Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spring Family

This may be the last Spring photo of the family (minus Jason, who was the photographer) with this many people.

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Because SOMEONE has a bun in the oven.

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Saying “Hello” to their cousin.  More like, waiting for a “Hello” kick from him/her.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pretty Pencil Holder Teacher’s Gift

I am a huge fan of teachers, and my kids have some really amazing ones this year.  I love to make homemade gifts for holidays and the end of the year (plus a gift card for coffee, food or books).  I usually sew up something nice like a purse, tote, or apron.  This year, being in school, I did not have much time for those kind of gifts.
So I decided to make something simpler, but still plenty cute!
Are you looking for a homemade gift to work on for a teacher?  Why not consider these:
Sweetly Embellished Pencil Holders
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Teachers can use them at school to hold extra pencils and pens, or take them home to use for holding whatever they like!
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I bought these boxes, paper, and ribbon at Hannah’s in Antioch, Illinois.  I got the idea there as well.  Look at your local craft store, they may have similar boxes.  You just paint them (you may want to sand them a bit), cut out rectangular pieces of scrapbook paper just a bit smaller than the sides of the box, glue them on, glue ribbon and/or ric rac around the top and bottom and add whatever decorative accents you choose to cute them up!
And Voila!  A great gift that a teacher would love!  You could even make a more masculine version for a male teacher.
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I originally posted this project with empty pencil holders.  Here they are with the pencils.  To make these, buy some school approved brand pencils.  Cut out flags of the desired size from your left over cardstock (mine was double sided, so there were a lot of choices).  I made a template and then used it for all of the cardstock flags.  Then double knot some decorative ribbon on one side, or both, of your flag.

This project shared at
Today's Creative Blog
Skip To My Lou

Weekend Getaway–The One Where I Pass my First Kidney Stone

As you may or may not know, I am going back to school for a complete career change.  It is a long story, but perhaps I will post one of my essays (for my school application or my scholarship) here to explain it soon.

I have been going up to George Williams College of Aurora University in Williams Bay, Wisconsin (near Lake Geneva) pursuing a Masters in Social Work for several weekends since late August 2011.  I am almost finished with my second semester.

This past weekend Jason came up on Saturday after my class to spend an overnight in Lake Geneva with me for fun.

As you can see, the campus at GWC is quite boring.  There is a lake (Lake Geneva), lots of trees, birds, squirrels and beautiful buildings.  It is just sheer torture going up there on the weekends without the kids and spending time with a group of intellectually stimulating, caring adults led by a joyous, experienced (he’s written many social work textbooks) professor.

Yes I’m kidding.  It is AWESOME to go there on weekends!  It has been a wonderful experience both academically, personally, and socially.

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George Williams Campus, lake view.


Source: Lake Geneva Estates

I don’t have many other photos from the weekend, but we did drive by the Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay.  By the way, this observatory was featured in the movie Chain Reaction, starring Keanu Reeves and Morgan Freeman.  It was closed and tours were over, but there was some very ornate, intricately detailed architecture that we could not resist photographing.  I would really love to get inside someday.  For now…  Enjoy!

Here is the front of the building.  I did not even get any of the observatory domes, what was I thinking?

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OK, found this stock photo from


This handsome carving was one of the details on a pillar.  Like the mustache?

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Very Cool Pillars.

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I really liked this depictions of 4 states of the moon.  Complete with the man on the moon. I love the moon.  My favorite saying to my kids:  I love you to the moon and back.

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Cute Owls!  This architect had some good taste.

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On Saturday we had a nice time walking together, eating lunch by the bay, enjoying the shops and sharing appetizers for dinner.

Early Sunday morning I woke up with some “concerns”.  “Concerns” turned into pain.  Pain turned into unbearable PAIN.  An hour later I broke down and woke up Jason.  We packed up and rushed to the ER.  After all was said and done, we found out I was in the process of passing a kidney stone.  My CT scan showed there were many other stones in my kidneys (yes both!) and 2 were on the largish side.  When we got home I took a nap and woke up with all pain gone.  Not much longer.  The stone… she passed.  I had to “catch” her with a strainer.  She was ugly.  Yesterday I introduced myself to a whole new specialty of doctors.  Urologists.

Take home messages to friends and readers: Drink LOTS OF WATER.  Encourage your children to drink lots of water.

Passing a kidney stone (mine was 4 mm) is slightly worse than labor pain.

I am so grateful for the outpouring of support, both words of empathy and offers to help.  It is good to know that we have such wonderful caring friends and family.

Now.  Go drink a glass of water.

Stay tuned for a post on a craft!  Sqeeeeee, it has been a while!

Annual Daffodil Pic

Every year we take a photo of Ella by the daffodil patch in our back yard (except for one year when I took it at the mall by a fake daffodil patch).  Here is this year’s addition.  Click to see past years’ editions…

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Another Wedding

Of course, I failed to post about another wedding in a timely manner.

Last September (2011) Jason’s brother Scott and his sweetheart Jen tied the knot.


Then they took a trip to South America.  They are back now in their home in the city.

In case you didn’t notice…our kids are goofballs hams.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rainy Thursday

What I’m doing today (and most days)


Courtesy of SWK:6160 Human Behavior and the Social Environment II

Who’s helping me


Paris, the very attention seeking studious cat

Who’s not helping me


Velvet.  If he can’t can’t cuddle on my lap and obstruct the view of my notes, he’d rather just go over there

What I stop and look at when I need a break


Painted flower pot courtesy of Ella – my 2 time “All-Star Artist” daughter

Contains a strawberry plant that she requested

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