08 October 2015

Identical Sugar, Unique Children

I used to think I was good at basketball.  Probably because nobody told me I wasn't until high school when I tried out for the freshman team and didn't even make first cut. I think that's when I stopped playing. The other day some of the kids asked if we could go over to the church and play basketball. It was 2 and a half against 2, with huge discrepancy in size and ability, but we had so much fun. We laughed and joked and didn't even keep score. I didn't need to have Varsity Basketball Team on my resumé.

It reminds me of little kids who say they're artists. We all are, in a sense, good at creating something. But, there comes a defining moment when somebody tells us that our creation isn't as good as someone else's. Or we don't even try to make our own, we just look around and do what everyone else is doing. I was so proud of my kids when we did this little project, building Mormon temples out of sugar cubes and frosting. We previously did these with a group of about 40 kids and they all looked pretty similar. But, when my girls (and Drummer) went to town on the sugar, with the occasional one in the mouth, they all had their own view. I don't know that I can necessarily attribute that to parenting, but somehow we've raised very opinionated and unique children. They're all sugar and spice, but different recipes were used with each one. I hope they never get told that they're not artistic, or if they do, they'll look them in the eye, and tell them that's just crazy talk. I can see it going either way. ;)

15 September 2015

Jamberry Scoop

I took Olive to the nail salon (is that what they're called?) to get pedicures for her birthday.  I know I should do it more often, but I have a hard time finding a time without any kids and spending the money.  And they always charge me more than what's listed because my feet are so much work.  Haha!  After we had finished playing with the massage chair and gotten our final topcoats, the sweet Vietnamese woman asked if we were getting our nails done as well.  I thanked her and said not today.  Then I saw her steal a glance at my short, poor, naked, fingernails, uneven, with cuticles crawling up each one, dry skin and stained from life as a maker and creator.  It's true, they needed attention, but I couldn't bring myself to spending the extra time and money.

So, that brings us to Jamberry. Have you resisted? I understand. Just another fad that will fade. But, I hope it doesn't, and I don't think it will. Let me tell you my morning story. 
As Ryan was running out the door, he said that the garage door guy was coming to fix it before 10. Sure thing. I got myself up and ready, then got Azure and Clover up, ready, and off to school. Next was the middle school girls. By now it's 9 o'clock. I'm trying to decide if I have time to get my nails done before garage man comes. Sure, why not. I get my Jamberrys out and begin applying. I always start with my right hand because then the left hand seems so easy ;). After the wraps were on, I thought I'd try out the TrūShine gel enamel kit that you can apply either on top of nail polish, or on top of the wraps. There are two coats that get a 45 second cure under an LED lamp. Done. I cleaned them off, washed my hands, still no garage guy. I go straight into the kitchen and do the dishes. I get interrupted by Scout who wants some attention, so I run around and scratch her behind the ears. I decide to start some laundry, and while I'm at it, I might as well wash my sheets and quilt that someone wiped their dirty face on. Still no garage guy. I take pictures of my nails around the house and then set up my computer to edit photos.  Finally! Garage guy comes at 9:55! 
So, what does this long story have to do with my nails? There is no dry time, and I can get straight to working on what needs to be done and they look amazing. I don't have dog hair indentations or fuzz from carrying laundry. No chipping, like my toenails already are...which, as it turns out, you can use Jamberrys on toes as well! Let me break it down, because I know there are questions:


  • They're easy to apply
  • There is a huge selection (see below)
  • There is no dry time
  • They are less expensive than a manicure
  • There is no chipping
  • The TrūShine gel enamel kit makes them last even longer and look more professional


  • I've found that the only con is my nails need to take a break between wraps, but I also find that with regular nail polish, on both my toenails and my fingernails, too, so it's not just exclusive to the wraps.

Do you like choices? ;) These are just the colored pages.  There are a bunch of neutrals (ie black & white ;) too!  They also have junior sizes for little girls. There are also very subtle wraps, like clear with tiny white dots or lace. If you like the look of a French manicure, they've got those, too! Or if you're wanting just a traditional manicure look, solids are available (or ombré, or sparkle, or flat finish, or bold, or patterned....you get the idea.) If you can't decide, they're buy 3, get one free! 
So, want to try them out? Hop on over to Megan's website and when you check out, use NoBigDillJams for your party name (I get a bit of credit for every purchase.) Megan can answer any other questions you might have. AND if you're not happy with your Jamberry nails, you can return them within 30 days for a FULL refund, so they're pretty confident you'll love them. 

01 September 2015

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (can you find all three?)

I got a text from my sister up in Virginia a few weeks ago asking if I wanted to come visit when my mom was going to be there. Here's the thing about Ryan and me.  We have a hard time committing to things, but when we do, boy howdy, we commit.  

Ryan booked us on the autotrain.  They load up our car and we hop on the train, hoping that the food will be okay and that at least a few of us will get some sleep.  Ryan loved the food and slept well, so I guess we hit our goal? ;)
It was romantic, though.  Watching the scenery move past, while we were comfy-cozy in our generously sized train seats.
The kids thought it was a blast.  
In fact, Divine was considering a train career, until she still felt the swaying and moving long after we had disembarked. Does one disembark a train? 
I told Ryan I would do it again if he got a cabin for me to sleep in and the rest of them could sleep coach.  We'll see ;)
We spent our first day in DC, not realizing what a nightmare parking is.  After a bit of tension, we finally found a spot and got out to go see this District of Construction, er I mean Columbia.
We hit the Spy Museum first.  This one is NOT for little ones.  The older kids enjoyed it, but Drummer couldn't get out of there fast enough.  Next we went to Zaytinyas for lunch.  Not only was the food phenomenal, but we happened to run into my sister and her husband who were taking a romantic getaway while my mom watched their kids.  What?!  There was surprise and delight all around.
We went to the Hirshhorn museum with them and then allowed them to continue their romantic weekend without the 8 of us.  I'm sure they were deeply disappointed. ;)
We also visited the Portrait Gallery and grabbed a bite to eat at The Shake Shack before we made our way to the Wilson Hotel to catch an evening bus tour on a double decker bus.
It rained on and off all evening, which turned out to be great, because the crowds were very sparse.  We got off the bus at each stop to walk around and learn bits of the history of our great nation.  
I was especially impressed with the Martin Luther King, Jr memorial.  We were the only group there.  Our guide told us the story of the "I Have a Dream Speech".  Martin had written a draft of the speech he was planning to give at the Lincoln memorial at the Wilson hotel.  He started into his speech when the African American gospel singer Mahalia Jackson shouted to King from the crowd, "Tell them about the dream, Martin."
That's when he began the famous "I Have a Dream" portion, and that's why he's depicted with his speech rolled up and in his hand, because he's just talking from his heart.  Along the wall behind his statue are quotes from his other speeches.  Olive memorized three of them on the spot. Being there in the dark was a spiritual experience.  I'm hoping my kids will remember this one.
Then we made our way over to Virginia where my sister lives.  We were immediately smitten.
Virginia really is for lovers.  With the rolling hills and, especially where she lives out in the countryside, it's a slower way of life which is highly underrated.
We went peach picking at a farm that was just 2 minutes from Ann's house.  We brought home 60 pounds of fresh Virginia peaches!
Pearl had my camera for about half this trip and is was fun to see what she thought noteworthy.  Apparently me, making peach face at her. ;)
Little Hyrum (far right) took to Divine like a second mommy.  It was so cute to see him grab her hand and drag her around like a well-loved teddy bear.
We made sure to hit a cute little fabric/yarn shop, Finch's Sewing Studio.  We had some spare moments, waiting for a table to seat all 14 of us, and Ann took us down the street.  I was skeptical they'd be open because all the other shops were closed, but it just so happened to be one of the two nights they stay open late for a chat, snack, and sewing session!  I loved this shot of Divine admiring her grandma admiring a gigantic skein of yarn.  We aren't a touchy-feely family except when it comes to textiles, ha ha!
I appreciated the rainbowtization.
I couldn't resist that cotton, red lace in the lower right corner...
It's built in an old house with treasures to find in every room.
Three generations of makers, plus a ghost-like little dancer.
This is what the boys were doing while the women-folk were...women-folking.
Don't worry, though, because our last day included a whole lot of manly planes.  That was such an amazing experience.  Again, it made my heart turn toward those who have gone before in this great nation, risking lives to make it a better world.  
Rainbowtized flight. ;)
By the end of our visit, little Mary Deane, who has cystic fibrosis, and who is very much an observer rather than participant of social situations, was looking like this.  It made my heart very happy for her, and for my sister.
3 mamas who love their offspring and each other.  It was, as my mom always says, a little slice of heaven.

26 August 2015

My Dad Taught Me to Bark...life lessons

 A hawk tried to swoop in and chicken-nap one of our chickens this morning.
Fortunately for them, I happened to be cleaning the windows in my bedroom that look out over the backyard.
I started barking, like my dad taught me.  (Where's the dog when you need her?)
I ran outside, only able to count 6 of the 8 hens.  Pearl would be able to give you their breed, names, and owners.  I just knew that it looked like we were missing some white ones.
It got me thinking, however.  This is a fragile life.  We are all precariously walking that line between existence here and existence beyond, perhaps some closer to the side of beyond than others, but either way. you just. never. know.
Yet, the funny thing is, we shouldn't be afraid.  As I was cleaning those windows, there was a dead bug on the edge of the window and Olive shrieked.  I nonchalantly flicked it off and told her there was absolutely no reason to be scared.  
I think I was talking more to myself than her, the realization of all the things in my head, those big, fancy dreams of mine, tend to just stay there.  They're frozen in the fear that I'll fail, or that I'll be mocked, or that it won't be as grand in real life as it is in my head.
I'd like to think that I will finish cleaning my windows and begin executing on my dreams.  I probably won't, but at least I've taken a step closer to them.  At the very least, I will love a little deeper, savor the moments of contentment a little longer, and pick my battles a lot more carefully.
By the way, the two missing hens were laying low until the danger passed.  They emerged and joined their squabbling sisters much to all our relief.
(PS These shots are from our quick trip to Tennessee.  I left a bit of my heart in the Smokies.  I also taught my girls the art of smashing little rocks with big rocks to reveal sparkling centers.  I think they enjoyed this little pit-stop lesson as much as the actual trip ;)
 That there is another lesson for another time. ;)

03 August 2015

Birthday Giveaway Winners!

I just came inside from adding another super (box) to one of my hives.  I was stung.  Four times on my left leg.  I don't know what they have against my left leg, but OUCH!  I guess it serves me right for waiting until dawn and avoiding the task of picking winners for all the giveaways!  But here we go, ready or not!

Gina, you get to go shopping at the Ruffle Fabric shop! Hooray! (mrsdaniels)

Ohio Girl will be getting $50 to spend at Imagine Gnats fabric shop!(bearpaws9)

Nickel...will be cutting and filing on a dime with a cute pocket knife from Blade HQ! (Cathy555)

Hayley Burns will be spending $50 at Piggy & Dirt on stained glass stars!(possumsdaughter)

Jess will be swaddling some little feet with a pair of Mon Petit Shoes for her baby #5!  (crannberri7)

June will be healing and soothing with a jar of Mom's Stuff! (jvarricchione)

RedMittens will be steaming up a storm with a new iron from Reliable!(mbhunt)

And last, but not least, the winner of the beautiful Rachel Baby Lock sewing machine is Kandyce Pinckney!(kandyce.pinckney)

Whew!  I've had such a fun week sharing some of my favorites with you.  Thanks for indulging a birthday girl. ;)