Friday, December 10, 2010

First Snow!

Our First snow this past weekend brought lots of fun. Tyler and I walked in the snow, built a snowman (his carrot nose was from our vegetable garden, freshly dug up!). And our resident squirrel-pal came to the door for some nuts (he is exceedingly bold!).

Tyler and me

The Little Snowman

Our Pal

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Butterflies and Frogs - The Milwaukee Museum

During Thanksgiving week we took a trip up to Milwaukee. We went to the Pabst Mansion (one of my absolute favorite historic mansions), the Milwaukee Museum, and to The Safe House (a spy-themed restaurant). It was fun and especially nice because all of us were able to go. Here are some photos:

Here are the kids with butterflies:

Grandson - what a cutie!

Julie - "wearing" a big butterfly

Kristin - two butterflies landed on her, including the big one

Close-up of the big one

On Robert too

And here are the big boys at The Safe House:

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Gentleman Joins Us For Tea

At Movie Night this past Friday, Tyler and Paul returned home at about 9:30 PM from the "Tree Place" (an indoor shopping mall with a huge artificial hollow tree that kids can climb in, slide down built-in slides, etc.). Tyler likes to say hello to the Tea Ladies and partake of the yummies served. This time he wanted tea, and he wanted it in a tea cup. As I would not let a four year old use one of my good china cups, Paul dug out an old tea set that we discovered was stored in the toy cabinet my dad built that was recently moved into Tyler's closet.

No cream, one sugar


Monday, November 15, 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Phyllo-Crusted Apple Tart

While hunting for low-fat dessert recipes at the library, I found this:

I'd give the source, but I simply jotted down the recipe quickly while Tyler was enjoying the library. I'll have to find the name of the cookbook. Anyway, it was delicious.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Eagle Scout

On Sunday, Robert finished off many years of hard work as a member of the Boy Scouts by earning the distinction of Eagle Scout. He received his pin, kerchief, and patch in a ceremony with two other young men who also received it. He also received a hand-crafted walking stick pictured below. We are very proud of him. I do believe that being a Boy Scout has helped Robert immensely in his life, and helped shape him into the pleasant and much more self-confident person he has become.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Birthday Party - Four Years Old!

We had a wonderful party for Tyler's birthday. We had beautiful weather, the food turned out well, and the little boy was happy:

An Apple Dessert

I tried a new dessert the other night: Paula Deen's Skillet Fried Apple Pies. They were yummy, but I'm sure the fat content is astronomical. I am curious to see if I can get as good a taste if I simply bake them instead of frying (Note: Since posting this I did try just baking them - they were fine without the frying!). I used biscuits I got in the frozen section of Sam's Club, and a jar of apple pie filling from the grocery store.

Back After a Long Absence

We have been so busy in the past month. Mainly, we have been doing home improvements for three reasons: to get our home in good shape for a possible refinance, to get Tyler moved into his very own room, and to get the house ready for Tyler's birthday bash/family get-together. More pictures of the improvements will follow, but here is a preview:

Woodwork around the door (at last!)

Tyler's newly remodeled closet (still needs woodwork around this door)

Toys and a little critter in the closet (including a stove and china hutch my dad made, that I played with as a child)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Butterflies In the Garden

Two years ago we planted butterfly bushes in our yard. The butterflies are happy!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Tyler's Room - Making Progress

The closet is almost finishing in what will be Tyler's new room. It took a long time for such a tiny space, but since it needed to be gutted, insulated, electrified, wallboarded, taped, primed and painted (phew!), it is only now almost done:

Here is Paul, who just finished painting the walls of the room:

Thursday, July 29, 2010

What Tyler Has Been Up To

Strawberry "mice". Cut the green part off, and the bottom off the strawberry so it sits flat. Use sliced almonds for the ears, tube icing for the eyes, a mini-chocolate chip for the nose, and a section of red licorice whip for the tail.

Ice cream and face painting at the church picnic.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Around the House

Random scenes of what we have been doing lately around the house:

Filling the grain bucket

Enjoying fresh flowers from the Farmer's Market

Another Farmers Market treasure

Who's hiding under the table?!

Bike Riding

We fixed up my son's neglected bicycle. Originally it was for Julie to keep at her new apartment. But she realized it would be cumbersome to bring up and down the stairs and would take up a lot of room. So Paul and I have been riding a lot on the Green Bay Trail. It is a bike trail that runs alongside the train tracks for several miles in the northern suburbs of Chicago. It is bordered on both sides by heavy foliage, and is peaceful and quiet. It is a lovely way to exercise, get fresh air, and be out in all sorts of weather - I don't even mind if it rains.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Our Time In The Forest

There is an area at the back of our lot that is almost like a mini-forest. This year we decided to make it a more useable space for our grandson to play in. We cleared weeds and underbrush, moved stones and brick and yard equipment, and spread red bark chips down for cushioning. It's just right for a little boy to have adventures in. Tyler has had a lot of fun there, often hiding and pretending to be a dinosaur. I find it cool and soothing. When I am in the forest I often hear in my mind a piece by harpist Andreas Vollenweider that I love, called The Years in the Forest (hear the music here).

Yesterday, I finished making a new toy for Tyler using this pattern. I hid the little leopard in the forest for him to find:

A leopard hiding in the forest


Cuddling with a "lion"

A happy boy!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Hanging Out The Wash

I have been wanting a clothesline for some time now, and Paul set a post in the ground with a hook on it, then installed a retractable clothesline on the house. I am loving this! I wonder what it means that I get excited by a clothesline. The explanation I came up with is two-fold: it is a wonderful process from the past that is making a comeback for various reasons, and I love the thought of freshly air-dried clothing and sheets. I will have to post a new photo once we get a new camera (ours broke a few days after I took this photo). We have added a clothesline prop which supports the middle of the line from drooping and can be stored out of the way once done, and a beautiful flower pouch of lavender-colored petunias under the birdhouse.

I am transported to another place and time when I hang out the wash!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Our Sort of Evening

Last night Paul, Tyler, and I had a delightful evening. We often like to go somewhere on Sunday late afternoons/early evenings, preferably something outside, since Tyler is an all around happier child in the outdoors. It rained heavily off and on yesterday, so we weren't sure what we could do outside. So first we went to one of our favorite pizza places, Barnaby's (not sure if there are Barnaby's restaurants outside of the Chicago area, but it sure is good pizza!) for their yummy thin crust pizza. By the time we were done, the rains had cleared.

We decided that, even though it was already 7:30 or so, we would go to the Chicago Botanic Gardens anyway for a quick stroll before sundown. Going there on a Sunday, near closing time, after a heavy rain is the absolute best time to go. Other than a wedding party on the terrace, no one was there. We walked the paths of this beautiful garden by ourselves, drinking in the beauty of the scenery. It looked especially nice given the weather and time of day.

By the end, our little pal, dressed in his new dinosaur raincoat, was sleepy and very happy. So were we!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Corded Petticoat

It's really odd, I haven't sewn anything in a long time due to time constraints, life getting in the way, and a shocking lack of inspiration. My good friend tells me she can tell when I am depressed - when I am not playing harp and not sewing. I guess I'm not depressed now, because I have been practicing up a storm, and I finally got an inspiration to sew.

My choice was not at all what I expected - a corded petticoat. This is a mid-19th century undergarment; basically a petticoat with rows and rows of cording stitched into it, then starched to an amazing level. It helps make the skirts stand out, but is less poofy than a hoop skirt.

I gleaned all I could off the internet, found some great pictures of what others have done, and I'm off. I wanted the circumference of the bottom to be less than 90", so I used a nice Kona quilter's muslin, 90" wide. That way there will only be one seam since I don't have to join widths. I cut it 52" long to allow for a waistband and a deep facing at the hem in order to encase the cording, sandwiching it inside the facing. I'm using Lily "Sugar'n Cream" as the cording. I turned up an ample hem facing to enclose the two sets of close-together cords I have planned (probably two sets of 16 cords next to each other, with an inch or so of space in between the sets), then will sew single cords going up to about knee level. All I have to do once the cording is done is sew one long seam to make the tube, make the top of the seam into a placket, and turn down a waistband. The time-consuming part is the cording, but it is simple and rather satisfying to see the rows begin to form.

The first seven rows at the hemline; only about 30 or so left to go!

New Home Improvements

We finally got back to our home improvements - working on Tyler's new room, the upper hallway and the foyer. I'm really pleased with the progress. For Tyler's room, Kristin has been refinishing the woodwork and almost has it completely done. Paul has been working on the upper hall window and Tyler's closet. I have been helping out where I can (standing around holding stuff for Paul while he attaches it or cuts it - yawn, making meals, household chores and Tyler-watching), but I also went on another paint hunt, solidify our "crellow" color for the foyer and upper hall, and choosing a nice blue for Tyler's room.

Paul working on the old upper hall window - can't wait until it's done!

Tyler's closet: we removed the falling-down plaster, insulated, and electrified it. Now we just need wallboard and paint.

Tyler's room color and "Crellow": Summer Shower blue and Old World Romance yellow

Friday, May 21, 2010

Cats and Sewing

So, I finally got motivated to do some sewing, and what do you know - Cats!

"What do you mean, you want to sew?!"

"I'll just help you hold this in place!"