Friday, December 31, 2010


Someone's excited!

He was being a good boy b/c his control-freak Mom (me) wouldn't let him blow out the candles until I got a good shot. I don't think I'm that bad though because Mr. Magoo himself requested the wall of growth (seen better below.) One year I had the idea to show pics of him at every birthday. It wasn't something I had planned this year but he requested it at 2 in the afternoon. Add one more thing to the list! So I felt perfectly justified in getting a good eight-year-cake shot.

Here he is with his good buddy's Curley and Mo.

It was just a small party. Having a birthday on December 30th means that he saw a lot of family just 5 days earlier so most people don't really want to hoof it over to our place again. Sometimes I do his birthday later in January, but I always want him to have a little something on his actual day. Well, then that's 2 cakes I have to make! Since we had Christmas at our place and tonight we're having a small New Years Eve party, well, that's a whole lot o' hosting for yours truly. A small party would have to do.

After a dinner of pasta (his favorite) and cake, the boys tore open the gifts.

This is the following morning when Magoo has made an awesome robot from a Faber-Castell robot kit. So much fun!

But probably one of his favorite gifts was a remote control helicopter. Check it out!

Thanks to the Brudz family for sharing Magoo's special day with him and thanks to all the family and friends for sending cards, gifts, and warm wishes!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Magoo Turns 8!

He's three-years old in the photograph, but he turns eight today.

I'll be busy making a honey cake, wrapping his presents and completing one hand-made gift that he requested two days ago.

He loves Fetch with Ruff Ruffman on PBS so I made him a Ruff cake topper. And since he has a Fetch Science Club meeting today at the library, it will be a very science-y birthday. More tomorrow.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas 2010

He wasn't an early riser at all. I think we actually woke Magoo up around 7:15 or so. It didn't take much, though. "It's Christmas," I whispered and the boy sprang out of bed.

And then the grand opening of gifts commenced.

The BIG present this year was a Wii. Thank you, Santa! Magoo was thrilled that St. Nick brought Super Mario Smash Brothers.

The Wii also came with Wii Sports and Wii Resort - here I am kicking some bowling tush. (Wearing my new cashmere sweater - oh baby!)

Santa brought Java a giftie too. She got a nice little mouse filled with cat nip. "MEow," she says.

A little later on, the rest of the family showed up. Larry brought us some groovy glasses and a nose flute. It's not Christmas without a nose flute, I always say!

After dinner, we got the Wii going again. Here are our Mii's.
Top Row: Larry, Pam
Bottom Row: Mike, Magoo (he made his own and wasn't too interested in a good likeness), Mary, Charlie, and me.

One of MY gifts was Just Dance 2 and MAN OH MAN is that fun! Here's Magoo and Larry busting a move.

As I was snapping shots, I noticed Mary had snuck in and was dancing in the background.

So we let her have a turn too. Here she and Magoo are doing the Monster Mash.

Charlie and Larry enjoy the show.

Christmas was SO MUCH FUN this year. (Except that Pat and Tom couldn't come due to illness. Sorry we missed you guys!)

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday too!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ice, Ice Baby

On the 24th, Mike, Magoo and I went down to have Christmas Eve dinner at Gramma's house. Since it has been VERY cold here, we brought our skates just in case the pond was frozen. Guess what? It was!

Michael was all kinds of psyched. He LOVES skating and hockey and he gets to do it so rarely. It was a lovely day. It wasn't bitter cold. (I've been out skating when it's bitter cold and it's none-too-fun.) Because it was mid-afternoon and the sun was already starting to decline, I had these ambers in the backgrounds and deep blues in the foreground. Gorgeous. You can imagine what I was doing. Skate, snap, snap, snap, skate, snap, snap, snap. In case you're thinking Yikes - a camera on ice, let me just say, I'm none too shabby. I'm not great, either, but I can do my little spins, and go backwards and all that jazz, so unless I got tripped up on a twig, it was smooth skating for me.

And while I was doing that, Mike and Magoo were playing hockey.

I'm not sure if you can tell in the photo, but Magoo isn't wearing skates. He doesn't like the "skating" part that much and his feet grow so fast, it's just not worth it keeping that child in skates for the 1 - 2 times we go each year. He was quite happy to be scooting around in his boots - and so were we.

He loved the hockey part though.

And even in his boots he took a couple tumbles.

When his tushy finally had enough, we went in. But not until I got a shot of his rosy cheeks.

(I bet his other cheeks were rosy too, but I didn't get a shot of those!)

The ice was clean and fantastic for skating and it was a lovely way to start the Christmas holiday.

More tomorrow.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas Gift for Me

There was a *thud* at the front door. Yanno, that kind of thud the delivery man makes - the one that says, "Here's your friggin' package." It was that kind of thud.

When I saw the thin package from Penguin Publishing, I thought "Yahoo! The new Wink book is here!"

But no. It was this:

Wink, The Ninja Who Wanted to Be Noticed in Chinese!!!!

Ooooo - it's so exciting!

Ever wonder how to write "Yahoo!" in Chinese? Now you know!

I got three copies (no, you can't have one) and I put it on my bookshelf right next to the English version. Hopefully, soon, I'll be able to put Wink, The Ninja Who Wanted to Nap right there next to them, then what a proud Mama I'll be.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I Finished the Quilt

Yeah! I did it! I finished it just in time for Christmas! Here it is. [ I had to fold over a bit of the top so it wouldn't drag on the ground. ] I'm pretty pleased with it. I think (hope) Magoo will like it too.

This is my favorite insect.

I hope all your holiday crafting is nearing completion too.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Birthday Cowl

See, I say I'm not going to post ... then I post. I like to contradict myself, I guess.
But really I had to say THANK YOU to Heather for making me a very awesome knitted cowl!

You see, Heather was making me a poncho for my birthday. There was some drama involved in the creation of this poncho as it had red wine spilled on it and then I think she thought the shape wasn't working out. I think the shoulders were too narrow. Anyway - she scrapped that project. But she made me a cowl. A beautiful firey orange cowl.


And here's what it looks like on.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Treats

I'm sure you've all seen these:
They are very awesome ninja cookie cutters. I think no fewer than 13 people have drawn my attention to them over the months and, of course, I had to have some. In fact one of the moms at school asked me if I had them.

I said, "Yes, but I haven't made cookies yet."
"You should!" she said, as if it were that easy.

You all know there are many dietary constraints to my baking. I have to find a good gluten-free, sugar-free, casein-free cookie dough recipe that likes being cute into shapes. So far, this has been a bit of an issue. The cookies spread and never look as sharp as you'd like them to. But I did find a recipe and I did whip up some dough and I did cut them out.

But when I pulled my ninjabread cookies out of the oven they looked more like sumo wrestlers.

So I put the dough in the fridge overnight so that it could cool and hopefully hold their shape better. I tried again. They were alright. Not perfect, but acceptable.

Now, look back at the photo above. You know what really sells those - the frosting. Here's another challenge for me as there really is no frosting I can use. Or, rather, I haven't discovered it yet. So I thought I'd melt down some carob chips and try doing some line work.

Well that soon became carob glop work and eventually I decided to just spread the carob overtop.

Result: not pretty, but Magoo will like them.

I think my carob drizzled ginger-stars came out better.

I also made some candy. I'm calling them, Carob Crunchies.

Yanno, every kid should have some treats in their stocking and Magoo gets so very little candy-type things, so I wanted to make something special. It's just melted carob chips with some rice crispies mixed in and formed into balls.

I wrapped them all pretty:

He should be psyched.

I can't tell you how busy and tired I am as the clock ticked down to the big day; planning Xmas dinner, planning Xmas breakfast, wrapping gifts, finishing gifts, cleaning, laundry, xmas cards, teacher gifts. If not for my lists, I'm sure I'd be insane. But things are getting done, slowly but surely. I think I'll even get the quilt done. But it probably means no more blog posts until after Xmas.

We'll see.
No promises.
I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Crafting: Family Mastryoshka

I don't know how I came up with the idea (I probably saw something) but I got it into my head that it would be really fun to make matryoshka portraits of ourselves. This thought was so clear to me that I also knew I would need to burn the outlines into the wood - rather than just paint it on. I don't know why I thought this - I just did.

So I ordered some matryoshkas here. And a wood burner here. (Note: I'm not saying you NEED to burn the wood, but I did. You could use a Sharpie.)

I sketched everything out first - and let me tell ya - when the biggest doll is only 4" tall - that's not an easy job! Then I got a spare piece of wood and practiced a bit with the wood burning tool. Then I got to work.

I confess, the lines aren't perfect - but I'm pleased with the outcome.

I didn't want the colors to be too bright. I wanted to let the grain of the wood show through so I stained them with watercolor. (Just don't paint too wet or the colors will bleed.)

Here's the final result.

Mike has his bike and riding jersey.
I have a pair of scissors and a little Wink.
Magoo has a Lego rocket.
Then there's Java.
And I had one teeny one left, so Magoo suggested I made a mouse.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday Crafting


While Heather and I were at the art store buying some items last weekend, we came across these little jars (the short ones) and thought it would be fun to make our own snowglobes. I pulled out my polymer clay and the boys got crafty. Well, the boys and I. You know I can't be left out of such fun.

I baked the clay. Then I coated the pieces in ModPodge (which was a BAD IDEA. Do not do this! ModPodge will dissolve in the water and leave a thick white film on your clay pieces. I scrubbed most of the white gunk off and what's left looks like snow - so it's not the end of the world - but DO NOT coat with ModPodge.) Then I super glued the clay pieces onto the caps of the jars and let it dry overnight. Then we popped some water and glitter in there and PRESTO - snowglobes!

Here they are against a black background.

Magoo made the little red dude on the left who is a Christmas Space Alien. I started with the snowman, and then after finding a discarded spice bottle (middle) decided to make a Christmas tree too.

WIP: Creepy Crawly Quilt

I finished half of the quilt!

I have also completed the remaining 7 embroidered insects, so now I just have to put those panels together which should only take a few days. Hopefully I'll be quilting by next week! Will I finish by Christmas? Maybe.

I had to make a few extra Xmas cards for people like my editor and agent, and I didn't want to send the card with Magoo's face plastered across it, so I sent Java instead.

Mike helped position Santa's hat on Java while I snapped a shot. Then I cut it out and drew & painted Santa's body. I think it's hilarious!

Hope it brings a smile to your face too!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


One of our holiday tradition's is to go over to OfficeMax's Elf Yourself site and upload pics of the family and watch our Elf Selves get funky.

I did Mike, Magoo, Java and me last night. But I did the boys too so they could enjoy it in the morning before school.

Here's them watching their Elves on a surf board.

And here's a video I took of them in a Christmas dance.

If you have some digital photos of yourself, you should check it out. It's super fun!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


The other morning while Magoo was getting dressed for school, Curly and Mo had uncovered the Hangman game.

"I'll play," I said to Mo. He started making the little slashes for the letters. ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

Nine letters. He recounted.

"Are you sure you know how to spell that word?" I asked.

"It was on my spelling test," he said.

"Are you confident?"

He nodded.


"A," I said. It was the first letter. Yea!

"E." Nope. Draw a head.

"I." It was the second letter. "Ailment," I said, knowing it wasn't a nine letter word but I thought I'd check.

"Nope," Mo replied.

"O, U." No. Draw an arm. No. Draw a body. I was about to say "Y" when Curly shouted out "X!" Of course X was not one of the letters and we were running out of body parts on the noose.

"Why did you say X?" I asked Curly, somewhat annoyed.

"I thought it was excitement," he said.

"Excitement starts with an E!"

Clearly I was a little too into it.

I turned my focus back to the gameboard. "So," I said to Mo, "you're telling me that this word starts with an A, then has an I, then no other vowel." I pointed to the seven remaining letters. "This word does not exist. What is it?" I asked.

Mo hesitated then looked at the empty slashes. "Aristocrat," he said.

I stood up in a huff. "For one thing, there's 10 letters in aristocrat. For another, I is the third letter. For another, listen to the word ... arist- O .... there's an O in there."

Mo looked down at his word, seeming to consider my outrage.

"So this word was on your spelling test," I said. "Did you get it right?"

Mo looked at me. "No."


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I Spy: BlueJays

I was working on the computer yesterday morning when I spied a bluejay out of the window. I'm sorta into birds now so I grabbed my camera and snapped a few shots. Man, that sucker moved fast though. It was hard to capture him before he'd flutter off.

Then he flew to farther off tree. Fortunately I have a decent zoom lens and nice new windows to shoot through.

Look - there were two more. It was a crazy bluejay-palooza over there. Actually, I think there were five in total, but I couldn't catch them all. They were jumping and flying all over the place.

They flew off and I got back to work, then another interesting bird started picking berries outside the window. This is the best shot I got. It had a tuft of red on this crown.

I thought it might have been a female bluejay but my google image search didn't confirm that. Then I thought maybe female cardinal. Now, looking at that striped tail I'm wondering if it was a woodpecker. Anybody out there with bird expertise?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

WIP: Creepy Crawly Quilt

I don't know if I've posted about this before, but I've started a quilt. Seems like every 10 years or so I get a hankerin' to make a quilt. But this is only my second quilt so it's not a true pattern of time yet. We'll see what happens in another 10 years.

I decided to make a quilt featuring embroidered insects for Magoo because:
A.) It gives me something to do (embroider) while sitting in the waiting room for gymnastics.
B.) Insects are cool.

The patterned fabrics are all from Joel Dewberry. I think I got them off of Etsy. Then I went to Joann's and bought the solids.

I laid everything out yesterday and figure I'll need fourteen insects in all. Nine are complete so I have to power through the last five.

Will I finish before Christmas? Doubtful. But we'll see.