Tuesday, May 31, 2011

200th Post!!

Wow, 200 posts!! I've shared a whole lot of myself with you over the last 199 posts. Recipes, crafting projects, places to go and things to do, and several posts specifically for my husband when he was deployed. Thank you to everyone who has stopped by this little piece of me; I hope you've enjoyed your glimps into my life.

As for posts to come, I'm hoping to share even more with you (hopefully more than once a week!). I have so much to share, and as my visitor log shows, people seem to like reviews. I'm hoping to start a review post every week, replacing my Friday Favorite or perhaps adding to it.

Thank you once again for choosing to read this little blog, and I hope you come again!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bread: Take One.

Oh bread. How easy it is to make thee. Yet how long I've procrastinated on creating thy tastiness. Oh bread.

I made my first loaf of bread today. Granted, I've made banana bread and soda bread before, but I've never made bread with yeast in it. As with most things, I decided at the very last moment that I was going to make it, so of course I couldn't get ahold of my sister (aka the bread goddess) to ask where I could find a good recipe. I tooled around on the internet looking for a good starter-bread to make. I found this recipe and decided to give it a go.

Now, while I was at my sister's house for six weeks I saw her make bread several times. I saw it go from a ball of dough to a huge ball of dough. Today, my bread didn't rise. :( I read that the weather can change the outcome of the bread, so maybe because of the weather today it didn't come out right. I doubt it. My sister has told me that you need to make it several times to figure out how you like it and what you need to do to make it better. To tell you the truth it all seems a little labor-intensive and annoying. But I don't like paying at least $2 a loaf at the store when I can make it at home for a quarter of that price.

So here I go. On an adventure that begins and ends with bread. I'll let you know how the journey goes. :)

This is during the mixing process. I've seen/heard my sister count each turn of the bowl while mixing, maybe I should try that next time.

After the bread baked. The recipe says it takes 45 minutes, but I read one review that said it was ready after a half hour. I'm glad I read that review, because mine was also ready at a half hour.

I made grilled cheese sandwiches with the bread. It was pretty good!

Saturday, May 21, 2011


I'm dreaming of a dress to make for my niece.
I'm dreaming of a quilt to make from Genny's baby clothes (oh how wonderful it will be!). I was flipping through The Practical Guide to Patchwork while waiting for my number to be called at the fabric store (I was dreaming since I was not going to pay that much for a book) when another customer and I started chatting. She ended up giving me a 50% off one item coupon, so that was it! I bought it and will read through it before starting work on the quilt. I'm nervous because I'm worried I will end up doing it wrong. But I think it will help to try out a quilt with out so much sentiment first. Maybe make a table runner as a beginning quilting project... I guess we'll see..

Monday, May 16, 2011

Birthday Party

Saturday we had a double birthday party. Since Glenn was born on the 2nd and Genny on the 15th we integrated their parties this year. I had originally wanted to do separate parties (he only turns 1 once!) but Thomas made a good point that anyone driving up from SD would not appreciate two parties in May on separate dates. *sigh* He was right again. It's amazing how he'll suggest something and I'll think, "wow, you just didn't even think about the outcome, did you? It's not going to work." but then it works out much better than I could have done if I had my way.

3pm was the start time for the party. We had twelve children ranging in age from 11.5 months to 9 years old. We had adults who don't have kids. We had a house full! I told Thomas several times that it was the best party yet. The only thing I would have done different was give Thomas more tasks. For the most part he just worked the party, chatting with everyone. I ended up sending him to the store for more burgers and dogs (we ran out!) and then he grilled them, but other than that he had no tasks beyond cleaning up the garage. Next time I'll have a timed list for him (yup, that's how I roll).

Glenn did not enjoy the party. I take that back, he had no clue there even was a party. My poor baby was sick with a high fever and runny nose the whole day. He literally spent the whole day in the Moby. I want to say that he ate a little bit of breakfast, but I can't remember for sure. He did nurse a few times, so at least he was getting some fluids.

Genny had a BLAST! For the first hour or so she was a little overwhelmed. Our friend's five year old daughter played with her, 'making' her food and taking her hand, walking her from one room to another. One guest came out of Genny's room at one point and said, "Is Genny in trouble? She's sitting on her bed looking so somber!" to which I replied, "Nope, she's just in shock because of all the kids here." Soon enough she was running around from inside to outside, playing with all the kids and toys.

Genny and Glenn made out when it came to gifts. We've never had that many presents before! The party had been going on for so long that when it came to opening gifts I tried to quickly let Genny open each gift but the problem with a three year old is that she wants to play with each thing right now. So a friend and her daughter (the same one who played with Genny earlier) helped Genny go through the gifts. We didn't even get to Glenn's gifts because he was out of it. (in fact I just finished opening them today- Monday.)

What about the food you say? Well let me tell you about the cakes. I wanted to make cupcakes because Genny is obsessed with them. I made white cake mini cupcakes with home made strawberry buttercream frosting. Yum. I made the exact same recipe last year. Why fix what isn't broken? For the cake, I wanted to do a two-tier cake. The theme of the party was jungle safari, so I decided to make a banana cake (because monkeys like bananas...). I've never made a ganache, but have had it before and knew it was yummy. I made my first chocolate ganache and added it to the inside of the two tiers. Then I made chocolate buttercream frosting and added that. I know, it was too much chocolate. So at the last minute, the day of the party I took the chocolate buttercream frosting off and replaced it with vanilla buttercream. It worked out better for the decorations anyway. This cake. This cake is so good. I received so many compliments on this cake. Christine- don't read this next part: It was the first time I had attempted the banana cake or chocolate ganache. I'm a risk-taker like that. :)

Now that the party is done, we're slowly getting the gifts out and letting the kids play with them. I want the kids to appreciate each gift, and they wouldn't do that if I just let them play with all of them at once. Plus this way I get to know each toy and what goes with it so I can put the pieces back when they make their way to other areas of the house.

It was a good party.

I didn't take many pictures because I was so busy. :(

Genny's new play house (found that day at a garage sale) and her new doll house.

Genny has since taken several cards and carried them around the house. I can't blame her- she got some good ones (unicorns, pigs, ice cream cones...)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Bum Genius Snap Conversion

It only took seven months, but it's finally started. I have begun to change out my velcro closure Bum Genius 3.0 diapers to snap closure!! It was a long process for me, but doesn't have to be for you if you are thinking about doing the same.

Step one was to figure out what tools I needed to do the conversion. After a little research I found out that I needed either a snap press or snap pliers. You can get either from KAM Snaps. (clicking on the link will take you directly to the page you need to be on to buy what I have- the press) I read a lot of reviews on both the press and pliers, and a lot of people who used the pliers said they wished they had spent the money for the press, so that's why I chose the press.

Step two was to purchase the press. Now, it's a pretty penny, so I did my homework and went to the website several-er hundreds- of times to make sure that this was indeed the tool I needed. Then it took the act of actually checking out and paying. I was worried that I would miss something and end up with everything I needed sans one small yet important part. Turns out, there is a check list on the KAM website to help us novices order everything we need. I ordered three items- the press, the dyes, and the snaps. Then... I got a disclosure that said that the presses were out of stock and mine wouldn't ship for a month. *pouting face* But who cares about an extra month when it had taken me over four months just to order the darn thing??

It came in the mail the day before we left for SC. So along with drooling over my sewing lesson with Madeline (see blog below if you're interested in that story) I was also excited yet scared about my new adventure with the snap press. I mean, this thing is a weapon if ever you saw one. It has to weigh at least fifteen pounds and [as you will see below] is taller than my sewing machine.

On to more steps...

Step three was to figure out how to put the monster together (I've decided to call mine Sully because it's big and blue just like the main character of Monsters Inc.). Thank you to and their plethora of how-to videos. I found this one on how to put together Sully (which is a good thing too because I practically failed the portion of the ASVAB where you put machines together. This one was super easy, but like I said, I suck at machines and figuring out how they work).

Step four (which I did before step three but came back to again after step three) is to figure out how to do the conversion. This great video helped me out in that aspect.

Viola!! I have one diaper converted and will be working on the rest of them over the next week or two.

P.S. Happy Mothers Day to all you moms out there!

P.P.S. Christine, you can send me your diapers and I'll do them quicker than you can say "Sully the blue giant"!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Analise Girl's Dress

Shout out to Madeline from Massionnette!!! Massionnette is a great fabric store in down town Oceanside. I went in one day to see some fabrics they have on clearance and saw this ice cream cone fabric that I just had to buy in hopes of making Genny a dress. I asked the sales girl if there was anyone around who did private sewing lessons, and as it turns out one of the employees does. I booked today's lesson before we went to SC, and I've been drooling just waiting for the day to come. Today was the day, so I said goodbye to my little ones and my husband and went to spend two hours with Madeline. I just about completed the dress in the time slot, I just need to hem the bottom. But I couldn't resist letting Genny try it on, to see how the size worked out (can you believe I made a 5T and it fits her just a little loose? Boy my almost-three-year-old is big!).

This is the first article of clothing I've ever made (unless you count the hats I made last year, which I don't). Thomas asked if I could make it again, and I think that I can. I just need to do it soon so it sticks in my head. Does that mean I have another trip to the fabric store in the future? I'd have to say yes...

The pattern is Analise by Portabello Pixie.

In this picture she's feeding the ice cream cones to her pig.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Gigatent Fantasy Palace

Or as Genny calls it, "Mister Man's Dream Castle".

Genny hasn't gotten big gifts from us yet. There was always intention, but when it came down to it, she didn't know the difference and I didn't want to spend the money. We would get her small gifts, but sometimes only one gift, like her first birthday when she got the singing dog and that was it. Up until now, I've treated items we've purchased as a need-based decision. When I felt she needed something specific, I would get it. Don't get me wrong, she didn't get new toys all the time either. But now she's able to get excited about gifts and knows where they came from. We bought her a big gift for her birthday (which is very soon) so I thought we'd get Glenn something that both kids could use.

I've been wanting to get something to use at the beach as a sun shield, and found this great tent on It's a 6'X4'X48" tent that has three parts. After setting it up, I'm thinking it may not fair well at the beach. We'll see. In the intrim it will be fun here at the house.

Discovery Place Kids

Oh my. Oh my oh my oh my. Discovery Place Kids was the BEST kids activity center I've ever been to. That's saying a lot since my ears perk up every time I hear about a children's activity center. Seriously. This place takes the cake. I won't do it any justice at all, but I'll try.

When you first walk in, there's the Animal Hospital. Then you turn and look, and your jaw drops. In a massive building you'll find: A stage the size of an average living room (complete with backstage and a plethora of costumes), a fire truck, a ship, a submarine, a little house with giant flowers out front, a water area about two times the size of the living room (with baby seats built into it so your wee ones can splash), an airplane, a doctor's office, Lego station, cogs, a bunch of tracks to build a super long roller coaster (or so I presume, we didn't get to that one but walked past), and a foam block station that started with a conveyor belt bringing the 'blocks' up to the second floor where they were dumped into a crane, which brought them around to an area they were dumped in and then they spilled down into a twelve foot high case that looked like a pin-ball machine on it's side, then then made their way down to the bottom of said pin-ball-looking case and then you put them into a wagon to take them over to the conveyor belt. This whole process was done by the kids moving wheels to make each part work. It was/is the best kid's toy I have/will ever see.

Seriously. If you are ever in southern North Carolina, check it out. You won't be disappointed!

Genny and Audry at the Animal Hospital

This is the set of wheels you turn to move the shelves in the twelve foot pin-ball-looking-machine

Glenn with the crane and conveyor belt

The 'bricks'

South Carolina

Our friends Justin and Kristen set a date for their wedding. This was a big deal because they got engaged before Thomas and I got married... Justin asked Thomas to be his best man, so we bought tickets to go to SC. As it turns out, Thomas's brother Parker was leaving one duty station and going to another, so he was able to take two weeks of leave as well. Couches became beds and we slept more than two to a room. It was a wonderful two weeks filled with stories from the past, good home cooked southern food, and lots of pictures.

Glenn (Thomas's father) had never met his namesake, so it was a special meeting for them. Genny played with her cousins (Parker has two daughters) and her aunt Jillian (she's nine years old). It was so good to see everyone, and I'll have a separate post about traveling... ;)

Here is a montage of photos from the trip.

Birthday boy with cake on his face.

Lots of dancing!

Glenn's Motorcycle

What do you give your father when there are no holidays in the near future? Why a motorcycle of course!

So that's what we did. And boy did he love it! And we loved giving it to him!

Theres no long story behind this one. Thomas asked me one day if we could afford it and I said yes, we technically could, but we didn't end up having to because we all ended up chipping in. He found one (on craigslist of course) and our good friend Justin picked it up and kept it in his garage until we were all there.