Monday, November 26, 2012

Nursery: progress at last!

So let's see....we've crossed putting in hardwood floors of the list. I think we've pretty much decided the bathroom tile will have to wait, too. (I guess I should say more about that, since I kept insisting it was SO IMPORTANT. Thing is, the master bath is right over the unheated garage. And it's a huge room with one lone heat vent in it. And we've come to discover, as nights have gotten colder, that it's a very, very cold room. And the small part that already has tile? OMG. SO COLD at night on bare feet. We need to rethink this. And maybe hold off until we can save up for some under the tile heating? We're exploring our options).

But even with this reduced to do list, progress on the nursery has been very slow indeed. Much slower than my pregnancy, it seems, which is a terrible combination. We have less than 8 weeks (or so)! I mean, not that the baby will really notice whether or not his nursery is finished, at least not until he's old enough to focus on things more than 8 inches from his face. But still. I notice.

So we took advantage of having grandparents around to make a childless trip to Ikea (which, really, I have to say, is the only way I can handle a trip to Ikea without snapping at everyone. Crowds make me grumpy. And Ikea always has crowds. And no rides, unlike Disney World, so really, what's the point of dealing with the crowds? Unless you need a room divider for your nursery or something like that. Anyway. More on the Ikea trip and its spoils later.

Even before the Ikea trip, we painted the dresser! The dresser that was Dave's Dad's, then Dave's, then all of our other kids' at some point or another. Even though it has all that beautiful family history and is a pretty cool little retro piece of furniture, I have to admit I was getting kind of tired of it. It had been in EVERY kid's room, after all, and it had looked exactly the same since we first refinished it before Ari was born.

It looked like this:

It had this black and white speckled finish on it originally, that Dave's grandmother did back when Dave's dad was a kid. We painted it white (presumably we sanded it, too, though I don't remember the details) and put cute little animal knobs on it (where there had been black handles). And then it sat around getting dingier for 12 long years.

The other day I mixed up some chalk paint (I can't stop!) and we got to work. My original plan was for the whole thing to be the same gray color. We used Behr's "burnished metal," and I was very pleased with it, particularly given that I spent 5 minutes at Lowe's picking it out instead of obsessing with online pictures and paint chips for forever like I usually do. I wanted a very light, close-ish to white, gray. Once the gray started going on, though, I decided I wanted something a little more exciting. Like how's about painting the drawers and door a different color? So daring.

I went back to my never ending supply of paint samples from the library/dining room and pulled out Benjamin Moore's James River Gray, which is the color one darker than Nantucket Fog on the same card. We'd decided it was too dark for the rooms downstairs, but I love it on the dresser. LOVE it.

Then a coat of wax and the new whale knobs (which have been sitting in a box, patiently waiting to be used, for quite awhile now).

I'm so happy with how it turned out! I am officially re in love with our little piece of family history dresser. Now we just have to do...all the other things.

Here it is!

Linking with: Transformation Thursday @Shabby Creek CottageVintage Thingie Thursday @ Colorado LadyChic on a Shoestring's Flaunt it FridayThe Shabby Nest's Frugal FridayMiss Mustard Seed's Furniture Feature Friday

My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Primitive and Proper

Miss Mustard Seed's Furniture Feature Friday

This Year's Christmas Playlist

I love Christmas songs. Old ones and new ones. Sincere ones and cynical ones. Happy ones and sad ones. Jesusy ones and secular ones. All of them!

Well. Not really all of them, because then I could just put on a Pandora holiday station and be done with  it. Instead, I have spent the past few years carefully crafting the perfect Christmas playlist. I tinker with it every year, dropping a few songs and adding a few others. And then I listen to it ALL THE TIME from Thanksgiving through Christmas. And by then I am usually tired enough of it that it's not too painful to say goodbye to it until the next Thanksgiving.

So here is this year's list. It's a work in progress, as I haven't finished adding this year's new songs. I'm considering selections from A Very She & Him Christmas, Dan Zanes' Christmas in Concord, and maybe some more Sufjan Stevens. And I need to find a version of The Holly and the Ivy that I like, because it's one of the songs Gus (and the other carollers) sing in A Christmas Carol.

A few notes:
*yes, there are two different versions of Joni Mitchell's "River" on here. So? Oh, also "Someday at Christmas"
*The Barenaked Ladies kind of annoy the crap out of me, generally speaking, but their God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen is ridiculously appealing. Elf's Lament is on there mostly because Dave likes it
*songs about fathers who get drunk and ruin Christmas are over-represented here.

Let It Be Christmas: Alan Jackson
Christmas Must Be Tonight: The Band
Elf's Lament: Barenaked Ladies
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen: Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan
Rudy: The Be Good Tanyas
Go Tell It On the Mountain: The Blind Boys of Alabama
My Dreams of Christmas: The Boxmasters
The Nutcracker Suite: Brian Setzer
Silver and Gold: Burl Ives
Blue Christmas: Chris Isaak
Run Rudolph Run: Chuck Berry
What's This?: Danny Elfman
Please Daddy (Don't Get Drunk This Christmas): The Decemberists
Angel, Won't You Call Me?: The Decemberists
Santa Claus is Back in Town: Dwight Yoakam
Santa Claus is Coming to Town: Eddy Arnold
Sleigh Ride: Ella Fitzgerald
Light of the Stable: Emmylou Harris
Frosty the Snowman: Fiona Apple
(It Must've Been Ol') Santa Claus: Harry Connick, Jr.
River: Indigo Girls
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: Jack Johnson
Someday at Christmas: Jack Johnson
Christmas is Coming: John Denver & The Muppets
A Baby Just Like You: John Denver & The Muppets
12 Days of Christmas: John Denver & The Muppets
The Peace Carol: John Denver & The Muppets
Happy Xmas (War is Over): John Lennon
Silent Night All Day Long: John Prine
The Little Drummer Boy: Johnny Cash
River: Joni Mitchell
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!: Lena Horne
Baby, It's Cold Outside: Leon Redbone and Zooey Deschanel
Winter Wonderland: Leon Redbone
'Zat You, Santa Claus?: Louis Armstrong
Once in Royal David's City: Mary Chapin Carpenter
Children Go Where I Send Thee: Natalie Merchant
Merry Christmas Baby: Otis Redding
Here It Is Christmas Time: Old 97's
Fairytale of New York: The Pogues
2000 Miles: The Pretenders
Boxing Day: Relient K
Merry Christmas from the Family: Robert Earl Keen
Christmas in Hollis: Run DMC
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear: Sixpence None the Richer
Someday at Christmas: Stevie Wonder
I Saw Three Ships: Sting
O Come, O Come Emmanuel: Sufjan Stevens
The Friendly Beasts: Sufjan Stevens
O Holy Night: Tracy Chapman
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home): U2
O Come All Ye Faithful: Weezer
Silent Night: Weezer
Pretty Paper: Willie Nelson
Please Come Home for Christmas: Willie Nelson

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Part 3, plus a GF muffin recipe

Last year was our first gluten free year, and I didn't really feel ready for doing everything homemade. So I wound up buying pre-made bread (and regular old wheat rolls for our non GF guests). We did make a pie:, as I recall.

But this year I'm ready; I'm going to attempt my very first gluten free dinner rolls! For the most part, we just don't eat a lot of bread around here, and when we do I either use a mix or pick up a loaf at the store. But Thanksgiving calls for homemade rolls, don't you think? A nice thing about Thanksgiving is that a lot of the traditional dishes don't really require much or any modification to make them gluten free. Turkey? no gluten! Mashed potatoes? the same. Cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes are similarly problem free.

So, by my calculations, the things we need to worry about are the rolls, gravy, stuffing, and desserts.

Rolls: I'm going to give these a try:

(in a perfect world, I would have done a trial run at some point in the past few weeks, but....I didn't)

Gravy: as far as I can tell, the only thing we really need to change here is using corn starch instead of flour for a thickener. Fortunately, I have a lifetime supply of corn starch that I inherited from a friend after, if I recall correctly, a botched or abandoned attempt at homemade play-doh

Stuffing: I still need to figure this out. Most of the recipes I've found seem very elaborate (you know, compared to a box of stovetop stuffing). 

Desserts: I found this recipe for a crustless pumpkin pie:

And, of course, you can't go wrong with Alton Brown's chewy gluten free chocolate chip cookie recipe. Oh no you can't. 

Okay, and then, supposing you need to whip up a quick snack/breakfast food to keep your kids out of your way while you're trying to cook all that's about a gluten/grain free, (mostly) sugar free cinnamon muffin? Yum! 

I started with this recipe from Taste and Tell blog, and then I, of course, made some modifications. Second time I made them, I doubled the recipe, and that seemed to work better (mostly because of the 5 egg thing), but if you want to halve it, I'd do 3 eggs and maybe add a couple of extra tablespoons of coconut flour.

2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon cinnamon
2 cups coconut flour
1 cup tapioca starch
2 cups erythritol
1/2 teaspoon stevia
2 cups milk
1 cup oil
5 eggs
cinnamon sugar – for sprinkling on top (1/2 cup sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon cinnamon)
Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare muffin tins.
Combine dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients. Mix only until moistened. Fill muffin cups and top with cinnamon sugar.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick entered in the center comes out clean
Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top and serve

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thanksgiving: Part 2

AKA The Prettiest Table In the World In My House

I DID buy the Patch dessert plates from Target. Then I waited and waited and waited for like FOUR DAYS for them to get here. And then they did! And it was a magical day.

There was a time, back like...a week and a half ago, when I planned to just rearrange some stuff from my fall/Halloween centerpieces to make a....late fall table for Thanksgiving. And then I even did it:

Wah--it's not NEW enough. And it doesn't go with Patch dessert plates. That was the main thing.

So I ordered my Patch plates and made a few shopping expeditions to various places, and this is what I have now (well, not RIGHT now. I put everything away after I took pictures. I'm a little paranoid about a cat coming along and destroying the most beautiful table I've ever seen personally designed):

In addition to the Patch plates, we have plain white plates from TJ Maxx (I think it was $9.99 for each set of 4; I bought 3 sets), gold chargers from Hobby Lobby ($1.99 each), a white with gold tablecloth from TJ Maxx ($19.99), and black napkins from Target ($9ish for 12).

Glass hurricanes and all the candles are from TJ Maxx. Pine cones from our yard. Brass tray and Christmas ornaments from the thrift store (except the little gold balls, from Target). Owl salt and pepper shakers and the black candlesticks are the only things that wound up getting recycled from the Halloween display. Oh, and black river rocks from Target in that one glass container.

I also have a black and gold runner coming from Amazon....although I might have gone without it had I finished the rest of the table before I ordered it. I still want to get some white serving dishes from the thrift store before Thanksgiving, but I'm not having much luck with that so far.


I only had eight chairs for the dining room table, and I had ten place settings (nine people for Thanksgiving, but who wants an odd number of place settings? Unacceptable!) We were going to go with the ol' pull a kitchen chair in trick, but after I made my pretty table, I wasn't thrilled with this. But then! At the thrift store just last night! As if by magic! There were TWO windsor chairs hanging out, waiting for me! They do not match, but, then, neither do the chairs I already have (4 of one kind, 4 of another). And they need to be painted black, and it's going to be a tight fit finding time for that between now and Thursday. But one of them was $3.03 and the other was $4.04, so I couldn't very well pass them up. Meant to be.

I also did some tinkering with the buffet. The lamps just weren't working for me anymore. Not because I agree with the masses about the color being all wrong ;), but just because things looked...funny with my globes and the lamps trying to co-exist. And I don't really NEED lamps there, since the chandelier gives plenty of light. So away they went. And we finally got the picture hung up. And I found some globe bookends on the very same chair revealing thrifting expedition. And now we have this:


My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

The Shabby Nest

Chic on a Shoestring's Flaunt it Friday

Dare to DIY (Entertain) Link Party: Decor and the DogNewly WoodwardsMaybe MatildaTwo Twenty One

Thanksgiving: Part 1

The relatives start arriving tomorrow evening, so a lot of what's going on around here is frantic cleaning (clean refrigerator! vacuumed under the couch cushions!)....but there have been interludes for slightly more fun stuff, too (more fun than vacuuming under the couch cushions?! Yes, even more fun than that).

I finally got around to taking down the Halloween-y anatomy flash cards (not that anatomy isn't cool year round) so that I could, just in the nick of time, make a new Thanksgiving set of cards. I'm kind of getting away from the flash card idea and replacing it with more "seasonally themed images on cardstock." I had a thought at one point of doing flashcards of different breeds of turkey, but, well....then I didn't. Maybe I'll do chicken breeds for spring.

Then I thought maybe I'd do a variety of different vintage Thanksgiving images from The Graphics Fairy. But then I decided I wanted some kind of holiday greeting thing in there somewhere, so here, ultimately, is what I wound up with:

There is no angle in this room from which I can get a picture of the whole thing at once. Makes me a little crazy. Anyway.

I started with these free printable "give thanks" letters from At Second Street, and then I added in a few of the vintage images I'd saved from Graphics Fairy: there's a vintage turkey on each end and some oak leaves and acorns in between the two words. I picked up some brown cardstock at Hobby Lobby (I keep talking about Hobby Lobby. I had actually never been there before yesterday. And now I think it's safest for my dwindling supply of money if I stay away. Because OMG: they have everything there! And both the cardstock and the little knob I bought were half off! Of course, the sign by the knobs said, "50% off every day!" ....which I think it's not really a sale anymore if it happens every day. But whatever; it was cheap!).

Oh, I got distracted. Where was I? Yes--brown cardstock. Uhh...then I printed it all out. On the brown cardstock. And look how neatly I cut around the letters! I was kinda proud. I'm like a very advanced kindergartner with my mad cutting skills.

Note: Sad Pilgrims are hanging on the wall now! No more leaning for them. I expect smiles from them any day now. Cheer up--you survived until the harvest! I'm feeling a little loopy tonight. You know where I got the wire to fix the hanger on the back? That's right--Hobby Lobby.

Linking with Dare to DIY (Be Thankful) Link Party: Decor and the DogMaybe MatildaNewly WoodwardsTwo Twenty One
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

It's the little things. Right?

I have bigger things to blog about--like the FINALLY (mostly) finished back steps. And Thanksgiving. But first, a post about a few of the little things that have been going on, house-wise.

Fiesta and Gable decided to stop taking turns on everyone's favorite dog bed and just share it instead. Awwww.....BFFs!

I finally finished painting this little table thing. I bought it at the thrift store awhile back for $6. It had a dark veneer on it, so I whipped up some chalk paint with yet another rejected paint sample. Then I replaced the old knob with that adorable one from Hobby Lobby. And then I sold it to my mom for her shop. I had originally thought I might use it somewhere here, but I don't really have anywhere for it at the moment. I calculate my hourly wage to be about 75 cents, but that's okay; it was mostly for practice.

I took a few other things over to sell to her today, too, including those lamps that used to be on my dining room buffet. The universally unloved lamps. She hadn't seen them before, and as soon as she did, she said, "I hate those lamps." They're still in my car. Fine!

I bought this awesome beagle print from DawgArt on Etsy.

I bought my old globe a new friend at my mom's shop.

Adventures in Craigslisting: Milo and August's new bunk bed arrived (look for updated house tour post soon!) and I succeeded in my quest to sell the two loft beds for more than I paid for the bunk bed! The one with the slide that we've had for something like six years went super fast (because slides are fun, I guess?) and I had a lot of response for the other one, too. All told, I wound up ahead around $15 on the bed switchover, and the boys' room looks so much bigger and more open now. Yay!

I have a billion bookshelves that we don't need anymore, thanks to the Billy shelves, on there right now.   Hoping for another round of Craigslist good luck (and a bedroom that looks less like someone's storage unit).

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

House Tour: Den

Continuing on our glacially paced house tour, we arrive at the den. Here it is before we moved in:

It looks bigger in the picture than it really is, I do believe. Tricky lenses.

And it's a tricky room, too....the trickiest in the house, I think. I cannot figure out what to do with it. It feels very dark, even though it has that giant bay window. And it has doors and windows and giant fireplaces everywhere, making furniture placement very tricky. I stay up nights trying to figure out where to put couches and whether I can get away with a darker color and on and on and on. For the moment, though, it is necessarily on hold while more time sensitive projects take priority.

Here's where it is now:

Really, more or less this is just our living room from our old house, transported! Only it doesn't work as well here. Okay, so here are our giant sofas. These were at Goodwill, and they were cheap, so they are what we have. We've had them in pretty much every conceivable arrangement in here. The loveseat used to be in front of the bay window, which opened things up more, but meant the loveseat kept getting pushed back against the window and that no one could see the TV very well from it. And the couch used to be pulled out from the wall enough to walk behind it. Only just barely. And it kept getting pushed back, too. We really need a rug.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure this is as good as it gets with these couches. There's a "console table" that's actually a long shelf from Ikea behind the sofa. Against the wall and it's too far away from the TV; away from the wall and the room shrinks too much. And having the loveseat there makes things kind of choppy coming from the library, but, well, it has to go somewhere. We have a lot of people who need to watch TV around here! I think in a perfect world we'd have a sectional with a nice low profile. But that's not likely to happen anytime terribly soon.

Note incredibly beat up coffee table. I bought that at a garage sale for $8 years and years ago and painted it black. It's served us well, but years of kids standing on it and dogs chewing on it have taken their toll. I think for now I'm going to move one of the trunks that's hanging out in the master bedroom down here to be the coffee table, but it might only work until the baby is walking around, because it's a little rough around the edges.

View from the library. Yes, it's too backlit to actually take this picture. And, yes, incompetent sunroom DIY'er put a chimney right in front of the bay window.

Ostentatious fireplace! It looks like it has feet. Lots and lots of feet.

When my mom saw my lovely mantel display, she said, "it looks junky" sending me into a spiral of self doubt. Thanks, mom.

Cross stitched pheasants! Maybe junky is what I'm going for. Ever think of that, mom?! These were at the thrift store, and I couldn't just leave them there. Because they're cross stitched pheasants.

Junky mantel, up close!

Bird automaton. I should post a video of her in action. She sounds like a real bird! She's not junky; she is valuable. She was in my mom's house for years, and when my mom didn't want her anymore, I talked her into giving the bird to us for Christmas instead of selling it.

This is Sandycast. That's what it says on his tag anyway. He sat outside my grandmother's apartment for years, and he was the thing I asked for when she passed away last year. Sandycast is an interesting conversation piece. I have been stunned more than once by people thinking he's real. When we were selling the old house, we got one report of a buyer too creeped out by him to enter the room he was in. People are weird about ceramic labradors.

My Dad gave me this campaign chest a long time ago, when he went through a brief period of collecting/selling antiques. I didn't know it was called a campaign chest until very recently, when I started seeing them pop up on blogs everywhere.

And on top of the campaign chest is this Oliver shrine. Because Oliver was the best dog ever. He died last fall. That box has his ashes in it. Kind of creepy. But I don't really know what else to do with it.

Picture of the picture. That's Oliver on a beach in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

Oh, this picture of our oversized couch and gallery wall is more in focus than the last one!

Here's a TV cabinet that worked well in our last living room, but isn't really right here. I'd like something lower and...less green.

Random shelf! It's behind the loveseat, on the wall next to the archway to the library. It's the poetry/drama shelf. But it's not alphabetized...not yet.

Future plans? I don't even know! I'd like for things to flow a lot better from the library into here. The colors are all completely different. But those brown couches kind of limit things. It is entirely possible the room will hobble along for quite awhile while we tend to other things and save up for a new couch.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thinking about dishes.....

That's what I'm doing this morning. I love dishes.

Our only set at the moment is the one I got from my grandmother:

She had this set, as far as I know, from the time she got married up until I was grown or nearly grown and she finally bought new china. She had eight kids, so, while I'm sure it probably started out with 12 place settings, by the time it came to me a lot of pieces had been lost along the way. Cereal bowls are particularly rare. I've filled in some with pieces from ebay and Replacements, Ltd. so that it's now kind of a motley collection--I have approximately one million dinner plates, 6 or 7 dessert plates, one cup and saucer, and I think 2 cereal bowls (we lost another one of those just a month or two ago). But still I love them.

They're Syracuse china, and the pattern is called Red Roxbury. I think, although I'm not sure, that it's railroad china. My grandmother said it was restaurant ware, but at some point when I was looking all over to figure out the name of the pattern, I remember deciding it was actually railroad china. At any rate, they are very thick and solid, which is a good thing when you have 8 kids or even "only" 4 boys like we will. But they'll still break when you drop them. Syracuse made the same pattern but with more...delicate dishes, and that one's called Mayflower (how colonial!) I have some of those plates, too, that I've picked up over the years. Mayflower is generally easier to find and cheaper. But the cereal bowls are still exceedingly obscure.

We didn't register for any china when we got married, because we had no need for (and nowhere to put) formal china, and we already had these dishes for every day.

But now that I have some space, as I aspire to be someone with lots of dishes. Because I love them. Back when we lived in Boston, I found these Johnson Brothers Lemon Tree dishes super cheap at a garage sale somewhere. I think I originally bought them to sell, but I loved them so much I couldn't part with them (also, I think a lot of them were chipped, and it would have been too much of a pain to list them on ebay and carefully describe every flaw):

So pretty! I wish I still had them; I would love to pull them out in summer and have a summer set of dishes. But I gave them to a friend when we moved down here, along with Matilda, my giant ceramic pig. I miss them both to this day. The lesson here is never get rid of anything, ever! That can't really be the lesson, because that's a terrible lesson. And, yet....I have such a big basement now. If only I'd held on to them and found somewhere to stuff them for 10 years, I would have had plenty of space for them.

I'm revisiting my special love of dishes right now because Thanksgiving is looming, and we'll have Dave's extended family here for it. I would love to have pretty (and somewhat more formal than the Syracuse china) dishes for it. TJ Maxx has had lovely Thanksgiving dishes with turkeys on them the last couple of times I've been there, and it's taken all of my willpower not to buy them. I just can't buy plates that only come out once a year. So what I'm thinking instead is maybe a nice, versatile set of plain white dinner plates that can be changed up for different occasions. So practical!

These have good reviews (although only 2) and are about $30 for 6 (so I'd need two sets) from

The idea of buying plain white dishes sort of horrifies me at some fundamental level and also makes me feel kind of old. But I can see why it's a good idea. Especially when I implement step two of the plan, which is getting dessert plates to go with them.

I want the Patch animal plates (also from Target):

They're pretty much the only thing from the Patch line that's not on sale, so I guess maybe I'm not the only one who wants them. They're $20 for 4, and will only let me put 2 sets in my cart, and I need 3. I'm assuming I can buy the 2 and then come back and buy 1 more, but it's kind of risky. Or not really, I guess, since I can always return them if I can't get the last 4.

So that's what I'm doing today....trying to decide whether I can spend the money on a new set of dishes for Thanksgiving or not. What to do?! Maybe I'll go to TJ Maxx and eye those turkey plates one last time....

Thursday, November 8, 2012


*house stuff has been slow going this week and last. Eventually we will FINALLY have some finished steps to post about, though. They are finished enough now that dogs (who don't need a hand rail) can go down them, and that makes me happy)

In 2008, we read tons of books about presidents and elections and super hyped everything enough that, by the time Election Day actually arrived, the kids were convinced it was a holiday on par with Christmas.

This year our pre-election hyping was considerably more low key, but, the good news is, my geeky children are easy to excite at the last minute; all it takes is promises of sugar cookies and staying up late to color maps red and blue.

I made my first attempt at my own gluten free flour mix with the cookies (I mean, not really; I mix gluten free flours together all the time, but this time I kind of read up on it and pre-made a mix before I added it to the recipe). I guess I did okay, because the dough rolled out beautifully, and the cookies tasted like sugar cookies (even though I used erythritol/stevia in them instead of real sugar, since I wanted to be able to eat some, too). I used about half rice flour, and then a random blend of coconut flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, and peanut flour for the rest (along with a teaspoon on xanthan gum).

Here's the recipe I modified beyond recognition (heh--not really; other than subbing for the sugar and using my own gluten free blend, I followed it pretty closely):

I bought a set of elephant, donkey, and US map cookie cutters back in 2008; I can't remember where (apologies to members of various third parties; you guys need to get animal mascots). Complicating matters was the fact that Tuesday is our CRAZY day, so all the festivities and preparation had to be squeezed in between Spanish tutoring, Gus' tap class, Gus' rehearsal, and, of course, actually voting (I had begged out of lego robotics for the week to make time for this, and it turned out to be a good thing, as I waited in line for over an hour. Fortunately, the kids were at a friend's house while that was going on, so it seemed almost relaxing). So the pictures are not the best, since it all happened after dark, and I was just kind of wildly grabbing the camera to take a few shots before we hurried on to the next thing.

The dough had been in the refrigerator for several hours, and I was really impressed with how easy it was to roll out without making a mess. The odd thing was these cookies took FOREVER to cook in the oven; way longer than the directions said.

We offset the use of fake sugar by sprinkling them VERY liberally with red and blue sugar.

Ari indulged us by sprinkling some of the cookies, even though he is so mature.

I think we used up all the ink in all of our red and blue markers.

The kids did not really stay up until the polls closed in Alaska or anything. They went up before 10, and  then finished (well, except for that pesky Florida) the next morning.

Sorry, Florida, you don't get to be colored in because you count too slow. Ari found some kind of app for the Kindle to do his high tech version of map coloring.