Monday, February 27, 2012

Sick Days Mean Crafty Days

I've recently developed a serious Pinterest addiction. The concept is simple: you get an account, you "pin" images and videos that inspire you in some way, you create "pin boards" to organize that stuff you like, you never look at those images again. 
Well, that's what I imagine most pinners do. Not this gal. I store those little projects away for a rainy day. Or a sick day. Or a I'm-feeling-cheap-but-need-to-get-a-gift-for-a-friend day. This past weekend, I happened to be sick. Pretty lame, as I had plans, but c'est la vie. I spent much of Saturday pinning crafty stuff to maybe do some day, and Sunday was a crafty day. I couldn't bear to have a sick day in looking out the windows at the bluebird day we were having. (Fresh snow Friday and Saturday followed by gorgeous blue sky Sunday) Of all the weekends to be stuck in sick, this was the worst! So I sequestered myself in the basement with my sewing machine. 
I did some simple, simple projects that were mostly Pinterest inspired. I took apart 2 sweaters that I shrunk or otherwise ruined in some way. Here's highlights from my favorite one.

My Smartwool sweater here- before I shrunk felted the darn thing in the wash. I was at a pottery class a couple years back:

So, I cut the sleeves off and cut a little slit for my heel. Now I own some warm wooly Yoga socks. Easiest project ever. 

There was a bit of fabric up by the neck hole area that lent itself well to being converted to a pair of fingerless gloves. I'm not sure if they will make me look like a bum, but I will wear them anyway - likely when I go running on cool days or when I want to be able to use my iphone without taking off my regular gloves. 

 With the body of the sweater, I made this really sweet pillow. I think the bows make it handsome. 

I'm taking today off for good measure. Just making sure I'm 100% better before getting back to work. 

What do you do with your sick days?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Value of a Kid-Free Weekend

Some folks just won't do overnight trips without their kids. We are not those people. Don't get me wrong, we love our daughter and enjoy spending time with her. She's a pretty cool kid. She's adventurous and travels well, too. We just need our grown-up time every now and then to stay sane. It's great for us as a couple to spend some time with each other and have some un-interrupted adult conversation. The option to sleep in is nice, too.
Lucky for us, there are plenty of capable people we can leave her with while we go out and play. We don't take for granted how cool it is to be able to drop her off and not have to worry about her all weekend. 
How'd we spend our kid-free weekend? Acting like kids ourselves, that's how! 
We dropped Lils off with her Grammy and made our way to Burlington, VT to see some very good friends who we don't get to spend nearly enough time with. 
We all traveled up to a place called Lincoln Gap, about a half hour out of town. It's a mountain pass road and the top mile of it is closed in the winter time. Parking at the "road closed" sign, we hiked our plastic sleds up to the top of the hill. That top half-mile makes for a pretty insane sled run. 

After all that sledding, we were hungry! We checked out a sweet little Thai restaurant that is BYOB. The food was excellent, and dinner out is much much cheaper when you're not buying wine! 
The next morning was a lazy quiet Sunday morning with some excellent homemade eggs Benedict on fresh croissants. Perfection!
We loved the weekend away, getting together with good friends and having some grown-up time, and Lily had an excellent weekend playing with her Grammie and Grampie.
I don't want to be without her every weekend, but it is necessary (for us) to have that kid-free time every now and then. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Heck of A Good Time

This past weekend,  I had the pleasure of attending two sold-out events locally. Now, that may not seem so remarkable to most folks. I should clarify. My town has halved in population in the past 70 years or so. The main industry of paper-making is all but gone. Unemployment is quite high and incomes for those who are employed is typically low. When an event is planned in the local area, it's expected to not sell-out. So, two packed houses in two days was quite remarkable.
Saturday night was a spaghetti dinner and dancing to a live band. The event was put on by the ski club I'm always talking about. The evening was scheduled to start with a cocktail hour at 6. We arrived at quarter of, thinking we'd have time to help with setting things up. We thought there would be a slow trickle of people coming in during that hour. My jaw hit the floor when we pulled in to the parking lot and there was already a steady stream of people heading in the door. It was a great night with some really good raffle prizes, plenty of food, and dancing well into the night. We also got to honor some long time volunteers and the ski club made some much needed money.
Sunday afternoon was another music-filled day. We weren't sure how much energy we'd have to go out after a birthday party and a late fundraiser, but we went anyway. And boy are we glad we did! I had a feeling the place would fill up early, so we went a half hour before the show started to get good seats. Turns out, we needed to be that early to get seats at all! The band was Le Grand Derangement, and they are good! They're an Acadian band from Nova Scotia. Singing in French and English, and also a dialect of French that is unique to their own town in NS. I think my favorite part was hearing the conversations during intermission. Many of the old timers here grew up speaking only French at home. They were told that they were stupid to be speaking French and it was discouraged. I love hearing those same old timers speak with each other, flowing seamlessly between French and English. I overheard one woman saying "They called us stupid for speaking French, but we could speak two languages and they only spoke one. How ignorant!" Yep. It really was neat to see such pride in cultural heritage. Many folks brought their kids and grandkids to the show, too. I strongly believe that a rich cultural heritage is a big part of what makes communities thrive.
Another cool thing about the weekend? The two amazing events I went to were put on by small community-driven non-profit organizations. Non-profits like these really prove to be the backbone of society in America. [steps on soapbox] So if you are a person that happens to have a few spare dollars or hours, or talents to give, consider giving to these types of organizations that will re-invest it in your community. [steps off soapbox]

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Well, that was nice.

I am now the mother of a 5 year old. Check it out:

So, there was sledding, and kids, and rainbow cake, and gifts, and me not talking about how it feels to be the mother of a 5 year old... 'cause honestly, I'm still processing it. Happy birthday to my baby, who informed me that she is most certainly not a baby, as she's 5 now...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Damn, I'm Good.

One month in to 2012 and I'm doing remarkably well with my resolutions, if I do say so myself.
Let's review:
I have resolved to:

  • Simplify- I am still quite busy, but I have managed to change a few things at my volunteer job to make things seem less insane. Some of my simplifying is requiring me to take on a bit more work initially, but ought to pay off in the end. Sometimes it takes a bit of upfront work to make life easier, I suppose.
  • Water my Lawn- I used this as a metaphor for giving more of myself to my family and home life. I think this one will be a constant awareness for me, but I am working at it. I am making more time to be with my husband and kiddo and doing my best to make that quality time. It's not that I don't want to spend some quality time with them, it's just that I get so darned caught up in other stuff that I don't make the time and effort. 
  • Save Money for Eurotrip - This is going quite well. T and I have saved aggressively before, but mostly for the purposes of paying off debt. This is much more fun. We set monthly savings goals -we met our January goal; just barely, but we met it just the same- Tracy has been using online tools to make a fund drive thermometer like this one every month: 

Whenever we add a few bucks to the savings account, the temperature goes up. It seems cheesy, but it's helpful to maintain focus. At this rate, we'll have a pretty amazing trip.

Another goal I half- set was fitness related. I've been doing some fun workouts fairly consistently and am getting stronger. I managed to get my hands on a set of P90X videos and they are a blast! I'm also doing some interval training, and stepping up my Yoga practice. Although I have no solid fitness goals, I am happy to just be more active for now. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I'll be back at my Universe tomorrow.

It has come to my attention that I've neglected this blog for a couple of weeks. Just posting here now to let you know I'm still alive. I am kicking ass on my 2012 resolutions, I am still too busy for my own good. That's ok though. I'd rather be all used up at the end of this life anyway. 
I'll get back to regular posting soon. 
Happy Groundhog Day!