Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I already showed you the little octopus I made for Layla's stocking, but I also managed to finish Natalie's fish before Christmas too! She turned out really cute. Both of these are from this great book, if you missed that before :)

Since I like that little book so much, Casey got me this one for Christmas!! I was very excited and can't wait to make something from it. The birdie mobile, the hot air balloon and the tea set are really calling my name :)

But first, before our drive down to see Casey's family over Christmas, I was able to print off the instructions for this lovely heart garland. I wanted to get started so we can hang it up in February. The girls really like these little hearts because....well, because they're girls. I have two more to make and then I'll block them so they'll stay flat and then show you the finished product closer to Valentines day.

Also, I went to JoAnn today to hit their big yarn sale. I don't buy yarn very often because with the little things I've been making it tends to last awhile. But, I did recently go through the tubs of yarn I had downstairs and get rid of almost all of it because it was the yucky, cheap, scratchy stuff from about five years ago. Really that was all you could get cheap back then it seems, but yarn has really stepped up in recent years and given us great, inexpensive, SOFT yarn to choose from :) Anyway...I found this pattern on Ravelry last night (great site, it's free to become a member and worth the short wait) and really want to try it. So, instead of buying the recommended Rowan Big Wool, I went with this super soft and much less expensive Sensations bulky yarn. Hopefully it will go well and I'll be able to show you soon ;)

I hope this post may have inspired someone to learn to crochet!! It's much faster and less intimidating than knitting in my opinion, plus takes less yarn, plus is easier to fix your boo-boos :) It's easy to learn and easy to teach and once you know a few basic things, you will be off and running, I promise! Plus, it keeps you busy while your husband watches Dirty Jobs and the like ;) If you need some more inspiration, check out these links...
  1. Ravelry--a knit and crochet community
  2. Attic 24
  3. Emma Lamb
There ya go, crochet away!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Well, we certainly had a Merry Christmas here (I hope all of you did too!) but I must say, it's always a slight relief when it's over ;) The traffic and store crowds are back to normal and there is just generally less for me to think about when all the gifts and cards have been bought and mailed and given. We put our Christmas things away yesterday, since we are having a b-day party here for Layla on Saturday. And then, of course, there's New Year's Eve. One celebration at a time, please!

This is just a cool picture of the kids watching Casey shovel snow on Thursday. And below, all the grand kids on Casey's side on Christmas day.

And here's a silly shot of my three.

Now that Christmas is over, I can share some gifts I made that I wasn't able to show you before Christmas! Hopefully I can get on that tomorrow :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

a winner!

As you may know by now ;) I've been experimenting with sugarless recipes for the past several months and have found baking to be the hardest to conquer. BUT, today I tried this muffin recipe from one of my favorite books, Sweet and Sugarfree and they turned out really tasty. Actually, I don't think I would have known these didn't have sugar in them if I hadn't made them myself! The jelly in the middle really infuses throughout the muffin during baking, so if the dough tastes bland when you lick the spatula, don't worry :) The girls loved these, especially the "surprise" part and I had all the ingredients on hand! That's my kind of recipe. Without further ado....

Peanut Butter Surprise Muffins

1 ripe mashed banana
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 large eggs
1/3 cups vegetable oil (I use canola)
1 cup milk
2 cups unbleached white flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup chopped peanuts (don't leave these out, they provide really yummy texture :)

Filling: Jam, Fruit Butter, or Spread (use store-bought or use a homemade fruit puree)

Beat together in a medium-sized bowl mashed banana, peanut butter, and eggs until well blended and creamy. Add oil and milk and beat. Measure in flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Beat. Stir in chopped peanuts. Oil and flour muffin tins. Fill each 1/3 full of batter. Spoon 1/2 tsp of jam or other filling into the center of each muffin and top with additional batter, filling wells 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until browned. Cool. Serves 12.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

i'm on a roll

I went to Archiver's last night and got three more pages done! AND before that I got 200 pictures printed, because that's what I'm actually behind on. I was supposed to go with my friend Angela, but she got sick :( and since I really was ready for a night off, I decided to go anyway. I'm glad I did. The conversation was not as good, but I did seem to get more done. Hmmmm ;)

And, working backwards yesterday, Casey's mom is here with us for a few days and let the girls help her make cookies (if you can call what they do helping.) This was a special and rare treat for them because, as you know, we don't eat much refined sugar around here! And today I'm remembering why, since the girls are rather whiny and Natalie woke up twice last night with bad dreams. But it was fun for a treat.

Kelby soooo wanted in on the action. After some pretzel crumbs spilled on the counter, he started sucking on the countertop. Silly guy.

The only logical thing to do after that was to have a tea party! This is the tea set my parents bought for us in China. This last summer it got a lot of use, as my mom taught us how to have proper tea parties. Everyone must be wearing a hat and someone must be the "Tea Mother", which was me this time.

Grandma is wearing a special hat that belonged to her grandmother and that I won in a silent auction one family reunion. Natalie chose to wear her mermaid skirt as her hat. Always the creative one.

Random use for fabric scraps #2: Keep the baby entertained :)

I hope I'll be blogging again before Christmas, but you never know! so just in case, I wish you all a VERY Merry Christmas and may your week be filled to the brim with celebration, family, laughter and Christ's love!

Monday, December 14, 2009

for Layla

Remember the owl I made from Tiny Yarn Animals?? Well, the girls perused that book several times over and they each picked an animal that I could make for them. Layla wanted a purple octopus, so I got to work to put it in her stocking. Next up is a pink and yellow fish for Natalie, which I started over on because I found a mistake in the instructions--eek! It will be worth it, though, these things are so fun to work on, while watching TV...when there's no laundry to fold, that is :)

AND, Layla's birthday is January 4th, soon after Christmas. I learned that first year to get her gift made or picked out before Christmas, or else she may get shafted a little bit ;) This year she really wanted a princess dress, so I hit the JoAnn clearance table while it was all an extra 1/2 off this last weekend (that's the only way I can afford this formal fabric!) and I scored these great purples for super cheap. The sash fabric is actually silk!!!

I found a Simplicity pattern (also on sale!) that doesn't have a zipper or closure. It's just elastic, but the belt gives it shape. The belt actually called for grommets, but I'm a smart mommy and didn't enjoy the thought of threading that ribbon through six grommets several times a day and determined that tying a bow would be much less irritating :) I think it's cute and I think she'll love it. We are going to have a dress-up party for her birthday, so boys and girls alike can come in their favorite dress-up clothes. I need ideas for a cake, though! I'm thinking some kind of Polly Pocket cake to go with the dress-up theme. Any ideas??

Friday, December 11, 2009

catching up

WOW, I'm a little bit behind :) I have lots to show you today. Lots of unrelated things, really, but that's okay. We have had some c-o-l-d days here in Colorado! I'm talking well below zero. See the frost on the window? That's on the INSIDE!!!

I could not let the girls play outside because it was just too cold, but that didn't stop them from getting their snow gear out. I love this picture of the girls.

Next off, gift wrap...I told you these things were unrelated. I LOVE Hobby Lobby's wrapping paper. It's $4 a roll when they put it 1/2 off, which it is now, and it is sturdy and thick and it has a convenient grid on the back and it lasts forever. I try to pick ones that are not necessarily Christmasy, so I can use them for all occasions throughout the year.

This is the super-cute tea towel my sister embroidered for me for my birthday! I always keep a tea towel next to my sink for drying dishes and this one is my new favorite. Isn't she good at embroidery? I should have taken a picture of the back too, because it's perfect, and that's the mark of a good embroiderer, right??

Casey was busy last Friday night, so after the kids were in bed, I got my scrapbooking stuff out. I need to get crackin' on the books for my youngest two, so I made this page for Layla's book. She took "chubby baby" to a whole new level, as you can see by that middle pic. Don't worry, she's totally average now :)

Last but not least, just in case you need yet another use for all those fabric scraps, my girls always have some good ideas :) They were entertained for several hours yesterday by my scraps, a cardboard box, their wooden blocks and their princesses. Very resourceful girls, I know :)

Hope your week was wonderful and your weekend is even better!!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009


I finished these boot ornaments finally!! Well, I had to mail some gifts, so they really needed to get done. Actually, picking out the buttons was the fun part, so I was able to finish them up pretty fast. I really love them all, I had a hard time picking out one for our own tree. I ended up with the one above. Actually, I had a different one picked out, but Natalie changed it when I wasn't looking :) I'm happy with her choice.

This was my big finish for the week. Well, the only finish I can share here until after Christmas. Hop over to Sew & Tell Fridays (yes, I know I'm a day late) to see what some other fine bloggers finished!

Friday, December 4, 2009

yay! finally :)

I made my sister a quilt for her birthday (which was yesterday.) I've had it all done for a month and was SO excited to give it to her. She called yesterday when the box arrived and so I got to be on the phone with her when she opened it. She really loved it and I'm sooo happy about that of course :) I'm also happy that I can finally blog about it! I gave a sneak peek here and another little one here on accident, but I don't think she noticed ;)

This pattern is called a "Snowball" quilt. I bought the bird fabric first, after Jana and I received the same the same JoAnn quilt flyer in the mail and she told me how much she liked it that fabric. Then I came across this design and thought it would really showcase the birds without having to chop them up. I bought all the other fabrics to coordinate with the birds.

I happened upon this backing fabric on clearance at JoAnn! I had already done a once-over and didn't see anything that would work, but then came across this fabric stuck someplace weird :) It was perfect, it has all the right colors!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

my star student

I started teaching my lovely friend Angela to sew a few things a couple of years ago. At the beginning of this past summer, she asked if I could help her make a quilt for her daughter's 16th b-day on December 1st and here is the result!!!! She did an awesome job, I am so proud :)

We used Oh, Fransson's instructions for her Mod Sampler quilt. The cutting instructions were really complicated for beginners, I thought, (only because I'm not a very organized quilter ;) so we sort of cut as we went and it worked out just fine. Don't you love the colors and fabrics she chose??

And of course, here's the back. Cool, eh???

Unrelated, but I love this pic of Kelby trying to put my lens cap back on, hehe.

Monday, November 30, 2009

broccoli soup and apple crisp

I am sooo excited about this new cookbook I got! My sister once bought me a year's subscription to Everyday Food magazine and I recently ordered it for another year, I love it so much. SO, when I had a 40% coupon at Barnes and Noble, I found this new cookbook, Great Food Fast, and it's one big compilation of recipes from the magazine, organized by season. AND, there is a picture of every single dish! which I love. I made two recipes from this book today and both were fabulous. Here's the one I made for lunch with some garlic bread:

Creamy Broccoli Soup
1 Tbl olive oil 1 medium onion, halved and sliced 1/8 tsp groudn nutmeg 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth 1/3 cup rolled oats 1.5 lbs. broccoli, stems cut off and florets separated
  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over meduim-low heat. Add the onion; cook until softenend, 5 minutes. Add the nutmeg; cook until fragrant, 30 seconds.
  2. Stir in the chicken broth, 1/5 cups water, the oats, and broccoli. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat. Simmer until the broccoli is tender, 5-10 minutes.
  3. Puree the soup in batches, filling the blender or food processor halfway. Return the soup to the pot., and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Note: when blending hot food, allow the heat to escape to prevent spattering. Remove the cap from the hole of the blender's lid, and cover the hole with a dish towel while blending.

This is another great cookbook I got recently. Everything in it is really fresh and again, organized by season. I have been on the hunt for months for a good apple crisp recipe with no refined sugar and this one turned out great! Exactly what I've been looking for. The girls enjoyed it with some plain yogurt last night.

Apple Crisp

12 apples (peeled, unpeeled or both), cored and sliced
1/4 cups pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 Tbl whole wheat pastry flour (I used regular whole wheat flour, which worked fine)

2 cups rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 Tbl ground cinnamon
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 375.

To prepare filling, place apples in large bowl. Fold in syrup, cinnamon and currants. Sprinkle on flour and gently fold until combined. Spread mixture into 9x12 baking dish.

To make topping, use the same mixing bowl and combine oats, flour, nuts and cinnamon. In separate bowl, whisk together syrup and oil, add to dry ingredients and mix until crumbly. Spread topping evenly over apples, cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 20 minutes or until apples are cooked through. Remove from oven and serve.

Serves 8-10

Saturday, November 28, 2009

busy! in a good way :)

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it's a flurry of Christmas preparation at our house, as I'm sure it probably is at many of your houses too. I've had most of my shopping done for awhile, since I've been picking up things when I see them for several months now. I'm excited to have some of my little boot ornaments done! I really think they're turning out cute :)

Kelby is a good little "helper" with the buttons, as you can see!

After a super-fun and tasty Thanksgiving day spent with some dear friends, we came home and set up our Christmas tree. It's little because Kelby is little and it's high up because Kelby will shake the ornaments off and then eat them :) This is the way we've been doing it since Natalie was a baby, but this is probably the last year for our little tree! Next year we can put up a big three with all our ornaments and actually put the presents underneath it and no one will eat them ;)

Natalie has not been into getting her picture taken lately (erg) but Layla was especially cooperative :)

Despite our Christmasy joy, my heart is a bit heavy today, after learning the news yesterday morning from some sweet friends that their first baby was born and then taken Home to be with our Heavenly Father. Please keep my friends in your prayers, that the peace of God will be with them and will guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Monday, November 23, 2009


I got to go Archiver's with my friends Angela and Jessica over the weekend. It's what I had asked for for my birthday, but it didn't work out until this weekend. An hour into it, I was having sooo much fun and suddenly realized that no one had asked me for anything in a whole hour :) Blissful! Here's a great quote I found recently that made me think of taking photos and archiving them for future generations:

“I saw behind me those who had gone, and before me those who are to come. I looked back and saw my father, and his father, and all our fathers, and in front to see my son, and his son, and the sons upon sons beyond.
And their eyes were my eyes.
~Richard Llewellyn

Obviously, I'm a little behind. These girls are so much bigger now. I don't have any of Kelby to show because I haven't even gotten pictures printed since he was tiny. Eek!!

And here's some new boy paper that I couldn't resist. Boy stuff is steppin' up in cuteness, I tell ya! Or maybe it all seems so cute to me after having two girls :) I'm off to upload pics to get printed!!!