My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

Liar, liar – my heads on fire! April 9, 2014

Filed under: Broken/Repaired,Family,WTFr — blankenmom @ 10:00 pm
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I’m not sure if the above statement is *really* true.  It’s more like…. I’d rather set it on fire, run through a gasoline factory naked, while in labor.  It would be easier, and maybe then the state would pay attention?

 

 

I know I’ve talked about “that house” before.  The house I would love to fall to the ground (while it’s empty of course).  I would add by meteorite, but then insurance wouldn’t cover it.

We had an aircraft carrier, two coastlines and several people in between hoping it would go down in Sandy, yet no.  The stupid thing lives.

 

After a year of no rental income, we were finally able to get renters back in – if you want to call them that.  FEMA in all their wisdom, placed people supposedly displaced by the flood into homes that were newly finished due to the flood.  We thought we were helping someone out.  Shame on me for trying to help – that’s the last time that will happen!

 

Since July, they have violated every line on the rental contract.  EVERY LINE!

Plus a few extra’s.

 

It’s lovely.

 

We took the long, drawn-out and costly steps to eviction after the final straw of leaving a cat to die under the house.  Last week  we were told by the judge that all the violations, on the contract they willingly signed, don’t matter because they have three kids.  It doesn’t matter that they, among all the other violations, don’t have insurance (in a flood area) to cover in their words, a dog that may bite that isn’t on the contract.  It doesn’t matter that they disturb the woman behind them with two kids of her own.  It doesn’t matter if the house falls down around them because we can’t finish our work from the flood because they won’t let workers finish.  Nope – they have three kids.

 

Never mind our four kids.  After all, we work.  We pay our utilities, loans, mortgages and taxes.  My husband works two jobs to make sure we can cover their needs, on top of ours.  A judge decided that their kids took precedence over our kids and the neighbors… and yours, because they’re on state aid.  Because they’re unwilling to work a real job and pay their own way, we have to cover for them.  We’re not talking, they’re trying to work and are having a hard time – nope.  I’d love to help with that!  Find me that family!!

 

Does that mean we get out of the contract?  No actually, it means they may get to stay in for six months longer than the contract because they told the judge they can’t find a place to live in the three months remaining.  REALLY?

 

Nope.  When you live on state aid, only you matter.  Not the tax payer providing your rent, the person who owns the house or anyone around you.  State and judge condoned…. and apparently encouraged.

 

Never mind the fire – my head just exploded…..

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Lest you think I’m a cold-hearted person who would throw children out on their ear…. it’s the kids that made me wait so long.  It’s the kids that kept me from shutting off their utilities when they didn’t pay them.  It’s the kids that kept me from kicking their backsides to the curb when they (unbeknownst to me) lied about how much the state would give them for rent and accepted less!

 

Don’t call me, baby! April 5, 2014

Filed under: Knitting,Made by me,Random thoughts,Sewing — blankenmom @ 11:01 pm
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baby

 

 

I have a small confession…. I loathe baby showers.  I wasn’t all that excited over mine even.  I will send you all sorts of gifts if you don’t make me come!

 

A bunch of squealing women, touching one poor woman who’s too fat to run and hide.  Not that she’d fit anyway.  Sitting in the most uncomfortable chair in the room, everyone staring at her as she goes through each gift, hoping it’s not that ugly item she specifically passed over three times at the store.  And everyone hoping they didn’t buy that one item she specifically passed over three times in the store!

 

The last one I attended I won most of the games, possibly due to the fact that I was the only one who had kids already – so they stopped letting me play.  Sore losers!

 

I posted about the rattles I was making for a friend of ours.  After several years of waiting, they’re having a small litter.  A boy and a girl.

Having known our friend since 9th grade (we won’t go in to how many years exactly that is!) we are very excited for them!  He was one of the few who stuck around when we had our first, and was one of our witnesses when we got married.  19 years later, he’s getting two of his own.

 

How could I not get excited?

 

How could I not get even more excited when I was told “Hey, we love you, but we don’t want you driving all this way just for a shower.”  OMG’sh – I love these two!  Not to mention, I don’t know *any* of her friends.  Awkward!  So this was most excellent!

 

In my excitement I may have gone a little over board… maybe.  But by-golly I had a blast!

 

 

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I admit that it’s orange… that wasn’t my intention I swear!  The yarn is coral and when we went back to buy the fabric – it looked like it matched perfectly?  Darn fabric store lighting!  Goes awfully well with the teal though doesn’t it?

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This is just what I put in the basket – I still have a few left overs!  Anyone need baby items?

 

The end results were great – I was very pleased!  And much relieved when they told me how much they liked it on its arrival.  It can be a bit nerve-racking when you hand make something not requested – who knows if they’ll actually like it or think “Oh my lanta – this is the ugliest thing anyone has ever made?”.  Oh, don’t act like you’ve never gotten one of those!

 

I guess the lesson here is – if you want a haul from blankenmom, don’t invite her!

 

 

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Items in the basket ~

  • Two handmade, softest blankets you’ll ever lay your hands on.  NOT in pink or blue.
  • Eight handmade, softest washcloths you’ll ever lay your hands on.  NOT in pink or blue.
  • 12 handmade burp cloths.  NOT in pink or blue. 
  • Seven handmade, reusable diaper wipes/washcloths.  NOT in pink or blue.
  • Eight handmade baby rattles.  NOT in pink or blue.
  • 10 white onesies in 0-3, 3-6 and 6-9 months.
  • Four store bought gauze blankets.  (Where were those when I had the boys?)
  • Two boxes of flushable diaper liners.
  • A gift card for what-ever was forgotten.

 

 

Mazel Tov my friends!

 

Because I felt like it March 28, 2014

Filed under: Boys,Made by me,Pets — blankenmom @ 10:49 pm
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I recently posted that I had made some felted baby rattles and a few people asked how I made them.  As I discovered when I went to make these, I found methods to make felted balls using the wet method, but no rattle and making felted rattles, using a felting tool - which I’ve used before, but have no patience for.  Granted you have more color control with the second method.  So if you feel like getting all wild and design-y, I suggest you go for the second method.  Also a good stress reliever I would imagine – STAB, STAB, STAB!

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I went for the quick and easy wet method using a cat toy inside.

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cat toy

 

This is the style I prefer for baby rattles.  No obnoxious bell and if the baby does make it to the ball inside, no choking hazard.  Plus these tend to be a bit smaller, which I like for their little hands.

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The items you’ll need for this particular demonstration are cat toys, roving, the hottest water your hands can take with a few drops of dish soap.  That’s it.

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These are the cat toys I had on hand.  Ironically, my cat doesn’t play with toys – at 19, I’ll let her have this one since she doesn’t cost me any vet bills.

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I’m going to use these to juggle with, so I’m not too worried about the choking hazard.  As a felted cat toy, I wouldn’t be worried either.  Also, depending on the mom, you may not want to let them know you used a cat toy inside their baby’s toy.  Some mom’s are so no fun!

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This is the roving I happened to find today.  I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a place called “Craft Warehouse”, but I highly suggest it!  It was pretty amazing in there!  However, my last set I got the roving from online and I preferred their roving over this since the strands were longer.  Same amount, just longer strands.  (Better for this project.)  Plus they had a ton of coordinating colors to sample.  But this worked in a pinch.

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Start heating the water.  I set mine to “Low”, your’s could be “1″.  The lowest setting is probably all you’ll need, or can stand.  You can also use boiling water with cold water if you don’t want to stand over the stove the whole time, I just didn’t want to keep rewarming the water.  Make sure to add some dish soap.  I added about 6 “squirts” to this.  It WILL NOT work without the soap.  I forgot it the first ball and it was a sad, sad mess.

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While your water is heating, lay out your roving and decide what colors you want to do and if you want to mix colors.

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WRAP, Wrap, wrap.  Then dip and smoosh.  Roll and roll.  You want the roving to completely wrap around the cat toy.  I halved the roving, wrapping in one direction and then another, making sure none of the ball showed through from the edges.  Once it’s all tucked.  Dip away from the opening first and then the opening and proceed to smoosh it.  Make sure to keep your hand on the opening of the roving until it starts to mesh and hold itself.  Think – play-dough as you roll.  Dip and smoosh, dip and smoosh.  It will be very loose, sort of “goopy” and heavy until it starts to form.  Once the fibers start to wrap around each other you can begin rolling the ball.  You can roll it in your hands like play-dough and/or on a towel.  You’ll want to keep this up until it starts to shrink and there are no visible edges.

If you see die coming off in large amounts in the water, don’t give that one to the kid.  No mom wants to turn around to see her child turned royal purple from their rattle!

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You can see the still visible edge on the lower right side on this one – keep rolling!

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This is something good to do while you’re watching t.v.

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rollingrollingrollingrollingrollingrollingrollingrollingsmooshingrollingrollingrollingrolling

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Four toys took me about an hour.

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To make the different colors, just wrap another color around the first one before you dip.  I’m not digging my two-tone ones though?

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Don’t worry when you set it on the side to dry that the rattle doesn’t seem to be working.  Give it about an hour to dry and you’ll be able to hear it again.

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I am not a “crafter”, if it’s not easy, I’m not going to do it.  That’s how easy this is!  I’ll be making more of these for the pregnancy clinic.   Worst part – the prune hands.  I will warn you however, that if you have any young (or old) boys in the house, the um….  ball jokes will be endless.

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Up to all good! March 21, 2014

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Has it really been so long?

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It’s been a whirlwind of activity around here.

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From signing up to volunteer at church and at the local pregnancy center to woodworking and making felted baby rattles.  Throw in a sick dog, boys activities – including the big one and I’ve hardly had time to sit still.

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The whole time I could hear a good friend in my ear asking if I’ve started my sewing room yet?  I’m workin’ on it, I’m workin’ on it!

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I’m so glad for her voice!

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This is what I have so far.  One wall partially completed with 3 more walls to go.  And yes, the chair looks really low.  I made the desks standing height so I’m not sitting as much.  I’ll be purchasing a “standing chair” in the near future.  I’ll also be organizing VERY soon.

Just for future reference if you’re thinking of doing something similar….. measure the length of your pedal cord.  They’re about 2 inches too short and I’ll have to make a small “stool” for them.

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Paint color suggestions?

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In between sawing, I have been sewing.  I’ve made two shirts and a pair of pants.  My favorite being this completely simplistic, but totally awesome, sparkly shirt.  I’m in love with it!

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*sparkle, sparkle, sparkle*

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I managed to get only one of our new light fixtures up outside.  Mostly because…. it’s good to know how many light fixtures you actually have on the outside of your house!  We found an excellent deal at Costco and bought three, only to realize we have seven lights!  I ordered the remaining lights elsewhere, at far less of a deal.  Now if the high winds could just die down I could actually put the rest up?  In the mean time – I’m enjoying the new view!

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And lastly, a Pinterest find.  Felted baby rattles.  Something good to do while you’re watching your favorite show.  I love the results – I’ll definitely be making more for future cutie-patooties!

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*rattle – rattle*

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So I now have a clean garage.  A second-born signed up for classes next year at a tech school.  3 boys in 4-H.  A first-born with a job at the naval base and a dentist man who is happy that it’s been very quiet.

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I swear it started out as a decent conversation! March 8, 2014

Filed under: Boys,Church,Family — blankenmom @ 9:19 pm
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sponge bob

 

 

Tonight on the way home from church, sandwiched together in the cab of our old 85′ Dodge Ram, the three youngers and I were talking about what we heard at church as we made our way to BK.  Don’t look at me like that – we don’t eat there very often… much.  Anymore.  Ok, it was late and we hadn’t eaten yet.  So there.

 

While sitting at the window, having already ordered, pulled around and paid, we were apparently waiting for them to kill the cow as we had been sitting there for quite a while.  We didn’t mind since they had already given us our soda’s and we were relaying to the youngest, who goes to the middle school group, what was said in the main church.

 

The pastor’s wife spoke tonight and did a fine job.  Her talk was excellent.  One of the stories however spoke very much to my children:

“When I was 12 years old, I went to a party at the Y.  It was a pool party.  There were several of us 12-year-old girls.  All obnoxious and we all thought we knew everything.  About an hour and a half into the party, they all started screaming and jumping out of the pool claiming there was poop at the bottom of the deep end.  I was entirely too stubborn to fall for this and the lifeguard proceeded to explain that they were remodeling and because of that the ceiling tiles were falling and sometimes they made it into the pool.  Satisfied with this explanation the girls all piled back in.  About 30 minutes later, they all piled out again, convinced it was poop.  I wasn’t going to stand for this.  I shouted for someone to give me their goggles.  Threw them on and swam down.  I snatch that pile up and brought it to the edge of the pool to prove them all wrong and show them how silly they all were.  And that’s when I realized what it was.  The lifeguard cleared out the pool and the swim part of the party was over.  But even after washing my hands, I still couldn’t eat my pizza with my right hand.”

 

I know – EWWWWW!

 

Her point to the story was about our perspective compared to Gods.  She thought she was all that and knew what it was, but 10 ft of water clouded her judgement.  The same goes for when Satan tells us something is right, when we know it isn’t.  The great deceiver will cloud our judgment, like the 10 ft of water,  and tell us “Go ahead.  Pick it up – it’s just…..”.  God put it that far away from us for a reason.

 

Excellent story to relay this message!

 

Now as I’m telling our youngest this, and we’re still waiting for that cow to cook, he asks “What kind of poop?” as if it truly matters.  “Well people poop of course?!”  My second-born asks “Why would it matter – poop is poop?”

 

And that’s when I exclaimed “I think I’d rather pick up dog poop with my bare hands than people poop.  People are nasty!”  I then turn to look inside the closed window of the drive through to see 5 teenage girls attempting to squelch their laughter at the conversation taking part inside the cramped truck cab.

 

And here people, is another lesson from tonight’s sermon - The folks inside the drive through CAN hear you while you’re at the window…. talking about poop.  Or you know, whatever else you talk about.

 

 

Just fine March 5, 2014

Filed under: Family,Random thoughts — blankenmom @ 12:45 am
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While looking over Pinterest for new idea’s for baby items for all of our friends who are just starting to join us in parenthood, I discovered an odd trend.  I’m not sure what to call it.  Mom shaming, mom bashing; what ever you call it, it’s evil.

Meme’s telling you that you love your child less because you had them naturally (that one sort of shocked me), didn’t adopt, didn’t home/public/private school.  Didn’t stay home, didn’t go to work.  Divorced their dad, stayed with their dad; don’t have two moms, didn’t wait to have them until you were “old enough” or had them when them when you were “too old”.  Did or didn’t breast feed; cloth or disposable or even what you name them.  Doesn’t matter – you’re doing it wrong!

To be honest, Pinterest isn’t the only place you’re going to find such “loving” words.  Go to any place you can post or chat with other ladies and you’ll find a whole house of hens (hens: gossips, busybody’s, know-it-all’s and generally stuck-up women who feel you need their opinion) waiting to cluck your head off for what they find not up to their standards.  I’ve had to leave a few sites because of anger issues – of other women, towards other women.

 

I don’t get it?

 

In this world of craziness, wouldn’t a little understanding, compassion and…. (a word that I dislike due to its over use and ever twisting meaning) tolerance of another human beings decisions?  It’s a diaper for pete’s sake – not a nuke – even at its worst!

I do get that the meme’s and posts on the personal boards, chat rooms and FB pages are their way of venting a serious frustration.  Do people understand that other people can see these though?  And at what point does that spill over to another board where you rip some girl apart for not making her own baby food?  Or at a dinner out, because your friend didn’t have the right words to say to your never-ending complaint about being a SAHM?  Or yelling at the store clerk because she should be home with her baby instead of working!  (Oh – you know you’ve seen these women!)

 

My dentist man taught me years ago a great way to put the kibosh on a potentially heated conversation.  Just say….

“Okay.”

It doesn’t mean you’re agreeing with their statement.  It’s not implying you like it.  It’s not implying you don’t like it.  You could be filled with rage about the topic and want to reach over the dinner table to pop the other person upside the head and say “WTHk?”, but a simple…

“Okay.”

….. is all that is needed.

If you’re in a chat room, you don’t even need that.  As Alton Brown says “Just walk away.  Just…. walk away.”  No need for the hate, the meanness, the “always needing to be right”.  You’re right in your own little world and that should be all that matters.

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I know of very few women who raised, are raising or will be raising their kids the same way I did and am.  I don’t expect them to.  And you know what?  That’s…..

“Just fine.”

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Oh the places you’ll go and the people you’ll meet. February 15, 2014

Filed under: Boys,Broken/Repaired,Family,Hubby,Places,Random thoughts — blankenmom @ 11:56 pm
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February is a big month in our house – 3 birthdays.  And now that the first-born is out of the house, things are a bit different.  No sleep overs or parties for him.  But we did meet up half way to get dinner together.

 

Our trip wasn’t an easy one though – three broken tire chains and a usual 70 mph limit brought down to 30, chains or not.  I’m still trying to feel my finger tips from changing them so many times!  Turning a usual three-hour round trip into almost a six long hours.

 

tire chains

 

The snow was beautiful though and it was nice to get out and about and do something new.  And while purchasing *another* set of chains, the guy selling the next to last set to me asked me about my address – which frankly took me back a bit since we were 100 miles from where we live.  He asked again and then asked if we knew “Maria” in the off-white house.  I looked at him with surprise and he said “That’s my aunt!”

 

Our next door neighbor, in this super dinky town that we just moved to, is the aunt of the kid who was selling us our tire chains 100+ miles from home – because ours happen to break.

 

This isn’t my first experience with this however.  While living in “that house” the man at the jewelry store selling my oh-so-attractive utility hoops recognized our phone number.  It ended up, we were both from the same smallish town on the west coast and had both moved to the same ridiculously small town on the east coast AND we both worked in the same store.

 

Why is this important?

 

It’s not really I suppose, but it’s just fun to get out, get to know the people we interact with and see the connections we may have!

 

So glad we went out today – even though we probably shouldn’t have.

 

Happy Birthday to my dentist man, first and third-born!

 

 
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