Friday, June 29, 2012

Latest Projects

Even though I don't have daughters, I have nieces and friends who have baby girls. I was invited to a baby shower for a woman in my ward and I decided that I'm not really going to make newborn stuff anymore. They just grow out of it too quickly. So this one is actually sized for 18 months. But isn't it adorable? I want it in my size. I love the corduroy.

I bet you can guess who is going to wear this shirt! And in just over a month!

When my sister and I are together in Utah, we are going to have some "kid Olympics" and do fun kid sporting events. We don't know what those are right now, but they will get planned. And if not, they'll still have cute shirts. I love that I was able to make stencils from the actual pictograms from the London Olympics and use the font (or a font very close) to the one they're using. Awesome. Emily's kids were sent matching stencils.

Rhett chose his sport: weightlifting. Ha. And he chose the one for Ollie: trampolining. Did you even know this was an Olympic event? I didn't.

A friend of mine recently moved and the move included a long flight followed by an even longer drive. With a couple of other friends, we put together these travel bags for the kids. I don't love how the "red" paint ended up pink on Cole's bag, what oh well. Live and learn.

Inside one of the bags went this travel felt board. I loved it so much I made one for Rhett.

This shows it opened up with the pocket for the little felt shapes.

Finally, just an outdoor blanket. Picnics, parades, park play days...anything starting with the letter "P" apparently.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fathers' Day, Observed

Remember how last week's Fathers' Day was such a bust? I was not happy with how it turned out and knew it must be repeated. On Sunday we tried again and it was much better. Chuck was laden with presents (that is, if you call Mike and Ike's and some new Tupperware "laden"). We put up the Fathers' Day banner. We even let him sleep in--until almost 7 a.m.! And he got a roast for dinner. Because I don't know anything about meat that comes in that size, he had to cook it, but that's actually for the best. He knows if it were left to me, it'd end up being "pesto roast" or something similar. After dinner was this yummy dessert (with raspberries!) on which we can all agree.

And because I'm working on another family memory book and I needed a family photo, I made everyone take pictures today. It took only about twenty five takes to get (1) Rhett not acting ridiculous, (2) Ollie looking at the silly bee hat camera, (3) Chuck's tie not askew, and (4) me remembering to take off my glasses and getting my hair just so. Anyway, this was the best we got. We're a little washed out, but that's okay. It'll work.

Oh, right. Am I supposed to write some sort of Fathers' Day tribute to my husband? Uh, yeah, so, how about, "Chuck--you have mad fathering skillz." Is that okay? I'm not very good at this type of thing.

And to my own father, "Thanks for letting us stay in your house and ruin 'antique' your beautiful things. Keep up the good work, Elder!"

And to those of you who doubt, the Tupperware was actually a very well-received gift, thank-you-very-much. Chuck detested (rightfully so) our old stuff and after finding out it's pretty cheap, well, a Fathers' Day present we have.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Our ward is having a Super Saturday in a couple of weeks. Instead of doing craft projects, they're having sessions where we get to learn things. Cool! I was asked to give a 25-minute lesson on family finances. Providing people sign up to take the mini-class, I will actually have to go through with this. I'm going to need something to say.

The hard thing about this is that I feel family finance is stuff people know, you know? Like, doesn't everyone know that outgo should be less than income? Maybe, maybe not. But even so, all of that is available on the internet, so what could I say that would be valuable?

And then I thought, "Hey erin, they asked you, so why don't you just say what YOU do when managing your household budget?" So I'm going to give you a short outline of what I think I'll do and if you don't mind, could you tell me what you think? If there's something you'd like to hear that I didn't cover, let me know. Or if you think this is totally lame, let me know that too. The lesson unfolds in three acts:

Act 1: No Money Left Behind. Every single dollar that comes into your house must have a plan as to where it's going. That means you need to know how much money you make every month (grab those pay stubs, people) and then you need to write down all the "needs" (tithing, mortgage/rent, McDonald's ice cream cones--duh), then all the "wants." But you should have a plan for where things are going. It's often heard in our house, "Chuck, no spending money until Monday because we have none." And yet, when Chuck checks the checking account, there are $200. But what Chuck doesn't know is that the $200 is earmarked for the Fios bill or the utilities or 200 McDonald's ice cream cones.

Act 2: Keep Track of Spending. How can you know if you've reached your limits on ice cream (well, this is kind of a dumb example because there's really no limit on this one) if you don't know how much you've spent? Just because I have $200 in my account, doesn't mean I can go buy 200 ice cream cones; it means I can afford to pay my gas and electric bill. Keep receipts and write spending down. Whether you do it in Excel, other electronic means, or just on paper. Keep track.

Act 3: Savings. In our house we have one savings account and everything goes into it. I keep track via spreadsheet (shoutout to Star! go spreadsheets!) how much is in each "purse." Examples of purses we currently have are: emergency fund, life happens fund, 10th anniversary trip fund, car fund, Christmas, etc. Examples of purses we used to have are: Lasik fund (still crying over this one, especially with my latest eye woes), maternity fund (for when I was out of work), etc. The point is, is that we intend to pay cash for everything. As soon as we finished paying off Chuck's car, we kept making a "car payment" to ourselves. So now, we have money to pay cash for the next car we need. And once we get that car, we'll keep making that payment. Or the 10th anniversary trip: we know we want to go, so we put a small amount of money in there so that in 2.5 years, we'll be able to do whatever we want (provided childcare exists). And the Christmas one? I don't know how people do this without saving! Again, a small amount of money each month goes into the account so that when December comes, we are able to afford the new Mercedes with a big red bow I'm getting Chuck (shhhh...don't tell!) Anyway, save. Pay in cash.

Whoa. I expanded much more than intended. To those in my ward who wanted to attend my class, feel free to skip it. But if you do skip, be aware that you'll miss the lovely Star do her organizing thing, so maybe you want to reconsider. That woman is a five-star, double black belt in organizing. Again, anything else you think should be here? For example, should I tackle debt reduction/elimination?

Re: This post's title. I'm not the only one who remember that old movie, "Short Circuit," right? Didn't Number 5 go around yelling, "INPUT" when it wanted answers to questions? Ah yes. My memory did not fail me.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Beating the Dead Horse (plus the winner!)

I'm pretty sure you're hoping I'll stop writing about this. Even I am unsure why it's so intriguing to me. I guess it comes down to this: I thought Hatfields and McCoys were common knowledge. That's it. But I'm totally wrong! (Just like my co-worker who seems to think that everyone has heard of the Donner party.) There seems to be no pattern regarding who knows it and who doesn't. Did you go to college? Did you grow up in Utah? Are you a stay-at-home mom? Are you male? Doesn't matter. Nobody knows (except for the couple of us that do).

Anyway, the take home message is that Hatfields and McCoys are just a bit of trivia. Some people know about them and some people don't. The end. It's really not that interesting (unless you're me).

But what might be interesting is the stuff that you know that I don't! I mean, there has to be something, right? Kidding, I know there's tons of stuff I don't know, I just don't know it. And how does one go about finding out what general knowledge are they missing? I can't very well sit down with someone and say, "Tell me what you know." Duh. I guess I have to be patient, make many friends, and talk to those friends. And then I just have to listen and learn. Something is bound to come up.

And now for the winner...Congratulations to...Allen! But also a congrats to Purvi as the wife of Allen (yes, AllEn, not AllAn, sorry Sandra!), because she'll end up enjoying the prize as well. (Purvi, if you have something in mind, let me know! Otherwise I'll just surprise you. Which probably means something for little Saha.)

Have a happy weekend. Send us happy thoughts and pray we don't melt. Because it's a real possibility with this weather.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Poll Answers

First, thanks so much for being willing to answer my dumb questions. Remember, there was no judging from us, but I must admit there is some shock. I am amazed that more of you didn't know Question 1. I am not amazed that more of you didn't know Question 2. Okay. Here we go.

Question 1. Do you know anything about the Hatfields and the McCoys?
Answer 1. They were real (not fictional) feuding families in the late 1800s. Their feud was set in the states of West Virginia and Kentucky and may have started over a stolen pig. It resulted in the death of many, many family members. Now their names are synonymous for feuds. And yes, there was recently a six-hour miniseries on the History channel.

Question 2. Do you know to what, "That's a clown question, bro" refers?
Answer 2. Bryce Harper is an outfielder with the Washington Nationals baseball team. He also happens to be a 19-year-old Mormon. He was recently asked whether he'd get a beer while in Canada (it's legal for 19-year-olds to drink there) and his response was, "That's a clown question, bro." See it below. It's become quite the internet sensation and it still cracks me up. If I didn't feel so dumb, I'd try to find more opportunities to use it. (Sandra, Sen. Reid "borrowed" it from Bryce.)

Winner announced tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Things Rhett Says

Me: Right, Rhett?
Rhett: Right indeed woman!
Seriously, where does he get this? Do not think Chuck talks to me like this. He doesn't.

After I lightly salted his green beans...
Rhett: Thanks for giving this more taste.

Rhett: Mom, I think you're definitely going to die before me.
Me: Oh yeah, why do you think that?
Rhett: Because you're old.
Oh little Rhett, how I only hope that's true. Just let me be very old, and let you be kinda old when I go.

After feeling sick for a couple of days...
Me: And how are you feeling today, compared to yesterday?
Rhett: Yesterday I was four squares sick. But today it's only one!
The following day...
Rhett: Now I only feel sick a half a square!

Rhett is forever saying this one when Ollie is escaping up the stairs or into Bruno's crate...
Rhett: You better watch your son, Mom.

While getting ready for bed...
Rhett: Will you turn this to it's not outside-in, you know, so it's outside-out?

We were reading the illustrated stories from the Bible, and I happened to notice that the next night's story was on Ruth and Esther. I told him how exciting it was to read about girls in the scriptures and then that moved our conversation to other girls in scriptures and then that moved to what would you have wanted to name a baby sister? (Not sure how smooth that transition was, but I digress.) At first we were being silly with hypothetical names, "Sister Bear!" And then "Mama Bear!" And then the silliest, "Papa Bear!" But then Rhett nearly yells, "Oh I got it. NIPPLES!"

Don't forget to check out Monday night's post!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep

Does that sound like the beeping of the emergency alert system? Cause it is. I interrupt the regular M/W/F posting schedule to bring you this incredibly important (to Chuck and me) post. We are so interested in your responses to this that I'm going to offer another PRIZE! Just by commenting, you'll be entered into a raffle for something. Won't say what that "something" is, but it'll be something good--promise. And note, your entry into the raffle is not dependent upon right answers, so please no least until after you post your first response. Okay, here we go.

1. Can you tell me anything about the Hatfields and McCoys?

2. I quote a recent clip of a conversation between Chuck and me:
blankChuck: Do you want a cookie?
blankErin: That's a clown question, bro.
Do you have any idea what I'm talking about? That is, do you know to what my answer is referring?

BONUS ENTRY: Ask your spouse their response to these two questions and comment with his/her answers. (That's right; you'll double your chances of winning just by making interesting conversation with your spouse. It's a win-win.)

P.S. Sorry Erika, but there was a limit on the amount of time in which you could claim your prize. And that time has expired. No hard feelings!

P.P.S. I promise that there is no judging from over here on whether or not you know these things. Cross my heart.

P.P.P.S. Rules and Regulations: You must be 18 years or older. You must live in the U.S. or Puerto Rico. Kidding! Really, the only one is that you must respond before I wake up on Thursday morning. And remember, I'm in the Eastern time zone and I got a little Ollie, so I get up pretty dang early.

Father's Day

Ahh...all my grand plans. Chuck Day. Bike Shopping. Long runs. Beautiful weather. Bike riding. All of it either puked up or, well, the other one.

The last week of school is supposed to easy when you're a high school teacher and a high school teacher's wife. Unfortunately, it was not. The boys got sick Wednesday night, were mostly better by Friday (but thereby killing Chuck's "Chuck Day" in the process), but then the sickness transferred to Chuck early Saturday morning. I've never heard such violent vomiting in my life. Not even on TV. Then Saturday night, I didn't feel well, although I was lucky enough to escape the puking.

However, Friday between sickies was an okay day. We bought Chuck a bike so he could pull the trailer and all the boys took it for a quick spin before dinner. I think they're going to have a lot of fun with it during the summer.

But Fathers' Day was pretty crappy. Chuck got up earlier than he should have, dinner was thrown together at the last minute and not what he asked for, and I forgot part of his present. Argh. So, I will try it again. Next week: Fathers' Day, Part II.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Rule Breaker

It has recently come to my attention that I'm the only one following rules, and I feel like I'm being punished for it. For example:

During the half marathon in St. Michaels, I was told that there were NO headphones allowed. I know why they do this: it's a safety thing. If you have headphones on, you can't hear traffic or attackers. Got it. So I didn't bring mine so I wouldn't even be tempted. But what did I see at the race? Headphones everywhere! Everyone had them. I'm certain I could have dramatically reduced my time had I been listening to some of my podcasts.

Then there's stuff at work. My new boss asked that his staff do something. I did, but turns out no one else did. What?! Why?! Why do I have to be the idiot who does every little thing?

Finally, on the road. I use my turn signal. I obey signs when they say, "No Turn on Red" even when I really really want to turn on red. I don't change lanes on the Bay Bridge, even though I really want to go around the car going five miles less than the speed limit. But all these other jerks are doing all these things that I want.

Anyway that's it.

I know this post isn't very exciting, but I've been wearing glasses for two weeks straight. No contacts. That has to have an effect on something, right? Let's see if I can find a fun picture or two to enliven this post.

In peanut butter-y times...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


...and the livin' is easy. Or not.

I'm about to return to my full-time summer work and feeling pretty sad about it. Sure these boys are hard and being home is exhausting, I'd still choose it anytime over full-time work. However, I must share the good things with my spouse, and so it's time for Chuck to get his share of stay-at-home parenting.

Because I know that boredom can be a killer for stay-at-home parents, I wanted Chuck to be prepared. I made up a "Summer Badges" book for Rhett, and Chuck and Rhett will get to complete it together (and I can help in the afternoons and weekends). Think Boy or Girl Scout badges, each with their own set of requirements, but just for a four-year-old. You can see the badges below (left to right, top to bottom): art, bedroom, play, kitchen, service, school, health and body, and nature. Pretty cute, right?! As Rhett completes each requirement, he'll get to put the "badge" into his book. And when the book is all done, well, good for him!

Don't worry. Even though the boys will be working hard, there will be plenty of time for this:

And maybe a little bit of this:

P.S. In case you're wondering, I made the book from this tutorial. So easy. So satisfying. Seriously. And if you'd like a set of the badges for yourself, just let me know. The Silhouette would be happy to cut them for you. You think I'm lying. I'm not. If you're in Maryland and you come to craft night on Friday, I might even cut them out for you right then and there. Just bring your own cardstock.

Monday, June 11, 2012

If Only that Was Me

Do you have things you feel like you "should" be doing? I'm not talking about the things we really should be doing, like exercising or genealogy or whatever. I'm talking more about things that you wish you did because you feel like they fit into who you think you are, or who you want people to think you are or who you wish you were. Does any of this make sense? Didn't think so. Let me give you a couple of examples.

Take, uh, me! I feel like I should do yoga. I know it would help my running and my body in general. It would strengthen me and my core. But for a small set of reasons, I just can't make myself do it. It doesn't feel like exercise (because I'm not getting my heart rate up). I would have to use valuable kid-free time to do it, which I'm not willing to do. Besides, it all seems too serious and introspective...two things I'm not. Every time I do it, I end up laughing.

Also, gardening. I so wish I could/would do this. I wish I had the discipline and the desire. Sure, I'd love to go out there and pick our own pumpkins, but I can't make myself do all the work that would be necessary to reap such wonderful things. And yes, I'd love to have fresh basil for pesto, but let's be honest: no one but me eats pesto in my house. No one eats squash. No one eats tomatoes. We can't grow loaves of bread or else maybe I'd reconsider.

And of course, I wish I was the type of person who didn't watch T.V., mostly so I could say I don't watch T.V. I really admire all of you who do this but I can't. Once the kids are asleep, there are some nights where I just have to sit and do nothing. But not really nothing, just mostly nothing, like watch T.V.! Thankfully having kids has reduced our television watching, especially on weekends. I might watch a show during nap times and then only again when kids are in bed for the night. I honestly just like T.V. (Especially the show "The Middle." This is one funny show. Spend the summer catching up on it and then get ready for it to return in the fall.)

Finally, there's the salad thing. I just don't like salads, but I wish I did. I wish I could eat a salad for a dinner. But I can't. I don't like lettuce, and that's a major problem when it comes to salad.

Your turn. Things you feel like you should be doing?

Tomorrow: Things I do but I wish I didn't! Oooh, exciting!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Random Thoughts

Would you rather have a little box of four fancy small chocolates or a regular-sized candy bar?

How long should I keep checking private blogs that are never updated? I just always hope that there will be an update, but there's not.

Let's say you have some bug bites on your leg. Do you (1) wear pants in the hopes that they'll keep you from scratching, or (2) wear shorts/skirt because long clothes will constantly annoy the bites?

I have a friend who claims she cannot make rice krispie treats. Just can't. Me? I cannot make chocolate chips cookies. I try. I swear I do. But I just can't. I've tried all sorts of recipes but they all fail for various reasons. I'm blaming it on Maryland. Everything is Maryland's fault.

Man, I really really love the women I know. Seriously, I've never felt like I enjoyed the company of so many woman every before. Sure, I have a couple of BFFs, but I've always only had a couple and that's it. And now, it's not like I have a million BFFs, but I have such a great circle of women that I get to be around and I just love it. LOVE. Every time we get together for craft night, baby showers, girls' nights, play dates, I enjoy their company immensely.

Chuck and I have been splurging lately with the purchase of these scented trash bags. They smell so good.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Child's Toy Quiz

Let's see how well you know children's toys. Fill in the blanks. (And yes, this was sold as a set.)

Question 1: This is a ________.

BARN! Good job.

Question 2: This is a ________.

COW! Great.

Question 3: This is a ________.

CHICK! Nicely done.

Question 4: This is a ________.

SHEEP! You really know your stuff!

Question 5: This is a ________.

Anyone? Anyone? If you can guess exactly what we call it in our house, I'll send you a prize.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Ollie at 10 Months

I have to admit how surprised I am at how much I'm enjoying this age.This Ollie, I sure like him! He's a happy little baby. He still loves to put everything in his mouth (now including dog food and dirt). He is standing, unassisted, for 10 seconds at a time. He's waking us before 6 (probably his biggest personality flaw). He doesn't like books, but I blame myself for that one. And his hair remains totally awesome. He will have bed hair for his whole life, I fear. But hooray! He's almost 1! (I'm already planning the first birthday t-shirt.)

Rhett is just now learning that he can carry him and wants to do it at all times. You can clearly see how Ollie feels about it. Don't worry; we don't encourage this behavior at all.

Friday, June 1, 2012

I Spy, Chuck Doesn't: 4.0

This is the most remedial one of all. See if you can find Chuck's sunglasses. Go!

P.S. You might think I'm lying about this one. I assure you I'm not.

P.P.S. Have you seen that McDonald's ice cream cones are now on the dollar menu? Suh-weet. Go get one. I'll wait.