Monday, November 28, 2011

Important Change - NEW Blog

Hello all. As of today, I will be blogging at my new blog - Isaboo Designs. This blog will have all the same posts, but it has a new name and new URL.

If you are currently a follower and want to continue following me, head over to the new blog and become a follower. 
I will be officially deleting this blog in 2 weeks, so this URL will no longer exist after that time. 

Thanks to everyone who has followed me thus far, and I hope to see you at my new blog!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Happy Holiday

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving with their families and loved ones.

It was a different Thanksgiving for us, with just our two little ones. I think next year we definitely plan on traveling.

Despite making a turkey breast instead of a whole turkey, it still seemed like a ton of food for 2 adults and 2 toddlers.

But it sure was good!
This year was a first for us, we got a real tree! I always had real trees growing up, but me and the hubs have always done fake trees.
 We still have some more decorating to do as we realized that almost all our ornaments are still at our old house, I can't wait to post the finished product, this was really fun for us :)

So if you look to the right -----> you will notice that there is officially an Isaboo Designs button that you can grab for your own blog :)

Make sure you pop on over to the shop and see what's new


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Felt Christmas Tree Fun

Some of my other crafty friends found this on Pinterest and were working on it at our last Craft Night at church. 

Yes, my church is so awesome that we have craft night ;)
Here is the link to the instructions

Now this is the first and only bit of Christmas decor up in our house. I REFUSE to put any up until the day after Thanksgiving. I love my fall decor!

I added a few touches to my tree like the sequin "garland" and I really love how it turned out :)

 Don't you just love the banana on the floor...he figured out early on that he couldn't eat the banana and re-arrange ornaments at the same time.
 Gratuitous photos of my children...
 We have entered the "I must be a princess/ballerina at all times" stage...Lord help us. She is only TWO and has already figured out which outfits twirl the best...Yesterday, I got her to wear capris by putting her pink ballet skirt over actually was kinda cute!

 I actually took the tree down last night because Lenny kept taking it down and wearing it like a cape and putting the star on his head and saying he was the "king". So today we will have the "Don't take down the tree" talk and hopefully this adorable thing will stay up for longer than 2 minutes :)

Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Grateful to do Laundry?

I have to say that I overwhelmingly happy that all of my orders are out from my various Very Jane sales.

I am so grateful for the opportunity...but wow...the most stressful couple months EVER. I have learned a lot though and I have learned what I can and cannot do.

It's been so crazy that so many things have fallen in the cracks, like laundry...which is really easy to wash...but harder to fold and put away apparently.
I am a stay at home mom but miss my kids...seriously. I've had my sewing machine set up in our living/dining area so I can feel like we are hanging out...

I got a kindle for an early Christmas present from my hubby but haven't had time to curl up with it much.

I haven't had time for my own projects for my family.

So yes. I am grateful for being able to wash, fold and put away laundry. Sit and watch a show with my kids and the time to BLOG (oh yeah...I have one of those).

The whole work at home thing is really appealing, but I definitely know the level at which I CANNOT do it. 

I know I sound a little whiny, but isn't the reality so much more daunting than the fantasy. A super successful Etsy store sounds awesome in theory, but the reality is that have to actually make all that stuff...

So I think I am going to be happy with a moderately successful store.

I don't have to be on all the cool blogs or even be a cool blog.

I am totally happy being able to clean my kitchen, make some pretty things for others and myself, and be a super great mom and wife.

And bless your little heart if you made it to the end of my whine fest!

NEW in the Shop!

I am really excited to be finished with my Very Jane orders and moving on (a bit late I might add) to adding new things to Isaboo Designs :)

These are sneak peaks so pardon my pics, I am just stoked to have done something other than a mini wallet or Burlap Banner ;)
Okay, I am really excited about my first piece of clothing for Isaboo Designs!!!!

This is the Little Miss Sassafrass Skirt. Aptly named after my own sassy lady, Bela. 

You can find it on Etsy HERE.

There will also be a coordinating bow-tie for the little man in your life available this week. It will be done in the houndstooth fabric and it is ADORBS!

I have also added a more simple version of my mini wallet. It is a basic change purse with a fun ruffle.
These are $5 and are a great price for Christmas gifts.

Find the change purse HERE.

There will be some more items added throughout the week so make sure that you favorite my shop to see what's new :)

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving week!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pinecone Bird Feeder

Yeah, I know...not quite so creative, but right now just the small things I can do with my kids are meaning the most.

Feeling the momma guilt big time since I've been busy with my shop and this means not quite so much crafty fun with the kids.
So I chose this simple activity because it meant a quick walk to the nearby park to grab pinecones. This was probably their favorite part...aside from eat the peanut butter straight from the jar.

 My kids tend to lose interest in crafts easily, but since this one involved food, they loved it. Lenny was so proud to show Daddy the pinecones hanging on the garage.  

So for practically no money, we had an hour of fun and we get to feed hungry birds, can't beat that! It's easy to forget that sometimes the simplest things are the best during this time of year. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Yay for Fall!

Ok, so I live in Florida so we don't really have fall. We have two plant colors here. Really green and really brown.

Anyways, we just have to settle for pumpkin spice candles and lots or orange and green inside. 

Despite being insanely busy with orders, I have actually gotten a bit of decorating done.

 I was really stoked to get my photo wall done. You can find the "blessed" banner in my shop. If you have no idea how to use my banners as decor, this is a great idea. I was hoping my wall would seem more random, but in perfect Erin OCD followed a pattern...haha!
This is in my dining room and I actually picked this up for $12 at Walmart. I really wanted a subway art "thingy", but I have a hard time coughing up $75 for that kinda stuff...

Now for some Instagram fun since I can't find my camera charger ;)
 Do you Scentsy? OMG if you don't you must cause I'm in love with mine! I won't burn down my house, the wax won't burn the kids and the smells are amazing! Pumpkin Roll makes me wants loads of pumpkin bread ;) Buy stuff HERE.
 I not only sell quite a bit on Very Jane, but I am a great customer and at $4 for a large vinyl wall decal this was a great deal. It is in my workroom/office and reminds me to not freak out at the nearly 300 items I have to make over the next 3 weeks :)
 Me and the kids made this little arrangement. They picked out the picks (ceramic flowers and scarecrow from Hobby Lobby 75% off fall clearance, yeah!). It's our new table arrangement.
 Yep, that's a stuffed turkey on my entry table. My son just had to have him and he is pretty darn cute. There were glasses on the little pumpkin...where did they go?
This is over the entry table and I normally don't buy tons of premade decor, but I don't have tons of time this year and this was really adorable and on 75% off clearance at Joann. 

So it's finally starting to look like the holidays a bit around here :)
I made a decision to choose 3 fall projects. One to do with the kids and 2 for me. Yes, I have to have limits. So off to Pinterest to finds some ideas :) Maybe will have some tomorrow!

Hope everyone is having a great time getting in the thankful spirit!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Why All Natural/Organic? Part 3

Ok, so now on to the fun stuff.

What to eat!
If you Google organic recipes or toddler organic food you will get a lot of great options and websites.

Whole Foods Banana Bread - check out the rest of Whole Food's site for TONS of great recipes. 
Organic Recipes and Snack Ideas for Babies and Toddlers - scroll to the bottom for some great, simple recipes like hummus and mini muffins. Plus some ideas for tag-along foods.
Veggielicious Mom - a great vegetarian/vegan blog with TONS of yummy recipes.

Obviously any recipe can be organic by simply substituting organic ingredients. Start taking a look at the labels of everything you buy. Not everything has evil offenders in it, but you would be surprised what does.

I needed some beans and checked the can, I was a little horrified to see that my beans were floating around in high fructose corn syrup. Thus, I ended up buying organic beans, which was something I thought I could maybe slide on.

I know all the commercials say "it's natural" and "ok, in moderation" but it's impossible to be moderate about it when it's in EVERYTHING. I had trouble finding bread with no HFCS. Nature's Own is a company that does no HFCS.

Make sure to consult the two websites I mentioned in yesterday's blog for lists of additives and preservatives to watch for and also for the "Dirty Dozen" and "Clean 15". It's so expensive to go organic, so know what you can buy non-organic. These lists can help.

You can buy items in bulk at natural food stores, like flour, sugar and other baking items. Pick a day to make some baked snacks for the week to have on hand. This can be WAYYY cheaper than trying to buy organic cookies, crackers, etc.
Go to your local farmers market and eat produce that is in season. You will save tons, support local farmers and you will get the best and tastiest produce. I spend about $10 a week on produce at the farmer's market. This is much less than trying to buy all organic at the grocery store.

Remember that you don't have to do it all at once. It takes time to figure out how to do it affordably and the right way for your family.

I hope this has been somewhat educational. Next up...Holiday decorating...WEEEEEEEE!!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Why All-Natural/Organic - Part 2

There is lots of scary research and data about the link between pesticides and chemicals in food and children.

While all of that is really valid and necessary to help educate people, I also trust in God that he has got it under control and will protect me and my family. It's a balance between using wisdom and having faith too.
But we also do the best we can to stay away from foods that are KNOWN to be riddled with bad stuff.

So why are kids more susceptible to these kinds of toxins (pesticides, artificial dyes, sweeteners, preservatives, and genetically modified foods)?
Very simple. Our children are still developing and their systems cannot properly digest and remove many of these things from their systems. Our bodies REALLY don't like this stuff and the more we can eliminate, the better.

I am taking Biology right now and I have to say I have learned SOOO much about why certain foods are bad, and it's just because of little molecules.
All of these tiny little things with their different bonds, make some foods easier to digest than others. It's actually quite interesting!

Ok so another question. Why are some children more adversely affected by these toxins and chemicals than others?
We are all made up of genetic material and have genetic markers for all kinds of things and some people might have a genetic predisposition for something that might sit dormant until it is activated by some kind of environmental trigger. Sometimes these things just can't be helped. The things we can help are exposure to things that might trigger these reactions.

Again, I point back to Jesus. I believe he gives us as parents wisdom to know what is right for our children, the instincts to seek out information. I took the information, gave it to the Lord and asked Him what He thought. I really felt like He just wanted us to do the best we could, with the resources we had and to leave the rest up to Him.

Here are some informative articles

Organic Diet and ADD -this article has some good info as well as some information on the Feingold Diet which can help you pinpoint some ingredients to watch out for. I keep the list in my purse because it's got some big words...

Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 

Tomorrow will be my last post on going organic and it will be FUN! Gonna discuss some fun recipes and ways to make organic a bit easier :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Why All Natural / Organic? Part 1

So before I get started on this, I'd like to preface this by saying that I don't like to push my opinion on these kinds of things on people and I don't think really highly of people that say "oh ___ is the only right way" or "your child will won't be as smart or whatever if you don't do ___"

I do not fit the bill for the typical all natural, crunchy mommy. I had an epidural, I didn't breastfeed, I didn't babywear, I didn't make all of their baby food and I didn't make sure that all of their clothing was made of bamboo.

This is just me simply sharing what's going on in my life right now, it's not a judgment on what others do.

Ok, enough of that. A couple months ago we noticed some overly hyperactive, uncontrollable behavior with my son (3 years). We were having lots of discipline issues and it seemed he was just out of control. Of course I looked to some new parenting methods, but I also felt the Lord pressing on me to look at what we ate.

Now we don't eat tons of junk foods, candy, etc...But I did notice probably a few too many trips to Chik Fil a and after doing a little research on the link between hyperactivity and exposure to pesticides, artificial flavors, dyes, sweeteners, and processed foods, I decided to try my hand at going as natural/organic as we could afford.

It took a couple weeks before we finally realized there was a change, but I noticed that I wasn't as frazzled by the end of the day and we were able to get a handle on some of his behavior issues. Still an energetic 3 year old, but without the craziness (if that makes any sense to anyone).
So a week or so ago on a particularly crazy evening, I told my hubby to just order a pizza. The next day at preschool, my son hit another child. Now I have NO IDEA if there is really a connection between going weeks with no processed foods and then one pizza later, crazy boy returns. But something in me said, "Hey, you are doing the right thing."
We still have a bouncy boy, who has bad days, but I KNOW there is a difference. And to me, that's worth the slight increase in my grocery budget.

So that's OUR reason for choosing all natural/organic. Every family's reason is a little different, maybe a little similar. 

Tomorrow I will be sharing a bit on some of the medical reasons to go organic, it might not interest some of you so feel free to skip it!

I will say if you choose to comment, please keep it positive and not "preachy".


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Keeping up

I have to admit, it's been really hard keeping up with all this. 

I really want to be doing fun posts on holiday crafts and art projects...but seeing as how I'm not actually doing any...

All of my fall decor is still in the attic at the old house, so we are sadly lacking in fall holiday spirit. I have two little pumpkins on my kitchen sad...
This is my life right now.
 Lots of little wallets.  My Very Jane deal was a huge success. Sold out in ONE day. Thanks to any of my friends who posted the link on Facebook.

Because of how busy I am making stuff...I am falling behind on getting the house put together.

The house has a lot of wall space, which we aren't used to.  So we actually have somewhere to hang all of our artwork. And we actually have quite a bit.

I have to embarrass my sister and share this piece that she did in high school. It's a technique where you take a picture and put it on a graph and then graph the canvas and you paint each square one by one. This is pretty amazing because it looks exactly like the photo.  I am happy to have it up, but it is very lonely and need some more friends on the wall with it...

 So here is a book that might interest my bloggy friends. I am reading this for my English class and it's all about how blogging began, the importance of blogging and how it's change the media world, etc. SUPER interesting!

So I am off to do some normal mommy things, like take my kids to the library :) Everyone enjoy your day!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Oh The "To-Do" List

I've always loved making lists.

I apparently love losing them too...
I'm notorious for making 3 mile long to-do lists and then conveniently losing them. 

Lately, I've been living by my to-do list.  

Does anyone look back longingly on the days when you could just speed through the housecleaning as soon as the kids went down for naps and then spend a couple hours vegging and watching your DVR'd episodes of The Real Housewives?

Things have definitely been picking up with my little Etsy store :) and while it's been awesome, it's been interesting making "life" work.

And I can really be a space cadet.

Like the constantly updating activities of all my friends on Facebook on the right side of the screen.  That totally distracts me and my 2 minute "check" on Facebook turns into half an hour of wandering aimlessly.

So I've actually been using my to-do list and keeping it at my side at all times.

And I am learning:
2) Do not pull up Facebook, Pinterest, or anything remotely interesting during "work" time.
3) Don't forget to stop and relish something wonderful with the kids in the middle of sewing craziness.

Which is so essential for weeks when your washing machine decides to DIE.
 Thus, Bela's first trip to the laundromat. Fortunately, this happened to be a morning Lenny was at school. Otherwise chaos would have ensued.
This little lady is my buddy on Monday and Thursday mornings while big bro is at school.

She is a handful.

Life is crazy. But it's also sweet and wonderful.

Take the time to taste the sweet parts too :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Very Jane Feature and Keeping the Crafty Alive

Make sure you hop over to Very Jane today because my adorable Mini Wallets are being featured TODAY!

They are only $5 so grab a bunch for yourself and to give as gifts :)
Im super excited because I really love my little wallets :)

 Snag a bunch for yourself and for gifts for friends and family, can't bear $5!

My little Etsy shop is starting to get a little busy and I have to say it's been a little challenging balancing everything, but I am getting the hang of it.
Despite being busy making little bow ties for two weeks (and moving too), I have managed to actually make a few things that I have had on the back burner for a few weeks.

I've been in DESPERATE need of jewelry organization and both of these have totally rocked! The tutorial for the earring holder is HERE

I cannot find the necklace holder tute to save my life, but it's just a small rectangular canvas with fabric wrapped around and some cup hook screwed in the bottom. Super easy!

 I very rarely make things for myself, and I always get nervous wearing something I made because I fear I'm not quite cool enough for some of it, but this one took less than 10 minutes to put together and I have worn it nearly everyday with all kinds of outfits. The tutorial can be found HERE.

It's not "chilly" here in Florida yet, so this is a light way to get the scarf look without sweating while you're at it.
Everyone have a happy Tuesday!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

So I promised that I would bake up something yummy this weekend and I only got around to making a couple loaves of Chocolate Zucchini Bread. My experiment for today will hopefully be whipping up some apple chips :)

A great way to monitor what's going in your children's food, is to just make it from scratch. You can use organic ingredients, modify recipes to make them vegan or gluten free, there are no limits. 

I love baking and wish I could do it more often. This recipe has very simple ingredients and it doesn't have a stick of butter in it either ;) The zucchini makes it moist and delicious!

My husband totally looked at me cross-eyed when I told him what I was making...but he absolutely devoured it! The kids are huge fans too.

I have no idea what happens to the zucchini in this crazy delicious, moist, chocolate-y bread. But it's in there :)

This is a really moist and dense bread so it works awesome with cookie cutters. Lenny loves these in his lunchbox.

And a little side note...if you bake a lot, you should have this stuff in your arsenal.
I haven't used a cupcake liner in a few years now, all I use is this stuff and everything pops out so nicely :)

Get the recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Bread here

Friday, October 14, 2011

Natural Food Faves

I think I could say that my kids eat pretty healthy. But recently, I have been trying to switch to a diet that is mostly organic and free of artificial flavors, dyes, and preservatives.

I don't like to get on a soapbox about these kinds of things, but there is a lot of scientific evidence to suggest that children are very susceptible to the pesticides and artificial "junk" in food because their systems are not fully developed and they tend to eat the same things, therefore are exposed to more of the bad stuff.
Ok, so let's face it, your kids still want the yummy stuff. And sometimes all-natural, organic treats are not so yummy. Now the best way to limit exposure to harmful things is to make everything...but that's not always possible. Here are some faves we have picked up along the way. 
 Annie's Cheddar Bunnies (these last longer for us than Goldfish)
Pirates Booty Aged White Cheddar Puffs (I think I just like hearing my son ask for "pirate booties". It's hilarious.
Stonyfield Yo-Kids Squeezers
Country Choice Organics Sandwich Cookies (AWESOME!)

Cascadian Farm Fruitful O's (my kids LOVE these)
Tree of Life Grape Fruit Spread - pricey, but it tastes incredible and a little goes a LONG way. If you have a PB&J addict, it's worth it.

We also like Van's Natural Foods frozen breakfast products like their waffles. They are only $2.99 so a great deal.

I mentioned these particular items because most of them have coupons readily available. Mambo Sprouts is a great place to get organic coupons. Whole Foods also has lots of coupons too.  You can request coupons from many organic food companies as well.

Organic IS more expensive. BUT the upside is that I find that I am doing LESS impulse buying of snack foods and focusing more on spending those extra dollars on a few quality treats and organic produce.
It can be a hard adjustment, because I am SOOOO cheap, and we can't go organic with everything, but every little bit helps.

I am looking forward to posting on Monday because I am going to try my hand at some all natural baked goods this weekend :)