Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What's up, Rudolph?

This picture just cracks me up!!! It was taken up in Oak Glen at Los Rios Rancho, the day we went up to see the ice. Isn't there something strangely similar between Anthony's eyes and the reindeer's eyes?!

Does Lysol come in bomb form?

I do realize that these Vegas pics are long overdue! I don't have any new excuses - just the same old ones. Sick kids, sick visitors, busy making gifts...holidays...what else is new?

My friends and I have been wondering if Lysol could start selling Lysol bombs - you know, kind of like bug bombs, but with disinfectant in them instead of bug killer? I think my house could use a good germ-bombing right about now. I'm not a germ-a-phobe at all, but even I don't think I'd want to bring my own kids to my house right about now, after all the sickies we've been having! Everyone got better in time for the girls' first birthday party, and then two days later, my sister got sick again.

Anyway...

This would have made a fabulous family Christmas photo, don't you think? If only the kids had looked at the camera. Bummer.


Don't the girls just look thrilled about our walk?


Love this head of curls!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of you!

I pray that you are well, that you are surrounded by friends and family today, that you are reminded that the best gift of all time cannot be wrapped and placed beneath a tree, and that your day is filled with magic.

Here, we are still waiting for two of the little ones to wake up, as we big ones sit around the tree sipping our coffee. The monkey bread is rising and is almost ready to go into the oven. Baby Jesus is hidden and awaiting a certain 3-year old to find him before any gifts are opened.

We are thankful that finally, everyone in the house is well!! Just in time for Christmas!

Magic and blessings to all of you!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Monster spray, sign language and "WHAT'S growing in my daughter's ear???"

A few posts ago, I made brief mention of monster spray, but I realized I never got back to it. I have to share, because it's worked SO well!! We'd been having problems with Anthony (3 yrs, 9 months) not wanting to go to sleep at night and waking during the night crying. He hadn't used the word "monster," though - just said he was scared. He never could really identify WHAT he was scared of. But the nightly routine was getting really old.

I happened to scan an article on monsters and night scares in Family Fun magazine for ideas, thinking there might be something useful for the future - not really thinking I'd find anything particularly relevant for the immediate problem, since the article was specifically about monsters. Lo and behold, about a week after I read the article, during the nightly crying, I heard Darrell trying to get Anthony to go to sleep and I overheard the word "monsters" come out of Anthony's mouth. I sprung into action!!

I grabbed a small, empty spray bottle, filled it with mostly water, a little bit of rubbing alcohol (to help the water evaporate better), and a few drops of lavender and sweet orange essential oils. I took the bottle to Anthony and told him I had something special for him - "Monster Spray." He was THRILLED. Seriously - so excited he leaped out of our bed, took the bottle, and ran to his room to spray all the monsters away!! He happily climbed back into his bed, asked if he could keep the bottle on his bedside in case the monsters came back during the night, and we didn't hear another peep from him the rest of the night!!

It has continued to work, and as an added bonus - his room smells awesome!! I did find that the trigger-style spray bottle works better than a fingertip pump-style - he couldn't spray that kind.

In other news, Mackenzie has astounded both her early intervention teacher and us in the last week with how quickly she's beginning to mimic the signs we're teaching her. She did "more" for me in Target on Monday when she wanted more crackers. With her teacher Monday afternoon, she did "dog," "bear," and "bus." Maybe some others - I can't remember. She's a smart little cookie, that one!

Makayla took her first couple steps last night, not wanting to be outdone. She's also finally making some consonant sounds - ra ra ra and da da da, and the occasional ma ma ma. :)

And finally, I got a call from Mackenzie's ear, nose and throat doc this week. She had taken cultures from her ear the last time I took her in, because of the constant ear infections. We hadn't been able to stay off ear drops for more than 10 days at a time. Guess what? She didn't have bacteria in her ear. She had a yeast infection. In her ear. ?????? Have you ever heard of such a thing??? I actually had started suspecting that, when it got a whole lot worse the day AFTER I started giving her oral antibiotics this last time - antibiotics tend to make yeast worse. So my theory is that whenever I feed her pureed fruit - because that seems to be when it flares up - the sugar from the fruit feeds the yeast maybe, because it gets into her ear canal through her open palate??? Don't know. Anyway, she's not draining right now, but we're supposed to get some liquid Lamisil to use when it does. The doc had told me, when she took the culture, "I'll go ahead and check for yeast, but that's really rare." I should've known - we're a family of "really rare."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Family day

While our autumn - er, summer - seemed to last f-o-r-e-v-e-r around here, I think we've finally seen the end of our 80 and 90 degree days. Sunday morning I awoke to ice - yes, ice, on my windshield. I've lived in southern California for 9 years and not once have I had ice on my windshield! It was actually kind of a pleasant treat.

Yes, I understand that for all of you who live in normal parts of the world where there are truly 4 seasons, you think I am crazy - especially my sister Karen, who is currently on day, um, 6, I believe, of no power, no heat, and no running water, thanks to the ice storm in New Hampshire. (I am writing this on Tuesday - don't believe Blogger when it tells you I posted this on Monday! Darn Blogger - I email the photos from Picasa to Blogger, and they sit there as a "draft" waiting for me to write something and post them, but then Blogger dates the post whenever I sent the photos, not when I actually write the post. Grr...) Anyway...apparently, according to my sister, there are some people who are not going to have electricity even by Christmas!! I cannot even imagine....

Back to our fun cool weather here. It was in the 20's here on Sunday morning! Awesome! In the afternoon, we drove up to Oak Glen, which is at about 5000 feet and about 25 minutes from us, in the hopes of seeing some snow. We met our friends, Dan and Gloria, up there. There were only small bits of snow left by then, but we did see some fun ice in the apple orchards. I think the sprinklers must have been left on or something - I've never seen anything like it. The ice on the ground was so incredible.

We enjoyed some hot cocoa, hot apple cider, and coffee, with apple pie and ice cream in the little restaurant there at the orchard. Yum! They had a nice wood-burning stove going, so we were able to warm up inside.

We missed the real snow, because yesterday it POURED rain all day here, so I'm sure it left plenty of snow up in Oak Glen for them!

I just, this afternoon, figured out how to work our gas fireplace. I was thrilled to find out that the pilot was already lit and that there is a wall switch hiding behind the television set in the family room! I need to vacuum out the cobwebs and dead bugs before I can really use it, but I'll be taking care of that this afternoon so we can enjoy a fire tonight! There are lots of cold, rainy days forecast in the next week or two here, so I'm sure we'll be getting a lot of use out of the fireplace. That makes mama happy!

Monday, December 15, 2008

And the stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

Well, after a LONG absence...I'm back! It has been pure craziness around here, between our trip to Vegas, snotty noses and ear infections and pink eyes and coughing, Christmas decorations, gift-making...well, you know - it's that time of year!!

So here's a bit of what we've been up to around here...

The tree - as you can see, it's up on a small table. To protect it from small hands. I didn't put the breakables on it this year anyway, and Anthony and I made a good-old-fashioned paper chain to adorn its branches with color. The Dollar Tree has some great non-breakable snowflake ornaments this year, so some of those are on the branches as well. It's a totally different color theme than we've ever had before, but since I used paper and dollar store ornaments, I spent a total of about $5 on new stuff and got a whole new look!

The mantel - it's really shallow in this house - and with our frequent earthquakes, I can't really put anything breakable or big up there. My original thought was something fabric-covered. Running low on time, I ended up using wrapping paper!! I simply cut out three different sized triangles from a big cardboard box (we have PLENTY of those sitting in our garage - remember, we moved this year?) and covered them in wrapping paper. I just propped them against the wall, and laid a beaded garland in front of them. Simple. I like it. It added just the pop of color I was looking for, and since I already had everything on hand, it didn't cost me a dime.

The stockings - I wanted to make new stockings for all of us this year. I had no idea what I wanted to do, so I went out to the www to look for inspiration, and found some beautiful stuff here and here and here. The weekend after Thanksgiving, Jo-Ann's had their Eco-Spun felt on sale for $1.99/yard - this is REALLY cool felt - it's acrylic, and it's made from recycled plastic bottles! How awesome is that?! At 60 inches wide, that's a LOT of felt for a little bit of dough!! Anyway, Anthony got his stocking with a train and his initial; the girls got matching stockings with "m" on an ornament, for now. Darrell got a football, and I got a bird on a branch. The pink and brown one is for my litle sister, and the tree and "snow flower," as my son calls it, are for my mom and grandma - they will all be spending Christmas with us. I finished them all last night.

The top of the bookshelf in my craft room - I love the beads in the vase - so simple and a nice pop of color.

My dollar store garlands - I got 2 snowflake garlands for a dollar each and cut them into 3 pieces each, and used double stick tape to hang them from the top of the cut-outs between my craft room and the family room. Then I took one pack of dollar store snowflake ornaments and one string of turqoise beads I got on clearance at Jo-Ann's for about 80 cents, and made some additional garland - and now I have a lovely snowflake mobile of sorts hanging down when I sit in my craft room and look towards the family room!

What frugal decorating ideas have you come up with this year? It's been a fun challenge to decorate on a budget!!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

My apologies!

I'm so sorry...I have so much to update you on...ear infections, monster spray, fun decorations...but, alas, we are heading out the door right this minute for a much needed 3-day trip to Vegas!! My first!!! How can I be 34 years old, and live 4 hours away, and NEVER have been to Vegas??

We'll see how travelling with a 3.5 year old and 11-month old twins goes!! See you soon!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Disclosure

I have a business relationship with CraftsUnleashed.com and ConsumerCrafts.com, and one or more products used in this project were provided to me at no cost in the course of my business relationship with them.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thankful

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving, everyone!

We had a quiet day here at home yesterday. Here, in the sick house. The place where everyone is sick. Still. All 5 of us. Again. Not really sure if it's still or again. Have we ever really gotten rid of it???? It seems like I start to feel better, and the girls and Anthony and Darrell all start to feel better, and we start to not go through *quite* so many kleenex in a day, and maybe we're not using *quite* as much Sudafed, but it doesn't last long.

Darrell and I both have sore throats. Darrell's hacking up a lung. Makayla's nose won't stop running. All three kids had pink eye this week. In both eyes. (Not sure how I managed not to get it. Oh wait, I haven't had time to look in the mirror - maybe I actually DO have it and don't realize it!) Anthony's got a fever, sore throat, cough and runny nose. And Mackenzie - take a wild guess - has green crud coming out of both ears. Again.

Anyway, in spite of all that, we had a nice turkey day meal yesterday. I roasted the turkey in the oven this year - the past few years, Darrell's been smoking it on the grill, but he wasn't up to it this year. I also fixed stuffing, mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, and sweet potatoes (can you say carb heaven?). I cheated and used canned cranberry sauce this year, mainly because I forgot to have Darrell pick up cranberries when I gave him the grocery list. Everything came out delicious. I had picked up a caramel apple pie from Sam's Club, and it was yummy too...for breakfast AND for dessert! :)

We have so much to be thankful for this year, it is overwhelming to think about! The girls, Darrell's promotion, the tremendous amount of help from our family and friends, the house, our wonderful new friends, our new church family...the Lord has truly blessed us beyond measure.

I hope that you were able to celebrate with your friends and family, and that you took time to reflect on how much you have to be thankful for - because the truth is, we all have much to be thankful for, in spite of whatever hardships we are facing.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Lavender drawer sachets

Today we went to a wedding shower for my niece, Chaleena, and her fiance, Andy. We had gotten them a baking pan set from their registry, and then I made her a hostess apron from the other half of the skirt I used to make my sister's apron.

Then as the final part of their gift, I decided to make some lavender drawer sachets. They were incredibly simple to make - I didn't even use a pattern or tutorial - and took me very little time. The aroma was heavenly as I was filling them! I used an old die-cut cardstock tag from my scrapbooking stash and simply hand-wrote on it, and free-hand drew what is supposed to be some lavender...my drawing skills leave much to be desired, I realize! ;) I tied them all together with some twine, and they make a lovely gift!

I plan to make some more of these for Christmas gifts, and I will try to put together a quick little tutorial for you all. By the way, I ordered the lavender from San Francisco Herb Company...it was quite reasonably priced, at $7.15/lb., although they do have a $30 order minimum. They have a HUGE selection of herbs, essential oils, fragrance oils, spices...lots of good things!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pretty things

These are the fabrics I got with the gift card my mom gave me for Fabric Depot.

All three of these are Heather Bailey. I am LOVING the green and red!! So pretty!! It would be great for some non-traditional Christmas-y stuff!!

I haven't got a clue what I'm going to do with this - but it's just so stinkin' cute, and I don't have many kid fabrics, so I just had to have it!

Ginger Blossom in flannel!!! Yay!! I'm totally making myself some pj pants out of that bottom fabric. It makes me happy!

This pair is Makayla's. Love the owls! The flannel and fleece are so soft.

These are Mackenzie's. They're also lined with fleece, but the outside is regular woven cotton - from Amy Butler's Midwest Modern line.

The cards I made last weekend. Loving the Prima flowers and the Marta Stewart felt snowflakes!!

Remember the awesome Cricut cartridge I mentioned - Wild Card? These are some of the adorable things it does.

I am so excited...my hubby decided this afternoon that we can go Las Vegas in 2 weeks for my niece's wedding! I've never been to Vegas, so this will be exciting. Looking forward to it!

The sweetest sound

Just a little while ago, I was in the kitchen, and Mackenzie was crawling around on the floor, and all of a sudden, I realized she was saying, "ma ma." Oh my gosh!!! Over and over and over again. I asked Anthony, "Do you hear what she's saying???" He said, "Yeah, 'mama'." No biggie. Of course, the minute I turned on the video camera, she stopped.

So then Darrell came downstairs, and I said, "Did you hear Mackenzie saying, "Mama?"" Cynically, I expected him not to believe me. His reply? "She's been saying it all morning - I thought you knew!"

Oh.

Edited to add: Got it on video! :)


video

My sister, my friend.

I love watching the girls as they begin to interact with each other more and more. They are often sitting together on the floor, swapping binkies, toys, whatever is in their hands, and not a complaint in sight (or earshot) YET. I am not so naive as to think it's not coming...but I'm enjoying the current bliss. When one of them has been sleeping, and the other one has been up, and I take the awake one into the room to see the newly-awakening one, they both get such HUGE smiles on their faces when they spy each other. It's so adorable. When I put them down to sleep at the same time, they both immediately stand up in their beds and face each other, and commence a 15-20 minute "play session" before falling asleep. I love listening to them - laughing, jumping, "talking" to each other.

Of course, it's not QUITE so adorable when they are jumping up and down in their beds, laughing with each other AT 2:30 A.M., as they were this morning. That's never happened before, and I sure hope it doesn't become a routine!! I nursed Makayla, put her back to bed, then took Mackenzie to our bed, in the hopes Makayla would go back to sleep. Nope. By 3:15, she was screaming again. I handed Mackenzie, who was STILL awake, wanting to play, off to Darrell, and went to nurse Makayla again...she nursed for 45 minutes!!! I was having flashbacks to the newborn days! And was still awake! Oh. my. gosh. Teething sucks. She has two coming in on top. I had given her teething tablets and teething gel, to no avail. Finally, she accepted her binky, and I just rocked her to sleep. By 3:45, I made it back to my bed, where Mackenzie appeared to be asleep. By 5:00, she was awake. I tried for an hour to get her to go back to sleep in my arms, but it was useless, so by 6:00, we were up.

In other news:
  • I made a pair of soft baby shoes for each of the girls this week - photos to come - and they turned out really cute. This time I used two layers of fleece for the soles, so hopefully they won't wear holes in them so fast. I also added some puff paint to the bottom, thanks to a great suggestion from my friend Allison, to add traction! (It was rather comical watching Makayla try to stand up on my friend's linoleum floor before the puff paint was added!)
  • Makayla is MOMENTS from taking her first steps! Seriously - it could happen at any time. She is so ready! She can easily stand without holding on to anything for at least 5 seconds.
  • Mackenzie has perfected crawling and is now pulling herself up on everything.
  • Teeth count - Makayla: 2 on bottom, 2 coming in on top; Mackenzie - one on top!
  • I had an appointment with the neurologist yesterday; she increased my Topamax in the hopes of cutting down further on the frequency of my migraines. I have had some improvement already, so am hoping the increased dosage will help even more. I'm also hoping it doesn't cause more side effects though - I have to go to sleep right away after taking it, or else I get really bad restless legs!
  • Our coordinator from Inland Regional Center (for Early Intervention Services) came out this week to see Mackenzie. She was pleased with her progress. She is sending an Occupational Therapist out to help us with feeding issues. She also took a referral for Makayla - because, as it turns out, Makayla is several months delayed in her language development! She's ahead in other areas, but for whatever reason, she's not developing speech at the rate she should be; by this point, she should be making consonant sounds and putting 2-syllable sounds together, like "ba-ba," "ma-ma," "da-da," etc. She doesn't even make one-syllable sounds, other than "mmmm...." when she's eating something! :)
  • Thursday night Darrell had bible study, so I took the kids over to my friend Allison's house. It was her birthday, so my friend Kristi and I both went over there to have dinner with her. So, for Allison's b'day - she cooked US dinner! :) She made an awesome pasta dish - Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina - so yummy! I took monkey bread for dessert, and made it with homemade bread dough - yum! I'll post that recipe later. Anyway, the kids had a great time playing, and the moms had a great time talking, while the dads had their end-of-the-year spaghetti dinner.
I'll try to get photos and recipes posted later!! Have a great weekend everyone!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Korker bows

My friend Kristi came over today to hang out, and we decided to try out a tutorial I had found for making korker hair bows for our girls. Her little Abby is 7 months old (but bigger than either of my almost-11 month olds!!). The tutorial is here. It was very simple to follow, and they weren't hard to make at all. I actually already had most of the supplies on hand from scrapbooking, and had picked up the alligator clips, clothspins, and dowels a couple weeks ago at Wal-Mart. I did find that using a lighter to seal the ends of the ribbons was much easier than applying fray-check to the ends of each ribbon!! Just don't scorch the ribbon!

We used a hot glue gun to cover the alligator clip in velvet ribbon, and then hot glued the korker bow to the top of the alligator clip.

Now I just have to get pictures of them IN the girls' hair!! I remembered after I started making them that the girls' Christmas dresses that my mom bought them are brown and pink, so these bows will be perfect!!

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