Thursday, May 26, 2011

Toddler Sack Dress Tutorial

I am actually really excited about this because I had an idea and it actually worked!  That never happens to me.  It's incredibly simple and you could really do anything once you get some ideas going.  So here is my Toddler Sack Dress from a Women's Dress Tutorial :)

This dress was about to go to Goodwill.  But I had a stroke of genius and cut the top off and an idea was born :)
 This dress has this really pretty scalloping on the hem :)

Ok, so before you get started you need a few measurements from your wee one.
Chest + 1 inch
From front of armpit, over shoulder and right above armpit in back + 2 inches
Length you want the dress to be + a couple inches to make the casing for the elastic
You will also need to cut some pieces for the straps.  Mine are 2 1/2 in. x 9 inches. 
 After I cut the dress roughly in half I cut it to the length I wanted all nice and straight.  This dress had a zipper in the back and since the dress was lined it cut out easily.  If you can't get a zipper out without cutting, just stitch it back up.
 Fold and press the top edge under about a quarter of an inch, than an inch or so to make the casing.  Sew close to the bottom edge leaving an opening for the elastic. 
 Then pull the casing through using a safety pin.
 Pull both ends of elastic out and zig zag stitch a few times back and forth to secure.  Sew your opening closed.  Distribute gathers evenly.
At this point I realized, "Hey! This could be a skirt for me!"  But back to the actual project...
The strap part isn't difficult, just wordy.
 Like any other strap, just fold in half right sides facing and sew along edge, turn right side out and press.
 I added a topstitch along the sides to give more stability

Laying your dress flat, measure 2.5-3 inches from the sides and pin the straps in place.  I tucked a small bit under too.  I pinned them an inch down. Make sense?

Now I tried a couple ways to secure and I found the best way was to make sure your thread really watches well and leaving the gathers in tact, sew a vertical line down either side.  The stitches literally disappear in all the gathers.  

Don't worry about stitching on the elastic.  It will not effect how stretchy the top is.  It does help you out by securing the elastic so it won't twist :-)

That's pretty much it.  I grabbed some contrasting fabric and made a fabric flower to give it some flair :)
Bela is normally not quite so cooperative...but she did pretty good for this shoot :)

 Poor Lenny always gets the short end of the stick with sewing projects, but he sure is cute sporting some duds from The Children's Place that I got super on sale and some Converses :)

Enjoy! If something didn't make sense, just ask :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Book Review - More on "French Women Don't Get Fat"

A quick note before I jump into the reviews.  If you have not yet emailed me your address for the giveaway, please do so at I am sending stuff out today so try and get this to me soon :)

Ok now to the good stuff :)

I am mentioning this book again because I WANT YOU TO READ IT!  It's a very nice read, it's more like a story than anything.  I've been struggling a bit losing my last 10 lbs. I am feeling great and looking better but yet still depending on that scale for gratification.  Yet, I don't want to sacrifice actually eating in order to get there.  I do like food :-) If you have been struggling with weight issues or body issues in general (so basically if you are a woman) This book is for you!

There are a couple things that this book won't do. 
It won't guarantee results in 2 weeks.  It won't give you a thousand "rules" and a list of what you can and can't eat.  BUT, it will teach you how to enjoy REAL FOOD and enjoy it WELL.  

There are a few strange French tricks that they use.  Like a leek soup over 48 hours, which isn't my favorite but a similar process can be done with a detox of sorts with fruits and veggies.  These aren't "fad" tricks, they are time-tested by French women for generations as a way to get the body back on track. From there, it's an amazing journey to exploring and enjoying new foods :)

The American woman needs to learn a few things about enjoying food, cooking and the art of eating!  But you have to learn some of these French tricks first :) You will actually ENJOY reading about Mireille's travels and how she got where she is today.

Now imagine my joy when I discovered that Mireille Guiliano wrote an accompanying COOKBOOK!

I picked it up at the library because I thought that it was probably full of lots of complicated French recipes with snails. But not quite so.  This cookbook contains words like "heavy cream", "butter" (the real kind), and CHEESE! Not quite the diet cookbook you were thinking of?  Well start changing how you eat and you will understand how this works.

We have enjoyed a couple of the recipes so far.  Like the Cumin Tilapia with Mushrooms with I served with sauted carrots and zucchini and a small french roll.  Super simple, light but incredibly satisfying.  Then last night we had Chicken en Croute Fiona Style which is chicken cutlets dipped in egg wash and a coating of lemon and orange zest, herbs and parmesean cheese.  AMAZING!!!! Again, really easy to make and it was a hit!

It is my hope for myself and other women that we can jump off the dieting bandwagon and fix our bad relationship with food.  So who is on board?  Over the next couple of weeks I'll be sharing some recipes and my progress and hopefully some changed ideas about food.

If you live in Jacksonville, there are many copies of her books at the library, but I am going to be making the investment soon and just buying these. 

Also, I have been finding a wealth of wonderful recipes through the Self Challenge, it has been a great addition to the principles in this book.

So on a different note...if all goes well this afternoon with my kids napping...I will actually be posting a new project...that is assuming the idea in my head translates properly in real life...hoping it works out! Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Not Afraid to Trash It

So my craft area has gotten a wee bit out of control as of late.  Not that I have been up to a whole lot of crafting, but I decided to make this adorable pinafore at the last minute for my friend's baby shower. Not a terribly difficult task except my craft area was so disorganized, I couldn't find anything and it took me forever to actually finish the dress, a bow and a matching hairpiece.  Of course NONE of which I took photos of...

Anyways, my whole room has been out of control lately. I've been keeping up with my Flylady stuff in the other parts of the house, but my room always falls last.  PLUS, it was just time to get rid of stuff.

So, my hubby pulled down some stuff from the attic to get rid of and it inspired me to get down to it and trash, goodwill or curb a bunch of stuff.

I am quite happy with what I got rid of :) But there was the pesky issue of my crazy crafting area. I love sewing, but my dislike is all the little bitty annoying things you need to sew. I found a bunch of these glass jars from my wedding and set out to reorganize.

Ok, so for some reason it doesn't look MUCH different...but I promise it's much tidier in real life :)
 I love my jar of buttons and my book-page covered eggs from a failed attempt at this wreath from Easter (took too long so I got bored)
 These jars hold all the little doo-dads that I get sick of getting up and searching for (man...check out all the hot glue stuck to my sewing table...)

You know, it feels really good to get rid of things that are just things...but what do you do with things like this?

I have MANY porcelain dolls from my grandmother. All the girls in the family would get them starting at a certain age so I have TONS. I have most of them stored away but my grandmother gave me these when I was older, the bridal doll was the last one she gave me before she died. They have a lot of sentimental value and I don't want to store these but they don't really go with anything and my kids are getting taller...they sit on my dresser...any ideas peeps?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Outside the Lunch Box - Tuna Tortilla Rolls

So today when I went into the kitchen to make the kid's lunch I realized that I am definitely in a lunch rut.

So I thought a little outside our usual lunch box and try something a little different. Then I had an idea! So now that it is almost summer many moms will have all their kids at home, so how about we all share some fun new lunch ideas to jazz things up :) 

I use the guidelines that childcare centers are required to use.  It is based on the new food pyramid.  It makes it easy to figure out your meals because you basically just fill in the blanks.  What you use to fill it in is up to you. You can print out the guidelines HERE

Now I would really like for this to be a collaborative effort.  I want ideas!  I'm no expert in this area, but we can learn from each other :)  So here is what you can do:

#1 Email me at  and send me your recipes there.

#2 If you have your own blog, post the link to your own "Outside the Lunch Box" post.

#3 Or you can just leave your yummy lunch idea in the comments area.

Here is what we did today: Tuna Tortilla Rolls

You will need:
1 whole wheat tortilla
1 can of tuna prepared however you like it
1/2 cup of any veggie, 1/2 cup of any fruit

 Spread the tuna on in a nice, even layer
 Roll like a fruit roll-up and slice with a serrated knife into little pinwheels
 Slice up your fruit and veggies, I threw a couple pieces of cheese with the zucchini because it's sort of new to them. They tried the zucchini, but not fans quite yet.  Remember to keep trying, it may take up to THIRTY tries for a child to take to a new food.
 Give your kids utensils! Mine love them even if they don't always use them, but you would be surprised at how much they will use them if you offer them.

The pinwheels were a HIT! Not a single one left.  Only some chewed on pieces of zucchini remained :)

Try the pinwheel idea with all kinds of things.  PB&J, cream cheese and spinach, bananas, Nutella.  If it can be spread, it will work! Enjoy and please contribute! I would love to try to keep this going :)

Friday, May 20, 2011


And the winner of the Bare Minerals skincare set...

According to which I can't figure out how to post the actual

Commenter #2!!!!

Yay for Beth! I hope you enjoy it :)

Everyone who commented on this post gets a sample of the moisturizer so send your mailing address to me at and I will get these all in the mail (or to you at church, hehe) next week!

This was fun! I am thinking of maybe doing one giveaway a month of random stuff so if you aren't already subscribed to my blog, go ahead and get subscribed...or whatever the correct term for that is. I will be trying to figure out how to post my official you all don't demand a recount or something!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

French Women Don't Get Fat - Good Food Read

I read this fantastic book several years ago, I can't even remember how I came across it.  It's an excellent read just as a book and presents some really interesting ideas about eating that are VERY un-American.

I so prefer the European way of life.  Street markets, walking everywhere, amazing, rich food.  So why aren't the majority of French women fat?  Let's face it, Americans have a bad relationship with food.  The fast food menus get bigger every year and the number of insane fad diets grows right along with it.  Makes you wonder if the fast food peeps are in cahoots with the diet people...hmm....

We could learn a lot from the French.  Eating like the French is about enjoying GOOD food.  The French go to the market, picking out fresh, local produce to cook their meals from, very little processed food (probably except whatever junk we Americans export). Then they actually enjoy preparing it, SIT DOWN, eat their food, and enjoy good conversation.

I think I am definitely going to give this book another read because I've really been thinking about the reasons why I eat, am I really enjoying what I am eating, am I trying to correct the bad things about my relationship with food.  That is what it really comes down to with losing weight, correcting and changing bad ideas about food.
I've been really happy doing the Self Drop 10 Challenge because of the variety of recipes and it is helping me add more whole foods, fruits, and vegetables to my diet in a way that is satisfying and now I am finding myself craving these good foods.  I do have my sweet treat daily.  Something small (or not so small we went and got fro-yo yesterday) but something that I really enjoy.

I enjoyed a wonderful salad the other night after the gym.  Normally I would crave something heavy but I opted for the totally yummo chef salad on the Self plan.  It has tons of lean protein and left me feeling very satisfied and full.

Mireille Guiliano talks about something French women do called "recasting".  I definitely recommend checking out her site and doing some reading on this.  I love this quote from her "French Woman's Manifesto"
"French women choose their own indulgences and compensations.  They understand that little things count, both additions and subtractions, and that as an adult everyone is the keeper of her own equilibrium."
I am adding more healthy foods bit by bit and this method seems to be really effective.  My new favorite breakfast is a hard boiled egg sliced on whole wheat toast lightly buttered.  I add an extra slice of toast and a piece of fruit.  This keeps me happy till lunch and I have energy for my morning workout.

Here's a bit of yumminess for lunch that is easy to throw together and is full of all sorts of goodness.  It's just black beans, romaine lettuce, shredded cheese and a couple tablespoons of salsa.  Heat up on a whole wheat tortilla :)  Normally I would need a pile of sour cream to go with this, but it really doesn't need it.  And it's actually yummy!  

I like to have these for snacks but I have been trying some of the suggestions on the Self plan (there are TONS) and turns out that baby carrots, hummus and string cheese is totally delish and absolutely filling.  Sounds a bit like rabbit food, but really, its totally yummy.  All the fruits and veggies I have been eating are helping me "recast" my body like Mireille talks about.
I think we are lazy as Americans, we want all the results, but none of the work.  We forget that food is meant to be enjoyed, not pared down to as "fat free" as possible so we can eat the whole bag of chips and not feel bad.  Or diet schemes that promise weight loss while you sit on your butt.  How is that changing your view of food?  How is it leading you to better lifestyle choices?  It seems we have completely lost the love of food preparation, eating, is really quite sad. 

I want to spend less time in my car, more time at the Farmer's Market, more time experimenting with new food and flavors, more time outside.  Who knows if I can do all these things in the suburban sprawl that is Jacksonville, Florida, but I sure am going to try and so should you :)
So here is to ENJOYING life, ENJOYING food and adding a little French flair to the American housewife.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

GIVEAWAY - Bare Minerals Skincare

OK, so I know this is a bit out of the common way for my blog, but I have some swag to unload on my lovely readers.

It all started with this House Party thing I subscribed to.  I applied for the Bare Minerals party and realizing I had NO time to do it, I didn't finish the application process.  But lo and behold one day a box full of Bare Minerals Skincare ends up on my doorstep.  Oops.  

So I have had this bag full of samples and seeing as how I didn't have time for a party, how about a blog party?  I have no idea if this goes against the rules, but I need to get this stuff out of my closet and I think using my blog to spread the word is way more effective than 10 people chilling in my living room drinking bellinis...although that does sound awesome...

If you love Bare Minerals powder, you will love this stuff.  I am using Proactiv right now, but I did sample this stuff and it feels amazing!  

Check it out here!

Here are the goods.

 One lucky lady will win the Deluxe Sample Set which includes: The Purifying Facial Cleanser, Purely Nourishing Moisturizer and the Firming Eye Treatment
I also have 15 samples of the moisturizer to give away to the first 15 people who comment :)

To enter, just leave a comment on this blog post and try to pass on to your friends so that hopefully I can give away all 15 samples!
The Giveaway will run till Friday at 6pm, which is when I will announce the winner :)

So its a win win peeps, because I am not sure that more than 15 people read this blog...pretty much all my faithful followers will at least get a sample :) It's the least I can do for those who actually read my ramblings!  Good luck!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Take a Break

I have to say it has been a bit crazy and stressful around here. We recently put our house on the market, potty training, and just life in general have been wearing a bit on me.  

Last week I didn't take a a hiaitus from cleaning, but I did take a break from my zone cleaning and just did the basic Fly routine.  Last week was the kitchen and mine is in pretty good shape so I didn't feel too bad.

Sometimes we all just need a BREAK.  This doesn't mean just letting everything go to messyland, just trying to do the minimum and letting your self enjoy things a bit.  

Do you ever get the feeling you aren't enjoying your kids as much as you should and just letting yourself get frizzled (one of my words) with everyday life?

Now i'll admit that sometimes the house drove me a little crazy because it wasn't to my exacting standards, but here are a few things I did last week to let go a bit.

1. During naps I let myself watch my tivo'd episodes of Real Housewives without feeling GUILTY that I wasn't knee-deep in housework.  I even had a snack while I was at it too! I folded a few loads here and there but tried to really relax.

2. Took the time to make myself breakfast and lunch.  How many of you DON'T do this.  Well my lunch habits were out of control and most of the time my lunch consisted of a bowl of cereal or whatever I could grab easily.  I started the Self Drop 10 Challenge last week and there are LOTS of really great breakfast and lunch options.  This is an area where I struggle so having a bunch of new ideas for breakfast and lunch has been awesome.

3. Took more time to PLAY with the kids.  We spent MANY days last week chilling by the kiddie pool and playing outside.  The room was covered in toys for days, it was great. We even took a beach day on Friday (yep all by myself with the kiddos) and had so much fun we went back on Saturday with Daddy.

4. Went to the gym, often! OK, this might not be relaxing for everyone but I love working out and it provides some kid-free time during the week.  You would be surprised at how much better you feel when you get those endorphins flowing :) I even went for a run outside on Saturday evening after a big rainstorm, it was AWESOME running on the river :)

5.  Time with Jesus.  We do have a House of Prayer here in Jax and despite it being ridiculously close, I never make it out there.  Well, I went out Friday night and left the kids with daddy for some much needed Jesus time.  You really need that more than anything else :)
Maybe relaxing and letting go isn't something you struggle with, but boy, I really needed a week to just chill a bit.  I realize that I am pretty high strung about certain things and need a chill pill!

So back on track with our normal schedule, mostly in regards to cleaning.  But I feel refreshed and ready to take on the week instead of drowsy and annoyed like I was beginning of last week :)

 Nothing beats a kiddie pool on a hot day for super cheap fun!

 We joined some friends at the Splashpark at the Zoo for more water fun this week!

 I can't even begin to understand my child...she does everything upside down!
 I can flllyyyyyy!
 They were both so happy and content to play in the sand at the beach, isn't it wonderful how children enjoy such simple things :)
 Lenny loves to RUUUNNNN in the sand!
 They really are pals, despite the smacking and fighting!
 Lenny is doing GREAT with potty training and insisted on this "on the potty" shot to practice his "cheese smile".

A super end to a great week with beach time with Daddy!

Make this week a great one! It's up to you to make the best of every circumstance, even the yucky ones :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Bit of Denim Fun

I've had this yard of lightweight denim for a while with the intention of making this Paper Bag Skirt from A Lemon Squeezy Home which is a wonderful blog if you aren't following it already.

I opted out of the beltloops, but after seeing it on Bela, I think I might do them after all and make belts to coordinate with her outfits. 

It's still turned turned out really cute.  I didn't do contrasting pockets because I want this to go with anything. This was a really easy project.  The pockets take longer than the actual skirt construction.  I need an embroidery machine because I think her initials or something would be so cute embroidered on one of the pockets :)

 Little Miss Thang is not the most cooperative model. I wanted to get some great "brother-sister" shots, but Leonard proceeded to have a pee-pee accident about 2 minutes after I took these photos.
 She is mad at me because I am snapping photos and not putting her in the swing promptly.
 The real miracle is that this hairstyle lasted till 11am.
 Lightweight for spring and easy to play in too!
I know I am biased...but she is just so lovely :) Even if she has the attitude to go with that red hair :)