Archive | January 2014

Zoe may control the weather….

This morning Zoe crept into my bed about 5 am.  Not my favorite time but far better than 3am but not as good at 7:25 (we get up at 7:30).  At some point she asks if it is a school day and I tell her “no, not for you only for Niamh, today we are going to Shoreview”.  At that point she starts to whimper that she just wants to stay home, no kidcare, not playground nothing…  I tell her that we need to just focus on breakfast (because lack of food is usually what is making her sad) and up we get to start the day.  She persists in saying that it is not a good day to go out and we should stay home and do puzzles.

I look out the window…. I see a minor blizzard.

School, ironically, still happening.  I think they are just going to power through the snow because they have already missed 10 days in January (2 for teacher in-service day, 5 arctic closures, 3 days around new years) and can’t miss much more.  Lars brings Niamh to the bus, I contemplate if I should go out.

I swear the snow got stronger as I looked and I decided Zoe is right, this is a good home day.  She must have really wanted a home day to conjure up 6 inches of snow.  We made the right decision because my facebook is alive with talk of 3 hour commutes, big accidents, and tons of near misses with skidding and poor visibility.  This is my exit by the way…

We doodled around and in fact did do puzzles.  Zoe is pretty decent if she is not impeded by a Fiona-zilla. Fiona amused herself for a very long time putting caps on travel cups and water bottles.  I pulled them out of the step* because they were not fitting right and I had two clean ones to put away but they are still out because she had such a good time.

Not leaving the house gets to me because I feel like the day loses shape, but, not leaving the house does mean we have time to do things without a rush.  I’m far more wimpy about driving in snow then arctic so home we are.

The afternoon is looking nice, temps are reasonable that I might bundle up the crew and do the driveway but there also are more puzzles to do.  I am very very happy on days like this to be home because I am willing to bet too many people drove this morning because they already missed work due to school closing and felt they had to get in today.  School closings are such a loaded topic I’m not touching them with a 50 foot pole.

*yes I said step.  Did I ever write up the fact that we did add storage to our stairs?  I don’t see anything in a quick archive search so here is our ‘secret’ step

ignore the cups etc, they really go IN the storage.  If you look closely you will see a small gap on the side

When you have stairs everywhere in your house they really do become furniture.  All good furniture should have storage.  Our steps open up on a hidden hinge and have room for all the water bottles and travel mugs plus sunblock and a first aid kit.  Travel mugs and water-bottles are just so big we had no good place before and now they have the perfect home.

Science time

We played with a red cabbage acid test; all the reds are acids and blue is base.

If you were wondering the kids melaleuca shampoo is neutral as water.

We tested; hand soap, milk, yogurt, Lemon juice, shampoo, nail polish remover, salt, oil, baking soda, apple slice and water.

10 Things to do in the super cold (G rated, mom edition)

I would say that the cold is getting colder but at a certain point you stop feeling the difference and then you need to check for lost body parts.  Zoe is wishing for summer but this morning she was amazed at the ‘glitter’ all over the snow.  We are lucky enough to have a sunny yet cold area.  I think I would miss the seasons if we were in a single season part of the world so yesterday I started thinking of all the things that are extra good in the cold months.

Here are my G rated, with kids, without a PhD in craftology or golden mom halo ideas for super cold days;


1. Do the laundry and divert some of the laundry vent back into the house.  We have a small hatch, probably intended for cleaning, that we open up in the winter so 80% still vents outside but the 20% we get makes the down stairs office tropical.  Lars looks forward to laundry day in the winter (not so much in the summer).


2. Bake.  Get that oven up to 350 and make cookies or bread or a roast….  Our house chimneys the heat from the kitchen right up into the living room so winter is the time for long bake lasagna.


3. Run the dishwasher during the day (we often run it over night) and when you open it up you get a nice steam facial, plus, warm dishes to put away


4. Dance like crazy to loud music.  You won’t disturb the neighbors because your windows are shut and sound waves freeze at -20 and dancing makes you warmer.


5. Encourage blanket fort making – it is cozy in there. Bonus points for joining them in the fort but not required (see no halo clause)


6. Read books under blankets.  An old standby but good


7. Move all your food outside and defrost the freezer and give the fridge a good cleaning.


8. Look outside for signs of life.  This might sound silly, but, with fresh snow or when it is blowing and drifting there is a good chance to see fresh foot/hoofprints.  My kids get a big kick out of the paths they see made by different animals.  I wonder why deer seem to walk tree to tree… anyone know?  I do not live in the woods so I’m not sure where the deer come from or where they go but they pass through.  If you are ambitious you can hang and stock a bird feeder somewhere easy to see from inside.


9. Learn about passive solar energy by making like a cat and finding the sun in your house throughout the day.


10. Ignore the feeling that you should hibernate.  My favorite phrase of the season is “humans don’t hibernate”.  I still try and go somewhere daily and at -20 we run from car to door, but, even going to a friends house to drink her coffee makes you feel warmer.


Bonus; #11 – clean all the things, scrubbing walls or baseboards in the summer makes you sweat but in the winter it keeps you warm.  I am not doing this one by the way, thats why it is a bonus…


ps.  Just because my current definition of REALLY cold is anything under zero, I completely understand that yours might be 30 or under; cold is cold and this list should make you warmer.  When I lived in Malta I felt like I was freezing to death in their ‘winter’ and I know in reality it was maybe 50 degrees but that still felt super cold in a house built for 102 degrees.


pps.  I left TV and video games off the list because you don’t need me to tell you that it is a good way to pass the time inside and snuggled

one thing not to do in the arctic weather is fix your fallen down barn. ps. this is not my barn

This weekend

Oh such an inspired title…  I notice though that I did two craftie posts in a row and I actually have another 3 in the queue waiting so I must be either getting better at carving out craftable time, or, the kids are needing slightly less then 110% attention.  (maybe both!)


I had put my sewing machine and its bff the surger away because we had a string of playdates and inevitably absence makes the heart grow fonder.  I kept finding more things that needed sewing that saturday I broke out the machine and got through more projects then I have in years.

– I finished/fixed the garb the girls were given for Christmas.  They are super cute but each was missing one little finish and Niamh and Zoe both ripped the hem/side seam because the hem was not quite intended for girls running marathons at top speed.  *sewing tip* since I can’t add to the circumference of the bottom since I don’t have the fabric, I just finished the slit seam nicely and I hope nobody will comment.


– I made an apron out of some old jeans.  It is super cute and super necessary since I get ‘help’ washing dishes and that help likes to squeeze the sponge on me.  I need a splash guard for life… Now I know why 50s housewives are shown with aprons all the time.


– I cut out 3 matching aprons but they are not finished yet


– The pj set for Niamh that was originally for Zoe but she said she did not like the bears so I finished it off for Niamh.  She has since changed her tune and making the PJ’s was so incredibly easy I might be looking for more sacrifices in my closet.


That is 4 different projects and 8 items that had a date with my sewing machine, good for me!


Otherwise we hung out and did the normal weekend stuff with the notable exception of going to the local super bouncing sky zone.  It was jaw droppingly expensive, but, it was a whim and worked out well and is something I’ll find coupons for in the future.

they make you buy their special socks, but, they are pretty cool


Fiona took a while to warm up but the location we went to was small enough that she could roam a fair distance and still be in sight and safe.  I think she liked walking on the paths between trampolines as much as bouncing.  We bought an hour and that was just a bit too long.  All three kids were devolving but we still had an overall great time.

some day I’ll go with a good camera…

In possibly related news I have minor whiplash but that does happen to me every so often when I sleep wrong too so I’m not sure if I can blame the bouncing.  I plan on going again for their tot tuesday deal ($4 and hour!) so I will see how that goes.


Now it is an odd Monday with Niamh home for arctic temps again.  Maybe I should just expect her home on Mondays because I don’t think she has been to school on a Monday all month.  I’m glad the school is playing it safe, I’m also glad this is kindergarten not a super important year – this must be driving the teachers with lesson plans insane.  For me, I just have an extra helper girl as we do what we do.

Weekend project; kids pj from old adult cozy pants.

Title says it all….

I had a beloved old pair of flannel pants that retired due to a hole in an unflattering place and elastic failure.

I cut down the rise and chopped off the legs. Resewed the seams and added new elastic.

The top is the leg fabric with two triangle gores under the arms. Added some straps from the remainder and size 6 pjs appear.


I love up cycling an old pair of lounge pants but nothing make you feel bigger then seeing an entire outfit, plus bocu scraps, come from your pants.


Life hack for kcup storage

I have reclaimed my cabinet from half empty boxes for under $5


This is my first craft that is totally unique as far as I can tell from my research on Pinterest and the world of web.  When I make the next one I’ll take pictures along the way but here are the instructions if you feel inclined to make one for yourself.  It is mounted on the door of my cabinet so it takes up some space on the shelf but not anywhere near as much as a box on the shelf.


1. Water bottle(s) – I used SmartWater because the sides are straight and they are tall but the MOST IMPORTANT trait is that their diameter (measure across the bottle) is greater then the diameter of the top of a coffee pod so it easily fits.  It is actually big enough for the Kcup to go sideways and that is even better.

2. serrated knife

3. hole punch

4. scissors

5. tape

6. command strip hooks – I like the clear decorator hooks and I already had a batch but I also thought about using the ‘velcro’ picture hangers from 3M. My goal was to be able to mount the holders in my cabinet but also be able to take it down and put it up again easily.

1. measure the height of the space this will fit into, transfer that measure onto the bottle going from the bottom up (because you will be cutting off the top)

2. peel off the label.  If you have a good way to get the sticky off let me know, mine are still sticky after just washing…

3. Hold the bottle and use the serrated knife to cut at the mark.  The knife is way better then scissors, trust me (or don’t, go ahead and try but it will be messier), just saw into it but be really careful about where your fingers and other body parts are in relation to the knife.

3.1 (optional) cut the kick out of the bottom, use the knife to just take out the bump in the center.  Or, heat it up with a flame and push it down from the inside with something (not your fingers) until it is flat.

4. drop a k-cup into the container so you see how tall you need to make the ‘hatch’ .  Make a mark.

5. use the knife (did I mention it needed a pointy tip too?) to start the hatch and finish up with the scissors.  Cut smaller first and then extend/even out the hole in a second pass.

6. put tape around the top.

7. use the hole punch to make a hole on the top back (the hatch is the front)

8. mount the command hook as directed but make sure it is in the right spot so your tube still fits between the shelves.

And thats it… I should stretch it out to get to 10… um, step 9 fill tube with all the stray kcups, step 10 hang it on the hook.

It is not the most elegant solution but I wanted something inside my cabinet not taking up more counter space.

Enjoy the project, it was 3.50 for 3 bottles of smart water at the grocery store and everything else I had around the house but if you had to buy the hooks and tape that would put the project around $10.  If you have to buy scissors or a hole punch then you probably should not craft, just show this to a friend and hand them the bottles; preferably empty and sticky free.