Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Little Pumpkins

Did a little pumpkin carving on Saturday with the kiddos. K and D drew the faces for theirs and I carved them, easier said then done! The littlest one, I designed for L, she loves kitties. My mom told me she saw an article or something where the pumpkins were carved with wood carving tools (like the ones I have from doing wood block cuts and linoleum cuts for printmaking in college), so I dug them out of the closet and gave it a try. I only nearly cut off my finger twice, and only drew blood once, so I consider it a success.
Although you do still need to gut the seeds and goo, the cool thing about using these tools is you don't have to cut all the way through the pumpkin, just skim off some of the outer layer and then the candle glows through when lit inside.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Beater Lickin' Good

Best part of helping mom in the kitchen is getting to lick off the beaters.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Belly Flops and Belly Rolls

I was able to get out for a little fun recreation today. I took Light Rail down to Baltimore's Inner Harbor for Flug Tag today. For those of you unfamiliar (as I was), Flug Tag is an event where people create man-powered flying machines and test their abilities to fly....landing them in the harbor. Some were designed well for flying or at least, gliding down to the water gracefully and others were just fun to watch plummet, flop, or even get hung up on the side of the platform before going down.

Then this evening spent a few hours with some girlfriends learning how to belly dance. Just watch me figure 8, belly roll, chest pop, and shimmy. It was great fun. Our instructor first performed for us a dance where she balanced lit candles on a tray on her head. Later I learned she does the same dance with a sword! Now that would have been cool to see! But the candles were pretty impressive. Not sure when I'll have opportunity to put any of these new learned skills into practice, but it was entertaining and I think that I may have created a few new synapses in my brain because of it.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Ladies only

At the risk of giving TMI... Instead (?!) of wings and strings (or those horrible belts of the 50s). I just happened upon them today in the Target.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Yesterday L discovered a "lizard" in the living room. I figured she saw one of the plastic toy ones, but she was very excited about her discovery and was urgent that I come see it. So I checked it out and much to my surprise, there was a living salamander on my livingroom floor! It was a slender little black one covered with fuzz and lint from the carpet. How and why did it get inside? I gently picked it up (they are very delicate little amphibians) and set it free outside. It was happy (I assume) to return to the damp earth.

In other news, life has accelerated and it's been difficult to keep up the posts. Generally speaking, things are good, but very busy. I am behind on many mundane things like laundry (what's new here?) and dusting. Schooling is going well. Although as it is for many home school moms, it's always a challenge to accomplish everything I hope to in a day. I was reminded yesterday at a homeschool baseball game (K and D had their very first baseball playing experience and loved it) by one of the other moms about priorities. She was sharing how she gets stressed seeing the trees instead of the forest. She said her husband asks her, "Do the kids love Jesus? are they learning His word?" And while my kids have never actually said, "Mommy, I love Jesus," they remind me when I forget to read the Bible chapter in the morning. Another friend shared with our group at WOW yesterday about how hard it is to see the fruits of her labors as mother. That sometimes we don't see the evidence of our work until twenty years down the road when the kids have moved out and are competant adults. I think that often as stay-at-home mothers our noses are too close to the big picture. We need to take a few steps back to gain a more complete perspective. Do our children love God? Are they learning His Word? and Are we being the examples we should be to our children that they can witness God's love through Christ in our actions?

Yesterday, my daughter told me I am her hero. And while this filled me with motherly pride, it also reinforced my desire to be the mother she needs me to be (pointing her to the Ultimate Hero). It isn't an easy job, but it certainly is a worthwhile one.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Disposable II

It looks like I'm not the only one concerned about the disposable mentality of our culture. MK from Ganap! has put this bug in my ear. Interesting remarks by artistists, artisans, and regular consumer folk.

After reading chapter 4: Filling our lives with things, from "Temptations Women Face", I have been thinking more on this topic. As a general rule, I have pretty much given up on mall shopping, unless I need something from a specific store only found in the mall (or I want to see something I saw online in person), because years ago I discovered that the mall shopping mentality breeds discontentment. I'm not much of a shopper anyway. But I've noticed that my kids lives are being filled with junk. Junky toys and crappy gadgets. When M and I first started our family we wanted to keep a simple toy policy: nothing that makes noises, requires batteries, or is associated with a television show. We instead provided our boys with blocks and other wooden toys and lots of books...but the junk started rolling in around K's 3rd birthday. The thing is, they love their junky stuff. L collects it in bags and totes it all over the house. Dumping and refilling is a daily ritual for her.

The real problem I'm finding is in maintaining balance. How to appreciate what we have, to enjoy it, take care of it, and not constantly wish for more, bigger, better things. To see and enjoy cool toys or beautifully made home goods (or fabrics *sigh*) and not feel the nagging urge to possess them. I'm trying to instill the concept of giving with my children. When the toys seem to get to be too much, or when they say they are bored, I know it's time to whittle down our collection. Sometimes I box up stuff and put it out of sight for a while, but other times we just give it all away. One concept I agreed with that author Mary Ellen Ashcroft brings out in chapter 4, was about how giving (not selling) helps to promote contentment. She writes, " Giving shatters our sense that what we have is our own. Generosity flows out, greed pulls in."

But another approach is to just resist the urge to by cheap crappy stuff in the first place. Dollar stores and "Mart" stores prey on our desire for lots of stuff for very few dollars. I admit that one of my sons' favorite toys came from the Dollar Tree. It's a set of plastic tropical frogs. They haven't broken (they are nearly indestructible) and they use them in so many kinds of play, even painting them with their own designs. But for the most part that kind of stuff doesn't last a week, let alone a day, and what does that teach our children? It was easier saying no to stupid, impulse buys like these when I wasn't a single mom. But now (as I assume is the case for M, by all the junk the kids bring home with them) it is harder to say no, because somewhere deep inside I think I can make up for their loss of a father with buying them stuff.

Friday, October 06, 2006

More fashion show pictures here, and this one has a sightly better shot of me in my dress.

Monday, October 02, 2006

VIP Exclusive Fashion Show

I was in D.C. Friday night attending my very first, live fashion show. Watch the previous one here . Three local designers were showcasing their fall lines: Saeyoung Vu, Unsung, and Kimberly Kouture. A friend of mine has an in with the CEO of VIP Exclusive and so, not only were we front row to the fashion show, we also had passes to the exclusive upstairs party room. This all sounds a bit more glamorous than it really was, but I did see a lot of really cool dresses on really fierce looking models.

I couldn't turn off my dress-maker's eye as I noticed ill-fitting garments and unbalanced hemlines. The clothes were obviously not made for the models sporting them. Something only a custom clothier would notice. One poor dear had a "wardrobe malfunction" as her strapless gown plummeted below her breast on one side. Fortunately she was wearing a similarly colored strapless bra underneath (phew!). I also noticed a dress with spaghetti straps tied together with ribbon in the back and a skirt that was all hooched up and puckered because the booty inside it was too much for it to handle. It made me realize why models are expected to be a certain size to best display a design...and yet I was also glad to see less than perfect female bodies strutting the cat walk.

I came away from the show with a bunch of questions, of which my friend got an earful, but he didn't know the answers. Another cool thing about the evening is that there may be potential opportunities for networking in the fashion biz...we shall see.

Oh, I wore a new dress I made to the affair (see me sitting on the far left? more pics here), I will try to post one later this week.