Water Bottles

Look Ma No Hands!

It is possible that this only happens to me:

Scene: park/ballgame/day camp/pool/beach/hiking trail/race/friends house/front yard/kitchen….you know only a few times has this happened…..one of my children….all of whom I love and I am sure have asked this equally, has a very nice cold sweaty water bottle, and they very nicely ask “momma can you hole this?”…me (=sucker): sure.  Guess who ends up holding 4 water bottles like Alice the camel…she now has 4 humps.

OR

Scene: 2 minutes before we HAVE to leave for a ballgame/birthday party/day camp/play date/appointment….one of my children….all of whom I love….is digging in the drawer that could be named plastic pit of despair for a water bottle AND matching top and looks up and says “Momma can you help me make a water bottle?”  Me: Sure.  Of course it is important to stay hydrated, that is why we have 26 water bottles and 24 tops….its like the hydration jigsaw puzzle…takes patience and time.

We have as many water bottles that we have gotten from fundraisers and races and camps as we have reusable shopping bags.  Both we have been politely refusing for awhile now, we just do not need anymore and I can’t be alone in wondering how helpful these are to the earth in the reducing part of the 3 R’s when they are being mass produced for so many events.

Back to my point.

I have a water bottle, it is a Klean Kanteen, I LOVE it, and it has a sling, I can wear it….no hands!

So this year for each child and the hubby I ordered a Klean Kanteen water bottle and sling, it is now the ONLY water bottle they have….big responsibility, however as I write this, no one has lots any parts at all, and the pit of plastic despair is packed up to be donated.

These were their end of school/welcome to summer gifts and they were all really excited to have a bottle like mine…Yeah!

I had to tie Avalons’ straps up a little, but her and hubby both modeled them:

Water BottleWater Bottle

I bought all of the kids the 27 ounce size, and Jon and I have the 40 oz. size.

Long ago, I bought a handful of peel and stick patches from Old Navy for 97 cents a piece, I just LOVE when I find things at this price point, does any one else find these great deals? I have found less of these deals lately.

Anyway, they fit perfectly onto the canteen “sling”!!  I wasn’t sure about the pink skull/poison looking patch, but maybe no one will want to take it?!?

Ebay 2014 25931 copy

Patches from Old Navy

Viola! reusable, wearable, carryable, hands free and cute, I still need a patch for Solomon, I think he will find one on our road trip this summer.!!  And  for Jon and I, should have a patch too tight ?!? Maybe I should put a camel on mine..no wait I am no longer the water bottle camel!

Custom patched water bottle slings.

This post was not sponsored.

SOLD!

That lovely hard to find Palomino pop up camper that I longed to have, we sold it down the road.

My camper/camping needs have evolved into something beyond my initial firm stance that camping should be done only in a tent, should be rustic, one with the Earth.  Although I still values these ideals behind our camping adventures, we have upgraded from tent, to pop-up camper, to a new to us “tin can” style camper (more on that later).

The initial purpose of trading the tent in for a camper was to get us off the ground and provide a little more safety from “wild” animals. (more on the reasons and original purchase here).

We did a little work on our Palomino, the water tank had not been properly winterized and so there was a spot where the tank burst, because these tanks are aluminum it was a little more of a challenge to find someone who could weld it for us.  Thankfully my uncle knew someone welded it for free!!!  Thank you!!!

Second, the water tank storage tank  had also not been properly treated so we had to clean that to remove mold and build up, mostly Clorox lots of water and patience.

So all in all we were not out much, and enjoyed 3 camping trips in this pop-up another bonus was that we were able to store it in the 3rd stall of our garage during the winter

It sold in less than a week after listing it on Craigslist.

I am so excited about our new camper and will post photos soon, but here are the last photos I took after some of the minor work we did on  the 1995 Palomino Hard Side pop up camper that a wonderful family of 7 is now hopefully enjoying!!!

95 PalominoEbay 2014 26108_edited-1

Ebay 2014 26111

 

Ebay 2014 26104_edited-1

 

 

 

 

 

Lasts and Firsts 2014

I wrote about lasts and firsts in a post last year, and was looking back and reread my words and was inspired to write about this year’s lasts and first.  Reading what I wrote reminded me of things I had not thought about in a long time, small details that I am glad to have written, so I am writing one for this year, if for no one else, for me;)

Last morning of school for the 3 bigs today, Avalon has been out since before Memorial Day.

This was Avalon’s LAST year of preschool , after 9 years of being connected to an amazing preschool with teachers that became family we are done…..this was a HARD morning, but I can write about it now, so it too shall pass, my small little people growing like trees into beautiful strong beings. She is already begging me to teach her Kindergarten.

It seems like ages ago I took their FIRST day of school pictures, which I never posted…oh well;)

Total they lost 6 six teeth, had 5  haircuts, we packed hundreds of lunches and snacks, had one case of strep and 2 ear infections, 2 times someone missed the bus, 2 new sets of glasses and Raiven is set for braces in August.

Solomon survived his FIRST year of middle school, which for us is 6th grade.  I love his school, his test scores and exceedingly high so he qualified for the highly gifted program (only 18 kids in his year qualify in the district) at a small choice middle school, it is truly what he has needed since kindergarten, to be in a class with his peers.  This was a decision we did not make lightly but are very happy with so far.

Santanna’s First grade teacher taught her FIRST First grade class this year, Mrs. A was actually Solomon’s 2nd grade teacher so we were super excited to have her, she is amazingly patient and organized, I need some of her skills!!!

Raiven had the same 4th grade teacher that Solomon had and this is his LAST year of teaching 4th grade for 3 years.  he has taken a position as a student teacher assessor, I am hoping he is back to teach 5th grade for Santanna, there is a rumor he will come back and teach 5th grade but year by year I am learning that until that first day of school nothing is set in stone. Right?!?

In a few hours it will be the start of The FIRST day of summer vacation…

Did a little photo shoot after they all were home:

Last day of School!

They just REALLY Love this jumping thing when I ask for a photo….here is some good news, stats are up from Last June:

from 75% to 100% excited about summer!

If you remember:

Last day of shool 2013

Have some fun this summer!!!!!

 

Finally Outside

It was warm enough outside today to finally get out and enjoy spring.
I went out for a 4 mile run and came back to find Avalon hard at work:

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So I joined in and we vacuumed, wiped down, washed and cleaned out an enormous embarrassing amount off snacks and miscellaneous kid paraphernalia. But to the small vaccumer go the spoils:

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Just enough to pay in coin for an ice cream:

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While I splurged and treated the carro to an ultimate wash :

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Oh man does spring cleaning feel good here in Minnesota. We have been cooped up and frozen in and are ready to be outside and open the windows!!
Anyone else tackling spring projects. Any annual chores you do?
I know my blogging has been sparse but we have been working hard on a front entry nook project that is almost finished. Stay tuned for the before and afters!!

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

4.bp.blogspot.com

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.

2013 October 883 copy

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

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.