Archive | February, 2011

Happy Monday Message

28 Feb

Here is a happy Monday morning message from Aleah and her whip cream.

Some nifty things are brewing that I am very excited to show you when I get my act together.  Hope everyone had a great weekend and is ready for the week ahead. Last day of February, can you believe it?

Skirt into a Romper

26 Feb

This skirt came from the discard pile out front of our building’s entryway.

It was a really cute skirt but the zipper was terribly broken.

It laid around the apartment for a few weeks until I went to baby Gap for inspiration.

I saw this gap kids jumper priced at $26.95 and then I used the old skirt to make my own!!!
Let me tell you that no one was more surprised than myself that this actually worked!  I was so excited about it. Aleah really liked wearing it (she is a comfy freak) and didn’t want to take it off.

And here are some pictures of me trying to get Aleah to cooperate through bribery (a CLIF fruit twist, not a cigar) and sheer effort-

Sweater Dress

24 Feb

I bought this sweater at a thrift store intending to make sweater pants. But then after looking at it some more I wanted to try and make it into a dress for Aleah. I took in the sides and made the width of the arms smaller.  The neck was really small so it would fit her well.

But the arms were still too long. I loved the brown cuff on the end of the sleeve so I did not want to just cut it off and throw it away.  Instead I cut off the sleeve, a little shorter than the length of her arm, and sewed the brown cuff inside out to the bottom of the sleeve. Now when I fold up the cuff it stays put and looks perfect around her wrist.

I was a little worried that the bottom would be too long but wasn’t sure how I would fix that. Aleah tried on the dress and it fit fine so I didn’t have to deal with that part. Phew! She likes this dress because it is comfy and also keeps her pretty toasty.


Thrifty Thursday

24 Feb

When it rains it pours, eh?

So in this past week three major electronics broke at our house. The DVD player, our baby monitor and the digital camera. Shoot.

The first two appliances were quickly replaced with a run to a great thrift store by our house (for the DVD player) and a trip to target (baby monitor). But the camera is the biggest expense so we are still trying to work that one out.

But even with this flurry of expenses, we had one small consolation.

In the past month I cut out two coupons from our Sunday paper for Crest whitening strips.  One was a target coupon for $5 off and the other was a $10 manufacturers coupon.  I had no idea how much these would originally cost so I just saved the coupons and decided to check it out later.  Jared, the cute husband that he is, went to Target with my coupons and bought the white strips for me for Valentines Day.  What I didn’t know is that the strips were originally $50 dollars!  Sorry, there is no way I am going to pay $35 for those things.

So, when Jared was buying the baby monitor at Target I had him go and return the whitening strips.  He had the receipt and went to customer service to return them.  The lady behind the counter rang everything up and told Jared that there would be $50 put back on the card.  Being the upstanding citizen that he is, he showed her on the receipt that he only paid $35 for the product.  She shrugged her shoulders and said that the system didn’t really recognize coupons that way, and since she hadn’t noticed when she rang it up, the extra cash was ours!

Wow!  $15 dollars in our pocket.

Just some happy news at a time when the wallet was taking a hit.

Enjoying Winter

22 Feb

It is easy to feel cooped up when winter drags on with long, cold, dark days.  But there are so many amazing activities that the weather allows.  Hockey, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, fort building sledding, snowshoeing- the list goes on.  So instead of dreading the season, we have fun and embrace the Minnesota winters.

My husband and I do our very best to get the kids outside to enjoy the snow and make the most of the snowy season.

Heading down to the lake.

Pile of bundled up ladies.

Jared wanted to pull the girls in the sled using his cross country skis.  It worked okay for a bit but they kept rolling off the sled.

So I got in the sled to make sure everyone stayed put.  It was a very fun ride to the ice rink across the lake.

Have fun out there!



New Ideas

21 Feb

Blog Thoughts
So far in this blog’s short life I have been doing one long post a week, but I want to be a bit more active.  With the few blogs that I follow it’s nice to see something new whenever I visit, otherwise I lose interest and get bored. I want to do my best to keep you interested, so I’m going to try posting a few little things throughout the week, with one big post towards the weekend. How does that sound?

And with that here is a cute picture of my girlie girls.

Second Born Restoration

17 Feb

My daughter Sophia Joy is a second born. She is the sweetest thing you will ever meet. Totally laid back and smiles her face off.  Sophia’s wardrobe consists of hand-me downs from her older sister who is only 21 months older. I was looking at a hand-me down outfit she had on the other day and got to thinking. Just because she has to wear her sister’s older clothes doesn’t mean it has to look like the clothes have already gone through one child.

I took this pretty cute outfit that used to be Aleah’s and transformed it into a way cuter outfit for Sophi. The white onesie had some stains around the neck so I cut out a picture of a horse and sewed it onto the front, to hide some of the mess.

Then got some fancy pink toile with beads and sparkles and sewed it just below the waistband  (I sewed just below so I didn’t have to deal with the elastic).

The skirt is short enough that is doesn't get in the way when she is crawling

The skirt is short enough that it doesn't get in the way when she is crawling

And she’s off to another adventure-

The Garden Lives On

15 Feb

You may recall that at least a portion of this blog is supposed to be dedicated to gardening.  My wife has done a great job upholding the “She Sewed” aspect of our life, but where have I been with the “He Sowed?”  But c’mon, cut me some slack, we’re in the middle of February now, and although it’s a sweltering 40 degrees and the birds were out in full song this morning, winter is still very much here. And it’s been here for quite some time.  How am I supposed to write about gardening when the garden is still slumbering beneath a foot of snow and the only ones benefiting from the compost are the mice who’ve tunneled their way throughout my pile of frozen kitchen scraps?

But as I’ve been reflecting on possible gardening posts, it occurred to me that the garden, although it’s been tucked away for four months, still very much lives on within our walls.  As I look around our kitchen I notice various remnants of last season’s harvest.  So even though the ice and snow still grip the land outside, within our kitchen remain small, tasty reminders that the land is full of life, and will soon be waking up.  Here is a brief look at the garden relics that have stayed with us into February:

First, delicious butternut squash!  We didn’t grow any ourselves, but a friend from Iowa brought some up from her farm and we gladly accepted.  Squash makes easy baby food and is simple to prepare.  We simply baked the squash until soft, scraped it into an ice cube tray, and stuck it in the freezer.  We still have several cubes and occasionally feed them to our littl’un (after thawing, of course).

Next, a violent, delicious hot sauce.  I am a pepper lover, and this sauce is loaded with ’em.  We grew jalepenos, serranos, cayenne peppers, and…habaneros!  I got the idea from our seminary friends, who also grew a load of peppers and canned several jars of the stuff.  The recipe allows for some nuance and personal adjustment, but basically you just combine as many peppers as you want, throw in a few onions, several cloves of garlic, vinegar, lime juice, and season to taste.  Our neighbor goes heavier on the salt, but with mine I added a touch of brown sugar for sweetness.  Blend it all together and simmer it down to desired thickness.  It lasts quite long because you really don’t need much to liven-up any dish.

But not all peppers have to go in the hot sauce.  I’ll put peppers in almost anything so it’s nice to always keep some around.  These brilliant cayenne peppers came from my uncle’s garden in Fergus Falls, MN, and they dried wonderfully in our kitchen all fall.  I’ve been on a homemade-hummus kick for several months now, and I love using these dried peppers when I blend my hummus.  They can be also be ground-up and used as a spicy seasoning.  These are my last two!  Tragic!

And lastly, the pride of our garden this year was our luscious basil.  We grew basil from seed, and after a late-season frost we had to replant all of it.  We were concerned that it just wouldn’t develop, but boy were we wrong.  The basil exploded and we couldn’t pick it fast enough.  The only way to keep it from going to waste was to use large quantities all at once.  The solution — Pesto!  We made pestos throughout the summer and fall, and just like the squash, we froze it in ice cube trays, combined it in a freezer bag, and did it all over again the next week.  This has been so rewarding.  A few cubes are enough for pasta or pizza sauce, and it’s absolutely delicious.  Here is an example of how we’ve used last season’s pesto:

So that’s a look at the way the garden lives on even in the dead of winter.  Sure, we haven’t knelt in the dirt or rinsed the mud off our fingers for several months now, but in little ways we’re reminded of the work we gave and the fruit we enjoyed.  And these little reminders will suffice for a while longer while we await the return of spring.

Man’s Shirt Skirt

4 Feb

My husband and I currently live in married seminary housing. He graduates this spring so we are almost done! Yay! We have a little area in the building’s entryway where other tenants place clothes they are sick of or just don’t want anymore. Other people pick through the new clothing and take what they want. It has been an incredible source of fun for me. I get clothes to cut up and work with and I don’t even have to go to a garage sale or thrift store.

Here is a skirt I whipped up out of a men’s dress shirt. It was Banana Republic. And yes, it was very hard to cut into a shirt that I know cost someone an arm and a leg. But hey, no one wanted the shirt and it makes a super cute skirt for Aleah.

Cut off the sleeves to a man's button up dress shirt

(I don’t have pictures for each step, but here are the instructions)

1.Cut off the top and bottom of the shirt

2.Turn the shirt inside out and lay it flat

3. Come in a few inches from each side of the shirt and pin a line from top to bottom (the farther in from the edge, the tighter the skirt will be).

4. Sew a straight-line stitch from top to bottom along the pins and trim the excess fabric

5.  Fold the bottom up a couple times and zigzag stitch it to make the bottom seam.

6.  Measure  17 inches of elastic and sew it into the top for a waistband

7.  For a little more fun I sewed some ribbon on the bottom of the skirt and top of the pocket.