April 30, 2013

around-the-house april

This month's installment of around the house includes involves baking and crafting of sorts.

Are you in the mood for chocolate?

Always. That is the correct response.

My neighbor Patty posted this incredible recipe for icing on Facebook. It's just wrong, I tell you.

I immediately decided I had to make it right that second.

Of course I ran out of milk right at the end. So I sent Finn to Patty's house to retrieve some. I mean, it was her fault I was in this mess anyway. 

Back on track.

The best part of baking is licking the bowl, right?

This is how I eat chocolate frosting:with peanut butter.

It's just SO YUMMY.

I used this lunch-lady style icing to frost some brownies.

The important thing to note is the cool cracks in the frosting.

It's all about the cracks.

So so good.

It's icy. Not creamy. Kind of like the consistency of the icing on a maple bar donut.

And I bet you could make maple icing too by substituting maple syrup for cocoa.

Not gonna lie, after eating my brownie, I practically went into a sugar coma a few minutes later and needed to talk a walk to revive me. And I had to do exactly 13 push ups as well.
Ollie has been very busy crafting lately.

The other night he told me "I'm doing very important business."

Some of this very important business involves making his very own iPods.

He made one for both him and Twain.

Twain calls his the "iPod touch".

This kid is always talking with his hands.

Ollie has also been busy making paper airplanes and boats. Tux is taking the crew for a ride.

And finally, my house has been COVERED in snakes lately.

Watch where you sit.

The culprit in this case has been Calvin Jack. He started making theses paper snakes and can not seem to stop.

I'm literally tripping over them everywhere. They are super long.

Even little Ollie got in on the action and made himself a little green one. This was considered "very important business" to Ollie.

The neighbor kids are scheming with my boys to make a snake that will span the entire block.

Their mama and I are like "Great! You keep at it boys!".

Ought to keep them busy for quite a few hours. Which is a very good thing in our books. 

April 26, 2013

and today, we are all over the place.

[Finn]- small fair warrior

Our boy certainly matches his name.

I generally point my camera in the direction of the sun so that my subject is backlit.

I'm absolutely fascinated with how sunlight interacts with my subject and I'm always trying to chase the sun before it disappears. 

Hop on over to Kate&Kuby's to see this week's installment of The Way I See You.

I read this article about instagram and how it effects middle school kids, and I having been pondering it ever since.

Not that I'm really on insta that much...I'm kinda hit and run with the dang thing. Every time I try to take a picture on insta, my iPhone screen turns black and kicks me off. Rude. Ha.

My poor little 3G, she just can't keep up with the big kids, the 4's and 5's. 

Regardless of what social media outlet floats your boat, I think what she wrote relates to all social media forums, fb and blogging included.

I do enjoy popping on fb to see what my peeps are up to, but feel like I'm more of a blogger. I need more info from you people. I like the deets. The long version of the story. I like to know all about what you are thinking.

However, that being said, I was deliriously happy when both my sisters posted on fb on the same day.

Back to the insta article.

This really caught my attention:
But, taking it a step further: have you considered that your child is given numerical valueson which to base his or her social standing? For the first time ever your children can determine their "worth" using actual numbers provided by their peers!
They're definitely paying attention. And it's definitely affecting them.
It's not just about assumed popularity anymore. It's explicit. It's quantifiable.
At arguably the most awkward time in their lives, a crucial time of development when they are trying to figure out who they are and where they belong, this is what they're up against. A quantifiable popularity ranking.
Nobody has put it that bluntly before. It makes me just want to scoop up those kids and tell them to ditch their phones and run for the hills. But that is not practical. And after reading her comments section, it's not only kids who are effected. Big people can be affected too...:(

Reminds me of Max Lucado's Wemmicks(wooden people) putting stars on people they admired and dots on people they scorned. But nowadays it's "likes" on people they admire and...nothing...on people they don't admire. I've once heard it said that the most painful thing for someone to endure day in and day out is being ignored. By someone looking right at them and seeing...nothing.

Way harsh. Kids have it rough these days. As with the Wemmicks, the only solution is to go to your Maker every day and see what He says about you.

And practically speaking, if I find that the social media I'm in is having a negative impact on my day or how I feel, then it's time to back off.

Trust me. You will not shrivel up and die without a constant newsfeed update.

I think it's that simple. Know your heart and your limits and walk away if it isn't good for you. Just stop following that person.

I mean, why willingly subject yourself to anything negative? As a teenager, I already experienced that. At this age, why would I wish to relive my high school days ?? It would be lame to stay there.

Have you ever thought "If I was back in high school I would do it so differently."?

I have. I think I'd be so much more bold.

However, every now and then, I still feel like I am right back in high school when I read certain people's blog/fb/insta posts.

And I've decided that when this happens I'm gonna refuse to get sucked into their world. Already, I feel so free.

I am most content when I'm minding my own business anyway. It's been on my heart lately to lift people up and sincerely encourage them toward the Lord rather than being disgruntled over how they{inadvertently} made me feel.

And I'm vowing not to be all judgey about anybody else's social media decisions. I just have to do what works for me.

Still completely enamored by The Voice.

Midas Whale makes me grin hugely and laugh. And I died when they called their trio with Patrick a "Patrick sandwich". So much awesomeness.

The cute Latino girls stressed me out this week during their battle. I love them but things got a little catty this week with one of them. It made me nervous.

Usher is quite the serious coach. He's turning out to be quite the force.
Shakira is so sweet and cute. I love her.
Blake will literally laugh at anything. Hence, I laugh a lot when I watch the show.

But Adam is still my fav. I laughed out loud when they said he wore "too small" tee shirts. I mean, I LOVE my boys in snug tees so I totally get his fashion sense.

Twain informed me that when he was born he popped out of an egg.

I had pink eye this week. So instead of wearing contacts I had to wear my glasses. Girlfriend does NOT look good in glasses. So I stayed inside all week. Ok I lied. I went to Target like 4 times, per ushe.

And kinda bought a Nate Berkus rug for myself as my mother's day present. It was on clearance from $150 to $45. That's like 70% off. I had to at least try it.

Ho. Hummmm. Still not sure. I'm on the fence. Eek!

I am in love with this rug. But it's way(WAY) out of my price range, at $770. Maybe it will go 70% off too? I'm not holding my breath. Ok, I am holding my breath. I could run out of air.

April 24, 2013

vintage ties in a blanket

Three years ago, our dear friends Ellie and Ed, started the process of adoption in Ethiopa.

Oh man, it's been a long wait for them. For everyone. And through all the hardships and tears of waiting, waiting and waiting "just a few more months", they remained steadfast and faithful to the Lord. They shone so bright for Jesus.

They recently got that special phone call that matched them to a baby boy named Tegan! And soon, very soon, they will be flying out to meet him. Then, they have to come back home and wait til baby Tegan gains US citizenship. Then they fly back to bring him home! Wish I could smuggle myself into their suitcases.

We are all ecstatic! Lorieloo and I conspired together to make him 2 identical blankets--one to leave with him the first trip to Africa, and the second blanket for Ellie to keep at home, in case the other gets lost.

If I made the blanket by myself, I probably would have done my usual 9-square-blanket with Africa embroidered in the middle.


The fun thing about collaborating with someone else, is that you get twice the ideas! Lorie saw a mug on a blog that inspired her--someone was adopting from China and so it had an image of China, connected to an image of where the mama lived(can't remember where).

So I was in charge of embroidering Africa and California(Ellie's home state).

First things first, a little how-to. Transferring the image to fabric is the hard part, in my opinion. Here, I used a piece of Dritz wax-free tracing paper(from Joanns) to trace my image of California to the fabric. (After, I made the line darker with white pencil). 

It's SO easy to embroider, a kid could do it. That means YOU can too! I use the split-stitch the majority of the time.

Africa and California are now ready for Lorie to sew into the blanket(the red hearts were appliqu├ęd on).

We worked together to select the fabrics. My favorite fabric is the polyester red circles--that fabric was kinda bossy though. But we worked it out. We also used a bunch of my favorite vintage ties(brown and yellow striped fabric). In fact, any striped fabric seen in the final blanket was a tie.

After Lorie sewed all the pieces together, she returned it to me to finish the embroidering. We needed dotted motion trails connecting Africa to California, and we needed to embroider baby Tegan's name!

Dotted trails. From Africa....

...to California!

Home sweet home.

So here is the almost-finished product. I then gave it back to Lorie to finish.

She sewed on ric-rac and then backed the blanket with minkee. We had a blast making these blankets.

But I don't have a pic of the finished product--Lorie was finishing the blankets right up to time of the baby shower, ha. (I have proof on instagram, lol, lol). But she's amazing and finished right on time! 

****Revision. Ellie just sent me this picture of her finished product:)

We can't wait to meet Tegan's bright shining face!

(When I was pregnant with Ollie, Ellie wrote on a card that she couldn't wait to see Ollie's bright shining face and I have cherished that^line ever since!)

April 22, 2013

homemade sunshine winner and why arnica rules

Congratulations! I will be in contact with you!

Thanks for all of you for playing along with the little game of "what is your favorite crunchy product?".
I loved hearing all your answers.

The top answer was coconut oil! Which is why you will love the beeswax lip balm and lotion bar, because they both contain coconut oil! Order here!

And another popular answer was vinegar for cleaning and apple cider vinegar for medical purposes. I clean EVERYTHING with vinegar as well. And have been know to chug some apple cider vinegar with honey at the first sign of sore throat.

But the crunchy item that is most frequently used in my house is arnica. Like if we run out, it's an emergency.

We use it for most boo boos. Especially bruises.

Like any time my boys run screaming and crying in the house from their most recent fall or injury I give them arnica right away. Which happens all the time in my house.
It comes in two forms: a pellet remedy that you see in the blue bottle by Boiron. Just slip this puppy under your tongue and it helps reduce any swelling.

Or in the gel form in the tube, just apply topically to any bruise or muscle strain.

I apply the gel on my knees when they get stingy from running or jumping or whathaveyou. Way more healthy than using motrin.

And when I had my wisdom teeth out, Dr W gave me extra concentrated arnica pellets(200cc) and my mouth DID NOT SWELL AT ALL. No chipmunk cheeks, folks. Amazing.

And when Finn slammed his nose and had black eyes, the super concentrated(200cc) worked wonders.

And when Ollie had a concussion....Ok. You get the point.

April 19, 2013

wild thing

my youngest.
extremely animated.
talks with hands.
demanding as all get out.
shakes his little booty at all of us.
colors on everything.
makes me loose my mind and laugh simultaneously.
 my little wild thing.

please join us for the 3rd week of "The Way I See You", over at  Katy&Kuby's place. inspiration from You Are My Wild.

check out Homemade Sunshine giveaway!

April 18, 2013

You Is Kind

I snagged the above quote off of Care's blog. It's one of my favorite quotes of all time, though half the time I completey mess it up. Because I'm that special.

Before leaving the house yesterday for Ollie's pre-kindergarten evaluation, I gave myself a lecture:

Don't act crazy. Or neurotic.
Be cool. Just chill.
No matter what, you know Ollie is smart--and has literally come miles, since his last official evaluation 3 years ago at age 3.
And above all, I love Ollie EXACTLY AS IS and would not change a single thing.

I fixed his flannel shirt and skinnies and put some more gel in his hair.
"Perhaps we can distract them with a cute outfit?"

We got to the classroom and Ollie loudly asked "Where is the trash can??!!"

Already I'm thrown off. Finn and Calvin were such timid church mice on their first brush with kindergarten.

They sit Ollie down next to a very compliant little girl and instruct him to cut all the lines with a scissor.

I breath a lil sigh of relief. We are scissor pros.
Been at it since age 3 with OT. Ollie breezed through that part.

Next. "Oliver, we need you to draw a picture of yourself".

Just minutes before I had answered a questionnaire and circled YES, my child can draw a proper self-portrait.

Ollie looked at them and said "No. I can't do that. It's too hard." Gah! Stubborn little thing.

They encouraged him to try and he firmly insisted that "No, this task is indeed too hard."
I'm holding my breath. C'mon Ollie! You can do this!

Finally. After much convincing, they talk him into starting a picture.

Ollie grabs the pencil with this left hand and starts drawing... and says "Oops! I messed up!" and starts over again. He attempts drawing #2 and seconds later says "Oops!"

The teachers look over at me quizzically and I raise my eyebrows and give a sheepish smile. "Oliver you don't need to start over", they kindly encourage. "Just keep going."

Drawing #3 and "Oops!"
Drawing #4 and "Oops!"

By now I'm sweating it out and start to laugh.

"Oliver, try to keep going", they instruct, "You are running out of room on your paper!"

So get this. Ollie turns his paper over and starts his 5th drawing.

By now, I can't stop laughing...or I'll start crying...and the teachers don't know what to do.

"Oops!", says Ollie. Again.

I want to interrupt, "he really does know how to draw a selfie!", but refrain.

Drawing #6. And we finally have a winner.

Phewey. That was quite the ordeal.

Ollie then asks "Can I play now?"

"No, no Oliver", as they whisk him off to part 2 of the evaluation.

I hear his pipsqueak voice chattering nonstop to the teacher, and he keeps asking "Is it time to play yet?" I mean, this is a reasonable question. I played all day in kindergarten. But alas. Times have changed.

Ollie seems to do well on part 2 of this evaluation.

Finally they finish and we are FREE.

I get in the car and look at the time.

We'd been there a total of 20 minutes, peeps.

Just 20 measly minutes!

Mercy me.

How on earth do they expect  Ollie to survive ALL DAY kindergarten, 5 days a week?

I don't know.

I had a gut feeling going into this evaluation that all day kindergarten with almost 30 other kids was not gonna be best for my little Ollie mouse. Especially for a boy that is already on sensory overload with spd(sensory processing disorder).

And I need to go with my gut. It's not official, but I have a feeling that Ollie's little educational trek might look a leetle different than Finny and Calvin's. Still praying and looking into our options...but am 90% decided.

I know there have been a lot of "schooling" posts going around lately and I have nothing really new to add to the discussion. Just HALLELUJAH that we all live in a free country and still get to decide what route to take, be it public, private or homeschool.

As for me, I have gone to public, private and homeschool. Not to sound all politically correct here, but I really think they have all made me more resilient. All types of schooling have their highs and lows.

For example, public elementary school and jr high was great for me in that I worked really hard for my teachers...low points...I was naughty and even threw pb&j sandwiches on the ceiling of the "girl's bathroom" and awkwardly learned how to cuss(Seriously. Kill me. Now.)

I was home schooled for 3rd and 4th grade and got to spend wonderful quality time with my mom, who poured into me and my sisters...but I was a pill for my mom at times. My friends and I who were home schooled together fondly joke "once a homeschooler always a homeschooler", because of all our homey quirky ways. Gotta love it.

Public high school...there has to be something good to say of those 4 years. Hm... I went to a ghetto high school and even had my hair lit on fire with a lighter by some bored gansta wannabe in PE. Thankfully my tall friend swat the fire quickly before any damage ensued. I guess you can say I learned to throw some gangsta signs and toughened up a bit. I had a few good teachers, but mostly I was forced to teach myself. It's a good thing to be able to adapt and learn even in cruddy circumstances.

Private christian university was great with amazing godly teachers who grounded my science education in God's word. But hello. The pastor's son I dated was a joke--he got detained at the border of Mexico for possession of pot and on our 1st date, passed out in a cold sweat. I thought he'd fallen mysteriously ill...turns out he was drunk as a skunk.  But as a bonus, I met John the following semester!

And for graduate school at a CalState University: stellar education where I spent some of my happiest days on earth being a TA under very talented professors...helping teach college kids. But the arrogance and egos of some of the other profs still makes me want to run for the hills.

So there you have it. The good, the bad and the ugly, of my eclectic education. But I survived. Even made me stronger, I like to think. An imperfect education to cope in an imperfect world. I hope my boys will have a good sense of humor with regards to their education, even if their crazy parents screw them up at times.

What is one of your favorite yet imperfect school memories?

April 15, 2013

on being part Hippie & Homemade Sunshine {giveaway}

Hi. My name is Davi. And I was raised by 2 hippies. Well, my dad insists that they were called freaks but whatevs. They were cute.

So anyway, yes. I am part hippie/crunchy.

Sometimes I don't even know where I fit in.

I certainly don't fit it with the true crunchy granola crowd.
After all, I had 4 c-sections, never used cloth diapers nor did I make my own baby food. And I don't even know how to babywear.

I was just trying to survive.

On the other hand, I have gone through spells of obsession with healthy foods, homeopathy, natural remedies and products...like super pumped up and jazzed about it...only to get humbled off my horse with some random sickness or stress factor. It's like God is trying to tell me, "Stop trying to control every little thing--I am in charge!".

I have come to a conclusion over the years:

You can try to do everything right and things can still go wrong. We are ultimately not in control. But at the same time, I do feel like we have a responsibility to do the best we can with our time and money to take care of ourselves.

And I'm really trying to have the right perspective here. This is hard for me---it's so easy for me to go to extremes. But I feel most joyful when I just let go of the reigns and loosen up a bit.

That being said...if I am given the choice, I still love all things as natural as can be...it just feels good and I believe it's better for me in the long run. If time and money allows. Well, except for getting my hair done. Bring on the highlights;)

I remember a time when I would be shopping for toothpaste at target, and would call my sister and have her look up the hazard ratings on a website called skin deep. That was before smart phones.

And I would have killed to have some affordable chemical free products, like those made by Homemade Sunshine.

I am SO PROUD of my friends who started this sweet business. I LOVE their products. They are affordable and completely natural and safe for your whole family. Especially great for anyone with allergies/sicknesses and young children--they have such sensitive skin!

Here is one of my new staples: Beeswax lip balm(with coconut oil and shea butter). Only $1.50 per tube! What a deal!

I am the type of person who has to have something on her lips at all times. When I'm not wearing my favorite red lip gloss, I am wearing my beeswax lip balm. I keep it in my purse at all times and wear it whenever I am running errands to Target and such.

Sometimes it's fun to wear makeup. But other times I like the natural look...less makeup. On a completely separate note, did you hear that Tayor Swift traded in her signature dark eyeliner for the more natural look? And I was completely fascinated watching Les Miserables--the girls wore very limited eye makeup. 

But my favorite product sold by Handmade Sunshine has to be their lotion bar. Seriously obsessed. I had no idea how much I'd love it. Made of coconut oil, shea butter and beeswax. Ingenious.

Before, I used to trek into the kitchen at night to raid my coconut oil with a spoon and then slap some on my face or hands before bed. And some coconut oil landed on my favorite pink sneakers and I was ticked.

This lotion bar is SO MUCH more tidy. It comes with a trivet and you can put it by your bed.

I wear it every night before bed and my hands feel so silky smooth when I wake up. Try it!!!

And finally, I am totally charmed by their beeswax candles. I love the all natural golden mustard color. It's like the perfect hue for my house.

It comes in an adorable mason jar and fits perfectly with the minimalist look that I adore.

Here is an awesome giveaway for ya'll. Would make a fantastic mother's day present!!! This gift package retails around $23 not including tax or shipping.

To enter, just leave a comment below. Winner will be selected at random and announced next monday, April 22nd.

This giveaway is now closed and winner has been announced! Thanks all for playing along!

For extra entries (leave as separate comment),
1. Go visit the website Handmade Sunshine.
2. Tell me your favorite crunchy product(can be from anywhere...your local store....the internet or hand made by yourself). I really want to know!

April 12, 2013

The Way I See You: Part Duex

Do you want to know one thing I will NEVER understand about my boys?

Their love of video games.

Seriously, it would be a form of torture to me to be stuck in a room playing video games all day. (Though as a kid I WAS able to save the princess on super mario bros playing upside down with one hand...that is actually a true story.)

And in our house, I'm the first to admit we have a bit of a problem at times. This is the reality of how I see my boys, more often than I'd like. It's scary how quickly they get addicted.

It goes something like this. I'm exhausted from the day and my eye is twitching and I just want to rest on my bed for one minute. Or check my email.

Boy: "Mom! Can I shoot your sewing needles out of my nerf gun?"

Me: "NO!"

Boy: "Well, then can I play my dsi?"

Me: "Um...well...I guess so...", with an uneasy feeling that once again I was beaten.

On a side note, Finn is wearing a vintage polyester shirt that I bought off ebay a while ago. I love polyester shirts on certain boys--Ya know. Like the emo or hippie types.  I would not attempt to put one on a buff football player.

Finally John put his foot down on our wee addicts and came up with some rules: They can play their dsi for 1.5 hours on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. The other days of the week are completely off limits. It just makes it simpler for John and I to remember and enforce.

And on those days when they can play(Tues, Fri, Sat), they are allowed to earn half an hour extra if they read for one hour. But that's it. Just half an hour extra.

Finn is trying to negotiate. He asked me today, "If I read for 15 minutes, can I play my dsi for 7 minutes and 30 seconds?".

Overall our little system is working out ok...though there are days when we all whine and cry about the rules and they have gone over on their times...and truth be told, there are days when I am on my computer too much...eeek.

Even Ollie and Twain have little gameboys that they play with every once in a while. But mainly, the way I see them these days is with their tiny stuffed animals. It warms my heart.

Meet Jay, the elephant. He was Twain's Easter present. We heart him.

Twain's poncho is from Target, by Genuine Kids. I just had to buy some for my hippie B* models. 

*Finn and Ollie are alike and are the "A" models. Calvin and Twain look alike and are the "B" models. 

My sister's girls love these tiny pets too. They also have Jay, and he's pretty popular in their household. I think he rules the roost and can be quite the unreasonable tyrant at times.

Jay + Tabby.

If I had a nickel for every time these animals were lost. It's worse than loosing binkies when they were babies.

Watching sheep. For reasons I don't understand, it's my dream one day for my boys to play in a field with some sheep.

But this is as close as we could get for now. A warning sign read something like "Beware of electric wires". I interpreted it as "Back off people, lest you be shocked and die".

I'll have to make friends with a shepherd.

Hop on over to Kate&Kuby's blog to see the 2nd installment of "The Way I see You". It's a short 4 week mini series, inspired by You are My Wild.

Happy Friday!