Monday, November 23, 2009

craziness

Life has been crazy busy lately. I'm hoping to get back into my blogging rhythm soon. In the meantime, I'll give a short re-capping list of what's been going on.

~We have battled colds and won. And then gotten colds again.
~We have enjoyed more snow.
~We have finished our Christmas shopping (I think) and have a lot of delightful little surprises up our sleeves.
~We have taken a whirlwind weekend trip to see Benjamin's parents.
~We have tackled begining a new schedule with earlier mornings and bed times (and I'm loving it).
~Benjamin's graduation date is set for the 20th of February!
~We have been prompt to doctor appointments, church events, family gatherings, and music lessons.
~Brother has had his three month birthday.
~We have gotten our family photos taken.
~I have started my own Etsy store! It has been a lot more work to get it going than I anticipated, but I have a few things posted and have a lot more ideas. I would be delighted if you would like to come visit me there.

Monday, November 2, 2009

crepes

Last week I enjoyed helping some friends prepare a surprise birthday party in celebration of their daughter's sixteenth birthday. In addition to cutting and arranging vegetables and cheese on trays, I made a calligraphy gift for her.
My original plan was to purchase an 8"x 10" frame for the calligraphy, but when I went to the store I found a clever magnet board with small magnetic frames and four flat, clear magnets. I immediately saw potential in it and decided to purchase it instead.
When I got home, I dressed up the plain, clear magnets by attaching white and red star-themed paper decorations securely to the backs of the magnets with clear glue dots. I also attached flat pieces of magnets to the backs of a few red and white buttons so that she would have additional coordinating magnets.
I finished by making a simple calligraphy version of Jeremiah 29:11 that fit in one of the magnetic frames.

quite possibly the easiest peanut butter cookie recipe ever

I do not like peanut butter. I just don't. It sticks in my mouth in the most annoying way, and the taste isn't good enough for me to overcome the annoyance. However, every once in a while I have a craving for some warm peanut butter cookies with melty chocolate. These are quick and easy to make and always do the trick for me when I'm in that rare mood.


Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 cup sugar
(chocolate kisses, swirls, 1/2 cup mini-chocolate chips, or 1/2 cup regular chocolate chips)

~Mix the peanut butter, egg, and sugar until they are very well combined.
~If you are using chocolate chips for mini-chocolate chips, mix them in too. If not, move on to the next step.
~Form the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls (about 2 tablespoons), and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. If they have chocolate chips in them, flatten them slightly. If not, press the chocolate kisses or swirls onto their tops, flattening them a little bit.
~Bake in a 350 degree oven for ten minutes.
~Take them out, let them cool for a few minutes, and enjoy!

zippered bags

It all started when I read this post on Lisa's blog. I followed the links she posted was enchanted with the idea of making small, zippered bags. They are so handy and so cute, and I just knew they wouldn't be too hard to make
I used my leftover hand bag material to make this little boxy bag. I adapted the information I found in this tutorial. I wanted to efficiently use up all of my left over fabric, so I made this bag bigger than the one in the tutorial by making the initial rectangles 9"x 12". The finished dimensions are 5"x 3" x 8". I also added a ribbon tab to hang onto while zipping the bag closed and adapted it so that all of my seams are between the layers instead of sticking out into the interior of the bag. It took some extra planning and work, but to me it was worth it. I like a very tidy finished product.
I think I might use this one for storing a few small toys for Little Man. I can tuck it into my hand bag, and it will coordinate perfectly.

I was excited about making zippered bags, so I made these more triangular zippered bags with the scraps from my other bag. I was less pleased with these because my seams are sticking out into the inside of the bag. By the time I realized my mistake, though, I had already done quite a bit of sewing and really didn't want to rip it out. (It's all a matter of priorities; ripping it out would have taken too long for me to justify even for a tidy finished product.)
I was really on a roll making little zippered bags and couldn't resist making a couple of green ones. I love green, and I had some tantalizing scraps that were begging to be used. I made one of them small (in the original dimensions of the tutorial), and I made one of them larger like the first bag.
I am looking forward to using these for toiletries and cosmetics when I pack for trips. They will be the perfect size, and I will feel sophisticated using cute zippered bags instead of plastic ziplocks. : )
I enjoyed sewing these handy little bags. They are so versatile, and they are wonderful for using up scraps. I think I might try to make and sell some when my Etsy store is up, and I will definitely be keeping them in mind for gifts.

For Christmas

As you may have figured out by now, Little Man loves to help in the kitchen. He loves to help me mix, bake, and sample. Sometimes it is quite a messy process. Recently I came up with the idea of sewing some small, boyish aprons to help protect his cute outfits.
I decided to make the aprons for Christmas gifts. I searched through my fabric collection until I found four just-right fabrics: a very blue solid blue fabric with some brown to accent it and a red star print with an abstract orange print to go with it. Then I found two brown football-shaped buttons and two red buttons in the tin of vintage buttons that I inherited from my great-grandmother.
I had fun making the pattern, cutting out the tiny aprons, and adding careful details as I sewed them together such as using contrasting top stitching thread (I love top stitching). I also appliqu├ęd a star to the front of the orange apron and added a red border on the bottom.
I made the bands that go around the neck extra long so that I can move the buttons down as Little Man grows taller. That way his aprons will grow with him at least for a while.

It is so satisfying to sew for my little guys, and I hope to have many more projects for them in the future.

growing

Little Man is growing so quickly. Every day he says and does new cute things, and every day he adds new skills to his ever-broadening repertoire of accomplishments.
[looking at a music gear catalog]

Growth in speech:
~Emphatically answering "I would" when asked if he would like to do something.
~Including more connecting words like with, the, on, and to instead of just using the main words.
~Exclaiming out of the blue that "Tars [guitars] rocks!" (Benjamin was especially pleased about that one.)
~Finishing my sentences. The other day I was changing Brother's messy diaper when I said, "Oh my!" Without missing a beat, Little Man finished, "GOODNESS!"
~Carefully trying to pronounce all the sounds and syllables in a word. ("La-dy buG" is a favorite right now.)
~Remembering adjectives (white clouds, full moon, and so on)

[helping move and stack firewood]

Growth in physical and mental skills:
~ Somersaults are old news. He has completely mastered that skill and has even tried to attempt somersaulting off a chair before he was stopped.
~Just yesterday he finally managed a real jump. He finally got both feet off the ground and was temporarily airborne as he jumped off a curb.
~He is carrying larger loads in play and real life. He especially loves carrying the "big woods" as he helps with moving firewood.
~One of his friend's older brothers was working with him on catching a football a few days ago, and he seemed to be catching on quite well.
~He is becoming more and more skilled at drinking from a "big boy" cup and using his spoon or fork.
~He has started to grasp the idea of pretending and loves to "chop" wood and "cook" food.
~He is trying to draw purposeful shapes instead of just scribbling. Current favorites include lady bugs, circles, and triangles.
~He has started to grasp the idea of counting, though it still needs quite a bit of perfecting.
~He loves puzzles and is quite adept at putting simple ones together.

[showing brother "the ropes"]

Growth in relationships:
~He loves to interact with his brother, and when Brother smiles and "talks" to him, he exclaims "Happy see you!"
~He remembers things that happened in his interactions with others and loves to tell me about them.
~He remembers things that certain people do with him and asked to do it again. Things like wresting with Grandpa or Daddy, getting "horsie" rides from Grandpa, eating cookies from Grandma, playing with Tyson or James, and on and on and on.
~He is associating people with locations. (Grandma's house, Grandpa's church, our house, mom's car, dad's car, etc.)

There are a few embarrassing things and difficult moments too, but over all, it is such a joy to be a mother and to have Little Man in my life.