Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas reflections

Oh to be a small child during Advent.
There is no planning, only wonderment and surprise - the lights! the tree! the gifts!
There is no concern if we are "ready" for Christmas.
There is no list or expectations.
There is a story.
A story we tell over and over.
A baby in the manger.
And then Christmas is here. We are still not ready.
Mary and Joseph were not ready either.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Eve 2011

We spent Christmas Eve with this wonderful family.

At the Point No Point Lighouse.

Wearing cozy hats and goofy grins.

Enjoying the view.

And retiring to our house for some food, football, and maybe just a beer or two.

Monday, December 26, 2011

awesome mom.

DIY: Bird Feeders

Truman and I had a little winter fun by making bird feeders. These can also be made with oranges.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

DIY: Welcome to the Dollhouse

The dollhouse family is updating their tudor. It was all very easy and fun. Here is what we did: We added a fireplace made from a little box. The lamp is a little wood sign from the train set with a little muffin cup on top. The plant is a little piece off of a Christmas decoration jammed into a bottle cap. Too cute, I know. Truman tears it apart in about four seconds.

The Christmas Chicken

Last year, Truman was cast as Jesus in the Grace Christmas Pageant. It was AWESOME. We bragged about it a lot. Obviously they chose the cutest baby to play the Lamb of God. Amirite?

We had low expectations for this year's pageant. But they needed one Christmas Chicken. And they needed one peanut-sized boy to play the role. Would Truman do it? Sure we said, and he was absolutely adorable.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Product tester

(He's going to kill me, but this is not the first time I've caught him "cleaning the den.")

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Construction site

DIY: Bird Blind

Too much time inside and the inability to drive to the craft store resulted in some pretty awful projects this week.

Letting loose II

During “step throat week” Truman continued to indulge himself. He walked around naked, climbed inside the pantry to feast on some chips (which allowed me to pass out for a few minutes), and ate every single dehydrated strawberry out of a box of Special K with Berries. (That last picture is Truman expressing his dismay when he ran out of strawberries.)
Lesson learned: Step throat is hell. Also, I spend way too much time cleaning and cooking and organizing. Being sick and doing nothing was good for me.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

DIY: Play tent

This was super easy to make and requires no screws, no nails, and just a little bit of sewing. The supplies include: unfinished wood molding, dowels, elastic strips (to attach the fabric to the frame), and a the cutest single bed sheet I ever saw.

Hopefully this will give Truman a little privacy in our little home, or maybe a reading nook.

Friday, December 9, 2011

DIY: Transform an art easel into a puppet theatre

Here is one of Truman's Christmas gifts. He has a lot of puppets and I had been thinking about a puppet theatre that would fit in a doorway, but I didn't want anything to be permanently affixed to the walls. I took the top picture intending to sell this art easel on Craigslist. After I downloaded the photo, I decided to hold onto it and see if I I could hack it into puppet theatre. It is quite sturdy and I made a big pocket on the back that holds the puppets. It could use a fresh coat of chalkboard paint because it is pretty old, but other than that, it is ready for Christmas morning.

Total Cost: $19 ($10 for art easel, $2 for fabric at Good will, $3 for dowel, $4 for curtain clips)
Total Time: 2 Hours

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sprucing up the dollhouse for the holidays

The dollhouse before:

The dollhouse after:

Letting loose

This week, me and Truman spent some serious QT together. We were both sick, so we stayed home in our pjs and spent a lot of time on the carpet in our den, reading books and doing puzzles. And of course putting all the farm animals into the barn for a nap (shhhh says Truman) and then waking them up for a rambunctious round of Farmer in the Dell.

On Wednesday morning, I was really sick and in excruciating pain (turned out to be strep throat) so it was a toddler free-for-all.

Let me just pause here and say 1. I am religious about feeding Truman natural and healthy food. I don’t bring a lot of processed food into the house and I make a lot of his snacks myself (fruit roll ups, graham crackers, yogurt, you name it, I have made it from scratch). Jason is not so religious, so there are typically a few treats in the cupboards. 2. We don’t watch tv with Truman. Not because we think tv is terrible, but because he doesn’t ask for it and I find a lot of the PBS shows – including the one about time travelling dinosaurs - to be sort of lame and boring.

So, back to Wednesday morning. I am in agony. I definitely cannot cook breakfast and we have three hours before we can leave for the doctor’s office. I put a bunch of sugar snacks on the counter, pull up a stool for Truman, and walk over to the couch and collapse. He is in heaven of course. And then the tv came on. And pretty soon he was cross legged on the floor with a bowl of sugar cereal in his lap.

It was a milestone for me, one of those events when you realize that your own personal parenting bible might be a little too strict. Processed food has its place. Cartoons on a weekday are not terrible. And combining them makes for a very happy childhood.

It felt good to let loose and not be such a stickler. It also made me realize that I have a very small window of time when I am in full control of what Truman eats. What he watches. Where he spends his time. In the blink of an eye he will be turning on the tv himself, hanging out with friends at the bowling alley (or wherever teens hang out on Bainbridge), and using his lunch money to buy junk food. It all makes me a little nervous for life ahead, when he is sent out into the big bad world without homemade graham crackers.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Book Review by Truman

Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm, by Alice and Martin Provensen

These farm animals know how to keep it real! I love the realistic descriptions of life at Maple Hill Farm. It sounds like my kind of place. A cat named Gooseberry? A billy goat pulling a cart of children? A red tractor? I love it everytime my mom or dad reads it to me.

Let me back up for a minute. I am somewhat of an expert on farms. I was born on a farm and I have read a lot of farm books. You could say that I specialize in the childrens farm genre. I know all my farm animals and their sounds, and I can gallop like a horse and flap my wings like a chicken. Just today I made my mom sing Farmer In The Dell about 12 times.

So there you have it. I highly reccomend this charming book!


Look who has Jason's exact posture, wild hair included.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

My cousin Mary Jane

Mary Jane is the newest baby in the McSweeney family. She looks exactly like my sister and is mellow as can be (as long as food is nearby). Truman loves having a little cousin to hug and kiss (poor MJ). 

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Virgin Mary

There is no way baby Jesus laid in a bed of hay. He was definitely nursing in Mary’s bare and naked arms. Why is he always pictured alone in a cow trough?

Speaking of the Virgin Mary . . . let's visit the holy family from last year:
(Photo taken December 2010)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

DIY Project: Pounding Bench

This was a super easy project. Especially if you are a bad ass bitch like me and you recently learned to use power tools. Directions:

1.       Use your skillz to find some lumber in the shed.

2.       Grab other materials (and giant glass of vino).

3.       Cut wood. Make a bench. Drill holes that correlate with dowels.

4.      Ask Truman if he wants to play with a hammer and watch his face light up.

Why did I start this blog?

I do a lot of things at work, but I spend a huge chunk of my time writing. Writing grants and reports and letters. And writing for a profession is a wonderful fit for me. But lately, I have longed to write in a different way. With more humor. More sarcasm. So here it is. A new blog for the Shutt Family. Thanks for stopping by!