Monday, January 31, 2011

Happy Birthday to my firstborn

"Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him."
Psalm 127:3 NIV

Happy Birthday! You are 12 today. Where has the time gone? It doesn't seem like anytime since you were so tiny and new in my arms.

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."
Psalm 139:13 - 16 NIV

You are growing up (quickly, I might add) to be such a young man. You are so full of life and smiles. You are a wonderful son and a fantastic big brother. You are so patient with your younger brothers and you do your best to set a good example. I am so proud of you. I am proud to be your mother and I am proud to call you my son.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

From Chaos to Calm

This picture doesn't have a thing in the world to do with my post, but I hate posting without pictures and I thought this was cute. Also, a life with boys can be pretty chaotic, so maybe it does.

Anyway, I have been following Melissa Ringstaff's From Chaos to Calm series and I am really enjoying it. Check it out and see if it brings some order into your life.

It is a 15 week series, she posts Monday through Friday only and this is week 4 (but you can read the back posts - she has them available also).

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Wonderful Breakfast

I love the blog Foodie with Family, she has such great ideas. I want to try so many of them. I have been reading her for awhile and have wanted to make several of her recipes (I don't always have the ingredients on hand, but I have a lot of her recipes saved).

Today it is snowing and the kids are out of school, so I tried one of her recipes for breakfast. Finnish Oven Pancakes.

It was delicious. It had very few ingredients, I already had all of the ingredients on hand, it was quick & easy to put together and it tasted fantastic! Plus this one recipe has so many options (can't wait to try the other options). What more could you ask for?

It put me in the mind of French Toast. We ate it with snow (powdered sugar) & maple syrup (that's how we normally eat our pancakes). I will definitely be making this again.

Sorry that I didn't get a picture before we ate it. We were all hungry and it smelled to good while it was in the oven that we couldn't wait.

Friday, January 28, 2011

If I'd known you were coming, I would have baked a cake

This is the cake that I mentioned here. It is a simple cake, it is a Duncan Hines butter recipe. I made the Wilton buttercream frosting, but I used butter flavor Crisco. That is what gave it the beautiful pale yellow color. (I didn't use a drop of food coloring.)

I made an 8 inch cake and torted it, put French vanilla pudding between the layers. Covered it with the pale yellow frosting. I did tone on tone, the whole cake is decorated with the same yellow frosting. I simply did a shell border around the top edge (I didn't have room on the bottom, it would have looked better if I could have done a shell edge there also). I wrote everyone's name on the top and then I put dots all over it.

I wish now that I had not put the dots on top (I still like them on the sides though), because with all the names, it was too busy. But hey, it tasted good and that's what matters, right?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

God Loves Me More Than That

I really enjoy reading books. What I enjoy even more is reading books to my children. (I hope to instill in them the same love for reading that I have.) What I love the most is reading books to my children about our heavenly father.

I read the book 'God Loves Me More Than That' by Dandi Daley Mackall. It had a great rhythm to the book and it flowed very smoothly. Rhymes are great for young children and this book had sweet rhymes.

Dandi Daley Mackall told children how much God loves them in terms that they could understand. "How much love does God have for me? More than the letters between A and Z." The things that children relate to everyday are used to explain God's love, that makes it seem as real as it is.

David Hohn also did an excellent job illustrating the pages of the book. He illustrated the book in a way that pulls the children into the story. My two youngest boys were pointing to things that they saw in the pictures and commenting on them. They enjoyed the story and pictures as much as I did.

This is an excellent book for pre-schoolers and early elementary aged children. It is beautifully and simply written (my five year old was reading parts of the book to me). I highly recommend this book if you have younger children. Especially if you enjoy reading to your children and/or they enjoy being read to. This book would also make an excellent addition to a church library.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review, but the review and opinions are my own.


In January, my husband's family has more than half a dozen birthdays, plus my in-laws' anniversary. So we have 1 get-together to celebrate everyone's birthday/anniversary at one time.

I was asked to do the cake (post coming later). My hubby's family is fairly large - he's one of 6 kids (when you get spouses, kids, kids' husband/boyfriend, etc. just immediate family alone is about 30 people). So I asked my husband what size cake to make (a large sheet cake or a regular size cake)? You know I didn't need to bring any cake home or I would eat it and I don't need it.

He said he wanted a cheesecake (and since his birthday was this month too and the celebration was as much for him as anybody - how could I say no?). So I made a cheesecake (New York style), but I also made a regular birthday cake (for the kids and those that might not like cheesecake - what? someone might not like cheesecake?). It was an 8 inch 2 layer cake.

When Frank saw the regular birthday cake he said, "Is that all the cake?"
Me: "No, I made a cheesecake too."
Frank: "I meant was that all of the other cake? I thought you were going to make it bigger."
Me: "I asked you what size should I make it and all you suggested was a cheesecake. I thought that between the 2 it would be enough."
Frank: "I just thought you would make a bigger cake than that - just not a huge cake."

So, I made some cupcakes too. To make sure there would be enough. I saw on the cover of the January/February 2011 Midwest Living Magazine these really cute cupcakes. I just had to try them. They had white and chocolate icing swirled together. It looked so pretty. (You can see another idea that I got from Midwest Living Magazine here.)

I used the Wilton recipe for buttercream frosting and chocolate buttercream frosting. Filled my decorator bag on one half with the white icing and on the other half with chocolate icing and squeezed it down. Then I just swirled out the top.

I tried a second batch (new decorator bag because the frostings mix together after being squeezed and you will loose the 2 toned look) and this time I put the chocolate frosting in first and the white in second. Then I swirled them on the top of the cupcakes. When I added the chocolate first, it kind of tinted the white as it was squeezed out and it looked off-white. It was still pretty, you could still tell it was 2 toned, but the white didn't have the brightness as it did in my first attempt. I guess it depends on the look you are going for. Forgot to take a picture of the 2nd attempt.

I had seen them use marshmallows for flower petals before and always wanted to try it, so I thought now is my chance. In a house full of boys, I don't get to do too many floral things.

Here they are before I put in the M & M centers. I experimented with them. I have decided that I like the 5 petal flowers the best. Sanding sugar lasts a little longer than sprinkles (on the flower petals), the sprinkles color will start to bleed after a little while.

How to do this is you take mini-marshmallows and cut them on the diagonal with kitchen shears. Take the cut part (it is sticky) and dip it in sanding sugar (or colored sugar), then place on top of cupcake.

Here they are after the M & M centers have been added. Excuse my mess, not sure what was in the background. Never even noticed it until I just posted the picture here. Ooops!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Everlasting Bucket of Snowballs

In the January/February 2011 printed issue of Midwest Living Magazine, on the Table of Contents page, the background picture was of a gloved hand holding a galvanized bucket of snowballs. I loved that picture. It spoke to me. I wanted a bucket of snow balls. Here in Tennessee, we don't get too much snow, just the occasional flurry, but this year we have had quite a bit (especially for our area). I really wanted a bucket of snowballs.

What's a girl to do? It might keep on the porch for a few days, but then it will warm back up and melt pretty soon. It just wouldn't last. I still wanted a bucket of snowballs. So, I made one and brought it inside for a table decoration.

I took a small galvanized pail (I really wanted a big one, but for the table a small one works best) and filled it with a few styrofoam balls. I wish I had bought a few more styrofoam balls (I will probably go back and get more soon) to really FILL my bucket up, but right now - I have my bucket of snowballs!

I like how the styrofoam glistens and looks like real snow!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Double Rewards

If you collect Coke points. Today Only you can get double points on select products. So start typing your codes in here.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Valentine Knitting

I found this illusion heart dishcloth pattern at I'm Knitting A Rat's Nest. But since then, I've had trouble finding it. I can find the blog post about it (click the link above and scroll down to the bottom of the page) but now I cannot find the pattern. Wait, I did a little more searching and found it here.

I did it in red and white for Valentine's Day. I just think it is so cool how it goes from stripes to a pattern. (Don't pay attention to how wonky it is - I am still working on my tension - keeping it even and not getting too tight or too loose or keep changing from tight to loose and back again - it will come...eventually.)

You can see my first attempt at illusion knitting here.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sweet Sentimentals

A friend of mine from asked if I could embroider some handkerchiefs for a family member. Someone had passed from this world and they wanted to present the family with a keepsake item (not the traditional plant or angel) and they also wanted it to be practical (you know how I love practical).

They had me embroider handkerchiefs with the deceased's initials and the birth & death date. It will be a memento of their loved one and if they need a hanky during the funeral - they will have one handy.

I absolutely love that idea. How thoughtful.

She brought me some ladies' handkerchiefs and some men's handkerchiefs. The ladies' handkerchief already had white flowers embroidered in one corner (that's the reason I chose white thread for the embroidery that I was doing). It was a smaller handkerchief and since it was for ladies, I did it was a more feminine font. For the men's handkerchiefs I used a block style font and continued with the white thread so they all looked alike.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Knitting Fun

I have been working on teaching myself to knit for quite sometime (since summer of '09 - I think). I was able to do a small garter stitch (only) rectangle that I used for a dishcloth. I was wanting to improve my skills and learn other stitches, but since it is a new thing for me it takes concentration and sometimes it is hard for me to do (concentrate) with a house full of boys.

Since Christmas (the hustle and bustle, the too many irons in the fire) is over, I have tried again (and with the snow we've been getting - it has been easier).

I first made a "Letter Dishcloth" - I did "B" first (for my last name). I was so excited that as soon as I finished it I began using it right away and forgot to take a picture. It was not perfect, by the time I reached the end of the dishcloth I had 3 extra stitches on my needle (I had already taken it out and restarted like 5 times - so I figured that I could live with just 3 extra stitches). You can find the knitting alphabet dishcloth patterns here (along with some others that I want to try).

Then I did another "B" and didn't have any extra stitches. I gave that one away before taking a picture also. Then I did an "E" that you see above. I have someone very special in mind to give this too. I am still working on my tension, but it will come. I remember when I learned to crochet - the tension just got better with practice.

Now, I've found illusion knitting and I just think that is really cool. Below, you can see that I've knitted a pink ribbon (for breast cancer awareness) - get that pattern here. I'm giving that away to someone special too.

What is neat about illusion knitting is from the top, it just looks like striped...

...but from an angle (it has to be a certain angle), you can see the design.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Crocheted Cuties

Champ was perusing the internet and saw a cute little Mario Brother's mushroom made out of yarn.

He said, "Hey mom. Look at this! Can you make one?"

I cannot make my own patterns, but I can follow a pattern. I told him that if I found a pattern, I could make one. After just a minute or two on Swagbucks (I love them - scroll down to the bottom of the page and sign up if you are not already signed up) I found this pattern here.

I made the red mushroom first. The boys thought that it was the cutest thing (I thought it was pretty cute myself). They all said, "I want one too!" So, I made 3 more (and I did them all in different colors - so they would know which one belonged to them). Anthony and Rance took theirs to church with them on Sunday (they make really great church toys - not noisy, even if they are dropped) and my nephew wanted one, so I will make him one soon.

It's an easy pattern to follow and fun to make. I thought about making a few for the treasure box in Anthony's class (we will have to see about that - I have other projects that I want to do too).

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Are you tired of seeing my Christmas stuff yet?

...I hope not. I couldn't show these before Christmas because I couldn't risk anyone seeing what I've done and spoiling their Christmas surprise, so you get to see them all now. (That's another reason for me being behind in my blogging. Everything that I was making - I couldn't show and left me with nothing to blog about - if I even had time to blog at all, which I didn't. If I were able to find a moment to spare, I was too tired to do anything.)

I did several blankets for Christmas and personalized them. Some of these are done in school colors for the boys.

They are like the ones here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

More Christmas Items

A friend of mine, bought these cute bags (in all colors) for the girls on her Christmas list. She asked me to embroider their names on them. I think they are adorable. I bet they had fun opening these up for Christmas.

This is the front of the bag (they all look like this) and I embroidered their names on the top of the bag.

I want one!!!!!!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Napkins for Mary

Mary, one of my closest friends in the world, asked me to make some napkins and place mats for a couple of people on her Christmas list. Here's what I did...

You can see more napkins I made here. The place mats are just something I came up with in my head.

I just love these napkins. The ones with the linen look (I can't actually afford real linen) are my favorite. They just look more elegant to me. Simple, yet sophisticated.

I also did some napkins for people on my Christmas list, but can you believe that in all the craziness of Christmas and making Christmas gifts that I forgot to take pictures of those? I know, it surprises me too. Oh, well...a napkin is a napkin.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Christmas Picture

I made Frank and the boys matching vests. I finished up 2:00 a.m., Sunday, Dec. 26. (So that they could wear them to church that day - Sunday, the day after Christmas.)

I used the pattern McCall's 2447 for Frank's vest and for the boys' vests, I used the pattern McCall's 4290 View B. They are all made out of a beautiful brick red and lined in black satin.

I just happened to have a brick read sweater that I wore. I girl from church took this picture for us in the church annex (with my camera). She did good.

I then, over the internet, sent them to Walgreens and made a bunch of copies. Addressed the back of the picture and sent it out as a postcard. It was our Happy New Year card (since I didn't get Christmas cards sent out).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

More Christmas Goodies - Spa Set

My husband's family usually has their Christmas on New Year's Day (or sometime on New Year's weekend - depends). This year is was Jan. 2. They also play Dirty Santa with the adults (his family is large and it would be too expensive to buy for everybody). This year, they decided that the Dirty Santa gift had to be hand made and this is what I made.

I chose white terry cloth for my spa set. It gives the spa feeling, it is crisp and clean looking and can be bleached to keep that look. Terry cloth is fairly soft and somewhat durable

This is a white terry-cloth spa towel wrap. I took a large bath towel (you could also use a bath sheet) and I folded down one long side and made a casing for elastic. Then I cut the elastic a little shorter than the towel and fed it through the casing. Then I sewed both ends of the elastic into the end of the casing. I then added a wide strip of velcro and I did a really long strip - so it could be used by someone small or large - of the loop side (because it is softer) to the side that would be facing out (it would actually touch under your arm). Then I sewed a large square of the hook tape to the side that would be facing in. (Not sure if all that is clear - I know what I'm thinking and I hope you can read my mind.)

For the neck wrap I used white terry cloth fabric and I sort of used the tutorial here, but I did things a little different. (You know I have to do things my way.) I made a cover for it (so the cover can be washed), and I added a button on the cover and added a piece of elastic to the actual neck wrap. Hook the elastic from the neck wrap over the button on the cover so it won't slip down inside the cover.

I added 2 ribbon ties on each end so that the neck wrap wouldn't just fall out of the cover. I filled the neck wrap with rice. I included a sheet of paper that told what each item was and it included instructions with the neck wrap (can be heated in the microwave or can be cooled in the fridge or freezer).

I also made a washcloth. I crocheted it out of white cotton (I Love This Cotton brand). I just made a chain until I had it as wide as I wanted and then used single crochet and continued until it was a square shape.

They eye mask was made of white terry cloth (I put an inner layer of dark, heavy weight fabric in between the 2 layers of white terry cloth to keep the light out). I use the tutorial from here. There are tons of sleep mask instructions/tutorials, but I liked the one from Michael Miller the best. I liked the way it looked and it was easily assembled. Very quick to make too.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Key fob Christmas gifts

My husband works in a predominately male work environment (there is one lady that works there). He has 3 bosses (they are brothers), so at his office's Christmas party, I made the lady that works in the office and the bosses' 3 wives key fobs with the company's logos on them.

I found the instructions/tutorial here. It was easy and I was pleased with the results.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Here's one that I forgot

I purchased this fleece blanket (I was running out of time to make more) and personalized it myself for a friend of my boys.

It already had the hunter green blanket stitching around the edges, so I matched hunter green embroidery thread and Voila!

Christmas is Over

I have been busy making most of the gifts for the people on my Christmas list, so that left no time for blogging...sorry. But, now maybe I can catch up on my blogging and now that Christmas is over, I can show you what I've been up to.

For my nieces and nephews, I made them all personalized throws. I made fleece blankets and serged the edges and embroidered their names on them. Maybe that will keep them warm and cozy this winter.

We have had lots of snow (for this area anyway). The kids were out almost 1 week before Christmas break. After Christmas break they went back for almost a week (were out the last day, Friday - didn't actually snow, but the weather forcasters were predicting a huge snow storm - for this area - they missed it and the snow didn't come until Saturday). We have been out this whole week so far and I am guessing that they will be out tomorrow too (it isn't getting above freezing so the snow isn't melting). It is supposed to get above freezing over the weekend.

I have been wanting to learn to knit and because of the weather I have not left my house since going to church on Sunday. Since I have been homebound, that has left me lots of time to learn to knit and I think I've got it. Just the basics anyway, now I just have to practice and perfect it. It's fun. I still enjoy crocheting. They each offer something different, but I'm having so much fun learning a new skill.
Related Posts with Thumbnails