Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Monkey Business

I recently introduced Lily to some of my childhood stuffed animals. I have always loved monkeys and have a particularly cute mother and baby monkey that I thought Lily would like. The baby wears a diaper and uses a pacifier (so maybe it isn't very realistic). Anyway, I thought this would be a good way to bring up the whole "pacifier=baby", "big girls don't need pacifiers" thing. To my surprise, she doesn't care much for the tiny baby. She likes the mother monkey who happens to be almost as big as she is. For the last few days she has been carrying her around, rocking her in the rocking chair and giving her sips from her sippy cup. Today as we were rushing around getting ready to head to the gym, we had to take a little extra time for the monkey to have a turn in the highchair. Lily fed her oatmeal, quite messily, I might add. I brought out Lily's coat but she insisted that the monkey needed to wear it. Luckily we've been handed down quite a few coats, so I had another for Lily. She even wanted the monkey to ride in the car seat instead of her. I had to draw the line with that one, of course.

This afternoon Lily was telling Corey "Potty! Potty!". We figured she needed to go because she has been getting better at telling us when she feels the urge and now and then she actually goes on the toilet. As it turned out, this time the monkey was the one who wanted to go. It was so cute watching Lily mimic the way I talk to her on the potty. She brought over the little stool and sat on it right in front of the pot, just the way I do with her. Then she softly spoke to the monkey asking "is anything coming out?" which is what I say to her.

Here is a picture I took of the scene. I just love that girlie.


In conclusion, Jakey is still her #1 favorite stuffed toy, but monkey is quickly becoming #2.

P.S. You may notice my handsome hubby sporting a dapper "stache" in the background. He's doing a "Mustache March" with a few friends. They are each required to grow and wear a sweet mustache for the month of March in return for donations to the Testicular Cancer Foundation.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I have been in a crafty mood lately. I finally washed a bunch of raw wool that has been sitting in bags since before we got Lily. Right before we got her, I had signed up for a fleece study where they send you a bunch of samples of different kinds of fleece that you wash, prepare and spin to learn the different unique characteristics of the wool from different sheep breeds. I got the first 6 samples washed back then, but the last dozen or so have been sitting in a dresser drawer smelling rather "sheepy" ever since. Now that I have some freshly washed wool, I have been combing and starting to spin again after a long hiatus. I've also been doing lots of knitting.

I just finished these cute knitted and felted slippers


If you are not familiar with how felting works, you knit something really large out of wool and purposely agitate it in really hot water which intentionally shrinks and felts it. Here are my cute little slippers before and after felting:



And felted:


For the buttons, I had Corey cut tiny wafers out of a tree limb. I then removed the bark, sanded, drilled and oiled them. I used the same technique to make the buttons on the sweater I knitted for my mom for her birthday. I can't remember if I've shown that on here yet. If not, here it is.

Super secret

It is the same owl pattern which I used to knit one for myself a few years ago. See, the cable pattern at the top makes a row of cute little owls. Hooooot!

Super secret knitting project

I also made a hat for my mom and a matching one for myself. I've pretty much worn this hat every day since. I LOVE it. It is the perfect thing to keep me warm but not too hot.

36/365 2 evening hat

Today I made Lily these easy little felt barrettes. Her hair is getting so long and thick, her baby barrettes won't hold it back anymore. She is getting better about leaving them in, so I decided it was time to make her a few more.


I also never shared this painting I made for my friend Lex. She is always making me cute stuff, so I wanted to return the favor. To make this I used watercolors and masking fluid.

03_23_2011 5681

I stole a photo off her blog, used photoshop to turn it black and white and increased the contrast until it was all black and white (no gray). Then I used a make-shift light table and placed watercolor paper over the photo. I then painted the areas I wanted to remain white with masking fluid. After it dried, I painted on the watercolor paint. When that was dry, I peeled off the fluid and viola!


If any knitters out there are interested in the patterns I used, they can be found here:




Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The bath

For Lily, bath time is more about playing than it is about washing up and getting clean. She still really loves bubbles and asks for them every time. She likes putting them in my hand and then giving me "five" and sending tiny bubbles everywhere. She also likes putting bubbles on the tip of my nose or on Stinky's back, as he likes to be in the bathroom while we are in there. She calls him over and then gently places a pile of bubbles on his fur. He doesn't seem to mind.


Almost always, water ends up all over me and the bathroom floor...


I love my little mermaid.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Yesterday, Lily was being a little grouchy. To keep her occupied while Corey and I worked in the kitchen, I asked her to "make me an egg" at her play kitchen. She has a little plastic frying pan with a fake egg in it, and I expected her to pull that out and put it on her stove. Instead, she walked over to the (real) refrigerator and motioned for me to open it. When I did, she went right in and grabbed one of our fresh eggs off the shelf. She walked over to her stove and started tapping the egg on the bottom of one of her little metal pans.

At this point, Corey got quite concerned, thinking that she was going to make a big mess. I told him it was worth the mess to see what she would do. So we let her go. She kept tapping until a little chunk of shell cracked away. She proceeded to put her finger in the hole and crack the shell apart. She then handed me the shell, grabbed her wooden spoon and proceeded to "cook" my egg on the burner. She even added salt and pepper! Luckily my camera was close and I was able to take some pictures while she cooked.



I am so proud of this little girl. But in all honesty, I got a little teary watching her cook. She looked like such a big girl. I'm not ready for her to grow up just yet.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Catching up

I'm behind on blogging, which means there will probably be a few rapid fire posts to try to get caught up.

First off, we are ALL DONE making maple syrup. In a previous post I had talked about us tapping the trees and collecting sap. For about 3 weeks in February, our free time was dominated with collecting buckets and buckets of sap, stoking the fire and boiling down sap into syrup.

As I mentioned before, this process is not new to me. Here is a picture of me from 30 years ago.


And one taken last month:

45/365 Boiling sap

We boil each batch over the fire for hours upon hours, when the sap has boiled down enough and is close to becoming syrup, we bring it in the house to finish it off on the stove. Our usual routine this year was to start the outside fire in the afternoon, after Corey would get home from work. Then we would stoke/boil/add buckets of sap until close to midnight. We would then put the pot of "almost syrup" on the stove on low all night. In the morning I would turn it up and finish it off while Corey was at work. This would usually take about 3 more hours on the stove. This part is very tricky because you are waiting for it to get to EXACTLY 219.6 degrees. If it goes over by much, you end up with maple sugar and all that work is wasted.


You can see how this process can take a lot out of a person. By the end of it, we were pretty exhausted and ready for it to be over. In fact, the trees were still running when we stopped. There just comes a point when you are ready to smell like something other than woodsmoke.

When you start looking like this, then you know it is time to stop.


All in all, it was a good year for maple syrup. We ended up with about 7 gallons.


Friday, March 4, 2011


It's party potty time! For quite a few months now, Lily has been asking to use the potty. We go through this big production, setting her on the pot and talking about it lots. She loves being up there and playing with the toilet paper. We listen very close. She does a lot of wiping, but do date she has never actually "gone" on there.

Today though, was quite different. We heard tinkling! I just about peed my own pants at the sound of it. There were high fives and she gave me a fist bump (which she is very fond of these days). She laughed and laughed knowing exactly what she'd done. We listened again and guess what? More tinkling! She's got the on-off switch on the plumbing figured out. I am SO proud of my big girl right now, I can hardly stand it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Chip, Chip and more Chip

Looking back, I realized that none of the photos I've put up of Chip have showed his relative size. Here are a few from today. It was so nice and warm in the sun. The Spring Peepers where peeping. It's finally starting to feel like spring is on the way :)

In other news, Chip was neutered on Monday. He is doing great and is basically back to his old self today. Spaying/neutering is ESSENTIAL to helping get the pet overpopulation problem under control. Did you know that 3-4 million dogs and cats are euthanized in animal shelters each year? It is just as important to neuter as it is to spay. If you are a pet owner, please be responsible!



Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"Attention Wal-Mart shoppers"

For the most part, Corey and I avoid Wal-Mart like the plague. There are lots of reasons we dislike the place, so I don't need to list them all here. Well, apparently Chip does not share in our distain for the place.

There are times when we need this or that and against our better judgement, we find ourselves in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Such was the case a few days ago when we stopped by to get labels to print for our maple syrup jars. This particular Wal-Mart happened to be in Champaign, on our drive home from my parent's house. The parking lot was packed, so we parked in the back. When Corey jumped out, Chip squeezed out the door and took off. He had been quite scared while driving and I think he just freaked. Corey chased after him but there was no way to keep up. Chip was weaving around and under all of the parked cars. He was running around like a maniac. I had to stay by the car as Lily was still strapped inside, but Corey was running among the parked cars, trying to locate him. At one point Corey came around the corner with his hands in the air, he couldn't find him and had practically given up. Just then a guy across the way yelled "That dog went into Wal-Mart!". Sure enough, he'd gone inside. Maybe he had MilkBones on his mind, or a T-bone steak. We weren't sure. Corey found him at the check-out counter where the cashier was reading his tag. She let go when she realized Corey was looking for him, only to have Chip dash away again. Great! Corey did finally catch up with him. Good grief. Luckily it all ended well and he made it safely back to the car. It is actually lucky that he did run inside as I don't think we would have ever caught up with him if he'd kept running.