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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tuesday Tip - Applique Your Cares Away

Last week Charissa somehow got a hold of a pen while we were in the car (probably because I left one around and she put it in her purse so she can be just like Mama), but she didn't have any paper, so she went to town on her pants.  
Now, these were one of my favorites, so I couldn't just get rid of them.  I have a very special place in my heart for red pants ... and gold pants.  Anyway - I decided to try my hand at applique and cover up the spots.  I found a fun zebra print, cut out little hearts and ironed them right on.  
I was pleased with the results, but thought that it looked a little random, so I opted to add some zebra ruffles at the bottom.  

And because I was 1) caught up in the applique momentum and 2) had the supplies, I decided to make a little shirt to go with it.  
I don't have a picture of CJ in them, but trust me - she's cute.  Britt refers to this outfit as "The Little Rocker."  So there is hope for clothes with spots on them!  

For those of you who could care for a tutorial on applique I recommend Little Birdie Secrets Blog on it (they also have a fun idea for Wall Appliques).  It's very easy to follow and I love their style. 

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bouncy Seat Makeover

Before Charissa was born, we were given a lot of hand-me-down baby items and we were so thankful to have them.  They have served us well and saved us tons of money.  The only down-side to this is that sometimes you get things that aren't your style (a small price to pay in my opinion).  One of my favorite infant items is our bouncy seat.  Both of our children have loved it and I enjoy that I can easily move it from room to room.  But it's definitely not my style.  Here's what it looks like:
Last week I decided enough was enough - I was tired of looking at it and thinking, "I wish I had a different cover for it."  So I decided to make a new cover.  I knew it would be a bit of a challenge because it was an odd shape, I had no pattern, and it really did matter how well I sewed it because Verity could crash to the floor if there were sloppy stitches.  I found a purple monkey fabric I liked and set out to work.  It took me a lot longer than I thought it would because I kept making mistakes and having to rip out the stitches.  But 4 nap times later here are my results:

You can't see from these pictures, but we also painted the frame that was bright yellow to a dark brown.  Much better.  I'm very pleased.  I know there are a lot of imperfections and things I would do differently, but it's still ten times better than the blue bees.  

My only wish is that I did this earlier ... instead of about a month before Verity outgrows it.  Oh well.  

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Slight Miscommunication

Tonight as we were getting Charissa ready for bed she said she had to go potty, so she ran off and did her deed.  She came running back in, so proud of herself for a successful toilet adventure - and we were thrilled as well.  We were clapping our hands and telling her she was a big girl and what a good job she did and Britt said, "Praise the Lord!"  Well, Charissa got really excited (which was hard to do as she was already running in circles, jumping around and waving her arms), ran to the living room, stood in front of the door, and said "Praise the door!  Praise the door!"

I guess we need to work on our enunciation!  

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesday Tip - Inventory Your House

Britt and I sold some chairs on craigslist the other day and I ended up talking to the lady that bought them for a long time.  As we were chatting I found out that her house had recently burned to the ground and she had lost almost everything she had.  She looked at me right in the eyes, pointed her index finger at me and said, "If I could tell you one thing about all this it would be to take an inventory of your house now.  Otherwise you'll be in the mess I'm in where I'm having trouble getting my items replaced."  I think I'm going to listen.  Especially since she's the 3rd person I've known to have their house burn down this year.  

I did a little research to find out how to make a home inventory.  Here's what I found:
  • A lot of insurance companies have downloadable home inventory checklists available on line.  This is helpful for two reasons: 1) It gives you a start on what you need to inventory, and 2) it lets you know what your specific insurance provider is looking for in your inventory.  
  • Items such as household linen, cookware, cutlery, clothing, and children's toys do not have to be listed individually unless they are of particular value.  
  • Kitchen appliances, electronic games, artwork, musical instruments, computers, cameras and things of that nature should all be listed individually along with their serial numbers.
  • Make a photographic inventory.  Start in one corner of the room and work your way around until the whole room has been covered.  Take more detailed pictures of your valued items.  Flip your china over to get the name and manufacturer on file, take pictures of your books, music, DVDs so that you can read the titles.  Remember to open closets and drawers and fan out the items so they are all included.  
  • Once your inventory is complete, print it out or save it to a disc and store it in a safe location away from your house.   
I haven't actually started my list yet, but I'm going to next week.  It's already on my to-do list.  I'm going to start out by photographing each room, and when I'm done with that I'm going to go room by room and inventory what we have.  I know it's going to be tedious.  I know it's going to take a long time.  In fact, I may only get to one room a week.  But I'd rather have it and never have to use it, then watch my home go up in flames and not have a way to replace our possessions.  After I finish I'm going to burn all the pictures and inventory list to a disc and give it to my parents.  I feel like it's highly unlikely that our house and their house would both be destroyed at the same time.

Even if you don't have time to make a written inventory, I would encourage you to spend just a little bit of time photographing your house.  Hopefully you won't need it, but it'll be good to have anyway.  

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Women's Retreat

This weekend my church had a women's retreat where we spent Friday night and Saturday morning talking about "The Righteous Tongue."  It was so refreshing for me!  I enjoyed every minute of it.  It was so nice just to hang out with other women (without the kiddos so we could finish our sentences), but I needed to hear what they were saying.  

I won't really do justice to the speakers by going over what they said, but we did watch a video of a message Paul Tripp did and I can give you the link.  It's worth watching.  I've rewatched it already, and I want to watch it with Britt sometime.  You can read it, listen to it, or watch it at Desiring God.  I would recommend watching it just because I think Paul Tripp is really funny.  

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Quick Touch-Up

I love to cook new recipes. I would say 80-90% of the dinners I cook are new recipes. Some aren't all that wild, just variations, but we do try to be open to lots of different types of foods. Most of the recipes I get are from cooking magazines, so I tear out the pages and keep them in a binder until I use them. When I do my 2 week meal plan I go through my ripped out recipes and I select the ones I want to try and then I put them on my refrigerator in a little magnetic chip clip. The problem is that most of the time I have to use 2-3 of the clips and then they still keep sliding down my fridge. I think Britt got tired of picking them up, so he went out and bought me these:
Britt put them on the fridge and I said, "They work great, but they're really ugly."  So I set out to make them less ugly.  
A little glue, a little scrapbook paper, some mod podge ...
... and voila!  Pretty magnets!  

And they still work just as well as when they were ugly.

Why have ugly magnets when you can have pretty ones? And I got to use some of the leftover scraps from the hangers I made a few weeks ago.  A very successful 20 minutes if you ask me.  

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Playdate

Today we had a playdate with our friends the Thompsons.  Originally I had invited over all the girls born in the few months around Verity's birthday, but only Anna Grace could make it due to the other two mommies being sick.  But we had a really good time anyway.

Since it was St. Patrick's Day I decided to go with a green theme for our snack.  Green grapes, broccoli, apples, and celery.  Delicious and nutritious!  And Charissa ate a ton!  I'm not sure what inspired her to eat, but I'm thankful nonetheless.  
I recently discovered that St. Patrick used the shamrock to illustrate the Trinity.  I printed out a picture of a shamrock and wrote "God the Father," "Jesus," and "Holy Spirit" in each leaf and then I let Charissa and Josiah color them.  
And miracle of miracles, I actually took a picture of Charissa and a friend.  I never take pictures with friends, and I'm really trying to get better at that.  So here is a picture of Josiah and Charissa.  I know he looks about 6 inches taller than Charissa in this picture, but I think he's really only about 2-3 inches taller.  
I think Verity and Anna Grace are about the same height even though Anna Grace is 2 months older.  Don't they look like they're having fun?

And this is what the girls' room looked like after playtime.  I love it!  I know it's a mess and I have to pick it up, but it's just a sign that there were happy children playing in my house.  
I made little fleece elephants for all of Verity's friends as a party favor.  I printed off the pattern from Homemade By Jill.  They were really easy to make and I think I'll probably make them in the future to throw in with my baby presents.  
I know I said that it was a playdate for Verity and her friends and then I wrote all about Charissa and Josiah, but Verity slept through most of it and Anna Grace took a nap about halfway through it.  Oh well.  At least I'm getting in the practice of helping Verity make friends. 

Tuesday Tip - Free Birthday Treats!


Everyone loves going out on their birthday and getting a special treat.  We like it even better when that treat is free.  And now I know where to find all those places that give them out!

Introducing Free Birthday Treats!  My friend Candace emailed me about this and it is a gem!  You can sort through adult freebies, kid freebies and even pet freebies.  And it tells you what you have to do in order to get the freebie.  For most of them you just have to sign up with their online club, a few you have to join their rewards program, and for restaurants the website tells you what you have to get in order to get that free appetizer, entree or dessert.  Very helpful information to know.  

So now you can plan your birthday celebrations accordingly.  Enjoy!  

Maybe My Education Did Prepare Me for Motherhood

A few weeks ago I wrote about fixing a few books Charissa had destroyed. Well, I had to fix another one this week. As I was working to piece the small fragments together I was reminded of when I was in college and I worked as a research assistant for one of the history professors.  Not many of you probably know this, but I worked with a professor to catalog and rebuild earthenware vessels found at one of the earliest known church sites in the world. My professor insists that it is the oldest, but I'm not sure that's a conclusive fact yet. I spent many hours searching through piles of small, broken pieces of clay trying to rebuild them into jars, bowls, lamps, plates, etc. Imagine a box of hundreds of pieces of clay all the same color, trying to put them together without a picture to go by or even knowing what you were building (it could be a jar, but it could be a bowl). That was my job. And it was in a warehouse that was quite cold. And I pretty much worked alone. And by "worked alone" I mean "I was the only one in the building." It was an interesting job.

This piece is similar to some of what I worked on. 

This is a page out of the book I was working on today.  See the similarities?

Anyway - Britt was asking me why I was bothering to try putting the pieces back together from Charissa's book and I was totally unfazed by the challenge.  I just realized that it's probably because I've worked on much harder items ... that were irreplaceable historic relics.  Not just a Dr. Seuss book.  

So, now I can officially say that I can see how my college education has prepared me for my job as a mama.  

Monday, March 16, 2009

Truly Independent Play

This evening while I was changing Verity, Charissa was singing and dancing in circles behind me. She started throwing herself on the floor, so I decided I should figure out what she was up to.  As I was listening, I heard her singing this:

"rosy ... posy ... ashes ... ashes ... fall down!"  

As she sang "fall down" she would throw herself onto the floor and giggle.  It was so cute!  And I didn't even know that she knew that song, so that was kind of a shocker.  Plus, it's always nice to see that Charissa can amuse herself and make up her own games or songs.  

Friday, March 13, 2009

Continuing the Tradition

If you look through my parents' photo albums you will see dozens of pictures throughout the years where my brothers and I are posed on our family piano bench.  My brothers and I used to laugh about it because there are just so many of them.  I would wonder why they never posed us in another location in the house.  Well, I've started positioning my girls' in the same chair.  It started one Sunday after church when they were wearing matching outfits, and now it's kind of a Sunday tradition to take their picture in Charissa's recliner.  Here's just a sampling:



I think another reason we're going to continue taking these pictures so frequently is because it's SO HARD to get a good picture of two children at the same time!  Well, Verity kind of just sits there, but her sister is hard to get sitting still, facing the camera and smiling.  Oh well - I kind of enjoy these because I think they capture more of CJ's personality.  

I guess my girls' can look forward to many years sitting in their little chair together - and then in 20 years they can laugh about it just like I do.  

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Seriously?

This is a description for a "young adult" book I saw the other day:
After a summer full of time-travel, Morgan's back to her painfully normal life, until her boyfriend, Coin, presents her with a problem.  Fairies are forcing him to boogie with them for eternity, and now she has to break the spell and save him - all while finding the perfect prom dress ...

Seriously?

The Amazing Self-Potty-Training Girl

On Monday Charissa was playing by herself while I was putting away her laundry.  But then all of a sudden she burst through the room and said - quite excitedly - "Mama!  I pee-pee!"  Did I mention that she had no pants on?  So I follow her to her bathroom and discover that she had in fact used her potty ... with no prompting ... and no help.  What a little weirdo.  Well, she's kept up this habit all week.  She'll just come bursting over to me (pant-less) and proclaim that she's used her potty.  In fact, she's started doing it several times a day. I think she's potty training herself because she likes the privacy. In fact, I tried to get pictures of her and this is what ended up happening:

I catch her sitting on the potty, and pull out the camera.  She notices me, and smiles at first, but then tells me I need to leave so she can have some privacy. 
And then she closes the door.

It's so strange.  She has also started changing her own diapers.  She even puts the old one away in the diaper champ.  And while I'm very impressed with her independence, I told her she really needs mama to do the diaper changes.

So my little self-potty-training-wonder-child might be out of diapers soon.  Which I am a-ok with.  Especially if she's going to be so helpful to the process.  

And PS - doesn't she look so grown up in these pictures?  Sometimes I look at her and I feel like I see flashes of what she's going to look like later.  I think I can see some of that in these pictures.  

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Does This Look Like It Matches to You?

A tank top with ice cream cones on it and red flower pants ... it totally goes.  At least CJ thinks it does.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday Tip - Don't Suck the Pacie

So the other night, Verity was crying and looked like this:
But, being the good mother that I am, I tried to hold her and comfort her so once again, she would look like this:
Usually she wants her pacie ...
 .... but that night she didn't, and since my hands were full I ended up holding it like this:
And somehow my face ended up looking like this:

Yup.  That's a true story.  Actually, the above picture was taken two days later ... So, if your child is ever really fussy and you're trying to manage everything and hold onto the baby, don't do what I did. It will bring on what my husband so lovingly has nicknamed the "pacie patch."  

Good times in parenting.  :)

Monday, March 09, 2009

I'm Quite Impressed, And You Should be Too

My brother Bob lives out in Washington state and gets to enjoy all the cold weather fun we miss out on.  Including, building himself an igloo.  Well, him and a few friends.  They went out to Mt Rainer and constructed an igloo.  I heard that each brick weighed 15 pounds and that they were literally sleeping under a ton of snow.  And all six guys slept in the igloo that night.  Incredible.  Here are some pictures so you believe me.

You see that crazy guy without a shirt on while everyone else is bundled up in snow suits and gloves and hats?  That's my brother.  





To be fair, the group included one architect, a marine turned coast guard, another ex-marine, and a guy from the air force (I know that only adds up to 4 and there are 6 guys, but I can't remember what the other ones do).  So yah ... they came in with some advantages.  But still - pretty impressive.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Charissa Loves Weddings

This weekend we went to the wedding of my sister-in-law's sister Shelley and her now-husband Jarred.  It was a beautiful ceremony and we had so much fun being together with my family.  Here's a little recap:
Nana & Grumpa with the girls - and no we don't have Amish roots.
Verity and her beautiful Aunt Kitty Kat who was a matron of honor (Kat's other sister Laura was also a matron of honor).
These are the bridesmaids' shoes.  How cool are they?  They actually only wore them at the reception, but I thought they were pretty fun.  Definitely beats the candy necklaces my bridesmaids wore to the reception.
And since both the bride and groom went to UNC, the cake was decorated accordingly.  First time I've ever seen a wedding cake with feet on it.  
This is what Charissa did for about an hour at the reception.  Danced, danced danced!  
She boogy-woogy-ed and sashayed her way around that dance floor.
And, as you can see, so was the bride. :)  Charissa danced so much that her feet began to hurt, and the next day she was limping a little bit.  Reminds me of my own wedding where the shoes I wore caused me to limp for 3 days straight.  Good times.  
I guess since the bride is gone on her honeymoon, there's no harm in posting what I gave them as a wedding present.  Since the fortunate couple had already received the vast majority of their registries, I had to be a little creative with my present - a challenge I thoroughly enjoyed.  I found my idea from here, but had to modify it because they used baby hangers and I used adult hangers.  



I know most of the time I say my projects were simple, not so this time.  First of all, I didn't really think about the size difference between baby hangers and adult hangers until mine didn't fit on the sheet of scrapbook paper.  So instead of cutting out one piece per side, I had to use two and piece them together.  Not so easy with wood and decoupage.  But I still think they turned out rather nicely and I'm hoping that I can make some more for my own coat closet.  

It was a very fun wedding.  It also started me thinking about the relationships sisters have since Kat is one of three girls.  I'm praying that my girls are much like them in that they laugh together a lot and you can see the bonds that years of playing together, fighting with each other, growing up constantly being each others' support can create.