Monday, October 31, 2011

halloween, unwrapped

well, in a stunning change of disposition, sam was quite enthused about wearing his costume today. according to our daycare provider sam was one of the first kids into his costume this morning, and when i asked him to take it off so he could eat some dinner, he told me he didn't want to take it off. go figure.
by the time i got home from work sam and daddy had handed out more than 2/3 of the candy we'd bought, and they quickly took off to do some trick-or-treating on their own. mike said that sam was quiet, but he remembered to say "trick-or-treat" and "thank you" and that he walked all the way on his own. according to sam he had a really good time. he also said, "sammys don't like twizzlers."

Sunday, October 30, 2011

twas the night before halloween...

our pumpkin is carved, our seeds are roasting, and sam's costume is complete (finished five whole days before halloween this year, thankyouverymuch). i even spent a little time making myself a fall mask out of leftover felt, though when sam asked what my costume was going to be i said i was going to wear his cape from last year and be super mommy. he had the good sense not to argue.
tomorrow he'll wake bright and early (or dark and early, as the case may be), and head off to daycare where he'll be participating in their halloween parade (a walk around the block in costume), and will be capping off his festivities by handing out candy and a little trick-or-treating with daddy.
i'll have photos of him in costume (assuming he actually wears the costume) tomorrow, so stay tuned for photos. so far sam has been less than keen on his special halloween outfit. the lesson he should take away from this is that when mom asks you what you want to be for halloween, come up with something other than "sam", or she will, and you may not like the result.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

sam the celebrity

do you recognize this photo?

janice (my boss) was encouraging me to do a cover comp for an upcoming book using this photo of sam. i was pretty sure that the group wouldn't go for it (there's usually a lot of discussion about having just one kid or ethnicity on anything we do and blah blah blah). but about 15 minutes before the meeting, i gave in and worked up a cover with sam on it. as soon as the group saw it (and they're not the easiest group to please, let me tell you), the unanimous statement was, "that's it. that's the cover."

so sam is not only co-starring in illustrations, he's now a full-fledged model.

good to know that i'm not just filling up memory cards for nothin'.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

reference material

an illustration i did for a book being published this fall on the subject of teaching children to appreciate and care for our world and all the creatures in it.

photos of sam during a visit to squire's castle and the metroparks (a.k.a. reference material)

cover illustration for the book. can you find the sam in this picture?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

trucks!—an artist's rendering

earlier this month, sam started drawing things that actually look like stuff. well, when it comes to trucks anyway. i can't recall any evidence that he can draw things other than trucks (unless you count cars), but i'm still pretty impressed.

in other news, i finally took the time to hang up sam's rotating art gallery. it will feature new drawings by the artist on a semi-quarterly basis, or whenever i get around to changing the pictures. he's quite prolific, though his medium of choice seems to be the magna-doodle (which has saved lots of paper and wall space).

stats @ 2.5

(sam showing off his post-freezepop tongue)

for posterity, i thought i'd post sam's two-and-a-half-year-old stats (from a month ago):
height — 35.75 inches (40th percentile)
weight — 27.44 pounds (23rd percentile)

the numbers make him sound kind of small, but he certainly doesn't seem small to me (particularly when i need to carry him for any length of time). it may, however, be his larger than average personality that makes him seem SO BIG!

p.s. the doctor didn't actually measure his personality, but by my estimates, he's way past the 100th percentile for that one.

oglebay 2011

seven weeks ago today we left for our annual trip to oglebay with mike's family. it was a great, busy week full of walking, mini-golfing, golfing (for the big kids), paddleboats, swimming, and all kinds of fun. sam was particularly interested in the miniature train display at the good zoo (which he still mentions regularly), and the model rocket launching (also mentioned regularly).

a few of my favorite quotes from sam from that week:

me (looking at sam's drawing): what are you drawing?
sam: mommy tell you.*
me: it looks like a dog.
sam: oh yeah!

sam's rocket countdown (overheard from across the room): one…two…three…four…five…three…two…one…blastoff!

* footnote: "mommy tell you" was sam's way of saying "i don't know", and came from my asking if he'd "like mommy to tell you?"
he has since dropped this phrase and now simply says "i don't know."

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

tunes for tuesday—whoops!

i almost forgot to post yesterday's choice bit of music. this was my pick, but sam whole-heartedly approved. i don't think he's quite old enough for doctor who yet, but i'm so bringing him along on that nerdfest when he is.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

celebrating the end of "neglect your blog" month

did you know that august is the official "neglect your blog" month? well it certainly was around here. i even made a list of things to blog about, but didn't want to ruin the celebration with needless posting.
alas, now that we're nearing the end of the month, i thought i'd at least let you know that we're still alive and whatnot, and will be posting many entertaining tidbits about things that happened in august (unless we keep up the celebration into october—which is somewhat likely).

also, i've decided to declutter (to a certain degree, anyway), and am getting rid of a few paintings/doodles that we no longer have homes for (above). they're gouache on paper, and if you (or anyone you know) are interested in owning any or all of these, leave a comment or drop me an email and i'll send them out directly.

talk to you in september!

tunes for tuesday

what we're listening to today (while playing run, run, catch):

Phoenix - Lisztomania from 35east on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tunes for Tuesday

i know i missed a couple of tuesdays recently, so i'm doing a cluster today from TSO photography. they're actually videos, but i kinda love the music that goes with them too.

The Mountain from TSO Photography on Vimeo.

The Arctic Light from TSO Photography on Vimeo.

The Aurora from TSO Photography on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

tunes for tuesday

this week we have another pick from sam (if you couldn't tell, sam totally recommends the they might be giants podcasts for kids.):

Sunday, July 24, 2011

staycation postcards - free download!

i've been wanting to do a few projects like this for a while, sort of a giveaway without all the mucking about with comments and winners. so...this is my first (what i would consider) really good free download—the staycation postcards. i thought this might be good for anyone who isn't going anywhere in particular this summer, but would like to send a nice note to family about what they HAVE been up to (just because you're not going to some fabulous destination doesn't mean you haven't done wonderful, fun things afterall).
so all you have to do to win (ha!), is download the pdf here, print it out (i recommend printing on cardstock)...

then score...



and glue together. voila!

two notes: my printer has water soluble ink, so if the postcards get wet, they'll run. if you're really concerned, you can always use them with envelopes. AND i designed these to be a bit oversize (5" x 7"), so they're going to require a little extra postage. you can always scale them down when you print to get them within the USPS regulations for standard postcard rates, but that's up to you.

Friday, July 22, 2011

recently—a lengthy recap of semi-interesting tidbits having to do with sam

last thursday sam capped off a day of playing "let's test mommy's patience" by being sent to bed early. an hour later i found him coated head-to-toe in buttpaste in his big, red chair (which was also coated in buttpaste—along with large splootches on the floor, wall, and smeared on the window).


sam has recently become quite the conversationalist, often referring to his favorite topics:
"how is your day good?", "daddy? you big daddy?", and "mommy? you big mommy?" (the last two topics to be used when mike and i are having a conversation with each other, and not with him). however, every once in a while, he'll come up with something new and unexpected. for example, a conversation we had earlier today:

sam: i am here now
me: yes. i'm glad you're here now. i'd be sad if you weren't here.
sam: you lost at store.
me: i'd be lost at the store if you weren't here?
sam: *nods knowingly*

interesting. and another:
sam: i'm going zoo. my hair is too long. and blond also.
me: ?


we have invested in a small, inflatable pool for the backyard. originally we thought we'd get a summer family pass for the public pool, but i really couldn't see myself getting all geared up to hang out knowing that we'd probably be there 10 minutes before sam would be too bored, or too cold, or start having meltdowns because some kid has a better toy than he does or someone splashed him or the fountains were too scary, etc. so we have been playing in the pool in the hot mornings before lunch. afterward we've been having freeze-pops on the front porch. sam thinks this is the bees knees.


today we found a (deceased) cicada on the driveway. sam must have found it relatively interesting, because he kept asking to go back out and stare at it.


we also made chocolate chip cookies. sam is a great helper when it comes to dumping things in the mixer, though he has a hard time waiting for the "taste testing" portion of helping.


sam has also been doing a lot more scenarios when playing with me and his cars and trucks. recently it he wants to play "let's go to the zoo" or "it's time to get new trailers!" the games are still not exactly thrilling, but they are getting more involved (i.e. have to come up with dialogue. i never thought i'd need practice conversing with cars.)


last wednesday sam got into trouble at daycare for following around his friend tabitha and taking anything away from her that she wanted to play with (this apparently encompassed any leaf she managed to find on the ground). our daycare provider said that he'd probably be better if he had a sibling. thanks for the advice. apparently she's never heard him fighting with HIMSELF in the backseat of the car over which hand gets to hold the toy first. the boy doesn't need a sibling. he needs a therapist.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

tunes for tuesday

sam and i are big music fans. i am constantly looking for something new to listen to, and sam is usually looking for something to sing (i was pretty distraught a couple of weeks ago when my mp3 player threatened to kick the bucket, let me tell you). so, i thought it would be fun to start a "tunes for tuesday" post. sometimes they'll be my picks, sometimes sam's, but i think it will be fun to go hunting for new music to share and i hope you agree.
my pick for this first tunes for tuesday:

Saturday, July 9, 2011

whoa buddy…let's back that blog up a minute

here are a few of my favorite photos from the fourth of july weekend.
we really had a fabulous/busy one (as usual).

summer accessories

i'll admit it. i bought one of those straw hats/fedoras i've been seeing on other bloggers' "must have summer fashion" posts (well, a cheaper version, anyway). i still haven't had the courage to wear it outside the house, but i have been admiring it sitting in a corner of my bedroom (and occasionally on my head in front of the mirror). i've been mostly relying on my extensive (some might say "excessive") collection of scarves and homemade bead necklaces for a bit of summer accessorization (if it wasn't a word, it is now).
do you read those "must have" posts? if so, what have you been coveting? if not, what is your "go to" accessory that gets pulled out every summer?

Friday, July 1, 2011

and our winner is… has chosen missy! congrats!

i was so glad to have a few new visitors, and hopefully i'll be doing another handmade giveaway soon!

have a sweet holiday weekend

i baked a batch of good ol' "to my valentine" oatmeal cookies for mike's fourth of july work cookout today. this is probably my most favorite iced cookie recipe because they not only look really fun and festive, but they have a bit more flavor than a sugar cookie (sam performed the quality control for me, of course.)
i'm sure i've blogged about these cookies before, but i'm not sure if i included the recipe or not. so here it is, just in case:

To My Valentine Oatmeal Cookies

2½ cups flour 2 Tbs milk

1 tsp baking powder 1 egg

½ tsp salt 1 tsp vanilla

¾ cup sugar 1 cup oats

¾ cup butter or margarine

1) sift dry ingredients into bowl

2) add butter, sugar, milk, egg, and vanilla; beat until combined, about 2 minutes

3) add oats and mix well

4) roll to ¼ inch thick and cut into hearts (or stars)

5) bake on a greased cookie sheet at 350° (moderate) 12–15 minutes or until lightly browned

6) frost with a glaze made from powdered sugar, vanilla, food coloring, and enough milk to make a spreading consistency

(you can download a recipe card here.)

we're off to visit family and eat yummy stuff, celebrate a birthday or two, and see some fireworks. huzzah! what are your plans?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

shaun the sheep

this morning, sam was very keen to watch the dvd of shaun the sheep that we (or more precisely, i) got from the library. so, later on when he wanted to investigate the cottonballs from the bathroom, i thought it would be more fun to make our own shaun.
i got out some construction paper and glue, and sam collected some of the cottonballs. a little less than 10 minutes later, sam was pleased to have his very own sheep. i think he was quite proud of his cottonball-gluing abilities, and i was quite proud of the fact that when i asked him to clean up the cottonballs, he not only put all the unusued ones back in the container, he even carried the container up to the bathroom and put it away.
i thought this might be a fun activity for other kids, so i made a pdf available for download here. enjoy!

(sam and shaun)

and for anyone who doesn't know about shaun the sheep, here's a little introductory video:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

summer roasted veg

so by now you probably know that i'm all about the roasted veg, right? this is my new variation on the theme—the summer roasted veg. and it's quite delicious, if i say so myself (which of course, i do).

the most important part of this recipe is the dressing. namely, the maple grove farms fat free balsamic vinaigrette. (if it's possible to love a brand of dressing, then i surely love maple grove farms' fat free dressings. they are pretty much the only dressings that i will eat. i'd rather have my salad with no dressing than not have one of these. in fact, before i discovered these, that's exactly what i had, naked salads.)

so, you cut up your vegetables (i like zucchini, summer squash, peppers, onion, tomatoes, and sometimes mushrooms) and put them in a bowl. drizzle with your dressing, kosher salt, some garlic powder, and some dried basil, then stir until everything is coated. (note: i go a little easier on the dressing than others probably would, so just use your best judgement and you'll be fine.) spread everything in a roasting pan lined with foil (hooray for foil!), and pop it into a 375 degree oven for 50–60 minutes.

i served mine over a bed of baby spinach (surprise!) and sprinkled with a handful of red kidney beans (rinsed and drained), and it was about as awesome as i could've imagined. of course, i actually think vegetables are dang tasty, so you gotta keep that in mind.

try it, you might just find that you'll like the taste of veggies too!

Friday, June 24, 2011

first ever giveaway

missy just finished up her first giveaway, and since i've been thinking about doing something like this for a long time (a very long time), here it is. finally.

plus, i've been making more of these pins than i'd ever manage to wear because, honestly, they're just FUN.

this pin is about an inch and a half in diameter. not too big, not too small, and is a light blue-lavender with soft sage leaves. it would look great pinned on a sun bonnet or cute cardigan.

so, to enter, just leave a comment below and tell me what your last favorite crafty project was (if you have one. and making delicious food counts. according to me, at least.) i'll be picking a random winner next friday (july 1st).

home-y, minty mint tea

when i was growing up, there was always a huge patch of mint threatening to take over half of mom's garden. i remember her fussing about it every once in a while (and she has since removed all or most of it), but i always thought that there could be things much worse taking over the backyard.
so, knowing full well what was in store for me, i planted my own mint in our backyard. and it is now threatening to take over. i, however, find this kind of home-y and familiar (funny how that stuff works). i mean, it's not like it's a batch of thistles, right?
i was working in the yard yesterday, trimming the shrubs and pulling weeds, when i thought "i really should make some mint tea. i haven't had mint tea in AGES." so i did. and it was delightful. and easy.

first, i picked some mint from my overflowing supply (see above).

then i washed it and trimmed off the leaves using my kitchen scissors.

i put my clean mint leaves in an old canning jar, filled the jar with water, and zapped it in the microwave for about two minutes. then i sealed it up so it could steep.

in the meantime, sam asked me to "picture him." here he is saying "cheese and fuzzy pickles!" i love him so.

and here is my lovely tea. i usually just use a strainer and dump it into my ugly 32oz plastic cup that i got at the hospital when sam was born, but for the sake of aesthetics, here it is in a pretty glass.
i'm kind of in love with the mint tea. it's more interesting than water, and there's no caffeine or anything so i can drink LOADS without guilt. plus, it makes my mouth minty fresh with every sip!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

better homes — whole wheat bread

i made this bread today because we were out of bread (again). it turned out pretty well (not as good as last time). i think i may have jumped the gun and didn't let it rise quite enough (i didn't fully read the instructions this time). sam, however, seems to be happy enough to eat a few slices of this slightly less-than-perfect loaf.

whole wheat bread (from the better homes cook book, handed down from auntie)—makes two loaves
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons shortning (i used a combination of smart balance and olive oil)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 to 3 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  1. soften active dry yeast in 1/4 cup warm water. combine hot water, sugar, salt, and shortening; cool to lukewarm
  2. stir in whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the white flour; beat well
  3. stir in softened yeast and add enough of the rest of the white flour to make a moderately stiff dough. knead until soft and satiny (about 10–12 minutes)
  4. shape into a ball and put in lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface
  5. cover and let rise in warm place till double (about 90 minutes)
  6. punch down, cut in two portions and shape each into a smooth ball. cover and let rest 10 minutes
  7. shape in loaves and place in greased loaf pans. let rise about 75 minutes, until double
  8. bake in moderate oven (375 degrees) about 45 minutes. cover loosely with foil for last 20 minutes if loaves brown too quickly.
  9. brush with butter after removing from pans
  10. enjoy!

camping! — hocking hills

last weekend we went camping with my older brother and his family. they're experienced campers and were so organized (and also had great equipment), so it was really great for us (the semi-newbies) to tag along. angie organized the food and chris organized the hiking, and all we had to do was join in the fun. it was AWESEOME. plus, sam was overjoyed to get the chance to hang out with his cousin abby—as much as he enjoyed sleeping in the tent, eating marshmallows, throwing rocks in the water, and sitting in chris and angie's van, i think his favorite part was by FAR hanging out with cousins. (and by the way, i think he's adopted dylan, gavin's friend, as one of the cousins.)

we did get a bit of rain (basically anything that was in the tent was somewhere between damp and soaked), but i was feeling so relaxed and good when we got home that the fact that i had about four loads of laundry to do didn't bother me a smidge.

i definitely think that camping in a gang is absolutely the way to go, and now i can't wait to go camping again!


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