Monday, January 31, 2011

A Backyard "boat" and some stylin' and profilin'

The boys had been very busy out in the backyard and when I looked out to see what they had been doing, Braden said they'd built a boat. They had opened up the floppy swimming pool, put some chairs in it, plus the sandbox (you gotta have a work table;) and had gotten out the surviving fishing pole and were having a grand 'ole time! I had to get some pictures because it was so stinkin' creative.

Meanwhile, inside the house, I had embellished Ailey's plain white tutu that I had gotten many moons ago in the Target dollar aisle. I put it on her and the next thing I knew she had gotten her rubber boots on and was struttin' her cuteness around the house. Yep, another photo op.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Braden lost his second tooth!

So, it took me a day or two to finally get around to taking a pic of Braden's second tooth-losing adventure. Sam had to remind me. :) He came in after I had already gone to bed and asked me to help him. He had loosened it up and had tried to get it out himself, but he said it was hurting. (This one is the one that was most discolored from his double face plant a week apart right before his 3rd birthday.) Anyway, I always pulled my own teeth and I have to confess, the thought of pulling his tooth out was grossing me out a bit. Nevertheless, I just went ahead and did it and voila! out it came!

Here are some pics (Zekey had to have his picture taken, too;):

***BTW - I'm writing this a couple of months after it happened and in that time, my mom came to visit. Braden decided he wanted to give her his first two teeth. I didn't know he had done it until later, so now I've got to get them back (Mom's keeping them for me 'til I can get them:) so that eventually, when Braden is an adult and I finally have a space to get all my scrapbooking paraphernalia out, I can add it to his "baby" book.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Following in my footsteps...

When my sister and I were little, we would get our tights/panty hose (I really hate that word "panty" by the way...) out and put it on our heads and pretend we had really long hair. We would even twist the legs into a braid and put a bow on the end. Good times. Ailey has been getting into her tights and wearing one leg on one hand, but this is how I found her today....

I think she was going more for the pigtail look. I might have to put bows in it next time. ;)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sleeping beauty

I don't often get an opportunity to take a picture of Ailey while she is sleeping because it always ends up waking her up, but after a very full day sans nap, she fell asleep on the top bunk in the boys room and I got a really good one. This is what is known as potential energy as the restoring energy (sleep) is acting upon said object. When object awakes, the potential energy converts to kinetic energy which results in a energy drainage on the command unit a.k.a mommy. Said unit will only restore once said object goes back into potential energy state. :)

Here's a pic:

Ailey's Quilt

So far this is what I have in mind for Ailey's quilt. Its got lots of applique involved and by the amount of pieces I stuck in there, she should be graduating from high school by the time I actually get it done. As of yet, I have no idea how to go about measuring and making sure the pieces all fit together to make the end result, but I'll figure something out. I've also got the boys' quilts in mind, but haven't worked it out in picture form like I have with Ailey's yet. I do have a few pics of what my inspiration for them is, so I'll just put those on here for now.


Here is inspiration for the boys' quilts:

This one I found on a blog as I was going along and now cannot find said blog, but I do know that she got the idea from this blog : Don't look now!

this was found here.

This is from

found this here, but I don't think its available anymore.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Attitude Adjustment

I'm having a major attitude about several things right now. I've had to ask forgiveness of my kids and Sam and God and, and, and.... God's got this covered and He's going to totally work in me to get me out of this rut, but its gonna hurt! I'm kind of glad in a way, though, because I know the me on the other side of this will be a way better me than the me I am now. :)

2 Dear brothers and sisters,[a] when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. James 1:2

House progress

I've been busy around these here parts. I don't know that there's a lot to show for it exactly, but I do feel that some progress has been made. Recently, we had to replace our toilet because it wasn't flushing about half of the time. I think it was in rebellion to all the use. I think it was the original one from when the house was built and probably it has gotten more use in the last year than in the 46 years prior to us moving in. :) We went to Lowe's and though we wanted to consider energy efficiency, we were way more interested in flushing power. After Sam got it installed, he noticed that it was considered water efficient according to the sticker on the tank, so that was a bonus! We were also pondering potty seats and lids while we were there pondering potties. I really hate it when the plastic screws start getting loose on the seat/lid combo and you go to sit on it and it slides sideways and a cheek makes contact with the bowl rim. Not only is that a surprising jolt at an inopportune moment, but ew. Especially, with still-learning-to-be-accurate boys leave remnants on said rim. Again I say, EW!

Because we didn't know what the seat that comes with the potty would be like, I suggested we hold off until further investigation. Well, we once again have the plastic screw issue, though its not quite as bad as before. No unintentional cheek and bowl meetings as of yet, but we are now convinced that a seat with metal hinges and metal screws would be of the utmost benefit to us.

**Since writing the above, we did get a new potty seat. Its really neat. It has a training potty seat that folds out of the lid and sits on top of the adult sized seat. An all-in-one! Love that kind of thing! The only problem is that the bolts that connect it to the bowl are way smaller than the holes they fit into, so now we have the seat slipping issue again. :( I found this online and intend to see if Lowe's has any in stock. Hopefully, then we will be finished dealing with the potty. :)

Also, in the land of home improvement, I decided that I could no longer abide my couch in its normal state. That is, the stretchy couch cover that I bought to cover the color that is not going to be anywhere in my color scheme for the living room looking like panty hose slouched down around your ankle after they have lost their will to stay up half-way through the day. Or you could picture the saggy baggy skin around an elephant's ankle. Whichever. My kids are pros at disheveling the couch cover in under a minute. So! I had to do something. Alright to me! Yep, I started googling how to modify an existing couch cover to be more custom fit to your couch. In case you are interested, this is what I finally found that worked out for me. I also came across another suggestion on another site that said to use upholstery twist pins. Hillman Fasteners 16Pk Uphol Twist Pin 122264 Thumb & Furniture Tacks These little beauties just screw into the upholstery through the cover and just hold it in place. I got mine for half off at Hancock Fabric. Now all I have to do is take all the seat cushions out of their covers, glue the foam together and tailor the seat cover to fit over the entire length without sagging and bagging, too. The couch cover itself was time consuming and a lot of work and I was only altering! One step at a time....

**I've finished the couch alterations and it looks pretty good. The foam was pretty easy to glue together, although its a bit lumpy at the seams. I'm going to try and get a sheet and wrap the whole cushion in it and then put the cushion cover over that. Might help to diminish the lumps. :)

I also decided that I am going to attempt to make quilts for the kids' beds. I watched several youtube videos on how to do the actual quilting. I wanted to do more of an applique style, so I also watched some videos on how to do that correctly. While at Hancock, I got a few things to begin my "little" quilting journey. I have already designed Ailey's and am in process with the boys' designs. I also found that I am able to quilt on the sewing machine I have as long as I get a cover to go over the feed dogs. It already came in the mail. Yay! I still need some fabric and I'll need to get more batting, but I'll just get that a little at a time. Actually, I just need to pray more about it and see what God provides. :)

In the process of investigating quilting, I also pondered the state of our curtains. Originally, I was going to make roman shades out of our current curtains for every room, but the light that penetrates through the closed curtains as well as the evidence that much thicker curtains will help save on our energy bill convinced me to go in a different direction. In the motor home, I got a set of black out curtains because the boys would sleep longer with them in place. After this last time change, I have once again begun to revisit that concept. The problem is that they are expensive and I don't want to go that route, exactly. I'm trying to use what I've got because I have a lot of stuff that needs to be used and I am resolved not to go and buy anything else if I've got something already that can be used. So, I again turned to Google for inspiration. I found a site that showed how to turn an old comforter into a quilted curtain panel. I didn't save the site and I can't seem to find it again, so I can't link to it. Basically, I just took that idea and tweaked it to my situation. I have dark green silk curtains for our bedroom and I have a queen size green and burnt orange striped flat sheet from a set that is now without the fitted sheet due to a run in with a laundromat washing machine. I decided to put some batting between the two and quilt it to fit the windows with a couple of inches on all sides to help with heat and cold seeping through.

Well, I thought I measured correctly, but alas I did not compensate for the length enough. Instead of using a curtain rod, you use cup hooks and put loops at the top of your curtain to hang it. Then you attach a ribbon or length of fabric at the back so that when you roll the curtain up you can secure it with that length and a button. (I'll post pics when I'm done so that my explanation will hopefully make sense.) Anyway, the panel is WAY short and I was rather irritated for a while. Then, I started working on a solution. I had to go get some stuff at Hobby Lobby and they just so happened to have their ribbons by the roll half off. I went into the bridal area and got the widest ivory ribbon I could find and in addition to making a border out of either the sheet or leftovers from the bottoms of the curtains, I'm going to also add on the ivory ribbon as a sort of border and then bind that with dark brown ribbon. This in theory should solve my little oopsy. The only thing then is to attempt to recreate it with the other panel and window. Ugh! This is just one of my many try, try agains! Oh, and the actual quilting is all kinds of crooked and bunched. :)

When I am done with that, I will hopefully be much better at measuring and then I may possibly get the other rooms done with little to no hassle. This is me I am talking about, however, so I should just expect some kerfuffles!

Waiting in the wings will be a makeshift headboard for our room using the leftover curtain scraps, some batting/foam and one of a set of curtain rods that I've had for a very long time. Something along these lines, but more streamlined and only one panel.

I also want to make a quilt out of the remnants and other fabrics in a modern asian design. However that turns out. I may not have enough remnants and might need to just add to it as I go along. :)

In addition to the couch, there are two chairs that need to be reupholstered and I came across yet another website that suggested using drop cloth. I really like that idea! I also came across a very simple and pleasing asian design on a rug off of a website that I want to paint onto the drop cloth covered chairs. We'll see. I have a super long list of things I want to do, but we also still have walls to paint and floors to redo and we want to put a pedestal sink in the bathroom to make more space which will in turn require that we take up the tile because the tile is around the current bathroom cabinet not under it. The kitchen, too, has its fair share of things and we've also talked about enclosing the garage. Oh, and I haven't even put stuff on the walls yet. I'm going to cut a mirror that came with the house so that it will fit in a frame I already have for the living room. Got the glass cutter and watched some videos and did some reading. Plus, I have prior experience, you know, thanks to 8th grade science class and cutting glass tubing. ;) Oh, yeah! I'm ready! I'm thinking we've got enough projects to last us the next five years, easily!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Homemade experiments update

It has been a while since I decided to try my hand at making my own shampoo and washing my face with oil. Since then, I've also started making and using my own deodorant and just recently made my own chapstick.

The shampoo has been WONDERFUL!!! I started out by using this basic recipe to which I added vegetable glycerine, vitamin e oil and orange essential oil. I don't have to use conditioner and it really does clean well. It just doesn't strip your hair. You have to shake it up before you use it each time and I have found that it is better to get your hair all scrubbed and rinse pretty quickly. If you leave it in while you soap down or what not, it leaves it more oily.

Washing my face with oil has been interesting. I use this formula only I don't have neroli or grapeseed oil yet, so I put jojoba in it. It has worked very well for me. I do use on of those little circular face scrubbies when I rinse it off which helps get the excess off while also exfoliating. My skin hasn't really had any issues. I still have the occasional break out due to hormones, but I always thought I had to use something like proactive or acne free to handle that stuff. Apparently not. Yay! Oh, I haven't had to use any moisturizer and my skin has no dry flakes. Two big time pluses for me!

Chapstick. Its a necessity in this house. Even my kiddos are users. :) Sam likes the Burt's Bees. I like that its all natural and all, but I don't like that its nearly 3 bucks a tube and that its a little too stiff for my liking. I also have an issue where my lips crack at the corners a couple of times a year and its very painful. I was using the neosporin lip balm. Again, its pretty expensive, too and not made from good ingredients. SO, I got a block of organic beeswax off of I found some vitamin e oil in non-capsulated form at HEB. I already had jojoba and orange essential oil and I had gotten coconut oil from the grocery store to make deodorant. I went by this recipe here. I don't have shea butter yet, so I just made up for it with vitamin e and jojoba oil. I also increased the coconut oil. I also added honey. I came across several recipes that included honey and so I just "tossed" it in there. :) The first try came out rather stiff and Sam said it was like rubbing a candle across his lips. Haha! So, I took it all out of the containers, melted it down again and added more coconut oil and vitamin e oil. The result was lovely! Very smooth and silky and lasts a long time. I've ordered shea butter, tea tree oil, peppermint oil, clove bud oil, chapstick tubes, pipettes, spatulas and tins from Mabel White DIY. I found that after much checking, this company has the lowest shipping and really great prices on quality stuff. I'll be making a clove and peppermint version of the chapstick for Sam when I get all that in.

As for the deodorant, I have been pleasantly surprised! I thought I would really hate not having the antiperspirant part, but it hasn't been at all bad. I have had a few sweaty episodes, but it kept me from stinking while letting my body do its job. I also like the way it goes on and feels. Its not sticky and it doesn't get on my clothes and it lasts a long time for me. Sam wasn't able to use it because he would have to reapply during the day and he's not really able to do that. I would like to attempt to add beeswax for stability because it will get super soft if the temp gets into the mid-70s or higher. I want to be able to put it in a deodorant dispenser, so I'll have to work on that. :) Here is the basic recipe. I added vitamin e oil to it. Then, I went looking for some more recipes and found this one and this one. I think I will be trying the first one the next time I make more deodorant, which by the looks of it will be quite a while.

I will try and get pics of each item as I make them next time. :)

In the food recipes department, I have now successfully made my own maple syrup. I ordered maple extract that is actually extracted from maple sap and used a recipe I found in my google escapades. There is a recipe on the label of the extract as well that includes vanilla extract, too, so I did and I think next time I won't. It makes it a little too sweet smelling and tasting.

I've also made my own cream soda. I found a recipe for it, but didn't save it..oops! Basically, you make a simple syrup by boiling 2 parts granulated sugar to 1 part water. Let it cool for a bit and then add a good dollop of vanilla extract and mix it all in well. I think I put in a good tablespoon. Then you stick that in a jar and store it in the fridge. You'll need to get club soda. I had some, but it was in our pantry for a very long time and so there was no fizz left. I went and got some more at the grocery store and voila! You put about 2 oz of simple vanilla syrup in a 12 oz cup and fill the rest up with the club soda. You can also put a scoop of heavy cream or ice cream in there, which is how the soda shops used to do it. Yummmy!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sibling Togetherness

I figured it was time again to try to get a pic of all three kiddos together, so here goes:

Monday, January 3, 2011

Ailey's Well Check update

Today, Ailey went in for a well check and had to get more shots. :( We went ahead and gave her a sucker beforehand and though she was momentarily distracted by the pain of the shots, her attention was quickly drawn back to the sucker. :) Here are her 22 mos. stats:

Height - 32.5"
Weight - 24 lbs 5 oz
Head Circumference - 18.8"

Braden lost his first tooth!

Braden lost his first tooth Saturday afternoon. It was actually not the one we all thought was going to come out first. We thought it would be his top, front, right one. Its the one that is dead because he did two face-plants within a week of each other when he was almost three. Its still loose and he is still working on it a little, so I expect to see him very snaggle-toothed soon. We don't do the tooth fairy bit, but we did make a huge deal out of him losing the tooth and he's been very excited to show everyone. He likes that this is going to lead to him getting rid of his baby teeth and getting in his big boy teeth. :) I also told him I was going to put it in his baby book and he's really excited about that, too.

This is yet another milestone that he has hit that makes me sad that he is growing up so fast, but so excited about who he is becoming! Here is a picture I managed to get right before bedtime the day it came out: