Teacher gift workshop.

I saw this block calendar project on another site and was smitten , that’s a great winter time word isn’t it. My mind instantly thought “we can do that”.
So we set to work, I  even asked the amazing man at Home Depot to cut a 4 x 4 post into squares for me…. There are about 30 in a post. THANK YOU!!

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I have tons of paper scrapbook supplies from when I had time to encapsule photographic memories and notations on expensive paper to archive into even more expensive “books”, and a jar of modge podge. So we set to work:

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Finished late on the last night before the last day of school for 2013. I hope her teacher likes it. Because we do.

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These photos are from my phone and may not be the best, but I am thinking we will make this project again very soon and I will post a tutorial with some better photos and instructions.  The kids really liked making this.

 

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Wee hours card making..

Last night I stayed up until today working on our holiday/Christmas/keeping up with the Jones’ card. Which for the life of me I cannot figure out how to share here….seems like I should be able to do so easily but NO. So you will have to wait until I get a hard copy in the mail and I will promptly share.
I do enjoy making these and sharing our cute little selves with friends and family, but it seems like so many cards come with beautiful faces in matchy outfits and perfectly edited digital pics, I know we all want to look amazing, I know I do, which I think is why it seems a lot of cards just have the kids photos and everyone’s name. C’mon people love yourself enough to make it onto the card, we want to see you.
Speaking if touché, you may remember last year when I posted about how adventurous it was to get the right photo…I sent a card with only kids and everyone’s name. 2012 Holiday card
SO this year, with our lives being so hectic I just plugged in 2 photos from earlier in the year and added them to a beautiful snapfish template, one of the kids, and one of all of us. I had visions of us dressing up goofy with goofy glasses and ‘staches with a caption like “We seriously hope you have a merry…happy…”, I came close, but it is never quite what my mind dreams up…work with me people!! Anyway  I chose a cardstock paper and it allowed me to put a photo on each side and even had a little space to write a little family update. Again are these letters taboo? I feel like I have read so much satire about how these holiday letters have become inflated ego boosters for the writer, but nonetheless I shared highlights of accomplishments and activities. When we went to bed last night I was joking with Jon that next year we should dodge all normalcy and sent a lowlights list: child one is beyond sassy, the dinner dished sit in the sink overnight 75% of the time, neither of us have worked out since Thanksgiving…you now the REAL deal.

I am eager to share the card when it comes, but in the meantime, tell mw what you send in the mail, photos, cards, nothing?  Do you enjoy getting cards and letters about others lives?  I know we do, so keep sending and writing!!

A Nook that does not hold books and some that do.

I know that not everyone is on Pinterest and maybe you are and don’t “get” the big deal, but for me when it comes to projects and inspiration I am like a crack Oreo addict to that site.

We have a number of closets in our home, I am sure most of you do….but it seems like wherever the builder of this house had extra space he added a door and some shelving.  Great right…well some of these spaces are awkward and honestly putting a door in some places just seems to take up more space than you are saving.

My point?  I have 2 closet spaces that I am thinking would be great turned into more of a nook space:

1. One of the closets in our sons room.

2. The entryway closet.

What does this have to do with pinterest?

I have been pinning “nook” like spaces for at least a year…here are some of my tops for our sons room:

Traditional Home Design Ideas, Pictures, Remodel and Decor

houzz.com

His “nook” will definitely hold books and also serve as a desk space.

closet nook: compact, organized, completely cute, and the perfect use of space!

readingglssesshopper.com

Love the hanging organization in this desk nook.

closet made into kid's reading room

littlehellraiser.com

This is amazing and would have been perfect for my not-so-little-anymore bookworm, but now that he is in middle school he needs a desk space.

Desk

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Last but not least, I love the clean lines of this  and the shelving for books.

For the entryway I need a place that has bins and  shelves but also still has hanger potential,  without detracting from what might work for others if we sold the house. This has to be a nook without books.  I have some ideas how this will work in our space, and here are some photos that I am drawing ideas from:

Hall Closet turned mini mud closet

housetweaking.com

Love this with the bench and hooks, plus those baskets for mittens or hats or shoes, but there are 6 of us and that might not cut it in MN winters.

Front closet turned mudroom. The shoe rack is brilliant!

cultivate.com

hello storage!!!

Hallway closet nook

Last one, again love the bench hooks and storage underneath.

Anyone else turned a closet into a nook space and LOVE it?

I am hoping to share some exciting changes around here soon!

No Tricks all Treats

By far the best Halloween costumes we have had so far in all 11 years of child raising.

Every year we ask the kids what they would like to be for Halloween, it usually starts with the delivery of the Chasing fireflies Halloween costume edition and from then on at story time we are leafing through the mag hearing about all the options and how we could all go as pirates, or momma you could be this and poppa could be that….or I bet Farley would be a cute yoda.

Now if you get this magazine like me you probably wonder how these prices are legal, I mean don’t get me wrong they are cute as can be and resale (for an eBay lover like me) is totally worth it, but I Like the kids to put more into the costumes than pointing a finger and saying “that one”.

So he is what the final choice was for everyone:

Solomon: scary clown.

Raiven : exterminator (bugs, and such)

Santanna: Viking princess warrior conquerer (not a football Viking)

Avalon: Pocahontas

As we wrap up the Halloween weekend I thought I would share their costume since I was literally still sewing  a few parts on them as the sun was going down and porch lights were turning on Thursday, I will be happy to go tinot maore detail on any of the parts if any one is interested.

Solomon…no real inspiration photo just what /he/we came up with:

scary clown

We thrifted the green coveralls from Savers , they are a size 44 Long…..huge on this guy, so we cut the bottoms of the legs off.  I found the Leroy patch in the sewing box I shared a while back, the mask we found at savers as well, shoes are from goodwill and glow in the dark (he did not trick or treat in these) flower that squirts water we found at party city.

scary clown 2

How many 9-year-old girls wanted to be an exterminator this year?  1?….mine?  We looked at the Ghostbusters costume and that was NOT it, so here is our version of an exterminator:

2013 October 891 copy

Hand held “fogger”  I am not sure what it is called but I found it in the garage and it fit in the clear tube that I had attached to her “chemicals” on her back pack.

exterminator 1

The clothes are her brothers that were too small, and we patched the hole with more goodies from this sewing treasure box I found. The boots were also a hand me down.  the hat is just a ball cap with skull duct taped on over the words, we did this on the hoodie as well.

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We took 2-2 liter bottles and Raiven mixed and swirled paint in them to make her desired color, then I attached them to a small, purse size backpack with more of that skull duct tape.  We found the mask at a local Halloween shop.

Santanna: this is the costume she wanted:

Halloween 2013 warrior girl costume - Chasing Fireflies

Chasing Fireflies

Here is what we created:

Viking Princess

Santanna LOVED it, and it was really warm.  Head to toe, Viking helmet is from party city, so are the leg cuffs, we cut them off a little since they were meant for adults, so we sued a scrap as hair under the helmet also meant for adults…perfect! she has on a gray tiered dress from The children’s Place that was handed down from big sis, brown leggings, Primigi boots and a long sleeve layer shirt.  The sword was also from party city.  Instead of a shield she had her trick or treat bag in her other hand.  I sewed the cape, and added a hood.

Viking warrior 2

She picked out the fabric and had to have some color so we added this little blue streak in the hood. Jon called her Helga and others commented that she looked like a character from how to train your dragon.

Last but not least, Pocahontas, Avalon is probably her biggest (smallest) fan:

Pocahontas

This is a very warm fleece costume and headpiece from Old navy that was sold about 7 years ago, I have found it on eBay for a few years in a row and bought the 5T this year, once she outgrows this I am not sure what we will do, Disney does not make a winter version of Pocahontas dress up, which is a must in MN. Boots are Minnetonka triple fringe boots, we had tights and the bow (with missing arrow) was from a local Halloween store.  The belt was a fifty cent thrift years ago.

Those are the spookables I went trick or treating with this year. You can pin these as ideas for next year

Filler up

I ordered this bags from the pick your plum website late in September and am so excited that they are here. The kids are ready to beat the fall Minnesota weather to trick or treat tonight.
I am sending out a scary clown, an exterminator (for real. Look out bugs) a Viking warrior conquerer princess and Pocahontas.

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I hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween.

Mankato Marathon 2013

Done!!

It has been one week since I ran the Mankato marathon and I am now able to go up and down steps without my legs reminding me of the work they did one Sunday…I am sure it looked funny for a few days, but it was worth it.

I am super pumped to have completed my 5th full marathon, you can read about last years Mankato race here , I am actually ready to run the same race next year, I really do enjoy this course and the support along the way.

My day:

5:15 AM alarm goes off, hit snooze

5:25 AM stagger out of bed…take a nice warm shower, put on my running gear, complete with a nice layer of glide to prevent chaffing…wish me luck.

5:45 AM waiver on outfit, its is freezing outside, it has not been so cold yet this year, I do not want to spend the next 4+ hours cold, and wet.

5:55 AM wolf down egg, toast, banana and bring coffee and vitamin C charged water with me.

6:04 AM all 6 of us in the car on the road….getting a little nervous

6:45 AM I am dry heaving out the window of the only car on highway 14….might be the vitamin and ibuprofen I gulped down or my nerves, this has never happened before!!!

7:28 AM get to Mankato and head straight into the CVS for black garbage bags, rain on the forecast and maybe even snow!?!?! Gotta love Minnesota weather!

7:45 AM biffy business done….ready to run

7:56 AM Photo op with my favorite fans!  Another mom in the parking lot with kids crowded around her for warmth offered to take our picture, thank you!  (notice my socks, it is the only was you will recognize me in the end…brrrrrrrrr!)

Mankato Marathon

8:00 The gun goes off, like cattle we head through the start gate and listen to the beeping of our time chips activating and Garmin watches starting…here we go.  Mind  you I am wearing a huge Sherpa lined hoodie sweatshirt, have a garbage bag with head and neck holes wrapped around my hydration belt, 32 ounces of water in bottles and gu chomps…not feeling all the light, but ready to run.

~8:45 AM right around mile 5 I am warm enough to take off my hoodie and throw it in the ditch, just as the 4:15 pace group comes up behind me, I run with them for quite a few miles. I am feeling confident and ready to rock this race, (yes it took almost an hour to warm up and get my head in the race!)

~11:17 AM (all this and still not lunch time?…I know!!) about 20 miles in I am starting to hurt, I take the ibuprofen I brought with me, at this point it is like having a baby without an epidural…you either can or you cannot…you won’t remember all that you went through in the end but there will be a baby medal in your arms and an irreplaceable sense of accomplishment.

~12:32 PM (how as your lunch?) I cross the finish just seconds after seeing my family in the crowd cheering for me, I caught my hubby’s eye glimmering with pride.  I take off my hydration belt and my chest tightens I can hardly breathe, man pride is a crazy thing.  I walk and have a medal put around my neck.  (yes it is me…those socks won’t lie)

Mankato Marathon

Then I ask in a super small watery voice for one more, to give to Ana the Brave who I ran in honor of.  She has fought a battle with brain cancer that no one can train for..she needs some bling too!

Mankto Marathon

~1:15 PM Noodles for lunch, my favorite, it takes awhile and does not sit well but I need that calories.

~1:45 PM back on the road heading home to a hot shower and my bed.  Already planning on training better for next year! 🙂

Official chip time for 2013: 4:31:34, honestly my slowest, but I put the least amount of training into this race and felt great to accomplish it, so I am happy with that time.

Pumpkin Patch Flash

Say that 5 times fast!

Just like any other great small place you find that is amazing and not well known, once word gets around it is the new hot spot, still great but changed.

Alas our charmer of an apple orchard/pumpkin patch falls into this category.

But first this past weekend I had my mind set on a photo shoot with the kids, me=photographer, kids=subjects, then a visit with some family and then the pumpkin patch, remember hubby is working, I am going solo.

There is a small town in MN where 3 generation of my dads family have lived on a farm that has been shrinking as each generation passes it on, however there is a fantastic bike trail, and now an orchard/pumpkin patch, that butts up next to what used to be “our land”, and land that still belongs to a cousin, how can this not be the place to gather fall goodies!?!

Pictures first:

This is one of my faves…such personality! I took hundreds of shots, just clicked away and chatted with them, seemed to work well.  The quilt they are sitting on was made in 1937….it does not come out often but what better time then a photo shoot to use some of the special pieces we have right?!

Patchworkreality

This one was right before someone was pinched I think…and I forgot Avalon’s hair pretty ( I made all the hair pretties…blush) but look at how big they are getting!

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We visited with my Aunt and uncle that still live on the family farm and went with another Aunt to the pumpkin patch.  In the meantime we picked up a friend who is like a sister to Tanna.

Holy cats, they piled out of the truck bee lined for the big orange pumpkins, each picked out a pumpkin that they needed to have another buddy help them carry to the wagon  which we used to haul the pumpkins to the truck. Patchwork pumpkin patch

Than they ran from animal to animal, through a barn…fed some goats..my aunt and I could barely keep up. We did get to see some animal very close, the kids just loved these pigs…

Piggy

Changes I noticed from years past; They no longer let you pick apples off the tress, we used to each get a bag and fill it up off the tress, they now sell bagged apples and donuts and have a small concession stand. The corn maze seemed to have been down sized a bit to allow for more parking and there were less animals, the kids were bummed that this year there were no kittens.  Still a Great pumpkin/apple/gourd place, and the people are so friendly it just feels a little more commercial, maybe the kids felt it too.

I had the kids pack and bring a sack lunch which we enjoyed on a hay wagon under a beautiful weeping willow and everyone was ready to go.

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It was fast and furious Pumpkin Patch flash fun…

Haystack photo

Landing in Fall

Hi all!
This has to happen fast because Halloween is my Hubby’s favorite holiday, well all of ours truthfully, and I wanted to take a picture of the front landing, or porch, (it is too small to be a porch?)… front step I guess, but its a BIG step. Anyway prior to the life sized coffin, yes he built one, and all the spooky Halloween displays hit the front yard I wanted the front landing/step to look inviting and comfortably fall-ish.

Fall Front Landing

I took out all the spring and summer flowers, that had mostly withered away in August while we were in California and put in mums, I got them at Lowes for 42 cents a pot, they were the small ones but it is perfect for the terra cotta pots I had on hand and the space.

Fall Front step

I left the trailing potato vines, they seem to do well in this weather and a few wildflowers that are obviously living on just air, because they still look amazing, I added a few small gourds and pumpkins in the planters which the kids brought home from their school garden.  Then I hung up that uber cool orange metal owl that I thrifted for $5.99 at Savers a few years ago, adding a little more color.

Fall

I also hung up a wreath I mde last year from out from strips of fabric I cut out of the kids old Halloween pajamas, shirts, pants and boxers, year boxers;)  Gymboree makes some very cute Halloween boys boxers briefs, and I could not just toss them out, don’t worry they are clean.  I saw how to make this wreath on another blog, but after my last computer died I lost some links so when I find it I will add it., or make one for you. It is really easy.  I also like that the fabric is meaningful, I can remember some of those jammies on my little chubby ghouls.

DIY Halloween wreath

I will share the spookier version when it is complete, you can come back if you dare….ahhahhahahhhaaaaahahaha

Running a Legacy

I climbed the proverbial running ladder, if you will.

Climbed rung by rung, for real, from the ground up starting with week 1 day 1 on the Couch to 5K C25K program, after baby number 3.

I ran my first 5K race in March 2008.  I cried, thought my heart would burst; with pride, relief and thrill, and then went back to cheer for my hubby who was a few minutes behind me.

Next the 10K, ½ marathon, 20 miler and then the full….26.2 which seems insane but really it is always over by a bit in a race that is a Boston qualifying race to ensure it goes the distance.  I think my Garmin watch read 26.32 when I crossed the finish of my first full marathon in 2010.

But let’s back up a moment, I chose to run the Mankato Marathon, why? Because serendipitously the year of the first Mankato marathon was the same year that I had added running a full marathon to the years tasks.  Coincidence? I thought not.  So since 2010 I have run each year in the Mankato marathon, I even ran one other full marathon in 2011, but 2 in a year was too many.

My pact with myself was to keep running this marathon every year , “every year I’m shuffling” if I have to right?!  Well, this year my friend Kim that has run every year with me, is out with injury, and to be honest without the camaraderie I am not feeling it as much, plus as I posted in pickled, I am tapped out each day and have not run more than 10 miles since the Med City ½ marathon Memorial day weekend.  I was struggling trying to convince myself.

Then I get this email:

Good Morning Mankato Runner,

This is our official Mankato Marathon invite to welcome you back for 2013. We have exciting news as we have implemented a Legacy Program for those faithful marathoners who have been with us since our first Mankato Marathon race.

Starting in 2014, runners who have completed all five consecutive Mankato Marathons are eligible to be in the Mankato Marathon Legacy Runner program.  

Legacy Runners will receive a special, unique bib for the 2014 Mankato Marathon, have special acknowledgment in the 2014 Mankato Marathon Activities Guide and on the Mankato Marathon website, and acknowledgment at the 2014 Scheels and New Balance Sport and Health Expo. Runners will receive a unique clothing item as well.

To find out more information contact XXXXXXXX at  XXXXXXXX@mankatomarathon.com or to register http://mankatomarathon.com/races/full/

See you in a month!

Mankato Marathon Staff

 

It’s like they read my mind….I want to run every year…this year I need motivation…unique clothing item…I might be easily persuaded.

I have been motivaed, legacy…I mean really who ignores an invite a legacy club??!!  Not this girl, so I am going to run this race…I am fiercely self competitive, it will be frustrating for me to not be what I would deem “fully trained” for this race, but I am hoping my body will surprise me by showing me that not over training can be successful as well.

So give me a little mental what’s up on October 20th as I run in the small legacy club without my friend and minimal training! It will feel so great to cross that finish line regardless of the time on the clock.   Pre race jitters are all ready setting in!!

Pickled

For real!
I honestly and truly thought that when the kids went back to school I would have more time…well you know productive time..less time spent trailing kids around wiping counters, throwing away half eaten fruit and flushing toilets…you know typical Maid mom chores.

Well it turns out that is not the case.  I have to admit I volunteered  was assigned to be in charge of the PTA fall school fundraiser….WTH? I had not idea what behind the PTA scenes meant. Parents coming together for the greater good of kids and school right?  Mostly but add in some high school BS,  me in my running gear, hat, and no shower with the mom who is in heels, the cutest tunic and leggings and looking fabulous…I am not sure this is my bag.  Proof of this being that some huge pile of laundry ATE my laundry room…whatevs, I am slinging cookie dough and cookbooks. For the kids.

Truth is right now I wish I was as thin as I have spread myself.

Jon I gone doing clinical hours in WI 2 days and one night a week and has taken on a schedule of 36 hour weekends at the hospital to get his hours in at work = paychecks! So we are buying cookies, magazines and counting the days to his FNP graduation in December 2014!!

I am working really hard on ebay and have a steady 5 clients that I consign for along with my own thrifted/bargain price new kids clothing and goodies and am on target for my biggest month….you can check out my store here Saronjah 😉

Meanwhile the garden is sputtering out its last offerings and we are heading into fall and Halloween…our family’s favorite holiday.

I did have time to make some refrigerator pickles, a friend gave me a recipe last year that I saved, took shopping and lost somewhere in my purse after buying all the ingredients…I can’t be alone here can I ?
So these are sitting in our fridge, all calm, cool, and pickling while our life runs past like videos on fast forward.

Patchworkreality Pickles

I will share the recipe, that we punted with in a few weeks if we deem them edible.