Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I couldn't sleep last night and I got to thinking about my daughter and my parenting "style". Things that were going through my mind were, "Am I strict enough?", "Am I too strict?", "Is she going to turn out ok?", "Did I even turn out ok?".

Being with your family almost 24/7 like ours is can really bring out the best and worst in a person. I've come to realize that I'm not nearly as patient as I should be. I don't always want to put my husband and my daughter first as I ought to. And I could go on and on, but that's not my point. My point is, do I blame my parents for things in my life that need to change? No! I've been responsible for my actions for a long time now. To a point, there was only so much they could do and then I had to take over for myself.

So where does that put me with my daughter? It certainly doesn't let me off the hook. In fact, when I look at it that way, it makes me feel as though I have to work even harder to teach her what is right because I only have a short amount of time.

That leads me to my next question. What should I be focusing on with her? She is only 14 months, so for the time being there is pretty much one main idea: to obey without question. I know that this is something that if she can grasp it, it will help her a lot in life. How many times do I get myself into a lot of pain and trouble when I don't obey the legitimate authorities in my life? How many of us get ourselves into trouble when we don't obey God?

I was also thinking last night about how much I love watching my daughter explore and discover things. Watching her face light up when she sees something new that delights her brings me so much joy! Honestly, I really love taking her down the toy aisle in a store and watching her happily pick up one thing after the next. Thankfully, she has not yet realized that Mommy and Daddy have the power to take these things with them so there is never a struggle to put anything back. But then I got to thinking, is this kind of behavior ok? Is it ok to let my child have a modicum of freedom in a public place? Well, on one condition, that she obeys us immeadiately when we tell her to come to us or not to touch something. And that brings me back to my main parenting objective, obedience. Teaching my daughter to obey makes her life, my life and the lives of those around us happier and richer. Obedience = Freedom!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pumpkin Croissant Bites Pin Test

Here is another Pin-Test and I think I could safely call this a Pin-Win! All things pumpkin have been the rage around my Pinterest page and I pinned quite a few different recipes. This one was by far one of the simplest so I decided to give it a try.

You can't get much simpler than cream cheese, canned pumkin, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and pre-made croissant dough. Unless you are me. And you read "one can" instead of "one cup" and you end up having to double the recipe to make it taste right. And then you have waaaayy more filling than you need. Yeah, but other than that they were really good!
If you make this and you only want one can of croissants worth, I would just save out a few tablespoons of filling from a pumpkin pie you were already making and then add the same amount of cream cheese and a little extra sugar. Otherwise you might end up with this:
There is enough filling there for about 100 mini croissants! They are really good though! I just sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on top instead of rolling them. Also, we didn't have pumpkin pie spice so I found a recipe for it here. I also found it was better to go on the heavy side of the sugar. Just taste as you go and you'll know.
So what did we do with the extra filling? Made a pie of course! Two pies, actually. My grandma added a can of evaporated milk and two eggs but that made it too thin, so then she added another can of pumpkin and more sugar and spices and put it into pre-made graham cracker crusts.

The pie was really, really good. I don't know if you normally put cream cheese into pumpkin pie but it was a really nice addition. It did not have that sort of burnt flavor that I find that pumpkin pie sometimes has.

What kind of pie crust do you prefer?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Felt Owl Ornament/Softie Pin Test

I have a cousin (the same one that took my daughter's birthday pictures) that loves owls. To thank her for taking the pictures, my Mom and I decided to send her a box of goodies and I wanted to make her an owl. I found a wonderful tutorial on-line for one and thus my "felting" phase began. I haven't posted it until now because we just sent her the box but now I can finally share my creations with you. I loved making them so much that I made one for her, one for me and then I enlarged it an made a big stuffed animal version for my daughter and another one to use as a baby gift. And then I turned it into a cat.
First one with button eyes.
This was my larger stuffed animal version
 My second one for me, second large stuffed animal for a baby gift and the cat. It has a tail on the back. My daughter loved her two. She kept walking around the house with them.
This is what I did on the back of the second one I made. This way you can hang it somewhere or wear it as a pin (or pin it to something). You can get the excellent tutorial and free pattern at Juicy Bits.

Would you wear a felt animal pin or hang one on your Christmas tree? Target is selling these little cuties:
Northern Horizons - $3 each, in store only

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Legthening a Full Skirt

The Hubs let me go to a Cold Water Creek outlet recently and I had a blast. I must be shaped funny because everything I tried on fit me great even though they were all "Irregulars". I planned to spend about $25 and for that I picked out two cardigans and an adorable camel colored shirt dress that had a full skirt and a matching belt. I have always loved shirt dresses but have never found one that loved me. This one was absolutely adorable and the fit was so flattering to this post-pregnancy body, that, even though I rarely drop $15 on one dress, I went for it. I got up to the counter and it rang up half price! They had it in black as well so I went back and grabbed that one too, completely ecstatic! The only problem? They only had it in petite and the first one I had tried on was just the right length. For $7 I decided to see what I could do with it. I'm glad I did. Here is the dress before my addition:
I decided to add a few inches of black lace to the bottom if the dress. I thought this would be a great way to lengthen it while still being in keeping of the style of the dress. I went to the fabric store and looked for trim but to get enough would have cost me more than the original dress so I opted for 3/4 of a yard of black lace fabric instead which cost me a little less than $2.
I wanted to lengthen the skirt but still make it looked like it belonged. Here is what I envisioned:
I measured the fabric against the length of the hem and saw that four strips would be a little more that I needed. I later realized that because the hem was curved, I was going to need every extra inch. I don't know exactly how much extra you would need but I think I had about an extra foot. I did not have a good workspace but I have learned to work with what I have, wherever I am. I decided that the bedspread would be the perfect way to line up my fabric to cut it. I lined it up against the line on the bedspread and cut my first strip. I wasn't too concerned about perfection, so it worked.
After I cut my first strip I used it as a guide for the rest.
I sewed all four strips together so I had one long one, making sure to keep all of the seams on the same side.
Then I sewed the lace to the bottom of the skirt. I have very little experience with the sewing machine so this took me quite some time but it worked!
I loved the end result! Not only did it make the skirt a more appropriate length, it also dressed it up a little too. With the right belt and jewelry I can make this dress work for just about anything now. I felt really good in it too. You know something's a keeper when it makes you feel confident when you wear it. Do you have any clothes that make you feel good every time you wear them?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

DIY Scarf

I have been wanting a leopard print scarf for the season and decided to try and make one myself. First stop was JoAnn's where I found out that they do accept Michael's coupons, just not on fabric. I found a nice leopard print jersey knit and bought 1/3 yard.
Fold your fabric in half lenth-wise so that the print is on the inside.
Starting on one of the far end, sew beginning at the fold (left side in the above picture) until you almost reach the edge. With your needle still down, lift the foot and turn your fabric 90 degrees and then continue sewing until you reach just shy of the middle. Then backstitch and repeat on the other end, leaving a hole in the middle that looks like this:
Use this hole to flip your scarf so that the print is on the outside and your seams are on the inside. Press the seams and then hand stitch the hole closed. New scarf in minutes! (Or half an hour if you are a newbie like me!)
I read a fashion blog today that said leopard print accessories work like neutrals in you outfits. What outfits/colors would you wear a leopard print scarf with?

"Anything" Mini Dinner Pies Pin Test

I have been wanting to learn how to make pot pies for a long time, but I really don't like messing with dough that I have to touch. I don't really like preparing sticky food with my hands at all. So when I came across this recipe on Pinterest, I knew I had to "Pin Test" it.
There was no specific recipe on there so I will share mine with you as well as what I would change. For a dozen muffin size pies you need:
1 cup Bisquick
I cup milk
2 eggs
About 4 cups of filling:
         Meat from 2 cooked chicken thighs
         1/2 cup of frozen peas
         One large carrot cut and cooked in the microwave
         1/4 cup of frozen corn
         1 small can of water chestnuts
         About 2-3 ounces of cheddar cheese
         Salt and Pepper at the table
On one container mix your Bisquick, Milk and Eggs. Spray your pan with Pam and put about a tablespoon of the Bisquick mixture in each muffin tin. Then mix up the rest of your ingredients and put a small scoop in each one. Top each pie with another tablespoon or two of the Bisquick mixture. Bake at 375 for about 25 minutes or until done. Allow to cool for a minute or two before removing from pan.
Changes for next time: I would probably use pre-cooked potato chunks instead of water chestnuts although the crunch was nice. I might also mix in some cream of mushroom soup or make a white sauce gravy to go on top. I would top each one with a little more cheese as well.

There are soooooooo many possibilities for this recipe. I used to always make a box of Hamburger Helper when I didn't know what to make for dinner but this may be my new "use up leftovers" go-to recipe. I can also see these freezing really well, especially if you wrap each one in a small sheet of plastic wrap and then store in a freezer bag. When making these I would not suggest using any meat or vegetables that weren't already cooked. Some other variations for this recipes that might be good are:
Taco Pies
Cheeseburger Pies
Philly Cheese Steak Pies
Pizza Pies
Tuna Casserole Pies
Broccoli Chicken Pies
Asian Stir Fry Pies
Breakfast Sausage Pies
Smoked sausage and Green Pepper Pies (maybe, ha-ha!)
BBQ Chicken Pies (again, MAYBE)
And so on . . . 

What do you think would make a good Mini Pie? Share your recipe ideas in the comments! 

Felt Turkey Shirt

I have so many posts to catch up on! I've been doing projects faster than I can write about them. The hubs is out of the country this week and I am staying with family so I have had a lot of time to do stuff. Yesterday I got to go yard sailing, sew two projects (on the sewing machine!!) and start another project. It was a good Saturday. Before Thanksgiving gets here I want to show you how I made my daughter's outfit. I came across this darling outfit months ago and decided I really wanted to copy the essence of it.
You can buy this outfit in the Etsy Shop My Tutu Boutique for $57 plus shipping. My version (Giant flower headband plus Turkey Onesie) will cost you less than $5 including the price of the onesie. However, the way I make it, you can remove it once the holiday is over and keep using the shirt and save the decoration for next year!

To start, I drew up my pattern. I needed two circles about 3 inches across and 1 1/2 inches across and I grabbed the closest thing at hand, a fruit snack cup! Worked like a charm!

From there I just did my best to copy the inspiration picture. I folded my paper in half so that my pattern would be symmetrical. As you can see I went through a few phases before I got the shape just right. I also label everything as soon as I have a finished drawing it so that I don't get it mixed up when I cut it out.
After everything was drawn I cut it out still folded. I would recommend cutting the feathers out first. I cut the body out first and it made keeping the two feather halves together a lot harder. 
Next I chose my felt colors. I had a skirt already picked out that I wanted her to wear the shirt with (instead of a tutu), so I pulled that out to match. (If you want to make a tutu, they are very easy. I Can Dabble has a great no-sew option that I have made before that is made with ribbon for the waist.) I ended up using dark brown for the body of my turkey and dark green, pink, orange, and yellow for the feathers. I also used tan (not pictured) as a base which will be explained further down.
For the eyes and beak I pulled out my scraps. Every time I have a small piece that I think I can still use I stick it in a Ziplock for just such an occasion.
Next I cut out my pieces.
To make the appliqué I hot glued the pieces to a sheet of tan felt, being sure to leave about a quarter of an inch around the edges. This is so that I my piece won't fall apart and so that I don't have to stitch through hot glue.
Once it was glued, I trimmed all the way around, leaving that 1/4 inch of the tan felt exposed. Then I hand-stitched it to the onesie using some yellow thread. The stitches do not need to be small unless you plan to leave the turkey attached. I plan to take it off after she wears it on Thanksgiving so I can attach it to a new shirt next year. This shirt would work for a boy too if you altered the colors from pink to red (or whatever color you like).
Can't wait to see my pretty girl in this on Thursday! Do you dress your kids up in special outfits for the holidays?

Friday, November 16, 2012

First Birthday Beach Party

Back in September my daughter turned one and because we are in the age of Pinterest I (cheaply) went all out. My cousin is a wonderful photographer and offered to take pictures at the party for me. I have finally gotten around to doing a post about it, exactly 2 months after the fact. As I was trying to think of a theme, I wanted it to be something that I knew my daughter really liked and since she could care less about TV there really weren't any characters that she connects with at all. Two things she absolutely loved were going to the beach and cats. I decided to go with the beach theme because it was nearing the end of summer and I knew I could get a lot of what I needed on clearance. At the very last minute we had to move the party to a classroom at our church as the party was scheduled for 4:30 pm and it was still raining at 2 pm. It was a good thing we waited to set everything up. The colors for the party were pink, orange, yellow, green and blue and this is where I was really able to tie them in with the table setting. Paper goods came from the Dollar store and Wal-mart and table cloths from Party City. I also had foam flowers from the Dollar store as coasters and Tiki torches that I had planned to use outside to ward off the mosquitoes. Down the center of the table were colorful sand toys from the Dollar Store and at each end was a bubble play set.
We have two yard tents that I was planning to use outside for the food and drinks and we decided to put one up inside anyways. It really gave the room a more fun feel. It is not fully decorated in this picture but you get the idea!
I matted pictures of the Dida from each month of her life and hung them on one of the walls. I am going to put the pictures into a scrap book later. These would have been hung on a fence at the outdoor location. 
Another part of the scrap book will be pictures of all of the guests as well as birthday greetings that they wrote. There was a station for this set up at the entrance to the room. This table also held the simple favors which were hair flowers for the ladies, pre-filled water guns for the men and bubbles for the two children (and my husband's drink). If we weren't in such a hurry with the changed plan I know we would have gotten a lot better pictures. 
 It was still a really fun party, especially after dinner when I passed out the water guns. A full fledged war broke out across the table. My 85 year old grandfather with Alzheimers was having the most fun I've ever seen him have. Here is my other grandfather trying to be sneaky!
I also set up a present area with a blanket on the floor and a beach chair that I picked up for $5. The Dida was given a bathtub bubble machine at her baby shower so I brought that out as well. 
She really enjoyed playing with the bubbles and wasn't scared of them for the first time.
The menu for the party consisted of:
Terayaki Chicken
Smoked Sausage
Hawaiian Rolls
Fish and Chips (Goldfish and Potato Chips)
Potato Salad
Everything was served in plastic beach pails with the shovels as the scoops. I got them all from the Dollar Store or the dollar section at Target and I'm using them now to store my daughter's toys in because they match the colors of her room. I made a little flip-flop sign to label each of the dishes.
For dessert there were Mini Jello Beaches with Vanilla Wafer Sand in the bottom and a Little Mermaid cake that I ordered from Wal-mart.
I also made my daughter a birthday crown to wear when she ate her cake. I got the base from the Dollar Store and added the flowers which are the same ones that I used for the hair flower favors. They are made from Hawaiian leis that I took apart.
Here are two of my favorite picture from the day - my daughter brushing her hair with her new brush, and my mom holding my daughter so her great-grandfather can give her a kiss!