Outdoor Waterbed

14 Apr

Outdoor waterbed

The other day I came across this post from Play at Home Mom LLC on making a “Redneck Waterbed.” Rednecks aside, I loved the idea  of using a giant plastic sheet and duct tape to make a fun outdoor waterbed for the kids. Originally, PAHM had used the sheeting to make an enormous “bubble” that the kids could walk in, which I originally read about on Curly Bug’s blog.

So it was Easter weekend and we were staying home because the husband had a cold that we didn’t want to share with others. We had picked up a pack of Husky sheeting at Home Depot and a roll of duct tape; no one but me knew what they were for. While the kids were napping I began laying out the sheeting, folding it in half, and taping. This was harder than I expected and my tape job was far from perfect. Still, I called everyone outside and we turned on the hose.

The baby was at best skeptical, at worst terrified.

Sad baby

But my daughter was amazed.

Happy kid

I felt like the coolest mom EVER.


We watched the water shoot in between the sheeting, forming rivers and lakes under our feet. We squished our bare feet on the cold plastic; we walked on water. We jumped and ran, then we laid down and basked in the Easter sun. They call this sort of thing “sensory play” for a reason.

Everyone is a kid when there's a lawn waterbed involved.

The waterbed filled up, and up, and up. And then it sprung some leaks, and we patched them. So we all got a little wet, which added to the fun for my daughter anyway.

We turned off the hose, but kept coming back to play throughout the day. Overnight, much of the water leaked out and the next day I dumped out the rest. We turn on the sprinklers in the back yard manually, so we skipped a few days to make up for the water we had dumped out while making our waterbed.

There was something so novel about this activity, so different from the norm for us, that we all acted like kids. I’m happy to have found the idea and decided to actually do it, instead of just pinning and forgetting, like I do with so many things.

Family time

Coolest mom. Coolest kid.



Fairy Garden No. 2

12 Apr

We visited the local nursery and picked up supplies to make a second fairy garden, along with some miniatures – the wagon, fairy, unicorn, shovel, watering can. My daughter loved picking out the items and it was so hard to resist buying everything. But then I remembered I used to collect these little animal figurines, and I had saved a handful all these years. Now they have a home in the fairy gardens, instead of in a beat-up Charlie Brown lunchbox wrapped in tissue paper.ImageImage


They seem happier here, somehow.


I told you fairy gardens are addictive.

Our Fairy Garden

10 Apr

Fairy garden

Several weeks back I started pinning fairy gardens, knowing I wanted to make one with my daughter. There is something about miniature things that has always made me sigh with happiness. To this day, I insist on going on the Storybook Land ride at Disneyland to see the little world they have created.

So we headed to the nursery and picked up some plants to create our own fairy garden. They can get pretty elaborate and I would love to make a larger one using a half-barrel, but for our first we kept it small.

Fairy garden

For this fairy garden, our supplies list is:

Organic potting soil

Irish moss

Wooly thyme

German thyme

A handful of pond rocks

A dish for a pond


Large stick (found on a walk)

Fairy garden

We bought all of the supplies at Home Depot but we’re planning a stop at M&M Nursery in Orange to get a few miniatures to place in our garden. Something tells me I will end up buying supplies for another one. They are addictive. M&M Nursery has amazing fairy gardens to purchase and they also sell all of the supplies to make your own. You can even sign up for a free class to learn how to make them.

Fairy garden

We’re on the lookout for another container to be our pond; this one was a placeholder. I am sure something will be rescued from the recycling bin this week that will be just right.

Fairy garden

Sigh. Happiness.


When the TV is Off…

28 Mar

This is what happens when I say “no” to TV, “no” to computer games and “no” to watching “My Little Pony” videos on the iPhone.


This is something I can say “yes” to.

(And yes, I did just post a photo of my baby boy in a diaper with his banged-up knee, pacifier in place and belly showing.)

So often I choose the path of least resistance, the easy road, the instant and free babysitter. Today I did not. She asked – several times – and at one point there were tears. But we survived, and after dinner she pulled out a stack of books and began telling me the stories. And he followed suit. The house was at peace.

All in a Word

27 Mar

These are some words that are inspiring me to be the mom, the wife, the woman I would like to be. To lead a more intentional life.


















What words inspire you?

Farm Fresh Baby Shoes

12 Mar

We’ve had some beautiful weather here lately, and with it I’ve been bitten by the sewing bug. It all started with a baby. Not mine! But a beautiful little girl who was born just a couple of weeks ago.

This little sweetie had the cutest feet. What is it about baby feet? So I started digging around for a pattern for baby shoes, similar to the Robeez (or the Target knock-offs my little man wears sometimes). And I found one, because the internet is an amazing place and chances are some kind soul has done whatever it is you want to do and posted about it.

I chose a fabric from Riley Blake for the outers. It’s from her Farm Fresh line and I love the sweet country feel of it. Lots of aqua, yellow, rose and pink, sage green, gingham… The inside is a chocolate brown minky velour, left over from a blanket I made for our son (the other side of that blanket was also Riley Blake – I believe Hooty Hoot in flannel.). I chose a pinkish red wool blend felt for the soles, since newborn babies don’t do much walking.

I love these shoes.

I want to make some in every fabric I have. Must. Resist.

Want to try a pair? Here’s the pattern from Stardust Shoes.


Something a Little Different…

3 Mar

I was feeling inspired this morning by a post written by Mama Pants of The Family Pants. It stirred something inside of me, a reminder that the best things in life happen when you focus your attention outward. Sometimes I feel this wave of discontent, and I know it has nothing to do with my life. I am blessed with an amazing, loving husband, two beautiful, hilarious children, and the kind of family and friends that make life worth living. But my attentions have been focused on material things more than I would like. So I would like to start turning that attention outward, one step at a time.

Today I am going to auction off a HollowGlen clutch. This was my first clutch and I love it. The outer fabric is by Moda and the inside is a sweet blue and green polka-dot cotton. The frame is antique brass and very lovely. This is a big clutch – the frame is I believe 10 inches. It can easily double as a purse, but it doesn’t have a strap.



Until I come up with a better way of doing it, I am going to ask you to write in the comments your bid. Keep an eye on the comments or subscribe to them so you’ll know if you are outbid. Tell your friends and family! The winning bidder will get the clutch, and their entire bid amount will go to the charity of their choice. Please include your charity when you place a bid. Bidding ends at 10 p.m. PST Sunday, March 11. Payment will need to be made via PayPal and I will pick up the tab for shipping the item.

I hope you all have a beautiful weekend. It’s lovely here in Southern California today, lots of sunshine. 🙂

Why I Stopped Writing

7 Jan

When I was much younger (you know, like 20), I knew deep in my heart that I was destined for something great. If not great, then really, really good. My confidence as a writer and editor was strong and possibly off-putting to others. It was only a matter of time before I would land a job at a large daily newspaper, or write a novel. You know, the novel I never started. (Rather, started 20 different versions of. If you have trouble staying focused on a storyline have I got a book for you!)

I graduated from college, then completed an internship at The Sacramento Bee as a copy editor. A hiring freeze in the industry meant none of the interns would be hired that year. I updated my resume and found a job as an administrative assistant. I wrote here and there, toyed with the idea of attending graduate school for creative writing, submitted my resume halfheartedly to companies seeking skilled copywriters. But I never really tried. Not with the dedication that I imagine real writers have.

Over the years, my dreams of success, fame and fortune drifted back and forth like seaweed at the shore.

I wanted it to be easy.

Nothing worth doing is easy, blah blah, etc.

Years and one child later, I created a blog. First it was just about my daughter. Then I wanted to show everyone the things I was working on at home, as the ultimate housewife who cooks! Bakes! Sews! Then I started reading a whole bunch of other blogs. These blogs had amazing photography. They had well-designed pages with sponsors and lots of readers. I wanted to make money from my blog too. And that’s when I made the leap and started seeing writing as a job instead of a hobby. Obligation instead of meditation.

Writing had become so…. boring. Something to be started with a sigh of resignation.

I avoid things that bore me. So I started to avoid writing.

It didn’t feed my soul. Checking page stats and earning pennies on an ad click didn’t fulfill me. I wasn’t making the world better. I wasn’t helping people do meaningful things with their lives. Monetary incentive was destroying my passion. And I believe that translates in the written word. I believe a reader can tell when a writer is passionate and when she is just counting the words.

I didn’t make any resolutions this year. I have hopes and dreams though.

I hope to rediscover my passion.

I dream that I will write something that touches just one person’s heart.

It is becoming clear to me that real “success” has nothing to do with money and everything to do with doing something that you love. Every day.

Not for money. But for the soul.

Holding On to Christmas

9 Dec

My memories of Christmas as a child are vivid and deep. I can close my eyes and feel the excitement welling up in my chest at the thought of Santa coming at night. I can hear the rich voices of our neighbors singing carols around our piano. I can feel popcorn and string between my fingers and the soft flannel of my Christmas Eve nightgown. I smell pine and I see my sister and me dancing on the driveway with boughs of noble fir in our hands. These memories, and Christmas itself, leave me feeling sentimental and sad at the same time. I always wanted it to last longer than just December.

This month, as every December before, seems impossible to hold on to. It is here but it is slipping through my fingers. There are so many things that seem to be shouting for our attention. Planning a birthday party – or two. Projects around the new house. This virus that put three out of four of us out of commission over Thanksgiving. The unexpected busyness of my HollowGlen shop. Stopping Jackson from eating whatever he finds on the floor. I keep reminding myself that we need to slow down. Enjoy this. Enjoy them – these two amazing, beautiful, funny, snuggly babies we have. Give them the same kind of vivid Christmas memories my parents gave me. Take them to see Santa Claus. Be in the moment and not planning ahead. See their smiles, feel their warm bodies, smell their hair, tell them they are loved a million times this month. Hear them laugh.

I wanted to come up with some deep, meaningful close to this post. But the baby is staring at me with a wide, open-mouthed grin. He is babbling and pushing one of our dining chairs around the room. He is honestly the cutest little boy I have ever seen. I am compelled to go give him a hug and a kiss and most likely squeeze him. Next post will hopefully be an update on what I’ve been working on for the shop.

Enjoy this time everyone. Make some memories.


31 Oct

It is the night before Halloween and we are moving in less than three days. Kaitlyn has a fever and Jackson is teething. I had to run into Target 15 minutes before closing to buy more candy since I have eaten a third of the Costco bag we bought earlier this week. I finally packed up the sewing machine and the iron. I am nervous and I feel it churning in my stomach.

Five years. We have lived here, on Hollowglen, for five years.

We moved here less than a month after getting married. We came home from our honeymoon in Mexico, stared at the tower of wedding presents like it was our very future in front of us, and said, “Now what?” So we moved. Newlyweds.

Then we had a baby. Well, not right away. But eventually, on Hollowglen, two became three. And then three became four. On Hollowglen we became a family.

We had birthdays, lots of them. We mourned deaths, and worried about cancers and the health of our loved ones. We watched Kaitlyn learn to crawl, then walk, then talk and run. She took her first steps here. My sister got married. We lost a baby. We brought Jackson home. We made friends – wonderful, amazing, dear friends. We all grew – up, out, inside.

There are fuzzy times and there are times I can recall so clearly. Like working on a puzzle with Ben in the wee hours after this past Christmas, my belly hitting the vertical blinds every time I tried to squeeze past him to find a piece. Jackson arrived three weeks later and I holed up with him in the bedroom, trying to figure out why nursing a second baby was so hard. Or bringing Kaitlyn home on Christmas day almost four years ago, and waking up every few hours to feed her and change her diaper and logging everything down because it seemed vitally important to know when she peed. Fourth of July walks to the bridge to watch the fireworks. The kids playing outside with their flashlights. Watching movies. Sick days. Just a normal family life, with our future in front of us.

So many, many memories.

Not all glamorous. There were the ants (OH! so many ants), the black widows, the mold, the asbestos. I spent a fair amount of time searching for a new place but could never find a good enough reason.

And then Ben was promoted, and transferred, and the days grew longer and longer, and we missed him. How we missed him. And I started to realize the importance of being together, no matter where we gathered.

Home is where we are. Not where we live. And I’m a mom. I can make a home anywhere.

So I will. Wednesday we will move, and I will unpack frantically, and put away the dishes, and our clothes, and their favorite toys, and we’ll slowly rebuild until we feel just as at home there as we do here.

And then we’ll stare at our new back yard, at the open space where our children can run, and play, and dig, and grow, and we’ll say, “Now what?” As if our very future was laid out in front of us.