Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Why TV is Good for Me

Here's what I love:  Hulu.  Here's why I love it:  so many life lessons on just one website. John and I have a few shows that we watch consistently, and these are the lessons I've learned.

#1)  From Burn Notice, I've learned that anything can be accomplished with enough bravado, bluster, and threats to call a superior.
#2) From Project Runway (which John refuses to watch with me), I've learned that you'll be on reality television a lot longer if you can treat other people terribly, even if you have no talent.
#3) From White Collar, I've learned that every woman is susceptible to a charming smile and a fedora.  Plus, I learned that I need a crazy, ethics-challenged, bald little genius of a friend if I'm ever going to join the criminal underworld.
#4) From Castle, I've learned that NYPD cops are all extraordinarily attractive, extraordinarily brave, and extraordinarily funny.  Also that they would never ever solve a case if they didn't have the help of a detective novelist.  Weird how that works.
#5) From Alphas, I've learned that superheroes live among us.  And it turns out that superstrength is not nearly as awesome a power as the ability to talk people into doing whatever you want.
What lessons have you learned?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Halloween is for the Birds

Olivia is usually the driving force behind our Halloween costume theme every year.  Last year, she graciously allowed each of us to choose a costume for ourselves, even though they didn't all necessarily work together. (She did try to come up with a narrative, however, that would explain each character's presence.  Something like, "Well, when Mary's little lamb was lost then She-Ra came to help her, and the lion was the one who kidnapped the lamb.")  She's back in fine chief mode this year, and she has determined a bird theme for all of us to follow.  According to her assignments, which do take into account the preferences of each family member, I will be a flamingo, she will be a swan, Naomi will be a peacock, Bella will be a canary, and Maddie will be an owl.  John is to be a bird watcher, complete with notebook, vest, and binoculars.

Bella's costume is mostly done.  It just needs a beak and some eyes on top of the hood, and I still need to make her a pair of fleece leggings to cover those skinny little bird legs, but I think I'm going to make everyone's leggings in one go.  
Obviously, she loves being a bird.  This costume was my experiment, so there are going to be things that I do differently on the other costumes (and I may even go back and unpick *shudder* and fix some things on her costume), but I couldn't resist letting her try this on and go fly around the yard.  I've already had to wash it once, and I think it needs to be washed again.
I have the McCall's pattern 4618, and I have used it in one way or another nearly every year for the past eight Halloweens.  I love it because the hood is attached and the jumpsuit part is nice and loose.  Plus, it's super easy to put together.  For the birdies, I'm just making the legs much shorter, and then I'm tracing some of the girls' school leggings to make orangey-yellow fleece leggings to go underneath for warmth.
Bella's favorite part is the little feathers on the top of the head.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Can you believe how lucky I am that this is my kitchen?  I love everything about it.  
Just kidding, of course.  But I did love those barstools so very very much.  And I love seeing them on all sorts of shows (Peter and Elli Burke's kitchen on "White Collar" being my favorite example).  So, when I went to Ikea a couple months ago, I was determined to purchase them.  Regardless of cost.  
Except, by "regardless of cost" I didn't mean "even if they were $70 each, which they were, in Draper.  $70!  I couldn't justify it for a temporary rental kitchen.  So I bought these guys from Wal-Mart, for $28 each.  I like them about half as much as my dream stools, but since they were less than half the cost and I can't be sure I'll even have a bar in my real house,  (Where is that real house, by the way?) they work just fine.  

However, they had a microfiber seat that was nearly impossible to keep clean.  And Bella insists on eating both breakfast and lunch on the stools every day, so the yogurt spills were really getting to me.  

So, I went fabric shopping.  Online.  And I found this:

Laminated cotton might just be the best fabric on the planet for the purpose of recovering dining room chairs and barstools.  My Michael Miller print on the dining chairs has held up FABULOUSLY for the time it's been on there (all those spills just wipe away), so I was pretty sure this would be great.

The lighting in these pictures is terrible, because it was 10:30 p.m. when I finished, but I'm delighted.  The scale on this print is a lot bigger than I pictured from the online picture, but I think I like it even better than the small version I had envisioned.
Now, I'd really like to spray the black part of these stools ivory.  Or aqua.  However, I'm pretty sure black'll hold up to as many yogurt spills as Bella can dish out, so that's the color they'll probably stay.

What do you think of the change?  Should I have used something bolder like this?  Something quirkier, like this?   (I honestly considered the bikes for a good while.  I love those bikes.  I'll have to make something out of them someday.)  Something more understated, like this?  And while we're on the topic of my neutral, neutral rental kitchen, does anyone have any ideas about adding some color to the room if painting the walls is not an option?

Friday, September 16, 2011


My sister-in-law alerted me to a fantastic offer at this blog here.  Andrea is doing a piece of commissioned art for free for anyone who requests it by the end of the day.  Go check it out!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Do You Pin?

I am addicted to Pinterest, people.  Do you pin?  Now, I deliberately don't do Facebook (but I should, I know, Larissa), so I have reserved a big slice of my time-wasted-surfing-on-the-Internet pie for this fabulous site:  Pinterest.  It's a virtual pinboard of inspiring images.
Images of wreaths, like these:
Plastic spoon wreath pinned here.
Lavender wreath pinned here.  

Images of delicious recipes, like these:  
Roasted tomato tortellini pinned here.  
Fruit salad pinned here

Images of great sewing projects, like these:  
Cardigan refashion pinned here.  
Windmill quilt pinned here
Plus, when you follow people on Pinterest, your Pinterest home page gets all filled up with all the fantastic things other people are pinning--which you can REPIN.  Onto your own pinboards.  Amazing.  So, join.  It's awesome.  And even if you don't want to spend 30 hours each day perusing the boards looking for beautiful things, it's still a great resource for storing all those bookmarked ideas you have saved in your browser.  And it's so much prettier than a pull-down menu.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Forceful Makeover

If you've ever wondered what it would be like if Oprah was three years old, but still had that burning desire to help others "live their best life ever", wonder no more.  It would look like this:

And this:  (Sorry for the blurriness. My camera's portrait setting was not recognizing Bella's face as human.)
And this:

Bella could not have been prouder of how beautiful she had made Maddie.  "Look how she has sparkles."  
Also, if you are wondering whether Maybelline's 12-hour Wonder Color Stay Lipgloss actually lasts for 12 hours, the truth is, it does not.  It lasts MUCH longer than 12 hours, especially when applied to eyelids and foreheads.  More like 48 hours.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Trouble Brewing on the Footboard Front

Now, some of you may not know that I am happily married to the handiest guy on the planet.  I have come across very few tasks in our married life that John is not equal to (especially if I'm willing to do the math that the task requires).  In fact, the two of us recently pooled our talents to come up with these bunkbeds, from these plans by ana-white.com.  (We added the arched headboard variation from another plan to make it more feminine.)

I love these bunkbeds, even if the top bunk is so high that Livi is in danger of altitude sickness every night when she goes to bed.  Good job, John.  However, it was due to the bunkbeds that I learned of another one of John's talents:  freeing trapped little rodents monsters naughty toddlers.

Bella got herself thoroughly stuck the other day.  Her leg was trapped like a little rat, and when I tried to fix it, she just screamed.
So I stopped trying to fix it and instead took some pictures.
Poor little monster.

John, however, pulled some sort of surgeon-y, mechanic-y, handy type trick and got that leg out.  Awesome. Another addition to his list of talents.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

One Year Later

I know I'm starting to get old now, because years are just passing in a blink.  for example, is my baby still this size?  
 Is she even still in this car seat?  Is her hair still this color or this crazy?
Nope.  This is my baby now.  And she's usually quite a bit more cheerful than this.
 Her grumpiness could be due to one of two reasons.  #1:  Her cake was a complete disaster.  Complete disaster.  The teeny layers overflowed and were soggy and gloppy, and the large layers sunk so low they were almost nonexistent and were dry and hard.  Same batter for both layers.  Fail.
 #2:  That fire was getting awfully closer, and her family was singing pretty terribly.  That's enough to scare anyone.
 This is how she normally looks.  She's almost become an entirely new baby this last month.  Her whole life has been driven by "How close can I stay to my mom?" and "What is that she's eating and how can I get some?"  But apparently, she has also been looking around this whole time and filing away all the different things she was going to do as soon as she was mobile.
 And this last month, she decided to start taking care of business.  Goal #1:  Make sure all the diapers, books, dishcloths, DVDs, clothes, and piano music are all dumped on to the floor every day.  Several times a day, in fact, if some poor misguided fool attempts to put them back onto the shelf where they "belong."
 Goal #2:  Get into the toilet as often as possible and with as many items as possible.  Bonus points for soaking the whole bathroom in the 15 seconds it takes mom to investigate the splashing.

Goal #3:  Climb on to the couch and from the couch to the side table and from the side table to the computer desk.  Push as many keys on the keyboard as possible.
 Goal #4:  Find small seats to nest in and small objects to eat while nesting.  The less like food the object is, the better.  Scream whenever mom tries to help you sit forward in the Bumbo.
We love this baby.

Friday, September 9, 2011

First Day of School

 The first day of school was as exciting as always.  The girls received outfits from Nana the very day before school, and they were immediately picked as the favorites.  (My girls have thoroughly embraced the maxi trend.  So comfortable.)
 Naomi is in first grade, and loves it.  Her teacher is friendly and organized and perfect.
 Olivia is in 3rd grade (which is in a different school here in Roosevelt--weird), and she also has a fantastic teacher.  Plus, two of the girls from her Primary class are in her school class.  How lucky can you get?
 Bella wanted to join in the "getting dressed" event, so she ran to put on her Dora swimsuit.  You really can't go wrong with a Dora swimsuit for any occasion.
 Classic backpack shot.  Am I a bad mom because my kids are using their same backpacks from last year?  (And actually, these same backpacks were used for half a year the year before that.  Not so sparkling clean anymore, but still functional, still in use.  Just call me Cheapskate McGee.)
 This is the point at which Bella realized she was not actually going to school with her sisters.  Can you guess her attitude about that revelation?

 Luckily for us, John and Olivia can walk together since her school is right by the hospital.  And Mimi has a first grade buddy just two houses away, so we can carpool too.
 I love that they have school and friends and learning again, but I really miss my big girls.  It's sad how much I look forward to 3:00 every afternoon.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Quotes from Silly Little Girls

Scenario #1:

My sister Annie was playing tea party with the girls, and it came down to the favorite little girl pasttime of making wishes.  My little cousin Elli mentioned that she wanted a prince to come and marry her.  Mimi squealed with delight, saying, "Me too.  And I want him to kiss me."

Then it was Olivia's turn.  She said, "I wish that people would just stop changing their plans.  I HATE it when people change their plans."

Doesn't that just illustrate the difference between the girls?  Mimi in the clouds.  Olivia worried about concrete annoyances.  I love them.

Scenario #2:

Mimi and Bella went outside while I was making dinner and played in the huge dust pile created by all the construction vehicles that pass by our house every day.  They came back inside absolutely filthy, and I told them they had to take a bath.  Later, I heard Bella shrieking from the bathroom.  Mimi dealt with the shrieking by saying, "Bella, I have to wash your hair.  Don't you want me to wash you hair?"
Bella:  NO!  I don't want you to wash my hair.
Mimi:  Bella, would you cry if Jesus was washing your hair?
Bella:  I would still cry.  Even if Jesus was washing my hair.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Adventures in Southern Utah

 As I mentioned before, we went to Tuacahn a couple weeks ago for a little mother-daughter adventure.  We joined John's mom and grandma (Grandma lives there), and we were so excited we could hardly stand it.  (Poor Maddie spent her first birthday in a car all day and being babysat at night since she was too young to enjoy the show.  The horrors of being a fourth-born.)

Tuacahn is amazing.  The shows beforehand are even fun.  Bella was entranced by these musicians . . .
 . . . so entranced she decided to sit herself down next to a complete stranger to listen to the music.
 Once Bella realized that she had been looking out the face of the prince instead of the face of the mermaid, she was not happy with this picture.
 Mimi kept saying throughout the show, "I think I might be falling in love with Prince Eric.  He is so handsome."
 Olivia and her grammy (John's mom) are best buddies.
 And luckily (as I mentioned before), I was so happy to have my sister with us.  Annie is the best!
 Bella would have done better if the show had been a hour-and-a-half rather than three hours. Too long for a three-year old.
 I love my girls.
 The next day, we spent the morning in downtown St. George, where they have this fun park that has a redrock stream that all the kids can play in to cool down.
 Maddie loved it.  It was just the right depth for her to crawl and splash around in.  She'd scootch her bum up the rocks to get into standing position, and she crawled all the way to the top of one particular stairway and scared her mama good.
 They also have a carousel.  Very fun.  Except Maddie wasn't so sure about it.
Olivia picked this particular horse because of its painted flowers.
 Naomi wandered all around the carousel before finding this one.  You know, if you are going to get only a couple rides, you have to make sure you are riding the perfect horse.  Nothing subpar for this girl.
It was so much fun, and I'm already signing myself up to go to Tuacahn next year.  Who's with me?