Friday, December 20, 2013


Just a few happy thoughts on this December evening. The sunsets have been lovely!
 Child #3 has learned to sleep thought the night! Hooray for her and Hooray for me for letting her learn!

Simple things such as picked flowers from our evening walk. Thank you Child #2! And the large black clip is from a hurried clean up after planning, running and enjoying Child #1 Holiday Party this morning!
And thankful for a husband that doesn't ever complain about a dining room table that is always dirty ( I do wipe it regularly) and who doesn't mind that I when I organize the group gift (a gift card) for Child #1 classroom teacher and aide, we get stuck with paying the portion of other parents. Parents who neglect to get me the money in time and give the cash to the teacher at the last minute rather than reimbursing me. (I guess that is my sad for the day! Life can't be perfect - right!)
Happy week-end!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Less Effective Mothering

Today is Friday. I have not gotten enough sleep this week and I was cranky and tired of a messy, cluttered house. Because we have a small house everything has a place and when you add Christmas decorations into the mix, things get cluttered.

So today I had no obligations, no carpool duties, no preschool, nothing! I finally got Child #3 to fall asleep for her morning nap (difficult task as she was struggling with a full belly...) and I demanded that Child #2 watch TV. Luckily she found some sort of math cartoon and watched about 20 episodes back to back.

I am not proud but I am thankful for everything I was able to accomplish.
  • Cleaned the kitchen, really cleaned it!
  • Finished my Christmas card list - that last few were in Russian and I had to dig out my old Russian/English dictionary.
  • Made my parents their Christmas present, it is ready to mail
  • Baked 4 dozen cookies (almost all gone!)
  • Organized all the toys and items I have for stockings and gifts to go under the tree. (I couldn't find one of my bags, I hid it so well. I only just remembered where it was!)
  • Packaged up all the gifts the kids are giving away to "children who don't have as many toys"
  • Uploaded the last of the 200+ photos needed to make my mother-in-law's photo book
  • Went through all the piles I have around the house
I know it won't last long but I feel lighter  - I really hate clutter! And to finish out the day look at these good piles...
Thanks to my happy little sorter!

Nothing fancy but quality stuff!
Happy week-end everyone!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Slow Saturday

I must capture these moments because I know in time, a few short years, they will be gone. Or maybe not gone, just different.

As a mom, I like being home. I find it soothing and relaxing. Luckily my kids seem to like it too. This morning, they watched their fill of "Jake and the Never Land Pirates", their latest Netflick addition.

Then I bribed them to finish their chores by 9:00 AM, I promised them a "bonus" for finishing in time. (This meant I didn't have to remind them all day to do their chores). The bonus was a sweet treat as I ran errands. It worked (barely!) Child #1 emptied all the trash in the house, cleaned out the car (with lots of help from me) and cleaned the inside of the car windows. Child #2 dusted the living room (poorly, I might add), cleaned the toilet and bathtub. They both worked on cleaning their bed room. I often wonder when they will be able complete work around the house without help and reminders. (Translation: When can I stop holding their hand and pointing out each little step of their chore and nagging for them to get it done?) We pay them $1.00 for these chores. Which I think is about 90% too much for what they do but I realize I am training children that need to learn to clean and be independent so that they will one day leave home (and be successful). Read this book if you want more on my "training philosophy".Product Details

After Child #3 woke up from her very short nap, we dropped off some Christmas Crafts, dropped of two of our crèche collections for our church crèche display, and dropped off some pregnancy, parenting books at a local coffee shop and the kids got a sweet treat. My sweet treat was running into a good friend of mine and enjoying a few minutes of adult conversation and connection. (And I love that Child #1 found a local magazine about all the local activities, you know one of those free magazines? And he started reading an article while enjoying his treat!)

Now the kids are playing Ninjago with some dreidels they found (creative, no?!). Child #2 has no problem playing with her brother. I just made cookies and get a few minutes to plan meals for next week. Christmas music plays in the kitchen although, Child #1 protests that he doesn't like this music.

I love these quiet moments, where my kids play and we have nothing. I like it that way and I treasure these times where my darlings get to just imagine, play and be kids.

Post Script: Baby is awake and now the kids are playing with the dreidels in the doll house, as if they are people. So funny!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Sometimes you have to get wet!

Low tide+ husband home+ kids being mellow = sea glass time for mama!
Not much and I really had to fight for these

Sometimes you just have to get into the waves to get what you want!

Two strange pieces found - camera lens and rock with crab pincher still in it.

It was nice to get out and have a few minutes of standing in the waves! The ocean wasn't going to give up her glass, so I did a lot of jumping in to get a piece and then try to get out of the way when the waves came in.


Friday, November 29, 2013

November Showing

This is about all I have found this month... the ocean has been pretty rough the past few days but no sea glass. I did check out a different beach today and found some small pieces, which is better than nothing! For child #3 on my back, it was her first time really sea glassing. I was glad to have her along!

Tiny green
These are from two days ago
This is from today - a new beach!

Small but rewarding....And I found a red!
Happy Thanksgiving!
Happy Thanksgiving - photo bombed by Child #1

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Like My Mom

I wish I had a photograph of the orange counter top with my mom's sewing machine stationed on one side. My mom spent a lot of time at this "work station". And when she had a big project, the machine and all the parts to the project stayed on the counter until she finished or until company came over and she had to clean up.

Well, here is a photo of my work space. It on our living room table. I don't have the luxury of leaving it out for longer than a day because this table is too small for dinner and sewing.

But for posterity sake, I'll add this photo because who knows... my girls might end up sewing and creating!
 Lately I have been making shoulder bags (not sure what to call them). First I cut out all the bags - material for the inside and outside. Each one is slightly different (and imperfect) because I don't really measure... and it shows. Then after I cut the material, I made sure I had enough for shoulder straps. Again, imperfect because I am too lazy to measure and mark. Then I sewed the bags. Another day I ironed and sewed the straps. Then today I sewed the parts together. Here is the finished project:
 8 shoulder bags. Designed and sewn by: me! (The 8th one is already given away to be auctioned by Child #1's school to raise money at their autumn affair). And one bag doesn't have straps yet, I ran out of material. (Like I said, I don't - but I should - measure!)
These bags are thank you gifts for some of the key ladies that I worked with on my mothers' club and other are for Christmas gifts. It feels good to get them done! Now the fun part - packaging them up and handing them out!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Better than Pumpkins

It is pumpkin season around here but I have been over the moon about some new book shelves. For years my children's book collection has been in boxes, under the attic stairs, and generally a mess. For Mother's Day, husband promised to build me bookshelves in a little nook behind the attic. (If you have been to my house you know how quirky it is!)

Well, I'd like to present my bookshelves. I love them! My books are out where they can be read. I have lots of space and we even have a sensor light that comes on to let us get a close look at the books.

I know is it October, and my Mother's Day present is 5 months late but better late than never. I love them!
View from the kids room into the computer room. Did you know every room in our house has 3 doors except the babies room and the bathroom?

View from the computer room (usually this door is closed).

Standing in front of the bookshelf, the camera can't take it all in.

The top two shelves
A work of art I tell you...I love our new little book nook!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Funny for the Day

Is this not the funniest photo? This shirt is Child #1's dad's old shirt. It is from a famous family photo where all the kids had matching outfits! I used this photo to custom create a birthday card for his dad. I just had to share it! Have a great week-end!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Summer Camps and School

Summer Camps are expensive and long! Most around here all day long and all week for $300+. I don't want to spend that much money and send my son away from home for that long. But I do want us to keep busy and have learning experiences. So I came up with idea of creating camps at our house. Last week, I did a Teddy Bear Picnic with child #2 and friend. This week I did a Lego Camp/Lego Play date with Child #1. It turned out wonderful! Here are some photos from our Lego day.
Dumped out our Lego collection and the kids had a contest creating something from all these Legos.

Child #1 made a fleet of Lego vehicles.

We colored and created our own mini figures.
 My favorite part of the Lego play date was when they came in, I gave them a bag of Legos.( I purchased 4 identical Lego kits from the local toy store.) Then they had to figure out how to put it together without directions. After about 10 minutes, I handed them the directions and they finished it. It was fun and I was so grateful that our local toy store had 4 identical Lego kits that weren't too expensive.

Another idea I had was to do school each morning. We haven't been as consistent with this but today was a good "school" morning. Child #1 did a reading activity from a workbook I had and then created 3-D shapes out of marshmallows and Child #2 used scissors and cut out things from her Kumon Let's Cut Paper book.

3-D Shapes with sticky marshmallows

Cut out food from the Kumon book. It helps develop scissor skills in a fun way!
While it has been a great morning (Child #3 sleeping since she is still recovering from her shots yesterday), I am in my pajamas and must get myself ready!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

What We Have Been Doing....

This post is more for me to really remind me that we are doing things this summer. It is already July 11 and I feel like the summer is slipping away without doing lots of awesome things. It has been a mellow few weeks. My parents were here visiting and with naps and now a bit of sickness, we have been staying home a lot! But home means reading, crafts, and imaginative play (and of course, lot of TV!)
Here are a few photos of what we have been doing....
Some sea glass but not much as I haven't been out running as much as I should be!

CA Academy of Sciences with good friends!

Christmas crafts we found in our "craft box".

I hosted a little Teddy Bear picnic/party for Child #2 and her friend. It was fun to dress up, have a tea party and even take a walk with our stuffed friends! Next week we'll do a Lego Party!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

If you hope for it - they will come!

So I got this jar free (it had pasta in it) and I thought it would be perfect for sea glass.... not that I had any sea glass coming in. Since the baby's birth, I haven't been to the beach as often as I'd like. I occasionally check the beach from the bluff but often it is smooth without a stone insight.

The next day I went running and ran to a part of the beach I don't often visit and ta-da! There was a small patch of rocks and glass. It made my day and there were some lovely pieces. My favorites were a deep aqua blue piece and a light green piece of pottery. I'd like to think I'm back in business but we'll see!
Happy summer!


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Snapshots of Time

I just wrote a post for the Mothers' Club that I am a part of and thought I would copy my idea by posting some photos of my life right now... So get ready for a peak into my wonderful, crazy, blessed life! Kirstin

Baby #3's room/closet

Child #2 Loves Angelia Ballerina (she took this photo)

Child #3 pretends books are ipads!

Child #1 inventing something (a boat?) and testing it in the bathroom.

Child #3 Sleeping in my arms. I love it!

Notice the doll collection in the baby swing? And the many, many books?

Fridge Art!

Pretend Birthday cake. Actually hummus and pretzels. Thanks Child #2

Baby gift that Child #2 fell in love with and played with for days. Minnie Mouse Socks!

One of Child #2 dolls. Her name is either Sadie or Hailey. It changes. 

I have no idea but it is one of the many, many photos I find on the camera that documents our crazy, wonderful life!
Love these kids!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Whale Watching

I've seen whales growing up in Alaska. They are amazing, awe inspiring creatures. But it has been a while since I have seen them in the water. (The last one I saw was dead on the beach). My husband sees them frequently, but I never seem to be looking in the right place when they come up.

This morning was the right day! I was still in bed enjoying the fact that I didn't have to get up - it is Saturday! My husband went out to check his crab pots (on his surf board, his new hobby) and when he came back he told us that their were whales right in front of our house. I still laid in bed.

Finally, I got up, made breakfast, ate breakfast, checked e-mail, had Child #1 get ready for T-ball and then made muffins. When husband came back (he had two crabs in his pots) he said the whales were still there. Sure I wouldn't be able see them, I grabbed the binoculars and took a look.

THEY WERE STILL THERE, JUST HANGING OUT. It was so awesome to see their heads come out, to see their fins and body's surface. It reminded me Child #3 when she just lays on my lap looking around, enjoying the moment. I watched and watched out our front window (in my pajamas for all the early morning walkers to see me:).

Suddenly, I dashed into the kitchen, I realized I forgot the muffins! I pulled them out a little darker than they are suppose to be, but they are still good. What a great way to start the day (and it doesn't hurt that it is Child #1's b-day!)


1 2/3 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 T. pumpkin spice
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/2 c. melted butter
1 c. canned pumpkin (I like to puree my own pumpkins)
1 c. chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir 6 ingredients. .Mix in eggs and melted butter and pumpkin puree. Add to dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon into mini muffin cups. Bake 10-15 minutes. (Use a timer if you're whale watching at the same time!)

Friday, March 29, 2013

Spring Break Morning

The sun was out and it was beautiful this morning. A perfect way to start 6 days of no school for child #1!

Since Husband is home, I ran down to the beach to see what I could find. It was lovely! See what I found?

This was referred to as "snot colored" by Child #1

If you haven't heard, I had baby #3 and I couldn't be more content! We love this little spirit and feel so thankful for her safe arrival. We named her Cora. I still have wonderful thoughts swirling around my head from this amazing delivery. But the one thing I will comment on right now, is how labor is so like life. We must go through it. There isn't any "around" or skipping over.

With that said, my delivery was easy. I had an epidural and the pushing part wasn't painful (the after effects were!). It was a quiet delivery room with a wonderful nurse and my husband. The midwife came in half way over and gently stepped in and then it was done! Seeing baby immediately on my chest after birth was so rewarding. We didn't know if it was a boy or a girl so for husband to say, "it's a boy!... No wait, it's a girl" (the umbilical cord made things confusing!) was a wonderful moment.

I have been feeling such gratitude for this child. I feel like the Lord heard my constant prayers and efforts of faith. She is a "fruition" of our faith. Truly faith is a power!

Happy Easter Week-

Friday, March 8, 2013

Happy Women's Day!


Women's Day is celebrated internationally, I first heard about it when I lived in Ukraine. I thought it was like Mother's Day but actually, it is slightly different. It is the idea that we celebrate the accomplishments of women over the years. And being a reader of biographies, I am always amazed at what women have done. It seems that it is the simple lives are the ones that amaze me the most!

I feel so grateful that as I woman I have options. 

I feel appreciated in my marriage, within my church and in my community. There are still places in this world and women that don't have these blessings. This lack of appreciation saddens my heart. And as the good people of the world do good and as we do good in our small ways, we can bring goodness to others in need.

I am grateful that I get to be a mom who stays at home. I have often heard the refrain of the following poem but I never read the entire poem. When I looked it up this morning, I was touched. Mr. Wallace's words filled my heart. Being a mother is the most important thing in this world. I don't need to work outside the home to be fullfilled (or to provide for my family) and I am thankful.

Enjoy the following words of truth and beauty!

William Ross Wallace (1819-1881)
Angels guard its strength and grace.
In the palace, cottage, hovel,
Oh, no matter where the place;
Would that never storms assailed it,
Rainbows ever gently curled,
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.
Infancy's the tender fountain,
Power may with beauty flow,
Mothers first to guide the streamlets,
From them souls unresting grow—
Grow on for the good or evil,
Sunshine streamed or evil hurled,
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Woman, how divine your mission,
Here upon our natal sod;
Keep—oh, keep the young heart open
Always to the breath of God!
All true trophies of the ages
Are from mother-love impearled,
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Blessings on the hand of women!
Fathers, sons, and daughters cry,
And the sacred song is mingled
With the worship in the sky—
Mingles where no tempest darkens,
Rainbows evermore are hurled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.
The above poem can be found in:
  • Northrop, H.D. Beautiful Gems of Thought and Sentiment. Boston, MA: The Colins-Patten Co., 1890.
  • Sunday, February 17, 2013

    Finished Project

    These are the hearts I blogged about earlier and this is what is left after I shared the love! The kids gave them to teachers, I sent some to a friend having her 6th baby and I also distributed some to a group of women that I work with.

    I love that I have a few left over for future "love" projects! You never know when someone will need some love!