Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Before and After: Master Suite

I think we spent a total of one week sleeping in this room when we first moved in. I know for a fact that the color was a dream come true for the previous residents of this room. However, it was not my dream come true. It actually made me want to avoid my new bedroom - at all costs.

Two summers ago, while Sean was at Scout Camp, I spent an entire week repainting and redecorating our bedroom. It was gorgeous! And Sean loved it. So it only made sense that when we moved into this house last spring, that we would replicate the color and design elements of our beloved master suite. The bedroom was painted within a week (Devine Toile - if you're interested), with the help of my sister and her daughters, but the bathroom remained a hideous (again, just not my taste) aqua. Until a few days ago.

My sweet, sweet husband painted our bathroom and we got all the hardware changed out and pictures hung and the cabinet from the powder room bolted into the wall. The Master Bathroom is so beautiful now (the powder room is, too). We are so happy with how it all turned out. I love paint!

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Christmas Crafting

My kids actually started working on their Christmas presents for our family today. Yea!! Above is the handiwork of Erik.

And I found a pattern and inspiration for a "black apple doll". I am so excited about this one. These dolls retail for $40 on

So, so, so cute. She is not finished and I'm not telling who she's for, but you can bet I will be making more of these sweet things. Anna is already begging for a pink one. I hope all of your Chistmas shopping and crafting is coming along in a way that makes you happy. And, in case you don't hear from me until after the holiday - Happy Thanksgiving!!!!
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Girly Gifts

November is flying, and so is the needle on my sewing machine. I can't give too much away or no one will be surprised when they open their presents (or watch their children open their presents, as the case may be). I LOVE having nieces - have I mentioned that before? I wish I could talk about all of these projects at length, but that is not going to happen because a.) I don't want to ruin the surprise, and b.) I will have plenty of other things to blog about once Christmas is over - all of this will be long forgotten by me. But I will try to take pictures of my sweet girls opening their presents so that they can be seen in all their glory (the girls and the presents). ;>

This little project shown above is not for Christmas. I happened upon this on a lovely little blog: I had to tweak the pattern just a bit because it needed to be blown up. These our for our new little one on the way. They are fuzzy, cuddly, cute burp cloths - and I love them!!! I already have a little stack in the diaper bag, and another little stack with all of the new baby things that are being gathered. They are super easy to make and go pretty fast. Be warned - if you know me and you're having a baby anytime soon, you will probably be getting a set of these (in gender specific colors, of course) - they are just too cute and easy to pass up as a gift option.

And last, but not least, is a birthday surprise for a sweet niece . . . I can't wait! (Don't you just love all this girly fabric!)
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Monday, November 16, 2009

Mad Science Sunday

Meet Djeryd (a.k.a. the mad scientist host of Einstein Online). Something I love about Djeryd is that when something grabs his interest it becomes an intellectual passion for an adventure-filled interval of his young life. On Saturday he went to a chemistry workshop at a local grade school and came home wanting to mix every substance he could find in the house and document his ground-breaking discoveries. On Sunday we were privy to his first ever science show - Einstein Online (clever name, me thinks). He showed off his newly acquired knowledge, until Sean could take it no more and decided to dive in.

Yes, that is my love surfing "easy home science experiments" on his iPhone. Yes, I roll my eyes, but I love it, too. ;> Once Daddy got involved, Erik was right behind him as a handy assistant.

The results were (aside from a very fun Sunday afternoon for the entire family) a colorful illustration of density ("Lorraine, you're my density." - you go, McFly!)

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Sorry it has taken so long. Here are the much-requested recipes (and I seriously hope I am not violating copyright laws).

These croutons are wonderful in creamy, savory/sweet soups - like a squash soup. They are also addictive little munchies.

From Capriel's Soup and Sandwiches
Makes 4 cups
(directions, not ingredients, modified slightly)

1/4 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 baguette or loaf of sourdough, cut into 1/4" cubes

Preheat oven to 375*
In small bowl, stir together brown sugar and spices. Melt butter in microwave and pour over bowl of bread cubes. Stir until well coated. Then pour sugar/spice mixture over buttered bread and stir until well coated. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out croutons evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool completely before storing. (*If your croutons need a little crisping up the next day put them in a 300* oven for 20 minutes, or so. Then let cool. They should crunch up quite nicely.)

From an episode of Giada at Home
Makes enough for about three slices of cheesecake, double or triple as needed
(again, slightly modified by me)

Juice from one lemon
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
(You can actually use one cup of any fruit you choose - I find the lemon-blueberry combination is amazing! (which I discovered quite accidentally while making lemon bars last summer during blueberry season - what does one do with all those fresh berries??))

Boil lemon juice (seeds removed) and sugar in a small saucepan over med-high heat. Boil for four or five minutes. Keep an eye on it so it does not boil over, stirring frequently. Stir in blueberries and bring back to boil, then turn off heat and cover for ten minutes. (You could probably keep the heat up and stir the berries a lot and it would be done sooner, but it will compromise the texture of the whole berries.) Ready to serve! I like it warm over cold cheesecake. YUM!

Bon appetit!

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Monday, November 9, 2009

FHE: Mother, May I?

A favorite Family Night game: Mother, May I? Here is a sampling of tonight's many rounds:

"Mother, may I take three big hops?"

"Mother, may I flibberdee-hollen ten times?"

"Mother, may I carry my brother two steps because I just whacked him on the foot and our Family Home Evening lesson tonight was on showing that we're sorry and not just saying it?"

As an end note, having nothing to do with Mother, May I?, except perhaps my husband saying essentially those words as I probed for the fourth time if he was sure he really wanted to keep the kitty - here is the newest addition to our family. Meet Gigi - the creative spelling for G.G. - the creative acronym for Grey Girl. She is a very sweet little kitten and everyone is taking to her quite well. Anna still screams occasionally, but there is a much more delighted tone to the scream now, instead of a purely terrified tone.
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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bathmat and Blanket

With Halloween costumes finally out of the way, I am headed into some serious Christmas crafting. Last year we decided to do more homemade gifts for Christmas this year in an effort to make the season of giving a little more meaningful to us and our children (and let's just say if you're on my Christmas list this year I am totally jealous!). I got the craft room finally whipped into shape last week (to finish up those costumes) and I am ready to get down to business. But before I start, I have a couple of projects to finish. I completed two of them this morning - yay!!!

First off is the lovely bathmat you see above for my kiddos bathroom. We finally got the thing painted, but have done NOTHING since then (we are talking no hooks for towels, no pictures hung, nadda). I think the mat will provide great color inspiration for the rest of the room. (WARNING: Do not blow up this picture to get a better look. Djeryd has been cleaning the upstairs bathroom by himself for the past couple of months - enough said.)

The other project I finished this morning was a knit patchowork blanket for Anna's dolls. I have had the squares done for months, but the idea of sewing them all together (something I have never done with hand-knitted fabric) was very intimidating to me. Well, I found some easy instructions in a children's craft book, took needle and thread in hand, and dove in. It turned out so great. I'm very excited because I have been knitting squares for a grown-up size blanket since March and I'm relieved to have reason to hope it may actually get made. ;>

And a final special treat of the morning is I think I found a new favorite picture of Annaliese.
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Monday, November 2, 2009

The Humanizer

Hi. My name is Carmel, and I'm a humanizer. You know my type. I waltz into your life, unannounced - just show up on your doorstep and you're fool enough to let me in. I'm everything you never realized you wanted, and when I'm gone you realize you'll never have everything again. No kitty can purr like this little motor box I've got inside me. No kitty will ever again snuggle in your lap just the right way. No kitty will take to your kids like me. No, you'll never find a kitty like me again. And too bad, so sad for you; now I'm gone. In just 24 hours I've left a hole in your silly human heart so big you actually cry over me.

But ya gotta understand, I'm a humanizer. That's just my way. I can't be tied down to one person, one family. I need my freedom, my space, my chance to explore life without any strings attached. You would have just slowed me down. I would have become angry, frustrated - it wouldn't have worked out between us. You'll just have to get over me. But, oh, I know you won't, not really. I might see you again someday. I might not. That's how things roll with me. I've got a million hearts out there to break. Love 'em and leave 'em. That's what I do. I'm a humanizer.
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Sunday, November 1, 2009

All Hallow's Eve

Halloween on a Saturday - what a treat! We always have a trick-or-treat supper with whichever cousins can join us. It is usually pretty rush-rush as everyone is zooming home from work, shoving their kids in costumes and driving over to our house to get food in their bellies with time to spare for some decent trick-or-treating before it gets too late for little ones. The beauty of Halloween on a Saturday is that we were able to start our festivities in the late afternoon, leaving plenty of time for everything Halloween should be.

I tried to plan some games, but the cousins just enjoyed being with each other so much that it was completely pointless. We had roast beef sandwiches and our traditional Halloween squash soup with my killer cinnamon croutons (that, for me, are the whole reason for the party). My niece even made a pinata that all the kids took a whack at post trick-or-treating. I think everyone had fun.

I am happy with how all of my kids' costumes turned out. Erik was Obewankenobe (or however you spell it), sans long pony-tail braid in the back (I could not figure out a way to attach one without him looking like an Indian from Peter Pan). Djeryd was, of course, Harry Potter. And Annabelle was a beautiful sparkle fairy. Unfortunately, as seems to be my lot in life, I did not take any great pictures of them in their get-ups. Grrrr. I think I was too busy worrying about food and taking pictures of everyone else, that I sort of missed my kids. Oh, well, there's always next year. I wonder what my kids will choose to be . . . I hope you all had a wonderful holiday as well.

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