Archive for the ‘home sweet home’ category

Late Winter, Early Easter

March 27, 2013

So this happened on March 19.  Absolutely ridiculous.

And my Easter decorations are chilling out IN THE LATE MARCH SNOW.

If there’s some good news, it’s that it’s lighter longer, and the pavement is nice and clear for sidewalk chalk.


We are SO ready to welcome spring!!

American Girl Uneven Bars

March 17, 2013

My girls weren’t interested in dolls until fairly recently.  My Mother in Law bought them American Girl Dolls a couple Christmases ago and I kinda thought it was a bad call because they’d rarely ever played with dolls up til then.  Lately the dolls are about all they’ve been playing with.  They’ll mix and match their clothes, they’ll create adventures for them to go on, and Little Girl’s haircut is modelled after her doll, Kit.

Through some random clicks on someone’s tablet the other day, we found  youtube videos on how to make handmade toys and games for the dolls.  When we saw gymnastics equipment, we figured we needed to get in on that action.

ta-da! uneven bars:

Made out of plumber’s piping, the pieces fit together easily enough that even the 6 year old can manage it.  Play gets a little rough so hubs said he’ll glue the pieces so it doesn’t fall apart while the dolls are swinging on it.  That gets in the way of playing.

All it consists of is piping cut down to (2) 18″, (2) 15″ and (4) 12″ pieces, 4 t joints and 4 elbow joints.  Pop it all together and voila!

We use ponytail holders looped on the “bars” and around the dolls’ wrists and they hang on pretty well!


We saw ones that had been spray painted, but I was nervous about the paint wearing off on the plastic parts of the dolls.  Maybe I’ll add some duct tape or fun patterned washi tape.  For now, the girls are happy as little clams with it just the way it is.  Well, other than they’ve added a folded up baby blanket underneath to use as a mat, and Big Girl’s doll is wearing a horse-riding helmet… NOW they love it the way it is! ;)

So There’s That

March 5, 2013

We got about 3 gallons of maple sap over the course of 2 1/2 days.  I filtered it, I boiled it a while, I put it in my crockpot.  Then I didn’t know when to stop.  Here’s what we got:

It’s a pretty color and it’s thickened up since it’s been in the fridge.

 I mighta let it go too long.  It’s kinda grainy, like it’s saturated w sugar.  Sooooo…. maybe I can turn it in to that maple sugar candy like we get at the fall fairs (YUMM-O!)?  Or it can sit in my fridge forever as I reminder that we could do it if we wanted to?

The sap was flowing again and we’ve got maybe another gallon and a half so far today…  Try it again?  Probably.

P.S. I just found this blog post by Simple Little Home and we are SO doing this.


February 26, 2013

I know folks who schedule blog posts weeks in advance.  They plan holiday posts and birthday posts, but I just can’t.  If I think of something to tell you, or if I’m in the middle of a project I just can’t wait to tell you about it.

So!!  We have these beastly maple trees on the front corners of our property out by the road.  During the first freak/weird/once in a lifetime but happened twice October snow storms a couple years ago they were really damaged.  One lost a huge section that blocked out street.  The other lost a giant branch into our driveway.  They’re pretty scarred and pretty ugly in the winter when they don’t have greenery to cover the damage.  When spring rolls around, they leak sap out of various parts and the other day one of the girls noticed a sap icicle way up in a tippy-top branch.  I told hubs we should tap that tree, just to see what would happen and with a couple bucks for a yard of tubing and a plastic thing that pokes in the tree, we are now harvesting sap like pioneers.

If pioneers had plastic pointy things and tubes and gallon milk jugs.  It is flowing like crazy:

(You can see the chunk that’s missing from the other tree on the right side at the other end of the yard, too.)

Last night after about 8 hours, we had our first near-gallon of sap.

I’ve been told a dozen times (and read it, too) that it takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.  That’s great but really, we don’t need a gallon of syrup.  The Little Girl is the only one who even enjoys syrup in the first place (!!!), we’re just doing it for fun.  We’re just about 24 hours since hubs tapped the tree and we’ve gotten a little more than 2 gallons of sap.  I’ve boiled it down and put it in my crockpot to do its ‘thang” and eventually, we’ll see what happens.  If you suddenly see an influx of waffle posts, you’ll be assured making syrup was a success. ;)

Time dances on…

February 22, 2013

and skips and hops and cartwheels…

I’ve got my Bean (Big Girl) home with me today.  While I still can’t figure out if it’s a little tummy bug or some 2nd grade stress that caused her to be sick last night she’s here on the couch next to me.  I’m fretting about how to handle obligations later, who’s gonna go to gymnastics, who’s gonna go to work and when while we’re snuggled up watching daytime tv – Team Umi Zoomi, Dora, etc…  She’s 8.  She’s way beyond these shows but I’m steering clear of the other types of programming on at this time of day.  She doesn’t seem to mind.

This a.m. her little sister was talking about summer vacation – she’ll FINALLY be old enough to ride the roller coaster at Sesame Place all by herself, she’s been waiting 5 years to be able to ride alone.  She was remembering last year’s trip to “Elmo’s House” when mom and dad felt she could swim well enough to ride a certain couple of tube rides single-y.  She’s so proud of how big she is.  There’s no question in her mind that we’ll go back this summer, she loves it there.  It’ll break my heart when/IF she ever decides that it’s a place more for the little kids.

Where are my baby girls?  We still have the “season pass” for Sesame Street and Max and Ruby on the tivo, but now we’re more in to American Girl youtube videos (how to make uneven bars for your doll – we’re totally gonna do that!) and reading chapter books.  There are no more training wheels.  My little girls are not so little.  I tried to sit on the edge of Bean’s bed last night and sat on her foot.  “What was that?” I ask.  “Uhhh, I’m stretched out over here,” she answers.  She nearly reaches the end of the bed.  Little Girl reminded me that her half birthday was this week.  6 and 1/2!  I never planned out this far, it felt like they’d be 2 and 3, watching Diego and asking questions with their little lisps forever.

Ready mama?  Not really, but I’ll try to be.

Vanessa, Kris, Chuck and Craig Ferguson in NYC

October 7, 2012

We got the tickets 10 months ago in December.  I waited by the computer to get good seats.  For a while we were worried that they would be TOO good, that we’d have strained necks from looking up at the stage.  This was not the case.  If you can ever get 2nd row Orchestra Pit tickets for a show at Radio City Music Hall?  Freakin’ do it.  You will not be sorry.  Only thing better would’ve been front row!

Hello Craig Ferguson, let me sit at your feet and watch you for an hour and a half. (*dreamy sigh*)

But before that…

We stopped at the places where we usually go:

Times Square: @chuckpro and @queenvanna drag Kris around the city! (He loved it, hush.)

The construction at the WTC sites

Rockefeller Center,

Lego, NBC, Nintendo:

Dinner at a swanky little (really little) restaurant, I will dream about those scallops for months to come – and we were off to the show!

Folks may know of my smitten-ness for Craig Ferguson, they’ve seen the countdown to this show on my Facebook page, they see pictures I share with friends who are smitten too, but there was a group of hard. core. fans that came to New York for this show.  People from France and Germany, California, and all up and down the eastern seaboard.  We tweet, we share pictures and news articles and information.  We are the RSA (“Robot Skeleton Army”) and we are in on the joke.  You don’t have to be in on the joke, but it makes it even better.

The opening act, Josh Robert Thompson is the voice of Craig’s Robot Skeleton sidekick on his Late Late show, and it was fun to see him in the flesh.  We didn’t know what to expect and he was lots of fun, he did some gags from the show in the beginning to warm up the crowd for his short set.  He does Morgan Freeman even better than Morgan Freeman can.  It’s surprising because he’s a little white dude.

Then it was time for the chief.  I enjoyed the video montage/intro with music, lights, the robot skeleton and the Rockettes cuz the last shows we saw he came out to very little introduction.  This was different and it was awesome.

The Rockettes classed up the joint in the intro number

Hitler as a Mister Rogers-type on NPR and Canadian jokes, sharks and their genetalia, current celebrities… he was hilarious.

And he was right there in all his creepy perviness.

No seriously, right. there.

After the show we waited by the stage door for a good long while, but got no action.  We met up with a gang of the RSA folks for a beverage or two and had to head back on the train to CT.

Midnight in NYC, in all the times I’ve visited, I’ve never been out and about so late.

I wish we could do things like this more often, but I’m glad that when we finally did, we got to see Craig Ferguson at Radio City Music Hall.  Can’t wait for the next adventure!

Fresh Lemons – Kitchen Re-decor

July 17, 2012

The time had been coming for a while.  The girls had outgrown their table in the kitchen.  This was a great spot for them – breakfast while I unloaded the dishwasher, a place for crafts and important little-girl work, somewhere to sit and visit…

Big Girl could barely get her legs under the table, and with plates and cups at dinnertime, it was getting a little crowded for them.  After an infuriating time with, 3 cracked tables in 3 orders and a suggestion that we not try to buy that table from them any more, we went with an unfinished furniture place and Hunny got to use his air-paint-sprayer-thingie.  We matched the table top to the chairs in the old set, and the legs are some white paint I think we just had kicking around.  He did a great job!

Our walls are plaster so it takes a little more than the whack of a nail to hang anything, one girl is eagerly awaiting a new spot for her calendar.  What our kitchen totally needs is 3 calendars in 9 square feet of space.  We’re just like that.

Big Girl painted that watermelon in first grade art class, and since it’s always been her favorite fruit and we seem to go through 11 lb watermelons in a matter of a couple days, I thought it needed to be framed.  I cut it out of the big art paper and matted it on some scrapbooking paper.  Gawd bless those IKEA frames, I think 90% of the pictures on our walls are hung in IKEA frames.

The fake flowers are just cuz… the table feels so big and there’s so much space, so why not put dust catchers on there?

Let me tell you about those cafe curtains.

They’re kitchen towels.  Target has done me wrong with the whole table debacle, I’m so mad at them and yet, I can’t totally quit them.  The cafe curtains are actually kitchen towels from Target.  I had planned to fold over the top and sew them to slide the towel on to the rod, but I loaned out my sewing machine (like 10 months ago) and I haven’t heard any plans on getting it back, so I used those hooks on rings.  I’m sure they have a fancy name, but I don’t know what it is.

We could use an update on the placemats, but the girls love them so they’ll stay a while.

Now we have a sunny little spot for growing girls to do some more growing up.





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