You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2011.

I would feel guilty about this if she didn’t beg me to let her “wacuum”.

“I’ll help you Mommy!” is said with such enthusiasm I just can’t resist. Now I know that only a 3 foot square patch of carpet will be vacuumed, but it will be throughly vacuumed! The kitchen floor is better off since she can see the fir needles on the linoleum.

I guess it is all about fun at this point. You Go Girl!

We enjoyed a great ladies weekend in Newport, OR. Several of us gals get together every year after all of the craziness of the holidays. We usually try to pick a location where we can walk on the beach if the weather isn’t horrible. While we were here, we found a place where we could take a class and make our own floats. We had so much fun. Here are the highlights.

The instructor dipped out a blob of hot glass and we had to work it out to the end of the pipe.

If the colors will be on the outside, you take another dip of glass. If your colors will be sandwiched between the glass layers, then the colors go on now.

The colors are rolled into the hot glass and then melted in. It looks like a glass version of a candy apple until the glass chips melt in.

Once the colors are layered on, we have the option of blending the colors into swirls. We use a large pair of scissors to pinch and twirl the colors into a swirly pattern.

Once you are satisfied with how the colors are mixed up, the core is reheated to give it a shape like a light bulb.

The instructor adds a bubble to the glass and the lets it harden before we dip it back in to the molten pool. This keeps the colors from bleeding back into the pool and allows the float to be more easily blown.

Once the second coat of glass has been added we reshape the blob into a Q-tip shape, reheat it again, and head over to the bench for expanding the little bubble into a float.

The tube attaches to the end of the pipe and you slowly blow into the glass. As you do, the little starter bubble expands while the instructor does the final shaping.

The float is taking shape and needs to be reheated during the process to keep the glass flexible.

Once the float has reached it’s final size, the instructor uses a pair of jacks to score the top of the orb. She then takes the ball over to a heat resistant cushion where she cools the glass and we whack the pipe to dislodge the float from the pipe. She then dips out a small glop of molten glass to seal the opening.

We have two options for finishing the floats. One is a flat stamp that allows the float to rest on a flat surface.

The other is a hanger which will let you hang the float from just about anywhere that will support the weight.

We all had a great time! I think we had as much fun cheering on the others as we did making our own. The photos are a conglomeration of all of our floats at different stages, hence the variety of colors at the different stages. Dorrie was the only one of us who opted for the stamp seal, and Wendy was the only one who chose to have her colors on the outside. Having the colors on the outside you get more surface texture and have more options for brilliant colors. Dorrie had a red/orange and white float. Wendy opted for an emerald green and a deep purple. Sharon had a ruby red and gold mix. I opted for what I had hoped was a variety of colors. The colors ended up hanging out near the top of the float and weren’t quite what I had in mind. Apparently, to achieve the the look I was after, I needed to have the colors on the outside. I was informed of that a bit late, but I am still happy with the float. It will look great in the window.

So if you all ever get to Newport, Oregon and are looking for something fun to do, look up The Edge Art Gallery and make an appointment to blow your own float!

We tried out something new this year. The Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium goes all out and decorates the landscape with a bajillion-and-a-half  LED twinkle lights. We have wanted to go for a few years, but the weather got in the way. So we decided we would go on New Year’s Eve before we went North to Seattle to our usual “Ring  In The New Year ” destination.

It was beautiful and cold enough to freeze just about anything you could imagine. Now I know we have all seen the light up reindeer, but this takes the cake.

Who would have thunk it? Twinkle-light Musk Oxen, complete with “grassy pasture”! I want some for our front yard next year!

They didn’t leave out the aquarium either. Thankfully for the fish, they only had twinkle lights on the outside, but they did a very nice job.

I this was my most favorite “static” light display. The favorite one in motion was the eagle swooping down, catching a fish, and taking it up to a tree for dinner. The one of Humpty Dumpty at the entry gate appealed to my more disturbed side.  Humpty came tumbling down and the last stage was a large yellow explosion of lights draped over a low bush. Sick, I know, but I didn’t put it up!

From her reaction, it sounds like the Zoolights adventure was a big hit, and we’ll have to make it a “Must See” on our holiday list from now on.

We didn’t make it to Seattle like we had planned. It was horribly cold and the youngest family member was getting tired and cranky. Not really fair to her, or our friends, to make them suffer through that! Ugh!

The youngest didn’t make it to midnight and the oldest ones barely so. We saw the new year come in and fondly patted it on the head before we headed off to see how nice it was to sleep on a real bed!

We hope you are having a good start to you new year!

We have been having some trouble with our bed. Hubby had a waterbed and it was fine, until the seams started leaking this last fall. He figured the mattress had to be at least 25 years old. So we drained it and went for the the air mattress that we used for tent camping. This was supposed to be temporary while we were picking out a new mattress. This worked well and was very comfortable. Apparently too comfortable, since we kept putting off buying a mattress, until we woke up sleeping on the plywood platform one morning. Thinking we had just not sealed the plug properly when we “fluffed it up” the last time. We refilled it and settled in the plug nice and secure, but by that evening it was flat again. We brought out the older version of the same mattress and it lasted a week before it died.

Now we were reduced to sleeping on the couch, the floor, or chasing the daughter out of her “big” bed, which she preferrs to her crib bed these days. It sounded a lot like the three bears around here, without the porridge and the chairs. This was too lumpy, this was too hard, this just wasn’t right.

I had heard some good things about Overstock.com and their pricing on large items. I surfed the site and discovered I didn’t know diddly-squat about what kind of a bed we really wanted. Firm, plush, pillow top, euro-top, and memory foam were all choices and then you had support levels. Sheesh. I just wanted some place to sleep! A dog bed from Costco was starting to look good.

We took the family out on a nice snowy day to test bounce on some mattresses. Holy spring coils Batman! They wanted a fortune for those mattresses. Thankfully I had done some research and knew I could get them for about half of the cost, including the box springs. We just needed to have a working vocabulary of mattress terms. We decided that “Firm” just meant a Kleenex between the fabric cover and springs. “Plush” gave you an inch or two of padding depending on the manufacturer, but the fabric top was still one with the mattress. “Pillow Top” meant mini-mattress attached to the Plush or Firm mattress, again depending in the the maker. “Euro-Top”, well, that was the biggest mystery. Some were double squishy and attached like the plush, and some were thin pillow tops set on a firm mattress. Then you had the whole “Memory Foam” category. To us, they felt like sleeping on a marshmallow or, as a friend described, a cheesecake. We didn’t even get into the whole “Independent-Coil-Spring” issue, other than to find out what it meant, since we figured that coming from water bed and air mattresses, the level of “motion transfer” really wasn’t going to be any worse than what we had!

Having clarified our vocabulary for this project, we went home to order our new bed. I am sure this did not make the store salesman very happy, but we really did try avoid misleading him. We told him we were in only to look at the different types and styles of mattresses. Oh well.

We ordered the bed on 12/19 and the date of manufacture on the mattress was 12/22. I am not sure how that makes it “overstock”, but I’m happy to know it wasn’t languishing around some dingy warehouse collecting rat hairs for months before I bought it. Even better yet, it helped out our local economy, since it was made right here in our state.

We got the call that the bed would be delivered on 12/31. Whoo Hoo! What a great way to start out the New Year! Dear husband had to rework the water bed foundation to make it fit the mattress dimensions, since apparently, not all king-sized beds are the same size. Water bed kings are taller, but standard kings are wider. Seeing as my sweet husband likes to sleep sideways on occasion, wider is fine with me! We received a call the day before delivery saying that because we live out so far we would have to wait a week. They only make deliveries out this way on the 1st & 3rd Fridays of the month. I asked if we could come pick it up. “Sure! You can do a will-call”  was the reply. If we hadn’t been in the middle of pitching out the barns and chicken shed, we would have driven to Kent right then!

10:30 the next morning we pulled up to the delivery company, loaded the box springs and mattress onto the truck, strapped it down, and headed home. After a bit of mattress wrestling, we got all of the pieces in the house and unwrapped from the plastic. Set up & packing material removal was included in the shipping charge, since our shipping was free, we didn’t mind too much that we had to do this part.

This is our new bed. We chose a Simmons Beautyrest with Euro-top and individually wrapped coils. The mattress is firm without being hard, with a nice level of padding on the top, more than plush, less than a pillow-top. We have been sleeping quite well on it. It is rather tall, and I will have to make a dust ruffle thingie for it so we don’t have to look at the box springs and the end of the bed frame.

I would suggest that if you are needing a new bed that you take a look at purchasing one this way. My best guess is that we only paid about half, or less, of what the prices were at the local mattress store, and we saved about 10% on the sales tax alone.  I love a bargain!  Now to go digging through my stash for enough material for the bed skirt….

Sweet Dreams!

This is a catch up post. The holidays are for friends and family and my blogging took a hit because of it.

The kids made grahamcracker houses on the last day of school before Christmas break. They involved pre-assembly by some of the moms the day before. Then I made an additional 6 batches of royal icing for the decorating. Whew, that was A LOT of powdered sugar! The kids had a great time, both eating the candy, and decorating the houses. The little Miss only consumed part of one lollipop before it hit the floor during the decorating. Pretty good compared to some of the others!

I am going to have to dispose if it while she at school in the next few days. I think the goats will love the slightly stale graham crackers and candy.  Yum.