Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Toddler Thanksgiving Decorations

One day last week while Theo was taking his nap, Karl and I pulled out all the art supplies and went to town making Thanksgiving decorations. Karl loves to do art, but he tires quickly of drawing one specific thing. If you look at our coloring books each page has one long line (maybe two or three) of color, but nothing more. It's pretty funny! So art projects for him have to be short and sweet. Our first one was a little long, but he endured it pretty well.

He refused to wear clothes that day, all except for underwear. It's actually a common occurrence at our house.  
We first pulled out our HUGE pile of coffee filters and our washable Crayola markers and went to town. Karl had drawn hand turkeys the week before in church and wanted to do that again so we colored leaves and hand turkeys.  The leaves I tried to make in fall colors, but Karl is more imaginative in his coloring scheme and used black and other non-fall colors. I love that about kids, not stuck in a reality that has to follow the "rules" all the time.

Karl's cute and BIG hand. Yeah, he's only three. 

Then we improvised, since I don't have a spray bottle just for water anymore we used an old toothbrush and flicked water at the filters to make the colors run a little. Don't put too much water or the colors will bleed all the way off. We put newspaper under the filters to absorb all the run off water and colors.

Karl LOVES markers and I love the washable ones for that same reason.
Check out that intense concentration. That's how this kid is: intense. 

Karl was bored long before I was with the coffee filters. He did enjoy flicking water at our artwork, but that was about it. What he REALLY wanted to do was to use the glue. So we ripped fall colored paper into squares and glued them on a piece of paper with a tree trunk drawn on. Karl loves glue and loved this activity. At the end I wrote things hat he was thankful for down at the bottom.

We had so much fun spending time together. I love having time with each of my kids seperately and this time was really special for Karl and I. 

We'll be doing more holiday art projects throughout November and December so check back for some more cute pictures of Karl and hopefully Theo as well!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Weekend Wonders--Saturdays, Etsy, and Birthdays

This has been an incredibly hard week. It has seemed that very little had gone right. So when it came time to write this post I had to dig deep into my week to look past all my stresses.

My first big news: I sold my first item on my Etsy shop! Hurray! It makes me feel quite happy with myself and my work. It's a small moment of pride that something I made someone else wants to buy! When I saw that email this morning, I went and pounced on my husband who was still asleep, waking him up so that I could share the great news. Haha! Good thing he loves me.

Yesterday, I only had to work about three hours. Normally I work six to eight hours on Saturdays so it was nice to get a break. After we had some lunch, the family decided to head downtown and go to the local planetarium. Follows are a plethora of pictures from that. I can't help it, my boys are just so cute (and handsome, in the case of my husband)!
Just sitin on Mars
Climbing on the Moon!

Fascinated by Newton's machine

Riding the train and watching how the cars bend in order to go around corners

It was fun to have time to just relax with my family and to have fun in a new place. Truthfully, we should have taken the boys to the local high school track, as that would have fulfilled all their dreams. They spent the entire time at the planetarium seeing who could run the fastest, haha! Museums and the like aren't quit their cup of tea yet.

After our little jaunt downtown we went over to my in-laws to celebrate my mother-in-laws birthday. Casey (my sister-in-law) made an awesome seafood dinner and we surprised Carol Lee that we had come. It was fun to spend such a happy time with them. Tonight is my brother-in-law's birthday so we'll be having another party! Hurray for birthdays!

Happy birthday!

Well, it was a short post today. Thanks for reading! And come back this week for toddler Thanksgiving decorations and some awesome sewing projects!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Recipe--Thanksgiving Leftovers

Sorry that I've been MIA again. Lots has been happening at our house lately, some good, some bad. I'll share a few of those things in the next week or so.

Today I have one of my favorite recipes to share with you. As the title points out it's a recipe that uses leftovers from the greatest holiday ever: Thanksgiving! It's my favorite! I love all the good food and the talking and the napping and the family. I love Thanksgiving! In the coming weeks I'll show you what the boys and I are doing to decorate. But today is all about the food.

Yummy looking isn't it?

I'm sure that everyone and their aunt has a recipe that's similar to this, but I'll share mine. I make this all year, not just after Thanksgiving because I love it so much. (Forgive the lack of pictures; I didn't take ones of every step and the boys and I were just wanting to eat it so I didn't try to make a huge backdrop.)

Okay, so what you do is you pile lots of turkey (or chicken) in the bottom of a 9"x13" baking pan. Pile it up high! 

Take your leftover stuffing (or make a package according to the directions) and layer it on top of the turkey. This is my favorite part so I make sure that there is lots. I'll often make two packages for the 9x13" pan. 
I didn't add enough stuffing to this one. I was a little bit sad. 
Then, add beautifully whipped, delicious mashed potatoes on top of the stuffing. I'm originally an Idaho girl so potatoes are especially close to my heart. Potatoes are the best food in the world!

Last, you add gravy. Just pour as much as you want (I do at least 1.5 cups). Make sure to get the gravy all over the top of the potatoes, because it will keep it from drying out in the oven. 

Using a fork, make little peaks I. The potatoes; this will make it prettier than mine and they will get crispy and yummy! 

Bake at 350 degrees for at least 30 minutes, until everything gets warm and the potatoes start to brown a little. 

Pull it out and serve it with some leftover rolls and cranberry sauce! Perfect dinner for the day after Thanksgiving! Or anytime really.  Thanks for stopping by!

(To print the recipe below, just copy and paste into a Word document.)

Leftover Thanksgiving Casserole

Leftover turkey (or chicken)
1 or 2 packages of chicken stuffing
4 or so cups of mashed potatoes
1-14 oz. can of gravy or gravy leftovers

In a 9"x13" pan layer the turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes. Pour the gravy over the top of the potatoes, making sure that all the potatoes are covered. Take a fork and make peaks all over the potatoes. The peaks will brown in the oven and become a little crispy. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the potatoes just start to brown and everything is warmed through.

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Weekend Wonders--Developments, Work, and Family

I don't mean to be cryptic or make you all angry with hints if secrets, but the top two things that happened in our family this week I can't quite tell you about yet. Hopefully by the end of the month. 

The other wonderful things that happened this week I can tell you about. First off, I have wonderful in-laws who are so kind and watch my children all the time. Alan and I went to the ballet this week on a date and they watched them. Then yesterday they took the boys all day so Alan could work on the final paper for his grad school class while I was working.  Also, my sister-in-law, Casey, took the little boys and I to the nickel-cade on Monday. That was a blast! 

Random picture of Karl in the dryer. 

Second, as much as I hate being away from my children I'm grateful for the job I have. It provides us enough money to pay bills and live more comfortably. I can't wait for the day when either Alan or I has a 40 hour a week job that provides fully for the family, but for now we both work and I'm grateful that we can take care of our family. 
Theo falling asleep on daddy this morning. 

I'll have some new projects to share with you this week, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Seafarer Top--Sewing for Me

I have a confession--I don't like to sew for my boys as much as I like sewing for myself. I guess it's the selfishness in me, or maybe the fact that I love sewing dresses and skirts more than shirts and pants, or the fact that my boys don't like stuffed animals and prefer all things sports and Army. I don't know for sure what it is, but that's the way it is. Because of this I have decided that every one item I make for myself must be followed up with one item made for the boys. I'm not going to limit myself to clothes for them, I'm going to try and find other things I can make for them, especially toys. Then I will blog about them. I'll have a "Sewing for Me" series and a "Sewing for the Boys" series (I'll try to come up with more creative names than that. . .boooorring!).

(I already posted about the shirt I made my son. Go check it out! It's adorable!)

First up for me, the Seafarer Top. I have been eyeing this pattern as soon as it came out, but could never justify buying it (we're on an incredibly tight budget right now) and so I just kept dreaming. Cue my birthday a week ago, and my mother-in-law gave me some money. I knew just what I was going to do with it! And so I bought the pattern. Using the rest of the money and some from my bank account--hey, it's okay, I just got a job--I bought some beautiful knit fabric from a local store, Nuttal's

(FYI: I know nothing about the fabric, who made it, etc, I bought it not thinking I would be telling the blogging world about these tops. Also, sorry for the lack of pictures of me wearing the tops. My husband and I have been too busy with grad school and work to stop and snap some photos of me.)

This first top is made with a cotton/rayon mix. I've never worked with a rayon mix before and I'll just say it was kind of a pain to work with, but is a dream to wear! While I was walking through the store the print just jumped out at me. I have nothing like it in my closet, I'm mostly a plain t-shirt kind of gal (don't expect any sort of "What I Wear" series, because I'ma fashion disaster), but I loved the brown with the large, un-detailed flowers. The best part? It goes with most of my jewelry that until this has sat neglected in its box waiting for me to get more stylish. 

I went with the banded sleeves, the banded bottom, and banded neckline. I love the length on this top! It's actually almost too long on this shirt. I've got an incredibly long torso and so I always have to add extra length to tops I make. But not this one, this one is perfect! I forwent adding a pocket because I loved the fabric too much to cover any of it.

Banded bottom

This next top is made with some fabric I bought from the store's bargain bin. I think that it's just a regular cotton jersey, but I'm not 100% sure. I've got a book I want to buy to help me identify fabrics, but I haven't gotten around to buying it yet; maybe for Christmas, right, honey?? Anyway, this fabric was easier to work with than the rayon mix. I put the band on the sleeves and neck, but did not band the bottom. To finish the bottom I just used my double needle and hemmed it. I also added double-needle hemming around the collar as well.

Double needle hem

Yeah! One picture of me in my new top!

I highly recommend this pattern! It's a PDF pattern and so once I printed it out I felt just fine about cutting out only the size I needed, not having to save it in case I wanted to make one bigger or smaller. If I ever do, all I have to do is print out another one. Printing it out and taping it together is not at all difficult, they give you detailed instructions regarding that. Also, these were a quick sew, neither one taking too much longer than an hour. The instructions come with great photos and are really easy to follow.

I can't wait to use this pattern as a maternity shirt as well (no I'm not pregnant right now). I'll use the longest length available, hem the bottom and then add some ruching to the sides. Now I want to get pregnant, just to make some more of these shirts, haha!

I'm super excited to try out a few more of Sew Much Ado's patterns. Right now I've got my eye on the Ruby Lou Doll pattern (hello Christmas presents).

Come check out my Etsy shop!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Sewing for Boys--Embroidered Hockey Shirt

Hockey is the number one sport of choice in my house. My husband played for the university we went to, I dabbled in it in college as well, and my husband has played in men's leagues since before we were married. So my children have grown up watching a lot of hockey, especially Karl. Karl lives and breathes hockey (and baseball, but that's another story). He's constantly playing hockey in the living room. He knows who NHL players Sid Crosby, Patrick Kane, and Pavel Datsyuk are. He has a better slap shot than I do, and knows how to drop down on the puck like any good goalie. Everything in our house revolves around hockey, including his clothes.
Goalie shirt I made him to go with some hockey pajama bottoms

All decked out, ready to play hockey.

My new sewing machine (bought in early September) is also an embroidery machine. It's the Brother Innov-is 950D. I wasn't specifically looking for a embroidery machine, but the machine was such a steal that I ended up with one. Boy am I happy I did! It's so much fun! I've mostly just used it on scrap pieces of fabric, but when I bought this Riley Blake polka dot fabric and decided to make Karl a shirt, I just knew I had to embroider something on it.
Slap shot!

The pattern was an old '70's era pattern that I picked up from my aunt (thanks Cindy!). It is a perfect fit! Good thing, because it was one of those "only one size actually comes in the pattern" patterns. It won't be too long (read, a few weeks) before it's going to be too short. The fabric, as I mentioned, is a Riley Blake polka dot. The dots are small and in an almost triangular pattern.

He's the best at cheesy smiles, I love it!

My machine came with a CD full of embroidery patterns. Lucky for my boys it has a whole section dedicated to sports. I gave Karl the choice between a hockey player or a baseball player to put on his pocket. He promptly chose the hockey player. I did it in a yellow to match the fabric colors.  In this picture you can see the polka dot pattern better.

When I first bought this fabric I was actually determined to make pants for him. Polka dot pants would be so adorable! Especially with front and back pockets detailed with piping. My husband put his foot down hard. It wasn't like he was going to stop me, but he kept saying that polka dots pants would be too ridiculous. So I dove into my stash of patterns and pulled this button-down shirt out. It was instantly a winner with my husband. Though I'm still determined to make some polka dot pants (or striped pants, or plaid pants, or houndstooth pants) I'm glad that I used the fabric in this shirt because I love how it turned out. 

Plain white buttons, sewed on with orange thread. I did the sewing on the buttons horizontally to match the buttonholes. It is a little funky, but I love it!

I used a decorative stitch on my machine for the shirt hem, the sleeve hem, and on the pocket. It reminds me of those cheesy shirts that you see gamblers wear. I told my sister that and she looked at me like I'd lost my head. Haha! I love adding fun stitches like that and I'm so glad that I did to this shirt. I think it just adds another level of cuteness (honey if you're reading this I mean awesomeness, your sons are manly, not cute ;) ). 

I thought I had a close up of that stitching, but I guess not. You can see it on the pocket and part of the sleeve hem in one of the above photos. It's done in a teal thread. Teal is my absolute favorite color right now. If only I had a girl because teal, coral pink and with gold accents is my favorite color scheme and I'm really wanting to decorate a room with those colors.

Anyway, back to the shirt. I love everything about it! It fits him well, the experimenting I did with regards to my embroidery machine went smoothly and Karl loves it. So it's a win all around.  Check back on Wednesday for some goodies that I made for me!

Are we done yet mom? 

Come check out my Etsy shop!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Weekend Wonders

As I mentioned in a previous post  I want to blog four times a week. One of those times is going to be during the weekend. I want to do a gratitude/what I love about my life, kind of post in order to help me see the beautiful in the world around me, and call the series "Weekend Wonders." At heart I am a pessimist. If you met me, you might never know that, as I always seem to be smiling and laughing, but I always assume the worst will happen. I want to bring myself up out of that pessimism and start looking at life with the glass half-full.

Each time I'll mention a few things that I'm grateful for, or that went really well this week.

We had a really good week here at our house, and so I've got quite a few wonders to tell you about.

We went down and celebrated my best friend's birthday with here. We used to live right next door, but we moved in April and only get to see them once a month or so. It was so great to visit with them again. I love talking with her and her family. We agree on so much and we know each other very well. I miss living next to them, but we always have fun when we get together

We had some really warm days this last week and the little boys and I went out to play. Lots of baseball and golfing was played. I love watching them play together and playing with them, especially outside.

My husband and I started a new plan to get out of debt. I'm really thankful that we are both on the same page about this and that our communication is open. I love working as a team with my husband to accomplish goals, and this is the biggest goal we have ever tackled. We're using Dave Ramsey's plan, check out his website for more information. 

My kids in their Halloween costumes. We don't do trick-or-treating at our house; neither my husband or I enjoy it. But we did go to a Halloween party and dressed up the kids. Karl was a hockey player and Theo was an Army PT stud.

Thanks for reading my blog! Stay tuned for more projects this week, including Karl's hockey shirt, some tops for me, and why Theo never gets any mom-made clothes. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Crocheting--Winter Headband with Flower

The post I had originally planned to post didn't happen. The sun went down before I could get pictures. So I will have that for you next week. Sneak peek, it's a sewing project for me!

So instead I have for you a crochet project. My mom taught me to crochet when I was in junior high, but I didn't really pick it up until I graduated from high school. I still don't know how to read patterns, but I really enjoy it. Someday I'll learn how to read patterns and open up the world of crochet more fully. I would also love to learn to knit (I can do scarves right now, but that's it). 

On to the good part! My sister-in-law gave me a cute headband just like above for Christmas two years ago. She had learned how to crochet them from a woman at work and was gracious enough to teach me. I love homemade winter headgear! I love the creativity behind it and how specific you can get with all the elements. Make a hat...put ear flaps on it...make stripes.... Make a headband instead...add a flower...make it in that chartreuse color that you so desperately love.  Seriously, making your own is the best!
The flower buttons on for easy changing!

This headband is incredibly easy. It's made by looping single crochet stitches until it's the thickness that you want. Add a cute button and, bam! There ya have it. The flower is a little more complicated.

(Instructions for each picture are found in the paragraph that comes before the picture.)

You start by chaining a chain long enough to go around the button making sure that it is small enough to stay on. I used a one inch button on the headband and it took 11 stitches. Loop it together.

Now we'll be using double stitches. Loop the yarn on your hook, and make a double crochet stitch through the center of the loop we just made. Go around the whole loop squishing as many stitches on there as you want. Once you get back to the start do a single stitch in the very first double stitch to anchor it all together.
Forgive the terrible picture
Add double crochet stitches all the way around and then connect the last to the first with a single crochet

Now we make the loops that will hold the petal stitches. You can decide how many petals you want by dividing the number into equal portions. So we start the petal loops by chaining 5-8 stitches. Then we anchor that by counting out the number of double stitches necessary for the number of petals you're doing. Anchor your chain into that double stitch. Continue doing that until you've done all your petal loops.

Now we'll be doing the same thing with the petals that we did with the center--putting double stitches into the middle of the loop. With the first petal put as many double crochets stitches as you want through the loop. In order to separate each petal you need to make the ends stick down. Once you've filled your petal loops with double stitches anchor it down at the both of each loop with a single crochet. Do that all the way around and then tie off after your last anchor stitch, weave your loose ends through, and voila, you're done!

I hope that that made sense. I'm thinking about making a movie to help clear things up. Let me know if you think that's a good idea. If you don't want to struggle through that tutorial, I put this headband and gray flower along with the white flower up on my Etsy shop. Come check it out! Thanks for reading!
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