Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Cards

Okay, so it's that time of year again, and I have to admit it. I get pretty cranky about this card thing...and it's not the sending them. I love to send cards. It's the getting... Sigh. Now, I know you do not send cards to get them or give gifts to get them or the like, and I don't.'s quite disheartening when you send out, say...50 cards and get back, say...12. I've had years like that. Really, what is wrong with people that they don't send cards any more? I just don't get it. It's so Christmasy, neighborly, friendly, and just well, a tradition.

Now, I don't expect cards back from EVERYONE. Obviously someone old or sick or going through some hard times, I would never in a million years think to expect one back...only, oddly enough, those are usually the people that send them back. It's the ones who have no real excuse other than they just don't want to that really irritate me.

And it's not just the not getting it back. It's the not appreciating them. For instance, I have a friend who I've sent Christmas cards to since...well, I'd say since I've been married, but quite honestly, I did give cards and gifts even in high school to this person. And to this day, I don't think I have EVER received a card back. AND, (here's the deal breaker for me...) no acknowledgement of "thanks for the card" or even better, "I loved the pics of the kids!" Groan. It's just annoying. Don't people have manners any more? I mean, I don't expect a fanfare or a big reward, or even a card, really. A "thank you" or a "I really appreciated the thought" would be nice, though. Something to let me know that my effort even mattered.

Otherwise, why do I bother? Why send out a bunch of personalized cards with my kids' pictures on them and pay out a whole bunch of shipping just to make myself happy?

I guess I sound like a Scrooge, and I'm not, really. Every year I swear I'm not going to send out to who didn't send me one last year, but usually I give in, feeling guilty and send them one anyway. But this year, I may have to just cut a few off. I don't really have the extra money to spend on someone who will likely just throw my thought into the trash can, anyway. I'd rather worry about all my aunts and uncles and cousins who live so far away and who go on and and on to my mother about how glad they were to get the pics of the kids, as they don't get to see them much. For them, I will fork out the money for the cards and the postage with a happy smile, regardless of the card I do or do not get in return. Because I made them smile, and that's what it's supposed to be about, isn't it?

But now presents and what THAT has turned into...oh, that's a whole 'nother post. :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Knit and Purl

I can KNIT!!! Okay, so I've JUST learned and certainly need lots of practice (esp. with finding the most comfortable way to hold the needles), and I won't be starting any cable or fair isle sweaters any time soon, but come on! I CAN KNIT! And I UNDERSTAND it. Even how to do cable. I haven't TRIED, yet, but I totally get how it's done. It MAKES SENSE. I just can't explain how wonderful it is to have finally figured out something that at one time seemed so foreign and HARD.

And I taught myself. :) But I really didn't have any choice. No one I know (nearby...miss you, Anya) knows how to knit. And though I did know crochet, the two are certainly very different. But I used the Complete Idiot's Guide to Knitting and Crocheting... (Yeah, I know...real self-esteem booster, that title!), and I must say that the instructions were pretty straightforward and easy to follow...except purling. I just couldn't grasp that with the way they were explaining it. I knew I was doing something wrong, so I had to go to good ole' youtube to figure that out and SEE someone do it. Turns out I was holding the yarn (as in, the part coming straight from the ball) on the wrong side, so my yarn overs were going the wrong way. Easy fix. :) But you can't ask a book questions or press play to see someone do it. So, a good mix, the book and the video.

Anyway, here's what my first attempt looks like.

Yep. I know it's not perfect, but I KNOW what I did wrong. :) First off, I dropped a stitch in the first or second row. Still trying to figure out how to hold the needles and all... And then you will see some "mess ups" further up, which I know what I did but have hard time explaining. Basically, I set down the whole thing last night to go to bed, picked it up this morning and had a brain lapse of "how the heck do I do this again???" Anyway, I think I've got it now.

So, my first project will actually be a felted rolled pencil case. The stitches are straight-forward and simple. (No increasing or decreasing, yet...unless you count the leaf...) And as it's FELTED afterwards, I figured it would help hide a lot of mistakes caused by yarn tension and the like. Though hopefully there will not be a lot of mistakes. :) We'll see.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Look Who I Found in the Apple Bowl

She's a sweet little fairy, whom I found hiding out in my apple bowl in the kitchen. I guess even fairies love apples. :)

She's actually a Christmas present for my daughter, who loves fairies. What little girl DOESN'T?? :) But I thought she was adorable and just had to make her. She even has tiny little green wings!! (And my apologies if you can see the glue where I adhered the hasn't dried, yet, but I couldn't wait to take her picture.)

Hopefully, more pics to come soon of several other projects. Sorry I've been gone for so long...but it's that time of year, where sickness stalks my daughter home from school...or my boys from shopping carts...sigh... I hate being sick. And I hate it worse when my babies are sick. And one of the boys came down with a fever AGAIN today. Not sure if this is something new or a relapse, but as my husband is suffering from a sore throat and a general lousy feeling, looking like somethng new. sigh. Hopefully, it will be short-lived, and we'll all be okay in time for Thanksgiving. I was sick last year with a sinus infection. Fun stuff.

Hope everyone had a lovely Halloween...I need to post pics of my boys' costumes that I made...okay, put that, too, on my ever-growing to do list as the holidays approach at a mad run! :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Full Hands

So, I took all three kids to the post office by myself today. Now, I know that people everywhere take lots of kids with them to various locations, and please don't for one moment think that I don't take my kids with me when I go somewhere, or that I think three is some rediculously large number. Of course not. Only know that my kids are EXCEPTIONALLY energetic and playful. :) They are NEVER the kids sitting quietly in the stroller or happily holding mommy's hand as we stroll through a store. Nope. I have the ones who giggle, then break into screaming laughter. The ones who pull things down off all the shelves...or try to. The ones who are EVER loud and rambunctious. Bad? No. Misbehaving? Not usually. Rowdy? Often. :) And they, of course, just feed off the other's excitement when they're together. So, all that to say that we were loud and noticeable (albeit well-behaved) today when we walked up to the counter to mail my packages.

I should also point out that my boys are twins...and toddlers. And identical. So, EVERYONE notices them. I have long noticed that twins have this way of drawing attention everywhere you go, so that perfect strangers think they should just come right up to you and divulge their life story if they, themselves are twins, have twins, are related to twins, know twins, or have ever even met a twin. It's like the "twin club" you automatically get put into whether you intend it or no. And while most of the time, people are nice as pie, and I have never minded the attention, sometimes you can get quite the insulting confrontations. Really? Someone wants to argue with me, their MOTHER, that they're not identical because one of the boys' hair looked darker? (He was sitting in the shade...). Really? If you have nothing better to contribute to the coversation, just smile at the cute twins and keep walking. Though I am always polite and just try to ignore them. Not worth the arguement.

But anyway, post office...

So, we went in, and, of course, all three kids want to be held up to see, so while I'm telling the man (who also is a twin and has a set of twin sisters...see, told you. Twin club.), I have to take turns holding them up to see over the counter. So, then the lady behind me, comments. "Are those twins?"

I smile and say yes.

Then I get the inevitable comment. "Bless you're heart!" Apparently, I am in need of much blessing, as I hear that a LOT. Of course, I'll take all the blessings the Good Lord wants to bestow. :)

I again, just smile. What do you say?

Then the kids are done standing at my side (can't hold their hands while I'm paying), so they are chasing sister over to the side to investigate the door and other things post office-y. And they all seem amazed that I dared bring them all. (Though not offended, at least. I cannot stand to be near people who do not like children. Do they forget they, themselves, were once one as well???)

And then comes the other inevitable comment. The one I hear the most often.
"Boy, you've got your hands full!" I've heard that one so many times, I should really just wear it on a t-shirt and save people the trouble. LOL (Though I am curious to know how people must react to a family of five or six??? I only have three, after all, twins or not.)

So, I just smile and mention it's naptime. Because, it is, and we all had a late night the day before, and my kids get more excited the more tired they are. Odd how kids do that.

They laugh and say "Yours, right?" Meaning my naptime. Again, I laugh and smile, because quite frankly, I could use one, even if it had nothing to do with the kids today.

Seriously, though, the trip was basically uneventful and calm, a quick trip to do an errand. And yet, people, friendly though they may be, act as though I should get an award for daring to bring all three with me alone.

And it brought to mind a Bible passage...

Psalm 127: 4-5
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them...

And it's so true. Children are gifts straight from God. Not accidents or mistakes, nevermind how they got here. And while most people do show their like for children, I am constantly amazed at how many people think three a lot.

Sure, kids are a lot of work, a lot of trouble, take a lot of energy, a lot of money, change your life totally and completely, turn your schedule upside down and rearrange a lot if not all of your plans on many occasions, and yeah, twins are more work than having a singleton. Duh. You just had TWO kids, not one. Obviously, there will be more work included, and esp. if you have another kid already. But kids are also the most fun you will ever have, the most rewarding experience you will ever have, and the most love and enjoyment you will find on this earth. And each new child is more hugs, more kisses, more fun, more joy, more love! (and, yes, more noise. LOL But happy noise is good noise.)

And so yes, my hands are very full. And happy is the woman whose hands are full. :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

In the Quiet...

I love the house when it's all quiet at night...which is actually quite odd for me, when I am a hands down lover of background noise (the TV or radio is almost always on during the day, even if no one is watching/listening). But there's something about nighttime, when everyone else is in bed, sound asleep, and I'm the only one up in this darkened, quiet house. Sometimes I sew, sometimes I cook (bake), sometimes I read, sometimes I crochet, often I pray. It's a very good time to talk to God, with no distractions. Actually, I was thinking the other day of my "prayer closet" (theoretically, of course...I don't have an ACTUAL closet) because we were discussing ours at a WMU meeting a while back. (That's Women's Missions, by the way, if you were wondering.) The ladies (and the article we were discussing) talked about their "prayer closets" or for those of you unfamiliar with the term, their special place to pray, to talk to God. And honestly, I talk to him a good bit when I'm up sewing at night. Or in my bed as I lie there long after my husband has gone sound asleep. What do I talk about? Anything. Everything. Nothing. Depends on the night. I ask for forgiveness. I ask for help. I ask him to help me be a better mother, to not let little things bother me. I ask to not get so irritated sometimes at silly things. I never ask for patience, because patience is learned by trials, and who wants more of those? I talk to God about things. About what I what, what I think, what I have to do. I pray for my children, for my husband, and for our family's safety. I try to always ask his will, though, when I ask for things, for I know He knows far better what I need than I do. I do know that, and I do trust Him. No one loves me or knows me better. I also know that. And I always tell him I love Him. Because I do. I try to listen, too, to what He wants me to do, but I'm not always as good with the listening part...something I need to work on.

But thinking on this, I must say, I guess I don't really have a special PLACE to pray, though certainly my bed and my sewing room get more formal prayer than most other places. I talk to God off and on throughout my day. I pray for little things. "Please, God, let my child win the game!" (Isn't it wonderful when they beat us at a game without our having to cheat to make it happen? :) ) I pray for practical things. "Please God let it rain." I pray when I'm afraid. "Please God let me kill this spider on the first throw!" And I thank Him. I thank Him for such wonderful children I love. I thank Him for this loving, comforting family and our safe, happy home, when so many in far away countries do not even have a roof over their head, whose countries stay in unrest... I thank Him for little things, like my pumpkin plants not dying, yet. (And yes, I thanked Him for us being able to kill the HUGE spider before it could hide under my dryer and make it impossible for me to wash clothes in there again...) And I thank Him for big things, "Thank you, God, for healing my precious boy and taking away his fever!" or "Thank you, God, for giving me MS, instead of something so very much worse!" I've prayed that a lot. And I mean every word of it. From the beginning, I just kept thinking, relieved, of all the things it wasn't, of all the things God had saved me from. Though don't for one moment think this is any reflection of me. That peace was from God alone. I'm not that good, not that calm, or together. He was there, guiding me, helping me, from day one. And, of course, I've had some ups and downs, though He was with me, helping me through each and every one. And I couldn't have managed without Him, my God, my Savior, my Heavenly Father, my Friend. I honestly don't know how anyone does, even without chronic diseases.

All this to say...I like the quiet, the calm, the peaceful, and we should all take time and remember these words.

"Be still and know that I am God."

Because He is. God. Creator of everything. And even though He is the all powerful, all knowing, MIGHTY God He is, still, He loves me and hears my tiny voice. For I am His.

Praise God for that!

Hidden Treasures

I wanted to post this link and let everyone know about a blog just started called Hidden Treasures, where they will be auctioning off handmade items to help pay for the adoption of a boy with Down Syndrome from overseas. He is in an orphanage where he has not been treated well and is malnurished. If you want more information, you can find it here... Hidden Treasures. If you do not wish to bid on any items, you can still make a monitary donation towards the adoption of this sweet child. If you cannot do that, you can certainly pray for this child, the orphanage where he currently resides, and the precious family trying to bring him home.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I'm Not a Short Order Cook...I'm a MAMA!

I have picky eaters. Let's just get that out and said. In fact, we have two particularly picky four year olds...which is interesting to me, as they ate almost EVERYTHING when they were babies.

But now...well, they do not eat vegetables. At least, not unless they are french fried or pureed. Odd, I know, the pureed part, but I think it's a texture thing. Or a particularly stubborn, "Hey, don't change what I'm used to," thing. Not really sure. (Though I cannot stand the texture of pears, so I can totally understand that one...)

And so mealtime has been the constant source of an endless stream of frustration and headaches on my end, crying and frustration on their end.

"Come on, take a bite!!! Just one???"

While Heckyl can usually be conjoled into a bite or two, Jeckyl is another story altogether. He would hold an offensive bite in his mouth for a whole evening if you let him. And I don't. I can't stand it. I'm NOT going to do that to him or me, either one. I can't see as it would actually help anything. It certainly wouldn't make him more apt to try another bite, for that I am certain. I know him. I've met him. He is the stubbornest creature I've ever met...and that's saying a lot, as we're all pretty stubborn in this family.

But I've looked up lots of ideas on picky eaters...and am pretty appalled at what I've found.

Soooo many sites suggest just offering the kid the food, then not feeding them again until they eat it. "No kid will starve themself." But seriously??? I have to ask myself. Has it come to that? Really, starve your child until they bend to your will?? Really?

Now, I could see if we lived in an environment where we could not afford other foods or where things just plain weren't available. But in my home, that is not the case. Is it really such a big deal to give a kid a peanut butter and jelly (all fruit spread) sandwich when we have chili? When I was a kid, I didn't eat chili either. Especially when they eat it all, rather than cry and scream and wail over ONE bite of the chili??? Is that really better?

Offer it, sure. Make it available, sure. FORCE them to eat it, rather than starve??? I think not. Because I know how stubborn my child is, how stubborn his uncle and grandfather are, and I guarantee you that all three of them would go to bed hungry, tummy rumbling before they would eat something they hated. (Can't say I feel much different myself.) I know. My father actually did that a lot when he was younger, because he refused to eat certain things. And it NEVER made him want them. These parents who make their kids sit there, but who (the kids, that is) finally relent and eat it so they can have that cookie aren't REALLY picky kids. They're just being difficult. Or maybe they're mildly picky. I have the other extreme. There is no force on earth, save actual starvation, that would force my boys to eat a meal they didn't like.

And so I am done. Done with the arguing and the pleading and the bargaining and the forcing. There's no point. It does no good for anyone, doesn't solve anything and just makes us all fairly miserable at a time that should be a fun together family time. And so, I have decided that it doesn't hurt if my boys like pureed peas or squash. They feed themselves, eat it like applesauce. But they're still getting the NUTRITION. And then they can eat their grilled cheese or peanut butter and jelly or pizza or whatever. Does it really have to be that big a deal?

And I try to get creative. I like that book, The Sneaky Chef, though I don't make all the recipes. I like the IDEA of just putting veggies in stuff they already like. I used her white puree (zucchini and cauliflower) last night on their grilled cheese. I spread it over the bread, then toasted the bread, and they were none the wiser. And they like pizza. (I can put zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, and peas all in that good ole' tomato sauce.) And it's not that I'm really trying too hard to HIDE it, just to prepare it in such a way that they LIKE it, and EAT IT readily. That's the main thing. By the way, we LOVE her Sneaky Chef Chili, the adults, that is. LOL And it's much better for me than the canned stuff!!!

All that to say, what's the big deal if my kids are picky? So am I. I don't eat mushrooms or onions, brussel sprouts or asparagus. Big deal. Neither does my daughter, though we both LOVE spinach and other good for us veggies. And my boys are healthy and strong with good appetites, even if they are a bit more finicky (okay, a LOT) than most kids. But so what? Aren't they healthy? Aren't they happy? Isn't THAT what matters, much more than the extra three minutes it will take me to whip up a sandwich or throw some chicken fingers in the oven? No, I'm not a short order cook, I'm a MAMA, and my kids are worth the extra effort.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Whoever thought sewing was a relaxing, quiet, NONAEROBIC activity...never tried to shove a queen-sized quilt around in a regular sized sewing machine. I'm just saying...

Pics to come when I can find the camera charger...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A little bird...

This is MY memory of 9/11 as I experienced it. It is in no way meant to belittle what someone else experienced, nor to neglect those who were cruelly killed or who gave their lives trying to rescue the injured. My heart goes out to any who experienced any kind of loss, and I salute the men and women who died on that horrible day and pray God has given peace to those families who have lost loved ones.

But this blog entry is only of my own remembrance and is not written as a tribute:

Granted, I am writing this a couple hours late for the date, and that I am doing nothing original by posting my memories of 9/11, I was reminded tonight of where I was, what I was doing when it happened.

I was teaching, English, as a matter of fact, to my 10th graders. I remember it was the 10th graders, because I remember one girl, Candace, who was in my class and her reaction when the principal came in to tell us what had just happened. She was worried that the world was coming to an end.

I was just in shock.

But God gave me the sense of mind to remember one of my favorite verses, a verse that has comforted me so many many many times. (If you haven't guessed, this was a private Christian school where thankfully prayer and scripture were welcomed.)

Mark 13:7 And when ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.
(Just as a side note, this statement is in the Bible in four different places

She thanked me for reading this, as it helped to calm her down, just as it always had me. Oh, she was still upset, still flaberghasted and horrified by what was suddenly happening, but she was not in a blind panic, remembering that God was still in control.

And I was still in just...shock. And then I hear that they're shutting down all the state capitals, and I get worried...what if there are more attacks??? My husband was out of town, across the country working on some electrical system or other in one of the state capital buildings. So, I prayed for his safety. I don't remember if I called him (probably) or he called me first, but he got in touch with me and let me know that he was coming on home, but that they would have to drive, as all airports had been shut down, and they had JUST got their rental vehicle before they shut down all of those as welll. Thank you, God!

And later I found out that he had been in the same airport as the one the flight had left from, only the day before. It just didn't seem real.

So, I spent most of the day going down into the teacher's lounge where I could snatch tidbits from the news, and relaying that to my students, my cell phone allowed to be out on my desk, turned on, as we all waited to hear any news from loved ones. No work was going to be done that day, anyway.

But it was on the drive home where God gave me the comfort I needed. Driving on the same road I always took to get home, I past a small little tree, on my left, and in it, sat a small little songbird. And amidst the chaos in my mind, the news on the radio (there was NO music anywhere to be heard), and the stream of traffic, I saw that ltitle bird, sitting happily in his tree, unaware of all that had gone on around him, and it hit me. The world had not ended, was still going on as it always had, because God was still in control. He was still God, Lord over this world and everything in it, even in the midst of our terrible tragedy. And we were in His hands. And though the day was still dark and horrible, though I still did pack up my clothes to go and sleep at my inalwas that night, God let me have that bit of comfort, and I have NEVER forgotten that little bird and the bit of peace and hope God gave to me through him.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Chicken Parmesan

Yum! That's all I'm sayin'. :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Work in Progress

A little over half-way through... Let's just hope it turns out as nice as the pattern pictue...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Little Lunch Bag

This is Little Bit's new lunch box. She didn't really need a new backpack, so I let her pick out a new lunch box...or bag, in this case. She was drawn to the cute little owls immediately. You see, penguins are her favorite animals in the world, but in the absence of them, she is drawn to other birds, esp. owls, which is probably partly my doing, as they are my favorite.

But this entry isn't really about the lunch bag, but more of my feelings as her first day of the next school year looms just around the corner, something this little bag brings to mind as I look at it. Everywhere I go, I hear people talk about how they cannot wait for school to start, that the kids are driving them crazy, and they want to get back to some semblance of normalcy, and get those kids out of the house for a while!

I am not one of those people.

I hate when she has to go back to school. I get giddy over holidays and three day weekends. I love half days, when she comes home early. And more than once have I seriously considered the benefits of home schooling...

Except for one tiny detail. She LOVES school. Loves it the way I did when I was little, loves to learn, loves to explore, loves playing with her friends, and ADORES reading of any kind. (Something this school pushes more than any school I've ever seen in the past...they devote more time to that during the day than all of the other subjects combined.) And so, I smile for her, and tell her I am happy she likes school, that I will miss her, but I am happy for her. And she smiles and hugs me, and tells me she will miss me, too, but she can tell me all about her day when she gets home.

Her first day last year, I cleaned the whole house for being at a loss of what to do with myself. Granted, I got used to it, of course, as we all must, but still... I dread that first day, even as she counts down the days.

We went to orientation, and MY stomach was all in a knot, nearly sick, as I walked into this new, foreign classroom and sat at her little desk to fill out rediculous amounts of paperwork. She went off to explore the room with her brothers, their daddy on their heels to make sure the boys didn't tear the room to pieces. And I sat there and filled out form after form, wondering what this teacher would be like. Would she be kind? Sweet? Or rediculously strict and uncaring. I don't really think the latter. She seemed nice enough, if not a bit rattled by all the parents and kids piling into her room. (It was quite crowded.) Though one or two sentences isn't enough to really know a person or how she will conduct her classroom.

Although, I don't worry of Little Bit's reaction to starting a new year in a classroom with none of her old friends from last year... No, not her. She's the most un-shy person you can imagine. (She makes friends with people in lines at stores...) So bubbly and happy and friendly and smart as a whip, too. She is nice to everyone, says that her whole class are her friends, and that makes me happy, that she will not be the one to judge a person by the color of their hair or style of clothing. If she gets into trouble, it will probably be for talking with a new friend or running because she's so excited, she can't stand it. She wants to explore the world, to learn it all, to see everything. But it's hard for a mother...who has to hear about it later over supper, who used to get to experience everything with her. But I can't go...

And so I can only pack her little lunch bag with a few of her favorite things and hope it brings a smile to her face to know Mama is thinking of her.

And next year, it's the boys' turn. sigh... I think I need a cookie...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Homemade Chicken Stock

I finally got the opportunity to make my own homemade chicken stock. We had purchased a rotisserie chicken from the store the other day, and when everyone had eaten all they wanted, I kept the carcass for myself, threw some water, herbs, veggies, and spices into a pot and made stock. :) Just pour it up through a strainer and WAH-LAH, stock! (I stuck it in the fridge overnight, then pulled off the fat that had settled and cooled on top, then froze it for later use.) :) Makes you feel good to get something for "almost" nothing. (granted, the herbs and spices and carrots and heat from the stove actually DO cost something but not much.) And it made a good bit, is very flavorful and no added preservatives or anything I don't want in there. :) Healthy, handy, and frugal. Awesome!

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Okay, so I've been VERY VERY slow at posting pics of stuff I've made lately. (Sheepish grin) But better late than never, right??? At any rate, this is one of two little airplane/rocket amigurumi I made for the boys to go in their basket. (The other was AWAL at the time of taking this picture...I did later find it, though now have no idea where it is again...such is the life of toys at this house...)

And this is a pic of Little Bit's new owl friend. I got the pattern from Sewing Bits and Pieces: 35 Projects Using Fabric Scraps by Sandi Henderson, an awesome book that I intend to use many more patterns from. (I've also made the pennant banner that now hangs in my daughter's room. VERY cute!) But she loves her, and that's what counts, anyway. Oh, her name is Holly. (Her baby, who I also made from my own pattern, is named Hooey. She's quite creative with her names, what can I say?!)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Back at the Machine

Well, it seems like forever since I've sewn...things just keep happening to keep me from it, and when I have a free moment, I just haven't felt like it. I have been working on a crochet project, which I will show when finished. Crochet is always so nice to work on while you watch TV or something, and then I can still converse with hubby while doing something physically productive. A good mix. :) Anyway, I made these pj pants for the boys' birthday....I always try to make them new pj's for their birthday. Not sure why, only that it's sort of become a tradition now. Anyway, they're super warm and cuddly, and they like them. I fell in LOVE with the lobster material. Just so odd, I know. But I like odd. :)

And I made this shirt for Little Bit finally...only had it cut out forever. In fact, I kinda' had to sew my seams small just to give her a little more room, as she's grown since I cut it out... But I just haven't had time...or felt like it...or whatever... Life happens. You know how it goes. See above... But I was pleased with how it turned out. Owls and all. I especially like the little cap sleeves. How sweet! And just in time for back to school. I have another one almost finished made mostly like it. I will show it when it's finished, too. But I thought these would be super cute with jeans or a denim skirt and maybe a cardigan thrown over it. :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Extreme Couponing

Okay, so apparently this new craze of extreme couponing has come upon us. I watched the special on TLC that followed four extreme couponers and have now seen a couple episodes of the regular TV show that came from it. And I have to say that I see several flaws in this idea.

First of all, let me start off by saying that I would LOVE to get, say $600 worth of groceries for $2. Uh. yeah. Who wouldn't? And just to clarify, yes, I am an avid coupon user (I average $25-40 in coupon savings per big grocery trip, which I consider a pretty decent savings), and I think I have only paid full price for maybe two children's clothing items since my daughter was a baby. I love to shop the sale rack, and I'm pretty dang good at catching the sales on kids' clothes, as a matter of fact (as well as my own clothes). I also like to catch good deals at yard sales and of course am in love with thrift stores and the like. This said, so that you know I am not one of these "must pay full price or it's not worth anything" people. I don't even think I know any of those...

Okay...but why I think this extreme couponing thing is not as easy as they make it look...

1. The freebies. Well, they aren't free, actually. Most of these people subscribe to many different newspapers or coupon clipping services, which cost money. And they scout out the sales and wind up going to grocery stores sometimes 3 or 4 different times a week to catch what's on sale where and when. Uh. I don't know about you, but gas is high where I live. That DOES count. And don't forget about the storage. One lady had 4 freezers...that most certainly has to add to her monthly electric bill. Now, while they may still be coming out better than if they had bought them outright, my point is not that it's a bad deal. Only that it is NOT free, and I kinda' get tired of them saying so.

2. Most grocery stores do not double coupons, which is key in extreme couponing. I only know of one around here that does it...I just recently learned this, so I haven't tried it out. And naturally, it's not next to my house. So more gas.

3. The TIME. Now, to those people who say "I don't have time to coupon..." I have to say, uh, yeah, you should. I usually spend about an hour or two (that's including the many interruptions of having children coming and asking me questions or trying to take over the mouse for me. I could get done a lot faster if I was alone.) to get enough coupons online to save me what I mentioned above. Most certainly worth it. But time is worth something, and some of these people on the show spend WAY more time than that scouting coupons. One woman worked 40 hours a week and said she likely spent 30 hours a week couponing. UH...I'm not sure where she figured in time to relax or play with her toddler. A free can of spagetti sauce isn't worth THAT to me. Not even 20 of them. And don't get me started on the dumpster diving...

4. No brand loyalty. You can't POSSIBLY have brand loyalty and extreme coupon. You have to take any coupon you get and double it whenever that brand goes on sale. Now, I, by no means, have to have the most expensive product, nor do I have any problem buying the cheaper store brand ON SOME ITEMS. But there are SOME things that I like MY brand and do not want any other imposter in my home. Like Heinz ketchup, for example. Were I to bring home a store brand, my family (including myself) would revolt! And makeup. Again, I cannot always just buy the cheapest. For example, Maybelline and my face just don't get along so well. And when I do find something I like a lot, I want to buy THAT item, not risk buying up 20 of something I might not like. Also, I worry that manufactuers will stop offering as many coupons with the rise in number of extreme couponers, who have no brand loyalty. shrug. Let's hope not.

5. Storage Space. I am NOT giving up a room or building on an addition to hold my "stash." I do have space in my closet for some overage that I've bought on sale. As I told you, I do shop sales, and I do like coupons, and if it's something I KNOW I use, then sure, I'll buy 3 or so. 3...not 30... Though I do want another freezer for things such as sales and summer produce. I simply have an additional fridge (a must for a family of five who all are in love with milk), and I want an actual freezer, as we pick lots of berries and stuff in the summer, and it's hard to have room for all of that, plus the normal grocery stuff...and homemade ice cream. Yum. :)

6. Does anyone need 300 deodorants? I mean, really. Who sweats THAT much? So many of these people on TV have hundreds of items. (One woman worrying because she had ONLY 10 hand soaps left she bought a HUNDRED. "Why not? It's free.") about sharing your wealth, not becoming the next person on the other show, Hoarders. I did finally see one couple who couponed for what they needed and the great excess they had gained, gave to charities and their church. Now, THAT's a reason to get 100 soaps. To help people. One woman in particular, I think would have had a fit had someone taken away ONE of her "free" candy bars. She was even mean to her husband who was helping her! And no one mentions how a lot of this stuff will, indeed, go bad before you can use it, even if you are rotating your stash. Unless you plan on eating noodle meals EVERY day.

7. Nutrition. Anyone looking at what those people are buying? Candy bars, Cokes, noodle meals, fatty frozen dinners...I did see some spagetti sauce, which could be considered healthy. But really... Notice, if you will, MOST of these extreme couponers they've shown are quite overweight. (No, not all, but many.) Convenience food should be a sometimes thing, not a daily meal. It's just not good for you. I am reminded of the show Heavy and how the nutritionist said you should stick to the outside aisles...nothing canned or processed. Hmm...a good thing to think about...

There are, of course, SOME good things.
No impulse buys, for instance, which can kill anyone's shopping budget. And teaching your kids about money and budgeting, which is always good. And having a small stash is certainly not a bad thing to have on hand. One never knows when something like bad weather (think hurricanes or tornados) can hinder simple things like getting groceries. Or just a month that has too many unexpected expenses. Gotta' fix the truck? Okay, well, we'll use our stash and back off on the shopping this month. But I don't think it should take over your life or house like it has obviously done in these people's lives.

That said, to each their own. I suppose it doesn't hurt me at all if someone wants to spend every waking moment clipping coupons and organizing spagetti sauce. :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Clothesline Apron

I love to hang up my clothes to dry outside on the clothesline. Let's just ignore for a moment the green-ness of it, of the energy we're saving or the money we save by not using the dryer so much. It's also very relaxing, very calm, and extremely satisfying. I feel much more like I've accomplished something than I do when I load up my dryer. And usually the kids play in the sandbox while I work, so it's a win-win fun situation for all. :) (Though I have been known to get busy and forget to bring them in before the dew sets in, completely negating all the work I did...shrug. Well organized and completely on task, I am not, nor will I ever be. Let's just be honest here.)

But anyway, to my point...I've been carrying around my clothespins in the plastic bag they came in. Not very attractive or even very practical. It's a small, narrow ziploc-type bag, and so hard to reload with pins as you pull clothes off the line. Often I just chunk them in the basket with the clothes and run the risk of them falling through the holes onto the ground (and either getting found by my children-- who have been known to smoosh fingers in them--or by the lawnmower, and we know how that would go...) I kept saying...I need to make a bag to hold them, but we all know how THAT goes. I've been saying that since last year...

So, recently, I purchased this book One-Yard Wonders by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins, and lo and behold, it had a clothesline apron in there, all pretty and polished, and I knew I had to make it.

And so I did. Yesterday.

My only complaint, really, was it's a bit too small. Once I've put all my clothespins in there, it looks very misshapen and overstuffed...because it is. shrug. We'll see how it holds up. At any rate, it's very cute, and now I want to make a new apron for the kitchen. Hmm...which pattern to choose?

Thursday, May 12, 2011


Anyone that knows my daughter knows that nowhere in the words to describe her do the words DAINTY, GENTLE or CAREFUL appear. Seriously, the girl is "rough as the cobb," as my mother would say. She is so tough on shoes and pants, that I'm doing good for either pair to last a month without a hole. I mean, really, how many kids tear up a new pair of shoes from the INSIDE out??? (And how do you do that anyway???) The state of her torn jeans is such that I'm beginning to wonder if they have her playing tackle football at recess...and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if she was. She is equally rough on toys...she even broke the handle of a tupperware teacup I bought her for her toy kitchen. Tupperware. (me shaking my head). And my old talking Bugs Bunny doll that somehow managed to survive years of my own childhood abuse, and many more years in storage in an attic I'm pretty sure gets hot enough to bake cakes...she had it beheaded within five minutes. Not on purpose, mind you. But still.

But even though she is more likely to be seen playing football than dolls, that she is in no way a prissy, girly-girl...still, we have entered the PINK stage.

sigh. She's driving me nuts. Pink PINK PINK....oh, and purple. Purple is okay.

I am NOT a pink kind of person, usually. Not that it's an evil color or anything, only, well, orange is my favorite, and I don't wear a lot of pink, either. When Little Bit was born, I even scoured the stores to find her a nice little coming home dress that was NOT pink!!! (Finally found a cute one that was mint green with tiny little pink ribbon roses at the yoke) And I dressed her in a lot of NOT pink when she was little, though I did not shy away from pink entirely. I'm not, like, insane about it or anything. I just don't really like pink that much.

But now I have to practically argue with her to get her to wear any other color. sigh. Here we go...

Of course, having thought back onto my own childhood, I, too, was pretty much a tomboy. I never wore dresses or my hair down unless we were going to church, and I could often be found outside digging for worms. And even I had a pink and purple stage--I remember it, actually. Though I favored purple, which Little Bit used to. shrug. Maybe she's just up for a change. Of course...once I got a little older, I threw off anything pink...or lacy...or ruffled... Yeah, probably just a phase. :)

Let's hope so...I don't have a lot of pink fabric in my stash. LOL

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pretty Spring Flowers

Spring is in full bloom at my house, and all the flowers are coming out of hiding, enjoying the nice spring weather. My roses are finally blooming, happily, including my two new bushes I recently planted. I think I have 10 total, now. I plan to put one in the front soon, though to replace some plants that didn't make it through last summer's drought that I didn't like enough to replant. (from the people who lived here before) The boys try to pick everything they find blooming, including the roses, which scares me to death. Finally, they're sorta' starting to get it, and will say. "I can't pick those. They will hurt me." Bless them! I also recently planted a raised garden bed, but that will be another post. I hope you all have a lovely Tuesday!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Easter Goodies

Just thought I'd share a couple things I got finished for my shop for Easter. Running kind of late, I know, but I'm also working to get some stuff done for the craft fair in early May (which may not happen unless I REALLY get on the ball!)
Here's a sock rabbit, a little amigurumi rabbit, and a couple amigurumi Easter eggs with a little rattle inside, for those kiddies too little for the real eggs...or the chocolate ones. :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lemon Lime Sherbet

This is the baby blanket I made for a dear friend of mine's new baby girl. I decided to name it lemon lime sherbet because of the lovely colors of white, pale green, and pale yellow. It reminded me so much of those colors in sherbet. :) It's actually some baby yarn I bought at a cute little yarn store in Cambridge, England. I had actually bought it to make my twins' blankets, but then decided instead to make them out of a much thicker (and warmer) yarn, which turned out to be pretty smart, given how cool it got very quickly after they were born. Anyway, so I decided to make it for my friend's baby, and I am quite pleased with how it turned out.

The bunny is actually a freebie pattern from Wee Wonderfuls website. I embroidered the little bunny and stuffed it. I thought it would make a good new baby toy for when she starts being able to grasp things, because she can gnaw on it to her heart's content, and it's just the right size for little hands. I hope she enjoys it! :)

I just LOVE making baby things!!! It's such a happy project, and each stitch was filled with love and prayers for this new little person to be welcomed in the world!

Happy bithday, little Rachel!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Old Sink, New Sink

We've been wanting to replace not only our faucet in the kitchen, but also the sink, itself, for some time now. Our first choice was cast-iron, which I still love and plan to have in my "gonna' stay here" home one day. And we did, in fact, purchase one, brought it home, and would you believe was WARPED! CAST IRON! But sure enough, it was not straight and would not fit flush with our countertop (and yes, we checked it was not the countertop, but levels don't lie. The sink was NOT straight.) That, plus after careful consideration that we weren't sure our current cabinets were set up to hold that kind of weight for any prolonged amount of time, we finally just went with stainless steel. We, are, of course, trying to fix up our house as nice as possible but also trying to be frugal on what we invest in it, as we know we will eventually sell.

Anyway, this sink is a good 2 inches deeper. LOVE that feature way more than I thought I would. And it also has completely flat bottoms, as opposed to our old one that has curved corners on the bottom. So, more room, over all.

I love it. I don't even have to say a word about the faucet with sprayer. Come on! Just LOOK! :) It's awesome. Esp. since we still had the contractor grade one with broken sprayer. Fun.

So, I am very very very happy with this new addition to my kitchen (along with my new convection oven, but that's another post...) and proud of my wonderful hubby who is so good with tools!



Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Just want to remind everyone out there to pray for all the people going through so much fear and saddness in Japan. May God help them all!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

AGH day(s)...

Okay, trying to sew. Really I am. I actually decided I would do my best to sew a little every day this week...and I have, only I've been having really BAD sewing days. Let's just say had I been sewing on a shirt, I would have sewn the sleeve to the neckhole or something...only to take it out and do the same mistake again about four times. Yeah. Very annoying. Only I haven't been making a shirt. I've been making this car seat cover for a friend of mine. Her baby boy is due soon. :) (Yea!) And though it really should have been a simple project and not have given me any trouble at all, Murphey really threw me a curve ball, because pretty much all that could go wrong, did, the most annoying of which was someone messing with the tension on my machine (I think it was the girl...) and getting it so messed up that I didn't think I'd ever get it straight and still am not totally convinced it's through giving me grief. But...after about three days of aggrivation, I have finally finished it! (Cue the music!) It's actually pretty darn cute, if I may say so myself. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the froggie and mushroom fabric. Forgive the picture, though. It's on a chair...I don't have any baby car seats to try it out on. Mine are all too big now.

But here it is. TAH DAH! Something finally made this week! LOL

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


No, I haven't disappeared from the planet. LOL Sorry to say we've all had a recurring dose of "the crud" and I haven't had much time for (or felt up to) blogging or doing anything very interesting lately. So, my apologies and bear with me. I hope to be back soon.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Make-ahead Sandwiches

As a stay-at-home mother of three kids, there are two things I can never have enough of...time and money. So, when I can find something that saves me BOTH, I'm thrilled. :) And here is one solution to popping together quick lunches to take to school in the morning. Little peanut butter and jelly sandwich pockets that I make myself with my cool little gadget from Pampered Chef (and I am SO gonna' make some Nutella ones, as well), only these are so much healthier than the frozen store-bought ones, as this is all fruit spread and whole wheat bread, which Little Bit likes better anyway. Happiness for me! But to monopolize on time and handy-ness (washing the cutter ONCE a week, rather than every morning), I make up several at once, then wrap in plastic wrap and then pop them all in one big reusable freezer bag. Wah-lah. I just saved myself five minutes on a school morning, which, as far as I'm concerned, is priceless.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Felted Wool Pillow

I have had these sweaters laying around for some time, that I didn't know what to do with. For starters, they didn't fit me any more. They were pre-baby sweaters, and there's just no way they're ever gonna' fit my body ever again. LOL Add that to a couple happy moth holes, and these were perfect candidates for a new project I wanted to try--felted wool.

So, I felted the sweaters (which anyone with a washer and dryer can easily do), then couldn't figure out WHAT to do with them. After staring at them for a full week, wondering what the perfect project would be...after all, I loved these sweaters and wanted to keep them around, the whole reason I hadn't thrown them out in the first place...I decided to cut them apart and make a throw pillow for my bed. I love it! I kept the little (now much SMALLER) pocket on the front of my lighter sweater as an accent for the pillow, and it's just so darn CUTE! I love love love it! And soooo soft and comfy to prop up on while on the computer or reading a book or something. Happy, happy, happy! I also love the fabric I chose for the backing. It's various fairy tale words: "Happily ever after," "Once upon a time," "Fee Fi Fo Fum," and the like. :) Too cute, and perfect for a sleepy time throw pillow. :) And it will look just so darling with my new quilt when I get it finished. :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Quilt pieced...finally...

I've had this fabric waiting to be put into a quilt since probably last spring. It's been a while, for sure. But it's always something ELSE that has to get done first, a gift for someone, an order for etsy. Something. But I FINALLY got around to piecing this lovely quilt to go on my it's actually supposed to be a large throw for the foot of my (Queen size) bed...I often get cold when hubby is not, so I need something to pull over MY side of the bed. BUT, it ended up being actually a full-size quilt which will still serve the same purpose, but will also work for a guest bed or something down the road.

The first task was deciding on a pattern. As it was going to be on OUR bed, I was trying to pick something hubby would like, as well as me. Which is tough, let me tell you. We're both very picky...and in two totally different directions sometimes. LOL He's probably not overly thrilled with the mermaids, but as it wasn't pink or flowers or something, I think he'll deal with it nicely enough. :) And orange IS my favorite color, and one he likes as well. So, I picked out four or five patterns I liked, and let him pick of those. He chose this one, which is fine by me, as it was easy and quick to piece together, if not cut. (For cutting, there were lots of 7/8" and stuff like that, which I hate having to cut. But it went smoothly enough.)

And after two days of sewing (and potty training, and making meals, and snacks, and being interrupted about a thousand times an hour...) here it is. I hope to sandwich it either tonight before bed, or tomorrow night. I've learned sandwiching (and pin basting) doesn't work well with little ones running around. LOL I plan on hand quilting it, though, so it will be a few weeks before it gets to grace my bed...probably just in time for it to be warm enough that I don't need it...but isn't that how it works? :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

DIY Dish

I love this program, the DIY Dish. They are a very talented pair of sisters, who tell all sorts of ideas for craft projects, all of them easy enough even for someone new to crafting. This one, the Valentine one, shows some awesome ways to use Therm-o-web, a product I've loved for years, though I'd never known about the fabric laminating film, to make things like wipe-off bibs (yes!) and placemats that your kids won't ruin in one meal. :) Definately gonna' have to try that! Also, there's a cool giveaway at the end. Let's keep our fingers crossed for me, huh? LOL

Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas Presents

Here's some presents I made for Little Bit for Christmas. One is her quilt, which I freehanded appliqued. I wanted to do fall images, and I absolutely fell in LOVE with this fabric a while back. I thought it was very "HER". But she didn't have a quilt that I had made her, except for a Halloween quilt, so it was time she had her own. I didn't quilt before she was born, so she didn't get a baby quilt like the boys did. And then they got their new farm quilt this Christmas, too, so she needed one as well. I think it turned out nicely.

The other is a little kitty doll, that we have lovingly named Kit. It's from the Wee Wonderfuls pattern for Kit, Louise, and Chloe, but with the adjustments to make it into a cat from the free tutorial by Sew Liberated. Because, just like her nieces, my daughter is soooo a stuffed animal girl and not really into dolls that much. I made her a little quilt for her kitty, too, that works with her doll bed my father made her last Christmas. I used the scraps leftover from her quilt, as I did for the cat's clothes, too. She is made from cashmere wool suiting with hand dyed wool for the eyes. And the best part, she was made ENTIRELY from scraps and leftovers--clothes, quilt, body (even stuffing), even the little drawstring bag to keep the clothes in. EVERYTHING was leftovers, so she was totally free!!! I love projects like that, when you can take your scraps and turn it into something so lovely. :) Just makes me feel like I accomplished something cool all the more! (Oh, and all the clothes coordinate, so she can mix and match the shirts and dresses. And I added a little snap to the cat's head to let her change out little bows. My daughter liked that feature. :) )