Summer Hydrangeas

Summer ROCKS. I can't describe the utter joy I feel to be in the middle of summer! It's warm outside, everything is in bloom, and I forgot what this kind of joy feels like!

Anyway - I took a picture of the hydrangea blooms right outside my front door yesterday. They're SO big, beautiful, and perfect! I would cut them all off and bring them inside to grace my table but I like how they splash color in my flower beds - so I'll leave them alone for a while.

(Also, I was goofing off with my camera and took these shots with the hood over my lens. Since the flowers were in a shady part, the hood helped block out light, which made everything around the flower darker. Cool trick, eh?!)

I took the kids for a walk yesterday and took a few pics along the way. Amazing beauty all around us - how cool!

And WHY do I like this garden mushroom thingie? I don't know, but I absolutely love it!!! I keep waiting for little gnomes to peek out from behind, wearing something bright and colorful!

This gigantic spruce tree is SO big - I had to share this photo. My kids are on the bottom left of this picture (sorry it's so bright). I couldn't fit the entire tree in the picture, nor did I feel like scooting backwards any further into this woman's yard in order to get the top of the tree - but you get the idea. It's HUGE! I love these giant spruces. The kids are a little freaked out because I told them that giant trolls live inside, waiting for someone to get close enough...

Mr. Robin stopped by on our walk to say hello.

And...at any moment, Mr. Rogers is going to pop out of his house wearing his "outdoor" sweater and shoes and wave a merry 'hello' to us! Ahh - that would be the perfect ending to our perfect neighborhood walk! What a day!


My $2 Chair

It doesn't get any better than this, girls. I snagged this A-MA-ZING children's rocking chair for $2.00! I know, I know, it really sounds too good to be true, but I can assure you that I am not imagining this. I didn't even have the heart to offer the woman selling the chair less money like I always do. I just held up the chair, handed her the FULL PRICE, and loaded this beauty proudly into my mini-van. Definitely one of my finest moments.

Now where to put it...


Good Times

We just wrapped up an AMAZING week of vacation with family. My brother-in-law (husband's brother), his cute wife, and adorable baby drove up from Missouri to come hang with us for a week. (She, too, is a fellow Thatcher girl and was a few years younger than me but I was great friends with her brother all through high school.)

Anyway - we loved every minute with them. They are quite possibly the easiest people to be around in the entire world!

My little nephew, The T-Man. I love this kid - he is only 5 months old but completely rocks. Everybody fell in love with this little guy!

We had a campfire one evening and we actually had to put jackets on!!! Crazy. Never, in my entire life, have I had to wear a jacket in June!!! But I'm not complaining - I LOVE SUMMER!!!

Another cute distraction:

My sister-in-law and I went to another friend's house and took some picture of her new baby. He had this amazing full head of blond hair! Out of all of the babies I've seen in my lifetime, I've only seen that one other time! And I never take pictures of newborns, so this was a lot of fun for me.

More distractions:

My neighbors peonies were too irresistible! They are quite possibly the world's most beautiful, flawless flower!!! They were only in bloom for about a week and now the flowers are dead and gone.

So I'm sad now that the party's over and it's back to work and reality again. HOWEVER! I can't even come close to expressing the sheer joy I feel for summer break!!! The kids and I are going to do some fun stuff, I don't have to be anywhere, pack lunches, or worry about making it to the bus on time!!! This is great.

Now back to work.


Missing Aprons

Many of you have not yet received your aprons - I'm so sorry for this delay. Because I have some family visiting from out-of-town, I'm not able to spend the time I need to go through the entire list and check off those of you who have sent your aprons. When I get a moment, I will do this, but please be patient with me!

If you haven't sent your apron yet, PLEASE send it or let your swap partner know what's going on. It's not fair for them to have to wait without knowing where their apron is. If you need their email address, let me know.



It's Off!

So it took a while, but I'm done and it's off in the mail. I LOVE this apron - it was hard to part with it! It's a little bit funky, a little bit girly, and ready for some serious cookin!

The apron is reversible, so it has 2 different looks.

This little brooch is my favorite part!!! I found some huge snaps at the craft store and I stitched them on in order for the apron to be washable, as well as for the brooch to be worn on both sides of the apron.

I had so much fun, despite the crazy, hectic world swirling all around me! And, as we speak, I've got family visiting so I'm off to go play!



Please don't hate me!!! I am working on my aprons and they're almost done!!! Maybe they'll make it in the mail tomorrow (the 10th) but I'm trying not to stress out completely. How pathetic, huh?! I set a date and can't even make it! FORGIVE me!

I haven't had time to comment on the aprons, but you've GOT to check out the amazing work all of the girls have done. Click here to get to the Flickr site!

Thanks for all of the updates for those of you who have mailed off your aprons! Also, to clear something up, we are not trading straight across with someone. You should mail your apron to your swap buddy and someone else will be mailing an apron to you. I hope that makes sense.

I can't wait to rest and relax soon! School is almost out which means 1.) I get to sleep in a little and 2.) I don't have to put a bra on until noon!!!


Still Kickin'

Whew! I'm wiping sweat off of my forehead, but this crazy week is almost over. I'M STILL WORKING ON MY APRONS - so sorry. I'm sure everyone here could understand. But in case you're worried that I've been sitting around - here's what's been going down...

These baby photos are some that I took of "Baby J" for some birth announcements I'm making. The photo shoot was SO much fun - they're for a very dear friend, so I'm thrilled to do it for her.

What a cute little guy, eh?! He's got beautiful red hair - hard to see in the photo.

Jen, I PROMISE I'll get the announcements done before he's walking - I swear!!!

My oldest had a birthday - I love this kid!!! He's CRAZY about the National Treasure movies and the whole idea about secrets hidden in our historic places leading to huge treasure hunts! He's waited since DECEMBER for this to come out on DVD.

Then was the zoo trip - very fun. All my daughter cared about was getting an ice cream cone and the gift shops. Sweet.

The next day, it was my little guy's birthday! (whew - are you sweating already with me?!) A tradition that I started was to decorate the table for each child the morning of their birthday. I have streamers hung from the entry and a cheap plastic table cloth, and their own themed plate and cup for their special birthday breakfast. There's usually a present or two (a birthday outfit or something) wrapped on the table, but this poor guy had to go with me to do his own birthday shopping!

The next day was the baby shower! SO much fun! Here is our group and they were all SUCH a blast to be with!!! (I hope they don't care that I've plastered their faces up here)

The baby girl stuff was SO much fun to look at and play with!

So here are a few photo highlights:

"Sugar and Spice" - lots of candy and yummy things to eat! Thanks, girls, for bringing some vittles!

You CAN'T have a girly event without colorful taffy!!! I've only eaten about a hundred of these.

My big bowl-a'-cherries. They're so pretty.

My new favorite thing - I found this silver serving tray at a local thrift/antique shop for $20!!! It all folds up so cute and I've got it as kitchen decor up on my cupboards!

Spiced nuts - because girls are nutty and spicy, right?

The amazing diaper cake! So cute!

One of my many projects this week - my baby gift. A blanket (instructions HERE), matching burpie and onesie. The onesie just has a square of fabric that is stitched about 1/4" from the edges. When it gets washed, the edges will fray, giving it a little shabby look.

And off I go - back to work!!!

Simple Inside-Out Baby Blanket

This blanket is just as easy as the "Simple Baby Blanket" I posted a while back. It may even be easier!

Start with 2 pieces of fabric, right sides together. Smooth them out and pin them together.

Something to keep in mind: I didn't realize that this particular fuzzy pink fleece works sort of like Velcro on the wrong side! I had a hard time working with the blanket once I had it all smoothed out and stitched together! It ended up working out okay in the end, but I'm just warning you! This would have been a good time to tie the blanket like a quilt with ties all throughout, but of course I didn't do that. Too complicated! Press forward, baby. That's what I say.

Starting about half-way down one side, stitch all the way around the blanket, leaving a large enough opening to turn the blanket right-side-out.

Trim the edges close to the stitching so you don't have bulk.

Now turn the blanket out!

Make sure you make your corners nice and sharp. I use scissors but there are fancy tools out there you could use. Be careful with fleece like this, though - you can puncture it very easily!

Something that I do to make the corner-sharpening easier is to put my scissors inside the blanket and then get my hand in the blanket to hold the scissors in order to work those corners.

Being careful not to MELT the fleece, iron the cotton surface all the way around the blanket, making your edges nice and sharp.

Now it's time to stitch. Because I'm a simple girl, I don't hand-stitch my opening closed. I pin the opening together nicely and then stitch as close to the edge as possible all the way around the blanket. And because I don't have a fancy "double needle" feature on my machine, I stitch once again around the blanket, using the previous stitching as my guide.

That's it - you could do a bunch of these at one time and keep them in your stockpile!

**Also, the onesie is done by stitching a square on the front about 1/4" from the edges. When it's washed, the square will fray on the edges, creating a "shabby" look.
**Here is the link to the burpie instructions


Birthday Week

INSANE! That's the one word that will sum up this week for me.

It's "Birthday Week" at my house, which means that three out of the five people in my little family have birthdays back-to-back. My boys are the 4th and the 6th and mine is the 8th. Needless to say, all I want for my birthday is to RELAX. I want to get totally wasted on a big 'ol bag of chocolates with caramel in the middle.

So to spice up my life, I threw in a baby shower on the 7th at my place, and I've got to have THREE aprons in the mail by Monday.


As if that weren't enough, my children's school has decided to throw together all of the year-end activities into ONE WEEK! We've had school musicals, a Zoo trip on Thursday, Field Day on Friday, and a BBQ next week.

That's it! When are they going to get on with this whole "cloning" thing, anyway? I could sure use another one of myself.

Thank goodness for humor, eh?! It's my drug.

Speaking of funny, I couldn't NOT share this card with you - it's too great. My brother sent this to me the other day and I couldn't stop laughing.

(On the inside) "Now go out there and show 'em what you've got."

If this isn't motivating, I don't know what is.

Back to work...