The Cool Kids

Monday, January 31, 2011

Mitten Love...

That's what my brother sends me from my home state of Michigan every time we speak..In return, I send him love from the mountains...Aw, sift through the cheese if you must..

I wanted to share a ridiculously easy way to make yourself a pair of mittens. If you've been reading the blog long enough, you know that I can hardly match up a pair of socks, let alone mittens. We are infamous for losing anything that comes in a pair. If you're ever in the need of an orphan anything, I probably have its match.

Anyway, if I had to choose between mittens and gloves, I would choose mittens every time. I think they're adorable. You can still drive, shovel and hold hands with them. You can give a cute open and close wave with them as well as NOT get shot by showing certain fingers to people who cut you off on the highway. Again, it looks like a cute wave instead of a bad gesture and isn't that safer for everyone?

The husband had an old sweater that had a huge snag-turned-hole in the front. I loved the color and like I said, I am always in need of new (matching) mittens...

Do you want some? Grab an old sweater!

You'll need
Sweater, paper, scissors, pins, sewing machine or thread and needle and buttons or ribbon for decorations, if desired.

1. Lay sweater flat on the floor, inside out.

 2. Trace a really cute mitten around your hand on a piece of paper. If you're smart, you'll make two. If you're like me, you'll lay the pattern and realize you actually have two hands and have to search somewhere for another piece of paper, finally getting mad and using an ad from the newspaper.... Since you're using the wrist part of the sleeves of the sweater for the sleeves of your mittens, you can set the pattern just above those...
3. Pin the pattern and cut around it. I have to make a straight cut first because I'm a lefty and it's easier that way. I use any crutch possible....and lefties are also AWESOME, so I'm throwing it out there for pure rockstar purposes :)
4. You will automatically have a back and front for each mitten. I then take them to the sewing machine and zigzag stitch twice around the edge of the whole thing (obviously not the sleeve opening)..The zigzag lets the mitten stretch without ripping. Flip them right side out. What?? They're so cute!!
5. Now, they're not as beautiful as crocheted/knitted/bought-at-a-boutique mittens, but they are functional, warm and for now, a matching set.
What do you think? If you'd like, for extra warmth, you can also line them with fleece. They're also fun to decorate, if that's your thing...
I can make them cute....
or I can demand spring...
Truthfully, I like them plain. What I really need is one of those strings tied to both mittens and stuck through the sleeves of my coat. Hey, I'm not above that!

So there it is. A cute little mitten project to try out since there doesn't seem to be any end of winter in sight. Whether you live in the mountains OR the mitten state or somewhere else that requires covering of the hands/body/feet/face...stay warm and cozy, friends.

Oh, and for those of you who ask where I lived in Michigan? That's easy....

Happy Monday, friends :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Don't judge a book by its blogger.....

Happy Saturday!

Okay, a little more on the book sharing. See that cute bookshelf on the left-hand side of my blog? That is where I have listed the books I've read and am getting rid of. I'm using Shelfari because you can scroll your mouse over the book and get a short review of it. If you're interested in a book, please let me know. I'd be happy to send it to you. If a certain book has been on the shelf for a week, I will take it off and donate it to our local shelter.

You can reach me by-
-commenting on the blog
-writing me on Facebook
-writing on the shellybean. page on FB
-email me at
-knock on my door and bring some chocolate

the last option may get you more than one book :)

There are certain books that are not appropriate for every one's taste. As I stated before, I read EVERYTHING :) As you can see, there is a bible study book and a book that is about as opposite to bible study as one can get. I loved them both :) Please review the book to see if it suits your taste.

Happy reading, friends :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Take a look, it's in a book...(this post is as long as a book)

I am and always have been a voracious reader. Borderline obsessed. Oh, tack it on to my other disorders...

I'm not sure when it began, but I vaguely remember my first grade teacher pulling a picture book out of my hand and reminding me that it was time for recess. I mustn't have heard her announce the precious elementary break time. I didn't see the children lining up in single file, ready to own the playground, toy by toy. We usually jumped over one another for the opportunity to grab the best jump rope or the bounciest rubber ball...

I don't remember the name of that picture book. Goodness, I don't remember the names of some of the books I read this past week. I do know however,  that one of the greatest gifts I've ever received was the ability to read.  I'm not talking about sounding out words phonetically. I'm not talking about speed reading. I disliked fewer things in school than being told to read something and answer the questions at the end.  Before I get screamed at by my fellow educators, understand that I get why some of those tasks are important. But they are for the most part, our  measuring needs as teachers. Whether or not I could read 116 words per minute in no way measured what I understood, interpreted or found applicable from a reading passage.

What I'm talking about is the enjoyment of reading. Reading from choice or interest rather than assignment. I can teach almost anyone to read. It's my specialty. But I can not teach anyone to love reading. That has to come in their own time, in their own way. 

I loved going to the library in school. I remember taking a wood ruler/place marker and searching for the perfect book. I think when you're young you kind of DO judge a book by its cover. Following the Dewey decimal system, I'd carefully slide my ruler next to the book so as not to lose my place, open up the plastic covered prize, check out the size of the words and begin to imagine the story. If it was to my liking, I'd close the book,  hold it tight and walk in total reverence to the librarian. She'd look at the book, look at me (making me wonder if I was worthy of taking it,) stamp the card in front and recite a date when the book needed to be returned. Now, I don't know about you. But I remember thinking, "What kind of maniac wouldn't bring a book back?" We not only got to borrow a book, we got to bring it back and get another one! What a fabulous idea. 

It's funny what we remember as children. Reading for me was a wonderful escape. I devoured the stories about children who lived in box cars. I got the Amelia Bedelia mix-ups. I wanted to be Nancy Drew's friend or one of the Hardy Boy's girlfriends. Judy Blume wrote about girls that were like me.  I got a letter from Beverley Cleary in the fourth grade and thought I could die right then. Blubber could have been MY little brother....

When I was a teen, I snuck Harlequin romances under my bed and read books that were earmarked in just the right places. Friends would trade books like shoes. "I'll give you my Jane Erye book for your new Danielle Steele novel.." and so it went until....well, one of my girlfriends and I still swap out books.

Now that I'm older, my interests have changed, but my love for reading has not. One of my favorite things in the house is my library. No, it's not a dark room with walls full of bookshelves and sliding ladders, (I wish!!)  but it is filled with many of my reference books and favorite reads. Still though,  I have boxes of books strewn through the house and garage. Me, with too much of something? Shocking. Too many for even a room full of books. I came to realize there are probably hundreds of books that I could be sharing instead of storing. What good are any of these without being used? Was my only interest so people would look at the library and say, "Wow. you have a lot of books. You must be really well-read. You must be one of them-there smart people.".. Um, no. Instead, a relative came over and perused the bookshelves and asked, "Do you really know how to speak Japanese or are you being pretentious?" The answer is yes and maybe a little yes. I used to speak some Japanese, but I don't speak to many other people using it. I can barely read it anymore, so truthfully, I don't know what my intention was by choosing to put it on a shelf instead of my well-written-reads-that-became-cheesy-movies-books. Seriously. I have a shelf full of feng shui gardening books and I live in the desert. Oh and did I mention that I loathe gardening?

What in the world is the point of this post? Well, I'm slowly trying to simplify my world.  I decided to start getting rid of some of the overflow; a little at a time.... 

This is what I'm going to do. Starting with the book shelves, I'm going to read a book (I bought it for SOME reason..) and then I'm giving that baby (the book) away. Do you want it? Let me know. I'll send it to you. If you live down the street, I'll give it to you. We'll do a little drawing with each book, unless you're the only one who wants it...then, well it's yours!

I have one favor. Read and enjoy the book and then, please give it to someone else. Pass it on to a family member, a friend or drop it off to your nearest women's shelter. Don't let it gather dust. 

I think of that little girl borrowing one book at a time from her school, never imagining in a million years she'd be blessed to have so many books of her own. She would never have kept them from being shared. By reading and passing them along, it would have made her appreciate each and every book and maybe, a little more excited for the next read...

What do you think? Let me know..

Have a wonderful Friday, friends :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Always know your place...

"You and Dad are my favorite people in the world, after God and Jesus. Oh, and Santa Claus." - quote from the youngest, trying his best to get a warm chocolate chip cookie. Nice try, little man. Nice try.

Happy Wednesday, friends :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Student Quote of the week...

"I've never been to Kindergarten, but I HAVE been to the Olive Garden." said B., age 6. He attends a Montessori, where they study in age groups, not grade levels. That quote just about completed my life :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

And the trophy for "Worst Mom In the World" goes to....

"Mom, I'm gonna say something and I don't want you to say, 'What do you want?' " states the youngest, cuddling close to me on the floor.

"Okay" I say, half listening..

"I love you."


Award given and received.

I'd like to punch all who made this proud moment possible....

But there's just me.


To a better tomorrow, friends :(

Thursday, January 6, 2011

No organizing today...

But I did get handles for new bags cut, flipped and ready to go... Do you see any future shellybeans.??
We'll see which ones make the cut...

Happy Thursday, friends :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Funny quote of the day...

"On a scale of 1 to black-belt, I'm pretty much a black-belt point five."- Quote from our ever-humble eldest child, bragging about her ability to blitz in Madden Football. I'm not sure she really knows what a blitz is. Or who Madden is.......But you've got to love the confidence :)

Happy Wednesday, friends :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

In your face, cupboards!

Okay, so just two cupboards. Out of four. And two drawers. But I only did the two cupboards, not the drawers... Celebrate the small things, people. :) If you were here yesterday, you saw the heaping mess that was my baker's pantry....

 Baker's pantry. Sounds fancy, eh?

It's actually a set of very small cabinets, filled with items I use for baking; too thin to hold much else.

On a wall with a shelf.

That doesn't host electricity.

With bowls and cookbooks on it.

So, I name it after whatever is stuffed in the cabinets at that time. Once, it was a "Tupperware Palace". Before that, it was my "Flintstone/Garfield got-it-free-with-purchase-from A&W/McDonald's/other burger joint jelly-jar-collection hutch." For conversational reasons alone, isn't "Baker's Pantry" a better fit?

I was overwhelmed at the mess that I, with no regard for dignity, posted.  I took out everything and gave it my best shot. Or half-hearted shot. You get it.

So here it is. If you haven't viewed the "before pictures", check out the previous post or this is going to be an EPIC letdown. For the rest of you, bask in the glow of an organizational masterpiece...Ha-Ha-ha.....ha...ha.  Aw, I love you guys.

Where did I put all that chocolate? Well, I placed it...

yeah, right. My family reads this blog!

DISCLAIMER- the organization in the above photos is guaranteed to last 24  12 hours. After that, who knows......

Woo Hoo! Now, On to those two drawers....

I'll try and work on them soon. Or at least before June.

Happy Tuesday, friends!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Are you kidding me?

Oh, I knew I'd use the name of this post sooner or later...

Hello friends,

Being that it's the third day of the year AND a Monday, I thought I'd get off to a rousing start on the whole "organization" goal I set for myself in 2011 (aka this morning.)  I figured I'd start with 2 cupboards I use in the kitchen for storing my baking stuff. Confident and full of energy, I saw this- 

 and this.....

Yup. And there are two more just like it on the bottom. Ugh. So, I started cleaning out some of the contents and began to see  a pattern....Amongst the flour, sugar and cupcake liners,  I found these- (organized for your pleasure on apparently the only surface I own)...

This leads me to a question. Can one EVER own enough chocolate, coffee or frosting? I'm going to say no. No, one cannot. Especially when  one is a stay-at-home mom of a teen, a tween, AND a six-year old. Some days are hard, man.

 I'm frustrated.

 I'm embarrassed.

 I'm hungry.

I stuffed it all back. Yes, I did.  Organization will have to wait. I thank God that I have cupboards filled with yummy foods, but I thank Him even more for the doors on those cupboards.

 Happy Monday, friends :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Today is the first day of the rest of your life 2011.

Have you set your goals, resolutions, and other shiny promises for the new year yet? So much pressure for the first day of January.

My reality? Well, let's see.

-The kitchen is a disaster from our 2 parties yesterday. The resolution for a tidier house will have to wait.

-The husband and I are in our sweats. Not from exercising, but because we are too lazy to get dressed.
Our promise to stay fit will have to wait.

-We are watching our 3rd football bowl game (so far) of the day, so our goal to watch less TV in 2011 will also have to wait.

-Eating healthier? The leftover chips, sauces and dips from New Year's Eve aren't going to throw themselves away.....

Oh well.  There are two days until Monday.  By then, I'll be ready to get back life and all that goal setting business.  Until then, I think I'll spend the weekend celebrating the present blessings that surround me. Left-over birthday cake, cheese and crackers, flavored coffee, and oh yeah, my family. And dark chocolate.  Amen.

Happy New Year and weekend, friends :)
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