Tuesday, January 28, 2014

100 Days of School Projects

Are you all staying warm? We are making a go at it. 
We got a little more snow this morning along with a 2 hour delay for schools because of the frigid temperatures. What a weird winter it has been this year!
Today was class picture day, so I grabbed a quick shot of the kids with the snow. Can you tell they were freezing?!
Last week, the kids hit a milestone for the school year. They hit the 100 day mark. To celebrate, they had projects for homework. Gotta love it, right?
E had a Krispy Kreme doughnut hat that he had to glue 100 items on. He decided to be a parrot. We glued the feathers on, and colored a picture of Blue off of Rio...I know he is a blue macaw, but it worked for what we were doing. Unfortunately after gluing all the feathers on, we realized that the hat wouldn't fit his big noggin'. 
But he still looked cute!
 S.R. wanted to make a baby doll blanket for her 100 Days project.
She actually helped out quite a bit in making this blanket.
 She got this sewing machine for Christmas, and was super excited to finally get to use it.
She did a great job keeping a straight line, too!
 The quilt has 100 circles, in case you were wondering;o)
They were very proud of their projects and grateful for the help I gave them. It always makes my heart proud when my children show gratitude!
And speaking of projects, I am finally tackling the playroom. We are turning it into a home-school room for next school year...yep, you read right. We will be homeschooling...ahh! 
So, there are a lot of projects that need to be done, and I am going to hopefully get most of them accomplished before school ends for the summer.
I'll share what all we have planned for the room in my next post.
Until then, stay warm!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Monster Doll Tutorial

Cut List
Head- 5 1/2"x 5 1/2"(2)
Neck- 3"x 2"(2)
Body- 8"x 8"(2)
Legs- 11"x 2 1/2" (4)
Arms- 9"x 2 1/2"(4)
Mouth-I used some scrap chevron I had lying around.
Eyes-2" 2 Circles from white fabric and 2 from felt with adhesive(found at Hobby Lobby)
1/4" seam allowance throughout the entire project.
You will also need Lite Heat Bond, and Black Fabric Paint

Finger press the head to find the center.

Place the eyes near the crease.
Apply the eyes and mouth using the heat bond and your iron.
Once it has cooled, take it to your machine and stitch to secure.

Next stitch the neck to the bottom of the head.
And then the neck to the body.
You will repeat the previous steps for the head neck and body for the backside of the monster as well.
Press necks seams inward.
Now, you will need to mark off the areas where the arms and legs will go. Measure 1" down from the shoulder and mark. Then 1 3/4" down from the first mark, as shown below with red dots.
You will do the same for the legs, 1" in and 1 3/4" apart.
Stitch front and back of monster with right sides together, making sure to back stitch at each dot, and leave the openings for the arms and legs open.
The bottom will be left completely open so you can stuff it at the end.

Turn right side out and press.
Stitch arms and legs together leaving one end open. 
Stuff the arms and legs.
You will then attach the arms and legs to the body. Make sure to pay attention to which are the arms and which are the legs:o)
Once you have attached them, you will stuff the head and body of the monster.
When you have it where you want it, then stitch the bottom up.
The last thing you will do is to color in the eyes with the black fabric paint. I used a 1/2" circle and decided I wanted the eyes to be a little wonky.
E was so happy to get a monster, and he now sleeps in his bed and helps to keep the "real" monsters away!
Will you be making a monster to keep the "real monsters" away?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Sewing Projects-A Tooth Fairy Pillow & Monster Doll

We had a very laid back weekend. The kids officially started their basketball season on Saturday. I wish I had pictures to share, but I don't.  I am coaching both teams, so I couldn't keep up with my big ole wonkin' camera. I got a few with my camera phone, though. 
The kids play back to back, so it's fairly exhausting to scream for 2 solid hours. We had fun...but after all that excitement, afternoon naps are usually on the agenda...for me that is;o)
Today I want to show you some of the sewing projects I completed last week.
I made E a monster doll. I will have the tutorial up in a few days. It was a simple project. Nothing but straight lines. He loves it, and that makes for one happy momma!
 I also made S.R. a tooth fairy pillow. You can find the tutorial here. The instructions are easy to follow, and you can bang one out in no time.
 The tooth fairy pillow was made just in time too. S.R. lost her first tooth Saturday evening. She fiddled around with it all day...even during her basketball game, which I thought was kind of gross. Kids are gross, though. Anyway, she came running and shrieking at the top of her lungs out of my bedroom, nearly giving me a heart attack, until I realized they were happy shrieks:o)
She was so proud to finally lose her tooth.
Our tooth fairy brings $5 for the first tooth because it's a BIG deal to lose the first one. She also brings gold $1 coins for the subsequent teeth.
So what does your tooth fairy do that's special or unique? I would love to know. It's always interesting to hear other families' traditions.
I also want to take a moment to say thank you for the kind words expressed by some of you over my last post. It was difficult to write, and even more difficult to hit the "publish" button. Thank you for being so sweet and encouraging!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

"Mommy, You're Getting Fat."-A Journey in Learning to Love My Body

Words you never want to hear your child say to you, "Mommy, you're getting fat". Especially when you have been working with a personal trainer for the past two months; literally killing yourself to look and feel better. Now granted, I did eat Zaxby's fries for dinner last night, and those suckers are loaded with salt, so there may have been massive amounts of bloating going on, but still...she cut me deep. She cut me real deep, Shrek.
Obviously, she had no idea how hurtful those words were. I ignored what she said, and told her to finish getting ready for school. I was at a complete loss for words.
I have never been a Skinny Minnie, by any stretch of the imagination. No one has ever used the words, "bean pole" to describe my physique. I have what you would call an athletic build. Which has always suited me just fine, since I have always been an athlete in some form or fashion.
 I played basketball from 3rd grade all the way through college. I also played softball, volleyball and ran a little bit of track...very slowly I might add.
As an adult, I run long distance. I have participated in several races, and have done alright in some. Winning gift cards and trophies here and there. So, even at the age of 32, I still consider myself to be an athlete.
I never had any issues with how my body was made until recently. 
I don't know what triggered it, but it has certainly been a difficult thing to endure.
I can't help but nit-pick all of the areas of my body that I could improve upon when looking in the mirror.
 My husband isn't the root of the problem. He is always so complimentary of my shape...especially now that I am  working out at the gym like a boss. But even when he compliments me, all that comes to mind is The Princess Bride movie when the wife of Miracle Max comes out screaming, "Liar, Liaaaar!"
This poses a problem. A BIG problem. If I cannot be comfortable in my own skin, how in the world do I teach my children to be, especially my daughter? How can my husband desire his wife when she isn't confident in how she was made. 
The answer is, it can't be done.
Our children and our spouses can see right through us. Even when we think we're hiding our feelings, they know.
Our society is so focused on appearance that you can't turn on the television, read a magazine or book, or look online without running across something that has to do with our bodies.
This time of year, when everyone is making their New Year's resolutions, weight loss is usually at the top of the list. It's so difficult to be surrounded by this day in and day out if you have body image issues.
As I have gotten older, I have tried to make an effort with my appearance. I dress nicer, I wear make-up(which my husband hates), and I fix my hair.
When you have spent most of your life in a gym, those things usually get put on the back burner. I mean, how awesome is it to wipe the sweat off your brow, and then look at your hands and think, ew gross, why is my hand an off shade of "fairly light neutral".
Now that I am not running up and down a court everyday, I try to look presentable.
While I am in the bathroom meticulously applying my eye liner, my daughter is at my hip watching my every move. When I am getting dressed, and checking, and then re-checking myself in the mirror, she is there, memorizing everything I do.

How do I know she is memorizing these moves? Because when I watch her dress herself, she does the exact same thing I do. My own little mini-me. Her outfits never match, but she has taken ever so much care to look exactly the way she intended to. Just like mommy does. And once she is done, she looks up at me with those big beautiful brown eyes, searching for my approval.

She almost always get the response she is hoping for...as long as it's weather appropriate and modest.
Should she be seeking so much approval on this particular subject though?
She's 5 for Pete's sake.
Everything that is important to me, she makes it important to her as well. So as her mother, if I don't want her to worry over such things, then I can't worry over them myself.
Easier said than done, right?
I am going to have to make a conscious effort to celebrate who I am, and be grateful for how God created me.
My thoughts shouldn't be self-centered, but outwardly centered...focusing on how blessed I am to have a wonderful, and caring husband who works so hard every day so that I can stay home to raise our two VERY healthy children. Believing him when he tells me that I look great, instead of doubting him.
I should be grateful for the loose skin that doesn't even resemble a tummy when I lay on my side or the wide hips that will never go back. The loose skin and wide hips are evidence of two of the greatest gifts that I will ever receive.
I shouldn't be put off because I have dark circles under my eyes from lack of sleep. Those circles are there to remind me that I was the one they came to when they needed to be comforted after a scary dream.
So today, I start my journey of retraining my thoughts and actions. Thanking God everyday for the health He has blessed me with. Thanking Him for the ability to raise both of my children from home, and to teach them to be grateful and proud of the gifts that He has given them.
I will take care of my body with a healthy lifestyle, but not obsess over it like I have in the past. I will help my family to be healthy as well, so that hopefully some day when I am not preparing the meals, they will know how.
And as long as I am happy and healthy, the words "Mommy, You're getting fat" shouldn't cut me as deeply.
Isn't that what we want to be anyway? Happy and Healthy?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Snow Envy in Alabama

Are you all frozen solid yet? We sure are. 
Here in Alabama, it doesn't usually get that cold. We may occasionally see temperatures in the 20's, but it's very rare to see temps in the single digits here.
For the past 2 days, we have gone to school 2 hours late. It's been a great way to get back into the swing of things. There hasn't been the morning rush, and everyone seems to be in a fairly good mood when exiting the vehicle in the drop off line.
We got to experience a few flurries on Monday, which resulted in minimal accumulation...can you spot it? 
Oh wait, there it is! You thought our yard had dandruff, didn't you?
 We NEVER see snow, so when there is even the smallest amount, we celebrate.
Yes, we have snow envy.
But being from the deep South, we want snow for a few days, and then we want it to go away. We like the idea of snow...like the "get out of school and roll around and make snow angels for a few days" kind of snow. Not the snow that "shuts everything down kind of snow".
That would be an inconvenience. No one has time for that, now do they? 
So, I sent the kids off to school on Monday, and decided to do some 90% off Target shopping. 
It was quite nice to spend 2 glorious, uninterrupted hours of deal hunting all to myself.
Everything you see below cost $28.50.
I have some great shirts for myself and S.R. for next Christmas, and some awesome crafts as well.
The blue totes were 59 cents each. I have no idea what I will do with them, but I couldn't pass them up. 
I am looking forward to the next few days. I hope to knock out some sewing projects. It's way too cold to do anything but sew.
Stay Warm!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Riley Blake 'Dress Up Days' Doll Kit-Somewhat finished...

If you remember back in the summer, I made S.R. a new quilt. She loves her room, and I always feel so proud when I walk by and see that quilt sitting on her bed...when the room is clean, that is.
I purchased the Dress Up Days doll kit (which matches her bedding) and had intentions of making the doll for Christmas. S.R. even asked me to make her a doll for Christmas. Well, time flew by, and I didn't get a chance to make it. 
Since our Christmas break was so laid back, I was able to take the time to construct it.

I made a few modifications to make it more personal.
I added felt hair and little bows on top. 
I haven't made the dresses to go with it just yet. I purchased a second hand serger a few months ago, and I wanted to make the dresses on it. I am really excited about this machine. I have wanted one for a few years, but they have always been way too expensive. A friend of mine was selling this one at a great price, so I couldn't pass it up.
While it isn't being used, it will be resting here. Notice the painting? My sister painted it for me. It was my Christmas present from her. It's the Northern Lights. Didn't she do a great job? I love personal gifts so much more than store bought stuff.
It matches really well with the decor in my craft room too.

E wants me to make him a monster doll, so I have to figure out how to make one. I also have some tooth fairy pillows that need to be constructed. We're about to get a few visits from her very soon!

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year's Gluten Free Breakfast

Happy New Year!
I hope your Christmas/New Year's break was great! Ours was wonderful. 
We got to spend time with family and friends, and we also got to have some much needed R & R.
Books were read, food was eaten, fires were made, and sleep was had.
Speaking of food, today I wanted to share what we had for our New Year's Breakfast.
I won the Pioneer Woman's latest cookbook at my husband's family Christmas gathering. We play dirty Santa every year. I was pretty excited that I snagged it.
Since it is a book of holiday recipes, I thought New Years Day would be the perfect time to start trying out some of these yummy recipes.

You can click this link to purchase the cookbook.

Our menu consisted of:
The Pioneer Woman's Baked French Toast
Fruit Medley..strawberries, red grapes, and frozen blueberries..yum!
bacon...double yum!

I wanted to make the Baked French Toast, but I had to make some gluten free substitutions.  I used Udi's Gluten Free French Baguettes and for the crumble topping I substituted Rice Flour for the All Purpose flour.
It turned out delicious. 

The kiddos also got to drink hot cocoa. 
They kept talking about how fancy the breakfast was. I think it's fun to change things up a bit and actually use all of the "fancy" stuff that stays tucked away for most of the year.

This year is going to hold several new challenges for us. I look forward to sharing these new journeys with you all. I hope to be more diligent in my posts this year. I kind of lost interest in sitting down, editing photos, and thinking of what to say, but I seem to have new motivations and inspirations.
 I hope you will stick around and see what we have in store!

There are affiliate links in this post. All opinions are completely my own.