Thursday, October 24, 2013

Family Picture Outtakes

This past weekend we took the kids and the DSLR out to the park to try and get some Christmas card-worthy family shots. Using the tripod and camera timer seemed the best way to go, as my grumpy kids wouldn’t be inconveniencing a real person should the whole thing go up in flames.
Nemo took quite a few shots of me and the kids, then we set up our “photographer” for some family shots. All in all we took 1381 pictures that day. They were all very special, but not exactly greeing card material. Here are a couple of my favorites:

2013 Family Pictures Gag Reel-001
Oh, you think smacking your sister is funny? Here, I have a 25-pound present for you. How do you like her now?
Bwah ha ha ha! That’s the kind of operation I run around here.


An attempted escape thwarted by a seat-of-the-pants grab.

I fell on my butt in the mud. CJ is being a zombie? Or something?

Oh hi. I see you have some expensive electronics. Me howd dat?

I have some heavy babies.


Hey everyone, look at Daddy! *No one looks at Daddy*

Take me how. Now.

 photo Signature1_zps6ee36174.jpg

Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Dressing Up the Brick

I must think of a brick wall... a brick wall... I must think of a brick wall... a brick wall... (name that movie!)

When we first moved into this house, one of the kitchen walls was covered in awesome-looking tin panels. Here’s a pic:

Ok you can’t see it very well from that angle. Here’s another one:

(By the way that delicious-looking cake is sitting on an old door supported by sawhorses, which served as our ONLY kitchen counter during the four months between the time we moved in and when we began the renovation.)

Unfortunately the tin wall couldn’t be saved—it had a pretty crappy patch job in one area and it had also been damaged by a long-ago water leak. It was so sad. But once I saw the brick behind it I, I forgot about the tin. Almost.

We decided we wanted to leave the brick exposed. The only problem was the hole you see on the right of the picture. As best we can figure, that it where a stovepipe used to vent. We stuffed the hole with insulation right away to keep our heat from going up the chimney, but the hole detracted a lot from the charm…

We spent several months trying to think of ways to make it a little bit less conspicuous, and finally, inspiration finally struck.

I got some cheapish wall art from Bed, Bath, and Beyond that were exactly the right size to cover the hole. Obviously I needed to get two so it didn’t look all lopsided. I felt like such a jerk for just hiding it, but hey, it worked, and I am a busy lady!

That simple fix helped the space a lot, but I thought we could do better. After watching several This Old House episodes featuring “Swedish Modern” style (which involves a lot of using everyday items as art), I decided I wanted to hang some of our copper-bottomed pots in the space between the two pictures.

I looked at a couple of options in the store, but they were all kind of pricy. Then I remembered this memo board that I had in storage.

It was completely busted when it fell as I was trying to mount it on the wall of the nursery. Or maybe I threw it across the room in a hormonal rage when I couldn’t get the wall anchors to cooperate. You’ll never know.

I kept it around because I thought it might come in handy some day, and those hooks along the bottom were exactly what I needed.

One evening I cornered Nemo and had him build a simple shelf out of scrap wood.

After a few coats of flat white ceiling paint (the best option that I had in my stash), I removed the hooks from the memo board and lined them up on the shelf.

Using a pencil, I marked where the screws would go, then I made a fourth mark just below the others.

Then I cornered Nemo again and had him mount the shelf on the brick by putting Tapcon screws through each of the bonus holes. Then he installed the hooks where I had marked, and thus the mounting screws were completely hidden!


Brief sidetrack: a couple of weeks ago I found a buttload (buttload = 30) of Mason jars at the St. Vincent store. Usually they are priced at 50 cents a piece, but I saw a couple of big bags on the loading dock that hadn’t been priced yet, so I offered $4 for the lot of them and they took it!
When I got them home and unpacked them I discovered that I was the proud owner of two blue Mason jars!


I’ve always wanted a blue jar because I think they're so pretty! And now I had two. Then I received a third as a hand-me-down. I am a lucky gal:)

We used most of the jars to can applesauce last week but all the blue ones had some damage on the rims so they weren’t safe for canning. Too bad so sad. Guess I’ll have to use them to decorate!



I love it. I love every bit of it. My heart does a happy dance whenever I look at my lovely brick wall!

Fun fact: The flowers in the jars are part of a silk flower arrangement that Nemo made for me with his own two hands when we were dating. So, um, yeah, kind of had to marry that guy.

 photo Signature1_zps6ee36174.jpg

Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram. 

*Shared at Not Just a Housewife and Clean and Scentsible.
Love Grows Wild
52 Mantels

Sunday, October 20, 2013

What I Wore Sunday

The day had a bit of a rough start when SOMEONE in the under three set started squawking at 5:30am. I suspect the offending party was simply hungry for breakfast 2 hours early because she refused her bedtime bottle last night. She really just doesn't have the time for bottles anymore. She's a busy girl.

The bright side to waking up at 5:30? I actually got to have a cup of tea and put on makeup and stuff! 

I wanted to snap the outfit pictures by my, I mean the kids', school desks, seeing as my getup was a little schoolmarmy.

...but the lighting was weird, the angle was funny, and I apparently had thoughts on Nemo's artistic style, so we moved outside to use our storage shed as a backdrop.


Skirt: Spanner, via Salvation Army

Leggings: Unknown brand, via Salvation Army. You can't tell in the pic, but they are an awesome chevron pattern.

Blouse: Worthington, purchased for my by my mother years ago before ruffles were cool, and I was all like, "I'll never wear that!" Just one of the many pieces of evidence that are pointing to the fact that mother really does always know best.

Boots: Keen

 Ok, back to the Mass.

To make things interesting, Nemo was serving as the lector at the 7:30am Mass, so he had to hightail it to the church earlier than the rest of us to prepare.I stayed behind to get everyone nourished, dressed, and into the car to make the 2 minute drive to church. I was rocking it, let me tell you. I was on schedule to actually get there early. Go me! Best mom ever!

Then CJ had a temper tantrum. I forget why. Then I had to defrost the windshield. We were late, albeit only by a few minutes.

This week I wanted to finally try the "sit in the very front pew" method of making kids behave during/be more interested in the Mass. Since Nemo wouldn't be sitting with us, I needed all the help I could get.

We didn't sit in the VERY front row though. That still seems a little bonkers. But we did sit in the 6th row, which during the very sparsely attended dawn Mass is almost as good as the 1st row.

And do you know what? It kind of worked. We had to briefly perambulate in the vestibule during the very long homily to get CJ's wiggles out, but other than that there was no cry room-worthy behavior.

This was made even more amazing by the fact that, due to Noni's early morning wakeup, she was ripe for a nap just as Mass was starting. But instead of turning into a rabid squirrel like she usually does when she is overtired, she just snuggled in my sling and munched on my jewelry. It was a beautiful thing.

Check out Fine Linen and Purple for more What I Wore Sunday posts!

 photo Signature1_zps6ee36174.jpg

Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Nemo’s Birthday

Nemo had a birthday last week! I don't think I have the clearance to tell you how many he is now, but rest assured it is a lot. Older than dirt, that one.

Nemo's workplace doesn't really have a dress code, so he has quite an extensive collection of tshirts. For the past several years I have been intending to turn some of the worn out, stained, or ripped ones into a tshirt quilt. This year, I finally got around to it and finished it just in time for his birthday!
CJ and I spent mucho hours in the attic sewing room (during Noni’s morning naps) putting this beast together. His job is to take out the pins, which means I have to stop the machine whenever I get to another pin. It slows down the process some what but he gets a little bent out of shape if I don’t let him help.
I got 20 tshirts out of storage, and cut out 12”x12” squares from the fronts, then applied fusible interfacing to each square to make the jersey fabric easier to work with.
For the fabric that went between the tshirt squares I used an old pair of Nemo’s corduroys and some scraps of green corduroy that I had lying around. The border around the outside was salvaged from a corduroy jacket I got at Goodwill for crafting purposes. When I was done with it the jacket was reduced to some scraps of lining and a pile of buttons.
The backing was made of a pair of flannel sheets from Nemo’s bachelor days. They haven’t been used once since we got married. It’s not that I didn’t like them—ok, I didn’t like them. But I am glad they didn’t go to waste.

Finished product!

Nemo professes to love it and has been cuddled up under it ever since he unwrapped it.

nemo bday

(On a side note, I have been trying to learn GIMP, an open-source photo editing program. Can you tell I’m having a lot of fun with it?)

I finished the quilt just in time (literally) to whip up some carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. The carrot business was per his request—my general policy on baked goods is that if it ain’t chocolate, it ain’t worth it. But you know, they were actually pretty dang good! Martha Stewart wouldn’t steer me wrong.

In a stroke of genius I cut a notch in the top of carrot sticks and used them to hold the birthday message. But then I forgot to buy birthday candles. Ah well. I guess we’ll have to try again next year.


Dang I love that guy. He deserves these cupcakes plus a whole lot more.

 photo Signature1_zps6ee36174.jpg

Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Nemo Explains It All

I love my Nemo. I think he is the shiznit.

One of my favorite things about O Captain My Captain is that he comes up with some pretty cool ways to solve housekeeping dilemmas. Observe:

How to get rid of tenacious fruit flies.

The internet may have already told you that a trick to get rid of fruit flies in the kitchen is to mix some apple cider vinegar and a couple drops of dish soap in a small container and leaving it on the counter. We have been trying to lure our host of fruit flies to their watery graves by this method all season, but we kept running into a problem: our fruit flies are either very smart or not very hungry. They either like to sit around the rim of the bowl like sunbathers or just fly around directly above it; very few actually go in for a dip in our deadly cocktail.

Then Nemo found out that if you clap your hands above the bowl, the sound wave will blast both the flies that are flying around and the flies that are lounging poolside into the cider of death.

It's kind of the opposite of Tinker Bell.

How to get bonus chocolate milk

We typically have ice cream every night after the kids go to bed. It really helps me to get through the day when I know I have a special treat waiting for me at the finish line:) Nemo was making his sundae one evening and used up the bottle of chocolate syrup. But he is not the sort of fella to leave behind even a bit of chocolaty goodness! So he filled the bottle with milk, shook it up, and then drank his bonus chocolate milk directly from the bottle like a boss.

 How to fill freezer bags without making a huge mess.

We made a big batch of butternut squash and apple soup the other day, intending to freeze the bulk of it.  Nemo came up with the idea to feed the freezer bag through a wide-mouth canning ring to keep it open and then ladle in the soup. It's hard to explain. This is what it looks like:

Then you just remove the ring, seal the bag, and yay! You just put a liquid in a bag without leaving a swamp on the kitchen counter!


And now, some excerpts from the life of Nemo.

For whatever reason, CJ can't pronounce the hard "c" sound, so he substitutes a "ch" sound. Nemo is not always up on the CJ lingo because it changes day to day. Anyway, we were all sitting around one day and...

CJ: Daddy, chum!

Nemo: ...

CJ: DADDY. Chum!



Me: Nemo, he is telling you to come with him.

Nemo: Oh, I thought he wanted to cut me up and use me for shark bait.


One afternoon CJ wrote the word "red" on the front walk with sidewalk chalk. He was very proud and brought Nemo over to see.

Nemo: Yes, I see that you wrote R-E-D. That's very nice, but can you also write R-U-M"?

CJ (excitedly snatching up his chalk again): YES!

So my two-year-old proceeded to write R-U-M after the R-E-D, thereby writing REDRUM right on my front walk. Faaaaabulous.


One of CJ's favorite games is "tent", which involves a grown-up covering him up with a blanket. Nemo was playing with him the other day and after putting CJ in a tent, Nemo put a blanket over his own head and said, "We're an in tents family".

We certainly are.

 photo Signature1_zps6ee36174.jpg

Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.