The Madsen or “Jen is a Wimp”

We occasionally ride bikes to school. Hillary rides her own, and I carry Lily in the Madsen or “bucket bike”.

A few reasons I don’t take it more often:

1) It gets heavy up the hills, and it feels like everything is a hill!

2) I have trouble starting the loaded bike from a full stop, such as at a stop light, where there’s not a lot of room to maneuver.

3) It makes me self-conscious to be wobbling around on this bike that everyone notices. We always draw attention from passersby. Once a guy on a lawn mower picked up a pair of sunglasses that fell from the Madsen’s basket and drove after us to return the glasses. This bike captures attention!

The bucket bike is cool, though. It has two benches and 4 sets of seat belts in case one is foolish enough to try to carry 4 kids at once! I could take Hillary and Lily together when they were little, but now I can only take one kid at a time. It has special inserts for groceries, pets and other specific uses. Bryant built another attachment that allows the kids to sit on a bench and hold handle bars. But they always wanted to use it as a “chariot” and were constantly standing up, so he put the bucket back on.

Today an old guy on a bike caught up with me (not surprisingly!) in order to chat about the Madsen. (Bike aficionados and toddlers are especially vocal in their admiration for the Madsen!) He suggested electric assist. “Remember,” he exclaimed, ere he rode out of sight, “There’s no shame in electric assist!”

Apparently in this house, there is. My husband has never revealed the existence of such an ingenious accessory. We’ll be investigating this option!

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Framing Children’s Artwork

This post is inspired by my friend, Penny, in part because she asked me about my process for displaying art or photos on a wall, and in part because I love the way she arranged her daughter’s work in her new kitchen!

I am borrowing her multicolored frames idea because I thought it would be great with the Fiesta ware colors in my kitchen.



Painted Chairs

Yes, you can paint upholstered furniture! One sample-size container of latex wall paint mixed with several bottles of fabric medium was enough to cover two chairs. I had these chairs professionally cleaned before brushing on several layers of the paint and fabric medium. When dry, the texture is more like outdoor fabric, but it’s pretty comfortable, and the bonus is that it wipes clean very easily. Even marker comes right off!

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