Thursday, October 30, 2008

It Was Nineteen Eighty Something

My cousin Tracey posted this photo of one of her childhood costume birthday parties on her blog and I am so glad she did! For years my brother and I have shuddered in horror as we've retold the stories about the year our mom dressed up like a chicken, but until now, we've had no photographic evidence!

Yes, folks, the woman in the yellow chicken suit is my mom--I'm the one with the pom pom standing next to her. My, my--the chicken costume. The first time I laid eyes upon the chicken suit was at my elementary school Halloween festival. The cafeteria had been transformed into a mecca of treats and tricks with lots of parents volunteering. Of course every kid immediately noticed the chicken. A group of kids, including me, got closer to take a look. My mom said she was sure I wouldn't know it was her. The kids were all wondering who it was when, all of a sudden, I recognized my moms eyes behind the tiny cut outs. Her version of the story has me groaning and crying out in horror, "It's my mom!"

I think she was disappointed by my reaction, and in hindsight, it did sure show a lot of spirit for her to a) volunteer for my school festival and b) get in a costume. It was a bit embarrassing for my fragile grade-school ego.

Undeterred by my reaction, my mom decided to show off the costume for my brother Duane, who had to have been around 16 or 17. She did this BY MEETING HIM AT THE BUS STOP IN HER CHICKEN SUIT! And I thought I was embarrassed. Can you imagine how detrimental that had to have been for a high school student? I'm surprised he didn't just die right there on the spot. His version of the story not only has her meeting him at the bus stop but also flapping her wings, strutting around and scratching at the ground with her feet.

Now, I can't guarantee that my memory (or Duane's or my mom's memories for that matter) have captured the events as they actually happened, but they have made for some great stories over the years.

My mom doesn't actually read my blog, so she'll probably never see this, but I do have to give her credit for her creativity and enthusiasm! And helping us make memories that will last and last. I also have to give her a hard time for the thrown-together cheerleader outfit I'm sporting. I used to wear that sweatshirt to school and, come on, a poodle skirt, really? What was the team mascot? It looks like she at least let me put on some blue eyeshadow...you know...like the real cheerleaders wear. I asked her about it last night and she said with a laugh, "It worked, didn't it?" She is right--it did! I can't argue with that.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Toddler Craft: More Gift Tags

Evan and I had another fun day of crafting and made more gift tags (see the last gift tags we made here). This time we used brown and red pom poms and sticks we picked up outside. Evan liked using the glue, but it got a little messy. I didn't dare get out the camera with his sticky fingers within reach, so the picture is just of some of the tags.


In hindsight I wish I would have used wiggly eyes instead of paint for the eyes--but they turned out okay.

I'm pretty sure we're going to have more gift tags than gifts this year...we may even end up making gifts out of our tags! Anyone want some??? I'll add you to my Christmas list!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Felt Food: Ravioli


I am hoping to make Evan a whole grocery bag full of felt food for Christmas. He has started doing a lot of pretending lately, and I think he'll have fun cooking for us. I decided to start easy with a plate of ravioli. Since he doesn't read my blog, I can go ahead and post about it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Trunk or Treat...or is it Trick or Trunk?


Today Evan attended his first ever Trunk or Treat at the church where he goes to preschool. He loves sporting his Donald Duck costume and caught on to the whole concept of getting candy from strangers really quickly. He had one good scare from a well-intentioned clown when we first arrived, but, admit it, clowns can be a little scary!

One little girl was fascinated with him and kept touching him. Evan is quite used to his adoring fans, so he took it all in stride.
Bryan is usually the one sneaking candy behind Evan's back, but this time he was the one to suggest we let Evan open up a package of mini M&Ms he had gotten. Evan was on cloud nine and was shoving the candy in his mouth as fast as he could.


Obviously we aren't going to let Evan actually eat much of his candy, which is why I was really happy to see a Baby Ruth in the stash. I was also disappointed when Evan grabbed a banana Laffy Taffy instead of a Butterfinger from one man's trunk. I'm going to have to train him for future Halloweens.

Evan quacked and waddled (although, the waddle is intentional) his way to a playground at the church and had a little more fun before we headed home.



Thanks to everyone at the church for such a fun afternoon!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Christmas Crafting Begins

Last night I finished my first homemade Christmas gift. I can't post a picture of it or any details since I will be giving this certain type of gift to several people who read this, but it has gotten me really excited for the holidays. (The bad news for me is that I turned to crafting because I was procrastinating research I need to do for a story on automatic transmissions in Class 8 trucks that I am writing, but that is another story).

Since I can't post a picture of the item I made last night, or probably any of the gifts I'll be making, until after Christmas, I thought I'd provide some of the sites I've been looking at to get my inspiration.

There are a whole bunch of ideas from last Christmas up at Sew Mama Sew: http://sewmamasew.com/blog2/?p=291. I just got a sewing machine and hope to break it out of its box this weekend (depending on how much research I get done on those darn transmissions).

There are a lot of free things to download and do here: http://templettes.blogspot.com/search/label/free. They have other ideas, too, but I was attracted to the free ones!

This lady makes really pretty cards: http://kimberly-crawford.blogspot.com/. And this lady makes all kinds of cute things out of paper: http://michellewooderson.blogspot.com/.

Homemade by Jill has lots of great ideas: http://www.homemadebyjill.blogspot.com/. She just had a baby and probably won't be posting as frequently (let's hope!), but I like looking at her past projects!

Let me know if you have any great crafting ideas you can share!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Head Gear

It has taken us two weeks, but we finally were able to find a helmet for our toddler son who has a head the size of an adults. We've made several purchases and several returns, but we scored success with the Bell Multi-sport Helmet in an adult size small.


A lot of the helmets we tried stuck out in the back, which would push Evan's head down when he was riding in the bike trailer. He was a pretty good sport about it, but watching your knees during an hour-long bike ride isn't much fun. The round kiddie helmets we tried were all WAY too small for Evan. We found this one at a specialty bike shop and asked a clerk if Evan could try it on. She told is it was an adult size and would be too big. We smiled and explained he has a really big head for his age. She did agree with us though that it doesn't LOOK that big.

She put it on him and voila! Evan has a new bike helmet. I think it looks like he could ride on a motorcycle with that thing.


Evan has always liked wearing things on his head--hats, helmets, lampshades, Tupperware bowls. I think that might be why he is loving his Halloween costume so much. We saw it at the Disney Store and Evan immediately picked it up and started hugging it. I had to buy it, so say hello to Donald Duck!

We gave the costume a test run yesterday at a dress-up birthday party. Evan wore it the whole time! One of the moms told me she thought the head would be a little top heavy...Evan was able to pull it off though.


We're going to trick-or-treat at a few of the neighbors' houses, so he should stay nice and toasty warm!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Fish is Dead

Every once in a while, I'll stop in at Pet Smart after our monthly trip to Target to let Evan look around. About six weeks ago on one of those trips, I ended up buying us a fish. I am not quite sure what came over me, but I thought Evan would like it. He did like it, for about a day.

The novelty wore off for him, but I have actually enjoyed our little fish, Freddie. I had some quiet time with him last night before bed--cleaned his tank, fed him and watched him while he ate his little pellets. I've been meaning to take pictures and blog about him, but I hadn't gotten around to it.

This morning I went in to say good morning to him and I couldn't see him in the bowl. I looked down in the rocks...no fish. I leaned in closer and then I saw it...the shriveled up, dried out body of Freddie there on the counter next to his bowl. I let out a little scream, which sent Evan running into the kitchen from the front room. He looked at me, then waved hello to the fish bowl, blissfully unaware of the situation.

I'm actually sad about our dead little fish. He was really pretty (a blue beta fish with red stripes on his fins), and I liked watching him swim around his bowl! There is something calming about watching a fish swim. I'm just hoping Freddie was enjoying his nice clean bowl so much he was swimming fast and somehow flopped out of the bowl. I'd hate to think he'd had it up to hear with us and decided to end it all right there in my kitchen...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Parents' Prayer

My sweet little Evan received his first time out today. I haven't known exactly what age was the right age to start the time outs, but today when he acted out, he could have been seriously hurt (luckily he wasn't). So, I decided it called for a time out. Making him stay in time out was harder on me than it was on him, I think. I'm still a little wound up about the whole thing, so I'm burning energy by cleaning. I came across this prayer that Bryan and I received in our birthing class before our sweet little angel was born. Finding it today was a nice ending to our hectic day. So, I thought I'd share it.

Dear God,

Help us to be better parents.

Teach us to understand our children, to listen patiently to what they have to say and to answer all their questions kindly. Keep us from interrupting them or contradicting them. Make us as courteous to them as we want them to be to us.

Help us never to punish them for our own selfish satisfaction or to show our power. Let us not tempt our children to lie or steal. And guide us daily that we may demonstrate by all we say and do that honesty produces happiness.

When we are out of sorts, help us to hold our tongues. May we ever be mindful that our children are children and we should not expect them to act like adults.

Help us never to rob them of the opportunity to wait on themselves and to make decisions. Bless us with the bigness to grant them all their reasonable requests and the courage to deny them privileges we know will do them harm.

Make us fair, just and kind parents. We pray for calmness, poise and self-control, and fit us to be loved, respected and imitated by our children.

Author Unknown

Monday, October 20, 2008

Moving in Slow Motion

Have you ever had one of those days where you just feel like you're moving in slow motion all day? Well, that was my day today. I don't know why, but nothing seemed to "click." It is probably because our day started off with an early-morning drop off at Union Station where we waved goodbye to Bryan. As I pulled away from the curb Evan started shouting, "Dada! Dada!" He was saying it to me like I had accidentally forgotten to let Bryan get back in the car. It was cute and a little sad all at the same time. Trying to explain to Evan that daddy is in New York and will be home in a few days is pointless, but I did it anyway--over and over and over again. Poor little guy.

After we got home, we got ready for a new playgroup we were going to try out. I punched the address in on my navigation system and drove straight to the house. All the way there I was building up how much fun Evan was going to have with the other kids. That is until NO ONE ANSWERED THE DOOR! There I was on the porch knocking and ringing the bell...but no one let us in. I'm not quite sure what happened, but I've narrowed it down to three options: a) they didn't hear the bell...or the knocking...or the two phone calls I made; b) I had the wrong house; or c) it was the right house, they heard the bell, the knocking and the ringing phone, but were getting a good laugh at not letting the new girl come in. I know it is a little paranoid, but I'm going with c.

The rest of the day seemed to be filled with little glitches, but Evan and I both survived and he only has one little bump on his head...which was followed by a long talk about why he is supposed to turn around when he tries to go down the stairs. He was on the fourth stair from the bottom when he decided to try going down frontwards. I was able to break his fall, but he still hit the wall (I think that might be when I hit the wall, too, ha ha).

The high point of my afternoon came when a telemarketer called to tell me Verizon Fios is available in my area. After I told him I wasn't interested, he just kept talking, at which point I handed Evan the phone. Evan seemed to enjoy the minute or two of conversation he got out of the man before he hung up. Normally I would feel guilty for doing such a thing, but today I actually got a little chuckle out of it.

Oh--we did attempt Toddler Craft Day today, but it was a failure. We made Magic Goo (mixing 1 cup of cornstarch with 3/4 cup of water). The Goo turned out perfectly, when you hold it tight it makes a ball, but then it oozes on your hands when you let go--sort of a mix between a liquid and a solid. But, Evan doesn't really like getting his hands dirty, so the second the Goo went to a liquid he just kept saying, "Uh-oh...uh-oh," which lasted until I got every last bit of cornstarch mix off of his hands. He ended up just playing in some water and seemed pretty satisfied!

All in all--I wouldn't say we had a bad day, it just wasn't a perfect day. We'll start fresh tomorrow!

Friday, October 17, 2008

My Budding Olympian

Forward rolls, backward rolls, donkey kicks, handstands...Evan is mastering all kinds of gymnastics moves (and some lessons in sharing and taking turns) at The Little Gym. Today was his third class and he goes crazy as soon as we walk in the room, bouncing from one thing to another.





All I can say is it is a good thing we don't live in China. If we did, I'm sure he'd be one of those toddlers they take away from their families and train relentlessly because of their innate gymnastics talent.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hindsight

One of my uncles passed away this week. When anyone I love dies, I am always left wishing I would have called more, written more, done more. He passed away after a fairly sudden but brief illness of some sort. The doctors spent three weeks trying to figure out what it was, but couldn't determine exactly what was making him sick or how to fix it. My mom has been working hard trying to get things sorted out and making sure everyone is taken care of. My aunt (my uncle's wife) had a stroke years ago and needs constant care.

My uncle served in the Coast Guard, so I told my mom I would try to figure out if my aunt was eligible for any survivor benefits. My neighbor suggested I visit the American Legion building near our house. I looked it up online, jotted down the address and set out to find it with Evan in tow. I drove straight there (thank you navigation system), parked and loaded Evan in the stroller. As I was walking through the door, I was looking down at the wheels of the stroller because they caught a little. I looked up as I got inside and I expected to see a receptionist at a desk.

Imagine my surprise when I looked up to realize I was in a smoke-filled bar. There were probably ten men at the bar with refreshing adult beverages in hand--did I mention it was still before noon? They all looked equally surprised to look up and see a lady with a baby standing in their midst. The bartender asked me if I needed help--and not in the how can I help you kind of way, but more in the, lady--is your car broken down out front or something?

I felt really stupid, but explained why I was there and a really nice man got up from the bar came over and gave me some paperwork. Then, an elderly man walked in and took one look at Evan and said, "I used to have hair that color once." He seemed to be getting a kick out of Evan, and we sat and talked to him while Evan popped Cheerios in his mouth and made silly faces. The man told me that he served on the U.S.S. Missouri from 1944 to 1946 and showed me a card to prove it. When he showed me the card I thanked him for his service, and then Evan started making the sign for thank you. The man thought Evan was blowing a kiss (because it looks very similar) and blew one back.

I've been thinking about the man quite a bit since then. He seemed so frail and lonely. I wish I retained more of what I've learned in the history classes I've taken...I figured he had served during WWII, but I couldn't remember exactly when the war ended. I Googled the ship tonight and read that on April 11, 1945 a kamikaze suicide plane attack hit the side of the ship, causing some damage. I also read that about five months later, on September 2, 1945, the Japanese formally surrendered on that ship. I wish I would have talked to him more and learned more about what he did during the war; where he was on the ship when the surrender document was signed; if he heard or saw the kamikaze plane when it hit.

I've also been wishing I knew more about my uncle...who he was before he married my aunt. My mom said she found his dog tags yesterday when she was cleaning out his house. It is kind of funny how you forget that people had lives before you knew them. I think I was 11 or 12 when he married my aunt. (I played the wedding music on the piano for them--they were sweet to let me since I wasn't all that good). Anyway, I guess this week has served as a reminder to make more calls, ask more questions and take more time to be with the people around you. And to all my friends and family who are reading this--I do think about you, even if I don't call or e-mail as much as I'd like to! I'm going to try to be better.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

How We Spend Our Days

I was just cleaning some photos off the computer and got caught up in looking at all the old pictures. I wonder if I'll ever get used to watching Evan grow up. Last year, our Halloween pumpkin was quite a bit bigger than Evan!

We don't have a Halloween pumpkin on our porch this year. Even if we did, I doubt I could get Evan to sit next to it while I took a picture. He'd rather be playing with balls or sticks this year! I hate to tell my friends and family in Utah, but we're having 80-degree weather here in Northern Virginia. We've been taking advantage of it with trips to the park and long walks in the neighborhood.

Today when we went on a walk, I grabbed a set of keys and headed out the door. I was hot and tired and Evan was ready for a nap by the time we made it home, so I couldn't wait to unlock the door. I grabbed the keys out of my pocket only to realize I had grabbed the car keys, not the house keys when leaving the house. Hmmm...a lot of good that did. My neighbor that has my set of keys was gone. But, then I remembered another neighbor has that neighbor's keys, so I went to her house and explained my predicament. She gave me the set of keys to my neighbor's house, so I unlocked my neighbor's house to get my set. Sometimes I feel like I stepped straight out of an I Love Lucy episode. Needless to say, we made it in...and promptly returned our keys to the neighbor when she got home and explained the whole situation!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mo Mo

In the past month Evan has fallen in love with Elmo (or as he calls him, Mo Mo). We watch Mo Mo on t.v. and on the computer and we sing Mo Mo songs. We're not quite sure how he came to love Elmo, since Bryan and I never promoted it, but all the same, we're becoming an Elmo household.

So, imagine my horror a few weeks ago when I learned, gasp, I had missed the pre-sale for this season's hot new Elmo. I was conducting an interview with Fisher-Price for a feature story I am writing on holiday marketing when the conversation turned to Elmo. I figured there would be some new Elmo toy this season, but had no idea the pre-sale started in August.

The woman I was interviewing told me I'd have to wait until Elmo Live hit stores on Oct. 14. I called my mom lamenting that I'd missed the pre-sale and now would have to take my chances in the store. She said she'd like to get Mo Mo for Evan and marked her calendar. Grandma Roz is a crafty one, so she went to K-Mart yesterday (on the eve of the great Elmo release) and got the scoop. She learned they had only gotten in nine Elmos that would be on display in the front of the store when it opened at 8:00 this morning.

Then, she went home and called Wal-Mart, which opens two hours before K-Mart. Wal-Mart only received eight Elmos. That means that there were only seventeen Elmos for all of Price, Utah! Grandma Roz left the house a little before 6:00 this morning so she could be sure to grab the first Elmo off the display. Whew! I am certain Evan will love it and we can all rest a little easier knowing we have our Elmo!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Toddler Craft: Gift Tags

The first Toddler Craft Day I did with Evan was such a hit that we decided we couldn't wait until next week to craft again. Yesterday's project? Gift tags!

We made a few different versions of tags and some clothespin reindeer that will be adorning our Christmas gifts. Here Evan, dressed in one of my old t-shirts, is creating his abstract reindeer tags.

Then we moved on to the thumbprint reindeer tags.

And finally we made some clothespin reindeer, which were actually a little advanced for Evan. It was more like Advanced Placement Toddler Crafting (or remedial mommy crafting, which is about my level!).

I hope we can find some cute reindeer wrapping paper to match all of our reindeer tags!

Friday, October 10, 2008

An Extra $12.18 Burning a Hole in my Pocket

A few months ago I read an article in a magazine about ways to clear clutter and make some extra money. It was perfect for me since I have tons of clutter and would love some extra money.

I tried out their suggestion to sell your used books to a company called Cash4Books. You enter your ISBN numbers on the back of the books and see how much they'll pay you. Then, if you're interested, you print a label that they provide and ship your books off. I did it about six weeks ago and yesterday I cashed my check for $12.18. I know it isn't much, but the best part of it for me is cleaning out some clutter.

The prices they'll pay for books varies. They didn't want most of my books--not sure what that says about my taste--and for some they only offered 10 cents, so I kept those and will be donating them to my local library for their annual book sale--I hope they can at least get a quarter for them!

I didn't get my check right away and I did have to e-mail to follow up, so if you do it you'll probably want to keep track, but overall I thought it was a good way to get some extra money and clean house! Check it out by clicking on the link below.

Sell Used Books Online - Quick Cash, Free Shipping, Free Quotes!

Now if only I could find someone who wanted to buy all my clothes from the early 90s that I can't quite seem to part with...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Spooky Supper

Tonight Evan and I made a spiderweb pizza for dinner, complete with spiders and all. I turned my back for a minute and the pizza got a little more done than I would have liked, but I think you can still see the "web."



I love the pizza dough recipe from the Barefoot Contessa Parties book. It is super easy and is always great. The web is made out of string cheese--we would have had more, but Evan couldn't help but eat some while we were cooking. My spiders don't have the correct number of legs, but Evan and I were both getting hungry, so we hurried to finish.

We had some extra dough left over, so we made rats and witch fingers to go with our Halloween theme.


Evan liked the pizza, but didn't seem to care about the witch fingers very much.


We made pumpkin bread earlier in the day, which we had for dessert. It was a fun fall fest at our house!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Toddler Crafts

I have declared Mondays Toddler Craft Day at our house, and I hope to do a new craft with Evan each week. I called today's craft, "Where is Evan?" We made mom, dad and Evan using straws, construction paper, plastic cups and cardboard coasters, which I had taken from our table at Outback a while ago with another craft project in mind.
We cut circles out of the coasters and construction paper, decorated them each with a face and put them on the straws. Then, we cut holes in the bottom of each cup, put construction paper on the outside (we could have skipped this step, but my cups were clear), and then dropped the straw person in.
You pull down on the straw to hide the "person" inside the cup. Evan and I sang, "Where is Evan..." to the tune of "Where is Thumbkin," and, of course, repeated the song for mom and dad.


He got a kick out of it. But, he got a little frustrated at one point when he couldn't get the straw person out of the cup; however, he was holding the straw at the bottom of the cup with one hand and pulling up on the head with the other hand. I kept trying to show him to hold the cup instead, but he eventually just took each of the straw people out of the cups completely and packed them around for a little while.

It was a pretty basic project, but Evan seemed to like it. I hope I can think of something fun to do next week!

Oh--and--Bryan, Evan tattled on you for eating M&Ms. As we were putting our scraps in the garbage, Evan pulled out a Peanut Butter M&Ms wrapper. This is the video and conversation that went on for about 30 minutes. Of course, as soon as Evan sees the camera he wants to watch what I just filmed, so he is usually walking towards me...

video

And take two...

video

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Note of Thanks

Dear Grandma Betty and Papa Stu,

I can't thank you enough for the new lunchbox you sent me. I was so excited to get it in the mail. I take it you heard that my mom sent me off to preschool with that Deloitte cooler bag we've had around the house for years now. She made me use it TWICE! Even after she knew I looked a little goofy using a lunchbox with the name of a big-four accounting firm splashed across the side. I'm not sure I'll ever live it down.

I did save some face last week though when I showed up with the dinosaur lunchbox you gave me. Just look at how happy I was...my mom took these pictures right before school last week.


Thanks, too, for the cool snacks you put inside my lunchbox. I'm pretty sure my mom took a bag of the Care Bear fruit snacks, but she hasn't fessed up to it yet. I'll let you know if she comes clean. As for me--the raisins are my favorite. I like the little boxes and I keep packing them around the house and in the car.

Thanks again for the great surprise! I love you lots!

Love,
Evan

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Day at the Zoo

Yesterday we took Evan to the National Zoo in downtown D.C. It was the first time Bryan used the navigation system he got me for my car. As we were making all the twists and turns on the one-way D.C. streets, he kept declaring that the system had paid for itself, which is kind of funny because he graciously used a giftcard Deloitte gave him to buy it for me, so we didn't actually pay for it (although I certainly appreciate that Bryan decided to spend his giftcard on me).

Evan was all smiles at the zoo (both real smiles and the scrunched up fake smile he does for the camera). He was also able to use a lot of his signs. Here he was telling me the hippo was taking a bath.


He made the sign for elephant, but I didn't capture it with the camera. He also makes a trumpeting sound.

Evan and mom sharing a little laugh.

I wonder how long he'll be doing this fake smile! I sure do think it is cute though.

We had a really fun day, and the best part is that the zoo is free. The parking is $20 though!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

That One in a Million Chance

I know the odds are against me, but I still have a small glimmer of hope each time I see a lottery billboard touting the millions of dollars that await some lucky winner. On our drive home from Virginia Beach last weekend, we had passed several of the billboards. Being the sucker for marketing that I am, I had to buy a ticket when we stopped for gas.

Needless to say, we didn't win. But for some reason, anytime I buy a lotto ticket, I really think I am going to win. I don't know if you call would call that being optomistic or deluisional. I only buy one or two lottery tickets a year, but it seems like Bryan and I always have the same conversation that usually goes a little something like this:

Mindy: "What would you do if we won?"
Bryan: "Buy a high-rise condo somewhere. What would you do?"
Mindy: "Buy a house in Park City, stop working and write a novel. Would you quit your job?"
Bryan: "Well, the jackpot is $35 million, which if you take the lump sum is only like $17 million and then half of that would go to taxes, so we'd really only end up with about $8 million."
Mindy: "Hmmm...I guess $8 million really isn't that much."

I think we have that conversation to make ourselves feel better when we don't win. As though we wouldn't take $8 million or that the money wouldn't change our lives. Either way, we don't have to worry about it. At least not yet...maybe if we buy another ticket... Wait...isn't that how addiction starts?

Christmas Magic

I absolutely love Christmas. Every year, I want to give at least one handmade gift to everyone I know. And, every year, on Christmas Eve I am either (a) regretting the fact that I didn't do it (b) burning the midnight oil to finish a project or, most likely (c) all of the above. So, this year, I'm starting earlier! There are almost three months until Christmas and I have to be able to get at least a few projects done between now and then.

I don't usually get the Christmas bug until Thanksgiving and by then it is too late to start crafting (for me at least). So, wish me luck, and, share your best homemade gift ideas with me! (By the way--my friend Sandy is my role model on this front. She always makes beautiful ornaments, scrapbooks, quilts, etc., etc., etc. She has great ideas--so I'm hoping she'll share a few).

Oh--and--if any of you are eager to stock up on your holiday wrapping supplies, Evan's preschool is having its annual gift wrap fundraiser. I'm buying my share, but I thought I'd put it out there in case anyone is interested! Click here if you want to check it out. You can order magazines and candy, too, if you're so inclined!