reboot: stay-put towels (improved instructions and new stay-neat presentation)

here we go again…kiddo no. 2 (aka, d.d.) is mastering the game of pulling the towels down every time mama hangs them back on the refrigerator and oven door.

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d.d. wiggling away from the crime scene.

it’s been over 2 years since i posted my tutorial about stay-put towels. since then i’ve made quite a few stay-put towels to gift at 1 year old birthday parties.  and now that d.d. has turned ONE  i’ll be giving myself a happy 1 yr old present as well.

this time i have some new and improved instructions to my towel tutorial and a really neat and tidy way of hanging the towels for display.

stay-put towels (parent must-haves) 2.0:

supplies:  kitchen/hand towel, scissors, straight ruler, fabric/washable marker, sewing machine

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1. take towel and fold it in equal thirds, length-wise.

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2. with a ruler and fabric/washable marker, draw a line across the middle third of the towel, 3-5 inches from the top edge. (using a towel with a decorative border adds a fun touch.)

3. at your sewing machine, sew a long thin rectangular border around the marked line. the length of the rectangle is about 1/4″. then i zigzag stitched over the stitched border, going around 2 or 3 times. (it’s like making a very long button hole.)

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4. clip your long “button hole” open!  congratulations!  you’ve transformed your floor towel into a stay-put towel!

bonus: here are instructions on how to hang the towel up in a way so that it stays nice and neat** even if a tiny tornado has touched down on your bathroom or kitchen!

1. again, fold your towel into equal thirds, length-wise.

2. place the end with the hole behind the towel/oven handle bar.  or drape the folded towel onto the bar with the button hole end in the back, like so.  this feels a little counter-intuitive, but stay with me…

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3. tuck the front (non-button hole) end of the towel into the hole.

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4. pull the towel through the hole until it cinches around the towel bar.

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(please excuse the random stickers.)

5. ta-dah!  doesn’t it look so nice and neat**?  it will totally stay-put and stay-neat no matter how many grimy sticky hands has wiped and tugged at it.

it brings a little bit of tidiness into our “homey” family life, and that’s just about as much neatness i can manage…for now.

**i must give credit to where credit is due.  i wasn’t the one who thought of this lovely way to hang the towel.  this was my mother-in-law’s idea.  my in-laws were here this past summer to help when miss e had ear tube surgery.  this was how my mil hung up the stay-put towels after she washed and folded our bucket loads of laundry. ❤

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but on frazzley days i’m just going to hang my towels like this!

our morning walks

this week is the last week of miss e going to her neighborhood preschool.  next month she’ll start at a new bilingual school that is 4 miles from our house. she’s very excited to be starting at a new school.  she’s been trying to speak a bit more chinese at home in preparation for her new school.  so as we’re down to the last few days at her preschool i’m also feeling a bit sentimental.

there are so many wonderful things about her preschool that i am going to miss, but now reflecting back, the thing i will miss the most are our morning walks to school. miss e’s school is only 8 residential blocks from our house.  in the beginning it would take us 20 minutes to get to school. miss e would need to stop and collect leaves, sticks, rocks, feathers, bottle caps…and she wouldn’t walk in a straight line. now we can get to school under 15 minutes. but this past school year our morning walks have been less and less. sometimes d.d. is still sleeping when she needs to get to school, or sometimes d.d. is fussing, ready for a nap, but i can’t put him down until the older child gets to school. so i’ve been driving to school most mornings now. it takes me 3 driving minutes to get to her school.

she used to throw fits when we would be running late and i would suggest that we drive to school (this was way before d.d. was born).  it would be like a tug-of-war trying to get her into the car. whenever i asked her if she wanted to walk or to drive she would–without fail–choose to walk even when it was freezing, windy, or pouring rain outside.  so we would walk whenever we could. it wasn’t until last summer, when she was older, and could express her feelings better that she told me the reason why she liked walking to school. “we walk and we talk. i like walking and i like talking to you, mama,” she told me that summer morning as we made the turn down the long stretch toward her school.  i still remember the location where she said that.

it all made sense.

it wasn’t the actual walking that she enjoyed, it was that when we took our morning walks it would just be the two of us and she had my undivided attention.  i wasn’t cooking, i wasn’t doing dishes, i wasn’t doing laundry, i wasn’t on the phone, i wasn’t writing emails. i was with her, without any added agenda. and we would chat about anything and everything. conversation would range from her school friends to her imaginary friends (pooh and peppa pig were frequent subjects). we’d play “i spy” a lot.  we’d identify plants and birds, watch the high school’s first period gym class run pass us, pause to watch the garbage truck  dump the trash bins, and get scared by the bart train speeding over our heads. if we drove, we wouldn’t get to do any of that, and it would be over in 3 minutes.

d.d.’s morning nap routine these past few weeks has been very on schedule.  he gets up around 6am and goes down for his first nap at 9:30/10am.  so i’ve been making sure that we get to walk to school in the mornings.  there’s only two more days left of walking with mama, because in september baba will drop miss e off at school on his way to work.  yesterday both kids rode in our joovy tandem stroller (for the first time without using the car seat attachment), and they giggled the whole way to school.

first day of preschool , aug 2013. the first of many morning walks.

as i’m writing this i’m seeing how my morning times with the Lord should be more like this–not distracted by the things of the day, just the two of us chatting…maybe for 15-20 minutes.  i don’t need to have an agenda, He just tells me what’s on His heart and I tell Him what’s on my heart–real or even the imaginary, i suppose.  i should see it more like Father-daughter morning walks than clocking in my required time with God.

our budding birder

a few weeks ago mdh got a bird feeder.  but not just any kind of bird feeder–it’s the squirrel buster bird feeder.  miss e waited by the window with much anticipation, but for two days we didn’t see any birds come by to take a morsel.  she even had her little east-west all the backyard birds guide book on hand.

finally, on the third day we started seeing some house finches show up.  but that’s all we kept seeing, red headed male finches, spotted female finches, and nobody else.  i was getting bored (yes, already).  certain ones kept coming by so frequently i was able to identify them individually.

on the morning of the fourth day as i was in the bathroom getting ready miss e comes running in to tell me she saw a “small grey bird with a crest.”  and then she made a crest by putting her palms together on top of her head.    she even found the titmouse in her guide book and showed me, “this one.”  i didn’t believe her, since all i saw were the house finches.  i thought maybe she was pretending to see a different bird since it was getting a bit boring with only the finches coming to the feeder.  she went and told her dad too.  he didn’t believe her either.

then mdh went to have some breakfast and while he was sitting down to have his cereal he saw the titmouse at the feeder!  miss e did actually see the titmouse and so very accurately identified it.  so now you can imagine mdh’s excitement in seeing some other bird other than the house finches, and even more excited because his daughter had identified a bird even before the adults saw it.  the titmouse is a skittish kind of bird so i didn’t get to see it for myself until the following day.

the titmouse is a cute bird, and yes, it’s small, grey, and has a crest.

so far we’ve seen house finches, titmouse (would the plural be titmice?), chestnut-backed chickadees, scrub jays, mourning doves, house sparrows, and california towhees visit our backyard.  oh yeah, and busy squirrels trying to get to the bird feeder.

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(this post was requested by mdh, because he’s a proud papa and he wanted to record this moment.  he’s been talking about training our kids to be birders even before we had kids.  he asked me to write this down a few days after miss e saw the titmouse, but i kept putting it off.  since today is father’s day it feels like it’s a good day to tell the story.)

be strong and of good courage

Be strong and of good courage,

Do not be afraid, neither be dismayed,

For Jehovah your God is with you, wherever you go. –Joshua 1:9

this afternoon while miss e and i were having lunch she announced to me that she wasn’t afraid of the dark anymore.  she used to use a nightlight in her room.  but ever since her little brother (“di di” in chinese, d.d.) started sharing her room with her she had to stop using the nightlight because it was at an angle that shined right into d.d.’s crib.

she hadn’t been using the nightlight for almost a month now.  at first we gave her a little flash light, but the switch was finicky and sometimes it wouldn’t turn on no matter how hard we pressed the button.  i made her a little glow jar (from our ever growing collection of baby food jars) which seemed to comfort her a bit, but every now and then if she’d wake up in the middle of the night and noticed that the glow-in-the-dark light had faded she’d get up and let us know that it had stopped glowing…that got kind of annoying too.  but we just kept telling her that we’re right next door and d.d. is in the same room with her so there’s no reason to be afraid.

so this afternoon she explained to me that she wasn’t scared of the dark because God is with her wherever she goes.  she had learned the verse joshua 1:9 as a song from her children’s meeting singing time many months ago and would often sing it at home.  i was surprised that she actually understood the meaning of the song.  she couldn’t tell me for certain whether she discovered the meaning of the words on her own or her children’s meeting teacher had explained it to them.  in any case, i was quite encouraged and comforted from her explanation of why she’s not afraid of the dark.

miss e is only four AND A HALF years old and i can help her through many of her daily difficulties.  this afternoon’s little interaction reminded me that as she grows older there will be more and more “fears” that i can’t help her through and that she will need to confront them on her own but my role is to be there to remind her that God is with her wherever and whatever she has to go through.

spring cleaning…check!

i’m still in a bit of disbelief that i actually cleaned out the den/sewing room/guest room last week.  it wasn’t planned, but when i looked at my calendar i completed my spring cleaning on the first day of spring (20th of march). and i didn’t even drag it out for days and weeks (like i usually do…ahem).  i think the state of the spare room reached a point of such disarray that it called for a complete overhaul.

i pulled out all my fabrics that had been stashed in various areas around the house, refolded them, and sorted them into categories.  after seeing all my fabrics concentrated in one area i realized i better start doing more sewing than just fabric hoarding.  so i made a promise (to mdh) that i will use up at least half of my fabric stash before purchasing any more.  i have a feeling that is going to be a hard promise to keep…but since i have also let you in on my promise, hopefully that will help me be accountable to my promise.

we rearranged some furniture and mdh got me the ikea raskog utility cart in hopes that it’ll help me maintain the organization.  fingers crossed things will continue to look like this a month, (a year?) from now.

without further ado here is our newly tidied den:DSC_0135DSC_0137DSC_0134

p.s. we were having friends stay at our place so that’s usually the catalyst that gets cleaning happening.

p.s.s.  let’s see if the other rooms in the house get a spring cleaning. >sigh<

it’s 9pm…

…and BOTH KIDS ARE DOWN FOR THE NIGHT!

(the big kid, mdh, is in a meeting. so the house is comp.lete.ly.still.)

i know i should be productive and at least do the dishes or pick up the living room, or even do some selfish sewing and work on those half finished quilts/projects…mmm…no.  i’m going to “waste” an hour…and make some tea and drink it while it’s still hot…and maybe finally finish writing that letter to my friend…