Sunday, November 30, 2008

Advent Cottage

Last year after Christmas sometime I found a Martha Stewart Craft Kit to make this little advent cottage. I thought it looked cute and the instructions seemed simple, so I picked it up cheap to make this year.

Abby and I got started, and quickly discovered that it was not going to be easy. Or particularly fun. But we kept plugging.

Eventually Dad came in and sat down to help and agreed that it was awfully difficult. There were a couple of problems with the instructions. First, they were overly simple. "...and then glue together." I didn't think it was quite so obvious where and what we should be gluing.
Second, the instructions told us to put the roof on early in the construction of the house, which then made it difficult to glue on the doors and windows, as there was no way to apply pressure to both sides.

There are things that I like about it. Glue was included, which is a small thing, but it was nice not to have to find anything. I knew I could throw the kit in the car and we could do it at the house without hunting for supplies.

The card stock is a nice, the score lines handy, and the glue adhered well.

It's cute and has nice details.

The compartments are generously sized. We were able to fit small nativity pieces, stamps, stickers, and candy in the different boxes. We also copied down the Christmas story from the advent calendar we three girls all used, which is dangerously near to falling apart.

It was disappointing and a little frustrating, but it's always fun to do something together, and the house is super cute, and I think Anna will enjoy opening each of the little doors to find her treats.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Good Friends Indeed

On Wednesday morning Matthew brought in two surprises.

My credit card, which I thought was lost. He found it in the driveway.

Flowers from FedEx. In a box and everything, just like in a movie.
Thanks Katrina and Joe!

It was fun to arrange them, but I wish I knew a little more about how to do it well.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Lullaby

Anna and her new cousin. A girl cousin! Joela Mae.

More pictures here.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


8 things for 2008

1. Matthew and Anna.
2. Dad and Abby and Susan.
3. Lobmeyers.
4. Plymell school.
5. Good friends.
6. Father Wesley.
7. My new sewing machine.
8. 29 good Thanksgivings with Mom.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Jokes

How did the Mayflower show that it liked America?
--It hugged the shore...

What do you get when you cross an octopus with a turkey?
--Enough drumsticks for Thanksgiving...

How can you make a Turkey float?
--You need two scoops of ice cream, some root beer, and a turkey...

Knock Knock
--Who's there?
Norma Lee
--Norma Lee who?
Norma Lee I don't eat this much.

Knock Knock
--Who's there?
--Anita who?
Anita 'nother napkin.

And just for Anna...

Why did the chicken cross the road?
The turkey was stuffed!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I'm cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year.

We're pretty casual, simple people, so I'm not worried about fancy foods or decorations or centerpieces or hors d'oeuvres.

I am worried about getting everything done at approximately the same time.

We're having a turkey roll, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, wax beans, rolls...I think that's it for the cooked things.

Any hints?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Start saving..


Cereal boxes, cracker boxes, fruit snack boxes, anything with a sack inside so the box stays clean.

There are lots of fancy ways to cut up your boxes and turn them into cool gift boxes or gift bags.

I'll probably just put the presents inside and wrap them like normal. Because it doesn't sound like fun to me to cut them up and glue them together again.

But if it sounds like fun to you...send me a present in one!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Really, very ish.

I was looking at my Google Analytics the other day during my tech inservice (while they were fixing some sort of problem, not when I was supposed to be listening) and I noticed some people arriving from, a site I'd never visited. So I looked and...

Here I am!

Neat, eh?

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I think it took at least 4 hours, spread out over two days.

Anna's room was overflowing with stuff. Tiny toys, dress up clothes, books, papers, pencils, crayon bits, ribbon bits, fabric bits, lots of bits. She had taken to shutting her door before I got home from school and telling me NOT to go in there, it was a MESS!

But we're all cleaned up now. Baby things to the basement, dress up clothes corralled, tiny toys sifted...a place for everything and everything in it's place...

Ahh, books sorted...

And now Anna's snuggled up with the most wonderful thing in the world. Books on tape. This little tape player entertained Abby for hours, and now Anna's using the same one, and the same tapes I made for Abby when she was little. Guilt-free entertainment.

But when I google "Fisher Price Tape Player" Amazon gives me instead this and this. Not the same at all.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pumpkin Puree

Now for the pumpkin itself.

Quarter the pumpkin. I had Matthew do this because it was difficult. Sarah suggested sprinkling Pumpkin Pie Spice over the top, she said it mostly made the house smell nice. I did that, but I can't smell, so I can't tell you if it worked.

We put it on a baking sheet covered with foil and roasted it at 35o. I don't know how long. We were watching "The Office" on DVD and cutting out another project, and I kind of forgot about it until Matthew reminded me.
Then I carefully scraped all of the inside away from the outside, which was papery thin, and blended it one quarter at a time in the blender. I did this while it was still very hot. It would probably be a good idea to wait. Each quarter was about 2 cups of pumpkin.
It was fun, but seemed like an awful lot of work. Also I'm not sure what to do with the pumpkin now. I can make a pie...but... come to think of it, I'll need a recipe for that. We always used the recipe on the back of the can of pumpkin to make the pie. I guess I used the wrong kind of bags, there's no recipe on there.
Thanks Sarah!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pumpkin Seeds

Sarah sent me some instructions about how to take apart and use a punkin, so tonight we did it. I'll give you her instructions with my pictures and commentary.

We started with this funny looking pumpkin from the patch. They told me it would be good for pie.

We'll start with the seeds...

Cut the pumpkin in half. Look! It looks like a regular pumpkin inside.

Then scoop out the guts and separate the seeds.

Rinse the seeds in the colander. This was my favorite part, because I could use the sprayer attachment in the sink and make the seeds spin. See?

Then dry the seeds. I spread them out on a towel and left them for a couple of minutes. I'm not very patient.

Mix them in a bowl with 1-2T of olive oil per 1-2 cups of seeds, and add salt/other seasonings until it smells good. I had a problem with this, as I cannot smell. I probably put in way too much salt, but I figure you can just brush it off.

Spread them on a baking sheet and bake for 10-20-30 minutes at 350, checking every 10 minutes. They should take on some color. After 15 minutes mine started popping like popcorn, so I took them out of the oven. They taste OK. I don't really know what pumpkin seeds are supposed to taste like. Maybe I just don't like them.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

For Linda

And for the rest of us who are learning French

And for people who like cuteness.

Once upon a time... from Capucha on Vimeo.

Thanks Michele!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Christmas Lists

I was updating my Amazon list for Christmas today, and lamenting that I didn't have an easy way to link to other things, or places, especially Etsy, when Amazon told me that I did! (have an easy way to do that)

You add this little button to your browser, and then you can add anything at all from the internet to your wish list!

I'm having lots and lots of fun.

On Etsy, you can browse by location (Kansas!)

or by color

or you can Pounce (see new stores, or stores that just sold something)

or shop normally, looking at a list.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A new favorite

"I begin to think, that a calm is not desirable in any situation in life. Every object is beautiful in motion; a ship under sail, trees gently agitated with the wind, and a fine woman dancing, are three instances in point. Man was made for action and for bustle."

--Abigail Adams

(Thanks to Garrison Keillor and The Writers Almanac for 11/11/08)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Christmas Nerdery

Earlier this week I spent a couple of hours in the basement doing one of my favorite things. I got all of the Christmas stuff together and went through the boxes of gifts I've accumulated over the year and wrote them all down. It's one Christmas thing I can legitimately do before Thanksgiving.

I went upstairs to print out my gift pages, and it occurred to me that it was perhaps all a little crazy. But then Organizational Betsy perked up and yelled at me. "It's not crazy! It saves time and money and aggravation and it's fun too!" Then she insisted that I share the documents, because Organizational Betsy is also bossy.

Christmas Gifts


I use these to keep track of what I have, need to get, etc. I love looking at my lists, crossing things off, checking to see everyone has the same number of presents, knowing if I need stocking stuffers or if I'm all set. Feel free to use them, if that sounds like fun to you. Google Docs makes them two pages, I'm not sure why, so just print page 1 and that'll work.

I love Christmas.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Not so tasty

I found a partial bag of butter mints in the pantry, and thought surely I could grind them up and make something good out of them. It was especially exciting to use my mortar and pestle. Except that that wasn't a great idea because it took FOREVER and I ended up with a bunch of candy smushed to the bottom of the bowl because of the repeated pounding.

Anna had fun though.
Here are the cookies--They didn't taste very good. I read in one of the reviews that they weren't very minty, so I added 1/4 tsp. of peppermint oil, but it wasn't enough. It's that kind of cookie that's not very sweet, and that's crumbly inside. There must be people who like that kind of cookie, so here's the recipe if that's you.
I wish I were better at reading a recipe and knowing what something would taste like. Is that just experience? Paying attention? Thinking it through? I forget to do those things.
I have more crushed mints--any suggestions?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Homemade Sausage

I was browsing through cookbooks the other day, and noticed a recipe for making sausage out of ground turkey. Matthew's not a fan of the ground turkey as a substitute for ground beef, but since we're still cleaning out, that's what we're eating.

Here's the recipe: Turkey Breakfast Sausage

It was fun to use all of the spices. I did wonder, when a recipe just calls for "thyme" or "sage" are you supposed to use the "ground" bottle or the "rubbed"? Anyone?

I decided to just brown it all, and not make patties, so that we could use it in spaghetti sauce or eggs. It was super tasty!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Anna deviates from the script

Dear God,

I want to go to Margaret's and please tell Santa that I want a Barbie Waterfall and Cinderella thing


I had a good day

and please do that please


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The improbable dream

Sometimes I daydream about having a little craft shop on Main Street. We'd have lots and lots of classes, and book clubs, and crafting sessions, and it would be fun. I even have a name picked out and other such ideas.

I know this is silly. As demonstrated by the Adult Tap Class (I was so excited to see who else would sign up! Answer: No one but me), what I think would be fun does not necessarily extend to the community at large. And I don't know anything about running a business, and I love my current job, and, and, and...

But it's my fun daydream.

What's yours?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Trinket invited me to be her friend on Goodreads a couple of months ago, and it's been lots of fun to keep track of what I read, and see what she's reading, and pass books back and forth, though we're far apart.

In the past 3 months-ish, I've read 40 books. Almost all of them were silly. Some are embarrassing. A few worthy. It's fun to see.

Anybody wanna be my friend? I'd love to see what you're reading.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Whatever happened to...

Paint with Water books?

I remember painting and painting at the kitchen table, being with Mom while she made bread, or soup, or dinner, but staying out of her hair. At least, out of her hair until the inevitable spill of the plastic tub that held the water, at which point we'd be *deep breath* banished for a while.

I finally found one at Goodwill a month or so ago, but I can't find them at Wal-Mart, Target, Dillons, or Walgreens. Where'd they go?

If you find them, let me know where!

Sunday, November 09, 2008


Shauna pointed out The Pioneer Woman one day, and I've enjoyed reading since.

This week her husband and girls are in the DR with Compassion International, and I'm wildly impressed by what they're doing there.

Here's one of the posts, and another, and another. Probably, if you're reading this in a timely fashion, and not a year from now, it'd be best just to go to the site and read. My links are kind of random.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

A Christmas Bag!

I found some quilted Christmas fabric at the thrift shop in downtown Goodland on my trip with Anna. I wanted to try to make a bag like my Vera bag for Christmas. This time, I tried to do a good job, and think things through, do all of the steps, etc. I even ironed some as I was sewing.

I'm very pleased with how it came out.

It has a pocket for my phone and sunglasses, though I made these a bit too shallow. That's one of the troubles with using scrap fabric.

One of my favorite things is that I used a Coke box for the bottom stabilizer.

Posted on Craftster!

Friday, November 07, 2008

The Great Migration

The wind is blowing a million miles an hour today, but the tumbleweeds always make me smile.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution." Albert Einstein

Dad sent me this quote this week.

I wonder, should it change anything about the way we teach?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

No more media?

It's come to my attention recently that Anna is ALWAYS paying attention.

Once, after listening to 5 minutes of country music, 4 hours later she sings: "Hey baby I'm a country man"

We switched to NPR when she was born, because that seemed like the responsible thing to do, but I can't handle the news anymore. Maybe it'll be better now that the election's over.

Today she said: "Obama won. John McCain wanted to win, but he didn't."

We'd better be careful. Or switch to all classical/music in other languages.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Anna sews

Who needs toys?

Monday, November 03, 2008

More Sweaters

I wanted to make a sweater pillow out of another cotton sweater that was too short for me, but rushed into the project without too much forethought.

It's OK, but would be much better if I had thought to leave the seam on the bottom open instead of the top. Now the wonky sewing is right on top of the pillow.

Then I made some loose tights for Anna out of the sleeves. They look funny too, but since they go under a dress, it doesn't bother me.

I'm hoping that she'll wear them since they're a little more loose.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

A glimmer of me

Anna looked like me for about a day after she was born, and then all of the Lobmeyer came shining through.

But today, after we saw "Beauty and the Beast" at the college, I heard something that made me proud.

Anna didn't love the scary parts of the story, or the conflict. She was talking through it on the way home, and decided that her play would be called...

"Beauty and the Prince".

No need to mess around with beasts and wolves. Just make it happy all the way through.

That's my girl.