Friday, October 31, 2008

Jack-isms, Part 2

Sitting down to lunch... "So, Mama, tell me 'bout your day!"

After being told that Daddy had already left for work one morning, "That makes me cross." (anyone with a Thomas-obsessed pipsqueak will recognise the decidedly British comment).

Jack has lately been wanting to join in at mealtimes with his own prayer. Last night, this is how it went: "Dear Fader, bwessing for dis food, and........bwessing for dis food, and...........bwessing for dis food. Amen!" Guess he musta been hungry.

Upon taking a bite of his spaghetti with browned butter and Mizithra (I've been craving OSF, so I re-created a family favorite at home), he delared, "DEE-Yishous!"

In the car on the way to the grocery store, I asked, "Jack, what's your favorite kind of pie?" His reply, "I don't know. Lemme fink."

I received a package in the mail recently, and one item inside was a vintage plastic reindeer. I handed it to him to look at, and he said, "That's way Awesome!"

And a few mis-pronounciations that we love:
frefridger = refridgerator
caterputer = caterpillar
cheput = ketchup
DVDVD = DVD (seriously, we can't get him to shorten it!)

In addition to cracking us up daily with his expanding vocabulary, Jack, who will be 3 in December is now:
almost completely grown out of his 3t clothing
able to twirl spaghetti on his fork quite well
correct 85% of the time when asked, "what word starts with the letter ..."
very proficient at pointing and clicking, navigating through some favorite kids' sites on the computer:
ABCD game
Dog's Ballpit
Cous George

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Its supposed to be the spice of life, right? Well, welcome to my crazy, creative mind! I gave a teaser awhile back about my jewelry creating venture, and now I can proudly say that I have a few pieces listed in my etsy shop. Go check it out...Please?

Never fear, you who follow this blog just to see what I've been stitching... It would take some horrible crippling disease of the eyes or fingers to get me to stop creating stitched samplers. Its just that I can't ONLY stitch. I simply MUST dabble and try new mediums out. I am not afraid to try new things, and have SO many that I have yet to set my hands to. I have a few stitchy things in progress, they are just on the backburner for a few more days.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Taking Up Residence

For about a decade now, we (i.e. Matt) have REALLY wanted a BIG pond down below the house. Bear Creek runs year-round down through the bottom of our canyon, and has hundreds and maybe thousands of springs along the way. There is this perfect spot down there, where the ground is so saturated that often, even in August there is no way to get around without wearing waders. The permitting process for legally building a pond is pretty daunting, so we have joked about contacting the ODFW and volunteering our property for a place to host any "nuisance" beaver pairs.

A few months ago, Matt was over at the neighbor's GIANT pond- one that we greatly envy- and saw that some beavers had moved in. Oh, that gave us a glimmer of hope that maybe we would inherit some youngsters in a year or two and finally get a little pond action, without having to rent heavy equipment and pay the County way too much in permit fees.

So imagine our great surprise when, just a few weeks later, Matt walked our creek and found this:

If you are having a hard time reading the photo, that's a 6 foot tall dam bridging the creek. And this...

this is all of the water behind the dam. It is currently covered in fallen Alder leaves, so you don't really see the water, but, if I remember correctly, the pond is about 75 x 40 feet, and is at least 5 feet deep!

Stay tuned for more photos as our new pond grows. Matt plans to cut a trail down to the edge so that I can get down there myself to see. Currently, the only way to get in for photos is with rubber boots wading up the creek, and a machete to cut all of the thick underbrush out of the way. Not exactly the place for a baby and a toddler. :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Where I Come From...

Some years, PUMPKINS never Get a Chance to Fully Ripen because of the SHORT Growing Season.

The Firewood Stash is Already Diminishing by the end of October.

Its a Land of Conifers and Cottonwood, so Autumn Colors are like Fireworks against a Night Sky.

The Bigleaf Maple is Impressive with its Massive Size and Craggy Branches.

But the Vine Maple is the DARLING of the Season.

Fungi take up Residence Wherever they Please.

When they Fall on the Road, Leaves have Time to REST before being Swept Away.

Leaves Don't Know How To Read.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pretty Much Sums it All Up

Goodnight Mom (with apologies to Margaret Wise Brown)
by Sarah Jio (Parenting Magazine)
with a few adaptations by Beth Twist:

In the messy green family room
There was a telemarketer ringing the telephone
And a crying toddler because his sister just popped his red balloon
And a picture of -

The cow jumping over the moon (which someone colored on with permanent marker)
And there was a missing teddy bear, and a girl with gum in her hair

And one to be scolded
And laundry to be folded
And a very hungry spouse
And something stinky in the house
(that no one else seemed to smell)

And a comb and a brush and a colicky baby who just won't shush
And a frazzled mommy screaming I NEED SPACE!

Goodnight messy room
Goodnight scribbled-on moon
Goodnight cow getting out while she can
Goodnight telemarketers and the popped balloon
Goodnight long-gone teddy bear
Goodnight whatever-that-is smeared all over the dining room chair

Goodnight spitup
And goodnight leaky sippy cup
Goodnight much-too-little-house
And goodnight grumpy spouse
Goodnight comb and goodnight brush
And goodnight to a certain almost-3-year-old who just needs to hush right now I mean it

Goodnight Elmo and Thomas
Goodnight toys we'll pick up tomorrow or the next day

Hello Merlot, OPB, linen and thread...
"me" time finally

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pudding Purist

I remember the very first time I made from-scratch pudding for my Farmboy. He laughed at me and thought I was joking that it didn't come out of a box. I guess he didn't know this culinary feat was even possible. I giggled to myself about that one for a very long time. Now, in my Mother-in-Law's defense, she probably made pudding from scratch many times while he was growing up, as she is not fearful of tackling any number of kitchen techniques, and is actually quite a good cook, but my guess is that he wasn't paying close enough attention to notice. Now, he is so much wiser and has realized that I would much rather make something out of what I have on hand than take the trip to the grocery store!

The kids will grow up like I did, rarely eating pudding from a box (although it is nice to have in a pinch, and did you know that they make single serving portion packs now?). I remember waiting for AGES as the pudding in the pan was thickening, then even LONGER as it cooled in the special Tupperware pudding parfait cups that my Mama saved for the occasion. Our Boy is too young to torment with all of that waiting, so I whipped up a batch in the evening while he was going to sleep, so he got the joy of a special treat the next afternoon, without all of the foot tapping. Can you just see the pleasure in his eyes???

I, of course, doctored the recipe just a tad, and thought I would share it with you here.

Mexican Chocolate Pudding

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
a pinch of salt
whipped cream to dollop freely on top.

In a small saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. Whisk in the milk until blended. Add chopped chocolate.

Cook, stirring constantly, preferably with a whisk, over medium heat until chocolate is melted and mixture begins to boil. Continue to cook and stir until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in vanilla and salt. Pour into 4 custard cups or parfait glasses or your favorite mug. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes or you will burn your tongue. If you like your pudding cold, you'll have to wait quite awhile, but the fastest method is to put your puddings into the freezer until set (but not frozen!).


Monday, October 20, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

On a Walk

Sometimes a helping hand really doesn't help that much. We were going nowhere fast with this method in place.

I never knew I would like little girl shoes so much.

Jack with two brown dogs.

Our driveway.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Playing Again

It started as an interest in re-purposing some vintage costume jewelry that I inherited from my Grandma. Specifically, a few broken necklaces and brooches that I really wanted to be able to wear, but didn't know how to fix them. So, I started browsing on etsy to see what was out there in the way of up-cycled jewelry. Oh boy, this girl who has never really been into jewelry suddenly found herself in a fascinating new realm.

After a really small investment of some tools and parts, here are some of my creations:

And these are the ones I'm NOT going to keep. Stay tuned, because I have a few more odds and ends to gather together, and soon I'll be adding a new category to my etsy store.


I have been collecting the funny things Jack has been saying lately on scraps of paper- whatever I can get my hands on at the moment to record for posterity just how funny life with an almost-3 year old can be. Here are a few:

"I heeard a swell (heard a smell). You makin a cake for me Mama?"

"I wuv dis toy Daddy gabe me" (a slinky brought home from a business trip).

"Its nice and cozy in here. Fank you, Mama!" (after coming into the warm house after a walk).

"Mama, I need to tell you sumping. Daddy... he need to go hunt the deers".

And 2 conversations:

Jack: "Mama, I got hurt."
Mama: "Oh no! Where?"
Jack: "My tummy got hurt. I need to go Docors." (he thinks the Doctor's office is fun because of the toys in the waiting room).
Mama: "Oh. Do you need the Doctor to take your tummy out?"
Jack: "NO! I don't want my tummy out! Its as good as new!"


Jack: "Its right there on my cheek."
Mama: "What's on your cheek?"
Jack: "My beard."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

1763 Band Sampler

It is finished- I am now ready to take orders for the pattern! You can contact me here, but I will also be updating my etsy shop, picturetrail, and may offer it on ebay as well.

It features an old quote, "How truly blest are they who leisure find to dress the little garden of the mind", along with one old alphabet, several decorative bands, two leaping men and a dog.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Our Silly Girl

At 9 months old, she is a bit of a lightweight, measuring 28 inches (60th percentile) and 17 pounds 9 ounces (25th percentile). This wasn't a surprise, as she looks and feels petite, but still was a little shocking to me, since Jack would only be in the 25th percentile if you threw him in with a bunch of 7 year olds!

Just in the last week, She has added clapping, giving "5", and incessant babbling to her growing list of accomplishments (including, but not limited to, 2 teeth, speed belly crawling, a bit of pulling up, and constant sticking out of the tongue).

(You really should click on this photo to see the detail- its priceless!)

What 10 Years Did to Us

Our 2008 Anniversary Tree picture.

Monday, October 13, 2008

56 Hours

That's my best guess at just how long this sampler took from start to finish if you don't count the time in design stage (probably another 4 or 5 hours). I started on September 14th, and finished last evening, October 12th. I figure I average about 2 hours a day of stitching time. Now, just another hour or so getting it mellowed and framed, and I will have yet another heirloom to hang on my wall. Oh, and another pattern to add to my growing portfolio. Stay tuned...

Here is where it is, at this very second, drying in the oven after a brief coffee bath. Mmm. That sounds delicious. I wonder if coffee is good for the skin...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Starting Them Young

I love that Jack regularly asks to "pactice" playing the piano. His favorite tune to bang out is his very own "Jesus Loves Me - ABC Song" medley. :)

This was Katie's first time joining him at the keys, and she found her brother quite entertaining.

I love that they are playing on the very same piano that I played on as a girl.

I think I'll teach them "Heart and Soul" just as soon as I possibly can.

It Could Have Been MUCH Worse

The first and hopefully only installment of "What Jack did to Katie".

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I am Just an Amateur

I receive high compliments for my cake creations all of the time. But I'm telling you, I'm really not that good. And here's the proof. And more proof. Convinced?

Did You Notice?

That I was gone? Except for a very brief few hours on Monday evening, I have been without an internet connection for an ENTIRE WEEK! Call it a forced de-tox of the mind. We apparently received a satellite dish with a faulty radio, and once the rains came, it was fried. And of course, the technician was swamped this week. So when he FINALLY arrived last evening, I felt like throwing a party!

I have tried OH-SO-HARD to be consistent with my ebay listings, and have not gone a single week over the last several months without something available for my customers. So you can imagine my frustration when the power was taken out of my hands and I had to sit here at home stewing. All week. Oh, and did I mention that Matt, my source of comfort and sanity, was also gone for five days on a business trip AT THE SAME TIME??? sigh.

But now I am back, and hopefully I will NEVER have to go through that ever again. Now be prepared to be inundated with random thoughts and lots of photos over the next few days as I catch up.

Monday, October 06, 2008


I like plain old black better too.

The brown was pretty, but too distracting. Guess I'm a purist. :)

Friday, October 03, 2008

Just Playing

I have been seeing some very appealing blog backgrounds lately, and thought I would try one on for size. I'm not sure whether or not I like it. I tend to favor the all-black background, because I think that photos just look better without all of the distraction.

Kindly chime in and let me know if you have an opinion one way or the other. Pretty please?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

And While I'm At It...

I thought I might as well give you another teaser...I'm about 2/3 of the way done!

Sweet Savannah

Two versions of my niece. Her Mama and I can't decide which we like best!

And isn't that the prettiest old frame you ever saw?

I am planning to move forward with offering custom silhouettes in my etsy shop. But first I need to come up with a reasonable price scale. I'll keep you posted!

Fourteen Butterflies

It has been a few weeks now, and I guess I hadn't blogged about it because I was waiting to see how things went... Katie has been moved to her "own" room. Its not that she didn't like her cozy little spot in the corner of the master bedroom, on the contrary, she was quite happy to browse through my book collection (I caught her with Pigs Might Fly more than once), and loved knowing that I was at her beck and call all night long.

But after a bit of a transition time, we are all sleeping much better, Katie in her crib, and the Parents in their kid-free zone! She is down to one waking per night, and that suits us all just fine.

In preparation of the big move, I took the circa 1970's yellow butterfly mobile that hung over my childhood bed and updated it with various fabrics. Jack was actually quite upset when he saw it, saying in a quite disappointed voice, "Mama!? Did you paint them???" Katie and I think it was a definite improvement.

To further adapt the guestroom/Beth's craft studio, I needed to hang curtains. Being first and foremost interested in not spending much money on this endeavor, and also being limited by time and resources, I opted for a trip to our local thrift store to see what I could find in the bedding section that could be repurposed as curtains. To my dismay, the best I could find was a decidedly PINK duvet from IKEA. It was that or the horribly retro orange and avacado flowered sheet set. So with a sigh, I took the PINK linens home, threw them in a large bowl of walnut dye, and came out with something at least a little less Pink, and actually quite nicely muted and variegated.

And did I stop at that? Oh Heavens, NO! I couldn't stop myself from throwing the white polyester lace sheers that had "temporarily" been hanging in those windows for a few years into the leftover dye.

After hanging the finished pink panels in the windows and draping the lace over the front, the end result was still a bit too pink for my taste, but when the daylight comes peeking through, the overall effect is quite charming...

So, while I am not that happy to have to share my space with Katie, who still takes 2 or 3 naps each day, I am completely THRILLED to be sleeping almost normally once again.

One last little glimpse...