Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I admit, I have been an ungrateful grump lately.  I've had one of those lingering bad moods off and on this past month.  My house is too small.  My kids are acting up (again).  I need more sleep.  Why can't I just lose those last 5 (or 10) pounds?  How am I ever going to finish all my projects before Christmas?

Then, Thanksgiving came. 

We started at my parents' home to cook and prepare for our feast.  I love being in the kitchen with all of those wonderful smells.  We piled the platters and bowls and people into cars and drove to meet up with our in-town family.

We celebrated at my Uncle Sterling and Aunt Paula's home on their big back patio.  We feasted on smoked turkey, cranberry relish, butterhorns, crunchy stuffing, veggies, and piles of mashed potatoes.  As the weather chilled, we filed inside for helpings of pie (pumpkin, pecan, coconut cream and chocolate) and chocolate chip cookies.  We played cards and chatted and had a wonderful day together.

As I sat down to eat all the wonderful food prepared by loving hands, surrounded by my family, on a beautiful day, I realized that I have a full plate of blessings.  I really felt full (and not just from the turkey and rolls and stuffing...).  I have all that I need and more.  Three darling children, a handsome, hard working husband, family that loves me, my faith, my health, the Savior, a free country, and so much more.

I am so grateful to have finally felt thank-full again.  I needed that.  My life is so much better when I count my blessings. 

A little inspiration here.

My goal for the Christmas season?  Keep feeling full through the holidays and to enjoy the moments that make life so beautiful.

Because life really is beautiful.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Give That Turkey a Hand!

... Or maybe give that hand a turkey...

I wanted to share this super simple and cute Thanksgiving craft that came home with Mr. One yesterday from school.

You will need:

paper plate
hole punch
construction paper scraps

First, paint the paper plate yellow.  Let dry completely.

Second, paint hand to make the turkey body and feathers:  brown on palm and thumb, colors on other fingers.  Press hand onto yellow plate and let dry completely.

Decorate edge of plate with construction paper scraps, cut into squares. 

Use crayons to add turkey features (legs, eye, beak, wattle).

Punch hole in top and add a loop of yarn to hang.

Gobble, gobble!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Super Boys

Mr. One and Mr. Two love their superhero capes.  I have to say, this is one of the best handmade gifts I have made to date. 

On Sunday, the boys were Saving the World.  Mr. Three wanted to join in the fun, now that he is mobile. 

Alas, I have not made a superhero cape for Mr. Three.  What's a Damsel in Distress to do?

Enter Mr. One, to Save the Day, using his Superhero Powers to transform an ordinary bib into a superhero cape.

Disaster averted.  Thanks Superheroes!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Veteran's Day

Our Veteran's Day turned out to be a perfect mini vacation for our family.

We began the morning with breakfast and PBS Kids on TV.  Then, we did a few fun Thanksgiving crafts together.

First, was making some indian corn.

Here's what you will need:

1/3 yellow pipe cleaner
fall colored tri beads (yellow, orange, red, brown, tan, even light blue looks nice mixed in)
small piece of raffia

Thread one bead onto the pipe cleaner and twist end around it to secure.  Thread other beads on in a random fashion until you have about 1/2 an inch of pipe cleaner exposed.  Tie a piece of raffia on the exposed end and twist the pipe cleaner over the knot to secure.

A funny little note on this project:  After I tied the raffia on the indian corn, Mr. Two didn't like it.  He kept pulling on the top and eventually pulled the raffia completely off and bent the end down, forming a crook with his beads.  I asked him why he did that.  He responded, "I didn't like that hair on it, so I pulled it off.  Now it's a candy cane."

Next activity, playdoh turkeys.

I gave my boys some tan playdoh and had them copy my simple directions to make a turkey body (well, Mr. One copied, Mr. Two used my bird). Then I gave them a handful of feathers to make the turkey's tail. 

They loved the feathers, and after adorning their birds, proceeded to make new creations with the dough and feathers.  This is an activity I will certainly pull out again.

For lunch, we picked up a drink at Sonic (Limeade chiller with coconut add in is delicious!) for everyone.  We grabbed Daddy from work and had a picnic lunch at the park.  The weather was perfect and the boys had fun running the hills and watching the ducks. 

The only thing we didn't do was ride the little train that goes around the park (cost, time, and the fact that the kids were happy running around the park were all factors).  Maybe next time.

All in all, it was a wonderful day together.  And together is always the best place to be.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hello, Breakfast!

Hello, Breakfast!  My favorite meal just got better with these babies.  Pretty Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns are here.  Try some, you'll be happy you did.

This recipe is Mr.'s One, Two and Three approved.  Added bonus, you'll have snuck some veggies into your kiddos with no complaining.  Score!

p.s.-- I doubled the icing recipe, because you just can't have too much frosting.  No wonder my jeans don't fit...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Halloween Happenings

This year, I decided to make Mr. One and Mr. Two's Halloween costumes from scratch.  I bravely made my own patterns with what I had in their closets to make a bat/dragon (After choosing to be a black bat and having his costume finished, he decided he wanted to be Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon.  Luckily Toothless looks a lot like a black bat...) costume and a ghost costume.  Mr. Three wore Mr. One's baby spider costume from his first Halloween.  (Gotta love hand-me-downs!)  I have to say, this was challenging, but I am so happy with the end results.

I finished both costumes a few weeks before Halloween, which was good for several reasons.  First, they were able to have fun wearing them for weeks instead of just one day.  Second, I quickly became involved in several projects by the end of October that took up a lot of time.  It was a blessing to have them done and not have to be up all night sewing.

We went to my parents' neighborhood carnival Wednesday night before Halloween with the boys.  Poor Mike was really sick with strep throat, so he couldn't come (sniff!!)  It was fun to be there with my parents and sisters for the evening.  Mr. One found the inflatable bouncy rooms and the fish pond with prizes and was a happy camper.  Mr. Two discovered the joys of cotton candy and was happy as well.  Mr. Three was just glad to be held all night.

Saturday night we had our church Halloween carnival and trunk or treat.  This is how Mr. One enjoyed the evening.


This is how Mr. Two and Mr. Three enjoyed the evening.  They slept through the whole carnival!  Mr. One promised to share his treats and prizes with his brother, so all was good.

On Halloween night, we ate dinner with my mom's side of the family.  We let the boys dress up, but we didn't trick or treat.  It was nice to spend time eating and chatting with family.  It was a perfect night outside, so we ate out on the porch and let the boys run around in the grass. 

My aunt loves Halloween, so her decor didn't disappoint.  It was fun for the boys to look at all her decorations and we tried to snap a few cute pics of them together.

This is the only pic we got of the three of them that turned out.  Luckily, it's a pretty darn cute one!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

On Whales and Water Fountains

(Birch Aquarium 2008)

On our way to school, we pass a large water fountain at the corner of a shopping center.  My kids love to shout "Water fountain!" and point it out every. single. day.
For the past week or so, the water has been drained and the fountain wall is being resurfaced.
Let me just say, it is a bit disappointing, especially to Mr. Two, who wants to know just who is responsible for this.
As we were driving home, this was the conversation in the car:

Mr. One:  "Mom, I bet they got the whales out of there."
Me:  "What, where are whales?"
Mr. One:  "The whales.  You know, like Shamu whales?  In the fountain."
Me:  "How do you know there are whales in the fountain?"
Mr. One:  "Well, I don't know, but I think there used to be whales in there."
Me:  "Why do you think there were whales in there?"
Mr. One:  "Because of the water squirting up in the fountain. (like blowholes)"
Me:  (smiling and trying really hard not to laugh) "I think that's a very interesting observation.  Whales do squirt water out of their blowholes like that."

Lesson learned:  Turning off the radio, talking and listening to your children provides some priceless insights.

Argyle Baby Bib

This is a twist on Ashley's repurposed tee into a baby bib on Make it and Love it.  Her version was adorable, but girly.  I wanted something fun for my little man, so I decided to make an argyle bib.  You can follow the original tutorial for how to put the bib together here.  One little note:  Before sewing the bib pieces together, I ironed on a square of interfacing where the snaps would go.  This reinforced the bib.

Now, I'll explain how to get the argyle print on your bib.

You will cut one extra bib piece and pin it underneath the front piece (this is the striped fabric on my bib).

Next, I made a diamond template on a piece of paper with my ruler.  I traced one diamond onto the center of the bib front with a disappearing ink pen.  I then used a ruler to draw a straight vertical line across the bib, through the middle points of my diamond.  This helped me to trace the two side diamonds straight.

I took my front pieces and sewed where I had drawn my diamonds.  Then, I cut away the top material only to expose the stripes.

Next, I placed my diamond template with the side point of the diamond in the center of my center diamond and pinned in place.  Using my ruler, I lined up the diamond edges and traced and extended line onto my bib along all four edges.

Repeat on other side of bib.

Lastly, I sewed along all of my drawn lines (except the vertical line I drew earlier to line up the diamonds).

Instead of using a backstitch, I pulled my threads through to the back of the bib front and tied the ends together in a tight knot.  This made the stitches look more finished.

And there you have a fun argyle print on your little man's bib!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pumpkin Decorating

Decorating pumpkins is a must-do annual Halloween activity.

Mike's favorite pumpkins come from the pumpkin patch, large and heavy and full of their own character, ready for carving. The boys dig in, literally. I am happy to sit and watch. No thank you to touching the pumpkin guts!

Here's this year's jack-o-lantern creations.

Legos are a favorite toy here, so it was only natural to make a Lego pumpkin.

This one was nicknamed "Skeleton Pumpkin" by our boys.

My favorite pumpkin decorating involves cream cheese frosting, and pumpkin smells wafting from the oven. Find the recipe here.

The boys were eager to help with the decorating.

Then, they lost interest and Mike joined the decorating fun as well.

Of course, everyone was willing to join in the eating.

Pumpkins will always be an integral part of our Halloween, whether carved or eaten. We love them both.