Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Travel Like a Flylady

We are taking a road trip to Kansas City today so before I checked out for a few days I wanted to share the Flylady tips for traveling. When you have kids (and even if you don't) packing and preparing for a trip can be a stressful experience. It doesn't have to be, so let's find out how. The Flylady Travel Guide can be found here

I'm just going to talk about a few of the things that have really helped me, plus a few that are specific to kids.

First of all, this is so much easier if you are already using the Flylady Method for your household cleaning. 

Because I am packing for everyone, I start a couple days ahead of time by setting aside clothing that will be worn on the trip. I also like to have a "staging area" for my packing things. This can be a spare room or a spot in your bedroom, just wherever the kids won't get into.

 Make sure your laundry is clean (duh) and make sure the house is tidy. It's so much easier to pack when the house is neat and tidy. Don't try to pack in chaos. It means your stuff will be chaos. It was alot easier to gather things when they were where they were supposed to be.
 I printed out the Flylady list and sat down a few days ago and prepared my packing list. I will put it in my suitcase and use it when I leave too :) This TOTALLY helps!

It's almost 9:30 the day we leave (we are leaving at night) and we are basically done packing aside from checking the list and finishing packing the snack bag.

 So here is the snack bag. It's a good size bag but it's not huge like a cooler. You can put ice packs in it and it has separate dry and cold sections. I bought plenty of healthy snacks to minimize drive thru stops and gas station candy bar stops ;) Plenty of water and juice too. Got it at Walmart for $9, not bad :)
Here's a big one. The fridge. We will be gone for a week, so I made sure that I didn't get tons of refrigerated items at the grocery store this week. I also did my fridge cleaning last week so it was nice and clean to begin with. Since the fridge is totally bare (eek!) I put our leftover ziti in the freezer (hubby suggested!) so we have dinner when we get back :) Any remaining produce will go in the compost this afternoon. Make sure there aren't any science projects in the back.

Here's a cool Flylady tip. Put some Mr. Clean or Pinesol down the toilet and all your sink drains. It's supposed to help with that weird stale smell. We'll see how it works when I get back.

I cloth diaper my daughter, but will be using sposies on this trip. Right after I finish this I will be washing her remaining diapers so there are no stinkies in the diaper bin. Also make sure to take out ALL YOUR TRASH before you leave. 

Make sure your house is nice and clean before you leave so you come home to a nice clean house. This will make it easier to unpack, get reorganized and skip the post vacation chaos that tends to linger for a week after. 

The Flylady suggests that as soon as you get home, start a load of laundry before you crash, good idea! 

A lot of the "before you leave" stuff will only be easy to do if you get the majority of your packing done ahead of time. Preparation is everything, I printed the list a week ago and did everything spread out over a few days, so today I just have some minor tasks to complete. Not stressed out! No sense in getting completely flipped out before having to spend 19 hours in the car with a 3 yr old and almost 2 yr old :)

So if you have a vacation coming up, start planning now! Print out the list, modify as needed and make the start of your vacation as stress free as possible, so you can enjoy the rest! It totally works. I promise :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Cutesy Up Your PJs

Well, your kid's PJs at least. My little one was in desperate need of some PJs so of course that presented a great opportunity to SEW :)

I have always used the same pajama pant pattern. It is Simplicity 2734It is actually simple and they go together super easy. I haven't done the top yet because I really have issues sewing knits, but from the looks of the pattern, it's Erin-Proof :)

For the top I just picked up a pack of toddler camis at Walmart. I wanted to do something cute on them and putting a little applique on a little top (or anything) is super easy. It's not a new idea, but a little bit of fusible bonding web can go a long way for lots of fun! Just don't go crazy and start ironing little hearts to your designer jeans.

It's really easy to go online and find templates for all kinds of shapes and designs 

 I ironed on pieces of fusible bonding web to the fabric I wanted to use. Then I traced the designs directly on the paper side of the bonding web.
 I then cut them out :)
You essentially have an iron on applique now. Iron on according to the instructions and sew around the edges. I started out with something simple because I am not the best at sewing in circles but it actually turned out pretty cute.

 Now I have cute PJs for my little girly.

Not original by any means, but it's really a fun way to use up your scraps and make something plain, fun. Now go get some fusible bonding web and start ironing!

A Birthday Boy

It's hard to believe that three years ago I gave birth to this handsome little boy, embarking on the incredible journey of motherhood.  I remember after he was born and being so terrified because I was responsible for keeping this tiny baby alive. It was so daunting to me at the time, but I have learned that we are equipped with everything we need and what we don't know, someone we know knows.

We had a low key day, going to Toddler Power Hour at the local library and had some cake to celebrate. We are visiting my family family next week and they are planning a fun party when we get there so today was simple.

I had Lenny help me make the cake since it didn't have to be perfect ;)

 It was a lot of fun and Bela joined in the fun to help decorate.

Not perfect by any means, but it was more fun to watch them decorate it than make a perfect cake :)

It was a fun night and we look forward to more celebrating! Happy Birthday Lenny!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Peplum Play Outfit

I actually finished this outfit the other day and just had to make the buttonholes and sew the buttons on today.  I found the top in my One Yard Wonders book.  I have to give a glowing recommendation to this book.  I have made 4 pieces in it and I love how simple everything is and how clean and well finished all the items turn out. 

I even HAND STITCHED the inside of the top where you take the raw edge where the ruffle meets the top, tuck it in and hide it in the lining. It called for a slipstitch and I was about 2 seconds from just top-stitching it in my machine, but I am so glad I did it the way the directions asked. The inside of the top is just as lovely as the outside.

The capri pants are just a Simplicity PJ pants pattern that I made into capris.  I seem to make Bela a lot of dresses, but she needs more things she can play in and this is super comfy and perfect for playtime :)

The peplum is just a fancy word for a ruffle on the waist.  This top has the ruffle just at the hips, which is so darling.
 The fabric is another Walmart special ;)

Excuse the mess. We are getting rid of Alexa's Barbie things and this is the random tiny pieces throw away pile.
 Just because I like the expression on her face.
 I don't know why I don't do indoor shoots in here more often. It gets amazing sunlight (tons of windows) and the wall color is so fun!
 Fuzzy...but we had to get Lenny in too.

I think I will be making quite a few more tops like this because they are really easy and just perfect for summer :) Try going through your patterns and putting something new together. It's really a lot of fun!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Outside the Lunch Box - The Cubed Lunch and Yummy Snack Dip

So I did not forget about my summer lunch series. My mother-in-law sent me this cute book of lunch ideas for kids and I finally got around to trying some today.

The original idea for what we had for lunch was cubed mozarella, cherry tomatoes and basil on skewers. My kids are a little too young for pointy objects so we did it on the plate.

Everything is chopped in little cubed pieces, which makes it easy to eat.

 The fruit of the day was white nectarines. These are so delish!
I served these with..yes...hot dogs (free of nitrates and preservatives). They each got half a slice of pita bread.
 I try to eat something similar to what the kids are eating. It gives them confidence to try something new if you are eating it too. I added some olives to the mix and got some basil from the garden and drizzled it with some EVOO. And yes, I had a hot dog too :)
 You almost always have some leftovers with little ones. This meal packs up easily in a little container to be used at snacktime. This is where our dip comes in.

1 carrot, sliced
2 tbsp. EVOO
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground coriander
2 pinches chili powder
1 can of lima beans, drained and rinsed
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Start by steaming the carrot until tender. I just did this in the microwave in some water. Heat up the oil in a saucepan and saute the garlic and spices. Add the beans, lemon juice, and 2-3 tbsp of water. Stir until heated through.

Put the carrot and bean mixture in the blender or food processor and process until smooth, adding a bit of water if you need to.

This stuff came out amazing. I was totally impressed. I didn't have any coriander and it still came out terrific. It's kind of like hummus.  We will have it with our leftovers and some more pita, maybe even some celery or carrots.
This literally took 10 minutes and I whipped it up between loads of laundry while the kids were napping. My kids like a snack after naps so this will be perfect. Hopefully mommy won't eat it all before the kids wake up ;)

Enjoy :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

First Makeup Lesson

Isabela has taken an interest in the contents of my makeup drawer. At the age of 21 months my daughter is bringing me tubes of lipgloss and asking for me to apply it. I don't quite know what to make of this and I am quite sure I am creating some terrible monster by encouraging it (oops).

I had to quickly post these photos from her "supervised makeup playtime". Since she was digging in my drawer anyways, I figured I would at least supervise the craziness and gave her some eyeshadow I was going to get rid of anyways and let her have some fun. Don't worry, the eyeshadow was hypoallergenic! Here are a few more from our fun shoot!

So there you go, at least you have something to laugh at on a Monday morning!

Father's Day 2011

So I can't really say that I made anything spectacularly original for Father's Day. This is probably the first year we have really been able to do anything with the kids for Father's Day so simple was the name of the game.

We started out Saturday morning with the hopes of getting some pics of all three kids at the park and getting some wooden frames for the kids to paint. easy enough?

I COULD NOT get any decent photos of the kids altogether (meltdown of the day #1 goes to Lenny). So I decided to do three photos and have each kid paint their own frame.

OK, this isn't actually from today's shoot. This is from a supervised makeup playtime. It's just the complete essence of Bela in a photo. The pics from this are HILARIOUS.
He was NOT COOPERATIVE. This photo is blurry but it works and will be replaced by a more suitable photo should one ever be taken. He's still adorable.
Of course it took 2 seconds to get a good picture of Alexa. Thankful for one cooperative child.
 Alexa painted her own, I painted Bela's and Leonard did his own with the help of Alexa painting his hands so he could put prints all over his frame. His actually is really cool looking! I found the little Scrabble looking letters in the wood working section at Michaels. The frames were only .66! Score! The acrylic paints were on sale 2/$1. We even grabbed some extra wood items for more painting fun, scrapbooking stickers for our card and still spent less than $20! Woohoo!
 My favorite part is the card I made :) Not a typical Father's Day card, but it makes complete sense if your dad is an Architect! It's the clouds and a skyline complete with a shipping container building on the left (my hubby's current obsession is shipping container architecture). I love it, we put a sweet message inside and I just think it's so fun.

He loved it of course and we had a wonderful day even though I ended up having to go grocery shopping at 7:30pm and poor hubby ended up doing dishes on Father's Day.

Oh and the hubs TOTALLY showed me up by calling MY DAD before me on Father's Day! 
My dad is an amazing spiritual father to many, but I am one of four very blessed people that get to call him Daddy :) Of course everyone thinks their own parents are amazing, but seriously. Mine are :)

Hope everyone enjoyed their time with their Fathers or took some special time to remember Fathers that are no longer with us. Have a blessed Monday!