Monday, December 31, 2012

Y is for Yarn

Mmm... I love yarn! I'm planning to become a yarn making machine in the next year and become better practiced in my knitting/crochet ability. I can not wait to get started! So far I have about 5 patterns I would like to start with but I am going to try and rein myself in and complete one at a time... now to choose which one...

X is for Xenotarsosaurus


Sha-bam! Bet you weren't expecting that one!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

W is for Whatever

"...Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."
Phil. 4:8

V is for Vanilla

Ah, vanilla... I love everything vanilla, except vanilla candles and perfume... strange I know, but the truth - what can I say?
I've actually been dreaming of a vanilla latte for a few days now... and a vanilla milkshake... such a shame the holidays are coming to an end... at some point I need to start dreaming of apples... and spinach... boo...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

U is for Unexpected

Life is full of unexpected surprises, but then I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that. Unexpected surprises, unexpected gifts, blessings, losses etc etc etc.
Lately we've been dealing with, what seems like, lots of "unexpected" things. Unexpected disappointments, unexpected blessing, unexpected losses, unexpected travel, unexpected knowledge... hoping that soon we'll be able to get more to the "expected" side of life. To start making changes that need to be made, moving forward in areas that we need to move forward with. The start of a new year is always filled with expectations, here's hoping that we don't run into too many "unexpected" obstacles in 2013!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

T is for Truffles

Making Cookie Dough Truffles, was quite possibly the best and worst decision I made this holiday season. They are so dangerously good! I covered half the batch with dark chocolate, and the other with milk chocolate. I prefer the dark, my mister prefers the milk... make up a batch and you decide (the cookies dough is eggless making it perfectly safe to eat raw!!)...

Cookie Dough Truffles
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup chocolate chips

chocolate for coating, chopped

Cream together butter and sugar then add the vanilla. Add the flour and milk, alternating, starting and finishing with the flour. Add the chocolate chips. Shape the dough into bite size (or 2 bites size) rounds and place on a cookie sheet for a few hours, allowing to become hard.
Melt the chocolate you will be using to cover the dough either in the microwave or in a dish over a pot of simmering water. Plunk the cold dough balls into the chocolate, covering completely and lift out using a spoon. Tap the spoon 4-5 times on the edge of the dish, allowing the excess chocolate to drip off then gently plop the chocolate covered balls onto parchment paper and allow to harden, either on the counter or in the fridge.

S is for Santa

To "Santa" or not to Santa, that was the question for the past 4 years in our house. I have 2 brothers and my mister has one, out of the our 3 siblings, we are the only couple doing "Santa" with our kids. I understand the debate that some people have regarding Santa, but we have decided to let our children live that magic. Besides, seeing the excitement they have for that chubby old fellow, is enough to convince me that we are a Santa family.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Friday, December 21, 2012

R is for Reading

This is what my typical (and current) stack of books looks like...
My devotional, a fiction, some sort of self help/improvement read, something inspirational, a hobby/learning read and a cook book. I always have a pile on the go and I slowly putter through each and every one of them, reading them cover to cover (even the cook book).

I am adoring all of these books right now and would recommend them to everyone!
The Daily Message is a super easy way to read the bible daily. There's a bit of a debate over this translation of the bible, but truthfully I think it's that way with every translation. I read it along side some more "traditional" translations but I find it helps me understand everything better.
The Hobbit, my mister has been trying to get me to read this book for years now! With the movie coming out he only agreed to my continued book purchasing one the condition that I finally read this book. It's such a fun read! My only complaint is all the descriptions of landscapes... I'm convinced that this is the difference between male and female writers and readers. Men like trees, and dirt, and rivers. Women like people, and feelings and discussing/building relationships. Men write, in extensive detail, about trees, and dirt, and rivers while women write more about character personalities, feelings and relationships... I'm getting sick of reading about rivers...
Seven, I love this book! Jen is hilarious and totally relatable. I have been struggling with our family's current state of excess and Jen's journal of simplifying her and her family's life is completely inspiring.
Granny Chic, Tif Fussell is my hero.
Respect the Spindle, a great breakdown of how to spin your own yarn with awesome pictures! This book has helped answer a bunch of my questions.
What Katie Ate, so good. Just... so good. Pictures are amazing, food is amazing, everything... amazing. I can't look at this book without getting hungry!

What are you reading?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Q is for Quilt

Last year after the holidays I went Christmas material purchase crazy. I had a mad gleam in my eye and took every piece I could find... I actually scared an old lady out of the isle while I was loading all the fat quarters into my cart while laying on the floor scouring the bottom of the bin... ok, I may not have scared her, lets be honest here, but between me on the floor and my cart, she was not getting anywhere close to my bin of discounted holiday fabric.
I had dreams of making a quilt big enough for our family to snuggle under, watching Roudolf the Red Nosed Raindeer with the plate of cookies left out for Santa and the magical twinkle in my boys eyes right before they fell asleep on the couch, in my arms, waiting for Santa to come. Alas, I forgot about the fabric until 2 weeks ago and haven't had the time to finish the quilt. I did make the top, which I am super excited about, but I doubt it will be completed before the new year, to tuck away for next year... which gives me another year to dream about being tucked under it, only this time I will have my girl along with my boys falling asleep in my arms. So cozy.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

P is for Peppermint

I looooove peppermint anything... pop some chocolate in with it and I would consider trading a kid for it. I came across this recipe on pinterest and simply had to try it, and let me tell you! It did not disappoint!
Before I inhaled it all I tossed some into mason jars, covered the lids with fabric circles, tied it in place with twine and fell in love! Seriously the cutest thing I've ever seen!
I'm going to be gifting a jar of this heavenly creation to Zac's teacher along with the standard #1 teacher ornament this coming Friday... provided I don't cave and eat it myself...

*I modified the recipe ever so slightly by adding only 5oz of white chocolate and 5oz of semi sweet chocolate... I was hoping for a ripple effect... didn't happen... but it still tasted great! I also only tossed them in 1/2 cup of icing sugar.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

O is for Ornaments

This year I had a grand plan to do 12 days of crafts with the boys over Christmas. Truthfully... I have failed, although Christmas isn't here yet so I do have a few more days to cram in a crazy amount of glue, foam and giggles and I will do my darnedest to succeed!
We made bell ornaments and pasta angels for the tree this past weekend and the boys were so excited to hang them. I love that we will have the memory of making them each year I pull them out of storage, and I love having little handmade touches on our tree! I'm thinking this may need to become an annual tradition...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Saturday, December 15, 2012

N is for Nuts and Bolts

Growing up my mom only made Nuts and Bolts over the holidays and it's something that makes Christmas complete for me, even still. This recipe makes a.lot. but it always seems to go quite quickly.

Nuts and Bolts
675g box of Shreddies
425g box Cherrios
425g Crispix/Life
1 bag of pretzels
1lb peanuts/cashews
1 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tbsp worcestershire
1/2 tsp garlic salt

Mix all dry ingredients together in a large roasting pan, mix all the wet ingredients and garlic salt together and then pour over the cereal mixture. Bake at 200 for 1 1/2 -2 hours mixing regularly and sprinkling with garlic salt when mixing. Store in an air tight container once it's cooled.

Friday, December 14, 2012

M is for Meal Planning and Molly Makes

This picture completely sums up a good moment for me. Meal planning for the month and catching up on some old issues of Molly Makes. All this picture is lacking is the perfect cup of coffee.
(my bestie made up that lovely spreadsheet for the meal planning... on the bottom it even has a spot to write out groceries! so lovely...)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

L is for Lately

Life has been pretty good lately. We are all in an excellent routine, starting to get a bit of a natural flow back and feeling good.
Zac had his first ever school Christmas concert! It was pretty exciting, and he was just so handsome looking I could have eaten him right up!
Miss C has become a bit of a diva the last few days, deciding she no longer needs naps and that we can all just suffer because of this. We're hoping to convince her again that naps are awesome and she should totally embrace them. Thank heaven she is still sleeping at night!
The boys were gifted a superhero memory game for Zac's birthday and it has reigned as entertainment in our world for the last week or so. My poor mister tries so hard, and he is improving remarkably, only to loose to his 3 and 5 year old pretty much every time! 
I have been second guessing some recent life decisions and trying to plan others, which has resulted in many more coffees and bizarre sessions staring out the window. I'm sure the neighbors think I've lost my head, but I'm ok with that.
All our snow has melted and all our Christmas shopping is done. We sent out our last package (of gifts) to family earlier this week and have started to receive some in!
Yay! Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

K is for Knitting


I feel like knitting should be an expected topic for the letter "K". Sadly the only pictures I have of my current knitting projects are still only in skein form. The list in my head however, is far to long to actually type out. The trouble with knitting is this... it's not quick. I like quick. I make easy quilt tops, in an evening. I crochet a hat, in an evening. I make pages and pages for photo journals, in an evening... are you sensing a theme? I can not accomplish enough of a knitting project in an evening to keep me stoked or excited about it. I do so love it though, the feel of the yarn, the different textures and patterns you can create with two simple stitches just done in different orders, the clicking of the needles while you work... all such an awesomely cozy experience... if only it were possible to complete an entire project, in an evening...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

J is for Journalling


Ah, Journalling... I love the idea of journalling, I even try it from time to time, but I am no good when it comes to keeping up with my journalling... unless you count blogging as journalling... then I do ok...

Monday, December 10, 2012

I is for Inspiration


Where do you find your inspiration?
I think inspiration is one of those things that can be found anywhere. I often find mine through people, colours, photos, books, pinterest (hurray for pinterest!) and I know some people find it though nature.
Are you constantly inspired or do you go through fits and phases? Personally I'm a fits and phases kinda gal. I'm often either suffering from inspiration overload or going through a dry spell.
Right now I'm about to burst with all kinds of "inspired" ideas. I have so many plans and desires to create, I just seem to have no time to complete them all. Alas I will, and until that time I have started a new endeavor of printing or writing down anything and everything that inspires me and plopping it into an inspirational journal. Inspiration boards don't work for me, too much of a good thing smacking me in the face whenever I walk into the room, so I have decided a journal is my best option... then I can control the inspirational face smacking going on...

Musical Monday: Sugarland - Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel

I think there are fun holiday songs and then there are beautiful Christmas songs. This has been my favourite Christmas song for as long as I can remember.

Stay tuned for today's letter "I"!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

H is for Hodge-podge

When I decided to alphabetize the themes for this months posts I went through each letter and thought of possible themes/words to write about. Some letters were easier then others and some I just couldn't narrow it down to one theme.
H is one that I couldn't decide... so many good words/ideas/themes start with the letter H...

Homemade: I could have talked about the dolls and stuffies I made for my little Charlotte to snuggle up with and how awesome I think they turned out!
Haberdashery... quite possibly the best word... ever!
Happiness: I would gush about my family and how happy each one of them make me.
Help: One of the best things about living in Canada is the Parental leave! My mister has been able to take a lot of time off work to help me with the kids and it has been awesome!
My Hunky Hubby: He's growing a beard... I like it, I like to look at it and rub it, I do not, however, like how it feels on my face, which leads us too...
Hanky Panky: There's not much of that going on here... see above.
Home: I would remind you how far we moved from family for my mister's work and how this time of year always has us reflecting on the meaning of "home". I would yammer a bit about how our kids home is here, in Newfoundland, and how we need to start thinking that way as well.
Holiday Baking: I would tell you about my plans to keep it low key this year, for the sake of my waist line, but that my boys had way too much fun making snowman sugar cookies; and that I think I'm going to make those delicious things an annual tradition in our house!
Hope: I could talk about hopes and dreams and goals for the New Year.
Hands: I'm kind of mesmerized by my kiddos hands... they are so small and chubby... I could write about them... but you would see just how odd I can be if I did that...

Seriously... so many H things!
What H topic would you choose?

Friday, December 7, 2012

G is for Granola

Granola is one of my most favourite foods... ever.
I eat freaky amounts of it, which makes it hard to keep in the house. In the summer I went granola making crazy for about 2 weeks, on the hunt for the homemade granola recipe. While most of my findings were decent none were blow your mind wonderful. Then I found this recipe. It's perfect. It's crunchy, it's sweet, it's nutty... I don't think I'll ever be able to buy store bought granola again.

Making granola is not hard by any means but I think it's super important to use regular oats (or large flake) instead of quick cooking. The quick cooking goes mushy when you add the liquid to it and never seems to crunch up. If you don't jar your granola after it's cooled and it gets sticky or soft, just pop it back into the oven for about 5 minutes, it will re-crisp and be wonderful all over again!
Mmmm.... so good....

Thursday, December 6, 2012

F is for Finish

F is for
I have been working on this blanket for months... at least 5 of them. And I am finally sitting down to finish it! Fingers crossed everyone will stay agreeable while I do this...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

E is for Eli

E is for
I love this little man more then I can put into words. He is strong willed, persistent, sensitive, clumsy, energetic and hilarious. He makes my blood boil and my heart melt at the same time. He has a crazy imagination, loves the Hulk and Wolverine and gets aggressive and intentionally pushes limits when he's tired. I like to think he's just like his mama.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

C and D are for Christmas Decorations

C is for 4
C is for 1
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
I'm double dipping today and cheating a bit with my alphabet themed posts... that said, I feel super smart noticing that Christmas is "C" and Decorations is "D", resulting in a "C, D" sequence... it's the small things that make me smile!
While we are not 100 percent finished decorating I feel like we have a huge bit accomplished. We decided to put our tree in the basement this year and I simply could not leave the main level decorationless, so this is officially the first year we have decorated both levels of our bungalow. We aren't swimming in decorations so the house is no holiday wonderland but I am pleased with how the joy and comfort of the holiday is spread out.
Only 20 shopping days left!

Monday, December 3, 2012

B is for Baby

B is for baby, and I must say, mine is just the cutest!
Little Miss C is growing and changing everyday it seems. She is all smiles for her daddy and all business (feeding is very important business you see) with me. She loves both her brothers and is always looking around for them and will only tolerate the song "You are my Sunshine" don't bother with "The wheels on the bus" or "Old McDonald"... it is a waste of time and will only be met with a scowl and a squawk . She's not a big talker but loves to grunt and growl... all the throaty sounds with the occasional well deserved squeal, however you will have to work for it. She sleeps like a dream (a breast fed baby that sleeps 7-8 hours at night and also naps a big 3 hour one during the day? yes please! and yes... I am totally bragging.) and snores like a man.
She has the most perfectly squishy cheeks and the most squeezable rolly polly thighs and her second chin comes out further then her first.
She's just the best.

Musical Monday: Meaghan Smith - It Snowed

I can not believe it's December!! I love Christmas and have secretly been preparing for months now. Zac was due December 1 and whenever we told someone his due date they almost always said how bad they felt for him because his birthday would always be over shadowed by Christmas excitement. For that reason Christmas decorations or preparation do not happen (or are at least kept on the down-low) until after all birthday celebrating has been completed.
So now I can officially let my Christmas loving self free and start the celebrating!
I love Meaghan Smith, I've shared her videos on here a couple of times but thought she was the perfect way to usher in Christmas music to the ol' blog-a-roo (yes, I actually say things like that in real life)!
22 days to go!
Be back soon with a letter "B" post.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A is for Around Here

My E
C sleeping
Zac's 5

This week was full of activity. Eli, Charlotte and I shared a wicked cold, we had our first snowfall, Charlotte started wearing cloth diapers and Zac turned 5!!
Not only did all of that happen, but December is officially here and we are now on the countdown to Christmas! Eek! I love the holidays!

I've decided to blog a little differently this month and I'm super excited by it. I've joined #amonthof (a month of) and will be blogging daily alphabet themes. Today is my first day so I'm starting with "A", next you will see something "B" themed etc etc. This also means you'll be seeing more of me as I plan to blog a letter everyday of the week, except Sundays for the rest of the month. And since we are in December you'll get a double dose on Monday's with my usual Musical Monday's, because I can not, not share wonderful holiday music!! How excited are you? I think it should be fun and if you're a blogger you should totally jump on board too.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How I Do It


I am often asked, "how do you do it?", how do I find the time to do the things I love, to sew, knit, crochet, bake, all while parenting my 3 kids.
I have no secret abilities, I can not fly around the world, make it spin backwards and give myself more time in the day (yep... superheros reign all my thoughts!), but I do have a few tricks that make my life a bit easier and allow me to find time to do the things I enjoy in addition to raising a family.

1. I stay home. While being a full time mom is no easy task it does mean that I don't need to come home from a long day dealing with other peoples problems, feed my family, deal with any possible family dramas, clean the house, tuck my kids into bed, do laundry, and then find the energy or desire to work on something other then my dreams. I can easily find a minute or two during the day to sew a quilt panel, knit or crochet a row of something or glue down some pictures in a photo journal. I can bake at 10am instead of 10pm and clean up at noon instead of midnight. While my day is still only 24 hours, how I spend those hours are a bit more flexible then they would be if I worked outside the home.

2. I set goals and I plan. We've established at this point that I am an over planner but in this case I think that is one of my strengths. I set out weekly goals (sew ___ quilt squares, finish the cowl I've been working on, decide on pictures for the journals etc) and then I plan how and when I will work on these goals so I will be successful in completing them.

3. I follow a schedule. This could probably be tied into my planning, but our family is pretty well based around schedules. After I had Zac I realized how important it was/is for my sanity to work off a schedule. I realize scheduling isn't for everyone, believe me plenty of people have teased me about it, but I need to know that at 1:30pm each day I will get a break due to nap time; or if everyone is grumpy at 3pm it could be because I forgot snack. Knowing what to expect everyday also allows for me to plan some crafty intervention times during a nap time or at the table while the kids eat their lunches/snack.

4. I prioritize. Everyone has priorities in life, creating and loving my family are mine and I will always allow/find time to do those things. Having a spotless kitchen or a tidy living room are usually not a priority for me, while we do tidy our house, I will always opt to "wait until tomorrow" to wash that pot or clean up after the kids if it allows me 10-20 minutes extra in front of my sewing machine, reading a book with my kids or alone with my mister.

5. I keep all my supplies out and easily accessible. It is so much easier to find 5-10 minutes to work on something and if I am going to spend those 5-10 minutes pulling out all my scrapbooking/journaling supplies then it's not going to get done. If I keep all my stuff in say a basket or on a shelf that I only need to pluck something off of, then when I find the time to work on a project I will work on the project, not getting ready to work on it.

6. I married a very supportive guy. My mister really is an awesome man and he knows that I need time to create, food or items, to be happy. He will almost always watch the kids to allow me a few minutes to finish something I'm working on, or get to a point that I am happy to leave it for a few hours. He's just as proud once I finish a project as I am, not sure I could ask for more.

There you have it. No tricks, no special powers - that's how I do it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Apple Cider

There is something about apple cider that screams holidays. It could be the cinnamon, it could be the cloves, it could be the warmth. Either way, it's warm, cozy, comforting and wonderful.
I have had a hankering (yes I said hankering) for weeks for a nice warm mug of cider but if my grocery store carries it they have moved it into the hidden section. I searched high and low with an intense determination and then decided that I would have to make my own cider in order to fulfill my cider wanting needs this year. It's a bit sweeter then traditional cider but oh so delicious!

Apple Cider

2 cans apple juice concentrate, thawed
3 1/2 cups water *
3 clementine oranges, sliced
4 (2inch) sticks cinnamon
60 whole cloves

Put everything into a pot and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes. Pour into a mug and snuggle under a blanket - the holiday's have begun!

*water amount can easily be increased to 4 cups if you find the cider too sweet.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Musical Monday: Mumford and Sons - I Will Wait

I shared this one a little bit ago. But I made you travel to go and see it since I couldn't link it properly... I have since figured out how to get the video here for your viewing ease... we'll just leave out how uncomplicated it turned out to be!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Bits 'n' Pieces


This week has included infected wisdom teeth, baby immunizations (resulting in a very grumpy baby), top bunk early morning vomiting, bags of new hand me down clothes - for both the boys and Charlotte (yay!), domino superhero houses, a growing pile of books to read and a minute of "me" time to try my hand at spinning yarn.
It's had its ups and downs but it was another good one.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Easy Sew Tote Bag

It's been a super long time since I did a little DIY "how to" so I thought I'd break the crafty silence and show you how to make a super easy to sew tote bag!
First you'll need fabric, scissors and a sewing machine, quilting batting is optional as well.
Decide how big you want your bag to be and cut 2 pieces of your exterior fabric and 2 of your interior. I made mine 18.5" x 19.5". Also cut two long strips of each fabric for your straps, mine were 24" long by 2.5" wide. Now sew your bag together (no pictures of this part sorry...)!
Lay the exterior fabric, right sides together and stitch along 3 sides, leaving the top open. Do the same with the interior fabric.
To finish the corners of the bag and to form a bit of a bottom, fold the corner of the bag so that the side seam lines up with the bottom seam, pin in place (measure how far in the pins are placed as you will be doing this on both sides of the bag to both exterior and interior pieces) and sew.
Cut the excess fabric (the triangle part) and turn the exterior fabric right side out. Now stuff the interior bag into the exterior bag (if using the batting be sure to do all the steps above with the batting, creating a bag out of the batting and then layer that bag between the interior and exterior pieces.)
Fold the top of the fabrics over 1/4-1/2 an inch and press so they lay flat. Set the bag aside so we can work on the straps!
Sew an interior and exterior piece, right sides together, down one long side, across the short and then up the other long, leaving one short end open. Using a knitting needle turn the strap right sides out and press. Totally an optional step but, top stitch down the long sides of the straps.
Tuck the straps into the top of the bag pieces just assembled and pin like a mad person! Do this on both sides and then top stitch around the entire bag.
Done and done!
This is my standard bag "how to" and I can usually pound out a bag in about an hour. You can also fancy it up as much as you would like. I quilted panels and made bags for my boys using left over ribbon as the straps!

Happy sewing!