Saturday, November 28, 2009

Link Roundup - Advent Edition

Today is Day 2 of Goose-less-ness. I didn't particularly sleep in any, but I was still wearing my PJs at lunchtime, so that must count for something. I've managed to (almost) clear out my Google reader, and have caught up on commenting on posts I've linked to in my posts. (That is quite a task in of itself!) Except I'm going to have to do it again on these links. Ah, well - just another of life's tasks that are never really completed. Like laundry.

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

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

God With Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas on, 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

Link Roundup, Sew, Mama, Sew Scrap Buster Edition

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I am full of Grandma J's mashed potatoes and homemade noodles and I can now go on. (Yes, it is that good.) I'm listening to Goose honk away over the monitor and watching a lousy but amusing movie with Hubs but I don't expect him to be awake much longer. Good times.

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

Biokleen Giveaway

Katie at Kitchen Stewardship is hosting a giveaway from Biokleen! Click on over for your chance to win!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Link Roundup - What Doin'? Edition

Around here, I'm getting asked "what doin'?" approximately 346 times per hour. I'm thinking the "why?" stage isn't going to be far behind. The good news is that means Goose is trying to figure out the world around her, and I'm trying my best to help her figure it out.

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!

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

Organizing Pot Lids

This isn't a new tip - you've likely seen it before. But I had to read it a couple dozen times before thinking "huh, I oughta try that" and probably a few more after that before I actually went out and did it.

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

Link Roundup, Squeeze Your Toddler Edition

This past week, I've been praying particularly fervently for a childhood friend whose 3 year old son was killed when he climbed some shelves in the garage and pulled them over. That has weighed on my mind as I have navigated the week with a 2 year old who is on quite a TWO bend.

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 - 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.

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. :>))

Friday, November 13, 2009

Soft Blocks for Baby

With apologies to my sister-in-law who gets my posts via e-mail, this post is about how I made blocks for her little boy for Christmas. (Delete this e-mail now, sister!) (The rest of you can scroll down to see the pictures.)

I bought a piece of 4" thick foam at Hobby Lobby and found a post at on how to cut foam. I'll tell you, my hands and wrists were sore from pulling my electric knife through the foam, and I certainly should have put it up on the table instead of the floor because my bunner muscles and thighs were SORE from kneeling, squatting, and otherwise dancing around while cutting. Mercy. Oh, and I put one of my cheap, large cutting boards under the spot where I was cutting with the knife - you will ding it up, and badly.

The foam was about $22 and I used a 40% off coupon - you should be able to see the current one being offered here. It was 22"x22", so I'm thinking of making extra blocks (or two) and selling them in my Etsy shop. Maybe a set for a baby girl?

On my shopping trip to Hobby Lobby, I found the fabric you see - it coincidentally was a print with 4.25" square blocks! I cut it apart so that four blocks were together, and I stitched on a top and a bottom, so to speak. On the advice of both my mother and MIL, I'm using a zig zag stitch for strength. I left two sides open for stuffing the foam in, as I found leaving just one side open made for a very tight squeeze.

Then I hand stitched the remaining two sides shut using more or less a basic whipstitch. I tended to space my stitches too closely together, which I thought was better than too far apart. My mom had encouraged me to try to space them about the same distance as the zig zag stitches from the machine, but my brain kept over-riding that. :>)

I found that even using only the width of my presser foot as my seam allowance, some of the blocks are pretty tight - plus it comes as no surprise that none of my blocks are completely square (nor are my fabric cuts). Were I to do this again with non-block-printed fabric, I'd probably cut at least 4.5" squares and possibly 4.75" squares to make sure there is enough room. On the one hand, you don't want the fabric too loose and the foam sliding around inside, but on the other hand, too tight isn't very pretty.

To make the bag, I figured three rows of three blocks each, which would be 12" by 12", plus 4" on the sides, and I wanted plenty of room for a drawstring at the top. I ended up cutting my fabric 17" across by about 37" long (partly influenced by the size of my piece of fabric). I was completely winging it without a pattern (which seems to be my favorite way to sew!) so I'll just explain what I did.

First, I made the patch with [nephew name]'S BLOCKS. I tried embroidering it and didn't care for the way it turned out. So I pulled that out. I had a number of scraps left over from the blocks, so I made stencil letters on the computer (see how to do that at my ABC Book post) and cut them out. I used two-sided fusible interfacing attached to the print first, then traced the letters on the back side - make sure you trace the letters BACKWARDS so they'll end up the right way - and cut them out, then fused them to the navy piece of fabric. I cut around the edge with pinking shears and stitched it to the light blue fabric for the sack. Note that my webbing is thick, so I did NOT stitch around the outside. I used some of this on my ABC Book referenced above, and ended up breaking my thread several times. Had I used the Wonder Under that I finally found in the storage room this morning, I'd have used a zig zag stitch around the letters.

Looking at it now, I think I should have scooted it down a few inches when I stitched it on, but without the bag sewn and the blocks in it, it looked centered at the time. So, if you try this at home, learn from my mistakes . . .

To make the bag, I folded the fabric at the bottom of the bagand pinned one side. I stitched that side shut and pressed the seam open. I trimmed the corner a bit, snipping off the diagonal, so it would be neater when turned right side out. I think at this point I had intended to fold the top down and sew the slot for the drawstring, but I forgot. I stitched the other side, also all the way up to the top, which kind of came back to bite me later, but I persevered! I then turned the top down and stitched the drawstring slot, but if you're following along in your mind, you'll realize I don't have anywhere for the drawstring to go into or out of - it's completely stitched shut!

Luckily, I thrive on this type of challenge. :>) I stitched back and forth a few times about 3/4" down from the top of the bag along one side seam, and then used a seam ripper to open the side seam stitches between that and the seam that made the bottom of the drawstring slot. Success! For the string, I braided six strands of navy yarn with different colored flecks and knotted each end. I fastened a barrette on one end, and used that to feed the yarn through the slot. (Slot isn't the right word, but I can't think of what the right word would be! Feel free to leave me a comment on that!) I also pressed the fold at the top so it would lay neatly.

Then I stuffed the blocks in and tied the yarn, sat back, and admired my work. :>) You can see more of what I'm doing for Christmas at my Handmade Christmas post, which I'm updating as I make more things. (Unless you're going to be a recipient of said gifts. Then no peeking, you Scrooge!) You can also see more handmade Christmas ideas at Proverbs 31 Living.

For more frugal ideas, visit Life As Mom.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Link Roundup - Harvest Edition

Thankfully Hubs and the in-laws are able to be in the fields after rain and snow and more rain. Let's hope the nice weather holds! I think they should get done with soybeans today, and then we'll move on to corn.

Hopefully I'll make some time during Goose's nap today to update my Handmade Christmas post (no peeking for those of you on my gift list!) - I've been working hard!

Here's the link love for the week -

Sometime, I'd like to get some felt food made for Goose. I stumbled across Lit'l Brown Bird, which has links to patterns and tutorials in her Etsy shop as well as links to some free ones. Valerie at Frugal Family Fun blog has some cute felt food in her new Etsy shop. (And, may I mention that I WON a super-fun felt food pattern in a giveaway at Today's Creative Blog?!?)

Happy Zombie has some very cute "poochie bags" made from three fat quarters.

I have to say I'm the kind of person that, when I'm in the middle of a project of which I may or may not be following a pattern, thinks "hey, I should put a pocket on this!" And now, thanks to Tipnut, I have one place that shows me how to make pockets for every purpose.

Goose isn't into letters yet, but the time is coming soon . . . I wonder if I could make something like this spinny speller from Chasing Cheerios?


Valerie at FFFB also did some easy "baking" for the birds with her five year old.

Danielle Bean posted at Faith & Family Live about a new version of parental controls on TV called MPower Media. Sounds very interesting!

I totally thought I posted this last week but must have missed it somehow - Donielle at Naturally Knocked Up explains how to make elderberry syrup, which is supposed to be excellent for building up your immune system.

One blog I greatly admire is that of Kimberlee at Pondered in My Heart. She has some really lovely alphabet coloring pages illustrated by various actions that we all want our children to emulate. You can also find G-J here. What a blessing!

The Happy Housewife has some excellent suggestions for frugal Christmas wrap. I think I'm going to jump all over the clearance Christmas fabric after Christmas and use it to make bags for next year. Awesome idea! (And, you could use my ribbon storage idea to keep track of your ribbons from year to year!)

Along those lines, The Prudent Homemaker has a guest post on Mom's Frugal on what to do for Christmas when you have zero budget for it. Great ideas there!

I try to be careful with my laptop, but I bet sooner or later I'll need to know what to do when you spill on your laptop, thanks to Trent at the Simple Dollar.

This is going to go on my craft-a-day list for my nieces this Christmas - mixing colors with shaving cream from Chasing Cheerios.

Same with this winter tree silhouette from Frugal Family Fun Blog.

Karen Edmisten explains why we pray for the dead, especially during November, the month of all saints and all souls.

Dan Burke wrote a provoking article about treating his wife as she deserves, after all, she is a Daughter of the King. Good food for thought, especially when I flip it and apply to my Hubs, who is indeed a Son of the King.

Bethany at the Apple Cider Mill has a great Advent primer post.

Danielle Bean has a great column on Sanitized Childhood at Inside Catholic.

Here's the video targeted at little ones for this week's Gospel message at Faith & Family Live.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Saturday Evening Blog Post

This month, I'm submitting my favorite post of the month to Elizabeth Esther's round up of the best of October. I picked Handmade Christmas, 2009 which is actually a work-in-progress. I'll be updating it with pictures of what I've made and how things turned out, plus I'd love to see other people's links to what they're making this year so feel free to leave me a comment! (And if you're my sisters-in-law or my mom, you still aren't allowed to click through, you scrooges. Sorry.) :>)

To see more of the best of October, visit Elizabeth

And also - Goose has taken a clip holding her crib rail off three times so far in this quite possibly failed naptime. I've duct taped the clip (and had only fleeting thoughts of duct taping the kid) but would love any words of wisdom on transitioning to a toddler bed, as it seems to be imminent. Thanks!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Cheap White Noise

When Goose was a tiny baby, it became clear that sleep was going to be an uphill battle with her. To make matters worse, her bedroom opens right into our living room, so that even watching TV at low levels or holding a conversation at a normal tone sounds like it is happening in her bedroom.

I read in a number of places to try white noise. Some suggested sources were a fan - which was too cold in early spring for a baby even if it was not pointed at her, static from the radio - new radios seem to try to edge into the closest signal and thus don't stay on static, and it just wasn't practical to run the vacuum cleaner every time she needed to sleep! (Though my carpets could have used the vacuuming, I know.)

I can't remember exactly how or when I figured it out, but I set up my fish aquarium in her room and used the air pump as the white noise. As a bonus, I could use the light from the aquarium as a nightlight. Of course, once she started crawling, that idea had to go out the window. But the air pump itself did not.

I disconnected the tube that ran into the tank, and coiled up and bound the power cord so that there was just enough room to plug it in and set it on the floor. It has provided about two years of white noise in addition to perhaps two or three years of use in an aquarium, so it seems to be lasting well. I don't remember what the cost was initially - I'm certain I picked it up at Wal-Mart, though, and that it was not a "top of the line" model. I've considered taking it with us when we travel, but I wasn't sure if it would be too weird for her to wake up to a familiar sound in an unfamiliar place. Regardless, this idea has worked very well for us!

And here's just one of those little things that keeps me from listing Goose on ebay . . . yesterday, she gave a short shrill squeal, as two year olds do to voice their displeasure with something. Immediately after, she very seriously and in a normal tone, said "calm down?" Yes, little one, I do want you to calm down. Thanks. :>)

For more frugal ideas, visit Life As Mom.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fun Finds - Presbyterian Rummage Sale

I mentioned a while back that I got some good stuff at the Presbyterian rummage sale. (Why do I bother noting which church sponsors the rummage sales? Dunno.) Anyway, thought I'd show off my finds.

A set of wings for Goose. They need recovering, which is easy enough to do with knee-high panty hose. I don't know how I'll end up painting them (or if - I'm not very artistic that way). On this set, I noticed that that they are joined in the middle by felt that was glued on - that's definitely good information for re-assembly.

A stack of books with corresponding cassette tapes. I have an old but loved radio/tape player that I've been thinking about designating for Goose use (hee!) though I'm not sure she's quite ready for that responsibility. (A note on the radio - I won it at our last-day-of-school festivities in the seventh grade. I can still remember how excited I was to win it!)

A few different books. I've already given her Corduroy and A Rainbow of My Own (by the same author as Corduroy) and she LOVES them both. The Country Bunny book will be saved for Easter, as likely the garden book will be. The back two are tucked away for future possible home schooling.

This is what I suspect she'll be most excited about - a tool set. She's been a good little "fixer" lately and I've cracked up a number of times watching her lay down her little bike on its side and mess around with her little wooden hammer and a pair of plastic pliers. She'll be grease monkeying on tractors before I know it! There is also a little red drill that I think she'll enjoy, and because there was room in the picture, I threw in the sack of magnetic letters and a funky ball that I picked up.

Ah, yes, a picture of the random miscellaneous. Lots of good stuff here! Left to right (mostly) - a glass trinket box in the shape of a shamrock, since Goose was born on St. Patrick's Day, three hair clips - the new ones just aren't strong enough to hold all my hair up, a set of cute greeting cards, a couple pair of old black and white shoelaces, an assortment of old thread, some on funky spools, a little smiley face button pin with shamrocks for the eyes, a seamstress measuring tape, a big red button, some foil hearts, and a few tubes of glitter. (Whew.)

I can't remember now exactly how much this set me back, but I'm thinking it was in the neighborhood of $8. I was quite pleased!