Monday, December 21, 2009

Hoping all your Christmas wishes come true and that you have a very Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Dinner

Look who was trotting through our neighborhood today? Just as the Mr. and kids were shoveling out from our lovely snowstorm last night, who came trotting along through the neighborhood, but Mrs. Turkey?!! We heard rumors that wild turkeys live in our neighborhood, but it wasn't until today that we spotted one for ourselves. A wild turkey chase ensued as we tried to "shoot" a photo. Luckily for Mrs. Turkey, we'll be having ham for Christmas dinner!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Halloween Part 3: Tinkerbell's Debut

True to character, little Tinkerbell appeared on the scene with a bit of a pout on her face. Snow White tried to cheer her up and Superman attempted to save the day--to no avail. Luckily storytelling, a magic show and popcorn and cookies were on the horizon to turn that frown around. The light green skirt is from a failed attempt at a bridesmaid skirt for my brother's wedding. The dark green fabric is from the Boston Ballet's awesome costume shop stash sale a few years ago. Oh, and too bad you can only see a peek of the wings--they are my favorite part of the costume. I'll have to take a close up of them sometime. Sparkly pipe cleaners were used to give the wings flight!

Halloween Part 2: It's a Bird, it's a plane . . .

It's Superman! He can climb lightposts with a single bound! The Little Mr. was thrilled beyond belief when we ran across these "muscles" in the giveaway pile at our local Family Network. Let's just say the superpowers were definitely included! He wore the costume to accompany his sisters to ballet in the city and got several shouts from passersby (some even across the street!), "Hey, look! There's Superman!" Lucky for him, it was even a windy day (helpful with our special effects), complete with fallen branches to heroically move from the sidewalk.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Halloween Part 1

Sometimes I feel like the worst mother ever. Like when I offer to make my kids Halloween costumes and then don't even get them made in time for Halloween. This has happened more than one year--ugh! The one costume that got done in time for the ward trunk-or-treat was the gypsy. The red wig threw everyone for a loop. The other three costumes may look familiar as they have been worn anywhere from one to five Halloweens before. I offered to do facepainting during the party and my first customer was this cute little cowboy. I think that little mustache totally made the oh, so last minute costume. Stay tuned for Halloween Part 2, where I just might have completed one more costume! Luckily the Halloween events around here take place over a few weeks, so if the costumes don't get done for one event, there's always the next one.

Pretty 'n Purple

Wow. I haven't posted in a long time! We are still here--still having fun, just too busy to post! Not too long ago we discovered a newly redesigned favorite park near the Boston Ballet. My kids love the playground, but what I love is the gorgeous garden design. See the weeping willow in the background? And the purple flowers (anyone know what they are?) and the wrought iron fence? Perfect. I just sit and daydream that I am in some wonderful European city surrounded by a romantic garden park. I've even fooled myself a few times. Oh, and doesn't this cutie look pretty framed in purple and green? One of the few times lately she hasn't shied away from the camera.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I know I'm getting old, but . . .

So, this morning when Twin #2 woke up I happened to be sweeping the floor (a strange thing to be doing at 6 a.m.!). She paused for a moment and then asked, "Mommy, when you were little--like when Joseph Smith was alive, did they have dust pans back then?" I answered that yes, I thought they did have dust pans, waaaay back then when I was little (in 1840 something!ha!). Way to make me feel really old, my love!  Interesting how the concept of history and "a long time ago" is anything that happened more than 7 years ago!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hurray for Half-Days!

The girls had a half day of school so we celebrated this gorgeous September day by going to the Drumlin Farm. Boy was it fun! Horses, pigs, cows, sheep, goats, chickens. The whole shibang. Highlights included "riding" on the old tractor, a photo display of "how baby cows are born," and seeing wild turkeys. It made me realize how urban my kids have become. Though I didn't grow up on a farm, my grandparents had orchards with farm animals that we visited every summer. I wish now that I had enjoyed (or even been interested!) in farm life back then. So, I took a picture of the make and model of the tractor, just for my Grandpa Buswell. Don't you think a few solid hours of picking peaches, cherries or apples would do these hooligans some good?!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Last Hurrah for Summer!

With the school year fast approaching we were so delighted when our "Vermont Cousins" called out of the blue, said they were headed to the beach and invited us to meet them there. We left dinner and bedtime routine behind and zoomed to the beach. I must say that early evening is my favorite time to visit the beach--no blazing sun, no obnoxious crowds, only warm water and the whole beach all to ourselves. Perfect. Isn't this a great shot The Mr. took of the kids on the lifeguard tower?

Finally, A Solution!

Why didn't I think of this sooner?! The perfect (if not only!) way to keep the Little Mr. absolutely still for more than two minutes! Too bad they don't allow beaches inside churches.

One of My Very Favorite Things

One of my very favorite things about the Boston area is the Lowell Folk Festival, usually held the last weekend in July. It's at the top of my list because it combines several of my loves: history (held in the midst of the historic Lowell Cotton Mills), food (the festival invites ethnic groups from all over the area to sell food) and folk music (we saw Irish, Brazilian and Greek groups). It's all outdoors, it's free, it's kid-friendly and it's totally awesome. Highlights from this year included a commuter train ride to Lowell, a boat ride down the main canal in the city (canals were used to power the cotton mills), a trolley ride from one end of the festival to the other, and the Brazilian Capoeira group (amazing and incredible is an understatement). Oh, and on our way to the festival we discovered Danas Fruit & Confectionery, an early 20th Century establishment complete with tin ceilings, an ancient cash register and an old-fashioned ice cream and candy counter. Have I sold you on it yet? I mean it-- you should really, really come from far and near to attend this fabulous event.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Drumroll, please. . .

Ladies and Gentlemen,
before your eyes is the first real quilt I've ever sewn. Yes, I've bound the edges of fabric before, but never pieced and machine quilted before. It was so much fun! I relied heavily on Denyse Schmidt Quilts book for tips on binding, machine quilting, etc. The back of the quilt was totally inspired by Denyse's use of off-center and slightly wonky lines. My favorite part of the whole process was definitely the binding. I love having a reason to just sit on the couch! Thank goodness the quilt was very small--a gift for our newest neighbor, Baby Benjamin.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

"Out of Town"

We've been "out of town" for a month now as we've shuttled the oldest to full-day violin camp in the South End. With a great excuse to hang out in Boston, we've had such a fun time exploring old and new favorites. But, boy oh boy am I ready to just stay home for a few days. It's exhausting being a commuter with 4 kids in tow!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Twins are 7!

See here for a cute photo of my twins in their new birthday dresses (thankfully, not suits!)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Dear Charles River,

Just to keep you from feeling a bit too big for your britches, the guy in the middle there, (the one with the belly button), thinks you are the best "Pond" he's ever seen.


An Adoring Fan

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Interview with Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Several months ago my good friend, Whitney Johnson (of Dare to Dream fame), invited me to interview and guest blog about one of my heroes, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Harvard University history professor. Laurel was so gracious to share her wisdom on working "inch by inch" everyday to become the kind of writer she hoped to become. And now, for your viewing pleasure, excerpts of the interview have been posted on Whitney's blog. The complete interview transcript is posted below.

While visiting daretodream, be sure to check out the fascinating set of guest posts during the month of June, including thought-provoking stories from women in many walks of life.

You might also enjoy reading my previous guest post on taking a spring break "stay-cation".

An Interview with Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (click to open in new window)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Cure for Boredom Part II

As you can see, we have a lot of boredom at our house that luckily gets cured with some interesting antics.

This particular cure is best for the "after church blues," you know that space between exiting the car and sitting down for lunch. That time when you should be changing your clothes and waiting patiently and reverently for some nourishment.

Instead of boredom, simply hitch up the wagon to the tricycle with a jumprope, designate one daring sibling as the driver and three backseat passengers as the screamers—preferably with the heaviest in back to increase acceleration and speed. Release your feet (brakes) and rumble down the hill.

Be sure to scream loud enough to startle all the neighbors—that will really ease the boredom. They will pray you do not hit their cars and wonder why you did not learn to be reverent at church.

Try at your own risk.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day Surprise

Here is my lovely Mother's Day surprise:

The best part is that they (with Daddy as film director and executive producer) filmed and edited this while letting me luxuriate in a 3 hour afternoon nap! I have to say this is the best clutter-free Mother's Day present I've ever received.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Oh No! The British are Coming!

By far one of the most delightful things about living in Boston is Patriot's Day. This morning I peeled the rascals out of their beds at 5 a.m., loaded them in the car and made it to Lexington in time to see and hear "the shot heard
round the world." As you can see, the Little Mr. was in fine form and looooved the event. He's been talking about those "Redcoats" all year since the last re-enactment, so it was hard to coax him off the Green. Breakfast with friends in Lexington, parades, a daytime ride of Paul Revere through our town, the Boston Marathon and the opening day of a favorite ice cream stand complete the day. Now I'm off to take a well-deserved nap!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Scavenger Hunt in Harvard Square

This year our oldest celebrated her 11th birthday by inviting a few friends for a scavenger hunt in Harvard Square. The girls had a blast going to Pinnochio's Pizza, Curious George's Bookshop, Out of Town News, an "ancient" cemetary, the Irish Potato Famine statue in the Cambridge Common, counting the rocks in front of Harvard's Science Center and lastly sketching their favorite animals at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. In all, I think we walked about 3 miles! I just felt lucky to keep up with these gals! A fun day was had by all!

The Best Pizza Ever.

Today for "Boys School" I had each boy make a pizza in the shape of the first letter of his first name. The boys had a great time and oh my, did that crust ever turn out deee-licious! It seems like when I make a full pan of pizza the middle pieces turn out a bit soggy. Well, this is the solution--monogrammed pizza! The chef hats were also a hit (while they lasted!).

Pizza Dough Recipe:

Mix these and wait five minutes:
1 Tbs. active dry yeast
1 Tbs. sugar
1 cup warm water
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
2-2 1/2 cups flour

Mix and roll into a ball. Let rise for 30 minutes. Knead for a few minutes and then shape into your favorite letter. Let rise for 15-30 more minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Add toppings. Bake at 400 for 10-15 more minutes. Enjoy! Yum.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Enough to Make My Heart Flutter

A few years ago on the eve of the "Boston's Best Day" (aka Patriot's Day), a stroke of genius hit and I decided to sew all three of my girls mob caps to wear to the 5:30 a.m.  re-inactment of the shot heard round the world.  Well, much to my dismay NONE of the girls would wear them!  I was so disappointed and stuck them in the bottom of the dress up box.  Just the other day while rummaging for something else in the basement, I came across the mob caps and brought them up with high hopes for this Patriot's Day.   This little cutie took her cap from my arms, promptly placed it on her head and asked if she could sleep in it to keep her hair from getting messed up!  She slept in it, all right, and came home from school and immediately put it back on top of her braids.  In the midst of all our dinnertime/homeworktime chaos, I found her peacefully reading the story of Abraham Lincoln while wearing her sweet mob cap.  Now that's enough to make my mother/historian-wannabe heart flutter!  Love that girl!

p.s. Want to sew your own historically accurate mob cap?  See here for directions.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?

We celebrated our oldest's 11th birthday this weekend.  Among other festivities, she asked to take in cupcakes to her classmates.  Just to spice things up a bit we decided to make them earn their cupcakes!  In order to get a cupcake, each student had to compute their favorite equation.  Apparently some of the kids grumbled as they figured the equations on their napkins before getting the cupcake, but overall, it turned out to be quite fun!  See if you can answer any of these off the top of your head!  

For her birthday date out with mom and dad, guess where she chose to go?  Yep, the bookstore!  We went in to Harvard Square and had a blast browsing through the Harvard COOP and the Globe Bookstore.  We love that she is such a bookworm (though I think it does run in the family)!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Rockin' Birthday

Once again, to prove that I do stitch in addition to running around taking everyone everywhere, here is a fun birthday present I made.  The Twin's little friend loves High School Musical and Camp Rock, so they thought it would be fun to make her a guitar pillow for her bed.  I just sketched out the design for my pattern and used scraps already in my stash.  As you can see it was quite a hit!

Cheap Thrills

One of my favorite things about Boston is that folks put seriously good stuff out on their sidewalk for those of us with no pride to take and enjoy for FREE!  I hate to admit it, but much of our home has been furnished by really great curbside finds.  Well, now our winter fun has been furnished by a kind gentleman (in a fancy suburb) who set out this vintage 10 ft. toboggan for our sledding pleasure.  For goodness sake, it is long enough to fit our whole family!  It was quite a sight when we tried to fit this into our fully-peopled minivan while still dressed in our church clothes!  I just love that cute tongue peeking out on the driver and eager anticipation on the passenger--what a fun day of sledding! 

A Cure for Boredom

1. Rummage in your mother's "de-clutter" pile
2. Unearth 2 mis-matched plastic Easter eggs that never made it to the Easter bin last year.
3. Discover that half an egg fits perfectly over a kid-sized nose.  Note that 2 eggs divided into four parts is just enough to cover all siblings' noses.
4. Attach to sibling's faces with scotch tape
5. Make goofy faces
6. Beg parents to digitally document the cure for boredom
7. Dream about what goodies might magically appear in these eggs in two month's time.
8. Move onto other boredom-busting activities.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Christmas Photos that Never Got Sent

Despite my best intentions and last-minute efforts, I just haven't figured out how to manage both creating a fun Christmas for my kids and sending all the holiday wishes I would like.  We either seem to get the letter written, but no photo, or, in this year's case, a photo, but no letter.  So, just so I don't feel too guilty, here it is.  Here for your viewing pleasure is our Christmas 2008 Dillon Family photo.  Don't we clean up nicely?!!  Many thanks to Carrie Brady for her patience in corralling all of us!  Scary that my oldest is almost as tall as me!  Oh, and look at those two "hunks!"  The Little Mr. loves wearing a tie just like his Daddy.  Strangely enough, my favorite photo of all is the one of just me with my twins.  It was not planned, but just kind of happened at the end of the shoot--so glad Carrie captured that moment!