Monthly Archives: August 2012

Show off.

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I feel like my heart is breaking over my entire way of life and human nature. And what technology has done to life.

It’s a good thing. Trust me. I’m not depressed. Just working out my faith and feelings about the world.

I am starting to question the existence of this blog.

I could argue that I am documenting things for posterity and for my family to keep tabs on us. But if that is truly the case, why do that in the public sphere? I mean basically this blog can be summed up as an exercise in pride.

Look at me! Look what I sewed or made! I am so incredibly skilled and creative!

Look at my beautiful children and our awesome family and how funny and great we all are! Laugh hysterically at the hilarious things my kids say!

Look at how we are in no way poor and can basically do whatever we want with little consideration for cost or others in less fortunate situations.

Look at these awesome meals I cook! Look at how we eat awesome food and we are so great about supporting small farms and making the planet better through our food choices!

Look at the awesome photos I capture of our awesome life!

Look! Look! Look!

Oh and wait, don’t just look at how awesome I am (and my life is), please comment and tell me about it.

Feed the ego.

Please read my incredibly awesome thoughts on life and the world and parenting! Because I am awesome! I do things the right way! The only way! I am doing awesome at life!

It makes me sick. I am privileged beyond measure compared to much of this world and all I do is squander it and make a spectacle of myself with it.

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It’s time for another edition of, “I sewed a bunch of stuff”

These days my late night habit is sewing.

So here are some more projects I’ve made as seen in grainy Instagram iPhone photos in poor bathroom lighting (I finish these things late and it’s just about my only option).

One night Stephen spent hours on Facebook trying to organize his social media life. He reports he was successful and he now spends less time trying to sort through all the crap to get to the good stuff like family updates and photos. I am still firmly in the, “It’s a waste of time!” camp and chided him the entire time. I also was super productive and made this skirt which made me feel even better about deleting my account.

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It is a basic elastic-waist a-line skirt with two layers. I used Simplicity 1807 as a guide. The bottom layer was a Target dress that I used for my Wendy costume and didn’t care much for wearing because it made me think of PJs and it was slightly see-thru.

Stephen spent more time on Facebook that night blocking apps and certain types of updates and figuring out who his real friends are. So then I decided that my skirt would be better back as a dress and reattached the top.

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I love this mustard yellow fabric with the little white blossoms.

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Sprout kept asking me for a satchel because Flynn Rider (of Disney’s Tangled/Rapunzel fame) has one. I just signed the kids up for their fall dance classes (don’t judge, he’s been begging to be in dance like his big sister all year long, this isn’t me imposing on him) and figured a satchel would be perfect for him to carry his shoes in.

Side note: Cute itty-bitty feet in tap shoes!

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He picked Thomas the Train fabric for it and I found some canvas for the sturdy main body of the bag.

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I used McCall’s M6176 for the pattern. It turned out much bigger than I expected, but it will work. Oh and we’re not supposed to call it a bag. Sprout is very insistent, “It’s not a bag! It’s not a purse! It’s called! A! Satchel!” He also does the, “Whoa-ho-ho where’s my satchel?” line from the movie incessantly now whenever the thing is out of his sight.

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Saturday night Stephen did some work and I did some sewing.

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I made this dress which finally used up the last of some fabric my friend Talia gave to me years ago that I think she said she got at a yard sale for fifty cents. I combined my a-line skirt pattern (Simplicity 1807) with the military style bodice of a shirt pattern I used previously (Simplicity 2254).

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I think Bean just went through a growth spurt because suddenly half the items in her closet seem too short. Most importantly, her favorite brown “church dress.” It’s about dang time though, because seriously, she’s going to be four in a few weeks and that dress along with the others were meant for two-year-olds! Pipsqueak!

Anyway, I started looking around at dresses for her because she only ever wants to wear dresses. I made up a little board of inspiration in my Stylebook App on my iPhone.

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And I promptly got started knocking off what looked like the easiest for me to accomplish, the GAP Bow Bubble dress:

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I used Simplicity 5695 and instead of doing the hemmed ruffle on the bottom of the drop-waist body, I used a fold of gathered satin. It actually made this dress somewhat easier because I didn’t have to do a hem. The bow was my arch nemesis though. I definitely need to take some lessons in bow-making from my friends that make awesome ones (ahem, Morgan) Bean is in love with it this morning.

I have more projects, as always, in the works. For now, this is it.

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Prince Charming

On our first anniversary (almost eight years ago), we decided to spend a few days at Disneyland. In the shop that now is home to the Bippity Boppity Boutique in Fantasyland, there used to be a shop that had costumes and things for princesses AND princes. I remember thinking that the Prince Charming costume and other boy costumes they had there were so adorable. I remember seeing a couple siblings dressed up in the park that day as well as little boys all on their own as their favorite prince (and a couple dragons). Since then everything has become princess-only for girls and the boy stuff revolves around Cars. The boy fairytale costumes are non-existent. Obviously this decision is profitable or Disney wouldn’t do it, but it bums me out.

A couple weeks ago I decided I wanted to make Sprout a Prince Charming costume. I realized I pretty much had almost everything I would need. I kind of had an idea of what I would do and how it would work, but looked around on the Internet for some tutorials as a reference and came across this great one by Ashley at Make It and Love it. I read through it, headed to the craft store for all of our embellishments and then got to work cutting out the pieces right away.

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My advantage for this project was that I already had a suit that fit Sprout to use as a pattern guide (Thanks Cara for all your great hand-me-downs, as always). I used cream colored felt for the jacket because I had a ton of it from when I thought I was going to make hand embroidered Norweigan slippers for all the girls in my family one year. I also had a bunch of red fabric that I had been planning to use for various boy sewing projects, some of which I used for the cape and hat in the Prince Philip costume.

I did decide to do some slightly different things than she did in the tutorial. I backed all my gold stripes with some of the blue sparkly fabric I had leftover from the Cinderella costume. It was kind of a way to tie the two character costumes together, which is an old theater/movie trick where two characters that the viewers are supposed to associate together wear similar tones or the same colors. I also used some pre-made “frog” closures for the front of the coat (notions were on sale that day at JoAnn’s and I took full advantage). I also had trouble making the epaulets the way she described and wound up reading a few different tutorials on the subject in order to make mine.

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All the thick fabric layers and notions definitely gave the machine quite a workout. I don’t even know how many different needles broke during the course of the project. Sometimes it seemed like one every few minutes. I was getting pretty frustrated. I finally found some heavy duty needles and stopped having so many problems.

Sprout and his cousin were fighting over who got to be Prince Charming this morning so we did photo shoots with both of them in between wiping noses 500 times due to our second round of summer colds. Fun times.

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Nadia’s Greek Salad

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Nadia is my new Greek friend. My from Greece, Greek friend with the most awesome accent ever. And the food she makes. Oh my gosh you guys. It’s insane.

She made this salad the first night I met her. She kept loading my plate up with it. “I don’t take ‘no’ for an answer,” she said. Then she proceeded to make me a to-go plate for later.

Someone was brave enough to ask her for her recipes. Someone else chided that she’d never reveal her secrets. Nadia said, “You just take your vegetables and your parsley, the pita and some lemon juice and you mix it all together.”

So that’s pretty much what I did because I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it ever since and I had to have it again.

Nadia’s Greek Salad
-1 whole wheat pita, toasted and chopped into bite-sized pieces
-1 bell pepper, chopped
-1 heart of Romaine, chopped
-1 handful spinach, chopped
-1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
-1 small package cherry tomatoes, cut in half
-1 heaping handful finely chopped parsley
-1 package Persian cucumbers, chopped (I got these at Trader Joes, there were 5-6 in the package)
-juice of 1-2 lemons
-a couple glugs of olive oil
-salt to taste

In a bowl, toss vegetables, parsley, and pita with lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Allow salad to sit and marinate together for a few minutes so all the flavors meld.

Nadia’s salad pretty much used parsley in place of the lettuce and spinach. I decided to make my version not quite as strongly flavored. I added a small handful of Trader Joe’s Quatro Formaggio shredded cheese. A more authentic Greek salad would probably have Feta. Nadia’s salad did not have any. I think her salad may not have had olive oil either. I am not completely sure though.

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Citrus Classic Balloon Festival Part 5: Airshow

I have had this post in my drafts for a bit, it was supposed to publish with the others, but I wasn’t quite finished with it. So here it is a little later.

After we returned from downtown Santa Paula, there was a small airshow put on by the plane enthusiasts from Santa Paula Airport. My sister brought her lenses with her that day and I got to play with them. I had fun trying to get shots of all the neat planes. There were also two people that landed in parachutes. When warning everyone to get out of the center of the field, the announcer kept refering to them as “meat missles” which was funny and awkward at the same time.

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On greener pastures.

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So much of my life is ruled by the Western mindset.

We have a house we still own and are considering moving back into after our apartment lease is up. We’ve talked about putting the baby in our walk-in closet because it is just that huge and each kid having their own room for the time being would make things like bedtime so much easier.

When I think about that house, though, after living in much smaller apartments for the last 3.5 years, it just seems like too much. Too much space, too much kitchen, too much everything. I don’t even know what I will do with myself if we move back in.

Then part of me wants something else entirely. A place where I can have chickens. Outside space far from neighbors.

And part of me is happy right where we are at. We don’t need more. More feels too extravagant. We don’t deserve it. Lots of people have a lot less. Further, I like being right in the center of things. I like my husband coming home for lunch every day. Our favorite grocery store is just up the street. On the flip side of that coin, I don’t want to get trapped in the mindset that “the other section of town” is just “so far” away. I just spent the last three years traveling between 8 different cities on a regular basis for everything from midwives to preschool and shopping. It really isn’t that big of a deal to drive across town.

A trip to the park leaves me scouring the real estate ads, always wanting something else. Greener pastures. Pastures in general would be nice.

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I feel like I am constantly learning that life has so many unintended consequences and paths. It is a hard lesson. I could never have imagined the turns our lives have taken these past few months one year ago.

In some ways, I feel like we are right where we should be. There are so many things about this place that I missed, so many people. It is really nice being in a familiar place again where I don’t feel like a stranger all the time. Where friendly people greet me as they walk by in the park and faces of friends and acquaintances greet me at the grocery store or Target.

People keep asking me how I am and how I like being back. I never really know what to say. My whole insides feel like this jumble of emotions that I can’t seem to make sense of.

There is still this emotional detox happening to me. What just happened? Was what we did the “right” thing to do? Will life ever be the same? Why are we here again? Where are we going? What is next?

These are some of the questions that haunt me constantly. I know much of it is a waiting game and will sort itself out in time.

I am privileged to even get to ponder such philosophic nonsense. How ridiculous of me. God grant me grace and mercy.

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On Sprout my little heart melter.

Oh my little Sprout. Let me tell you about this boy.

Loves nature and being outdoors. A fierce defender against creepy crawlies that find their way into our house or near us, “Der’s a bug! I’m gunna get it!”

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Fiercely stubborn and slightly scared about certain things, which is why potty training was derailed and then took so long to finally be done. We had to push through some issues and it was a major fight, but it is finally over and he totally gets it now, possibly better than his sister (the last few nights he’s even had dry PullUps!). One night after we’d finally had some success, he snuggled in, looked up at me and said in the most heart melty voice and smiliest face possible, “Mama, you were so proud of me today.”

He loves to help me in the kitchen and around the house. He hates cleaning up his toys though.

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Some days are hard. He can be so emotional sometimes. He talks a lot, but if he is upset it just turns into a meltdown of epic proportions where incomprehensible gibberish and screams become his favored form of communication. And hitting and kicking.

He is incredibly silly. Everything is a joke to him.

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He loves the ladies. When we leave the ballet studio it is usually with him waving and calling out, “Bye girls!”

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He wants to be big. He wants to be in the Olympics and he wants to be a Dodger. We’ve been watching and he claps for Team USA and tries to mimic the events. Today we had a track meet in the living room.

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He’s becoming more self aware. He discovered his birth marks on his legs the other day and could not stop checking them out.

“Mama, what’s this?”
“Your birthmark, I already told you that, silly.”
“Oh, my birthmark? From God? Oh.”

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I cut his hair yesterday and he checks himself out in the mirror every time we go into the bathroom. It is usually accompanied by something along the lines of, “You cut my hair and combed it and now I’m so handsome. I’m so handsome now, Mama.”

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Bed time is always chaotic. It usually starts with the announcement that it is time to clean up toys and put on jammies and then all the crazy comes out. It’s this second wind of insanity which includes hyperactivity not seen at these levels at any other point in the day, demonic hoarse voices because they get so hyped up they start screeching and losing their voice, and giggling that leaves them slightly blue-lipped and gasping for air. It continues through prayers in which we feel more like jungle gyms than parents. Then we get them into bed which usually includes at least one screaming and crying meltdown before they settle down and start to snuggle.

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Tonight Sprout finally curled up into the “C” my body was forced into in order to fit on the futon. Then he rolled his head back, looked into my face and in that sweet heart melting voice said, “Mama, you love me,” before he sighed one last big sigh and fell asleep.

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