Saturday, November 26, 2011

Daybook for November 26, 2011

Outside my window... today was chilly and windy, after a few days of beautiful weather. I think it will warm back up again this week though. Goose and I took advantage of the nice weather on Wednesday and put up the Christmas lights on the porch. We waited until tonight to turn them on, and she is THRILLED.

I am thinking... that my adrenal glands aren't doing as well as I had hoped. I bumped my supplement levels back up to the full amount, and so far it's helping a little, but I am trying to be patient.

I am praying for... my father-in-law. A week ago yesterday, they estimated he probably only had days to go; a week ago today, they dropped it down to just hours. He has had ups and downs since then, but yesterday he asked to be brought out to the living room to sit for a while. Also praying for patience to wait on God's timing.

I am thankful for... every minute we have with my father-in-law.

From the learning rooms... whoof. Much of our time has been spent at the farm, so this area has been a bit neglected.

From the kitchen... whoof again. We've eaten most of our meals at the farm, too. For thanksgiving, I brought creamy corn and peppers and cheesy mashed potatoes. We had baked oatmeal a few days this week, and I also made this Pumpkin Coffee Cake. It was really good!

I am wearing... purple long sleeved shirt, pinkish purplish cords.

I am creating... umm, a few cell phone cases for the craft shop, and I have some ideas in my head for Christmas gifts that I need to get moving on.

I am pondering... that we rejoice in the hope of the resurrection.

I am reading... Real Learning: Education In the Heart of the Home

I am hoping... for a better night's sleep tonight.

I am hearing... Hubs talking to the video game he's playing. :>)

Around the house... needs some picking up, for sure.

One of my favorite things... Goose learning how to walk carefully up to a skittish cat and gently pet it. Girl after my own heart! :>)

A few plans for the rest of the week... our final Bible study session on Monday, small claims court for our little village on Thursday, and lots of time at the farm, I'm sure.

A picture thought I am sharing... Goosie and Grandpa, taken a few months ago.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Kitchen Tip - Covering Crockpots

I recently needed to cook a chunk of frozen pork roast in the crockpot. The meat wasn't big enough to necessitate using my large crockpot, but it didn't fit in my small crock with the lid on. My solution? Cover the crock with a bowl!

I used a cereal bowl, and it actually fit perfectly - a seal formed, just like with using the lid. Usually I just put the lid on the best I can and squish things down as they thaw. This day, I was away from the house so it was unattended. The meat was ready to go by the time I got back and it fed our hungry silage crew well! I will be linking to Kitchen Tip Tuesdays over at Tammy's Recipes.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Being an Intentional "Yes Mama"

I've been listening to my blogging friend Amy when she writes about being intentional. I have longed to be more intentional, rather than reactive. Now that my health is getting back on track, I am getting more serious about it, though I'm just taking baby steps. I'm sure I read about being a "yes mama" on Melissa Wiley's blog, though I can't find the specific post now. (I have, however, spent a glorious hour clicking around her archives. Lissa is probably the first blogger I followed!) (Hmm, maybe it was Danielle Bean? No matter, though I wish I had another hour to dig through her archives, too...)

As I remember, being a "yes mama" means that instead of thinking about the mess that will be created, all the setup and cleanup that will be necessary for what will surely be approximately seven minutes of whatever activity and saying "not now" or "maybe later" ... that you say yes, and follow their lead with what they want to do.

Seven minutes of painting, sure, but really, it only takes about three minutes to set it up and two minutes to clean it up (provided there wasn't an oopsie accident, and Goose is really quite careful).

I have been slowly accumulating various art and craft supplies on clearance, from garage sales, at thrift stores, and I'm now realizing that it doesn't make sense to keep saving them for a rainy day - especially when I tend to be a "not now" mama on rainy days, too. So, I pulled them all together and put them in a set of plastic drawers now located in the kitchen:

Yup, stepping around Goose, who was using stencils and colored pencils in the middle of the floor was kind of a pain, and she needed help pulling up and re-taping stencils, but in the grand scheme of things, it wasn't that bad. Plus she really, really enjoyed it. I also discovered that when I am more willing to say yes, she is also more willing to say yes when it is time to clean up (especially if we talk about it beforehand.)

Something that got me to thinking about all this again was when she brought me one of her books and said "can I do dat, Mama?"

I know that if I want HER to be creative, I need to demonstrate creativity myself. So, I said "sure!" and hopped up to make it happen. I was wishing that I'd picked up some crepe paper streamers that I see at thrift stores all the time, but I hadn't done so. (That has since been remedied!) So we got a ribbon from her dress up trunk and some masking tape. I taped the ribbon across the doorway, and showed her how to "ready, set, GO!" and run through to break the ribbon, just like in the picture.

Sure, I had to say "ready, set, GO!" (and then cheer her on) approximately eleventy hundred times, but I showed her how to tape the ribbon back up so she didn't need my physical help until the tape got too crinkled, then I just got her another piece.

As I'm typing this out, it seems so simple. But I hope it represents a shift in my thinking and how I make decisions as a mama. Here's to being intentional!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Daybook for September 25, 2011

Outside my window... still beautiful weather. Nights are quite chilly, which means mornings are quite chilly. This time of year, I tend to not bother getting Goose dressed until about 10AM or so, and then I feel like it's warming up enough for her to wear summerish clothes for the warm afternoon.

I am thinking... that my to-do list isn't getting any shorter, but I know this blog post won't take long. :>)

I am praying for... Hubs's family, still. His dad continues to decline due to Lou Gehrig's disease. Your prayers are appreciated for them as well.

I am thankful for... my dad. He takes SUCH good care of me. It truly is a foretaste of how my Heavenly Father loves me, and I wish every girl in the world were so lucky (on both counts, earthly and Heavenly fathers!)

From the learning rooms... planning. :>) I bought a planner on clearance and am getting ready to fill it up! Problem is, since preschool doesn't need to be particularly planned out, I'm not quite sure where to start or how to coordinate. But I'll figure it out, I'm sure.

From the kitchen... um. Pretty uninspiring. We're due to get a quarter of beef soon, so I'll be frying up hamburger and refreezing to have on hand, plus probably making a big batch of meatloaf and perhaps some porcupine meatballs as well.

I am wearing... black capri pants and a shirt from today's ALS walk.

I am creating... hmm, not much. But lots of ideas, like usual.

I am pondering... how to turn the Family Memories game into something I can put in the craft shop.

I am reading... Cinderella Ate My Daughter and Hold Onto Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers. I also recently picked up Mud Pies and Other Recipes: A Cookbook for Dolls, 401 Ways to Get Your Kids to Work at Home: Techniques, tips, tricks, and strategies on how to get your kids to become self-reliant, responsible adults, Getting Your Preschooler Ready for Math, and Jotham's Journey (in preparation for Advent).

I am hoping... that my adrenal glands continue to heal. I was feeling well enough that I backed off the supplements (as recommended by the pharmacist directing my treatment) and as expected, my energy has taken a dip. But I expect that it'll pick back up soon and I'll be able to continue down the path to health!

I am hearing... two cats purring curled up next to and on me, and a baseball game on TV.

Around the house... it's quiet, as Goosie is visiting her cousins for a week again. I have such wonderful memories of playing with my cousins and I want the same for her, even though hers are much farther away.

One of my favorite things... purring cats. Can't help it - I've always loved kitties.

A few plans for the rest of the week... picking up the house, crafting some stuff for the shop, chopping onions from the garden and freezing them, make a carrying case for my phone, bookwork, probably spending a day working in my MIL's quilt shop, a raw milk run, and my parents will be back on Friday with Goose then they'll spend the weekend here.

A picture thought I am sharing... Goose helping me put together sack lunch suppers for the silage crew. She did a great job!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Family Memories Board Game

I mentioned waaaay back in December that I made a Family Memories game for Hubs' cousins Christmas gift swap. I got the idea from here, and THEY got the idea from Family Fun, who provided a convenient cheat sheet PDF here. Admittedly, assembling this took a fair amount of time, and I put myself in a pinch by not really starting it until a week before Christmas or so. (oops.)

If you want to do this for Christmas, I'd suggest getting started now - compiling family trivia for questions and looking for the parts. Since I'm a tightwad, nearly EVERY piece was thrifted, purchased on clearance, or pulled from my random stash. Let me show you what mine looked like:

First, instead of calling the game "Memory Lane", I went with [our last name]~ville. It's kind of a joke, because our extended family has lived more or less in the same area for a hundred plus years, and it's referred to as a "suburb" of our very small town. And it's called just that - [our last name]ville.

I didn't have a whole lot in the way of old pictures scanned, but thankfully I was able to get my hands on enough to cover the box. I used a few duplicates under the name area, where it didn't really matter.

For the game board, I used some of Family Fun's suggestions, and just did what worked for me otherwise. I used some pretty blue paper that I had several sheets of on hand, and if I remember correctly, I think I used mod podge to stick it down. I also measured my board and calculated how big the each space should be so they fit well, and the corners are bigger than the rest.

I really liked the "pick a card" since it meant asking family trivia questions, so I put on five of those. As an afterthought, the Start space seemed a little lonely, so I made that "pick a card" too. I wasn't crazy about the "swipe" spot, where you steal a treasure from an opponent, but I put three of them on there anyway. "Score" spots were just picking a treasure. (See treasures below, by the way.)

If a player lands on a picture space, they are to share a memory of that. There is one space for each of the four brothers and one sister (and their spouses) in my father-in-law's family, and one space for Hubs's grandparents. Other spaces include the school in our small town where all of hubs' uncles and aunt and Hubs and most of his cousins attended plus a space for the school in the nearby town where they graduated; livestock (a cow and a pig), the city name signs from the two nearby big towns, a space for dogs, cats, & chickens; a space for the nearby town where they all went to high school; a space for farming & harvest; a space for holidays; and a space for the church where most of the family was baptized and attended. (I know it's a lotta spaces. whew.)

I provided a notebook and pen to jot down any stories or details that came about as a result of playing the game. For the trivia cards, I used business cards (I think?) and printed them out, including several blank cards to fill out as new stories came to light.

Trivia questions included tidbits such as:
Who was born in a sod house?
How did Great-Grandpa lose his leg?
How many times was the {small town} Bank robbed?
In what year were (each aunt & uncle and grandma & grandpa) married?
What is the age gap between (oldest grandchild) and (youngest grandchild)?
Name at least four of Grandpa's horses.
Who was the first (last name) to graduate from (small town) high school? (a trick question - no one with our last name actually graduated from the school. Either they didn't graduate, graduated before they married into the family, or graduated from another school.)

Aaand finally, the treasurers. I chose an ear of corn (prosperity), a cross (faith), an apple (health), a bell (security), a heart (love & family), and a dove (hope). These items and their meanings were partially chosen based on the items I had on hand. :>) I happened to have some tins to hold the items, so I put labels on them. I let Goose paint the treasures for me, by the way.

I kind of tried uploading the directions to a Google doc, but then figured since they were rather short, it was just as easy to paste them in here. Just know that they were prettied up for the actual game!
{NAME}~VILLE … a walk down Memory Lane

Object of the game: To be the first player to collect all six treasures and make it Home.

Setup: Each player chooses a game piece, and places it at Start. Shuffle the cards and place them face down on the board. Set the treasures off to the side. The oldest player goes first and play proceeds clockwise around the board.

How to play: Each player rolls the die on his or her turn and moves around the board. When you land on a space, follow the instructions.
Picture spaces – share a memory or fact about the people, location, etc. involved. For example, if you land on Grandma and Grandpa, you can either share a memory about one or both of them (it doesn’t even have to involve you), or a memory involving their house or yard.
Pick a card – take the top card from the pile and have another player read the question aloud. If you answer the question correctly, you may pick a treasure.
Score! – pick a treasure.
Swipe! – take a treasure from an opponent.
Start – if you land on Start during the game, pick a card. If you answer the question correctly, you may pick a treasure.

Once you have collected all six treasures, you can make your way towards turning up the path to Home. If someone swipes one of your treasures before you make it Home, you must go back down and continue around the board until your collection is again complete.

The first player to roll the exact number to land on Home wins the game. (Doesn’t everybody win with sharing all the memories, though?)

Blank cards are provided to add more trivia questions, and a notebook is also provided to record random details and memories. Players may also make notes directly on the trivia cards… especially if the answer is incorrect!

Game assembled by Lenetta [name] for the cousin gift swap, Christmas 2010. Treasures were painted by Goose, age 3. Many thanks to Grandma [name], [and other names], and others for helping compile trivia questions.
Let me know if you have any questions in making your own! I'll be linking up at Skip to My Lou and Life as Mom.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Daybook for September 7, 2011

I put a button in my sidebar so you can get to my boards on Pinterest and read the whole internet over there. :>) Oh, and I pinned a post called "And That's Why You Should Learn to Pick Your Battles" - language warning, but I laughed until I cried. And I totally know where to get a five foot metal chicken locally...

Outside my window... it is so beautiful! We're in a spell of jacket weather, and though it probably won't last, it sure puts me in a better mood.

I am thinking... that I forgot to answer the comment from my "favorite uncle" Ray a while back. Yes, I know the stinkin' Yankees are beating the soup out of my beloved Minnesota Twins. :>)

I am thankful for... making decisions that are not life and death. So much of life is serious, but so much more of it is not really as bad as we make it out to be. (see below)

From the learning rooms...ah, how interesting it's been. The pendulum has swung so widely, and interestingly the same day she *started* preschool (of which I hated EVERY SINGLE MINUTE she was gone!), I learned there is a Catholic homeschooling group in one of the nearby big towns. I'm a bit frustrated because I looked and asked around, but I guess I didn't look in the right places and ask the right people the right questions. So I'm seriously considering punting on "real" preschool and doing things at home, where I really feel we belong.

From the kitchen...I'm just finally starting to get inspired there again. Poor Hubs; it seems like I just start to recover from the uncertainty of meals during planting season and then it's irrigating season and he doesn't get home until late again. Then I almost recover from that and get back into the swing of cooking, and it's harvest time. I've recently made chicken spaghetti, chicken and rice, and I have a big hankering for meatloaf.

I am wearing...a shirt in my favorite color of blue and black capris. Since I started taking adrenal supplements almost six weeks ago, I've finally started to feel a bit better! (though I came down with another cold and this one is knocking me for a loop - I didn't realize how good I was feeling until I started feeling lousy!) All this is to say that I've lost a couple of pounds, and I'm hoping as I continue to feel better, that trend will also continue. And since it's cooler (see above!), I know I need to get out and do some walking.

I am creating... fun stuff for the craft shop. I realized I should have been taking pictures of the stuff I've been doing, but I never remember - plus I craft in the basement at night, which doesn't make for the awesomest picture taking. But, here's a short list: Preppy Bibs, Marble Travel Games, Barefoot Baby Bloom Booties, and I tried a Cotton Candy Skirt for Goose, but didn't like it so I put it up for sale. :>) I think my problems were that I tried to make it too wide, so there was too much white space behind the tulle, and I tried to do it in rainbow colors, so it was kinda all over the place. I'm thinking one color would've been better.

Oh, and an update on the rainbow backpack for preschool... another little girl has a PRINCESS backpack, that has a handle that pops out so it becomes a rolling bag. Goose told me she doesn't like rainbows anymore, that she wants one like that. Sigh. I told her I'd put some Care Bears on it or something. Sigh.

I am pondering...SCHOOL! and feeling quite excited about it. :>)

I am reading... Last Child in the Woods, with Cinderella Ate My Daughter on deck, and Choosing to See in the hole.

I am hoping... the adrenal supplements continue to work. I would love for this school year to be a chance for me to get on track with the house and with Goose. Wouldn't that be wonderful!

I am hearing... Bugs buzzing outside - cicadas? I think we've been hearing them for over a month, which means the old wives tale says we'll have a freeze before the end of the month. I hope not, because I haven't done as much picking from my garden as I should have yet.

Around the house... I have actually felt like picking up and doing things! This is HUGE, people! Of course it all came crashing to a halt with this most recent cold, but I feel like there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

One of my favorite things... reading with Goose. I thrifted a fun rhyming book and we've read it a few times today already. I love to see her starting to figure things out!

A few plans for the rest of the week... we're paid up for a month, so there will be preschool tomorrow, then Friday is a big local consignment sale and a small rummage sale. Next week is Husker Harvest Days, a big farm show that we love to attend with Papa, and hopefully more friends coming for a farm tour on Friday.

A picture thought I am sharing...

My best friend from high school visited us again this summer with her two kids, and it was so fun to see them playing with Goose! We did the farm tour again, and just all around had a ball. Next year can't come soon enough!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Crafty Tasks

I miss putting together the "Reading the Whole Internet Posts", but it is much easier using Pinterest. You can find me HERE. As I said previously, it's kinda nice because you can see a picture. If you'd like an invitation to join Pinterest, let me know.

To make a super long story short, Goose starts preschool tomorrow. We aren't doing the co-op again this year (oh, how I wish we were!), and I debated allllll over the place before deciding to enroll her in "real preschool" (as my 6YO niece once put it). Right now, my thinking is to have her get familiar with other kids, learn to "do school" and perhaps next year, we'll stay home. :) But we'll have to see, I guess...

So, one of the things she needs is a backpack. I didn't want to buy her a stinkin' princess backpack (though I know she'd love it) - I wanted to get crafty and keep my mind off the fact that I'm going to have to drop her off tomorrow. So, I made a rainbow backpack! It's one I thrifted, and I wasn't crazy about the primary colors, but it looked kinda rainbow-ish.

I made a scrappy rainbow and hand stitched it on the front. Didn't turn out quite like I thought, but I'm OK with it. I used embroidery floss and stitched Goose's name on the orange ribbon, then sewed it on. I used a piece of rainbow ribbon on the zipper pull.

I took the same rainbow ribbon and stitched it on the top and sides. It was kinda rough sewing around the zipper - and I accidentally stitched it down a few times. Oops. Nothing a seam ripper couldn't handle, though. I was out of rainbow ribbon by this time, so I used rainbow colored embroidery floss and braided it for zipper pulls.

And, of course, since every girl needs a new dress for preschool, I whipped a little something up there.

I used two women's thrifted tank tops. I took the teal one and smocked it with elastic thread - see MADE for some tips on sewing with that stuff, it went a little easier this time than it did last time.

Similar to the patriotic dresses I'd made, I cut the top off another tank top and sewed it to the bottom of the teal one. I then sewed some (also thrifted!) rick rack where the two joined, and made a flower using this method (though I stitched instead of hot glued) and added it to the waist. It's a bit more centered on the dress than I wanted it, but that's OK.

The straps were a bit interesting. I used a piece of the straps from the teal tank top to make loops on the back. Then I stitched the straps from the white top to the front of the blue top, ran them through the loops and brought them to the front. At this point, I tried it on Goose and measured where the straps needed to be and put a loop on the ends. (Are you loopy yet? I am...) The final step was to add some thrifted "ball" buttons - my mom tried to work me through leaving some space so the loops would fit better. Admittedly, the straps are a bit thick to hold well, but it works.

I've also been doing quite a bit of sewing for the craft consignment shop, though last month was the smallest month I've had since it started in May. I'm thinking that Christmas shopping is going to pick up a bit, so I'm not too worried. Plus it's more or less paying for my supplies, so that's about all I can ask!

It's a bit late, but I'm submitting over at Made By You Monday!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Daybook - Remember Me? Edition

Wow, not only has it been months since I've blogged, it's been over a year since I've posted a daybook. Zoiks.

Outside my window... It's pretty warm, though better than the triple digits we were having. It's been a weird summer - hardly any breeze. Much of the time we've spent outside has involved the local swimming hole or feeding cats. Otherwise, I stick close to the A/C. We sure could use some rain, too, according to the farmer.

I am thinking... about the interconnected set of miracles that is the human body; how it works, and how it doesn't. I have been working with a pharmacist friend who specializes in adrenal fatigue and it appears that I have been dealing with lousy adrenal function for years. She has me taking a handful of supplements and I'm hopeful that better health is around the corner.

I am thankful for... a good husband. Seriously, Hubs is a heck of a guy. Even when I get frustrated with all the little things, I'm reminded of how blessed I am and how others are not so lucky.

From the learning rooms... never thought I'd say this, but we're looking at sending Goose to "real" preschool this year. I couldn't have been happier with the preschool co-op that we put together last year, but all the other kids are moving on. I have finally started to recognize the physical exhaustion from years of insomnia (hopefully related to the adrenal fatigue & hopefully will be clearing up before long!) and the toll that it takes on my patience.

Goose has been chattering for quite a while about how excited she was to ride on the bus and go to school - until I told her that mama doesn't go with her. She cried and told me over and over "you can be my teacher, mama!" So, we'll see. I would love to get more intentional about doing the things I bookmark to do with her. :>)

From the kitchen... Summer is so hard on my kitchen - I never know when Hubs will be home, if he'll be hungry, etc. I've been just awful about cooking, though I usually try to have some of these freezer-friendly burritos on hand. The carnivore doesn't mind them, and I try to make some Goose-sized ones that aren't spicy. I'm making up a grocery list for a trip to town tomorrow and getting inspired, though!

I am wearing... cornflower blue shirt, black capris, and my standard crocs. I really need new shoes - these are wearing pretty thin.

I am creating... all kinds of crafty stuff! I'll be taking a load tomorrow to the craft consignment shop including a craft supply lazy susan like this one, some super cute button bracelets that I now can't find the link to the post that inspired me, two sets of bean bags, and a couple very simple necklace kits.

I am pondering... switching my link roundups to Pinterest. Are any of you guys on there? Would you like to see me pin things instead of doing link roundups? I was totally dragging my feet about it, but a friend was explaining how nice it was to see the pictures. Often times, a post has a funny name and I have a terrible time remembering it, so it seems like this is a feasible way to do it... and it's super-easy to pin something (unless the post doesn't have an image, that is).

And maybe I'd post more often! If I just wanted to post something crafty I made or do a daybook, I could do that without feeling guilty that I haven't gotten around to link roundups. Any thoughts?

I am reading... Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome (no surprise there, eh?) and a big pile of old Family Handyman magazines that I picked up at a library sale.

I am hoping... well, I have already realized how many times I've used derivatives of "hope" on here already - hopeful, hoping, etc. so I think this one is pretty obvious already. :>) But let's go with the big one - I am so hoping that treating this adrenal fatigue means there might be more babies in my future.

I am hearing... the air conditioning (thank you Jesus for it!), my calico cat, and Hubs's TV through the floor.

Around the house... Goose has spent a week at Grandma's on two separate occasions in the past month and I used the time to do a fair amount of picking up, putting away, and getting rid. The house is looking better for it, but I still need to work on actual cleaning.

One of my favorite things... it's definitely not cleaning! :>) I picked the first tomatoes yesterday, though, and every year I wish I could send some to my tomato-loving city cousin in Chicago whom I miss SO MUCH. (who? whom? If I waffle on that for too long, I'll never get this posted.)

A few plans for the rest of the week... dropping crafty stuff off tomorrow on my way to pick up raw milk; we'd talked about going camping this weekend but it hasn't rained so I don't see that happening. Our church just got air-conditioning, so Mass is even more awesome than it was!

A picture thought I am sharing... Goosey dressing up in one of the dresses that Mama used to dress up in when I was a little goose - and that Grandma made and wore when she was a young goose!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Um ... Hi!

Remember me? :>) So many links to post, so much to talk about. But all I'll do for today is share some cute dresses I stitched together for Goose. I made one for Memorial day, and of course she wouldn't get near it for the ceremony we attended. She has reconsidered, however, and worn it several times since. (and yes, there haven't been that many days since...)

Up first, the one I made first - a blue tank top with white stars turned into this:
It was my first run at elastic thread, and I'm not 100% happy with the results but it's cute enough and Goose loves it. I wound it on my bobbin by hand, then sewed four lines across the front and probably ten on the back, then sprayed with water and ironed to get it to shrink up. I can't manually adjust my bobbin tension, and it's too tight. I tried re-winding the bobbin and making it looser, and it was too loose. So I'll have to do some playing around. Oh, I used red thread on top for a fun contrast. I love it.

I cut the straps in the back and stitched them back together to shorten, though I left the long pieces on instead of trimming them off; and I stitched them down so they wouldn't flop and tickle. With as much time as I spent on this darn thing, I'd like Goose to be able to wear it next year!

To finish the dress, I sewed big red buttons on the straps (non-functional) and then I stitched some super-wide red rick-rack around the bottom. I think it's my favorite part! The first time I sewed it on, I tried really stretching the dress and it ended up too stretched - it didn't hold shape. So I took it off and gave it another try, and it's perfect. Actually the stretch in the dress from the first time gave it a nice shape the second time around. Who'd have thunk it?

Cost for this dress: $1.35 for the tank top (women's size) at Goodwill, probably 25 cents for the two buttons out of a package of several at Walmart, quarter for the rick-rack of which I used about 1/12th (remember that score? I still have the canvas and haven't figured out what to make with it yet) and probably another 50 cents for the elastic thread. That's a little over $2, plus some time, but it was totally worth it.

This dress was a bit easier since I started with one of Goose's old tank tops. It's actually a size 2T, but it still fits fine, just too short. The skirt was also formerly a woman's tank top. I cut the top off and pinned it on, stretching the shirt to match.

Actually, the pinning took waaaay longer than anything else! I'd pin and turn everything right side out to check, and one piece or the other would be inside out. So I'd re-do it, and the same thing would happen except both pieces would be flipped, so the other one was now inside out. Frustrating, but amusing!

To pin, I started by lining up the side seams, I then found the centers of both the skirt and top and lined them up, and stretched and pinned from there. I then sewed my widest, longest zig-zag stitch to give it as much stretch as I could. We're pretty pleased with the results.

Cost for this dress was $2 for the top from a consignment sale, and $1.35 for the one that became the skirt.

I hope everybody is having a good summer! I'll try to get back into some semblance of regular posting again soon.

See what everybody else is making at Skip to My Lou:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

St. Paddy's Shirts

My Goose is going to turn four on St. Patrick's Day. (Where *does* time go??) When she was a teeny tiny baby goose, I saw a onesie at Old Navy that said "Little O'Cutie" and I REALLY wanted one, but we really didn't need it. I regretted that decision for a long time! This year, I realized there was no need to pine over it any longer - I can make the darn shirt. And I was inspired to make one for me, too. :>)

Goose's says "Little O'Cutie" and the dot over the i is a four leaf clover like mine, you just can't see it on the green. Mine, of course, says "Mama O'Cutie" and I'm still giggling over that. My sister-in-law snapped this pic for us yesterday, and since then I wonder-under-ed on a few shamrocks and outlined Goose's i dot shamrock with a sharpie. Except I should have followed what the shape should have been, not what it was. Oops.

Both shirts were thrifted, and I used Dana at MADE's freezer paper stencil tutorial. It was a bit tedious cutting the stencil out, but after seeing the results, it was TOTALLY worth it! Not counting the dry-time wait (I did two coats of paint), this project probably only took a couple of hours.

I gotta say, we WILL be wearing these often than just March 17! I can't close this post without sharing my favorite joke this time of year:

What's Irish and sits outside?

Give up? Paddy O'Furniture! (get it? patio furniture? hee hee!)

I'm linking up at Made By You Monday.

Monday, February 28, 2011

No Sew Lace Rosary Roses

I'm sure there are plenty of ideas for this sort of thing around the 'net, so what's one more? This idea was inspired by this post by Kimberlee at Pondered in My Heart. I am not too in practice with my crochet hook these days, so I decided to do a no-sew version with lace, flannel, and hot glue.

I made up a leaf pattern and traced it onto flannel, then cut them out. I made 13, ten for Hail Marys, one for Our Father, one for Glory Be, and one for the Fatima prayer.

Using scraps of mostly thrifted lace, I just cut them to similar sizes and then rolled them up starting at one end.

With the hopes that the flower would not be pulled loose, I used quite a bit of hot glue and pushed the bottom of the lace rose in it. I then went back and put a dab of hot glue on to hold the edge of the lace on the outside.

Goose and I gave it a trial run this morning, and I was pleased with the outcome. It is my hope that we can incorporate some prayer together during Lent, and perhaps it will be a habit to continue on afterwards.

See lots more ideas for Lent for little people at Catholic Icing and see what everybody else is making here:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Link Roundup - Little Mermaid Edition

Today I'm sharing the joys of the Little Mermaid with Goose. Except instead of utilizing the time to get things done, I watched it with her. Good times! We had a brief glimpse of spring here with beautiful temperatures that melted almost all our snow. We're back to winter again, though, and I'm sure it'll stick around for a while yet. You may have noticed that I'm way behind on links again. So let's get to it -

Upon reading the post at MADE about Understanding Bias and Making Bias Tape, I was quick to confirm that my mother-in-law indeed has bias tape makers in varying sizes. Yup, I married well! :>)

I am so in love with this idea to make DIY Fabric Wall Decals at Frugal Family Fun Blog! The comments are great, too - one suggests adhering flannel to the wall for a felt board. Of course, I'm going to have to wait until we have a new house without plaster bumpy walls, but I'm tucking the idea away for sure. Also at FFFB is this Easy Icicle Craft with few supplies and little mess.

These DIY Eye Spy Books at No Time For Flash Cards are a great & inexpensive idea for keeping little ones occupied. Similarly, here is an I Spy Mat from I can teach my child!

I am cracking up over this Bunny Bowling with The Long Thread tutorial found at Etsy. I don't have a hallway for it, but seriously, how fun!

Since Goose loves all things rainbow, I know she'd be a fan of this Rainbow Crochet Zipped Coin Purse Tutorial from Sparkle Petal. Oh, and I think it goes without saying that she's also a fan of money. :>)

Creative Jewish Mom has a fun tutorial on Weaving Fun Summer Placemats with T-Shirt Yarn (yup, I'm missing summer today!)

This Toddler Poncho Tutorial from An Apple and a Tree seriously is making me want to snuggle in somewhere.

Hmm, I'm not sure if the line from my now-defunct retractable clothesline would work for this, but regardless I love the look of Yarn Love at Family Chic.

If you want to purchase some sewn bean bags, let me know. Otherwise, check out these No Sew Duct Tape Beanbags from Frugal Fun 4 Boys. (Somewhere I have a post on bean bag games, but I guess it'll have to wait.)

How fun are these Rockstar Toddler Suspenders at Danielle Daniels? It's a good thing I didn't have the page up when Hubs walked by a minute ago or I'm pretty sure I'd be making him a pair...

When I lived in Colorado Springs, I had a friend named Margaret that made amazing butternut squash soup and I never got the recipe from her. I feel a little like a lost soul, wandering around trying to find "the one" :>) - maybe this Amazing Butternut Squash Bisque from Hallee the Homemaker will be it?

Laura at Heavenly Homemakers (who in a coincidental side note left Colo Springs about the time I moved there and now lives a few counties away here in Nebraska!) is teaching us How to Stretch a Chicken to Make Six Meals. She also explains how to make Homemade Tater Tots that freeze and reheat well!

It's not too often that I make a recipe before posting about it, but that happened this time with Our Lady of Lourdes Chicken Soup and Dumplings from Catholic Cuisine and let me tell you... it is GREAT!

Only the disappointing numbers on the scale have kept me from making this Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Pie for which I just *happen* to have all the ingredients... (my rear end does NOT thank you for reposting this, Amy @ Finer Things!)

The Artful Parent shows us how to do a Rubber Cement and Watercolors Resist for young artists.

We're still chugging away with "Goose and Mama" preschool here at our house, so I bookmarked this Doctor and Nurses Preschool Pack from Homeschool Creations. (Note to self - click around over there and see what else is to be found!)

More natural cold remedies at Naturally Knocked Up - Staying Healthy or Getting Over the Goobers Quicker. (I'm full of parentheses and side notes today, sorry, but with this breath of spring, is anybody else having spring-like allergy flare-ups? Goose and Hubs and I are all snuffly and sneezy but thankfully not coming down with anything...)

Very interesting kitchen cabinet update project - using fabric to cover the doors! (@ Tres Chic Veronique)

This Monthly Fun Pack as seen at Chasing Cheerios would be a fun and easy way to nudge myself into doing those fun projects that I always mean to get to but don't seem to make the time for.

Here's a great roundup of audiobooks for kids at Faith & Family Live: Book Listening.

Admittedly I'm still focused on how to prevent spilling, but I really like this Salt Box Tactile Penmanship Practice at Mama Jenn.

I think I posted this before, but I had forgotten about it, so maybe you did, too? It's Quiet Time 1, 2, 3! from No Time For Flash Cards. Goose has done pretty well transitioning from nap to quiet time, and I even shoot for 90 minutes. I know many other mamas are not so lucky, though, and this is a great thing to try.

Another fun magic trick (anybody remember the toothpick star?) from How Does She?

With Lent coming up (which seems to be a difficult time for me during the Liturgical Year), I appreciated this post by Elizabeth Foss on the Cheerful Pursuit of Joy.

Also from Elizabeth, I would do well to apply this filter to my thoughts, words, and actions: Is it True, Kind, Necessary?

A great post by Kate Wicker at Faith & Family Live - Empty Yourself and let God fill you up.

Happy clicking! (thirty-some links down... fifty-some to go!)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Link Roundup - Holy Cow, It's COLD Edition

I just checked the outside temperature, and it's five degrees. And dropping. And very windy. And snowing. Guess what has two thumbs and a sore neck and rescheduled a much needed chiropractor appointment for today to stay curled up next to the corn stove? That's right, this girl.

So, let's peruse some links and dream of spring, eh?

I'm tempted to get one of these Helping Towers at Ana White made for Goose in the kitchen, considering she fell off her chair THREE times the other day (messing around, sigh). Best of all - they fold flat for storage!

Hubs' t-shirt drawer is stuffed to overflowing, so perhaps I could do something like these T-Shirt Yarn Braided Coasters from homework with the rejects.

So I'm a bit late in posting this, but I like the looks of these Sailors Knot Bracelets as seen in a tutorial on Etsy.

These Beaded Picture Hangers at Inside BruCrew Life are so pretty.

rhythm of the home has instructions on how to make some very sweet No Sew Rag Dolls.

Perhaps it's the current winter storm warning that has me intrigued, but I like the looks of this How To Make an Oil Lamp tutorial at Down To Earth.

Can't you almost smell this Candy Cane Playdough from Artful Parent through your screen? From the same site, check out Rubber Cement and Watercolors.

The possibilities are really and truly endless with this Craft Foam Bath Murals found at Filth Wizardry. Though I'll admit I don't even really let Goose kneel in the tub too much, let alone stand up!

Check out My Kind of Baking over at Frugal Family Fun Blog for a neat suggestion on pretend baking with felt. Looks like a lot of fun!

I love this Bread Making Kit from Saltwater Kids as a very useful gift.

There happens to be a double batch of this Quick and Easy Crockpot Caramel Apple Cider from A Year of Slow Cooking on my stove right now (didn't feel like dragging out the crockpot). I must say, the cinnamon seems to form a sludge in the bottom, but maybe that's because it needs to cook and be stirred longer? Still, it's delicious.

These Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites from Two Peas and Their Pod have been calling my name since I found the link.

Head over to Kitchen Stewardship for a great post on Katie's Basic Bread Baking Techniques (or Lack Thereof). :>) Lots of excellent info there, plus more in the comments.

I can't think of lemon anything without thinking of one of bubbly little niece saying "I can't belive Uncle [Hubs] doesn't like this... it's sooo-ooo good!" :>) Smile about that as you check out this recipe for Whole Wheat Lemon Pound Cake from Heavenly Homemakers.

There is plenty of humor and a lot of truth in 10 Ways to Be a Lazy Housewife at The Crimson Covered Farm Life.

I am certain that Goose would eat more marshmallows than she'd stick together, but it would still be fun to try Boredom Buster: Marshmallows & Toothpicks as seen at Under the Sycamore.

Catholic Icing explains how to find religious items among a Dollar Store Haul. (and that post led me to another on Make a Giant Rosary - love it!)

We're starting to think a bit more about building a house someday, so I love to find things like 10 Lessons Learned from Building a Kitchen at Centsational Girl.

I'm betting it'll be cold enough tomorrow to try this Fun With Weather trick as seen at Faith & Family Live.

If you have an "older" account (I don't know how that is defined), please check out an article from Wired about an Amazon Password Problem. I logged in, changed mine, and then changed it back - since that makes it a "new" password, it is now better protected.

Not sure how Goose would react, but I'm kind of intrigued to find out what she would do with Hole Inspiration from the Artful Parent.

Ugh, I had forgotten that I intended to do this - How to Clean Your Dishwasher, from Apartment Therapy. I think Hubs' love for a ton of cocoa mix in his coffee (or just a nice cup of cocoa) has led to an overflow of cocoa powder in our dishwasher and it looks yucky. Guess I'd better get to work!

St. Francis de Sales is one of my favorite saints, and I learned several new things about him from A Friend in St. Francis de Sales at Catholic News Agency.

Happy clicking!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Link Roundup - Missed Party Edition

Poor Goose. She got invited to her first friend birthday party for a girl from our tiny preschool co-op, and we didn't go. The weather was supposed to be pretty questionable, and I know from prior experience that Hubs is not happy when he has to pull me out of the ditch, especially when I went off to do something he finds frivolous.

Also, Goose was up waaaay too early this morning (6AM) on top of a week's worth of suspected sleep-deprived crankiness, and I decided I didn't want to be THAT mom with the melting down kid ruining some other poor kid's birthday party. Maybe next time... (And let's hear it for early bedtime!!! Clapclapclapclapclap clapclap)

[Update - bedtime was not early. Sigh. If Papa goes ice fishing tomorrow, it's going to be a long day.]

I really shoulda' done a roundup last weekend so I could stay caught up, but I decided to do all sorts of fun things (or something) and just plain didn't get it done. Let's see how many I can get in here before Goose finishes her bath - ready, set, GO!

The textures in this Feel Quiet Book at 4 Leaf Clover are really inspiring - love the idea.

So it sounds like the cash outlay for all the hardware is a bit more significant than one might think, but this Make Your Own Nuts and Bolts Chess Set is a rockin' idea.

I'm going to wait until Goose is old enough to appreciate the science aspect of it, but how fun would it be to make your own Rock Candy?!?

You know by now that I love all things farm animals, and I love all things quiet books - put the two together, and I'm swooning. Handmade Baby Book at Homemade Holiday Gifts. {And I've not spent any time clicking around over there, but I'm thinking I might have to do so!}

We've seen something similar at Filth Wizardry, but just in case you missed it, check out Plastic Bag Iron Ons (for t-shirts and whatnot) at Homemade Mamas.

Ohhh, I am diggin' this Rain Drop Sun Catcher at homework - and I also now know why I hang onto random pieces of plastic like that. :>)

Admittedly I've thought about making Goose a set of sandpaper letters a la Montessori and ... I haven't. But these Kid-Made "Sandpaper" Letter Set from Frugal Family Fun Blog is something I think Goose could make all by herself as well as enjoy using. She'd also enjoy Shiny Snowflake Mosaics, also at FFFB.

Though I don't have felted sweaters lying around, these Nature Walk Pouches from Kleas inspired me to make something similar for a birthday gift.

I'm in knock-off HEAVEN over at Knock Off Decor! Something tells me I could waste a lot of time in those archives...

Of course the bracelets are adorable, but I really dig the button ornaments at Cute as a Button at La de la de da.

It's the perfect time of year to make Get Crafty: Ice Ornaments, as found at Red Ted Art.

This Faux Stained Glass at Suzy's Artsy Craftsy Sitcom is really lovely.

Perfect for little ones, this No Slip Baby Doll Blanket Tutorial from The Little Appleseed represents some good thinking.

This would have to wait until we live at the farm and it could be placed far enough from the house, but I'm loving this Banging Wall found at Soule Mama.

The banging wall ranks right up there with this Backyard Melody Maker as seen at Family Fun.

Patchwork Possee tells us how to Handmade-ify a Store Bought Blanket. It's kind of like the How to Make a No-Sew Blanket with Yarn Fringe that I linked to forever ago.

Ahhh, Monkey Bread. Eighteen kinds. At Tipnut. I bookmarked his for my hubs - also at Tipnut - Amish Friendship Bread recipes and starter both.

And flipping to the other end of the spectrum making transition difficult, The Farm Chicks has a yummy looking Black Bean Burgers recipe.

I haven't ever tried kale to know if I even like it, but I *want* to like it... and you can figure out How To Cook Kale at The Local Cook.

Thanks to Sarah for tweeting the link to How To Make the Best Buttermilk Biscuits From Scratch, at Pinch My Salt.

It's not like I need to make cakes, but I am trying to collect recipes to make them without a mix - and this Yellow Butter Cake with Chocolate Frosting at The Farm Girl Recipes fits the bill.

Another post where I gained five pounds just reading it, check out these Homemade Oreos at Smitten Kitchen. I think I'd try subbing coconut oil for the shortening, though.

Thanks to Kim for pointing out these Cheesy Nibbles as found at Attic 24. (I'd use butter, too, Kim.)

I've at least heard of giving paperwhites before as holiday gifts (they're a flower), and this Homemade Holidays post at Adventures of One CrAzY LaDy makes it seem do-able.

Goose would really enjoy making bird feeders as found at This One's For the Birds at Chalk in My Pocket.

This Making a Sensory Box at In The Mom Zone is a different way than I've seen before - neat idea!

Just in time for the upcoming holiday, lots of good ideas on for St. Valentine's Day on Let Me Count The Ways. [Along those lines, check out the Love Dice at Shabby Chic Crafts.] {And the Paper Baking Cup Flower Valentines at Skip to My Lou.}

Here's something I need to learn: Sewing Buttonholes and Buttons at MADE. I also bet this How to Make a Knit Waistband from The Mother Huddle would really come in handy.

Jeans have not been my friend since I was preggers with Goose, and I was not a fashionista before that anyway. Regardless, I laughed my "mama tushie" off at Mom Jeans and Dreaded Long Butt at Grasping for Objectivity.

Shared by a Colorado reader (hi!), there's some interesting tips in Common Household Products with Uncommon Uses via AOL.

Ordinary Time feels kind of like a letdown sometimes after big seasons like Christmas and Lent, but Simcha Fisher explains it well in a guest post at Conversion Diary.

Well, that gets me to halfway caught up on links, sigh. We'll see if I can get another roundup in this week. I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you guys, though. :>) Happy clicking!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Link Roundup - Cabin Fever Edition

Remember how we barely have any snow? Not anymore. Since Saturday, about 12-14" of snow has fallen, and the temperature is really starting to drop.

Goose and I bundled up and braved temperatures in the teens plus a stiff breeze to walk to the post office and scoop the walks this afternoon. The main reason for going out is because it's going to be worse tomorrow, with a high in the single digits - Wednesday, too. Scooping wouldn't have been nearly so bad if Goose hadn't have kept commenting that flopping around in the snow sure was "hard work!" :>)

I don't think I've mentioned here that I quit my job proofreading the newspaper. I miss it already, but right now I'm quite happy to not have to go anywhere. So, let's get out of the house via the interwebs.

These Indoor No-Mess Snowballs at Frugal Fun For Boys is still making me laugh! I'm going to have to keep an eye out for white tights at the thrift shop.

Two cool tutorials from Obsessively Stitching: Squishy Rubik's Cubes Tutorial and I-Spy Blocks/Storytelling Dice.

I gotta admit, when I was a kid, I couldn't figure out an optical illusion my Grandma had hanging in her kitchen. See how to make your own J E S U S Optical Illusion at Catholic Icing - I love the sun catcher twist, too.

Hmm, this How-To Fabric Produce Bag Free PDF Pattern at Daisy Janie has me thinking ahead to next Christmas already. I love how they roll up! What do you think, sisters-in-law?

Oh, she *always* does this... Valerie at Frugal Family Fun Blog does something similar to what I've done but WAY cuter! This time, it's a First Sewing Basket - I made one for my youngest niece but stuck it in a repurposed plastic storage box (BORING). Guess I need to start channeling Valerie to see if I can come up with these simple but awesome tweaks! Also check out these Friendship Necklace Kits and the Printable Bird House Play Set while you're there.

Wow, this Christmas Tree Ornament Mobile at not martha is STUNNING! (Also see the How-To which makes it look not terribly difficult.)

Another wow, these Woven Cookie Star Ornaments at The Crafty Crow are really neat, and I think they could work even for preschoolers. [Note to self - do NOT start digging through the archives over there... I'll never get out!] [OK, just one - Stained Glass Poinsettia Ornaments.]

I predict Hubs will not be impressed, but I'm seriously interested in trying to make my own Wheat Meat as explained at Wise Antics of Life.

Oooh - I just realized I have all the ingredients in my fridge to make Penne with Cream Sauce from Skip to My Lou... but I don't have any pasta. Hmm. There may be some noodle making in my near future.

We're studying the letter D right now and what better timing to find a bunch of recipes for Dirt Cakes and Desserts at Tipnut! Hey, there is also a roundup of Dump Cakes, too; something of which I am a big fan as well. There are even a few recipes that include from-scratch cake instead of a mix and I will definitely be checking those out. And while we're gaining weight just looking at the screen, Lemon Cakes and Oven Baked Macaroni & Cheese.

Recommended for the January 4th feast day of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, this Colonial Brown Bread at Catholic Cuisine looks simple and sounds delicious.

I'm thinking Sarah's Empanadas at heartland Renaissance are going to make it on our snowed-in menu rotation in short order.

Several super yummy things all rolled into one dish for this Cauliflower Cheese Pie with Potato Crust at Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks.

I've posted about homemade yogurt before, but Katie at Kitchen Stewardship has pulled together links to all her variation posts plus a few more tips and updates in this week's Monday Mission: You Can Make Homemade Yogurt! She even debunks some of your common arguments against making your own. :>) (Mine is that since I don't really like plain yogurt so I don't really know what it's supposed to taste like and thus I don't know if I did it right or not.) Katie is also Seeking the Perfect Homemade Whole Wheat Bread, and you can see the first recipe she tried at that link. Lots more to come, it sounds like.

This reminded me, it's been too long since I've made Spaetzle, this recipe from Skip To My Lou. Also check out What To Do With Leftover Candy Canes, of which there would not be any if Goose had her way. I especially love the hearts! (And I know Goose would, too.)

Check out what Jen at Conversion Diary considered the 12 Best Links of 2010.

One more Tipnut link, this time 20 Things You Can Use Twice Before Tossing.

I'm not sure that I'd actually want to see the results of this, but it's an interesting concept: A Day In the Life Of... at Simply Rebekah, where you take a photo every hour of your day of what you are doing at that moment. Blog about it, then link up on February 1.

Though I've heard good things about Lakeshore Learning, I've not spent any time checking out their site until I learned there are some Free Resources including lesson plans, projects & activities, and lots of printables.

This Resolution Prayer at Faith & Family Live sounds like something I'd do well to consider and reconsider. (As an aside, my "resolution word" is the same as it was last year - Discipline. Wish me luck.)

Though I hope and pray that I don't need this sort of thing, I try to pay special attention to things like Baby Loss Comfort post because it's so hard to find the words when you need them. (@ Doula Patti Ramos)

Stomach bugs in little ones are never fun, but Amy at Finer Things makes some very good points in The Tyrant. It amazes me how God's grace is always there, if I only ask for it, look for it, take it.

And that's it! Can you believe it, I'm finally caught up!?! Happy clicking, friends - hope you're staying warm!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Link Roundup - Seriously? Edition

I have yet another cold. I think I had about 10 days to two weeks where I wasn't coughing all the time, and now I'm back to it. Sigh. This winter can't be over soon enough in that regard.

So let's get to some links since they don't make my ribs hurt.

I'm loving the simplicity of this Felt Board Tutorial from jchandmade. [Click "next" at the top left to move through the photos. Took me a while to find it. :>)]

I've never seen anything quite like this Peyote Stitch Tutorial, from Uzume's Crafty Goodness.

Cheap, pretty, functional - what's not to love about these Ten Dollar Ledges from Ana White.

I am totally enamored with this How To Make an Argyle Fleece Throw at CraftStylish.

What an awesome idea - a No Sew Felt Playhouse Tutorial at Sew Can Do.

These Cinnamon Hot Pads from My Paper Crane sound really cool, though I'm not sure how they'd smell with, say, chicken. :>)

I'm quite sure I could drop 10 years of my life browsing the archives at That Artist Woman (note: school kid crafts!)

Love finding a new twist on old favorites - Monogram Taggie at Twelve Crafts Till Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, I'm tucking away these Beaded Snowflake Ornaments from Naturally Educational for Goose to make next year.

I can't look at these Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Cupcakes without cracking up, from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen.

Healthy Cream Cheese Frosting? Yup, or as healthy as it gets anyway, especially coming from Laura at Heavenly Homemakers.

Rendering Lard - in a crockpot no less! - is totally fascinating to me, though I'm not sure I have the backbone to try it just yet. (@ A Moderate Life)

I love caramels, and I love gingerbread. I'm not quite sure about these Gingerbread Caramels from Martha Stewart, but if anybody wants to make them, I'll volunteer to be a taste tester.

You're about to see a trend here: Peppermint Fudge Cupcake Jars from Our Best Bites, Peppermint Caramels (Polkagriskola) from Lindsay Cooks, Peppermint Magic Shell from The Family Kitchen - which is REAL FOOD and also pretty easily adaptable for other flavors, I think, aaaand Peppermint Rimmed Hot Cocoa at How Does She?

It would be seriously detrimental to any diet hopes I have for the new year, but I can't stop thinking about these Brownie Covered Oreos at Polka Dots and Pizza.

As an attempt to get me back on track, let's shift focus to these Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls with Buttermilk Cream Cheese Icing at heartland Renaissance.

I like the looks of this French Toast Frittata from Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

And just in case you weren't hungry enough, check out these Vanilla Muffins with Cinnamon Crumb Topping at Heavenly Homemakers.

Each of these 8 Gifts for Playful Children are great ideas, from Kaboom.

I was very moved reading the story about El Refugio over at Chasing Cheerios. I was blessed to have a wonderful (and safe!) visit to Guatemala about ten years ago and I'm not sure I would want to go back, but I do carry a piece of it in my heart.

These Reindeer Games at Little Wonders Days cracked me up. What a great way to celebrate Advent! Sure, it's secular, but It would be a great combination with watching the old Rudolph movie.

After reading the article You Cannot Steal My Joy at Faith & Family Live, I have made a conscious effort to hold my voice down when I need to deal with Goose. She is my God-given source of joy, and I need to be reminded of it sometimes.

Even with my 40 Bags in 40 Days of Lent decluttering spree, I still have a ways to go. Thankfully I run across things like this Junk or Treasure? post at Making Country Memories, my friend Maxine's blog.

I'm off to codine cough syrup land - happy clicking!