Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I tell ya, once you enter the crafting world it's hard to get out.  My list just keeps growing and growing and growing.  I was doing very well and then I find something else that I just had to add to the list.  I got so excited about it that I couldn't help but get started.  So here you have it...the beginnings of what is called a fashion doll.  I can't wait to see how the finished product turns out.  It will be all hand sewn.  It is all made of felt.  The free online pattern is actually only supposed to be 6 inches but I wanted something a little more substantial, so I free handed a pattern as close as I could to the original that should be 12 inches.  The clothes should be very easy to get on and off.  When I found this pattern I knew I had to give it a try.  It seemed like the perfect gift for a two year old.  So once I'm finished, I'll have to find a nice hiding spot and hang onto it until Bren's birthday in December.  The wait to give it to her is going to be the hardest part.  Kadyn has been watching me make it.  I'm afraid she may want one too when it is all said and done.  This is why I think I might make a boy companion to go with the girl.  That way they both can play with one.  Anyhoo...this is what I have so far.  I've put in one night and a whole day's worth of work to get this far.  I think I'll be finished with the first doll in another two days.
One day while surfing around on the net, I ran into a blog post with sewing tips.  There were two that really seemed....clever.  The first was to hem your fabrics before you wash them so they don't unravel.  The second was this....

No I didn't glue them on there.  They have velcro on them.  Now I don't have to search for them because they're nice and handy every time.  Just wanted to pass it along in case someone else might find it as handy as I did.

On a different note, I'm really looking forward to the holiday weekend.  We have plans to go to Springfield on Saturday.  I need to exchange our our library books for a fresh batch(we still use the Springfield libraries), shop at goodwill, hit the farmer's market, visit the splash park and have a picnic, and one other little errand.  I'd like to make a swim at lake happen at some point this weekend, but that may be iffy it rains.  Not sure if we will see any fireworks this year.  I hate fighting fireworks crowds.  It is also a big turn off that they never start until the kids' bedtime.  Then there's the chance that Bren may freak out at the loud pops.  She's still at that iffy stage when it comes to that stuff.  So....we'll see.  Either way, fun will be had this weekend.  Bring it on!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Budding artist and fashionista

Bren is finally starting to get a bigger attention span for art.  She tried her hand at pallet painting the other day and colored for a long time too.  Usually it's a few strokes of the crayon and then she's done. 

Kadyn loves dressing up.  Sometimes the outfits she comes up with out of her dress up box are hilarious!  Bren is all too willing to be her live model for some of her creations.  I just love watching them come out of their room sporting some of this crazy attire.  It is so cute, don't you think? 

Organizational sewing

For some time I've been wanting to sew an organizer for our van. I had a pattern, but it seemed a bit complicated and required interfacing.  We don't have a fabric store in town, so doing a project like that would require a trip to Springfield to get necessary supplies, plus I'd rather make things with stuff I already have on hand to save time. 

I found a very easy pattern online and had everything I needed to do the job.  It was very easy to sew.  I'm happy with the way it turned out.  This little number has allowed me to completely clear the floor in our van.  I used to store things in a plastic bin that slid around everywhere and looks unorganized and cluttered with stuff.  Now everything has it's own neat little compartment.  I love it.  I love it so much so, in fact, that it gave me the idea to make the same thing to organize my craft stuff for the kids.  I have a ton of little odds and ends that I have collected throughout the years to do crafts with the kids.  I usually have them all thrown into plastic bins, but often I can't find what I need very easily as it is buried somewhere in one of those bins. 

This organizer isn't the most attractive thing I've ever made, but it does the job.  It eliminated us spending extra money on more shelving for our laundry room.  Instead I just hung these little numbers where that extra shelving would've gone.  I actually think it works out better as now I don' t have to worry about a shelf being in the way when I lift up the lid to our washing machine. 

Unfortunately, these are heavier than I thought they'd be and the hooks I put on the wall started falling off, so I had to tie one end to the shelf above.  I'm contemplating getting sturdier hooks or just tying both ends to the shelf above.  We shall see.  Anyhow, I had fun doing this.  Organizational stuff fuels me.

Jeff had a label maker, so I was able to make these nice, neat labels to go on everything.  I had SOOO much fun making labels. I went a little label crazy and started labeling anything I could get my hands on until.....I ran out of label paper.  Bummer.  Anyhow, I made two organizers for the laundry room, one above the washer and one above the dryer.  What's crazy is that I still have an entire white bin full of paint that needs a home and two drawer towers stuffed with craft paper, coloring books, etc.  I have so much kid craft stuff it's nuts.  It's hard to believe that often I find crafts that require me to go buy something I don't have.

Picnic project still growing

I thought this last piece would complete my picnic project, but now I'm contemplating expanding it. I  haven't decided really. I found this awesome king sized red, white, and blue quilted picnic blanket at Walmart that rolls up into a carry tote that was SOOOO cool.  However, I also found this idea of sewing together beach towels to make a picnic blanket that seemed so clever and cool too.  Homemade always seems to mean more, so it's certainly tempting.  I would have to buy the towels though. My towels are so ratty, and I'm afraid I wouldn't be excited about the end result with those towels.  We are going to some thrift stores this weekend.  I'm hoping to find something there.

Anyhoo....this is the sandwich wrap that I told you I was going to make for the lunch sacks I made earlier.  For some reason I had trouble getting the velcro centered, but overall they should work just fine. Just toss in the washing machine to clean or wipe clean.  What I LOVE about these is that they can serve as a place mat or plate for your food.  Therefore, if you're caught at a picnic table without a table cloth, you don't have to worry about your food touching an unclean table.  Each wrap I made matches it's lunch sack.  I can't wait to use them. 

Friday, June 25, 2010

Just whipped it up

Kadyn is notorious for leaving her water bottles at places.  She left her last water bottle at a restaurant in Garden City.  Needless to say, we won't be going back for that one.  So I purchased her a cheaper one this time and needed to find a way to help her keep better track of it.  Therefore, last night I whipped up this little number.  She LOVES it.  She's worn it all morning.  I think I may make the strap a little bit longer, but overall I'm pleased with the way it turned out.  (That weird string on it is actually supposed to be tied in a bow, looks like it may have come untied for the pic)  I even lined the inside with flannel to soak up any sweat from the bottle.  It was an easy, fun, and quick project.

I found some other water bottle slings on etsy for outrageous prices which also had key holders and pockets and nooks and crannies for things.  What a neat alternative to a fanny pack.  I may have to try to create one of those diddies on my own for a special someone for Christmas. I think I know just who may benefit from one of those.  She begged me to delete a picture of her sporting a rather large fanny pack.  Yes, you know who you are sweet lady, ehem:)

The link to the tutorial is:

A life change...possibly

 I have been meat free (with the exception of sea food) for 6 months now....until today.  I accidently bought spicy chicken patties two weeks ago.  Jeff doesn't care for chicken patties and the girls don't like spicy.  I could have taken them back, but Walmart policy is to trash all returned food items.  It doesn't matter that the seal hasn't been broken.  I can't bare the thought of trashing perfectly good food.  There are too many starving children around the world. That, to me, would be wrong.  Therefore, I ate chicken for the first time since December.  I have allowed myself seafood mostly because it is SOOOO healthy and also because it gives me an option at some restaurants that don't otherwise cater to the vegetarian.

When I set out on this journey to be meat free, I mostly was just doing it to perhaps make a tiny statement to the food industry about the treatment of the animals that are being produced for food.  I have no quams with the idea of eating meat.  I do, however, take issue with unsafe food handling and inhumane treatment of the meat we eat.  That movie Food Inc., as you all know, did a number on me.  Anyhoo, I really didn't think I could do vegetarian, and I guess since I still eat seafood I am not a true vegetarian.  However, it proved to be easier than I thought to eliminate beef and chicken from my diet.

Our tastebuds have tried foods like we have never tried them before.  I've had probably as many failed recipes as I have had winners, but it feels good to cook up food that I know is doing good things for our bodies.  It is actually a little easier on our pocket book as well.  And the best part is, I was able to loose all the weight I set out to loose at the beginning of the year with minimal effort.  I feel good, I like the way I look, I fit in a size of clothing I never thought I'd EVER fit in again.  I eat just about as much as I want, I still get my little sweet fix, and my tummy feels full and happy.

With all those perks, why wouldn't I continue my path of semi vegetarian eating? There are just too many pros that outweigh the cons.  Granted, I am stuck having to finish off this package of spicy chicken patties, but for the most part, I don't see myself changing my diet at all for the next year, or two years, or three. I am not willing to say this is absolute.  If there is one thing I have learned as I age, it is that no matter how passionate we may be about something, we can change our minds.  We'll see.  Perhaps I'll tire of the extra work being mostly vegetarian can be.  All the cutting and preparing veggies can be burdensome.  The stress of having to cook them up when you don't feel like it because you know they will go bad if you don't get to them in time.  That does get old, I must admit.  

Anyhow, just having a reflective day since it was the first time I ate chicken in 7 months.  Wanted to share.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Golfing with Dada

I promise Jeff was golfing too.  He was the one taking the pics however, so we didn't get any of his action.  The girls really enjoyed a little coaching from their golfing hero.  I took one wack (ehem) ok maybe two, then decided to melt in a lawn chair and ponder how the girls could have so much energy in such sweltering heat.  Bren actually enjoyed playing fetch with the golf ball much more.  Who needs a real dog when you have a Bren?  Kadyn, I'm afraid, may have my golfing gene.  She spent more energy swinging and missing than actually hitting the ball. 

Project #3 75%, Project #4 100%

I finished my snack packs for my lunch snacks, although I cut out a lot of extras that still need to be sewn.  I would like to have some in my diaper bag for snacks and also to carry tissues.  Here's a look at the way they turned out.  You can wipe them clean or throw them in the laundry.  The inside is lined with none other than a ziplock baggy which I'm told should launder just fine (I'm assuming this means in the washing machine only, not the dryer).

Then there is the crayon pouch.  SUPER EASY!  If you are a beginning sewer, this project is for you. I'm thinking about whipping up another for a Christmas present and then buying an activity book to go with it.  This costed me absolutely nothing as I had fabric scraps and ribbon already on hand.  Takes very little fabric.  Sorry the first pic isn't facing the right way.  For some reason it kept flipping the pic when I downloaded it.  Very frustrating.  Anyhoo....up next is my sandwhich wraps then perhaps a utensil holder. Currently, I'm compiling a list of fun, easy stuff to do for Christmas presents.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Just sharing.

I have been venturing into the wide world of craft blogs.  I know many of my readers (all 6 or 7 of you, but I like to pretend there are more:) love crafting.  This one I ran into, maybe you've seen it, I had to share. It has so many tutorials on making all kinds of crafty things and they are cute, cute, cute!  So if you are inspired, check it out.

I wonder.

Sometimes I wonder what it will be like when the girls are older.  The responsibilities as a mother when they are so young at times can be overwhelming.  The CONSTANT picking up toys.  The CONSTANT cleaning up crumbs off the floor. The constant treating of carpets for spit up, mud from shoes, spills from sippies.  The CONSTANT making and cleaning up snacks.  The CONSTANT changing and washing diapers.  The CONSTANT laundry and stain treating of all those tiny clothes. Watching two other children day in and day out that are not my own only amplifies everything.

I wonder what my house will be like in the next season of life?  Right now it seems to be overtaken by all things baby: highchairs, toys, exersaucers, bottles (granted much of which I have to hang onto because of the daycare), diaper pails, sippies, bibs, wipes, etc. etc.  I think about how much space I will have without all this stuff here.  I am SOOOO thankful I have more storage this time around thanks to an unfinished basement.  And I sheepishly admit at times my mind wanders and thinks maybe this would be easier if I had a bigger house....but then I think that's NUTS!  I have enough to care for and take care of the way it is.  Sure I don't have a pantry and have to store all food in the laundry room.  I have no where to put my kitchen trash, so it also sits in the laundry room.  I do not have a linen closet, so all extra towels sit on a shelf in my clothes closet and all coats are hanging on the wall in the hall.  I digress.

In a sense I know it will be easier....and harder when they are older.  I don't look forward to the teenage hormones and arguments. I don't look forward to the attitudes and laziness that I know can come with a teenager.  BUT....they will be old enough to really help.  They won't be litering the house from one end to another with toys (perhaps socks and shoes).  I can sit down with them and have somewhat adult conversations and reason with them....gulp...I hope.  What an interesting change in life that will be.  I look forward to it even with all the new headaches that it may bring.

As I reflect on now I think that realize that it is all a bit tiresome and overwhelming, but the alternative, NO WAY.  I'll take all the endless diapers, laundry, cleaning, picking up toys anyday.  A life without my children, to me, wouldn't be a happy one.  I am so much more fulfilled.  So today as I step on crumbs that stick to my feet and think to myself, "Ugh!  I need to clean that up....AGAIN,"  I'm going to hold my head up high and remember that this is the life I chose and I would never wish it any differently.   My house is overtaken with children's stuff, the tubs and floors aren't as clean as I'd like for them to be, the cabinets and drawers aren't as organized as I'd like them to be, but none the less...our house is a happy house.  Dare I think I will actually miss these problems one day?  Not because I enjoyed the problems, but because of a happy time in my life that they represented.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fun around the house

Bren LOVES books!  One day I happened to glance in her room and this is how she had perched herself.  Adorable!
Kadyn really enjoys that reading website.  She asks to play around on it often.  I don't mind it at all.  Anything educational is fine in my book.
These are pics of the girls during our frosty experience that I mentioned in my last post.  As you can see.  They don't mind much that our picnic was a bust as long as the day ended with a nice big cup of ice cream.

These last few pics happened last night.  Bren has really found her legs lately and has been trying her hand at running.  Daddy playing a good game of chase really inspired her to put the pedal to the metal.  I LOVE watching her try to run. It is soooo cute.  She still has the toddler waddle to her strides that kind of causes her to bee bop from side to side at times and almost bite the dust, but it is just so endearing to watch especially when she tries to book it.  This was right before bedtime. Thanks Daddy for getting them all riled up for me just before they should be falling asleep.  Oh well.  Good times anyways.

Picnic flop

I was soooo excited to break in our new lunch bags this weekend.  I originally planned to have lunch by the lake Saturday afternoon, but it was wretched hot and so I rescheduled to supper by the lake.  I had checked the forecast several days back and it was supposed to be clear (big mistake not to check the forecast the day of).  Anyhoo...I packed up my new beauties and we headed out.  It looked a little cloudy on the way there, but I thought perhaps it would just sprinkle a little.  I could handle sprinkles.

The plan was to hit this paved trail that goes alongside the lake and eventually goes by this wonderful picnic area (about a mile up) complete with picnic tables and shelter.  We got maybe a quarter of a mile in, and then the thunder started.  I wheeled the double stroller around and toodled back to the van as fast as my power walking legs could take me.  My thought was to hop in the van and drive down the road a ways to a picnic shelter and go ahead and have our picnic under the canopy of the shelter with a gentle rain falling all around us.  It could still be a nice picnic, right?

Jeff indulges me and my idea of a perfect picnic and does as I ask.  We drive up the road a ways and find that shelter I saw.  It has a sign saying it has been reserved all day, but no one is there.  I thought to myself that we wouldn't be long.  Besides it was raining, were the people really going to show up?  We all get out and get set up at a table under the shelter.  We dig into our PBJs and then a large gust of wind picks up our table cloth and blows it onto Kadyn's head.  My bag that held all the lunch sacks takes off towards the lake and Brennan gets scared and starts to cry.  I decided to give up and eat in the van.  Jeff says he's going to enjoy his picnic and refuses to come in the van. 

After I chase my bag down, I get the girls snapped back into their seats complete with sticky fingers and peanut butter faces.  We resume our eating in the van while Jeff decides maybe it is best to pack up and get back in the van.  Our air conditioning doesn't work right in the van and only one window rolls down, BUT seeing how it was a monsoon outside we could only crack it.  I had to crack my door as well because the heat in the van was UNBEARABLE (we needed circulation)!  So as the rain soaks the inside of of the door, I try to ignore our bad luck and just enjoy what semblance of a picnic we have left while we watch the people who had reserved the shelter show up and actually try to have a picnic in this chaos.

We finish our food.  Jeff decides he hasn't had his fill and wants this picnic to end on a better note so he drives us to the Wendy's drive through and orders himself a cheeseburger and the rest of us a frosty.  We take it home and decide to break out the lawn chairs on our front driveway (the rain had stopped by now).  I sit down and start shoveling bites into Bren's mouth and then....the thunder rolls again.  I look at the girls and declare, "I'm giving up....come on girls let's go inside."  

On a better note, our frosties sure were good from the comfort and shelter of what is called home.

So now that we've had the picnic from h*!*, maybe the rest of our picnics this summer will be peachy keen.  We can only hope!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The bead jar and the spanking debate

What you are looking at folks is an idea I stole from a m agazine.  It was my feeble attempt to put an end to bedtime battles in a positive manner.  Did it work?  The first night was great.  The second night not so much.  The third night, I threatened a spanken (I haven't spanked Kadyn in almost a year).  I was desperate.  I hate spanking.  I was almost angry that I used the threat, but I was at my witts end with her.  I think all the whining, complaining, lack of appreciation for me helping out (I had picked up 3/4 of the toys for her earlier in the night), the dilly dallying around and getting distracted from picking up her toys, and then outright lying to me just took me about as far as I was willing to go that night.  I had a firm talk with her, tears were shed, and we agreed that we would start fresh the next night.  I made her very aware of the firm consequence that awaited her if she made the same bad decisions she had made that awful night.  It worked.  Tonight was glorious.  No complaining, whining, a lot of "thankyous" for my help, and the room was picked up in decent time (granted she was distracted a few times).  I am soooo relieved tonight didn't end in a spanking.  Honestly, I would be a very happy woman if I never have to make that threat again.

I hesitate even making this post as I know there are many people out there that are adamently against spanking.  I do have a stance on it, but I won't get in to all of that.  For me, however, I will say I made a decision a year ago try to avoid doing it at all costs.  I'm a little disappointed in myself for letting last night get to that threat; I was angry and I was tired.  I'm glad it worked, but...I hope I don't have to do that again.  This past year I had made a decision that I was not going to spank anymore because I felt as though it was always a decision I made based on my emotions, rather than a learning experience for my child.  I didn't feel I was in the proper mind to use it, and therefore it wasn't as effective and not fair at all for my child.  I don't want my child to walk away from the experience thinking, "When Mommy is angry, she spanks."  Rather, if used properly, she should be walking away from the experience thinking, "I made a bad choice.  I do not want to do that again." 

Honestly, I'm surprised I've made it an entire year without using it.  I would be a happy woman if I never have to make that threat or spank ever again.  I just pray that I can control my emotions enough to stick to that commitment.  I think what it's going to take is a lot of prayers that I can will myself to keep my cool, that my child will make good choices, and be respectful of me.

Part of me wishes that threat wouldn't have worked.  Not so that I could have spanked her, for heaven's sake.  But rather so that I'm not tempted to make the threat again.  Ugh!

On a different note (in case you were wondering about that jar), basically Kadyn has a list of chores that she is expected to do everyday which consist of the following:

-brush your teeth and hair
-make your bed
-use the bathroom
-get dressed
-pick up your toys at the end of the night

Then she has a list of optional chores that she can do for extra credit:

-clear the table (basically put the dishes on the counter by the sink)
-help Mama with the babies

There is a value assigned to each chore.  They are all printed on a list with pictures to help her read them.  For example, picking up toys earns her 3 pretty beads.  If she behaves badly I have the right to take some beads from her jar.  When her jar is full, she gets to pick out a movie at the movie store or go get an ice cream cone with Mama and Dada.  She seems to like the idea and we are sticking to it.....just wish it was the magic cure I was hoping for to end the toy battle every night.  Oh well!  It was good in theory.

Being a parent can be really, really hard.  That's all I have to say!

Project #3 lunch sack....50%

Lunch bags have been made.  That is except one for Jeff.  He wasn't too excited about the fabric I had on hand and we already had one lunch bag that we had bought awhile back that he can use.  Now we all have one.  Let me say, this has been a learning experience.  I have never sewn with webbing before.  I made the mistake of buying a webbing that said "DO NOT SEW"  and not realizing it until after I finished the second bag.  I literally had to stop sewing about every 3 inches to take my needle out and clean off the gunk, otherwise it would get caught up.  It was a PAIN IN THE BUTT.  What should've taken me an hour to sew probably took 3 hours or more!  You would've thought I would catch on after the first bag.  I guess I can be pretty dense sometimes. the time I started the third bag, I decided to cut the webbing smaller than my pattern so that the needle wouldn't be going through it at all.  It worked like a charm.   The webbing didn't bind at all to the batting (another thing I've never worked with before), but it did give the bag a lot of structure so it held it's shape.

Sewing the corners on these was also very difficult, but by the third bag, I finally figured out to how clip it and pin it just right to make a fairly seamless corner.  Overall, I'm happy with the way these turned out.  I'm a little disappointed that I didn't have nylon on hand to make the liners, but I can throw them in the wash and if the stain doesn't come out.  At least it's the liner and not on the outside.  Kadyn picked out her patches, which don't show up all that well in the pic.  Both Bren and Kadyn's bags have patches on all 4 sides.  I couldn't find any that I liked so I stuck with a ribbon. 

Next on my list to finish this project is to make matching sandwhich wraps and snack packs.  I bought a table cloth yesterday for picnic tables and I am hinting to Jeff that I'd really like a picnic quilt for my birthday so we have the option of ground picnics as well.  I can't wait to start having picnics soon.  

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Project #2.....almost check

Remember my card making idea?   Been working on this one all weekend.  What was supposed to be a simple homemade card turned into a much more involved process.  Once my mind got to working....the ideas just kept flowing and before I knew it I had gotten myself involved in a very time staking process.  The cards are made out of card stock we had around the house, old gift bags cut up, and then some ribbon, buttons, beads, and stickers that I bought.  I made them the same size as a standard envelope (except the anniversary cards).  There are 27 in all.  Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthdays, and anniversaries are all covered now for the next year from today. 

I really enjoyed doing this.  It felt good to be creative again and made me feel as though perhaps I haven't lost that touch.  I still have to wrap them in tissue paper (Jeff says the buttons and such won't go through the post office machines well so I'm going to try to pad them a bit), stuff them in envelopes, address the envelopes (hopefully no one moves this next year), and put postage one.  Then I need to get all the mailing dates on the envelopes and reminders in my email calendar.  I sure hope they arrive to everyone in one piece.  I'm hoping everyone will find them extra special since they are handmade with love.

Here are some pics of the whole bunch and then I singled out my favorites for you to look at more closely.  I wish the lighting was better.  The flash was too bright, and the natural light wasn't bright enough.  I think they look much better in person as you can really see all the sparkly stuff which makes them seem so much prettier.

Next up is the lunch bags.  I've already got the pieces cut and decorations for the bags picked out.  This week I will work on assembling them. 

Project #1.....check


Finished this little baby shortly after my last post. I was just so excited to do it that I hopped to it.  I abandoned the idea of making it out of fabric.  Basically I cut the front off of a cereal box, wrapped with with real wrapping paper, cut little pockets out of the other side of the box, wrapped them, and hot glued them on.  Next I hot glued a little ribbon on, wrote everybody's names on the pockets, made a little holder for the paper out of the same materials, and put some magnets on the back.  Wala!  It was finished in no time and is hanging on our fridge as we speak.  I already have gift ideas in people's pockets.  This Christmas is going to be the easiest Christmas ever to shop for.

Friday, June 11, 2010

New ideas

I've always thought as an adult I am not nearly as creative as I used to be as a child.  Then sometimes the creativity just flows.  This past week has been one of those times.  Here's a couple ideas I have come up to be crafty and have fun.

Idea #1:  I get the biggest satisfaction out of packing sack lunches for the family when we're on the go.  It's fun trying to figure out ways to fit all four food groups into a sack lunch and then pack them and put everyone's names on the bag.  Of course not everyone likes the same things, so each bag is different.  I feel like June Cleaver when I do things like this.  One day it dawned on me that we should have our own personalized, reusable lunch sacks just to save on waste and make things a little more fun.  Thus, a new sewing project has begun.  I also want to make reusable sandwhich wraps and snack bags to stuff them with.  I love doing anything that is considered going green and cuts down on waste.  I am using these two tutorials:

Idea #2  Do you ever think of things that you'd like, and then when someone asks you what you want for your birthday or Christmas, you can't remember what it is?  Or....someone tells you something they'd like to have some day, and then you can't remember what it is when their birthday or Christmas rolls around? think of a good gift idea for someone, and then when their get my drift.  I want to make big present that I can hang on a closet door, maybe made of fabric.  It will have pockets for each family member attached to it.  When someone thinks of something or hears an idea, they write it down and put it in the pocket for the appropriate family member.  Come birthdays or Christmas time, you take out the ideas and go shopping.  Of course, there is a certain trust factor involved here.  You can't ever take ideas out of your own pocket, or you might know what someone else has been thinking of getting you. You can, however, add ideas to your own pocket.

Idea #3 I am AWFUL at remembering birthdays or getting cards out on time.  Jeff has requested I get better at this. I wish I was better at this; it bothers me that I'm not.  Since this is so difficult for me, I decided maybe Kadyn and I should sit down one day and make a cards for everyone's birthdays all in the same day.  Then mark the date on the outside of the envelope as to when it should be sent and put postage on it.  Store them in a container organized by month, set a reminder for each birthday in my email account, and then the only thing I have to do for the entire year is walk it to the mail box on the appropriate date.

Idea #4  This one really isn't my idea, but something I want to do.  I have seen those easy to make tutorials for crayon pouches and never seen a need for one until recently.  Those tiny cardboard boxes that the crayons come in start looking pretty beat up after being carried around in the diaper bag for awhile.  Therefore, I may be making one of those in my near future. 

Anyhow, my plate is beginning to fill up with crafty ideas for the summer.  I'm so excited to be getting back into the swing of things in this department.  It has been awhile since I have been able to devote much time to it.  Brennan has been very demanding with all the sickness, teething issues, and ear infections (which she has again we just found out, grrrr).  However, she is either getting better at dealing with the pain, or just all around not noticing it much because she seems better at entertaining herself and less clingy.  Therefore, this Mama can feed her own soul for a little while.  I'm looking forward to it!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Family trip June 2010

For the record, part of our trip was visiting the wonderful Madgwick family.  I totally forgot to snap pics of our visit with them which I could just kick myself for, so that isn't part of this slide presentation but know that we had a GREAT time during that visit.

Also, this is my first attempt at making a movie on Picasa.  There were some things I couldn't figure out how to do. I really wanted the music to be much softer during the two videos but couldn't figure out that one.  I would have like to have made some slides show longer than others too.  Not sure that's even possible.  Also, not sure why it is sooo pix-elated. was fun to make none the less. Either click the small black picture or the link.  Enjoy!

From Movies

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bon Voyage

 We are leaving tomorrow after daycare on a mini vacation.  It's not the really fun kind where you get to do things you've never done before as a family, but it's away from home which makes it worthy of a "vacation" title to us.  The Bilberrys don't get to travel often, so we are really looking forward to catching up with old friends and family and just getting the heck out of Dodge, if you know what I mean.  Traveling long distances just sounds so much easier if the girls are asleep, so that is part of the reason why we will be leaving around supper time on Friday.  It also helps our pocketbooks to get a full days work in.

Our first stop is Manahattan, KS.  Ahhh good ol' alma mater.  Actually, the real reason we are visiting Manhattan has nothing to do with college.  The radio station that Jeff worked at in college, 101.5 KRock is having a reunion.  He will be starting his day Saturday at a golf tournament while I get to visit a great childhood friend and her family.  Then later that afternoon the reunion festivities will resume at local park which includes a BBQ dinner, inflatables for the kids, and water fun too.  After all that fun, we are back in the van (hopefully with two sleepy girls) to travel another overnighter to Garden City.

Sunday morning we get to have breakfast with the Bilberry side of the family and then will meet up in the afternoon with my side of the family, the Koehns, at the zoo.  We are all excited to meet the newest member of the family, baby Derek.  I think supper at our favorite GC restaurant, El Zarape, will be a must Sunday night, and then Jeff will take the girls back to the Bilberrys to go to bed while I get a girls night out with my mother and sister to watch Sex and the City 2.  I am so stoked!

Monday morning we spend a little more time with the Bilberrys and then it's time to head on back to good ol' Branson, MO.  This will be a daytime travel, so hopefully the girls will be so exhausted from all activities that they will nap through much of it.  I can hope anyways.  If not, I will have the DVD player ready to go, a bag of toys, and a ton of snacks ready. 

It is going to be a whirlwind of a trip.  I wish it could be longer, but I'm thankful that we can at least get out of town, even if it's only for 3 days.  Pics to come!  Have a good weekend everyone!

 Bon Voyage!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day weekend 2010

What an awesome weekend!  We kicked off our long weekend with a trip to the movie theater to watch Shrek 4 with the girls.  It was great!  Kadyn loved it and Brennan made it through the entire movie.  She did get a little restless 1/2 way through so I took care of that problem with a small bag of wheat thins. Saturday night Jeff tried to set up our BIG outdoor tent in the basement, but it proved impossible to do since we couldn't nail any stakes into our floor.  Kadyn had to settle for sleeping in her little play tent and Dada slept on the futon by her tent that evening.  I don't think she really cared that much. She was just excited to be spending the night with her Dada.

Sunday we skipped church (Gasp!  I know, but we were on staycation so it didn't seem like a vacation if we did our normal stuff) and headed to the lake to play at moonshine beach.  We made the wimpiest sand castle ever, collected sea shells, and swam.  Kadyn even made a sand angel.  We opted to go the cheap route this year and get Kadyn floaties instead of a swim trainer vest.  She wasn't scared of the water, but she was certainly scared to try to swim without someone hanging onto her.  Last summer I had her swimming in her vest without me and jumping into the pool without help too.  We had a lot of ground to make up. 

First I took her to the deep area to practice.  She just couldn't trust that those floaties were going to keep her afloat.  So then I got the brilliant idea to take her to a more shallow area where she could barely touch in case she got scared. This allowed her to really practice swimming without help but touch the bottom if she freaked out.  It worked like magic.  Within 5 minutes she was wanting to swim out to deeper parts of the lake and see if she could get the fish to nibble on her feet as they were nibbling on mine quite a bit.  It tickled and was a fun experience.

Brennan was nervous in the water and kept saying my name over and over and over and over.  After some time I finally got her comfortable and even got a few smiles out of her.  Overall, she just stood and observed everything.  It was a lot for her to take in.  My goal this summer is to just get the girls really comfortable in the water and enjoying it.  I want Kadyn to be comfortable to enough to swim everywhere without my assistance.  Hopefully by the end of the summer she will even be willing to practice a little without her floaties.

The beach was really nice.  According to the locals it has recently been redone.  It is 4$ per car to enter but you can get a season pass for 30$.  The sand is perfect sand castle sand and there were even people burying themselves in it.  They had a playground, picnic areas with BBQ grills, and there were bathrooms and outdoor showers.  It was roped off so boats couldn't enter.  It really was perfect.  It was almost like being at a real beach by the ocean (only without the oil spills:).

Sunday we spent catching up.  I touched up the walls with paint where the kids had dinged them up with toys.  I cleaned the bathrooms and cleaned and organized the garage too while the girls played in the baby pool and had a water gun fight with Dada. What a great times!  Staycations in our neck of the woods ain't bad at all!

Hope you all had a good holiday too.