Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Farm

Photo by Mandie

Every year for Independence day, Mr. Bean and I go to the Farm (his aunt and uncle's house). We enjoy the small town parade and an awesome fireworks show.

We hope String Bean will enjoy playing in the yard with the hose on. We *might* even try the pool!

What are your 4th of July plans?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Star Spangled Banner

15 Star US Flag (adopted by Congress in 1795).
Photo taken in Philadelphia, PA on July 1, 2006.
1st place photo for Patriotic category at the county fair Summer 2007
Photo by Mr. Bean

As our nation's birthday draws near, you certainly will hear your share of patriotic songs. Our national anthem has a unique history. I found this article which is thorough yet brief. Here are some interesting facts I gleaned from it:

  • Our national anthem wasn't adopted as such until 1931 thanks to President Herbert Hoover. Now I need to go back and rewatch all the historical movies of the American Revolution and see how many play the Star Spangled Banner which would be historically inaccurate.
  • The anthem has 4 stanzas. I am not sure if I have heard any except the first!
  • The US Code 36 U.S.C. § 301 gives citizens the rules of conduct during the playing of the national anthem.
  • The anthem has been translated into multiple languages which is fitting since we are a country of immigrants!

I hope you feel more educated about your American heritage!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Independence Day

Family. Fireworks. Picnics. Parades. If you are lucky, it is really hot out and the sprinklers will be turned on! It isn't just a 3 day weekend. This is the one day a year we celebrate the birth of our country. Happy Birthday, America!

Here are some fun America trivia for you as you prepare for your festivities!

Saturday, June 27, 2009


My friend Emily has a shirt that says "Camping is In Tents." Get it? (I'll pause while you recover from that groaner.)

Tonight is the Great American Backyard Camp-out! So, get out those tents, find the sleeping bags and spray on some bug spray. Your kids will love it!

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Death of a King

I was amazed to flip through channels yesterday and pause on MTV. They were showing music videos. Gasp. This has not been done since I was a child. Apparently, it takes the death of the King of Pop for MTV to find its roots.

One of my earliest television memories involves sitting around the television catching Kids Incorporated on Saturday mornings and flipping over to MTV to watch the Thriller video. We had cable, but certain channels were off limits. (Hi, Mom!) I'm sure I would have gotten into lots of trouble at the age of 6 or 7 watching MTV in our house. (My in-laws, who are missionaries, must have allowed MTV at their house because Mr. Bean recognized nearly all the music videos we watched last night as soon as the opening scenes began.) The zombies always scared me a bit, so I never watched the whole thing. Last night it was on television and I watched it in its entirety with Mr. Bean. I laughed at how well zombies dance and how un-scary it is. Perspective is everything I guess.

I had two friends who lived on my block as a kid: Brooke and Amber. I remember sitting in my front yard singing with them Bad and the Weird Al version Fat. Those were the days. Of course we didn't hear the song that often, so we didn't know the verses, just the choruses. I think we also became blood sisters back then. Oh, the 80s. A magical time indeed.

Recently, I taught a 2nd grade class. One little boy, Robert, had a keen interest in karaoke. His favorite song to sing? Billie Jean.

I won't even pretend to be a connoisseur of Michael Jackson or even know very many of his songs (lets face it, if it wasn't on Bad or Thriller, we're lucky if I have even heard of it). I'll leave that honor to my sister-in-law and my husband.

Be prepared for snide remarks from Filbert who is not a fan of MJ. Tsk, tsk. How can he be part of Generation X?!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tutu Tips

I got caught up yesterday making this for String Bean that I forgot to blog! Whoops. I'd say, "It won't happen again," but I'd probably be lying.

A few notes about that tutu if you plan to make it. My baby has a pretty small waist and is pretty short for 19 months old. I suggest you measure your kid to see where you want the tutu to fall. I made 20" tulle pieces instead of 24". Combing the shorter pieces with a smaller waist, I only needed 25 yards of fabric instead of 50. Of course, your mileage may vary as you make this, so be sure to do a bit of measuring before you start cutting!

We hired our music pastor's son to come over and clean our house today. Paying him $6 per hour, we are out $33, but our house is livable again! Crevices that haven't seen a vacuum or dust cloth in years (gulp) are now clean and tidy. Even our refrigerator and freezer were emptied and wiped down! If you need a house cleaner and you're local, let me know. I'll pass along his info and you can hire him. He's looking for summer work.

Now to enjoy the evening with a clean home and a well dressed toddler!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Inspiring Word

Tomorrow morning, we will all look in the mirror to assess the degree of maintenance required to make us presentable to the world and its standards. Isn't it time we took a long look at the reflection produced by our relationships and assess the degree of maintenance required to make our hearts presentable to our Heavenly Father and His righteous standards?

Walter White, Executive Director, Moody Bible Institute Alumni Association
as seen in the Spring 2009 edition of onWord Vol. 59 No. 2

Monday, June 22, 2009

Easy No-Sew Tutu Tutorial

I saw this tutorial over at paigeandbrooke and just had to share it with you. I'm seriously considering making this little craft for String Bean.

If you need some quick and easy tutu instructions you're at the right place. These are great gifts and great for the kids to play in! They love pretending to be little ballerinas. Great for pictures too!!

All you need is: 6" wide tulle (2 or 3 rolls) and some No-Roll wide elastic. That's it!!

You can make these tutu's as long as you would like them to be but this one is the average shorter tutu. I cut a bunch of strips of tulle using a 2 foot measuring stick. Each piece will be folded in half later so if you want your tutu to be all the way to the ground you will need to cut extra long pieces. I use about 50 yards of tulle for one tutu. Sometimes more but at least that much. Cutting more strips makes the tutus look fuller.

Make sure you buy the "No-Roll" elastic. This is very important. You can decide how wide you would like for the elastic to be but I think the wider the better.

1. You will need to measure your child's waist and subtract that number by 3. That is how long your elastic needs to be. Then you can zig-zag stitch your elastic together.

2. You are going to tie knots with your tulle all around the elastic so it's easier just to put the elastic around your leg so that it stays in place.

3. Take one piece of tulle and fold it in half. Make sure the folded end is at the bottom and place it under the elastic like the picture above.

4. Now, here is how you are going to tie the knot. It's a little hard to explain but I hope the pictures will help. Take the two ends of the tulle that are at the top and loop them down and under where the hole is from the folded tulle.

5. Continue pulling the tulle down and use your thumb on the other hand to place the knot and tighten as you pull.

Hopefully this picture shows it a little better.

6. When you have pulled it all the way through your know should look like this on your thumb. You can adjust it as needed to make sure its tight.

7. Your first knot is complete!

8. Now you just need to make a bunch more!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

We hope you are enjoying Father's Day and celebrating not only your own dad, but the father of your children, too. Amy and I couldn't be married to better daddies. Do you have a great photo of your child/children with dad? Send us a link to it so we can appreciate your man, too!

Happy Father's Day!

Mr. Bean and String Bean looking over the edge of the ferry.
Photo by Mandie

Filbert entertains Walnut, Peanut, and Cashew.
Photo by Hazel

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hazel's Hobby Corner

I promised some pictures of my latest creations, so here we go!

First of all, we have my garden, 3 tomato plants and 5 pepper plants.

Here's a tomato plant:

Photo by Hazel

Here's another tomato (actually it might be the same tomato, just a different angle):

more tomatoes
More tomatoes
Photo by Hazel

And here are the peppers along with Walnut's super scary blue widow spider whose name is Bluey.

blue spider and peppers
Walnut's scary spider invades the pepper plants.
Photo by Hazel

Now for some sewing projects. I made pillowcases for Walnut and Peanut.

Pillows for Walnut and Peanut
Walnut and Peanut's pillows.
Photo by Hazel

And the back view:

back of pillows
Walnut and Peanut's pillows-a view of the back.
Photo by Hazel

Here is Miss Cashew modeling her new skirt.

skirt twirl
Cashew models a skirt by taking a turn on the runway.
Photo by Hazel

I am publishing this one just because it is super cute.

Cashew is cuteness in a nutshell. (pun intended)
Photo by Hazel

Now, for the pièce de résistance (check out my fancy French!) I had the house to myself on Wednesday so I took the entire afternoon to work on making a blouse from this tutorial. Three straight hours I spent working on this and at the end of three straight hours, I present to you all....

The beginnings of a shirt sewing project. This is one of the shoulder straps.
Photo by Hazel

Friday, June 19, 2009


Mr. Bean and I always enter photos into our local county fair. Last year we broke even with entry fees and cash prizes. Since I entered cross stitches last year, I did really well. This year we are just entering photography.

Because Mr. Bean is the designated photographer in our house, he has the lion's share of photos to sort through. I spent most of today taking creative photos to enter into the still life and the fair theme category (theme: Go Green and Save Green).

While I was doing that, I pulled out a pen and drew a little pig face on String Bean's big toe. For a good hour, she would walk a step, stop and sit down, pull her foot up to eye level and oink. I hope this washes off pretty easily or we're in trouble.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Reading List

I am participating in the summer reading club at our local library. 9 books in 9 weeks. String Bean is participating, too. 9 hours in 9 weeks. Hardly seems fair.

So far, I've already read 3 books. Love, Ruby Lavender by Deborah Wiles, Multiple Blessings by Kate Gosselin and Beth Carson (which only took one day when all I did during naptime was read), and Infant Swimming by Cynthia Clevenger. Each book was chosen for a specific purpose. The first because it was on the Battle of the Books list and the title intrigued me (!), the second because I watch the show, am saddend by the latest developments, and had to read a biography, and the third because String Bean has developed a fear of the water, so I wanted to read up on the subject. I also needed to read a non-fiction book.

Still on my list are 6 more books one of which must be a classic. Any suggestions for the remaining 6 books?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Indy Recap Part 2

As promised, let me share with you our experience at the Indianapolis Children's Museum.

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String Bean enjoys playing in water in the Playscape exhibit.
Photo by Mr. Bean

  • There was a load of things to do for toddlers and big kids. If you have multi-aged children in your family, you will not be disappointed with the variety of choices here.
  • There are several places to crawl through, over or under things in the museum. Your kids will definitely leave the museum ready for a good nap.
  • There is a fantastic carousel on the 4th floor of the museum. It costs $1.00 per rider, but a fun thing to do especially if you have a little one who loves animals. There is also an old fashioned horse ride that you might remember from your childhood. You know the kind in front of the grocery store? It costs a nickle per ride. String Bean had 3 rides in a row and kept asking for more. Be sure to bring some cash and get change at the front desk, or bring a roll of nickles for your little one. Cheap thrills!
  • Parking is FREE in the museum's garage. Your kids will enjoy taking the sky walk across the street to the museum.
  • The main bathrooms at the museum have little pottys for your little ones.
  • The food court is almost completely kid-friendly food. They have a toddler's snack bar where you can order things like grapes, Goldfish Crackers and cottage cheese!
  • For your preschooler, there is a section of the museum (Playscape) that is specially designed just for them. Besides the water area, sand area, a kid-sized house and a few slides, there is also story time, music time and art time. We could have spent all day in this area of the museum with String Bean. She was given a set of jingle bells and got to participate in a parade through the Playscape exhibit!
  • This is a very stroller-friendly museum. There are no stairs. There are elevators and ramps from floor to floor. The ramps are fun because they have a huge glass sculpture in the middle of them that is fun to look at as you go from floor to floor.
  • We chose to go at a time when large portions of the museum were closed and in-between exhibits. When you plan your trip be sure to check what is open there before you show up. Of course, Mr. Bean was happy to see the Star Wars exhibit and dress String Bean up in the make believe outfits. Even though there were sections closed we still found plenty to fill our day.
  • Admission is $14.50 per adult and $9 per child (2 and up). So, this can be a costly visit. Military discounts available. There are a few free nights, but expect large crowds.

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Yoda uses the force on young Jedi String Bean.
Photo by Mr. Bean

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Indy Recap Part 1

String Bean had much fun in Indianapolis. For those of you considering a trip to the capitol of this midwest state, today and tomorow, I'll review the two big kid-friendly attractions: the zoo and children's musem.

Today I'll focus on the Indianapolis Zoo which is fantastic. I have been to the Chicago-area zoos, Brookfield Zoo and Lincoln Park Zoo, but the Indianapolis Zoo far surpasses them.

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String Bean touching an elephant in Mom's arms.
Photo by Mr. Bean

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String Bean touches a shark swimming by safe in the arms of Pop.
Photo by Mr. Bean

  • Interaction with the animals is phenomenal. String Bean was able to pet an elephant! There were also opportunities to feed giraffes and pet many animals in the children's zoo. The highlight for String Bean was petting the sharks (yes sharks!). This is a new exhibit at the zoo, but just amazing.
  • The exhibits let you get awfully close to the animals. If the giraffes had felt so inclined, they could have leaned over and kissed me. This is a great plus for kids who have a hard time finding that furry animal in the distance. You find as you walk around the park that the animals have large habitats, but the zoo is designed so you walk around several sides of the big animal habitats. It ensures you can get a close up view of your favorite animal.
  • There is a new indoor butterfly exhibit and beautiful gardens around it. I was a bit disappointed by the lack of butterflies in the exhibit, but I'm giving the zoo the benefit of the doubt that they are still establishing their butterfly family. There was a huge incubator full of cocoons (some hatching) indicating a large future population for the exhibit. The gardens (behind the exhibit) are awesome.
  • On warm days, there is a splash pad you can visit! Be sure to bring a swimsuit and a towel if you are going to enjoy this part of the park.
  • Although we didn't indulge, there is a roller coster at the zoo, but the coaster, pony rides, and carosel cost a small amount extra.
  • Child identification bands are available at the entrance to the zoo. It is a simple wrist (or ankle) band that you write your child's name and your cell phone number on. If you get separated from your child, zoo personnel have a way to contact you.

  • At $14.00 for adults, the price sure does add up and I was unable to find coupons for the Zoo anywhere on line. There are military discounts, however. Parking was an additional $5.00 per car.
  • The Dolphin show (which was free with the cost of admission) needs some work. I always love to go see the dolphins, but despite the theater seating and lighting, the show was not too great.
Tomorrow I'll share about the Children's Museum!

Monday, June 15, 2009

School's out for Summer!

Today, it's been a week since school got out for Walnut and Peanut. We don't have any big plans, yet. Walnut is going to be in a Pepsi and Hot Dog bowling league and Peanut needs to get some speech therapy. All three of them need to have swimming lessons, but I'm not sure if that will happen. Lots of outside time is definitely on the agenda.

My plan is to do lots of sewing and jewelry making. I'm really enjoying my sewing machine. I've made pillow cases for the boys and just finished a skirt for Cashew. When Mandie gets back, I'll have her post some pictures of some of the stuff I've made. (I'm html impaired) I have material to make some shorts for the boys and on Wednesday, my blessed mother-in-law is taking my kids for the entire day and I'm going to attempt to follow this tutorial and make a blouse for my self.

I'm growing some plants, too. I have 3 tomato plants and 5 pepper plants growing in my back yard. I'm pretty excited about them, but I'm getting annoyed at those pesky weeds that keep popping up.

So that's the update on the Nuts. Stay tuned for news of a possible jewelry giveaway. I've made some bracelets that need a home.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


We are in Indianapolis visiting my parents. They claim Indy is the half-way point between our houses, but I know we are getting the better end of the deal driving-wise.

As you read this post, we are at the Indianapolis Zoo. I'll be sure to tell you all about it when I get back. We are excited to meet with Grace and her husband Chris who live in the Indy area. Grace was one of Mr. Bean's former student employees at the college.

This is going to be a fun weekend. I hope you are having a great weekend. What are you doing now that the kiddes are out of school?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Another Lay Off

Our former babysitter left us to work at a more lucrative job (Starbucks). At only 4 hours a week, we just were not a big enough source of income. They day after she accepted the Starbucks job, her husband was laid off.

Gretchen and her husband have both graduated from college/grad school in the last year. This is a big blow to them and a scary place for Gretchen as a fairly new wife.

If you are the praying kind, would you pray for Gretchen and Ryan? The economy has hurt so many people. We must remember to uplift them to the God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills and has promised to provide for our needs.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wise Saying

I saw this on a stamp today:

Men, chocolate and coffee are all better rich.

I thought it was funny.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Toddler's Menu

String Bean's Menu for dinner last night:

  • handful of frozen raspberries and blackberries
  • 3 blueberries and one that was rejected because it was contaminated according to String Bean
  • 2/3 of a banana
  • 1/3 of a popcorn flavored rice cake
  • 1/8 of a graham cracker smeared with (too much) peanut butter
  • 1 plus a nibble of a second club cracker with a thin layer of peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup of Crispix cereal
  • 3 fried nacho-type chips
  • 1/16 inch piece of raw onion that was immediately spat out
  • 1 kernel of corn from corn salsa that did not please the highly refined palate of a 19 month old
  • 1/2 a large snickerdoodle cookie
See, pediatrician? She may be skinny, but we do offer her a wide variety of foods. If she does not eat them, that's her problem.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Vote For Me

Mr. Bean and I both have facebook pages where we enjoy keeping up with family and old friends. Recently, I've gotten pretty lazy about posting photos to mine. When he does all the work of captioning the photos and tagging the people in them, why should I duplicate the effort?

Since Mr. Bean has been uploading photos to my page for me, we've had somewhat of a competition about who gets more photo comments. Usually I do because my album is newer therefore higher on the list that your friends see.

Last night, Mr. Bean uploaded an album, but refused to upload it to my account since he wanted all our mutual friends to comment on his album instead of mine. Since he had only 7 comments in 24 hours, he went ahead and uploaded the album to my account a 17 minutes ago. I already have 9 comments. He he he. Sucker.

I told him that his status update should read, "A comment on my album is a vote for me. A comment on my wife's identical album is a vote against me. You decide."

And for your viewing pleasure, one of the uploaded photos from that album:

Photo by Mr. Bean

String Bean considers a career at Steak-n-Shake, but reconsiders when she realizes it involves wearing this hat, Guy (in her left arm) can't go to work with her and does not involve coloring the whole shift long.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Fathers Day Non-Homemade Gifts

Photo by Timewalker

Filbert informed me over lunch yesterday that no Father's Day gift is good. Today's post hopes to squash that attitude and bring to you, faithful readers, a list of Father's Day gifts that will leave your dad astonished and in fear of you as a woman.

Nothing held back-price-tag included.

Corporate Dad
Blue Collar Dad
  • Spectrum 2050 Plasma Cutter- $2,949.00. Why buy anything else when you have a tool that will cut through 1 1/8 inches of steel?
  • Fixer-Upper Home- These guys can go for pretty cheap, but be prepared to pick up a very large gift card to Home Depot or Lowes.
  • 1931 Bugatti Royale Kellner Coupe- $8,700,000.00 in 1987, but these guys lose value when you drive them off the lot, right? Oh, the joy of being able to work on it in the garage!
Sports Dad
Outdoors Dad
  • Yacht- $300,000,000.00. I'm sure the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum would be happy to sell it to you for slightly cheaper since it is used.
  • Jungle Safari in Belize- $2,310.00 plus international airfare.
  • Fishing in Malaysia- $3,200.00 plus international airfare.
After all that, doesn't a homemade gift sound a lot easier to manage?