Monday, August 31, 2009

taking time for slowing down

Today is an interesting day. There is nothing I HAVE to get done. Nowhere I have to be. After the last few weeks, which have been so very, very full, it is really nice. I am finding I have a lot more time to stop and think. To ponder, to notice and pay attention.

I have been going too fast. It is time to slow down. Which takes some intention. I am really good at running around doing a ton of stuff, checking off my mile long to do list. But, it isn't very good for me. When I go.go.go life goes too fast and I am so caught up in the doing that I am not noticing and celebrating the little things around me that make me happy.

Which makes me exhausted.

I think, as human beings, we really NEED to stop and take it all in. Appreciate and marvel at what is happening around us. I know I need to.

So, here I am today, trying to not do too much. To just enjoy and be glad for where I am right now.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

time with my sis

Yes, I am still here. Just REALLY busy! I have a wedding I am coordinating next weekend, so blog posts will probably be a little sparse the next week or so. Whew! Experiencing crazy summer madness!!

My beautiful sister was here a few weeks ago...

We had an INSANE week, the busiest visit ever. We had 2 separate visits with cousins that we have not seen in 10+ years. That was nuts! Lots of memories and catching up. Then there were 2 parties, and lots of other running around seeing people. It was fun.

Look at these cousins!

And I think my nephew is pretty dang adorable, don't you agree?

We watched my nephew one night so my sis could go have some grown up fun. I felt like a rock star putting all 3 kids to bed at the same time!
So much fun hanging with my sister, who is my very best friend! Love you..

Saturday, August 15, 2009

weekly art group :: paper mache part one

For our art group this week, we started making paper mache bowls.

I used this recipe for the glue:

5 parts water
1 part flour
Boil for 3 minutes, then cool.

Be sure to stir the concoction the whole time. I didn't. It burned. It was gross. I had to fish little black chunks out. I don't recommend it, but it still worked.

I asked everyone to bring a bowl to use, but gathered up some back ups just in case. We covered the outside of the bowl with saran wrap so they will come off the mold easily. I also tore up all the newspaper pieces into strips ahead of time.

I find that when doing a craft like this with a group, having everything done ahead of time helps the process flow smoothly. Plus, the kids have a short attention span and we want them to get to the paper mache part, not just be all mesmerized by tearing up newspaper, ya know?

I demonstrated how to do it first, then let the kids at it...
We used some plain paper for the first and the last layer, with newspaper in between. This will make it easier to paint and give a "nicer" look to the finished bowls. You totally don't have to do this, but I had the paper on hand, so that's what we did.
They had fun with the gooey mess for a bit then most of the kids gave up before all the layers were done. Not a problem for us moms, we wanted to get our hands dirty REALLY bad. So, we gladly took over.
I had not done paper mache since I was a kid and it was really fun! I loved it! I think the kids had fun with it, but not as much fun as us grown ups did! We kept saying how we needed to get the dad's to watch the kids so we could have our own paper mache play date.

These are sitting up on my mantel drying, waiting for us to paint next week. I can't wait to see how they turn out.

Friday, August 14, 2009

saying yes

I have been a grouch with my kids lately. They have been driving me crazy. Fighting. All.The.Time.

It's been making me nuts and my patience levels have been super duper low.

And I know that when they are all wacky like this what they need is me. 100%. Paying attention. Present.

But, it is a vicious cycle. They need more of me. I want to go do my own thing and not play with them. They get more wacko. They need me to pay attention. I just want to check out and avoid them. They get more insistent that I pay attention to them by acting up, and I get mad and angry with them. Around and around it goes.

Well, after our art group this week (paper mache), I had a big bag of torn up paper sitting on the floor waiting for me to do something with it.

Enrique discovered it. I was working on the computer (trying to escape my nutsy kids) when I looked up and saw that he had dumped the WHOLE BAG out onto the floor.

My first reaction was to yell. Scream. Get mad. Clean that up! Don't do that! NOOOOO!

Instead? Instead, I took a moment to breathe, to watch him and the pure delight all over his face. This was a MAJOR DISCOVERY!

And I let go of all my annoyance and frustration and said YES!

So all three of us - me, Anabel and Enrique had a confetti party. We tossed, we rolled, we laughed.

And laughed.

And laughed.

It is good to just let go sometimes. To be a yes. To let these goofy kids be kids. And in doing so, I fell in love with my little poops all over again.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

family fun day

Last month we went to the Imagination Celebration's Free Family Festival. I forgot I had these pictures on my computer, but it was such a fun day that I wanted to make sure and share about it (even if it is a month old news!)

I heard about this and thought the Enrique would really enjoy it. The theme was metamorphosis....
They had a bunch of really great, kid friendly booths. All kinds of stuff to learn about, art to make, new things to discover...

Enrique was fascinated by the Dinosaur Museum's exhibit. We have not been up there yet, wasn't sure if it would freak him out or not. Now, I think we need to go on a rainy day...
They had sidewalk chalk for the kids to make their own art...

Nice butterfly, eh?

One booth let the kids make their own pasta. Enrique is no pasta making virgin, but the pasta machine was a hit..
And this is the real reason we went..
I am seriously in love with street art like this. We went to something like this up in Denver when Don and I were first married and I fell in love. So, when I heard they were going to have street artists I really, really wanted to go.
It was starting to rain, so many were covered up, but I was not disappointed! Look at how amazing these are!
The zoo had a booth with some cool animals to pet and love on...(if loving on snakes is your thing)...
This guy was pretty cool just chilling...
And then, a new experience for Enrique! His first ever performing arts concert! They had a great little sampling of some of our city's best dance/music/performing arts groups. Look how excited he was waiting for the show to start!

He said he loved the dancers the best.. they were AWESOME! Anabel was pretty captivated as well. I love getting to do stuff like this with my kids and how cool they think it all is.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

art + bbq = arteque

We had our 2nd annual Arteque this past weekend and it was SO MUCH FUN! We had a ton of little people running around playing and making art. Excellent! (Though no big people art..we will have to remedy that next year!) I think this is a really wonderful way to celebrate summer, good friends and the creative spirit....

Some highlights from the day...

Sidewalk chalk...

We re-did our banging wall. It is a little smaller, but you can attack it from 3 sides now, WAY more fun!

Giant bubbles (using this idea for inspiration). They didn't work super great, and I missed getting pics of the actual bubbles, but I love this idea. We just need to fiddle with the formula a bit since they popped as soon as they were released.

We had lots of good friends who came over, including some long time favorite people that came down from Denver and Boulder. AMAZING food (missed getting a shot of that also.. I was so distracted by all that was happening). I love having a potluck with people who care about food.. seriously yummy stuff!

And, of course, we did lots of painting!

This picture is one of the things I love most about doing art with kids. They mix up the colors so pretty almost every time. I could frame this colorful wonderfulness!

It was a really great afternoon.. thanks to all of you who came out! We are looking forward to next year!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

still making toys

Yes we are! We have been getting the chance to make some fun things lately, like this giant rainbow stacker a homeschooling mama custom ordered from Alaska!

And, we have started to get some inquiries about Christmas presents. So, we are offering up a little incentive to get your Christmas orders in early!

Receive 10% off all orders placed in August!

This includes layaway orders, toys you want made now or toys you want later. Pre-orders under $100 have to be paid in full, anything over $100 requires a 50% deposit or a layaway agreement.

Please visit our website to shop around, get some Christmas ideas, and place your order:

Remember that we are ALWAYS taking custom orders, so let us know if there is something specific you are looking for.

You can email us with questions or inquiries:
toymaker [at] chubbasnboop [dot] com

Ordering early will really help us get a jump on Christmas production. Don is working full time now, so at some point we will have to cut off order taking before Christmas. I don't want him working until 3am every night and neglecting to make MY Christmas orders for the kids. :) So, make sure to get your order in as early as possible!

Isn't this so pretty! I love how it turned out.

Thanks for supporting our business, we really appreciate it!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

garden goodies

Oh, my! Our garden is out of control! We have hardly even been down there that past few weeks because of all the rain and wow! Everything is now so big (well, most everything), especially the weeds! We are bad at keeping up with the weeds, mainly because we have been busy and it is a bit of a production packing up the crew and keeping them happy at the garden for a long weeding session.

Which is funny, because I LOVE weeding! I so enjoy plopping myself right on the ground, getting all dirty and giving the garden some love. It is so relaxing and calming. I am craving having our own house where we can garden right out are front door just so I can go out and weed everyday. It's therapeutic.

We did do some work on the weeds over the weekend, but we really need to get back down there sometime this week.

Here are some of the treats we had waiting for us this past weekend...

A few peas.. I think this is all we are going to get :( but they were really yummy! Enrique ate them right there in the garden.

A little tiny broccoli flower!
Promises of future deliciousness!
Crazy amounts of basil...

Here is a little of what we brought home...
Swiss chard, lettuce, carrots, beets, and some gigantic zucchini!

We should keep getting some lettuce and chard for a bit here unless the heat really kicks in. The green beans, peas, watermelon, and cauliflower are not doing too hot. There are lots of beets and carrots still and we are looking forward to tomatoes, broccoli, corn, squash, pumpkins and cucumbers (though the cukes are not as abundant as we have had in the past).

All in all, it is SO exciting and yummy eating food we grew with our own hands. I'm feeling pretty happy about the whole thing.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

screwed the pooch!

Yup, that pretty much sums up how we did on our No Spend Month. We suck. Instead of spending only $250 on all our non regular bill stuff (groceries, gas, pet food, thrift store shopping, etc) we spent closer to $400. Yes, you heard me right.. We went over by about $150. Yikes!

How did this happen? We were doing SO GOOD...

I would say it was a combination of me being sick, which means I get a kind of depressed + starting to feel a little deprived + our consumer buying addiction + very little self control. Yeah, lethal combination. We just went buying/spending crazy the last week. It was weird, like aliens took over our minds.

I was pretty mad at us for a good week, had a few moments of yelling at myself and being mad at Don, because, really, it was all his fault, you know?

Well, I can say (because I always have to see the good side of things) that we did learn ALOT this month. It was not a total loss...

What we got out of doing this:

* We got to see, really see, how we are about money and what we want/need to do to change things.

* I learned how to grocery shop on a tighter budget and still eat good food. Last week when it was obvious we had screwed the pooch, I still only spent $50 at the grocery store.

* We had some pretty awesome conversations about money that we normally do not ever have. This has created some new goals and commitments that were going to happen "some day" but we are now working on now.

* I had a new insight about our budget. I relate to our budget as a hope or wish and don't ever really stick to it. I just spend money on whatever I feel like. So, even though I do a budget every month, and I thought I was following it, I wasn't. I am full of it.

* This new insight has led to us committing to only spend cash and use the envelope system. More on that in a minute.

* Don has a better appreciation for where our money goes, where it should go and where we want it to go. This is a good thing.

* We did discover that we can live on less and though we may not love it, we can do it and be fine.

So, all in all, I am really glad we did this. I think we learned some good things about ourselves and for sure we got ourselves re-oriented and pointed in the right direction toward fulfilling our dreams.

This month, we are taking on a new challenge! To only spend cash and use the envelope system. I have tried this before, but what ended up happening is we would "steal" money from other envelopes to buy things or just use our debit card.

Uh, yeah, not really the way the envelope system is suppose to work. The idea is that you have an envelope for all the categories you need to spend money on. Then you put a budgeted amount of cash in each envelope and when the money is gone, it is gone. Kinda like when we were kids and when we had money, we would spend it on stuff, but when we didn't, we didn't. Sounds simple enough right?

Well, when I have tried this before, when I ran out of money, I would just whip out the debit card and buy stuff anyway. That meant spending money that should be going into savings, resulting in no savings.

So, here is how we are doing the challenge this month.

Each week when Don gets paid, he will deposit his paycheck and keep a certain amount of cash that will go into our envelopes.

What goes in the bank stays in the bank for rent, bills, etc. I have taken our debit cards away. They are tucked into a sealed envelope that we are not allowed to open for the entire month.

I made some cute little envelopes for us to use. I needed something pretty that won't get torn up and mangled. So I whipped these up last week. Pretty basic and seriously whipped up - don't look at them too close! But they are a pretty place for us to put our money and they will serve as a reminder that our money is important.

The categories we have are: groceries, out and about, thrifting, household needs, and pet supplies. I need to make another one for gas. I was going to have us just use the debit card for filling up the tank, but I think that we really do need to put the debit cards away for the whole month and not use them at all. So we will have to go pay for gas the old fashioned way, no paying at the pump for us! (note to self: get gas when the kids are awake or when we are both in the car)

So there you have it - our new game. Spend only what we have budgeted, using a cash based system.

Please do not use any images or content without permission. You can contact me at happydelz [at] comcast [dot] net. Thanks.

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