Monday, September 25, 2017

Intelligent Girls... like hayrides


This Saturday, a local nursery was holding a custom appreciation day, so off we went to check it out. Bear was so excited because they had a free-use bounce house. To this day, I've never been inside a bounce house. They make my claustrophobia act up, but my son LOVES them. He probably bounced around for a good 10 to 15 minutes before we could convince him to take a break.

After that, we decided to take advantage of their free hayrides. Both children were excited, until the time to get in wagon. Bear jumped right in with his Papa, but Bun stopped. She said she didn't want to get in, so we quickly stepped aside to let other riders on. I told her we could wait while Bear and Papa rode. Then she looked at me and said, "Intelligent girls like hayrides." When I asked if that meant she wanted to ride after all, she nodded.

I'm not sure where this "Intelligent girls" phrasing came from, but she uses it often. Apparently, intelligent girls like to be helpful, coloring, singing, and I'm sure many other things, which currently escape me.

The hayride was quite nice and we got to see a lot of the valley. No actual pictures, since I was holding Bun on my lap. She didn't like sitting on the straw. While riding I realized it was the very first time my children have had a hayride.

So, I'd say my weekend was a win.

(Although I really wish I'd gone to a big Harry Potter event in Staunton, Virginia this weekend. However there were a lot of people there and satellite parking and my children don't know anything about Harry Potter yet. So maybe next year...)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Cat Crafts

All links are affilaate links. I may make a small amount of money if you click any links or make a purchase. 

Ok, so the other day, I fell down an Amazon hole. It's sort of like falling down a Wikipedia hole, except you're following suggested products based on items you're currently looking at.

It all started with this book Crafting with Cat Hair: Cute Handicrafts to Make with Your Cat. I'd seen this book in passing via my older sister and was just curious about the book. Well, let me tell you once I got to this book, my cat book journey had begun.

I noticed this book by Gemma Gorrell, Doodling for Cat People: 50 inspiring doodle prompts and creative exercises for cat lovers. I've been a fan of her pug art so I had to check out this cute doodle book. Now is it just me or are doodle books new? I've never seen these before 2017. Perhaps I'm behind the curve. But I'm totally for them, because so cute

Well, after that, I saw the cover of this cute coloring book, A Million Cats: Fabulous Felines to Color. I mean look at those chubby cat faces!

Finally I ended up here Cat Castles: 20 Cardboard Habitats You Can Build Yourself, and really let's just admire the brilliance of this book. Who has a cat that hates boxes and this book is all about making fancy boxes, because I think all cat owners have gotten to the point they wonder about the tiny cardboard shanty town they've slowly accumulated because the cat loves them.

Now, this is the last on, because I thought I was done, but when I went over to Amazon to get the links, I saw this Pusheen Coloring Book too! Who doesn't love Pusheen?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Our new "pet," Spot

This past weekend, The Dude purchased a small air compressor from Harbor Freight.

https://www.harborfreight.com/3-gal-13-hp-100-psi-oilless-hotdog-air-compressor-69269.html


Alright, so maybe I have too much imagination, but seriously look at this thing! It's adorable! It's got little suction cup feeties and so I may have told our children it was a new pet puppy...

and they named it Spot.


Here's a picture of Bun petting Spot.

I think it's adorable, but The Dude insists I'm psychologically damaging our children by personifying inanimate objects, but come on, it's a cute air compressor, right? 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Mama's Sick Day


Yesterday, I woke up with the most horrendous migraine. I don't often get migraines and this is the very first one I've had since moving out to Virginia, but this one had me low. So low I actually had to run to the bathroom to throw-up. It was bad.

While emptying my tummy of water and the bit of coffee I'd imbibed, I heard both children run back to check on me. The rest of the day was spent moving as little as possible and hiding from all light. At one point the children decided they needed to feed me toy foods. I asked if they wouldn't mind tending to toy animals instead, because the urge to urk was rising.

Luckily by the end of the day, I was feeling much better, but the fact that my Monday had been wasted still stings. Mondays are my busiest days. If you're like me, time is your most expensive commodity and I hate to waste it being sick. I'd also made several mental notes of "Monday will be the start of ___."

But I've really had to try to let these feelings go. Any day can be my start. Any hour can be my start. And as for the missed time to get things done around the house, well. There's always tomorrow.

Ugh, but I still hate it.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

'Tis the Season


The weather in Virginia is changing! The nights have become crisp and cool. The leaves are beginning to change. It is autumn for sure!

I am a nut for autumn weather. It is truly the most wonderful time of the year in Virginia.


The windows have been thrown open!

The best fruit is in season, apples, pears, grapes, pomegranates!

Trips to orchards to pick some of these delicious fruits!

The scent of warm spiced candles burning!

Handmade blankets have returned to the backs of couches!
 Dinners are warm, comforting dishes!

Pumpkins are appearing at the roadside stall of local farmers!

Today, while doing the weekly grocery shopping, I purchased a pumpkin roll, just because I can.

It's autumn!!!


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Equifax Credit Breach


So I'd planned on making a light-hearted post today about autumn and pumpkin spice, but with the news of Equifax dropping the ball on everyone's credit security, I thought I'd use today's post to be of help to you guys.

First, I'll just say simply Equifax is being seriously shady about everything that happened. You can read more on this cnet article. It also includes what you need to do to secure your credit asap.

However some people are having trouble just getting to the article, so I've laid out the basic points.

1. Check your credit report. Personally I'm having trouble getting through on this myself. The system is being slammed, because such a huge number of people were effected and several who have been haven't been told they were!

2. Freeze your credit. This can be done over the phone and it is usually automated, so no people.

3. Set up a fraud alert.

Now, I'm no expert and am going with what I've read on this article, but it's all good information and something you will likely want to do yourself. Good luck! I hope you won't be seriously effected by this security breach.

Now, back to me trying to get my credit report. yay!

Love and hugs!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Scissor Ban



Well, we survived the house guests. It's times like this when I realize I'm truly and introvert. After a weekend long visit, I'm physically exhausted.

The weekend was uneventful, with the exception of Bun giving herself a haircut.

The children were coloring while waiting for our guests to arrive and I was reading a book. Bun came running up to me with a fistful of hair, smiling and saying, "Mama, here you go!"

Luckily she gave herself only slightly crooked bangs. I mean really lucky. If I tried to cut my own bangs, I'd look a fool. She managed to cut her hair with the natural curl and it's hardly noticeable as a self inflicted hair cut.

All the same, we've removed her scissors from her school box for a week and when they return it will be with the strict rule, "Paper only."

Did you ever cut your own hair? Has your child cut their hair off?

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Cat Video Games

video

While visiting with my mother, she introduced me to cat video games. I'd heard of cat tv, but never cat video games. Above is a video of her cat playing. She was hilarious. I showed it to my cat, but she only watched. No swatting.

This game is called "Cat Fishing" and is made by the Friskies cat food company.

I think they need one with a tiny fly buzzing around or a small red dot. haha!

Let me know if you download the app and try it on your kitty.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The First Day of School


Our family has finally started the homeschool year. I say finally because our local public school started weeks ago and I feel like we are behind.

I'm happy to report that despite a few initial grumbles on Bear's* part, after I showed them their refresh pencil boxes with new supplies they got on board. I'm hoping this means I've passed on the stationary loving gene. Yeah, get me in a stationary shop and I'm in heaven.

We are starting things slowly this week to knock the dust and rust off our vacation brains. I like to have the kids make an "about me" book at the start of the school year, as a little keepsake for them to look back on as adults. Or if they don't ever look at them, at least I can look back at them and cry over my babies growing up.

Have your children started school yet? How are they liking things so far?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Book Review: Dinosaur Empire! by Abby Howard


I'm a nut for dinosaurs. When I was young, I wanted more than anything to be a paleontologist. Except I didn't know the difference between a paleontologist and an archeologist., so when I told my older sister I wanted to be an archeologist, she told me I'd have to touch human skulls. Five year old me didn't want to do that, so I gave up on that dream and dinosaurs.

Fast forward 30 years and I have a child of my own and he loves dinosaurs. So of course I start looking into dinosaurs and y'all! the things they have discovered about dinosaurs and well... to sum up (too late) I LOVE DINOSAURS!

Anyway, a friend posted about this graphic novel, Dinosaur Empire! (Earth Before Us 1): Journey through the Mesozoic Era, coming out and I immediately preordered it. I had never heard of Abby Howard, but a feathered dinosaur graphic novel. Oh yeah, count me in!

This graphic novel is now available and while it's marketed to ages 8 and up, I've been reading it through with Bear and he's understanding all of it. Now don't get me wrong, this book is information dense. Many pages are covered with several animals and so much information. But if you've got a lover of Dinosaurs, this is a book you want on your shelf. I love how Abby Howard pressed the idea that you have to be willing to let old ideas go to accept the new science, because gosh! the world of paleontology is constantly discovering and rediscovering these amazing animals.

Well that's my two bits on this particular book and now that Abby Howard is on my radar, I'm gong to be hoping we get a sequel. I'd love to see a comic book about prehistoric animals of the Cenozoic Area. They don't get enough love and there are some amazing creatures.


And as a personal note, I've been up late this whole week working on finishing dolls early so I can prepare for the in-laws. My cat, Amelia, is beside herself. She likes me to be in bed promptly so she can nurse on my nightshirts. Weirdo. Anyway, here's a picture of her trying to be cute and tempt me to go to bed.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Stress, my old arch-nemesis


The in-laws are coming next weekend! Time to freak out and throw all the things in a closet, while praying no one needs any of those things I've thrown in the closet ... or the closet. Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!!


Friday, August 25, 2017

T.G.I.F


Who identifies with this squirrel?

I do! I do!

Yeah, this has been a week. I'm going to take the rest of the day to finish trying to catch up on housework and work. No time to waste online today. Have a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

A Doctor's Visit and a Dog Reading



Today we went to the doctor's for Bun's 3 year appointment. Perfectly normal. Hooray! Very strong-willed. um, yay? Bonus, no shots, so I've got a happy girl. Although the children don't realize I'm already plotting against them with flu shot this autumn. (I am the mean mother. mwahaha!)

When we got home, I was reading over our library's events and saw they had a cute program for children to read to therapy dogs, which I casually mentioned to Bear. He immediately got a book out and began to read to our dog. Rory, our dog, loves story time. He always sits in on our story reading. Can we saw aw.... heck! Look at that messy floor.

Ugh, yeah. I know I'm going to get on picking up those toys after I post this. Ah the shame! She it's working!

PS. The book he's reading is this one: We Are in a Book! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)

PPS. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have heard me lamenting ordering mini pigs without pool floats. Well, don't be like me, order this set instead! 20PCS Butterfunny Rubber Pig Baby Bath Toy for Kid with 5 Mini Swim Ring Same number of piggies! Same price (at least when I just checked, but cute little pool floats! Oh no!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Day the Piggies arrived.


For the past few weeks, I've been having trouble sleeping. I lay down and my eyes fly open. When I manage to fall asleep, it is not restful, so yeah. I've been dragging.

Apparently on one of those non-sleeping nights, I ordered twenty squeaky pigs. They're really cute, but I don't know what I was thinking when I bought them. What was I planning to do with all these piggies? Amazon needs to add a comment section for customers who forget why they're ordering things.

Since the piggie party arrived today, I'll spend a few days playing with them until I decide what to do with them next. They are awfully cute. 

If you're interested, here's the link to the POPLAY Rubber Pig Baby Bath Toy for Kid,20 PCS. Join me in a pig parade of tiny, squeaky proportions!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

We trek into the heart of darkness... Walmart


I needed a prescription refilled and the few odd things, which Aldi doesn't carry.* Our local Walmart is not usually terrible, except they are remodeling so an ordinary in-out trip now becomes a time consuming ordeal of hunting for products and dodging pallets of shelves and products in transition.

Not the best situation for two wiggly children, who have been kept indoors for a bit too long due to the hot spell and swarms of vicious mosquitoes. Several times I had to snatch a child out of the way of a customer, as my children swirled and twirled through the aisles. We were only in the store for 20 minutes, but by the time we were ready to check-out, Bun had it and started shouting for chocolate. (What the heck!? I don't give her that much chocolate. She gets one m&m when she uses the potty.)

Now, I'm not the sort of parent to give in to my child shouting for something, but Bun isn't the type of little girl who will silently accept not getting what she wants. So needless to say, I had to apologize to the clerks and other customers in line and in the end, Bun still didn't get the candy she wanted. (I'm told being firm will pay off one day. Believe me, that day can't come soon enough. Oh my ears.)

As for chores today, I put the dishes away, made some granola, and hard boiled some eggs for The Dude's lunches and snacks. I wish I could say I did more, but my head has been quite done in. I'm waving the white flag on today. Now if only someone would come and make dinner. ha!

*Hello Aldi!
I love your prices and your store and your prices. But can you please carry frozen veggies in a bag? Mixed Veggies, Green Beans, Broccoli? Those sorts of things? Please?

Monday, August 21, 2017

Baby Steps

Hopping in and right back out again today.
Our schedule is a little screwy because of the solar eclipse. I took Bear and Bun outside and showed them the pin hole projectors and while I pointed out the darkening sky, the crickets waking up, the cooling temperature, my children were digging holes in the yard. (sigh) Maybe one day they will remember when their mother stared at an empty paper plate for hours. haha!

Anyway, I've got the laundry running and need to fold it up, but my big accomplishment is I changed the sheets! Yup! Even though my back hurts and I really wanted to phone it in today, I stripped and made all three beds. Go me!

Alright, I've really gotta run, because yeah, lots of laundry and dinner's not going to make itself.

Did you get to see the eclipse? What did you notice? This was my first ever seeing a solar eclipse and I'm thrilled. :)

Friday, August 18, 2017

What is wrong with me?


Recently we had family visit and our house was an overwhelming mess.  I had to spend two weeks concentrating on the house.  Cleaning things, scrubbing things, vacuuming, and putting away the towering piles of clutter that had grown.

Now, I could make excuses, because I have them. I was tired. My back hurt. We were still having lessons. ETC.

But that's not 100% true. What I'd done was stop using my cleaning schedule. I know it works. It works like a charm. If I stick to the cleaning schedule, by a months time, cleaning the bathroom every week is no longer a daunting task. Picking up our living room takes only minutes.

I know this. 

So why is it that I always give up on the schedule? Why can't I stick with what I know?

Instead, I get "busy" and put other obligations first.

Now, I'm sure you're asking yourself what is the point of this post. And I guess it boils down to me  admitting I'm a failure at following my own advice. A hypocrite.

I will be working hard to make posts regularly, updating with how I'm flailing with my own chores. Sort of an attempt to shame myself into cleaning this house of mine, despite sore backs and obligations.

haha! I'm seeing parallels in my attempts to lose weight. Ok, one guilt trip at a time, Marcy. That's the next hurdle.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Patreon Giveaway


Today is the last day to join my Patreon and be entered to win this little doll. She is inspired by the Japanese Kokeshi doll.

Koekshi are wooden dolls, originating from northern Japan. They traditionally are very simple face and a floral pattern on their bodies. I was inspired by my daughter's pippis when making this doll.

All of my Patreon patrons are entered into monthly doll drawings, even $1 members. If you're interested in winning this or future dolls, please visit my Patreon page and consider being a member!

Thank you!


 
I am wild about Kokeshi dolls and have a tiny collection of my own. If you're interested in learning more about Kokeshi, please check out this wonderfully informative book, Kokeshi, from Tohoku with Love

Friday, July 28, 2017

Wow! It has been a long time.

Ah, my darlings!
I know, I know. It's been too long. We were cleaning for guests and hosting guests and having a birthday and hosting guests and finally, finally it looks like things will calm down enough for me to write blog posts again. I have a lot to tell you guys about, but I need to get the posts written and well, I'm still having trouble getting 10 minutes of quiet to get my thoughts in order.

I'm hopeful for a post later today, which isn't an apology. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

San Diego Comic Con!

I'd love to say I were going to SDCC, but sadly it's not in the cards for me this year, or likely ever, because children and cross-country travel. But my little dolls will be making the trip! Yay!

Each year, Cindy Wang, of Geeky Hooker, drops her darling creations around the convention center, leaving hints on her twitter feed where they are located and the person who gets there first gets to keep the doll.

I emailed Cindy and asked if she would be willing to drop a few of my dolls and she graciously agreed! So the nine dolls in the photo above will hiding out in San Diego!

If you'd like to follow along with the fun, please be sure to follow Geeky Hooker on Twitter or Facebook. I will also be sharing all of her posts on my own Twitter account.

Now, let's be real. If you're unlucky enough to not be going to an amazing convention or just really unlucky with winning things like I am, you can always contact me about a custom doll. I love remaking designs. My shop is currently a little light in dolls due to preparations for a DC convention I will be attending in August. So please, don't be shy! I love to make dolls which will make others smile.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Back to School Sales, already!!!



Ahhh! I'm still trying to get into summer mode over here an noticed, while going through the Sunday paper, all the back to school sales. Crazy talk! Our homeschool is mostly a year-round school, because Bear and Bun start begging for school when we take too long of a break. (Let's cross our fingers they're still like that when they are teenagers.)

Usually I try to hold off on back to school shopping until our state offers a tax free weekend to buy school supplies, but last year the stores were nearly sold out by the time that date came around. (August 4-6 for Virginia residents btw.)

Personally, I'm weak for office supplies. It makes me so giddy buying things like pens and notebooks. The smell of fresh office supplies. Ahhh!! It's too good. To try to keep me from going overboard and within budget, I have to take inventory on what we still have and what we need or need to replace. Usually glue, oh my goodness, our family flies through glue sticks.

I really don't believe we need much this year (aside from glue sticks), but I hear that siren's call from the stationary section of every store I visit. Maybe one extra notebooks won't hurt.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Dinosaur Camp Prep


Sorry for being so crazy busy!
I'm putting together a curriculum for my children I call Dinosaur Camp. After homeschooling through the year,we take it easy with a two week long unit based on dinosaurs. Bear LOVES dinosaurs (poor Bun, not so much, but she's a good sport as long as the activities are fun.)

Today I'm laminating so many pages, but it will be worth it. Once we get things all together, I'll make a huge post of exactly what we did with links to curriculum. I also need to intensively clean our house over the next two weeks in preparation for family to visit. Oh, and make product to sell at an Anime Convention in Washington, DC. Ahhhh!!! Not enough time!

I hope you're having a good weekend!

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Great Chicken

Over the Fourth of July weekend, this amazing specimen appeared in a neighbor's yard and I can't stop laughing. I mean look at that monster sized chicken! It's huge and the most patriotic chicken I've ever seen. Happy Birthday, America! Cock-a-doodle-doo!

I wonder if the person who put this gigantic chicken in honor of our country is a fan of The Bloggess or if they just really, really love gigantic metal patriotic chickens.

If you haven't read The Bloggess' account of giant metallic chickens, please read on.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Fly-by posting

Posting a quick post today!
My husband, The Dude, has a new job! Hooray! He has this week off while and will be starting his new job on Monday. But that also means our school and home schedule has been dumped on its ear.

I was going to write a big post, but my children are determined to test every fiber of my patience today. I'll post tomorrow instead.

Love and hugs,
Marcy

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Podcasts!

I'm not sure about you, but I love podcasts! Today, I wanted to take the time to share some of my favorites!

99% Invisible
99% Invisible is a delightful podcast presented by Roman Mars. It covers a variety all the unnoticed architecture and design in every day life. There are so many interesting things I've learned from this program. I tried to go back and choose my favorite episode, but there are so many, including McMansions (and what it is that makes us crazy about them), the Mojave Phone Booth, Chinese Food, and Milk Carton children. There are just too many good episodes! 

Gastropod
Gastopod is a podcast co-hosted by Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley. This is one of the longer podcasts I listen to, because let's face it, having children means I don't have a lot of time to dedicate to listening to anything but squabbling children, however this one is one I need to listen to. I always learn something new about the history of food. 

Lore
I found Lore early on in my podcast listening and it is definitely one of my favorite podcasts. I must download each episode as soon as possible and I hungrily look forward to my children's nap time so I can listen to it. Lore is like having Aaron Mahnke read a storybook to you about the strange side of the world. They are artfully crafted stories accompanied by beautifully haunting piano pieces. Some stories are a little graphic, so please mind listening around the little ones.

Myths and Legends
If you're like me, you love mythology and Myths and Legends is one of the best mythological podcasts.  I really enjoy Jason's retelling of myths and fairy tales with a modern eye and never fail to laugh. I've even learned of a few stories I've never heard before. I also enjoy The Creature of the Week, where a mythological creature is introduced. Most episodes are ok for children, though thoughtfully Jason will let you know before hand if there is any questionable content.

The Adventure Zone
Out of curiosity I've started listening to this series and have to admit I'm loving it! The Adventure Zone is a podcast of 3 brothers and their father playing Dungeons and Dragons. The family is hilarious to listen to and makes me dearly wish I had the opportunity to play a table top game. This is one that is definitely not for children.

*

Ok, so I've already gushed a bit about Lore, but I really love this podcast. I even am a proud Patreon Patron of this series. Well, if you're not familiar with this series, there is so much going on. Firstly, there will be a television series released on Amazon Prime later this year!

Aaron Mahnke, who is a writer first, is publishing his first Lore book! It's called The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures and you'd better believe I've already pre-ordered my copy.

(By the way, on accident I've learned that if you preorder items from Amazon you eceive the lowest price offered from the time you've purchased the item to the time the item is released. This includes movies, books, and video games! No heavy lifting on your part! Gosh, I love automatic savings!)

Monday, July 3, 2017

Book Review: "_____ to the Rescue!" by John Himmelman

(The links in this post are affiliate links. If you purchase an item, I may get a paid a small amount. I am not being paid for a favorable review, I really do like reading picture books and sharing gems with you.)

When Bear was just beginning to go to our Library's story time, we were introduced to a wonderful series. We recently revisited it along with the last two in the series we had never read before and oh my gosh! These books are too fun!


The first in the series is Chickens to the Rescue (Barnyard Rescue). In this delightfully illustrated book, the Greenstalk family and barnyard animals are all having problems. They are saved by a flock of very helpful chickens. Each page has lots of little tidbits inside, so reading again and again is encouraged.


The second book in the series is Pigs to the Rescue: A Picture Book. This one is my personal favorite. While the chickens were so helpful, the pigs are a bit ... over helpful. They always try to help, but they do a little too much each time. My children loved finding "baby pig" as they named the piglet. (You can see baby pig on the cover hanging off the ladder.)


After a bit of a disastrous rescue, it's now the cows' turn in Cows to the Rescue (Barnyard Rescue). In this book, the cows help everyone at the county fair. This one is also very cute, but it just wasn't my favorite.  Maybe I'm not a big cow fan, though my son declares this is his absolute favorite.


Lastly, it's Duck to the Rescue (Barnyard Rescue). Poor Ernie the Duck wants to be helpful too, but nothing goes right for him, until a helpful little sheep steps in to make Ernie the hero he longs to be.

I LOVE this series. Like really and truly love it. The story is absolutely silly and the illustrations are so fun to look at. I swear, every time I reread a book, I discover some new aspect of a page. So, 2 thumbs up from me, especially for Pigs to the Rescue. This is a winner of a series.

***

As I'm sure you've noticed, I had to phone it in with the photographs and link to Amazon today. Sorry about that, but it kinda works, because I wasn't sure if you have heard about Amazon's Prime Day on July 11th. I usually miss out on these kinda sales, so I wanted to be sure you guys knew about it ahead of time. It's a 30 hour period of big sales and some are going on now. I've picked up a few things for my business already. If you'd like, I can try to highlight some of the deals I see.

Don't have prime? You can Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial! Just in time for Prime Day! Amazon is already offering a variety of cool giveaways. Sadly, I haven't been very lucky, but maybe you will be!