Saturday, June 27, 2009

Blog Entry from the past

Today I was looking around another website that I used to go to quite often and I came across this blog entry that I had written in December of 2007. It is a memory that I want to keep so I've copied it over to my blog. It was interesting to me how making things here at home always seem to bring back so many memories of my mom, just like my previous blog about making jam with my girls, this little homemade gift also brought memories of my mom. I want to keep these memories and pass the on to my children and grandchildren.

the following Blog entry was written December 21, 2007:

I always try to make something a little different for my oldest brother for Christmas, this is what I came up with this year. It is one of those unfinished wood boxes (8 x 8 and about 2 inches deep). I started by painting the top the bright pink. Over that I tried some of that Tim Holtz one-step crackle paint in a denim blue color. It was the first time I had tried this product, and it does work, you just have to make sure you put it on really thick. I got it too thin in most places so when it did crackle, it was a very fine crackle. Once that had dried I went over the top with one of my distressing ink pads to emphasize the crackle effect a little more. Next I started to decorate the box. Used a Heidi Swapp clear stamp to stamp the word "Play" then cut around the stamped image with a craft knife. Mounted that on some paper and adhered it to the top of the box. It still looked a little plain so I started layering different rub ons until I had a look that I liked. Wrapped some pink and blue striped ribbon around the sides of the box and the outside was complete. Just a couple thin layers of decopage medium over the entire out side, let that dry and moved on to the inside. (I really like to decopage over the ribbon on projects like this. It helps keep the ribbon securely in place and also keeps any ends from fraying.

Since I wanted to keep the unfinished wood look on most of the box, the inside was rather easy. Just cut a piece of printed paper to the correct size and adhered it into place on the inside of the top. Next I cut a soft pink piece of Bazzill cardstock to the correct size and started measuring out the lines for my gameboard. Some Mrs Grossman's Design Lines from my stash made the perfect Tic Tac Toe grid on the cardstock, once that was done I just adhered the gameboard into the bottom of the box.

Instead of the usual Xs and Os, the game pieces are pictures of my brother and his wife mounted on DCWV Glitter cardstock and covered with 1" page pebbles. Made 5 of each and my little homemade gift is ready to go.I think my brother is going to love this, especially the fact that you play the game with pictures of him and his wife. I can just imagine his grandkids coming over and arguing about who gets to be G'ma and who gets to be G'pa!

When I'm making gifts for my brothers at Christmas I can't help thinking of when we were kids. With 6 of us children, things were always tight around this time of year. My mother would start working on making us gifts months ahead of time and was always so creative with what she came up with and how she would get them all made in secret with all us kids around. She could work on my brother's and sister's gifts while they were at school, but with me being the youngest, I was always at home with her. One of my favorite memories was the year when I was about 4 or 5 and she made me a stuffed doll with this beautiful yellow yarn hair and a complete wardrobe. For weeks before Christmas I watched her make this doll and all these wonderful clothes that she told me was for my cousin for Christmas, and my mother never lied to us kids. I was so jealous that my cousin was going to get this wonderful gift. You can't imagine my surprise on Christmas morning when I unwrapped my gift and found that wonderful doll. Come to find out my mother had actually been making two dolls, not just one, for all those weeks. One for my cousin and one for me.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Strawberry Jam

Wednesday Carla and Melissa came out to the house with their kids so we could make jam and the cousins could play together. Of course, the kids ended up helping us with the jam. It was a great afternoon full of sticky goodness! After a little while helping in the kitchen the kids were out the door to run around and play while we got jam made for our families. It was a good thing we planned on Wednesday to do this! When we went down to Olson Farms to pick up the strawberries we were told that this was the next to last day they would have fresh berries available. We cut it close to not getting our jam for this year. We made up 3 flats of berries, one flat for each of our homes and we each got about a dozen jars to put in our freezers for the next year. We will have to make this an annual event, it is so much easier to work together than to do it by ourselves. Throughout the day I found myself thinking about how I used to "put food by" with my mom. She always insisted that the whole family had to help. Now I realize how more hands make the chore easier and go faster. I also realize how it is important for us to make these memories for our children and grandchildren. I really want to continue this as a tradition for our family and to always let the kids be involved. It is one more way of making good childhood memories for them. It also builds lasting bonds between us women. It really meant a lot to me to be working in the kitchen with my daughter and daughter-in-law making something that all our families will enjoy throughout the coming year.

This morning I sat at my computer and threw together this quick digital scrapbook page to document our day together making strawberry jam. The pictures on this layout show the progression of our day starting with a dish of fresh berries to Carla and Gracie cleaning them in the sink. Then there is Aiden stirring the jam while Lissa jars up the finished jam. Then I show the finished product, ready to go in the freezer along with a picture of Joey with a jam smile after biting into a piece of bread covered with fresh strawberry jam.

Monday, June 22, 2009

So we went camping

Last Monday we left for the Cove Palisades to go fishing and camping with Chad and Melissa. Surprisingly this was all Dom's idea, surprising because he hates camping but he loves fishing and it is difficult to do a couple days of fishing without camping (at least where he likes to fish). So, we went camping...
I really had a great time. It has been a long while since I spent real quality time with Melissa and it was wonderful having these days to visit and get to know each other again. I was impressed with how well she did "roughing" it with the baby due in just three weeks, but she was great! Of course we did have the perfect campsite, close to the bathrooms and just next to the playground which made life for a pregnant mama fairly easy. Aiden could go play with all his new friends at the playground whenever he wanted and we could watch him from anywhere in our campsite. Pretty convenient! Here's a picture I took from our campsite of Melissa and Aiden playing tether ball at the playground. This was a really nice playground and Aiden being Aiden instantly met new friends from families that were camping near us.

All in all I thought it was a great week at the cove...Sr. enjoyed the fishing but pretty much dislikes everything else about camping. It was wonderful spending time with Lissa, Aiden and Chad and it is always good to get away for a little while.
Chad and Melissa out on the boat while Dom was heading to another fishing spot.

Aiden fishing while Papa watches.

Aiden and Lissa on a walk.

Aiden at the swimming hole with friends he met at the playground at the camp.

Our glad we had this time together!