Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring Break Snippets...

We are mid-way through our spring break week already! Thought I'd share just a few tid-bits about our week thus far. I happen to know a certain Daddy/Hubby back at home who is missing his girls who I'm sure will love seeing a few snaps of our adventures. (And for the record, his girls are missing him too!)

Our drive back west is 665 miles, which equates to many hours in the car. While we have had the portable DVD player for several years, this year I decided to try having the girls use headphones. BEST. IDEA. EVER.

I honestly don't know how parents ever survived long trips before DVDs and portable gaming systems. Those little modern conveniences are definitely sanity savers for this Mom!

The first stop on our trip was my aunt's house. My cousin Sydney and the girls always have TONS of fun hanging out.

Last Saturday we celebrated a certain now 4-year-old's Birthday. Aunt Kathleen started Brea's day out in a very special way...waffles, eggs, bacon, strawberries and whipped cream perfect for holding 4 festive candles.

Many more birthday pictures are to come once we return home and I have a chance to unload and process the shots on Remy's memory card. I'm pretty impressed with these pictures which have been taken with Lexi's little Nikon. (Mommy's point and shoot hasn't been working quite right since it went for a little swim. Oops!)

Yesterday was a special treat as I got the chance to meet my knitting, yogini, blogland friend Marie of Permission to Unwind. She happens to currently be living an easy 90 minute drive from my Mom's so she was kind enough to pop over to the big city for a girls day out. We enjoyed coffee, a stop at the local natural foods store, a vegan friendly lunch back at my Mom's, AND of course a quick run out to the Brown Sheep factory yarn shop.

We are definitely like souls and after we dropped Marie off at her car my Mom's only comment was "I don't think I could ever keep up with you girls during a chat! You guys were just talk, talk, talk, talk, talk." Talk we did...non-stop...and what fun it was. Thanks Marie for hopping over for our visit! I look forward to doing it again the next time we weave our way west.

Mom just returned home with my 96-year-old Great Grandmother who is joining us for some lunch and afternoon conversation. These are the moments that make all that drive time worth the effort!


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Reason # 87...

We have made our annual pilgrimage west for Spring Break.

Reason # 87 that we visit (rather than live in) Western Nebraska:

The FUCKING wind!

(After almost 4 hours of driving it in today fighting to keep Velma (our Vue) in one lane or the other and out of the side of the many semis we traveled the interstate with...that's exactly how I feel about it.)

On the flip side during a bit of a driving break I had a very nice conversation with a 50 something gentleman in the checkout line of the store at which we stopped to walk around in to stretch our legs. (And use their potty. And get some cold drinks.) I love mid-western hospitality.

While at said store I picked up a little something to help me relax from maintaining a death grip on the steering wheel during today's part of the travel leg.

First dose taken...a second is soon to follow. It seems to be a very effective therapy.


Monday, March 22, 2010


Stitchin' Bee block for April
Originally uploaded by Film and Thread

Another Flickr find. Too cool not to share!


Thursday, March 18, 2010


People, have you seen this website?

Glass Menagerie
It's a website where you can design and print your own fabric!!!

Seriously, how frickin' cool is that?

Girlie Flowers
Doesn't it make you want to start playing with colors and designs...I mean if you can peel yourself away from checking out all the cool prints other people have designed.

Fleur de Cuillère

Check it out people!

(But don't blame me if you spend the next several hours of your time "window" shopping!)


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

That Neurotic Dog...

I took this picture in December. I never REALLY looked at it until tonight while I was gathering pictures for Lexi to take to school for her "Star Student" week.

I like it.

I think it might perfectly capture Tilde's loving and oddly lovable neurotic personality.

What do you think?


Monday, March 15, 2010


The first bloom after the long darkness of winter always brings cheer to my heart. Spring IS on its way!!!


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Possible New Home...

VW camper and trailer
Originally uploaded by Leo Reynolds

Saw this picture on Flickr today. Too cute! Made me think of Carlos, Tiny Circus and the growing fleet of rebuilt Airstreams. Wonder if he would be interested in branching out?


Friday, March 12, 2010

Squooshy Goodness...

I came home to an over-sized envelope sticking out of the mailbox today...

And envelope full of squooshy, hand-spun goodness from Kate at Lazy Kate Creates...

Hand-spun goodness that made we want to first grab my camera and then roll around in the softness...

(I refrained from the later impulse.)

Thanks Kate for hosting your lovely give-away! (Thanks Random Number Generator for picking me.) While I'm trying to decide what each of these little treasures will become, I think I'll just enjoy petting them for a while.

On a different, but related note, I fully blame Kate's blog for sparking my now growing interest in spinning. And then Allison at Alaskan Purl had to go and have a great first experience with drop spindling. You ladies are bad influences. That's all I'm going to say at this point...


Thursday, March 11, 2010


Through all the busyness of normal life I'm trying to get our house ready to be put on the market. It is AMAZING how much CRAP a family of 4 can accumulate in 6 years time. Imagine if we had been living here for decades worth of time! I think it would warrant hiring a professional to get through it all.

Any who, I'm trying REALLY hard to de-stash. To look at things and ask myself: When was the last time someone used this? What is the likelihood we will ever use it again? And in the case of some of those special baby clothes I've been holding on to for memory sake: Won't this better serve someone who can use it rather than spending the rest of its existence in a box?

I will admit, while I'm not one much for clutter, I do have a hard time letting things go at times. So much so that even AFTER I have gotten rid of something...after it is forever gone from my possession (whether it be into the trash or off to the thrift shop)...I wonder if letting it go was indeed the right thing. What if I could have used it? What if I could have passed it on to some one I know that could use it? What if the next person who owns it doesn't appreciate it the way I once had? Honestly, the amount of time I can waste wondering if I did the right thing getting ride of this or that is RIDICULOUS!

As I was thinking about it today, delivering yet another box of goodies to their new home, I decided part of my problem is I have the luxury of choice. I don't HAVE to get rid of anything. I could hold on to it all and just pack it and schlep it around. What if I didn't have the luxury of choice? What if those items were lost in say a fire. Or a flood. Would I still feel the same way? I don't think so.

In those cases gone is gone. Period. There's very few things I would actually try to save in an children, my pets, our external hard drive that holds all our family photos. (OK that last one is debateable depending on how much time we're talking about to grab and go.) That's about it. (Obviously I'm counting on my husband being able to save himself.)

The fact of the matter is, everything else in our house is replaceable. While yes, some things hold many memories...the quilts my Mom has made, a few pieces of furniture that have a life and a story before they joined ours, the girls' favorite snuggles...but in the end those things, with time, can be replaced if need be. So I think I'm going to try to adopt the gone is gone, period attitude to my de-stashing. After all, all the time and energy I waste on wondering could be spent on so many other much more productive tasks. (Like knitting on my sweater that hasn't been touched in over a week. Sigh.) My new mantra...pack it, deliver it, and don't look back.

Now, as for the guilt I have over the amount of EXCESS/WASTE the need for all this de-stashing represents...that's a topic for discussion on another day.


Monday, March 8, 2010

It's Your Lucky Day...

Today IS someone's lucky day as it is time to announce the winner of my Things That I Love give-away. And the winner is...

Number 5...JT!

JT wrote:
Congrats on 500 posts! I'm a fairly new visitor to your blog, I have been enjoying it the last few months.
I love...
My husband who works so hard and loves me so much. He is truly a terrific man.
My dogs who are always happy, and they rarely have cranky days (I wish I could say the same!). Happy tail wagging and that goofy doggy grin never fails to bring a smile to my face.
My cats who love to cuddle, purr, and are such good sports about the dogs who invaded their territory.

My job - working from home as a software developer doing what I love can't be beat.

Congrats JT! Email me at jmavinwellness AT iowatelecom DOT net so we can arrange delivery of your loot.

And what did JT win you ask? Well lovelies, here's the stash.

A book: This fall I ran across the fun and funky little photo site Photo Jojo. If you have a camera and you like to take pictures, go visit! Just before I found the sight they had published a book. And because I have awesome, observant friends I ended up with two copies of said book over the holidays. Which means LT, I'm sharing one with you!

The book (and website) is full of all sorts of fun Macgyverish activities to do with your camera and photos.Like how to make your own photo messenger bag...

And how to use a few simple hardware store buys to create your own fish-eye lens...

And so, so, SO much more! They also have a store where you can buy kinda off-the-wall photo stuff. I ordered a lens for my digital SLR this winter. And I may or may not have a wish list of other goodies I'd like to some day order.

A Sleeve: Next on the list! Well, not coffee really as much as a cup sleeve for whatever may fill your cup. I've been wanting to make up some of these these cup cuffs (using this lovely tutorial from Cotton and Cloud) and this give-away gave me the perfect push to sit down at my sewing machine. Not only do they fit on most coffee shop to go cups, but they work perfect on our "beer pint" glasses at home.

You have a little deciding to do LT. Would you like the Mod sleeve...

Or the Bright Flowers sleeve...

Let me know your choice in your email!

A Start: This was actually the hardest item for me to decide upon. A lot of things could give someone a start. Some yarn. A few fat quarters of fabric. But I decided to share one of my loves that helps me better appreciate all my other loves in In a world where yoga related words have been used to sell/promote everything from clothing to yogurt to handbags, I truly believe that the most important thing related to yoga is the practice. I began practicing yoga with a VHS in my living room. And while yes, I teach yoga and love to have the opportunity to help those new to the practice start their journey in person, I do believe a start can be as simple as you, your TV, and a quality DVD.

So there you have it! Thanks everyone for the kind congrats on my reaching the 500 post mark and for sharing what in you life makes your heart sing. Each and everyone one of your lists was inspiring and full of cheer. Cheer that is much appreciated here as we finish out the final weeks of winter with our eyes on the ground waiting for the first sprouts of spring!


Doin' The Lefty Switch...

My friend Jen came all the way from central Nebraska this weekend to help me celebrate my birthday. In return (well, I was planning to do this eventually anyway) I decided it was time to get her started on the knitting wagon. Only I forgot that she's left handed. So we both got to learn a new skill. Here's my little left-handed knitting swatch...

I realize for those who normally knit left-handed this is no big deal. But the fact I was able to figure it out as someone who normally bats on the right side of the plate, this pleases me quite a bit.

(For those who know me I'm sure you are laughing at the baseball/softball know, since I official retired from the game after that unfortunate broken ankle batting accident. Which after looking back to link to posts about I realize I never REALLY wrote about here. things have changed around here.)

Interesting fact...when I knit right-handed I'm a thrower. When I knit left-handed I'm a picker. Which just goes to show not matter which hand is working, my right hand always has to be in charge of the yarn.

After a few false starts, Jen left with an inch or so start of what has promise to be a lovely organic cotton washcloth. I will be checking up on her to make sure she stays with the program. (Tee hee.)


P.S. The give-away box is all ready to be given away. Who will be the lucky recipient? Have you left your comment on post 501?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Simply Perfect...

A bowl full of daisies from my lover...

A box full of origami cheer from my brother...

(They came wrapped in an old map. Double swoon.)

Lunch shared with a friend.

A mix CD made just for me.

A bottle of red wine with dinner.

A weekend visitor whose presence soothes my soul.

Learning (so I could teach said visitor) how to knit...left-handed!

A lazy, rainy Sunday to simply enjoy the after glow of it all.

A birthday weekend full of simple perfectness.

Thank-you to everyone far and near who helped celebrate MY day.


P.S. Being as I have been so wrapped up in life's goodness the past couple days and have had no time to finish getting the give-away goodies bundled together, YOU get two extra days to leave a comment on post 501. Could today be your lucky day? Best go enter and find out! I will announce a winner on Tuesday. Thank-you to all the WONDERFUL, thoughtful comments that have already been made over there on post 501! What an amazing, special group of reader friends I have gathered!!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


We have weekend guests arriving tomorrow. YAY! As is the case I've been cleaning like a mad woman...which always give me ample time to over think ponder life. Today I've been thinking through several things that while they are probably each individual post worthy, are also somewhat related. Bear with me if this gets long.

(Go ahead, make a cup of tea, grab your coffee...maybe a beer...I'll take a sip of my wine while I wait for your return.)

It is the eve of the anniversary of my birth. Tomorrow I turn 35. I can honestly say it's the first birthday I can ever remember dreading. I mean don't get me wrong...I have a great day planned. Time with my girls. Lunch with a dear friend. The arrival of another dear friend and her girlies come afternoon. I think I may even get a birthday kiss from my hubby since it sounds as though he's going to be able to leave Chicago a bit earlier than planned tomorrow. It's not the day I'm dreading, it's the number. The marking of the mid-point of my 30s.

Remember when I turned 30? I had so much hope. Rereading that post tonight was kinda fun. So many of the thoughts I had about venturing into my 30s still stand true today. Love through family and friends...check. The chance to develop my professional dreams...check. More comfort in knowing who I am...check. In many ways my 3rd decade of life so far has been just as lovely as I had expected. On the flip side it has often sucked in ways I could have never guessed.

35 isn't so much looking like I had expected right now. So many changes are on the horizon that instead of feeling the comfort of "30s stability" that I had envisioned, I feel like I'm revisiting those angsty mid-20s when one is just trying to figure out where the heck life is headed. Only this time around I have 2 dependents, a mortgage, and a bit more jaded view of the world.

Which brings me to point 2...

All this cleaning is in part due to the arrival of our guests, in part with the thought of getting the house on the market. I will admit, I am somewhat embarrassed to have people come to our house. (Which sucks...because my favorite social gatherings are those held casually in the comfort of a home.) The carpet BADLY needs replaced. (I've been drooling over bamboo flooring options trying to figure out if I really NEED two kidneys.) The windows are showing their 50+ years of age. The curb appeal...well lots not talk about that right now. Our dogs, probably because we rarely have people over, get all freaked out with extra bodies in the house. Their behavior embarrasses me...not to mention the guarantee that you WILL leave our house with dog hair somewhere on your person upon visiting. (No amount of vaccuming seems to change that either.) The girls' bedroom...where to even begin with that heap of babies/stuffies/art supplies/Barbies/Polly Pockets/random bits of crap because they can't seem to part with anything...EVER. While we have a comfortable house, it's far from any decorators idea of purposeful design. It's a bit more like the guest cottage or modest vacation cabin that you furnish with cast-offs from a former life and thrift store finds.

The thought of having people come through our house with a buyers eye SCARES ME TO DEATH! Will they fixate on the fact the wood floors in the bedrooms are in desperate need of a refinishing or will they see the spacious backyard full of shade? Will the sagging gutters turn them off or will they see how lovely the morning sunlight is as it streams through the large living room windows?

We once walked through this house mortified by the 80s wall-paper and cheap wood paneling that once covered its walls but realized with a little hard work that it was a place we could turn into OUR home. There's so much potential we just simply haven't had the chance to explore. The busting out of an opening for patio doors onto a new backyard deck. The finishing of the basement complete with wet bar, 4th bedroom, and 2nd bathroom. An updated exterior in shades of latte, foam and rich dark chocolate against which the bright colors of my summer perennials could pop. This house was far from the house we had envisioned ourselves buying 6 years ago...but it has become our home...even with all it's imperfections. I hope that when we finally get around planting a "for sale" sign in the front yard someone else can see the potential that this little piece of the neighborhood holds.

I guess in some ways it's all about appearances. About expectations. Life isn't looking like I EXPECTED as I turn 35. Our house doesn't necessarily represent who I think we are as a family simply because we haven't had the funds to make some updates. For someone who normally doesn't give a rat's poteuty about what other people think of me, that sounds awful "keeping up with the Jones," doesn't it?

See why I don't spend more time cleaning?


Tuesday, March 2, 2010


What better way to kick off the NEXT 500 posts but with a celebration of all the things that this blog is about!

My lovely, and often silly, girlies...

My Hawkeye loving hubby and our neurotic dog...

Our not quite as neurotic, but still quirky, elder dog...

And of course:
And really there's so, so, SO much more!

But let's get down to the real business of the party...give-aways!!!

First, a little something for everyone! One of our favorite weekly family traditions is Sunday morning brunch. So today I share with you our favorite gluten-free waffle recipe that has been adapted from a recipe originally found on my favorite recipe

The Mavin's Favorite Waffles - now Gluten Free:

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup all purpose gluten free flour (we use a brown rice, potato starch, tapioca mix)
1 cup oat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Mix all dry ingredients together. Mix all wet ingredients together. Combine and stir gently until well combined. Bake according to your waffle iron's directions. ENJOY!

Our favorite way to top our waffles is with a little butter, some fresh sliced strawberries, and a bit of sweet whipped cream. DELICIOUS!


For one lucky reader I'm preparing a little give-away box with a few things that center around the theme Things That I Love. I've decided not to tell you the identity of the items until a winner is picked (drum roll please) on Sunday, March 8th. That gives you 5 days (1 day for each 100 posts of celebration) to leave a comment to enter for your chance to win!

There are a few rules to this give-away:
  • You must leave one (and only one) comment to be entered. Please include in your comment something you love and why.
  • By entering you agree, should you be the lucky winner, to take a picture of your YOURSELF with your winnings to send back to me so I can share it here with everyone.
  • And because I'm so stinking excited to have new over-sees don't even have to live in the US to be eligible!
Curious to know what you may win? Here's a few hints...
  • a book
  • a sleeve
  • a beginning
Hmmm...what ever could those hints be about?

Intrigued? Then go comment. Tell us all what you love in life and why. Go. Do it now. GOOOO I said!