Friday, February 26, 2010

Homemade Challenge #10 - Little Girl Bubble Skirt

You're two; you have a big party to attend the next day, and nothing to wear.  What to do, what to do.  Well, nothing.  You're two.  You don't give a hoot, but your mama does. In fact, at 9:30 the night before the party your mama decides you need a brand to skirt for this shindig.  Mama breaks out her stash of material and ignores those familiar looks from The Mister.  Yes, I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew at the last minute, but I got this one.  With a little help from this pattern I knocked that baby out in less than 30 minutes.  Hurrah!

Check out the neat ribbon detail on the bottom.  No hemming needed on this one.  I can't say enough good things about this pattern and it's free!  I think Little Girl will be wearing all skirts this summer.  Head on over to Oliver + S for some great patterns, including three free ones.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Again, and Again, and Again

I'm starting to feel like the movie Groundhog Day. All we have been seeing around here is more sickness, more fevers, more ear infections, and more snow. A current status check has us at two sick kids, a sick mama, a maybe sick daddy, six inches of snow, yesterday, and another storm coming. Boo. Spring are you coming? Hello, spring we need you. Please.

An interruption to find blankies, pillows, stuffed animals, and other assorted comfort items for sick children. A spatula? Really, you can't relax without a spatula in your hand?

I did receive my CSA confirmation, so at least I can dream about all the veggies that will be coming our way in a few months. It’s a little trickier than I thought, though. They have added on an egg, fruit, and chicken subscription plan to choose from, as well. I would love to sign up for all and kiss the grocery store goodbye for the summer, but I will have to run some numbers. Tempting, tempting.

A little interruption to say, "Stop touching your brother," seven times in a row.

I have been dreaming about Squam Art Workshops for weeks now. It’s like summer camp for crafty folks. I would love to go there. Do you think a send a mama to camp campaign would work?

A break to take temperatures. Why is the thermometer only giving readings in Celsius now? Google Celsius to Fahrenheit conversion chart (sorry Ms. Salt I don't remember a darn thing from seventh grade science class) and threaten children not to play with mama's thermometer again.

Do you know how sadistic allergists are? I think, all said and done, I have fifty-three holes in my back. I'm also allergic to everything that grows outside, cats, dogs, and horses. Horses will just about kill me. I had no idea. The good news is I am not allergic to chickens. Whoo hoo, one day that backyard coop will be all mine.

Children just ran by with thermometer in hand. Guess I better go. Hope everyone else is having an easier day.

Hopefully, we are back to Fahrenheit.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Homemade Challenge #9 - Monster Truck Shirt

Ah, the monster truck shirt. Boy, does this one have a story to go along with it.

The Story
A couple of weeks ago I took the little ones to the mall. We probably go there less than four times a year, so it was a slightly big deal. The lure of 80% of clearance was calling to me and I was hoping on stocking up the kids for next year. Into the store we go where everything was going well until Little Boy spotted a monster truck shirt and to him it was the monster truck shirt. I politely declined to purchase this shirt in all its full price glory and then all hell broke loose. My sweet little guy who has never had a tantrum, let alone in public, had a stage five meltdown in the middle of the store. There was crying, begging, pleading, hiding behind clothing racks. A salesgirl told me I was a good mom since I didn't hit him like most of the parents. Um, thanks, I think. I finally had to pick him up and carry him out of the store as he screamed, "you're hurting me," at the top of his lungs. Good times.

The Gift
With Valentines rolling around I knew a monster truck shirt would be well received. I started to work on machine embroidering ala Martha. I freehanded a rather cute truck onto the shirt and got to work. Then my abusive sewing machine put a huge hole in the middle of the shirt. Yes, maybe I put the wrong needle in, but couldn't he compensate for my shortcomings just this one time? So, now I had a shirt with a hole in it and no way to save the embroidery. What to do, what to do? Luckily, this lovely little blog showed up in my feed via another website and all was not lost. A little cutting, a little appliquéing, and the shirt is saved and a monster truck is on it. Whew!

Footnote: Little Boy professes to love the shirt, but will not wear it because he wants to "keep it nice." Oy vey.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


  • No matter how good it is at the time; don't eat five pounds of PF Changs in one sitting.  The Mister suggesting stopping, but I plowed right through.  I feel hungover today.  Blah.  Big thanks to the Mister for planning a night out for us.  They are greatly needed and don't happen often enough.
  • I started by sixth knitting project, unraveled my sixth knitting project, and started my seventh knitting project.
  • Adding jeans to my old Polly Flinders' dresses make them look a whole lot more Little Girl.
  • Vacuuming under the crib should really be done more than every time a baby is born.  Also, if you pull the crib away from the wall and fill that space with pillows toddlers and preschoolers transform into kitties that happily play while you waste time on the computer. 
  • I love an organized pantry.
  • For some strange reason my kids strip naked every time I mention dance party.  I know I should correct this, but naked dancing to the farmer in the dell is just too funny.
  • Does anyone else have Eye of the Tiger stuck in their head?  I can't decide if this is due to the Olympics or the Chinese New Year.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pancake Day

I'm sure many of you are happily celebrating your Fat Tuesday by downing some paczki today. Since, both the Mister and I have polish heritage and our little area of the upper Midwest has been heavily influences by the polish culture, this was the only way I was aware to celebrate today through food. I am lacking the sweet tooth that make paczkis enjoyable and I wouldn't dare feed one to a two-year-old or four-year-old, so we usually don't partake in the gastronomic parts of the celebration. Until, today. I was happy to find that many Lutherans celebrate today as Shrove Tuesday and a hearty round of pancakes are involved in the celebration. Now we have done what we usually do around here and stolen the parts of celebrations we enjoy from other cultures and religions and made it our own. I swear we do try to do this in the least offensive way. After a hearty lunch of pancakes (mama can only muster cold breakfasts on weekdays) we snuggled in and read If You Give a Pig a Pancake. It was quite enjoyable and I think it has been added to our list of lasting traditions.

Homemade Challenge #8 - Steggie the Dinosaur

I dislike giving gifts just for the sake of giving gifts.  It just ruins the whole experience for me, so I try to have good reasoning behind each gift that is given.  I do better on some gifts than others, but I try.  So, in that spirit may I introduce you to Steggie the Dinosaur.  You may recognize him from One-Yard Wonders or if you are Little Girl he is the ancient dinosaur from How Do I Love You?.  Little Girl and I read this book together before bed and she loves the dinosaurs in it.  I've known for awhile that a dinosaur would have to make an appearance at our house one of these days and what better excuse then Valentine's Day? 

A couple of weeks ago One-Yard Wonders made its way into my life via the library and I am loving it.  Not only does it have great bags, clothes, and home decor, it had a dinosaur pattern.  I did switch some things up a bit, though.  I can never leave things well enough alone.  In the book, the dinosaur is a pull toy, but we just wanted something to love on, so that was left off.  He is made of thrifted sweaters, instead of fabric.  Nothing better than a cashmere stuffed animal.  And, I left of the eyes, since I didn't really think he needed it.  I think Little Girl approved of all of it.  She has been growling at everyone with Steggie and he has moved into her bed at night, too.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Lovely Week

Last week got away from me. I didn't intend to be gone for so long. Between 10 inches of snow and 22 homemade valentines it got a bit busy around here. We were able to eek out a lovely Valentine celebration, though. Homemade gifts were made for the little ones and mama planned ahead enough that even with a major catastrophe she wasn't rushing around at the last minute like usual. We got to spend an entire weekend visiting with family and enjoying each other. The Mister and I had a great Valentine breakfast out on the town with no kids; to bad I forgot the gift card to pay the bill. By far, the best thing, though, was a new family portrait to celebrate my grandparents’ 64th wedding anniversary. The pictures came out so great. I still can't believe Little Girl did so good. We've have had some issues in the past getting pics taken. She was a rock star this time and we have some precious keepsakes to prove it. The only missed activity was the little ones going sledding, since mama got a little too wrapped up in scrap booking our new pictures. Oops. You would understand if you saw my mother's scrap booking stash. I'll post pics one day to show how unbelievably awesome it is. So, the rest of the week I will be playing catch up and showing off all the homemade fun we have been having around here. Hope your Valentines was lovely!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Homemade Challenge #7 - Alphabet Softies

My sweet, little niece is turning one, so I was on a quest to make her something she would enjoy and her parents would not hate.  I was thinking something soft, small, and came in its own storage container.  I happened upon this wonderful tutorial and couldn't wait to get started.  Thank goodness for all the lovely, crafty mamas out there that are willing to share their knowledge! 

The tutorial is great and the only thing I deviated from was leaving out the magnets since it was going to a little one.  I stitched up a little drawstring bag to go along with the letters and called it a day.  Well, actually, I chased around the little ones who had stolen the letters while I was sewing the bag and then called it a day.  I hope Baby Dell likes them and she has a hundred more birthdays to come.

The Unexpected

The past few days have really been full of the unexpected, and in very good ways...
  • A homemade gift coming together easier than expected
  • So easy in fact, there was time to sew Little Girl a new party skirt (pictures to come, it's in the washer with cupcake on it)
  • A birthday party overloaded with little ones that was fun and kind of relaxing
  • New knitting needles given to me by my Grandmother
  • A fun morning with my little guy, even if it was only a date with the dentist
  • Sun, the glorious sun
  • A pile of books, dvds, and cds waiting for us at the library*
Now the sun is gone, the snow is piling up and we are struggling to keep the day from going sour on us.  So, we will just keep singing, "ain't nothing gonna break my stride," and plan some sledding and hot chocolate escapades.

*I hear you on the John Denver cd.  Since, I heard it everyday of my childhood I thought I should give it a test run now that I am an adult.  Frankly, it's terrible and I couldn't listen to the whole thing.  Even worse, I seem to know every word to every song. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Homemade Challenge #6 - Orange Julius

The mall
The early eighties
My favorite beverage of choice?

Why the orange julius, of course.

Apparently, these have been around since the twenties, but they will always take me back to jelly shoes and bangs. If you try to get one at the mall nowadays it just isn't the same. I don't know if the recipe changed, the atmosphere is different, or I'm not four years old anymore, but it's not the same.

During our last bout of illness I got a serious craving and found a recipe to whip some up. This recipe comes pretty darn close while being very simple. The only variable seems to be the orange juice you use. Fresh squeezed will give you the best results. If you are using store bought you might have to play with the water-orange juice ratio to ensure it's orangey enough.

Orange Julius
6 oz Orange Juice
6 oz Water
3 oz Simple Syrup
8 oz Crushed Ice
1 tsp Powdered Milk

Mix in a blender and enjoy while reminiscing about bangs

Monday, February 1, 2010

Month in Review - January

    I meant to post this yesterday, but the day got away from me. Poor Little Boy has come down with yet another cold, I've been trying to catch up with all the things that have fallen by the wayside, and we had a shopping expedition to a health food store we don't frequent very often. After shopping there I remembered why we don't shop there very frequently. I should love this store, but between the carpeted floors, aisles of "healthy" processed food, and single aisle of produce I just can't do it. Sorry Health Food Store, I'm just not that into you. I'll stop rambling now and focus on the positives of the month.
    • Learned to make homemade bread. It has been such a success that all of our bread now comes from our own oven. I was incredibly lucky to hit pay dirt on the first recipe I tired and I am thrilled that this entire family of eclectic eaters loves this bread. • Can count on one hand the days I made it out of my yoga pants. Yep, it was no fun having everyone be sick, but there were lots of comfy clothes. • Paid off our car three months faster than we had originally planned. We saved more money this month than I ever imagined possible on the all cash system. The wallet is definitely a winner • Learned little celebrations are just right for little folks. • Worked out some goals for the next month and I am looking forward to sharing some fun things in the upcoming weeks.
    Onto the love month.