Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Week with 5 Kids!

This week, I get to keep my niece and nephews while my sister and brother-in-law travel to LasVegas. Not sure what we're going to do all week, but I'm sure we will find something interesting to get into. I am, however, looking forward to having other kids to play/occupy my kiddos so I can get some cleaning and sewing done. I might even be able to take a nap! I can't wait until all the funny starts, because I'm sure with 5 kids, something hilarious will frequently happen. Right now, I'm just listening to the sounds of my house being destroyed... crumbling under the stampede of 10 little feet. As long as they leave the kitchen standing and don't raid my stash of chocolate, I'm sure that this week will be nothing but a blessing. Here's to the start of many sleepovers, movie nights, popcorn all over the floor, and smiles and laughter all around!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tutorial: Snack/Sandwich Baggies

Yet another easy and cheap (and cute!) way to reuse around the house- make cloth baggies. Besides being able to reduce waste, save money, and personalize the kids' lunches, you'll save yourself a lot of stress by making your own! You will no longer have those mornings where you wake up and realize you used the last baggie yesterday, and don't have any way to pack your kids' pb&j. Just make a dozen or so of these, and throw them in the wash, as needed. Presto, problem solved!

Here's how to do it!

Step 1: Determine the size of bag that you want. Add 4 inches to the length, and 1 inch to the width. I like my snack bags to be 5x7 and my sandwich bags to be 7x7. So, the cut dimensions for the snack bags are- 6x11 and the sandwich bags are 8x11.

Step 2: Hem both ends of the bags. Using a decorative stitch is a nice way to make the baggies look even better!

Step 3: Fold in one of the short sides 3 inches- right side to right side- iron or pin to keep in place. Then fold the other hemmed side all the way over to the fold created by the first fold- right side to right side- iron or pin in place.

Step 4: Sew 1/2 inch seam allowance down both unfinished sides. I always sew two rows, about 1/4 inch apart, for added security in case a seam busts.

Step 5: Turn right side out, and fill it up with snacks, and go!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Who's Who????

Okay, well, they're not identical... but pretty close! Here are a couple pics of Grunt in the tub tonight- he was all smiles and laughs (not that it's rare, but he was especially so tonight). He and Pea had some secret story going, because they kept making each other laugh. I love my family.
Grunt- always so happy. Such a blessing!

Pea in 2008- 10 months- also a blessing. My sweet pea.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pillow Case Dress Tutorial

I was cleaning out our closets the other day and realized that we have about 50 pillowcases and only 5 sets of sheets... so, in an effort to organize and create space, I saved the 10 nicest ones and ended up with a thousand pillowcases on my bedroom floor. So, I saved space in the closet, but now, what to do with the bunches of pillowcases on my floor??? Enter: the pillowcase dress. I saw this a while ago, and hadn't really thought much about it, but, here is my version of a pillowcase dress.

Step 1: Pick out pillowcase, wash, iron wrinkles out. Determine length of pillowcase dress either by measuring your kiddo, or by using another dress of which you like the length. (I used another dress since Pea was in bed.) Add 1 inch to this measurement for seam allowance.
Step 2: Cut the pillowcase to the desired length. (Make sure to put the closed/sown end of the pillowcase in the scrap/throw away part).
Step 3: Create the arm holes by drawing a "J" on either side, using another dress for this process can help you make the correct size and angle. Cut out the J on both sides, through both pieces of the pillowcase.

Step 4: Turn pillowcase inside-out and iron down 1/2 inch at the top of the pillowcase. Fold fabric 1/2 inch again and iron. Sew the casing you have now created from one end to the other, leaving both ends open. Do this on both sides.

Step 5: Thread 6 inches of 1/2 inch elastic through each casing, careful to pin one end so that you don't lose the elastic in in the casing. Stretch and stitch the elastic on each end of the casing.

Step 6: Using the same method as the above casing, although a little smaller, create a casing on each of the arm holes. I ironed 1/4 inch down, folded, then ironed 1/2 inch down, then sewed as close to the edge of the casing as possible. Thread ribbon through the casing and cut to fit.

Voila! A pillowcase dress! This only took me about 30 minutes, and I don't think that it would take that long the next time. You can always use a plain pillowcase (mine had a ruffled edge) and decorate it with buttons, rick-rack, or ribbon. Super cheap! Super easy! Super cute!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pea's First Build A Bear!

We took a trip to Easton to spend some family time this past Sunday. It was such a wonderful day! Walking around, holding hands, doing a little shopping, no stressors or agendas. While we were walking around we found Yo-Goot and stopped off for some frozen  yogurt. It was SUPER-YUM! It was just like a place that we went to in Louisville that we both fell in love with. Both of the kiddos loved it too. The only problem is that Grunt ate half, if not more, of hubby's yogurt... he was NOT a happy camper when it was gone. (Grunt, I mean... although, hubby wasn't super thrilled either.) After our pitstop we decided we'd walk around and when we passed the Build-A-Bear Workshop Pea was ecstatic. Now, we've passed them a lot of different times at different places, but this was the first time that Pea really showed interest. So, we decided that we would give her a special treat and let her make her own bear. It was the highlight of our day. Seeing her so happy and so proud of what she made- it was wonderful! Then we ended our trip with some time in the fountains.

Here are some pics of Pea and new bear, Sophie.

A cute pic of the kids and daddy.
aaaaaaand a couple pics of the fountains- Grunt is a glutton for punishment!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


For some reason our pictures aren't showing up... even ones from past blogs. Not sure why, but I'm working on it. If anyone knows why, let me know ! :) Thanks

ETA- 7/17- i'm going back through our blog and re-adding the pictures- this could take a while, so bear with me!

From Zucchini Seeds Come..... Pumpkins????

This year we planted yellow summer squash, zucchini, and tomatoes. The tomatoes are doing great! The summer squash isn't doing very well, but we're hoping that it'll start growing better here soon. We're not sure what the problem is, but as soon as they're the size of a grape they fall off. The zucchini is HUGE!!! Well, actually, the zucchini aren't really zucchini. Somehow, our packet of zucchini seeds is growing pumpkins???? What do you think? Orange zucchini? or pumpkins???

Monday, July 12, 2010

Protecting our most precious gift

While at Babies R Us I over hear a young man disciplining his 3 year oldish daughter. He says to her, "Why are you touching things? Didn't I tell you that if you touch things I will burn your fingers off and whip you with my belt?" I think I have whiplash from my head turning around so fast to look at the person who used such painful words to a child. I feel it's one thing to paddle your child, but a completely different thing to whip them. The emotions behind it are so different. The whole burning your fingers off is just child abuse. I couldn't believe it. Then, during this same shopping trip Pea whined a little when I told her that we weren't going to get a toy. This man had the audacity to tell me that she wouldn't whine at me if I took off my belt and whipped her with it. He said, "I have 5 kids, and they wouldn't dare whine at me. They know the consequences of that!" I picked Pea up, hugged her, and told the man that my child will obey me out of respect, not out of fear, and walked away. I kept hugging her and kissing her until she was completely over all the touchy-feely. Then I sat down with her and talked with her about punishment, discipline and consequences... as much as I could with a 3 year old. I just couldn't believe this man... I felt so sorry for his children. I wish I would have had the clarity to call 911 or DCS on him. It was a horrible day.
But, through this experience I was once again reminded of how our children are not ours, they are God's. He blesses us with them and trusts us to raise them for HIM. They are not ours! They are HIS! All the more reason that we need to protect them and raise them the best that we can. Why would you knowingly expose your child to pain or harm? The world will pollute their young minds enough, why would you want to add to it? We should be their safe haven, the place where they are protected and know that they are loved. Just as Christ is our sheild, so we should be our children's, as we teach them to love and depend on Jesus.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Back to Basics

"God cares about the creation. He displays himself in nature, and so the more that people are distanced from the creation itself and the more people become accustomed to treating the creation as something that is disposable, the more distanced they are from understanding who God is." -Dr. Russell D. Moore

I don't know... maybe it's a generational thing, or one of those cycles that just seem to occur; but, it seems as though this generation is going back to the roots, back to nature, back to pure living. I am glad to be part of it, learning how to change for the better, learning how to feed my family healthier, clean with less chemicals, and in general put less crap in and on our bodies. Most of the people I know feel that the chemicals/crap in our homes/food/medicine/etc "hasn't killed us yet"... so why is it a big deal? Why would I change anything? To quote my sister, "I am all for the advances in chemistry that make my life easier." And, I agree. There have been so many amazing discoveries in the sciences that have aided in better lives for many of us. But, why do we have to keep having these discoveries in science? Why do we have to keep finding cures/solutions to problems/illnesses? I think it's another never ending cycle. We insert crap into our bodies, most of it unknown... I mean, really, what is in that cheeseburger, french fry and Diet Coke? Then, after years of ingesting crap, we need medicine/medicinal procedures to fix us when we have an illness from the crap we've subjected our bodies to, but then there's crap in the medicine that healed us, and we go back to inserting more crap hours later. (Sorry... crap is the only word that I can think of to describe the crap in today's food/cleaners/etc)

So, what do we do? Do we go, leave everything behind except our organic underwear and live in the woods? No... it's not feasable, it's overboard. Do we just dump everything and live on the food/cleaners/etc that we can grow and create? No, once again, it's just not feasable. I think that there is a delicate balance with this. It's not always about elimination as much as it is about reduction. We honestly cannot eliminate everything that could possibly be harmful from our environment. We'd have to find new air... (if you know how to do this, you'd make a pretty penny). People need to get the crap out of their houses and out of their bodies (and out of their minds, if I can just add that in right here), but it's a process; it takes time... and it's an adjustment.

We (Nathaniel and I) started this journey by realizing the high amount of harmful chemicals in city water, and deciding to do something about it. Now, we have gone from the only change being that we have reverse-osmosis water to a family that has an organic garden, eats *mostly* organic real food (minus my daily starbucks/diet coke addiction), using green cleaners, and more! But, it's taken us a while to get here. Not only because it takes time to change, but because at first, all of these things weren't important to us, but the more we started down this path, the better we felt and the more excited we got about going back to the basics! Take a look at a bag of food in your freezer. Do you know what the ingredients are? Really... do you? I didn't have a clue! Now, I do. And I feel better feeding my family wholesome food instead of fillers and chemicals and solutions. (not that it's 100% of the time-- we still enjoy dining out and we have our favorite junk foods.)

Another thing to consider- Children (most of the time) don't have much choice what they eat. They eat what they are given, what is available. (There is nothing wrong with this...) My issue is that I feel uncomfortable feeding my children crap, when they have no say about what goes into their bodies. They don't understand that the chicken nugget they are going to eat has a bunch of things in it that aren't even food! And, even if they did know, they wouldn't care- they would just keep eating it. But, I cannot, on a clean conscious, continue to allow my children to unknowingly eat things that may harm them. It's my job to make sure that I feed them wholesome, balanced food that will help their little bodies grow and their brains learn to the best of it's ability. Adults... go ahead and eat whatever you want... you understand what you're eating- and you know the consequences of it, but, the little ones just trust us to give them what is good-- so let's make sure that we do that.

So, now that I've gone completely away from the beginning quote-- My point is this. Christians need to be in nature to fully understand and appreciate who God is. Nature shows us another side of God that so many of us have lived without.... Most of this generation grew up in a city (as opposed to a sustainable farm), watched tv, listened to music, played on the computer, sat in the school building for 8 hours a day, etc. Not all of us were brought up with the understanding that God shows himself to us in his creation, and that since it is our desire as Christians to fully know Christ, we need to seek him out in all areas where he is revealing himself. Even the buggy areas. ;) It is ESSENTIAL that we get back to nature... that we get back to the basics; not only for our health and our livelihood, but also for growth in our relationship with the Creator. He created this earth for us to enjoy and to take care of... but we cannot do that if we view it as something that is disposible and unimportant. It is of the upmost importance... plus, it is amazing!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Getting All Big

Here's an update on the kiddos:
Pea is growing up into such a little lady. All prissy and diva-ish. She loves to dance and listen to music, and doing the Taylor Swift hair flip is one of her new favorites. She also flits around in her ballerina outfit, pretty much daily. Her latest accomplishments are being able to pump herself on the swing (the new greatest day of my life!) and riding her tricycle around the neighborhood. She is very interested in things happening in and under water, and says she wants to be an "ocean person" when she grows up... but she doesn't want to have to touch the sharks. :) She is such a blessing, so sweet and tiny and cuddly. At her last check-up she weighed 24 lbs and was 39 inches tall! She also had her first pedicure, and actually picked a pretty color for her toes--- I was a little worried when she noticed the lime green ;).
Grunt is all boy! Bumps, bruises, noises, dirt, and more! He likes to run, not walk, while cruising around the furniture (hence the bumps and bruises) and still does his famous bear crawl. We don't think that he will ever actually crawl... and the bear crawl is super cute. His hair just keeps growing straight up, we won't cut it until he really starts to look like a rag-muffin. He jabbers ALL the time now, the nonsense gibberish along with Ma-ma, Da-da, Na-na (for Pea), nana (for banana), ba (for all food), this (only when he's holding something doing his funky wrist wiggle), ni-ni (for night-night), bye, and UH-OH... sometimes there are a few extra 'uh's in there. He is the happiest baby, and we are so blessed to have him! He also has his first tooth! and 4 more coming riiiiiight behind this one. Here's to hoping they come quickly and painlessly :) At his last check-up he weighed 23 lbs and was 29 inches tall!

My beautiful babies are getting soooo big!!! Thank you Lord for entrusting your little ones to me!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Blondie in the Back Seat

While driving...

Pea: Why are those orange cones all over the road?

Me: It means that people are fixing the road.

Pea: Why is the road broken?

Me: Because lots of cars drive on it every day, and it is getting worn out.

Pea: When I am under water, I will find a dolphin and it will be a nice dolphin, and it will hug me and I will show it my Taylor Swift hair flip and she will love it and give me a biiiiiig dolphin hug.

Me: HUH?????

How do we go from construction to hair flipping???

Oh my. Sweet Pea. My little blondie. Bless her heart.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Year of the Brat

So, terrible 3's are definitely worse than terrible 2's... Pea goes from happy, smiley, and giggling to crying, pouting, and whining in .000001 seconds. It's ridiculous. It's like she's pre-pubescent... 12, instead of 3. One minute she's my sweet girl, laughing and playing; and the next minute she's losing it, crying over a whole lot of nothing. She has also mastered the art of back-talking. Now, I'm sure that this is all payback for me back-talking my parents... because I was the queen of it. But, either way... it's irritating when my 3 year old can cause me to stare at her, speechless and dumbfounded. Here's the convo from today:

Me: Now that we are home, I want you to go inside and sit in timeout.
Pea: Do you forgive me for being naughty?
Me: Yes, I do forgive you.
Pea: Are you happy with me?
Me: I am always happy with you, but I am NOT happy with your actions and how you behaved today. It is not okay to whine, cry, and throw fits at Mommy.
Pea: (thinks for a moment) Hum.... oh well, that's okay that you're not happy with me. I don't care. (Prances off)
Me: left standing there speechless and dumbfounded....

Arg... now, for those of you sitting there reading this, close your mouth... we took care of it- and she cares now. I just couldn't believe that came out of her. Well, I'm sure that there will be a whole lot more of that over the next 20 years... especially if it's payback.