Observations Of An Amateur Housewife

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Scrappy Lampshade DIY

My 3rd trimester I kind of went into a "nesting" craze, fueled by Pinterest and moving into a new canvas house with all kinds of new rooms and empty walls to decorate. I do not recommend moving while pregnant. If it doesn't drive you insane, it will likely drive your husband insane.

The kids rooms were my main focus this summer, and Lily's room especially. 

After painting and curtains and everything, the room still needed something, some *bam* object that would tie in all the colors: aqua, pink, and white with pops of yellow and green and make them all make sense.

When I saw this lamp over at The Pleated Poppy, I knew it was perfect,  since I had a ton of scraps leftover from the throw quilt I made for her bed. 

So, I found a shade at St. Vincent's for a couple of bucks.  
I ripped it apart, much to the shock and dismay of my husband, who didn't know what I had planned. (You'd think he'd be used to me by now!) 
Then I tied and tied and tied and tied. And tied. I used all my scraps and it took forever.

But I love it! 

Cost of this Project: Approx $15
Shade: $4
Fabric for Shade: $0 (scraps)
Swag Lamp Kit: $10 at Home Depot
Fabric to cover the chain: $1 at Walmart

Go to The Pleated Poppy (linked above) for a full tutorial!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Beauty and the Box

At some point in their lives, usually at a young age, most women are given a pretty little box.  The box can come from many different sources. A mother or grandmother. A father. A boyfriend. A circle of girlfriends. A TV show, magazine, or music video. Some boxes are bigger than others, but usually, they are pretty small. You may keep yours on the bathroom vanity, or carry it around with you everywhere you go.

Contained in the box is its owner's personal ideal of beauty. The box is small, because usually it consists of  only one thing, one tiny detail...a number. Maybe a dress size, measurements, or the numbers on a scale. And every day, or even several times a day, the box is opened. Every time the person looks in the mirror, goes shopping, or finds themselves in a crowded place, they take the box out and compare themselves to what's inside.

"How do I measure up today?" they wonder. "How long before I reach this level of beauty that will make me happy with myself?" They may feel a twinge of guilt, disappointment, frustration, or envy before they put the box away.

And so it goes, every day. A constant struggle to find the personal happiness that can only be found in the perfect dress size.

As I raise my daughter in a society that revolves around image, I can't help but want better for her. I want her to know that personal beauty is so much more what than can be stuffed into a tiny box. It isn't about how small her waist is or isn't, or how flat her tummy is or isn't. It bothers me to hear teenage girls talk about how many calories they ate that day, or how they need to go on a diet, always with this self-loathing in their voices as they stare at their image in the mirror, hating what they see and wishing they could just measure up to some shallow ideal of beauty.

Who teaches them this? These are girls that grow up in church, in Christian homes. Shouldn't they be learning that they are "fearfully and wonderfully made"? Shouldn't they know that the image they are staring at with such disgust is a work of art, created with care by Someone who thinks they are beautiful? Shouldn't they know that happiness comes not from a constant focus on self, but a forgetting of self?

It makes me sad to hear little girls worry so much about their appearance. It bothers me to hear ladies my own age, who are all so pretty just the way they are, talking about "just 5 more pounds" or how much better they looked before they had kids. It drive me nuts to hear grandmothers and great-grandmothers talk about how they "really shouldn't" eat dessert because they want to slim down! I'm all for being healthy, but if you haven't accepted yourself by the age of 70, you never will! And moms, if babies gave you a bigger tummy or hips, hey, don't be embarrassed, you worked hard for those! There's nothing wrong with looking like a mom, you are one! ;)

Health is important, yes. Eating nutritious foods, getting adequate exercise and fresh air, these are all good things. But diet and exercise for the sake of...what? Being skinny? Measuring up to some lame standard of beauty that the fashion and diet industry says we have to look like? (((Who made them so smart anyway? Maybe it has to do with the fact that the more money you spend on their weight loss products, the more money they make off of you?))) That's not healthy or good. It's wrong! When it comes right down to it, it's nothing but pride. Pride is not beautiful.

These are just my thoughts on things I'm working on personally. It isn't easy, I would be a hypocrite to say that I don't struggle with all of these things. I'm no supermodel, it's HARD to look in the mirror and be happy with what I see. I was raised in the same society as everyone else. But the longer I am a mom, the more mindful I am of what I'm teaching my daughter. Every time I look in the mirror discontentedly, comparing myself to a number, every time I say "Ughhh, I'm so fat!" or "I'm so ugly!" my daughter is learning. I'm shaping her ideal of beauty. She's taking away from me the idea that the worth of a woman is measured by nothing more than a reflection in the mirror. I think she's worth more than that. A lot more.

Maybe we should think outside of the box. Throw the box away. Broaden our perspective. Teach our girls that they are beautiful the way they are! It takes more than words to teach. If I tell my daughter "You are so pretty just the way you are" and then turn around and say "If I could just lose 10 pounds I would look so much better" what have I taught her? I've taught her that everyone else is fine the way they are, but not me. I can do better. I can improve on what God made. Wow, if that isn't nasty pride rearing its ugly head in my mirror, I don't know what is. And pride does not look good on anybody.

Psalm 139:14-15 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

Life In Bloom Linking up with Life in Bloom today!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pumpkin Pattern

I saw this adorable little pumpkin hat pattern, I definitely want to make one for our little fall "Punkin"! Isn't it cute? Even if we have a girl, can't you just see it with with a tiny green tutu?  It ALMOST makes me wish for Fall. Almost. Except that I am ready for cold weather to be over, not starting. (Will summer ever come???) 

I've been taking knitting lessons every week, I don't know if I will have the skills to make this by September or not, but I'm going to try! (I have yet to finish a decent washcloth, so we'll see, haha).

My poor little babies!


Friday, April 15, 2011

The SugarBow Shoppe -- Making Life Sweet

Since I have my own blog, why not use it for free advertising right? ;)

If you are interested in sweet hair accessories for your little girls or even yourself, check out my Facebook page and become a fan! https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-SugarBow-Shoppe/166356459595 If that link doesn't work for you, just search SugarBow Shoppe in the FB search engine. There you can view my current listings and spread the word

I also have a domain at etsy.com, see link below, where my items are available for purchase at insanely competitive prices. (Hmmm, that sounds like a used car salesman, but I really do have good prices!) http://www.etsy.com/shop/SugarBowShoppe

Headbands, bows, rosettes, and hats are all available, and I take custom orders for people I know. I LOVE doing it, so look me up!

Thanks for your time!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Regarding The IFB Cult as seen on 20/20

 If you haven't watched or heard about the 20/20 episode last week "exposing" "THE IFB Cult" go to www.abc.com and watch it. Oh boy, I have soooo much I want to say about this subject. Actually, I have said a lot about it all over the web, haha. Some people make me so mad! But I'm just going to narrow it all down to one little statement:

Revenge-colored blinders do not allow truth to be seen. 

I'll be the first to admit that many  Baptist churches drop the ball on issues like the story Tina told. But not ALL of them, and probably not most of them either. And the group telling this particular story have an AGENDA folks. And it's not good! But regardless of whether the stories portrayed on the program have an element of truth to them or not, these people are on a witch hunt, and they don't care if they bring down innocent people so long as they get their revenge on the people who hurt them. And I'm guessing they probably don't appear on shows like 20/20 for free? 

I wouldn't trust Jocelyn Zichterman with a 10-mile pole. I don't know why, I'd never even heard of the woman before last week, but she has an agenda no doubt about that. She is not someone who has anyone's best interest at heart. 

After reading everything I can find on the subject, all I can see is that: 

1. This is a nationally known story; if Pastor Phelps really had obstructed justice by covering up a rape, why isn't HE in jail? Why isn't HE a person of interest in this case? Why would he make his paper-trail public if he had something like that to hide?

2.  There is no such thing as "The IFB Denomination". Independent Baptists are just that...independent. It's not "The Baptist Church" like there's "The Catholic Church" or "The Mormon Church". Each church is its own entity, and not every church agrees or shares the same standards as another church. 

3. If Baptist doctrines repress women, why are there more women than men in church? 

4. I would be the first to stand up and yell for Pastor Phelps or ANY pastor to resign, go to jail, apologize, if he really covered up sexual abuse in his church. It's a pet peeve of mine actually, churches brushing things under the rug to save their reputations. But looking at the evidence, it doesn't appear that he did that. 

5. Independent Fundamental Baptists defy any modern notion of a cult. Think about it. If a person decides they don't agree with the ideas of a particular cult, what happens? The cult leaders hold something over their heads, making them afraid to leave, something such as loss of salvation, loss of children, loss of life. But if I wanted to quit attending an Independent Baptist church right now, I could! Nobody is going to say I'm no longer saved, I won't go to Heaven, or even hint at it. I wouldn't fear for my life or my family's life. People would be disappointed. I might lose some friends. But that's about it. How does that in any way remotely resemble a cult? Absurd. 

I found these websites to be extremely informative:





Woops, I wasn't going to rant, but I guess I did.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Easter Lily

It's hard to believe that today is my oldest baby's 5th birthday! This birthday seems like such a big deal to me. This is the year she will no longer be called a "preschool age child", no longer fit in the clothes from the "little kid" section of the store, no longer have to take a daily nap (except on Sundays, because as we told her, even God took a nap on the seventh day!). She'll be starting Kindergarten!

And she has also announced that now that she is 5, she will NOT be scared of the McDonald's play-land with the shaky rope bridge. We'll see about that one. I told her we'd try it sometime, but I have squeezed and crawled through that ridiculous play-land filled with rude and unruly children on too many rescue missions to try it again anytime soon.

The five years since we brought her home from the hospital have gone by so fast. I remember looking down at her little round newborn face and being gripped with sudden and total panic at the thought of being responsible for this tiny life. What was I going to DO?! How was I going to keep this helpless little thing alive?!

But somehow, we have made it through five years already, and I am so thankful for the time that God has given us with our amazing, artistic, expressive, funny, beautiful daughter. Thank you God for each moment!

    Happy Birthday Lily, and may you have many, many, many more!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Here's Looking at YOU Kid"

So I was going through my canned goods cupboard yesterday, and way in the back I see these 2 eyes looking at me over the top of a can! The only animals we currently own are goldfish and water snails, so I knew it was not a family pet. It freaked me out a little, but I decided to be a big girl and get whatever it was, out.  I gingerly moved the can and found...a POTATO, with a root/eye that had sprouted 7 inches tall and had 2 round  horns sprouting from the top, just like two beady eyes! Scared me to death! lololol I thought maybe I should save it and plant it or something, but potato eyes have always given me the willies, so I threw it away. 

I should have taken a picture though. :)

Friday, March 18, 2011


Well folks, this blog probably looks kind of awkward right now, because I just moved over here from Wordpress. No big important reason really, except that Wordpress has such *boring* backgrounds, and I wanted a pretty blog! So there you see the depth of my vanity.

I couldn't figure out the import/export stuff, so I just copied and pasted all my previous posts from Wordpress over to here. That's why the dates are all off. Anyway, just thought I'd update my loyal fans! (hi mom!)

Picnik-y Spring

March 2011

Yesterday was gorgeous. We don’t see too many warm AND sunny days ’round these here parts. Did you know that it is either raining or snowing 1 out of 3 days in this city?! It’s true. Might as well live in the rainforest. Not too many people know about this particular rainforest, but it's very, very REAL. 
Clouds and I don’t get along very well. I mean, I like a cozy, rainy day just as much as the next person. Good book, hot chocolate, cozy spot on the couch, all that nice stuff. Every couple weeks or so, that would be nice. But when you get one, MAYBE two sunny days out of every week, it starts to wear on your nerves.  A lot.  Last summer we had a “drought”. It only rained once a week. Everyone was praying for rain. Crazy. lol
But I didn’t start this post to complain about the weather. I do more than enough of that. :) As I was saying, yesterday was gorgeous! Sunny, springy, warm! The kids and I didn’t get anything done all afternoon (except for getting the van cleaned out, which it needed desperately). We just played outside and took pictures, and while they were “napping” I had fun editing them on Picnik, my favorite toy. I love that thing! And it’s free, gotta love that!
It’s dark and cloudy again today, but Happy Almost Spring everyone!

Searching for Caterpillars

Hooray for Spring!

Pastrami A +, Pickles F-

Pastrami A +, Pickles F- March 2011

Well I’m not a foodie or a chef, I don’t even watch those crazy cook-off shows, (although I do think Cupcake Wars is kind of fun to watch). But I was so proud of myself today that I had to post a picture.  I am finally getting past the morning sickness phase of this pregnancy and feeling like a real person again! So for lunch today I actually prepared food to eat, instead of rummaging like a zombie through the freezer for pizza pockets and corn dogs to heat in the microwave. Adam has been talking about pastrami a lot lately, (pregnancy sympathy cravings???)  so I got some at the deli on our last grocery trip. Did you know turkey pastrami is only 3.99 a pound?! How did I not know that? We have been missing out on all of this pastrami goodness because I didn’t even know there was such a thing as TURKEY pastrami. Like I said, I’m no foodie, but I think it tastes the same. And I’m guessing it’s better for you since it’s made from a bird instead of a…cow? pig? Something like that.
Anyway, yay me. Big pat on my back. For making it through my first 11 weeks of pregnancy without anyone in the house getting food poisoning or starving. And to celebrate, here is a picture of what made Adam very happy today when he came home for lunch.
 Not too shabby, even if it is made with basic wheat bread and served on a paper plate. Hey, I may be up to making a sandwich, but I don’t want to waste my energy on dishes if I don’t have to! :)
 The only thing missing was pickles, which I actually got out, but was very bummed to discover out that the brand I bought was NOT good! Yes, I am a stereotypical pregnant lady with pickles this time around, and Mt. Olive Baby Dill Pickles did not make the cut!They taste like, well, olives! They don’t even smell like pickles. They did not even CRUNCH. Not good.
I guess I will just go back to Great Value baby dills, they taste great. (I just really wanted the little tiny pickles, and Mt. Olive were the only ones I could find.) ANYWAY, have a great day everyone!

Dream House or Dream Home

Dream House/Dream Home April 2010

It’s fun to dream…if I could put together the perfect “dream house” for our family, it would probably look something like this.
It would have a family friendly and serene kitchen:(minus the birdhouse…indoor birdhouses aren’t really my style).
The open floor plan would be spacious–but not too big–with a warm, rich color palette:
Lily’s room would be picture perfect:
And Jackson’s room would probably be something along these lines:
The master bedroom and bath would be an oasis of peace and relaxation:                                  
And the ceilings would be oh so wonderfully high!
While we’re dreaming how about an outdoor living area?
Okay, back to reality. In reality, our house looks nothing like this.  In reality, I have purple countertops, a yellow bathtub, and popcorn-textured ceilings that I can practically touch if I stand on my tiptoes. In reality, my house is–beautiful.
Beautiful because it is filled with the people I love most in the world. Beautiful because it is decorated with my son’s toy cars on the floor, and my daughter’s fingerprints on the mirror. And because our dreams are here.
Every family has dreams. For us, our greatest dreams revolve around each other and where God wants us to be. We are so amazingly blessed. We don’t deserve to be taken care of, to have a roof over our heads, beds to sleep in, shelter from the heat and cold. And yet, here we are surrounded by all of these things and more, simply because God has provided them for us.
Sure, a “dream house” would be nice. But if I had to choose, a dream home is even better. And that’s really what I’ve got.

My Corner of Perfect

February 2010

In the corner of the United States, on the corner of Bridge Vista and Selah Loop, there is a yellow house with a star on
top. A little gate with a trellis over it welcomes family and friends, and invites them to step into a place where life slows down and becomes a little less complicated. Several years have passed since I visited, but I go back there just about every day.
My grandparents’ house holds many memories for me. Neither big nor small, it’s the perfect size. Inside, there is a kitchen, dining room, living room, two bedrooms, a fireplace, a woodstove, and an attic. Outside, past the surrounding porch and patio, you will find a cherry tree, an apple tree, a peach tree, a walnut tree, numerous flower beds and a vegetable garden.
My dad and his sister grew up there. At the age of 18, he married my mom in that house. Later, when my mom’s illness put her in the hospital for months at a time, my family moved in and my grandparents took care of us while my dad worked. Years later, Adam & I had our wedding reception under the walnut tree.
As a kid, I could often be found in that walnut tree, reading a book. I  loved everything about that house, especially the yard. I would spend  hours wandering around outside, playing with kittens or baby chicks  under the porch, walking barefoot in the garden, or exploring the fruit  cellar. I remember drying my hair in the sunshine on hot summer  mornings, watching Grandpa mow the lawn or Grandma water her  flowers. I hope I get to see Lily and Jackson running in that yard.
I loved the yard best, but the attic was a close second. It was my dad’s  room when he was a boy, and when we moved in it became mine. Dozens and dozens of beautiful porcelain dolls lived there, as well as all the various knickknacks and collectibles Grandma had acquired over the years. I loved exploring through old dressers and trunks, daydreaming in the window at the top of the stairs, and sleeping under heavy old quilts on the white brass bed.
Biscuits and gravy on cold mornings, summer evenings on the patio, Mariners games on the radio, yard-saling with Grandma, fresh cherries from the tree, Grandpa in his wood-working shop, tulips and daffodils in the spring, ivy and roses and pansies all summer, fresh sweet corn every August, sunflowers as high as the roof, the smell of fresh-cut grass every Saturday, home-canned grape juice, birthdays and Christmas and beans and cornbread…it’s always been that way, at least as long as I can remember.
Now, grandma’s memory is fading. Dementia. She’s not very old, only in her sixties. Grandpa just had another surgery to remove cancer. It scares me a little, to think that things might change. I know everything else changes, and people get older or move away, and nothing stays the same– and that’s okay. I’m used to that. But not them. Not that place. That can’t change.
I guess it is rather childish of me to hope it will always be there, unchanging, waiting for me forever. But I hope it does. I don’t know what I would do without it—the only thing in my childhood that never changed, never got sick, never moved away. I have a great life where I’m at, and I don’t wish for my childhood back, or anything silly like that. I just want it to stay right where it is, where I can always go back–to my little corner of perfect.
Yesterday’s slipping,
Slipping away.
Time’s swiftly running,
Leaving Today–
Racing ahead of
Those golden days,
Forgetting about
My little place
Where the sun shines warm
On sweet green grass,
Where pansies nod, and
Wink as you pass.

Come back, Yesterday.
Today, stand still.
Wait just a minute,
Time, stay until
A lock be set ‘round
My little place
To stay for all time—
The same, always.

One Of Those Days June 2009

I round the corner of the kitchen counter bar, and I feel a slimy squish under my foot–the banana that I JUST cut up for Jackson is now ground into the carpet. Nice. “Na-na! Na-na!” Jackson is asking for more banana. Why, so he can throw more on the cheerio-covered floor? No way, Bud! My patience is thinning rapidly. I’ve been trying to get the floor swept and vacuumed for the last hour with no luck and now I have to clean up gross banana first.
 On my right, the kitchen is full of incompletes–a cold, half-gone mug of coffee, a sink with one side empty and one piled up, the fridge hanging open because I ran over to stop Jackson from crawling on the counter, the mirror on the wall reflecting my damp and now frizzy hair hanging in my eyes, and a freshly-swept pile of dirt and food spreading itself back out across the floor.0219091940
 On my left, the living room is in chaos–slipcovers hanging off the furniture; books all over the floor; toy kitchen and all its contents knocked over; dvds piled up all around and on on top of the entertainment center (I hate that!); a cup of water, given to Lily only minutes before, is now on its side in a big soggy spot; the vacuum waiting patiently in the middle of everything. My 900 sq. foot apartment is caving in on me! And all I see outside are more blasted clouds, clouds, clouds!
That was at 9:00 this morning , and it has been “one of those days”.
 At moments like these, it is difficult to see the joy of motherhood. Now, here is the spot where I am supposed to start writing about all the blessings and miracles and rainbows that make it all so worthwhile. And it is worthwhile. And there are blessings, and miracles, and rainbows even. We all know it’s worth it. But sometimes, you just have a bad morning. Sometimes, you just DON’T want to hear someone say, “Enjoy it while you can, the years go too fast!”  
 How many times do we just feel like running out the door screaming, and then hear this little voice of guilt inside saying, “You’re such a bad mom! Other moms appreciate their precious little cherubs, why don’t you?” And you don’t really want to share it with anyone, either. It’s like once you become a mother, you join this club where the club members feel this strange compulsion to show each other what an orderly, sunny life they live. Not in a mean or judgmental way, but in a way where nobody wants to admit that their house gets messy, or that their kids throw food on the floor and and try to kill each other, or that sometimes you just wonder, “Why on EARTH did God think I was cut out for this job???!!!”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               As I cleaned the grilled cheese out of my son’s hair this afternoon0609091320b, and watched my daughter purposely pour an entire bottle of water out on the floor, I thought, “I should be laughing at this. A good mom would laugh, or take a picture, or something.” So I took a picture. But it wasn’t funny!  It probably will be later, but it wasn’t then0609091320.
So on days like this, instead of feeling guilty and unworthy of motherhood, how about we all leave the “Super-Mom Club”, and join the “I’m-not-perfect-but-I-try-hard” support group? Because we’re not perfect moms. Nobody is or ever was. Sometimes being a mom stinks (literally, lol). And I really think it’s okay to admit that.

Selfish Tolerance

Selfish Tolerance May 2009

A popular response I have seen lately to the Carrie Prejean/Miss USA controversy is the idea that: “I may not agree with homosexual lifestyles, but it isn’t hurting me, so why should I be concerned about how other people ‘choose to love’?” Another one is, “I thought you Christians were supposed to love everybody, so why are you so hateful and judgemental towards gays?”
I wish that those ignorant enough to believe “homosexuality doesn’t hurt anyone” would consider these statistics:
50% of homosexuals had their first same-sex experience with an adult by the age of 14 (SIGMA Project 1992).
The average homosexual has 50 partners per year, and 79% of the time with strangers. (USA Today 1984)
The average life span of an American male is 74 years, but the average life span of the homosexual male is 41 years, and 44 years for lesbians (CRM 1996).
91% of American AIDS cases have been traced to homosexual sex, intravenous drug use, or some combination of the two (Journal of the American Medical Assoc.).

My last thought on this: you say “it doesn’t hurt me, so it doesn’t bother me.” What a SELFISH philosophy. Just because something doesn’t hurt you directly, doesn’t mean you should ignore it. If you caught your 8 year old daughter smoking a cigarette outside, would you say, “well, it doesn’t hurt me, so why should I interfere in her life”? Not if you’re worth anything as a parent. Why not? Because it’s hurting HER, shortening HER life, and possibly causing health problems for any children she may have in the future.
Yes, we are supposed to love our fellow man. That means getting over OURSELVES, and helping them to turn away from their harmful, damaging lifestyles–not ignoring them, or allowing them to continue in the name of “tolerance”. Yeah, they may hate us for it. But true love is doing what you know is right for the other person, even if they despise you or persecute you for it. It is NOT turning a blind eye or giving them whatever they want.
Enough said.

Progression of a Pear on a Picnic

Progression of a Pear on a Picnic 

May 2009

He spots it.
He eyes it.
He tastes it.
He goes for it.
He eats.
And eats.
And eats.
He eats the entire thing.