I guess Lizzie watched enough last summer to need no help in devouring her own snow cone this summer. I found these adorable straw spoons and they are perfect for little hands to eat snow cones.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Saturday, June 23, 2012
I love Etsy, Very Jane, Groop Dealz, Pick Your Plum, and all the cute crafty stuff that is showing up everywhere. My heart belongs in the craftroom making fun things for others all day long. Oh hours in the day, there just aren't enough of you!
I see cute ideas or items that make my life easier and decide to try and make them myself. Why on earth do I think that I have enough time to do all these projects is beyond me, but I love making and creating. I guess that's why I do it. It makes me so happy to sew, knit, crochet, or stamp something for a friend.
When Elizabeth was only a few weeks old I saw this amazing invention at the dr.'s office. It was a baby carrier cover that attached to the handles of your carrier. No more struggling to keep a blanket on top or dealing with a wet blanket that fell off in the rain. Baby stays dry, hidden from strangers hands(aka germ city), sleeps longer in their cozy world, and your carrier is super cute with all the fun fabric available out there. Why didn't I know about this when Taylor was a baby and where can I get one??? A quick search on Etsy turned into hours debating between which fabric was the cutest. Decisions, decisions. Ordered one, loved it, solved many problems. Fast forward to last fall when a sweet friend was getting ready to have her third child. I asked her if she had a carrier cover and if not, could I make her one? She was so excited and so I started out on my journey to sew my first cover. It went much better than expected and she was so happy to have the cover for when baby boy arrived. A few weeks later she informed me that the cover was the hit of the preschool for many pregnant Mommas. This left me with only one choice... fabric shopping to help out all my future customers. Why should I leave these Mommas without the greatness that these covers are? I love shopping for fabric and it helps that I'm not trying to figure out how the fabric is going to find a place in our home. Taylor only needs so many pillowcases and homemade dresses. So now I have my own Etsy shop so that I can have fun crafting and you can keep your sweet baby covered in style.
Wouldn't it be great if I left well enough alone and kept my craft selling at just those??? My husband probably thinks so.
Cue photographer friend who mentioned that she would love some knitted items when I told my playgroup that I wanted to knit but needed a project. Winter is a great time to knit since the husband and I spend lots of time catching up on movies that we missed because parents of two little ones don't make it to the theater often. It is sad that some were from 2008 and probably could be found in the $5 bin at Walmart. Thank you Netflix to keep 'oldies' for us :) Another search on Etsy landed me some adorable patterns and piles of beautiful yarn were turned into photography props for newborns/babies. While searching for patterns I also found cute leg warmers for my little dancer. Too bad she still won't wear them, but a friend's little dancer made good use of the next pair I knitted. All the mom's at her dance studio wanted some so after a few months I knitted a few up and listed them. I love making all these little items and can just imagine a little girl twirling in her leg warmers or a new mom snuggling her newborn in one of my cocoon pods for announcement photos.
I am a huge fan of buying something that has been handmade before going to a chain store. Some of my favorite jewelry pieces are handmade and I can spend hours on Etsy adding to my favorites list. So I want to know... what do you make? I know so many talented women(and men) and want to give them a chance to show off their hard work too. It can be your Etsy store, blog, website, Teachers Pay Teachers(because educating our little ones is hard work), or however else you show off your creativeness.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Just under the wire to be considered still Tuesday, but I made it!
A few of you will figure out right away what our girl is doing and the rest will think I've picked an odd picture for this week. Taylor learned to wink a few weeks ago and now loves to do this. She made me take a picture of it the other day and it just makes me laugh. I love her excitement with learning new skills. Don't ask her about snapping yet. She can do the motion, but informed me the sound will come when she gets to be my age.
Friday, June 15, 2012
Growing up I loved going to my grandmother's house in the summer because it meant that we would come home with a box full of home grown okra, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and onions. My mom would slice and fry up the goodies for dinner that night. I can still remember stealing cucumber slices off the cutting board before they ever made it to a plate. In our house the okra was coated with corn meal(plus a touch of sugar) and deep fried until golden brown and the tomatoes received a sprinkle of sugar. Might sound weird to put sugar on sliced tomatoes, but try it and then tell me I'm odd. As I've gotten more comfortable with cooking, I started to scour the produce section at the grocery store for okra, only to be let down by a small basket of maybe 10 pods for $4 or $5. This price killed me when I remember okra stalks so tall my grandmother had to get a ladder to pick the top.
Fast forward to a few years ago when I decided that I wanted to try my own hand at a garden. I had kept a few plants alive and Chris was sweet enough to encourage my brown thumb. I arrived home from a weekend away with Taylor to find that he had built me a raised garden bed. In this part of Texas you dig 6 inches down and hit solid limestone. Plus he wanted to give our veggies a fighting chance against the fire ant population. Taylor and I picked out a few seed packets, ignored spacing instructions, and planted away. Taylor was so excited to grow corn on the cob and I was looking forward to my okra, cantaloupe, cucumbers, bell peppers, jalapeños, and onions.
Within a few weeks we started to see little green plants sprout up and we continued to watch each day. Luckily, Chris knew I was not great at remembering to water plants and set up a timed sprinkler on the garden. We did get some goodies from the garden that year but also learned a lot. The seed companies know what they are doing when they tell you how far apart to plant veggies. Cantaloupe and cucumbers next to each other make for a viney mess. Okra plants get very tall so plant them at the end and make sure that you can reach the back of them when it comes time to pick while the plants are very tall. Being short adds to this problem. The okra did great and I learned to pick before they got too big or they would get hard and unedible. I would wash, slice, and freeze them as I picked them. This way I could save up enough to cook at one time. I ended up with almost 8 gallons of okra that summer from a $0.99 seed packet that produced two plants. I considered it a HUGE success. We also ended up with a few cantaloupes and plenty of cucumbers to enjoy with lunch all summer long. We picked four or five corn cobs and then the stalks died. Nothing else grew that summer, but I was pretty happy with what we got.
Last year only the okra survived the awful Texas drought/heat. Last year Chris added on another raised bed since we had the room and I learned that I needed to space a little better. This year I went in with a plan and put taller plants mixed with the viney ones. I planted corn in the same area as summer squash(the green variety) and cucumbers, okra, and bell peppers in the other garden bed. This has proved to be a good plan of attack so far. I went out yesterday to see how my little garden was doing and this is what I saw.
Guess I need to be checking more often now that flowers are all over my squash and cucumber plants. I am 5'1 and the corn plants are officially taller than me. I wonder how tall they get? Our garden is in a side yard that we use to store the ladder and other miscellaneous stuff. It's not a pretty part of the yard, but a great place to grow my veggies. Each of those yellow flowers show where a squash will grown soon. My sister-in-law says you can eat these. Not really on my list of things to cook but I’ll share them with anyone who wants them. Just tell me how to get them off safely for you and how to store them until you eat/cook.
Did you know that cucumbers can grow hanging? The lattice work behind the right bed is for the cucumber vine to grow up. Their vines have the little curly q’s like ivy that will help them attach to the lattice with a little encouragement. The plus of this is so that I can see where the ready cucumbers are and you don’t end up with a yellow side on your vegetable that often comes from laying in damp soil.
(those are tiny okra buds if you’ve never seen an okra plant)
And this is what I picked. I left my lotion and soap in the picture for comparison. This squash was huge and there is a small cucumber hiding behind it. The smaller squash is still bigger than what you get at the grocery store.
I cooked up the giant squash last night and it was so nice to cook fresh from the garden. It was so really sweet and the perfect tenderness for squash. Since it won't be long before the okra starts to fill my freezer again, I figured I would cook up my last bag from last year. I love fried okra, but the batter and fried part are not so great on a regular basis. Plus it kind of defeats the purpose of vegetables if you constantly fry them in oil. I found a recipe for an alternative fried okra, tweaked it to fit our taste buds and here it is for you. We like to have it as a side with Zatarain's jambalaya. I even use turkey smoked sausage links in the rice to lessen the calories.
Breadcrumb Fried Okra
- 2-4 cups sliced okra
- 1/2 c zesty bread crumbs
- 2 tbsp. Italian seasoning
- 1/4 c shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp. grapeseed or olive oil(we like grapeseed since it tends to have a lighter flavor than olive oil)
Warm oil in frying pan. Add okra.
Cook 5-8 minutes or until tenderness you like. I throw mine in still a little frozen and just cook a little longer. About half way through cooking, add seasoning. Continue to stir while cooking. Once at tenderness you like, add bread crumbs. I don't measure out the breadcrumbs anymore, but just add a little at a time until I get them coated. If your family doesn't like spice, then you might want to opt for regular breadcrumbs. Now sprinkle in the cheese, stir around to let it melt in and serve.
This actually reheats pretty well too if you have any leftovers, but we rarely do so I don't get to test this out very often.
If you are an okra lover like me, I hope you give this recipe a try. I still love my mom's fried okra, but my waistline appreciates this version a lot better. How do you cook your okra?
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Monday, June 11, 2012
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Sunday, June 3, 2012
For about 6 months I have been gathering different elements and hoping to redecorate Taylor’s room. Most of the room was the same from her nursery and we only got her a new comforter when she transitioned to a big girl bed 2 years ago. She wanted to keep so much of the room the same at that time and I was busy planning Elizabeth’s nursery that I left it like she wanted. It was time for the baby quilt and sea animals to come down and new elements brought in that reflected who she is and what she loves. If it was up to her, the room would look like it threw up Disney and Hello Kitty, but I wanted to try and stay away from ‘logo’ products in order to help the room grow with her. On one of my trips to Ikea for completely different items, I feel in love with this flower duvet cover and the matching curtains. Taylor’s closet had folding doors on it that didn’t work well so when getting her nursery ready we took the doors off and put up a tension rods with curtains instead. This has worked out so well with sneaking into her closet during the night to put away laundry or not having to worry about pinched fingers. Plus the girls love hiding behind the curtains. I wanted to be honest with how Taylor’s room looks on a daily basis and the clutter drives me insane. Part of the re-do was also to clean out and offer her better usage of dresser drawers and baskets in her room/closet. Here is her room before. Sorry for the poor lighting, but I forgot to take pictures until 11 o’clock at night when I started the re-do.
The clutter of doll/build a bear clothes drive me nuts! She uses the top floor of her doll house to store cd’s and her video games from little sister.
See baby quilt from over four years ago and massive amounts of stuffed animals on the bed? Does anyone else have a kid who wants this many stuffed animals on the bed? Where do you store them? I know she plays with them, but they end up in a huge pile somewhere. This is one problem I haven’t solved yet.
First, I replaced the curtains with new ones from Ikea. I heart Ikea and the fact that the curtains came with iron able hem tape so I didn’t even have to get out the sewing machine to make these the right length. I made them a little longer so she could make it like a stage. I have a hook inside the right side to pull the curtain back so she can get to her clothes. This has worked really well for us.
I also angled her doll house to give her a little more room along the window to play with her baby doll center. She spends a lot of time at the center and it also gave her some baskets for doll clothes and accessories in between the doll house and baby center.
I changed her comforter to this sweet set from Ikea. I took off most of the stuffed animals and she seems to utilize her bed for play more now. I find her tucking her doll in and she even tries to make her bed more often now.
I love all the colors and possibilities with this duvet cover. I even found this floor pillow to match and thought it would be nice for reading books for playing her games.
The next big change was doing something about the blank wall above her bed. I spent many hours looking at Etsy and all the beautiful paintings that some of the artists do on there. I loved many of them but there were never quite right, or if they were they were WAY out of my budget. So I decided that I would attempt to paint my own pictures for her wall. Please know that I am in no way an artist but thought I could combine a Pottery Barn, Target, and Etsy to make my own. Taylor loves butterflies, fairies, mermaids, and princesses so I tried to capture all those things. Plus I feel in love with this wooden cross(unpainted) at Hobby Lobby and knew exactly what I wanted it to say. I canvases at Michaels when they did a sale and let you use an additional 25% off coupon. They sat around for 2 months until I decided what to paint. Then I waited for the craft paint to go on sale for $0.25 each and had fun picking colors.
I learned that pencil does not paint over easily, glitter glue makes for great sparkly wings and mermaid tails, the wrong end of a paint brush makes the perfect size polka dot, and a heat tool that I use for embossing can help speed up the painting process when under a deadline.(or you are up until midnight and really want to go to bed)
I did vinyl cut out with my Cricut to do the lettering on the castle and cross. There was no way my OCDness would be happy with hand painted letters. Plus I could peel the letters off if they didn’t look right. I didn’t take the ‘h’ and ‘p’ being right by each other when sizing the letters for the cross. I would probably make this a little smaller next time, but wanted it big enough to be a focus point.
I didn’t really do much with the bookcase because it is serves more function than fashion and will need a good clean out soon to hand down books to little sister. I cleaned off a few knick knacks from the dresser and clutter than had accumulated.(along with some dust bunnies)
The last thing I did was hang a few butterflies from the ceiling for a sweet effect. It was interesting to come up with locations that weren’t in the way of her monitor or the fan. These were found in the spring section at Hobby Lobby at 40% making them $1.50 each. A little clear fishing line and push pins made for simple hanging. One hangs right over her bed so she can look up and see it.
I should’ve videoed her seeing her room because it felt like Extreme Home Makeover and I was Ty telling them to ‘Move that bus’. She loves it and loved figuring out all the new things. Taylor has been trying really hard to keep it clean so that she can enjoy it more. It turned out exactly how I wanted. I know this was a long post and bless those of you who are still reading. I did lots of searches for ideas for preschooler rooms and it was hard to find anything out there that you could easily do on a budget(love you Pottery Barn Kids, but my wallet doesn’t) or not overly Disney. I hope you find this helpful!
Now any tips on how to store those stuffed animals???