Ella's pants, two of William's, two of Dash's, and two from the Clothing Swap that I will be returning to it.
Phew! That's a lot of mending!!
I love mending clothes over chucking them in favor of new items of clothing, that's for sure.
In fact, here is something nifty I just came up with this past week:

Mmm, fuzzy and warm woold!

Maybe you recognize what these handwarmers were originally made of.
That's right -- it's a pair of Dash's old holey socks!!
A little snip here, a little snip there and viola! I finally have a set of my handwarmers again. :)

Well, I do feel accomplished with all this mending, and will probably spend the rest of my evening keeping it up!

Til next time, take care and Happy Doctor Day & Sewing Saturday

Thursday, January 7, 2016

2016 New Year's Resolutions

Howdy-ho~!

So I missed yesterday's blog post...
And that might have been because I didn't write it down here, which is something of a tradition for this blog :D
As seen here, here, here, here, and here.

To remedy that in the hopes that it will keep other days in 2016 from being missed, today's blog post is about Resolutions.

First, a look at what my 2015 Resolutions were, and how well I stuck to them:
(I failed to write a blog post about them, but did keep the paper version hanging on my desk upstairs!)

[x]  Maintain 130 lb. weight
[x]  Keep knitting!
[x]  Get rid of 10 items from the house a week
[x]  Stick to a budget

Okay, wow that was a very short list, and apparently very easy to stick to! :D
For the first and last one, I'd actually written down specific guidelines to accomplish those goals, and they were as follows:

1) Maintain 130 lb. weight by...
a. not having sugar, seconds, or snacking except on Saturday and Sunday
b. walking 10,000 steps a day
c. using the car no more than three days a week
d. having alcohol only three times a week
e. doing weekly weigh-ins with George and Kathy-neechan

I didn't really stick to a. nor d. but the rest I'd say were pretty spot-on.

I use to have to rely on my cell phone to be my pedometer, but that was crappy because I don't always carry it on my person. But now I have a FitBit that Dash got me (thanks, love!) so I feel it more accurately records my steps. And apparently 10,000 steps is not all that difficult to reach. It just takes one good long walk at some point in the day, whether to the downtown or on my nightly Chat-Walks (as I call them) with Kathy-neechan. :)

Then, being in Spain without a car made c. easy enough but made d. an absolutely moot point. Ha!
That will change this year, as you will see below.

Moving on...

2) I stuck to a (monthly) budget in terms of...
a. $40 eating out a month
b. $300 food bill
c. $40 entertainment
d. +$300 extra income (tutoring, modeling, eBay etc)

Okay, so a. was not so easy to stick to since we are freaks for El Sol De Mexico here in Corvallis ;)
But I like to think that c. balanced it back out since monthly "entertainment" was probably closer to $0 a month. Ha!

Granted none of this was adhered to for the entire summer while we were in Spain.
And really the only reason I created this Resolution in the first place was because of our trip to Spain. It justified the expense that the trip would mean for us. And I must say it felt good to really tighten our belts for those first five months, and then feel completely at ease financially for the next three...especially in a country that is so very affordable in general anyway! Spain for the win!!

Okay, so that was 2015.
Now for 2016's New Year's Resolutions.
Here goes!!!!

[ ] learn how to drive stick shift
[ ] do something big about the student move-out in June to reduce waste
[ ] insulate the house
[ ] paint the exterior of the house
[ ] get rid of an item from my house every day (or equivalent, 365 by the end of the year)
[ ] get the children their Spanish citizenship
[ ] beautify/make productive the front yard
[ ] get unfinished projects done to completion
[ ] get William to stay asleep in his own bed at night.


Phew!
That's quite a bit more than last year, but I think they will be quite doable.
Now a little word on each one:

1) learning to drive stick shift
Dash will teach me using the truck he bought this past fall (for $800, daz right!)
And I know how to drive a motorcycle, so the concept of gears is not completely lost on me.
It should be a good one to know, since I've also always considered it a post-apocalyptic life skill ;)

2) doing something about the student-move out in June
In the past, I've taken advantage of the students' grand exodus through dumpster diving and though it was fun and brought many things into our home we needed and used, it is (unfortunately) technically illegal, so I want to find a way to divert this stuff before it even gets carelessly tossed. In a big outreach kind of way.
I'm not going to share any details yet, but I do have a plan in the works that I will be starting on as the spring draws nearer. Stay tuned ;)

3) insulating the house
It's about time we insulated the house to save on heating and make our home overall more comfortable. Looking to do this some time in summer when the service is (presumably) a little cheaper due to it being the "off-season".

4) painting the exterior of the house
Long overdue and something we are still trying to decide between doing ourselves and hiring professionals... Hmmm...

5) getting rid of items daily
This sort of already happens, so it's here more as a reminder and hard number to aspire to ;)

6) get the children their Spanish citizenship
Also long overdue! And relating to our 2017 plans...far in the future and yet necessary to start planning for already. No spoilers!!

7) the front yard
I really want to make a productive garden, build a new trellis for the grapes, get some blueberry and raspberry bushes, etc etc.

8) complete unfinished projects
This is mostly because of this giant pile of clothes that need mending and fabrics that need to be sewed into something sitting on my desk upstairs as I write this. I just want to DO IT, as Shia LeBeouf so eloquently puts it. ;)

9) William staying in his own bed
This past year, as I've mentioned, both kids have finally taken to the idea of sleeping in their own beds, but whereas Ella is at least showing signs of starting to stay in her bed, William will inevitably join us sometime in the wee hours which would be adorable except that it's not. So my hope is to get him to go to his bed and stay in his bed. Wish me luck~!


All right, well PHEW! That turned out to be a long, wordy and photo-less blog post.
Pardon all the chatter, but I look forward to revisiting this post next January to see how everything went.
I am feeling good about 2016. Really good! Really on top of things, and with lots of projects to tackle, but also an inexplicable amount of relaxing time in the evenings. Amazing!!

Well, I hope you are feeling as good about 2016. Do you have any Resolutions? Let me know~!
Til next time, take care and Happy 2016 New Year's Resolutions!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Living Room Turned Disco Club

Hi hi!

Okay, so the title may be a bit of a stretch, but I did want to show off a recent facelift we gave our living room.
Behold!

Man, my cell phone's camera is crappy, but you get the idea ;)
Ugh, and ignore the basket of laundry and Dash darting onto the scene, ha!

Three strings of rainbow twinkle lights strung all the way around the living room~~~!!

The joyous effect is not captured in this photo, but trust me it is fun times here at Chateau Dashiell

How did I come by them, you ask? Why they were courtesy of...the curb!
That's right, thanks to the magic that is the unspoken yet reliably present Free Stuff on the Curb system, I scored three fully functioning beautiful cords of twinkle lights. :)

I know I am going to sound like a broken record saying this, but I just love Gift Economies like this!!
Being able to salvage someone's unwanted items to bring light (literally!) into my home, to save it from the landfill and save my money for other things (like education, travel, and good food! :D )

It's not much but it's an example of little things that bring joy to my life~

And with that, I must peel off to complete a deadline.
So until next time, take care and Happy Living Room Turned Disco Club!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Slow Icy Day

Greetings, one and all!

This blog is coming to you at the end of a very slow, icy day.
It was so cold and icy today, in fact, that they cancelled school!
I'm glad that even as an adult, I get just as giddy and excited about school being cancelled as when I was a child :D Makes me very grateful to have a job that isn't affected by terrible road conditions or having to keep the kids home unexpectedly. We just go with the flow~!

This is the second time they've had to close school this year, with the last one being the very last day of school last term...making our break longer by two whole days. Wow!

It was spent with shuffling the kiddos off to a friend's house for a playdate, running some errands to the P.O., wrapping up a script to send off, and now winding down before I have some lady friends over for knitting~

Poor little William is actually not feeling so hot, as he has something of an ear infection, so he's been in bed since 4:30. Hot compresses and tea tree oil have been helping so far, but if he's not all better by tomorrow we'll ramp up the treatment to include colloidal silver and ACV.

Hurray for the kitchen cupboard (aka medicine cabinet! ;) )

Anyway, just wanted to bop in, so that I remember what a random day in January in Corvallis can be like.

Hope you all are well, safe from dangerous driving conditions, and enjoying this Slow Icy Day!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Playroom-Turned-Bedroom!

Hi again!

It's been a while since I've written about the kids' playroom. So it's time for an update!

Firstly, we have moved the playroom down to the first floor...I don't exactly remember when.
So it looked pretty much like this:

Thanks to the lovely Kim K. for her awesome wide-lens photographing abilities!

Trying to get the kids to sleep in their own beds/room was always a struggle, but suddenly out of nowhere, just after Ella had turned six, she announced that she would prefer to sleep in her own bed -- hurray! So we moved the Ikea bed (which we foolishly bought shortly after William's birth) down there for William to sleep on while Ella preferred the fold-out futon. Go figure~!

This went well all through the fall season and the kids were happy and comfortable.
And then Dash had an amazing stroke of good luck on the Craigslist Free section: someone was giving away a loft bed frame!!

I now introduce to you the new-and-improved playroom/bedroom:
A little sneak-peek of what it looks like from the door.
The loft bed!!
The Ikea bed fits perfectly below the loft, and then the twin-sized mattress was scored through the Gift Economy FB Group the very same day -- BUYA!!

Dash then strung some twinkle lights around them (white for Ella, rainbow for William) and voila! A snazzy sleep set-up that the children absolutely adore.
They will go down without a fuss around 6:30pm (praise be to god!) but inevitably awaken sometime in the wee morning hours to steal into our beds. WHY?? Cannot get them to stop that, but will keep trying nonetheless.

Beyond the new sleep arrangement, I thought I'd give you a tour of the Playroom in light of its new face-lift -- especially with being back from the holidays and having to rejigger things thanks to the influx of toys and gifts. Oy ve~ Here goes!

The south-facing wall.

These photos were taken at night, hence why all the curtains are drawn, but yesterday was sunny and you should've seen the light pouring in over Ella's desk. So wonderful!
That little shelf from upstairs has been moved down, too, and just above it is a bulletin board I beautified back in September with some star-patterned fabric. :)
Ella fills it with her drawings, favorite photos, and other bits of inspiration.

The art easel is actually a pretty popular hit still so it sits in the corner above the basket full of stuffed animals. Still trying to reign in those "stuffies" (as the kids call them) and relocating some of them to the kids' beds has helped that, though the sheer number is still sometimes a little baffling to me.

Moving on~


The east side + northeast corner
It's not the best shot of it, but William has his own little desk now too!
Dash built it about a month or so back and William does love it so very much. I will have to showcase some of his artwork here soon!!

The "construction station" left of that was a score from a Clothing Swap but seems to have run its course, so I may be finding a new home for that soon. Gotta admit, it's a pretty handy organizational tool at least, since the bottom compartment holds William's budding collection of toy cars. Thanks, "Santa"!

The 9-compartment white shelving unit used to mainly hold the grown-up books in the house, but that has since been moved to the office -- gotta say, I love when Dash goes away on his little trips because it gives me time and space to implement much-needed organization systems~!

Anyway, now each unit of the nine plays a role. As such (from top to bottom):

Row 1:
1) Ella's makeup (technically mine, but I let her play with it)
2) crate of games (playing cards, board games, etc)
3) crate of art supplies
4) readily accessible art supplies

Row 2:
1) basket of felted wood toys/items (mostly from Waldorf, made by the kids, etc)
2) wooden train set in a vintage traveling case
3) the kids' new Lego sets
4) treasure chests (filled with dragon tears, pretty stones, shells, etc)

Row 3:
1) puzzles
2) wooden marble run, random jumprope, kaleidoscope
3) Ella's Polly Pocket kit and faux suitcase holding Barbie dolls + MLP
4) super random toys, what are they doing there? They don't belong there, oops

Row 4:
1- 3) books
4) musical instruments


So yeah, not as minimalist as it's been in the past, but really well taken advantage of, for the most part, by the kids.
Oh, and the top of it features an oversized Costco box thing that holds the rest of our art/crafting supplies. Alongside it are some tins of beads and Ella's collection of wooden creations from school.

To the left, you'll see that familiar wicker basket that still holds dress-up clothes, though I must say their popularity has gone down over the past year. We may be phasing it out sooner than later.

And don't you just love that poster from the Albany Carousel Museum that's above it? Thanks, Kathy-neechan!!

Well, that just about wraps up the tour of the playroom.
William's closet of clothes is in the far corner, right by the doorway, and it's still all organized using Cutie boxes. HA!

One last shot of William on his bed...playing with a cardboard tube. Nice.



That's what I get for trying to force a "candid" shot. Nyuck!


And with that, I bid you good night, sleep tight, take care and Happy Playroom-Turned-Bedroom!!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Knitting in the New Year!

Hello, hello!

Yes, 'tis I, back from the blog-dead~!
I know I've said this before, but I am really going to try to be consistent about blogging this year!
It worked out pretty well in 2013, so maybe it will again in 2016 ;)

To start off my 2016 blog adventure, I thought I'd share some of the knitting I've been up to this past month.
Nothing like the holiday season to really catch that crafting bug, amirite?

This year was definitely the year of the handwarmer as I made a total of six handwarmers for my family.
I don't have shots of them all, but here is a shot of the pair I made for Kathy-neechan as a starter:

"Don't Think About It" quoth the Rick Sanchez ;)

The reason for all the handwarmers is thanks to this incredible influx of wool yarn I received through a friend on the Gift Economy that came in the form of one monstrous knot but that I diligently untangled and sorted by color.

I honestly should've taken a Before shot, but I assure you the beast was as large as our dog, Tak'e.
Here is the after shot of the yarn all color sorted (in rainbow order...hnnngggh):

The box on the left was more of the grays, browns, and a random skein of green I had from a million years ago


Another thing I made a ton of was legwarmers, for little baby Joya, my new niece up in Alaska! :)
I sent off one pair to her in time for Christmas, but the rest I knitted up while absolutely chillaxing in AZ this past week:

Darn, that is one crappy photo. But you get the idea. Random colors, and oh! My mom's handwarmers up above! :D

If I wasn't knitting, I was listening to a podcast about a zombie apocalypse called "We're Alive" or listening to Allie Goetz's Rick & Morty concept album.
I will have to share with you all soon how absolutely obsessed with this cartoon show I am. But that will have to be at another time. ;)

I also made a bunch of cotton washcloth sets for the kiddos' teachers, because I had this awesome endless spool of white cotton yarn to work with. Fancy and functional, just how I like it :)

Next on my list to knit is a pair of handwarmers for myself~!
I had a pair I'd knitted (intended to be a gift but felt too embarrassed by their crap quality to actually give), but I lost them when we went to Los Toros in Los Angeles! :(
Oh well, I'm sure they're keeping someone warm now~!

All right, well, until next time (presumably tomorrow!), take care ya'll and Happy Knitting in the New Year!!