Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Blogiversary Freebie: Cool Vintage Bracelet

This is it! The last day of my blog anniversary month of June. I really can't believe that I've found things to ramble on about for years on end, but I have. And a couple of you have even listened! Amazing! So to thank you for being there, listening, I will send (for free!) to one of you this really cool vintage bracelet from my vintage shop on Etsy called I Love Vintage Stuff. I'm not sure who made it or what it's made of, but it's cute and I think you'll like it. Or you can regift it. It's all yours, if you tell me your favorite jewelry maker or place you like to buy jewelry. Just post it in the comments section and leave your email address if I don't already have it.

Tomorrow I will announce all the winners, so make sure to get your comment in if you want to be in the running for any of my freebies. I have more big announcements, too, so stay tuned!

Big news in Minnesota today -- we finally have a senator. I actually abhor talking politics, so I'm celebrating an end to this being a news story. As if Minnesota was not a weird enough state for politics with our pro-wrestler Governer of years past...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Blogiversary Freebie: Lil Cowpoke Sunhat

I like the idea of cowboys and western things. Like those cool shirts with the pearly buttons. And cowboy boots. I don't know, there's just something Americana-like about it that appeals to me. Maybe it's that I like it out West. Or maybe it's just that there are so many hot moviestar cowboys. Who knows.

Anyway, I made this little tiny sunhat using some cute western sheriff cowboy print fabric but my little guy is way to big to wear it. It's a size small, so probably fits a 3 - 9 month type wee one. It's going to be sent to one lucky person who can tell me -- are you a little bit country, or a little bit rock n roll?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Blogiversary Freebie: OMG June is Almost Over!

O, where did the time go? I thought I'd have a leisurely month to revel in many years of writing about myself, my craft projects, the incredible and undeniable cuteness of my kid, my husband, blah blah blah. But, no, reality is a cruel thing in that it sped up the month of June to a zipping-wizzing-rollercoastering-horserace-Nascar-is-nothing-compared-to-my-month-holy-crap-I-don't-even-know-what-hit-me type of experience.

You'll forgive me if I cram all my giveaways into the last coupla days and then announce winners July 1, right? Well, Laura is already a winner (check yer dang email, girl!) and the rest of you can be, too. Today's giveaway is a stockpile of greeting cards. You'll never have to buy new again. Stash them in a drawer or organize them OCD style by month...whatevs. Just make sure you leave a comment and I'll choose a big weiner at random. Good day to you!

OH! And, coming soon, a few 2009 firsts you may not believe: the first book completed (I'm a slow reader...but this one was a definite must read) and my first sewing project from a pattern! I'm checking things off the list! Waaaaaaahoooooooo!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Blogiversary Freebie: Beet Salad Recipe & Lip Balms

I think you are either a beet-lover or beet-hater. I am the former. However, I am not that crazy about making beets because of the mess. And I bake them in the oven for what seems like 6 hours before they are done. Is it just me?

One of my favorite local kid-friendly dining options, Pop, has this Warm Beet Salad that I have had quite a few times. It's got warm beets (go figure), wilted spinach, arugula, bacon vinaigrette, blue cheese and toasted walnuts. I tried to replicate it tonight using a can of beets that's been in my cupboard for an indeterminate amount of time, some gorgonzola we had laying around, spinach, walnuts and some Baco's. It actually wasn't too bad! And the best part is it took me about 6 minutes from start to finish.

Pumpkin Girl Warm Beet Salad:

1 T olive oil
1 can beets, liquid drained out (or go whole hog and make them fresh)
2 - 3 big handfulls of fresh spinach
3 T gorgonzola or other salty tasty cheese (blue, etc.)
1 T baco's
3 T chopped toasted walnuts (to toast, put in oven on 350 until you can smell them)

Put the olive oil in a saute pan and turn heat to medium. When it's warm, throw in the spinach. When the spinach just starts to wilt a bit, through in the beets. Warm the beets and wilt the spinach a few more minutes until all the spinach is wilted. Remove the contents of the pan onto a plate. Trhow the gorgonzola, bacos and toasted walnuts on top. Top with fresh ground pepper if you're fancy. Eat!

Once you've polished off your salad, you might want to reapply lip balm. I know I always do. To celebrate my blogiversary month, I'll be giving away a lip balm prize pack to one lucky person who owns up to their love or hate of beets. Bonus points for recipe pointers.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Blogiversary Freebie: SO BIG Growth Chart

I made this growth chart a while back and never ended up using it. Not because I didn't like it, but because after making three more of my own, I was given one by my dad that became the "go-forward" growth chart in the house. This one is great because you can mark multiple kid's heights on it with fabric marker of various colors. Just make sure you hang it at the right height on the wall and you're good to go. After the kid(s) outgrows it (ha!) you can store it neatly away and/or package it up if you need to move.

This last point should be emphasized. If you plan to move, don't do like we did in our family and mark the kid's heights on a wall in the kitchen. We made that mistake and, years later, had to transfer all the little lines to a board we could remove from the house. Unfortunately it looses a little of it's charm if you don't have the original handwritten dates and lines, I think. So, take it from my experience -- you will love having a chart for marking the growth of your kids. You will love it even more if you can take it with you.

My question is this: did your family use a growth chart when you were growing up? What was it like? Does it still exist? I'll select a winner from those who leave comments. Good luck!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Here, Kitty Kitty!

Kitty Baby Toy
Originally uploaded by truckertracy
I have a notoriously bad time making any sort of doll by hand, which is why I was particularly pleased with how this little baby toy turned out. It's partly due to the incredible cuteness of simple gray with polka dots, but also I think my kitty shape is awful cute. I filled this little guy with fluff and a bell and off he went to a sweet couple expecting their first baby very soon. Let's hope their kitties don't mistake this toy for a long lost brother...

I am recovering from a very long and very exhausting weekend, and also a bit of a cold. Any tips on how to cram 13 hours of sleep into an 8-hour night?? Not to worry, though, I feel things will be looking up for me this week! I have more giveaways for my blogiversary, so that alone will cheer me considerably! Stay tuned!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Choo Choo!

Today's big adventure was a bike ride down to the train yards. We're "lucky" enough to live near a very active train yard in "Nordeast" Minneapolis. It can be a loud neighbor, but is undoubtedly a very entertaining destination with a shorty. I tried to snap a few arty photos, thinking I could maybe make them into something for the wee one's walls. We had a great time watching the train cross above us over the Mississippi, and then riding back home pass over another bridge as the same train went underneath us. I highly recommend getting down to your local train yard if you are the parent of a little boy. We were not the only parents out there with their little boys, and a good time was had by all.

Stating the obvious here if you read my blog, but I'll probably be taking a few days off for some family time. I hope you had a relaxing weekend and enjoyed wonderful weather like we did!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Goodbye, Jeff

No time ever feels like the right time to lose a loved one. Especially out of tragic circumstances. Today my heart goes out to Jeff Hanson's friends and family. I am truly sorry for your loss. I only saw Jeff here and there over the last 10 years or so, but whenever I did see him, he was always mouthing off in some way or another. He cracked me up just about every time I saw him. Today when I was looking through photo albums (ugh, looking for photos of my grandpa to display at his funeral) I came across this one of Jeff at a party with my friend Willa. It brought a smile to my face...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Mean and Ugly As Ever

Today my grandpa passed away, peacefully in his sleep (from what I hear). I have lost track of exactly his age. 92? 93? I'm not sure I keep track of years over 90 as a general rule. Old enough. A few weeks ago my sister and I and Mr. Pumpkin and Wee Pumpkin and my sister's kids all went to visit him. We told him we loved him. We sat and had our photos taken with him. And all the kids gave him kisses. I feel good about that, but of course you always wish you had more time with the people you love.

These are some of my favorite memories of H.M.P.:

--His favorite response to "how are ya?" was always, without fail, "Mean and ugly as ever"
--We all got a good laugh when he attempted to help grandma make dinner and he mistakenly added chocolate milk to the mashed potatoes
--He often slipped me nice, crisp fifties when no one was looking
--He wore bib overalls on just about every occassion for decades
--He was quiet
--In his younger days, he did a lot of "bossing around" which has become a family legacy
--He took a lot of crap from my grandma and didn't make a big deal of it
--He called me kid I think until I was 30
--We took him to a really great pizza place -- a place known to have some of the best pizza in town -- and he ordered fried chicken

I'm hoping he's in a better place now, maybe with grandma, or maybe off fishing with his buddies, or driving cars. Wherever he is, I'm sure he's mean and ugly as ever.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My New Bar and Laura's a Winner

I have no idea why I would not buy the house that contains this awesome bar in the basement. It's a WORKING wet bar. Do you see the playing card floor tiles? This is such a typical Midwestern basement that I need it to be all mine so I can invite the girls over for Brandy Manhattan's and a game of Bridge. OMG.

So huge fights were breaking out over my giveaway handmade Christmas stocking in July, but the out and out winner is Laura. If you haven't read her Christmas memory comment yet, you should. And then check out her blog because it's very very funny and she talks about her vagina. Well, not her vagina exactly, but sort of. Trust me. Any woman with 486 children has some stories to tell. Congrats Laura! I need your address so I can send you the goodies!!! Not to worry if you didn't win, I'll have more goodies in honor of my blogiversary later on.

In other news, if you are in and around my 'hood Columbia Heights tomorrow, we're having a garage sale. Come buy my junk so I don't have to move it in my eventual move (sometime in the year 2077).

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Hyper Speed

Phew, we had a busy day today zooming around from one place to the next, checking out roller coasters and trains at the Mall of America and going swimming and seeing old friends and new babies and eating at the same restaurant we did yesterday except a different meal (this time dinner, and OMG was it awesome). We baked cookies. We went for a walk. Did I mention we did this all in one day? I need a vacation from my weekend now! Wee Pumpkin got to bed late and was wound up on apple juice and animal crackers.

Today I realized a really funny thing about my hubby and I. Of course our toddler speaks in words and phrases that only a trained baby translator or skilled interpretor of baby would be able to understand. However, the words and phrases he uses he repeats often and in specific contexts, to such an extent that I think it would be very difficult not to know what it is he's getting at.

I learned today, though, that my husband does not share my skill in baby translation. For example, kiddo has said "ahayeaye" to mean "outside" for at least two months. It was obvious to me when he said "ahayeaye" he meant "mommy, I'd like to go outside and play, please" especially when he did so after picking up an armful of his outside toys and heading for the door. But I had a surprise when, after I said to him "We'll go outside after I put on my shoes," Mr. Pumpkin said "Oh, does 'ahayeaye' mean outside?" "Um, yeah," I thought, "How could you not know that?" So throughout the day I acted as translator for Mr. Pumpkin and realized how much I "get" and he doesn't get.

Is it just us that experience this vast difference in baby translation skills? Am I over-interpreting? Is he under-interpreting? Does it matter? I'm just curious if other parents have experienced this.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Mrs. Parkers Meets Mrs. Geranium

It rained all day today and for some reason all I wanted to do was eat and stay inside. What else is there to do when it's rainy? But, the in-laws are in town visiting this weekend, so we braved the rain for a few outings. Whilst out and about we (both of us Mrs. Parkers) happened upon a geranium at the botanical garden also named Mrs. Parker. There we were, all three of us Mrs. Parkers, just sizing each other up. It was a lovely geranium, which of course I now have to hunt down and plant on my patio.

The best part of our day was our trip to Hell's Kitchen, where they claim the coffee is so strong it will restore virginity. I'm not so sure about that, but it was pretty damn strong. And I needed it. Wee Pumpkin had a pancake (pronounced by wee one as "ck ck") and I had the Portobello Benedict. So so so yummy. Dinner wasn't too bad, either as Mr. Pumpkin made one of his famous pizzas.

We're all patiently awaiting meeting our newest family member who truly was "born yesterday" down in Chicago. We can wait to kiss his toes and smell his baby sweetness very soon. Congrats S and E!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Blogiversary Freebie: Christmas in June!

I never thought, when I started blogging, that I sit here for so many years doing it. It's a great outlet, and heavens knows I have lots of things to ramble about. The weirdest thing about it is that my friends are always totally up to speed on my life, even if we don't talk all that often. I tell them a story and they say "oh, yeah, I read that on your blog." And it strikes me a little weird. But, nevertheless, who has time to make personal phone calls to each and every friend with an update, anyway? This blog can serve as my every day "Christmas Letter" that I mass-mail to all my friends and family. They skim through it, look to see if anyone died or got married, and set it in the pile with all the others.

Speaking of Christmas...in honor of my blogiversary today's giveaway is my Vintage Fabric Elf Stocking! Get ready for the holidays WELL in advance this year!! All you need to do is post a response to this post telling me your very favorite memory of Christmas. I'll pick a winner at random, and I'll even pay the postage!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Save Me!

Woe is me. We just found out that a move isn't in the cards for us, at least in the near future. I'm going to keep hoping something works out, but the reality is I'm just happy I still have a job and am bringin' home the bacon for the hubby and Wee Pumpkin! With the way Wee Pumpkin eats some days, I better keep my nose to the grindstone!

Anyway, it's been a super stressful week and it's only Tuesday. I'm hoping I can kick back and have a relaxing rest of the week. Hopefully it's in the cards for me!

This week and next we're going to be busily getting ready for our big neighborhood garage sale. It's going to feel SO GOOD to purge all that stuff out of our house. Moving or not, I have GOT to get rid of some stuff.

In other news, this month is my blogiversary! Yep, on June 22, 2006 I posted my first post of many, many posts! It's been fun rambling on about nothing for years. In honor of it, and in the spirit of purging, I'll be doing some giveaways all month. Stay tuned!