Have A Heart

Today my babies are getting a small gift instead of Valentine's Day candy (they have had a ton ever since Halloween and we need a break before Easter) and a small, handmade heart from Mom.  It's just a little something and they don't take long to make, but I think a handmade gift is always fun.

I have made these crochet hearts before as gifts for other children...usually in a time of transition or grief.  I am not the best at knowing the right thing to say or the right way to help, but I've thought these might bring a little comfort.  Each heart is small enough to keep in their pocket or hold in their hand.  No one would ever know they had it, but my hope was that they would remember it is there and be reminded that they are loved.

Today I'm giving them to my kids on a happy occasion, but I'm hoping the message holds true and reminds each of them of how much I love them.  I know that Valentine's Day is a Hallmark holiday, but I'm using it to spread some love (and eat some heart-shaped pizza).  Happy Valentine's Day!

{Liv posed for these photos with her eyes closed in order to keep the surprise.}

A Couple Things I Learned this week

*It's tough to admit (because I always wanted a sister), but having a brother is pretty cool.  Today mine turns 38.  Happy Birthday, D!

*This mini foot treatment is awesome!  I tried it this weekend and while it did not undo all the winter damage (yet another reason I hate winter), my feet were so much better.  I had to promise the girls that next time they could get in on the action too though.

*I chose the bobble blanket and so far, so good.  I cropped this pretty close, but sadly this is about all the width I have going so far...only 1.5 skeins used.  I am going to probably need to buy about 2 more skeins, but still a good stash buster.  And hopefully a great gift.  It really is a fun blanket.

*I am buried in sorting out cookie money right now.  I am thrilled that EJ did so well selling (and is still selling) but it's something trying to organize if you were paid and what you need to pay and what needs to be delivered.  I think I've got it all sorted out, but it was a good reminder of why I said no to being Cookie Mom.  :-)

*Massages are awesome!  This is not new information, but when I go (forever) without getting one, I start to think that they are not something you need and purely for fun.  And then I walk out of one and think to myself...why does my back feel so normal?  How f-ed up was my back before?  Maybe it's age, but I'm starting to plan how I can afford regular massages to keep my jacked up back not jacked up!

*Also...I have always had a woman do my massage and I think that is over now.  I had a man this week and damn was it better.  Either that or his "medium" pressure is on a different scale.  Whatever the case, he is my new BFF.

*This box has been living under my desk for at least a year (maybe more).  It's huge (20" square) and filled to the brim with loose photos and yearbooks.  I have hidden it under my desk and said it was on my long-term list of things to do.  Today I am planning to pull it out and into the living room.  Because...having this huge box in the living room will make me absolutely crazy and perhaps I will finally get off my butt and sort it out.  Baby steps, right?

*Either that or I'll just give up and take a nap...

Valentine's Day Playdate

This is the first year that I am not making Valentine's Day cards for the kids.  The girls' school is studying Valentine's Day and making traditional cards in class...fair enough.  Jack is apparently too old now (what the heck?)...not cool.  So, this Mom had to do some Valentine's Day fun, so I asked some of EJ's friends to come over for a play date.

We had 6 girls (including mine), lots of craft stuff, snacks, dress-up bling & a photo booth, nail polish (which we didn't even get to do), a Valentine-themed movie, and cute pencils to take home (free printable from Lemon Squeezy).  The girls got to work on decorating their hearts right away...

They took some of them home and added (at least) one to our photo booth backdrop.  Then they got dressed up and I took lots of snapshots of them...singles, buddies and a big group pic.  However, since they are not my children, I'll just show you one of my girls.

After all that structured play, I let them loose on our playroom (because isn't half the fun of a playdate getting to play with someone else's toys) and then pulled them back in for a snack and a movie before it was time to go.  I definitely got my Valentine's Day fix!

I'm not always best about play dates (my Type A self likes things a little calmer and orderly), so I might as well go big when I do, right?  I loved listening to the girls interact and all their different personalities and opinions.  I also loved that they were so open and themselves.  I love that their school encourages them to be individuals and respect each other...it definitely shows.  And I really loved Olivia hanging with the big girls.  She has no fear and I love watching her be one of the big girls with no hesitation.  She is full of awesome (something we should all work on being).

Block Stripe Blanket

Have you ever seen a project and known you had to make as soon as possible?  I saw this pin for a baby blanket, figured out the sizing & yarn needs for a bigger size, and headed to the store the next day.  The blanket was a Christmas gift (and it was a little late), so my photos are not in ideal lighting, but I loved this project so still wanted to share.

It was a super project to work on when the kids needed my partial attention (like reading to me or giving them spelling quizzes) or while watching tv.  I used 7 skeins of Impeccable in black, chartreuse, white, true grey (I love this grey!), chartreuse, black, and true grey.  The best part of this blanket is you just use up each skein and then switch to the next one.  Once you are done with the initial row, there is no more counting.  I loved the colors I picked out, but I think Matt might have loved them even more.  He was definitely not happy when this one got boxed up to mail (although that could be because I keep making blankets for other people).

A little wrap up

I finally finished the artichoke pillow (as Julie calls it) and it is now living happily on our couch.  The front is the Blooming Flower pattern from Attic 24 and the back is via Repeat Crafter Me.  The pattern was repetitive but you still had to pay attention on the increases, so I was more apt to put it down than finish it up.  I love the end result but I really had to force myself to finish this one.

Last weekend, Jack had a fun night away and we thought the girls deserved a special night as well.  So, we packed up their favorite game and some gummy bears and headed out.  There is a new craft brewer who opened a small tasting space (kind of warehouse-y, but also the spot perfect for taking kids), so we enjoyed yummy beers and they had root beer and water and a visit from Auntie Sandy.  They were up late, but they definitely had fun!

Middle school orientation...just not right!  Thank goodness the kids are more self-sufficient at entertaining themselves these days because we have had a few meetings on our changes for next year.  Whew!  We are also in a couple of lotteries for next years' placements and just like the state lottery, it is not easy to have your ticket drawn.  So if anyone would like to join us in collectively crossing our fingers, we would love your good thoughts.

Along with preparing to start middle school, we are fundraising to leave elementary school in style, so the school has been throwing many a bake sale.  I haven't signed up to work one (because late nights and Liv are usually no bueno), so I've been baking away.  Last week, I got a little lazy and did some easy baking, but the results were yummy!  I highly recommend these Avalanche Bars and these Peanut Butter Cup Marshmallow Brownies.

The girls have grown (again) and it would be so easy to just pass jeans down to Livie, but...EJ tends to wear out the knees of her jeans faster than any other person on Earth.  My solution was some fun patches.  My solution didn't work out too well (iron-on, my a**), so my next attempt it going to be to fabric glue these puppies on.  Any other suggestions?

Recently EJ has been wearing her cowl as a headband.  And then finding a very old headband I made the girls (3 years ago) and jamming it on her head.  So, on Sunday I got out my yarn and whipped up this new headband/ear warmer for her.  The colors in the photos are not great but the main band is in the neon green I used in this project and then the flower is bright blue, grey and sparkly pink.  She wore it for the rest of the day, so I'll call it a win.

This week is full of snack mom days and sports practices and playdate hosting and school events and maybe just a little fun too.  What are you up to this week?