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Work-in-Progress Wednesday: “What was I doing again?” edition

It’s probably not news to any of you that as a mom of three kids under four, I only have about two brain cells to rub together at any given time. Hence I’m sure you’ll forgive me for having absolutely no clue what I wassupposed to be doing over the last two weeks. If you don’t mind, I’ll just go and check my last WIP Wednesday post for some clues. Hold on, I’ll be right back.

(Musically inclined readers can imagine a muzak version of the “little spanish flea” song here. Or click play below.)

Okay, I’m back. That was… interesting. ‘Cause I’ve had a few projects on my mind, but not exactly the ones I posted about last time. Nevertheless, here’s my update:

Still in Progress: Weight Watchin’

My total weight loss now stands at 13.6 pounds, or an average-sized three-month-old baby. For some reason I don’t feel it, and I don’t think I look it either, but better down than up. Right?

Stall in Progress: Photo books

No, that’s not a typo. My photo book project has stalled – I haven’t touched it in two weeks. I think I’m going to set aside half an hour every day, while I’m nursing R and can only use my mouse hand anyway, to work on the photo books rather than web surfing aimlessly. By next week I hope to have R’s section (a whole four pages, whee!) finished.

Still in Progress: Kids’ table

I took a break from the table for a while because my router broke, then the long clamps I needed were locked into the garage during the raccoon incident, then I was frustrated by my inability to completely flatten some wooden plugs (in the screw holes), and then I got sidetracked by a couple of brand-new projects. But we’re having some young guests for shabbat this week, so I have to get ‘er done. I plan to finish the construction and sanding by Friday, when we’ll use it in its unfinished state (with a tablecloth, of course). Finishing can come later.

Completed! Baby quilt (see last post for photos)

I did accomplish something, you know. The quilt was about 9 hours of work all together. Now, if I could just coordinate with the new parents to drop it off for them…

In progress: library doors

The kids’ books are currently housed in a cube-style shelving unit. Lately N has taken to pulling the books out one by one and dropping them on the floor until he finds the one he wants. In an attempt to stop this behaviour, I’m building doors for the cubes. Each door will have a book ledge on the front so that N can see a few books displayed there, and will close with a magnetic catch (the kind where you have to push the door in order to open it.)

Anyhow, the MDF (free! from my scrap stash) has been cut, I’ve started painting the door panels, and I’ve built three out of the four book ledges (would have built the fourth, but I was missing a piece.) I don’t anticipate making much progress this week on account of I’m having guests for Shabbat.

I think that’s enough for one week, don’t you? Now humour me and tell me what you’ve been up to… pretty please?

blogging · crafty · DIY · weight loss · Work-in-progress Wednesday

Work-in-Progress Wednesday: “Should I bother?” edition

Apparently it’s been a few weeks since the last WIP Wednesday, possibly the same few weeks it’s been since I was last feeling relatively healthy. So I begin with an important question: should I even bother with WIP Wednesday anymore, or should I just post projects as I go along? I’m on the fence. What do you think?

Anyhow, here’s the update on some of my stuff:

Completed: K’s kippah

Yes, it’s completed, which means that K put it on her head, proudly paraded around in it, and then put it somewhere. I haven’t seen it since. We’ll need to find it soon, because she needs it for shul (that’s another post for another time.)

In Progress: Weight Watchin’

All in all I’m down 11.4 pounds since the beginning of 2012. For those of you who are hating me right now, let me remind you that losing weight while breastfeeding AND feverish AND strep throat-y is a lot like fishing at a trout farm. You have to actually make an effort to be unsuccessful. As I get healthier I’ll have to start tracking what I eat again, which isn’t really a bad thing. I enjoyed my four weeks of fruit-and-veggie dominant eating, and I’ve been having way too much garbage the last two weeks (when I’m eating anything at all, that is. When I’m really sick all I want is juice.)

Still in progress: Photo books

I still haven’t finished the sampler photo book for my grandmother even though her ninety-second birthday has come and gone. Here’s a page I’m proud of, though – the cover page for N’s section:

I got a bit discouraged when the software program ate part of a recent layout, but I plan to get back into it. I should have some time alone on Sunday, so maybe I can do it then.

In Progress: Kids’ dining table!

All of the kids’ tables we have are too small. That is, there isn’t room for more than one or two kids to work, eat, or do anything else you might want to do at a table. So… I’m building my own. It will be 33 inches square, and I plan to stain the top and paint the legs and apron. I’ve been having fun with pocket holes and router bits… stay tuned for pics! I hope to finish assembling it by Friday, since we have a number of guests with little kids coming that night, and then I’ll work on the finish next week.

Well, that’s it. Don’t forget to tell me if WIP Wednesday is something you’d actually miss if I stopped posting it.

bikes planes and automobiles · crafty · Montessori · weight loss · whine and cheese · Work-in-progress Wednesday

Work-in-Progress Wednesday: Bloggy edition

Well, this week has been… interesting… we had a cold, stomach flu, high fevers, and now I think I have pinkeye. I think that my next “in progress” project should be a sign that reads “____ days without an illness”. Don’t you?

Also, our nanny hasn’t been here since last Friday. I’m doing my best to keep up with the laundry and keeping the place from turning into a total sty, and that leaves precious little time for anything else. On the upside, I haven’t had to make dinner – we’re eating our way through the freezer this week. I tell you, everyone should stock up and then have a “freezer week”. It’s low-stress and delicious!

If it sounds like I’m stalling, I am. Here’s why:

STILL not complete: K’s kippah

I don’t think I need to reiterate the reasons why I’ve been tired and busy and unable to get down to the sewing room, but I will say that I’m very unimpressed with my lack of progress. Seriously, I could probably carve out ten minutes. Right? I will try to do better this week.

In progress: weight watchin’

Today ends my second week of Weight Watchers. I lost 1.2 pounds this week, bringing my total to 4.2 pounds. I have to say, doing this program while breastfeeding is really awesome – they insist that nursing mothers add about 50% more points every day, which means that I don’t feel like I’m restricting my eating much. I’m just replacing m&m’s with grapes.

This week I plan to get in some good cardio exercise 4 days out of 7, and some more relaxed walking the other days.

In progress: Photo books

I finally got the license key for the software, so my scrapbook pages no longer say “trial version” on them. I also got to download a whole bunch of free scrapbook elements (images, papers, embellishments, etc) that come with the software. Yippee!

I spent most of last Sunday doing the sample book, and I finished K’s section. Here are two of my favourite spreads:


This week I plan to get all of the photos I’m missing – result of last year’s laptop crash – and finish N’s section of the book. That is, if R stops screaming long enough for me to put her down. It’s just taken me 20 minutes to type this sentence.

In progress: A New Blog!

Big news, y’all: I’ve started a new blog. It’s exclusively focused on the Montessori stuff. I decided to create it after being approached by a few people in the Montessori community about reading more of my writing. I figure they don’t all need to know about my weight loss, our menu plan, or how we found a raccoon sleeping in the bakfiets.

So here’s a question to my readers: do you want me to cross-post everything I write on my Montessori blog so that you don’t have to click over there to read it, or can I just post over there and casually mention it on this blog (maybe with a link)? Please comment and let me know.

Okay, that’s it. What are you planning to accomplish this week?

bikes planes and automobiles · crafty · DIY · family fun · Kids · lists · whine and cheese · Work-in-progress Wednesday

Work-in-Progress Wednesday: “OW!” edition

Ow. Ow ow owowowowowow owie ow.

My legs hurt.

N and R and I took the bike to pick K up from school today, which means that I biked 15k today with 70 pounds of kid in the bakfiets, really pushing my speed on a very gradual incline for half of that distance.

(On a side note, is it not obscene that it’s January in Toronto and the weather and roads are good enough for me to confidently bike with little kids? And is it wrong that I’m happy about this weather? Screw global warming, I’m going to be in fabulous shape!)

Anyhow, it was a lot of biking, and I really pushed myself, and now my legs hurt. I had a warm bath (with R – what fun!) but they’re still achy. I know that tomorrow will be worse, but I console myself with the fact that I earned an extra 10 Weight Watchers points if I want to eat something outrageous.

On another note, I lost three pounds this week. Hooray!

But let’s talk tachlis (That’s Yiddish. It means “to the point” or “to the purpose”).

NOT Completed: K’s Kippah

I still haven’t finished that kippah, which is pathetic when you consider that it would take maybe ten minutes to finish. But here’s a list of things I DID finish this week:

  • I adapted our kitchen faucet handle so that K can reach it.
  • Installed touch lights in the children’s closet and wardrobe.
  • Installed a reading light for K.
  • Re-mounted the mirror in the kids’ room so that N can’t pull it off the wall anymore.
  • Swapped out the power bars in the kids’ room for new ones with a flat plug. The furniture is finally flush against the wall again.
  • Nailed in all of the finishing nails that had popped up out of the wood floor.

See? I was productive. And it was a whole lot of stuff that needed to get done and that I can never do in the evenings because the kids are asleep in that room.

In Progress: photo books

I started scrapbooking K’s baby pictures. That was all fine and good, but she’s four years old and my scrapbooking still hasn’t covered the first year of her life. I’ve decided that I’m much likely to get all the kids’ photos in albums if I do it digitally instead of hauling out tons of paper, printed photos, embellishments, tools…

Right. So my major project, probably from now until eternity, is creating digital scrapbooks for each of the kids and then having them printed. Anybody want to recommend a good service that is Mac-compatible?

(Don’t say iPhoto. I need more creative wiggle room than they offer.)

This week I hope to do five pages for N’s baby book. Here’s the first one:

I’d better get to it, then. R is asleep (a rarity at this hour – usually she’s crying from 9 until 1 a.m. and I’m dancing around with her… hence the lack of posts) and I have a golden opportunity to sit at the computer and churn out a page or two before bed.

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Work-in-Progress Wednesday – 3 minute edition

3 Minutes, because that’s how long I have to churn this post out before it’s not Wednesday anymore!

I’ll just cut to the chase:

Completed: scavenger hunt and camping cake

Two of the items on my “in progress” list were specifically for K’s party, which was last Thursday. Here are some pics of some scavenger hunt items, well-hidden and ready for discovery:

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As for the cake, here it is:

Strawberry chocolate-chip cake; chocolate icing topped with pareve oreo crumbs and brown sugar "dirt"; candy rock firepit, pretzel stick firewood, and gummy flames; flake bar logs; fabric tent with bamboo skewer frame.


Still in progress: A kippah for K

The kippah is actually the reason this post is late. I didn’t get to it this week – my intended sewing time became sick time. But I wanted a kippah to show you, so tonight I went downstairs and started cutting, ironing, and sewing. I’m still not quite done, but I had to stop in order to go to bed.

(Why am I posting now if I went to bed two hours ago? Well, R has other ideas about how this night is going to go. I’m fortunate that she’s good enough at nursing now that she can lie on a pillow while I type with both hands.)

So the kippah is more than halfway done. It will probably take me another 20 minutes to finish, and I’ll have a pic for you by next Wednesday.


That’s it… and I didn’t make it within 3 minutes – interruptions by a crying R made sure of that. So… Happy Thursday!

bikes planes and automobiles · crafty · DIY · family fun · Jewy goodness · Kids · Work-in-progress Wednesday

Work-in-Progress Wednesday: Birthday party edition

And so Hannukah is over and K’s party is tomorrow. Down came the window clings and hannukiyot, away went the furniture, and up went a couple of tents. I’ve actually been quite productive this week – I culled and organized R’s clothes and decluttered the kitchen counter (although it promptly got re-cluttered).

Completed: party giveaways

I finally made it to the bulk warehouse and found individually-wrapped chocolate bars, so I was able to sit down and make up little s’mores packets. The cellophane bags were in my Purim box (similar to my Hannukah box, but for Purim stuff) – I think I used them for Mishloach Manot one year. And the label… well, I have to say that sewing is my new favourite way to stick paper together. In this case, the stitching is holding the bag closed as well as attaching the tag.

I spent some time today opening up the flashlights to remove the little film that keeps them from sucking their batteries dry while in the package. Then I experimented with the alphabet stickers and found that they were actually a bit tricky to handle without them rolling up and losing their stickiness. If they’re difficult for me I’m willing to bet that the kids will also have trouble with them, so I decided to just label all the flashlights tonight.

No pics tonight – you’ll have to check back tomorrow night or Friday for pictures of the party.

Completed: get everybody healthy

I can’t honestly say that any of it was my doing, but we all seem to be healthy at the moment (knock wood). Kleenex consumption has seen a 300% reduction since two weeks ago. Hooray!

Still in progress: scavenger hunt objects

I have the feathers and the bears, but I still need to chop down some ornamental grass from the backyard and buy some mushrooms from the grocery store… and then I have to hide everything in the living room.

I went out with the kids and some friends to find pinecones and sticks. Mission accomplished. Even better, we went out in the bakfiets – me with FOUR kids in the bike. It was very awesome. Surprisingly, it wasn’t any more difficult to ride with four kids than with two. I love my bakfiets!

There are four - count 'em, four - children in the bike. Seriously, this bike is made of awesome!

In Progress: camping cake!

K’s birthday cake is baked, I just need to decorate it. In keeping with the camping theme I’ll be using brown sugar and oreo crumbs as dirt (as long as oreo crumbs are pareve: I’d better check), flake bars as logs around the fire pit, candy rocks for the fire pit, pretzel sticks for the firewood and gummies for the flames. I’m also going to make a tent out of bamboo skewers and fabric. I should probably write something on it, too.

In Progress: a kippah for K

I made N an adorable kippah last week (Lisaleh mentioned it on her blog) and K immediately wanted it (of course). I pointed out that I made it specifically for N, but that I’d be happy to make one for her. She keeps asking when that’s going to happen, so I’d better do it this week.

So… what are you working on?

DIY · el cheapo · Kids · Work-in-progress Wednesday

Work-in-Progress Wednesday – Hanukkah edition

Hmm, I hit *publish* on that last post a bit too soon. Please excuse the grammatical inconsistencies. I know I should have kept the story in either the present tense or the past. I’d edit it, but I hate doing edits because then my blog followers get another email saying that there has been an update, and I don’t want to annoy anyone with too many updates. You can see the bind I’m in.

All that aside, it’s time to see how I’m doing with my projects.

Still in progress: party giveaways

I found multipack flashlights at the big-box home improvement store – 8 for $12. I can live with that. I also bought some alphabet stickers (not from that store) so that the kids can personalize their flashlights.

I’ve bought some ingredients for the s’mores packets, but I’d still prefer a small, individually-wrapped chocolate bar to some chocolate chips, so I can’t say that this project is done. It will be complete by next week, though, seeing as the party is a week from tomorrow!

Still in progress: get everyone healthy

I still have a cough, exacerbated by the fact that R doesn’t let me sleep much. N’s cough is still there, but slowly getting better. K’s nose is runny and she’s in a foul mood. R’s cough sounds dry now, which I think is a good development. Mr. December is as healthy as a horse. My commitment this week is to take bedtime very, very seriously so that the kids can get enough rest to get well. It’s difficult because it’s hannukah and we want them to be awake to light candles together with us, but it’s for the greater good.

In progress: scavenger hunt objects

This week I’m going to take K for a walk on the nearby nature trail. We need to pick up some pinecones and sticks to hide around the house for the scavenger hunt.

That’s a wrap. Anybody else doing something this week?

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Work-in-Progress Wednesday: potty edition

So yeah, N has started bringing me clean diapers when he wants to be changed. Then today he seemed interested in sitting on the potty, so I took off his diaper. He took off running… and came back in a minute with a magazine. He then proceeded to sit on the potty and examine the pictures. I swear, he was the spitting image of his dad.

Unfortunately, the… um… event did not happen while he was sitting on the potty, but shortly thereafter (perhaps while looking for another magazine.) To his credit, he brought me the poop and then pulled a kleenex out of the box and wiped the floor.


Moving on… not a lot has gotten done around here. Not only have we all been sick but our part-time nanny was sick too, which meant a sick mommy trying to take care of three sick kids. We’re still sick, but the nanny seems to have bounced back nicely. I did get some things done – let me tell you about them.

Completed: Scavenger hunt list

I finished the scavenger hunt list for K’s birthday party. The hunt will be done in the dark living/dining room with only flashlights for guidance. I’ll be planting enough of the items that each team of three or four kids will be able to find everything if they really look. Here’s the list:

And for those who want to print it for themselves, here’s the PDF:

Camping Scavenger Hunt

For those who can’t see it properly, and for those who are curious about where this stuff is coming from, here’s the rundown:

Pinecone and Stick – We’re going to take a walk on a nearby nature trail and find a few of each.

Feather – We have a down pillow that insists on shedding its feathers. We’ll just pull a few and call it a day.

Blade of grass – I’m going to cut down some of the ornamental blue oat grass from my backyard and tape it to one of the legs of the dining table.

Mushroom – Yeah, supermarket mushrooms. But maybe something a bit more exotic looking than the usual white button mushrooms.

Animal tracks – Since we’re doing this hunt in the dark, I’m going to cut some animal prints out of white vinyl (left over from the cloud decals) and stick them to the floor.

Bear – Teddy bears, of course.

So that’s done.

Shelved until further notice: rec room floor

You know what? I just don’t have the energy right now to start cutting up foam mats and piecing them back together. I’m abandoning this project for the time being.

Still in progress: get everyone healthy

Wouldn’t you know it, K had been fully healthy for 48 hours when – BAM – she started with the sneezing and runny nose of a fresh new cold. And then I got N’s pinkeye. R still has a wet, phlegmy cough. N is still coughing too, but seems to be on the mend. In the midst of it all Mr. December stands as a shining example of a man with a working immune system.

I felt like a failure at this task until a friendly family doctor informed me that young kids in school or daycare get, on average, thirty illnesses a year. Is it even worth ramping up the hand-washing and administering lots of vitamins?

In progress: Party giveaways

You know that I hate loot bags… but sending kids home with nothing is a surefire way to earn their disapproval. Since our theme is camping we’ll be handing out a mini flashlight to each kid, along with stickers to put their name on it, when they arrive. As they leave I plan to hand out tiny packets containing a couple of graham crackers, a mini milk chocolate bar or some chocolate chips, a kosher marshmallow or two, and instructions on how to make s’mores in the microwave. That’s it. I’m also trying to think of a relevant charity to support by making a donation in honour of K’s guests.

Anyhow, this week I plan to purchase the flashlights as well as all the component ingredients for the s’mores packets.

And that’s it. Anybody else being productive these days? Tell me all about it in the comments.

DIY · family fun · Kids · whine and cheese · Work-in-progress Wednesday

Work-in-Progress Wednesday: sick baby edition

There’s a pox on my house. Well, not a pox. A plague, perhaps? Fever, and chills, and achiness… and congestion, and a nasty chest cough, and sometimes croup, and sometimes an ear infection and sometimes pinkeye… so yeah, some kind of plague. Or pox. Or something.

We all have it except for Mr. December, who rarely gets sick. I had hoped R would be spared because she’s getting all my immunities from breastmilk, but she came down with the fever on Monday afternoon. I called our doctor to have her checked out – I don’t usually drag my kids to the doctor for a piddling virus, but she’s just so small and new – and was informed that a baby this young with a fever needs to go to the ER.

I’ll save you the sad details of our sojourn there. After five hours it was decided that R is not septic, she just has whatever virus her siblings have shared with her. It was also decided (by me and Mr. December) that next time we will go to the children’s hospital. Yes, it’s downtown and yes, parking is tough and the wait may be longer to be seen, but I’m pretty sure the nurses there would be able to get a vein for a blood draw the first time without digging around and bruising my daughter’s hand. They’d also probably be able to get a urine sample out of her the first time, and not have to poke around with the catheter for five minutes while doing so. I probably would have spent less time bent over my screaming daughter’s head, kissing her brow and whispering, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, sweetie.”

Hmm. I guess I’ve shared the sad details. Sorry ’bout that.

Moving on…

As you can imagine, life has been pretty unproductive for the past few days. I’ve been torn between suctioning R’s nose and snuggling N, who was as listless as an absentminded professor in a grocery store (is that similie a little too belabored?). And yet, I have progress to report!

Completed! Thank-you notes

Thrillingly, I’m done! I sent off the last thank-you notes in the mail on Sunday night. I feel inordinately proud – email thank-yous allowed me to achieve something I haven’t with either of the first two babies. Everyone’s gift has been properly acknowledged, and I can stop feeling guilty. I can probably also shred or recycle all the thank-you notes that were written – but never mailed – after K’s baby naming.

Still in progress: basement rec room

The equipment is set up, and the foam mats are down… but I’ve run into a little speed bump while trying to execute my “road” idea. Apparently the mats can’t connect to each other unless you have the same side facing up – so a grey “road” next to a colourful mat is not going to happen, or at least not easily. How important is it to me? Should I just do a little slice-and-dice and see if I can make it work? This week I will figure out my plan. If I have time, I might actually complete the work.

In progress: scavenger hunt list

One of the fun things we’ll be doing at K’s party is a scavenger hunt. In the dark. With flashlights. I’m trying to stick to things that one could expect to find while camping. The list needs to have words and pictures, so that all of the kids can “read” it. It sounds easy, but in my enduring perfectionism I tend to spend a lot of time looking for just the right kind of image. I hope to finish it by next week.

In progress: get everyone healthy

Seriously, folks. I’m sick too, and with two sick babies I’m getting maybe three hours of sleep at night, and a two-hour nap during the day. This week’s focus will be on making sure that everyone gets lots of rest and nourishment so that we can end this cycle of contagion. The winter has barely started and already I’m so over the whole flu season thing. My goal for next week is having everyone, if not one hundred percent well, on the mend.

Stay tuned to see if I get anything done! And in the meantime… any other bloggers being productive out there? Regale us with tales of your organized front closet/awesome new quilt/clean desk!

crafty · DIY · family fun · Kids · Work-in-progress Wednesday

Work-in-Progress Wednesday: Over-the-top edition

Would you believe that I spent all day yesterday thinking it was Wednesday? When I finally figured out that it wasn’t, I was elated to know that I still had time to work on my projects. That’s where the fickle finger of fate steps in and says, “oh no you di’n’t!” Lo and behold, a chunk of today was taken up with a trip to the doctor (me and all three kids) at which we discovered that K has an ear infection. Yes, again.

Nevertheless, I did get some things done this week. Most of them weren’t WIP Wednesday projects. One of them was. Here we go:

Completed: K’s birthday party invitations

Wouldn’t you want to get one of these in the mail?

Yes, that’s a fabric tent stitched to a paper invitation. Yes, I designed and created these from scratch. Yes, this is over-the-top for a fourth birthday and yes, I probably could have used those six hours to do something else (like maybe sleep?). But designing and executing this kind of thing is my idea of major fun. Honestly, this is probably the most elaborate element of the party by far.

Anyhow, they’re done and in the mail. True to form, I keep one on the table so that I can gaze proudly at it whenever I need a pick-me-up.

Still in progress: Thank-you notes

I’ve done all but one of my email thank-yous, but the handwritten ones are still unwritten. Why is it so much easier for me to send thirty unique emails than to pen one note by hand? Anyhow, it needs to be done and it will be… as soon as K is back at school and R stops partying from 10 til 2 every night.

In progress: Basement rec room

As you may or may not know, K is the kind of kid who is constantly in motion. Not just regular motion, either, but jump-off-the-ottoman-onto-the-couch and climb-the-moulding-on-the-walls motion. She literally starts climbing the walls if she doesn’t get enough playground time. In light of this, I’m sure you understand why I’m fearful of the specter of wintertime cabin fever.

I know, I know, I say often enough that there’s no bad weather, only the wrong clothing. The reality, though, is that it’s harder to ensure that we get out every day in the winter, especially with a tiny baby. And snow and ice, coupled with snowsuits, tend to reduce or eliminate climbing opportunities.

Where am I going with this? Uncharacteristically, I’m going over-the-top.

I’ve decided that we need some equipment in the house that will allow K and N to get their sillies out. Said equipment is now assembled and sitting in our basement. This week I hope to put down the foam flooring – coloured side up in the middle of the room, and grey side up around the edges so that I can use white duck tape to create a “road” for tricycles and toy cars. I also need to determine a good arrangement of equipment and furniture in the room.

So that’s me. What did you do this week?