Thursday, December 4, 2014

New Direction

New Direction? No I'm not a groupie for that all boy band that the youth of our time is so nuts about these days.

I'm going to switch direction a little bit with this Blog. I'm having a hard time finding creative moments to make and share much these days, so I haven't had anything worthy of posting. However, an opportunity came up for my husband a month ago to work a conference in Switzerland. We leave tomorrow for a 12 day, no-kid trip!

My hope is to be able to post about our trip each day... We'll see how it goes. Thanks for following along on our international adventure!

Saturday, November 8, 2014


My husband and I went out on a date night. Parker doesn't like to have babysitters because he says "I don't like having a stranger in the house when I'm sleeping." But we talk him through it and he's fine while we're away. When we got home, we found this on our bed:

"Thank you for what you have done for me and Paige. I know how hard it is to watch Coo-Coo Bird and me at the same time. I think it is time for some appreciation for you and Dad. Here are some bucks to appreciate you."
Just when I feel like I want to throw in the towel and quit my parenting job (mainly because Paige is at a difficult 2-3 age phase), he goes and does something like this. So grateful for this 7 year old boy in my life. He's so observant, bright, and tender-hearted.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I Admit It: Me No Likey Blogging

I think I've decided that I don't like blogging very much - sad but true! I've tried to keep up with it over a few years time... but I just don't think I'm comfortable with blogging:

  1. I'm a private person. And I'm introverted. I'm uncomfortable with the idea of having the general public peeking in on me, even though I'm the one controlling the content. (Plus I've been getting really weird spam comments on my blog with absurd links attached.)
  2. It doesn't enrich my personal life. Every time I sit down at the computer, whether I'm paying a bill, writing an email, editing pictures, ordering something online, etc, I feel like I'm ignoring my family. As much as I do like writing and expressing myself, it's not as fulfilling as I hoped it would be.
  3. Content is difficult. (and editing photos is time consuming) Finding something new and interesting even once a month, let alone 1-2x a week is tough! I'm a Stay At Home Mom... it's really not that exciting. I prefer quality over quantity. Every once in a while when I have time to make something I think is nifty, I post it. But I'm not going to write any ol' blog post just to keep it up-to-the-minute current.
  4. The pressure to "keep up with the Jones's" is just so disheartening to me. Granted, it's pressure I put on myself by comparing myself to others - but I stopped reading blogs almost a year ago because I just felt like everyone else was a turbo-accomplishing, professionally photographed, gourmet cooking, unbelievably creative Super Mom with 5 kids and no nanny with weekly giveaways from blog sponsors. I loathe all this over-abundance of content and social media'ing with the twittering, pintresting, instagramming... uh oh. Do I sound old now? Crap. If you love it and can do it - great. I just can't be doing all that for pity's sake.
  5. My "job" is overwhelming. I'm able to manage, but I mostly feel like I'm hanging on by a thread every day surviving the demand from my kids, their activities, the household/car/yard, daily chores/maintenance, food/cooking/baking/cleaning, haircuts, birthdays, holidays, poopy diapers, errands, the animals... (deep breath) And my loving husband works A LOT - it's the nature of his job and I'm okay with that because he loves what he does. But it means that I do everything else - and I mean EVERYTHING. There's no 50/50 going on here, no weekends off, no evenings free. With that said, writing blog posts is so way totally low on my to-do list - I rarely even go out at night with girlfriends or even rarer, out with my husband on a date.
  6. My sewing space is my sanctuary, but... I see it maybe 3 hours a month. Maybe? It's so "for sad" (as the Minnesotans would say). It's heavenly and therapeutic for me to be in this space and be creative. But I'm so tired at the end of the day when I might have a smidgen of free time, that I just want to have a glass of wine and hit the hay. Basically, if I choose to sew, document, and blog with my free time, then I don't see my husband at all. And I kinda like him...a lot.
Right Side of My Sewing Space: fabric stash, machines, thread, reference books, notions...

Left Side of My Sewing Space: more fabric stash (!), cutting area, laminated fabrics, iron/board, dress form...

My Sewing Space: the whole kit and caboodle... mostly organized

Initially I started the blog to support my Etsy shop, but I found the Esty shop to be a hard balance between half of the people wanting a custom made item with a theme in mind and half of the people wanting something to buy right away. Premium/designer fabric prices have gone from $6/yd to $12/yd - doubling in price over the last few years - so does that mean I make my $40 blankets now $80? How can I justify THAT? Anywhoo - I didn't know how to keep that balance.... so now I'm mostly selling off fabric overflow and making custom orders for friends.

I really like the name Ginger Freckle and I'll keep the blog for now. But maybe I just need to rethink how to use it? (should I focus on one thing? only personal stuff? only business stuff? only sewing? tutorials? Or maybe just doing the Ginger Freckle facebook page is enough for me?)  I think about this question every day... but haven't found the right answer yet.

I just felt like I had to explain to my peoples out there that this is why you don't hear much from my blog anymore. I'm not trying to be a terd-burglar about it. I'm not mad or trying to stick it to anyone or make excuses or whine or crap on the world of bloggers - I'm just being honest about where I'm at with Ginger Freckle. Ah, thank you.

So until I have the answer or another inspiring completed project to share... enjoy being outside in this warm summer weather with friends and family! Toodles!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Paigey-doo The Flower Girl

My sister is getting married in a few weeks on the beach in Grand Turk (too exciting!) and "Paigey-doo" (as she refers to herself) is going to be the Flower Girl! Her colors are a deep coral and a sort-of caribbean jade. I couldn't decide which color would look best on her, so I made her TWO!

My dress is the caribbean jade color; the flowers will be coral; the groom is wearing a polished cotton khaki suit. Which do you think works best? Have Paige's dress coordinate with my dress (I'm the only bridesmaid) so that the flowers pop; or have Paige be part of the pop? I'm going to have to make 2 ties for Parker (ring bearer) to coordinate because I just can't decide!

TEAL? (McCalls Pattern #M6015):


CORAL? (The Cottage Mama's Free Party Dress Pattern):

Sneak Preview to help you decide:

Decisions... Decisions... What do you think?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

I Have Turned Into My Mother

Ugh! I swear. I've officially turned into my mother. I'm scatter brained, way too busy to get everything done to the point where I'm heating up leftover dinners every day, and have been volunteering out the wazoo at my son's school. I feel bad about not writing here but more than once every few months or so... but something's gotta give! I just can't be staying up until 1am to get everything done and I certainly can't function off of 5-6 hours of sleep every day.

First school started. And I thought that would bring a sense of normalcy and schedule. Not really. Just more coming and going several times a day.

Then there was fall baseball with Parker. That means practices and weekend games from Aug - Oct (2013).

Then some custom blanket orders came in that I had to finish.

Then I organized a bake sale to raise money for my son's school (over $750!) and we were able to get our first black drama drape for school performances with some of the money. Super exciting!

Then the in-laws came for a 12-day visit. Don't even get me started with that one.

Then I headed up a wrapping paper fundraiser for my son's school - raised over $1250 with that!

Then I coordinate hot lunch every month - contacting volunteers, cooking it , decorating the room, serving it, cleaning up...

And then? Box Tops for Education were due, my sister got engaged (YAY!)... AND then there's Halloween where I made costumes for all four of us ... I totally bit off more than I could chew. But it rained on Halloween and my husband worked until 9pm, so only the kids dressed up. Bummer.

AND THEN? My husband surprised me with a surprise 40th birthday trip to Napa where 16 of our friends from around the country joined us. It was the best trip of my life! He did an phenomenal job hiding the trip from me and planning all 4 days out. I could do an entire post on how awesome this trip was!

Then I got home... a week later, totaled my car with the kids in it - a guy ran a red light and t-boned us. He didn't even come over to see if we were okay. Jerk. It was horribly scary. But that meant rental car, shopping for a new car, buying a new car, buying new car seats, all before Thanksgiving.

Then there was Thanksgiving, another hot lunch, getting ready for the holidays, and yes, people, another 12-day visit from the inlaws for Christmas. I crap you negative. And I had another custom memory quilt to finish up!

Meanwhile, both kids manage to get sick and were on antibiotics,

I couldn't stop though... I had to get over 100 Christmas cards mailed, make 6 pans of toffee, 6 pans of fudge, wrap gifts, move the dang elf every night, make everything for Christmas dinner, attend a handful of holiday events... and on and on and on until New Years morning where I could finally, FINALLY, sit in my freaking pajamas ALL DAY.

I haven't watched TV in over 4 months, my DVR is full and has deleted all sorts of shows and movies and I'm hanging on by a thread.

I keep reminding myself that I'm lucky to be able to stay home where I can live such a full and crazy-go-nuts life. I'm certainly not complaining one bit except for the fact that this all seems to be a lot like my own mother. Crap! (and she says "crap" all the time, too!) Ack! I'm turning into her!!!

Anywhoo. I suppose this post is more for family and friends. So Happy Halloween, Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Birthday to Me, Merry Christmas, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Weekend RV Rental

That's right. You heard me. We rented an RV a few weekends ago. Not just any RV - we went all in with the Cruise America RV! I crap you negative. Billboard on the side and all. To complete the rental, we had to sit through a 20 minute video - and it took over an hour to review everything and sign paperwork. For crying out loud. I was ticked as Paige scattered every brochure in the rental office and tried to climb on the chairs and on top of the gumball machine.

How did we get ourselves into this, you ask? Well, we have friends who own an RV and they use it often in the summer. In the fall they go to La Crosse, WI for the weekend. My Dad is from that area; I know it well. So I figured, why not just go for it? Afterall, when in Rome...    Plus it's Apple Fest in neighboring La Crescent, MN (my Dad's hometown), ah' course, don't cha' know, darn tootin', complete with a 5k and parade. Who would want to miss that for cry pete? Nobody! That's who! This also means we can stop in at Bauer's and get a huge supply of fancy apples.

So here we are. And there we were. Livin' the dream. Ahhh geez.

It really is a beautiful area in the fall. Regardless of this picturesque fact, Paige didn't sleep well, which meant I didn't sleep well. Parker thought the entire weekend was the bomb diggity (translation: "the best vacation EVER!"). Eric was mad he wasn't at home watching football. I was just happy that we were able to stop in and see my Grandpa's neighbor, "Linda the Lady Next Door" as we like to call her.

The highlight for us was finding a small brewery to stop into called Pearl Street Brewery located inside an old rubber factory in La Crosse. It was just like Colorado to us with the ability to meet the owners and taste all the beers. I highly recommend stopping in if you're ever in the area. Super yummy beers, plus you get complimentary pretzels and spiced mustard. Bonus.

In summary though, the 4 hour drive up and back each way was a little rough in the RV - and Paige barfed all over the darn floor of the thing from being car sick. Fun times. We stopped at a rest area to clean it up only to witness a truck driver taking a whizz in between his cab and truck. Classy.

Also, the cost was absolutely RIDICULOUS for a weekend trip - over $800 for the rental and gas alone. Totally not worth it. Plus it took me over 2 hours to clean out the darn thing on a Sunday night when we returned, including scraping all the bugs off the front (required) - I had to use a ladder to get that high. Next time, we'll tent it! GEEZ.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Summer of Firsts

We usually plan trips out the wazoo every summer, but this summer I decided to actually stick around Illinois and plan a Summer of Firsts. I asked myself, what haven't I tried to do around where I live? (brace yourself, this post is wordy and picture-y)

1) Bike Rides: we actually have a bike trail along a river near us that I've never been on. Why? Because I didn't have a gol' dang bike, that's why! I was lucky enough to get a bike for mother's day and a friend loaned me a baby bike trailer, so we did a handful of trips along the Fox River and stopped at our favorite frozen custard shop or a cute coffee shop for treats.
my sweet ride

Paige in tow

2) Azoosement: A small children's amusement park (good for ages 3-9), also has a petting zoo. Parker, the mild at heart, gets jiggy with some feeble kiddie rides. This is a nice, well maintained place worth 1-2 visits in the summer for sure.
Here's Parker, not looking so feeble . . .;postID=6986183387650002484;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=0;src=link
. . . and here's Parker looking totally feeble. He loves squeezing him into some feeble kiddie rides. They go around... and around... and around... at 0.025 MPH

3) Morton Arboretum: LOVE this place. Beautiful and the food is good - bonus points for that. Rode bikes around the grounds and let the kids wade in the bubbling brook in the children's garden afterward. (been here before, but never have ridden bikes) I'm a crazy garden-lover so this is a great place to check out how local plants grow.
Entrance to the Children's Garden

We went with some of Parker's school friends - great way to cool off on such a hot day!

4) Rockford Children's Museum: Best children's museum in the Chicago area, hands down. I've been here before, but my husband hasn't and since he always misses out on fun kid stuff, I planned this in when he could go. You really could spend a full day here.

Paige loves playing inside cars... or really anything with a steering wheel

Such a fantastic outdoor area to play in

5) Key Lime Cove: an indoor water park and hotel near us. Soooo totally midwestern (I think? because I've lived on both coasts and never came across these) and a very icky concept to me. Gives me the wiggy-wiggy's just thinking about it. But people around here seem to love them some waterparks. Don't even get me started on The Dells (if you're from IL, MN or WI, you know all about this area). But I figured if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, so I gave it the ol' college try. It wasn't all that terrible and it was very convenient with a 1 year old in tow. And I have to admit the food was good.
Parker friggin' loved this place.
...and Paige was obsessed with the birdy-birdy mascot

6) Starved Rock: All of our 1 trip away for one weekend. I've heard about this area for 8 years, finally went. Fantastical! Great hiking trails, neat caverns to see, good food at the lodge, friendly staff. Such a great getaway in beautiful, natural surroundings. Hard to believe it's just outside of Chicago!

Paige loves backpacking in the Ergo - I grocery shop with her like this; otherwise, she climbs out of the shopping cart

hiking trail behind the lodge

He's so my son. LOVE IT. You should see his dancing moves, yo.

7) Chicago Botanic Gardens: I have wanted to go here ever since we moved to the Chicago area. Finally went. OMG. Loved it. Became a member. There is so much to see and we need to go back again and again. And, yes, the food was so good!
So cute. She was such a trooper walking around looking at bugs and sniffing flowers

super cool miniature train area

butterfly pavilion

8) Milwaukee Zoo: The best zoo near Chicago for sure, hands down. Very woodsy and clean. Easy to get around and not overly crowded. The food isn't very good and the seal show was lame-ooo, but still - this zoo beats the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Brookfield Zoo for me.
My parents came with - they even became a zoo member!

9) Six Flags Great America: creepsville. But Parker earned a free ticket through some reading thing at school, so I was forced to go due to child pressure. Next year I will have to lose that free ticket. Maybe I was just sad because I couldn't go on the super awesome roller coaster rides and had to watch Parker go on the feeb rides again. The food was awful and they nickel and dime you every time you turn around (parking $25, locker $17, pizza $9 - it was so frustrating!)

If you haven't guessed it by now - the green hat is his favorite. It's the summer of the green monster hat I guess.

Parker's first roller coaster ride - you can see the nerves behind the fake smile. He loved it though - it was the highlight of the day!
10) Three Oaks Recreation Area: saved the bestest for lastest. This place is like paradise in your own back yard! How did I not visit this area sooner!?! There's a splash pad and water playground, a grassy knoll to relax on, clean sand to play in, the lake water is warm and crystal clear, there are 7 lifeguards, a clean locker room, and a mini-Culvers. Plus you can rent paddle boards, canoes, kayaks, and paddle boats! It costs a few sheckles to get in, but it's so worth it. I'd spend every day of the summer here if I could.

splash pad / playground area

In between all of this, Parker went to... I'm embarrassed to say... EIGHT CAMPS. Camps around here only last 1 week and some of them are for a mere 2 hours a day. Super Lame. So I just signed him up the wazoo because he doesn't have neighborhood friends to play with and I can only coordinate so many play dates in a summer to keep a 6 year old occupied while trying to maintain a 1 year old's nap schedule.

Zoo camp! Green hat!
...and all this in between tee ball games, trampoline park visits, sprinkler time, Steve Martin concert, family visits, splash pads, birthday parties, BBQ's, outdoor concerts... WHEW! Busy summer but a great summer for shizzle.

So that's a summary of our Summer of Firsts. I feel good about meeting my goal of seeing everything I could around where I live this summer. Mission accomplished!