The Durability of Mini Cupcakes

Something I learned this morning:

Mini Muffins,
frosted at the last minute and covered with Halloween sprinkles and sugar so that they look like cupcakes,
in little Halloween cupcake wrappers,
packed carefully into a tupperware container with a lid,
carried in one hand while dragging your children down the sidewalk to make it to school before the bell rings, when accidentally dropped - upside down - on said sidewalk,
are actually protected by all those sprinkles and sugar,
and can actually be salvaged and survive to still appear intact for the Kindergarten Halloween party.

Who'd have thunk it?


Pumpkin Muffins with dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds.
The Dad and I had a conversation yesterday morning that went something like this:

Him: So, what do you want to do today?

Me: Really?  If I could do anything?  Some baking, some cleaning, some sewing, and some sitting and reading with E.

And really?  I was completely serious.
Even better?  I got to do it all.

Plus a little tromping in the woods.

And the motivation continues: I bought paint this morning for a bedroom project that's been in process for a while.  The first can of many as we begin (soon!) to go through the house room by room and finally add some color!

A new fleecy poncho for E.

Stay tuned.

Yelling at Kids - In the New York Times

The Dad just sent me this article.  I just read it.  After a morning so difficult for all of us that I left O standing naked at the window, screaming, as I pulled out of the driveway to take E to school.

And I felt awful.  More awful than I did already.

Things have been a bit difficult here lately.  Among other things, O's having a hard time transitioning to nursery school.  Once there and settled, he's doing great, but at home?  He is contrary, demanding, sad, and attached to the hem of my shirt or waist of my pants.  And I am trying to be patient.  But I get frustrated, too, and honestly?  I get tired of having him cling to me.

This article?  Really?  Makes me sad.  Not in the "How could people treat their children like that?" sad, but "How did I become this person and what am I doing?" sad.

The yelling in our house hasn't actually been going on for that long.  We have not always been yellers.  But it's worse than it was a year ago.  And better than it was 4 months ago.  And something we're working on.  And talking about.  And working on some more.

But the question I have is "Why do we have to work on it?"  Why is it not something we can acknowledge and change.  How have our reserves have gotten so low that as hard as we feel we are trying we are still so impatient and quick to anger.  Because that is really what needs to be fixed.  That is the root of the problem.  The yelling is really only a symptom, I think.

So that is the challenge I begin to day.  To fill us back up.  To restore peace in the house - even when we feel we are stretched to our limits.  To ensure that at every moment our children know that we love them as much as we do - to the tips of our toes - so deep that it hurts.  That is the challenge.

Lighting Woes

I have a couple things to list in my shop today, but am not having much luck with the lighting out in my yard.  It's a beautiful day out, yet my yard is filled with shadows and even the spots that seem to be bright are dissapointingly grey.  Hmmm...  I may have to take a fieldtrip.  Or wait until later in the day when the sun has moved.

All these little occupational inconveniences I'd never really thought of a year ago.  I have the pieces, I finally have the time, I need the sun too cooperate!

Stay tuned.

Finally - Some Coasters in the Living Room

Delivering my first 'shipment' to Art Star Gallery yesterday has me back in the studio inspired and motivated.  First up, before embarking on another batch of dresses and accessories: Coasters.  Our living room, full of wooden surfaces waiting to be damaged more than they already are, has been calling out for coasters for almost two years now.

I whipped up a small batch from the design in Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts.  Easy and quick, I think there may be many more in my future.  Especially since E tried to abscond with the first test-one as a dollhouse rug...

I'm seeing a set of coasters with a couple mugs and some of the best hot chocolate ever.  All wrapped up together nicely.  Christmas?  Anyone?

After Homemade Granola Bars, You Can Never Go Back

Oh. My. Goodness.

I bought this Annabel Karmel cookbook shortly before E started Kindergarten, all motivated to pack fun and creative lunches every day.  While I have mostly managed to stay away from the standard PB&J so far, I had yet to actually follow one of the recipes in the book before Friday.  I have used some of her great ideas, but hadn't actually made anything specific.

Until these homemade granola bars.  So easy to customize, we used honey and brown sugar, oats, cheerios, almonds, raisins, sunflower seeds, and chocolate chips.

Ignoring the fact that I smooshed them a little too much cramming them into a storage container, these things are amazing.  And so, so easy.  And really, after tasting them and reluctantly sharing them with the kids, I don't see how I can ever buy another pre-packaged granola bar again.

A Visit to the Cockpit

Did you know that they're letting kids up in the cockpit again?  After boarding our flight home from Minneapolis on Monday, there was a bit of a delay while we waited for a couple connecting passengers who were running late because of all of the snow.  E asked the flight attendant of they could see the cockpit...  and she said "Of course!  They've been waiting for you!"

So, without parents (were were only in row five with a great aisle view), the two kids tromped in and made themselves comfortable.  That is E in the co-pilot's seat and her stuffed "Poly" on the steering wheel.  At one point we overheard them telling O "Oh no!  Now we're flying upside down!"  Evidently, they let him pull some lever.

I still remember my first flight, at the age of 6, when my brother and I also got to go up and visit.  That day, they gave us wings (pins) and playing cards with the airlines logo (I think it was American).

So the kids' visit to the cockpit, plus the peanuts (!!) and cookies passed out with drinks, really made it feel like old times.

So. much. fun.

My Creative Independent Thinker

When I picked E up at school this afternoon, her teacher beckoned me with one finger.  I cringed and approached.  She put her hand to one side of her mouth and kind of whispered:
"E cut her hair today.  And her friend's."

Ohhh...  it continues.

Her second week of nursery school, when she was three and we had just seen Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and then proceeded to read the book over and over again, her teacher greeted me in a similar fashion.
"I just want to let you know... (pregnant pause)...  E painted her hair today."
And she had - as red as she could.  Like Alexander.  The teachers had tried to rinse it out, resulting in a stiff crackly helmet of reddish orange that crunched as I lay my hand on her head to lead her out of the building.

Later that same year, at a suburban nursery school she attended for a couple months after we moved, the poor assistant teacher didn't know what to do with her.  She was frustrated because since E started they needed to close the classroom door so she wouldn't wander out.  This teacher, a bit exasperated, looked at me one day and said
"She does things I have never seen any child do before...  And I've been teaching for 25 years..."

But really?  I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.

Today, (using the safety scissors they use in Kindergarten) she only cut a small bit in the front.  Giving one side a little bit of long bangs.

Her friend had her hair in a ponytail when she came out of the classroom.  She has a head of beautiful dark curls.  E insists she only cut a tiny bit.  That her friend just wanted her to cut off one curl.  I'll see for myself tomorrow when her hair is down again.  Until then, I'm just keeping my fingers crossed.

A New Batch of Dresses - And a Plug for the Crafty Planet

It's funny, I went to label this post 'Finally Back in the Studio' and realized it had already been used on this post.  Evidently, these long breaks from the studio and fervent return happen on a somewhat regular basis around here.

After four months of quiet, I am finally starting a new batch of dresses.

What better way to start than with sock monkeys?  This sock monkey fabric actually holds some special meaning for me.  While my Mom taught me to sew when I was a kid and I made curtains for E's nursery before she was born, I attribute my real sewing beginning to a little place in Minneapolis called the Crafty Planet.

Somehow, I got it in my head that I was going to sew little clutch blankets for a craft show way-back-when.  I think it was even before O was born.  And somehow I stumbled on this sock monkey fabric, the whole funky monkey line of it (which was much more minimal back then).  I searched for a brick and mortar store where I could buy it locally and found the Crafty Planet.

I was smitten.  The best fabric store I have been in.  Ever.  It's not that they have a huge selection.  Or fabulous prices.  But what they do have?  It is exactly what I am looking for.  Always.  And the spirit of the store?  It is right on.

So I took a quilting class.  And an applique class.  And an embroidery class.  And two years after moving I still miss it dearly.  Every time I want to go fabric shopping.  Or I see a cool print on line and think "Oh how I wish I could see it in person.  Touch it.  See what would go with it."

So if you're in the Twin Cities area, and you haven't experienced the shop, I highly recommend it.  We're heading back there (for the first time in two years!) next weekend and a little fabric shopping spree is on my short list.  While The Dad takes the kids somewhere else for a little bit.  What's the luggage weight limit these days on airplanes??