Friday, November 30, 2012


Yes, we're in full Christmas mode here, but I thought I'd pause that a second and go back to last week. At Fletcher's school, his class had a list of what the kids were thankful for. There was a lot of "my family" "my house" or even "good food." Fletcher's contribution was "my stink bug." What? He doesn't even have a stink bug. That kid. So I tried at home to talk about what being thankful means and we started our own thankful list.

Rowan's thankful list was a little unorthodox, including "the girl on the refrigerator" and "my body." She has a magnetic paper doll on the fridge that she dresses up, for the record. But I think I got Fletcher understanding what we Should be truly thankful for. Even Papa participated! (F=Fletcher, R=Rowan, M=mama, P=papa). Fletcher does still insist he is thankful for his stink bug. And who doesn't feel thankful for cheese crackers???

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Yesterday Rowan started preschool. Unbelievable. She is only 2 1/2, and Fletcher just started this year at age 4! But ever since Fletcher started, she has talked non-stop about school and how much she wanted to go. The director of the school and the teachers got to know Rowan pretty well over the past few months, and Rowan charmed herself into that school.

Children are supposed to be potty trained before going to this school, but my stubborn 2 year old just won't work on it. So when the director or teachers would ask about her, I'd say, "Nope, she's not ready!" Because what stay at home mom starts her kids at preschool so early, anyway? Well, this one does.

The director pulled me aside, and told me that she has 2 teachers willing to work with Rowan on potty training at school. And that is how my 2 year old started preschool. She goes Tuesdays and Thursdays for a couple hours.

When I met with Rowan's teacher, I warned her that while Rowan can be cute and charming, she is made up of stubborn strong will and the lung capacity to scream longer and louder than anyone I know. I told the teacher, "You asked for it. Literally!" And when I picked up Rowan yesterday, the teacher said she could see what I was saying. But she also said she listened and followed directions, and is happily learning the songs for the Christmas pageant. Which is good because when I try and sing songs with her, she will bossily call out, "NO! Jingle bells!" or "twinkle twinkle!" The girl knows what she wants.

I think preschool is a hit! And since Rowan's class is in the morning, and Fletcher's class is in the afternoon, Fletcher and I get a little bonding time two days a week.

I didn't think we were ready for this step, but I was clearly wrong.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

unexpected break

Hi friends. Well, my computer is dead. The verdict is that I probably killed it with static from my own finger tips! Yikes. Who knew? Computer murdered by excessive winter dryness. File this one under "things that only happen to Ruthie."

So the good news is that I just ordered a very very awesome computer that I have lusted after for forever. The bad news is that it will take a week to get here. The good news is that I can still post from my phone or iPad. The bad news is that I can't use any real pictures. The good news is that this will give me extra time to prepare for Christmas. The bad news is that my advent wreath tutorial is stuck in my camera until AFTER advent begins.

So hang in there with me. My postings will be sporadic and probably lacking in pictures.

As a consolation prize, please enjoy a couple pictures of our friend's French Bulldog, Gigi. She's been spending Thanksgiving break with us. She leaves us tuesday and the littles will be so sad. I think I'll be ready, though!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

technical difficulty

My trusty computer decided to cease being trusty this morning. So the whole tutorial I had planned for today will have to be postponed. So stay tuned. It may be a while, but I'll get up instructions for this gold advent wreath! It is easy and pretty, and would work on making a regular wreath to hang if you don't celebrate advent.

Monday, November 19, 2012

the busy before the storm

We had a pretty busy weekend.  Brian's unit had a party last Friday to raise money for the ball.  The littles had fun running around with other littles, Brian had fun throwing a pie in his commander's face, and I got to meet a few more of the families.  I was asked to bring a dish to share for lunch, and so I made a big pan of baked ziti.  Unknowingly, I placed the pan on a table designated for dishes being judged for a prize.  I should have known when the soldier behind the table handed me a card to fill out about the dish.  And it won 3rd place!  If only I had known it was a competition, I would have put forth some 1st place effort, ha!

Also, I entered a custom portrait into the silent auction for the fundraiser.  If you read last Friday, you would know I was nervous no one would bid on it.  So I put the starting bid at $10, just in case.  Luckily it got bid up to $60, so I don't have to feel like such a loser.  And I've heard that the winning bidder wants a portrait of her dog, so that should be fun!

If you follow me on instagram, you've seen this, but here is the portrait of Rowan I made to use as an example.
And my trophy, of course! 

Brian worked hard to get the yard winterized, putting away hoses, raking leaves, letting the littles jump into the leaves.  And I worked hard getting the house ready for Thanksgiving this week.  Can you believe it's Thanksgiving week??  Oh my, do I have a busy week ahead of me.

Are you hosting Thanksgiving, my American friends?  Or do you get to relax at someone else's home?

Friday, November 16, 2012

the ten.6

1.  This week I had my very first parent/teacher meeting!  Many more to come, I know.  Fletcher is doing so so great, especially considering he is the youngest in his class by far.  I am so proud of everything the teacher said about him.  He's smart, and that makes me proud.  But it's his kindness and compassion that slays me.  Proud mama, here.
2. I stayed up late last night cooking for some good ol' forced family fun today, Army style!  I also stayed up finishing a portrait of Rowan for a fundraising auction.  I'm not actually auctioning off the picture of Rowan, but using it as an example for a portrait of their choice.  I'm just going to say it.  I'm pretty nervous that no one bids on it.  I guess if that happens, I still have a baby portrait of Rowan?
3. I haven't gotten even one Christmas present yet.  My blood pressure just jumped when I typed that.
4. I'm hosting my in-laws for Thanksgiving.  My blood pressure just jumped when I typed that. 
5. How long will this last?  She's wearing her Halloween costume every. single. day.  I have to talk her out of the wings when we go into public.  Have I ever mentioned I have the most stubborn 2 year old in the world? 
6. Kris's hats are pretty much perfect, and I think we should all urge her to start selling them.  (Ha!  As if a homeschooling mama of 4 needs one more thing on her plate)
7. We have an Army ball coming up next month, and I think this dress would be perfect for a December ball.  But I'll probably just wear something I already own.  Boo.
8. I have 13 of those big Rubbermaid tubs full of Christmas decorations.  That is all.
9.  This.
10. I know my postings haven't been as regular lately, and I'm sorry about that.  I usually work on pictures the night before, and write up my post in the morning before the littles are up.  Well, daylight savings really put a kink in that one!  I'm just too much of a night owl to wake up even earlier.  Also?   I put a lot of energy and time in this here blog, and sometimes it feels nice to pull back and invest that time and energy in other places. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

spicy butternut squash pasta

I love squash.  I love that there is a squash for every season, too!  One of my favorites is butternut squash.  So sweet, and such a great texture.  Ah, Fall.  Wish you would stick around a lot longer.  What is tasty about this recipe is the spice of the crushed red pepper mixed with the sweetness of the squash.  If you like that sort of thing.  And I do, I do!  If you do, too, you'll need the following.

1 large butternut squash
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon thinly sliced fresh sage
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 pound pasta
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
grated Parmesan cheese
serves 6
Cut your butternut squash in half lengthwise.  Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place cut side down on a lipped pan and bake at 400 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes.  Let cool for 10 to 20 minutes.
While squash is cooling, saute the garlic in olive oil until just slightly browned.  Also cook your pasta.  Add the herbs and red pepper, and stir.  Scoop out the meat of the squash, and add to your pan.  Cook with remaining olive oil.  At this point I added a bit more of red pepper after I tasted, because I love a spicy dish.  So taste and adjust for your taste!  Take the squash off the heat, and fold in the ricotta.
Serve over your pasta.  Sprinkle with grated Parmesan, and you're finished!  It's an easy recipe, you just need the hour or so to bake the squash.
We only used half the sauce, and I froze the other half to make toasted raviolis for an easy Thanksgiving appetizer next week!  Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

hoosier weekend

We spent the long weekend with good friends, Marcus and Kelly, and their little boy, Alex, in Indianapolis.  The highlight of the weekend for me was going shopping and having lunch with Kelly while the Dads watched all the littles.  Kelly took me to Midland Market, a massive antique store.  It was amazing, and if I had room in our car, I would have stuffed it full of furniture.  I did find a few treasures that would fit, though.  The highlight for Brian was probably going out for Ethiopian food and drinks.  It was different!  I love trying new foods, and everything I tasted was pretty good.  But then I was sticking to the vegetarian menu, and not eating the *raw* meat. My husband is the adventurous eater.  I'm all for trying something new, but not at the peril of my stomach lining.   And the highlight for the littles was the Indianapolis Children's Museum.  It was amazing.  And they are still talking about it, which means it was a hit! 
Thanks so much to Kelly and Marcus for their incredible hospitality.  Kelly makes the best homemade doughnuts ever, and Marcus makes the most delicious pasta Arrabiata we've ever had! 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Veteran's Day

Veteran's Day is on Sunday.  If you know a veteran, or someone currently serving, please thank them.  It will make you feel good, I promise.

And because we have a 4 day weekend, we're off on an adventure!  We're spending the weekend with one of Brian's fellow veterans and his family.  Hope you have a great weekend, everyone!  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

past in picture: December 2009

Well, this picture pretty much speaks for itself.  Poor, poor Fletcher.  He was only 18 months old, and didn't quite get Santa yet.  He was so excited as we waited in line to see Santa, mostly catching the frenetic energy of the other children waiting around us.  And he smiled and waved at Santa, and even sat in Santa's lap readily.  But then I walked back to take the picture, turned around, and this is what I saw!  I know that some moms don't like these pictures, but I swear it was just this split second before I rescued him from Santa.  And I'm sorry, but I DO find it hilarious!!  And Fletcher is no worse for the wear.  He adores Santa Clause now and will happily sit in his lap to chat.  I feel like Santa is all the kiddos are talking about lately, so I thought of this picture. 

Do you have similar Santa pictures with your own littles?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Can we all just breathe a sigh of relief here in America?  Regardless for whom you cast your ballot, IT IS OVER.  For 4 years.  I feel like a weight has been lifted this morning because I no longer have to deal with political ads, signs in neighbor's yards, and vitriolic posts on all social media.  Oh!  And now I can unhide friends and family on Facebook whose posts had become bitter and biased (I wonder what they've been up to?).  I enjoy a political debate as much as the next person, but ignorant posts had become rampant across the board. 
I have a feeling quite a lot of the country (nearly half) is feeling quite steamed this morning.  But let's move forward.  Let's stop the biased battles, and let's hope our divided government can find a way to work across the aisle.  If you need to channel your frustration here's something for you: should we start decorating for Christmas BEFORE Thanksgiving?  I know, it's controversial, and I hope I don't have to lose friends over this argument, ha! 
In all seriousness, I hope our country can move forward in a healthy way.  It all starts with each of us.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

happy election day!

I drew up these little political animals last night, and I think they're pretty cute, regardless of your politics.  I hope if you are an American you excercise your right to make your voice heard. 

Happy voting!

Friday, November 2, 2012

november mantle + yarn wrapped garland

I've tucked away (most) of the Halloween decorations, and I've kept out the general Fall decorations.  But the mantle needed a little something extra for November.  The littles and I have been picking up acorns and pine cones galore on our afternoon walks, so I thought it would be fun to incorporate them into a garland.  I found a few sticks, drew inspiration from a Martha project, and decided to wrap up the sticks in some ombre yarn!  If you'd like to make your own to tie into a garland, or to just stick in a vase, here is what you'll need.
1.  Some sticks!
2.  Yarn of your choice.  I chose both the burgundy/red/green and the turquoise/sand/brown yarns.
3.  Glue gun.

Start with a dot of glue on the stick, and after securing the end to the glue, start wrapping your yarn.  You'll want to pull tightly.  I added glue along the way to keep the yarn secured.  Once you get started, it's not hard at all.  I did two large sticks for a vase, and a handful of smaller sticks to string together as a garland.  After I was finished wrapping, I added a couple pine cones and acorns by gluing them on. 
I tied the small sticks together with twine, but you could also use the yarn.  That's all!  It's beautifully rustic and woodlandesque, so no need to try and reach for perfection.  I think I love these cozy looking sticks.
The rest of the mantle was put together with pieces from here or there.  I left out my raven painting from Halloween, and the aqua bowls, camera, and books are up on the mantle pretty much year round.  After much deliberation, I put up this antique mirror earlier this year since it, um, "mirrored" the fireplace decoration.  Oh this house.  It's such a mishmash of eras, so I just try to go with it.
I put more of our acorn and pine cone treasures into a jar, added a few stacked pumpkins, and displayed the massive fall bouquet that my mom made me with dried flowers and plants from her yard.  The pitcher and the big vase on the floor were both made by my talented uncle.  I obviously love color, and I'm not afraid to show it, ha!
This little project is just enough to tide me over until it's time to deck the halls, because that's what I'm REALLY dreaming about right now!  Even the kiddos keep asking if it's Christmas time yet.  All the store decorations and Christmasy sights are getting us all into the mood prematurely.  Don't worry, we won't jump the gun on Christmas.  Yet.
Do you keep up fall decorations through November, or do you start making things merry and bright?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

darth vader + fairy

We had a pretty great Halloween.  The littles cooperated like champs with their costumes, and even stuck with what they wanted to be for Halloween for over a month.  So I actually had over a month to get their costumes ready.  You would think I wouldn't be frantically sewing leaves onto a headband the morning of Halloween, but, hello, my name is Ruthie and I procrastinate.  We still got ready just in time for Fletcher's preschool party, and I even had time to snap some pictures before it was time to leave.
The preschool party was brief but fun, just the way I like my preschool parties.  Rowan was pretty happy about getting to participate for an hour, and she crashed hard at nap time.  Yay for preschool parties!
We were all excited to have Papa home early so we could all go trick or treating together.  We were informed that no one trick or treated in our neighborhood, and that everyone went downtown to the businesses.  So we packed up and journeyed to the candy.  The littles had a great time going from store to store, begging for candy.  We live in a college town, so there was a fair share of spooky costumes, which I was afraid would scare the kiddos.  Fletcher took it all in stride, with his eyes a little larger than usual.  Rowan would ask to be picked up if we were coming upon a scary costume, and then she would stare them down with her own big eyes.  She was brave as long as someone was holding her!  I know the feeling. 
We came back home with our bags loaded, and feeling exhausted.  The littles got to choose 2 or 3 pieces of candy, which sent them reeling around the house.  But then the crash happened, and we turned on The Great Pumpkin as we wound down for bed.  And as we were watching, we got a surprise visit from a couple trick or treaters!  So we (sneakily) gave them some of the littles candy.  Halloween was a success! 

How was your Halloween?  Would you rate it a success?