Friday, December 30, 2011

Family Schedule

My sister-in-law gave me the most awesome Christmas gift ever!!  She simply took a collage frame and printed out headers with the days of the week, the title, and one that says "Extra."  

Each frame has glass over it, so she gave me a pack of dry erase markers with it, that will write on the glass then wipe right off.

This will be great for seeing at a glance what doctor appointments, 4-H meetings, homework assignments, etc we have in the upcoming week.  So simple to make, but such a brilliant idea!

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Home Redo -- Bathroom

This house was when we bought it.  If you haven't read about the contact paper on the walls or the flea infestation, check it out here and here.  Well, our upstairs bathroom was no exception.  The walls were a very light pink, and it had a very dated, floral border on the walls near the ceiling.

You can't see this in any of the pictures, but above the sink was a very large flower sticker, seemingly randomly stuck on the wall.  I didn't want it there, so I peeled it off.  It was covering a very large hole in the wall.  Yes, they covered a hole in the wall with a sticker.

The bathtub/shower had glass doors.

At first, you might think this was a nice touch.  But they hadn't been properly stuck down to the tub, so water would pour out underneath, no matter how much you caulked around it.  It would get in the tracks and get all underneath them, turning absolutely grimy and propagating all sorts of nastiness, no matter how much you tried to clean them.

We repainted, redid the floors, and pulled off the horrible shower doors.  We also put in an over-the-toilet shelf that's really pretty.  I love my bathroom now!!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!!

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Amazed by Life #4

It never ceases to amaze me how you can waste spend hours of your time finding burnt out lights on a pre-lighted tree, just to have a whole section go out the following day.

It never ceases to amaze me how much fun kids (and daddies) can have decorating gingerbread.

It never ceases to amaze me how the very sight of Christmas lights makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside (as long as they're all lit).

It never ceases to amaze me how the God who created the entire universe by speaking it into existence could love me enough to come to earth as a baby and later give His life for me.

Merry Christmas, and God bless you!!!
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Soup -- Gluten Free!!!

This soup has been my number one craving throughout this pregnancy.  I always use my big cast iron pot and double the recipe (except the meat) so that I have plenty of leftovers in the fridge!

Even the kids love it!  Here's the original recipe, and I'll post my changes below it.

1 lb chicken, cubed and cooked
1/2 tsp garlic
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cup chunky salsa
1 cup frozen corn
2 cans chicken broth
black beans
tortilla chips

Throw all but the last 2 ingredients in your pot, and bring to a boil.  Break up some tortilla chips in your bowl, pour soup over them, and top with cheese.

When I make this recipe and I'm in a hurry, or while I've been on bed rest, I often use a can of chicken instead of cooking some.  Instead of using chicken broth, I use water and add a bit of Better than Bouillon to it.  The original recipe didn't actually call for beans, but it's so much better with them!!  I use whatever kind I happen to have already cooked in the freezer.  If I don't have any cooked, I'll cook a package of lentils and throw some of them in.

If you need the recipe to be gluten-free, make sure you use a gluten-free salsa, etc.  This is one of the quickest, easiest, and yummiest meals!!  I LOVE soup--especially in this colder weather!! Pin It

Friday, December 16, 2011

Felt Flowers

Ok, I know there's been a major hair clip theme lately.  But you're limited with what you can do when you're on bed rest for preterm contractions.  Plus, when you're expecting your fourth girl, you have frillies on the brain!  (At least I do have 2 boys mixed in there, too.  It helps keep me up-to-date with all the latest sound effects.)

Anyway, the other day I came across this felt flower tutorial through Fabric Bows and More.  I went more than a little flower crazy, playing with size, color, number of flowers, etc!!

I made a couple of other pairs that I gave away.  I showed these to my friend and neighbor, and she made some where she alternated colors in one flower.  They're gorgeous!  So I have a feeling I may be making some of those tomorrow.  I also may play with making some and gluing a bead in the center, or maybe lining the edges of the petals with glitter.  What little girl doesn't like some sparkle?

These seriously take mere minutes to make.  If you have a large 5-petal flower punch, making a pattern is super-easy.  If not, I found easy-to-follow instructions here on You Tube.

I love them!!

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Another Hair Clip Gift

A friend of mine emailed me the other day.  She wanted to make some hair clippies for her daughter for Christmas but found herself running out of time.  So, I told her that I would make them for her, and in exchange she's giving me some venison!!  WOO HOO!!!!  I've been wanting my hubby to get us a deer, but he hasn't gone hunting.  So this is GREAT!!!

It worked out with good timing.  I'm officially on modified bed rest for preterm contractions (modified, because it's impossible for me to not get up when I have 5 other kids to take care of!), so this gave me a project to fill a couple of hours during which I wouldn't be getting much done, anyway.  She had no specific requests, so I tried to simply make a variety.

She did say that she really liked the ribbon flowers I've made in the past, so I made a couple of sets of those (you can see originals at the bottom of this post):

I loved the lace bows I made recently, so I made some of those (these look blue-and-black, but they're really purple-and-black):

I love double-layered bows, so I made one of those, as well as a bow from some leftover gift package ribbon I had:

And here are two other bows I made from fancy gift package ribbon, and wrapped with a feather boa:

I also made her a woven headband, which she can either wear by itself or with any of her clips clipped to it (again, the colors are a bit wonky.  It's black, pale pink, and lavender):

I hope you like them all, Vanessa and Lydia!  Merry Christmas!!

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Festive Hair Clips

I love the holidays, and I love holiday bling.  No, I'm not talking ugly Christmas sweaters, but I have a Christmas bracelet and a silver Christmas tree necklace.

Last year, I made my girls matching Christmas headbands.  

They still wear those, but this year I wanted to do clips.  I was going to do mistletoe ones at first.  Then my friend Brooke came over, and we decided to do holly, instead.  To make it even more fun, we did it in different colors and used single-prong clips so we could clip them onto thin, satin-covered headbands.

We started by cutting out the leaves and berries out of felt.  I don't know if we're super-silly, super-picky, or super-untalented, but it took us forever to get exactly the shape we were wanting for the leaves.  We then stitched a couple of stitches down the center of each leaf.  We sewed the leaves together, then glued on the berries and a cluster of seed beads.  For the headbands, we had thin, satin-covered ones from Wal-Mart.  We took a short piece of 3/8"grosgrain ribbon and hot-glued it around the headband to make a tight loop to clip the clips to.

I made the traditional green-and-red, a classy black-and-white, and a fun pink-and-brown.  I love how they came out!!  My girls love them, too!

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Help Me with my Hair!!!

I LOVE my hair short and spikey.  It's super easy to style, super easy to deal with, no babies pulling on it, etc.  This is how I love it best:

(Totally ignore the goofy facial expression in the following pic.  Remember, we're dealing with the hair. hee hee)

There are a couple of downsides to short hair.  One is that I have to get it cut often.  My hair grows really fast, and my hair cutter lives quite a ways away.  But I can deal with that.  

The other downside I can't just "deal" with, however.  My hubby doesn't like my hair like this.  He doesn't like it short and spikey--says it's too much like a boys'.  

This is how my hair is currently, though it's gotten longer since this picture was taken.  (Sorry for the blurry picture.  It was a kind of dark room, and I don't like my picture taken, so there aren't very many very often.):

My hubby says he doesn't mind if I get it cut shorter, just not as short as I'd really like.  He suggested something like what Alice has in the movie Twilight.  But my hair has wonky waves to it, and I really don't have the time to flat iron, style, etc.  I need quick and easy.

I also can't do a whole lot in the way of bangs.  See how my hair always flows out around my forehead? That's just the way it goes.  It always has.  It won't hang down nicely in front. 

So here's where you come in.  How do you like my hair?  Short or long?  Any suggestions on a style that's not too short bu not too long that you think might work for me?

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Knife Block Up-Cycle

Ok, my friend Jenine did an awesome upcycle of her knife block, and she agreed to let me share it with all of you!

She started with the typical knife block that we all have sitting on our counters, some spray paint, and an accent detail.

Here is how she says she did it:

You don’t need to cover the holes.  The paint just doesn’t go into the holes. 
What I found neat is that the scars from not putting the knives away carefully look really pretty now that I distressed it. 

I used the purple first, let it dry, then used the green over the top.  Once it was dry I sanded to reveal the purple underneath.  I did the opposite with the flower disk (green then purple).  I used Gorilla wood glue for the disk.

The entire project cost me $8.00.  $3/ea for the paint, and $2 for the disk.  Got all supplies at Hobby Lobby (used my 40% off coupon for 1 of the paint cans).

The colors are Ivy Leaf (Krylon) and Grape (American Accents).

These photos don't totally do the colors justice, as they're deeper than they appear.  The purple looks more accurate in this photo:

The green looks more accurate in this photo:

She has not yet sealed it with anything, but likely will.  She originally got the idea from Johnny in a Dress.  Now I've been eyeing my own knife block.  I'm thinking bright tomato red!

Thank you for sharing your project with us, Jenine!  It looks great! 

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Green Smoothies

I few times recently, I have had people ask me what my favorite green smoothie recipes are.  While I know that there are wonderful recipes out there, I don't use any recipes for ours!  We buy whatever fruits and veggies are in season or on sale, and we throw whatever we have into our smoothies.

I typically start with an apple, pear, or both.  We also typically throw in a very generous handful of spinach.  From there, it can vary greatly.  For example, yesterday's smoothie had an apple and a pear, a large handful of fresh cranberries, carrots, frozen strawberries, several leaves of cabbage, 1/2 a cucumber, frozen broccoli, and some romaine lettuce (we're actually out of spinach).  I may mix it up today by using an orange, green leaf lettuce, grapes, peppers, etc.  No matter what mix I use, my kids guzzle it down!

I do also add water to help thin it down some.  Otherwise, it's pretty thick.  My Little Love #5 is severely allergic to dairy, so I don't use any kind of dairy base like milk, yogurt, etc.  I also can't use bananas, avocados, or various other tropical fruits because of her allergies.  But my kids have never complained.  Any time the smoothie seems a bit too tart or bitter to me, I'll either add a large dollop of Polaner All Fruit or local raw honey.  But this is a rare occurrence.

So grab some fruits and veggies, grab your blender, don't worry about specific recipes, and enjoy your fresh fruit-and-veggie smoothies!!

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy birthday to me!!!

Ok, my hubby loves me a ton.  The other day was my birthday.  I wasn't feeling well, but I had a midwife appointment in the morning.  Knowing the appointment would be short, we loaded up the kids and headed there (we can't take the kids inside, however, because they use latex gloves in the office.  So my hubby waited out in the car with them.).  After the appointment (where everything looked and sounded great with baby), we ran to the pet store to get crickets for Itchy (our pet tarantula) and food for our fish.

We LOVE the pet store we went to.  It's owned by a super-nice guy who truly knows and takes good care of his animals.    While there, we picked out a couple of gorgeous orange shrimp and a sweet little boy pleco for our tank.

Doesn't he look like a sweet little old man?  =)  We named him Plucky.

Then, my hubby gave me a wonderful surprise.  He told me I could pick out a snake for my birthday!!  As some of you know, I've been really wanting a sand boa, as I discussed in a recent post.  I went ahead and held a couple of different rosy boas, too, but the sand boa still had my heart.  So he came home with me!!

On the way home, my hubby chuckled and said, "Most women would want a pretty dress for their birthday.  But I got my wife a snake."  What a great man!

I named him Malcolm, but I just call him Mal.  He's sooooo cute and sweet and still so little!

So we now have a couple more very loved members of our family.  Thank you to my sweet hubby for such a wonderful birthday surprise!!

Oh, and we also have a gift card from my sister-in-law to Hobby Lobby for two of my girls.  I can't wait to see what fun crafty stuff we all decide to get!  Have any of you seen anything recently that's simply a gotta-have?
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Monday, November 28, 2011

No Poinsettias for Me!

I've always liked poinsettias.  Something about the vibrant red and green just put that holiday feel in the air.  Poinsettias have never liked me, however.  I don't have the time to put in the effort to give it the darkness it needs every day to stay in bloom.  And for some reason, I can't seem to keep them from losing all of their petals.  And their leaves.  So I start with a gorgeous flower and end up with a stem.  Not exactly sure what I'm doing wrong.

But, all of that doesn't matter any more.  Many of you may know that my Little Love #5 is severely allergic to latex.  Severely, as in she goes into anaphylaxis if she's in the same room as a balloon.  Those poinsettias that are doomed when in my care?  They're in the same family as the rubber tree.  That white, sticky, sap stuff you see when you accidentally break a stem?  That's latex.

Many people who are airborne allergic to latex are airborne allergic to poinsettias.  I'm not sure if LL#5 is or not.  I haven't gotten her close enough to one to find out.  It makes this time of year tricky.  Poinsettias are common Christmas decorations.  They're sold in the stores, on the counters in doctors' offices, in people's homes, in churches, nearly everywhere you go.  Our family members refrain from having poinsettias in their houses for my daughter's sake.  Our church changed their many-decade tradition of poinsettias and now use a different flower to decorate with.  Fake poinsettias are also a good option.

It's amazing how life can change when there are life-threatening allergies involved.  Things that once were attractions, now repel.  But that's ok.  I'd just kill them anyway.  =)
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Saturday, November 26, 2011

More sickness, contractions, etc.

This has been a rough week.  We were all excited to go to my parents' for Thanksgiving, when my two oldest ended up sick.  It seems like somebody has been sick most of the month this month.  That's one of the things about having a lot of little kids--higher chances of getting exposed, higher chances of someone getting sick, and it takes forever if it goes through everybody in the family.

Praise God, I haven't gotten sick so far.  The sitting and snuggling sick kids has actually not been too bad of a thing, as it makes me sit and relax.  I've been contracting a lot, and I'd really like to carry this baby to term (my last two were preemies).

So, we made the most of Thanksgiving here at home.  We watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, my hubby grilled steaks for everybody, and he ran to a Redbox to rent Cars 2.

I hope everybody's Thanksgiving was wonderful!
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Project - Tutorial

Our family loves the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle.

My kids love to read this book, but I wanted to make it more interactive.  I started by sketching all the foods the caterpillar eats through onto paper.

I then cut all the foods out of colored felt.  I glued on the embellishments at first, then I decided that it wouldn't be enough to stand up to lots of use.  So I added some stitches, too.

I then made a ribbon caterpillar.  I used green 3/8" grosgrain ribbon with a medium-sized red button head.  I sewed the button onto the ribbon.  I used a larger green button on the rear end of the caterpillar to hold the foods on as he eats through them.  I also drew on a smile and two antennae.

I cut slits in each of the foods, just large enough for the red button to pass through.  

Now the caterpillar can eat through all the foods he eats in the book!

This is so much fun for the kids, and it's great for education, too!  It helps them work on their counting (one apple, 2 pears, etc), it helps them work on figuring out sequence (what did he eat first, second, etc), and it even gives them practice on how to button a button!

If you decide to make your own food and caterpillar, please e-mail me pictures.  I'd love to see them!

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Kids are soooo weird!

The other day, the kids gave me a small insight into their random little minds.

Recently, Little Love #5 celebrated her second birthday!!  The day before, I'd tell her excitedly, "Tomorrow's your birthday!!"  She'd respond by crying and saying, "I don't want my birthday!"  After trying to convince her it was a good thing, she finally told me that I could give her birthday to my oldest daughter.  LOL  Soon enough, she'll realize that this whole birthday things is a pretty good deal.  =)

The other day, the kids and I were all playing outside--or I guess I should say that they were playing, while I sat and read.  They kept bringing me their little "treasures" that they were finding around the yard:  a colorful leaf, a pretty rock, a snail shell...  My 3-year-old son brought me a leaf that he said was "so bootiful."  It was fuzzy with mold!  Then, my not-quite-2-year-old happily brought me her treasure--dry dog poop. At least it wasn't fresh.  As my brother pointed out, "One girl's poop is another girl's treasure."

(I don't have a picture of the poop, thankfully, but sometimes you've gotta wonder what the animals are thinking, too.  This really CAN'T be comfortable!!)

Later that same day, my six-year-old son came up to me, totally serious, and asked me, "Mama, would you rather have a braid in your hair or eat a banana?"  What?!?!?!?  In what way are those two things related?  Oh, wait, they're not.  Sometimes I'd really love a peek into their minds.  Questions like this are just major teasers of what's going on in there.  Other times, I think it's really lucky for us both that I don't know what they're thinking.

I love these young ages.  There's so much random weirdness, so much excitement, and so much hilarity.

I sure love my kids! Pin It

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hair Clip Gift

First of all, for those of you who were wondering, the Lord really answered prayers this week, and Little Love #5 never got the bad respiratory phase of the virus she had!  (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you can see Monday's post here.)  Thank you to anybody who sent up a word of prayer for her!

Anyway, on to today's excitement!  One of our nieces just had her 3rd birthday.  What's more fun than a little bit of hair frosting for a little girl?!?!?!?  So I made her some hair clips.  

Remember all of that lace I got at Wal-Mart for $.50 for 3 yards?

I came across this lace bow tutorial at Fabric Bows and More.  I LOVED them, so I made these:

I loved these so much I made extra sets for my girls.  My favorites are the red and black ones--especially going into the Christmas season!

I also made her a purple-and-green-striped woven headband:

I love making woven headbands!  And then you can clip any hair clips onto them!  I got my instructions for them from No Bow...No Go!  Her instructions are GREAT, so easy to follow, and have great pictures to help you make sure you're doing it right.

I also made a few other clips, so I feel like it's a nice package to add to her clippie collection.  

Happy Birthday!!

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