It’s A Jungle Out There

Tonight was so much fun!  I went to a baby shower for a dear friend who is expecting her second baby boy.  I believe I have expressed my love of showers on here before, so I won’t subject you to that again…but I do love them!!!

I was got to make the cake for this shower & it was a blast to make!  I’ve literally been working on this cake for about one week.  It had several fondant figurines, so I just decided to pace myself and do one a night.  Here’s how it turned out…I was pleased 🙂

ImageEverything on the cake is edible…well, except for the lollipop sticks I covered with fondant to make the palm trees.  My hubby asked me how palm trees and the jungle theme tied together…I don’t know…it just does!!

Along with making the cake, I decided to make the shower gift as well.  For all of you non-sewers out there, this projects for you.  Absolutely no sewing is involved…and the result was really cute!

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I found this link on Pinterest a few days ago.  There are tons of handmade baby gift ideas on it & I’m glad my friends are having babies, because I want to try more out!  When you check out the monthly onesie section, you can click on this link to go to the free printables page.  From here, you can choose from several colors & print on iron on transfer paper.  I found the paper at Wal-Mart and Michael’s and I’m sure it’s at other office supply stores.  You can find the onesies…well, anywhere 🙂

One word of advice…and this lesson I learned the hard way.  When you print, either make sure your printer is set up to print mirror image, or choose the printable that is the mirror image.  I printed off the whole year before I realized that I needed it to be backwards.  *Sigh*  That’s what I get for getting in a big hurry and not reading the instructions…or thinking clearly.

I love the idea of chronicling your child monthly…especially during that first year.  They go through so many changes, it really is remarkable the difference a year makes.  I see lots of my friends on Facebook posting these pics and when I saw this gift idea, I thought “perfect!”.

Then, I thought, some people at the shower might not realize what the onesies are for, so I made up this little poem (feel free to “CASE” it…copy and steal everything!  Change it up if you need)

Time flies when you’re having fun

Before you know it, he’ll be one

Use these onesies to slow the grow

Take a picture every month or so

When the year has come and gone,

The photos will linger on

To remind you of the love and care

And memories that you can share.

Fun, right?  It seemed to be a big hit.  Since I did every other month in a different color, I have a second set of iron ons ready to go as a gift…just gotta get more onesies!!

I love celebrating new life.  Everywhere I look, I see thinkings coming alive…the tulips, trees, grass (which my hubby has mowed twice already!).  I see God’s handiwork all around.  New babies are such a joy and blessing, I can’t help but get excited to welcome a new bundle of joy into the world!!

Keep Your Fork…

This has been a wild week.  As I look over the current events of our country, I am saddened. I was shocked when I heard the news about the Boston Marathon Bombing.  My husband and I were glued to our T.V. as we watched the FBI & Boston police capture the second (and hopefully last) suspect in the bombing.  I heard terrible, tragic stories of families losing loved ones, arms and legs being amputated…hearts wounded.  

Also this week, was the 18th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.  I remember that day with amazing clarity.  I was on the football field…at band practice.  I was 16 years old & a sophomore in high school.  Terrorism was unheard of…at least in Oklahoma…at least to a carefree 16 year old.  While practicing formations, we heard (what we thought) thunder.  It was odd, since there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.  We shrugged and we went on with our practice.  It was only after band, that we learned the horrible truth.

Since then, I have experienced multiple tragedies.  Columbine, September 11th, Sandy Hook Elementary, Aurora, many others and now Boston.  I have heard about many near misses.  Terrorists caught before they were able to pull off unspeakable wrongs.  Sadness.  Heartache.  Loss.

Last week, during our worship service, we sang a song.  “This World Is Not My Home”.  They lyrics really have spoken to me this week.  “This world is not my home.  I’m just passing through.  My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue.”

Thank goodness that this is not the end.  Thank goodness that there is more to come.  Something better.  A place where there will be no more pain.  Suffering.  Tears.  No more bombings.  No more angry people shooting into crowds of innocent children.  No more airplanes flying into buildings.  

My son has started doing something in the car.  While we’re driving, he’ll ask us to give him a Bible verse to look up.  It’s a lot of fun.  Sometimes, my hubby likes to trick him…have him look up a chapter or verse (and sometimes a book…did you know there is no book of Hezekiah in the Bible???) that doesn’t exist.  However, the other day, he had him look up Ecclesiastes 3:1.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

The chapter goes on to talk about the different seasons.  A time to be born, a time to die, a time to tear up and a time to tear down.  Sound like a song??  It is.  According to my sources at Wikipedia, the Byrds topped the Billboard charts in 1965 with this song.  Of course, they had an anti-war agenda and the lyrics were “tweaked” a little towards the end.  However, the writer of Ecclesiastes includes a “time for war and a time for peace”, unlike the song.  

So, it seems, we are in a time of unrest, a time of war, a time to weep.  It sounds so negative, so sad.  What do we do with that?   We can yearn for better times.  Where are those times going to take place?  Heaven, of course!!  We can watch what’s going on in this world…with all it’s pain and hurt and have peace knowing that this is not all there is to “it”.  Better things are coming.

My hubby used a story in one of his sermons recently.  He talked about a woman who was buried with a fork.  I’ve seen people buried with a lot of different things.  Most popular are photos, their favorite Bible, maybe a piece of jewelry or even a stuffed animal.  I remember attending one funeral where the officiant (who happened to be my dad) took a pic of the audience with the deceased favorite camera.  It was then placed in the casket because she loved to take pictures.  That was odd to me…somewhere underground…is a camera…with film in it(remember film cameras?)…and I (and several others) are on that film.  But I digress…

The woman asked to buried with a fork for this reason…when she was a young girl at the dinner table, dishes were always taken away before dessert.  The person taking the dishes away always said this “keep your fork…the best is yet to come”.  So, she kept her fork, because she knew the best was yet to come.  Heaven is our award…not this life.  When we are able to completely embrace that concept, our lives can fall into place.  Some things don’t seem as important.  Other things seem more important than they used to.  Perspective.  We gain loads of perspective.

So, how are you going to view the events of our world?  Will you get wrapped up in the here and now?  The day to day struggles?  Or, will you look forward to dessert?  Something much better than we have right now.  Something that we can’t even begin to imagine.  

Cool Your Jets

I think I mention the weather in every article, but I’m sooooo excited about our warmer temps we’ve been having.  My hubby has already mowed our yard!!  I think that’s pretty impressive since it was about 2 weeks ago when we got our last snow.

Warmer weather brings lots of things.  Up in D.C., the cherry blossoms are blooming.  Here, we have been having beautiful daffodils.  Tulips should be next.  The earth is waking up!!!

On the downside, warmer weather also brings things my daughter hates.  Bugs.  Bees.  Flies.  Suddenly, every black speck on the floor is a bug & she goes into meltdown mode.  Warmer weather also brings hot car seats.  I dread putting Sophie in the hot car.  The sun coming through the car windows warms up her seat & causes the metal buckles to be smokin’ hot.  Not a good thing.

I really feel bad for her.  I’m sure it is very painful on her little legs.  Last summer, I didn’t really know how to fix the problem.  I’d park in the shade when it was available.  I’d try to park the car in a certain direction so that her seat wouldn’t be in direct sunlight.  Still…it was no fun getting in the car.

Towards the end of summer, I came across this tutorial on Pinterest.  I believe it was a couple of years old & I honestly don’t know why I haven’t seen these in the stores…they are genius!!!!

It is basically a piece of fabric that has several pockets in it that holds those hard ice packs that you put in coolers.   You place it in your child’s car seat when you go into the store.  While you’re shopping, it will cover the seat, allow the coolness from the ice packs to go onto the seat and in theory, the car seat will be nice and cooled when you’re done with your shopping.  Like I said…genius!!!!

It must be said that you don’t sit your kids on the carseat cooler.  It only goes in the seat while your child is not sitting in it.  I don’t think it would be safe & it definitely wouldn’t be comfortable.  I’ve described this to several & they thought the kiddos sit on it…they don’t 🙂

This project takes very little fabric.  In total, I think I got about 1 1/3 yards…combined.  I would say the project is on a medium sewers level.  It got bumped up from beginners level because of one thing and one thing only…biased tape.

This is my first (and quite possibly last) experience with biased tape.  First of all, the link I gave you for this project doesn’t really explain how to sew biased tape on.  I’m guessing the author assumes you already know.  Second, the packaging that the biased tape comes in does not have directions on it.  Third, don’t try sewing this at 11 pm after you’ve had a long day…it will not go well for you.  I found a tutorial on YouTube.  I believe it was titled “How to sew biased tape on a machine without swearing”.  Something like that.  I giggled at the title, but when I was in the middle of it…I totally got it.

Part of my problem might have been that I had single fold biased tape.  It was very skinny.  There were tons of widths to choose from at the store.  Wide single fold.  Double fold.  Wide double fold.  Quilters biased tape.  It goes on and on.  In my defense, the tutorial didn’t saw which to get.  I’m thinking if I do it again, a wider tape would solve a lot of my problems.

My other thought would be to forego the biased tape and just sew it a little differently.  I think I might put the two “decorative fabrics” (the ones you’ll see on top) right sides together and pin the insulation fabric to one side.  Then, sew three sides together, flip it right side out, turn the end over and sew across.  You should have finished edges then.  I would just turn the sides of the bottom fabric piece under and hem it.  Viola…no need for biased tape.  I don’t know if that would be faster time wise or not, but it would save my sanity.

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So here’s how mine turned out.  Notice I didn’t take the pic close up :).  It’s not the neatest finished project, but hey!  It’ll do the job!  I did use it today.  I put it in my daughter’s car seat during worship service & while we went out to eat.  It was a cooler day, but it still gets hot in the car.  When I came out, the seat was nice & cool and there was no screaming!  Yay!!!!

I am contemplating making another one, since I have this one under my belt.  If I do and I make some changes to it, I’ll post an update.  For now, I think I’ll just use this one and see how it goes…I may just want to make one for my car seat 🙂  

No Monkeying Around!

Today was a lot of fun.  The weather is finally warm!!  The sun was shining & we had a nice breeze going on.  A perfect Saturday!  It was a great day too, because I got to go to a friend’s baby shower.

I love showers.  Maybe that makes me a nerd.  I really enjoy wedding showers.  It takes me back to when my hubby and I were planning our new life together.  I love seeing all the shiny new appliances.  The towels that aren’t frayed.  The silverware that has all of its pieces together.  *sigh*

I also love baby showers.  I look at my kiddos who are growing faster than I’d like to admit & I remember the nesting…getting their rooms ready for their arrival.  I love the smell of diapers.  The cute little baby clothes.  The soft cuddly blankets that I secretly wish I could cover up with.  The stuffed animals with rattles built in.  If you’re a mom…you know what I’m talking about 🙂

So, today at the shower, I made the cake.  It was a lot of fun.  Here’s a pic of it.  It matched the shower decorations and everything looked really cute!!

monkey cake

 

Of course, my little princess had to get in the pic too.

This blog isn’t about the cake though.  It’s what I made for the gift.  I found this really neat tutorial on Pinterest a few days ago & thought I’d give it a try.  I love hooded towels.  My kiddos still use theirs.  On this site, the author has so many hooded towels to choose from.  Since we had a monkey theme going on, of course I chose the monkey.  My next towels will most likely be the Angry Birds hooded towels for my son.  We’re going to go to the beach this summer with my parents and I think those would make some cool towels to use 🙂

monkey towel

Here’s the finished towel.  I tried to take a pic of myself just holding it, but it looks much cute on.  I realize this is kind of big for a baby, but it’ll grow with her 🙂

I really felt like it was fairly easy to make.  I’m still working on appliques.  My machine is about 50+ years old, so it’s tricky…I have to hold a lever over with one had to get the zigzag stitch & guide the material with my other hand.  It’s definitely a slow going process.

I can’t wait to try more towels!!  With the materials you get for each towel, you can make 2 hoods and one full towel.  So, if I want to make another monkey towel, all I’ll have to get is the full size towel.  Yay for leftover material!!!

I hope you enjoy the rest of your Saturday!!  Have a wonderful Lord’s Day tomorrow!

 

One Cool Post

Weather is very strange.  Last week, we had snow and sleet coming down.  Today, it was close to 90!!  My family in Oklahoma had 80 degree weather on Monday…at the same time, they were under a winter weather advisory.

Don’t worry…this isn’t a global warming article.  It’s an article about air conditioners.  Stay with me…it’s not that boring.

Since it was almost 90 degrees today, we needed to turn our AC on.  I got home close to about noon & it was about 81 degrees in the house.  I bumped it on and went about my routine.  I worked out on the elliptical & I was REALLY sweating.  Part of it was from the strenuous workout I was getting…but part of it was because our AC wasn’t putting out cold air.

When your AC doesn’t work, it could be a multitude of problems, and that makes it a little scary.  I went outside to investigate.  I checked breakers to see if maybe we tripped one…that would be too easy right?  Well, we didn’t.  But, while out there, I noticed the unit was trying to come on, but the fan wasn’t moving.

So, I went inside, sat down and tried not to move and stay as cool as possible.  I also texted my hubby the bad news.  By then, it was about 83 degrees inside.

We called a friend who recommended a repair man for us.  He couldn’t come out until the morning.  At first, I was bummed, but I’m so glad he couldn’t come out immediately.  I’ll tell you why.

While trying to sit and be cool, I started googling our problem.  Chances are, we weren’t the first person that this has happened to.  Sure enough, I started seeing others post comments that their AC wasn’t working…and they had the same “symptoms”.

According to one of the posts, it seemed to be an easy and cheap fix.  We had a bad run capacitor.  It is a little cylinder part that causes the fan and/or compressor to kick on (some units have 2 separate ones, others have one that runs both…I now feel like an HVAC expert!).  Now the hard part was finding a place that sold the part.  For this, I went old school & looked it up in the phone book (did you know they still made those??)

I found a local place & called them.  The gentleman who answered said they had the part. I asked when they closed & he said five o’clock.  I asked what time it was…5:35.  Ack!!  After talking to him for a little bit, I was fairly certain that the run capacitor was our problem.  I asked what time they opened in the morning & said that we would probably be there when they opened up.

Then he asked where we were.  Now, I don’t normally tell strangers where I live over the phone.  He said if I would give him about an hour, he would bring the part over to our house.  No delivery fee.  Are you kidding me????  Who does that anymore??  Doctors don’t even make house calls!!

Sure enough, about 1 hour later, he shows up at our house & about 5 minutes later, we had cool air!!!  The part costs us about $20.  A visit from a repairman would have been around $220-$300!

Needless to say, my hubby and I were very excited that we were able to fix the problem in such a short amount of time!  Thanks to Google, YouTube and a helpful stranger, we were empowered!!

One thing I’ve taken away from this experience is the importance to changing your air filters…inside & out.  A few months ago, I pinned this, and filed it away “just in case”.  I will definitely be doing this is in the near future, along with replacing my very dusty filters inside.

Also, if you’re local and need any HVAC supplies, plumbing supplies or any other type of supplies similar tho these, I HIGHLY recommend Cheuvront’s Supply.  I feel like Mark (who I assume is the owner) went above and beyond to help someone who was buying a very cheap part.  It is very rare to find a place with that kind of customer service & I believe we need to support that when we can.

So now, I feel very pampered…sitting in my cool house, about to pop some popcorn and watch Duck Dynasty!!!  It’s Wednesday, Jack!!

Try It…You’ll Like It!

There are few things that make my husband more nervous than hearing me say “Hey!  I found a new recipe I’m going to try out on our friends…”  

I don’t know why.  They work out.  Most of the time.  Almost always.  I have had a few “mishaps”, but nothing that wasn’t inedible.

So, when I sprang not one, but two new recipes on him today, he was one nervous hubby.  Our lunch after worship services was one I found on Pinterest called Crockpot Honey Apple Pork Loin.  Pork, honey & apples go very well together, so I figured it was a no brainer.  Here’s the link to it.

It was a big hit.  I can tell, because I didn’t have to ask if he liked it…he started talking about how good it was.  When that happens, I know I can put it in the “keeper” pile.  It was super easy, although I think I’ll make it as a dinner from now on.  It said to cook it on low for 7 hours.  That meant for it to be ready at lunch time, I had to have it in the crockpot around 5:30 this morning.  It had very little prep time, so I went back to sleep for a little bit after I got it going :).  For you Weight Watchers peeps out there, I figured that 1 serving would be 3 oz.  The pork loin I used was 2 pounds, so I figured each serving was about 5 PPV.  It was very yummy & very filling!

Every Sunday evening, we have a group that meets in a home for a casual Bible study.  Of course, we finish it off with food!  So, tonight, I decided to try a new cake recipe.  Now, I’m usually a cake mix kind of girl, but this one sounded interesting.  The blogger said it goes back to the Great Depression Era.  It makes since…with some items being scarce, they had to be resourceful!  As always, I found it on Pinterest.

When I looked at the list of ingredients, I was pleasantly surprised that I had all of them on hand in the pantry.  Now, 7 or 8 years ago, that wouldn’t have been the case.  This cake intrigued me because you use no eggs, milk or mixing bowls.  All ingredients get mixed in the pan that you bake it in.  I doubled the recipe & baked it in a 9X13 pan.  I topped it off with powdered sugar because I had no icing on hand, and I was too lazy to make some 🙂

Everyone loved the cake!  It was surprisingly moist and chocolate-y.  My hubby was impressed.  I think he was worried that one of the ingredients in the cake was vinegar (don’t worry…you only use about 1 teaspoon).  Luckily, he couldn’t taste it!  When I make it again, I think I will mix everything in a bowl, although you don’t have to…I just want the dish I bake it in to look nice.  

For you Weight Watchers peeps, this one wasn’t as points friendly as the pork.  When I put the recipe in the Recipe Builder, I calculated it thinking it would make 16 servings.  The grand total was 10 (I believe…I can’t get my Recipe Builder to open right now).  However, when I cut the cake, it made 24 good size pieces…so that will help to bring the points down.

So, what did I learn today?  I learned that despite having a nervous husband, you can try new recipes out & everything works out!!  It makes things interesting and exciting.  And now, I have 2 more dishes I can make for my family.

Have fun.  Get in the kitchen and discover some new favorite recipes!!!

Family Day

Happy Saturday!!  Our family experienced a rare occurrence today…a FREE day!!  No baseball games, no cakes to bake, no meetings, no events, no weddings, no funerals.  100%, completely free for us!

So, what to do???  Luckily, it wasn’t snowing and sleeting like it was doing Thursday night…yes, you read that correctly.  Someone actually described it by saying “it was raining snowballs”.  The snowflakes were the biggest I had ever seen before.  They were literally as big around as a quarter or maybe even bigger.  You really had to see it to believe it!

We had sunshine, warmer weather and little wind…a recipe for a wonderful day.  Today also happened to be the opening of turkey season around here.  Now the first week, I have learned, is “youth week”.  That means that only “youth” can hunt.  The father’s can take them out, but the younger sons (or daughters) must pull the trigger and make the kill themselves.  So, my hubby took Brayden out for his first ever hunt.

ImageThey had a blast, although they didn’t get a turkey.  Oh well, there’s always next week!!

Since the weather was so nice, after lunch, the kiddos asked to go outside.  Brayden and Michael practiced a little baseball and then everyone went down to the kids swing set.

ImageWhen I say everyone, I really do mean everyone!  We all managed to fit into the little treehouse part that goes to the slide.  Now, I know what you’re thinking…”Your son looks terrified!”  Trust me, we were safe & in no danger of collapsing the swing set…at least I don’t think we were!!

After some outdoors time, we decided to go bowling.  Now, I know that’s not exactly a good weather activity…more like a “snowing or sleeting outside” activity, but hey!  It sounded like fun.  I should probably note that this is where Michael scored his first turkey for the day…unfortunately it wasn’t the kind you eat 🙂  Plus, I had just enrolled the kids in a wonderful program.  It’s called Kids Bowl Free and you can find it at this website.

I discovered it last year through Brayden’s school.  For FREE you can enroll your kids in the program and they can bowl 2 games for FREE everyday, all summer long.  I believe the dates go from April 1 to September 30.  It is a nation wide program, so you can pick a bowling alley that’s closet to you & have a ball!  They also have a special pass you can purchase.  I believe it’s a one time payment of $24.95 & you can put up to 4 adults on it.  Then, each adult on the pass can bowl…yep, you guessed it…2 games a day, all summer long.  Of course, this doesn’t cover your shoe rentals…but that’s a pretty good deal.  To give you an idea on how good of a bargain this is, at our bowling alley, my game and my hubby’s game cost $3.50 per person per game.  The pass would pay for itself in about 2 trips!!  We haven’t purchased the pass yet, but I can see it coming in handy when my parents and grandmother come visit this summer…we could all go bowling for…wait for it…FREE!!!  YAY!!!  

After bowling, we went out to eat at Red Lobster.  After sitting at our table for about 10 minutes, Sophie noticed the upholstery on the booth had a lobster (among other fish) on it.  Well, that freaked her out, so I had to awkwardly lean over the lobster and hide it from her.  Of course, when we left the restaurant, she ran over to the lobster tank & that didn’t seem to bother her!  It’s always entertaining to go out to eat with young children…

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After dinner, it was bath time, Bible time and prayer time…our usual routine.  Then, the kids got a special treat and got to Skype with Michael’s brother who is visiting his parents in Oklahoma.  Sophie proceeded to show them every one of her stuffed animals…kind of a virtual show & tell :).  

All in all, it was truly a wonderful day.  I love weekends where there’s no plans and we can just spontaneously decide what to do!!  Better soak it up…it might not happen for a long time!