Wednesday, February 27, 2008

what I have been working on

I found this pattern on someone's blog on Ravelry. It's in German but a friend who crochets & speaks German helped me figure it out.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Unexpected benefit of the Wii

Last year, when Havoc started K3, I bribed him to go the first few weeks. I said if he went to school all 3 days without fussing or crying we'd go to McD's on the last day. It became a habit. Every Thursday, we went to McD's. It continued into this year, though I was able some weeks to 'forget' to go. I'm not terribly concerned that their health will be ruined by eating 4 mcnuggets and some apples once a week & the $9ish it was costing me (with cookies for dessert, more if I get something too) was not the end of the world financially either.  I just wasn't happy that it was now expected.  I wasn't so unhappy i was just going to cut it off & endure the wailing & gnashing of teeth that would ensue.  But I did want to go back to being a reward, not a right. I'd been reinforcing that in January with much wailing & gnashing of teeth (often my own).

Then we got the Wii.  There is a video rental place just up from the McD's. You can rent a Wii game for 5 days for $6.99. You can also buy prepaid cards at a discount - $25 credit for $20, $40 for $32, etc. They don't have the largest selection of games; Blockbuster they ain't, but enough to keep the boys happy. They are more interested in racing games & Mario type things & there is a decent amount of those. If you are looking for any hot new games, you won't find them here.  By buying a $40 card can rent for 5 weeks and I save at least $13 over going to McD's, plus have enough left over to almost cover a 6th game or to rent one kiddie movie for Mayhem each of the 5 weeks as well. And the boys aren't eating McD's, which means I am not either. Not a bad deal. We get to try out a variety of games without dropping $25-50 a game. 

But I'm going to have to make the effort & go well out of my way to Blockbuster & rent Lego Star Wars. The video place doesn't have it, though they will be getting Lego Indiana Jones.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Photo of the Day - week 8

Feb 18 - The Island of Sodor today, a more rural part

Feb 19 - Bowling in the house

Feb 20 - Someone is hiding in the 'fort'

Feb 21 - Teaching brother to play tennis

Feb 22 - Terrance the 'bullzidder"

Feb 23 - We had friends over for a picnic

Feb 24 - Teddy bear sleep over

Saturday, February 23, 2008

I have a new project

A friend of mine is expecting her 3rd child in a couple of months. I decided I'd make some little crocheted animals & put loops on them so they can be hung to baby carriers and things.  I found a cool looking shark pattern but it's in German.  My friend Bettina helped me with some translating and I went back & rewrote it into English.  So now I am working on that.  Then I am going to to make a turtle & then an octopus. I haven't worked from an established pattern in ages. We'll see how it goes.  So far the shark is going along. I'm used to crocheting a bit more loosely than you need to for these stuffed things, and sometimes I feel like I am going to snap my hook in two from exerting so much pressure to pull it back out of the loops when I single crochet.

There is a treasure hunt going on in the digi scrap world. It looks like a lot of fun, almost 50 designers are involved. I started out on it, but a lot of the prizes require store registration to download & I am already registered in dozens of stores I'll never go back to.  I think I stopped about 7 or 8 clues in, after the 3rd store where I had to register.  I understand that with all the piracy going on that is the best way to make sure mostly only people on the hunt get the prizes, I'm  just not up for al the registering & since you have to download the prize to get the next clue, that ends the hunt for me.  I may pick it back up again this evening & register more places but my internet connection ain't all that at the moment so it's just easier not to right now.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

got my Ravelry invite today!

I'm Stacey42,  because I am soooooo creative with my user names.

I've spent the day so far uploading photos of my projects, finding groups to join, searching out people, listing my hooks (OMG! I had no idea I had so many crochet hooks) and looking for things to add to my queue.

Ravelry is a dangerous place, not just from the possible crochet project ideas, the new people to talk to, and the cool yarn. But because Ravelry gave me a link to The Library Thing, an online personal booklist. You can slurp up you amazon purchases & add them all at one go to your Library. If you have a bar code scanner you can scan your books & upload that file. (DH is getting me a bar code scanner. He's getting it to test for something at his job & if it works for what he has in mind for them he'll buy another one for them & give me this one.  How geeky is it that not only does he think I might want a bar code scanner to catalog my books, but that I am actually excited to get it?) You can tag the books & rate them & link up with others who have the same books & see what else they might have.  The downside of the Library Thing is you can only have 200 books for free. It's $10 a year or $25 for lifetime, right now. They are still in beta.  I'm not sure how much I'll do with it so I"m not paying yet. But I have over 1500 books on my personal booklist, that I stopped updating around the time Mayhem was born, so if I use it I will certainly have to pay.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

what to watch?

I like to crochet while I watch TV. We have a Netflix membership, but we don't rent many movies with them. We get TV shows. The last movie we rented with them was Ocean's Thirteen. I loved all 3 Ocean's movies, plus Beyond the Sunset with Pierce Brosnan & Woody Harrelson, which is the same sort of plot. When I am alone during the morning I have been re-watching classic Mel Brooks movies that I own - Blazing Saddles, History of the World Part 1, Young Frankenstein.

Mostly though I am watching the Netflix TV shows that we either didn't see all of, or haven't seen in ages. Right now we are watching season 1 of Eureka (we've caught season 2 on Sci Fi), then I have The Tudors from HBO (which we don't get) coming, followed by Firefly (only saw 3 episodes of it on tv) and then Babylon 5, my all time favorite sci fi series, which hasn't been on TV since Havoc was an infant. I watched reruns on SciFi while nursing at 2am. :)

Needless to say all this viewing is adding a nice pile of crocheted rounds to my afghan.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Photo of the Day week 7

Feb 11 - Sodor today

Feb 12 -Gordon delivery goldfish crackers for snacktime

Feb 13 - a two story car house

Feb 14 - Sodor today

Feb 15 - a rescue mission

Feb 16 - new playground equipment at the park

Feb 17 - a beautiful day for bike riding

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My craft bag

I'd been keeping all my yarn in this big bin

and the crocheted rounds in zip lock bags, but it was a pain in the butt to drag out every time I wanted to crochet.  Taking out a skein or two made me lose rounds & left the skeins vulnerable to small boys.  Plus the more rounds I created, the more space they took up, so I had bags all over the place.

I went to Michael's & JoAnn Fabrics looking for a craft bag of some sort, maybe with wheels, that could hold everything compactly.  They had some nice scrapbooking storage bags & some nice cross stitch & embroidery storage bags and some nice yarn storage bags for knitting & crochet projects. But my goodness, the price!  Even without wheels.

Then I went to Wal Mart to see what I could find.  This is what I came up with. The bag itself was $8 and the little bins were 97 cents each. I've got 3 of them. I can keep a variety of yarn in the bag, which makes it easier to get the 'random' look in the squares. I don't lose track of the rounds & it zips shut so the boys can't see the yarn & aren't tempted to play with it. I just don't zip it completely shut and feed the yarn through the space.

My wrist is feeling much better. I did a little crocheting today & it didn't hurt but I'm not doing much yet. I haven't found any of those bracing gloves, but I'm headed to the big city Saturday to do some shopping with my GFs & will check a few places there. I'm thinking I might need to change my crochet style. I use the overhand (knife) method, maybe the underhand (pencil) method would give me less stress on those muscles.

Pat, I'm signed up to get on Ravelry. I signed up back in November but apparently I left an 'n' out of my email addy so it went to someone else or bounced.  I only realized that a week or so ago when I saw a blog post about it. So I had to go back & sign up again.  I think I should get my invite in the next couple days.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Lame Mom of the Year - early returns

Ah, Valentine's Day, the first true opportunity of the year to retain my Lame Mom crown. Sure Mayhem's birthday is in January, but the fact that I did absolutely nothing for it in his class can be excused by the fact that his birthday was on a Saturday & his class only meets Tues-Thurs. Valentine's Day though is on a Thursday, so I get 2 chances to utterly fail to meet the expectations of others.

I know there are moms out there that genuinely enjoy making elaborate V-day cards & goodie bags for their kids' classmates. They get a great sense of creative satisfaction from cutting, gluing, glittering & stuffing their creations.  They don't care what others are doing, they are enjoying themselves.  On the opposite end there are the moms who are too busy to bother. They buy the 99 cents pack of 25 cards at Target and write names on them, end of story. They don't care what others are doing & are too busy to find out anyway.  Then there are those of us in the middle. Some care a great deal what others are doing & consider it a competition and some don't want to care but can't help hearing the others comparing the efforts of others & feeling vaguely guilty that we have time to do something creative but just don't want too & therefor often find our guilt prodding us into stuffing heart shaped erasers & small pencils into red bags we've highlighted with silver glitter glue while bitching to ourselves about the whole thing.

Not that I am speaking from my own experience. I am Lame Mom. I have the time & even the personal creativity to do these things but I chose to be lazy & buy the 99 cent cards. It is the choice to not do things I am perfectly capable of doing that makes me Lame. I have friends though that feel enormous social pressure from other moms to meet the personalized creativity standards. One of them is busy making heart shaped rice crispy treats that will be wrapped in pink saran wrap & tied with red heart bows, as I type. She doesn't really want to make them, but feels she must. Strange thing, peer pressure. Even when you see it, and acknowledge it, it's still so hard to step away from it. Even as a pregnant 35 year old woman with a college degree, professional job and 2 kids of your own.

I did make the effort to go & look at the card aisle, rather than just simply grab the cards from the Dollar Spot rack. So, I walked the whole length of Target, which is really going above & beyond what I had planned to do. I ended up buying valentine cards with prefilled candy boxes attached to them. I can't decide if that makes me more or less lame than buying the 99 cent cards. On the one hand it seems less because a minor effort was made & there is more to it than a flimsy square of paper. On the other hand it seems more because I am acknowledging that there is so much more I could do and so obviously refusing to do it.

But what really makes me the Lamest Mom Ever this V day is the fact that I do not know the names of all the kids in my sons' classes and there are only 8 kids in each class, including my own. Havoc has been able to name everyone in his class but Mayhem is no help at all. He's just as likely to name kids in Havoc's class as name the ones in his own. So all the cards just say "from Mayhem" on them.  Yep, Lame Mom.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Repetitive Stress Injury

Also known as 'Hookers Wrist" :) (I can only imagine the hits I'll be getting from that phrase)

All the crocheting I have been doing lately has caused my wrist & forearm to be really sore. It actually hurt to drive today. I had to keep changing how I hold the steering wheel. I used to have one of those braces that held your hand & wrist in the proper position & helped prevent the problem. But I can't find it. So I am taking a break for a few days. I do have about 8 three round sets done & have gone through two more colors of yarn, which added 8 single round sets and 6 doubles, but I haven't sat & counted them out in a few days.

I did make myself my own craft bag for this project. I bought a $8 duffel bag at WalMart and 3 plastic snap top bins for 97 cents each. The bins hold the sets sorted in their various stages of completion. The bag interior holds the 3 bins plus 6 full skeins of yarn (and many more half used ones), one deep outside pocket can hold the completed squares if I am not at home when I finish them and a small exterior pocket on the front holds my scissors, hooks and the pattern instructions. A customized craft bag for $11!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Photo of the Day week 6

Feb 4 - the Island of Sodor, today

Feb 5 - Rain & melted snow left lots of puddles in the yard

Feb 6 - Apparently the Island of Sodor was recently invaded by some pirates & a small dragon

Feb 7 - We got a Wii! Target happened to have them in stock while I was there today

Feb 8 - Business as usual on Sodor

Feb 9 - Early morning train pile up outside of Tidmouth Sheds. Dangerous place, Sodor.

Feb 10 - We rented Cars for the Wii. Havoc has been very busy racing

Friday, February 08, 2008

Photos & more

Today I received the 2004 photos I ordered and the 8x8 prints of my layouts that I ordered. Why can't Wal Mart print photos in order? My prints were divided into 3 envelopes & appear to be loosely alphabetical, ignoring those numbers I put in the front of the titles. So 03mar004 comes after 07jul008 and then at random I'll find a photo from December in the middle of the ones from June.  So I will have to go through all 223 of them and sort them out by month before I can start putting them in the album.

We bought a Wii a couple days ago. I happened to be in Target when they had 5 in stock so I grabbed one. Havoc has been very into it. We rented a couple Cars games from the video store & he's been playing them. He doesn't fully understand the story games, where you have to find things & solve puzzles, but he loves racing in the arcade. I found the cheat codes online to activate the whole arcade. He's never going to complete the main game to unlock all the races & the races are all he is interested in right now. Mayhem is interested in the Wii but not so much. He can't use the controller fully, anything involving the B button is confusing to him so he gets frustrated fairly quickly with some games. He likes some of the games on WiiPlay, but he can't stay focused on them. All his interest is concentrated on his Thomas trains. It has been since before Xmas. Mayhem is all Thomas, all the time.

I've been playing Wii Sports myself. So I have not been crocheting. Tuesday night I did a status check. I had 39 single rounds, 17 double rounds , 2 triple rounds and 8 completed squares. We have a couple Torchwood episodes on DVR to catch up on and Ocean's Thirteen from Netflix as well. I'm hoping to get some crocheting done while watching them this weekend.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Well, Wii got one

I know I said a few months ago that we would pass on the Wii. But we changed our minds after borrowing it again. We checked out games in Blockbuster & last month we decided that if we could find one & we had any money left from our tax refund, we would get one. I signed up for Wii alerts.

Last week we got a letter in the mail asking if we wanted this particular company to reissue $242 in checks that we had not cashed back in 2003. Of course we want the checks reissued!

Yesterday I was at Target. I got a text from wii alerts. It doesn't tell you where the wiis are, it tells you to check their site. I'm over half an hour from my computer & have never figured out how to web surf from my phone. On a whim I wander over to the electronics section and lo and behold - there are 5 Wiis there.  We just got an unexpected $242. I got a Wii alert that prompted me to check out Target's wii status (Which I would never have done, I was there for a photo album). Target had Wiis in stock. They were $249

Obviously the universe wanted me to buy a Wii.  And who am I to deny the universe what it wants? I called DH, he agreed, I found a clerk & 5 minutes later I was in the car with my Wii, headed toward Blockbuster. I rented Mater national.

I had planned to say nothing to the boys & wait until Dh came home to set up the Wii. The TV and it's stand are a bit heavy for me. Plus with 2 adults, one can install the Wii while the other protects his back from small children.  I'd forgotten that Havoc can read small words "What is that W-I-I say?" he asked as soon as he got in the car. I told him it was the Wii games and he was so excited "And we get to keep it!!!" he shouted. Mayhem didn't say much then. I took it into the living room & said we'd hook it up when Daddy got home. They were both ok with that for about an hour. Then Mayhem took things into his own hands & began unpacking the boxes. "Want to play tanks now." he told me "Here the cable. Here we-mote." So I ended up straining a shoulder moving the TV around but I got the thing hooked up. I made them sit & create their Miis & then we played. Havoc spent almost and hour with the Mater National, playing some game that seemed to involve endlessly driving around Radiator Springs with no apparent goal. Mayhem did a little racing but he's not really able to work both controls at once.  After dinner we all bowled.

This morning I did the update and synced the remotes and did all the little tedious set up things that small boys had no patience for yesterday. I'm going to have to see about joining a game place.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Photo of the day week 5

Jan 28 - and these are not all the Lightening McQueens we own


Jan 29 - Disney must have heard we were giving all our money to HiT Entertainment, so they have come up with these much smaller Cars we now must own

Jan 30 - we gave the boys a Playstation for Xmas. The original Playstation-from 1998

Jan 31 - we found the steering wheel control for Grand Tourismo.

Feb 1 - Nearly every toy we own is in this photo. Apparently it was a birthday party for all the trains. The other toys were the food and gifts. The blankets were for the sleep over they were having after the party

Feb 2 - the Island of Sodor - today

Feb 3 - the Island of Sodor - today. I spend a lot of time coming up with track configurations

Saturday, February 02, 2008

What do I do all day?

Libby at the Sweet Shoppe blog wants to know how we spend our days. I am a SAHM currently and my days have a similar routine. I get up at 7, put a load of laundry in the wash, get the kids ready for school and drive them there. Then I go to the gym and/or run any errands that need done. If I am home early enough I rotate the wash, check my email & do a little scrapping. I pick the kids up at noon. We have lunch and then they play. Depending on what they are doing I play with them or get on the computer or do some housework, usually all of them. I clean one room per day. The boys usually help me. Around 3 we have snack time & quiet time. We generally watch TV then. Then more play and computer time, and there is generally some reading in there. About 5:30 I start dinner. We eat shortly after 6. From dinner until bedtime is Daddy time & I go read in the bedroom after folding laundry. Sometimes I work on a layout. Then bath time, story time & bedtime for the kids. DH & I watch TV, I crochet or read & he surfs the web & we talk. I'm in bed by 11.

Friday, February 01, 2008

My goal - Eating better this year

Which is setting the bar a bit high actually, given eating dinner at all is an uphill battle with boys. But what the hell, why not shoot for the moon?

My sons get most of their daily fruit & veg intake from vFrusion juice right now. Oh they eat bananas, grapes, apples & raisins at random points throughout the week, but not regularly. 75% of the meals I make involve spinach in some way because that is the only vegetable they will willing eat.

I spent last year offering more fruits & veggies to them and limiting their other options but I've seen no real change in their eating habits. I've come the reluctant conclusion that I may be the problem. I'm not a fan of veggies, can't stand most of them actually, but I do try to serve a variety & make a point of not letting my dislike show. I'm not a big fruit eater either, though I actually like most fruit. It's just that given a choice between snacking on an apple and snacking on pretzels (or not snacking at all), I'll rarely choose the apple. I am not modeling appropriate behavior. Why would the boys want to snack on carrots if they don't regularly see someone doing so? The key being *regularly*. I'll have carrots & hummas for lunch occasionally but I'm far more likely to make a PB&J sandwich or heat up leftovers (and not the leftover veggies).

So this year the goal is mostly about me. I am going to be seen to eat fruits & veggies on a daily basis. I am going to do more than nuke a bag of frozen peas as a side dish. I am going to put as much effort into the damn veggies as I do to the main dish at least twice a week.

This resolution was prompted by this week's Blog Blast a Parent Bloggers. I'm hoping to win a gift certificate to Kroger's to buy some veggies.