Friday, September 30, 2011

Heaven Help Me

My dear Martino and I just had a "discussion" about our finances. Since we use a cash-only spending system, the discussion went pretty much like this:
Martin: where's that twenty dollars I gave you?
Me: (mumbling) I don't know.
Martin: did you put it back in the envelope?
Me: I can't remember (mumble, mumble.)
Martin: hey, why do you look upset? It doesn't matter!
(seriously, he really is that nice!)
Me: I can't keep track of our money. It all just disappears, I don't know where it goes, it just walks away! I can't handle it!!
Martin: (blank look.) you just take it out of the envelope when you're leaving for the store and put what's left back in the envelope when you get home. It really is that easy.
(oh yeah. He. Said. That.)

And of course, it is NOT "that easy" as I proceeded to tell him. Half the time I leave for the store without ANY money because after I've gotten our children dressed, snacked, out the door, in the car, buckled up and provided them with about ten (hundred) traveling companions EACH I am in such a hurry to get out of the driveway before someone decides they have to go to the bathroom that the money that is necessary for this grocery trip is the last thing on my mind. And putting it back when we return? HA!

For one thing, I have a certain daughter who is extremely "helpful." and her helpfulness would be really cute if it weren't so contagious. So instead of me handing a cashier money and she handing me my change, we have to divide the tasks evenly. Ok, mama gives the cashier the bills; Anja receives the paper change, Greta receives the coins (which get dropped on the floor, of course, multiple times) and then there's the receipt. Greta ALWAYS wants to carry the receipt, but she doesn't care enough to actually hold onto it so she keeps dropping it and I have to chase it down until something distracts her enough that I can shove it in my pocket without her noticing.

And I love Aldi, I REALLY love that place... But. I really cannot stand how when I push my double-wide cart through, which holds two children in the children seats and NO GROCERIES, they NEVER seem to notice and just cheerily fill up the child seats of the cart I'm trading for (that might only make sense to fellow Aldi shoppers) so that instead of just popping my kids from one seat to the next, I have to get them out of the cart completely and rearrange my groceries so they can ride. And of course, as I'm doing this, Greta is running away. Through the automated doors and toward the parking lot. I kid you not, this happens EVERY SINGLE WEEK.

And when we get home I have to get all the groceries in, along with both girls, who are, of course, beside themselves with hunger because we've been out of the house for five minutes, so I'm fixing snacks as I'm putting away frozen broccoli and with all that brand new food, can't we just have a little taste of everything, Mama??????

Meanwhile, any change we got at the grocery store has sprouted legs and wandered off.

And here's the kicker: I only have TWO. There are people in the world with more (way more!) children who do things like run home businesses and do their own taxes. If I ever have more than my two girls I won't be able to leave the house!!!! How do they do it?! Where do they put them in the grocery carts?! How do they keep track of their change and their receipts?!?

Of course, our days at home are (mostly) pictures of peace and beauty (I'm really being serious!) during which the three of us do lots and lots of singing and reading stories and playing a wide array of pretend games. And we can bake things and dress up and do puzzles! But ask me to leave the house and follow a list of instructions in chronological order? Oh ho ho, dear Martino, it is NOT that easy!

P.S. We aren't really quarreling. The above story is true, but after my detailed explanation as to where the grocery money goes, he understood completely. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Signs of the Season

I know there is a time of year that things are supposed to slow down, but when is it, exactly? Not summer--everybody's in a hurry to do! Do! Do! in the summertime, and in the fall the Mighty Craft Bug hits (just in time for Halloween--we're being the story of Little Red Riding hood this year!) and it's the Christmas-Present-Buying season, and Anja's birthday and then the Holiday Season..... definitely not slow. And after Christmas I guess things slow down a little bit, but that's when garden planning starts and I start wanting to get out to the yard earlier than I should and this year we're hoping to get Anja started in something fun for her like a tiny people ballet class (can you even imagine the cuteness?? Also, we're trying to get her to stop growling at strangers and we're hoping some kind of organized class might help....)

Anyway. Things are not slowing for us around here. In fact, just take a look at our nature table.... it is busy, busy, busy. Do you see the little fire we built for the gnomies? And Anja put all the creatures around it. And she hung her apple fairies (thanks, Little Red Whimsy!) from the Season Tree, which is also covered in some gloomy, grey fleece.

We are planning to go apple picking this coming weekend, which will be Anja's best memory for the year [again] and she will probably cry and cry and cry when it's time to leave [again] and say that she wants to live there forever [again.] At least I hope so.... the crying is not so fun, but I think she passion she feels for apple orchards is kind of beautiful.

And of course this past weekend was the 44th Feast of the Hunters Moon! These are my favorite purchases from this year:
A fabulous HUGE mug and these adorable little sheep, which were the funniest little fad of the Feast this year.... started by my nephew Carlos, we just kept accumulating flocks and flocks of these little sheep! And they are SO CUTE!! These are only two of them.... we have a total of five. Three littles and two parents.

And what would be the Feast without the Highland Games? Martin won me a nice crock which is now holding my pretty white wildflowers that grow at the edge of our driveway. Love it! Last year he got candle holders!

And Anja enjoyed playing in the straw. I'm not sure she ever realized or cared that Martin was participating. Oh well.

And can I just say..... my little girls were the cutest little 18th century french children EVER!!!!! And yes, I was pretty proud of my sewing excursions the week leading up to it. I made 8 skirts, 2 capes, two chamises and a matching outfit for the girls' little dolls, Salad and Annie. (Can you guess which doll belongs to whom? Okay, I'll tell you.... Salad belongs to Anja. And Greta is obsessed with the name Annie. And the name Alice.)

Here are Daisy and Miranda, always good to see every year!

And of course, I have to include a picture of Martino by his fire. HIS fire. He is very posessive.

So the Feast was a success. Saturday morning Greta woke up in a foul mood and so the whole day was a little stressful, trying to head off every tantrum, and I was afraid the next day would be more of the same. (We ended up not camping out because it was pretty rainy.) Surprisingly, she woke up SO excited to go back to the Feast! And they were tickled to death that we were going to Mass AT THE FEAST. So on Sunday, Greta called it Feast Church. Silly, silly. On Sunday we were all dirty and smokey and exhausted and cold and damp and the last thing I wanted to do was make dinner and the second-to-last thing I wanted to do was wash dishes that come with getting carry-out. So we went to Pizza Hut and gorged on their cheap, greasy buffet and it was perfect. And then we went home and collapsed.

Continuing our signs of Autumn, here is a perfect spider web hung from the center of our porch light with a big, fat, ugly spider right in the middle of it.

The picture really doesn't capture it's coollness very well, but trust me... it was creepy to the extreme.

And to prepare for Old Man Winter who is lurking just a few months away, I knit these hoods for the girls.

Greta's is red and has a button, Anja's is pink and has a tie. I think they turned out ridiculously cute for how ridiculously easy they were to make!! They begin at the seed stitch edge and are really just a rectangle sewn down the back. I got the idea from a pattern for a hooded scarf in a book, and I added the seed stitch and left off the scarf part. And I added the button/tie to take the place of the scarf, which (obviously) holds the hood on your head in the original pattern.

And that's it! MY BIRTHDAY IS COMING UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Most Eventful Weekend

This is now an outdated post and I will make a new one soon. But LAST weekend provided a lot of excitement such as a Hatke family reunion, Greta having pinworms, some serious rockstar faces by Anja and one of our neighbors being found dead in his apartment.

But now the pinworms are gone, Fall has arrived and the Feast of the Hunter's Moon was the most recent and very fun event. Pictures soon. I will say that my girls were the most adorable little 18th century French children ever. I did a lot of sewing the week prior. Today the pack baskets are being returned to the Seasonal Closet until next year. It's always kind of sad when the Feast ends.

But those details are for another post! BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I am Cold

Hello, Autumn! I finished my cowl/tube/loose scarf-like thing without annoying ends (inspired by Soulemama archives) last night, just in time for today's pleasant chill.
I like it. I get the feeling that Martin is laughing at me as I wear it, but I'm trying to tell myself that it doesn't matter because in the end I am the warmer one. Also, he was the one trying to convince me last night that I should keep going to make it big enough to be pulled over my head as a hood. Um, no thanks. I'm 27, not 77. (he thinks I care too much about fashion and not enough about survival. He seems to think a woobie will save my life.)

Anyway. After a very full day we had an AMAZING dinner of squash soup and biscuits, then went for gelato at Greyhouse. It was a good family date. Sadly, I'm not able to get the photo to upload to this post. Gee, big surprise.

Grr. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Monday, September 12, 2011

Playroom Pictures

BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

On the Flip Side

Gosh. It looks like I've missed Father's Day in New Zealand AGAIN. I don't know how to make links with BlogBooster, but if you look in my lower (smaller) collection of links, you'll find Tiny Happy. I don't read her very often anymore but back in the olden times she was one of my favorite daily reads. I checked it her this morning and remembered why! Her blog is sweet and simple and pretty. She doesn't do a lot of showy stuff to gain attention and a lot of her projects are kind of the same, but I love them! She seems so peaceful and calm.... AND, since she lives in New Zealand you can read her bits of springtime as we lean toward winter here in the northern hemisphere and realize that not the whole world is dead and sleeping and cold.... Just us! In other news, here is our new playroom with MANY MANY MANY thanks to my sister and brother-in-law for GIVING us (for free!!) the laminate flooring. I'm happy with the room and the girls are so excited to have a fun space of their own. And of course there are a few things to add, but it's great now the way it is too. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Monday, September 5, 2011

Craft Binge

Sooooooo, I've been seriously moved by the crafting spirit lately. It all started with a simple valance for my kitchen window (goodbye dirty curtain, hello cheery sunshine!) which was followed by a matching curtain replacement on the big cabinet, which was followed by... Well, I just can't stop. Some of the stuff has been confiscated by my little helpers (example: the crinkle toy that now belongs to Pink Adorable Adorable) and some of the stuff has ended in utter failure (example: cute wallet that is seriously NOT cute.) but there have been some small successes too, and the little addictions (knitted kittens, anyone?) just go on and on and on. Good thing there's a craft fair coming up in November!
Window valance.
Other curtain. Way cuter than the old one.
Little burlap bag
Hood for Greta
Chair makeover
A few fabric cards
Hood for Anja (not for Jack)
Hood for tiny baby (modeled by Pink Adorable Adorable's identical twin, who belongs to Greta and is named Adorb.
Aaaaaand, the current project:
I'm very excited about it! It's going to use the rest of my green sweater yarn and I *shouldn't* have to buy any more. It's sized for Greta, but I'm afraid it'll be kind of small. So it may be going in the craft fair too!

Happy Labor Day to all and many thanks to Blog Booster for FINALLY cooperating. (I've been trying to make this post for days!!) BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Down on the Farm

Aside from feeling like we need to squeeze in every moment of hose play that's left in the summer, we've been having fun in other ways as well. Martin now rides the bus to work with his bike every morning, which guarantees me the car EVERY SINGLE DAY. It's really, really nice. I always thought my life was relaxing without having the car, but it's actually even better to have the car! I never have to think about anything! Today and yesterday (and again in a couple of weeks) Greta had some sessions over at the Baby Labs. It's not the ones that pay but it was fun to see how well she participated with a stranger. It took her awhile to warm up, but luckily the girl had a cup of cheesy bunnies to offer, which just happens to be Greta's favorite snack in the world, so she complied with every request from there on out!

On Tuesday we invited my mom to a picnic at Prophetstown. It was THE PERFECT DAY to be out there. There were almost zero other visitors, plenty of sleepy animals to visit, and the temperature was amazing. Amazing!

We very generously offered the goats our dress hems for a nibble!

We saw the chickens

And the pigs

The peacock and his special lady friend (not pictured)

And we spent a lot of time with the big work horses. They kind of follow you around. It's really cute. And then they stand all lined up like this. I think they must be German.

And since there were almost no visitors, there was almost no traffic, which meant that we could spend an hour walking from one end of the gravel lane to the other to look at the colts and the cows. (We saw the colts.... we never actually made it all the way to the cows, but we did view them from a distance.)

Here come the horses, following after!

As she walked, Anja made up a little song. It said something about summer days and walking in the sunshine, but I couldn't make out all of it and if she catches me listening she stops singing. But it was very beautiful.

Greta looks so tiny beside these big horses!! Look--she's about as big as that horse's head! Greta LOVES pigs. She really dislikes cows. They kind of terrify her.... but really the whole reason we came out here was to see the pigs; she'd been asking to see the pigs for a few days. Very cute.

Last night the girls and I were completely beat from our day. We'd been to the Baby Labs in the afternoon, then I took them for ice cream because they'd been so incredibly awesome. When we got home it was meltdown time, from which none of us really recovered.... so after dinner we all headed out to Barnes & Noble for a nice relaxing evening. And it was awesome. Greta played at the train table the entire time, Anja looked at books, Martin and I sat (sat down! In chairs!) and drank mochas and browsed craft/home/survivalist books. It was the exact thing we all needed.

I know it was only a few posts ago that I said SouleMama was the only blog I regularly read whose author I don't know personally, but since then I've even stopped reading her. She annoyed me too much. I've started again reading her archives (I'd been reading them last winter and spring until our computer croaked) again and I'm only up to early 2007. She was a completely different person. She was HILARIOUS in her writing, and so down-to-earth. So REAL! And her kids were roughly the ages of mine at that time, so I can relate a lot better. Not that there is anything to relate to in her blog now...... she just posts about perfection, "bliss," and her ideal homestead. I don't need to read her fakey blog to know about homesteading and I get tired of hearing the word "bliss" in every post. Gag. Life is NOT all cracker jacks and skittles, no matter what she'd like her readers to believe. It actually makes me miss the old her, and debate reading her new book (which is co-written by her barfy husband who gives me the creeps and whose writing is what made me need to quit reading her blog for fear of strokes and ulcers.) Anyway. I know that all sounds uncharitable.... but I can't help thinking of her as a big sell-out.

But I'm REALLY enjoying her archives!!

Oh, but one of the big things that makes the difference between then and now (soulemama) is that she used to post crafts. She was always making stuff and posting the results with or without the patterns. Clothes for her kids or bags or ANYTHING... and I miss that! She never seems to be making anything anymore. I know over the winter she posted a lot of knitting, which I did enjoy a lot because I was also on a knitting kick, but since her baby's been born she's just been posting about the blissfulness of her house and property.

Although she did have that one post about her cool door in their kitchen that they painted with chalkboard paint. THAT was a good post.

Maybe I need to get back onto Ravelry for inspiration.

I'm rambling now............... can you tell?