Sunday, March 28, 2010

Morning Has Broken...

I cherish the quiet of a weekend morning. I love sipping (OK chugging) away at my coffee, praying, reading, snooping around on the computer or just being alone with my thoughts. What could be better?

That moment when the quiet is broken and the house comes to life. It really is just a moment...but it happens so gently and so beautifully.

Yesterday it came in the form of medium-sized feet padding up the stairs accompanied by the rattle of "Lamby" and then Kiley's beautifully messy hair appeared at the top of the steps. Without a word she joined me on the couch and looked at me with her beautiful eyes indicating she wanted scratchies. (Her back scratching terminology.) We didn't speak for quite some time. Just enjoyed the moment.

Today, Jesse and Kiley left the house while I was half awake and half asleep, so that doesn't count. (They were actually quite loud) When the house became quiet again, the morning was reset...

Small feet came creeping up the steps. Tate's kissy lips and little face peeked around the corner. A little half snort half laugh came out mouth and he ran to the "magic spot." After laying there for a moment he realized the heat was not on he came to me and whispered, "Warm me up, Mama."

I treasure these moments and love that I have the opportunity to expereince them with both of my lovelies!

(The "Magic Spot" is the rug in front of the heat vent in the kitchen. The kids love to have breakfast here. Tate was convinced that our kitchen was broken the first time he discovered it without heat.)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I Should Have Brought Dip

Jesse and I were invited to a St. Patrick's Day party this weekend. I thought I would bake something for a change. I am not a baker. I am a cook. Baking is systematic and measuring is important. Cooking is random. You can fake it with cooking.
The kids helped me make these rainbow cupcakes. The recipe and idea came from Family Fun Magazine. (I still am failing to see how this is fun.) I am not a baker.

So after hours of messing around with these, I was pretty pleased with the results. We even made our own frosting! (And yes, it was fun because the kids were so excited.)
We get to the party and wouldn't you know there were cupcakes everywhere! Two other clever ladies had decided to bring cupcakes. Honestly, when was the last time you went to an adult party that had cupcakes?! Who knew? I should have just made dip! (If you don't know me, I am being dramatic for drama's sake...)

Repuropsed Candle Sticks

I finally got around to the candle stick two tier tray project. Here is the fantastic tutorial from Two Shades of Pink.

Here is a picture of my completed project:

I did make one change to the project...

Instead of using Gorilla Glue to attach the plates to the candle sticks, I used Gorilla Glue to attach Velcro to the plates and the candle sticks.

Here was my thinking:
~ I wanted to be able to bring this puppy places. It will travel better if I can break it down.
~ I love dishes, plates, and color. I could never pick just one color scheme/ design for this project. I would want 100 of these darn things and just don't have the space. Now every time I find a set of plates that I love, I can just buy two, add Velcro, and use the same base.

If you choose to do the "add Velcro method," make sure you buy a candle stick with a solid bottom!

I just realized I need to make a black base... just in case!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

"911..UMMM, Where's the Diet Coke?

So today was conferences... I have a love /hate relationship with conferences. Love portion is described in my earlier post. Hate is the part where it's the day of conferences and I freak out!

So, I am running around like a crazy woman on my prep and decide I must have a Diet Coke. (Like it is a carnal need at this point.) I scrounge through my purse to scrape together the 50 cents, race down to the machine, only to see the ugly red light . For you non addicts, this means it's out. URG! You would think on conference day, of all days, they would know that Diet Coke is not optional. We teach all day and conference all night. Am I asking too much?

I mention this to sweet Kathy who teaches kindergarten and is knee deep in a bathroom break with 5 -year-olds. She just laughs...pretty sure I scared her.

Back in first grade I am teaching my kids about scarcity (yes, scarcity in first grade) Only as I write this, do I realize that this is kind of a strange coincidence.

Anyway in walks Kathy with a Diet Coke! I am pretty sure she risked life and limb to get that bad boy. Not to mention that she took the time to round one up for me while she was racing around preparing for her conferences.

I am telling you Kindergarten teachers are like these cute magical people. They amaze me. (Not just because of the Diet Coke, but because they turn preschoolers into first graders in nine short/ long months!)


I love spring conferences.
It is so fun to talk to the parents and tell them how much their children have grown and changed. We learn so much in first grade.What an awesome privilege! This conference lineup is also sad for me. I think of the little world we have in our classroom and know that I will never have a class quite like this one. Of course each class is special in its own way, with its own memories, triumphs and quirks. I love them all!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

To Do List

Just thinking... no particular order. Some are biggies... some are itsies...

1. Learn to play the guitar.

2. Run a half marathon.

3. Teach a college course.

4. Go on a mission trip.

5. Go on a mission trip with my children.

6. Live in an old house. (Having a barn would be a bonus. I don't think I want animals... Just a barn to put my junk in and to work on projects.)

7. Go on vacation alone. (In my world that is courageous...)

8. Get my Master's Degree (I make it sound like you just pick that puppy up at the store and cruise through the express lane.)

9. Decide on which Master's Degree I want (Again, are we just grabbing one off the shelf?)

10. Be thoughtful enough to buy (or better yet make) and send birthday cards to everyone. (I am horrible at this and often write them out and never send them. Isn't that awful?) OK Really. This one requires immediate attention. I need to get a handle on this one this weekend. I will create a foolproof systematic way to do this.

11. Identify home repair/ improvement issue, learn how to fix it, buy the project materials and actually complete the project in a timely fashion. I have done all of these steps, but never for the same project.

12. Be like my brother Nathan... even if it just for a day.

13. Surprise visit someone who lives far away.

14. Take a special trip with each of my kids s-e-p-e-r-a-t-e-l-y and then together.

15. Snow shoe

16. Drink bad wine in Italy (So I can appreciate number 17)

17. Drink wonderful wine in Italy.

18. Write a book (don't even need to be published here, folks... just write the darn book.)

19. Learn how to dance. Like real dancing...

20. Learn to drive a motorcycle.

21. Get a passport.

22. Read the newspaper every day.

23. Go green. Like really green!

24. Have a garden. A real garden. Not as big as Nana Rena and Papa G.'s though.

25. Learn how to can peaches and pickles. Oh and salsa.

26. Build a fire. (You would think I could do this, but no....)

27. Own a black Jaguar. (car, not animal) I know this is materialistic and unrealistic, but I keep seeing these cute old ladies driving their nice Jaguars. I think to myself, "I want to be a cute old lady driving a black Jaguar." I would drive along, tra, la, la. I think this is especially cute because they can barely see over the steering wheel. I have a lot of shrinking to do.

28. Go to the 127 Corridor Sale. World's Longest Yardsale!!!! I guess I could start with this one. It's in MN.

29. Paint on canvas

30. Dog sled

31. Learn to arrange flowers

32. Drive a bus

33. Be like my mom. She is pretty darn amazing!

34. Be a regular somewhere other than Cub Foods and the gas station!

35. Take a spur of the moment overnighter.

36. Make a list and check things off (again, not a grocery list)

37. Sing karaoke in public (Not because I'm good...because it would be courageous)

38. Go on the Power Tower with Kiley. At 8, she has more "guts" than I will ever have.

39. Tell someone what I really think. Not to be mean, just to be honest. I think I would/could be nice about it.

40. Just go for it!

41. Watch my kids grow up happy and healthy. (and help them do it)

42. Learn to trust my instincts.

43. Zip line. Be brave... be brave... be brave (I think I should do this with Kiley. She would appreciate this. She would love this!)

44. Start that nonprofit I've been dreaming of.

45. Spend a whole day doing exactly what my kids want to do. I mean every second.

46. See the world through the eyes of my children. (I try, but I know I don't even come close)

47. Understand when to hold on and when to let go. (Is there a class?)

48. Be the one to suggest.. "Let's get together" and be the one to make it happen.

49. Write and receive a GRANT. I am working on this, but it is tough stuff.

50. Help someone without them ever knowing it was me.

51. Live in the city. I realize this might make my dream of having a barn a bit tricky, but I think I will live in an old house in the city and then move to the old house in the country later...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Five Minute Projects and Muskrat for Dinner

"There will never be another March 14, 2010..." We sure did make the most of it! With a record temperature of 63 degrees, the snow was melting before our eyes and spring was in full swing. We started the day with church, a little shopping and home for the first picnic of the season! Yeah for picnics!

The kids became reacquainted with their bikes while Jesse set to work on the walls of the club house. (He is remodeling the tower on the swing set to be more club houseish.)


Was feeling the need to make something, but did not want to feel tied to anything big today, so I opted for these quickies...

Again, photos are stuck in Adobe Limbo... I am really not OK with this. I will post pictures later. Must figure out this Adobe situation. I think the church did away with Limbo, so should Adobe.

What I made:

1. Flower headbands- literally took 3-5 minutes each! Yeah for obnoxious flowers!

Homemade by Jill has a great tutorial here.

UPDATE: Was able to retake a picture of the one headband I did not give away. I also made red poppies and pink daisies...

2. Door decor- I found three little spring wreaths (chic, not granny, but not granny chic) at Goodwill for 99 cents. I tied those puppies together with some pieces I tore off an old dishtowel.
This project took less than five minutes unless you count the two days I spent thinking, "I need to do something with those wreaths or they will end up in the pit of supplies that I buy, but never use." -see new goals list for more on this.

3. Happy jar- A clean canning jar, the torn towels, and perfect day melded together for this one. I just started writing everything that was coming to mind on strips of torn towel and threw them in the jar. Tied a couple around the outside and set them on the shelf. (scripture, thoughts on the day, smileys about my kids, etc. ) Why? Because I like it! It makes me smile and remember all things wonderful!

After playing all day, we were able to sit down together for dinnner...

Tate took a bite of his ham and said, "Sheesh mom, this is kind of dry... what is it muskrat?!" Really, Tate, muskrat? Muskrat? That's our Tate!

I can't tell you how many times I looked at the kids today and my heart was just filled with love and happiness for them and about them. They played and played and everyone was so happy. There will never be another March 14, 2010. I won't even try to recreate it. I will only look forward to more days where I can look around and appreciate that things are just the way God intended them to be!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sentimental Me

It doesn't take much to get me excited...

I work at a Catholic school in Minnesota and teach with an amazing woman whose very first teaching job was at Holy Family School- the Catholic school I went to as a girl. (Are you still with me?) That's it... that's my school!(Top- Childhood School, Bottom- the school Patty and I teach at now)

Back to my story of simple, pure BLISS:
So her kids are yelling across the hall... "Mrs. Hartmann, Mrs. Hartmann..." I poke my head in their door to see Patty holding up nothing other than a bag of HOLY FAMILY SCHOOL JELLY BEANS! Folks- this is the big time. I am pretty sure I squealed with delight. I could feel my heart leap and could not stop grinning. Her class was just looking at me like I was nuts, but it just sent a flood of memories racing through my head. Ahh HFS Jelly Beans. The great thing about Patty is that she really does understand that the little things are what truly make a difference . I was so touched that she knew that these were, "no small beans" to me!

I was so happy that I had to take a picture of the bag of beans.

(note: I am pretty sure the tag is the same tag they used 20 years ago and the bags are still impossible to untie without cutting. I think sure this is to prevent people who are abstaining from candy during lent from sneaking a few!)

Urg: Picture is stuck in Adobe Limbo (The place they wait betwee the camera and computer!) UPDATE: I had to take a new picture of the very few jellybeans that were left...

Five Dollar Fashions

Five...five dollar... five dollar fashions. OK, I know that was really bad, but I just couldn't help myself. Here's what I found for five dollars or less. (I think I need to work on my staging/ photography skills.)

Corduroy jacket $4.50. (Thank you half off yellow tags!)

Airy raspberry shirt $1.99 (Thrift Store)

Black skirt $4.99. (Thrift Store) I wish I had two of these... I think I will wear it out this summer. Note the waist band on this can double as a shirt!

White skirt another $4.99 thrift store find!
Blue and white scarf $ 3.98... Target clearance.
Orange scarf with tiny white dots and white pom pom fringe $1.50 at a yard sale. I will admit this is not a recent find, but it is an all time favorite.
(Click in the picture to see why I love it so much!)

Perhaps my favorite of all...Kiley's $5.00 Brown Boots. (These are so rockin' that we refer to them as a proper noun in our house) Target clearance.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Five-Year-Old Philosopher

Today my Tate asked, "Momma, how do babies come from trees?" Panicked, I scanned my brain for possible reasons he could be asking this. (Questions like this lead to conversations I am not prepared for...) Unable to make a connection, I asked him to explain what he was asking.

"Well, is a seed a baby apple? Is an apple a seed's momma? If an apple is a seed's mom, who is it's daddy? If the seed doesn't have a dad HOW CAN IT EVEN EXIST?"

Oh Tate... it is very likely he has been rolling this over and over in his head trying to make sense of it since he learned about the lifecycle of an apple at preschool this fall.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


We went treasure hunting at the thrift store today. Jesse and Tate were extremely patient, but of course, I would have loved more time. Here are some of my fabulous finds...

1. Yeah for ribbon! Yeah for ribbon $1.25. Now I need a project...

2. Ugly candle sticks. $1.99 for the pair. I am planning to try this project I read about at Two Shades of Pink.

Shabby clock . A steal at $2.50 (thank you 1/2 off yellow tags!)

Beautiful drink dispenser. Also $2.5o! Summer is approaching one must be prepared...

We also found a heap of super skirts and airy shirts. Can't wait to get them out of the dryer!