Saturday, October 31, 2009

on a Saturday

Daddy took the big kids to the lake today...enjoying what might be the last warm autumn Saturday of the season.

Daddy brought a rod and tackle box.

My girl brought a sketch book and pencils.

My boy brought three plastic army guys.


I'm amazed at how perfectly it captures who they are right in this moment.


Mama and baby stayed home to nap. Which also speaks to the moment.


Happy Halloween. :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Well, it was bound to happen.

My favorite lamp.


It's the icing on the cake of my {crappy} day.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

On a Tuesday

New paintings up in the shipping through October!

Brambleberry Grace on Etsy

Thursday, October 22, 2009

five o'clock shadow

My son's preschool teacher took me aside this morning when I dropped him off.

She said, "I wanted to tell you a cute story."


"Yesterday, I had him and Jack at a table practicing some letters when he started rubbing his chin."

He said, 'Yep, it's coming in.'

So I asked him if he was growing a beard.

'I need it to keep warm in the winter,' he explained.

Then he looked over at Jack. Carefully examining his chin. 'Hey, Jack. Yours is coming in, too!'


It made my day. That boy. I tell you what.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

eating crow

One day last week we left the house in a flurry.

Everyone was running behind. We got in the car. Buckled. The entire time I'm saying things like, "HUSTLE!" and "When mom says it's time to put coats on, that means it's time to put coats on!" (In cranky tones.)

We drop off my girl. I switch off the crank and say, "Have a great day, Peanut." With much sincerity, hoping to offset the horrible start to the day I've just given her.

Then it's off to preschool. (Where my boy plays and learns and eats Pepperidge Farm Goldfish all morning.)

We're just a few moments behind schedule. I don't like being behind schedule. I decide to make time by driving like a moron. I cut in front of another vehicle and feel really dumb about it. Especially when that vehicle follows me on the next two turns, and parks beside me in the preschool parking lot.

I try not to make eye contact, but can feel the weight of my rudeness hanging thick in the air.

She starts walking into the building, and we take our time. I am no longer in a hurry. I am embarrassed and want to crawl under my car.


This morning, as I am walking out of the school, I see The Lady walking towards me. We are about to cross paths when I feel the overwhelming urge to apologize.

I look her in the eyes, she remembers.

I say, "I have to tell you, the other day I was driving like a total jerk. I cut you off. I just wanted to say I'm sorry."

She says, "You did? Oh, that's okay!"

We both laugh a little and the air is cleared.

She turns back to me as I walk away and says, "You have a great day."


I need to apologize more often.

It feels really good.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

One Autumn Day, She Went Home...

In honor of Kelly's sister.

A battle hard fought.

(Painting for benefit auction.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

the most delicious frosting in the history of the world

It was my husband's birthday on Sunday. I baked him this cake. (German chocolate from a box....which I felt guilty about. But I redeemed it with this frosting.)

I made the cake according to the directions on the box. Then when it came out of the oven, I poured a third of a can of sweetened condensed milk over it.

The frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese.
The rest of the sweetened condensed milk.
Three tablespoons butter.
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp vanilla extract

Whip all the above together until it's all fluffy and gorgeous.

(I topped it with toasted coconut--but it is wonderful without it)

I can't stop eating it this cake. It's so good. And so bad. But soooooooo goooooooood.

(I promise I'm almost done talking about food.)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

it's too much

Too much.

I spent the early afternoon sifting through toys in the kids' rooms. I filled three Rubbermaid totes full of loot. Good loot. But loot they're not playing with anymore....loot that hogs up valuable real estate. My house is not large. But it's perfect for us. And there is only so much room for extras.

Even with three cubic tons of toys removed from bedrooms:

My girl has toys spilling out of the containers under her bed.

Her closet barely closes.

And there are a few large toys that sit out on her floor because there is no where for them to go. She still plays with them, and would notice if they went missing. Unfortunately.

My boys have toys spilling out from under their beds.

Their closet barely closes.

Their toy box isn't even close to closing.

How is this possible?!?! I go through things at least twice a year. People! What happens if you don't?! A&E 's Hoarders? (You can watch them online.)

Every time I "clean house", I get a budgy sort of claustrophobia. In fact, the house has needed a good go through for a few weeks but I've been paralyzed. Because it's just too much. It becomes hard to put laundry away. The excess takes over the world. And metastasizes to other cupboards and closets.

Today, though, I buckled down. I couldn't stand it any longer. My husband took the kids to the school and I purged. (This time with their blessing. With the promise of storing not donating. For now.)

It feels good.

For now.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

{seasonal} peanut butter cookies

My husband brought home a bag of candy corn a few days ago.

I like candy corn a little. I really really like them mixed with peanuts.

I don't have peanuts.

I do have peanut butter.

So I made these:

I cannot. stop. eating. them.

They are puffy and delicious. I pressed a single candy corn into each of them before baking, which totally melted the candy corn...but it left a sticky impression in which I placed another candy corn when I took them out of the oven. Candy corn, candy corn, candy corn.

If you need a little peanutliciousness in your life here's the recipe:

1 cup peanut butter
1 stick of butter, melted, then cooled
3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

(mixed all together, then add...)

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
nice pinch of salt

Drop by spoonful onto cookie sheet, press in a candy corn. Bake in preheated 325 degree oven for 12-15 minutes...take them out before they're completely done (so they're not crispy) and press in another candy corn.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

home, sweet

This is the house that I grew up no longer exists in this form. My family moved to a different state the year before I got married, and the new owners changed it considerably.

I go back to our home town every now and again, and I'm so thankful that my old house doesn't look like this. It's one of those things you'd rather remember in your heart in your own way.

Right through that front door was the living room. With really tall ceilings. The room in which we put up our Christmas tree.

To the left, through a double door was the piano room. Off the piano room was a bathroom and a cedar closet. Through a little hall was the family room, and then the kitchen. There was a little back porch you could access from a glass door off the dining room, which was at the back end of the living room.

That front bedroom was my parents. It had a closet that we liked to play in. My youngest sister's room was next, her bed was lofted. And her windows were Cinderella style. My bedroom was next, and the coolest. My bed was built in, and high. With curtains I could pull to really close myself off from the world. Or my sisters. (Mostly my sisters.) The back bedroom was the biggest, with the highest ceiling. And was shared by my older and younger-middle sisters.

I can walk through every room, down every hall, each nook and cranny in my mind. I can run down the steps and skip the last 7 by using the railings. I can play the piano, pick the rhubarb, and not mow the lawn because I had mono--and an appendectomy.

I can see the neighbor's dog in the snow on the mountain. I can hear our stupid cocker spaniel howling. I can make a snow angel and hide in the best hide and seek spot on our block.

I can ride my bike.

I can sit by my warm vent in the winter not wanting to move.

I can walk to school.

And to The Store.

But only in my mind.

Which is where it counts, really.

etsy news...

Free shipping through the month of October...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Some days...

Some days you just want to park yourself right back in bed.

And some days, you want to re-do every single room in your house. That's my today.

Beware, my family.....things get awfully mixed up when Momma's got the creative bug.

An itch that must be scratched.....with paint and fabric and furniture......

Hopefully will have the after to this (embarrassing) before:

Taken months and months ago...and it's still not done. I picked the wallpaper off in a fit of excitement one night last spring. For now. The paint on the bottom was there when we moved in...the top was started once by me, until I got my hot little hands on some wallpaper. It's been papered and repapered twice in the five years we've been here. I liked the bedding (the fourth) at the time, but I don't really care for it anymore. I just can't seem to come up with one single piece for inspiration.

Until right this minute...I think I've been inspired. Will keep you posted.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Is it because they pay huge dues to a union that is heavily involved in politics?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

spelly ache

A few Fridays ago, I was called to come and collect my sick daughter from school. The nurse said she wasn't running a fever, but she was complaining of a tummy ache. When I got to the office, there she sat. Wearing her backpack. Lethargically slumped on a chair. She saw me. She perked up. And then unperked. Suspiciously.

We walked out to the car. I had her get in the front seat. She perked all the way back up. A little alarm bell went off in my head.

me: "What's going on? Do you feel like you have to spit up?"

her: "No."

me: "But your tummy hurts?"

her: "Yes."

me: "Are things going okay with your friends?"

her: "Yeah."

me: "You sure?"

her: "Oh, Yes. Yesterday we played on the playground and I got to be the mom and Susie was the puppy and Minnie was my daughter. And then Mckenzie was also my daughter. And then I was the puppy. And Minnie was the mom. And Mckenzie was aslo a puppy....."

Hmmm. No girl drama.

Spelling test. The first one of the year.

me: "How was your spelling test?"

her: "Um. We haven't done it yet."

me: "Huh. You worried about that?"

her: "Yeah. Last year, the teacher would tell us the words and then we would write them down. This year, they just give us a paper and we have to write them all. And they don't even tell us what they are."

me: "Did your teacher tell you that?"

her: ""

me: "No teacher would give you a spelling test without first telling you the words. And if a teacher tried to give you a test in a way you didn't understand, mom and dad would talk with them and come up with a way that works for you."

her: looking at me....awaiting my next move

me: "Let's pray about it. Sometimes when a person is nervous, they will get a sore tummy. But it doesn't mean they are sick. It just means they are nervous. The only way to get it better is to take that spelling test."

We prayed. I walked her back in. We found her class on their way to the library. Her teacher asked if she was feeling better, and I told him she was a little nervous about the spelling test. He gave me an understanding nod. She joined her class with great trepidation and a near melt down halted only by a penetrating glance from her mother and the hand of her best friend.

me to her best friend: "She's feeling a little nervous. Do you think you could help her find a good book to take her mind off the spelling test?"

her best friend: "Yes! I know right where the High School Musical books are."


Crisis averted.

I knew that this was a very dangerous situation. I know that test anxiety is real. And I want my girl to know that I will always take care of her. I will believe her when she tells me she is sick. I just don't want to encourage tummy aches on test days.

I drove by the school at recess, just to see how things were going. She didn't see me. She was too busy not having a tummy ache.

The spelling test? A perfect score. And the teachers in second grade give spelling tests exactly like the teachers in first grade. Who would have thought?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Blueberry Bagel Bites

This is the perfect Saturday morning breakfast.



Loaded with Carbohydrates.

Your kids will eat it. You will eat it. And then you will lick the pan.

(But you don't have to tell anyone about that last bit.)

: : : : : : : : :

4 oz neufchatel (1/3 less fat cream cheese)
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar

Melt above ingredients together and toss with

8 miniature blueberry bagels (or 4 large) cut into bite sized pieces

Bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes

(Very tasty with strong black coffee.)

Granny's Birds: A Series

This one is:

"You Mustn't Walk on the South Side"

Friday, October 2, 2009


It's my dad's birthday today. Happy birthday, Dad!

I'm sitting here having a moment. Time is marching right along, and I'm locked in a train of thought that is wigging. me. out.

I remember when my dad was my age.

I remember when my grandfather was my dad's age.

I remember, like it was yesterday, being my daughter's age.