Friday, December 31, 2010

UFO Challenge

Judy has been kind enough to give me (along with about 168 others) an extra special challenge. When it comes to quilting, like a lot of quilters, I have a touch of ADHD which means lots of unfinished projects or UFOs. So this year we're challenging ourselves to finish one UFO per month.

So here goes:

1. and 2. Quilt 1 and Quilt 2 (kinda like Dr. Seuss' Thing 1 and Thing 2) - Fraternal Twin quilt tops for twins that are now 3 years old and not getting any younger. These need to be sandwiched, quilted and bound.

3. Batik Baby - I started hand quilting this. I'd like to at least finish the hand quilting. If I'm really good, maybe I'll even bind it.

4. Rooty Tooty - S. really wants this quilt for her bed. I tried some machine meander quilting on it which I don't like so I have to rip that out, quilt it and bind it.

*5. R.'s baby quilt - R. is now 5 1/2. It's about time I get this quilt beyond the block stage, don't ya think? The blocks are hand pieced so I don't think I can do much more than get this into a finished top for now.

*6. Orange and Cream - This is just a little mini practice quilt that's been hanging around too long. I need to finish the hand quilting and get it bound.

7. Kids' practice potholders - I'm ashamed to say that these just need to be bound but have been sitting under other projects for way too long.

8. Cabin Baby - This is the black, pink and white log cabin for the baby that was born back in Feb. Time to get this finished.

9. Carpenter's Wheel - This was meant to be a present for dh. Gotta finish this one from block stage too.

10. Falling Leaves - This was one of Judy's patterns way back in 2006. I'll be happy to get this to a finished top.

11. Black and Blues - This one has been around almost as long as the blog. I know it's floating around my stash somewhere but I couldn't put my hands on it just now to take a picture. It's another mini so I should be able to finish the quilting and bind it.

12. Applique Angel - This was a test to see if I'd like to try doing more applique. Apparently I wouldn't since, like #11, I can't find it at the moment but I know it's in there. The goal for this one is to finish it and make it a little wall hanging.

Sometime this summer, I'll be losing my quilting space to ds 1 when we move him into our office/sewing room and move H. in with R., so it's time to get the stash and my UFOs under control.

*I've decided to reverse the positions of numbers 5 and 6. Judy choose number 6 as our first UFO of the year; however, I have so many things going on this month I know that I would not be able to spend much time on the UFO project. I really didn't want to fail/miss out on the first month so I switched to an easier project that is just as old but significantly smaller and, therefore, "doable" this month. I just hated the idea of starting out on the wrong foot this month by not being able to complete the UFO.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Design Wall Monday

Well, this is the last Design Wall Monday of the year. I think I've gotten more accomplished this year than previous years, in part because of being part of the Design Wall Monday posts. Next year, I hope to do even better. I also want to take part in the UFO challenge;I just need to pull out my UFOs and get the pictures put together.

Speaking of UFOs, my only quilt related activity last week was working on binding the blue baby quilt above. I still have a bit more left to do but I have a good excuse for not finishing it.

Last week, I made a surprise trip to visit my mom and aunt in TN and my sister in GA. My dad drove out to GA from AZ so I got to see him as well. It's been almost 4 years since I had seen my dad and so he hadn't seen my youngest at all. The week before leaving I cooked almost a month's worth of lunches and dinners for my mom, several take-along meals for us and about a bazillion cookies for everyone. I only had time to make one batch of brownies and those went to my dad. My oldest niece commented about wanting some as well so I guess I'll have to send her a batch.

I managed to get a scarf crocheted for dh while we were traveling. Now I need to get busy working on a scarf or two for the Special Olympics (our knitting/crochet groups latest project), finishing up the current baby quilt I'm working on, get busy with the three baby quilts for friends and getting the UFOs together. Oh, yeah. I also promised to post about our trip to Iran last month.

If you're interested in making a scarf for the Special Olympics, you can get the project guidelines here.

Check out the other Design Wall posts on Judy's blog.

Have a great day everyone!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Design Wall Monday

Well, there's nothing really new to show. I started cutting blues for the baby quilt I owe. I washed the flannels for the brown and pink and really need to get that one started.

The big reason I don't have anything to show is that I was working on the last few squares for the Warm Up America donation. In total, our group made 105 7"x9" squares which is enough for more than 2 blankets. From mid-Oct. to last Friday, I made 27. I'm really proud of what our group accomplished considering we are a very small group and most of the participants are working moms.

Our next project is to make scarves for the 2011 Winter Special Olympics. If you're interested in making scarves for the Special Olympics, you can find out more here.

Well, if I'm going to get everything I need to done, it's time to get busy. Check out other design walls at Judy's site for quilty inspiration.

In the meantime, I'll be looking forward to this -
while waiting out this -

Monday, December 06, 2010

Design Wall Monday

Yippy! I actually have something to post for today.

Last week, I made this Pretty In Pink quilt for a baby shower that was Saturday afternoon. Saturday morning we took a trip up to Baltimore for the National Aquarium's annual Dollar Days weekend. Who can resist paying $7 versus the $151.65 it would have cost for regular admission. We were running a little late getting there so had to stand in a long line, then wait a little longer for our timed entry. We ended up not leaving until about 2:30. Since the shower started at 3:30, I knew we'd be a little late but not terribly since it should have taken about an hour and fifteen minutes to get home. Except dh accidentally took the long way home. We ended up not getting to the baby shower until 5:30. As usual, I finished just before the shower (in the car on the way home from the aquarium). I was feeling so proud of my self for not coping out and just buy a gift. Until the mom started opening the gifts and I noticed that they were boy related. Eeek! I was sure she was having a girl. :( I knew I had to leave soon to get to another engagement so I didn't think I'd be able to explain to the mom-to-be my faux pas. I explained to her sister-in-law what happened (we're friends) and snuck my gift off the table. Fortunately, she finished the gift opening just before I had to leave, so I explained then promised to make her a boy quilt before the baby is born. She's not due until Feb. so I should have plenty of time.

Now I have another friend who is expecting and she is due at the end of this month. I thought about giving the quilt to her but she has a girl and doesn't really to the girly girl colors with her which is why I had chosen these fabrics for her baby quilt. (I chose these back on Black Friday, well before my booboo.) The dark pink and brown will be used in a two color basket weave with the lighter pink as the backing. These are all flannels which is appropriate for a winter baby, no?

The Pretty in Pink will go to a third friend who's little girl is almost a year old but is ALWAYS dressed in pinks and purples, very girly girl. A plus, I was planning on making her a quilt anyway since I met her after her baby was born and she's lavished praise on other quilts I've made so I know it will be appreciated.

Now to get busy!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Turkey Day!

Ok, I know I owe a post about our trip to Iran but life's just been too busy the last two weeks to post anything. So, in the meantime, check out this very funny Thanksgiving day e-card

and this one

and one more of singing food for good measure.

Have a happy Turkey day and a fun Black Friday!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Design Wall Monday

Well, we just got back from a month long trip visiting my in-laws on Saturday night. By last night, most of the laundry was done (but not folded), all of the suitcases were unpacked, a birthday cake was made and decorations were put up for Z.'s 9th birthday yesterday and I made a slight dent in the more than 25 pages of emails that had piled up in my inbox.

I didn't have any quilting projects ready to go so that I could take them with me but never fear. I brought several skeins of yarn to get started on a community service projects my friends and I are working on for Warm Up America. I crocheted 16 7"x9" "squares" last month. I'm a novice crocheter so this was a good project and a great time to work on this. I also brought along some Buttercup yarn to work on a throw for myself. Unfortunately, 3 1/2 skeins into crocheting that I realized that it would be too wide and it was getting crooked so I unraveled it to start again when I get a chance.

As soon as I get a chance, I'm going to do a few posts on our trip to Iran. For now, I'll leave you with a picture of my kids at their last horseback riding lesson there.

Check out more Design Wall Monday posts at Judy's website.

Friday, October 01, 2010

GO! Giveaway

There's a giveaway for a AccuQuilt GO! cutter at Jane's Fabric and Quilts! Check it out.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Little Mosque on the Prairie

I just watched the first two episodes of a Canadian series "Little Mosque on the Prairie" and it's quite funny. The series actually has finished it's fourth season so I'm a little slow getting around to watching it.

The series revolves around a mosque in a small Canadian town and the interactions/experiences of the Muslims and Christians in that town.

You can check out episodes here-

The official website is here-

Monday, September 20, 2010

Design Wall Monday

Does this look familiar? I'm still working on it. I was really hoping to finish it last week but life had other ideas. Much of last week was spent on-line shopping/price comparing for books to use in our homeschooling this year. DH decided he wanted to do the math, chemistry and physics covering a broad range of abilities, which meant I had to hunt down resources for those levels. (middle school through college, although we already have the college level textbooks) Then there was the actual homeschooling added to the routine and having two big outings/activities for the kids this week. The week just flew by and I only got to do a tiny bit of quilting and zero organizing.

Ah well, I'll just have to try again this week. I hope everyone else had more luck getting in sewing time. You can check out other design walls at Judy's blog.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Design Wall Monday

I've been making slow and steady progress on the baby quilt. I originally was going to machine quilt it with an all over meander but I tested the idea and another quilt and found I really need to practice more before I do that on a gift quilt. So, I've been hand quilting it on the diagonal. I'm really hoping to finish this by the end of the week.

This weekend we celebrated Eid. Friday morning was prayers as the mosque followed by an unhealthy but fun treat of sticky donuts, danish and cookies for breakfast. We had planned on going to the zoo that day but we were tired (had to get everyone up by 6:30 to get ready on time) and instead just went home, opened presents and relaxed. We got a slow start Saturday and didn't get to the zoo until almost one and it was packed. No parking anywhere. In case you've never been to the zoo in D.C., they have several small to medium sized lots that are gated. They don't charge admission to the zoo but you do have to pay for parking. Outside of the zoo it's almost impossible to find parking so we didn't even try. We just told the kids we'd make one more pass and if we couldn't find parking, we'd have to head home or maybe go to a park for a picnic. We had to circle around a few blocks before coming back into the zoo and lucked out when they opened one of the lots just as we got there. (The 10 or so cars in front of us missed it.) We had a very nice few hours saying "hi" to all of the animals before heading back home to freshen up and head back to the mosque. We were supposed to be showing a movie from Iran on the life of Jesus but there weren't many people so we watched a different movie and had a discussion afterward.

Now that Ramadan is finished it's time to switch gears and get to work on other things-like homeschooling. I still have to order a few more books and this year we're going to do some dissections so I have to order those supplies as well. I also need to get back into my exercise routine and start tackling some straitening and organizing that I've needed to do for awhile but haven't had the time.

If I'm going to get anything done, I'm going to have to get off the computer. I hope everyone has a great day and check out the other design walls at Judy's blog if you have a few minutes.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Design Wall Monday

This picture is completely unrelated but does show what I'd like to be spending my time doing.

I have been working but don't have any new pictures to post. I layered the baby quilt and started hand quilting on that. I also sewed the half square triangles for dh's quilt but when I went to lay it out I found out that I need to change out a fabric that is too light and change the placement of a few of the fabrics. I'll have to work on doing that next week.

I hope everyone else had a more productive week. Check out the links at Judy's blog

Wear Hijab on 9/11

In response to a campaign by a group in FL to "Burn the Quran" on 9/11, a woman on Facebook came up with an alternative statement to counter the hatred. People of all faiths are asked to wear a hijab (scarf) on 9/11 to counter the extremist views circulating right now.!/group.php?gid=144913692209438&v=info

Someone also created a new PSA entitled "My Faith My Voice" which you can view on YouTube here.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Design Wall Monday time again

Well, I didn't get nearly as much done as I wanted to this week. It's hard to get much quilting time in when you're baking half the day and spending some four hours out each night.

I'm still cutting out the background pieces for dh's quilt. Late on this one since it was supposed to be for his birthday. I have to put borders on the baby quilt. I've got to hurry with that since the baby is due in two weeks and I really want to give it to the mom before hand.

I hope everyone had a more productive week that I did. (Does it count that I made about 30 dozen cookies, 9 dozen brownies and several loaves of zucchini or banana bread this week?)

Go check out the other design walls at Judy's blog.

Two of the many reasons I didn't get much done on the quilting front this week.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Design Wall Monday

It's Design Wall Monday once again but I don't have much progress to show. The only thing I've done this week that is "quilty" is pull the fabrics and come up with an idea for dh's quilt. He likes bright colors and likes the quilts I've made using black as a background so that's what he's going to get. I'll make them in a star pattern using half square triangles. I'm adapting a pattern I saw on-line but, unfortunately, I can't recall where.

Because of Ramadan, I've been super busy. We're usually at the masjid for 3-5 hours each night; plus, I'm the unofficial dessert lady for iftar. This means that I've been making dozens of cookies and brownies as well as multiple loaves of zucchini or banana bread each night. We started on Wednesday and I've already gone through more than 10 lbs. of flour and 10 lbs. of sugar and about 3 dozen eggs. I'm going to have to go shopping tomorrow to stock up on more flour since I'm just about out. I stocked up on everything else Sunday but didn't make it to the store I usually buy flour from. I would have gone today except a) two of my boys had tummy trouble so it was best to stay close to home and b) I was busy chopping and grating lots of zucchini. How much zucchini you ask? Roughly 17 lbs. or about 26 cups grated and 9 cups chopped. Since the boys are sick (H. and R. have runny noses and R. and M. have tummy trouble), I'm staying home with them tonight so maybe I can get some sewing done after iftar. Speaking of which, there's only about 15 min. left before it's time to pray and break my fast and I want to make a salad. I don't usually eat much salad but I seem to crave them when I'm fasting.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What I wear

A few weeks ago in response to the picture of my dh and I, Jodie asked about the clothes I wear and the climate where I live. First, I live in Northern Virginia, which is hot and humid most of the summer and cool during the winter.

I usually wear pants, jeans or overalls, a T-shirt, an over-sized men's shirt and a scarf. This is my own style and not necessarily reflective of other Muslim women any more than one woman's clothing is the same as every other woman. I have friends who prefer long skirts with a blouse and other that dress in multiple layers. I'm not particularly fashionable but I know others that are very stylish. One thing we have in common is a requirement to wear loose, modest clothing, covering from head to toe except for the hands and face. Those that cover their hands, faces or both, do so more out of culture rather than a religious requirement.

When I'm in Iran, I wear a monto (light weight cotton or rayon long coat) with pants and a T-shirt underneath.

When I was asked this question, it got me thinking about our perceptions of seasonally acceptable attire now versus the not so distant past. You see, growing up I spent a lot of summers living with my grandmother in Florida. She was a real estate agent and every day she would "dress her best" and her best required multiple layers. First she put on the foundations pieces, followed by pantyhose, a full girdle, a full slip, a polyester dress, heels, a full complement of jewelery and full makeup including liquid foundation. As the owner of her own agency, she pretty much worked every day except Sunday and then she dressed for church. She would be out early in the morning until late in the evening, often times running all over town. She dressed like this year round until maybe the last decade of her life when she slowly started incorporating pantsuits and into her wardrobe. One of my aunts dressed pretty much the same way. Now, anyone who's lived in Florida knows what the weather in summer is like. Perpetually hot and sticky, with occasional thunderstorms that result in steaming streets. I can't ever remember her complaining about the heat and only remember her donning a swimsuit a handful of times to take us to the beach.

We seem to have developed a skewed sense of what is acceptable and expected of people, especially women. A man wears a three piece business suit to work and it's completely acceptable but a woman in pants and long sleeves is somehow odd. Next time you're out, count the number of guys wearing jeans versus the number of girls or pay attention to the difference in the average length of the respective gender's shorts.

And, in case you're wondering, loose fitting clothing is far more "breezy" that tight clothes that are short and leave you sticking to everything when the humidity is high.

Ramadan Mubarak

Assalam alaikum (Peace be on you)

Today marks the first day of the month of fasting for Muslims known as Ramadan. From dawn until sunset, Muslims around the world will keep from eating and drinking but also will keep all of their senses and their manners focused on good things. So, not only do we keep away from sodas, coffee and burgers but also lying, gossiping and cursing, either from our mouths or the mouths of others. No smoking or kissing, either. For all of the things we should keep away from, there are many things we are encouraged to do more of. Be more generous of our time, money and forgiveness. Spend more time with friends and family. Fasting naturally slows you down a bit, especially the first week or so as your body gets used to it again. So we enjoy a more relaxed pace to help us focus more on becoming better people. We're encouraged to spend more time reading the Quran and quietly reflecting on spiritual matters. So, during this month, my family and I will go to the masjid/mosque as many nights as we can to join others in reading a section of the Quran (broken down into 30 parts for the 30 days of Ramadan) and breaking our fast with a shared iftar (evening meal). But we are also meant to continue in our regular activities, so we will begin our homeschooling once again, although, I'll probably wait a few more days for the kids to get used to fasting again. M, S, and Z all fasted last year and will again this year.

FYI: Who fasts? Muslims over the age of 9 (younger kids sometimes want to fast like their big brothers or sisters so they do mini "fasts", like no morning snack but regular lunch time)- Those that are sick, pregnant, breastfeeding, elderly or are on a trip are not required to fast but all except the elderly and chronically ill are required to make up the days of fasting when they are able or give charity equal to each day of fasting to feed a poor person. (The same goes for women on their period. We're grouchy enough that time of month; no need to add to the grouchy factor.)
When do we fast? During the lunar month of Ramadan, we wake up early and eat a meal (sahoor) before dawn, do our morning prayers and, depending on work schedules and time of year, go back to sleep for a few hours. We break our fast about 20 min. after sunset with an evening meal (iftar). This time of year that means from about 4 a.m. until about 8:30 p.m. The lunar calendar is shorter than the solar/Gregorian calendar by 11 days, so the month of Ramadan falls at a slightly different time each year. This makes fasting more equitable for everyone. No one has Ramadan every year in the hottest, longest days, while those living in the other hemisphere celebrate in the coldest, shortest days. It wouldn't be very fair Ramadan was say every January and Muslims in North America only had to fast during winter, while those in Australia had to fast during summer. This way we take turns.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in a comment and I'll respond to them in another post.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Design Wall Monday

True to form, I finished sewing the binding on the baby quilt one hour before the baby shower. It was well received by the mom-to-be and I had a few requests from other moms wanting one for themselves. Told you I work best under pressure. heehee!

The other two baby quilts are still on my design wall. I'm hoping to at least finish piecing them this week. I also need to get started on dh's quilt since his birthday is in about 3 weeks.

Well, I'm off to go frost a cake and cupcakes for a party this afternoon. I better get moving too; I only have 30 min. to get it done. Eeek!

Friday, August 06, 2010

We interrupt this quiltathon to bring you...

gardening fun.

I was trying to do the quiltathon yesterday and today along with Judy at Patchwork Times but I just can't get that into it. :( I have to finish hand sewing the binding on the baby quilt for tomorrow and that will likely be all I get done.

Yesterday we go tons of rain along with a good bit of lightening so I ended up keeping the sewing machine off for most of the day. I guess the extra baby quilts won't get done in time.

The extra rain meant the garden needed attention. This is the first year we've every really tried to grow much. A few half-hearted attempts have been made before but only a plant or two here and there. This year, dh decided to make a raised bed. It's not that big, maybe 7'x7' or so. We were REALLY slow to get the garden going. I think we started it in early-mid June. Being that we're inexperienced and weren't expecting much, I planted 7 zucchini plants, 2 or 3 cucumbers, 3 tomatoes, a pepper (only one survived being transplanted), about 8-10 corn, some radish, pumpkin and cantaloupe. Now the first attempt at planting and watering showed that the water wasn't being distributed evenly, so all of the plants were removed and the seeds (pumpkin, cantaloupe, radish and most corn) that were planted got redistributed or lost forever. After about a week the corn seeds started growing along the edge of the bed, so I planted a few more seeds because they proved at least something would grow. :) Then a few days later a pumpkin started growing on one of the dirt irrigation barriers (just mounds of dirt to hold the water in), followed a few days later by another on an adjacent mound but still in the same general plot. This plot also held the pepper and some radish seeds and baby plants. June was really dry and although we watered the garden nearly everyday, we had VERY little growth on any of the plants and figured we wouldn't get much for our efforts this year. Then July came and with it, RAIN!

It's amazing how quickly everything started growing once the rain started. We've gotten dozens of zucchini already with lots more growing. They're so productive that we have to pick them at least every other day or we get giant zucchini. The two biggest ones in the picture are about 9" long and just two days ago they little when dh brought in a zucchini big enough to give me about 3 1/2 c. of chopped filler for stir fry. The cucumbers have taken over the whole bed, wrapping their little tendrils around all the other plants. They're so bad, we decided to stake them to see if we could control their growth a bit. We've gotten a about 8 cucumbers so far but there are tons of flowers and several more growing. The pumpkins have escaped the bed and now have a bunch of baby pumpkins developing. The pumpkin plants shaded out the pepper which hasn't grown much, so we moved it up near the tomatoes. We'll have to wait and see for that one. The tomatoes have just started to really grow. There were only the smallest beginnings of tomatoes last Wednesday, but now, in just over a week, about 8 small to medium sized green plum tomatoes have appeared. I'm hoping we'll be able to pick some in the next week or two. We've even got about 5 ears of corn growing. I wouldn't have even known about the corn or tomatoes if it weren't for the rain. When dh came home last night, he told me that the corn had all fallen over. Apparently the rain and winds were so strong yesterday, that the combination was just too much for the corn. So this afternoon, I was out building up the dirt around the corn and checking up on everything else. The zucchini and cucumbers are what developed in the last two days. Everything we've grown has been grown without pesticides or fertilizers, so it feels good to be able to eat what we pick. And the saving are nice too. Just the zucchini harvest alone will save me a good bit of money since we eat a lot of zucchini, probably 3-4 lbs./week minimum.

The two oldest kids are the ones who started all this growing. They planted sunflowers and flax (M.'s experiment) and have been "competing" to see who's grows fastest/tallest/any other -est they can come up with. Now they can't wait until the can harvest the seeds. They've been plotting to take over the entire backyard with a sunflower maze created out of the seeds they harvest this year!

We now return to the regularly scheduled quiltathon. Thank you for your attention.

S.'s sunflowers
M.'s sunflowers
a picture of the garden last week, now much wilder, taller and greener after yesterday's hours of rain (mulberry and peach trees behind and to the right)
Today's harvest

Monday, August 02, 2010

Design Wall Monday

Well, I didn't get as far as I had hoped but I did finish quilting the most important baby quilt. Now I just have to get it bound by Saturday afternoon for the shower. I'm going to try doing the Quiltathon with Judy on Thursday and Friday so we'll see if I can finish the other two quilts by Saturday as well. Wish me luck!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Design Wall Monday

Yeah! I have something to post today.

I have the black and white quilt in the hoop. It's mine own design. That one is for the friend whose baby shower is the first weekend in Aug. The blue one is Unequal Irish Chain from Quilts from the Heart. It's for another friend whose baby is due around the same time as the first. She may be at the shower as well so I'm trying to have it finished to give it to her that day. I'm also still working on the black, white and pink log cabin for the friend whose baby was born back in Feb. Sorry forgot to take pictures of that one.

I was really hoping to have all three quilt tops finished a few days ago. Unfortunately, my sewing machine had other ideas. Notice the sewing machine in the background of the blue quilt picture. Half way through piecing two blocks together, it died. Locking up in the needle down position. At first, I was just trying to take it apart a little to try and figure out why it died and to free the quilt blocks, then it became a matter of curiosity to figure out how it's put together when it became clear that it was dead for good. It's been threatening to give out the last several months, so I wasn't terribly surprised, just a little annoyed at the timing. I had bought another sewing machine on clearance back in April (?) but I haven't had a chance to take it out and get it set up yet. I can't complain too much about the first machine. It was one of the cheapest and lasted for about 3 1/2 years. I'm pretty sure I only paid $85 for it so with tax, that comes out to less than $2.25/month. I've used it to make 7 swimsuits, at least 2 dozen pairs of pants, a robe, at least 6 quilt tops, a robe and quilted one flannel quilt on it. There's probably a few more projects in there that I'm forgetting about but I think I probably got my money's worth for it.

I have a bunch of kids and moms coming for a fun "field" day at my house on Wednesday so I probably won't get the blue top finished until at least Thursday. Because of the limited time, that one will probably be machine quilted. Speaking of which, if I'm going to get everything done, I've got to get going. I hope to post pics of the finished quilts next week.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sad but true

I can't remember where I read this but here's a little statement about life today.

In the U.S., the number of words in the vocabulary of an average 14 year old in 1950 was about 25,000. By 1999, it was down to just 10,000. I can't imagine what it is today with the glut of sound bite media and texting mania.

Do yourselves and your kids a favor and read some old classics. If you don't have time to read, pop on a book on tape while you're driving around.

Right now, we're listening to "Pinocchio" and I'm floored at how much more advance the vocabulary is in this children's story than so much of what I've read lately. If you only know the Disney version, I think you'll enjoy the original. So, go pick a classic to share with your kids (or just enjoy on your own). It's a good thing!

Summer BBQs

This seems to be the summer of BBQs. We've gone to a few this year. This last weekend, one of our friends brought along his camera and snapped not one but two very rare pictures of dh and I together. (Usually one or the other of us is behind the camera.) Unfortunately, dh just finished playing a pick-up game of soccer in 95+ degree heat so he's a wee bit sweaty in the picture. But hey, beggars can't be choosers.

One of the three quilt tops is almost done, just one border left. The second is cut out and the third is about half cut out. I hope to finish all three tops today. The baby shower is Aug. 7 so definitely have to finish at least quilt #1 by then. Keep your fingers crossed for me that I can finish all three by then. We've got a trip to see the in-laws coming up either next month or the month after and I'd like to have all the quilts finished before we go, including the planned birthday quilt for dh. Since we'll start up homeschooling again in Aug. and Ramadan is coming up, we'll see just how much I actually get done. For now, it's time to get my backside moving, so I can finish the tops today.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Did you miss me?

Probably not.

It's been way too long since I've made a new post. Life has been happening it seems at lightening pace around here. It seems like it wasn't so very long ago that we were buried under nearly 4 feet of snow and yet, we're just finishing up a string of 100+ degree days. Homeschooling was finished for the year and now I've starting looking at resources for next year. Birthdays have come and gone. Our annual vacation to Florida is just a memory now.

It's crazy how fast life happens as we get older. When we're kids, days just seem to drag on. Now that I'm an adult with a houseful of kids, I frequently wonder what happen to my day. The running joke around here is that I ask various kids if they "ate my day."

We had to get the kids passports renewed and part of the renewal asks for height. I hadn't measured the kids in awhile and was shocked that my soon-to-be 12 year old is only 3 1/2 inches shorter than I am and I'm 5'6" so I'm not exactly tiny. That shock was preceded a few weeks early by the shoe shopping trip that revealed that both my 10 and 8 year old girls are now in women's shoe sizes (ironically the same size-6). How did these kids grow up so fast? Ah well, time marches on or perhaps sprints past is more accurate!

I've got a few quilt projects in the works (3 baby quilts, a birthday quilt and finishing the Rooty Tooty quilt) and will post pics as soon as I can.

The picture is from fall nearly three years ago, just after H. was born.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

Good Intentions

Ya know I had really good intentions at the beginning of the year to post at least once a week. It's now been almost 7 weeks since my last post! Shame on me!!!

When I last posted we were facing a mountain of snow coming our way. We definitely got it and then some. Our first bout gave us 25 in. followed a few days later by about 10 in. I'm not too certain about the second snow total because we had a lot of drifts with that snow. It took just over 1 month with several days of temps in the 60's and a couple of days of rain to finally melt the last of the piled up snow. One full Month people! That's crazy!

The first batch of snow was so deep that we actually hired a guy with a bobcat to plow our driveway. DH and I tried at first to work on it but we just couldn't keep up. I'd shovel in front of the garage and, by the time I finished one car length, where I started would be covered in 1/4-1/2 in. of snow. Just for reference, our driveway is an L - about 5 car lengths long and one car length long, two car widths leading into the two car garage.

After the second snow, I looked outside and decided I could shovel it. (DH had hurt his back trying to shovel blizzard #1.) It honestly didn't look that deep from the living room window. Silly me! It took just over 3 hours with M's help to shovel the driveway. Because of the winds, half the driveway only had 3-4 inches but the other half rose up to 2 feet all the way down the driveway! Oh, well! It was good exercise.

The kids had a blast in the big snow piles, some of which were nearly 5 feet tall. We even created a sledding hill out of one at the end of the driveway.

I have to say that our electricity and road crews were great! The roads were cleared in no time, although, a few mailboxes and safety reflectors were destroyed on the main road near my house. At least a third of the pine trees in our area lost large branches or were knocked down, including right next to (and presumably into) many of the roads that I normally travel. Whatever fell into the road was removed and attempts were made to cut back the fallen trees on the embankments to the edge of the road. Granted some are still a little too close to the travel lanes but it's not horrible. We lost power for only about 4 hours during the storm. This is remarkable since there were reports of people without power for more than a week and they couldn't go to warming shelters either because their roads hadn't been cleared! Why did we fair so much better? For several weeks during the summer, I watched the power company guys work their way down the main road clearing tree branches well away from the power lines. That preparation really paid off this year.

I found out that one of my friends was without power for 5 days. And, like us, no power for her also meant no water since she needs power for the well pump. No, we're not WAY back out in the boonies. Just far enough out to have an acre of land and dependence on well water.

Oh, and my two friends who were expecting- One had her baby two days before the blizzard. The hospital actually sent her home during the blizzard. Insane! The other friend gave birth to her baby girl at 2 a.m. during the blizzard at home with NO power! The homebirth apparently was planned. The blizzard and blackout-Not so much! (It got so cold in their house by midday that she had to go stay with some of her in-laws for a few days.) In hindsight, the choice of the black and white log cabin blocks for her baby's quilt was highly appropriate! Get it-black out, blizzard and homebirth! heehee! (And no, the quilt's still not done. I've been busy.)