Bad Kitty–A Poll

Bad Kitty wisely hiding after some horrible antic.  See the glowing eyes?  Pure naughtiness.

Bad Kitty lamely hiding after some wretched antic. See the glowing eyes? Pure wickedness, I tell you.

I have never been a cat person, but two of them have managed to sneak into our lives.  Cuddles:  sweet and loveable kitty (as long as she is fed–otherwise she will chew on you).  And Pearl:  pycho, naughty, in-heat-80%-of-her-life, aloof, skittish…well, you get the picture. 

My girls l-o-v-e these creatures, so getting rid of them is not an option (read that: much more trouble than keeping them).  HOWEVER, this last season of being in heat, Pearl became more than a little grouchy that she was not let outside to be her trampy little self.

The way she took out her frustration, was by spraying various assorted items in our home.  No one can tell me she didn’t know EXACTLY what she was doing, because the nature of the objects of her attention were very personal. 

Also, you must know that I have a Very Sensitive Nose and cannot, simply CANNOT, stand the smell of the litterbox, let alone the smell of any item rightfully belonging in the litterbox that finds itself elsewhere in my abode.  Seriously, I cannot handle it.  At all.

Indeed, this is where the poll comes in.  I will let you, my dear friends, decide which is the worst item for bad-kitty-spray:

Nasty.  Gross.  Disgusting.  Bad kitty.

Perhaps another poll might be necessary to decide what should be done with the nasty little beast that did all four in a Rampage of Pee-Scented Nastiness within 24 hours this past week. 


Trying to resist plotting my revenge.  I (briefly) considered throwing her into the laundry with the 16,000 tons of kittified laundry I had to do, but thought the better of it.  Besides, she’s too fast for me to catch her. 

Bad cat.


Filed under bad kitty, cats, children, family, humor, knitting, parenting, poll

Nasty Tooth Update

Well, the disgusting tooth teeth are finally out of one skull.

N surprised us by losing not only one, but two, teeth in one week. 

Personally, I think her motivation might have been a second round of tooth fairy cash, but who can really know the heart and motivation of another?

I tried, I really tried, to get a picture of her icky, gaping, former-molar-filled gums, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  Plus, the extraction site is so far back there, she was stretching her face out like The Joker.  So between her contortions and my weak stomach, all I have to show you is the yucky little extracted molars.

Molar 1

Molar 1

Molar 2

Molar 2


They are positioned right above/below each other, so I guess I should just be counting my blessings that she’s not trying to see what kinds of food she can squeeze through the sides of her clenched teeth at dinner.  I think it’ll be a while before we have mashed potatoes…(shhh…don’t give her any ideas!)

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Filed under blood, dislike, family, humor, loose tooth, parenting

Resellers, E-bayers, Craigslisters, Etsy-Gals and Garage Sale Divas, Pat Yourselves on the Back!


(photo credit)

With the help of you and people like you, “Save Small Business from the CPSIA” was voted one of top ten ideas for change by  As I understand it, these top ten ideas will be presented to president-elect Obama in an effort to encourage him to influence change in this over-reaching law that could effectively put an end to crafting and reselling handmade items for children. 

Some cool numbers:

  • This Cause was ranked in the top ten out of 7,847 ideas.  (Only the top ten get presented formally to the President).
  • There were 12,280 votes in the second round of voting by people out there just like you and me.  (Don’t ask me what happened in the first round, I came late to this party.  That’s a question.)
  • There are currently 474 endorsements by nonprofits and bloggers, including me and many of my readers.  (Woo Hoo, Go us!)

This work is far from over.  The law is already on the books and set to go into effect on February 10th.  The key here is to mobilize to effect change from this point forward. 

Text from the website informs us:

Over the next week we will be working with nonprofit sponsors for each idea, including 1Sky, Healthcare-NOW!, and The Peace Alliance, to craft national campaigns around each idea. In the meantime, we have opened discussion for how to most effectively turn each idea into a successful national campaign, and would love your suggestions.

There’s an area where you can make suggestions and give input regarding how/why handcrafted items should be an exception to the CSPIA’s prohibitively burdensome testing criteria.  If you’ve got a strong opinion about this whatsoever, I urge you to get involved, whether in this forum or another. 

We crafters and/or resellers are, in general, a pretty laid-back bunch of folks.  Usually, that kind of approach works just fine, thank you very much.  But please consider how this law would effect your ability and the ability of other crafters to make and distribute beautiful handmade items for children.  There is real (negative) impacton us with this legislation.  It’s likely that well-meaning elected officials didn’t consider how their vote for this messy law would effect people like you and me.  It’s not too late to let them know now.  Don’t wait.  Something can be done about this.

For more information on the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act, also known as HR 4040, click on the following links.  And thanks!

Text of the actual Act:

A similar post tailored to resellers will be posted on one of my other blogs, What the Craft?!, at

[EDIT:  Please note the first comment from Jon at Yes!  Congratulations Crafters! on What the Craft?!, which gives GREAT information and an important link to follow regarding (different site, folks!), which is another site you’ll want to explore, along with explanatory links.  Let’s stick together and get some stuff accomplished here!]

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Filed under Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act, CPSIA, creativity, ebay, economy, etsy, garage sale, government, handcrafted, handmade, hard times, HR4040, knitting, legislation, make a difference, resale, sewing, take action, urgent

Most Disliked Things…

I would have titled this “What I Hate the Most” or something stronger like that, but I’m really trying to discourage the use of  the h-word and I know that I gotta start with me first–after all, my kids read this blog!

Back to the topic.  I know that the number one fear is public speaking–it beats out snakes and death in most polls.  As for me, public speaking–love it.  Snakes–hate, dislike them intensely.  Death–would prefer to wait a good long while.

One thing is near the top of my Dislike List:  my kids’ blood. 

Now, normally I’m very calm and cool in an emergency situation, but when my kids are bleeding, the only way I have the Calm and Cool role is if I also am The Only Adult on the Premises.  If there’s another adult human around, capable of taking charge for a moment, I’m a mess.

What brought this up, you ask.  A major hockey injury?  No.  An unfortunate accident brought on by kid-like high energy?  Nope. 

Here it is:  A loose tooth. 

Both M and N  have a loose tooth right now.  And they both happen to know that I hate (oops there it is again) intensely dislike bloody tooth messes.  So of course, they are using whatever opportunity they have to twist and flip those little biters around. 

ACK!  I have been known to run literally in the opposite direction when they start into their teeth antics. 

Think about it:


(photo credit–not my kids’ mouth–I couldn’t get this close to their loose teeth without losing it.)

Grosser yet is the bloody hole left after the extrication process is complete.

Which is why in our house, some things are just Dad’s Job.  And for the two little (tooth-hanging-by-a-thread-wiggling-and-spinning-around-in-my-skull) angels in my home, their sad, pitiful cries of, “I’ve got a loose tooth–puh-leeeeeze help me!” are met with my super-mom response of, “Ack!  Go talk to your dad!”

It’s all about delegation, baby.


Filed under blood, children, dislike, family, fear, husband, loose tooth, motherhood, parenting

Thinking About Selling Kids’ Items on Ebay, Etsy or Your Next Garage Sale–Think Again

This little bear and what he stands for is VERY important to anyone who values making handmade items, or even giving or selling vintage or resale items to children:

Save Handmade Children's Items

Save Handmade Children's Items

Link to Really Important Information About the Concerns Regarding the New Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act

I first heard of this pending legislation today and, let me tell you, I’m very concerned.  Kudos to Kari for finding this button and the site that explains in layman’s terms the new Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act, or HR4040, which is the cause of serious concern. 

This act, which takes effect on February 10, 2009, places tremendously prohibitive and punitive requirements on sellers and resellers of children’s goods, including, but not limited to handmade items.   In addition to toys, clothing, furniture and books may also be effected. 

In the words of the email I received today:

HR4040 is a retroactive rule mandating that all items sold for use by children under 12 must be tested by an independent party for lead and phthalates, which are chemicals used to make plastics more pliable.

All untested items, regardless of lead content, are to be declared “banned hazardous products.” The CPSC has already determined the law applies to every child’s item on shelves, not just to items made beginning Feb. 10.

The regulations could force thousands of businesses; especially smaller ones that cannot afford the cost of lead testing; to throw away tons upon tons of children’s clothing, books, toys, furniture and other children’s items and even force them to close their doors. All of these items ending up where; landfills!

The ban of these items appears to extend beyond the retailer and could be construed to include shops, ebay sales, resale shops, flea markets, garage sales, thrift stores, pregnancy assistance clinics, hospitals, and gifts. 

This is appalling on its face, of course, but as we consider the dire predictions our president-elect made about our economy today, thift store, resale and garage sale shopping, in addition to making and using or gifting children’s items, could be the only way that many “ordinary” families (like ours) are able to survive this challenging economic season for our country.

More from the same email regarding the penalty phase of this legislation:

However, the HR404 has taken measures to such extremities that its effects may be more horrendous than its “good intentions”.  Estimates testing for each clothing article can run between $300 and $1,500. The Consumer Product Safety Commission said it may consider exempting clothing and toys made from natural materials such as wool or wood, but paint and dyes on the products are still required to be tested.  But seriously, what and how many kids’ articles are made of 100% wool or wood?  What kind of kid is going to wear a super-itchy 100% wool sweater?  Due to such costly testing, shops that sell used books may be forced to close their doors.  Second-hand, consignment , and thrift stores may be forced to close their doors.  Folks with home and on-line businesses that make specialty kids products may have to close down.  The act’s broad wording could extend to children’s items sold on eBay, Craig’s List, Amazon and even garage sales; also sources of income for many families.  February 10th, 2009 will be “National Bankruptcy” day.


This is a very, very serious situation for crafters and families of young children alike.  The folks at this link  give some GREAT action steps that you can take to make a difference.  

In addition to giving resources for contacting your representatives, they also encourage us to “vote for amending the law on, digg style:If it makes the top ten proposals, it will be presented to President Obama in January!” I urge you to click through and do you 60-second part to help ensure that this abysmal and harmful piece of legislation is NOT signed into law. 

Here is a link to the actual legislation.  It is 62-pages and I must disclose that I did not read every bit of it before passing this information along.  I will be reading it thoroughly and if after doing so, I believe that anything I’ve written here is in error, I will update with a correction immediately. 

But for now, please act quickly.  Time is of the essence if you want to maintain your rights to craft for kids, resell your rocking horse, or even donate that lightly-used coat to a needy child who would otherwise freeze after February 10th.

Note:  The majority of the content of this blog post also can be found at my blog, What the Craft?!.  Normally, I do not duplicate posts between blogs, but I considered this topic so vastly important to both the distinct and different readership, that I thought it merited appearing in both places.  Thanks for your understanding.

 EDIT:  The Consumer Products Safety Commission has a link on their website that gives some clarification as to the intention and enforcement of the CPSIA.  The key, I think, especially important if you make a living selling crafts or resale items, would be to look to the actual language of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.  If there was ever a question of interpretation, the Act would be looked to first.  Be informed of the whole picture–especially if this is part of the way you feed your family.
And Melissa, thanks so much for the update and the link!  🙂


And a link to an LA Times article discussing HR4040  (thanks Ann)–it seems there may be improvements for resellers, but I still can’t see how those who handcraft children’s items are protected with these revisions/clarifications.  I’m could be missing something.  Or it could just be that the resellers are screaming louder about the effects of this than the crafters.  Stay informed! 


Filed under christian, Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act, CPSIA, creativity, ebay, economy, etsy, garage sale, government, handcrafted, handmade, hard times, HR4040, knitting, legislation, resale, sewing, take action, urgent

“Helpful” Husband



 (photo credit)

About a week ago, my husband came home from a lengthy hospital stay, where he’d had two surgeries and about a billion tests.  It’s minimizing it to say that he’s not out of the woods yet, but he is home and getting stronger, and trying find ways to be helpful.

Now, on day one, he folded a couple towels and then needed a long afternoon nap.  So there’s a benefit for us to be able to see his stamina increase as he tries to do a little bit more every day.

This was all wonderfully encouraging until he decided to get helpful with the coffee.  Those of you who know me know that I’m basically a highly caffeinated person.  Busy homeschoolmom, lots of responsibilities inside and outside the home–I’ve certainly come to appreciate my mug (or two, or three, or…) of coffee in the morning and throughout the day.

Enter:  the helpful husband.  In his defense, when you’re recovering from complicated abdominal (gallbladder) surgery, lifting a big coffee pot of water above your waist and pouring it isn’t a picnic.  But to my knowledge, this condition has yet to affect one’s brains and eyes…

You may be guessing what happened.  For the last couple days, I’ve been uncharacteristically exhausted.  I’ve had headaches and been grouchy–even for me.  I’ve craved chocolate (not usually my thing–I’m more a salty-greasy gal as far as cravings go, to my chagrin).  Seriously, I was starting to get concerned.  I am usually the last one to feel bad and I was feeling really bad.

So this morning I pad down to the kitchen in my jammies and pour myself a cup of coffee (did I mention it had started tasting a little different several days ago?).  And then it dawns on me:  I check the bag of beans and sure enough, it’s not the bag of beans with the red Christmas tree, it’s the bag of beans with the GREEN Christmas tree.

Every coffee drinker knows what green means:  DECAF! 

As calmly as possible, I sweetly asked my helpful husband (hereinafter referred to as HH), “Honey, have you been using the tall bag of beans on the top shelf when you’ve made coffee.” 

HH: (proudly) Why yes, I sure have.

Me:  Well that explains it.

HH:  Explains what?

Me:  Honey, that coffee is decaf. 

[Long pause while HH stares at me and ponders the gravity of this offense.]

HH:  (bursting into uncontrollable laughter)  Oh, I’m so sorry. HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Children joining in:  HAHAHAHAHA!  Go Dad! 

Me:  Such sympathy for my plight.  Don’t we have some Folgers buried somewhere in that cabinet?

So the mystery of why I’d been feeling so lousy has been solved.  I’d been POISONED with decaf.  There is a time and a place for decaf.  I like it (sorta).  I even bought this particular bag of decaf in a misguided hope that at one point at least the second pot of the day would be unleaded.  But I never (repeat, NEVER), imagined that this decaf would be the only daily dose of coffee. 

Now really, I know there are far weightier matters than a few decaffeinated days.  And they are much easier to focus on this side of a fully-leaded cup of coffee.  For now, I’m thrilled that the mystery has been solved and I can get on to bigger and more important things.

HH and children: (still giggling)  HeeHeeHee.  Us too!


Filed under children, coffee, family, helpful, husband

Knit Together

This was a favorite post from 2008.  A warm, fuzzy way to start 2009.  Enjoy!
Several years ago, my grandma patiently tried to teach me to knit. I was usually too busy to sit still long enough to learn the craft that she spent so many years enjoying and sharing with others. But from time to time, I’d still myself and she was always willing to start over with me as soon as I slowed down enough from my frantic pace. Those moments with her were times I really treasure, especially now that she’s passed away.

After she died, I decided to sit down and really teach myself to knit, as a way of honoring her and (considering it in retrospect) probably as a way to work through my own grief. My first project was a holey pink square which quickly became a stuffed duckie’s blankie and my second was a mini-poncho that had started out as a simple rectangle gone bad, that became a stuffed bear’s first garment (which pleased my children to no end). If I can find these atrocious treasures, I’ll post pics of them here–good for a laugh, but little else!

Since then, I’ve knitted sweaters and scarves and mittens and hats and dishcloths. My last project was definitely the most difficult of all: Socks. Well, Sock, to be exact, because the second one isn’t finished yet.

You’d never know from looking at your sock drawer what goes into knitting a sock (I sure didn’t), but I decided it would be a worthy adventure.

What I didn’t know is that knitting socks is something like knitting with giant toothpicks (four or five double pointed needles) and dental floss (skinny skinny skinny yarn).

After many false starts, at last, I got it going. Socks progress at an excruciatingly slow pace (mine sure did!), but it has been fun to celebrate each little victory as I master something new!

After hours and hours (seriously, hours) of effort–at last–my first sock!

I’m resisting the urge to frame it and I’m making another one so that I can snuggle up in them this winter. The kids and Brad have already put in orders for theirs as well! (At my current pace, eight year-old should get hers about the same time as her driver’s license, but it’s still fun and, believe it or not, quite a stress-reliever.)

My children now have taken up an interest in knitting and crocheting as well, so we’ve been having quite the time teaching, learning, and creating together.

As for me, I consider myself blessed to have the chance to slow down with them and create some memories with them like my treasured ones with my grandma–those memories that will last long after my sock masterpieces wear out.

And then there are those life lessons that are learned through this creative process:

Sometimes more is gained from slowing down than from running harder.

Every big project starts with that first stitch.

Take time to spend with your parents and grandparents and children in a quiet, “agenda-free” setting.  Those are the times you’ll remember most when they’re not with you.

Things worth having are worth working for.

A teensy slip-up, ignored and not fixed, can turn into a great big hole and a nasty mess down the road.

It’s easier to fix a problem right away than to wait until later.

If something’s a real mess, sometimes it’s best to rip it out and start over from the beginning.

Enjoy both your results and every stitch of the journey to get there.

Finish well.

Homemade really is better.

Read the instructions.

Don’t panic when you realize you’ve messed up.  Stay calm and think it through and you’re on the way to fixing the problem.

Listen to advice from those that know more than you.

When Grandma says, “I can fix it, honey,”  chances are she really can.

When God said He knit you together in your mother’s womb, He didn’t use a knitting machine.  He did it stitch by stitch, purposefully and full of love.  And He didn’t make a single mistake.  (Here’s where He said that.)

Thanks, Grandma.

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Filed under christian, encouragement, faith, family, God, Jesus, knitting, life lessons