Sunday, December 27, 2009
That didn't stop me from collecting a big pile of links - not quite as big as some of the piles of snow outside, but I did the best I could. :>)
Unfortunately, Christmas Mass was cancelled for us (the priest was not able to make it from the nearby town) so I took advantage of the extra time to make a Poinsettia Hair Clip for Goose, as found at Skip To My Lou. Mine is a bit different as I only had an alligator clip (poing!) sort of barrette. I wanted to cover the end so it didn't snag Goose's hair - I'd have used green felt to make a stem if I'd have had any upstairs. I didn't, so I just used red.
Matching painted peg doll necklaces at Chasing Cheerios would be a fun tradition to start - and they double as ornaments.
Martha Stewart has some interesting homemade dime store games. I am a fan of homemade, but I'll admit I don't quite get some of them...
Here are some Green Christmas Crafts from No Time for Flashcards.
This I-Spy baby quilt from Chasing Cheerios would be a fun project for a special baby.
Half MAKE and half EAT (but all CUTE!) are these tiny gingerbread houses that perch on the rim of your mug from Not Martha, and their variations.
My head just exploded over the 100 Holiday Crafts at The Long Thread. (I'm so crafted out from my Handmade Christmas and yet I can't stop looking!)
Remember this hat that was mine and now belongs to Goose? It's getting too small, but she loves it SO MUCH. My friend Camilla (not to be confused with my cat Camilla) sent me the link to this very sweet ruffled hat, but I'm going to have to get a LOT better at knitting before I'm ready to give it a shot...
A thank-you to Zimms Zoo for pointing out this tutorial on how to transfer inkjet images to wood. (You may remember her as the one who does way more of my projects than I do! :>))
Admittedly, I have so many pizza crust recipes, I'll probably never be able to try them all out, but that hasn't stopped me from collecting more on my quest to find a crust that we actually like. The latest addition is this homemade pizza recipe from DarwinCatholic.
I've only eaten Fried Ravioli once in my life - I'm guessing I don't make it at home because it wouldn't be prudent for me to EAT THE WHOLE BATCH like I want to.
Unfortunately I completely blew off making these overnight cherry danishes for Christmas morning breakfast but the cinnamon rolls I picked up were still delicious. :>) I think I'll make a point to whip these up for Hubs's birthday in a few weeks.
I'm a big fan of blueberries and could lose a LOT of time checking out Blueberry-Recipe.com. Yum!
Elsie Marley has some neat printable Advent coloring pages.
Cute holiday printables (tags and whatnot) over at Skip to My Lou. Because Christmas is coming again next year! Start getting ready now, and maybe you can avoid some of the stress that seems to accompany the season. :>)
PRAY & PONDER
Katie at Kitchen Stewardship makes an connection that never occurred to me between the Eucharist and the manger in which Jesus was laid after His birth in Christmas Food Brings Us Together.
While this is more of a LEARN type post, I'll put it here because of the author, it's another post by Katie from Kitchen Stewardship. Katie had a guest post on ProBlogger with Rookie Lessons for New Bloggers.
There is a great article on Welcoming Baby Jesus within our own daily tasks at Faith & Family Live - music to the ears of this snowed-in, cabin-fevered mama...
Wondering just what these O Antiphons are that everyone keeps talking about? Find out at Advent Ends On a High Note at Faith & Family Live.
One of the things I love about Karen Edmisten is her predictability! (Trust me, she'd be OK with that.) She re-ran a couple of great Christmas posts here, my favorite of which is the second one, Christmas Christians. It's a really good reminder for this time of year.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
In case anyone is wondering how to protect a Christmas tree from a two-year-old and two inquisitive cats, wonder no more...
This is the beauty of having a fake tree. I only put the branches on to halfway down. The toddler actually hasn't bothered the tree very much - and the ornaments on the lower branches are pictures of her cousins, so they are touchable. It's the white thumbed creature that keeps things exciting around here. I've caught her standing up on her back legs and swiping at anything that she thinks is within reach . . . and I've seen more than one dive at the piece of fabric I use as a tree skirt. That's when it actually happens to be under the tree, though. Usually Goose is using it as a wrap or a blanket to tuck in her Nappies.
I have really been enjoying Goose's love of Christmas things, and I'd like to think she actually is excited that it's Jesus's birthday. After her nap (since it's getting dark about the time she wakes up - or after she gets up if she doesn't fall asleep), we plug in the tree and flip on the outside lights, then we light the Advent wreath. I've been singing "O Come O Come Emmanuel" to open our prayers, and when she heard the song elsewhere this week, she told me it was time to light the candle. :>) She's especially looking forward to lighting the white candle, which I told her we can do on Christmas.
I'm *almost* done with my Handmade Christmas items, though there are a few that just aren't going to be done in time. And I'm OK with that. (Especially since we aren't celebrating with Hubs's immediate family for another week - that buys me some time!) I have a few more things to update at that post, and a few more posts to put together and link up. I think blogging about stuff takes almost as long as making it! Hee. But I'm really pleased with all I've done, and I hope the recipients are, too.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Another note - my nieces and nephew are taken care of for gifts for a very long time. So, for my mom and sisters-in-law, here's a picture to enjoy instead of clicking through:
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Thankfully what I spilled was actually filtered water, so I was able to skip some of the steps. I put my computer in a spare room (away from a certain inquisitive Goose) and directed a fan on it. I waited 24 hours to power it back up, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief when it booted right up. The keyboard was a little quirky for a bit and has quirked a time or two since then, but for the most part, it was hardly a blip! (Breathe another sigh of relief.)
Valerie at Frugal Family Fun Blog noted that setting the victimized computer in a bin of rice may also be helpful as the rice will absorb moisture. I'm thankful I didn't have to try as most of my rice is currently wrapped up for Christmas presents.
The moral of the story here is be super careful with stuff around your computer, and know what to do or where to find help if it happens to you! A big thanks to Trent for linking back to that post several weeks ago - I'd have never known otherwise...
Last night, I tried putting her to bed at 7 to help her catch up, and after much wailing and gnashing of teeth and crying (on both sides of the door), she finally honked off around 8:30. I had a brief chat with her at 5:00AM about it not being time to get up yet, and she slept in until about 9:15. I always wake her if she sleeps much past 8 so that she can get a nap in, but upon Hubs's advice, I let her sleep this morning. That means no nap, I'm sure, but it's a crap shoot as to whether she'd take one anyway...
So, let's go on to fun topics, links! (And feel free to commiserate with me in the comments, or leave anecdotal info on how you transitioned your toddler from the crib and/or from naps to "quiet time".)
A week or two ago, I linked to a crystallized snowflake at Chasing Cheerios that was VERY pretty. Another commenter linked to an article regarding the toxicity of borax and that it may not be a good idea to let your little one handle it. I did some searching around last night, and found this article at Suite101.com that says Epsom salts will work in place of borax, so I think I'll be adding it to the craft-a-day box I'm giving my nieces for Christmas.
This falls between "make" and "do" since it's easy peasy but I think you'll find it as cute as I do - no-sew blanket with yarn fringe at Craftzine.
I seem to have a thing for crayon rolls and holders (I've linked to several!) but this one from Skip to My Lou is cute cute cute. (I think it's the flower that pushes me over the edge.)
Can't say that I've ever heard the Five Little Snowmen song (Five little bunnies, yes. This is entirely different.) but thanks to Emily and Valerie at Frugal Family Fun Blog, I have an earworm. (anybody want it? :>) The accompanying Five Little Snowmen playset is too cute and too easy - way to go with the sharpie, Valerie! I'd have taken 45 minutes of my life that I'll never get back to embroider some mis-shapen dots. There is a video at the end if you've not heard the song either - my favorite part is at the end where Emily offers to sing it again. Tee hee.
Also falling between "make" and "do" is this long-awaited how to make a napkin doll guest post on Frugal Family Fun Blog by Valerie's hubs, Mark. I'm thinking it'll take a little practice . . . and I can't remember the last time I was at a restaurant with cloth napkins, so I'll have to hit the thrift shop for some if I want to try it any time soon. :>)
Tidy Mom has some homemade sugar scrub recipes that sound delicious. I mean, pampering and heavenly. And delicious. This is the first place I came across it, but a number of bloggers have posted about Domino Sugar's gift ideas section of their website. Sounds like some neat ideas over there.
There is a really pretty snowflake garland tutorial at Curbly. I'll admit I usually skip watching videos (I'd rather read about it) but this was cute enough that I persevered. And it turns out it's really easy.
These snowman candy bars would be quick and easy (and cute) if you wanted to do something special for not a lot of $$$. (@ It's Been A Hard Day's Night)
I'll admit I'm sort of an ADD crafter and shy away from things that take a while - though plenty of my sewing projects have taken place spread out over multiple naptimes, so I don't know what my hangup is. That said, I'm incredibly intrigued by this Handmade Santa Plate and if nothing else, the porcelaine paint pen for ceramics fascinated me - as did the method for getting the writing on the plate. Well done, Just Something I Made, very well done!
This felt flower clip tutorial at A Hoot and a Holler looks like a fun thing to make for my nieces . . . I'm thinking April birthdays, though, 'cause I'm on the verge of getting a bit crafted out for Christmas.
Ordinary Life, Extraordinary God has a fun holiday twist on homemade play dough. I've never thought to scent it with her suggestions - and I'm sure they're yummy!
I'm loving this felty button tree at Scrumdilly-do but I'm not sure I could stand to just let my little one make it - I'd have to make one, too!
There just might be a flock of these felt snowmen from Simply Handmade for a certain sister-in-law this year for Christmas. (So don't click through if you're her!)
I really like this toy storage bag tutorial by The Domestic Notebook - especially the handles! Though I'm thinking I'd tweak it and put gussets in the bottom, kind of like I did in my Halloween treat sack (that I'm still using to carry Goose's stuff to church).
(Edited to add these two:)
Many Little Blessings turned lemons into lemonade with these paint stick Christmas trees and they're right - painting them made all the difference.
These homemade lotion bars from Little House in the Suburbs sound reasonably easy and really cool. Though I'll admit, I'm a sucker for yummy smelling lotion. I'm sure with a bit of experimenting, they'd be easily adapted.
I'm not sure that Goose is at the age of being impressed by green chicken, but I'd like to give this Slow Cooker Green Pepper Chicken recipe a try, from A Year of Slow Cooking.
Katie from Kitchen Stewardship wrote a guest post on Catholic Mommy Brain on Healthy Holiday Treats, and don't worry, she doesn't tell you to just avoid everything. :>) My favorite part - "try to cut down on the sugar by 1/4 cup at a time until I reach system failure (i.e., the treat no longer tastes like a treat)."
More gift wrapping ideas, from Tip Junkie this time.
Faith & Family Live has a great post on using an Advent jar to help keep your family watching and waiting for Jesus's birth.
I'm pretty sheltered, so I've not seen this new Lego/paper phenomenon. I'm kind of glad, so I could be super impressed by Filth Wizardry's DIY Lego and hole punching card version.
Just Like Martha has an easy tutorial for a recycled magazine Christmas tree. That'd keep some little hands busy for a while!
Katie at Kitchen Stewardship has some great ideas on Decreasing Holiday Disposables.
This lovely tea in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe is quite an inspiration by Jessica at Shower of Roses. And, baby Rose is here!
Stacey at Almost There has a great summary of why NFP Isn't Just Another Birth Control. (That's "Natural Family Planning" in case you don't know...)
The Unclutterer has a thought-provoking article on Teaching Children to Fight Clutter.
There are tons of use for vinegar around the house, and Trent lists 15 of them at The Simple Dollar.
Happy clicking, and, if I don't see you before, "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!" (that last part is especially directed at my Goose . . .) :>)
Friday, December 18, 2009
Thanks to this tutorial at Paper Dolly Girl, I was inspired to make some flannel burp rags and I was very pleased with how they turned out. As I noted in my post on how to make your own taggie blankets and embellished burp rags, I cruise the reminant bins at Wal-Mart and Hobby Lobby pretty much every time I go and pick up anything that catches my eye. Because of this habit, I tend to let the piece of fabric dictate the size of my final project. That is, I'd rather have a some bigger and smaller burp rags than have them all uniformly sized and a big pile of scraps. (Not that there's anything wrong with scraps!)
My method also differed in that I used flannel on both sides, and I stitched down the flannel in the middle. Some of my scraps were a bit short, and I didn't want them migrating around in the wash. I also sewed some scraps together for the middle piece. Initially I was concerned that the seam might feel lumpy between a sleeping baby's face and a loving adult's shoulder but I could barely feel the seam.
I was so pleased with how these turned out! I will be giving them as gifts for sure, and I also listed some in my Etsy shop (with more to come) if you'd like to give a special tiny one the gift of handmade flannel burp cloths but don't have the time or sewing skills.
For more frugal ideas, visit Life as Mom. You can also check out my handmade gifts section and see what I'm making for Christmas if you'd like!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Sometimes, though, I need the oven to be hot when I put food in. That's when I use my broil function to preheat! I found that it can get up to 350 degrees in just a few minutes that way. Of course, I don't recommend you do that with a pan in the oven unless it is a broiler safe pan - I don't have my pizza stone in there while it's on broil, for example. My stoneware was not expensive, so I fear they'd crack at high temperatures.
For more kitchen tips, visit Tammy's Recipes.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
I wasn't sure where to start, though. Luckily I had some acquaintances (now friends :>))in the Nebraska Friends of Midwives that use cloth, so I was able to garner a number of opinions. One mentioned that she purchased several different kinds of diapers at first, figured out what she liked, and then went with those. I did a crazy amount of searching and clicking around - about that time, I was experiencing some anxiety (which I'm going to have to cover once I get caught up on writing some about me posts!) and thinking about cloth diapers helped soothe that, for whatever reason.
Please note that none of these links are affiliate links, nor have I utilized the companies - they are just links that I found helpful.
Were I to start from scratch, I might try something like one of these sampler packages. If you try doing a search for "cloth diaper starter kit" or "cloth diaper sample package" or something like that, you'll likely find more. Ooh, I found a bunch of links that I stumbled across a long time ago, you can find more sampler packs here, here, here, here, and here. Note that some of the returns are for credit.
My decision was mostly made from the start, because Patty, one of my NFOM acquaintances (now a dear friend), was a retailer for Happy Heineys. She was also expecting a baby about the same time I was expecting the Honker, so we had a fun time comparing pregnancies. Hers was baby #5, though. :>) In addition to the Happy Heinys, I also bought some Fuzzi Bunz and a couple of Bumkins All-In-Ones (AIOs). I didn't even try prefolds and covers after hearing Patty wax poetic about pocket diapers.
If you want to learn more about cloth diapers, there are tons of great sites. Some that I found helpful include the diapering forum at Mothering.com, Diaper Pin, Pinstripes and Polkadots, and Punkin Butt. Though I'll admit I've not read through them in quite a while! If you really want to kill some time, visit Diaper Swappers. You can learn tons about diapering and a lot of other natural family practices, and there is also a huge marketplace for gently used and some new diapers. It moves FAST though!
I didn't like the AIOs because Goose felt wet right away. With the pocket diapers, I could go about up to 2 hours between changes (unless she was dirty, of course). A pocket diaper has two layers in itself - in the case of the Happy Heinys and the Fuzzi Bunz, the outer layer is waterproof PUL, and the inner layer is fleece. You then use something absorbent as an insert.
Both Happy Heinys and Fuzzi Bunz make a one-size diaper. Goose pretty much fell off the bottom of the growth chart (though she has always been perfectly healthy) and I didn't care for the one-sizes for her. But every baby is different. I preferred the cut of the Fuzzi Bunz diapers and the way they fit Goose, but I liked the aplix (velcro) closure of the Happy Heinys better.
When Goose was tiny, I used cotton washcloths. Then Happy Heinys came out with a microfiber insert which I really liked at first. But eventually I had trouble getting them clean and they got stinky. I really liked the absorbency of the microfiber, though, and so I switched to microfiber towels, which I purchased in the auto department of Wal-Mart. Note that they should never be put directly on baby's skin, though.
I'll post later on our routine and the important part - washing diapers! [edit - you can read it here.]
Saturday, December 12, 2009
I have a question today - has anybody seen a Nativity set pattern or how-to for making a fabric or felt set? I've done some clicking around and searching but have yet to find anything that I think will work without major modification or significant going out on a limb. Thanks!
Anyway, if YOU happen to be snowed in, here's some pretty things to keep you busy - (not the least of which is Skip to My Lou's suggestions for Snow Day activities)
Remember the wreath made from book pages a while back? The Shabby Nest has a well-read Christmas wreath that is a Pottery Barn knock-off that will knock your socks off.
Laura at Heavenly Homemakers posted a simple, cute (and cheap!) Angel Ornament.
Another ornament - a crystallized snowflake one this time, at Chasing Cheerios.
And yet another - Skip to My Lou has a guest post on Alpha Mom on how to make surprise ball ornaments. These look like a lot of fun!
Aaaand A Slob Comes Clean (hee - I'm gonna hafta click around over there some!) has instructions on how to make personalized ornaments for the ones you love. GREAT idea!
Goose isn't into fairies yet, but the day is coming, and I will be prepared with this Felt Fairy House at Frugal Family Fun Blog.
I pink puffy heart my Ergo baby carrier but if I didn't have it, I'd be tempted to try this mei tai at Blissfully Domestic.
Mrs. 2nd Lieutenant has an awesome post on Liturgical Gift Giving, and make sure you click over to her St. Nicholas day post to see her CUTE and appropriate for toddlers Advent wreath and calendar.
Cakes are not my strong point, so these tips on frosting cakes from Tipnut will come in handy for Goose's next birthday. (Yup, that's how often I make cakes.)
Trent at The Simple Dollar has some *excellent* - and easy! - tips on Finding the perfect gift without spending too much. Though I'd add that once you do find the perfect gift, run a search for it using http://www.froogle.google.com and then sort by price low to high. The downside is that you have to click through to the site and hunt to find the shipping fees, which can be pretty high in some places, but I've had reasonably good luck with Froogle.
Jessica at Shower of Roses has a link to a printable manger for baby Jesus.
Tipnut has an enormous roundup of wrapping, embellishing, and tagging ideas, my favorite of which is this fun with fonts idea from Bugs and Fishes by Lupin.
Friday, December 11, 2009
I've been so busy working on my handmade Christmas stuff and posting for Frugal Fridays that I haven't done a Quick Takes post in forever! Let's see what I can pull together before Goose gets up.
We got about a foot of snow this week. The first wave was Sunday night, the second was Monday night to Wednesday early early morning. Temperatures have been around zero.
The two-year-old and I did not poke out so much as a toe from Monday at noon to Thursday at 3:30 PM. That was getting a bit rough!
Aforementioned 2YO has taken to chucking most to all of the stuff out of her crib at naptime or bedtime, then hollers for mama to come pick it up.
#3 is a problem because her wall-mounted space heater isn't working well enough to keep up with the COLD temps, so we've had to move in another space heater that sits on the floor. Since Goose is a lousy sleeper, I don't peek in on her much for fear of waking her up. You'd better believe I've been peeking in, though, to make sure there isn't a pillow or blanket or stray Nappy resting on the space heater, waiting to burst into flames . . .
Goose started potty training back at the end of September, and after about a month or so, she seemed to have the hang of it and wasn't having too many accidents; and if she did, she was able to stop she'd holler "put the tinkles in the potty!" and we'd take care of it. After about a month of that, I decided it was time to stop telling her when to go potty (unless it was obvious - when she got up, before nap, etc.). After a few days of doing reasonably well, she started having accidents again. And, she started wetting her diaper in the morning and after naps instead of waiting for me to get her up. I'm kind of bummed, but since we've gone back to my telling her every 2 hours or so, it's been better. Except the diaper thing, which is a bummer because I'd been re-using her disposables since they weren't wet... I'd love to go back to using cloth for $$$ reasons, but I fear that since they're bulkier, they'll encourage her to wet.
(Note to self: now that Goose is mostly out of diapers, I *really* need to get a post written on our beloved cloth diapering methods.)
I've linked to Faith & Family Live a number of times - did you know that they have a magazine? It's an excellent read for Catholic families. I've been a subscriber for over a year now, and I really enjoy it. I've also read the website since its inception - it is both a blog for a handful of very insightful moms (with an occasional dad and/or priest thrown in for a guest post) and there are occasional articles as well, some crossing over from its sister publication, the National Catholic Register (also an excellent publication). Good stuff! If there's a mom on your Christmas list that you're not sure what to get her, this is a sure bet. You can subscribe here or get a gift subscription here. You won't be sorry!
Sunday, December 6, 2009
So, in an effort to make YOU happy, how 'bout some links? :>)
Abbi at Proverbs 31 Living posted some very fun baskets made from paper grocery bags. They look really neat!
HURRY HURRY HURRY! Dana at MADE has a tutorial on So You Think You're Crafty on how to make a turkey dressing skirt. You gotta see it to believe it, and she's going to take it down TONIGHT and have it available in her shop.
Chocolate on My Cranium has a super roundup of handmade stocking stuffers.
More felt food by Creative Mom x2. And more at eHow.com.
How cool is this? How To Make Homemade Stickers, from Skip To My Lou. Turn anything into a sticker!
Homemade Gifts for Kids at Kitchen Stewardship.
Her husband claims it's good enough to sell - Banana Coffee Cake with Chocolate Chip Streusel at Buns in My Oven. (Tee hee on the blog name!)
King Arthur Flour's Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake, including a suggestion for those who like a bit less filling and more cake. I don't know why you would want to do such a thing, though.
Need a coffee cake that you can grab and go? Check out Eating Out Loud's Blueberry Apple
(Why yes, Tipnut did feature coffee cakes this week. Why do you ask?)
Make It Do's peppermint popcorn is just about enough to make me want to stray from my Parmesan cheese. Maybe.
I didn't get it done this week, Katie, but I'm hopeful for next week - Soak Your Oatmeal Monday Mission at Kitchen Stewardship. (Want to know why I want to soak my grains? Read Katie's post here.) (And read what Katie has to say about whey here.) (Ack! Too many parentheses! Too tired to fix!)
Shopping for the seasonal stuff in the produce section has been of interest to me for a while, but I still don't pay enough attention. Trent at The Simple Dollar has a great post on Seasonal Food Sales that might help.
So pretty! Epsom salt "snow" and candles at The Inspired Room. (and *ahem* cheap) :>)
Faith & Family Live compiled a list of Go-To Family Games just in time for Christmas.
Valerie at Frugal Family Fun Blog instructs how to make a Salty Snowman Picture. Very festive!
Katie at Kitchen Stewardship has put together an Advent Daily Dose. My favorites from the week - A Gift for Baby Jesus, Clean Out Your Heart For the Light of Christ, and The Jesse Tree. But seriously, go here to see them all.
How Elizabeth Foss, mom of 8, is finished with Christmas shopping already.
OK, so this isn't quite Advent but close enough - Jessica at Shower of Roses has a post from earlier this year on their 12 Days of Christmas Lapbook. More recently (and actually for Advent) - Jesse Tea, plans for the O Antiphons and the O Antiphon House.
See what the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops put together for Advent here.
Silent Monks Singing The Hallelujah Chorus on YouTube. Watch it here.
Danielle Bean pretty much sums up how I feel about Tiger Woods at Inside Catholic.
Here's hoping I don't ever need to know this - you, either - but just in case, Light and Momentary has excellent information on lose your head lice without losing your mind.
Sigh. I had a spider plant that was an offshoot from my grandmother's, but it went to be with Jesus and Grandma, so to speak. I'm hoping my cousin will keep hers going long enough for me to get a piece back (I'd given her a shoot from mine), and I'll pay close attention to these spider plant tips at Tipnut.
And with that, I'm off to bed on this cold, snowy night. Happy clicking!
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
God is our refuge and strength. (Psalm 46:1)
O Lord, support us all the day long,
until the shadows lengthen, and the evening comes,
and the busy world is hushed,
and the fever of life is over, and our work is done.
Then, in your mercy, grant us a safe lodging
and a holy rest, and peace at the last.
Ven. John Henry Newman, 19th century
Yup, my day is looking up already. Thanks, God! If you'd like to sign up to receive these e-mails, you can click the link above.
Here are some things that I considered when thinking about bags versus bottles:
Using bottles would certainly be easier than constructing bags! We don't use bottles like Kimberlee's though (I'm guessing they're from sports drinks . . . though I'm realizing that a glass jar would work fine - doh!). With bottles, I think it's more of a shaking action, and with bags, you do more manipulation with your hands - plus you can feel around for things that you can't see. With bottles, the entire thing is a "window" and with bags, you only have the little spot to peek inside.
Because my four nieces range in ages from 10 to 5, I made the bags more difficult for the older one and easier for the younger one. Some ways that they differ from oldest to youngest:
* Window size - smaller windows for the older niece, bigger windows for the younger
* Size of bag - bigger bag for the older, smaller for the younger
* Shape of bag - the youngest got round bags so nothing could get lost in a corner, and the olders got rectangles, I even made one long, skinny one for the oldest with the window on one side, so there's a lot of real estate that she can't see
* Amount of filler - I tried to put less rice in the youngest's bag so it would be easier to manipulate and more rice in the older's bag
* Size of items - the older the child, the smaller the items
* Color of items - I tried to have several different brightly colored items for the youngest, but the oldest got nearly all green items (different shades) but that makes it more difficult because it's not like you see a glimpse of red and know it's the pony tail holder, you see green and don't know if it's the button you already saw or the bead you're trying to find
* Similar items - the youngest got all very different things, but the oldest got a few things doubled up, like paper clips in different shades of green
* As I was finishing the post below, I realized that it would be more difficult with different colors of filler items. Colors pop more when you see something orange in the all-white rice, but if you had white rice, red beans, green lentils, yellow corn (etc.) things aren't going to be as noticable. I mixed together a bag of bean soup mix, a bag of red beans, pinto beans, black beans, lentils, split peas, popcorn, and maybe field corn. (remember that I have a LOT of bags - and I still had extra mix left over.) I then opened up the I-Spy bags, emptied them, removed some rice, added the beans, mixed it up, refilled them, and stitched them back shut. Whew!
* Kimberlee's children also made it more difficult by finding the items in the order of the list - i.e. if you see the wheel but are looking for the flat purple bead, the wheel doesn't count yet
To make the bags, as usual I based a lot of things on the size of my fabric scraps. :>) (You can see here how I pick up fabric on the cheap.) If possible, I tried to make one edge the fold so I would only have to sew three sides, but that's just me.
I'll admit, sewing in the windows gave me some fits. What finally worked for me, was to carefully cut the vinyl (which is sold on the big rolls by tablecloth kind of stuff and pretty inexpensive, even without a coupon) and make it a good inch larger on all sides than I wanted the window to actually be. Then I carefully cut a corresponding shape out of the fabric. First I traced the vinyl, then I took a ruler and measured an inch and an eighth (just for extra security, I guess :>)) to the inside of the window tracing. You should be able to click on the picture to make it larger. I ended up with a home plate shaped window because it first was a triangle and I didn't like that at all.
Next, I cut out the mini window out of the fabric on the lines I made. I then carefully made a 1/2" snip with scissors toward the corners, and folded the pieces back then pressed them down. (that's my ironing board cover you see peeking through. A new one is on my Christmas list as it has some major issues - not the least of which is some navy fabric left an enormous stain when I pressed it with some steam. It's cute, though - it has pictures of different clothing items scattered about. You can see the socks peeking through the window.)
To stitch the vinyl on, I found I HAD to use a piece of paper to get it to feed through my machine, otherwise it stuck and made a huge mess. I also found that I had to make sure it was well-sewn onto the fabric. The first one I did was a circle shaped window on the round orange bag, and I was so proud to have one all completed . . . until the first thirty seconds I field-tested it. The vinyl pulled loose and I had rice everywhere. I'll tell you that one of my nieces is likely to find the cure for cancer someday, but until that day comes, she's going to take apart everything in her path. So they needed to be K-proof, and that definitely didn't pass. It was then that I figured out (with a bit of help from Shalet at Peculiar Momma!) to cut the window out of the fabric smaller than the vinyl and fold the pieces of fabric back so the vinyl really had something to hold onto when stitched down.
So, after cutting the window from the fabric and pressing the little flaps back, I then laid the vinyl over the opening in the fabric, and put a piece of paper over the vinyl. I found it impossible to line them up with the right side out so I could pin them. So I left the right side of the fabric down (so the order from bottom to top is table, fabric right side down, vinyl, paper) and put two or so pins in from the "inside" or wrong side to hold it while I flipped it over. I then pinned everything together with the pins on the right side of the fabric and removed the two pins on the wrong side after it was anchored from the top. (Clear as mud?)
To make sure that it caught, I zig-zagged around the window three times and then did kind of a wandering zig-zag over all that a fourth time. The needle holes make a nice perforation in the fabric, so it's easy to tear away the paper. I did the outside first, then bent along a seam and picked a bit at the paper over the actual window and it tore quite easily as well. I didn't worry one bit about the bits of paper left underneath the stitches - I don't think there's a good way to get it out anyway.
Before I stitched the bag shut, I made up the list of included items and sewed it on. Because I ran out of plain fabric, I used some yellow print that I just turned over and wrote on the back. To start, I used a ruler and pencil to make faint lines, then I used a fine-point sharpie to write the names of the items and draw the little pictures. I know art is NOT my strong suit, but I thought I did well enough that the non-readers and new readers would be able to figure out what they were looking for without too much difficulty. I also used markers to color in bits that I could to help even more, though some of them worked better than others. :>) And, I didn't have a pink marker, which would have gone a long way with these items, so I just left those blank.
Please note that you should stitch the list on BEFORE you sew the sides of the bag. Go ahead, ask me how I know . . . I can also tell you that if you forget, you can get away with hand stitching it on carefully using the opening you left for pouring in the filling, but it takes a while and isn't nearly as pretty. So stitch your list on (I just pinked the edges and didn't worry about folding under and pressing then stitching, but I guess you could), and then stitch your bag *making sure to leave an opening into which you can pour your filling stuff*! (again, ask how I know . . . I try to remember to use a sideways pin - or six - to remind me to stop.) I found it much easier to leave enough room to use my canning funnel as rice doesn't move well through a regular funnel. When turning your bag inside out, use the point of a closed pair of scissors, a choptick, or something along those lines to poke your corners out well. I didn't bother with pressing my seams because it didn't seem to matter since they get filled with stuff.
Finding items wasn't as hard as I feared it might be. I kept an eye out at the thrift shop, and found a surprising number of items in my own house:
From the thrift shop:
* Small owl salt shaker (which I stuffed tight with a piece of fabric since it didn't have a stopper to keep other items from getting lost in there)
* Miniature tea cup
* Pumpkins and gourd from fall “spray”
From my craft stash:
* Beads of larger various sizes and shapes
* Small corks
* Buttons of various sizes
* Googly eye
* Jewel beads
* Jingle bells
* Mini clothes pins
* Metal bobbins that fit my sewing machine but don’t work very well
* Bouncy balls
* Wheels from a toy motorcycle something or other (from a rummage sale, actually)
* Pats of fake butter, plastic bacon, small carrot
* Small Garfield the cat
* Small plastic triangle
* Small action figures
* Small plastic key
From the bathroom:
* Small terry pony tail holders
* Flower off cheap barrettes that fell off the first time I tried them
* Cheap barrettes (alligator clip/poing style)
* Safety pins (various sizes)
* Bobby pins
* Plastic barrettes
Pieces of field corn (could also use different types of bigger dried beans)
Paper clips, various sizes and colors (and I thought about mini binder clips but didn't need them)
Large nut, smaller bolts
I was thought about some sort of pom-pom, but I didn't want to use a homemade one (reference above K-proofing). Same with silk flowers. I didn't look for any, but I think a multi-pack of small erasers in different shapes would be excellent. Some things were included in each bag, some were one-of-a-kind.
So. Window is firmly stitched, list is stitched on, and bag is sewn except for a hole. To make seven bags, I used approximately 23 pounds of rice. My bags are MUCH bigger than Peculiar Momma's - she used about 6x6" bags and 10-20 items depending on size. The size of my bags varied greatly - the round ones are the size of a big dinner plate, the square ones are perhaps 10x10. I used probably 14-16 items per bag. There are a number of different things you could use as filler - Kimberlee used bird seed, I thought about using field corn kernels, dried beans or lentils would be good - just go with something cheap and plentiful! I'd caution that you try to avoid using items for them to find that are too similar in color to the filler . . . unless you're trying to make it more difficult, that is! Actually, I think that multi-colored stuff like bird seed, or perhaps a variety of filler materials would make it more difficult to find things. If you see a peek of yellow among the white rice, for example, it really stands out. But if you have white rice, yellow corn, red and black beans, green lentils, etc - colors aren't going to stand out as much. Hmm . . . I might be opening some of these back up . . . :>)
Peculiar Momma (I think?) used a creamer pitcher to fill her bags, but I really liked using the canning funnel. To keep things spread out, I tried to put in a few scoops of rice, then a couple of items, then a few scoops of rice, couple of items, etc. With the bags, make sure you don't fill it TOO full - I finished filling then pinned the opening (using several pins so it didn't leak!) and then gave it a try and nearly every time, I took out the pins and removed some rice. Hand stitch the opening shut (I used a blanket stitch on a few, since it seems to be the year of the blanket stitch!) and try it out yourself.
If you'd like to see what else I'm making for Christmas, please visit my Handmade Christmas post (provided you're not on my Christmas list!), and for more frugal ideas, visit Life As Mom. This is also linked to Proverbs 31 Living's Handmade Christmas.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Friends, I will try to get a better picture of my Advent wreath. But I really wanted to get this post written and published before Advent is over! :>) Here's how I made it on the cheap, nine years ago:
Go to your local craft store (mine happened to be Hobby Lobby) when they are offering Christmas garland on sale. Purchase a 9' piece that you like. You may be able to tell that mine has berries and silver and gold eucalyptis. Also purchase nine purple candles and three pink ones. Tapers happened to be on sale, many people prefer pillar candles that will last the entire season - your call.
Oddly enough (you may have noticed), taper HOLDERS were not on sale at the time, so I bought votive ones and use a piece of fun-tak (ticky-tak, whatever you call it) to hold them in place. Works great - and this should be out of the reach of little ones anyway.
Optionally, you may also include a white candle, which I place in the middle, not only because the holder does not match the others. :>) It is lit on Christmas and represents Jesus. Jessica has some neat ideas on Advent overall, but I especially like the idea of draping the white candle in blue, which represents Mary. (Scroll to Dec 7 and 8.)
Hack the garland into three more or less equal pieces, and twist the ends together to form a circle. I just bent one end over the other on mine and it's held (quite well) though you may wish to use a piece of wire or something to keep the ends together, depending on your garland.
So, now you have three Advent wreaths, one for your home and two that you can use to bless others. When I gave them as Christmas presents to two friends nine years ago, I also included a booklet with Advent devotions. But that was when I lived near a Catholic store. :>)
Blessings to you this Advent season of preparation - and for more frugal ideas, visit Life As Mom. This is also linked to Proverbs 31 Living's Handmade Christmas.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Anyway. Links! As always, you can right click and choose to open links in a new tab or window, or you can hold down the ctl key as you click and open them in a new tab.
Trent at The Simple Dollar wrote a great post on Making Buyers regarding our kiddos and TV.
Some good kitchen hints at Tipnut.
No Time for Flash Cards put together a Readers Favorites list of toys and gifts.
Lovely woven potholders at Blessed Femina.
The Crafter's File Box has a great "eat THAT, Pottery Barn Kids" in this DIY crafty lazy susan. It has me thinking "to heck with the little one, I want one for ME!"
I had quick and lovely thoughts of putting these St. Andrew Chaplets together for a couple of you who are very dear to me, but I am running out of time before Advent begins. Please know that you'll continue to be held in my prayers, though!
I stumbled across this old post from Jessica at Shower of Roses on making a Trip Journal for kids. You may notice that these were made for a ROAD TRIP TO NEBRASKA! Unfortunately, her husband seems to be out of brothers to be ordained as priests (three have been ordained - what a blessing to their family!), so I'm not sure we'll get her back out this way. Regardless, it's very cool idea. Somewhere in there, I also came across this link at Pinewood Castle for going on the road with little people. Good stuff there, too.
Messy Fun without the Mess at The Adventure of Motherhood.
Jennifer at Conversion Diary posted a request here for Advent Calendar suggestions and other ways to celebrate the anticipation of Christ's birth. Lucky you, I waded through the comments and picked them out. Any other suggestions to add to the list? I'm thinking perhaps one of these might be what I'll ask Grandma to get my Goose . . . [please note that due to internet issues, I've not thoroughly checked all these out.]
Waiting for Christmas: A Story about the Advent Calendar (Traditions of Faith from Around the World), From Amazon.com
Fling Wide the Doors: An Advent and Christmastime Calendar, art by Steve Erspamer, SM, from Catechesis of the Good Shephard (it's at the bottom of page 4, so scroll down)
Magnetic Advent Calendar from Catholic Child
Links at Uncommon Grace on their Advent activities
The Advent Book
The Advent Event
A Jesse Tree Banner Kit
Fontanini Advent Calendar
Little People Nativity Advent Calendar from Amazon.com
God With Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas on Amazon.com, recommended reading for adults
Three from The Catholic Company - Stable Advent calendar, wood Advent calendar, and magnetic Advent calendar
Previously posted (I think): Jesse Tree info at National Catholic Register, and because I'd feel funny not mentioning it, again here is Karen Edmisten's No Panic Advent Series.
Suggestions from Faith & Family Live for Advent
And more Jesse Tree info at Catholic Culture - Ornament Ideas and Blessing, Instructions, Symbols, Jesse Tree, and Prayer Service.
Oh, also - Peculiar Momma is working on an Advent Calendar her way, and she linked to a very fun calendar at maya*made here.
[Edited to add (and I may be doing this more as I find more great stuff!) - Jessica at Shower of Roses has her Advent plans outlined here.]
Happy clicking, everybody!
Thursday, November 26, 2009
As I mentioned, I ended up digging through Sew, Mama, Sew's October Scrap Buster projects. LOTS of great stuff there! Here are my favorites (in some sort of alphabetical order as they ended up in the favorites folder) -
Bilbified - floral brooch
Bits and Pieces - bookmarks (there's another fabric bookmark here and another at 7 Layer Studio, and one more here)
Chez Beeper Bebe - plush alphabet
Coloured Buttons - three wise owls
craftytammy - catnip mice
cute little piggytoes - scrappy gift bag
Detail - quilted coasters
Elizabeth's Fabric Focus on Sew, Mama, Sew! - quick-piece tiny squares
Give it a Go - state outline luggage tags
Homegrown Happy - Baby's Soft Book of Colors
Hold On Tight - finger puppets
JCasa *handmade - hairkerchief
Keeping Up With the Jameses - onesie dress
Linaloo - patchwork star
Mairuru - patchwork string
mynewtherapy - fabric covered clothespins
Neuroses Galore - baby doll cloth diaper
Obsessively Stitching - I-Spy fabric scrap cards
Old Days, Old Ways - tiny quiet quilt
One Inch World - scrappy shapes for felt boards
Pleasant Home - dish towel embellishment
Projects at Sew, Mama, Sew - bean bags, fabric balls, and tag blankets (though you can see my tag blankets here and my crinkle taggie toys here)
sew joy - scrap nest
stephjacobsen - fabric strip burp cloth
Stitch/Craft - scrappy color book
Vintage Sheet - travel purse
Well, by the time I was able to finish this post, Goose ended up not taking her nap, we dropped her Papa at the airport (he only flew in for the day, Goose and I drove yesterday), I left Goose with Grandma, and drove home myself. Whew. Tomorrow is a big day, our Altar Society is having a fundraiser and we'll be wrapping people's Black Friday gifts and selling soup and pie at the craft fair in the next town over. Should be a good time. But I miss my Honker already!! Hope this finds everyone well after a day of giving thanks - I sure am thankful for all of YOU! Happy clicking!
Monday, November 23, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Oh, I've been meaning to ask you guys - does it make you crazy that I don't have my blog set up to open links in new windows? Personally, I HATE having too many windows open. I always hold down the CTL key and click on the link, which opens it in a new tab in the same window. Or you can right click on a link and choose Open in New Tab or Open in New Window. Since I do this for YOU, I'm certainly open to suggestions . . .
Also, I'm working on a couple of bathtub fishing games to put in my Etsy shop and I've been working really hard on my Handmade Christmas stuff, too, and I hope to update that this week. And I suppose I ought to get around to another About Me post. Not because I'm all that interesting, but *I'M* enjoying it, anyway. :>)
Remember I mentioned I got sucked into the Sew, Mama, Sew scrap buster contest posts? Yeah, those are going to have to go in a separate post. There are a lot of them. But, who doesn't love making something out of . . . well, nothing? I asked my MIL today if she'd like to thin her scrap collection a bit. I've found a few projects to make and my scrap pile is kinda scraggly. :>)
HOLY COW, I almost published this without mentioning the newest member of our family! Hubs finally bought himself a miniature donkey. He's a cute little guy and needs a name - we're soliciting suggestions! So far, my favorites are Radar or Roscoe, but we haven't settled on one yet.
So, anyway, links!
This pom pom lamp from Ruffles and Stuff is really cute and not at all the fire hazard I was envisioning at first. :>) I'm wondering if one of my nieces doesn't need this (and yes, maybe my Goose).
Crafty Nest has a neat idea for a framed silhouette word (though I'll admit even the cheaper linked frames are still out of my league . . . I'm thinking the idea is totally adaptable.)
Somehow I managed to forget that my sister-in-law mentioned my oldest niece would like some bookmarks for Christmas. Luckily I found a ton of links - Anna Maria Horner, Skip to My Lou, How About Orange, and Infarrantly Creative - lots of super cute ones to choose from already!
I realized that my sewing machine is getting a bit dusty in places since it doesn't have a cover - which will be easily remedied with this sewing machine cover how to by Chez Larsson. I was really excited when I saw the link to the how to recover an ironing board until I looked at my ironing board and realized it has a metal board. Ah, well.
Continuing my felt food obsession (seriously, just make some already!) is this link to tomatoes, fried eggs, and pancakes at Creative 2x Mom. And felt cookies at Many Little Blessings.
Remember the wings from my 100th post giveaway? Here's how to make your own. Instead of using the hangars, I recommend keeping an eye out at the thrift store for a pair that needs recovering and follow the directions from that point on.
I have warm fuzzies for Rachael Ray because before I weaned Goose, she'd wake up from her afternoon nap and we'd sit on the couch for some mama's milk and Rach. Good times. Anyway. Rachael has some yummy sounding butternut squash risotto.
Amy at Finer Things linked up to this black bean soup. I love me some black beans, so let me know what your fam thinks, 'k Amy?
Sarah from Sarah's Musings has a delicious looking recipe for sourdough french bread. I think I'm going to have to give that one a try - mmmmm!
Bethany at the Apple Cider Mill posted Hungarian coffee cake in celebration of St. Elizabeth of Hungary's feast day.
Cookin' Kids has a free newsletter with "cooking tips, stories from our readers, tips to help your kids in the kitchen,
cool cooking-related websites,and a recipe or two" - sounds good to me!
From Craftzine - velcro catch ball. And a cutie to demonstrate it!
Just add water mini-paintings at Inspired Ideas would be fun for Goose and my littler nieces. (Don't forget about the low-budget version of paint with water previously mentioned.)
While I'd rather visit my knitting buddy, here's a website devoted to learning to knit with videos!
PRAY & PONDER
I always appreciate it when bloggers link back to posts that perhaps were written before I started reading them, or maybe it just didn't sink in at the time. (Or I didn't have a blog to share it with you.) Jennifer at Conversion Diary has a great explanation on offering it up. And Tupac and childbirth. Great stuff.
This week, Jennifer also posted on how asking for prayers worked for her.
See how Karen Edmisten does No-Panic Advent.
Elizabeth Foss writes about connecting depression, burnout, and surrendering to find God.
Parenting the Tiniest of Miracles has a neat series called "Dear New Mommy" with the latest installment for the home stretch of pregnancy.
This is worth some pondering - Trent at The Simple Dollar makes the case that It's Not the School, It's the Student regarding the importance (or lack thereof) of a brand name school education.
Bethany at Happy to Be Called Mommy posted a quote from Sarah Palin's book where Palin writes about a miscarriage she suffered. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Sarah Palin (and Bethany, for that matter).
Considering my pile of books to read gets longer by the day (I brought home a handful of really good ones from Goodwill today!), I doubt I'll get around to listening to these CDs, but Faith & Family Live has some glowing words for Detaching with Love by Fr. Emmerich Vogt.
Happy clicking - and you can look forward to another RTWI installment soon with all my favorites from the Sew, Mama, Sew! scrap busters contest. I know I'm a nut, but I can't wait to look at them again. :>)
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Use a dish drain rack. I found one that was small enough to fit in my lazy susan, which helped me better utilize THAT space, too. Anybody else have a great way of storing lids?
And, while I'm asking questions, I'd love to hear recommendations - I need to replace my teflon skillets because they are no longer non-stick, and I keep reading how lousy that stuff is for you anyway. Anybody using something they love?
For more kitchen tips, visit Tammy's Recipes.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Today has included her blocks being picked up by Mama and put *away* (as in she can see them but won't be allowed to play with them for a while), and a bowl of spaghetti thrown on the floor, which led to going down for nap early. But, she also walked into the kitchen carrying a puzzle box with her nappies all tucked in, doll pillow and blanket included. (You can see how they got their names here if you missed it.)
So, while you're clicking around, please join me in praying for my friends and all parents who are grieving with empty arms.
Now. Let's cheer ourselves up with some stuff to keep busy:
In this week's installment of "How Valerie at Frugal Family Fun Blog Made Me Die of Cuteness" we have a fabric dollhouse. AND she claims it came together in a few HOURS. That's my kind of craft - instant gratification!
elsie marley has a simple but fun leaf crown perfect for this time of year. I love the concept of using natural materials, enjoying them as they are, and returning them to nature when you're done (i.e. compost).
Karen Edmisten (who has been self-proclaimed not Queen of Crafts) reminds us to work on our Thanksgiving Trees.
Living with Lindsay has a tutorial for some very funky Book Page Wreaths, though I will admit that my first thought is "how do you dust that??" followed by the answer "by tossing in the burn barrel and making another." :>)
Make It Do has a post on making bed warmers, and the best part is when she notes that corn retains heat longer than rice. CORN. The stuff to which I have nearly unlimited access. Yeah, I'll be making some of these. And in the meantime, I took my rice bag to bed last night and Hubs tried to swipe it for HIS cold toes. These are also super for keeping you warm while sitting and watching TV in the evenings ... if you're too cheap to turn up the heat like I am. :>)
Continuing my felt food obsession, Dana from MADE (who has SERIOUSLY inspired the way I throw myself into sewing projects!) won the first round of So You Think You're Crafty, the name of which cracks me up every time I read it. Also crazy cute, though, was this tractor from homemade by jill . . . and I'll admit I'm hoping a tutorial shows up for it! Though Goose would prefer hers to be green, just like Papa's.
[Also, I just stumbled across Felt-o-rama. There are approximately a bajillion links there. And, please celebrate with me, as I was one of the winners of this felt food pattern! SO MUCH TO MAKE and SO LITTLE TIME!]
Abbi at Proverbs 31 Living is working her way through a Handmade Christmas series, and I've done a BUNCH of clicking around over there. Some things I tossed in the Crafty favorites folder include: pinwheel bobby pins from Little Jenny Wren, butterflies at LollyChops, flower crown made from scraps at mellow, and the Eddie Cap at Mushroom Villagers. (Note to sister-in-law - do NOT click through on that last one...)
I love the randomness of this Scrap Buster Fall Pillow at Cluck Cluck Sew! (PS - many of these are noting that October was Scrap Buster month at Sew, Mama, Sew. I'm using all my willpower not to click over there because I know I'd never get out! Especially considering I pretty much ONLY use scraps to sew!)
Not sure where my deep love for making flowers comes from, but these Paper Towel and Baby Wipe Kanzashi Flowers at Filth Wizardy just plain rock!
This would be a fun gift - How To Make Picture Perfect Pads of Paper at Photojojo. Or how about some Fabric Covered CD Coasters from mojo and co?
I'm a sucker for these - Reusable Cloth Ziplocs at Progressive Pioneer.
Blue Yonder is putting together a series on crock pot tips. So far, there is the intro/vol. 1, volume 2, and volume 3.
I'm a big fan of risotto (how can you go wrong with creamy rice and cheese??) and didn't mind standing at the stove to make it...until the two-year-old entered the picture and tends to need things RIGHT NOW when my hands are busy. Enter Lynn's Kitchen Adventures and Oven Risotto. Yum!
Not quite the same vein as risotto, Katie at Kitchen Stewardship is working on a great series on Lard and Tallow. TONS of food for thought. And let me tell you . . . you haven't eaten really good pie until you've tried a piece on Grandma Johnson's lard pie crust.
Sarah's Musings is holding a For the Love of the Slow Cooker Recipe Carnival - including Sarah's recipes for carmelized onion marmalade (love that it keeps well in the fridge!) and yogurt.
Before long, Goose will be ready to work something like this bread in a bag recipe from AllRecipes.com - doesn't that sound fun?!?
Since our gifts are getting more . . . handmade and thrifted (read: less expensive, more thought!), I'm all about finding better ways to wrap them and make them look pretty. Here's a new one from Bugs and Fishes using yarn and buttons, brooches, and more.
Tipnut has a page on how to help your Christmas cactus thrive. My mom has my grandmother's Christmas cactus and that thing is one happy plant. My cutting from it sits atop my china hutch (far out of a certain Goose's wingspan) and looks sad and lonely. Maybe this will help!
Trent at The Simple Dollar has a great article on Teaching Money Management Through Self-Responsibility. Lots to think about and work towards.
These autumn wreaths at Sweet Life in the Valley are cute and simple - and the square shape makes them really funky, too!
Make your own (cheap!) Pedestal Plate at Reasonably Random.
Confessions of a Sewing Dork (hee!) has easy instructions on how to Hand Dye Silk Play Scarves with Kool-Aid. And a link to cheap playsilks!
These Wrapped Vases from Natural Home Magazine are really neat - though I'll admit I went in there thinking I'd get to learn how to make the paper, too. Quick reconsideration assured me that would be best left to the professionals. :>)
Hooray! This is the first cloth diaper cake I've seen (@ Kate's Kitchen).
Faithfulness Farm has a review of Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House by Cheryl Mendelson. I especially took note of the description of "broken windows" and I know it is quite true in my house. I have a lot of them - lots of bad habits. Need to work on that.
Saving Money In Real Life has a post on Send a Gift, Save on Postage. I'm becoming increasingly frustrated at how postage rates have risen, and I'm pretty far away from UPS and FedEx facilities, but perhaps I need to be looking into them. When I visited Guatemala nine years ago, I was surprised to learn that they'd privatized their postal system with huge improvements in service.
PRAY & PONDER
Though this isn't a prayer, so to speak, Faithfulness Farm also shared a moving poem in honor of Veteran's Day, called In Flanders Fields. I'd not ever known the connection between Veteran's Day (formerly Armistice Day - or Remembrance Day across the pond) and the poppies that Hubs and other members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars sell as a fundraiser - and a reminder. You can read more about it on Wikipedia. Also, for next year, I'm thinking Goose and I might make some big poppies as found at No Time for Flashcards - though green lentils in the middle might look more like the ones that Papa sells.
This falls under Make and Do while praying and pondering Jesus's birth, so I'll put it down here. Elizabeth Foss has compiled her wonderful Advent and Christmas resources all in one post. WOW!
Special thanks to my Goose for taking a good nap today so I coud get this monster post compiled. Happy clicking! (By the way, by the time I got this all put together, I ended up clicking through to Sew, Mama, Sew. It's my goal to come out with less than forty links for next week. :>))