Atlantis 2013

Atlantis 2013

Time to wrap up our family’s annual Thanksgiving trip & head home to NYC.

This year, I think we enjoyed less than 10 hours of sunshine during our entire week stay.  Still we were grateful for any bit of warm weather we could get.

When the clouds rolled in and the winds picked up, we threw on sweatshirts and kept running about outside as long as we could. 

But alas, we were rained out of most of the week.  We also discovered how much it hurts when the ocean winds pelt you with sand.  Time to retreat inside.

Remember that rainy day fun-list I made up the other day?  We did it all.

I also made the boy-os take cheesy pictures with me.  Though it’s getting harder and harder to make them cooperate when it comes to picture time!


Got to watch game 2 of the “Battle 4 Atlantis” college basketball tournament.   We couldn’t believe how many folks showed up from Kansas to support their team!  The bleachers were packed with screaming KU fans… wonder what it’s like at their home games?

Discovered a daily free slot machine tournament and the chance to win $100 gaming credit.  Cool.  I love free.  I even made my honey play to increase my chances of winning (his wins = my wins).

Indulged in our favorite buffet not just once, but twice.  Geez, I’m stuffed.  But it was yummy.

And that pretty much sums up our Thanksgiving week.  Not the fun we were expecting (sun, sand & lots of swimming), but entertaining nonetheless.

Rained Out

Rained Out

The week our family looks forward to all year long:  Thanksgiving week.  Beach.  Sunshine.  Swimming.  Sand castles.  Seashells.

Unfortunately, it seems that we’re going to be rained out this year.  Sigh.  Not a tragedy by any means.  But certainly a little disappointing.  We beat the storm out of NYC and enjoyed an afternoon of everything we’d been longing for.  But the past 2 days?  Big winds and rain… and the forecast says more of the same all week long.

So what now?  We’re still enjoying a week of lounging and laziness.  And I’m intending to make the most of our time off together.  Here’s my list of alternate rainy day options:

  1. Stay in our pj’s.  Give the kids permission to watch unlimited TV.  Read that book I downloaded weeks ago.  Take a nap (now that’s a luxury!).
  2. Play a few rounds of card games with the boy-os.  Talk smack with the 8-year-old while I repeatedly beat him at Monopoly Deal.  Reign it in right before he starts crying.  Is that a “bad mommy” thing to do?
  3. Give the guys money to play video games at the arcade.  Then wander over to the casino and squander my spending money at the slot machines.  I always lose.  And yet I always return for just one more round….
  4. Go swimming anyway.  Or, at the very least, enjoy a little hot tub time.  Who cares if it’s raining?  We’re all wet anyway.
  5. Craft something.  With what you ask?  Well, laugh if you’d like, but I always pack a few supplies when traveling – never know when the urge to make will hit.  This week, I’m glad I brought a half a dozen skeins of yarn and my crochet hooks.
  6. Enjoy the complimentary afternoon movies at the resort theater.
  7. Wait til it’s dark, then wander around The Dig.  So much creepier and exciting to watch the fish at night.
  8. Shop a little.
  9. Walk along the beach.  Watch the waves crash wildly along the deserted shores.  Love the ocean in every kind of weather.
  10. Blog a little.  Things have been so busy recently, it’s kind of nice to have this moment to jot a few thoughts down.

 On that note, I’m off to enjoy another leisurely day of rainy vacation.

Kid Sews Football

Kid Sews Football

I had a super proud parent moment this week… my eight year old threaded up the sewing machine on his own and made this plushy football gift for his friend.

My husband gets all choked up when our boys show improvement in their sports endeavors… but me?   I get happy when they slow down, unplug and make something.

For this particular project, my boy and I first discussed what he was going to sew.  I helped draw & cut the pieces, then got called away to work on something else.  I figured he’d need a little help pinning or sewing around the curves, but next time I looked his way, he had worked through all the steps on his own and was hand stitching the football closed.

Yes, it’s just a wonky little plushy… but I’m looking at this funny kid with his crooked teeth and fuzzy hair and I’m thinking about him sewing side by side with his buddy, Jeremy.  The boys sit at their sewing machines (in my shop) sewing merrily away as they discuss their favorite basketball players.  It’s a sight that makes my heart hurt a little even as my face breaks into a giant smile.  It’s a little bit like that first time your baby smiles at you or takes his first step.  Only this one is his first solo sewing machine project.  Maybe it doesn’t sound like such a big milestone, but to me, it’s a fabulous moment I want to remember.

Sewing Caddies

Sewing Caddies

I’ve been making miniature sewing kits and sewing caddies at the shop the past few weeks.  The miniature kits to sell.  The caddies for our sewing students to use.  Would love to show you both if you stop by the shop sometime, but today, I’m blogging about the new caddies.

We desperately needed to figure out some way to organize student sewing tools.

At first, we neatly arranged all student supplies in one big tray on our community crafting table.  A plate full of sewing scissors.  One container holding sewing gauges and seam rippers.  One container holding measuring tapes.  One container holding spools of thread.  Pin cushions all lined up in a row.

The problem was, as soon as our students starting using the supplies, the space quickly turned into a mess.  Everyone randomly picked up scissors, gauges and seam rippers, used them, then just as randomly set them down again around the studio.  By the end of each class, the space was a mess of scattered supplies.

Now, the last thing I want to do is to follow students around saying things like “who left his/her gauge on the ironing board?”  Or “pins belong in the pin cushion, not in piles on the table.”

I needed to create some kind of system where students would be gently and visually reminded that they were to return their sewing supplies in the neat, orderly fashion that they had received them.

How to do this?

I went wandering about the neighborhood pondering over a solution.  I ended up in the kitchen section at the local Lot Less (discount store).  There, I found bamboo boxes for $1.99 each.  Perfect.  I could work with these!

Went back to the studio with high hopes for a neater working environment.  Decided what each student should receive from us at the start of each class.  Cut fabric, bias tape, batting, elastic and velcro.  Started sewing.

The end result is a neat stack of bamboo boxes at the end of our row of sewing machines.  At the start of class, each student is handed a sewing caddy.  There is a place for each of the essential supplies.  A small pin cushion velcroed into place.  An elastic band to hold the measuring tape.  Separate pockets to place gauge, scissors and seam ripper.

I’m really pleased with our sewing caddy solution.  Clean.  Neat.  Pretty.  Functional.  Inviting.

Lastly, I’m pleased to report, a whole lot more students naturally cleaning up after themselves and returning the sewing supplies in the order they received them.  Yay!

The Mark of Athena

The Mark of Athena

Just counted how many books I’ve read aloud to my boys since we started our reading streak on June 28, 2012.  The number is 37.  Wow.  I had not realized we’d worked through so many in the past year and a half!

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan is our 38th book.  After this, we have one Rick Riordan book to read (can’t complete the series just yet since he’s still writing the final book) before we switch to a new author.

My younger boy (8 years old) says it’s his turn to pick the next read aloud.  From the pile he’s been building in his room, it looks like he’s claiming control of our reading material for a while.  Gotta say, that the boys have such strong opinions about their books makes me really happy.

On that note, it’s time for me to stop writing & start reading aloud!