Monday, November 29, 2010

Project Christmas Decor: Nearly Complete

That is, until I find something else to do...

My favorite Christmas decor project is always my mantle. I put my little trees and my village on it, garland, stockings...its crafting happy land!

My mantle has been the same for the past 4 years so I decided to change up my mantle garland. I was going to do a fun felt garland running through it, but I had a crafting epiphany while being bummed about my burlap wreath.

The wreath did NOT come out as now I have a bunch of burlap BINGO! I thought "Hey, those would look neat on my garland!" I glued the clips I use for hairbows to the back and just clipped them here and there and VOILA!
I'm totally digging the slightly rustic, maybe a little country (?) look I have going on. We got new stockings last year and they really go great with the new look.

I found this totally cute and simple project while browsing the web today. I really need to use up this burlap! Here is my take on the project.
I put it on the colored yarn because our walls are a really neutral color and I needed a little pop. We STILL haven't put up the majority of our photos after resurfacing and painting the walls and this space has been so blank. I might put a couple more here and there using other Christmas-y words. I do plan on using the little clothespins, but a trip to Michaels is in order for that :)

I am sure there will be more Christmas decor posts to come!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's Christmas Time!!!!!

I can't believe it is already Christmas time! We have pulled down the Christmas stuff and decorating is in full swing. The tree is up and decorated, stockings are up...and that's about as far as I've gotten. I have totally lost momentum ALREADY! My small Christmas village is still in boxes and I need to figure out my approach for the mantle garland. I do know that it will include this amazing felt garland wrapped around my Christmas tree garland and I cannot wait to get started on that project.

We had fun today staying in our jammies till almost noon putting up decorations. Lenny has actually gotten the concept that the ornaments go ON the tree...but it doesn't mean he hasn't stopped taking them off, Bela of course thinks they do not belong on the tree, so thus another year of finding ornaments all over the house and re-decorating the tree everyday, Oh well!

Another thing I am looking forward to is all the wonderful Christmas crafts and projects that will soon be on everyone's blogs!

I still can't get any good photos of my tree!!! My camera stinks!

This is a Waterford crystal nutcracker ornament that hubby got me in KC, tiny extravagances make me happy :)
Can you tell I like nutcrackers?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Crafting

Even though it was a crazy day I managed to sit down and make a few Christmas ornaments with my stepdaughter. It's sort of a tradition and we are really in need of some NON-breakable ornaments...Here are mine.So tragedy struck on Wednesday and almost ruined my week...I was using my zipper foot on my sewing machine and I am guessing one of the kids got a hold of my regular presser foot and it has vanished. Thus, a frantic run to Joann only to find that they don't sell them for my was amazing husband to the rescue who remembered my distraught when he went to Walmart on Thanksgiving day for an emergency ingredient run, and checked in their craft department, he bought me a quilting foot and a clear plastic presser foot to tide me over. I'm actually digging the quilting foot and the clear presser foot works just anyways back to the crafting...

I remembered to grab some heavy-weight needles for my sewing machine during my frantic Joann trip and today I did this project which I saw when I first got my machine and have been saving this jacket I've never been too fond of for it. One broken needle and several hours bag!
I had to make a couple changes because the sweater I was using was not working for the straps, a cotton worked much better. I love the two pockets in front and I am glad to get some use out of this jacket that I have had for several years but only worn twice...

Make sure you check out the link and the rest of her blog. She is really a hoot!

Thanksgiving 2010!

Wow! What an amazing year! The year is coming to a close and we get an entire day to just reflect on the amazing blessings we have in our lives. I think it has been a tough year for us, but we have three awesome, healthy kids and I still love my hubby! So far, so good! We made a lot of progress with our house remodel (even though there is lots more to do) and it was my first year as a stay-at-home-mom.

For me, this was my first Thanksgiving with just my husband and kids. I have NEVER made a turkey or been involved in the process so I may have had a couple freak-outs, but the turkey was good and dinner was wonderful, and it was wonderful again today!

Crescent rolls are Lenny's new favorite food...
A rare picture of moi!
Our awesome spread! (Check out my yellow and green dishes that I got for $6 each at Ross, SCORE!)
Jeremiah ruined all the dinner pics...not a single good one...grrr....
Lenny wearing my apron, yep, it was almost 80 degrees on Thanksgiving so my kids were running around topless...

All in all it was a great day, I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving and didn't get into any fights during the Black Friday sales today!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What's for Dinner Wednesday?

Since it is Thanksgiving Eve, I am going for an EASY dinner tonight! This will be my first Thanksgiving doing all the cooking and I am making a pie, some cookies and probably fresh cranberry sauce tonight, soooo super easy dinner it is.
Tonight is TACO NIGHT! Everyone loves a taco (right?). Kids love it because they can put whatever they want on it and feel like they are making their own meal. All it requires is whipping up some taco meat and all the fixings!

There really aren't any instructions, but here are some ideas for what you can put on your taco.

Shredded lettuce
Chopping tomatoes
Shredded cheese
Sour cream
Refried beans
Black beans and rice (make a burrito!)
Soft tacos
Crunchy tacos
Tortilla chips (make nachos!)

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and eats lots of wonderful food!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Harvest Linens & Napkin Rings

Since this is my first Thanksgiving at my house with just us, I have been having fun with fall decor. I found this fun project for decorating a plain table runner and napkins here. I didn't have any plain table linens on hand so I found regular tablecloth at the thrift store for $4 and made my own runner and napkins out of it. It turned out really cute for the bit off extra work. It was fun to make and I even had my stepdaughter help out with some of the stamping.

I was on Prudent Baby the other day and found a tutorial for really cute reversible napkin holders. I couldn't get a link for it, but it is on the main page. It was my first time ever making button holes so they aren't perfectly centered and my first attempt went horribly wrong (uh yeah, practice on scraps first...) so I actually have to redo one of the napkins holders...but anyways, I am liking how our Thanksgiving table is shaping up and can't wait to take pics the day of!

Anyways, I know everyone has been working on tons of cute fall projects so I am really looking forward to seeing everyone's pretty Thanksgiving spreads!

Monday, November 22, 2010

DIY Babylegs

I was browsing Make it and Love it, which has an incredible archive of tutorials, and came across this tutorial for Babylegs that you make out of women's knee high socks. I was totally stoked because I have never bought a pair because even at Target they are $10 a pair...and I'm super cheap, haha! I was at Target and they had a whole rack of knee socks for $2 each! I bought a simple white pair so they would go with everything. You don't need anything but a sewing machine and some socks making this project SUPER cheap and it is so easy you will kick yourself for spending $10-$12 on Babylegs.

Mine came out so awesome and I stuck them on Bela right after I got her out of her highchair after dinner so you will have to excuse my dirty baby, haha! Babylegs are SUPER cute with cloth diapers :)

I plan on making a couple more pairs with a few pairs that I have that I don't wear anymore :) It is total crafting mayhem over here but I LOVE IT!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

School Fun

I have decided that since I am a Early Childhood Education major, it would be a good idea to practice on Leonard! He is two and we had a good time today starting with the letter A and doing a turkey craft. I'm not trying to create a genius or anything, but I figured it can't hurt to teach him his letters, numbers and some colors and shapes. Plus his crafts will make a great addition to his scrapbook. Here he is with his handprint turkey :) If any of you moms have any resources for teaching a 2 yr old, let me know.
I also finished the kid's fall garland. I didn't want it to be too grownup looking so we did it all out of construction paper chains. I took the leaves that they colored on and stuck them on the chains. It looks very cute and Leonard had fun watching me put together the garland and playing with tape.

I hung it on their window because anything within their reach (including over the bed) is in the danger zone. Leonard has already ruined some adorable robot wall decals and Bela has ripped off almost all her flower decals around her bed. Apparently not the best idea...
Hope everyone is having a great Thursday!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wreath Project!

I am the least decisive person on the planet so of course it took me a couple weeks to figure out which totally gorgeous wreath project I wanted to give a try first (since I haven't made one before). I love rosettes and they are on everything it seems! So my wreath is FULL of them. I got the tutorial at The Pretty Poppy. Check it out and make your own! It is REALLY time consuming and she doesn't mention that you will go through A TON of glue sticks if you have a mini glue gun like me. I really should invest in a bigger, grown-up one...

So here it is, I am a little disappointed because it was SOOOO hard to find a CIRCULAR vine wreath, mine is really more of an oval...I'm wondering if I put a Christmas bow on it if it will look normal...I don't know but anyways it turned out really cute! I totally crafted today instead of cleaning and ya know what? The house doesn't really look that bad! Ok, I cleaned the kitchen and vacuumed, but that's it!

What's for Dinner Wednesday? And the Tidy Cook

I will say it. I love Rachael Ray. I think she is a genius and tonight we are having Rachael Ray's Turkey Bolognese Pasta. This recipe is a rollover meal where you make a large batch and then use the leftovers in a couple meals, but today I will be cutting in half so there are no leftovers. For the full recipe go here.

I will also be talking about cooking tidy today. No matter what I always end up doing dishes, so since I cook I try to make it as easy as possible in the evening so I have a few things I do to keep the cooking mess under control.

The Trash Bowl - got it from RR, totally genius basically take a large bowl and put all your cooking mess in it. Cans, packaging, peels, whatever, goes all in one place, then just dump in the trash when done.

Gather Ingredients First - this really does help for some reason. If I can organize my ingredients beforehand it makes cooking easier. Keep them all in one spot during cooking, I even put them away while im waiting for the chicken to cook or whatever.
So back to the Turkey Bolognese, Here is the halved version for ya.

1lb ground turkey
Couple Tblsp of EVOO
2 Carrots, peeled and grated
1 Onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper
1 Bay leaf
1 Cup of chicken broth
1 can (28oz) crushed tomatoes
1 cup of grated parmigiano-reggiano or romano cheese

Heat up the EVOO in a dutch oven or large pot. Add the turkey, breaking it up as it browns.

Once the browning process has started add the carrots, onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, add the bay leaf and cook for a couple more minutes.
Stir in the broth and tomatoes. Bring to a bubble and set to low. Discard the bay leaf.

Salt the water and cook pasta al dente. Drain then put pasta back in warm pot. Toss pasta with cheese and 2 cups of the sauce. Stir and serve with an extra ladle-full of sauce on top. Yummo!
It also helps if you have a cute little kitchen helper :) It seems like she always gets crabby when it's time for me to cook dinner, so she got to hang in the kitchen and pull out pots and pans.

So tell me what you are having for dinner and how you keep your kitchen organized :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fluffy Mail :)

Two words that make every cloth diapering mommy smile :) I was totally surprised to find the diapers I ordered on the 11th on my doorstep this afternoon! We had to put Leonard back is sposies :( so I decided to sell off some of my more boyish colors and get a couple more girly colors. Isabela likes to rip off her diapers so I have been loving the new Bumgenius 4.0 with snaps. I also got a free diaper with my purchase, a Kawaii.

I absolutely LOVE cloth diapering my babies! It totally sounds weird but unless you CD, you don't really know. Now it is really easy to spend a TON of money on cloth diapers because there are so many cute ones out there, but when I decided to do it, I decided I really wanted to SAVE money. I managed to spend around $500 for all of my fluff, for two kids :) It sounds like a lot but I made that money back in no time. We use cloth wipes as well so this only adds to the money we save.

If you are about to have another baby, or second baby, think about cloth :) I have tons of links on my blog for great information. Do something good for your baby's bum, the planet and your wallet :)


I've been a bit of a slacker with my blog. But no worries, the Group Research Paper of Doom will be over this weekend thus freeing more time for fun stuff like crafting and playing with my babies :)

Somehow I managed to finish a bow and tutu that someone ordered from me. Just a simple tie on tutu, but geez thats alot of tulle strips. They always turn out so cute and I am loving the red and green color combo. The bow turned out cute too, even though it looks a bit weird in this photo. I am seriously THE WORST at taking photos for my blog...someone really needs to teach me how to take better pics...

We managed to have some fun this weekend and took the kids to the fair on Saturday morning. I really hate the fair but the kids had fun looking at the animals. Leonard wouldn't go on any of the rides, but Alexa had fun :)
One seriously huge pig...
Me and my little peanut
Hey look! Its a ewe!
There were some ridiculously ginormous rabbits at the fair!
Alexa did the rock climbing wall and almost made it to the top before she totally freaked out, haha!

It was really nice to take a break from the books and have some normal family fun. Hopefully I can get a start on Christmas gifts for the fam this week since I will be making most of them...Hope everyone is having a great Monday!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I made a pillow cover :)

It is sort of funny the things we form emotional attachments to. Several years ago my Grandma Janet gave me this pillow from an old couch for Alexa to use on the drive home from her house. She was very concerned that she didn't have a pillow! It is totally ugly, in some horrid fabric but it was super clean (that's my Grandma for you) so I kept it and haven't been able to get rid of it.
A very sad, ugly pillow

I bought some fabric to make some pillows and ran out of fluff so I had a genius idea to make a new cover for the pillow.

I didn't feel like going out and buying a zipper so I just took the original zipper from the pillow.
Old zipper ready for new pillow

I sewed on the zipper and sewed up the sides and voila! It turned out really nicely :) So now I can keep my Grandma's old pillow, but not the ugly fabric!
Now to finish stuffing this pillow's friend...

What's for Dinner Wednesday?

Normally, I know the answer to this question...but I lost my menu for the week so I've been winging it by trying to remember by looking at the ingredients in my cupboards...Anyways, today was easy because I remembered I had circled something in my Fix It and Forget It Lightly cookbook.
Phew! I did circle it! It's Chicken Italiano!

Now I really love cooking, but I have been hitting Starbucks to work on school stuff several nights a week, so I put a few crock pot recipes on the menu. I will try to plan a really good Rachael Ray recipe with like a thousand ingredients that must all be chopped soon (seriously, I do like those recipes).

First, gather your ingredients. You waste time in the kitchen wandering while trying to find that weird do-hickey that minces your garlic while you are burning the chicken. Here's what you need.
2 (or 3) large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in three pieces
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
2 bay leaves
26 oz. jar of meatless spaghetti sauce (make it light by getting low sodium)
Pasta (any kind)

I added a chicken breast so my hubby can have leftovers for work so I added a bit more sauce from an extra jar I had. I also substituted marjoram for the basil since I was out. Any Italian seasoning will work just fine. Marjoram is a fab seasoning if its not in your repertoire, its not Thyme, but its very good.

Now place your chicken in the bottom of the crockpot. sprinkle the seasonings on top of it.
Now pour the sauce on top. You're done. Yay!

You can cook this on low for 6 hours or if you are like me and threw this together at 1:30, on high for 3 1/2 - 4 hours. Serve over pasta. Oh and remember to PLUG IN the crock pot :)

Sauces are a great way to hide veggies for picky kids or even for picky you. Shredding some carrots and zucchini adds a lot of veggie power to your dishes and you cannot even taste it. Now that dinner is done, use the spare time to get some crafting done, like me :)

Tell me what you are having for dinner and share your recipe in the comment section!