Saturday, December 31, 2011

Scenes from Christmas 2011

We had a lovely Christmas! A wonderful blend of church and home. Here are the highlights:

We baked together.

We put sprinkles on cookies.

We decorated the house.

We acted in the church pageant.

We played harp at church on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

We ran downstairs on Christmas Morning!

We opened packages.

We got a fish tank!

And a dinosaur to go inside.

We ate an awful lot of chocolate!

"There shall a star come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel" from one of the hymns our choir sang. It was a lovely time all around.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Making a Gingerbread Man

To begin our Advent season, Paul got a Gingerbread Man kit for Tyler. He waited excitedly for a day when we all could get together and decorate him.

Planning his design with mama. We ended up buying white frosting separately from the grocery, as the icing with the kit was not yummy or easy to work with.

Finished! (Mama and Da helped.)


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Paul Saves the Day!

Our oven suddenly stopped working. We did all the trouble shooting the manual said. We weren't sure what it was, but most internet searches mentioned ignitors needing to be replaced under these circumstances. We were afraid to buy the new part and have it not be that, as the ignitors cost around $75. What if it was something else?! We called to arranged for the appliance store to come fix it, but they would take a week to get here. And they would charge $150, not including parts. So Paul rolled up his sleeves and got to work. He opened it up, took a look at everything, determined it would be a safe bet to try a new ignitor. VoilĂ ! We have an oven! We also gave it a super cleaning. I love having a handy husband. He is a blessing!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My New Love

I bought this pattern tracing paper from Vogue Fabrics. It works marvelously! So easy to use - it stays flat, cuts easily, and is easy to see through to see the pattern lines below. Quick and easy is what I need right now for my current project.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Organizing the Long Hair Stuff

After my success at organizing my sewing stuff, I have wanted to do the same with my music and my long hair stuff. The music organization is going to be huge, so I opted to do the smaller project: organizing all of my hair care tools, products, and "toys" (fancy or not so fancy things that hold long hair in place). Everything was so disorganized, and in various places around the house. So I used the same system as I did with my sewing stuff.

I gathered everything hair related into one place. (The oatmeal box contained my henna supplies, not very attractive!) Note the obligatory cat, a necessary item in any reorganization project!

Some of the hair "toys". I neglected to put my pretty new bling combs in this photo.

My brush and combs. My beloved Mason Pearson Boar Bristle Brush (BBB), my Ric Carpenter wood comb (for combing dry hair only), and my faux horn combs for detangling wet hair.

Henna and herbal hair care products. All of the oddly named bags are ingredients for a "Lotus Plus Powder" which is an excellent herbal conditioning treatment for hair.

I purchased a large and a small plastic containers to house everything. Then I went through and purged out anything old or that I wasn't going to use. This included the cosmetics jungle that was mostly cluttering my dresser. I was able to reorganize everything into the two new containers, a wicker basket, and another small plastic container where I keep make-up. Here are the results:

Henna and herbal hair care items, including gloves, plastic caps, heat caps, Turbie Towels, and applicator bottles. This box is portable and can really be stored anywhere.

A view from above.

My newly cleaned (and dusted!) dresser. Hair toys are in the purple box, the make-up box is on top, the basket of other cosmetics is behind the small mirror, and the brushes and combs are right out in front. The only cosmetic sitting out is my lip balm - I sometimes need that in the middle of the night, so I keep where it's easy to find in the dark!

So Lovely!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

New Kitchen Windows!

Paul installed our new kitchen windows! I am so happy. This is the first step in someday remodeling our kitchen. The old ones were not only drafty and old and horrible, they were also too long, making it impossible to install cabinets in front in our tiny kitchen. Not good, when every inch counts. Now they are the proper height to place base cabinets and a counter top underneath. There is more work to be done, as you can see below:

We have to put up the siding again where it was removed. We will have to order more, as many of the old pieces split during removal (in spite of Paul being extra careful). But the insulation is on, the windows are caulked. The inner windows have their exterior sides painted. All that is left is to stain and polyurethane the interior sides.

Tyler has been a "helper" again. (Although he proved himself rather adept at removing nails from the siding pieces.) He found Paul's stud finder in the toolbox and was intrigued. So we brought him inside and showed him how it worked - hours of fun:

We are praying for a few more nice weekends so we can get the exterior a little farther along before the real cold sets in. But I am happy with the thought of a warm kitchen this winter!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fun at the Pumpkin Farm

We went to a pumpkin patch in Homer Glen, IL called Bengston's. It was a lot of fun. We went there last year, but Tyler was really too small to enjoy the rides. This year it was completely different.

Frog Hopper - Anticipating

Climbing up - Scary!


All Aboard!

A Wanted Criminal


The Honey Pot - Dizziness

A Happy Day!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Scenes From A Birthday

We had two birthday celebrations for Tyler in September. One was a party at Lifetime Fitness with his classmates. The other was a family party here at home. Here are some highlights:

The Bounce House at Lifetime


The Cake (made by my niece, Denys)

Tyler and Mama

The home party cakes - Oberweis Ice Cream Cakes!

One of the gifts - a Dual Light Saber, spinning in the dusk

Blommer Chocolate Factory

We love to put cocoa mulch in our garden. It degrades fast, looks pretty and smells divine (although be careful if you have dogs - if they eat it they can get quite ill). The local garden centers run out of this in springtime, so the only way to get it now is by going to the factory to pick it up (call first to be sure they have it). It is near downtown Chicago, and Paul and I went one day when he was off work. The first thing we noticed was the heavenly, chocolate smell emanating from the air vents of the building. It was literally like walking past Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. We didn't know until we got there that they have a little chocolate shop on the premises. Yum!

Look at the rows and rows of chocolate!

Ginormous Candy Bars on the Top Shelf


A Very Happy Man!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My Baby Goes To College

Robert has left for college. Fortunately for me, he is not far. He is going to school in Downtown Chicago and is staying in the dorms (to avoid a daily commute and to avoid the harshness of travelling on the train in frigid winter in Chicago). But it is very odd not having him around all the time.

I think he is very happy!

The World Outside Your Window

We are in the process of painting the exterior of our house, an enormous job. But the quotes from painters were just too high. So we sallied forth. We may not get it all done this year, but are comfortable with the idea of breaking it up. While working on Side 1, the east side and front of our house, we also finally, finally stained and polyurethaned the interior side of our bedroom windows. This has only taken us about 22 years! Paul also repaired a section of the window where the molding had separated out from the wall that needed gluing:

Both the interior windows and the storm assembly were out. I took this opportunity to take a photo of the view from above, looking down on our scaffolding:


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

School Mass

At Tyler's school, religious education is an important part of the day. It is so freeing to know that God can actually be mentioned in his classroom. The entire school attends Mass during the week every two weeks, and the classes take turns reading the Scripture readings for the Mass (in every Catholic Mass you will hear God's Word: the readings typically consist of an Old Testament reading, a Psalm, a reading from a New Testament, and a reading from the one of the Gospels). On Mass days, they must be dressed appropriately. I love this!

A Darling Little Boy Wearing a Tie

Cat Art

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Little Schoolboy

Unbelievable. Tyler is 5 years old. He is a big boy now, and went to Kindergarten on Tuesday. I love his little uniform.