Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Celebration Week

First things first!  We all celebrated the arrival of the sun yesterday.  It may have been for just one day, but it was worth waiting for. 


This was taken from Trader Joe's parking lot.  Emily and I had a shopping trip and went to only two stores, but it was just what we needed. 

We were going to go by Starbucks on the way out of town, but work kept following Emily, so we ended up going inside and letting her take care of one of her conversations instead of doing it while she drove.  I seconded that idea. 

Our first stop was Michael's to get Graysen a birthday gift for her birthday in only TWO MORE DAYS.  She's having three friends over for a playdate instead of a birthday party Saturday, and I know that will be so much fun.  Elise wanted me to pick out a nice crafty kit for her since she doesn't have time to go shopping this week, and Emily and I had our minds on Perler beads or pony beads or whatever they're called.  Graysen came home from school last week with a little heart made from a few beads and loved them so much, of course Emily and I had to go overboard. 

We found this little kit for starters to see if she really enjoys it.


I've watched a YouTube video about how to do it, and they just place the beads in the design they want and you iron them just enough to melt the edges together.  I think the ironing might be tricky at first, but I'm convinced I can figure it out.

So we bought a couple of extra pegboards and this jar of 1000 beads.  That should keep us supplied until we want to advance - or until we get tired of it.


 Emily and I are more interested in getting our hands down in the jar and playing in the beads.


And seeing Ryan's face when he learns that more than 1000 new teeny things are coming into the house to be vacuumed up.

We had such fun in Michael's.  Neither one of us can keep our minds on what we're doing because there are so many distractions.  We wanted ALL the crafty kits and science kits and projects, but we held ourselves in check. 

We did crumble under the pressure of a stand of umbrellas just inside the front door.  The girls have never had an umbrella, although they've always wanted one.  Every year at Rooster Valley they have an umbrella parade for the letter U, and the girls have taken (or borrowed) whatever we had.  Not this year though!  We've always worried they would poke their eyes out or hurt someone, but we gave in, and they are going to be so excited!


I hope they're waterproof as well as cute, because they were a little more than what I consider a good price for a child's umbrella.  But we did luck up on not only the 40% off a regular item but 20% off the whole purchase, including sale things.  Along with my senior discount, it seemed a little more reasonable.  You can't put a price on fun though.

And now I need to get rid of these pictures on my phone before they see them.

We then went to Trader Joe's before we went home and got a few things.  I found a delicata squash which Safeway hasn't had this winter.

Image result for delicata squash

Winter squashes are not my favorites, but Emily told me about this one, and I tried it and became a fan.  This is how it looks when it's cooked, little C's, and it's so good.

Image result for delicata squash

I'm going to try this recipe tonight when I make it. 

Tonight is Graysen's first-grade musical, and Thursday night we go to Mod Pizza for her family birthday celebration (I only get a salad!) and back here for red velvet cupcakes and gifts. 

The BEST red velvet cupcakes - a gorgeous red color, moist and fluffy, and topped with luscious cream cheese frosting.


I printed this recipe a couple of weeks ago and can't wait to try it.  I found some cute little cupcake wrappers, but the heart-shaped sprinkles I ordered won't be here in time for this.  I'll just have to make do.  I hope they're half as pretty as these, but I know they'll be good.

Such a fun and busy week ahead. 

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Grand Diva

This is the amaryllis Emily gave me for Christmas.  All of theirs have bloomed, but this has to be the prettiest.


And how about that sunshine?  It's still cool, but just standing in a patch of sunshine makes me excited about spring - but I'll be patient.


Graysen had a birthday party today, and Katherine spent the time with me.  They got haircuts and manicures yesterday.  I'm going to ask for this one next time.


The arm tattoo is nice too.

Graysen worried about being the only girl at Camden's 7th birthday party, but she shouldn't have.  It sounded like she held her own and had a ball. 




I didn't get to read the Sunday paper like I had planned, so I may save that for tomorrow.  Emily and I are going to get the girls off to school and then go to Issaquah for some shopping:  Trader Joe's, Target, Michaels.  Who knows where else.  Oh, that new toy store in Issaquah, Snapdoodle's.  Graysen has a birthday of her own Thursday.  Seven.  Unbelievable.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Interesting Weather

It's not enough that it's rained 36 days straight.  Now we have the crazy wind back.  I just heard a crash outside that sounded like something broke, but when I checked my balcony, I didn't see anything missing or anything on the ground.  There's no glass out there anyway.  It makes me not want to have to go outside though if things are flying around.

Emily texted and said their power was out and that Katherine was terrified, so she lit a lot of candles and put them in the tub for a spa night.  I just now got this cozy picture.

Katherine's description:  Mimi, it's dark here.  All the light is gone.  We were just putting our dirty clothes in the hamper when it got so dark.  I was scared and cried a little bit, but then Mama used her phone flashlight to show us how to get out.  Now we have about 20 candles and a fire and are making snowflakes to hang up.  And we got in the tub and used a bath bomb

Find the kitty.


I took this yesterday when she was chasing her tail in the cat tower.


I just remembered this paper that Graysen brought home from school this week.


Katherine and Makenna loved their Valentine hair ribbons - slightly seen here.  Graysen came home from school and make her another one since she had two pigtails today, but I don't have a picture.


The three girls played nicely and let Emily and me have another grownup conversation, if planning a trip to a toy store and Michael's Monday is grownup talk.

This is what I found when they left.  I didn't mind cleaning it up since Makenna's Mom showed up, and they had to hurry and leave.  I love that they have a place to be creative.  Life is short, and I know how much I would have loved having half those things to play with when I was their age.



I felt someone watching me this morning when I dropped Katherine off in the barn and looked over the fence.  I think this is Lambkin, but the two sheep look just alike, so I'm not sure.  He loves to have his head scratched in spite of his serious look.


I didn't lose power but lost my internet for 3 hours.  I spent most of that time reading this:

The Immortalists by [Benjamin, Chloe]

It started off slowly but is well-written and interesting.  Four siblings are told by a fortune teller as children the dates of their deaths, and their four stories are told one by one.  Very different!

Friday, February 7, 2020

Getting into the Valentine Spirit

About time too with only 7 days left.  I had admired some hair ribbon elastics that Millie had given the girls for Christmas and figured I could craft something similar for Valentine's Day.

I had a good many pink and red ribbons in my stash, but most of them were boring, so I ordered a box of just Valentine ones from Amazon, and it didn't disappoint.

This was my very favorite.  So different and pretty.



I ended up with this selection when I combined them all.


I noticed that the original ones had a neat glued finish, but I really didn't want to go to all that trouble, so I laid out maybe 6 or 8 ribbons cut 12 to 18 inches long.  I figured I could trim and also add more as needed.

I took half of them and tied them in a double knot onto the hair elastic.  I had both black and white elastics but chose the white for this project.


Then I took the rest and tied them all together on top of the other set.

It's just too easy, but I think it's a cute little accessory for them to wear this week.


I made one for Katherine's friend Makenna who is coming over today, so I made 3 in about 10 minutes.


I'll give them a chance to add more ribbons as they want to.

I just love the look of them all mixed up.


That was my trip to the sewing room today, but I will work on the quilts this weekend!

Monday, February 3, 2020

Well-Behaved Snow

I think I knew there was a possibility of snow during the night, but I slept hard and ignored my alarms this morning since I didn't have to get up.  I was making breakfast leisurely when I got a text from Emily saying schools had a two-hour late start and could I walk Graysen over since she had an appointment in Issaquah.  Katherine didn't have to go in until 12:30. 

I then raised my blinds and saw that it had indeed snowed enough to cover my car, but the rain and temps in the high 30s was melting it.  We even had sunshine!  I left Katherine with Elise while Graysen and I walked to school at 11:00, and it was not even that cold.  I didn't have any trouble with ice patches, and it was a pleasant walk.  She met up with some friends and hardly remembered to tell me good-bye, but that's the way I like it. 

This was the way downtown looked as I came off the school hill.


I got Katherine to school at 12:30 and spent the rest of day puttering around and reading.  Emily came in after school to open her birthday gift, and we had such a nice long visit while the girls played.  It's rare that we can talk for more than a few minutes. 

No plans for the week except Mah-Jong Thursday afternoon.  I got a lot done on the quilt today and don't mind working on it now that I've got all the pieces in place. 


Saturday, February 1, 2020

Thirty Days and Thirty Nights

I read that it has rained 30 out of 31 days in January.  I'm expecting a little more out of February.  It hasn't been terrible, and we've had a good time, but I'm so over it.  Snow is predicted tonight. I don't think it's going to happen, but if it does, it's a good time for me since I don't have to get out until Tuesday.

Emily had a good birthday, I think, even though I haven't seen her much, just a little bit in passing and some texting.  Her people at work had their usual celebration for her, this time surrounding donuts with apples to satisfy whatever eating pattern she's in.  I have a feeling I know what she chose!


She got flowers and a spa day from Ryan and the girls and a dinner at the Woodman Lodge in Downtown Snoqualmie.  She asked if she and Ryan could go early and have a little adult time and me bring the children down about an hour later.  



The girls were so excited and had a hard time picking out what to wear.  They wanted to know if it was a fancy rester-naut, and I told them that it was just a "clean clothes" one.  With stuffed bobcats and polar bear skins hanging on the walls, I didn't think it qualified as fancy.

They looked cute and were so sweet when I dropped them off, but I was totally out of my comfort zone and glad to get back home.  Driving in the rain is bad enough, and driving in the rain at night is worse, but driving during rush hour in the rain at night is the pits, especially when my babies are in the back seat.  And rush hour is rough in our little village since everyone headed to the closest 3 towns is getting off the interstate and weaving through Snoqualmie.  It was impossible to turn left without a light to get home, so I turned right and took a few back streets until I ended up where I could turn right.  It was good to get home, but I'm glad I could give them a good night.

This is only picture I got.


I got more pictures just now from somewhere else they went to eat, this time sushi (shooshi).  I asked where, and she said SushiMe which seems to be in Bellevue.  Fun!  For them.  I've never done more than take a bite of it and don't think I'll ever do more than that!






I'm glad it's been a good birthday for Em.  She deserves it.  Such a hard worker and a good Mama.  They make sure the girls get to experience a variety of restaurants and activities.

Elise had a full day of work, and I enjoyed my day off.  I did laundry, worked on the quilt, read some of my book, Remains of the Day, which is slow reading but a good story.  I think I've seen the movie but can't remember it, so I'll watch it later if I can find it.  I also took down the garbage and recycling and got that out of the house.

I had orders from Elise to get a new mop, so I ordered one from Amazon, and it came today, so that was exciting.  Nothing like encouraging you to mop all the tiled surfaces like getting a new mop.  It's nice to have clean floors and clean clothes on a Saturday night and settling down to read and listen to yet more rain and wind.  My life is full of excitement.  

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Last Week in January

It's seemed like a long one.  It's rained every day and been cloudy and sometimes windy, but I'm enjoying it.  I used to think I would get depressed with so much grayness, but now I actually prefer cloudy days.  I could use a little warmth, but just knowing I have a cozy place to spend my days makes it okay. 

Our usual drive in the mornings.  Katherine is learning about mountains for M week, and she's very curious about them:  if you can feel the clouds on top of the mountains, if she will ever see a mountain goat, why there is snow just on the mountains.  I think she loves them as much as I do, and I never get tired of this view.


Maybe there are some pictures in my camera to remind me of what we did this week. 

Very few!

This needs to happen pretty much every day.  Katherine's come a long way with her bravery.



Graysen started gymnastic Friday.  She had been on a wait list, and it was a surprise to her when I picked her up.  The teacher seems very disciplined and seemed to be keeping the girls occupied when I noticed.  I decided to just stay there since we needed to pick up Katherine right after class.

This is the only picture I took, because after they ran around like crazy for about 5 minutes, they went out of my sight.  I noticed them on the trampoline and again on the balance beam.  Graysen said she didn't fall once and learned exactly how to do it.  We'll see.  She was completely distracted by the older girls doing beautiful floor routines to catchy music, and Graysen is completey into competing for trophies now!


 She's insisting on doing her own hair in the mornings, and I'm glad to let her do it.  She probably does a better job than I do.  She dresses herself too, so my main job is brushing Kathrine's hair and keeping them both focused on what they're doing.




 This morning she had a lot of trouble getting that one pigtail to be in just the right position to be cute.


She wanted me to take a closeup to send her mother - who was just exactly like her when she was that age.  I want to do it myself!!




Layla misses Elise being gone so much lately and expects me to throw things for her to fetch.


I accidentally poured some hard food into one of the water bowls today, and she didn't forgive me.  She stared at the bowl and then stared at me, and finally she went over and drank a few drops and then started pulling out the pieces one by one.  I fixed it.

I walked into the sewing room and started working on that quilt this morning and got a good bit done.  For me.

Emily hints that I need to finish them before the girls stop loving castles and princesses.


If I don't lay it out on the floor, I'll get my rows mixed up, and I knew this would happen.


Cats just feel like everything you do is for their comfort.


 She makes it hard to make up my bed every morning since she's just deciding to sleep after a night of romping in the halls.


Tomorrow is my baby's birthday!  The girls wanted her to skip work tomorrow, but she's looking forward to the party her employees always have for her.  We'll do gifts and celebrate tomorrow night when she gets home.  

There is a possibility we'll go see Little Women this weekend, but we'll have to watch the weather to see if we have another snow.  I bought groceries today like I was expecting a blizzard.  I think they should last us for two weeks.

I've been doing Bright Line Eating for 11 months now and am on track to lose my 50th pound before the end of February.  It hasn't been as hard as it seemed to give up sugar and flour.  I still have a little noncompliant food sometimes, but I'll have been a year without fast food (and not one sandwich!) and a year without sugar in my coffee - that's the worst.  I know I'm healthier without sugar and flour and eat plenty of protein, fruits and vegetables - LOTS of vegetables.  I do occasionally indulge in a Diet Coke, and when I do, I thoroughly enjoy it.  I admit I don't keep a journal or meditate and haven't joined any boot camp-type programs associated with the program, but I think I've done great without all that. And have become a better cook, experimenting with herbs and spices and different ways of cooking vegetable (or liking them raw), and can make muffins and waffles and even pizza without sugar or flour!  My favorites.  Emily has joined me and is less serious than I am but is still on board with it.  It's fun to compare notes and encourage each other.  Her goal was 15 pounds!



Monday, January 27, 2020

Stay at Home Weekend



My usual weekend, just the way I like it.

The Win-Bins went tubing, which I approved of but wanted no part of.  I see nothing fun in what Katherine described as, "I wanted to scream, but I couldn't because the snow was hitting me in the face."  I can't think of anything I had rather NOT be doing, but I'm glad they had fun.

I did very little housework but worked on a quilt for a little bit.  I worked the NYT crossword puzzle all the way for the first time in my life.  I only had to look up the last word, because I didn't want to guess.  I'm sure Mike would be shaking his head at me, but I'm proud of myself!  It's not pretty, but I can't use a pencil, so mistakes are hard to correct.



I finished one book, which was better than it started out.  I enjoyed the writing more than the subject matter, so I'll see if he's written anything else interesting.



I couldn't make it through The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin or In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende.  I think I would have read more of the latter if I hadn't had 3 or 4 new ones waiting for me.

The girls came over for a few hours this afternoon since Graysen didn't have school (and Katherine didn't go), and we walked to the library.  We actually saw sunshine this morning, and Elise opened all the blinds, which cheered us up a good bit.  It was still brisk and a little chilly, but we had a fun walk and got a heavy bag of books to bring home.  These girls are at such a good age now.  I think I've said that a lot lately.  They're cheerful and chatty and still innocent enough for a good bit of imagination and adventure on our walks.  We named the trees in my parking lot today.

I had requested 5 books for them and 3 for me.  We read the first chapter of Judy Moody and the Right Royal Tea Party.  Graysen loved it more than Katherine, but Katherine hung in there.  Gray's teacher has been reading these books to the class, and I wanted to see what they were all about.  We thought the first chapter was hilarious, or maybe we were just in a silly mood.  Then we played a guesssing game with Katherine with her alphabet puzzle, and there was more laughter.  We then read Dragons Love Tacos, which they loved - but not enough to request tacos for dinner.  They ate little pizzas, mac and cheese, broccoli, and grapes for lunch, followed by a raisin bagel.  I doubt they'll be hungry too soon.

By the time Emily picked them up - about 4:00 - the wind had started blowing like crazy again, and it was colder.  I was glad to come in, get a cup of tea, and start my book, This One is Mine by Maria Semple.  I've liked two of her books so far, so maybe the third one will be good.

Emily sent me this picture just now of the girls painting at home.  What a perfect place Emily and Ryan have made upstairs for the girls.  A bedroom, a playroom, and a big room for their desks and craft table.  Lucky little girls.


I would frame this if someone gave it to me as a gift!


We're going to have to figure out something to do with these cats!  Ever since Bowie has become social, he and Layla are constantly running up and down the hall at night and knocking things off the counter in the bathroom and just being cats.  The only problem is that Elise has to be at work at 6:00 in the morning and needs to get to sleep early.  That means we need to separate them and hope they'll learn to sleep at night instead of all day.  Bowie is in Elise's room, and Layla is in the hall, and they're mutter-purring at each other and sticking their paws under the door.


It may be a long night for me.  That's a yawn!


My amaryllis is just about to burst into bloom.



It's back to the routine tomorrow, and we have 6 days of rain forecast.  Fun, fun, fun.  And then I see snow by the first of next week, but hopefully it won't stick.  This sunshine has made me ready to start thinking about spring.  I can think all I want to, but it's a long way away.