Monday, August 31, 2009

Craigslist in SW Kansas!

Matthew refuses to be excited because Craigslist is "morally reprehensible" but I am.

It seems like everyone else in the country uses their Craigslist all the time and finds wonderful deals and I'm excited we have one now too.

Even if there are postings from Lenexa. Sheesh.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Thoughtfulness for Cheaters

I wanted to make a blankie for the new baby boy who's coming to Everything Beautiful, but I've been buried beneath school and projects, so I just whipped up this cheater blanket while Matthew read Anna a bedtime story. It's a nice project, and super quick!
1. Buy a yard each of two cute flannels.

2. Wash, Dry, fold into quarters and even out the edges so they're the same size.

3. Lay them out, right sides together, and stitch around the edges, leaving a hand sized hole for turning.

4. Turn right side out, finger press the seam in, and stitch the hole closed.

5. Sew a few lines of stitching to hold the two pieces together.

6. Part with an adorable/strange baby card (scan it first, because you're card crazy) and pop it in the mail!

All done in less than 30 minutes.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dress to Skirt

I bought this dress at Target because it was 75% off. One of the other teachers at school had one similar, and it looks cute on her, but she's about 8 inches taller than me.

On me, it didn't really work. I'm too short to be cut in half in the middle, I think.

The skirt part had this nice elastic band, so I just got out my seam ripper and took the top off. Now I have a nice gray skirt.

The top was really soft, and I tried to sew a longer skirt to it, but it still looked funny. More on that skirt project to come...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Tia McGraff

She debuted at Tumblweed last year, but I missed it because of the great and terrible sickness.

My favorite song was "Tumbleweed", not written for our festival, but beautiful nonetheless.

(pic from

I can't figure out how to embed that song--maybe not possible--but here's her MySpace, and you can just choose "Tumbleweed" on the player.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Brennen Leigh - Bluebird

This was my favorite of the new songs. So pretty.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Brennen Leigh - Backslidin' Blues

We were so excited to have Brennen back at the Tumbleweed Festival. She's been a family favorite ever since we saw her 4 years ago at the Festival.

Susan and I went to Austin to see her on our Spring Break trip back in 2007, and Dad has her playing nearly constantly when we go to the cabin. We have 5 CD's (here are four), but what a treat it was to hear new songs! She has a new album coming out sometime soon: The Box. We're all eagerly waiting...

Here's one of the songs-maybe called "Backslidin' Blues"

More tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


We don't take Anna to many of the fun things for kids because we enjoy the music so much, but she has a good time too, I think, running around with cousins and listening to good music herself.

We all especially enjoyed her dancing to Del Castillo. (Where on earth did she learn booty shaking?)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Del Castillo

Oh Tumbleweed, you are so wonderful.

We had a fantastic weekend. Wish you were there. I'm posting all this week about the festival, and next year I'm going to start bossing you all early. Seriously. All of you should be coming home for a visit or coming to town just to see the music. If you're friends with me, you probably like live music too, so there's no reason for you not to enjoy it cheap, in a beautiful setting, with good friends. Great stuff for the kiddies too, so no excuses!

This band from Austin; Del Castillo, was amazing. This was my favorite song: Rios misticos

I bought a CD, I'm making the kids learn something from it. (drums fingers together slyly)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hopelessly behind the times...

Probably you've already seen this, but just in case...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Extreme Crafting

Wedding Dress made from wool from her own sheep. Full article here.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Here's the stage schedule!!!

We'll be following Brennen Leigh around the festival, because she's our super duper favorite, but the whole thing is always wonderful.
Don't miss it! If you're in town, out of town, out of state, it's worth it. I mean it. Get off work, throw a bag in the car, and come. Run away from home.
You'll love it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fall List

1. Binding on Susan's Quilt
2. Binding on Christmas Quilt
3. Shannon Quilt
4. Molly G Quilt
5. 1 Scrapbook project (see-trying to be more realistic)
6. Finish training and run in Laura K 10K (ran 5K, better than noK)
7. Can/preserve something from garden.
8. Run away with Anna at least once.
9. Go to bed before 11:00 on school nights. (many nights anyway)
10. Pray a novena (Rosary for 9 days in a row-never yet succeeded)
11. Help Linda organize.
12. Manhattan trip.
13. Redo Anna's room.

Sarah said fewer items. Summer list had 21, so I'm doing OK so far!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

And now it's my turn

The kids came back to school, Anna started school, and today I start my third class.

FL 561 Teaching Second Languages

I'm a little nervous about this one because I have FOUR books, 1455 pages in all. Eeek.

This summer I really enjoyed working at Patrick Dugan's, so maybe I'll try to sneak away and do the same for this class. It's more fun than shutting myself in my office.

I guess summer's all the way over now--let's see how I did on my summer list.

1. Fix Windshield
2. Scrapbook-2 years worth
3. Funeral book
4. Anna 8x10's
5. Anna Frame
6. Shannon Quilt (teensy bits of progress)
7. Molly G Quilt (picked out fabric)
8. Learn to Machine Quilt
9. June video
10. July video
11. Oregon trip with girls June
12. Oregon trip with family July
13. Cabin trip with family sometime
14. Get out summer clothes
15. Keep up with garden and yard (mostly-it's pretty weedy, but we haven't killed the trees, and the garden is overgrown and crazy, but I've not given up completely)
16. Make Ruffle Top for myself
17. Train for 10K (on track for the Laura K 10K)
18. Felt Rocks
19. Build a compost bin (Matthew was not in favor)
20. Make digital recordings of the tapes I made for Abby when she was 4.
21. Make album from Katrina's wedding.

Not too bad, though I think the scrapbooks were my main priority, and none of that got done. I'm constantly trying to be more realistic, slow down, not try to get so much done, but it's awfully hard. There are so many possibilities!

Fall List tomorrow. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Anna sings

It's funny what happens when sweet little girls listen to big girl music.

Monday, August 17, 2009

1st Day!

Today our Anna starts school.

She's really excited.

I'm just glad I finished the dress.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Shopping Trip

Last weekend Abby and Anna and I went to Wichita to do a little Back-to-School shopping for Abby. Susan met us there. (I know-and I do believe in shopping local-but it was a sister thing)

We got in late Friday and spent the night with Kent and Jenni and Peter, who is super cute. They're getting pretty excited about Epic Church, and it was fun to catch up with them for a minute.

Then we dropped Anna off with Sophie, which you saw earlier this week.

We met Susan at The Donut Whole in Downtown Wichita. It was really fun and funky, with all sorts of crazy cake donuts. We Alsop girls have long been fans of what we call "Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate" and what the Donut Whole succinctly calls "Triple Chocolate". Chocolate cake donut, chocolate frosting, chocolate sprinkles. We each got one of those. Delish.

I also tried the Maple Bacon donut, which was actually pretty good! Like pancakes and syrup and bacon all together in a donut.

Abby tried the Fluffernutter, peanut-buttery and sweet, and Susan an Oatmeal Cookie.

I give it two thumbs up.

Then we went to buy shoes from Finney. He was a great salesman. We went in for one pair of sneaks for Abby, and bought two pair each.
I am in love with my neon pink boat shoes.

Then we went to Towne East and shopped for hours. Anna joined us in the afternoon-she loves trying things on.

We were too late to get into the new good sushi place (called at 5:30 and they were already full all night!) so we tried another place, but it wasn't very good.

We finally rolled into G.C. about 2 a.m., tired but stylish.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ranitas de colores

I love this commercial (the kids did too)

Every year I have so many ideas and goals that I completely overwhelm myself. One of the 500 things I'd like to do differently this school year is to incorporate more short videos like this one. The kids are really interested in trying to figure out what's going on, it's meaningful language, it's culture, it's good. We'll see how it goes.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Congratulations Kiki!

Today our dear friend Katrina graduates with a Master's Degree in Liberal Studies, with a concentration in Arts and Literature from Denver University.

"Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation." --John F. Kennedy

We're so proud! See you tomorrow!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bloggy Friends

Anna got to play with her friend Sophie last weekend.

They'd never met.

I think they were shy for about 30 seconds.

Michele posted some pictures and FANTASTIC video on her blog.

I heart the internet.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hanging out at the Cabin

We had good fun at the cabin

Eating breakfast
Reading booksEating S'mores

Reading Beauty and the Beast (Maybe that was only Susan)

and enjoying Anna

This year some of her highlights were:
"Want to watch me do something without hurting myself?"
"Let's play Yoshimi and the Robot!"
"Mama, you're contradicting me!"
"What a fiasco!"

It was a great trip all around.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Stream!

Or as Anna re-dubbed it this year:

The Swimming Hole.

It was an especially rainy week at the cabin, so the first sunny afternoon I rounded everyone up and we headed down to the stream.

We had all of the supplies: boats, hot dogs, matches, knife, string cheese, pringles, cokes, sunscreen...

First up was boat racing and wading

Look at that balance!

Anna checking to see the winner...

Mom's boat.

She wasn't as brave to get in the water as she was last year, but the water was higher and a bit more clear last summer too, so I can understand.

Next up-Pine cone Baseball!

We learned I am a terrible pitcher.

Then we went over to Fire Rock to cook our hot dogs and couldn't get a single match to spark. Silly city kids, I guess.
Sorry Mom.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Hiking with Anna

One lazy afternoon I took Anna down to the climbing rocks and over to the quartz mine. We had a nice ramble, seeing cactus flowers

and deer.She took the camera and took a few photos

And when I asked her to tell me about the walk-this is what I got.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

And a bus

Car, shuttle, airport train, airplane, light rail, walking, train, taxi, rental car...

and a message from Amtrak saying that due to work on the line, we'd be taking a bus back to Portland instead of the train.

Matthew volunteered to sit by Anna on the bus so he wouldn't have to sit by a stranger. The bus almost filled all the way up, but I got to sit by myself the whole time. It was really nice.

In Portland we had a few hours before we needed to be at the airport, so we did some more downtown exploring. They held our luggage for us at the Train Station for $9.

We found a shady park in the Park Blocks,

Saw the cool Chinese elephant statue,

and found Mama some Sushi!

The sushi all came around the restaurant on a conveyor belt, with pricing according to different colored plates. I really had no idea what anything looked like, so I can't tell you what I had, but it was good! I found several vegetarian options which Anna enjoyed, with chopsticks and all. Asparagus and cream cheese, cucumber, edamame, she's my adventurous eater!

Then back to Union Station to load up and walk back to the airport. Here's Matthew tying the car seat to his backpack.

We tried to stop at the Chinese Garden on the way, but it was all walled in, and we didn't find the entrance. (Now I see that there is an admission fee, so it wouldn't have worked anyway. But sometime I want to go)

Anna on the light rail. Poor sweet girl.

At the airport they put her car seat in a big plastic bag and we told her to pull it like her own rolly suitcase. She was very proud to help.

We flew back to Denver and went straight to the cabin, where there were Marshmallow coals waiting for us.

Commence Vacation Part Two!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Coastal Wildlife

Another morning walk on the beach, but this morning we were pretty close to low tide, so we got to see all sorts of neat things.

Funny tiny hoppping shrimpy things

Spongy anemone-y things

And Starfish!

Real live Starfish!

And ooh-look at that shiny shell glinting in the sun...

Matthew looks at me, puzzled...

Oh, that's a beer can.

Another yummy breakfast and then back in the car to pick up Anna in Medford, quick goodbyes, and then back in the car to see Chelsea and Jim in Eugene.
We had a BBQ with her friends Mary and Sarah, played Badminton, had a great time.