Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sew Easy!

I started off Genny's nap time outside, where our shade is still set up and Glenn was sleeping peacefully on this nice day. I brought out some fabric to cut, enjoying the perfect temperature and the perfect breeze. Since making the two hats (er, two successful hats) I've wanted to make a hat for a few friends and family that have toddlers (yup, if you're reading this and you have a toddler, you may as well expect a sun hat coming soon) I needed to cut the pieces out of the fabrics I had chosen for each child, and thought it would be a nice task in the nice weather.

When I went inside with Glenn to start sewing the pieces together for the hats, I saw some fabric I had purchased for a different purpose at the same time I had purchased the fabric for the hats. Since that project was something that I though would be super easy, I decided to work on that instead of sewing the hats. It's a project that I've had marinating in my mind for a number of weeks now, formulating how I was going to go about making the items, and today I felt ready to put my ideas into motion.

When Genny was taking her Kindermusik class, there was a fun Jamaican song that we would dance to, using streamers to shake, twirl and dance with. Genny LOVED using the streamers. Along with the weekly classes, Kindermusik comes with a dual CD that has all of the songs we listened to in class. Genny and I have listened to it many times, and it surprised me that she remembered the specific activities we would do with the songs. For instance, there is a song about floating down the river, and in music class we would use a hula-hoop as a pretend inner tube, walking in a slow circle as if we were indeed floating down the river. Genny found a piece of plastic from her excersaucer that was shaped in a half-circle, and she would use this to 'float' down the river. So I got to thinking, what can I make to revisit music class here in our own home? Some of the items are easy to acquire: egg shakers, hula-hoop and keys with a bell on them. I figured that the streamers would be fairly easy to make, and I was right! They won't win any best in show awards at the local craft fair, but they seem to do their job (in the few minutes that I've played with them since making them about an hour ago) and we'll see just how much Genny likes them after she gets up from her nap.

Here are the instructions if you'd like to make some streamers for your little one:

What you'll need:
*1/4 yard of light breezy fabric or vinyl in a few colors. I bought three different colors with the lighter fabrics and two colors with the vinyl.
*an old pair of jeans that you don't mind cutting a leg off
*sewing machine or a sturdy needle that will penetrate jean fabric if you want to hand-sew them
*a good pair of scissors (it's best to buy a good pair of sewing scissors that you use ONLY for sewing projects)

1. Cut the fabric in half. (there will most likely be a fold from where the fabric employee folded it up for you, just go by this line, it doesn't have to be perfect)
This will be the length of your streamers

2. Cut about 4 streamers from each of the halves. Set them aside into two separate piles. When you are finished cutting all the fabrics, you will have them separated already.

3. Alternate each fabric. I wouldn't recommend mixing the light fabrics with the vinyl.

4. Using your sewing machine (or your needle and thread) sew the tops of one side of the streamers to secure them.

5. Cut the bottom off your pair of jeans. Make sure to cut off the hemmed sections on the very bottom of the jeans and also on the two seams, this will just make it harder to sew the jean if you keep these on.

6. Using your sewing machine or your needle and thread, secure the ends of the jean to each side of the already sewn ends of the streamers. You will probably need to push/pull this section through your sewing machine, especially for the vinyl streamers. Use a zig-zag stitch to ensure stability. I went over the section twice; sewing once and then backstiching all the way to the beginning.

If these instructions seem too complicated, or you don't understand them, feel free to e-mail me or leave a comment so I can clarify.

Happy sewing to everyone!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hand and Foot Prints

When we had Genny, my sister sent a hand and foot print kit. It was easy to use, and afterwords we had a keepsake that forever reminded us just how small she was. When I registered for Glenn's birth, I registered for another kit, thinking how wonderful it would be for each of them to have a keepsake from when they were newborns. I'm a lover of tradition, (when we first became pregnant with Genny I wanted to name her after Thomas if she were a boy, but he vetoed that idea) so anything I can do to start a tradition, or keep one going (yes Christine, I will someday make Nicholas his baby blanket, even if he's in JR High when I do!). This is my first tradition for my children.

I didn't end up getting the kit at my baby shower, and I figured that I'd just buy one with the gift card I got. The barganista in me started thinking about it, and knew there had to be a cheaper way to go about getting Glenn's hand and foot prints. I went to Michaels and searched around a bit before finding a tub of powder that makes clay when you add water. It was about $4 and had enough powder to do over 4 hand or foot prints at the size I wanted (about six inches in diameter). I messed up on the first set, but the second set were made last night and they seem to be drying well. I recommend having a little dish of water on the side to use on cracks and to help smooth out the finished product before you leave it out to dry.

The tub I bought at Michaels

Glenn's had and foot prints we made last night

Genny's hand and foot prints that still hang in the nursery

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Favorite- My Front Yard

Today's Friday Favorite is a place so close that I can walk out my front door and be there. My front yard wasn't always as kid-friendly as it is now, housing three trees, and a whole lot of weeds when we first moved in. I loved that we had a gate so the whole front yard was enclosed for the kids, but I had been wanting grass to play on. I knew that finances didn't allow for us to do much other than spread some seed, so I waited until we had some extra money to complete the front yard. A good bid from a landscaper, plus our tax return, as well as some of the money left over from the first-time home buyers credit, and we were ready to make the front have curb appeal instead of curb run away screaming.

When we set out to do the landscaping, we decided to add a river rock border to cut down on the grass we would need. Southern California doesn't get much rain, and there is a constant drought, causing home owners to be as frugal as possible when it comes to landscaping. The rock also looks nice, so that's a bonus as well. But when Thomas did the math for the river rock, he must have done something wrong, because just doing two sides of the yard, we spent twice our budget for all four sides. So that's how we decided to have mulch and plants on the other two sides. It's amazing how creative you get when the budget doesn't fit the idea.

I had a few guys come out and give us a bid on installing sprinklers, and goodness, they were asking a lot. But our neighbor, Kate was having landscapers come out as well (great minds think alike!) and one gave her a good price; and so she sent him over to me. His bid was about the same as the other guys I had come out, with the exception that he included the sod in his bid. In the end, we had him do the sprinklers, sod, some plants, and cement on the other side of the driveway. We ended up spending twice what we had allocated, but the end result is so nice that every time I'm outside with the kids, I think to myself, I'm so glad we did this. Now Genny and I have somewhere to play outside and we don't have to drive to get there like we did when we first moved in.

Next year we're doing the back yard, and after that it will be so nice to have the back yard to play in during the morning and the front yard in the afternoon. I say that because the back yard gets shade in the morning and the front yard gets shade in the afternoon. Until then, we have this great sun shade we bought last year at the end of the season. Today I broke it out, putting it together myself (thank you very much!). We had a great picnic lunch outside with Glenn on a blanket with his gym, and Genny sitting on a towel (wet swim diaper) and the tent zipped up so Gus-Gus didn't come in and sneak a taste. I have a feeling this will be a regular thing for us, I just have to make sure to put all the sides of the shade up at night so the sprinklers can cover the intended area in the morning.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Easy Peezy Dinner in a Squeezy

Tonight I'm making one of my easiest recipes for dinner. It is a dish that just kind of came to me one day, and keeping the ingredients in the house is a must for me now. It's versatile, so you can add anything you want to it, or just keep it simple and use it as a side dish. Here are the ingredients I used tonight:

Frozen cheese ravioli
Fresh broccoli
Four cheese rosa sauce (found in the pasta sauce isle)
Parmesan cheese (for a yummy crust!)

That's it!

Boil the ravioli until it floats, adding the broccoli when the first ravioli start floating to ensure that I don't put the broccoli in too soon or too late.
Then spray some PAM in a glass casserole dish, and strain the ravioli and broccoli.
Add the four cheese rosa sauce and mix with a serving spoon, topping with Parmesan cheese.
Put it in the oven at about 350 for 10-20 minutes depending on your oven and how much crust you want.

You can add so many things to this dish, I had purchased the broccoli for a different meal but decided to use it with this meal instead. In the past I've added mushrooms, chicken (marinated then grilled first), steak (also marinated then grilled first). But depending on what your favorite foods are, you can add eggplant, peppers, carne esada (using a spicier sauce), etc. The possibilities are endless!

I hope this recipe becomes one of your favorites as it is mine.

Happy Tuesday to everyone!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Genny's hat

Success! I made a hat for Genny that is big enough (and she can grow into it) plus it actually looks good! I used the same pattern as with the fish hat I made for Glenn which you can find here: But I enlarged it (fancy talk for traced about an inch out around it on another piece of paper), then I did the exact same thing as I did with Glenn's fish hat, except I made this one a smidgen prettier and added a chin strap. For the chin strap, I just cut out two pieces of the 'inside' fabric (even though it is reversible) and sewed them to the hat, adding sticky velcro so you can attach them to each other. We'll see how long the sticky velcro lasts, I have a feeling I will need to sew some velcro on at some point. I will also be adding a strap to the flowered side so it will truly be reversible. I may add a flower or decoration of some kind to the strap on each side so that when the hat is in use, the unused strap will lay across the brim of the head but still look nice since it will have the embellishment. We'll see how much I end up tweaking the hat, it may never be completely done if I know myself... :)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fishy Hat

Well, it was a journey. I bought a sun hat for Genny at the Day of the Dead fair last fall and saw how easy it looked to make, and have been wanting to try to make one ever since. Genny has a large head for someone her age (thank you Spina Bifida) and so she grows out of hats quickly. Hats aren't cheap, and now she's into adult size hats, so they don't make cute ones for little girls in adult sizes. Since I happen to be crafty, I thought that if I could make a hat for her, then I could make several so that her pretty little head doesn't get sun burned.

I started my first prototype a few days ago, ending up with a bucket hat that a flapper would have loved in the 1920's. Then I tried again, tweaking my design and got the Mad Hatter's hat instead. I finally broke down and looked up patterns online and found a nice sun hat design for a toddler. I figured that it would probably be too small, but I have material for Glenn's hat anyway, so I made the first hat from the pattern in Glenn's fabric knowing that he will grow into it, but also knowing that Genny could use it first if it fits her.

Here is the website I found the hat on: Now, I don't know what some of the instructions mean (cause I haven't taken any sewing classes and have not found that I need to figure it out yet) so here's what I did... I printed out and then cut out the pattern piece. Then I cut out 6 from each fabric. Then I sewed them all together, making in essence, two hats. I then created a nice sewn edge on the brim of each hat. Then I sewed the brims together, making the hat reversible. I didn't use bias tape (whatever that is) and I pretty much just ignored all the other instructions. But it turned out the way I wanted, so I'm happy.

Genny is now asleep, so I tried the hat on Gus. It didn't quite fit him. We'll see tomorrow if it fits Genny, I doubt it, but now that I have the pattern, I can enlarge it for her. I'll post pictures of that when it happens.

Happy Father's Day to the dads out there!!

Hat #1, the flapper hat. It's now destroyed.

Hat #2, the Mad Hatter hat, it's being saved for Genny to use for dress up.

Gus isn't a very good model

The other side next to Glenn

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Favorite- California Burrito

Today's Friday Favorite is a food item. California Burritos. Those of you not in California may wonder what a California Burrito is, so let me explain it to you.

A California Burrito consists of french fries, carne esada, sour cream, cheese, guacamole, and pico de gallo. I always ask for no pico, since I don't like tomatoes. The place I get mine from Eribertos, doesn't put cheese or guacamole on theirs, so I always ask for cheese on mine, forgoing the guac because it doesn't interest me as much as the three ingredients I do get. It's amazing how yummy this burrito is, I first tasted one in Twentynine Palms when I was stationed there. I don't remember who introduced it to me, but thank heaven they did! I'm a creature of habit, and will order the exact same thing every time I go somewhere, so every time we get greasy Mexican food, this is what I order.

If you don't live in California, you can try to make it at home. I haven't tried yet (because it's just too simple to go two blocks down the street and get a fully cooked one) but if you do, then let me know in the comments!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Father's Day card

It's always hard making masculine cards, especially for the same people because you feel like you've done everything before and want to make sure each one is unique and special. So when I made two father's day cards, I utilized my friend Jasmin's circle cutting tools. (from Creative Memories) I've always loved these tools, and want to get my own some day.

I ended up making the exact same card for the two father's in my life, my husband and his father. The interesting thing is that I had my husband write a note to my father in law in the card I made him, but now that means that Thomas has seen his own Father's Day card... Yah, I didn't quite think that one through. Oh well, I'm sure he doesn't care. He's probably more focused on the PS3 he got yesterday as his early Father's Day gift.

Here is a bonus picture for my family members who read this blog. This is Genny putting cereal on her spoon and then eating it off the spoon.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Kate's present

All hail my neighbor Kate, who received a basket FULL of scrapbooking supplies for her baby shower from her aunt and then turned around and gave it to ME! She is not a scrapbooker, so gave it all to me. Yes, I repeated that last statement, mostly because it's kind of like winning the lottery for those of us who scrapbook. There are probably hundreds of dollars worth of scrapbooking supplies in there, and I'm psyched to use it! I offered to make her a scrapbook with the supplies, and she declined. I told her to keep the basket for use somewhere else, but she declined. Kate is a hoarders dream because she just gives things away never considering to keep them for future use. Now, I'm not a hoarder, but y husband is dangerously close. (can you say two motorcycle, half a closet of cloths that don't fit and every medical item he's ever been given) With my personality, I would have kept the scrapbooking supplies and used them even though I wasn't a scrapbooker. But props to Kate for knowing that she doesn't want to keep a huge basket of stuff she'll probably never use around the house. I should probably take a page out of her book, but as I look around my living room, I think to myself, after the kids are older. Until then, I'm stuck with baby stuff that is in limbo, waiting to be used or waiting to see if it will ever be used again (if we have another baby some day).

So thanks to Kate I now have a plethora of scrapbooking supplies that I need to start using before I can even consider buying anything else.

Ok, baby Glenn says it's time to eat. Happy Tuesday to everyone!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Burp Cloths

Today has been a busy day. I watched my friend's nine year old son again (I watched him for three days last week also). Not that a nine year old causes much uproar in a house with a six week old and a two year old. *smile* But something that is unusual about today is that baby Glenn was all about being held. He did well this morning when we went to the exchange to return (not exchange, haha) a dress as well as buy a gift for my nephew (a Marine Corps flight suit- I have bought him camies in the past and thought it would be fun to get him a flight suit this time). After the exchange, we went to the park so that our nine year old as well as Genny could burn off some energy before lunch. By the time we got home, baby Glenn was more than ready to eat. After feeding him, he started getting fussy when I would set him down. All through Genny's nap (or reading time today) I fed him, and played with him. Every time I set him down he would get fussy. Usually that means that he's hungry or needs a diaper change (I've decided that he's going to be a particularly neat when he grows up because he can't stand to be in a dirty diaper for very long). Today he was just needy. And that has continued to even now as I write this blog at 8:25pm, he is starting to get riled up because he's in the boppy instead of my arms.

Thomas isn't coming home tonight because he has duty. Since he commutes an hour each way and his duty ends at 10pm, having to be at work at 6:30am doesn't mean he would get much sleep here at the house. So he stays in the hospital on nights like this to get more sleep. I miss him, but I used to take the opportunity to get something done that I'd rather not do when he's home. This could be scrapbooking, sewing, cleaning something that I've been putting off. Tonight I may just end up going to bed. I should do something productive like fix my burp cloths that I made, but I may save that for Genny's nap time tomorrow provided Glenn doesn't need me to hold him the whole time again. Let's hope this means he'll sleep like a log tonight...

So the picture is of my burp cloths. I made two of each pattern I bought, which gave me about 6 (when I finish the last one). The bug one was the first I made, I didn't put binding on either of them and realized after I finished that the little JoAnn Fabrics logo was on the edge of one (yes, I'm that person). After realizing how nice they looked with binding on them, I thought the bug ones were the worst of the bunch. Then I started using them. Turns out I don't know how to put binding on, because if you look closely at the one on the left with the boats, the binding is falling off. Not all of them are as dramatic as the one in the picture, but I don't think I have one that doesn't have binding falling off it somewhere. So now I need to remove the binding from them all and re-sew them so that they are all usable again. It's amazing how quickly I go through burp cloths, and even with the six my sister made me, I find myself doing laundry because I ran out of burp cloths instead of running out of something else. But I'm avoiding making any more because I know that this phase will be short in the long run, so I don't want to waste money on material that will not be used soon. An idea just came to me that I can always use the old burp cloths to make something else, SouleMama style.

Well, I hope you all get a full night of sleep tonight. I get about 3-4 hours a night, with a few one hour or half hour spurts after that. I have to say that I'm excited for his three month birthday because I will try to put him in the crib then in hopes to get a full 6 hours and work my way up to 8. Ok, this pacifier is done pacifying... Off to bed after nursing for this little man and then washing diapers for me. (yay!!!)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Favorites-

Today's favorite is something that I'm just getting into. It's and I've joined a group of toddlers born in 2008 (for Genny). She's still super shy around other kids, and I want her to be exposed and interact with other children before she starts school. Plus it's a bonus of mom chat time!

I also joined a group of various aged children a few days ago. I will attend my first meetup with them on Wednesday and as long as they seem conducive to my idea of children/moms to be around, we will continue to meet up with them weekly. They have a more rigid schedule than the above toddlers group and seem like they are a more close-knit group. Since Kindermusik ended, I want to have something to look forward to every week as well as an excuse to get out of the house. I have a habit of getting sucked into a routine where I don't leave the house with the exception of going to the grocery store or Target. But as I've realized in the past, that's a good way to get down emotionally, so I need to keep going to the meetups even if it means facing my fear of meeting new people.

This may be a bit surprising for some who read this blog, but I'm not very good at putting myself out there. I'd much rather cling to one person in a large group than spread out and meet everyone. But I've been trying to go against my grain and meet new people in order to broaden my friend base. Not that I don't have great friends, but let's face it, sometimes it's just not convenient to meet up with your friends. If you belong to a group like, then you aren't counting on a select number of people to keep your adult sanity. Instead, you get a variety of people who will slip into that space reserved for companionship outside of marriage.

So if you're lonely (like I have been quite often) then check out and join a group that holds your interest. There are dog lovers groups, hiking singles groups, and most important in my world, a slew of mom's groups for almost every type of mom out there.

I hope you all have a great weekend, I'm going (surprise) hiking on Sunday with my friend Jasmin. It's a great sport that the whole family can do and it's free (well, it costs gas and sometimes a fee for parking at the park).

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Yes, I'm only five and a half weeks postpartum, so for me to be thinking about whether or not to have a third child seems pretty odd. But anyone who knows me knows that I like to plan as far ahead as possible. It just about kills me to do things last minute, and when faced with last minute things, I'm usually overwhelmed because I haven't had time to process the idea. So yes, I'm trying to weigh the pros and cons of having a third child. This, of course will not go in front of the committee (aka Thomas) until at least a year out, but I need to figure out what the pros and cons are for me and for my family, so as to bring those points up when the conversation does ensue.

Pro: I LOVE being a mom. I love the needy child who cries and wants me to comfort her (Glenn doesn't count in that scenario yet because the only thing that he cries for is food). I love the smiles, the hugs and the kisses. I love the sleeping child in my arms and the lessons I see her learning (she just handed me the wii remote and repeated "away" until I put it away). I look at Glenn and think to myself, will I ever get to hold a child this age again who is my own? I love and have always loved the idea of a big family. I see my mom's side of the family and see how with the seven children, there is always someone to be there for my grandmother if she needs them, there were always a slew of cousins to play with, and every holiday was a confusing mash of people in one house, eating, playing and loving each other.

Living far away from family is hard. I wouldn't give up meeting Thomas and starting our family together, but I wish a lot that we could have family near by. I read about my cousins who are all as close as siblings, best friends even, and I wish I had that. I have been campaigning to get family out here for as long as we've lived here, and have yet to succeed. We were able to get Thomas' sister out here for the summer last year, but she left in the fall to finish school and laughs at us when we let her know that she is still welcome. I guess California didn't give her the warm fuzzies as much as it does us.

Now back to subject at hand.

Cons: Financial. The more kids we have, the longer I'm not working. Although as soon as Genny is able to cath herself, I could potentially put the other children in day care since it wouldn't have to be a special needs day care (which costs twice as much as regular day care). More children also means less money for the family in the form of fun and experiences (sports, dance, etc). Family vacations (the extent of which will most likely always consist of going to visit our family as opposed to unvisited destinations due to the paragraph above) will cost more because the more children we have, the more plane tickets, meals, clothes, etc we will be buying. Which means that we may end up going home even less than we already do.

As you can see, we have much to discuss when the time is right. I stated earlier that I plan things far in advance, so that's where this blog comes into play. It's just something I think about when looking down at sweet Baby Glenn's face. I think to myself, are you my last baby? Not knowing if he is, I try to drink in his innocence and memorize the sounds he makes and smelling his baby smell.

Maybe I'll be like my sister, and it won't matter how many children I have, I'll always want more. If that's the case, it's justifiable to stop at two for the cons listed above. What do you think? Comment on your idea of how many Children is enough and maybe it will help us when the discussion about having another child comes up.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday Favorite- Home Made Gifts

This week for my Friday Favorite I'd like to express my love of home made gifts. There is nothing more special (in my opinion) than getting a gift from someone knowing that they put their time into making it. They are the most cherished in my possession and I tend to use it more often and comment on it more to strangers and friends. My grandmother has made my children (and future children) five blankets total. I love the idea that even though we are far away, we still have a daily reminder that she loves us. *To my cousins who may not have enough blankets for their children, let me know if you need one of my blankets, I doubt I'll end up having five kids and I'd much rather let you have one so that every great grandchild has a hand made blanket by Grandma than keep them all for myself. (in the future of course since I'm one of few cousins who has children as of yet!)

I am also a fan of making gifts for friends and family (surprise). I mostly make scrapbooks or scrapbook pages, putting more effort into them than the pages I keep for myself. I also made the majority of the items in my neighbor's baby shower.

This is a burp cloth that my sister made for me. It's one of six which I'm so thankful for because I made about six and without hers, I would run out much too quickly! (I placed this one on the changing table to show its size in case any of you want to make your own.)

This is one of two receiving blankets my neighbor made me. They are wonderfully large which is great for the nights Glenn is in a thick fluffy sleeper and all I need is something thin to swaddle him. They are also a great size for putting on the floor with the boppy over top (I do this in the kitchen when I'm cooking so I can keep an eye on him). She also made me a nice crocheted blanket which is super soft.

Tip of the day: if you have a dog who demolishes stuffed toys quickly, make your own toys to save money. Buy a package of squeekers at the pet store (a pack of six is about $2). Grab some old jeans (I got a hole in the upper thigh of a pair of pregnancy jeans, so they are perfect!) and make a toy out of them! I saved the toy stuffing from a few toys before I started making my own, so I keep a plastic bag of stuffing in my sewing area and just keep reusing it for the toys I make Gus. *tip- stuff the toy half way with stuffing, add the squeeker, then finish stuffing it. And, the great thing about dog toys is that they don't have to look good!