Newest posts from my new blog

Thursday, September 24, 2009

This blog has moved!

I created this blog on a whim about eleven months ago. Since then I’ve discovered the beauty of the online blogging community. I have found both inspiration and encouragement from my fellow bloggers.

My blog has evolved beyond what I initially envisioned, and I find myself looking for greater flexibility and user-friendliness for my readers. So, I have decided (with encouragement and a LOT of help from my computer guru husband) to move over to a self-hosted blog. All of the posts and comments from this blog have been transferred to my new site.

I hope you will join me at my new (online) home, mamasmiles.com. Thank you for all of your fantastic comments, support, suggestions, and input here over the past eleven months!

A long overdue thank you!

gift set from LiErMANY weeks ago, I got this lovely package from the incredibly talented LiEr at ikat bag with these beautiful bibs, my favorite nursing cover ever, and (knowing that I like to sew) a fleece ball kit to put together for the soon-to-arrive baby Lily.

That Saturday, Emma and I spent some time together deciding how to arrange the ball panels and which ribbons to put where. We pinned everything together and then set it aside to sew up the next day.

Instead of sewing, I spent Sunday evening in the hospital, with Lily arriving shortly before dawn Monday morning. Since said project was full of pins, I was careful to put it in a safe place before leaving.

Or so I thought. If you haven’t already figured out, this was the sewing project I’ve ranted about a few times on this blog. Thankfully Johnny unearthed it during a recent self entertainment episode (so much for putting it in a “safe place”). I have no idea where it was, but thankfully he brought it to me without getting into any of the pins. I was happy to have it back, and we sewed it up into a beautiful fleece ball:

fleece ball from LiEr Lily is just starting to show a slight interest in toys, so in the meantime Emma is doing her best to relive her own babyhood:

Emma with fleece ball

Thank You, LiEr!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Personality

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pattern blocks: Beyond templates

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I blog about pattern blocks quite a bit. They are currently my favorite educational toy, and this is one of the (many) reasons why. Emma called me in the other day and said, “Mama, look at my robot!” I went in, and she had created this beautiful robot. She went on to explain that she gave the robot a skirt, because the robot is a girl.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Three Under Four

Johnny and Lily

I always feel like my babies graduate from the newborn phase at around seven weeks. Lily turns seven weeks old today, so today I’m in a reflective mood. A few thoughts from the first seven weeks with three children under four:

  • Going with the flow is the surest path to happiness for children and parents.
  • My children are happiest when I only schedule one outing (e.g., grocery shopping, story time at the library, play date, doctor visit, etc) per day.
  • Outings are simplest in the morning, before the time when my children should be (but usually are not) napping.
  • Non-naps can be a good thing when they result in earlier bedtimes.
  • Beautiful fall weather is a blessing.
  • Emma has grown into the capable role of the big sister – but she’s still only three and a half years old.
  • Johnny has moved from being jealous of me holding Lily because he wants to be held to being jealous of me holding Lily because he wants to hold Lily.
  • Baby smiles are the best.
  • Children grow up way too fast.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Bicycle Mud Guards (and giveaway winner)

Eleven years ago today, Mike and I met for the first time on our way to freshman orientation. We went on a long walk that night, and two years’ worth of walks later were engaged and then married a year after that. According to Mike, we never dated, but for our one-month “we’re not dating” anniversary he bought me a gift.

Sure, mud guards for a bike aren’t a traditional gift, but they were much appreciated. We were in Northern California, and it was raining a lot. And who knows when I would have found room in my budget to buy them myself… The mud guards were sold with my bike to a graduate student who, when bidding for my bike against another grad student, rejected my offer of a second price sealed bid auction (where the highest bidder pays the second-highest price), insisting instead on the winner paying the higher bid. And this was an economics graduate student in one of the highest ranking economics programs in the country. No wonder our country is suffering an economic crisis. And no, he wasn’t hitting on me; I was married and selling my “husband’s bike” because when I tried to sell a men’s bicycle as my own nobody wanted to buy it…

Thank you to everyone who entered, I got a lot of entertainment out of your answers. Random.org chose Katrina, whose use of logic I quite liked anyhow. Congratulations, Katrina!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

No-sew Fabric-covered box

Being my frugal self, I tend to store toys in cardboard boxes. They work great, but aren’t terribly attractive. Here are the results of a recent attempt to beautify the playroom. If you want to be super-thrifty, use a water-soluble glue so you can peel off, wash, and re-use the fabric once the box wears out. I can guarantee that I’ll at least consider doing that…

MATERIALS:

  • Cardboard box
  • Fabric
  • Craft glue
  • Duct tape (optional)
  • Scissors to cut fabric
  • sharp knife or exacto blade

Steps:

1) Cut flaps off of box.

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2) Figure out how much fabric you need to cover the outside and inside of box and cut two pieces – one for the outside and another for the inside. The fabric should overlap each edge 1-2 inches.

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3) Put craft glue on bottom of box.

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4) Center fabric on inside of box and press into glue. Add glue to top inside edges of box.

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5) Attach fabric. You could trim the corners before this step, but then you risk fabric fraying. We left ours intact, which is why it bunches a bit in each corner. I think it looks good that way, but this might bother a perfectionist.

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6) Secure liner fabric to the outside of the box either with craft glue or duct tape. We used duct tape (I love duct tape), but failed to get a picture thanks to “must remove duct tape from all surfaces” Johnny.

7) Center the piece of fabric for the outside of the box. If you want you can glue the fabric to the bottom; we skipped this step but it might help keep the fabric in place.

8) glue outside fabric to the inside of the box, tucking under the edges to prevent fraying. Glue the sides first, and then fold in the extra fabric on the ends before gluing the edges. Any extra fabric that you don’t catch this way can be tucked in after gluing.

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9) Add toys. Or three-year-olds.

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These boxes would be even easier to make if you skipped the craft glue and went straight to duct tape. I didn’t do this because 1) we only have the traditional silver duct tape and none of the pretty colored stuff and 2) for some reason Johnny has an irresistible urge to remove duct tape from surfaces. Maybe it’s the challenge of peeling it off?