Hunting for books

The day I searched on for the image of the book I bought recently, “Naturally Clean“, I read about several other similar books. The ones I focused on were:

The Naturally Clean Home
Better Basics for the Home
Clean House, Clean Planet
Clean & Green

I think I read every single review… then I went to Borders with my 40% off coupon in hand. Now, I normally search their inventory online first, to see if they have the book I want. Of course I didn’t do that this time, so of course they didn’t have ANY of the books I wanted. Brother.

They did have one tiny, attractive, water-proof book, full of natural cleaning recipes. It even had a glossary for all of those symbols on clothing tags, you know, the laundry care ones? I was about to buy it just for that, I’ve never seen that sort of glossary or guide anywhere! Man. I was pretty excited about that. The book is called “Green Clean”, it’s really neat, compact and concise, has a clean and easy-to-read layout. Anyway, I ended up not buying it because it was too beat up. It had a huge, dirty scratch on the cover, too. Unacceptable! Well, that, and there was a minimum purchase of $20 required to use the coupon. So I was pretty disappointed about going home empty-handed, especially since I had this awesome, once in a lifetime coupon! Ugh, I hate that. So I started speed-walking toward the exit (because I’d left my son at home, screaming – safe with his Dad, but screaming), glanced down at a book shelf, realized I was in the crafts section, and -rrrrrr!- slammed on the brakes. “Aha!”, I thought to myself… I should see if there’s anything I’ve been wanting from here! I looked for a book on needle felting, and they didn’t have any. Drat. Then a light went on, and I thought of Lotta Jansdotter’s pattern book, then Amy Butler’s book. I remembered I really love Amy’s clutch purse, so I looked for that one. Well, they had both. Decisions, decisions! I picked Amy Butler’s, for the purse, and the organizing bins. I’m honestly a little scared by the patterns, they look lengthy and complicated. I guess I’ll just have to be patient.

We had some spare time today between picking up big sis, and ballet, so I decided to go to the library. I looked for the books I’d seen on amazon, and they actually had one! Awesome. I checked out “Better Basics for the Home”. Can’t wait to read it. Oh, and would you believe that the book Borders had, “Green Clean”, is the only one with 5 stars on amazon? Geez. I might’ve asked an employee if they had another one in the back had I read that yesterday.

amy butler

better basics for the home

green clean
*Images from


The “yucky” store

I’m afraid the Amvets thrift store down the street, and possibly every thrift store we visit from here on out, will forevermore be referred to as “the yucky store”. We went there yesterday, to look for goblets for the upcoming Harry Potter party, but didn’t buy anything. I noticed a sign by the door advertising 75% off every item with a yellow or white tag, but of course nothing I wanted qualified. So I came home, and called my girlfriend, who’s an expert thrifter. Or should I say lucky? Either way, she finds the best stuff at thrift stores. It always amazes me. Does it help if you go often? I went every once in a while with my sister when I was in high school, but I’d only been maybe twice in the years since. So as with everything else I’ve been seeing in my daily blog reading, I’ve been inspired to try thrifting again. My friend informed me that they have this type of sale all the time, it’s just sort of hit-or-miss. I had seen a bed sheet that I liked, and after learning about the different daily sales, decided to sleep on it. I called this morning, to ask if there was a sale today, and it turned out that all bed linens were half off! Most of everything else was also half off, except for items with a blue tag. So I hot-footed it over there, after school and grocery shopping. Little sis asked me where we were going, and I said, “The store we went to yesterday”. Big sis said, “Baskin Robbins?”. I said, “No”… little sis said, “Party City?”. I said, “No, geez, you guys have a good memory! We’re going to the thrift store, you know, the one that smells kinda yucky, and has all the old stuff in it”. Oh, the moans and complaints that ensued! Big sis said that store was boring, little sis said she didn’t want to go to the yucky store. I said, “The store isn’t yucky, it just smells kinda yucky! Oh, nevermind”. I told them they didn’t have a choice, so little sis asked if they could hold their noses. You know, because of the stench and all. Good lord.

Anyhow, thankfully the sheet was still there. Yay! I decided to browse some more, even though I had all 3 kidlets with me. It got a little hairy, especially when I had to pry my son away from the toy section. But we made it out of there alive! With some treasures to behold:

1) $4.95 – a puppet theater by Manhattan Toy, that I’d seen at Target(?) and really liked

2) $2.98 – a beautiful, crocheted baby blanket – I suppose it could be knit, like I’d know the difference!

3) $1.95 – a pretty bohemian skirt for big sis

4) $1.98 – a purple & white Laura Ashley bed sheet

5) $2.48 – a Sully vest (yes, I know we already have a Sully costume, but it was too cool to pass up!)

I’m very happy with my $15 purchase. Especially after hearing my son say, “Wow!” when he saw the theater on the floor, after I’d taken it out of its plastic seal. That was so cool. He and little sister immediately started playing with it. I acted out the “Potter Puppet Pals: The Mysterious Ticking Noise” for them, which they all know by heart, and they got so into it! That was funny. I love seeing my kids happy.







We’ve had the kids’ IKEA tent set up in the living room for a few days now, in front of the couch and off to the side, blocking the left arm… so I’m lying on the couch, computer in my lap, looking for Harry Potter stuff, and little sister comes over to tell me something, rather hyper and excited, bouncing a little. She gets this way every night, before bed. Mid-sentence, she falls backwards into the tent, and without missing a beat, says, “I meant to do that.” Oh my gosh, that gave us a good chuckle, because A) she’s never said that before, and B) it just sounds so grown up coming from her! She just turned 4, and I know that’s not such a baby-ish age, but she is still technically a toddler, and honestly, her speech and grammar aren’t as advanced as big sister’s were at this age. Kids!


My daughter is very particular.

Please excuse the blurry photo.

This is what little sister has for breakfast, a few days a week. I’m not sure where the idea came from, probably IHOP or something. I’m pretty sure she just asked me one day if she could have chocolate chips on her waffle. It’s yummy, especially if the waffle is warm enough to slightly melt the chips, just so that they’re barely soft. Of course, you could also microwave it for a few seconds. I’m also very particular (no surprise there), so this is how I prepare waffles:

1) toast on setting #6, on our 4-slice Krups

2) when done, let sit for under a minute, flip over, and toast on setting #2

3) butter with unsalted butter

4) pour real maple syrup over one waffle, pick up and turn so that every nook & cranny is covered; if having more than one, do this above another waffle, so that excess syrup gets poured onto it. repeat as necessary.

5) microwave waffle(s) for 10 seconds

6) if using, sprinkle chocolate chips all over

This causes the syrup to be absorbed into the waffle, the butter to melt, and makes for no wasted syrup. That stuff’s expensive!

She asked me this morning for one more chip, because “Something something a square”(?) I honestly have no idea what she said, but after looking at her waffle, I understood. She was missing one chip at the end of her square, on the left. She had to make both sides the same, you know. So I gave her one more. That’s the one on the left edge up there. It wasn’t until I looked at this picture that I realized there’s an errant one on the right side. But I’ll keep it to myself… I wouldn’t want to burst her bubble.

Another birthday to get ready for!

Big sister chose this year’s birthday party theme a few weeks ago: Harry Potter!

I’m all for it, I absolutely love the books and movies. However, I don’t quite know how to throw a Harry Potter-themed party. I can handle anything else, I usually have ideas galore, or sources to help me, but I’m stumped on this one. So I was pretty stoked when we went to the Borders Express at Fashion Valley yesterday, after the party, and found a sorting hat and Hogwart’s build-it kit. The sorting hat is super tiny, palm-sized actually, but at least it’s something. It actually assigns houses! The Hogwart’s build-it kit is made of cardboard pieces, but it seems really cool, and you can configure it in several different ways.

I don’t shop at that specific bookstore, but I had to go, because they were having a going-out-of-business sale, and yesterday was the last day. So all the books were 40% off, and all non-book items were 75% off! Had I known this, I would’ve gone sooner. In fact, I did actually want to, since they sent me the e-mail, but we just never got around to it. I ended up buying those 2 things, a Dora book for little sister, and “Naturally Clean: The Seventh Generation Guide to Safe & Healthy, Non-Toxic Cleaning”. I’m very glad I came across it, I’ve been wanting a “bible” of sorts for natural cleaning. I don’t like to buy books on impulse, I normally do research, read reviews, etc., but it just wasn’t possible in this case. I’m sure it’ll work out fine.

sorting hat


Naturally Clean

I love a good bargain.

Introducing Mr. Too-Tall Toadstool!


So this is what I’ve been working on, for a special little birthday girl. My girlfriend’s daughter had her very 1st birthday party today! She looked so cute in her leaves-all-over woodland costume. Mommy was quite fetching in her leaf dress, as well. She teased her hair into a half-ponytail bouffant, and put a few butterflies in it, it was so neat.

I’d originally wanted to make a mushroom house, inspired by Bella Dia’s, but it just didn’t work out. Mine ended up looking more sculptural, since it’s so damn tall. It’s 22 inches tall! Yikes. I didn’t want to use any more materials than the 3 I already had, and the linen door and window just weren’t cutting it. I had also originally wanted to make the door functional, so that she could open it and put a tiny doll or friend inside (of the plush variety!), but I could not for the life of me figure out how to do that, how to build or sew an inside. Not with only a few days left before the party, anyway. I suppose I could do it, with enough time. I looked all over for a pattern or tutorial on how to make mushroom houses, but didn’t find any. I think I did OK, considering. I kinda like it.

Here it is with the door & window I didn’t like:



I had a tiny bag of leftover stuff from big sister’s 1st birthday party, 8 years ago, and thought it’d go nicely with the whole theme. Besides, I couldn’t leave the white bag devoid of any prettiness!

3 fairies! The one on the left is my girlfriend from high school, the one who’s crocheting the handwarmers for my birthday. That’s her older sister in the middle, also my friend from high school. That’s my eldest, “big sister”, on the right.

The woodland elf hat that took me forever to make.



The birthday girl and her mommy!

A certain little elf being naughty!

My Friday night

This is how I’ve spent my Friday night: staying up waaaaaay past midnight trying to make the woodland elf hat from Bend-the-Rules-Sewing. We’re going to a woodland-themed birthday party tomorrow, and I didn’t want my son to be the only one not in costume. Big sister will wear a poufy-skirted dress & wings, and little sister will wear a flowery tutu/fairy skirt & silkscreened butterfly tank. I had to at least try to make something for the little guy! So I decided to “wing” it, given that I don’t have a scanner or copy machine with which to enlarge patterns. Oh boy. I do not recommend this, at all. It’s taken me entirely too long to figure this thing out and finish it, and it probably won’t even fit right. Ughh. Well, we’ll see tomorrow. I gotta go to bed!