When Ellie Made a Splash at the Super Bowl!

Monday, February 8, 2016

My kids love hearing stories about the funny and embarrassing things they did when they were small. I think it's because the persons who were embarrassed were me and Marc so it's kind of like we are the punch line of every story, "...and then mom had to drag me away with her face flaming red, her head bowed in shame and a fierce vow never to let me out in public again. Mwah ha ha..." What's not to love?

Image result for super bowl
So in honor of the Super Bowl (Go Broncos!), I bring you the story of when Ellie made a splash at the Super Bowl.

It happened when we first moved to California. We came here for Marc's job and he had only been working at his new law firm for six months when our family was invited to a Super Bowl party at one of his colleague's home. A colleague who is, naturally, a big deal partner at the firm. In spite of his intimate knowledge of our family and how weird we are, Marc was very intent on all of us going and making a good impression. I know, right?

I'd like to insert an aside here where I wonder how some people get children who are quiet and docile, attached to their parents, and only interested in silent reading. Is it a levels of karma and reincarnation thing? And if it is, am I more evolved and the universe thinks I can handle crazy kids or am I less evolved and, well...?

But I digress.

So we all six go to this fancy party at this ginormous and beautiful house where the couple hosting have no children but instead a massive collection of original artwork including sculptural pieces grouped on low side tables scattered tastefully throughout the home, and outside (Heaven help me), a crystal clear pool with attached hot tub. In other words, hell. 

I need to add that this was about seven years ago. Ellie was an adorable and incorrigible six year old.
Marc and I swiftly assessed the situation and ascertained that the pool/hot tub combo was dubious but still a better fit for our family than hanging out inside with the priceless art collection. We immediately impressed on each of our children the extreme importance of staying away from the water and the equal importance how much we were going to kill them if they could not stay away from the water.

So Jonathan and Ellie started playing by the water.
Here they are around that time. Cute little devils.
What follows cannot be blamed on us. We parented. We warned and threatened and redirected and distracted and ALL THE THINGS. For reals, not our fault!

At some point people tried using this social event filled with firm employees and clients to schmooze with us, clearly not understanding the eminent danger of embarrassing us that our children teetered on the precipice of, and in an attempt to be polite and perhaps a little shmoozy ourselves, we took our eyes off the children. 

Cue horror music.

Our eyes, and everyone else's, were brought back to said children when Ellie started screaming as she wrestled her way out of the hot tub (where she'd been fully dunked)and began clawing at her brother like an angry wet cat. Do you have kids? Do you know how loud a mad six year old girl can be? It's loud. And not to be shushed or reasoned with.

Oh boy were we mortified! Marc basically scooped up Ellie and made a b-line for the car. I understood intuitively that I should grab the other kids and quickly follow. Sometimes our minds work as one. That is what the crucible of parenthood does to you.

And that, my friends, is how Ellie made a splash at the Super Bowl.

Fun fact: Marc was so upset about this that we didn't bring Ellie back to the annual Super Bowl party for three years. Each year she would be angry and insist that it wasn't her fault because Jonathan pushed her in, and each year we didn't believe her. But two years ago Jonathan decided that the statute of limitations was up on punishment for past crimes and admitted that he HAD pushed her into the hot tub.


This year Ellie came with us as her sweet and socially amazing self. In fact, I was able to sit and visit with friends while she worked the party with her dad, shmoozing like a pro.

The Easiest Way To Sew A Zipper Pouch

Saturday, February 6, 2016

how to sew a zipper pouch
Clearly you don't need me to tell you about all the reasons you want zipper pouches. But whatever, I love them for makeup, crochet hooks, pens and pencils, and organizing my purse. Seriously, the best organized bag comes from having several smaller bags inside it! Plus, CUTE!
the easiest way to sew a zipper pouch
So I've wanted to learn how to put in a zipper for awhile, but I had this idea that it would be SUPER hard (it's not) and I finally took the time to figure it out. I read through a bunch of tutorials and tried several things and here is what I've found to be the easiest way. They come together really quickly, especially with the shortcuts I'll show you. Get ready, you're going to want to make all the pouches!

Crochet Treasures for Little Ones

Friday, January 29, 2016

I've written a bit before about my twin nephews who are four now, and if you follow me on facebook or instagram you've seen tons of pictures of them too. Because they are THE CUTEST.
I crocheted those bow ties for them for Christmas 2014, and at the time I tried to get some photos of them so I could blog about it but Wes wouldn't let me take a picture of him and I only got some snaps of Drew by holding his arm and not letting him run away. I could not, however, get him to actually look at the camera. See for yourself.
So back then I gave up the dream of blogging about bow ties and jumped on the trampoline with them instead.

But now their Mommy is pregnant! And even though I know that if it's a boy it will be absolutely perfect, right now I'm just starving for a girly girl pink and twirly, soft and fluffy sparkly cotton candy BABY GIRL! And in anticipation of my angel niece I started perusing Etsy just to get some ideas for baby blankets I might like to make for her...just, you know, to get that girly mojo out there into the atmosphere...when I found the shop Deborah O'Leary Patterns.

Let's See If I Get In Trouble For Writing About My Older Children?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sometimes it annoys me that since my kids are older I don't get to write about our days the same way I did when they were small. But I'm feeling like I want to do a little update on our family and to heck with their privacy and stuff. Documentation is important. And so what if my main form of family record keeping happens on the world wide web where nothing is secret; they have all embarrassed me in public plenty over the years! 

The Perfect Gift for an Animal Lover - A Betta Fish Bowl

Monday, January 25, 2016

Figuring out what to give my mom for Christmas isn't too hard, we pretty much like the same things, but this year I wanted to give her something she would really love. And the thing my mom really loves (after her family) is animals...are animals...what is grammatically correct here? Anyway, she is a friend to the animals. 

Lots of people say they love animals, myself included, but my mom loves them more than us. For reals, once she saw some baby ducks trapped in a storm drain at a strip mall and she rescued them by calling animal control and waiting until the ducklings were safely removed. And that was when I was a little girl, before we had cell phones to call for help and whatnot.

In her old neighborhood there were a bunch of feral kitties so she took to trapping them, paying to get them spayed or neutered, and then releasing them back into the neighborhood. But she felt bad for them so she put food out for them all and ended up adopting a couple to go with the ones she had rescued from the shelter. My dad loved that, fierce feral kitties hiding in the guest room! Even though she doesn't have any cats right now, just two dogs, we all know there's a crazy cat lady waiting inside her to get out.

What else? Oh, she leaves baskets nestled between the eves of her house and the pergola over the patio for doves to nest in. When she sees a gopher in her garden she is equal parts irritated and delighted (which is crazy). She has an eagle eye and spots every animal we pass on the road, deer, foxes, wild turkeys, coyotes, you name it, she sees it! And she gets so excited. Every single time.
Plus, her dream vacation is to cruise to Alaska and watch for whales.

With all this in mind, I decided the perfect Christmas gift for her would be a betta fish. A betta fish in the cutest little live biosphere ever! It came out so so adorable that I wanted to share it so you might gift one to the animal lover in your life, or maybe even make one for yourself. 
decorative betta fish centerpiece

The Best Sweet and Tangy Chili You've Ever Tasted

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Hi friends. Sorry I haven't blogged in so long. I like to keep at it until I gain a bit of momentum, my page views are going up, and then I just, suddenly, stop blogging altogether and go dark...for fun? Actually, I'm pretty frustrated with myself, but onward and upward as they say. Let's just get after it shall we? We shall!

I'm throwing myself an easy pitch and sharing my award winning recipe for the best chili you've ever tasted, as opposed to say, sharing my thoughts on disciplining teenagers or something (you'd like that though, wouldn't you?). It is sweet and tangy and meaty and I could seriously eat three bowls in row. Still, how can I claim this is the best tasting chili ever? Because my sister-in-law said so. It must be so! Also, I did win at my church's fall chili cook off a couple years ago with this baby and I've got the gold painted ladle to prove it. Somewhere.

Here is what you will need:
  • 2lbs sweet Italian turkey sausage, casing removed
  • 1chopped sweet onion
  • 3cloves of pressed garlic
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 finely diced jalapeno pepper
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of chili beans
  • 1 (28 ounce) can of maple cured bacon baked beans
  • 1(14 1/2 ounce) can of petite diced tomatoes
  • 12teaspoons chili powder
  • 1teaspoon cumin
  • 1teaspoon thyme
  • 12teaspoon salt
  • 12teaspoon cinnamon
  • 12cup of honey
And here is how you are going to put it together:

Start with browning the sausage, chopped onion, garlic and bell pepper in a large sauce pan over medium heat.
 Sometimes you can get the sausage simply packaged as ground meat without the casing, if not, just slice the casing with a sharp knife and slide out the sausage. 

My eyes are freakishly sensitive to onions and peppers so I wear a pair of onion goggles while I cook. It's very chic, all the sexy chefs are doing it. I tried to take a selfie in them so you could see how fabulous they look on me, but, it just, no. 
 I need a new manicure. Please ignore my ugly fingers.
My Safeway recently started carrying these peeled garlic cloves and they are my favorite thing ever! I am too lazy to mince garlic so
I always use a press. 
And this is a chopped bell pepper. Nice. Now cook that all up until the meat is cooked through, about 8 minutes. I didn't really time it, I'm just guessing about the eight minutes; cook it until there is no pink left.

Now add the beans and tomatoes. If you have a fancy pampered chef can opener you should totally use that. I had one but now it's disappeared and I have to use a regular one from CVS or somewhere. I have a suspicion that my good one went on a Scout camping trip and never came home, but I don't have proof.
 Add your spices
Now let all that chili goodness simmer uncovered on low for about 30 minutes. It will smell SO good.
After 30 or so minutes add the honey and cinnamon. I think of these two as the secret ingredients, once they're cooked in people can't put their finger on what makes it taste so special, but you will know. Mwahaha! The best honey is from your own bees, but if the bees are not participating, go for local honey. So yummy!

chili with honey
 The last thing to do is enjoy watching your family slurp it up! I don't know why, but seeing my family eat makes me super happy. I'm a feeder. This recipe is perfect for that. I hope you like it.
sweet and tangy chili
This week I was motivated to get back in the blogging saddle by my friend, Monica, who just started her own Suh-weet blog where she wrote about doing things we want to do but are scared of at the same time. I often feel that way about putting my writing and weirdo photos out there and her essay was just the nudge/shove I needed. I hope you'll check her out here

Painting A Duncan Phyfe Dining Room Table

Monday, September 28, 2015

Last week I shared some inspiration photos for how I might paint my Duncan Phyfe style dining room table that a friend gave me. And this week I painted it. It's like a Christmas miracle.

Probably around 18 years ago Marc and I were antiquing in Arlington, Virginia and we came across this ah-mazing French country table and chair set. The table was a humongous, rustic wood farmhouse table and the chairs were these beautiful fancy white chairs with an upholstered hoop back, like this:

The set also came with a super fancy humongous price tag, something like twenty thousand dollars-because it was antiques and all (and maybe had gold bullions in the seat cushions or something) -so clearly, we did not purchase it. But it stole my heart, and I have been trying to figure a way to get that juxtaposition of rustic and elegant going in my dining room ever since.

When my friend gave me this table I initially thought I'd paint it and sell it; but the more I looked at it, the more I fell in love with those legs.

  Nice stems, right? I had to give it a try in my own dining room. What do you think? Of course, none of my chairs are in the photos because I am busy making a massive mess trying to reupholster them. Which begs the question, why when I decide to try and teach myself to reupholster do I choose eight fancy chairs as my first project? I think it's like a sickness...the same one that makes me decide to make slipcovers for an entire sectional sofa as my first slipcover project.

I need to read up on designing tablescapes; it's harder than it looks.

Here is a quick rundown on my process for painting this table. Its' original finish was a dark cherry. Here it is taken apart in my garage/studio:
I started by wiping it down with simple green to get any grease off, then I lightly sanded the top with a sanding sponge. I didn't sand the legs.

I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in "Old Ocher," because it has a little more of an aged look than old white to me. It's like there's a touch of brown in it. Here's the first coat.

I sanded lightly, wiped off the sanding dust, and put a second coat on everything. The legs looked great after that but I decided to do a third coat on the table top for durability. At that point I wasn't planing to distress the piece, but the details on the legs weren't standing out the way I wanted them to so I decided to try distressing them and I liked it better.

 It looked good so I did the table top to match. 
The final step was to wax. I thought about using poly since it is a table top, but these days I'm really liking the look and feel of wax, and after it fully cures it's supposed to be pretty durable. Also, we mostly eat at our kitchen table (or on the couch) so this table won't get a ton of wear and tear. Bottom line, I decided to risk it.

Even though I used Annie Sloan paint, my favorite wax is the Sweet Pickins soft wax. I love the way it rubs into the paint, the soft sheen it gives, and the way it feels when you run your hand over the furniture. I didn't really like waxing furniture until I used this product but now I am a fan. As usual, I have no affiliate links or anything, I just like the product.
You can kind of see the slight sheen it creates in this photo, and the way it adds depth to the paint color. Love.

We have family coming this week, but I am determined to get those darn chairs finished up soon. I'll share as soon as I do. Happy projects to you!


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