Memorial Day fun

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I don't even remember anything about Memorial Day from last year. Odds are we didn't do anything at all. So I decided that this year, since this weather has been so pleasant and warm, that we needed to take Micah somewhere to play in the water. I asked my local friends for good locations with shallow, clear water to splash in, and more than one directed me to Jemez Springs. So Monday morning after a crazy early nap (8:30am - Micah wasn't feeling himself, a little congested and clingy, but he was great after he slept), we took off into the mountains.

It was absolutely beautiful up there. Everything was so green and lush. After passing one of the local pueblos, we pulled off the side of the road at a little parking lot right alongside the creek. To say I planned this badly would be an understatement - I had water sandals for Micah and his little swim trunks, sunscreen, and hat. But Antonio and I had to wear our tennis shoes into the water. Here's hoping I didn't ruin mine.

It was worth it.

Micah absolutely loved it. We waded into the water - cold at first, but quickly comfortable - in a rocky area where the shallow water rushed. Every few seconds was a new question. "What's that noise?" "Can I go over there?" "Can I have that rock?" Micah pretty much never stops, except long enough to sit on a bigger rock to pose with Daddy.

We walked along in the creek for quite a ways, admiring the specks of moonstone in the gravel, finding (and trying to catch) tiny minnows, and throwing plenty of rocks. We came to a bend in the creek where a second trickle of water joined the bigger flow, and a huge tree shaded the water. It was about 5 inches deep and perfectly clear. A panorama (taken with my iPhone using the Photosynth app) was mandatory.

And Daddy had to roughhouse, of course. Boys will be boys.

When we got back to the car and I changed Micah into dry clothes, Antonio found a little lizard that wasn't terribly shy. Micah is normally kind of timid about bugs and little "critters" as he calls them, but when we asked if he wanted to hold the lizard, he said yes right away.

Of course, about two seconds after I took this, the lizard took a leap of faint - INTO the car. Antonio thankfully caught him before he found a place to hide where we couldn't get him out!

What did you do for Memorial Day?

Summertime fun patterns

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I am both dreading and looking forward to true summertime weather. I like winter because it means I can wear many layers and be comfortable without melting. I am no tiny waif, and in the summer when I can't wear as much clothes without dying of heat stroke, it can be frustrating. I also miss my boots and it means I have to pay attention to my feet, polish and all that. As a mom to a toddler (well, two kids if you count my husband, and I usually do), I rarely have time for primping. So I've started looking for some fun things to wear this summer that meet all the most important criteria - comfy, versatile and most of all, CHEAP.

I don't quite have enough room here to post everything I found and loved for this summer. What are you planning to make this year?

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Mother's Day

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Like always, I was a huge slacker on Mother's Day. Last year I bought my mom this gorgeous flowering tree (not even sure what kind, but it was pretty) because I had no idea what else to do. This year, exactly one day before, I had an idea. I saw this picture that my mind mistook for something else, and my project came into being.

I can't find the picture now - I knew I should have saved it! - but it was a card with a tree drawn on the front, and the leaves were all individually cut teardrops folded in half to make a crease, so they were 3D. In the small view, I thought the leaves were fingerprints and thought, "Wow, that's creative!" When I realized they were paper, I decided that my first thought was even better, so I went with it.

Went to Michael's. Bought a pretty blue 12x12 sheet of paper. A brown felt tip marker. A frame. Some 3D leaves in fun shades of green. And finger paints. I drew the tree on freehand, stuck on the stickers, and then went to every "kid" of my family and had them add prints in different colors so we could tell them apart. I also left enough optional spots for a second child of mine to come in and add prints later, at which point I will have everyone sign it and color code it. But for now, it's still pretty and my mom absolutely loved it. She showed everyone at work, which is pretty much a sure indication that she felt special.

In case you're wondering, Micah's smudgy little prints are the green ones. And he loved the process so much, that I let him go crazy with the finger paint. He needed a shower afterward, that's all I can say.

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day!

Here's hoping my green thumb holds out

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I have learned over the years that I do not have a green thumb. I have killed every plant (and goldfish, but that's another matter) I have come into direct contact with over the years, so despite occasionally yearning for a yard teeming with flowers, I restrained myself. Poor plants. They don't deserve my unintentional wrath.

But a few weeks ago, Micah watched an episode of Peppa Pig on Sprout that struck a chord with him. In the show, Peppa goes to visit her grandfather, and he shows her how to plant strawberry seeds. "Poke a hole, put in a seed, cover it with earth, and water!" Micah actually memorized that line, though I didn't realize it until we ended up at Joann's for some random little things and somehow wandered into the spring aisle. Micah spotted a watering can and freaked the heck out. "I WANT TO HOLD IT, I WANT TO HOLD IT!" So I let him, and he promptly spouted the line from Peppa Pig while pantomiming the steps.

I thought the cuteness was going to kill me. So I promised we would plant some seeds that weekend.

Originally, I wanted to build a tall box garden, one that Micah could reach into easily while standing up, and I could weed without killing my back. Beautiful Pinterest pictures filled my mind.

Source: via Aimee on Pinterest

It looked so easy. So beautiful.

And apparently, SO EXPENSIVE. At least when I tried to do it. Sadly, I let go of my little plans and tried to find cheaper alternatives. And when I first walked into the dreaded WalMart, I found those big plastic tubs with lids you use for storing bedding and such. Inspiration struck. And for less than $50, I had my garden.

A few holes cut into the bottom, some rocks for drainage, a bunch of good soil and plant food, and six plants later...and I had this beauty. Well, maybe not beautiful. But functional! And best of all, Micah loved it.

Pre-planting, strawberries on the right, tomatoes on the left, just sitting on top.

All done, and cute.

I also made Micah's watering can out of an old (very well cleaned) laundry detergent bottle. Micah was very excited to water them himself, but he ran out of water about ten times so I finally gave him the hose. It resulted in a very soggy, muddy toddler. But it was a great end to a fun garden afternoon.

Backpack, backpack!

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It's been awhile. I have no excuse. But I do have lots to share over the next few days!

This project was one I had been thinking about for awhile, and then one day I just woke up and decided to go for it. Not long ago, I found this little beauty on Pinterest.

It was a very cute, very simple backpack for a toddler. Best of all? No zippers! And even better - I already had the materials. On a whim I picked up some very cute, very boyish fabric with a paw print. I just got a yard because I didn't want Joann's to sell out before I could decide what I wanted to do with it. And this project required far less than that. So I dug it out, along with some psuedo-matching ribbon I bought for a pacifier clip last year, and some fusible interfacing, and took off for my mom's. The best place to go to sew, because I have someone to distract my very busy, very nosey toddler while I stitch in peace. It's the small blessings, you know.

And this is what I came up with. Forgive the "stuff" in the photos - I was limited on time to take these and, well, I had made a sewing mess. Not everyone cleans up the second they finish a project, though I am fully envious of other gorgeous blogs with perfectly clean tables to cut/sew/photograph on!

In case you're wondering, yes, Micah is modeling the backpack while washing dishes. One of his favorite activities. Here's hoping he continues to like it even when he's a surly teenager.

The pattern and tutorial were extremely easy to work with and I absolutely loved the end result. Micah sure likes it, too, and the straps are the perfect legs for his long, gangly toddler body. I recommend it and I plan on making more!

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