Thursday, April 30, 2009

Be Completely Present

Lilly spent at least 30 minutes on this new container of Play-doh today. She didn't say a word, just worked and worked, pulling it apart piece by tiny piece. It's fun to see children experience and discover things, isn't it? She is definitely my little crafter. Give her a sheet of stickers and she can stay busy for an hour!

And speaking of growing up -- isn't she? She looks so like a little girl now. Where did my baby Yee go?

It's tough for me to be completely present in the moment as a stay-at-home mom. Honestly, some days I am just flat-out bored (guilty admission -- let's keep that just b/w us, okay?). When I see pictures like this one and realize how quickly my children are growing up, I remind myself how important it is to be intentional about parenting.

Soooo, in the interest of doing something worthwhile with my dear ones, I am setting a goal this spring to get a garden started for my children. Amanda Soule dedicates a portion of her book, The Creative Family, to gardening with kids. I plan to follow her suggestions: let Ian choose what veggies to plant, help him make garden markers, and keep a garden journal. Pray for rain, people!

More on Amanda Soule tomorrow. I could seriously blog every day about her amazing ideas, but then, this wouldn't be my blog, it would be hers! I'm off to dig in dirt!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I'm generally a glass is half empty kind of person. Today I decided to remind myself of the great loves in my life, my million and one reasons to be thankful. Grab some crackers, here comes the cheese.

I love this guy. Love how he goes to work at the crack of dawn so he can come home at 4:30 p.m. every day. Love the daddy he is -- seriously, he's, like, in another league, folks. Love how he'll help with dishes, laundry, vacuuming. Love his impersonations of anyone, anywhere. Hilarious. The guy is crazy funny. Love his photog skills. Love how he designs stuff for me when I need it. Love how he irons his own clothes. Love his coffee (NEED his coffee).
Love you, mom and dad. Love that you still laugh at each other, like this. Love that you love me unconditionally. Love that you would spend every waking moment with the kids and me if you could. Love your sacrificial hearts and sweet spirit toward all.

Love my big buddy for a zillion reasons. Love that when daddy told you we were going to Andy's tonight and asked you to get ready, you were so excited that you came running out of your room with shoes on BUT NO PANTS and yelled, "READY!!"

Love this quirky face you make (daddy calls it, "Don't you hate it when your boogers freeze?"):

And this one. Feel that sunshine on your face, sweets:

Love my little Yeebird. Love that you love me, maybe more than anyone else on the planet does. Love that you turn my face to you with your little bitty hands and smooch and smooch me. Love that your favorite thing to do is just to "wead book," just because you like to snuggle close.

There. I feel better already. Thank you, God, for my great Loves.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

After lunch today with my dear sis-in-law-to-be, Amanda, she applied this stuff, looked up, and BOOM! -- shiny happy sparkle all-things-girly -- just like that. Beautiful (of course, she always is, even without funky, mint-flavored lip gloss)! Check it out for $5 at Bath and Body Works: Mentha Lip Tint

Jars of Clay's new album, The Long Fall Back to Earth. Listen here. It's "melodic rock with electronic influences" (Nathan's words). Love the song, "Boys (Lesson 1)". All you parents of sons out there, take a listen. It's like Jars has grown up and grown deep.

Starbucks Kenya blend. A staple in my house/flavor-o-the-month.

Apply lip gloss. Listen to tunes. Drink coffee. Through a straw (so your lip gloss stays on). Happy day, blog-buds.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Shopping for Sponge Bob

It is such a bonus to have a hubby who is a Creative Director/graphic designer/Photoshop genius. I am slowly learning more about Photoshop and preserving my memories in digital form. When I get stumped, I just call him over to the Mac to save the day. Like I said, BONUS.

Ali Edwards recommended Jessica Sprague's site today for digital scrapbooking tutorials, etc. Here is a link to her getting started page. I checked it out and it looks really interesting, especially if you don't have an in-house designer to rescue you!

On to another subject . . . my Yeebird labels arrived and I attached the first ever to a baby quilt I made for my friend, Nikki. A similar quilt will be available on my Etsy site (still hoping to get that going ASAP). Here's to feeling official. Who knew all it took was a fabric tag?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

This and That

Ian's very first field trip. Ever. Picture more moms than children and more cameras than moms.

The zoo was nice, but Ian mostly enjoyed his friends, snack time, and the bus ride. Love this photo of Ian (blue ball cap) and two classmates holding hands. What a precious age -- so innocent and so much love to give. No girl/boy cooties, no notice of who is wearing what, no minding what nationality someone might be, no cynical filter to screen others. Just hold my hand and walk with me, friend. Cool.

The bus ride was definitely the highlight of the field trip. Ian is being silly with his sweet friend, Addie before the bus takes off.

Room to grow:

A funny -- Ian was convinced the hippo, first animal we saw upon entering the zoo, was a statue. I assured him the hippo was real. Fast forward to the end of our trip . . . I had to convince Ian this tiger really was a statue and he could sit near it for a class picture:

Ian's preschool experience this year has been excellent. We are so thankful for this precious group of boys and girls he got to know!

On to another subject . . . I went on a road trip to St. Louis this weekend with mom and dad to attend a cousin's wedding. I so enjoy being with my dad's family. It is quite the event. My grandpa is one of 13 children and seven of the 13 attended the wedding.

I had a great time but missed Nathan and my kiddos. Here is a picture of some outdoor time today. Ian has come down with a pretty icky cold but we got outside for a bit. When he laid down on the swingset with his hanky I knew it was time to go inside!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Caleb the Cellist

To my nephew Caleb:

Your performance tonight at your personal cello recital was extraordinary. Your dad, Amanda, Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Nathan, Mrs. Steiner, me and the other 25 or so attendees were very proud.

It has been 15 months since your mother passed away. You have handled each day with unbelievable grace and courage. You aced your schoolwork, excelled at cello, protected Samuel, managed household responsibilities, all while maintaining your gentle, kind spirit. Many of us could not have displayed such strength in the face of grief.

I admire you.

Thank you, Caleb, for being just that great. Your cello playing is outstanding. You eat, sleep and breathe cello and we look forward to seeing where it will take you. We love you.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I'm off to the zoo with Ian's class this morning. Should be a good time with lots of photo ops -- you know how I love that!

Tonight is my nephew, Caleb's personal cello recital. He is quite the musician and we look forward to his performance.

Should have much to report on tonight -- check back later.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Celebrating Earth Day

Loving these reusable shopping bags found at Baggu. The best part is, they are CHEAP!

Also, check out my favorite water bottle. Just say no to plastic bottles, friends (that includes you, J2 :)

Be a part of today's "Billion Acts of Green" by clicking here and naming one thing you did today to help the earth. It could be as simple as using eco-friendly light bulbs.

Happy Earth Day, everyone.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Local favorite: Tea Bar & Bites

These photos taken with mom's iPhone. Great little tea room, folks. Check it out! Oh, and bonus -- it's right next door to another local favorite: She's Crafty.

You owe it to yourself to try the chocolate peanut butter oatmeal cookies (Lilly is enjoying the double chocolate, mmm!). Mom had Jasmine tea and said it tasted just like the Jasmine tea she had in China. Lots of quaint atmosphere, etc. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cement memories by placing text directly on photos in Photoshop:

Text reads:
I love your
loyalty to friends
complete uniqueness
immersive imagination
mad wrestling skills
Star Wars alter-reality
spontaneous musical improv
wanting it to be "mama's turn"
wave and "hi" to passersby
Lovey and rocking

Text reads:
I love your
bubble obsession
bouncing curls
whisper voice
pretend angry face
teeth when you smile
open-mouth kisses
eyes being closed when you swing

So, here is my do-it-yourself weekend challenge to you: How about trying to crop an image and add text to your own photos in Photoshop? Following are step-by-step instructions to get you started. I have these instructions in a word document, along with screen shots of each step. If you are interested just post a comment with your email address and I'll send.

By the way, for those of you who told me you have tried to post comments on my site, I may have fixed the problem. Please try again. Thank you!

Here goes:

Select a picture and open in Photoshop.


1. Determine exact dimensions (in inches) of the final cropped image.

2. Select the Crop Tool.

3. In the tool options bar (top of the Photoshop window, immediately below menu options), enter the width (in inches), height (in inches), and resolution (300 pixels/inch).

About resolution: default resolution (pixels per inch) is 72 for most .jpg camera images. This is fine for printing photos without text. If the resolution remains 72 ppi and text is added, the image on screen will appear fine; however, when printed, the text will be pixilated. Any time you wish to print an image with text on it, change the resolution to 300 ppi. This is standard ‘print’ resolution.

4. With the Crop Tool still selected, click on the image and drag the crop box as desired. The dimensions of the crop box are locked to the width and height you specified, so once you release the mouse, you can click and drag any of the crop box corners to adjust as needed.

5. With the crop box still active (non-cropped area is darkened), you can also click inside the crop box and move the desired crop area wherever you like.

6. When you’ve determined the exact crop area, press “Return.” The image will be cropped.


1. Select the Text Tool.

2. Click anywhere on the image, and type to see how the text displays. You’ll need to adjust it.

3. To move and begin adjusting text, select the Move Tool.

4. Using the Character and Paragraph palettes, change any attributes of the text you like (font, size, color, justification, line spacing, etc.). If these palettes are not visible by default, select Window>Character, and Window>Paragraph. This will display the palettes. Play with the different attributes until the text appears exactly as you like—have fun!

5. When you’re done, you’ll need to consider whether or not you may want to edit the text on this specific image at a later time. If so, you’ll need to save the file as a .psd (layered Photoshop document). This will preserve the text layers for editing as often as you like. If you don’t need to edit the text, click the options in the Layers palette, and select Flatten Image. This ‘merges’ the text with the image, making the text un-editable. Once the image is flattened, save as a .jpg file.

About file types: .jpg is the accepted file format for printing photos at most retail stores, and results in smaller file sizes capable of being emailed. .psd files are ‘working’ files and cannot be opened without Photoshop; additionally, they’re typically too big to email, but can be printed on a home printer.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Buttons: $8; Time with Mom: Priceless

Lilly Ruth, Rebekah Ruth, and Ruth the First spent this morning together. The generational bonds of females in my family are strong. Many of you know my mama (Ruth the First) and how wonderful she is. Amazing with a capital A, folks. Time with her is just, well, fun. I feel delighted when she joins the kids and me on outings, and lonely when she does not. She is my dearest friend. Gals, if you need a friend, try your mama. Trust me. It's priceless.

Mom, Lilly and I stopped in to She's Crafty and I got these schweeet buttons for the felt flowers I am making. Below is a picture of my first finished flower. I think it will be super cute on a hair barrette, headband, bag, or as a present topper. Find the pattern on Heather Bailey's site, or just purchase an already finished flower barrette when my Etsy shop is up and running!

Have a great day, friends. Spend some time with your mama, grandma, or another special lady you treasure.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Memories

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter. Nathan found Ian hiding behind a chair, surrounded by candy wrappers and chewing away. Busted. But I digress . . .

The sugar high is finally beginning to wear off and my kiddos are getting back to normal. We had a blessed time with family at mom and dad's house. Mom always has plenty of eggs to hide (think 60 is enough for three children?) and a huge meal for all of us to enjoy. Easter is one of my favorite family holidays and the kids love that special time at the grandparents' house.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Fabrics listed by designer at Purl Soho:

Lisa Leonard's sterling silver, handmade, hammered jewelry:

Read-Aloud Bible Stories, four volumes available:

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Stone, Tomb, Seal, and Soldier . . . sort of

Parents: I highly recommend making Easter tomb cookies if you want the Easter story to come alive for your children (for recipe, see blog posted 4/3). Nathan and I did this with Ian and Lilly tonight for the first time.

While beating the pecans to bits, I heard Ian say softly, "I'm so sorry, Jesus." He said it again when he "sealed" the tomb (oven) by pushing a chair in front of it and taping the door shut. A highlight was when Nathan told Ian to run and get one of his "bad guys" to guard the tomb. I wouldn't want to mess with that Black Spiderman, would you?

Looking forward to the tomb cookie surprise in the morning. Thankful the story doesn't end tonight. Happy Easter.

Friday, April 10, 2009

It's a Hoot (owl bag)!

I admit it: I'm an Etsy seller wannabe. And starting next week, my hope is many people will visit my new Etsy shop and be Etsy buying wannabes. (ha ha) No, seriously.

I created this little hoot owl bag for my friend Lexi. She's an owl fan, and I made it for her to hang in her craft room to hold any number of artsy goodies. Making him was extra fun and special for me because I didn't have a pattern. He's my very own quirky creation!

Look for my It's a Hoot (owl bag)! on my Etsy shop, along with a few other handmade treasures, next week. Don't worry -- I'll post the Etsy link right here on my blog when things are ready to go. I know, I know--the wait is agonizing. Please . . . try to be patient.

And now a random thought . . .

Does anyone else wonder if "Octomom" getting her own reality show means the apocalypse is at hand? Hmm, I dunno, maybe it's just me . . .

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Swinging Spring

When was the last time you felt this free?

Loving the new swingset Nathan put together for the kids in the backyard. It takes some kind of man to accomplish a feat like that by himself. I pray Lilly grows up to marry a man as great as her daddy someday. With her personality, I'm guessing she'll have her pick!

Thought I would post some of my favorite blogs today:

My all-time favorite blog is by Ali Edwards, aka, Goddess-of-all-Things-Creative. Check it out sometime, but be warned -- it will definitely inspire you to start some kind of project you never knew you wanted to do.

Elizabeth Kartchner's blog is also a creative masterpiece. Another warning: she is so sickenly beautiful and, although it shows her chowing cookie dough or a massive hot fudge sundae every other day, she is stick-skinny, girls. Stick. Skinny. But, it's worth it for all the great eye candy and inspiration you will get on her site.

My most treasured blog I read every day is my dad's, of course! He has an endearing way of capturing the essence of our family members, especially the grandchildren. It's a joy to read.

Off to work on a project of my own. That's what happens when you blog-hop too much!