Friday, January 13, 2012

baby it's cold outside

i feel like i've been saying this waaaaay too much lately. and there really are some days when we just suck it up, bundle it up, and take our tooshies outside.

but when it's 44 degrees... and the wind is blowing 25-30mph... AND a cold front is bringing its rude self on up into our 'hood, i have to draw the line.  and break out some crafts.

Pinterest really has changed our lives.  well, my life.  some of it.  i might be exaggerating, but i don't think so??  if you are hooked on Pinterest, you might agree.  and i learned that it's not just for grownups.

ladybug looooves craft projects, so we did a search on Pinterest for winter snowman crafts, and here's what we came up with----

i just let her pick a few of her faves, added them to a board for winter crafts, and then we got started.  she is much more interested in projects if she gets to decide some of the details.

here's the finished product!   great job, ladybug!!

i didn't grab the camera during the very beginning, but i had her pick out small, medium and large lids from a random stash i created.  she glued them to the paper, and then glued cotton balls on top of the lids.  the lids really just served as a template for her, and was also an extra little lesson in comparing and ordering sizes.

i used the magnet board to draw a guide.

we used black buttons for the buttons... 
she went with a more non-traditional placement of those.  
what can i say? she's a free thinker.
and i cut a blue hair tie to make the scarf.  the ends raveled nicely for a fringe effect!  
(totally accidental though.) 

googly eyes and orange pipe cleaner nose...

 hat from fabric scraps...                          finishing up the scarf....

sticks for the arms...

 adding a few embellishments to polish it off...

and here's one happy snowman, if i don't say so myself!!  
who wouldn't want this little guy in their frontyard??

happy winter crafting!!!

 more to come!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

just DO it. in the kitchen.

i don't know about you, but without some planning, the hour or so leading up to dinnertime is MADNESS at our house.  i always try to have a well-rounded meal for us, being mindful of the food groups, portion sizes (yeah right), not using too much butter/cream, yada, yada, yada.  but i get stuck in a rut.  know what i mean?

i've also had some really successful streaks with meal planning.  it definitely helps with grocery shopping, and i don't procrastinate with getting started  because i the decision has already been made.  even when i've planned meals in the past though, i haven't typically used recipes.

like most things in life, when i get off track and fail to plan everything out, i get stressed every.  without fail.  and this mama can't handle ordering pizza more than about once a month. tops.

and y'all, my family eats EARLY.  it's like the K&W up in here.  that's how we roll.

so i have to get started around 4pm sometimes.

order subscription here
i have been getting All You magazine for the last year, and it has lots of great budget-friendly recipes that i am always wanting to try....

my reason for not getting started was that it would take so long to figure out what i already have versus what i needed, and then finding time to shop for ingredients that take 10 times longer to find because i don't usually buy that stuff anyway....

so i finally just did it.  i pulled a bunch of magazine recipes out and got everything from the store for 5 days of dinner. (let me also confess that i used Harris Teeter's Express Lane service, which is where you place your order online and someone there shops for you.  you just pay $4.95 for the service, and all you do is pull up curbside. they come out, take your payment, and load your groceries in the car for you.  seriously.  the best $4.95 you'll ever spend.)

we are on night 3 and i can tell you that my family is oh-so-thankful for some new flavors up in here. i was curious about whether some of the dishes would be too "mature" for a 3-year-old's pallate, however, she has been quite complimentary, with an good appetite to go right along.

this was on the menu tonight:

Stir-Fried Pork, Snow Peas, and Rice Noodles
click here for recipe

carey said it was one of his faves, and ladybug wasn't too contrary either.

i figured out that a good time to get ingredients ready is while ladybug is eating lunch. i can inhale my sandwich standing up while doing all the measuring and chopping.

in the last couple days i've learned a couple VERY valuable lessons for prepping, especially when you're following a recipe that you don't know by heart.  i'll share all those tips in just a moment....

behold.... my prep station.

so here are the tips, some of which are obvious from the pics above:

  1. learn how to sharpen your knives.  great video here.  and at the risk of sounding like your mama,  be careful.
  2. prep in advance if you can.  when the pressure is on and kids are getting hungry, it is tough for me to efficiently concentrate and measure and keep on looking back at 6-point font on a dern recipe. lunchtime works for me because i can eat and prep while ladybug is eating her lunch.
  3. repurpose those baby food containers if you have them.  the pics above show them with prep from today with all the "1 tsp of this" and "3 tbs of that".    
  4. use a basket. (this concept applies in almost every room of our house.) after grocery shopping, i group ingredients for that week together in the pantry prior to prepping so that everyone knows not to touch them.  when prep for each day is done, i put them back in another basket until it's time to cook dinner.  pull out the basket and just combine your ingredients. no chopping, no measuring. it's glorious.
  5. don't be afraid to substitute. this is helpful for your budget too.  tonight i used beef instead of pork, and ground dried ginger instead of fresh. last night i used balsamic vinaigrette dressing instead of balsamic vinegar.  no big deal. just make note of how it worked for the next time you use the recipe.
  6. make notes. write down on the recipe what substitutions you made, what you would change next time, etc.  ask your family if the recipe should go to the "repeat" or the "retire" file.
  7. just do it. just decide.  start somewhere.  pick 5 recipes from your favorite magazine. or pinterest. or your friend's cooking blog.  it doesn't have to be perfect!  and if all else fails.... order pizza!  or make one! :O)    

you can probably guess that the pink basket has the stuff from tonight, but here's another free tip - the blue basket is home for all the sandwich stuff except bread.  i couldn't stand pulling 50 things out of the fridge to make a sandwich.  

rule #4. use a basket.  
life is good!

what are your favorite kitchen tips that make life easier at mealitime??  i am always looking for suggestions on minimizing the chaos...  come on - give it to me!

more to come!!

Is Christmas really over??

for the most part, everything is back to non-Christmas normal around here.  but i must admit that looking back at the pictures makes me miss it already.  

it was so nice to get up early in the mornings while everything was quiet and dark, plug in the Christmas tree lights, and snuggle up with my Bible and a delicious cup of coffee beside my husband in all of his morning handsome-ness.

carey enjoys all things hunting and military, so when i was shopping for gifts and found some camoflauge fleece at Jo-Ann Fabric, i visualized a handmade present for my manly hunk-o-burnin' love.

i will add the tutorial later  (hopefully sooner, but truthfully, it will probably be later), but for now,  here's a peek at him modeling the finished product.   

and here he's showing off his new Carrhart work pants.
oooooh - i was drooling over him in these britches!!!
(except for that funny expression he's making right there??)

here's some Christmas morning smiles from daddy and little goosey girl!

i sure do miss the days of her gummy baby smiles... they didn't last long tho. she had her bottom teeth at 4 months.  and now she has 2 more on top!

this was one of ladybug's favorite gifts - it's a princess mirror by Melissa & Doug.  super-cute.  it came with glitter paint pens, flat stickers, and sparkly gem stickers.  she decorated it for hours. and then went back to it again. 
and again. 
and again.  
thanks Aunt Rosie!!!

here's a fun pic from a little post-lunch bathtime... 
if you look closely you can see teething biscuit mush dried all over her face. 
and i could have just kissed it all off!!!

goosey was telling daddy a very important story.  
yep. she's talking with her hands already.  
such a girl from the start!!! 

ladybug just can't stay out of the goosey's car seat ever since i added the slipcover to it.  
it's her recliner during tv time.  
and who can blame her?? 
have ya felt some chenille lately??

i was surprised to find this pic on the camera because, let's face it, i'm usually the one with the camera.
it might not our best shot if i was going for, say, our Christmas card, but i love having a rare pic of me and my precious little girls.  
(crazed looks aside, i can still find sweetness in my ladybug here.  i'm her mama. it's what i do.) 

my goal is to get a few craft posts up soon too - i just have to get the pics on the other computer and DO IT!

i hope that you have totally made it through the unfortunate madness that comes with the holidays, and had some free moments to recall God's goodness in the lives of you and your family as you reflect on 2011.  we are excited about 2012, and seeing how He continues to be faithful in providing for us and growing us into the family He desires for us to be.

Happy New Year!
more to come!

Monday, December 26, 2011

happy birthday Jesus!

i hope you and your family had a Merry Christmas!

we had a fun time but also had the pleasure of caring for two sick kids on Christmas day.  pitiful, right? yes, especially when your 3 year old would rather stay curled up on the recliner in another room instead of open her presents with all the cousins... :O((  are you feeling sorry for us yet?

well a few days before we were stricken with the funk, we had some fun in the kitchen! to keep the focus of Christmas on Jesus's birthday, one of the traditions we've instituted is to make a birthday cake for Jesus!  

this year we went with cupcakes because i found these super-cute cupcake liners and decorative things at the dollar store. 

(i love LOVE me some dollar store).

here are some of the highlights....  

spatula - check!

smiles - check!

double check those liners...

add ingredients to the kitchenaide...

for being barely 3 years old, her fine motor skills are amazing!

sometimes ya just gotta stir it up!

of course the oven mit is strictly for fun and she is not allowed to even be in the kitchen when we open the oven!

btw - look how those lovely cupcakes are rising!

after a minor wardrobe change and time for the cupcakes to cool...
frost those babies!

this is probably a bit anti-climactic, but i don't have a picture of the finished cupcakes!  i forgot to take of picture of them.  i know... lame!  they were really pretty though.

i have to give a shout out to my friend candy, who make ladybug's apron, and also made a matching one for me last year for Christmas.  so beautiful!!

for fun, here's a look back at a couple pics from last year's baking extravaganza...  
ladybug has grown so much!

more to come!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

cute Christmas shirts!

i knew i wanted the girls to have something cute and festive to wear for Christmas, and our church doesn't really do the "dress up" thing, so in an attempt to adorn them with some precious-little-girl-DIY-holiday-casual attire...  

i decided to make these little tops!

i seriously took a RIDICULOUS amount of pictures as i was making these, and would love to write a tutorial for them, but really....  i would need a few hours.  and that's something i just don't have right now.  i'm sure you can relate.  

so.... a peek at the highlights will just have to do!

let the cuteness begin!! 

more to come!