Monday, February 22, 2010

50 Favorite Things (a Swap-Bot SWAP)

I am in a swap on Swap-Bot that shares 50 of my favorite things with 10 folks. I thought that instead of writing a boring, old Word file or sending just an e-mail list, it might be just as easy and a bit more fun to write-up my favorites here and let my swap partners check them out.
So, here it goes!

1. color: sage green
2. flower: daffodils

3. thing that flies: butterfly

4. animal: manatee (They are so cute!)

5. food: pizza (I think I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner!)
6. drink: lemonade (and flavored lemonades, like strawberry lemonade and raspberry lemonade)
7. country: Norway (my mom and her entire side of the family is from there)
8. in the autumn: watching the leaves change colors – especially the Ginko leaves

9. book: I love SO many books, but one of my all-time favorites is "Watchers"(Dean Koontz)
10. writer: I have MANY favorites, but one is Mary Roach (she is a humorist, and she’s really funny)
11. artist: Monet
12. movie: "The Shawshank Redemption"

13. actor: Sandra Bullock
14. TV-series: "Lost" is one show I really enjoy
15. toy: GloDoodle... what a fun toy! Wish I had one when I was a child!
16. game: "Borderlands" (for Xbox 360), but only when I play it with my husband!
17. web site: (This blog is Hilarious!)
18. person: My husband!

19. song: "Wish You Were Here" (Incubus)
20. singer/band: U2
21. music style: trance/techno
22. holiday: Christmas (I love Thanksgiving, too)
23. journal: I don't have a favorite in this category!
24. language: English (I also love Norwegian!)
25. scenic place: Smokey Mountains

26. sweet: just about anything chocolate
27. in the winter: watching snow fall…. Which RARELY happens in Alabama

28. quote: "If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." (Ben Franklin)
29. word: indubitably
30. thing to do when nervous: hum
31. motto: "Live. Laugh. Love."
32. clothes: pajama pants and t-shirts
33. in the summer: air conditioning and Bruster's ice cream
34. insect: Ladybug (ladybird beetle)

35. outdoor activity: just being in the outdoors in cool weather
36. poem: funny kids' poems by Shel Silverstein
37. reason for laughter: funny mishaps; plays on words; good comedians; my daughter saying things in her funny ways; my newborn son's smile

38. fruit: strawberries and pineapple (it’s a tie!)
39. adverse action: hiccuping
40. weather phenomenon: lightning

41. smell: homemade apple pie baking in the oven

42. snack: cookies
43. sport: basketball
44. mythical creature: dragon

45. place to kiss: forehead
46. gadget: iPhone
47. hobby: reading
48. vegetable: green beans and broccoli
49. spice: oregano (I use it just about every chance I can!)
50. in the spring: smelling fragrant fresh flowers

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Look Who's Smiling Now

Our little boy is not so stubborn with his smiles anymore. In fact, he smiles a LOT... and he laughs, too!

Here are just a few of his adorable smiley shots from the last few days. (He's showing off BOTH dimples in many of these pictures! I LOVE it!)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A new blog -- help me create the background!

I have started a new blog. (Yes, yet another thing for me to do!) And I need YOUR help! You see, right now, my new blog is kind of, well... naked. There is no header and no background. No elements to make it fun and interesting....
That's where YOU come in!
Please take a moment to stop by my new blog and VOTE for your favorite background. (That will be the starting point for the blog design!) And please come back and visit me over there sometime!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Valentine's Igloo?!?!

Jaiden recently brought home an assignment sheet instructing her/us to decorate a Valentine's Day box for school... and to be creative. I immediately thought of making a castle out of a shoebox, maybe throwing in a few toilet paper rolls, some fabric, some glitter, and voila! A creative Valentine's Day CASTLE box!

BUT, to be sure that Jaiden was an active participant in her assignment, I threw in another option... an option I figured she would NOT pick: an igloo.

BOY! Was I wrong! Jaiden jumped all over the igloo idea, even when I tried to describe how incredibly cool (and simple) the castle would be. No sale. Jaiden was all about the igloo!

So... it became my mission to figure out a cheap, easy way for us to make an igloo-box to hold all her Valentines...

and THIS is what we created!

I bet it will be the only Valentine's Day Igloo in her class!

UPDATE: Ah, yes... so... HOW did we make this silly Valentine's Day igloo? The answer may surprise you. It may also have you wondering what's wrong with my brain! ;)
We considered using paper mache, but I didn't want to make a mess. So I went to Michael's on a hunt for a styrofoam ball, thinking, perhaps, we could carve out an igloo shape. But, BOT, are those things expensive. And, come to think of it, those are messy, too!
So I stumbled upon a foam construction hat (see photo, below). After turning it around in my hands for a few moments, I determined that, yes, this yellow construction hat would be the prefect igloo... after we cut it and covered it with batting to make it look like it was made from snow and ice! I also imagined using a plastic cup for the "doorway" of the igloo, just by cutting off the bottom part of the cup and also covering it with batting.
Well, we did just that! We first cut an opening for our igloo by removing the front part/bill of the hat. Then we used tacky glue to cover it with batting. Then we added the batting-covered cup as the "door" and covered the whole thing again with another layer of batting. (I taped down the batting inside the igloo to make sure the "snow" stayed in place!) We then got out a black marker and lightly drew some lines to resemble ice blocks. Then we taped the structure onto a foil-covered piece of cardboard. Lastly, Jaiden decorated her igloo with glittery heart stickers. And as a last-minute addition, we created a little snowman out of cottonballs and toothpicks and a small piece of yarn!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Capturing that PERFECT Christmas Shot... with a 7-year old and a newborn

OK. First of all, I'm not a great photographer. Now, if I had an awesome camera, I could fudge my skills just a little bit... but since I have a pretty average, not-too-impressive camera, my photos are also pretty average and not too impressive!

Second, I attempted to take these photos when Iain was in a good mood. He was content and alert BEFORE the photo session. But as soon as I got him dressed up in his adorable Christmas-reindeer sweater and matching wool pants, he was in a bad mood. A VERY bad mood. And these pictures show his growing frustration. ;) They also show Jaiden getting pretty tired of holding a screaming baby brother! I'm sure she learned that dressing up can be fun... until you spend 45 minutes with a squirmy, fussy baby in about 14,000 different positions while mommy fixes hair, replaces pacifiers, turns lights on and off, fluffs pillows and demands smiles and straight postures!

OK... here we go!

SMILE! Wait... what's Iain looking at? Can we possibly get him to look in the direction of the camera? Let's ditch the pacifier, too.

Ok. He's facing the right way, but he looks constipated.

Very nice smile, Jaiden. Iain looks... cute... but, uh, once again, he's looking at something off in the distance. Can we get him to look THIS way? Let's pull back the camera and try again.

We got the "looking this way" part... sort of. Maybe Jaiden can hold him on the other side.

Hmmm.. Nope. Still unhappy. Jaiden, hold that smile while we try to distract your brother....

Good job, Jaiden. Iain... not so much. Let's try one more time....

Now Jaiden is surprised, and Iain is... quite mad. Try holding him on the other side again.

You're not pinching him, are you?

Is he pinching you? No? Ok. Let's try the pacifier.

Jaiden looks great! But we're still getting a lack of interest on Iain's part. Let's try photographing him by himself. Maybe that will help encourage a smile.

Oooh. Bad lighting AND squirmy baby. Not good.

Can you hold those arms still? No? Can we bribe you with the pacifier?

Well, arms are not flailing anymore. But we still have bad lighting and this squinty-eyed, frustrated look. Let's try "happy"... or at the very least, "content."

I'm not seeing "content" here. This looks more like "contempt."

Uh, oh. We have movement again. Looks like some frustration building....

There goes the pacifier. MORE frustration.... and 3.... 2.... 1...

What are the options here? Anything else we can bribe Iain with? How about we get Jaiden back in the photo and break out the pacifier again. And do something about that lighting.

Making progress. Not bad! Jaiden, let's try to look know, ditch the "I'm-tired-of-trying-to-take-a-picture-with-my-uncooperative-baby-brother" look.

We're good on the 'happy".... but now Iain is attempting a nap. Quick, Jaiden -- cuddle him closer to you!

AND... this is as good as it gets, folks!