Archive | March 2017

The balls in the air

Whenever I get blog silent its usually because I have too many balls in the air.  There was one point last week that I thought I was without a project, but that moment passed.  I’m in the middle of quite a few and more seem to be joining the party.

The last I posted we were expecting a new oven and I was excited because it was scheduled to arrive earlier than I had hoped.  It came MUCH earlier as it happens since the delivery window was 9-12 I was not expecting a call at 7:15 saying they were an hour from my delivery.  Um… I am not ready!  I have not hugged the stove goodbye, more importantly, my cookie sheets were still in the drawer!  This is what you get when you expect the world to run late and figure you have 3 more hours.  I rushed for nothing in the end because while they could deliver the new stove they could not take the old one because it was still hooked to the gas – my next scheduled appointment was from 1-4 for the plumber to install the new one.  He too was quite early, getting there at 12:30, and I was actually not even home since I had to do a few things at the school that morning.  No worries, I could text Lars to meet the guy and I was there to see the final install.  They also took away the old stove so I would call the day a success in the end.  Now I have a fancy (intimidating) new stove and ovens (yes plural!) but I can’t figure out how to make the timer work so I need to read the instructions.


Next up was the hood and the HVAC guy was late but that worked out well because I could get all the dishes done and moved away from what I was imagining was going to be a messy work site with all the drilling through cabinets and walls.  It was a false start though because we had missed a detail and had to go back to looking at the roof options.  Reschedule for a week so he can get his roof cutting tools but that option ended up being easier than he had expected.

Tuesday we also met with an architect.  She is a feisty lady who took a tour, gamely stepped over the chaos of kids rooms, and requested to look at our breaker box first thing.  Her visit and the stove install were fairly coincidental because we have been talking about building for years but we are being very cautious and no further momentum until we check with banking etc.  I told her that it took us 2 years to get the stove and she shook her head and hugged me and patted my head – I have a feeling she has seen our type before.  Incidentally, our HVAC guy recommended another contractor so now we have two options when before we had none and we were looking!  Like when your single you are not attractive but get a boyfriend and all the guys hit on you.

Today I worked all the paid work, finished signing tax papers, and progressed Niamh’s room redo 10 clicks.  The weekend work I planned was another false start with a snafu with her new light fixture so we lost some time because you can’t organize in the dark.  It was actually a good delay because I got 100% of the movable items out of her room and she and I together sorted.  There is a nice bin to yardsale/donate and a very full trash bin.  Zoe was the rock star of “I’m not a baby so I don’t need this” and really kicked off the donate push.  Niamh still wants all the nursery things but I have a few plans on how to keep the memories for her.  Right now we are in the worse before better stage.  I have a firm deadline though, she is having a birthday sleepover in 2 weeks.



the worldly goods of a nearly 9 year old


As if that were not enough projects (stove, vent, room redo, builders, party planning, PTO events) I added on a sewing project with a deadline of next week.  I’ve got the three dresses mostly done, each night I’ve been making button holes and sewing buttons and doing letters so 2:3 are ready for the final seam and I’m working on the last set of buttons tonight.  If I get really adventurous I might make something for myself maybe.



any guesses what the third will say?


Finally, to throw a wrench at us, the house is rebelling.  First we find some animal damage on one of our roof eves.  I looked carefully and we have no new residents that I can see but I think there is some water damage so to the insurance company I go and set up meetings for this week to check it out.  Second a pipe decides to burst – a very minor one, one almost set up as the weakest link because it is an outside pipe with a shutoff right down the line.  It had a bit of a dramatic water spray all over Lars but a plumber will be here Saturday.  Something about spring gets things going.

I’m also attempting to keep that 10k step goal, some days are easier than others but I claim ‘me time’ to do a workout when I’m really low.  My lists are ever growing but better to be busy than bored but if you don’t hear from me for a week assume you can probably guess that I’m either cleaning or organizing or talking to a contractor or driving someone somewhere or sewing or cleaning some more or installing light fixtures or climbing on my roof to scare racoons away or reading my oven manual or working out or planning a party or maybe just hiding in my room reading a book.

Nerd + Crafting

My dear husband, who I promise is an adult and contributing member of society, loves to play D&D with his guy friends.  It is his ‘guys night’ and a bunch of his friends go off and have very creative adventures in the comfort of the livingroom **major bonus of being an adult, they don’t have to be banished to the basement**.  I’ve played occasionally and it is fun enough, but I prefer to have the nice solo night at home where I get to eat a quiet dinner and watch whatever I like on tv.

Anyway, like all hobbies, there are tons of things marketed directly at them.  There are the books and stuff, but then there are the extras and we are the proud owners of a very nice set of spell templates.  They are nicely done truly – you put them on the playing board to show how far your fire ball or ice stream goes.  They came on a giant piece of thin plastic so my first contribution to this was my ability to cut very nicely.



spell sheet from Arc Knight – check them out, they are a great small business


The issue becomes how to carry all these bits…  For scale, that Capt America/Iron Man box is the length of a pencil (and is full of guess what; pencils!).  Some of the spells are wide, some are long, some are very very small…. How to keep them all safe?

I happened to have a yard of super hero fabric and my machines were all set up so instead of folding laundry last night I made this;


Not just a bag!  Imagine how big a fail it would be just put them all in a tote.  The tiny ones would be gone, the long ones would be bent, and one can’t let an opportunity to make tiny pockets pass by.


First of all, I made the side and half the bottom open for easy access.  Husband has big bear paws and if the chaos he leaves looking for a spatula in the drawer is any indication, he needs the ability to see all the pockets.  There are snaps up the side of the bag and velcro on the bottom (wraps up and around so there is a more secure bottom).  The pocket on the left is for the long thing things, across the bottom are all the large triangles and circles, and the wee little pocket on the top are for the little bits.  There is also room for the dice and pencil box and probably a book or 3.

Do you notice more snaps?  I decided that based on the variety of sizes,  small things would get lost in each pocket and to indulge more crafting energy; all the pockets open up for easy access


So other than an oddly unfortunate fabric placement that makes all the small spells seem to be stored in The Hulks armpit, and, it isn’t lined, I’m very happy with it and more importantly so is he.

This took less that a yard and if I was starting again I would integrate the velcro better by just making the back longer than the front so it could fold up neatly.  I thought of the velcro after when snaps were not really making it on the bottom once he asked to store more things.

Soon there will be a new hole in my house

Don’t worry – will be done by a professional!

Remember last year when we said we were going to get a new stove because our oven had started to play the ‘choose your own temp’ game?  Well, we were set to buy one but then we thought – wait, we should get a faucet because this one is not working well (and starting to leak) and maybe the sink and probably counter tops but wait, if we redo the counters should we consider different kitchen layout and maybe an extension?  Yes, my thoughts are run on sentences.  So looking for a contractor and the possible budget lead us to do ….. absolutely nothing.

(We did fix the faucet)

However, a year later, our oven is still 20ish degrees off and now one of the burners has given up the will to live, so we are just DOING IT.  I clicked buy now and we wait… The delivery window is the next 2 weeks.


There was one thing that we decided we should do with the oven purchase (short of a full remodel) and that is to get a real stove hood that vents to the outside air.  The open concept of our house his nice for many things however it is not nice that cooking smoke, and the occasional capsaicin bomb, end up in our living room because the bottom of the line recirculating fan that came with the house does nothing.  We have an HVAC guy we love, and he and I discussed venting options;

  1. Me – out the roof?  Him – sorry, can’t get to the attic space above the kitchen (and I hate roofs)
  2. Him – out the wall back wall? Me – that goes into pantry
  3. Me – can we go sideways over the cupboards and out the side of the house?  Him – yes, that will work!

Solution in 5 minutes or less, now all we need is a good day for him to drill a hole in the side of the house…  He has done this before, not just because he is a professional, but he did our furnace last year and installed a neat white exhaust on the side of our house that makes interesting patterns in the ice of the winter.

Since starting this post yesterday, and pausing for Fiona and many many other child and household related things, I got the call that the oven is actually arriving Monday!  That means only a few more meals to work through the old dog, yippie!  I should give the thing credit, it is probably 20 years old or more, no idea if it was original to the house but it was here when we moved.  It has cooked many fine things, burned very few, and overall did a good job.  (the vent hood on the other hand has been non grata since the beginning).

The new stove features a double oven and I’m excited to be able to save energy by using the smaller oven most of the time.  The negative reviews were along the lines of “small oven only large enough for a frozen pizza” and since that is exactly what we put in the oven that counts as a positive for me.  If you think about it, most of what I bake is not much taller than a pizza – baking trays of various kid foods or roasting veggies, casseroles or pie… tons of what we bake fall into this wide yet short category.  I’ll have to see where the bread and cupcakes fit but lucky for us, the lower oven is just a tad smaller than our current oven so I see not reason to worry.  Full review when the thing is actually here.

But, and there is always a but, where to put the pans that lived below the oven?  I don’t know, but, I am hopeful that I can find someone handy to install a toe kick drawer and use some of the wasted inches (4 to be exact) under our cubards to store the cookie sheets.  Trying to avoid a full remodel is hard but I’m doing what I can!

Happy St Patricks day!

The day I’m confused about my culture more than normal because I’m not ‘allowed’ to do or like things NOT in my culture of birth but everyone can be Irish if they feel like it. I also don’t especially know if I’m all that Irish.  However, based on my research from my Irish cousins and FancyPaperBlog there is very little difference beyond some vocabulary from my life here and their lives there.  (except for the president… I can’t guess the current president of Ireland and I can only name one; Mary Robenson, and our presidents seem to get more international notoriety)  So I am Irish and so are you, unless you super identify with some other culture.


American Irish, mixed with Pinterest and hallmark, creates a bit of a crazy little holiday focused on green and rainbows.  School lunch today was desirable so no cute lunches to pack but I did break out the special ‘rainbow’ cereal for snacks.  They left an entire beer * and some soda bread for our resident leprechaun, Mr McCabbage, who ate and drank it all, leaving a spill of gold wrapped chocolate for them to find.  The tricky guy also dyed the milk green and also poured some on the floor **


Tonight we are having soda bread and soup, good for lent and all that.  When the kids asked why we didn’t celebrate more since this was ‘our’ holiday I gave them my dad’s answer that this is day to go to church in Ireland…


Still like celebrating things that have no more sress then what you personally choose.  I celebrated by doing my part of the tax prep and taking a short nap all while looking like an Irish Ari flight attendant.


*Lars thought someone loved him since that ‘door’ is right above his office so he drank it

**Lars also accidently spilled a dish of cereal and Niamh saw him cleaning it up and deduced that the tricky leprechaun had made a mess.


Edit – I googled the president of Ireland and he is also on twitter.  To support my Irish side, I’m following him now.  You also get to be president of Ireland for 7 years, thats a long time…

Baby time – Party time

The friends that had a baby last week are fairly private about social media so I’m not posting any of the cutie pie pictures of him.  Just imagine a chubby cheek, fair skin, dark hair, semi-skeptical of the world baby and you get the idea.

What I can share are some of the sweet decorations we made for his baby shower.  The shower was a collaboration from the family and friends and we had it at a local community center.  Community centers are great, but, not all that easy to decorate.  I got put in charge of table wear, not the most exciting but still very necessary for a together looking party.

You want to know the easiest way to make a pretty party table?  10 clicks on Oriental Trading and I was done.  I was told the theme and colors and that was actually a relief because they had about a million options.  I’m happy to say that choosing blue for table cloths, napkins, plates, cake plates, cups, and utensils – despite being from different collections – they all matched. I ‘splurged’ on fancy fox table cloths for the buffet table and they matched the blue really well too.



All my matching blues!  



The woodland creature theme (that is also in the nursery) is an easy theme to follow, I could not resist these little guys, although I was supposed to only be on table wear, I was confident I could work them in.  It was hard to resist all the other cute charms and things on Oriental Trading but I was resolved to only buy things that I could actually use for the party.

Fullscreen capture 3152017 43620 PM.bmp

They nested nicely on the tables and in the center pieces of cut lavender and went home with the kids attending the shower (including mine).  I also used some 2d cardstock animals from another site that matched the banner etc.  Wall decor was not my department this time, but, I was happy to integrate the bits.  The lavender btw was grown by the parents of the dad so this is a very nice mix of mom side, dad side and friends.


I also did a little finger print guest book – I talked about it as I was doing it but I’m happy with how it turned out.  Now that he is born I can add his actual name!  I’ve found that holding on to random largeish pieces of scrap book paper comes in super handy for sign making. Offcuts look official when you use pretty washi tape and have nice handwriting.


The party itself was fun and the Mom to be was happy.  I think she is more happy now with him on the outside, enjoying the world.  I’m looking forward to seeing both my friends as parents and for the little guy to join in the fun.  Niamh has already declared herself as his babysitter in 3 years – no understatement, this kid is loved.

Oriental Trading has been awesome to work with and this post completes the batch of blogs in return for the product that we agreed upon, however, I would love to work with them again!

Back again

That was a long vacation.  After 11 days off they are now back in school and it is just Fiona and I again in our normal Tuesday.

I actually spent quite a bit of time with just Fiona at the waterpark since Niamh and Zoe have passed the height mark that lets them do nearly everything and Lars is the parent that prefers the crazy slides, so Fiona and I kept to the tame things.  Niamh also was at the great personal level of being allowed to be solo in the park as long as we had a good idea of where she was.  Mental note for next time – buy inexpensive waterproof watches for all, meeting at certain times is very hard when there are no clocks.  Since only the inside was open, and, it was very not crowded we could usually find everyone easily enough but the outdoor section is 2x the inside so if we do this again in the summer electric leashes are needed.img_2087


After the first day, Fiona tried a big raft ride (3 stories high) and LOVED it.  Even after the 50th time she was still a giant grin.  I risked my phone to take pictures on the way down.  There were 2 other similar ones she also loved as well as well as an entire ‘island’ of slides and play things intended just for people 100lb and less.  I made her go there a few times so I could have a little rest sitting on the side.  Since I thought I would be doing nothing but sitting and watching her paddle, this was a big surprise.

The resort itself was mostly well done.  I appreciated their efforts to make inside seem like outside because it is a long winter inside.  The hotel itself has plenty of open walkways that make you feel like you are walking ‘outside’.



this is right outside our room, overlooking the lobby, completely inside.


The downside is that in the winter, there isn’t quite enough for more than 2 days and since we were there for 3 we ended up paying for the attached (but not included) amusement park.  Here is where Fiona got the worst end, she was too short for most of the fun stuff so we left her sisters and went on long pokiwalks and disrupted (not really) a conference of farmers learning about seeds and stuff (I assume, we didn’t actually attend).  We also had coffee and donuts by the fountain – the kalahari had very good sweet shops all over the lobby.


We got back in town just in time for our friends to have their baby.  Since we were not part of the production, we just got to be around for the fun after part where you get to snuggle a teeeeeeny tiny baby and reassure the new parents that they are the best parents for this baby, and, they have the most experience with him because they have been with him for 9 months already.  I also got to run them down a nice dinner the next day and be on hand for the first at home diaper change – the thrills in my life never end 😉

I’m glossing over the annoying bits of the break like the fact that even if we are on vacation, I get woken up by 7am and often 1 or 2 times a night.  Travel went well overall but I always get home more tired than if I had just stayed home.  Time change weekend did not help at all because my normal 5 hours of sleep got shrunk to 4 and by the end of that day I was sick of it all and needed a break from it all.  The super power of motherhood is the ability to find a way through the day because I did make it all the way through that final day and today, there is semi-normal life.


ps.  In case you are new to my vacations – I go with a fellow mom and her son and sometimes we take Lars.  Two moms are better than one

pps. Possibly the best thing was the huge number of pokimon, I could even get a pokistop from bed!

ppss.  Happy pi day, I’m making some pie later I think but can’t not mark the date.