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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Zombie Chicken Award?!?


I come to find out that yesterday I was awarded the "Zombie Chicken Award." Twice!

Say what?

One of my dearest friends, Steph from A Pocket Full of Buttons gave me the award. I didn't think much about it because she's one of my BFF's and a great supporter of mine so OF COURSE she's going to be nice and reward me (she'd better!) ;) But then someone that I don't know, Jennie from "Kiducate" awarded me one as well! So while the award is a bit silly I am touched nonetheless! Thank you ladies! Allow me to ruffle my zombie chicken feathers a bit!

The Zombie Chicken Award reads:

"The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all…"

So, I am awarding the Zombie Chicken Award to:

Drum roll please.....

1) Sandy at Momisodes
2) Kris at JesseKate Designs
3) Katie at Katie's Nesting Spot
4) Chris at Pink Picket Fence
5) Caroline at Burrow House

There are so many blogs out there that inspire me and make me laugh...but since I am limited to awarding just five these are some of my faves! Thank you ladies for being so inspirational!

ETA: I hope you ladies don't find this reward/post to be "spammish". Instead please consider it as a true reward of inspiration and also as a referral to your blog! You ladies are the bomb! ;)

Been Sick...Been in Denial.....

Sorry I've been missing for a bit. Life got a little crazy and I got a little sick. Now laundry is piled up, dishes are needing to be washed, and projects had to be put on the back burner. Oh wait. That's how life is everyday!

*sigh*

But I have been feeling under the weather and I have been in complete and total denial.


"Denial about what?" you might ask.


Denial about moving. Don't get me wrong, I am THRILLED to b
e moving back home! In about 10 weeks we will be on a jet plane headed back to the islands. But that means in less than 10 weeks I have a ton of stuff do to! This is where the denial sets in. While I SHOULD be reorganizing, packing, donating or selling things I am not. I am either surfing the web or thinking of what craft project I should do next! *yet another big sigh*

Moving onward...


My father returned home from church on Sunday with a wonderful surprise! (Please don't ask why I wasn't in church!) One of the ladies in his church, Eileen K. gave him some handmade blankets as well as some store bought ones to donate to the Barium Springs Home for Children. Much like when the bibs arrived from Pat in Arizona I was absolutely floored. Floored at the talent as well as the generosity! I am blessed to already own a blanket made by Eileen as she gave us one when Momo was born. Now Barium Springs will be a lucky recipient to own handmade blankets from her as well! Thank you Eileen!


From Eileen K. - Hiddenite, N.C.

I have also posted a picture of the hats that Pat made and sent along with her bibs. Please see my original post here. They are darling!

If anyone else is ready to send in their blankets, bibs, etc. please do! Leave a comment with your email address and I'll send you my mailing address! Also - if you are making bibs but don't want to deal with attaching a snap or Velcro feel free to send them to me to do so. After all, I spent and arm and a leg for an industrial snap press! Might as well put it to good use!

Also - I've been working on a project. I'll give you a hint - MERMAIDS. :) There. It's "out there". Now I have to hold myself accountable! Yikes.

Wordless Wednesday - A Blast from the Past


For more Wordless Wednesday click here.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sanity Saver for $2.40!


Okay. So I cheated. I bought a Wilton decorating kit after Easter. It was 75% off of $9.00 (probably even more so now!) Verdict? It was worth every bit of the mess! Plus I used it as leverage (I mean "incentive") since Wednesday. :) Kailani decorated one side and Momo the other (with help from big sister.)



After all the decorating the girls decided to perch two of their Littlest Pet Shop critters on top. I think it adds character.



Of course when it they were all done they both wanted to eat it. Gross. Instead of tearing into the house I let them eat some of the candy that was left over. Still gross. Kailani didn't think so.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Bibs Have Arrived!

Just a few minutes ago a FedEx truck backed into the driveway. I wasn't expecting a delivery so you can imagine my surprise when he handed a box to me with my name on it. Everybody loves a little snail mail - especially a BOX with something inside!

I opened the box and to my surprise packed inside were a bunch of k
nitted bibs and baby hats! Someone whom I never met took the time to make and send 10 bibs and 7 beautifully made hats to donate to the Barium Springs Home for Children!

Pat W. from Arizona - thank you so much!

From Pat W. ~ Arizona


ETA: If you're not sure what I'm referring to when I mention bibs and blankets, etc. please see my original post here. There are several updates since then - see here and here. Thanks!

PS - I plan to add a photo stream to my blog showing all the bibs, blankets, etc. that have been donated. Please be patient as I figure out how!

Monday, April 20, 2009

I Love You *THIS* Much!

Many moons ago I was a member of "The MOM'S Club" (Moms offering Moms Support) in Hawaii. One of the volunteer positions I took on was being the coordinator for "Art in the Park." Once a month I would organize a simple and quick mommy-and-me craft to do with our kids.

I happened to notice on my father's refrigerator one that Kailani did for him nearly three years ago:



On the inside is written, "I love you THIS much":



When you pull the hands out the length of the ribbon it is the same length as when your kiddos stretch their arms out to show you how much they love you. Isn't that sweet?

With Mother's Day coming up I thought this might be a good project to share with everyone. I can't be for certain but I believe I got the idea from Family Fun magazine. Obviously it can be done for anyone at any time of the year. Kailani decided to make one for daddy since daddy is away right now.

Here are the supplies you will need:

1) construction paper or card stock
2) yarn or ribbon
3) markers, crayons, pencils, etc.
4) other types of crafts to decorate such as stickers, Foamies, stamps, pom poms, buttons, glitter glue, etc.
5) scissors
6) glue or tape
7) hole puncher (optional)

Kailani will now show you how it's done. :)

1) First thing you have to do is trace both hands (older kids can trace their own.) If you have a wiggle worm who is not going to sit still for you long enough to trace both hands then trace one and cut out two copies.


2) Cut out the hands. (If you can handle seeing mistakes or uneven cuts go ahead and let your older kiddo cut it themselves. I was itching to take over the cutting but I resisted. It was hard, but I did it. GOOOOO me!)



3. Optional - punch a small hole in the palm of each hand. This is where you will thread the ribbon. If you don't want to punch a hole you can always use tape later.


4. Write "I love you THIS much" on the inside of the hands. You can write a little on each hand or write it all on one.



4. Decorate both hands, inside and out with stickers, stamps, pom poms, etc. Kailani cut out a heart from different colored card stock and wrote "To Daddy" on one and "From Kailani" on the other. If you do this don't paste it on just yet!

5. Using yarn or ribbon measure out your kiddos outstretched hands and cut.



6. Thread ribbon through the holes and tape on the outside.



8. Tape/glue the "to" and "from" hearts over the taped ribbon. Finish decorating.




That's it!


Inside of hands:


Outside of hands:


Friday, April 17, 2009

Sorry Amy Knapp....time for a make over!

Every year I go completely bonkers when it's time to buy a new calendar/planner. It's a love-hate thing. It really is. I love starting the new year with a new planner but I hate the hunt. It HAS to be weekly (but it has to have monthly planning pages); the days CANNOT go horizontally across the page - they must go vertically; it's gotta be the right size, the right color, yadda yadda yadda! Every year I search high and low for this perfect planner (that does not exist) and for the last three years I always end up buying the exact same one as before.

This year I vowed to make a change. And I did. The hunt for a new one was ugly but I finally found the perfect one. So I thought. It took less than 24 hours to figure out I had to break up with it.

*Sigh*

At the suggestion of my BFF I decided to go with Amy Knapp's Family Organizer. At first I hesitated. I didn't like the cover. I didn't like the flimsiness of it either. But it was already well into January and I desperately needed something! And I have to admit, there were certain features of the planner that I liked. I really liked that it was 50% off! And having $10.00 in Border Rewards that was soon to be expired was a big plus as well! SOLD!

So I take it home and get to know it a little better. After our honeymoon phase I decided that yes, I liked it. However, I just could not get over the cover! It is hideous. I'm sorry Amy Knapp but it's true. I decided to do something about it.

The hideous cover.....


One of the moms (hi Marygail!) in my mom's club in Honolulu posted a link to a tutorial to make reversible journal covers. Time for a planner make over! I couldn't decide what fabric I wanted to use so I opted for some Asian fabric that I already had. The tutorial was great. Easy to read, easy to understand, easy to do!

While I did make it reversible I used the same fabric on both sides. I also decided to go ahead and stiffen the planner up a bit by tucking cardboard into the pockets. TA-DA! Much better don't you think?

New and improved!


Inside view:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Colorful Cookies!

Awhile back I laid my eyes upon these cookies. Aren't they awesome? So colorful and happy!

This morning I finally decided to test out the recipe.

Results? Ummmm....not good.


So I decided to try and make them AGAIN this afternoon (yes, I can be quite stubborn!) Status? They came out okay. Not great but definitely better than the morning batch!




I'm not sure what I did wrong. The instructions say to roll the dough (like you would if you were to make a snake out of Play Doh) 12" long and then coil it. However after baking you can definitely see the coils in my cookies - unlike the cookies in the original recipe. I tried flattening out some of the coils before baking them but it didn't seem to make a bit of difference. I guess all in all who cares? But I SO wanted to make them like in the picture! If anyone knows please tell me so I can stop obsessing over it!

*Sigh* So the cookies aren't perfect. But you w
anna know what happens when you give imperfect cookies to the kiddos?


Enough said. :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Celebrate Life...


See this beautiful baby boy? His name is Nathaniel and he is four years old. He is the son of a childhood friend of mine...Audra Lee Britt.

Audra and I went to the same elementary school at Yokota Air Force Base in Japan. We lost touch for awhile but through the wonders of technology and Face Book we have reconnected. It's been so much fun reminiscing and getting to know each other again. She is the same person she was 20 + years ago! Still funny, witty, and quite the character. The last time we saw each other we were in the 9th grade - and our conversations probably involved boys, boys and more boys. Nowadays the conversations were more about our kids and being women in our thirty-somethings!

Last week we were hit with some tragic news. Audra and her husband were in a terrible accident. They were hit by a drunk driver who fled the scene (but was later caught). Audra's husband Reece was killed almost instantly but Audra held on in ICU in a coma.....until the evening before Easter. The Yokota High School community is still stunned, heartbroken and confused over what happened. One of our own has been taken from us. One of our own has been taken from her four year old baby boy. I can't even wrap my head around it. I look at my own girls and just want to cry for Nathaniel.

Where do we go from here? There is so much to be learned from what has happened. But what I would like to say is this; hug your family tight tonight. Spend a couple extra minutes with your kiddos. Don't just tell them you love them, SHOW them you love them. Celebrate LIFE.

We love you, Audra.

Wordless Wednesday - Blow, Baby, Blow!

For more Wordless Wednesday click here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Thank Goodness for Ramen!


Or for my Hawaii friends, "saimin"!

Thank goodness both of my kids love to eat ramen/saimin! Cheap and easy to make!

One of the moms in a playgroup that I belonged to back in Virginia (Hi Brenda!) talked about doing this and I've done it several times since! Almost guaranteed to bring a smile to your kids faces!

1. First thing you need to do is prep the hot dogs. Make eight slits into the hot dogs to make the tentacles. Make sure the slits go more than half way up or else the little bugger will be top heavy and wont' stand up.

2. Cook the hot dogs according to package directions. The ends will curl automatically. Let them cool a bit then add a face with ketchup/mustard/etc.

(Wait until after the hot dogs are ready to cook your ramen. If you don't the noodles will get soggy.)

3. Cook ramen according to package directions. Add blue food coloring (or don't!) In the picture the soup looks more green than blue - I think I needed to add more drops of color.

4. Place the octopus on top and serve!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone! Hope everyone is enjoying time with their families. Please think of those that are without....for whatever reason that might be. Our family has been separated on many occasions and the holidays can be especially rough.

Yesterday we colored eggs. Out of all the choices out there, tie-dye, marbled, glitter, etc. Sponge Bob won this year. This was Mo's first time coloring eggs and boy did she have a blast. She didn't seem to get the concept of carefully placing the eggs into the dye, instead she preferred the slam-dunk method. She also preferred to put the stickers on her face instead of the eggs. *Sigh*

Months ago I had already planned to make the girls matching Easter dresses but I had a hard time getting started. I wanted to make this dress, same style but different fabric but I couldn't get beyond reading the pattern and taking measurements. Lately I've been trying to sew things from free tutorials that I find on the Internet versus your run of the mill McCall's, Simplicity, etc. Not knocking them, just wanting to explore different alternatives. And free ones at that!

I stopped in at Pink Picket Fence and was totally inspired by a skirt she posted on there. Lucky me - she posted a tutorial on how she did it! I decided to use the fabric that I already had in mind and this is what I came up with:


I think I liked it so much because it reminds me of my favorite Gymboree bikini that both of my girls have worn with the ruffles on the butt:

Oh yeah. "Baby got back!"

After finding the eggs I took all the little chick eggs and made a matching game out of it. I got the idea from a post made by Katie and Katie at ABC and 123. I tried using different color permanent markers but because the eggs and the egg cartons are different colors the colors of the symbols didn't match. While blue may look like blue in the carton the blue looked green on the egg. So I went ahead and drew some different symbols on some card stock, cut it out and then used my glue gun to glue the pieces into place. Here's how it came out:


Aren't the little chicks darling?

Be sure to check out more kid's crafts and educational ideas/information at ABC & 123!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Bibs & Blankets Update & New Deadline

First off let me apologize for not updating until now.

The most important thing everyone needs to know is the deadline change. The new deadline is June 1st (versus July 1st). We recently found out that we will be leaving N.C. about a month earlier than expected. Lots of scrambling on my end to get everything in order before we leave! Even with the deadline change I hope all of you that have volunteered to help can still help!

As far as where I am in this whole process: in addition to sewing other things I promise that I have still been working on the bibs! My personal goal is to make 100 bibs and a few blankets. I've got about 50 in progress - think of it as an assembly line of sorts. Some are bibs waiting to be snapped; others are waiting to be sewn; some fabric waiting to be cut, etc. I'm trying my best to avoid buying any fabric and using what I already have! While I've been meaning to try out different bib patterns I have still continued to use the free one offered at Chickpea Sewing Studio. So simple yet so cute!



I haven't made any blankets yet but did you know that You Can Make This is now offering a free tutorial for three different styles of receiving blankets? Here's the link to take you to the free download! (Edited to add: if you'd like this free download you have to sign up for a free account. I encourage you to do it! YCMT is one of my most favorite places to buy patterns and to simply be inspired! Don't worry - they will not spam your mailbox!)

If you've already completed your bibs or blankets please feel free to send them my way. Leave me a comment with your email address and I will happily give you my mailing address. Thank you so much for participating and helping out!

PS - Did you happen to stumble on my site and you have no clue what I'm talking about? Please see my older post regarding this project here. Hope you can help!

Friday, April 10, 2009

I WON!

Whoo-hoo! I won a giveaway! What did I win? The Zojirushi Mini Bento from Firefly Shop! Here's a picture of it, courtesy of the Zojirushi website:


Now as I stand at the podium and accept this gracious gift I will share with you my speech....

*Fumble in my pocket for my speech*

"Thank you, thank you! Oh my gosh, I don't know what to say. I was not expecting to win. There were so many other well-deserving people that should've received this mini bento....which makes me that much more grateful to have won....."

"I'd like to thank Zojirushi and Firefly Shop for an awesome gift! And I can't forget my friend Stephanie over at A Pocket Full of Buttons for clueing me in on such a great giveaway! And thank you to all that did not enter...which only helped increase my chances of winning such a fabulous prize."

:)

Orange You Glad....

I've had a few more "a-ha" moments lately. In one way I feel empowered to learn something new but in another way I feel like a total moron! I know that in some ways I can still be very naive but I've had a time or two that I'm just downright embarrassed that I didn't already know some of the more obvious things. *sigh*

One of my recent "a-ha" moments has to do with oranges. Yes, oranges. I'm not a huge fan of citrus fruits (they tend to be too acidic) but my husband is. Of course whenever either of us are eating something my kids have to have some too (because they are STARVING). The problem with oranges is Kailani doesn't like the skin. No, I'm talking about the rind of an orange but the actual skin. So her sweet and patient daddy will actually peel all the skin off. Mean mama won't. So when daddy isn't around there are no oranges in the house.

Well, the other day I happened to be in Sam's Club. One of the ladies was passing out samples (don't you love their samples?1?) of sliced oranges with no skin. Just take a bite and throw away
the rind! I asked the lady how she cut them and she was happy to show me. She also explained to me why it's better to cut them this way (I will admit I tuned her out but it has something to do with retaining the nutrients.) Wanna know how? Okay - I know this is probably very elementary for most of you but humor me for a minute because it was truly an a-ha moment for me! Here we go.

1. This is an orange. You know, for those of you that might actually be more clueless than me. ;)


2. Cut off the ends. (Say "hi" to my most favorite knife ever! It's a MAC santoku knife. Had if for years and I use it for everything. I've NEVER had to sharpen it!)


3. Slice orange in half (cut it perpendicular to the ends you just cut off. Oh! BIG WORD! You don't have to take out your geometry book. Just see the picture.) Peel away any "insides".



4. Slice into pieces. Say "hi" to knife again.



5. Bend both ends down a little bit and ta-da! You now have orange slices with no skin!


You can now leave a comment telling me:

a) you didn't know what an orange was;
b) you never knew how to cut an orange like this either;
c) or share an "a-ha" moment with me!

Please. It will make me feel a whole lot better!

Monday, April 6, 2009

We've Got Wild Rabbits on the Loose!

Last month I mentioned discovering The Purl Bee. I finally made the bunny hat and it turned out so cute! I ended up making one for each of my girls and then another for my one year old nephew. Like with most projects the first one took me a bit longer but the next two took no time at all.

The tutorial was easy to follow. The only thing I did differently was use plain flannel and I made my own ties (versus using ribbon). After making the 2nd hat I then understood why ribbon might be better. Making the ties (stitching right sides together then turning it right side out) drove me insane. I popped my chopstick through the fabric ummm....let's just say way too many times!


Also - the pattern is made to fit an average three year old. I have to agree. My youngest is two and it fits her perfectly. And she's (was) a chunk! The hat actually fits my oldest (who is six) but I thought it would look better bigger. So I winged it. It's way too big for her but she doesn't care.
I tried getting a decent picture but my kids are like wild rabbits. Even more so when they have bunny ears on. Couldn't get them to stay still for a minute!


Mo trying on her cousin's hat for size.
Notice the ribbon - I hope it's not too girly for my nephew!


ETA: Kailani wanted me to title this thread "We've Got Wild Rabbits on the Loose!" So I must give credit to her! :)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

FINALLY! Five months later.....

It's been five months since I learned my lesson in vanity. Not my own - but in that of my children.

Five months ago my then 1.5 year old had the most amazing long hair. That is until her big sister decided to cut it. No, it didn't make me feel better that she cut her own as well. I'll get myself all worked up about it if I retell the entire story so let me just show you some pictures.

Here is Mo back in September.
Notice how her hair is down to the middle of her back!


Here is Mo after her sister got a hold of her.
Yes. Cut TO THE SCALP.



And here is Mo today:


Today I actually had to trim her bangs a little! Of course I went back and forth with "bangs or no bangs" and decided that right now bangs are easier.

My hair is growing out as well. I can finally put it in a really dorky ponytail. So dorky that I wouldn't wear it in public but nonetheless it's finally long enough! Guess the girls in this family are lucky to have hair that grows so quickly!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Firefly Shop's Zojirushi Bento Giveaway!

Okay, I don't normally post about giveways but I couldn't resist this one! My girlfriend over at A Pocket Full of Buttons clued me in! Thanks Steph!

Firefly Shop is giving away two Zojirushi stainless steel lunch jars - the Ms. Bento and the Mini Bento. Practical and stylish all in one! As a proud owner of a Zojirushi rice cooker myself I can tell you that their products ROCK! I'd like to keep this giveaway my little secret (increase my chance of winning) but *sigh*....I'll be good. Check out Firefly Shop's review! Good luck! (To me! lol)

Hippity Hop....No...It's a Flop

Easter is around the corner! I'm so not ready! I want to make some bunny hats, Easter cards and dresses but I'm so behind! But thinking of Easter reminded me of some cupcakes that I made several years back:


YIKES! I just realized the photo says "2004". That was a long time ago....

Anyways. These little Peep cupcakes were really easy to make (and were quite the hit at the party!) You could probably wing it without instructions, however, if you would like them please let me know and I'll post the recipe.

Speaking of winging it:

Okay. I desperately need to go grocery shopping. We're down to the bare bones. I was half tempted to feed my kids cereal tonight except for the fact that we already had "breakfast for dinner" (pancakes) this week!

Yesterday while at the doctor's office I actually had a minute to sit down and flip through a magazine. I couldn't put down this month's issue of "Parents." I was half tempted to shove the magazine in my diaper bag but instead made a mental note to go out and buy one. Easier said than done. Couldn't find it anywhere! I really wanted to make the breadstick snails but couldn't remember what the instructions said to do. And of course I couldn't find the recipe online until after the fact... so I winged it.

Hmmmmm.

My snails didn't quite look like snails. But they kinda looked like bunnies! Perfect! Easter is around the corner. I put some cut up cheese sticks onto some toothpicks, molded a cheese tail and ta-da! We have a bunny! (So I hoped it would pass as one!) Nope.



I know, I know...there is so much I could've done to make it look better but trust me, my cupboards are bare and creativity is lacking!

Here is what it is supposed to look like (picture courtesy of "Parent" Magazine):



*Sigh* Okay. So I doubled the dough for each snail; didn't use any pesto (kids probably wouldn't eat it anyways!) and rolled the little buggers up the opposite way. Oh well. At least the kiddos chowed them down. That's what truly counts, right?