Sunday, December 30, 2007

Treasure Hunting

Today we spent most of the day treasure hunting. Dave received a GPS for Christmas, so we tried our hand at geocaching. We did quite well as a team finding 10 out of 11 treasures. The kiddos loved searching for the treasures and taking turns selecting a trinket out of the box to take to the next one. Eamon brought his metal detector to the first one and used it to find the treasure. Some of the hunts were downright tough - caches found in landscaping lights, "electrical" boxes and under rocks. If you haven't tried it, you definitely should as we all had a blast.

Our ten "finds"

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Fiesta Bowl parade

This year we decided to join some good friends for the Fiesta Bowl Parade. Aine said hello to the firefighter three times as big as her, while Eamon enjoyed playing with the other kids and silly string. Once the parade started, Eamon and Aine loved shouting at the balloon holders, "Spin it." They would jump and laugh when the balloons would then be spun over their heads. Aine perfected the parade wave to the delight of those around her and a few in the parade. Eamon snacked on Rice Krispy treats and hot chocolate courtesy of a good friend. The ride home was a quiet one as the parade had worn them out.

Hail to the Victors...

Dave just couldn't pass this up...
Eamon loves his new costume. He has worn the helmet every time we have left the house.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Baby Quilt

Inspired by the book, Bend the Rules Sewing, I decided to make a baby quilt for my new nephew. I found some spacey flannel for it(robots and spaceships). We used orange flannel for the back. I didn't want a "baby" quilt, as I hope he can use it for several years. It is an easy quilt to sew. E & A helped me lay out the strips and add the prints at random intervals. They enjoyed "helping" me pin and sew the quilt. Eamon was grateful when we used the scraps to make a scarf for him.It is packaged and ready to go to its new home.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ornaments for the Babies

I made elf slippers for the youngest cousins this year. K's slipper was pink with her initial. W's elf slipper was blue with a pom-pom on the toe. The pattern is from a blog I read. It can be found here, however I shrunk it down a bit. I hope they like them when they get bigger.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

All Set

The final project for the holidays was matching pajamas pants for the family. We started a tradition last year of matching pjs. Last year they merely coordinated, but this year we all matched. Here is a picture of D & E on Christmas with their matching pants.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Ribbons & Bows

Christmas was a grand time. We opened gifts from Santa and family in the morning with Grandpa Cates. The kids were beside themselves with excitement. The family, clad in matching pajamas, proceeded to help each other open their gifts.
Eamon was tickled to receive a telescope, guitar and scooter. He started racing around the house before proceeding to the other gifts. He also enjoyed the watch, books and puzzles he received as well as the metal detector (the metal detector has since been used as a vacuum, fishing pool and several other things in addition to finding treasures).
Aine first tooled around the house with her new baby stroller. She started setting her doll-babies up in the crib and hosted several tea parties with her brother. She also loved the puzzles, books, toothbrush and watch.
Eamon and Aine gave Dave new pillows, since Eamon said his were stinky and smelled like him. They also picked out some fabric for a new custom pillow case.
Heather made out huge this year with a new sewing machine, pajamas, a sling for the new baby and many other gifts.
After a bit, GrandDad, Unkie Tim, Auntie Maura, Malia and Kailana arrived to celebrate. More gifts were opened. The kids loved snapping pictures with Eamon's new camera as well as undressing the newest baby doll.The kiddos ran around all day playing with their new gifts. They enjoyed playing with their cousin, but they missed the rest of the clan. (We had a smaller gathering this year, since Auntie Erin had William on December 10. Grandma Williams, Unkie Petey and Auntie Lori were absent from the festivities in Arizona as they shared the holidays with Erin's family. We also were missing Grandma and Pap Ghrist, Aunt Cathy and Uncle Steve and Uncle Scott who were all experiencing a chilly Christmas in Michigan).

Monday, December 24, 2007

Holiday Fun

This year we have been busy making things for the holidays. We made applesauce-cinnamon ornaments with a few friends, created homemade cards for a card exchange with kids throughout the world as well as family, and decorated a gingerbread house. It has been a busy time.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Herpetology, Archeology , Physics & Geology

We took a trip with friends to ASU to check out a few of the museums. Eamon & Aine had been asking to return to their snake display which we saw in March. We toured the Life Sciences building and saw the only complete display of Arizona snakes in the world. The kids loved it. One of the rattlers would shake every time we walked by the enclosure. From there, we headed to the Earth Sciences building to view the geology and physics museum. Aine was enthralled by Foucault's Pendulum, while Eamon was studying the pointillist picture of Einstein. Each enjoyed looking at the meteorites and fossils. We met Daddy for lunch in downtown Mesa to cap off the day.

Monday, December 17, 2007


In between the holiday sewing and crafting, I noticed Aine needed some jeans patched. She picked out her colors, and we set to work. The patches work quite nicely on these play jeans even if it does look a bit Whiskey Tango.

Knitting Update

With all the sewing I was able to knit a few things: an orange for my new nephew's stocking and two pairs of baby booties for expectant mamas. I have a pair of socks as well as a doll waiting in the wings.


I made two aprons this year for family to go with some culinary treats. The basic pattern was fairly easy for both. Hopefully they like them, and they fit reasonably well. I tried to make them coordinating, so they could cook/entertain in fashion.

Happy Cooking!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Robe Mania

I made three robes this holiday season. I would have made four, but one of the recipients wants a hood, and the pattern I used was sans hood. She will have to wait. Thanks to a friend for the use of her pattern, I was able to whip them out a gifts. The pattern is McCalls 4726.

Here is a shot of E modeling his:I will try to get photos of the other two. Somehow in my sewing frenzy I forgot to take photos.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Healthy Eating

I struggle with eating local and organic. I love the idea of a CSA, but we have had some problems with it this year. The food has been plentiful and mostly in good shape. We just can't seem to get through the quantity of greens. I had previously checked out Bountiful Baskets online, but was disappointed by the lack of organic and local products. I have a good friend who signed up and is very pleased. She told me recently of the inclusion of local and organic products as well as the hope that more will come. We signed up. Hopefully this will work until I get our garden back into thriving condition.

Here is a shot of one of our "baskets."(all this for $15)


We have signed up for bi-weekly produce through a group called Bountiful Baskets. It is not always organic or local, but it is fresh and economical. We really like the idea of the CSA, but it was getting hard to eat through all the greens and turnips. We pay $15 for a basket of produce. It usually fills two small laundry baskets.

This week we received:
  • 1 pound Organic Baby Spring Mix
  • 1 bundle of Chard
  • 5 Cucumbers
  • Broccoli
  • 3# bag of gala apples
  • 3 large pears
  • a dozen clementines
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1 bag of baby carrots
  • 3 heads of romaine
  • 5 bananas
  • 6 baking potatoes
  • 10 red potatoes

Thursday, December 13, 2007

My poor belly button

Here is a photo of my poor belly button. It used to be so cute. I always thought it would look good with a belly button ring. Now it is disfigured as a result of a hernia. I have been told it will go back to its glamorous days after a minor surgery. I have my doubts.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

"Night Robe"

Eamon has wanted a new robe, since his old bathrobe was getting a bit short. I made him a new one, which he called his "bedtime robe." He prefers to wear it over his pajamas as opposed to just out of the bath. He garnered the idea from this book, One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey.


Aine has been practicing her tricycle, but her legs were a wee bit short. In the meantime, she has been settling for the scooter. She came running into the house today with Eamon jumping up and down that she could ride her bike. Sure enough, she was off...

Friday, December 07, 2007


Eamon, Aine and I attended a mid-day performance of Suessical produced by Childsplay theater company. It was a neat experience for us. Eamon really enjoyed the show and is frequently heard reciting Horton's "A person's a person no matter how small." Aine was a bit restless and wanted to leave at intermission. She decided to stay and watch the amazing costumes for a bit longer.
I tried getting a holiday photo to no avail. These are some outtakes.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Nature Walk

With the local homeschooling group, we headed out to Boyce Thompson Arboretum for a tree tour. Some of the information was a bit past Eamon and Aine, but they enjoyed learning some new things, hiking the trails and playing with friends. They again learned about roots, leaves and stems. They saw how a tree is measured and were able to classify some leaves before making rubbings. Eamon figured out the scar on a tree cutting was due to fire, while Aine collected small seeds from beneath a large tree. Each was able to bring a small tree "cookie" home to continue to study.