Sunday, July 25, 2010

Link Roundup - Hungry Bears Edition

So I bought a used bike trailer/jogging stroller. Goose and I have strolled over to the farm twice in four days, and both times I actually did a little bit of jogging with it. One of my catch-phrases is that I don't run unless hungry bears are involved, so I guess they must be around here somewhere.

Let's do something that won't aggravate my sore leg muscles, though.

Admittedly I will definitely need Hubs and/or my dad to help with this, here are some Free Downloadable Swing Set Plans at BYO Swingset.

My favorite is the bird in flight on this Quick Craft Colorful Window Display, I am completely in love with this Simple Farm Take-Along Toy, and YOU MUST TRY THIS! (hint: it's Giant Bubbles), and I'm still laughing over the Jumping Bean Races. Also, I am stunned at how much these Super Easy Cool Comets kick the crap out of my Sponge Balls. From my very favorite-est online hangout, Frugal Family Fun Blog.

Girl in Air has a super How To Crochet Sesame Street Hats - VERY well done!

These Paper Plate Animal Crafts from No Time For Flashcards are A.DOR.ABLE!

I am completely enthralled by the Lavender Wands as described at Peculiar Momma. (There is another link to click through to see how to make the lovelies, but I have to give PM some props for pointing me to it.)

Feels Like Home lists 10 Things to Cook in a Muffin Tin, not counting muffins, of course. :>)

This might pry me away from Parmesan cheese with my popcorn (well, for a minute anyway) - Cinnamon Vanilla Popcorn at Leafy Treetop Spot.

This sounds different (and more eat-the-whole-thing-likely) than other similar recipes I've seen: My Granny's Chocolate Cobbler at The Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen.

Since I seem to be famous for running out of all kinds of important ingredients and not realizing it until I'm committed (i.e. halfway mixed up), I am going to hang on to this Rainy Day Magic Chocolate Cake from Salsa Pie.

Ohhh, these Cooks Illustrated Blueberry Scones at The Review Lady sound amazing.

A nice change (with chocolate chips!) from banana bread is this Banana Monkey Bars recipe from A Soft Place to Land.

I've made something similar before to these Green French Fries at Dinner: A Love Story (hee!) but my recipe included my beloved Parmesan cheese with the bread crumbs, I think.

Dr. Ray Guarendi tells us how we can get our kids to Nag No More over at Faith & Family Live.

Wish I'd have known this a few weeks ago - Momadvice posted on Freezing Blueberries in 3 Easy Steps.

How Does She? demonstrates a Great Magic Trick that even my Goose could do with a little help.

This Preschool Math Lesson with Lego Measurements from No Time for Flashcards is really cool - I like the estimating part of it.

Whoof, I'm still trying to wrap my mind around all these posts, but start with Intro to Sun Protection post (my title, not Katie's...) and then hit the very thorough Natural Sunscreen Review at Kitchen Stewardship. She also has some giveaways and stuff going on, so click around a little.

Who knew? You can Remove Permanent Marker with an Eraser, as seen at Premeditated Leftovers.

I can hardly believe this Chandelier Redo with Mod Podge at The Hand Me Down House - it turned out beautifully! (A few of the middle step pictures had me wondering...)

Impress Your Kids has a review/walk through of sorts of the book Have a New Kid by Friday - I haven't clicked around much yet, but I'd like to do so, and soon!

Happy clicking, friends!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Link Roundup - Feet in the Pool Edition

This post was composed at least in part wading-poolside with my feet in said pool, as Goose occasionally keeps me awake by dumping water on my legs. Life isn't too bad on this HOT day!

This Felt Mat, Girl Style from A girl and a glue gun is a super idea!

If you need to craft on the cheap, check out this Sock Wreath from Blue Cricket Design.

A new blog I'm digging is Crafty Mama - lots of neat project ideas over there.

Valerie at Frugal Family Fun Blog has done it again - this time, it's a Travel Play Kitchen Set that's great for small spaces, and a Mini Paper Doll Travel Set.

I got a huge kick out of this PVC Sprinkler Water Toy via Instructables.

Contrary to what Hubs might think about my garden weeding frequency, I seem to poke through the fingers of my gardening gloves in short order. I can now whip up some Handmade Gardening Gloves with the help of Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross. Though I might add some ribbing at the cuffs...

Thanks to Angie at Treasures for Tots for the heads-up on this: DIY Bobbin Organizer from The Sassy Crafter. So far, I have tended to be really stingy with thread, so I don't have too many filled (or partially filled) bobbins. And I have a neat little plastic case. But still? This is a great idea.

Mine would *never* in a million years end up looking quite so neat, but I love this Utility Tote from Bag'n-Tell, with the main reason quite possibly being that the pattern uses algebra.

Regardless of my marital status, I'm tempted to give Joy the Baker's Single Lady Pancake a try.

If you have an apple abundance this year (don't think I will, sigh...), check out these Applesauce Recipes at Tipnut.

I'm super excited to find these Strawberry Cupcakes that don't start with a box mix and don't include a bunch of weird stuff that isn't really food! Thanks, Daily Nibbles!

The wheels are already turning in my mind about how I can use regular tomatoes to make Nancy Harmon Jenkins' Pasta with Baked Tomato Sauce, from The Wednesday Chef.

Even though I'm currently crazy full from overindulging on cookies, I still want to jump up and make these Snickerdoodle Blondies from Brown Eyed Baker.

Probably my favorite part of this post on How To Dry Fresh Herbs at Bargaineering is that it identifies which herbs are better to freeze and which are better to dry. I will have an herb garden one of these years, I will!

Chasing Cheerios has a cheap and easily stored Fun Math Activity.

How fun is this Paper City at Made By Joel??

I can't imagine ever wanting to leave this Mud Pie Kitchen at Pepper Paints.

Really, this is a DON'T DO! from The Red Tape Chronicles, See An Online Job Scammer At Work.

I really enjoyed this post on What Parenting Books Can't Teach at Faith & Family Live.

Happy clicking!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Link Roundup - Wheat Harvest Edition (Sorta)

We started wheat harvest... and it ground to a halt after it rained this morning. Sigh. You'd think I'd be used to it by now. :>)

So let's do some clicking.

Oh, this looks like fun (for next year...)! Make Your Own Fourth of July Confetti Popper Rockets at Alphamom.

Also for next year, Little Birdie Secrets Party Poppers Tutorial.

Some very cute things from Make It and Love It - 4th of July Shirts, Cloth Baby Rings, and a Sewing Machine Cover.

What a sweet Simple Summer Outfit at Yards and Yards and what a cute blog name!

Goose isn't into Barbies yet, but once she is, I will plan to make some of these Upcycled Craft Doll Headbands from Zakka Life.

Tipnut gives us some ideas on Things to Make with Fresh Blueberries. Yum! Also at Tipnut, How To Make Dried Cherries. And finally, Pomegranates Tips.

Honestly, I can feel my rear end getting bigger just reading the recipe for Homemade Peanut Butter Cups at Mom, Undecided. I need to stay far, far away from that ingredient list...

Mmm, Paint Chips and Frying Pans posted a recipe for Homemade Cinnamon Syrup.

I don't know about you, but I am getting more and more hungry as I type, continuing with Peaches 'N Cream Muffins from Amy's Finer Things.

And it just continues... Pillow Cookies at Bakerella.

Phew - something that makes me not want to immediately bake, but I still want to try this Pizza Sauce from Budget Saving Mom.

Kitchen Stewardship is talking Canning Basics.

If you're traveling in my fair state of Nebraska, check out these Kids Car Activities at Visit Nebraska.

Also at Kitchen Stewardship, Katie is having a giveaway, including her new Family Camping Handbook, which I can personally attest is *awesome*.

Happy surfing!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Link Roundup - "Goes Boom" Edition

This sums up my feelings toward fireworks: Musings of a Fireworks Scrooge. (You'll have to click through to get the "goes boom" part.)

To get my mind off being cranky over all the money going up in smoke and causing my 3 year old to say over the monitor every five minutes "what wazzat, Mama?", let's do some clicking around.

While I think cupcakes are delightful in their own, I'm not opposed to simple additions to make them even cuter, like these Cupcake Wrappers Made From Doilies at Intimate Weddings.

I love this idea - Embroidery for Kids a guest post from One Hill Road at Skip to My Lou. It would make great gifts, for sure!

These Paper Globes from Hello, My Name is Heather are so, so pretty in their simplicity.

A Storybook Life has a post on How to Make Beautiful Beads From Recycled Newspaper that are lovely!

Little Apartment on the Prairie tells us How to Make Your Own Beach Glass.

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of knocking off cool stuff and making it yourself, so today's version of that tactic is this Land of Nod Inspired Floor Cushion at Living with Punks.

Sew, Mama, Sew has a tutorial on a very lovely Perfectly Portable Cushion. If you want to see all the Summer Sewing projects, click here.

I think I'm going to keep an eye out for big spoons at thrift shops so I can Make Cute Garden Markers at The Magic Onions.

Family Balance Sheet has a Grilled Summer Squash with Parmesan and Herb recipe that sounds delicious! From there, I also clicked through to Pasta with Fall Squash and Leeks. Yum.

Not sure if I'm brave enough, but I still am bookmarking this Raw Chocolate "Pudding" at Naturally Knocked Up.

Taste is Trump has a simple recipe for Fruit Leather which apparently is amazing with apricots. Now I'm hungry...

I'm seriously eyeing this Simple Behavior Intervention at Chasing Cheerios for Goose, who also has a listening problem much of the time.

Katie at Kitchen Stewardship tells us how she is battling her fruit flies and How To Naturally Get Rid of Ants in Your House.

To head off the cries of "I'm boooored", Shower of Roses posted about Summer Bingo at their house.

Tipnut has some Tips for Removing Carpet Stains.

This is something I pray I never see, but I thought it was important enough to share: Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning, at gCaptain.

This is nothing if not random - How to Open a Bottle of Wine with a Shoe, from

Happy clicking! And I hope you were able to celebrate the 4th with more than just loud noises and burned-up money. :>)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Keeping My Cool

Hubs will be the first to tell you that I'm a big weenie when it comes to heat. I honestly think there's a little glitch in my system somewhere that makes me that way, but I guess I won't know for sure until I get a chance to ask the Big Guy that made me, and once I get to that point, I'm not sure I'll care anyway.

But I digress.

This summer, Goose has wanted to spend more time outside than at any other time in her little life. I am just starting to wrap my mind around the fact that means tons of bug spray and baths, let alone the HEAT. (Feel free to leave a comment with your favorite bug repelling methods, by the way - I'm still looking for one that works besides greasy DEET.)

Today, I whipped up some neck coolers and sponge balls. I looked at a few tutorials for neck coolers (including Salihan Crafts, Heather Lessiter, and Aquadiamonds) but they're all more or less the same: make a long, skinny tube of fabric, stitch across the width of it several inches in on one end, add the crystals, stitch several inches in on the other end, fold in your edges and sew. You soak the cooler in water to activate the crystals, tie it around your neck, and do your thing.

[Edited to add: I made four more for my nieces, and I loosely followed the Aquadiamonds pattern which instructs you to sew several inches in (which makes your tie on one end), add 1/4 teaspoon or so of crystals, sew a few inches up to make a pocket or channel for those crystals, add more crystals, stitch across again, etc. I didn't follow the measurements in the instructions; rather I put pins to mark where I wanted the ties to end/cooler to begin on each end, then I pinned to mark the middle, then I pinned to mark the quarter-way points. So, I ended up with four pockets for the crystals.

Since one of the coolers was for my two-year-old niece, I made hers shorter than the others. I didn't change the amount of crystals I used (1/4 teaspoon per pocket or channel) and hers got pretty tight after soaking the same amount of time as the others that were larger. I plan to re-do mine and Goose's to add the pockets, and I will decrease the amount of crystals in hers.

Also, I discovered that after two days of soaking (in a bowl - not in a cooler!), the crystals that started out smaller than the "bead" on the non-business end of my sewing pins became a bit bigger than a marble. So these things really expand - be aware.]

I made one for me and a smaller one for Goose. Here they are before and after soaking:

(Should you happen to click on the above pic to make it larger, you'll notice that the fabric has kitties on it. :>))

Yup, that's my cluttered countertop, in all its glory. I didn't bother to measure the crystals and I wish that I would have... I was trying to get that part of the project done before the 3 year old got interested in what I was doing. Her smaller cooler could probably have used more crystals, I think.

My biggest obstacle in getting these made was finding the polymer crystals. I didn't want to buy them online and have to wait for them to arrive, but I couldn't get them locally via Wal-Mart or the regional garden store chain. This morning, in a burst of creative genius, I stopped at the local flower shop - success! I ended up with about 2/3 of a cup, which is way, way more than I need, and paid $5, which I thought was too much. But it was the best I could do, and it worked!

The other thing I made was Sponge Balls. I stopped at the dollar store after hitting the flower shop and picked up two bags of sponges for $1 each. Turns out they were miscellaneous and random rejects in varying sizes, shapes and types. I just cut them into strips and went with it, though. The results are kinda cute, I thought:

I'm really looking forward to smacking my brother in the back of the head with these--- I mean, tossing them around with Goose and my nieces.

If there's a Frugal Friday this week, I'll be submitting this post, so if you want more frugal tips, check out Life As Mom.