Wednesday, September 29, 2010

We partied like it was her 10th birthday!

This is how we handle birthdays at our house. We do a friend birthday party every other year and a family party every year. This birthday was the year for a friend party for Angelique. With her 10th birthday falling on a Tuesday, which is also soccer night, this lucky girl got to have her friend party BEFORE her actual birthday.
On Friday, September 24th, she invited 7 friends over for games, laughs, pizza and cake. It was a blast! We weren't sure if the weather was going to work out for the outside games or not, so Steve did some serious garage cleaning to prepare it as an alternate location. Thankfully, no rain fell on Friday so we got to be outside, which really cuts down on the crazy noise factor that can be generated by 8 spastic 4th graders.
We played a bunch of relay games including a balloon-popping, filling-a-water-glass-with-a-spoon, sewing-everyone-together & passing-an-orange-without-hands. We even got in a quick game of helping the sea turtle to get to the aquarium.
The traditional cake was replaced with an ice cream cake from DairyLand complete with M&M's and fudge between the layers. Sugar galore + enthusiastic party attendees = overstimulated mama. I gotta give a shout out to those individuals who are able to effectively teach and nurture the elementary age group because I was exhausted by the end of the evening. It seemed as though a good time was had by all, especially by the Birthday Girl.

Then we moved on to Birthday Party Round 2 with the family back at the farm on Saturday, September 25th...
More candles, more singing, more cake (this time double-chocolate from Aunt Claire) and more gifts. Here's hoping we provided enough protective gear for our accident prone girl to successfully master roller blading!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Celebrating 10 Terrific Years with Angelique

Kippy's 10th birthday is today... DOUBLE-DIGITS... oH yeaH!!! I thought about blubbering on and on about how my baby has grown up and how time has flown by... but instead want to offer a Top Ten Facts about Our Kippy Girl

10. Angelique Grace Lindgren was born September 28, 2000 at 10:53 PM at Weiner Memorial Hospital in Marshall, MN, even though her due date was October 25th, she was in a bit of a rush to join us.
9. Angelique has been accident prone from the day she was born having to stay 5 days in the hospital w/ IV's, oxygen and bilirubin lamps; ear tubes at 8 months; breaking her foot at 18 months; hospitalized for MRSA infection at 3 years; stitches in her head at 5 years. She is missing the "careful" gene.

8. Angelique acquired the nickname "Kippy" pretty early on in her life. On the day she came home from the hospital, big-sister-Abby was holding her and said, "Mama, she is just a little Nipper." Nipper turned into Kipper which turned into Kippy and has been a term of endearment ever since.
7. Angelique has grown up loving her chenille yellow blanket (nie-nie). It literally was loved to pieces and eventually fell completely apart. Luckily it was replaced by another yellow blankie made by Grandma Rose, which continues to be a source of comfort.
6. Angelique has participated in gymnastics, swimming, dance and even ran a 1 mile race this summer in Henning, MN, but by far, she loves playing soccer the most.
5. She is an animal lover! Angelique wants to be a Marine Biologist and work at SeaWorld training dolphins and/or whales. Or she may be a Veterinarian... but definitely one of the two.

4. Angelique loves adventure. She is exhilarated by white water rafting, tubing, skiing, roller coasters or any kind of exciting ride. She has a need for speed.
3. Angelique has a very generous spirit. She is quick to give comfort to others whether that be a hug, kind words or even a foot massage, she seriously is amazing. Last December, she donated 8 inches of hair to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths program. She said, "If I had cancer, I would like to have hair for Christmas." So she gave some of hers.
2. Looks can be deceiving. Angelique's name means "like an Angel" and sometimes she may even look like an angel, but definitely has a serious trouble-maker streak in her.

1. Angelique has energy times 100. Her grandpa says, "Angelique can wear-out her clothes from the inside!" She can't sit still. She has a ZEST for LIFE. Her enthusiasm is infectious. And all this is packed inside a very shy girl. We love the contrast of our high-energy-yet-socially-timid daughter. She has a smile which lights up our world and is a blessing to us all!

Happy 10th birthday, Angelique, Kipper-do, Kips, Kippy!

OK, now I am going to cry my eyes out because my baby is so grown up.

Friday, September 17, 2010

My Ode to Fall

I took a walk today on crunchy, cracking leaves, enjoyed the cool crisp air and tried to photograph the splendor. Many of the maples in town are bursting with reds, yellows and oranges. I get so distracted driving while pointing out the fall foliage, which resembles fireworks to me. It was much safer walking with Bella and my Nikon. It is my favorite time of year!

"Pumpkins in the cornfields, gold among the brown. Leaves of rust and scarlet, trembling slowly down. Birds that travel southward, its a lovely time to play Nothing is as pleasant, as an autumn day!"

I haven't gotten any pumpkins yet, but I do have a bunch of beautiful mums to enjoy on my porch.
Hope you are finding lots of ways to enjoy this fabulous fall season!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A dark and scary place

I never, ever in a million years thought I would show pictures of my scary messy craproom (scraping/sewing/crafting/laundry room). Over the years it has become the dumping ground for extra furniture, half started projects, leftovers from completed projects, and also projects which I know I will never complete. And as much as I love to feed my creative side, my craproom just was too dark and scary for me even to want to work on. It was a lost cause in my book and I had written it off.

Until last Friday, when I decided to do something about it. My BFF inspired me. She was in the middle of her own clean & purge process and it caused me to look at myself a little deeper and acknowledge my own issues. What kind of behavior am I modeling for my 9 year-old who has natural hording tendencies already and surrounds herself with loads and loads of stuff? I found myself frustrated with the flat-surface-syndrome going on in her bedroom where every flat surface is continually stacked up with stuff. Then, I looked around in my craproom and realized that I am a terrible role model! I have flat-surface-syndrome too!! After years and years of trying to make my crafting area workable, I finally got serious about making a change especially since my theme for 2010 is CLEAN-UP.

The first thing I did was to snap some pictures. Well, actually, that isn't true, first I spent 30 minutes trying to get items off the floor and make it more presentable, then I took some pictures.
So really, these are the "after" pictures... the really, really horrible stuff would have broken the camera and severely wounded what is left of my pride. And when I took these pictures, it wasn't to post them. Oh no, I wasn't going to do THAT! I just took the camera over to my BFF and asked her for some advise on what I should do. Being the wise and wonderful person she is, I didn't feel like she would judge me for my disaster and she gave me some great ideas. (You may want to click on the collage picture to really appreciate the mess of my craproom.)

I took the advise of my BFF & decided COLOR would be my jumping off point. Friday night, I went to Home Depot to pick up a color to go with the existing flooring. I found Martha Stewart Araucana Teal. I worked hard to clear out enough stuff Friday evening, so I could start painting on Saturday morning. Steve took care of the removal of the shelves and all of the heavy lifting and even agreed to help me do the painting {Thank you, Honey!}. Thankfully, it was only one wall and the paint was amazing... it only took one coat! That never happens and really was a key time saver.

My next goal, after adding color, was to use what I had. I have been buying containers and storage units over time and hoped it would ultimately make my room more usable. The issue was that I wasn't using these items appropriately and I simply had too.much.stuff. So, I committed to not buy any.more.stuff! The goal was to purge, purge & purge some more. I made a pile of items to take to Goodwill and put a bunch of stuff straight to the garbage. I really tried to evaluate what I had, what was working and if it wasn't working, why not? I spent 8 hours on Sunday doing this and even had Abby helping with sorting through my scrapbook paper. It was hard work... not hard physically, but hard for my brain. I had to fight the urge to keep everything and to find appropriate places to put everything.

Ultimately, I did end up buying a few more items to make the transformation complete, but I was able to reuse, re-purpose or update many of my existing items.

Here was my purchase list:
1) Home Depot - 1 gallon of paint = $27
2) Target - curtain rod, curtain clips, glass drawer pulls & two large glass jars: $32
3) Walmart - 4 yards of fabric & 4 yards of trim: $14.

Total expenses: $73

So, how did it turn out? Judge for yourself... (you can click on the collage and it will open up larger)

I am VERY, VERY pleased with the results. It just looks so bright and happy and CLEAN! I still have some drawers to finish sorting through and organizing, but it is about 90% complete and I have gone ahead and starting creating some actual crafts again. JOY!

I had a plain, pine bulletin board, which wasn't being used {no before pics taken}. All I did was paint the frame with the teal, stapled fabric over the cork & hot glued trim to cover the staples. I added a fabric bow and just love the over-sized push-pins from Wal-mart.
All I did with this chair was to paint it out, again with the teal wall color and made a slip-cover over the existing chair pad.

I removed the fabric that previously covered the three drawers of my sewing table, then painted them teal & replaced the knobs with glass knobs.

I replaced the previous button jar, which was too small and consolidated two existing ribbon jars
with these two large jars that I picked up at Target for $5 each. I love that there is enough room in the jars for me to stir around and actually get something out to use.
I made a little cafe curtain out of fabric I bought at Wal-Mart & with a new rod and clips, the window was done. I was able to display my growing collection of R's using a shelf I had spray painted a couple months ago, but had never hung up. I already had the framed pictures because I had entered these three photos in the Ottertail county fair back in July. So all I needed was some nails and I added them in a row on the right side of the window.
A couple other uses for the fabric I bought was to make a little fabric cozy to cover the former navy blue sewing bench, which easily removes so I can still use the bench for storing and I also used it to cover and add a pillow to the white chair. Now I have room for multiple people to join me in my new craft haven, so come on over! I think it has gone from a true crap-room to a usable craft room.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fifteen minute make-over

Here is a quick little home-improvement project. All you need is a very, very grungy stool (or chair), a screwdriver, a stapler and upholstery fabric... oh, and an extra set of helpful hands and you have a 15 minute make-over!

We have had these stools in our kitchen for 8 years and they have been recovered once, so we have the routine down.
Step one: Remove the grungy stool seat.
Step two: Cut the upholstery fabric with about a 3 to 4 in margin around the seat.

Step three: Tightly stretch the fabric while you have your extra helper staple it down. I recommend stapling 3-4 inches down on a side, then move to the opposite side and do the same. Repeat with the remaining sides working opposite sides as this will stabilize the fabric for you. Slightly gather and stretch the corners and secure with staples. Keep the staples close together, with no more than 1/2 inch in-between the staples.

Step four: Trim the excess fabric away from the staples, so that it looks neat and tidy.

Step five: Reattach the seats to the stool.

Step six: Admire your 15 minute make-over and tell the kids they CAN'T WIPE OFF THEIR HANDS ON THE SEAT EVER, EVER AGAIN and must use their napkins FROM.NOW.ON!
Repeat steps 1-6 as necessary.

Many thanks to my extra set of helping hands {Steve} because I truly cannot make that stinking stapler gun work AT.ALL. Of course, I heard about this fabulous invention called an electronic staple gun from my wizard, genius BFF. Hummm...maybe I could make that work? On second thought... I'll just beg the Hubs to run our crazy hard staple gun in a couple years, when the stools are all grungy again.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Back to sCHoOl time!

A tale of two girls going back to school on Tuesday, September 7th... each going to different schools and having a different approach.
Angelique started 4th grade at Our Lady of Victory school. She told me she was nervous the night before school. This made me smile, since she already knows 8 of the 9 kids in her class. There is only one new girl being added to the group, making her class size 10 students. Kippy also knows her 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Pawlowski, really well too. Nervousness... unfortunately, she gets that from me.
It must have been this nervous excitement that inspired Kippy to be ready early and she asked me to braid her hair for her. I'm all for having it out of her face, so I quickly did it. Plus, she rarely WANTS me to braid her hair anymore, so I always jump at the chance to do it.
This year, Kippy said she only wanted to have one pair of shoes for school, instead of a casual pair, plus a pair of tennis shoes. She picked these black tennies because she thought, "black won't look so dirty". We'll have to see if she is right as she is very hard on her foot wear {and clothing in general.}
Kippy opted to not use a backpack for school, but picked a shoulder bag that we already had at home. Sweet - one less thing we had to buy!
Normally, Steve drops the girls off at school, but on the first day, I road along so I could snap a few pictures. It was misting outside and barely had time to get this quick pic before

Kippy turned around and RAN into the building. No other photos could be captured and she never once looked back.

The girls got home off the bus around 4:10 PM.

Kippy brought this Who Am I? sheet home at the end of the day and I like that it captures a bit about her at this point in time.
She had a great first day and told me that the new girl in her class is really nice. I just love the hair-halo she had by the end of the day.

Abby approached her first day of 8th grade a little differently. She was MUCH more relaxed. Her only concern was what new outfit to wear, getting her hair styled and her make-up just so. She was late getting ready and I literally had about 60 seconds to get her first day photographed.
She used the same shoulder bag she had gotten mid-way through 7th grade last year, due to backpack breakage.
The item she was most excited about wearing are her new converse sneakers that she bought herself with birthday money just 4 days before school started.
Abby was very cool and collected as she was dropped off at Kennedy Secondary school, which had just finished a 2 year renovation and add-on process. She definitely gets her laid back attitude from her dad.
I was very surprised when she stopped and gave us a wave just before she went inside and I was glad to snap a pic. Not much really shakes my Abby girl... except her little sister.

When Abby got off the bus, she was pretty excited about her first day and still had perfectly styled hair. She said, "I like ALL of my teachers!" Knowing Abby, the social aspect of school is probably her most favorite part of all.

Here's to a great start on a new school year!