Monday, July 27, 2009

Back to School

Two weeks of summer left and I am getting so emotional about the start of school. This summer was way too short.

I need to preface this with saying that, yes, I care about the environment and such, but I am not overly into "going green" I guess i would be more like "blue-green"? I mean, I use reusable bags for groceries and we don't use plastic water bottles, and we try to not produce too much waste and one way i do that is what I pack for lunch for Piper.

Anyway, I started making a a list of back to school gear that is needed for the bug and the bird and I came across these reusable sandwich bags.

Budget conscious that I now am, I looked around the "sew office" and thought, "Well, I can make those!" I've had this iron-on vinyl sitting around for years, no joke, don't know what I had purchased it for but it was perfect for his project. About 30 min or less later, I had made one cloth reusable sandwich bag! I do feel proud of myself and I see myself making more of these although my machine is making an unfortunate unhealthy noise that needs to be looked at, hhmmm.

sorry for the craptastic pictures.

Most of the time, we use these lock & lock storage things for lunch - they have dividers that make four little compartments to keep food from mingling and they fit perfectly in the lunch, they are relatively cheap, dishwasher safe! It makes packing a lunch kind of fun, well, sort of. It's like a modern bento box. I ordered mine here. They come in all sizes and I have larger ones as well and they are super.

We just returned from our family vacation in the Outer Banks of NC and we had a fantastic time with my family and all the cousins. Now, a week of gymnastics camp and then full on school prep mode and I start a new job! Haven't I mentioned that? More on that later, but I am super excited!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I do believe that summer is my favorite time of year! This year at casa Dowdell I'm trying something new the "MOOOMMM, I'm bored!" box. It's a shoebox in which I am putting pieces of paper that each have an activity on them. So when I hear "there's nothing to do!" I can say - "Go to the BOX!"

Activities I have so far:
bake a cake
do an observational drawing (drawing what you see)
go ice skating
write a letter to a friend that you don't see very often and mail it - or a drawing
go on a nature walk and collect things for the nature table
go for a bike ride
go bowling
bake cookies
sidewalk chalk
make and play with ice boats
play capture the flag
play hide and seek
slip and slide
take some pictures
make a movie about a story you write
write/illustrate a comic book/strip
go on a geo cache
make paper airplanes
make stepping stones
build ramps for cars
blind sketching
make up a song and record a music video
face painting
learn some new magic tricks and preform a magic show
make goo
play card games
salt dough
have a stuffed animal fashion show
write and illustrate a story
erupt a volcano
make and eat ice cream
build a birdhouse
go to the library
create a menu and play restaurant
make puppets and have a puppet show
create a recipe and cook your creation
go to the park
make lemonade and have a lemonade stand
play hopscotch
jump rope
hula hoop
draw a mural
design a castle/space station/ pirate ship/animal house
fingerprint art
papier-mache bowl/mask
make a treasure box
draw a treasure map and hide a treasure
finger painting
car wash

I plan to run my days a lot like the preschool that Finley attends with a fun trail/obstacle course in the morning followed by making a plan for the rest of the day - like going to the beach or movies or camp or swimming, etc...then we will either get going or they can have free time to play whatever they want and I think this is where the box will come in handy. Most of the activities are free or I already have the supplies to complete them - this is also a way of cleaning out my "craft room" - more like a junk room. This box will also serve me well when it is raining in the afternoons. My plan is to be out of the house in the mornings and home for nap time for Jonas in the afternoon when the thunderstorms usually pop up.

I came up with a lot of the ideas but also gathered them from places around the internet and the book Unplugged Play. I also have a million art projects to do with them that actually teach them technique which is cool. Most of the activities are also suited to lots of kids so when we have playdates there will be something to do other than destroying my house. I like that most of the activities are open-ended and allow for creativity on the child's part - not so directed because I want them to think and get their brain tired as well as their bodies.

I'll make a list of the art projects we will do as well but I think I will have a devoted art time instead of including them in the "I'm bored Box." And I'll post pictures of the box when it's finished which will have to be by Thursday night because Friday is our first day of summer!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Lose It!

So, my goal was to lose 30 pounds by my 30th, and well, I'll just say it - it was an unrealistic goal. I mean, I guess it could have been done if i just cut my calories to like 0 and exercised every waking minute of the day. But, you know, I have these other little beings that need me to do stuff for them and keep them away from eating lightbulbs and stuff, so that plan wasn't happening.

I have amended that plan to 15 pounds by my 30th and that is a very attainable goal since I have lost 10+ already and I wanted to tell you something that is helping me out - a free app on my iphone called Lose It! You enter your current weight, your goal weight and it lets you choose losing up to 2 pounds per week. Then, it gives you a calorie budget.

Once you have your budget, you enter the food you eat during the day. It has a handy search tool and the ability to save favorite foods that you eat regularly. It also has brand name foods, if your into that sort of thing.

You can also add in the exercise you do and it will give you an idea of how many calories you have burned and it will subtract is from your intake to give you how many calories you have for the rest of your eating that day.

So, the other thing I'm doing is drinking a gallon of water a day. I know. After my dad heard me say that, the next day he sent me an email warning me of the dangers of "water intoxication" (if you know my dad, you can totally hear him saying that and totally think it's funny and cute). He warned of seizures! and possible death! Hmm. Well, I feel great and I haven't felt this light in a long time, probably because I pee on average of every 30 seconds.

Just wanted to share in case your looking to do something. And I turn 30 in 7 days and I can't wait - finally I'll be a grown up!

Monday, February 16, 2009

There were some bright spots...

Vacation from HELL

The rundown on the vacation we tried to take: ETD Friday 4pm

Thursday morning - Finley wakes screaming with ear pain. She has had a cold for a week and had been to the Doc the day before. Diagnosis - ear infection. given antibiotic.

Thursday night 4 am (technically Friday morning) - Jonas pukes and has a not so pleasant diaper requiring a bath, clothing, and sheets changes.

Friday morning - send Piper to school. Finley, Jonas, and I stay home to pack and get ready to leave and recover.

Friday 2pm - Jonas puking puking puking...consider staying home. Talk with my dad (the kids doc) and decide that we can go. We leave 2 hours behind schedule.

Friday evening - Piper feels hot but acting ok. No puking from the backseat.

Friday 11pm - arrive in the keys. No puke. Piper at 102.7, excellent.

No sleep

Saturday am - Piper at 101, give her some motrin, send her to the pool with Finley and Bekah (Jason's sister we brought to help us out). Still not puking from Jonas but eruptions from the other end.

Saturday late morning - Jason and I make it to the pool with Jonas to meet Piper, Finley, and Bekah. Piper is fading fast and only wants to lay on a lounge chair covered with a towel crying and saying she's freezing.

I stay at the pool with Finley who wanted to get her hair braided and Piper, Jonas, Jason, and Bekah head back to the room.

Saturday afternoon - hang out in the room. Piper peaks at 103.7. Commence freaking out.

Saturday night - order room service for dinner (Happy Valentine's Day!) and they mistakenly bring fish instead of chicken fro Jason and the smell sends me in the other room.

I begin to projectile vomit. at least 2 times an hour. from 9pm to 5am.

kids in bed, continue puking.

3am - Jason beings to puke.

Piper can't sleep because her fever is spiking.

Wondering what hell this is and how do I get out.

PERK - Jonas sleeps 12 hours straight.

Sunday morning - Jason still puking, Jonas seems totally out of it, Piper still with the fever - we decide to leave a day early. But, who will drive?

Sunday 1pm - packed and rolling out, I'm driving because I stopped puking earlier.

Sunday 1:30pm - Jonas pukes ALL OVER himself, the carseat, etc. Start freaking out again.

Sunday 6pm - make it home, but to my parents house first to see if Jonas needs to be admitted to the hospital for dehydration. Thankfully, he says no but that he's is starting to get dehydrated and need fluids so for the first time I might have to give him formula due to the fact that I am dehydrated from puking. SUCKAGE.

Sunday 7pm - Jonas downs a bottle of watered down apple juice, feeling a little better and not as worried about him.

Sunday night - up all night because Jonas can't get comfortable and PIper keeps having nightmares thanks to her fever. Jason took something that has made him dead to the world so it's all on me.

Monday - Jason still out of comission. (although why is it that when the guys are sick it's like the world is ending, but when the mom is sick we still have to do everything we normally do?) (seriously, he's practically been in bed all day...I m starting to feel a little resentment and a lot pissed off.)

Piper seems better. Finley still has a nasty cough and runny nose. Jonas is drinking. I still cannot eat or think about eating without feeling nauseous.

Most of all, I am just disappointed.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

the playlist for the valentine cd I make every year for lab school.

from piper

from finn - if you know her you know that she loves cheetahs, like more than anything else.

Hmmmm... #11?

Look at me! I'm a photoshop SUPASTAR!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Sunday, February 08, 2009


Happy Birthday Aunt Martha! 102 never looked so good!


A day late, what of it? I have started a new project...I am taking at least one picture of Jonas every day for the next 365 days. Nothing fancy, just a snapshot.My friend Ashley found this project that is similar but I am starting about 9.5 months late. Oh well, he's the third, you know? Today we drive 2.5 hours for my Great (she really is great) Aunt Martha's 102nd birthday!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Thursday, February 05, 2009


so Jason and I were bored tonight and I wanted to try that thing where you write with a light and use a reeeaalllyy sslllooowww shutter speed ( I set mine at 10 sec) to take the picture...anyway, here's what we made:

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


He's 9 months old already. I find myself pleading with time to slow down. This is what my mom meant when she told me not to "wish my life away."

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Happy Birthday Rhythm Dancer #3

Artist Trading Cards for Kids!

We are participating in this ATC swap for kids and we thought you might like to as well. Hurry, the sign up ends this week!

Monday, February 02, 2009


It is true that I regret not taking full advantage of the time I spent in college. I am correcting that now and I have decided to take classes that interest me in one way or another whether it be photography or anthropology. Printmaking and graphic design. I am really excited about the possibilities and the exercise I am getting for my brain.

This semester I am taking Photography with a Digital Camera. So, I have created a set on my flickr stream where I am uploading all of my pictures fro my different assignments. It has already been challenging for me because I usually take pictures of my children and now I am looking at things from different angles. Also, I am learning that I am a perfectionist and this class is totally stressing me out!

Sunday, February 01, 2009


Piper Jolie. That girl, she's amazing and I am so proud of her. 

I regret the time I wasted in college, not using that time in a wise way, taking for granted all the opportunity that I was too afraid to realize. That is something that I hope for my children, that they will seek the uncomfortable. That they will tuck their fear in their back pocket so that they will have the knowledge to realize when they need to play it safe or to take a risk. 

Piper has become a leader. She is even a great leader. She is strong but compassionate. She is tough but fair. She is assertive but kind. She is smart but creativity oozes out of her. I would want to be her friend and she would be a friend to me because she is just that kind of girl. She is the kind of girl that every boy will like, but she will be too busy to notice. She is so funny. She is going to do great things.

From the book "Your Six Year Old":
"Creativity is an attitude. It springs from the impulse of every human to communicate in some appropriate form his absolutely unique experience - unique because there has never been, since the beginning of time, anybody just like him. Every child longs, in effect, to put his thumbprint on the page, to scrawl his message on the world's surface: I WAS HERE."

There has never been anybody quite like Piper and I am excited to be a part of her life and I anticipate that her thumbprint will be seen by many. It is a privilege to be loved by her and to love her.  

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Now We Are Six

The End

When I was One,
I had just begun.

When I was Two,
I was nearly new.

When I was Three,
I was hardly me.

When I was Four,
I was not much more.

When I was Five,
I was just alive.

But now I am Six, I'm as clever as clever,
So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.

-A. A. Milne

Friday, January 30, 2009

I've got to remember this...


whenever I need to calm you down, without fail, all I have to do is hum the theme song from Indiana Jones or Mission Impossible. Weird, I know, but useful.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


So, I am planning to post every day in February with words and some sort of picture. Anyone else want to play?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Crock Pot Tuesday

Brown Sugar Chicken from A Year of Crockpotting

12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or 6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. lemon-lime soda
2/3 c. vinegar or white wine
3 cloves smashed and chopped garlic
2 T soy sauce
1 tsp ground black pepper

Use a 5-6 quart crock pot
Plop the chicken into the crockpot.
Cover with the brown sugar, pepper, chopped garlic, and soy sauce.
Add the vinegar and pour in soda. It will bubble.
Cover and cook on low for 6-9 hours or high for 4-5 hours. The chicken is done when it is cooked through and has reached desired consistency. The longer you cook it the more tender it will be.
Serve over a bowl of rice with a ladle full of broth.