Friday, December 30, 2011

Basement Renos

To make room for the babe, my studio is moving out to the main part of the basement so M can move into that room and then we'll turn her room into the nursery. Here's how it's going so far:

First we packed up everything in the basement...
...ripped up the carpet, and the ugly end wall went, too.

Lots of the stuff ended up in my studio.

New carpet, new wall, and new cabinets & countertop!

Then we emptied the studio...

...into the basement that was oh so beautifully empty.

I'm busy finding new places for everything.  Yesterday we bought and hung new cabinets over my desk, and today Sean painted M's room.  It's moving quickly - we're grateful for holidays and feeling like we'll be ready in time. Got a car seat yesterday, too. :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Flubber - the best gift ever?

As usual, I found many of my gift ideas online - this one was no exception.  I planned to make some for some of the younger nephews, and kept some for Madeline to play with.  It was a hit at our place, at the Aitkens, in Grenfell with all the kids (M took her blob out there), and with the Friesens when they came.  Maybe next year everyone will get some!

M helped make the first batch.

All the kids loved it - the little ones were really funny.


We made another batch with the Friesens.

Silas' mad skills.

Six hands work better than two.

Can we get any more creative with it??
Here's the recipe for you (from this blog, via pinterest):

Mixture 1:
1 ½ cups warm water 2 cups Elmer’s Glue  
Food coloring

Mixture 2:
3 tsp Borax
1 cup warm water

Stir mixture 1 together in a bowl, and mixture 2 in another bowl. Make sure both are mixed well, then pour them together. 
There is no need to stir the mixture  because it is the chemical reaction that actually makes the flubber, but you can if you want.  It's kind of hard to resist.  When it is in a glob, work it for 2-3 minutes. Initially it feels wet but it eventually dries up to the final product.

(If you live in Regina and want 3 tsp of Borax instead of buying the whole box, I'd be happy to share!)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I've had lots to blog about in the last two weeks, but until all the gifts were opened, I couldn't spill the beans!

Christmas started last week, when Mom and Dad came for a quick visit.

All the gifts were finished and wrapped on Christmas Eve; some things I wanted to wait till the last minute to make.  We went to church for the early service at 5:30 - M sang backup with some of the other youth for a song Pastor Jared wrote.  You can hear & watch it here.  We spent last week at work planning the lighting and making the chandelier you can see in that video.  It turned out pretty nice.  From there we went to Carla &; Larry`s for Josh`s birthday party.  Here`s the birthday boy and their new puppy Sadie:

Christmas morning we woke up in our own home - second year in a row!  We opened our stockings and gifts, then headed to church at 11.

Lunch was pretty low key, then Sean`s parents came for the afternoon - we visited and started a puzzle - classic Christmas fun. We went to the Aitken`s again for Christmas dinner and had a good time with the McCall clan.

Boxing day was the Ward family Christmas, so after a little boxing day shopping in the morning (Sean hit Golf Town early, then we went to Long & McQuade and picked up a piano!), we drove out to Grenfell where Kevin & Jen were hosting in their new place.  Another good time and good dinner!

 We got home about 10 minutes after the Friesen`s arrived, and had another Christmas with my side of the family.  They stayed till noon today, then were on their way to Calgary to spend the holidays with Dave`s family.

And now the holidays are over, people wise. Sean worked today but has the rest of the week off; I am mostly off this week, too, and M is off till next Thursday.  Lots of time to keep working on the house and getting ready for baby.  Tomorrow marks week 37; only three weeks to go till we get to meet!

I`ll be back soon with photos of the house changes, and with details of the gifts I made.  Hope you had a very merry Christmas and took time to remember the One we celebrate.

Friday, December 16, 2011

DIY: Passive Humidifier for a Piano

This is a passive humidifier.

This is a passive humidifier in the context of our piano.

A passive humidifier is something you can make for free at home to keep your piano at the right humidity, which helps keep it in tune.  Our piano tuner told me how years ago, and since I was reminded of it when I had to open up the piano top remove it before it went away yesterday, I thought I'd put a helpful little tutorial up here for you and your dry, going out of tuneinstrument.

1 - Collect 3 2L pop bottles.  Cut the tops off.
2 - Get one wire hanger and cut the long piece free, leaving just the curve on the ends.
3 - Punch holes on each side of the pop bottles and thread the wire through.
4 - Get 3 strips of felt, long enough to hang over the wire and down 3/4 of the way to the bottom of the bottle.  I used a few scrap pieces sewn together to make it a little thicker.  These are your wicks.
5 - Fill the bottles with water; one almost to the top, one 3/4 full, and one half full.  Every month or so check the levels and top up the lowest one.

There you go - simple as pie!

This is our barren living room.  The piano was picked up yesterday, given away to whoever would take it off our hands, the same way we got it.  We plan to get a smaller electric one that will fit in that spot better, and sound way better.  Plus, it will be way easier to move if we ever need to do that.  We will watch for boxing day sales and see if we can't find a good deal then.  Madeline had her recital last night, and has a couple weeks off lessons, so not being able to practice will not be a hardship for her at all.  While that spot is open it's a good chance to fix up the paint, put on the baseboards and the grate.  So much work on this house...

And finally, this is M going through all the stuff that was in the piano bench.  Lots of books and recital lists and broken pencils - enough to keep her entertained for a while!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Family Portrait

Sean's mom requested a photo this weekend of the three of us; she didn't have one and wanted to include one in her Christmas letter.

She didn't have one because there aren't any.  Or very few...

So we took a few days but finally put this together for her.  And for you.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Feeling a bit like Mary...

Just wrote this on my work blog and thought I'd share here, too:

In some ways I'm feeling like Mary.  

In the 'big uncomfortable can't wait to meet this little person' way.  
In the 'God is amazing and I'm not sure where life is going, but I know He's in control' way.
In the 'I have great husband that I trust will hear God and lead us well' way.

In some ways, though, it's way different.

We usually travel at Christmas, but this year, being 'great with child' we are free to stay put.
My doctor and hospital and health care is here and ready whenever I need them.
This little one of ours was planned - no major surprise like Mary's baby.  I suppose by the time she was this far along, she was used to the idea.
I imagine she got a lot more negative attention (being an unwed mother) as opposed to all the positive support I've felt the whole way through.

I wonder...

Was Jesus pushing up under her ribs, causing her to not sleep very well at night?
Would she have wondered about each movement like I do, trying to figure out if that's a foot or an elbow, and which way he's positioned?
When was 40 weeks for Mary?  Was she perhaps due in January like me, but had Jesus early due to the travelling?  Christmas marks 36 1/2 weeks for me - right in the 'any-time-now' zone.

Just a few thoughts as I experience a Christmas feeling in some ways like Mary must have.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

More on the Wasps...

So Sean woke up this morning thinking it would be a good day to tear off the ceiling in the corner of the basement and look for the wasp nest he was sure was there.  It was just in this one lowered part of the room; not the whole thing.

Sure enough, as I showed you before, he found a nest.  The shop vac made pretty quick work of it, and now the plan is to silicone the cracks (so the wasps can't crawl in through the insulation), then a layer of insulation (since they didn't do a good job of that when they built this!), and then put up drywall for a new ceiling.  When he went  down there tonight to do the sealing, this is what he found:

ANOTHER NEST!  Over in the corner, and about three or four times larger!  This one got foam wasp killer sprayed in it so we were sure the queen had no chance, then he lifted it down, wrapped it in a garbage bag and took it straight out to the dumpster.  Wow.  Crazy.  But now there won't be any wasps in the house next year!  Now he's going to have to check under the back deck - we're pretty sure there's one there, too.

Second Saturday: Wasps, a Marathon Birthday Party, Curling & Appies

Sean & I both have vacation days left to use this year, so we took yesterday off together.  We slept in (I got up to get M off to school, but then went back to sleep), did a little shopping, a little baking & had friends over for dessert last night.  A great day - felt like Saturday.  So today feels like a second Saturday - yay!

Madeline went to a birthday party last night at 5:30 - it ends Sunday morning.  A two night sleepover party!  We slept in again today, then picked her up for her swimming lessons & took her back to the party.  Between getting up and picking her up, though, Sean thought it would be a good idea to tear down the ceiling in the basement.  Just the low part where he thought the wasp's nest was... It got torn down pretty quick while I was eating my cheerios, and this is what he found:

So while we were out (dropping M off again, test driving a new truck just for fun) we picked up the stuff we need to seal that area up.  That will make it warmer down there as well as the major perk of not having wasps in the house next year!!  Plus we're getting new carpet next week, so it will be a much nicer space to spend time in next year.  I don't think the moving plan will go ahead, so we will be here to enjoy it. 

Sean is off curling now and I just had a nice visit with an old friend.  Next on the agenda for our great Saturday is a supper of appetizers and maybe a movie while we munch.  Sounds like a great plan to me.  I hope your weekend is as nice and relaxing as ours has been!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Tree

Last week, Sean brought in the Christmas tree box in from the shed. On Friday, he set it up. We got a new one last year, thinner than the huge one we had before, which was great - a free hand me down - but that just didn't fit with the new furniture quite so well. When this one went up I thought it looked a little scrawnier than I remembered, but didn't say anything. Saturday we went to get the boxes of decorations from the basement, and what's this? A Christmas tree box in with the boxes of ornaments...

The one in the shed was my OLD one from years and years ago. Too funny. So Sean promptly took a photo, listed it on Used Regina, then took it down and put the right one up. We got out the snacks & egg nog, turned on the Christmas music station on the TV, and got it all decked out.

I did a great job last year of putting the ornaments away sorted by theme - do you do this too?  I have lots of silver and blue stuff, which I think is my favorite, and a gold garland, red and gold apple ornaments, lots of stars, most of which are gold or white or crystal...  I had a bag of musical instrument ornaments, one of angels, a small one of favorites that go on every year, regardless of the color theme of the tree, and another bag of all the 'others.'  I got the silver and white tree skirt last year, so thought we'd do the blue and silver again - we'll have to find a silver topper, though.  The gold star is too heavy, and well... gold!  Maybe next year we'll do red and gold.  The lights are multicolored, but I'd like to get a plain white set to alternate with.

The stockings are under the tree and I just wrapped a couple of gifts that are under there, too.  I got out all the wrapping stuff and set up a little wrapping corner in my studio, so Sean and Madeline can do their own thing.  I just printed off two sets of labels that I found on Pinterest & will cut those up and put them down there, too.  I usually make my own, but this gives options for those in the family who don't.  You can find them here and here.

How do you decide what goes on the tree if you have too many ornaments?  Do you ever do theme trees?  What are your favorite ornaments?  I'd love to hear your stories.

Speaking this morning...

... at the Ladies Coffee Connection at our church.  Pray for me!  :)

I'll be back later today with a story about our Christmas tree.

Thursday, December 01, 2011


December first today.   Wow.

I pulled out our holiday album this morning and think I will add to it again this year. I have to figure out what kind of look 2011 will have & prep a bunch of tags so it's easy to throw in this year's additions. The first year I did it was 2009, and it was based on a free class from Big Picture Scrapbooking. Last year I cut big circles from kraft paper and added a bunch more stuff - it will be neat to look back over the years and see the things we did and the things that were important to us. Also, leaving room for next year's stuff puts a whole lot less pressure on me than if I had to finish a whole album. Unfinished is just fine...

Here's a few pages of it now - there are lots more that have less on them.

The photo from this year that will go on the December 1 page is this one:

Sorry, the quality control consisted of doing a quick frame up and then handing my camera off to a stranger.  This morning was Warren's swearing in at the Legislative - good to be a part of that.  From left to right, Colleen, a longtime family friend who used to work in Warren's office, girlfriend Theresa, Warren, Doug, Carla and Me.  

M has tomorrow off school, and so, as she often does, is off to Grandpa Doug's for a sleepover tonight.  She likes to visit with him, help him clean and likes to create stuff in his kitchen for them to eat.  He likes her company, so we let her go pretty much whenever it works out.  It's good all around.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Grateful on a Monday Morning

 I am a little tired this morning, but will pop in a workout video anyway, when I've finished here.  Monday mornings are always a full-head-space time for me: planning the week's meals and shopping list, thinking of the week and our plans and what needs to be done when, doing cleaning and chores and fitting in work, too.  I don't dislike Monday mornings, I just am aware that they take a different level of attention, and I'm feeling like a nap to start off the day wouldn't be a bad thing.  I am thankful for this Monday morning.

I've been napping more lately... I think that's ok for being almost 33 weeks.  I am thankful for this little active one inside me and look forward to our meeting! 

Especially since things may get infinitely more crazy before baby comes in January.  We are looking at the possibility of moving.  Looking after our future and investing... we want to buy another place and keep this one to rent out.  We already have people anxious to move in here, but we don't get to go look at places till tomorrow.  There are two that are possibilities in our minds, but I am convinced that our God is big and powerful and on our side, so I am praying for a great house at a great price at the perfect time.  I have my ideas of what those would be, but I am trusting in Him and in Sean and we'll keep you posted.  I am thankful for potential and exciting times.

I have had better mornings lately getting M out the door - my attitude has improved as I've been more aware (thank you, small group) of what I am letting into my life and how that affects what comes out.  I want to have a heart full of peace and joy, so when I tell M to get a move on in the mornings now, it's usually more patient and kind, sometimes joyful even - she likes her silly mom and if I can help her mood stay up, I will keep trying.  Amazing how that makes so much sense and how little we think about it - My actions affect her actions.  My words and tone of voice affect her words and tone of voice.  My attitude affects her attitude.  And until she learns to control those things on her own, I will keep trying to lift her up in all those ways.  How easy it is to bring her down (and let her bring me down!) - but I am the adult!  I am the parent!  I am the one who's responsibility it is to be aware and intentional about my actions, words and attitudes.  How else is she going to learn it?  So I am thankful for a week of good mornings, and look forward to more as I keep working on me.

Have a great Monday!  What are you thankful for?

I thought I'd link up with all the other grateful people over at A Holy Experience today...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

DVD Player on the Dark Side

Here is a little round up of the week...

Today Madeline and I spend much of the day at the church, decorating for Advent.  It's a huge job, but a huge transformation, and there were quite a few youth out to help.  I'll post pictures sometime if I remember to take some.

We also went to meet a little girl that M is going to babysit next week.  Her first real 'other than family and small group' babysitting job.  The family goes to our church and we will all be at the Christmas Banquet together - we also live quite close, so it's a great set up for them, and for her.

I'm in 'making' mode, but it's all for Christmas, so I can't show off anything yet!  It has been nice to sit and relax and be productive at the same time.

I got a photo of 7 months, a few days late...  I'm wearing the same clothes as in the 6 months shot so I can compare month to month.

Baby is still doing fine - moving differently now that there's less room.  (S)he had the hiccups twice now - kind of a funny feeling.  I've been feeling fine, but I do notice that I run out of steam sometimes.  I had a few naps this week, including one on a pew at work!  I weighed myself this morning and have gained 25 lbs so far.  I gained 30 with M, I believe.  We're getting closer all the time to having the house ready - Sean's been steadily picking away at the fixing up of stuff.

We went to Sean's work Christmas party last night - it was dinner and a show at the casino.  They give you oodles of time between eating and when the show starts - they want you to go spend some money on the games is my guess.  We did a walk through, and I find it just really sad.  Yeah, some will win a bit here and there, but for the most part, it's just people throwing money away.  The rest of the night - dinner and show and visiting with the co-workers - was not bad.

Madeline had pyjama day at school this week.  She didn't have any slippers, and I remembered a couple pairs of 'Granny Slippers' I had stashed away, so I dug those out.  This has been her every day since then:

'Granny Slippers' because they were knit by MY Granny.  AKA Elf Slippers.

The other end of her - the frog eye covers are a recent and every night addition to her pj's.  She uses them actually over her eyes all night long, and as a headband like this lots of other times.
The reason she's reading on the couch ( I just took those shots) is because our movie was a dud - AGAIN!  We borrowed the Star Wars Trilogy a few weeks ago, watched Star Wars and The Empire Strikes back both two weekends ago, and watched the Return of the Jedi last Sunday night.  We got half way through it when it started acting up and freezing, and we had to concede defeat.  The next night at small group, we noticed our friends also had the set, so we borrowed theirs.  Tonight we had enough time to watch the final half, only to have it zap out at the exact same spot!!  Different discs, same player - is it unreasonable to think that the machine has it out for the Rebel Alliance?  Maybe it's the Ewoks it doesn't like - it quit right between 'Speeder Bike Chase' and 'Leia Meets Wicket.'  Sigh.  Someday I hope we get to finish it - Madeline's classical education will not be complete if she doesn't know what an Ewok is!

That's our week & a little snapshot of our lives right now.  Thanks for checking in!

Question: How much is the going rate for babysitters for you / your friends / in your area?  We're curious, because M and I both thought $5/hour would be fine, but apparently some think that's slave labour wages!

What's your favorite Star Wars moment? (Each of the three times I've typed that, I've typed Star WARD.)  Hmmm... maybe if baby's a girl??

Monday, November 21, 2011

Resources to Help You Pray

Kat over at Inspired to Action has a list that I printed off this morning to help me pray with variety.  Do you ever get stuck praying the same things over & over because your kids bug you in the same way over & over?  I'm working on changing me in those areas that bug me, but I'm also aware that using another resource to help direct my prayers is useful.

Here is the Inspired to Action Prayer Calendar for Mothers  The link is at the bottom of her post.

I went looking for this because of a new routine I have of praying for my husband.  I found this list on See Jamie Blog, and keep it in my journal so each day I pray for Sean one thing on the list.  It has a great variety, all Scriptural, and things I don't always think to pray for him.  I thought having a list to pray for Madeline and the other children I try to keep in mind would be a helpful thing.

I hope that these resources are a help to you, too.
(I posted this this morning over on my Prayers for My Children Blog.)

What routines or methods do you use to remember what you want to be praying about?  I've used lists and charts over the years and am always curious about how other people make it work for them.  Thanks for leaving a comment!