Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ole! A cheap-to-free pinata that you can make too if you're so inclined

My kids don't think it's a party without a pinata.
I think driving into town just for a pinata is a waste of gasoline and time (yes, call me a killjoy if you like).
We can't use a balloon covered in paper mache because we have one child with a latex allergy. That would have been my go-to method for creating a homemade pinata in the past. What to do?
Oh, to count the problems a country mom can conquer with an oatmeal canister, some Elmer's School Glue and a bin full of tissue paper. Not only does it make a fine (if a tad too sturdy) pinata, it makes for a full afternoon of messy crafting fun.
First we dug in the craft bins for tissue and a suitable cardboard canister. We didn't choose a cereal box because the shape of the oatmeal box seemed like more fun. Upon further review I might choose to use a cereal box because it might be a little easier to break.
Then we cut a millionbajillion squarish pieces out of stacks and stacks of pastel tissue paper. If you were very patient you could make a pattern. We are not that patient.
Then we spread Elmer's in small patches on the canister and on the lid. A couple of girls worked each side of the pinata. Picking up a square at a time, we twisted the tissue around the eraser end of a pencil (remember this technique from making tissue daffodils in preschool?) and pressed the twists onto the glue-y cardboard tube.
Presto-chango, over a mere two hours of mess the cylinder became fluffy and princessy and fit for a birthday fiesta.
We poked two holes in the top of the canister walls and threaded a long loop of curling ribbon through. Then we filled it up with candy and treats and popped the decorated lid on. Don't forget to decorate the bottom too!
It was kind of hard to break but it was really pretty for a freebie.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thursday already? Thinking time.

Lately I have been thinking about writing.

At first blush, this is not very productive, all this quiet and thinking.

But something is brewing as surely as the flame under the kettle means tea is impending.
Often of late an Idea sneaks in during quiet thinking time. It's so big, so capital, this Idea, that I am tempted to stop thinking! To rush to get that little notebook and immortalize my brilliant notion (full measure of humility here) with the instant-gratification sound of chicken scratch graphite hitting composition paper.
I resist.
If it's that good, it'll still be there when I'm done thinking.
I try not to overemphasize this thoughtful time by scheduling it or by calling it something grand (meditation? intimidation!). I just find it here and there, in the serendipitous moments of littles napping and biggles reading and dishes drying.

Do you afford yourself that time?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Still raining

It's cold and wet outside and we're not huddled by the fire waiting for Spring. We're watching the neighbors re-roof and we're reading a lot of Little House and we're playing with the ponies in the rain.
Mainly because our little homestead has no fireplace. Also? We have to send a couple of sewing machines to the hospital.

And a little bit because some of us were born here and think that if our animals are out in it, we should be too.
For the first time in as long as I can remember I am not wishing Winter away. I haven't even cracked a seed catalog nor ordered baby chicks. And it's time, isn't it? I'm almost late already.
Who is this masked farmgirl, content to let the seasons keep to their own pace?
I think a still, small voice must be getting through to me.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Groove? I had a groove?

I like to worry way, way ahead of time. (Which of course is ridiculous as there's not really an appropriate time for worry. But follow me for a moment, if you will.)

I especially obsess about things I can't control and/or about which I have only a vague idea, such as Empty Nest Syndrome and Blog Readership Decline.

Well, maybe I could work on controlling the blog readership thing. But in my random notions on the subject I'm sure that it would require posting regularly, with some, er, content, and even possibly some expectancy of quality. And the main reason that's a problem for me is that I'm too busy worrying about how to keep all my babies from ever leaving me in an empty nest.


Sort of.

After our fourth baby, Laura (who turns a dynamic, energetic THREE today!), I spent a little bit of precious time looking for my "groove." I emailed with some friends and some bloggy buddies, fellow travelers and writers on the subject of getting that groove back for goodness sakes. I wanted to know if I'd ever feel "myself" again. That writing, reading, traveling self who skipped the recipe section in magazines because she ate mainly yogurt.

But after the arrival of our fifth child, Salvador (who is all of six months old and still as delicious as can be), I'm not feeling the groove search. It's possible I'm still caught up in 2010's goal of living in the moment (which sounds a little, upon re-reading, like living in the past?). Or it's possible I've simplified to the point that I don't need to return to any pre-mommy glory days.

These days are fairly glorious all on their own.

And they're fleeting.

Our eldest, Madeleine (a scary-smart 12 years old!), second daughter, Sarah (still my 10-year-old bookworm mini-me), and our middlest, Grace (6 and a half and a Lego/puzzle/spatial genius)... these three have taught me that the baby years go too quickly to be wished away in any way, even in pursuit of finding oneself. There will be time for that when the nest is emptier. Right?

At this point, and I reserve the right to freak out later, I like my particular current groove just fine. I like my recipe-reading, bread-baking, baby-wearing life like I like jazz. It's sometimes unexpected. And it's beautifully full of high and low notes with an engaging beat of soul.

I might even call it groovy.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Watch and learn

If I were a chubby little baby (a-hem) I'd watch other people fall down and laugh and I'd think falling could be fun.
I'd think there'd be someone to chuckle with me over this hilarity of falling. I might even think people fall on purpose for the experience. Over and over.
I certainly wouldn't confuse falling with failing.
I might do this and then grow up to be a risk-taker, thrill-seeker, limit-pusher. Or I might just grow into one fantastic individual unafraid to fall, or to fail, in the pursuit of new horizons.
I dunno.
This parenting gig might have something to teach me.
p.s. Did you get a glimpse of that baby's hair?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

H-ha-happy (achoo) New Year!

Let's ring in Two Thousand Eleven with our hankies, shall we?

Sal's eating solid foods, having moved directly past puree without passing 'go' nor collecting $200. To tell the truth he lunges at plates of food as though he were born for this eating thing.

We are all working around lingering coughs and colds to try to keep him fed in the manner to which he'd like to become accustomed.

A six-month well-baby appointment looms large this week as he's the only one, well, who's well. So of course it's a perfect time to take him to a waiting room full of more viruses.

Also? We're adopting new animals. JUST LOOK AT THAT CAT! Fifteen pounds of love and affection, right there, thankyouHumaneSociety. He's a little camera shy but is already settling right in chez Suite. Our favorite thing about Chester Cheese is his six-toe-edness. Rumor has it that Ernest Hemingway's cats were also blessed with extra digits. Maybe it'll bring some angst and adventure to my writing.

One can always hope.

I can practically see it now: The Running of the Noses. Toro, El Gato! But instead of dark bars, smoky cafes and exotic locales I'll have the church nursery, the perpetual veterinarian and doctor's office waiting rooms and of course my kitchen, where I'll be rustling up some more food for the babies.

Happy New Year, friends.