Friday, October 30, 2009

on being a SAHM...

i had a revelation while i was away on my mini-vaca with my sister and my mom. a lot of people who don't have children don't really realize what it takes to be a stay at home mom. my sister said as much to me while we were at her house and i was restraining my thrashing contortionist son. she really thought i had it made--that my life was perfect. i only had to work part time, and even though money's tight, i got to be at home all day with my two wonderful children and had time to create beautiful jewelry for my etsy shop. spending 2 days in her house disabused her of that illusion *smile*

i have 2 kids, and they couldn't be more different. but they're both a lot of work in their own way. isabelle is probably the most independent 2 year old you'll ever meet. and it's so frustrating cuz you have to help in a way that makes it seem like you're not helping even though letting her do it herself takes twice as long and you're already late...and alexander vacillates between wanting to do everything himself and not wanting to do anything himself. and you need to be able to know which day it is. and he's very high-energy. i don't want to label him as anything, but he needs a lot of directed activity, or he'll find a non-desirous activity to occupy himself *smile* and he's a master at breaking toys (and non-toys he just happens to be playing with *smile*), not becuz he's destructive, but becuz he wants to know how stuff works and why it moves or doesn't move. cheap plastic made in china just doesn't cut it for my son. he'll destroy it in a day. and not becuz he's malicious, but becuz he's so enthralled with it that he wants to know the entire parameters of it's ability. thank the Lord for tonka *smile*

so it was kinda gratifying to see my sister and open her eyes to my reality *smile*. i don't know what i would do if i weren't medicated. i'd either be in jail or western psych *smile*

Thursday, October 29, 2009

big lots, blankets, beads and blessings

well, the kids and i just got back from a mini-vacation to rochester to visit my sister and mom. we had a blast. i got to do some of my favorite things in the world: go to a marvelous bead store, visit a foreign big lots and be blessed with family. *smile*

the bead store we went to was called Let's Bead! it was absolutely fabulous! i spent way too much money, but they had some beautiful sterling silver chandelier findings, and i just couldn't resist them. the shop was easily twice the size of my favorite bead shop here in pittsburgh, Your Beading Heart, and had a fabulous selection of everything imaginable, and at decent prices, too *smile*. but at YBH i can bring the kids and sit them in the classroom and they get to watch PBS kids while i shop. i was ecstatic that they fell asleep on our way to the shop so that i could shop unhindered by little curious fingers *smile*.

my other favorite thing to do is to visit foreign big lots. every time we go somewhere we make it a point of finding a big lots store that we haven't been to. each big lots is different, and while they have some of the same things, each store has it's own unique charm and personality. even here in pittsburgh, my 2 regular big lots are different. so we went online before we left to find a big lots near the bead store so we could do it all in one fell swoop *smile*. yay! i love big lots shopping sprees. although, i really didn't splurge on anything--just what i'd normally be buying for my weekly grocery shopping anyway. oh well. it was still fun becuz i did find a snuggie!

now, i am a cold person. starting in late september i usually start wearing gloves and a hat. and i wear a sweater over my flannel nightgown to bed, with a hat and an extra quilt on my side of the bed at night. so a snuggie was right up my alley *smile*. earlie in the day on wednesday i'd gotten an email from a friend via facebook that there was a website where i could get a FREE snuggie, so i think i may have another one coming in the mail, which would be awesome! *smile* my sister is worse than my husband about using the furnace, so i was plenty warm last night snuggled in bed with my two personal heating devices (named alexander & isabelle *smile*) and my snuggie! when i found it at big lots, i pointed it out as a joke, but when my mom bought it for me i was thrilled. and of course, we all had to pose in it, which my sister posted on her blog *smile*. so much fun!

which brings me to my last "b"--the blessings of family. it was amazing to be able to spend a couple of days with 2 of my favorite women in the world--my mom and my sister. michelle & i planned this trip as a destashing/trading expedition. we have this elaborate ritual of trading stuff we're not using for stuff the other has that we want. this trip centered around her polymer clay stuff, which is my latest obsession. whenever i go to rummage sales or yard sales, i'm always picking up quilting stuff, which comes in handy for this purpose. i'm really excited to work with the clay and i've got so many ideas i want to try out! *smile* but i can't do it tonight, cuz i'm exhausted! what should have been a 4.5 hour trip took 7 hours cuz we stopped at every restroom (and bush) between rochester and pittsburgh. i'm so grateful that alexander's a boy and can "potty like daddy" when there's no potty available. i don't know what i'm gonna do when isabelle's wearing panties *sigh*. we'll cross that bridge when we get to it *smile*

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Third Presbyterian Church Pumpkin Patch

Third Presbyterian Church Pumpkin Patch
corner of Fifth & Negley in the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh
5701 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15232 | 412-661-4710 |

i'm actually fairly active at my church, especially since i'm not a member. and today the children and i helped out at the pumpkin patch. they do it every year as a fundraiser for their mission trips to haiti and other impoverished parts of the world, mainly north america. but they're very active in haiti, and a couple of members go twice a year. i really wanted to go this year, but when i mentioned it to christopher, he looked at me like i had two heads *smile*.

but i we went to the pumpkin patch, and i was unprepared for how much work there was to do. the shift started at 10 am, but i told michelle, the assistant pastor, that i couldn't be there til 11, so i was already an hour behind. the first thing i had to do was roll the pumpkins. most of them were on pallets, but we got so many this year that there were quite a few that weren't. if they stay in the same position on the wet ground they'll rot, hence the need for rolling. i estimate that i personally rolled about 100 pumpkins today, in a wide range of sizes from tiny to huge *smile*. and while the rolling was going on, i had to keep my kids from killing each other and help customers.

and i had some interesting customers. my first were two women who were looking for 3 almost identical pumpkins of 15" across. yeah, right *smile*. pumpkins that're that big are also really heavy, and who do you suppose they expected to carry these ginormous pumpkins? that's right--me! so i definitly got my workout today. between rolling them and lifting them, i don't think i'll need to go to the gym for a while *smile*. i also had a woman who wanted 50 mini pumpkins. thankfully she didn't need my help for anything *smile*.

my least favorite chore was moving the rotting pumpkins to the pile to become compost. ick! especially when you grab it in the wrong place and your hands are covered in pumpkin ooze. or one of your mini helpers knocks over the cart on which rotting pumpkins have been placed and hey explode all over the church yard. double ick!! *smile*

all in all, it was a fun day. we had wonderful weather for it, and the kids got to pick the biggest pumpkins they could carry *smile* and amazingly isabelle picked a short, fat pumpkin and alexander picked a tall thin pumpkin. go figure *smile*

so if you're in the market for a pumpkin in the pittsburgh area, be sure to stop by 3rd church. all the proceeds go to a very worthy cause *smile*.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

for the love of power tools :)

when i was in junior high i took both wood shop and metal shop, not becuz i really cared, but becuz that's where the boys were *smile*. but while i was there, i discovered a love of power tools. i could do a pretty darn good puddle weld with the oxyacetylene torches *smile*. i made a pair of shelf brackets and a bookshelf that i still use *smile*.

when i was a single girl, i had a tool kit with all the requisite screwdrivers and nails and my own power drill. i could put anything together, but don't ask me to sew on a button or hem a skirt. that's what safety pins and double sided tape are for *smile*. but when i got married, i married a man who really uses power tools, so i put mine away and was content to let him do all the work. i never had to put together another shelving unit, or take out the garbage, or worry about changing the oil in my car.

but then i started making jewelry, and i wanted real, professional looking display cases. and since i didn't want to spend the money buying them, i decided to make them. but my husband didn't have time to do it when i needed it done, so i rediscovered my love for power tools. what a thrill! *smile* i tried to talk him into letting me use his table saw, but he said no *smile*. plus, it's more of a table and storage area right now, so he'd hafta clear it off to use it anyway. i only needed to cut dowel rods, so i guess it would have been a little excessive, but it would have been a lot of fun *smile*

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

meet your new family...

my dad has been really into geneology lately, which is really awesome, but kinda hard cuz his family isn't really who you would think it to be. apparently, his mom was married to one guy, but had a baby with someone else. oops *smile*. but luckily, she knew who the real father was, and in the past year or so, my dad has done some research and found his real father's family, with all of his half-siblings and everything. kinda cool. but also kinda weird. apparently his family was not what you would call, um, chaste *smile*. or, um, faithful *smile*. there's another "other family" somewhere back there on his mom's side, too. really weird. it's the kind of thing you read about in a book or see on tv (thankfully not jerry springer, though), but i had no idea that it was my family's history. i wish i were a writer, cuz this has the makings of a great novel. too bad it's true *smile*. i don't think non-fiction sells anywhere near as well. well, we could change the names to protect the innocent and sell it as fiction, right?

and on a completely unrelated note, i will be revamping my heavenlycreationspgh blog to highlight my jewelry more fully. i'm gearing up to sell my jewelry at blossoms of verona, here in pittsburgh, starting 10/25, and i've got a fabulous new line of sterling silver and 14k gold that i'll have available there. but i'll take pics of everything and have it on my other blog, so stay tuned and i'll keep you posted *smile*. and my holiday earrings are moving quickly on my etsy site! the autumn and "boo-tiful" earrings are still available with free shipping for a limited time, so grab them while you can! *smile*

Friday, October 9, 2009

a happy accident

so i've been incredibly absent minded lately. it's gotten really bad. the last time i made granola i forgot everything that made it healthy (wheat germ & flax seed) and used a bit of garlic oil. luckily it was a very small batch. so i was extra diligent this time to make sure that i added the flax seed and wheat germ and only used canola oil. but i forgot the brown sugar this time. luckily i was very heavy handed with the maple syrup, so it actually turned out ok. i'd found a new recipe in parents magazine at my allergist and it called for 1 tbs of vanilla. it was really good, cuz i didn't add any chocolate (i usually use special dark cocoa powder *smile*) and with just the syrup and no brown sugar it was very lightly sweetened, but the plentiful chunks of pinapple, craisens and mango made it really delicious *smile*

my love of shoes

i love shoes. at one point in time i had over 100 pairs of shoes, most of them black. i've really downsized in recent years, mainly becuz my husband refuses to dedicate as much storage space as i'd really like. and he keeps asking questions like "why do you need all these shoes? you don't even wear them. don't you have a pair of black shoes like those?" clearly he's a man, and will never understand my need for blue reptile print leather pumps *smile*

but i think i've passed my love of shoes (some would say addiction *smile*) on to my children. alexander really only has 1 pair of shoes--tennis shoes--that he wears constantly. but he does have a pair that he wears to church at Easter & Christmas (and whenever we're at grandma's house for mass *smile*) but he needed a new pair cuz they didn't fit. we were at a fabulous resale shop called once upon a child where i take their "gently used" clothing and get cash to buy them "new" clothing. while we were there, i found not 1, not 2, but 3 pairs of stacy adams in his size. anyone who doesn't know who stacy adams is has never bought fabulous mens shoes. they're right up there with florsheims. i didn't even know they made stacy adams for boys! i was so excited. and i found the most adorable pair of rain boots for isabelle. she wanted to carry them home herself.

so today, we're watching lightening mcqueen, and they both want to put on their new shoes. and alexander is tap-dancing in the kitchen on the hardwood floor (i don't know where he got that from *smile*) and asked me if he can wear his new shoes to bed *smile*. a boy after my own heart *smile*

Monday, October 5, 2009

FREE SHIPPING!!! *smile*

well, i've decided to put my halloween and autumn earrings on sale from now until october 27th. all of my "boo-tiful" and autumn inspired earrings are available with FREE SHIPPING! they sold really well at the craft fair over the weekend, so i don't think they'll be around for long *smile*. the ghosts are my favorite. they're just so cute.

they're all glass beads with titanium fishhooks and stainless steel headpins. the boo-tiful pumpkins are embellished with crystals.

take a look at my shop, cuz i don't think they'll be available for long!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

whoo hoo! yay me!

i am so excited! i did a craft show/flea market/bake sale/basket weaving & apple butter making demo/farmers market today *smile*. and it went really well. the last thing i did, i only sold 2 pieces, my stuff kept blowing over, i'd lost my voice & i was placed right in front of the speakers *smile*. there were some challenges today, cuz i still had to work (and managed to do 5 clients), but i sold quite a few pieces, and passed out a lot of business cards, and even got the business card of a woman who owns a floral shop who was interested in perhaps carrying my jewelry! *smile* whoo hoo!

but like i said, the day was not without it's challenges. when i got there at 8am to start setting up, and found out i was supposed to bring my own table. that was info i could have used yesterday *smile*. but luckily i live nearby, so i called my husband and had him get the table out of the shed and transfered all my stuff from my car to his truck so i could take the table. but then, by the time i had everything set up, i had to go to work to do my first 3 clients. i barely had time to fill my friend michele in on prices and stones before i had to dash off to become a super-hairdresser *smile*. thankfully all of my clients were on time and uncomplicated so i was able to finish up and go back to my table.

while i was sitting at my table, i had alot of people approach, which was awesome, and i had to find the balance between over-bearing walmart greeter and uncaring ulta associate. i also had to resist the urge to lower my prices just becuz. people weren't trying to get bargains, but i still sometimes just felt that insecurity in my artistic ability. but when i sold an earring and necklace set for $35 and the woman didn't even blink, i knew i was okay *smile*

it was just amazing to do it. and now i really want to do another. but i'm afraid that if i do an actual craft fair with other jewelry makers that there'll be too much competition. i like being somewhere unconventional cuz people don't have anyone else to compare me to. but we'll see. a lot of these are on saturdays when i've got hair to do, or on sundays when i've got church. but i definitly want to try to do at least one holiday craft fair/flea market/bazaar/bake sale type thing. whoo hoo! *smile*

on a completely unrelated note, my computer room is in the basement, and right now both of my children are awake, which is always a challenge. but alexander had been pottying and came down to the basement all naked. when i asked him why he was all naked, he told me "cuz i like to" *smile*.

Friday, October 2, 2009

absentmindedness--a new disease?

i think i may have a terminal illness--absentmindedness. right now it's 12:20 am and i am blogging becuz i forgot that i put bread dough in my bread machine at 8pm. for those of you that don't know, i make all the bread that my family consumes. well, we buy hot dog and hamburger buns, but dinner rolls, special occasion bread, foccacia (my favorite!) and sandwich/toast bread is all made by me. it's awesome, cuz i get to control what my family eats, but it sucks, cuz i have to make the bread, sometimes twice a week. and for anyone who's never made bread, it's a process. luckily i have a bread machine, so all i really have to do is remember i've put dough in and it's all good. unfortunately, i forgot. but i can't let the dough sit overnight, so i have to let it rise for an hour and at 1am it will be ready to go in the oven to bake for 25 minutes. *sigh*

but doesn't your bread machine bake? you ask. of course it does. but for anyone who's baked bread in a bread machine, you know that the size of the loaf is not conducive to toasting, which is really frustrating. so i take the extra time to make dough, and then put it in bread pans and bake it myself so that i get appropriate sized loaves for toast, grilled cheese and pb&j. *smile* i also then get to put flax seed, wheat germ and sweet potato in the dough so that's there's a little more nutrition. i also altered my recipe to add whole wheat flour. i don't think my kids have really ever eaten squishy white bread *smile*. i think i even use whole wheat flour in my foccacia. i usually make whole wheat pizza crust, too, but lately i've been lazy and have been making white, cuz the whole wheat you have to bake for 12 minutes before you put the toppings on and then bake for another 20 minutes. the white crust you only have to bake once you put the toppings on. i don't know why you have to bake the whole wheat twice, but that's what my book tells me, so that's what i do. but even my white pizza crust looks like whole wheat cuz i put in flax seed and wheat germ. and i did remember them tonight even though i forgot them in my granola *smile*.

well, only an hour til the whole process is complete. and i won't even have the energy to slice it warm with real butter. that's the best *smile*

Thursday, October 1, 2009

rummage and granola

so i love rummage sales. my church does 2 a year--spring and fall--and i help out with the set up every time. it's awesome, cuz if you set up, you get to shop early and get all the good stuff before it goes on sale *smile*. my biggest weakness is cardigans. i have SO MANY cardigans, and they're totally awesome! i love "old lady" cardigans with pearl buttons and "mr rogers" cardigans (for christopher, of course *smile*).

but this year as i was making a final perusal of the sale goods, i came across 2 boxes of fabric that the ladies had missed. yay me! i found a ton of fabulous quilting fabrics and some muslin and really fun halloween flannel (unfortunately not quilting flannel, but i have other uses for it *smile*). there were some great patriotic fabrics and some autumn fabrics and some really great traditional-y quilting fabrics. i'm very excited, cuz when my sister came to visit for isabelle's b-day, she really decimated my quilting stash. of course i did buy some of it with her in mind, but i think i might make her come see me to get it *smile*

and i made granola last night. i really shouldn't do anything important after 9:30 pm. i'm absentminded during the day after a good night's sleep, but at the end of the day, forget about it! *smile* i totally forgot to put in both the flax seed and the wheat germ and forgot that we were very low on canola oil. so i pulled down our little carafe of olive oil, not knowing that my husband had put garlic oil in there once upon a time. so as i'm stirring, i'm wondering why it doesn't smell like it usually does. so i add more cocoa powder. it wasn't until it was baking that i started smelling the garlic. you can't really taste it, but still! i can't eat this fast enough. good thing the children like it too--they can help me eat it so i can make a batch that's nutritious and non-garlic *smile*