Sewing For 20% Of My Time

I am getting ready to dive into the world of sewing…i.e. pure and utter torture for me. Learn more about why I’m sewing for 20% of my time here.

Thanks to Pinterest, I have enough project ideas to last me the school year. Also, I’m hoping that I have enough tutorials as well. I know that I have many friends and family members that will gladly teach me and there is the Bungalow Quit Shop downtown that also has classes, but I really like to learn thing on my own. Foolish pride for sure.

My mom was awesome and stocked me up with sewing supplies at Christmas time: a new sewing machine, a cart on wheels, tape measures, pin cushions, seam rippers, thread, elastic, scissors, some fabric, and other things. I’ve been pretty excited about the fabric that I’ve been buying as well…you know during that just in case moment that I “might” want to sew. “Might” means I’ve gone insane and think that sewing is going to be fun.

Alright, enough complaining. I’m doing this. Publicly. Which means, I have to continue. As I said before, I’ve been finding lots of cool projects on Pinterest. You can check out my Sewing Projects Board here.

Here’s my project list (may not be in this order though):

  1. Cloth Napkins
  2. Kitchen Towels Refurbished
  3. Pillowcases
  4. Infinity Scarves
  5. Bowl Covers
  6. Envelope Pillows
  7. Bread Bags
  8. Lego Bag (this is one of the most amazing things in the world to me)
  9. Super Hero Capes (every little boy needs one of these)
  10. Dinosaur Tails (again, who can resist?)
  11. Kids Apron (I have big plans to go along with this for Christmas)
  12. Tree Skirt
  13. Curtains
  14. Shower Curtain
  15. Adult Apron
  16. Grocery Bag Holder
  17. Dino Sweatshirt (so cute!)
  18. Bookcase for Car
  19. Re-useable snack bag
  20. Car Storage
  21. Car Trash Bag (I will guarantee that even with all these cool car sewing projects, it will still look awful in there!)
  22. PJ pants for kids and adults
  23. Milk Crate Liners
  24. Seat Belt Pillow
  25. Superhero Apron (because every mom of boys needs one or several of these!)
  26. Pot Holders
  27. Floor Pillows
  28. 4 pillow floor bed for boys
  29. Headbands
  30. Wine Bottle Case
  31. Bags
  32. Maxi Dress
  33. Skirts
  34. Shirts

Injuries Happen

I had super big plans for my weekend. Time with friends with no children, a few fun easy knitting projects, a trip to the library to find some books about sewing, and of course, time to play with the boys and in the garden. Well, none of those things got accomplished. And I’m a post behind.

First, the weather screwed up my plans for the weekend. So instead of tubing and grilling out, we were mulling over what to do next and took too long and lost our sitter. It happens. Then an old wrist injury started acting up. A lot. To the point that I couldn’t flip the pancakes Saturday morning. I ended up at urgent care and now this morning have an appointment with the orthopedic doctor. My fingers are moveable and don’t bother me. My wrist kills me any time I rotate it. There is a large bump on the inside of my wrist that my other hand does not have. I’d be shocked if it were broken, but my thinking is probably tendonitis or something to that extent. In turn, I have a ginormous, uncomfortable splint on.

Due to the splint, I cannot work in the garden, knit, or do a whole lot of fun stuff with the boys. I forgot to mention, splint is on the right hand, and I am right handed. My left hand does next to nothing. I’m hoping the ortho can figure out what’s going on quickly today and help me get back normal soon. I have an itch to be crafty and have some other fun things for the  boys to do, but I need two hands to put them together.

Wish me luck!

Breakfast Love

Pancakes on the griddle, the stickiness of maple syrup on the boys and the table, the smell of bacon hanging in the air is a pretty typical thing for our house on weekend mornings and many weeknights during a month as well.

The boys love everything about pancakes and the fluffier, the better. I feel very lucky that my boys are happy with just plain pancakes, nothing fancy is necessary. Sometimes, we’ll break out our zoo animal mold. Butter, real maple syrup, fresh fruit are always available for toppings, but many times, the boys just eat them plain. We’ve started using pancakes as bread for sandwiches and placing bacon, cream cheese & fruit or jam in the middle. Pancakes are a great snack to just have in the fridge as the boys will pull them out and eat them cold with nothing as well.

However, my boys love pancakes so much that I was pretty sure that buying Bisquick would break my budget in the future. And, then there’s that whole thing of not liking to buy boxed goods and the pancakes just never taste fantastic. A little over a year ago, I had found this Fluffy Pancake Recipe from allrecipes.com. It’s become a staple in our house. In a few extra minutes, we can have fluffy, delicious, homemade pancakes without all the junk in them.

The recipe is always doubled in my house. Always. There is no way around it. The boys will generally eat 3-4 adult size pancakes on their own. And I’ll remind you that they are three and five. As teenagers, I’m going to have to multiply my recipe by five! I always tell my husband it’s a good thing that I’d rather have an egg since there are never pancakes left for me.

Last night for dinner, the boys requested breakfast. It’s so easy and inexpensive and I know they’ll eat well then. I had finished up the last of the all-purpose white flour in my cabinet last week and was nervous about making the pancakes with whole wheat flour for the first time. I thought for sure the boys wouldn’t eat them and think they were gross. As I was flipping pancakes though, I remembered that they polished off a loaf of 12 grain bread last week on their own and loved it. With a stack of pancakes and a small amount of syrup on the side of the plates, I called the boys to dinner. I was already contemplating what I could whip up next if they refused to eat. I’m not sure what I was worried about! They devoured the batch of pancakes that I had made for them, told me they were delicious and never made a mention that they didn’t taste like normal. Phew! I’m sold on the wheat flour and introducing it to more foods for the boys. Next step….get a waffle iron.

Sheer Giggles

Our day started with something off of our summer bucket list…..going out to eat for breakfast, specifically donut breakfast. We headed over to Palenque Coffee House (Doomsday Donuts). I let the boys order their own milk and they picked out their own specialty donuts from the case. Charlie has his daddy’s taste in sweets and went for the peanut butter cup donut, I had the strawberry shortcake donut and Adam surprised us, and even the lady at the counter. Adam ordered the tiniest donut they had, a blueberry lemon cake donut with white frosting.

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After our extremely nutritious, and “tasty and delicious” (per Sir Adam), we headed to K-Mart to stock up on some random goods for different activities for the rest of the summer. Our cart was stocked with pool noodles, a hula hoop, shaving cream, a plastic shower curtain liner, balloons,  shower caps, army men, solo cups, paper plates, and a few other odds and ends. The boys were not happy with me that we weren’t going home after this to see what I had planned. Instead I made Charlie go to swimming lessons, to take care of the garden, and a quick stop at the grocery store.

By the time we got home, the anticipation had grown. They were antsy and wanted to know what we were going to do. I turned them loose outside and they built a construction site, begging the entire time to know what I had planned. I grabbed the plastic shower liner, the sunscreen, and a bottle of shaving cream. Thank you Pinterest for making me the cool mom! Next time, I will find something to stake this down with. I’d also find a larger liner or piece of plastic and add a second can of shaving cream right away, but I digress.

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I told the boys to strip to their undies and they were in complete and utter shock. They couldn’t seem to fathom that I was actually telling them it was okay to be in their skivvies outside. Once they finally got past the giggles of me saying undies (it’s a forbidden word in our house), they had to me sunscreen them up. Now the whole time, they are staring at the plastic and questioning me. Finally, I set them free. They took running starts and the mass amounts of giggles started. For a little over an hour, and a cost of $4, they were occupied and having a blast. I have great video of them that I need to try and post later.

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The boys have asked when they get to do that again and refused to stop talking about it to their dad and grandpa last night. Shaving cream slide will definitely be happening again.

 

 

 

Entertaining the Masses….otherwise known as Keeping Two Boys Occupied

This is the weirdest summer ever for my family.

  • Both boys are very active and mobile this year.
  • Adam’s taking less naps.
  • I’m working two full days a week consistently.
  • Charlie has swimming lessons every weekday since mid-June.
  • Steve’s working Fridays and tons of overtime.
  • My house is a mess.
  • My kicker though…..the boys need some guidance in their play.

My kicker with the boys needing some guidance has thrown me for a loop. Charlie has always been fantastic at playing on his own. He has a great imagination and can pretend with anything. Last summer, just having the kids swimming pool and the sandbox filled with toys outside was enough. Charlie could entertain himself all day, in turn keeping Adam entertained for a large chunk of the time. Adam will play by himself, but he doesn’t have the same stamina as Charlie.

Adam, last summer

Adam, last summer

This summer, I’ve gotten the “I’m bored” and “Mom, watch this”, “NO, not like that.” Neither of the boys seems to be able to play for longer than 30 minutes without one of these phrases coming out. I do adore watching my kids, don’t get me wrong, but the incessant “watch this” before they do anything gets old for me. I’m not one to praise my children because they spun in a circle.

Others I know have schedules for their children with specific times for things. I thought about it. And decided against it. I like the freedom of summer.

Needless to say, I had to figure something out. Thankfully, Pinterest is in my life. I started picking out simple activities that could be thrown together in a matter of minutes by myself that might occupy the boys. First up, during a rainy day, I used painter’s tape and turned my living room floor and furniture into a racetrack for Hot Wheels (See my inspiration here). They do love this, but only for awhile. I’m pretty sure it takes me longer to create than anything else, BUT they didn’t fight for about 30 minutes.

Next up, sidewalk paint. Both boys enjoy playing with sidewalk chalk, so I figured sidewalk paint would be something different that they would still enjoy. Using this blog to guide me, I created my sidewalk paint.

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The boys were occupied for again, about 30 minutes. They loved the painting piece of this. They were frustrated that when they painted the sidewalk, it looked like water until it dried. The color then appeared. Would we do it again? Yes, yes we would. After they got just drawing lines out of their systems, Charlie started teaching Adam how to write the alphabet. Super cute if you ask me. Steve’s reactions to our sidewalk paint, that does wash off with water, was to tell us that it looked like a unicorn died in our driveway.

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Yesterday, the boys wanted to be inside so badly it was ridiculous. Unfortunately for them, they have Steve and I as parents who fully believe that you can play outside instead of watching t.v. during the beautiful weather. They played tag, did some swimming, made a construction site and built some towers in the sand, played basketball and had a water gun fight. And then they were out of ideas. They really wanted to play with the water guns, but couldn’t find anything productive to be doing with them, other than torturing each other. So, we dragged out a table and I gave them first five Solo cups and lined them up along the back of the table. I created a line for them not to cross with our orange tunnel. Once they figured out which squirt guns worked the best, they were sold on this activity. They were stacking the cups into towers, asked for more cups, added little army men to the towers and pretending that the mountains they were climbing were collapsing (not actually shooting the army men!). 45 minutes later and they were tired! So worth it and I will be doing this one again!

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The boys have been enthralled with a having purpose to their play for a short time. Specifically, Charlie. I feel like it must be that school age thing where he’s been so used to working in stations this past year, that he’s finding it hard to free think. So, it’s off to the Dollar Store today to see what else we can find to entertain the masses, otherwise known as keeping a 5 and a 3 year old boy occupied.

It Smells Like Love

Yesterday, our house was filled with the overwhelming, amazing smell of baking apples, cinnamon and brown sugar. It wafted throughout our house and into our backyard. It was a reminder with the rainy weather that fall will soon be here.

Steve and I are pretty lucky, okay, extremely lucky, that we have family, friends,and neighbors who care about us. We received a call on Saturday morning that Steve’s dad’s neighbor, Don, had an early variety of apples for us. We stopped out there later that day and were handed a full bushel of tiny, tart, green apples. Don also let us know that we had another bushel if we wanted it. We decided one bushel should be plenty as Don had stated that these early variety apples were basically only good for applesauce.

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Being that I’ve never made my own applesauce, but love my grandma’s homemade applesauce, I figured I’d call her to see what she did. Yes, I have tons of applesauce recipes in a gazillion cookbooks that litter my house. However, my grandma makes a great applesauce, so why wouldn’t I use a recipe I already know that we all love?

Grandma and Don both suggested to me to just quarter the apples and cook them like that. Being that the apples were so tiny, it would have taken forever to peel, core & cut the apples. Don suggested baking the apples and my grandma suggested throwing them in a pot with just a little water. So, I decided that I’d do it both ways and see which way I preferred. If I had been smart, I would have thrown some in the crockpot to cook as well.I did set up my apple peeler, but it just broke my apples. Sad.

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I have to say, Don’s baking strategy was better for me. My house smelled amazing, clean up was easy, and the apples were much easier to push through the strainer. Now, to Grandma’s credit, I think I put too much water in my pot with the apples and didn’t let them cook long enough. These were a bit harder to push through the strainer and after the batch of those I was ready to never make applesauce again. Luckily, Don’s baked apples just fell through the strainer.

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Baked apples waiting to be put in the oven and canning jars being sterlized

After baking the apples and pushing them through the strainer, you have applesauce. Unsweetened, natural applesauce. It’s not a lot of work on your part, just time consuming as it really is quite a lengthy process to bake the apples so they fall through the strainer (about 40 minutes or so). I would have left my applesauce like this, but because of the tartness of the apples, I knew that the boys would never eat such a tart sauce on it’s own. Don suggested throwing the candy cinnamon red hots into the sauce to turn it a pink color and flavor it before freezing. Steve thought this was an ingenious idea. I thought it was disgusting. I didn’t want to wreck my natural applesauce by putting a processed candy in it. Grandma always flavors her with cinnamon and a bit of brown sugar. Since I adore Grandma’s sauce, that’s the way I went. Lots of cinnamon, a little bit of lemon juice, and about a quarter cup of brown sugar for five quarts of applesauce. I know, I know. I should have used agave nectar or maple syrup. But to be honest, with it being the first applesauce, I wanted to make it right once before messing with it. And, the little bit of sugar I used won’t hurt any of us.

My strainer set up

My strainer set up

After mixing my spices in, I ladled the warm, deliciousness into my quart-size canning jars. I processed them in a boiling hot water bath for about 30 minutes. Longer than I needed to, but I’m pretty sure I have air in a few of the jars and was hoping to kill the bacteria. We’ll see.

I did two batches of applesauce due to the constraints of size of bowls, room in the canning bath, and my oven space. I ended up with nine quarts of applesauce and one pint that I threw in the refrigerator.

During this whole process, okay at least the cutting and baking part, Steve had taken the boys to run an errand for us (actually to pick up a new ceiling fan for our bedroom since ours died and you’ll understand the importance of this if you read this post). When the boys returned, my second batch of apples were still baking and Charlie walked into the kitchen and told me that the whole house “smelled like love.” Nothing makes me smile more than when the boys appreciate the work I put into making their food and are genuine about it.

9 jars of delicious

9 jars of delicious

Garden Fresh

A whole lot of deliciousness came out of my garden yesterday. Apparently, this heat wave we’ve been having is helping to make an amazing harvest. Yes, that is an entire bushel basket of a variety of lettuce. I never thought I’d be tired of seeing it. It’s been this way for a month now. At least it’s forcing me to eat a salad every day.

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This is the rest of my garden harvest from yesterday. Just a zucchini, some broccoli, cabbage, a few carrots, a pile of beans, parsley, basil, a purple kohlrabi, and a few cucumbers. Yum! Charlie has decided that he likes to try stuff right out of the garden and has decided his new favorite snack is cucumbers and carrots.

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Now, I had to figured out what I was going to do with really my first real harvest of the season. We had taken steaks out for dinner so I decided that Pinterest was going to help me out on the rest. I had to take into consideration that I already had in the fridge: zucchini, cabbage, lettuce, beans, broccoli, and basil.

What we ended up with for dinner:

  • Grilled Rib Steaks (from the local fair cow we purchase every August)
  • Parmesan Green Beans (sauteed in Smoky Bacon Oil from Wildtree, with Garlic Galore seasonsing from Wildtree and fresh grated Parmesan Cheese)
  • Buttered Zucchini Noodles (I used a vegetable peeler on my zucchini to make the noodles, sauteed them in evoo for a few minutes and then added butter, a little lemon juice and small garlic)
  • Grilled Cabbage
  • Sauteed Mushrooms
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Peaches with vanilla ice cream for dessert

So delicious! The only thing missing was some homemade, grilled artisan bread. But, I totally spaced that I didn’t have any left. Grilled bread is one of our favorite sides ever. Next step is figuring out the next few days to make sure we use everything up or I need to start canning and freezing.