Wednesday, December 31, 2008

White New Year's!

Well, we didn't have a White Christmas, but it looks to be a White New Year's!! I don't know how much snow we got, but it was enough for the kids to go outside and play! Of course, Ari stayed out for about 15 minutes. She was back inside before the other 2 even got out there. Atley lasted about 10. I think they only go out long enough to justify me making hot chocolate! As soon as they walk through the door, that's the first word out of their mouths! I did realize we are woefully lacking in snow attire this year, though! I forgot we're short an Ari-sized snow suit and Melodie's abnormally large feet have grown again, and she's in need of new boots!

I finally finished Ari's sock. I'm torn. I REALLY want to start my new socks, but she loved it, and really wants me to make the other one so she can wear them. Looks like I'll be getting a new set of DPN's!

I got my Christmas tree taken down yesterday. A new year, a new start! I also went through a few boxes while I was in the attic! I got rid of 2 boxes of stuff, and a bag full of empty boxes went out to the recycling! (Which did not come...AGAIN!! Republic Waste Service is the WORST trash company we have ever dealt with. They never pick up our recycling on time. They throw our trash cans in the street. Horrible, horrible, horrible. I have to call them and complain at least twice a month!) Sorry about the little rant. At least now I got out into cyberspace they are crap!

Oooo...the snow just started coming down pretty good again!! Ari just went back out to play.

Monday, December 29, 2008

On the up and up

Well, we seem to finally be getting better! Of course Dan came down with it yesterday, and poor Ari was still struggling with it off and on, but everyone is feeling much better today! I just got hit with my yearly winter-long sinus infection (yay) and my neck is killing me from laying at funky angles on the couch all weekend, but I feel so much better! I may have to stitch up a neck roll with flax seeds in it this evening.

So, I got my Knit Picks order! Yay! That made me feel better Saturday when I felt so crappy. I even worked Ari's sock I've had OTN for months down to the foot part. I've only got an inch or 2 to go until the toe shaping...then I can have my DPN's for MY socks with my new Wicked Witch yarn! (Unless it's not done before Saturday...then I'm getting another set of size 1 DPN's at Joann's while I'm there.) I also ordered a maple bottom whorl drop spindle from ebay and some roving so I can learn to spin! (Lori, you're a bad influence!!) ;0) I did get a set of Boye interchangeable circ's from Dan! And he also got me an interchangeable set of eensy weensy crochet hooks for crochet thread....hey, he dug his own hole with starting me on that one! lol So, now I'll be getting some crochet thread, too!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas....

I hope yours were all better than ours! Christmas Eve ended rocky, to say the least. Then, Christmas morning (I was up before the kids....yes, I am the biggest kid of all...Dan's right)presents went okay. Ari got all the finger puppets, and she was thrilled! The girls loved their VW Hats. Atley opened his sweater and tossed it when he saw it was clothes. When I unwrapped it the rest of the way and showed him what it really was, he was so excited! I'll try to get a picture of it later.

My grandparents dropped by on their way to my dad's, and my grandma had a box full of gifts. Ari was right behind her, and one fell and the corner hit her right under the eye. She had a quick recovery after she opened her new Barbie, though.

So, I spent the afternoon working on getting the house cleaned for the in-laws. Dan and the kids watched "Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo." (I get them a Love Bug movie every year.) Things went okay for awhile. Then, Mr. Stomach Flu decided Christmas was a perfect time to drop in completely unannounced in our house! Atley said his tummy didn't feel good. My BIL's girlfriend said maybe it's just gas. He said no and promptly yakked all over the couch...and my BIL. Got that cleaned up and him to bed...and Ari vomited all over her room. All.over.her.room. Then, as I was cleaning the vomit from the Barbie shoes and new Christmas clothes that were in the cross fire, I got it, too. Avoid our house like the plague! lol

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve!!

Yay! It's almost here! The kids are SO excited today. I am almost done with gifts. Here is a pic of my last few days' worth of work! From the top left, there is 1 slipper for my dad (who isn't coming til the day after Christmas now, so I've got plenty of time to finish the other. It's already half done.) Then, there is the hat I made for my SIL. At the bottom are Atley's little wristies, and then the all turquoise ones are for my grandma, and the ones with the gray trim are for my SIL to go with the hat (I added the trim to coordinate.) Today, I've got to finish a hat for my BIL's girlfriend and do a pair of wrist warmers for her. I've got to do 2 dish cloths for my MIL and GMIL. Then, I need to do another for my step mom and the other slipper by Friday. I think I can do it!

We got our chocolate chip cookies and 7 layer cookies made yesterday. I've got work today and baking and cleaning. Oh, and we need to start tracking Santa!! If you've never done it before, we do the NORAD tracks Santa every year. It's pretty cool. The kids love it!

Monday, December 22, 2008

How Cold Can it Get?!?!

It was 4 degrees this morning when I got on the computer...not counting the wind chill!! Brrrr!!!

I finished Atley's wristies last night. I didn't put the bat symbol on them yet. Dan said to leave them plain, so I might not at all. I post pics later. Dan FINALLY got started on the kids' puppet theater yesterday! I think it's going to look great. I hope to get a few more finger puppets done for it, too.

We had Christmas at my mom's Saturday. With my "spend on me" money, I placed an order to Knit Picks today! I've ordered Imagination sock yarn in "Wicked Witch" that I'm going to do the Spring Forward sock pattern in. I also ordered the Shine Sport in Green Apple and Grass to make Charlie a Sheldon. And a few other goodies. I'm pacing myself. I'm still going to need to get my drop spindle if I don't get one from Dan. I'm also hopefully getting a set of interchangeable circs, too! (If not, momma is NOT going to be very happy!)

The kids are bouncing off the walls. I can't wait for school to start back! Poor little Ari, she cried and cried this morning because she misses her teacher. Melodie has been making loom potholders all morning. My mom got her a nylon loom weaving set. Right now, she is making a square to turn into a little purse. I still have to decorate the little canvas bag she's getting for Christmas. It's going to be for her knitting and crocheting. I got her a little pair of size 10's (I think) bamboo (I think) needles from Hearthsong. I'm going to throw some of my scrap balls of yarn in the bag and let her have at it. (Well, after I teach her how to knit, which she's been begging me to do! My mom showed her how to crochet a few weeks ago.) Ari got a fairy cookie making set, so we're probably going to be making those tomorrow. We're out of cookies, anyway, so we need something to leave for Santa. I'm also making some more fudge, some 7 layer cookies, some rice krispie treats, and probably some more spritz cookies. Not to mention, I've got 2 hats, a pair of wrist warmers, 3 dishcloths, and preferably 2 pairs of mens's slippers to make....yeah, I don't think that's gonna happen!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry Yule!

I almost forgot to post! yikes! Merry Yule to everyone!! Have a great day, and may the light grow in your life, as the calendar turns and the daylight grows towards spring. We will be celebrating with a Yule log tonight! I'll try to post some pictures if it turns out better than last year's! (It was a yule compost pile, not log! I think I've got a better idea for it this year, though! It may be log-like yet!)

All Aboard!!!

Well, we rode the Polar Express!! Atley LOVED it! I think all of the kids had a really good time. Ari was scared, at first. My mom had to literally remove her from the car. She was afraid we were going to get hurt going across ice, like in the movie. She remained a little reserved the whole trip, but I think she enjoyed herself.

We were in car #9, which was the last car, farthest away from the station! We were, however, at the head of the train, and the first ones to the North Pole! The engineer even let Atley hold his lamp for the picture! Here are the kids outside the train: polarexpress 001a

Here we are, safely boarded, with our tickets!polarexpress 002a

We listened to an elf read the story of "The Polar Express." Then, we were served our hot chocolate and a cookie. We listened to some of the soundtrack from the movie, and we finally arrived to the North Pole! polarexpress 013aThe kids were super excited. We saw Frosty, Rudolph, Mr. Grinch (Ari's favorite), and of course Santa and Mrs. Claus. Then, we had another little panic attack from poor Ari. See, they shut the interior lights off in the train when we got to the North Pole so we could see all the lights and everything better. Well, as I said, we were the first car, so after we got through, we plunged into near darkness in the woods. Then, the train came to a complete stop. Of course, we were just getting ready to head back home, but Ari thought something happened and started crying that we were stuck in the woods. I told them we were just waiting for Santa to get on. Atley also said, "It's okay Ari, we're just going to go back home the other way." So, we started to head back through the North Pole, and saw Santa standing outside, and they were so upset that no one would get the first gift of Christmas. Well, lucky for us, we stopped right at the edge, and Santa jumped on, and we were the first car to see him! All of the children got to tell Santa what they wanted, and he signed their tickets. (Some people had him sign their books, but of course since we don't have it or the DVD (yet) and didn't even think of that if we had, he signed our tickets!) Here is my favorite picture of the whole trip. Ari getting to talk to Santa: polarexpress 018a

After we left the North Pole, we sang Christmas Carols. The trip home, as always, seemed much quicker than the trip there. (Isn't that odd how that always works?) The kids had a great time. In the gift shop before we boarded, we got Charlie a little engineer bear since he stayed home with daddy. Hopefully next year, we can all go. Atley was completely thrilled, and the girls had fun. Heck, I even had a great time! I'd never been on a train before, either. What better first train ride, than a magic train ride, right?

Sugar Cookie Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

OMG...how cute is THIS?!?!

Ari would love this to cook in.

Sugar Cookie Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

One more day!

We go on the Polar Express in 1 more day! I'm so excited. Even Melodie getting 2 tardies this week has not driven me crazy!! (My god, will they please give that kid a detention so I can maybe, finally break her of this habit!?!?) I'm going to get everything ready tonight. Dan is going to stay home with Charlie, and I'm going to take the big kids.

Tomorrow are the girls' Christmas parties at school. I've been in to school every day this week. I almost welcome the 2 week break of not having to get up at 6:30....but, that will be 2 weeks of extra children at home to drive me nuts while I'm trying to work! Hopefully, they will be entranced enough with their new presents that they'll be slightly subdued. They'll also have a couple new movies to watch.

I got one of Atley's wristies done last night. I didn't do it quite like the pattern said. I had to make it bigger to fit his hand, and the pattern was making it really pouffy around the hand part. I measured his hand today. I may end up frogging the one I did do and winging my own pattern now that I have his exact measurements.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

We Got 'Em!!!

My mom won! She won the tickets for the polar express! I am SO excited. I had a REALLY crappy morning this morning (let's just say Melodie wouldn't get ready again, and her hair was still damp and when I brushed it at school, it made snowflakes!), and she called and gave me the news. I am on cloud 9 now. I want to tell Atley SO bad. I hope I can hold out until Friday!! We go at 7:30 Friday night. My mom gave me the tickets tonight at Ari's Christmas program. (She did so good. She was so cute in her little green dress. I'd post a pic, but we were so far away from the stage, she was just a speck.) I can't wait!! Melodie was so bummed because Ari brought home a letter that said Friday will be Polar Express Day in kindergarten, and to wear their pajamas because they'll be going on the Polar Express. (which I know they're not physically going anywhere because we didn't get a permission slip) But poor Melodie is convinced Ari's taking a trip to the North Pole from school on Friday.

Tomorrow, Melodie has her Thomas Edison Day invention showing. We'll be going to school to see all of the kids inventions.

I finished 2 more projects. I did the Ghost Finger Puppet:program 001

I also finished Charlie's Baby Triceratops. I think he turned out really cute! Here he is: program 010

I also got started on Atley's Batman Wristies. (He asked for a pair of fingerless gloves since he saw me making pair upon pair.)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Another gift down...sort of!



Well, I did the pair of wrist warmers that I was going to give to my SIL yesterday...and, even with a bigger hook, they just fit me, and I LOVE them, so I'm keeping them! ;0) Dan said to give her the pair I made myself, so I'm going to add some trim and maybe embellish those a bit and box them up for her and keep these awesome new ones for me!

We FINALLY did our gingerbread house yesterday, too. We decided it looked like Snoopy's dog house, so that's what we decorated it as! I've had some little plastic Snoopy ornaments from the top of an M&M candy cane since I was a little girl, so we used one of those, and voila!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Fairy Tale Finger Puppets


Here they are! I just did the faces with Sharpies because it's midnight and I'm beat. Charlie is running a fever, so it will likely be a long night tonight. :0( BUT, I got the Fairy Tale Finger Puppets done, at least the ones that the pattern was actually for. I will probably add the king, queen, ogre, and donkey some other time. The picture is kind of blurry, but again, I'm not at top picture taking form at midnight! Tomorrow, I'm hoping to knock out the fingerless mitts for my SIL, and maybe get another few rows done on her afghan while the kids are awake. (Or, well I guess later today.) Then after they go to bed, knock out a couple more finger puppets!

Lori, your kids would love these,too! Wanna learn to crochet Tuesday? ;0) You can help me design the Little House puppets!! Ari will love us both then.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Finger Puppet Pandemonium!

Ok, I'm really getting the finger puppet bug! Dan better get that puppet stage made! If you'll notice my WIP's bars, they have grown exponentially. These little guys are so fast to whip up, I'm hoping to knock them out fairly quickly, so I just opened projects for all of them and am going to take them out one at a time!

I started the Fairy Tale Finger Puppets last night. I've got the dragon and knight done so far. The knight is TOO cute! I'm hoping to finish the noble steed and damsel tonight. I may also do a king, queen, and ogre (and eventually probably donkey and Fiona, too.) That way, they can have a Shrek set. (Ari LOVES Shrek.)

I've got a ghost, witch, and scarecrow pattern. I think I'll do a Dorothy, Tin Man, and Lion to go along with those, so they'll have a Wizard of Oz set. (Ari LOVES Wizard of Oz.)

The Farmyard Finger Puppets are cute! I might add a cow, just to round out the bunch. Of course, when I saw the pattern for Small Bob, I had to add that! How can we have finger puppets without our Sway? (yup, we have a Boston Terrier, just like Bob!) Then that got me thinking, how cool would it be for the kids to each have a finger puppet of themselves!?!

Of course, I've got the Puppet Pal grown ups! You can't have Ron, Harry, and Hermione without Voldy, Dumbledore, and Snape! I might have to do a Prof. McGonnagal, Hagrid, Hedwig, Malfoy, Luna....ok, you get the picture. (And yes, again Ari LOVES HP....yes, Ari is a couch potato, for anyone wondering!)

I also added the Little Red Riding Hood topsy-turvy doll I've had queued forever. I'm going to make it a touch bigger because I'm going to use the Red Heart stash. I had a topsy-turvy Red when I was a little girl, though she is made out of fabric and about a foot tall. She had Red on one end, and you flip her over for Granny, and if you pull the hat towards Granny's face and turn it around, you have the wolf in Granny's clothes! I've still got her in the attic. She's kind of threadworn, so I didn't give her to the girls because I knew she wouldn't make it! I also added the baby Triceratops because Charlie doesn't really need any of the plastic junk toys that are out there, but he still needs a little bit of a stocking stuffer, so a little soft baby dino for him to play with is just perfect!

I was also tagged by Erika over at Inspired Mama Musings for a meme:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

1. I share a birthday with one of my great-grandmas (and was born a day before my dad's cousin. We were in the nursery at the hospital together and went to high school together!)

2. My mom wanted to name me Wendy, but didn't want me to get made fun of because of the fast food restaurant, so changed it to Michelle after the Beatles song. (And my middle name, Renee, was taken after my oldest cousin. Her daughter also has it, and it's Arianna's middle name. Melodie's middle name is Rose shared with my mom, one of her sisters, and one of my cousins, but it gave her my initials.)

3. Other than my family and crafting, Art and Music are 2 of my passions (hence Melodie's name, and we were considering naming Ari, Aria, but figured people would butcher the pronunciation, so went with Arianna which also means silvery, and she was our "second".) In my brief stint in college, I was an Art and French double major, and I can't wait for the day I can get an easel to paint again!

4. Speaking of French, I went to France, love it, miss it, and dearly want to go again! I drug the group of friends I was with all over Paris until we found Pere Lachaise Cemetery to visit Jim Morrison's grave!! We also got to go to Giverny to Claude Monet's house and see the Japanese Bridge and where he painted Waterlilies. We also went to Normandy to the American cemetery and our crazy little group braved the threat of wild boars to go down to the beach where the soldiers landed.

5. I'm an only child, and I hate it! I vowed to never have an only child. (And incidentally always wanted 2 boys and 2 girls!)

6. In high school, I was in charge of wardrobe for our sophomore musical, "Oklahoma!"; was a prop person junior year for "Grease"; and head prop person senior year for "Barnum."

Ok, now since I know most of you just did the 7 things, I'm not going to have many people to tag. But, I will tag Five Left Feet, Daisy Mum, and CiCi!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

One more down!


I got another project / gift done last night! I got Ari's set of Potter Puppet Pal kids finger puppets done...finally!

Charlie slept through the night last night! This is like the second or third time ever, and the first time he slept from 8:30-6:30 without waking up at around 11 for a snack! YaY!! Are full nights of sleep in my near future?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tree Lighting Wrap Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Wow!! Another BEAUTIFUL Grosgrain giveaway! Ari would die for this!

Tree Lighting Wrap Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Our Christmas Picture


Here is the Christmas picture of the kids for this year! I tried to get one last night, but our living room is so dark, even with the cheery, light blue walls. Plus, Dan was "helping" by standing behind me to get Charlie to look. The only problem was, he was apparently standing to the left of me because Atley was the only one looking at the camera...everyone else was looking to the side. So, I did it after school, in the semi-light (though it's a dreary day, so still kind of dark in the picture, even with a light pointed at them!), and here it is!!!

Keep Your Finger Crossed!

If anyone would want to give us any sort of luck you can, I'd sure appreciate it! Atley dearly loves trains (if I haven't said that enough already.) He is obsessed with the Polar Express. (Which I finally just bought for him for Christmas...yay!!) He is so excited when he sees the preview on "Prisoner of Azkaban", and then just devastated when he realizes it's really POA. (He is anti-Harry Potter...enough is enough for him, though he did just tell me the other day he likes the Hogwarts Express, again. For his birthday, before Dan could even ask him at the train store, he saw it and went ballistic "That's not mine, it's Ari's, I don't want that. I don't like that. I'm not getting that. That's Ari's not mine." Poor kid!!) Anyway, the local train line here has a Polar Express train in the winter. It would have cost us $150 for all of us to go. So, we resigned ourselves to not going. Well, my mom called me this morning, and her work purchased 30 sets of 4 tickets! They're giving them away to employees. (To put it into perspective, she works for a pretty big hospital, and they have over 5000 employees.) She put in for the drawing. I want more than anything else I could hope for to give this to Atley (and the girls...but he'll truly enjoy it the most.) My mom always wins stuff from work and radio stations. Just in the past couple months, she's won 2 gift cards and a CD! Hopefully, her luck will hold out. She's also going to see if there is a list of people who won't need all 4 tickets that would be willing to give one up for Dan. Any luck anyone can send our way would be appreciated! It would surely make not only Atley's Christmas, but it would probably be his best memory to date, and who knows, possibly of his childhood. He lives, breathes, eats, and sleeps trains. This would be so big for him.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Neat Site for free jewelry!

This site has free silver jewelry that you just pay shipping on. I haven't gotten anything from them yet, but I hear through the grapevine it is quality stuff. Jeannie posted about this in the HP Knitting/Crochet House Cup on Rav.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Important: Check this out!

As a mother, I'm of course concerned about the safety of the kids' toys. I try not to buy things made in China. I try to make them as many toys as I possibly can! The CPSC had some new legislation passed which put into effect more stringent testing requirements for toys. This is great for the big toy companies importing everything coated in lead from sweatshops in China. This is very bad, as it stands, for mom and pop toymakers, or even us yarnies who want to make a few extra bucks in our Etsy shops or craft fairs! This was on the CLF board on Rav, and I just wanted to make sure it reached as many people as it could! It has also been hinted that this could affect sales on Ebay, donations to thrift stores, etc. Of course, they can't police everybody all the time, but would it be the worth the risk? I'm going to be very curious to see how this one pans out.


Click the title or here for the website.

Another week.....

Well, I finally got the girls to clean their room yesterday. It's not perfect, but they have a floor! And it has carpet! I thought their floor was made out of littlest pet shop and Polly Pocket.

I finished my wrist warmers yesterday. My hands are nice and toasty while I type this! I've still got enough yarn that I think I might be able to make a pair for my grandma out of the same Eco Soft I made mine and my mom's! She's got arthritis, and it got me thinking that it's probably hard for her to get her hands in regular gloves, and she could probably use a little extra warmth on her hands to keep her joints from getting as cold!

I also started a pair of tube socks for Charlie. I wanted to make leg warmers, but Dan says that's too girly. I had to modify the pattern because they were newborn size and didn't even come close to being wide enough for the ham hocks that make Charlie's legs! I think I made it a little bit too big, though. I'm going to make the second one a bit smaller and longer and if that fits, I'll just frog the first one and make one to match the better fitting one!

Tonight, I am FINALLY going to take the kids' pictures for our cards. It got too late yesterday, but I actually got an almost full day of work in again! Dear lord, this check might actually be somewhere close to normal! (I know, I won't have any work the rest of the week now. I just jinxed myself.) Last night, Dan and I gave Ari her Christmas dress. I had wrapped it for her. She's going to wear it in her picture and to her program at school next week. She's so excited for her program.

ETA: Melodie was late for school today! She pulled her not getting out of the bathtub thing again. This time, I know she was late. Ari got in there right when the kids were going to their classrooms. It took another 10 minutes or better for me to get Melodie's hair brushed and her finish her waffle. I just don't know what I'm going to do with that kid! They've instituted detentions at school recently. My friend teaches high school, and she said more than 3 tardies gets detention. Do you think that might actually be incentive enough for her? I asked her today, as she was crying she was cold, if that would inspire her to get ready...she said maybe. Not yes...MAYBE. I give up!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Snow, Snow, Snow

We got a couple of inches of snow yesterday! I hate snow, so bad. I hope after Christmas, we don't get any more snow this winter. I know that won't happen, though, because this is crappy Ohio, and if this winter is anything like the last couple winters, we're looking at another foot or so sometime in January-February.

We had fun at the b-day party yesterday. The girls had a blast playing, and there were all kinds of little boys there for Atley to play with.

I made myself a wrist warmer last night. I'm halfway done with #2. I used the same pattern and yarn as the ones I made my mom. Quick, soft, and easy! I'm going to knit a nice super warm wool pair after the X-mas stuff is done in my hand dyed yarn from the black walnuts.

After a marathon present wrapping stint, I've decided if I don't get anymore stuff done for the kids, that's okay, so I'm not stressing about it anymore. They have got plenty, and I am, for the most part, completely done with my X-mas shopping!

Tonight, we are going to take the kids pictures to send out in our holiday cards. Hopefully it will go easier than the last time. I think it should. The kids are all older (last time they were 5, 2, and 1) and Charlie is a good, smiley baby, so as long as the big kids cooperate, we should be good to go!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Fun Day!

Today, we are going to the birthday party of my friend's twin boys. They are just a bit younger than Atley, and her daughter is just a bit younger than Melodie, so we all have great fun playing. The boys are getting a train cake, so Atley is just excited beyond measure. I'm just bummed he won't be able to wear his train sweater! :0( Darn Santa Claus not making deliveries until the 24th!

She is the friend who taught me how to purl, and opened the wonderful world of knitting beyond squares, rectangles, and garter stitch! I give her sewing help, and she is my knitting guru.

Friday, December 5, 2008

No More Herbie Hats!

I did it...it's done! Everyone in this family (except me) will have their Herbie hat! Of course, now Dan says his is itchy, and he wants me to have it because he thinks it shrunk. (Yeah, like acrylic can shrink.) So, now he says he wants me to have it and make him a new one out of cotton!! I just can't win. Out of all the projects for this pattern on Rav, I have done 1/10 of them personally!! Anyway, it's done. vwhat5 001

Now, since I got new hooks Tuesday, hopefully I can go back to my Harry Potter Puppet Pals finger puppets for Ari. Dan still needs to build the puppet theater. He needs to do it soon, because I'll have to measure for material to make the curtains! (We're trying to give the kids a handmade Christmas and thought it would be really cool to make them a puppet theater they can all use!)

It is crazy cold out today. I'm thinking about making matching mittens for the girls' hats. Atley wants a pair of fingerless gloves. (He saw me making ones for grandma, so now he wants a pair.) I'm going to do them in black and embroider a Batman symbol on it, I think. I'll never be done!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Maple Lane: Holiday Apron Giveaway!

Here is another giveaway to check out for the chance to win a beautiful apron!

Maple Lane: Holiday Apron Giveaway!

Well, I tried to post yesterday.....

BUT, I got caught up in work...we had some, so I took advantage of it and almost got a whole day's work...even being at the bad hospital! I am back and blogging today, though!

I had tried to blog about how glad I am to be knocking out my gift list. I got another project done last night. I made my MIL a pair of fingerless gloves: x-mas car 002If I keep up with this pace, I might actually get most of my stuff done this year!

I'm hoping to get some festive pictures up soon of the kids and the tree and all that fun stuff. Atley has been so excited!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Two More Gifts Done!



Well, last night I completed my Mom's wrist warmers. (This pattern on Rav.) I didn't do the shell because I'm making these for her to wear at work, and I figured it would be irritating to type all day with rufflies. I am very excited to make myself a pair if and when I get all of my gifts done!

I also finished Ari's VW Hat. (This pattern on Rav.) I've only got Melodie's left to do, then I'm done with the VW hats!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Recital Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

My girls would love this dress! It's an American Girl lover's dream. It looks like it's right out of Kit's movie! Recital Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

7 things

I was tagged by Lauria, Laux and Diana! I've got a head cold, so I'm going to stick with the 7.

The Rules
1) Link to your tagger and list all these rules in your blog.
2) Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3) Tag 7 people at the end of your post by including links to their blogs
4) Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

1. I'm terrified of the dark.
2. I've got a green belt blue tip in Tae Kwon Do.
3. I cannot say the word "Clinton" properly.
4. I'm a very good target shooter.
5. I've been crocheting and knitting garter stitch since I was 4 and sewing since I was 7, but I just learned how to purl about 1 year ago.
6. I LOVE everything Star Wars.
7. My favorite soup is Campbell's Condensed Meatball Soup, and I dearly miss it and wish they would bring it back! I even went so far as to email them about it.

I tagged Jeannie I was going to tag more people, but they were all already tagged!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Yes Melodie, there is a Santa Claus.....

Yes Melodie, there is a Santa Claus.....
So, we have quite the dilemma this year. Melodie is in her 3rd/4th gifted class. She is the youngest one in her class. She is with some kids who are 10 or exceptionally close to it all day long. Should we, or should we not, tell her about Santa?

When I was a little girl, I believed until I was in 5th grade. I was relentlessly made fun of, but I believed with all my heart. I even knew I saw him one year. Apparently, when my dad was about 5 or 6, one of his older cousins outed the man in red, and my dad was devastated, and he didn't want that to happen to me. So, they let me get picked on. I don't want Melodie to be picked on. She has enough going for the being picked on thing on her own, regardless of believing in a fat guy in a red suit who brings presents to millions of kids in 12 hours.

Dan's afraid she'll ruin it for the little kids. Stealth and discretion are not Melodie's strong points. I don't want her to get made fun of. I say we at least get her through this Christmas. Next year, I'm on the fence. She'll be the fourth grader. I'm very tempted to let it slide then, too. In 5th grade, she'll go to middle school, and I'm thinking we should wait until then to tell her. I'm sure Ari will have figured it out by then. (She's already started with the questions....her and her little analytical mind.) And, I know they wouldn't want to make the boys sad, so I think they might be able to keep it a secret by then.

So, who got all their Christmas shopping done yesterday? I stayed home. I'm doing pretty good getting stuff, or I at least know what I want to get. It's all a matter of having the $$$ or not.

And, for all of you wondering about me being pagan and the Christmas references, we celebrate both. As I said, Melodie has enough going against her fitting in as it is. (We do encourage our kids to be free thinkers and individuals, and they are, but there's that fine line being an individual and being an outcast, and we try to pull her back from the edge!!) Anyway, we celebrate Winter Solstice as more of a religious day, and Christmas as more of an eat cookies, open presents, play games, and watch movies family fun kind of day, purely secular.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Back to the old grind

Well, we had a nice day yesterday. It took FOR-EV-ER to bake a 20 pound turkey, but god was it good! Dan outdid himself. Poor little Ari had the stomach flu. What a crappy day for the stomach flu! She's doing better today, though. Charlie had a blast. He now apparently loves sweet potatoes, especially mixed with marshmallows, brown sugar, and cinnamon. He also had some turkey, mashed potatoes, candied carrots, and green bean casserole!

Dan battled the crowds for me this morning and picked up a few of the kids presents. (He has to get up at 4 AM every day for work anyway...this kept him on schedule!) He got Ari's Easy Bake Oven, which I am SO excited about. She said she wants to be a chef when she grows up. She helped me saute the veggies for my stuffing yesterday. She's a good helper in the kitchen.

Well, that's about all for me for today. I'm still trying to work. Tomorrow, we're going to bake cookies with my mom!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Well, today is obviously Thanksgiving. I've got to work, but we're still going to have a big, traditional Thanksgiving dinner! Dan is a HUGE help on holidays. He takes care of alot of the cooking, or at least the watching. I get everything together, and he tends it. He also does all turkey washing and tending, and ham marinating on Christmas and Easter!!

Today is also my grandma's birthday! I'm going to hopefully get her a cake baked. My grandpa never remembers her birthday, and even when he does, I'm sure he doesn't get her a cake! So, I'm going to have the kids help make her one.

This evening, we will watch Christmas movies and put together a gingerbread house! (Our Thanksgiving tradition!)

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Brownie Cookies Recipe

Yesterday was really fun. The girls had a blast. Charlie munched some pancakes. One of the head mothers of the PTA group gave Atley a big plate of sausage links to bring home. He was so excited! The girls were excited to take in the pilgrim hat cookies we made Monday night to share with their classes.

Today, we're going to Mcdonald's with my grandparents. Thank goodness work is slow holiday weeks. (Even though it sucks because this work week will be on my last check we get before Christmas because my checks are held.) :0(

Here is the recipe for the Peanut Butter Brownie Cookies I made the other night: (even one of the little boys in Melodie's class asked for the recipe!)

Peanut Butter Brownie Cookies

Ingredients:
• 1 (19.5 oz.) package Pillsbury® Classic Traditional Fudge Brownie
• 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
• 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
• 1 large egg
• 1 cup powdered sugar
• 1 cup Jif® Creamy Peanut Butter
• 1/2 can Pillsbury® Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Directions:
1. HEAT oven to 350°F. Beat brownie mix, melted butter, cream cheese and egg in medium bowl 50 strokes with spoon until well blended (dough will be sticky).
2. DROP dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets to make 24 cookies; smooth edge of each to form round cookie.
3. MIX powdered sugar and peanut butter in small bowl with spoon until mixture forms a ball. With hands, roll rounded teaspoonfuls peanut butter mixture into 24 balls. Lightly press 1 ball into center of each ball of dough.
4. BAKE 10 to 14 minutes or until edges are set. Cool on cookie sheets at least 30 minutes.
5. SPREAD thin layer of frosting over peanut butter portion of each cooled cookie.
High Altitude (above 3500 ft.):
1. FLATTEN cookies slightly before baking. Bake at 350° F for 11 to 15 minutes.
Yield: 24 cookies

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pancake Breakfast

Today is the school's annual pancake breakfast. I always sign up to help for it, because it is one of the few activities scheduled on my day off. I helped Melodie's kindergarten year, but last year I had to call off because I was recovering from my gallstone attack. I had even missed conferences from it.

Tomorrow, if it's slightly nice, we're going to go out to lunch and to the park with grandma and grandpa. They won't do things without the girls because they don't want to hurt their feelings, so any day off they have, we try to do something with grandma and grandpa.

Monday, November 24, 2008

There's no place like home for the holidays

We stay home for the holidays. It's too hard to get (now) 4 kids to go anywhere and be away all day, especially with a baby. For the last 5 or 6 years or so, we've been staying home for all of the holidays. If people want to see us, they are more than welcome to stop over, but other than that, we stay at home. (Well, for Easter we usually try to go to a park or somewhere like that.) Thanksgiving, we will be eating at home, but it's my grandma's birthday, so we'll go see her in the evening. Plus, I usually have to work on holidays. That's the crappy thing about working at home. If it's not a Tuesday or Saturday, I usually have to work it. We went shopping yesterday for our Thanksgiving groceries (before my mom brought the kids home.) I've got a couple of things to pick up at the store down the street, and I'm still hoping to take Charlie to get his picture taken tomorrow, but sadly the vest will not be done. And, I'm probably going to take a picture at home of everyone and get prints made, so I don't have to worry about send out picture time at Walmart.

We're just homebodies, and besides, what kid wants to go all over hell all day long? I'm an only child, and my BIL and SIL have no kids, so it's not like they have cousins to play with. My dad said how horrible my mom's family was for always having get togethers on the holidays and how it was disrespectful to him (he's got issues, and thank god they're divorced now, so I only have to put up with his crap when I feel like it.) I was never so glad to get that email from him, though. See, he always gives me grief because we don't go over there for holiday dinners. When he emailed that, I said exactly, that's why we don't go anywhere. We want the kids to have fun. It's supposed to be special and fun for THEM. He let it drop then. (Sorry about the dad rant, but I'm probably going to have to see him Thursday at my grandma's....grrrr)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cold, Cold, Cold

It's still SO cold outside! Last night was fun. Only one of my friends came back, and she kind of had to because we rode together and Dan and her husband went out together, so we had alot of cookies to eat! (I made brownie cookies.) Charlie had his first French fries. He LOVED them! Other people in the restaurant went out of their way to walk over and see the baby.

The kids had fun at my mom's. She took them out to Bob Evans for dinner, and they went to see "Bolt." They are off the wall right now. I just made them all sit down for silent reading time.

I am so tired. I was up way too late last night, and I have to get up extra early Tuesday to go in for the girls' pancake breakfast at school. Why do I volunteer for these things!?!

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Just click the title, and it will take you to a blog where you can enter for a chance to win a prize once an hour Black Friday...November 28th. Some AWESOME prizes will be given away!! Go check it out!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Parade Day!

Today is the annual Holiday Parade for our small town. We're going with my mom, and we will sit in Wendy's and eat yummy food and drink warm hot chocolate (the only day of the year they serve it.) Then, the children will beg, now that they're old enough to realize what's going on, and we will go outside to watch the end of the parade and get useless trinkets and unnecessary candy. This year, I will know that the children will want to go outside, and they (and I) will have warm coats, gloves, hats, and scarves so we will not freeze like we did last year. Oh, and bags. I'm still digging candy out of my coat pockets!

After the parade, my mom will take the big children to her house. She will do arts and crafts with them and make them whatever food they want because she is their personal short order cook (or microwaver...mom hates to cook.)

Then, I will go to my Girls Night Out!!!!!!!!!! Charlie will come, but I will bring him food and toys, and he will sit and eat and play and be happy, and I will be out of the house for a few hours! I may even invite the girls back to my place afterwards, if I can banish Dan to the garage and get the house cleaned in time. Maybe, I will even make a pan of brownies for us to eat.

Friday, November 21, 2008

One more day down....

And only one more to go to my Girl's Night Out! Yay!

Conferences went good yesterday. Melodie got bright, shining reviews. She's reading Emily Dickinson with 2 other little girls, and they're exploring imagery and will be starting on rhyme and rhythm after break! Her teacher also asked me last night if it was okay to start her on some pre-algebra stuff. Two of the 4th grade boys are doing it, and she thought Melodie may enjoy it, too.

Ari is doing good. Her teacher said she's really opened up, which we were worried about. She said her speech is doing better, and she can understand her all the time. She's behaving well in class. (She only got her first yellow the other day. She went outside with no coat on! Her teacher's aide told her twice to get her coat before she went out...so she got her gloves and went without the coat. To her defense, she is always hot and has always hated coats.) She needs to work on her handwriting. And, we need to work on memorizing our address and phone number. I've tried and tried, but she always tells me she knows it, and she doesn't have to say it. Gotta love my stubborn, independent little girl!

We actually got an inch or 2 of snow last night. Apparently, the city Dan works in is supposed to get up to a foot today. (It's about half an hour away.) It's supposed to snow some tomorrow, too. Must dress warm for parade!

My grandparents stopped by yesterday. My grandpa said the word "eat" when asking if we were still able to go out to eat for lunch next Wednesday when the girls are off school, and Charlie freaked out. He started squirming and turning around to look at me! That boy loves his food! When they left, my grandpa waved "bye-bye" at him, and he waved back! That was his first wave!

I didn't get anymore done on my vest yesterday. I was beat after conferences and the ensuing crying when Ari didn't get 15 pens at $3 a pop.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Annie's Attic Pattern of the Day - Snowman Cookie Jars!

OMG, these are cute beyond words! I had to blog about this and share the crocheted cuteness around! My mom loves snowman stuff. She is so getting one of these for Christmas! (I don't drink coffee, or I'd do both...I've only got 1 can of coffee for feeding my rhododendrons!)

It's still snowing

It's coming down again. We really haven't gotten more than a dusting here. It keeps falling and melting. Just about an hour north of us, they've got a foot in some places. Gotta love Ohio! We always say, if you don't like the weather, wait 15 minutes, it'll change.

Today is wear a shirt with words to read on it. (They're doing special days for book fair week.) Ari is wearing her Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix shirt! For any of you who don't know, Ari is a HUGE HP fan. She prefers to be called Hermione. Since she was about 3 1/2, she has been all about Harry. We are very sad we don't get to go to a movie opening night at midnight tonight! (Yes, I was going to take her and keep her out of school the next day. I know, I'm a bad mom.) Alas, we have to wait until July. :0( At least we get to go for our birthdays again. (For the OOTP, Dan and I shipped the other kids off to my mom's and took Ari out for a nice dinner and to see OOTP with just us. Her birthday is about a week and a half after mine, so we went as a combined treat for the 2 of us.) Plus, I've been trying to read her the books to get her caught up on everything, and to prepare her for sad things that happen at the end of #6. (I almost wrote the spoiler, but then it dawned on me that some people, if it's really possible, might not have read HP and the HBP. Oh, the blasphemy!)

I got a little more done on the vest last night. Small steps. I'm hoping to have it done by Tuesday so I can at least take Charlie for first Christmas pictures.

Today is also conference day at school. Of course, I wrote down the times of the conferences on my calendar....but not whose teacher was at what time! Ah well, you live, you learn. So, it looks like I have to call the secretary today. This is my first year for having to go to 2 conferences. Next year, I'll know better for 3!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It is DONE!!!


I did it! I FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY did it!! The train sweater is done. 100% complete. C'est fini! I finished it last night. Without any further ado, here it is! (Sorry for the crappy pictures, but it was 10:00 at night and my new camera's batteries died on me, so I had to use the old crappy one.)

Yesterday was a very productive day. We got groceries, then Charlie had his shots. :0( He did great, though! The first one, he didn't even cry, and only for about 5 seconds on the other one! He was a little sore in the afternoon because it was the DTap, but he seems to have slept it off and be his happy self this morning! Atley and I made fudge. We also made Dan his sweet potato pie he's been wanting, and we made Charlie some baby food. We did peas yesterday. Atley fell. He was standing on his stool watching me, and it slipped out from under him and he bumped his chin on the counter. I've always hated having the stools in the kitchen for that reason and the fact that I trip over them all.the.time! So, we now have a strict no stool rule, and if they want to help, they can use my little step stool because it has nonskid feet. (Yes, I'm short, and I need a stool to get most things out of my cabinets. I have seriously thought about getting one of those stools from Little People, Big World!)

I also started on Charlie's Christmas vest last night. I asked Dan what he thought, and he was like wow, that looks awesome. What's it going to be? So I told him. No, absolutely not, it's too girly. I thought you were making my mom's hat or something. grrr Oh well, if I get it done, he's wearing it! Dan never goes with me to get the pictures taken, so neener neener to him. He can't stop me! ;0)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Grandparent's Day

Today is Grandparent's Day at school. My mom will be joining the girls for snacks, crafts, begging for books from the book fair, and lunch at school. Then, instead of being able to take them home after lunch and a small program, she will have to drop them off at school, and they will be required to learn for 2 more hours. This new principal sure is no-nonsense! What kid is going to be able to concentrate after they've just played with grandma and / or grandpa for 2 hours?

Charlie will get his 6 month shots today, too. They've got him on a slightly different schedule because since we do homebirth, he doesn't get the first hepatitis B right at birth. I usually wait a couple weeks to take them in for that, and that throws other things off, so they rearrange his schedule where he can do the combined shots more since the hep B throws things off. If only they could have done this for Ari and Atley, too. Those poor kids got so many needles. I know the nurse isn't happy with me because I decline the hepatitis A (Sorry, a new shot? Not trying it out on my baby, thanks!) or the Rotavirus (I'm well aware of the signs of dehydration, none of my other kids have ever had rotavirus, and I work at home so he's not around hordes of other children to get it from, plus it's given by mouth. I don't want chemicals or dead or live viruses or whatever it is going down my baby's throat!)

I'm proud to say that Melodie is the only child that has ever had antibiotics, and that was for 1 ear infection and 2 UTI's. My other children have had no other medications except Motrin and/or Tylenol, other than a few homeopathics and herbal remedies we have tried. Plus, it is really hard to find medicines without red dye for Ari.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Picture Day

Yup, it's picture day, again. Today is holiday picture day. The girls dutifully donned their Christmas sweaters. Of course, the great big huge bright blue basket of hair implements is gone, so no one got any bows. Don't ask me where the basket went! We also had a slightly easier time of getting ready this morning. Everyone's hair was washed....with actual shampoo....this time! Melodie was still not happy, though. Apparently, she had no hot water, and was very unhappy. We got to school right on time, though!

Last time I had been outside, Dan hadn't put the seats back up in the Blazer after he got the mattress. I went outside this morning, cranky, because I just knew I had to put everything back....and to my surprise, not only were the seats up, but this time all the seat belts were properly through, and he even put the baby seat back in! Isn't it funny, how after kids, the dumbest things make your husband seem like the sexiest man alive? To me, that was more romantic than just about anything else. (The single, long stem red rose and half pound of my favorite chocolates he picked up 2 Fridays ago and surprised me with also melted my heart. I asked him why, and he said because I deserved it, and he felt bad because we didn't do anything for Sweetest Day!)

I actually, finally, am almost done with the sweater sleeve! I've got 1/2 an inch to do in st st, then I'll start the raglan shaping, then I can attach it, and I'll be done! Hopefully, tonight. I think I'm going to crochet the boys' vests. It will go so much quicker, and I found a cute sweater pattern in an old pamphlet I dug out, so I think I'm going to make that without the sleeves, and call it a day.

Here is a picture of our snow today. It's not much, but it's our first sticking snow of the year!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

It's Snowing Again!

Yup, again. And, it's supposed to do it most of the week! It's even starting to stick a little bit!! The kids were so excited this morning. I love seeing the world through my kids' eyes. It really helps put things in perspective for me and to take a step back and look and see, maybe things aren't really as bad as I always make them out to be.

Atley was very excited this morning. He got a big boy bed last night. Charlie has been sleeping in a port-a-crib since he outgrew the bassinet. He was only about 4 inches off the floor, and with him being sick, I was getting worried. Atley had a little toddler's bed, which had the crib mattress in it, which is why we didn't want to get another crib mattress. For just a little more, we could have a regular mattress. Well, my mom bought Atley a mattress set yesterday. She had gotten the girls their bunk beds, too. So, last night we set up his bed. It's just a frame with a mattress set right now because we eventually plan on getting the boys bunk beds, too, but he was so happy! I picked him up a set of Spiderman sheets. Tuesday, we're going to get him a big boy pillow, because he has always used toddler pillows before. Then, Dan put the crib together last night. We were missing 4 locking nuts. So, he improvised, made it even more secure than it was, and Charlie got himself a new bed, too! He seemed so excited. He was laying on our bed watching so I could help Dan, and he smiled and kicked and cooed looking at it the whole time. He was nice and warm and seemed to sleep better, too. I'll get pictures up of the both of them later.

I FINALLY made some progress on the sleeve! Not much, mind you, but some. I decided Atley is small enough, he won't recognize a knit sleeve still OTN as part of his finished sweater, so I got it out yesterday afternoon while the kids were playing and Dan was fetching mattresses. It's about half way done. If I can get some good work done today, I'm hoping to be able to work on the sleeve tonight and finish it up!

The mattress purchasing was a trip in itself. I had seen advertised that this one place had twin mattresses for $39 a piece. So, I sent Dan, with the intention of just getting the mattress since you can't use box springs on bunk beds for whenever we get those. Well, it was $39 a piece...if you bought the mattress, box springs, and bed frame, but you couldn't buy them separately at all. Then, I called around some more. Sears had a 50% off mattress sale. With the 50% off, their cheapest mattress (not box springs too, just mattress) was $169!!! So, I finally got ahold of a different mattress store, who said they had the mattress and box spring set for $99, and I asked how late they were open, the whole schpiel. (By this time, after Dan understood my intentions with the just the mattress thing, he informed me the box springs were necessary.) So, he went to the much closer mattress store, and they told him they only had 1 in stock and it was reserved!!!!! Well, he gave them our sob story about the baby being sick and cold on the floor, etc., and apparently the lady felt so bad, she sold it to him!! For once, luck was finally on our side. (Though I do feel bad if the other people ever showed up last night to get it, though he did go about 2 hours before close.)

We also went to a couple of craft shows yesterday. The one especially was really crappy. The other was nice. There were some cute crocheted ponchos. The lady tried to sell them to me. I really just wanted to go to price how much people were selling things for. They also had a little rummage sale there, and I bought Atley a little tikes gas pump for his cozy coupe. He was so excited. I also got each of the kids a chocolate sucker. I LOVE those things. They all worked hard raking leaves Friday after school, so that was their treat. I'll try to post pictures of that later, too. I got a good one of Ari and Atley mid air while jumping into a pile of leaves with Ari's hair flying!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Girls Night Out

One week until the Girls Night Out! I can't wait!! I'm not even going to be completely child free. Charlie will be joining us girls, because where "the girls" go, Charlie has to be. (He doesn't do overly well on bottles, and my mom is a bit reluctant to do all 4 for any length of time, let alone he can't stay overnight.) Hopefully my friend that just had the baby will still be able to make it, and she'll bring him, so Charlie will have a friend.

Melodie had a rough day at school the other day. She got in the car and burst into tears. Apparently, her little boyfriend yelled across the class during a lull in the noise while they were packing up to head home, "I'm glad I broke up with you Melodie, because a hottie moved in across the street!" She said she was so embarrassed and sad and angry. Poor thing. I told her boys can be stinky like that. I joked with Dan after she was in bed...she did get custody of the Bakugan and a few Pokemon cards from the settlement, though. ;0) Ah, the trials and tribulations of young love. But, what 3rd grader refers to a girl as a "hottie?" Am I just that much of a fuddy duddy that I think that's way out of line?

Friday, November 14, 2008

TGIF!

I'm so done with this week. Still, no progress on the sweater! I fell asleep, again. My mom and I are hoping to hit 2 craft shows tomorrow. I'm hoping that will give me the extra little umph I need to get motivated again!

Charlie woke up from his nap yesterday running a fever. :0( Poor little guy. He had one very early this morning, but has been fever free since I got him up this morning to get ready to take the girls to school!

We went to my great aunt's funeral today. Atley was perfectly behaved, although I'm willing to bet it was due to the promise of a Happy Meal for good behavior. What? I'm not above bribing my kids!! Charlie didn't want to sit. We walked the foyer and ate Cheerios while Atley sat with my grandma and grandpa and got fed candy and given quarters. (Grandma and grandpa always have candy in their pockets.) It was a nice service. I didn't see my dad. My step mom came up and said hi and gave me a hug, but I never saw my dad. I also didn't see her on our way out. She was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, and she was supposed to be starting radiation. I wonder if they had to leave because she wasn't feeling good? I saw some cousins I haven't seen in a few years. We're going to get all of our kids together for a playgroup! (One of them has twins about Melodie's age and a baby a little older than Charlie. The other has a little girl a year or so younger than Atley.)

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Full Moon

Well, I just saw on the calendar that tonight is a full moon. I wonder if that's why Melodie has been in prime form again lately? Ari said she got a tardy slip yesterday. I don't know whether to believe her or not. She did walk all the way to the back door, but her class had gotten inside before she got there, and the door was locked, so she had to go all the way back to the front. I saw her when I was walking Melodie across. Melodie said she didn't get one, and I don't see how Ari could have and Melodie not. I'm going to talk to the teacher about it at conferences next week, because poor little Ari was definitely on time. She came home with a hole in her tights. This is the second pair this week!

Well, I am NEVER going to get my sweater or vests done, and I'm at a loss of what to do. I fell asleep on the couch AGAIN last night! This time, I didn't even get Atley in bed first. He fell asleep on my legs. So, another night of no progress on anything yarn related!

Charlie LOVED the squash baby food. I didn't get the peas done last night. He gobbled up the squash, though! I was so proud of myself. I always wanted to make the other kids' baby food, but never did it.

Last night my grandma called me in the evening. My heart dropped because of the tone of her voice and the fact she was calling after 6. (After 4 is considered late to my grandparents. Calls after 5 are never for good reasons.) I was afraid she was calling to tell me something happened to my grandpa. He's got heart problems and last year he was diagnosed with skin cancer, but overall considering his age (he turned 80 this year), he's doing pretty good, but he's still no Jack Lalanne. Anyway, apparently his sister passed away yesterday. It was very unexpected. She is his younger sister. Also, she was in very good health. Her husband hasn't been doing well. He was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's, but she was going strong. They think it was a brain aneurysm. I knew her very well because she lived right up the street from my grandparents growing up, but I wouldn't say we were close. We shared many differences of opinion, even as a small child. (She insulted my mom a few times to her face about being a working mother.) But, I'm still sad to hear of her passing. I guess my dad's cousin is just taking it horribly. Not only did his mother unexpectedly die, but he had to put his dad in a nursing home because he and his wife still work and can't take care of him, and he can't take care of himself. So, it looks like I'm going to have to try to get the boys to a funeral tomorrow, which I'm a little nervous about because Atley is funny about stuff like that. I mean, he is 4 after all, but you never know how certain things will affect him.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Not much to say

Well, of course I blew it big time this week for NaBloPoMo. I missed Monday and Tuesday! I was so busy with work Monday, I didn't have time to post, or get a post set up for yesterday. :0( Well, I guess I didn't really have much to put anyway. Same old, same old around here. I have not finished that sweater yet! As soon as the kids are in bed, I fall asleep on the couch before I can even grab the yarnin' bag. I need to get moving! I also realized I wanted to do 2 vests for the boys for their holiday pictures, which I need to get taken soon or won't have them in time to send out for cards! Tonight, I am going to finish that sweater!! If I can get some work done today, I will hopefully get started on one of the boys' vests this afternoon. I don't care if they see those before hand.

Yesterday when Atley and I were doing our grocery shopping, we stopped in the Christmas section and got a Ralphie ornament! It's got him with the soap in his mouth. Atley picked it out. I think it's because he has a bad habit of spitting, and when he does it, I warn him if there is a second offense (that day) he will get to eat soap like Ralphie! I'm torn on what to do with our tree this year. I usually put it up the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (my day off.) But this year, I really wanted to get a real tree again. We haven't had one for quite a few years. I don't know, we might have to wait for next year. Things have still been pretty tight. I just wanted it to be extra special for Charlie's first Christmas/Yule. I'm pretty sure all of the other kids had real trees for their first. My Charlie is getting so big. He will be 8 months old on Christmas Eve.

One of my friends had her baby Sunday! (The one I designed the Garter Ridge Mittens to go with the sweater and hat for.) Yay, a new friend for Charlie! I made my first batch of baby food yesterday! I've been buying a jar or so at a time to see what he likes (everything but peaches) so I don't make big batches of stuff he won't eat. Yesterday, I roasted a butternut squash, pureed it, and froze it in ice cube trays. Squash is his favorite. The next batch I'm going to do will be peas. I've got a bag of frozen sweet peas to boil up. I think next week I'll get some green beans and carrots.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Progress Made

So, I started a train sweater for Altey months ago. I was so excited. Then, I got to the neck shaping....and bombed! I had no clue what the pattern meant. I asked KnittedSister, who set me on the right "track" (haha, I made a train-funny) and I stopped. I haven't worked on it in forever. I just completley lacked motivation, though I really want to see the look on Atley's face when he opens this! I must say, I don't think I'll ever make a raglan sweater again. Being a left handed knitter, it's just too confusing for me, at least for now. Maybe if I can find a lefty raglan sweater, I'll give it a go, because I do really like the cables. I may even make him the matching hat, but that's an if-I-have time kind of thing right now. Last night, I made great progress, though! I finished that neck shaping, finished the sleeve I had started while I was waiting for instruction on the neck shaping, and got the sleeve attached and seam sewn on one side. I'm hoping to knock out a good chunk of sleeve tonight, and will hopefully have it done in the next couple days. All other projects are on hold right now, until I get this sweater done!

Here is an old picture of the train pattern. I didn't get a picture with the sleeve on last night. Beetle 012

Saturday, November 8, 2008

New Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Trailer!!

Check it out! At least we can dream about what we have to wait an extra 8 months to see that we should be seeing in freaking 2 weeks!!!

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Friday, November 7, 2008

GrosgrainStore.com Grand Opening & Giftcard Giveaway!!!!!!!!

The Grosgrain store to purchase those beautiful girls' skirts is now open! Here is the blog post for it:

GrosgrainStore.com Grand Opening & Giftcard Giveaway!!!!!!!!

And, here is a link to check out the store, itself: Grosgrain Store

Nip / Tuck

It's finally coming back!!! I've been waiting,and waiting, and waiting, and I finally saw the commercials last night for the new season of Nip / Tuck starting January 6th! I can't wait! Yes, it's a smut show, but I love it. I got hooked on it when they had a marathon a couple years ago Christmas Eve when I was up all night finishing the kids gifts. Now, I'm hooked, and I was completely bummed when it didn't start back in September like it was supposed. A good President elected and Nip / Tuck coming back all in one week. My god, could my luck actually, possibly be starting to change for once? (I know, I just jinxed myself, right?)

Last night, I didn't work on the Puppet Pals. I did get some good work done on Ari's sock, though. I got the leg part done, and I'm starting to work the heel. I'm not quite sure I fully understand the directions, so I'm hoping they work out okay. It looks awful big, though. If it fits, I'm going to keep it for myself....well, when I finish the other one! After I finish this one, I'm going to cast on Ari's Golden Snitch socks from Charmed Knits. I need it for my HP House Cup homework, and if I have a snowball's chance in hell of getting them done before the holidays, I'm going to have to bust my butt!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thursday Morning

Well, I'm still on a happy high from Tuesday's victory for the country! I am, however, exhausted. Dan has been working crazy over time hours the last couple weeks, and I am on child overload. I have a Girls Night Out coming up on the 22nd, and I can't wait! I don't think the big kids have seen Dan more than in passing since Sunday or Monday night. Charlie has seen him a few times since he still nurses every 2-3 hours, with about a 5-6 hour stretch at night.

I finished Charlie's VW hat! It looks SO cute. I also finished up the first of my Potter Puppet Pals....Harry! I'm hoping to finish up Ron and maybe even Hermione tonight. One more thing to mark off the Yule list!

I was very sad to hear today of the death of Michael Crichton. He is one of my favorite authors. Apparently, he lost a battle he had been privately fighting against cancer. I think I'll have to watch Jurassic Park with Atley tomorrow to pay him homage. He's a medical doctor, in case ya didn't know. One of my favorite books of his was written under a pseudonym back when he had finished med school, I believe. It's called "A Case of Need." Of course, we can't forget about ER, either. Mr. Crichton, you will be missed!

Grosgrain Grand Opening !!!!

Check out this new store with BEAUTIFUL, stylish, classic girls clothing!

Grosgrain Grand Opening !!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hip Hip Hooray!!!

I can't believe it. The era of war, poverty, and overall Republican crappiness is over, and a new leaf is turned! I cannot wait for January! Yay for Obama!! I finally feel proud to be an American again!! I fell asleep crocheting on the couch last night, waiting for the election results to come in....and I awoke to McCain giving his concession speech! I was so excited I wanted to run outside screaming, but I figured all of the old people McCain supporters in my neighborhood might have stoned me. ;0)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Babies, babies everywhere

I currently know 6 people...yes 6!!...who are pregnant!!! Imagine the knitting I get to do!!! Dan will be happy, though, that everyone is pregnant now, while Charlie is still a baby. I'm a sucker for "new baby smell" and it always gets my hormones a-flowin' when I smell that sweetness, and all I've got is puppy. (And yes, I mean my kids, not the muttley!!) Dan doesn't want any more kids. He knows if we had a bigger house in the country, I'd be all for it! (We've got 2 extra seats in the wagon when he gets it done. I told him that was a bad idea! lol We had an extra seat in our Blazer, so I rationalized Charlie would be good to have because he'd fit!)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Tropical Tree Frog Costume GIVEAWAY!!!!

Tropical Tree Frog Costume GIVEAWAY!!!!

My favorite day of the year.

Today is my favorite day of the year.....the day Daylight Savings Time ends. An extra hour of sleep without losing any time....who doesn't love that!?!?

Friday was very hectic. Nothing got done the way it was supposed to. Melodie had a wonderful time, though. I just realized this morning I forgot to give out ice cream with the cake. Oh well. More ice cream for me! She got everything she wanted. We went out on our special day yesterday. (And no, we're not trying to be like Jon & Kate. We've been doing special days for the kids birthdays long before they have.) First we picked up grandma. We went to grandma's work to get a Webkinz from the gift shop. (My mom works in a hospital.) Then, we went to lunch at Friendly's and gorged ourselves on unhealthy foods and ice cream. She got to play the claw game when we were leaving, and she won an orange Halloween gorilla! My mom had told her how my aunt Dorothy who passed away had been really good at those games, and she asked Dorothy to help her win. Low and behold, she got it! She's never won from one of those things before. Did she perhaps have a little help? Then, we went to the mall to use the birthday Build-A-Bear certificate she got in the mail, and she got a Christmas dress for her critters. THEN (yeah, I know) we went to Toys R Us to use a gift card she had left from last Christmas and the birthday gift card she got from them. She got a Pokemon art kit and a pack of blendy pens. My mom got quite a bit of the kids' Christmas shopping done. Apparently yesterday kicked off the Christmas shopping season because all Christmas crap was out in full force! I'm well on my way to getting the kids stuff done. I need to get yarnin' though! We dropped grandma off, picked up some Big Bufords from Rally's for Daddy. (His prize for holding down the fort with the other heathens at home.) Then, I crashed for the rest of the night because I think I had WAY too much sugar yesterday and got really dizzy. I'm looking forward to Tuesday so I can rest!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Harry Potter Crochet Design Contest

Hi there everyone! Does anyone out there have some great ideas for Harry Potter crochet patterns? I'm a member of the Harry's Happy Hookers group on Ravelry, and our fearless leader, pretywitch, has designed a contest to get us some good CAL material! Anyone that has an original HP design, whether it's inspired by the movies/books or something directly described or shown in the movies/books, you're welcome to enter! I hear there will be prizes. The rules are listed on the Harry's Happy Hookers page, and you can contact pretywitch on Ravelry if you're interested. If you're not on Ravelry and still want to give it a go, contact me at my link to the left there for purchasing the patterns, and I can get you in contact with pretywitch some way or another. (But really, someone doing the yarnin' that's not on Ravelry? That can't be true, can it!?!)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!!!

And, Happy Samhain to my witchier readers! AND Happy Birthday to my Melodie. Last night, we finally carved our pumpkins. The kids had a blast.

Charlie took a spoonful of pumpkin guts to the face, and of course I d
idn't think to get a picture of that! Atley was trying to scoop his goop and accidentally flung it at him. Dan's been working alot of overtime lately, so he didn't get home in time to help and was bummed. It was almost 8, and the girls had school today. I had waited as long as I could. Oh well, he can help next year! Actually, next year we might be able to do our own pumpkins again. The last couple years, we just haven't done our own because there were so many to help with. Ari did hers all by herself, and she was the first one done. She got her pumpkin from the field trip her class went on at the beginning of the month. Her pumpkin is a witch. Atley did a really good job on his, too. His is a bat. He scooped the guts and did about half of it himself. I finished up. For the pumpkin he had, he did a really good job. It was very tough, and I think a baking pumpkin might have gotten mixed in with the lot. Melodie did most of hers herself, too. It's a spider. I helped on the legs a little, and we had a problem with the head due to bad engineering. (I always forget about the having to leave part of it not cut or the middle won't stay!) Charlie's pumpkin is a Shrek baby. It was Melodie's idea. I was quite proud of myself!

And here are all of our lighted pumpkins:


I got up early to work today, and of course our internet service was on the blink, so I didn't get any early work done. I had about an hour to finish up last night, and Dan got home so late I didn't get out to get Melodie's presents, so we had to do that after we dropped the girls off to school today. AND, I didn't get the cake baked last night because I wanted to go to bed so I could get up early, so that's in the oven right now. I still need to boil potatoes for some potato salad because the grandparents are coming over tonight for pizza and cake and ice cream. I've got to quit work around 1:00 to go to the girls' Halloween parties at school, and my grandparents will probably be waiting at home when we get home from school. The house is a mess. Oh yeah, did I mention I'm supposed to work today!?! Oh well, I'm sure we'll manage to get most stuff done. I bought Atley a pack of Thomas stickers from the dollar store this morning and told him if he cleans for me, he can have some of his trick-or-treat candy and the pack of stickers. Yes, it's bribery, and no I don't think it's wrong. If it works, use it! Anywho,
HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wednesday

I couldn't think of a title for today....just random stringing together of thoughts, I guess. Yesterday was an eventful day. We dropped the girls off at school, then went right to the store for groceries. Ari's teacher sent a note home Monday night they were low on snack, and I wasn't about to go to the store down the street and pay 3 times what I would at the store the next day. Then, we rushed home (I was running late because I was looking for birthday presents for Melodie. Did you know Walmart does not sell diaries with locks? Heads up, just in case you were in the market.) I hurried up and frosted the cupcakes I made to take in to Melodie's class for her birthday. We did it yesterday since their class Halloween party is Friday, and the teacher wanted her to get a special day, and not just stuck in with the party. How more thoughtful can you get? Atley helped put sprinkles on them. Then, we ran to school, dropped off the snack with Ari's class, and ran down to Melodie's class. Well, I had only been in her new classroom for this year once, and apparently I didn't remember which one it was, because we walked into the wrong classroom (after knocking...but they had paper covering the window so we couldn't see in) and Atley yelled peek-a-boo! Oops! I apologized, but the teacher still seemed really ticked. Geez, I said I was sorry. Anyway, so we found the right classroom and shared in the cupcakes and singing with 21 very hyper 3rd and 4th graders! I have NEVER seen them THIS hyper. Wow. Friday, I think I'll take my chances with the kindergarteners! (I'm a room mom in both girls' classes.)

I finished up a cell phone pouch for my Harry Potter House Cup Transfiguration class. I crocheted it up from the wool yarn I dyed for Herbology with the black walnuts, then I felted it. I think I might give the felting another go. It's not quite as fitted as I wanted it to be. I'm torn though, because there's enough room to slip my license and debit card or a couple dollars in it if I don't want to take a purse somewhere. Hmmmm...decisions, decisions. I also started a pair of mittens for Charlie yesterday. I don't like my decrease and am going to give it another go. Plus, Dan said that my idea of V on one and W on the other is stupid, and if you don't but the VW on each one, it won't make sense. So, I'm going to try to work out a teeny weeny VW symbol. (Dan is a HUGE VW bug fan. I used to be, until I got Dan. Now, I hate those tiny little cars.) Anyway, my first intarsia work was a VW hat for Dan and one for Atley. Charlie needs a winter hat, so I did start on that after the mitten failure yesterday because it's a quick knit. I'm going to add ear flaps and ties to his, though. I got the yarn for the girls', too, but I'm going to do those for Yule.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland

Ok, so there's not THAT much snow, ok so NONE that stuck, but we had our first flakes today folks!! I must say, I was as giddy as a little schoolgirl to see those flakes...or a preschool boy, as the case may be. My schoolgirls were already at school. I can only assume if they saw the snow, they were in fact quite peeved because they could not go out in it. My mom said some stations are calling for 2 inches by tomorrow...others nada. It is Ohio, I'm sure one or both of them will be right. And, I know, a mere few posts ago I was complaining about the nonexistant snow, and now I'm happy. If we get those 2 inches, talk to me then. I'll be back to hating it again in no time!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

GROSGRAIN MINI STORE OPENING NOVEMBER 6!!!! AND BIG PREVIEW GIVEAWAY!!!!

GROSGRAIN MINI STORE OPENING NOVEMBER 6!!!! AND BIG PREVIEW GIVEAWAY!!!!

Wow. That's all I can say, wow. Some BEAUTIFUL custom, hand sewn children's clothes. This just blows my mind. I've always considered myself a fairly accomplished seamstress....not anymore!! Wow, again, wow.

Trick or Treat

Today was trick-or-treat. Last night we also went trick-or-treating at my in-law's. We have the motherload of candy right now. The bowl overflow-eth.

First we stopped by at my dad's new place to check it out on the way to my in-law's and unfortunately found out my step-mom was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. :0( I've talked to my dad and my grandparents....no one told me!

Then, we went to my in-laws, trick-or-treated up a few blocks, and went back to chow some of the best pizza in the world! If you're ever in NE Ohio, Rasici's pizza in the North Hill part of Akron is the best pizza you will ever eat! Dan's Granny got to see Charlie for the first time.

Then, we had trick-or-treat today. The kids were so excited. Without further ado, here are the costumes that yes, I got finished in time! I even got them done with 2 hours to spare!



From L-R: Princess Fiona, Batman, Shrek baby, and Indian princess

Friday, October 24, 2008

Palin blessed against "witchcraft"

Ok, this is scary. As a pagan, it really bothers me that a person that could be deciding the law of the land (let's face it, McCain is old, he's had poor health, the odds aren't good for the next 4 years) is like this. A person that narrow-minded could be deciding on HER morals what is good for the country. Does that mean paganism will become outlawed? I love this rebuttal. Thanks to SpiderWitch on Rav for posting these! Scary, scary stuff. It's one thing to agree to disagree, but this is too much. As Deborah said, don't worry Sarah Palin, this witch will stay far, far away from you! I wouldn't want to get pitbull lipstick or $150,000 wardrobe lint on my ritual garb.

Happy 50th Smurfday!

Well, my mom just emailed me to brighten up my funk. It is the 50th Smurfday to my favoritest cartoon ever....that's right, the Smurfs! I even bought a box of Smurf cookies when I was in France, and I still have the box, yes, proven time and time again, I am a dork. I've still got my smurf head radio and my Grumpy, Baby, and Smurfette dolls up in the attic. The Smurfs have partnered with Unicef to raise funds. See, they're even goodwill ambassadors! Who doesn't love the Smurfs. Here is a link to their Happy 50th Smurfday site. They're even FINALLY making a new Smurf movie, from the director of Shrek 2 and Shrek the 3rd. Yay! I'm so happy!

La la, la la la la, la, la la, la la. La la, la la la la, la, la la, la la.

Still in a funk

Sorry for the depressing diatribe from yesterday. I've been trying really hard lately to not stress about things I can't change, but I guess it all finally caught up to me. I'm still in a funk, but I feel a little better. Thanks for letting me vent that. I've added a link to support Vote No for Issue 8 in California. It's at the bottom of the page. It's compliments of the ever amusing, insightful dad over at Looky, Daddy. If you've got kids, I highly recommend you check him out if you haven't already.

Well, I have 0 Halloween costumes done right now. We are supposed to be at my in-laws at 5 tomorrow afternoon to go trick or treating, and we're stopping by my dad and step-mom's new house which is on the way at 3 to drop off some pics of the kids and an exceptionally late birthday card and hopefully fit a gas grill in the back of the truck. Yeah, I know, good luck with that. How late will I be up tonight trying to get 4 costumes done?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tired of it all.....

I just realized I'm a very tired person. I'm tired of bills. I'm tired of being completely broke. I'm tired of all of the people who have worked hard all of their lives getting screwed, while people who do everything they can to mooch and steal from the system get everything handed to them on a golden platter. I'm tired of bigoted people who think their way is the right way and everyone else is wrong. I'm tired of people who think they should vote on morals rather than on the issues of freedoms and equalities for all. I'm tired of these same people who say they are so morally rightgeous try to hold back those that can get ahead, even in the youngest and most impressionable of ages. I'm tired of working for less pay because some suit decided they'd save a couple dollars a day by sending my work to India, even though they had to bring most of it back because they realized that quality work is hard to come by, but they're too stubborn to admit they were completely wrong and let India keep the easy stuff, while I get paid less for harder work. I'm tired of people from India who steal people in America's jobs calling me because my house payment is past the due date, but still in the grace period so not technically late. I'm tired of the smart kids getting screwed, even in the smart kid class, because they're supposed to fit "the mold" like everyone else, and even though they're so, so exceptionally bright, they still have to suffer through being spoon fed moronic concepts that they are lightyears past. I'm tired of being tired. I'm tired of being cold. I'm tired of being crammed into this box of a house. I'm tired of snow, even though it's not here yet. I'm tired of the little kids getting screwed because kindergarten teachers are apparently not very robust and sick all the time, and the kids cry when they teacher is out for over a week and they think they will never see them again (and sometimes they don't...how can we go through this twice!?!)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My view of the Duggars and the Gosselins.....

Well, there seems to be a hot debate on both of these families recently. These are my opinions, take them as you will. I'm not going to argue with anyone. It's just my POV and my IMNSHO. I've watched them both. In fact, I have seen almost, if not all of their episodes. For the longest time, the Duggars would make me cringe. I felt so bad for the kids. I'm glad to see they seem to be lightening up now. I still don't agree with alot of their ideas, but that's mostly religious/moral beliefs, and obviously everyone is entitled to their own. I'm not one to tell them they are wrong, but I most certainly disagree. I still think the kids are pretty sheltered. And, while yes I think it's good to a point to not overwhelm children with things they are not emotionally or psychologically able to handle, I do think it's still important that they at least be exposed to them, just so they know how to act in that situation. I think if you live such a sheltered life that you've never experienced the things the vast amount of society has, once you are thrown into that in adulthood at the ripe old age of 18, you'll have a much harder time adjusting. As a parent, I feel it is my job to get my kids ready for society. Whatever parts of society I don't agree with, they still need to know about, so they will not be thrown into culture-shock when they are on their own. All in all, the Duggars are really starting to grow on me, especially since the older girls are at least allowed to dress like they're from this century (I loved I think it was Jessa's comment about being modern modest.) And yay for Michelle for finally getting over that bad 80's bang job! And, isn't it nice not to see 3 and 4 year olds wearing bibs and using little plastic potties sporadically placed throughout the house? I still find it rather hypocritical that Josh and Anna couldn't kiss before they were married but they were out watching an R-rated movie with Jana and John-David. As far as I know, the only Christian movie that was R-rated was the Passion, and thankfully I don't think that's in theaters anymore. But, again that's their business and though I don't agree with it, it's their life.

As for the Gosselins, I can't really watch them anymore. The kids are absolutely adorable, and unfortunately Maddy reminds me too much of Melodie, but god I can't stand Kate! At first it was okay, she's wound a little tight....8 kids will do that to you. She's just so mean, though! I mean, she treats Jon like crap, she's downright cold to the kids, and it just breaks my heart when she sits in her little white plastic chair in the garage yelling at Jon to organize things when he's actually TRYING to play with the kids and be a good dad. And the kids notice, and they did point it out on TV. That's sad. Also, if all of the things surrounding the loss of Aunt Jodi from normal episodes are true, it really makes me lose respect for J&K. Aunt Jodi put up with alot (the gum episode...please!) She genuinely and sincerely seemed to love and care about the kids and be an overall good person. I just think that Kate has lost sight of why she said they initially started the show. I've seen their roster of speaking engagements from their website, and I don't see how that can't hurt the kids. Either they have to travel every few weekends or they're left at home without their mom and dad. Neither are good for small kids! They need stability and their parents, not 15 hour car/plane rides and a nanny. Plus, what about the older girls? Are they left at home with a nanny, or are they pulled out of school for all this travel? It's irresponsible. It really is a shame, and I fully agree with everyone who says there should be the same laws in place to protect these kids as there are professional child actors. Child actors at least generally only film a few months out of the year, they have time contraints, etc on how long they're allowed to be filmed. What about these kids? And is anyone looking out for their future? They should all have trust funds set up in their names that J&K can't touch because if it wasn't for them, there wouldn't be a show, and they should be allowed to reap the rewards when they are of a proper age. Greed is a horrible thing. And why do they need to build a purported 8000 sq ft house? The Duggars house isn't quite that big, and they have twice as many children and plenty of space! I don't see how the Gosselin's current house is so bad. The kids have plenty of space in their rooms. They don't all need their own rooms! For god's sake, I don't think my living room is as big as the little girls' room, not to mention my 11 x 12 Master. And no, I'm not jealous. Yes, I would like more space in my house, and we're either going to add on a dining room/library/office with a second floor master to this house, or we're going to buy a bigger house out in the country with a basement, at least 1 1/2 baths, and at least 3 regular bedrooms when we can afford it. I don't think Kate is a good role model for a mom. I mean, I know I do and say things I regret to my kids, and it breaks my heart, and I apologize when I know I may have said something hurtful out of anger, especially with Melodie and how trying she can be. But Kate, she never shows remorse. People come back with "but it's edited, and they want good, exciting TV." I'm sorry, but J&K seem more than happy with TLC and the film crew, and I think if they were really skewing the reality all that much and making her look like THAT bad of a person, that J&K would say something. I know I would! Yes it's "their life" but they've chosen to show "their life" to millions of people, and if they didn't want criticism, they shouldn't have done it. No they're not perfect, no one is, I'm most certainly not, but I know I dearly love my children, and I would never shut one of them in a dark room on a hard, cold linoleum floor while they were sick just to save me the grief of washing an extra blanket or 2! When my kids are sick, they either stay in their beds, or I put a waterproof mattress pad and a sheet on the couch. There, no scrubbing a puke covered couch, throw the dirty laundry in with the other 2 loads or so of laundry I do a day....no big deal! And stains and clothes? Well, first off Melodie refuses to use a napkin, and even if I don't get something in the wash right away, it rarely stains. Try Purex (if you're not allergic, my grandma is) it's great stuff! For any tough stains, I rub on a little bit of stain stick. BTW, I only do this on school clothes or dress up clothes, not play clothes. Play clothes are just that, clothes to be played in. And how heartbreaking was it that for the little kids' birthdays they went to do the cupcakes, and they couldn't even have any fun decorating them? If Kate was so worried about their clothes, she could have changed them (which she said she was too lazy to do) or she could have done it on a day they weren't going to be wearing church clothes! Plus, it seemed from one episode the kids didn't even go in during church, that they were in the nursery bible school there, so why do they have to dress up to go to nursery school at church? FWIW, Melodie is about 2 weeks younger than the twins, and Atley is about 2 months younger than the little kids. Atley has not used a potty chair since he was 2. My baby wears a bib....my 4 year old does not. He has also not used a bib since he was 2. Isn't it important enough to teach proper table manners and etiquette, even if it means helping to prevent those horrible stains Kate has to spend "hours" removing?!?! I just can't bear to watch them anymore, and I hope someone can do something to make sure the kids' (all 8 of them) best interests are looked out for before it's too late. Dan will be so happy. He can't stand that show. We've been taking bets on the day Kate finally gets a chance of her own medicine and Jon loses it and goes off on her for once. You know, they did say he holds everything in and has one big blow up....tick tick tick....can't be long now! That dynamite has got to be primed to the Nth power by now!