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Unfinished

I am undoubtedly affected by rain. When it comes in its figurative sense, I say find some yellow rain boots and go kick your heels in it. Literally, however, it makes me want to take a nap. And I’ve lost count of how many consecutive afternoons it’s rained now. Come 3:00, ominous clouds cluster overhead and shadow our home with complete idleness. In the last few weeks, I’ve started a couple essays, a home project, a closet overhaul, two to-do lists and a new calendar system for activities, but they all remain unfinished thanks to the weather. Any other time I would feel unsettled, but gray afternoons tend to be so forgiving of procrastination.

In our idleness this weekend, we enjoyed:

Saturday Morning Pancakes. Lainey’s kitchen independence has taken a leap. She can measure, stir and pour with no help. I also found out this weekend that she can change Nella’s diaper, take off her pajamas, redress her in a completely new outfit and do her hair in pigtails, all by herself. And Nella lets her.

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The Return to Crochet. It seems very fitting with the rain. And I like the way my brain thinks–or doesn’t–while I’m lost in counting stiches.

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Quiet Time. It’s like they just know. As if cued by the rain, the girls run off to find quiet things to do. Crafting and coloring, dolls and play kitchen. Or cutting up strips of paper and taping 100 of them to various hidden locations in the house. It happened.

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Kitchen Help. My least favorite job happens to be Nella’s favorite–emptying the silverware basket in the dish washer. She passes utensils (sans knives, of course) one by one, waiting for us to say “thank you.”

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Memory. It’s not that I let her win. It’s that age changes the way you play this game so much, I can’t compete anymore. She forgets nothing and doesn’t even try to hide her sneaky little “I’m winning” smile as she stacks match after match while I flip over the same cards every time. “You can have one of my matches,” she usually finally offers. I remember saying the same thing to my mom when we played this game almost every afternoon while my brother and sister were at school. At least I remember that.

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Rainy Crafts. With a coupon, we scored this soft doll for under $5. I sewed on some yarn hair and Lainey painted her a face this afternoon. Her name is Kate. She has some bald spots. And a wonky right eye. But she fits most of our doll clothes, and Lainey loves that she “made her.”

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Light Search. Weary of gray, I’ve been chasing good light this week. Opening blinds, pulling back curtains, heading outside anytime the sun sneaks a sliver.

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I need light.

Endcap Dance Parties.
We can’t pass a CD song sampler on an endcap in any store without Lainey stopping to push every. single. button. We have to dance to each song and only Lainey can change the buttons. Ocean Calm, Backyard Barbecue, Zen Spa, Celtic Favorites. I know them all now.

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Puppets. Nella’s diggin’ puppets lately. This one was Lainey’s when she was little, and Brett does a mean puppet show with it–funny voices, dancing, believable movements that make it seem totally alive. I can’t compete, so I just cover his eyes and say “Boo.” And then the kids look at me blankly, like “not funny, try again.”

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I will finish the essays soon. I will complete my home projects, finish my closet, unravel some deeper thoughts and put them into words soon. But right now, it’s raining. And unfinished seems a perfectly good place to be.

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*****

Welcome back to a past favorite sponsor, SweetSeat. After searching to find a high-quality, long-lasting, small-footprint booster chair to replace their clunky high chair, the family behind SweetSeat chairs decided to make their own. Each SweetSeat is handcrafted on the family’s San Antonio farm with help from their three small sons. It’s a perfect space saver once your child is old enough to sit at the table (Nella does just fine), and it’s easy to clean. We love that our SweetSeat is portable (we’ve taken it to friends’ houses, restaurants, the beach) and allows the girls a comfortable close spot at the family table.

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Check out the selection of gorgeous prints:

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Use Code KELLE for 10% off your SweetSeat order.

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What are you enjoying?

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Literary Lipbalms

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After the fun of our wildflower soap making adventure, we wanted to make more stuff. Let’s be make-ier people. Let’s make scarves and pottery and jam and let’s open a shop in a charming tiny town where we sell all our makey things. Homemade Stuff is what I’m thinking for a name, but that’s just because I’m only in Stage 1 of idea. This title will, of course, progress. Okay, maybe we won’t open a shop or make handcarved walking sticks (it was on my list). But I can make little bits of happy with small projects that make me smile. Sometimes I make things for my kids, sometimes I make things for me, and sometimes I can’t figure out whether it’s for my kids or for me because usually these projects create symbiotic happiness. Except paper mache. That was for the kids, and for me it created nothing but a pastey mess.

But back to small makey happy projects.

Enter Exhibit A: Literary Lipbalm.

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It started as just regular lipbalm, but then I was digging through what we had with us on our trip to decorate the top of the lipbalm tins, and I found this stack of miniature illustrated postcards based on literature. We cut them to fit the lip balm tins, and they turned out so darn cute, I want to make more and collect them. Our tins feature scenes from Little Women and Anne of Green Gables, but you could cut up pages of any old books–favorite poems, sheet music, etc. to decorate these. You could pass them out at literary-themed birthday parties or bridal showers. You could turn them into teacher gifts, pop them into bridesmaid baskets, toss them from a float at a parade.

What you’ll need:

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Mix equal parts of the coconut oil, cocoa butter and beeswax. We used 4 oz. of each, filled all the tins and saved what was left. If you have leftover, you can store it in a small Tupperware (do people still say Tupperware? Is Tupperware party still a thing? If so, I want to be at one. Sorry–tangent.). Microwave in 30 sec. increments, stirring between each until everything is melted together. It shouldn’t be too hot to work with, and it starts solidifying quickly, but no worries–you can still spoon it into containers if it turns into a balm or put it back into the microwave.

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If you want everything the same flavor, you can add your oils or flavorings into the entire mix. Our girls wanted to make their own flavorings, so they added oils and flavorings right into the tin. Spoon mixture into tins.

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Add flavoring oils into tins and gently stir; plastic knives worked well for this. We added about 4 drops for each tin. I made one with about 8 drops of Spearmint and it was super tingly at first, but I love it now.

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The balm should solidify quickly.

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Use tin top to trace a circle onto the illustration you want to use to decorate your tin. Cut a little inside the circle to make it smaller than the tin top so it leaves a nice edge.

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Using the paintbrush and glue, paint on a thin layer of glue and adhere your illustration to tin top.

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Voila! We love them. The balm feels a lot like Burt’s Bees. And the tins are just the cutest.

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