Saturday, December 27, 2008

Quiet Book

This quiet book went off to my good friend's little girl in time for Christmas--but just barely. There are pages for purple, red, yellow, blue, black, orange, green, and pink, and about half of them had some type of interactive--like the goldfish come out of the bowl.

Check Shelley Wallace's Etsy shop for the pattern and more pics.

I loved the final product, but my goodness those pieces were tiny. It took me a lot longer to finish than I thought it would.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Finishing Projects

I finished up this cross stitch a couple of days ago. Yeah, you're reading the date right....I am only four years behind on this one.

Being Truly Thankful

Every day I make a point to say "thank you" for all of the wonderful things and people in my life.

This morning I was overwhelmed in reading this article in our local paper about 700+ families in the local area who had NOTHING for their kids this Christmas.

One of my favorite things to do every Christmas is to shop for gifts off of the angel tree at church. I had a terrible time this year finding the specific toys requested. In some cases, I drove around to four or five stores to find the right thing.

My irritation at finding the presents seems so silly now.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Holiday House Tour

We went on the Holiday House Tour of Winchester, VA today. We saw the public rooms of six historic houses, including the bedroom were Daniel Morgan died. Cold wind about blew us away, but it was neat to see the inside of the houses we have passed by so many times.

It was interesting to see how the people furnished and decorated the spaces.

Most, if not all of them, had:
  • a grandfather clock
  • smallish kitchens
  • furniture of all styles and periods mixed together
  • a print--A View of Winchester
  • formal dining rooms
  • original paintings
  • beautiful drapes
It struck me how understated many of the houses were. "Old money" vs the ostentatious display of new wealth.

The houses were also filled with items of meaning--things the owners had clearly picked because they loved them, and they were interesting items even though, in many cases, they didn't match.

Food for thought as I look around our house.

Fill your house and life with people and things you love and bring you joy and have meaning--get rid of the rest.

Now off to the storage room....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Turkey Napkin and Silverware Holders

I wish I could take credit for these cute turkey napkin and silverware holders, but all of the glory goes to my sister who came up with this idea for our family gathering. The round part that holds the silverware and napkin is a toilet roll tube. The kids decorated the turkeys and with assistance added the names. The paperclips were used to hold the turkey into place until the glue dried. The last pic is the final product.

If there is anyone out there reading this, hope you have a great Thanksgiving!

Halloween Lives On

Oh yeah, those are Halloween tattoos on LM's belly. Where else would you put them?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I did not get one decent photograph of LM in his Halloween penguin costume, but I thought this pic of LM walking with my sister trick-or-treating was sweet.


View from our back door this morning.

Friday, November 7, 2008


  • It drives me nuts when a man calls a group of women "girls." This happened on two separate occasions at work recently. I know that the men did not mean it to be condescending, but REALLY. To say women instead of hard is that?!!
  • I do not like it nor do I understand why people leave the toilet seat cover tissue paper on the toilet after they are finished. If people are so concerned about germs touching their butt cheeks, why do they think it is ok for the next person to touch the paper to remove it. Gross! Put your paper in the toilet for God's sake.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vote, Vote, Vote

Watching election returns, checking Facebook, reading a live political blog, eating the "apple pie" LM made for me, and very glad to be over the nasty flu that kicked my butt the last couple of days.

What an exciting night! I do wonder though how the commentators can say in the same breath that the state is "too early to call," but then say it has gone one way or the other, especially when none of the votes have been returned. How different elections must have been without television.

It probably dates me, but my first real political memory was an election night "party" for Mondale/Ferraro. That was a very sad night for my parents.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

High Hill Farm

High Hill Farm is a working farm in Frederick County, Virginia, where we spent several hours this afternoon. It is best known for its pumpkin patch and haunted house--neither of which we visited, but the kids had fun, petting the animals (chickens, calves, rabbits, a horse, sheep), running through the hay maze, and picking out a pumpkin.

Sorry no pics though. Didn't feel like lugging around the camera today.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Halloween Decorations

How cute are these spiders! I wish I could take credit for them, but my wonderful sister came up with the idea herself. You can just see the ghosts and bats hanging on the windows.

Family Time

Last night. No TV. Getting dark earlier. Family time. How still can you be?

This photo looks a little creepy, but he really was having a great time. I swear.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bib #2

Finished this bib with LM's help this morning. Too bad the post office isn't open, so I could get it into the mail. I'm already late two months; I don't suppose another day or two will make any difference at this point.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Yum, Yum

Wake up at 10:15
Make Waffles
Eat Waffles

Now that is how to start a day right.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hmmm. Where the day go?

Have you ever had a day where you have been busy all day, but when you look around at the end of the day more things are started than finished?

In the interest of being frugal, we stayed around the house today rather than going into D.C. on this weird Columbus Day holiday.
  1. Went to the library--got new books
  2. Had lunch (soup and grilled cheese)
  3. Finished planting the 69 daffodil bulbs (thanks Wayne :) Who knew it would take so long to dig that many small holes
  4. Receipts entered into Quicken--two accounts out of four finished
  5. Thank you cards made--none written or in envelopes
  6. Freezer cleaned out--but not fridge
Also this weekend, I cleaned out all the craft supplies and organized them into several smaller bins rather than one large one--makes it much easier to get things out.

And, I finished this bib for a friend's new baby. Thank you Chickpea for the pattern.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Study in Sepia

Trip to the Apple Orchard

Two adults plus two five-years-old, one four-year-old, one three-year-old, and one three-month-old took a trip to an apple orchard on a beautiful fall day. Played, had a snack, rode the "cow train," and even took a ride on the wagon around the orchard.

By the looks on people's faces, I'm sure they thought all of those kids were ours.

Perfect day and a wonderful way to spend our anniversary. Yes, six years ago today, we married. Doesn't seem like that long ago at all.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Oh, I love Fall

Sitting on my back patio on one of the most gorgeous fall days. Lucky, lucky me. Eighty daffodil bulbs to plant--11 in the ground, 69 to go.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Apple Crisp

None of the pictures I took adequately captured the deliciousness of this homemade apple crisp. Thank you, thank you, thank you Bette Hagman for your gluten free cookbooks.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Hot Dogs, Cupcakes, and Ice Cream

Thanks Maya Made for the newspaper bunting idea!

Yep, total junk food pig out last night. No organic food, almost nothing vegetarian or homemade, and we had a great time. Beautiful fall day/night, campfire in the back yard, family, and a very animated three-year-old. Here is our mom-worked-alot-this-week-one-day-of-really-bad-food-isn't-going-to-kill-you-we-are-a-real-family menu:
  • Hot dogs
  • Macaroni Salad
  • Baked Beans (out of a can)
  • Vegetable tray with Ranch dressing (what else)
  • Chips
  • Deviled eggs (I did make these)
  • Grapes
  • Soda
  • S'mores
  • Cupcakes (LM and I made these, see below)
  • Homemade hand-cranked, ice cream (thanks mom!)
The cake mix for the cupcakes called for four ingredients--the mix, water, eggs, and oil. Just in case you are curious, the mix doesn't turn out so well if you forget the water. Oops. However, everything turns out just fine if you add the water after mixing, despite what the instructions say.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Awesome Benches

We are having a campfire cookout to celebrate LM's bday tomorrow, so I asked W to make some benches to sit on. I was thinking cement blocks and some boards....THIS is what he made--comfortable, light weight, AND sturdy.

If that wasn't enough, look at the benches he made for around the campfire. How awesome is that. Can't you just taste the s'mores.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Three Today

LM turned three years old today!

It is so cliche to say it, but it is just amazing that three years has already passed since the day he was born. The difference is just unbelievable. Three years ago, we had a baby that could do nothing for itself--couldn't walk, talk, feed itself. Now we have a walking, talking (a lot), almost totally potty-trained, wonderfully funny and smart child.

It is absolutely amazing to me how much he remembers. I don't know any other 3 year old who knows the difference between a telehandler and a giant excavator. I am sure part of it is because of his dad, but he really seems mechanically inclined. He loves to look at how things are put together and has incredible eye-hand coordination.

I hope the next three years will be as good as the last!

What a Guy

Right before going to sleep last night:

Wayne: Did you remember you left a pair of shoes in the truck?

Me: Oh yeah, thanks. I wanted to wear those tomorrow, and I would have been looking all over for them.

Next morning:
There in the dining room sat my shoes. My wonderful husband had brought them in before he left for work that morning, so I didn't have to go and get them myself.

Grand gestures are nice on occasion, but those thoughtful, little daily acts of kindness are really the foundation of a relationship. Every day I give thanks for my truly blessed life, but it is still nice to have those in-your-face moments to remind you about what is important and why it is you chose to marry this man.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Home Inventory

Inspired by a new (to me) blog SmallNotebook, I finished our home inventory today. Yippee. I had started this project months ago, but the house was never clean enough, or things were not organized enough to finish it.

Who cares, I finally said, and finished taking the pics of all the rooms in the house. I used the Home Inventory software that came with Quicken. You set up rooms, and then add information about all of the items in each room. Now I just have to get a copy to the safe deposit box......

Monday, September 15, 2008


Do you ever feel like everything around you is crashing in...pressing on your mind and shoulders, and weighing heavily on your chest? Like there is no way to get everything done that has to be done without making yourself sick or those around you crazy (or both).

A bit melodramatic, I suppose but close to reality this evening.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bricks and Petals

Taken on the side of our house.....

Kids, lots and lots of kids

I watched my sister's kids Friday and Saturday this weekend. With my one and her four, there were five very active kids under the age of five to keep busy. Granny was also there to help; all in all we had a good time.

This is what we did to keep busy:
  • made sugar cookies from scratch
  • this experiment with milk, food coloring, and dish soap
  • played outside
  • colored
  • made a paper chain
  • made puppets
  • went to the park
  • watched a movie
  • ate Bomb Pops
  • did a lot of dishes, and one load of laundry
  • mended stubbed toes with many bandaids
  • had a scavenger hunt

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Things I Love

  • Making waffles with LM and eating them with sausage and syrup for dinner
  • Taking a shower at night in an outdoor shower at the beach
  • The little puffing sound my husband makes when he is sound asleep
  • Homemade bread
  • My mother-in-law's homemade applesauce
  • Warm homemade bread with homemade apple butter
  • How cute our dog is when she has just gotten groomed
  • Really cold milk with a warm homemade chocolate chip cookie
  • Fall

I changed the template for the blog again tonight. And I got the Quiet Book Kit in the mail today. Can't wait to get started on that.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Random Thoughts

I do love the taste of a good margarita.

I just purchased this pattern for a quiet book from SW designs on Etsy. May be a bit ambitious for my sewing skill level, but I want to try at least a couple of the letters for my good friend's daughter's christmas present. I am also excited about this Color Book Kit from the same shop.

I have been checking out preschools for LM since he will be going next year, and I want to make it to a couple of open houses this year. There is a Montessori school in our town, so I looked into that as well. There are six areas covered in Montessori: Practical Life, Sensorial, Cultural, Science, Language, and Math.

We do a fair amount with the Practical Life, Sensorial, and Language already. I had not really thought much about teaching the cultural though. I looked tonight for a world map, and I have some ideas like cutting pictures from my travel magazines and putting them on the right places on the map. I have tons of those magazines and should put them to good use because goodness knows we are not traveling any far in the near future.

Money--I read a fair amount of blogs written by women with families, and none of them discuss money. Maybe I am reading the wrong blogs, or all of the same type, but I find it interesting that out of all of these women who write the most intimate thoughts about their children, spouses, and sex lives do not write anything about money. I find this very intriguing. Something to think about....

I love my son very much and love spending time with him, but honestly when I get home from work most days all I want to do is decompress and rest. All he wants to do is play with me. Chanting "time to play" "time to play" and tugging on my hand. How can one resist. I think I would enjoy being a stay at home mom. I wish there was some way that I could take a sabbatical from work and just try it out before actually quitting.

I waste too much time surfing around Flickr. Less time at the computer and more time doing my projects is what I should do.

I wish we did not have a TV. I find myself watching too much of it when I am tired. I don't even really like very many shows. I would be better served just going to bed.

Clutter--I have written about this before. I was looking at pictures from a thousand words. I really like her decorating style and photographs, but I had to chuckle when she posted photographs of her "messy" house. I should post some of my house for comparison sake and a good laugh. My sisters give me the hardest time. No matter what I do; no matter how disciplined I am, there is always a stack of something on the kitchen countertop. I just cannot seem to get rid of it. At least in this house, the dining room table remains clean. I don't know, maybe I am giving myself too hard of a time. Afterall, my child is fed, loved, and clean (at least before bedtime); my husband and I have a strong commitment and love to each other; we usually have groceries, and the level of actual dirt and grime in the house is relatively low. (we live in the country, so it is virtually impossible to keep all dirt and mud out all of the time.) The dog has food and water, and I even manage to get some sewing and other projects done.

Keep things in perspective. We are so blessed to have this wonderful house and all of our family nearby and healthy. Have you read this about the woman and her husband from the Nie Nie Dialgoues?

It doesn't seem possible, but I already feel the press of Thanksgiving and Christmas upon me. ugh. I really like both of those holidays. I just need to find a way to do the things that really need to be done and that I enjoy and let go of the rest. I really do not like buying presents for people who do not need anything just for the sake of buying them something.

Had no intention of writing so much tonight. It is good to get these random thoughts out of my head; maybe I will get some rest this evening.

If there is anybody out there reading this, have a good night and upcoming week.

Just for kicks, here is a funny picture of me from the eighth grade. That hair required a special technique of blow drying and hair spray :)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Reversible Vest

Today, I made this reversible fleece vest for my nephew whose birthday is next weekend. One side is camouflage, and the other is blaze orange. He loves being outside, so I think this is something that he will definitely wear.

I used McCall's pattern 3416, and then these instructions for making it reversible. I wish I had taken some photographs to add to the written directions. Maybe it was me, but the steps would have been much clearer with illustrations. There was some seam ripping and cursing, but I was able to figure it out. Of course, having LM walk away with my seam ripper and dump over the shredded trash bin in the middle of the process did not help much.

Success on my first piece of clothing made from a pattern. Yippeee.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Craft Time

Fun with the puff balls, googley eyes, glitter, and yarn tonight.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Sun, Good Food, and the Biggest Grasshopper

We had an awesome weekend at the Outer Banks, NC. Here are a few of my favorite photos.

Beautiful sunset

The biggest grasshopper I have ever seen

Fun catching crabs in the sound

Boat ride around the canal

Friday, August 29, 2008


Wow. As of just a couple of minutes ago, one hundred (100) total strangers have looked at the photograph of the diaper cake I made for my sister's baby shower! I know in the world of Flickr 100 views is nothing, but exciting for me nonetheless.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Not So Nice Patches

OK, so my husband asked me to patch this pair of work shorts, or at least that is what I thought he asked me to do.

Clearly patchwork is not my specialty. The only fabric I could find that would withstand heavy use was an old pair of jeans, which obviously does not match. The shorts themselves have seen better days, so I didn't think it would matter much though.

When I showed him the shorts, he laughed (so did I; aren't they pitiful looking) and asked what he was supposed to do with those since he wouldn't be wearing them in public. Then he asked why I had patched them when all he really wanted done was the hole in the pocket fixed. Hmmm.....I swear he asked me to fix the holes in the front.

Then he asked why I had not put the patch material on the inside, so it wouldn't have been so noticeable. Oh yeah, duh, what a good idea :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Democrat Bug

Democrat Bug, originally uploaded by jnanevans.

I was reading about Picnik, Photoshop Express, and Fotoflexer on today and thought I would give Picnik a try. It was super easy to use; it took just a couple of minutes to fix the coloring of the photo, add the text and border and upload it to Flickr.

I will definitely be looking into this service some more.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Awesome Weekend

Yellow Flower, originally uploaded by jnanevans.

We had a wonderful weekend. Great time with the family visiting from out of town. Lunch today went smoothly. Family time yesterday with the kids was fun with no drama. We took a family walk tonight, which we haven't done in months. And now we are eating an orange before bath time. It doesn't get much better than that.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Sunset, originally uploaded by jnanevans.

Beautiful sunset tonight. What looks like a smudge in the middle of the photo is actually smoke.

We have company this weekend and a big family lunch on Sunday.

Artichoke dip
Homegrown tomatoes with fresh mozzarella
Spinach salad with walnuts and cranberries
Lemon roasted chicken
Fresh green beans
Mashed potatoes

Orange Chiffon Cake

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Curtains Finished

Finally the curtains for LM's room are finished tonight. They won't win any ribbons at the State Fair, but they are finished and he likes all the fish in his room.

Park, Zoo, and Hail!

What a weekend!

Saturday's weather was absolutely gorgeous, so we took the kids to the park after eating lunch outside at Sonic--cherry limeade, yum. Everyone got along great, and we had a wonderful time together. For supper, we had homegrown corn, tomatoes, and cucumbers with hamburgers. I even drug the card table outside, so we could eat on the patio.

Then today we went to Wilson's Wild Animal Park. Very low key environment where the owners care for animals that were abused or otherwise would be killed if they were not taken in there.

THEN, when we got home it started to HAIL. Yes, hail in the middle of August without any warning.

The rain and hail came down so quickly that the drains and gutters just could not handle it all, so some water came in the basement door. It could have been a lot worse though.