Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spring Cleaning

I decided that the kids have WAY to many toys. It was time to purge.

So, we brought ALL the toys out of the kid's rooms, and the play room, and made a big pile. It was worse than I thought.

We pulled out FOUR garbage bags full of toys that are going to get rid of.
We'll be having a yard sale next week!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

How to make a transparent background using The Gimp

This is Part 2 of my tutorial - be sure to read Part 1 here.

After you have created a layer mask, and made the background of your image white, you will have something similar to this:

Now, you say "that's great! I have a white background. But, what if I want the background to be transparent? What if I want to use this image as part of a logo? Or as an icon on a web page?"
There are lots of different reasons to want a transparent background.

Here's how!

Open your gimp file (.XRF format) that was created in Part 1

1. Type CTRL + L to bring up the Layers window

2. Click on the "Mask" layer to select it. Right click and make sure there is a check mark next to "Edit Layer Mask".

3. In the Image window, click Colors --> Invert to invert the layer mask.

4. Type CTRL + C to Copy the Mask.

5. Type CTRL + L to bring up the Layers window again. Right click on the "Background" layer. Click "Add Layer Mask".

6. Select "Layer's Alpha Channel" and "Invert Mask".

7. Type CTRL + V to paste the layer.

8. Click the "Anchor" button the anchor the layer.

9. Now, right click on the "Mask" layer and click "Delete Layer".

10. Finally, click on the "Drop Shadow" layer. Right click and select "Merge Down".

That's it! You can now copy this image onto whatever background you wish!

Be sure to save your file as .PNG or .GIF for the transparency to work.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

EtsyBaby Story Time Challenge

The EtsyBaby Team came up with another challenge! This month the theme is "Story Time". We can choose any children's story and make our own interpretation of it.
I brainstormed about this one for quite a while. I tried to think of some of my favorite stories from my childhood, as well as ones that my own children enjoy.

One of the first ideas I had was Aslan the Lion from The Chronicles of Narnia. This was my first thought because my son and I have been reading the series together for several months and we really like it. (We were given a VERY nice book with the complete series for Christmas. Thank you Gavin and Callie!)
But, I found a few issues with this idea. First, I already have a lion in my shop, so it would be basically the same as what I'd done before, just with different fabrics. Second, I didn't think I could really do the character justice. He is a very majestic, very important individual, and as he is obviously a parallel of Christ, I didn't think it would quite be appropriate.

The next idea I has was for Corduroy the bear from the book by Don Freeman. I remember loving this story of the little bear in green overalls. It is such a sweet story with a happy ending. But again, I didn't think it was quite right. Teddy bears are pretty common, and I wasn't quite sure how a Zady teddy bear would work. Plus, I would need green corduroy (of course) and I didn't have any on hand. (I could have gone shopping for some, but with three kids, that's a bit of a challenge in itself!)

I continued to make a list of stories so that I could narrow it down to the one that was "just right".

Finally, I decided on Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. This is a great story made even better by the colorful, creative illustrations. This is one of my all-time favorites from my childhood, and I love reading it to my children now.

If you've never read the book, it's about a boy named Max who is sent to his bed without his supper after "making mischief of one kind, and another". He then travels to his own magical world of "Wild Things" who make him their king. Max eventually gets lonely among the Wild Things and wants to return to where "someone loves him best of all".
The Wild Things tell him "Oh please don't go! We'll eat you up, we love you so!". But Max says "No."
I think the Wild Things are so sweet! So I made one!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sick, Sick, Sick

We have been sick at our house. It seems like it has been weeks since everyone has been well!
Ady was the first one. She had an ear infection and bronchitis.
The it was Zander's turn. He also had an ear infection and a very bad cough.
Then Daddy got it.
My husband has Crohn's disease. So, he basically has a non-functional immune system. When he gets sick, he gets SICK!
So, his symptoms were much worse than the kid's. After about 48 hours of not being able to keep any fluids in him, he asked me to take him to the ER Monday night. Thankfully, we have some wonderful friends that were willing to take care of the kids while we went. But, I didn't think I could leave the baby since I'm nursing, so she came along.
After about 6 hours of poking, prodding and lots of tests, they finally decided to admit him to the hospital. He was extremely dehydrated, and barely functional.
So, for the next 3 days, our life revolved around the hospital. Due to the threat of RSV, children 12 and under are not allowed to visit patients in the hospital. That meant that any time I wanted to be with my husband, I had to find someone to watch the kids. Again, I am SO very grateful to have such wonderful friends that were willing to help when I needed them! THANK YOU!
Brandon finally came home on Thursday afternoon. He is better than he was, but still doesn't have much energy and is recovering. I'm hoping he'll be able to go back to work tomorrow.

Just when we thought the worst was over... last night the baby woke up with a fever of 101.5. Since she is only two months old, I was pretty concerned. I called the on-call nurse with our pediatrician's office and she recommended that I take her to the ER. Not what I wanted to hear.
I took her to Phoenix Children's Hospital. They were very good. They got us admitted right away, and moved us into a separate waiting room so that we didn't have to worry about all the other bugs floating around with the other kids there.
They said that since she is so young, and her fever was so high, they needed to do blood and urine tests to check for infections. Plus, her nose was VERY congested, so they wanted to clean that out to help her breathe better.
Two nurses came into the room to "torture" my child. I know it was for the best, but it was still hard to watch. She cried. A lot. So did I.
They didn't find anything serious. They said it's a fairly common viral infection, but it can be pretty scary in such a little one. They gave her Tylenol to bring the fever down and sent us home.
It was 5am when I got back home.
I don't think I've had a decent night's sleep in weeks.

Here's my little girl with her first Zadyball. I made it when I found a little bit of time among all the craziness.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Crazy Day

I've had a crazy day yesterday. I took Zander to school at 9, then I went visiting teaching at 10. It was really nice as we finally got to meet with a couple sisters that have been on our route for a few months, a grandmother and her granddaughter who live together. It was good to finally meet them. I couldn't stay long though because I had a meeting with Zander's speech therapist at 10:30.
That was pretty good. It was basically just to tell me that he's making progress, but since it's only been a couple months since they started working with him, they feel that he needs more help. They wanted to complete the paperwork so that he can continue to receive assistance next school year. I asked what will happen if I send him to a different school. They told me that it will be the responsibility of the district that we send him to, but I can take all the paper work that they have already completed so that he won't need to be retested. I guess that's a good thing.
That meeting only lasted until 11:00. Zander usually doesn't get out of school until 11:30. His teacher told me that I was welcome to come back to the classroom and sign him out a little early. He was just finishing up snack time, and wouldn't miss out on much. So, I thought that would be fun for him. He was excited to have Ady see his classroom and his friends, but when I took him to leave before everyone else, he had a little breakdown. His teacher was getting a handout ready, but didn't have it printed yet, so he didn't get one. (She told me what was on it though - just info that they have spring break next week, so no school).
But, he was SO upset that he didn't get a paper, that he refused to leave. He sat outside the classroom and started throwing a fit. I had my hands full with two little girls, so I was trying to talk to him. I thought if I started walking away, he might come. But, as I walked towards the door, the teacher who's class he was SUPPOSED to have been in (we switched him out at the advise of our friends) came flying out of her classroom with a terrible look on her face. She grabbed him by the arm and dragged him over to me, yelling at him for not doing what his mother said. She asked if I wanted her to walk with us to the door. I told her "NO THANK YOU". I'm sure she thought she was helping, but the way she did it was awful! I'm SO glad he's not in her class! (THANK YOU Heidi and Jen!)
Anyway, after all that, we went home to have lunch. Ady refused to eat anything and went and lay down on the couch. She had been sick off and on since at least Sunday, so I took her temperature. It was 103.5. I gave her some Tylenol and called the doctor's office. The nurse I talked to told me that they didn't have any openings, but since it had been going on for so long, I should get her to Urgent Care. So, I loaded up the three kids and off we went.
The baby was crying, and the two big kids both each had to use the bathroom twice while we were waiting to be called. (so fun). When she finally was seen by the doctor, we found out that she has bronchitis and an ear infection. She has wheezing in her lungs, so they had her do a breathing treatment to try to help it. That took about 10 minutes, and Zander was jealous that HE didn't get to do it too. (sheesh) Zander threw another fit about that -- and I was ready to send them all to bed by the time we got home. They sent us home with three different prescriptions: one for the ear infection, one for the congestion, and one to try to help the rash she's had for nearly 2 months (I hope it works!). I don't like drugging my kids, but she's been so miserable for the last several days, I really want to help her get better!

She seems to be feeling much better today. Zander is off school for the next eleven days, so I need to come up with some fun things to keep us all from going crazy.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Baby Blessing

My parents came and stayed with us for a few days. It was very nice. They live about 1000 miles away, so my kids don't get to spend much time with them. I was very glad that they were able to come.
They met us Saturday afternoon at Brandon's parent's house where were had a nice, late lunch. It's not very often that the kids are with all of their grandparents - and even some great-grandparents - all at the same time!

Ainzlee was blessed on Sunday. It was very special.

We found some fun new things to do on Monday. I searched on Google for "free kids activities in Phoenix" and found out there there are a couple of places that offer free tours for kids. The first one was Ceretta Candy Company in Glendale. They have a tour of their chocolate factory twice a day at 10am and 1pm. They also give free samples. Yum! We (me, my parents, and the kids) went to the 10am tour.
Then, we met Brandon for lunch at his favorite Mexican restaurant - Carolina's. The place is not much to look at, and it's not in the best part of town, but the food is delicious!
After that, Brandon and my dad decided to catch a spring training game, so my mom and I took the kids to another free tour at Stuffington Bear Company (every day at 1pm). We learned that there are only two teddy bear factories left in all the United States, and this is one of them, right here in Phoenix! It was pretty neat to see what goes in to making teddy bears. They actually sew them all with sewing machines, right there! Pretty neat!

It was a really fun time, and we had a good time together.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Potty Training Update

It's been two weeks since we officially started potty training. So, I thought I'd give a little update.
I'd like to say that everything is going perfect, no more accidents, blah blah blah. But, that's just not the case.
I can say that things have gotten better. Accidents have decreased. Pee accidents are actually pretty rare. She's even started going without me telling her too. (Awesome!)
But, poop on the other hand....
I'm not really sure how to get her to realize when she has to go. And, I almost think that she when she does go in her pants, it's to get back at me for making her do something she doesn't want to do. It usually happens at naptime and bed time. Last night, I asked her why she pooped in her panties (this was 15 minutes after I put her to bed and she had been crying, "I don't want to go to bed!".) She answered "because I wanted you." Nice.
She went during naptime yesterday too. And tried to clean it up herself. By wiping it on the wall. REALLY gross.

I was really hoping to have all this taken care of BEFORE this weekend. My parents are coming to visit for Ainzlee's blessing. They will be staying in Ady's bedroom which will need to be sanitized. I'll try to get that done. Sorry Mom & Dad.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

EtsyBaby Spring Fling - Time to Vote!

I mentioned a week or so ago that the EtsyBaby team is having a Spring Fling Challenge. Well, all the entries are now in, and it's time to vote!
I'm not asking you to vote for my bunny (although you can if you want to). I really don't think it's the best entry. (I won't tell you which one is my favorite, but I hope it wins!)
Please go look at all these talented creations and vote for whichever one you think is best!

Monday, March 2, 2009

I like to be a winner

There are lots of giveaways out there on the Internet, and every once in a while, I'll enter one. I think that I am a pretty lucky person, because I've won some recently.

Back in October, I was lucky enough to win this Little Princess onesie from My Baby Bump Maternity from the 3 Kids and Us Blog. I got a larger size so that my princess can wear it when she gets a little bit bigger!

Several weeks ago, I entered a contest I saw on Twitter for Baby Banz. These are such a cute idea! Sun glasses for babies! I figured, I'm in Phoenix, and we like to go swimming in the summer, so these are a must have, right?! I got to pick what style I wanted, so I went with the pink, of course!

And most recently, on my birthday in fact (aka President's Day), I was browsing the Etsy Forums and came across a fun post from krispybanana. She was giving away a cute bib to the first person to guess her daughter's "presidential" middle name. I was the first to guess "McKinley" - and I was right!
So, I got this adorable bib in the mail! I can't wait to use it in a few months!

Thank you for the wonderful giveaways!