I'll tell you what...I'll be creating!
Zane decided to take a 3 hour nap today. This hasn't happen in months...so I knew when he woke up he'd either be wearing a new size of clothes or else sick. But it gave me a glimpse of what to expect for next week. In 3 hours I made this quilt top for Logan. I've been meaning to make a new blanket for him and with my resent desire to not buy anything, I set out for my fabric stash and pulled out all the pieces that I knew Logan would love. Space aliens, rocket ships, Toy Story Buzz Lightyear and Woody fabric, and butterflies. Yes, I have a sweet boy who loves butterflies! Also some big blue pieces since blue is his favorite color.
I will be honest I've been a little intimidated with the idea of quilting. The patterns, the rules. Well I threw all those stifling things out the window and just went to work letting the pieces decide where to go. Putting a puzzle together really. It was a lot of fun, to just accept that I have no idea what the end result will look like. This isn't for a contest or state fair after all, it's for a child to love and snuggle. Give it a try...I'd call it liberating, honestly!
A friend of mine who I made that cute patchwork/crochet baby hat for is moving back to the east coast. I am so excited!!! She emailed asking for some cross country moving advice and as I wrote the email I thought there might be a few other readers who could benefit from my moving advice.
- First and foremost-do your research! Whether it is cross town or cross country move, go online and shop prices of whether it would be cheaper to use a pod company, or pack a Uhaul type truck and move yourself or hire movers. Within each of those decisions lies more research and shopping. If you decide to do the pod thing, as we did for our cross country move, there are many companies to choose from so do your research. Also don't forget to google the name of the company along with the words "coupon code", to see if you can save even more money.
- Pack every crevice. Roll underwear and stuff in shoes. Use blankets and linens as padding for furniture and protect wood finishes. If using a pod, invest in bungee cords so that you can pile things up along the walls and secure tightly.
- During a cross country move I highly suggest making a list of items to give away, sell or trash. Walk into the room and take in the inventory. Divide your paper in half and on one side write the things you want to sell, on the other the items to give away. Each room should have it's own piece of paper. Once you list an item on craigslist or freecycle, cross it off your list.
- Read! I highly suggest reading the book Simple Steps to Selling Your Home. There is a ton of really good advice, advice that your Realtor will most likely not say to you. For example clear off all counters, no microwave in the kitchen. In the bathroom remove everything except a soap dish or soap dispenser.
- My tips for selling your house: Get rid of your large trash can and opt for a small one under the sink that you can take out often. Who wants to look at a smelly house.
- If it's valuable like your grandmother's wedding ring, get it out of your house. You can't trust another person's agent to watch every single person who comes into your home and there are stories of people stealing things from open houses.
- Move all of your toiletries into a travel bag to clear clutter from bathroom cabinets.
- Make sure to remove any laundry from your washer or drier when someone comes to view your house.
- Take down all personal pictures, the buyer should envision themselves in your home and that's kind of hard if your chubby faced kid is hanging on every single wall.
- If you are "staging" your home for every viewing put those items in a Rubbermaid container that you can access quickly. When I staged my home I set the table with cute plastic dishes and put out my agents card along with the color flier.
- Pictures! Pictures! Pictures! Pictures sell your home, if your agent says "we want them to come and see your home, not online pictures"-look for another agent. That's bullshit. I wouldn't look at a home if it didn't have pictures online...it says something must be wrong that they can't take pictures.
OK that's all I can think of right now...hope that helps some of you. If anyone else has anything to add please do so in the comments. Happy moving!!!
Picture is courtesy of Danielle St. Laurent ,Burda pattern:Sophia
It's rare that I actually make something for myself. I'm always creating to give as a gift or something for my kids...well winter is approaching and I desperately needed a hat. But I didn't want any ol' hat. I wanted a hat that wouldn't squash my curls, a hat that I didn't have to commit to wearing all day because under it my hair would be flat and unattractive, a hat I could take off when I arrived to my destination. I never follow a pattern so I can't tell you what I followed or how exactly I made it. It's so liberating to crochet in this manner, give it a try! I start at the bottom and I made a chain stitch that fit very loosely around my head, I didn't want any part of my hat to be tight on my head. Once I made the chain into a circle, I single crocheted for awhile to create the band. Then I moved onto double crochet, I did that for a while until I knew all of my hair would fit into it. And then I started decreasing, slowly, using a half double crochet. In order for it to be perfect I try on the hat a lot. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out and I'm loving the no squash curl factor.
Personally I am conflicted about the Halloween/trick or treating issue mainly because the candy Logan will get he won't be able to eat because it won't be gluten free. My hubby who has never liked sweets did the trick or treating thing as a kid to just go with the flow of what the other kids were doing. And I get that, but why not try and change how we celebrate Halloween? Do we really need to continue to make it into a consumption holiday? Do we really, honestly need to continue that?!?! With childhood obesity on the rise?
Well I love what they are doing in Seattle with Green Halloween. For all you Seattle folks, this may be old news. But I had to share this with my east coast readers to show how different life is on the pacific northwest, and that's a good thing! East Coasters have a lot of catching up to do on the Green movement.
Green Halloween is a non-profit, grassroots community initiative to create healthier and more Earth-friendly holidays, starting with Halloween. It is hosted by Treeswing, a 501(c) 3 committed to improving the lives of children through nutrition, exercise and healthy environments.
My kids are excited about going "trick or treating" this year for the first time but we're only stopping by a handful houses of people we know and then attending a party. But I think I'm going to opt out of handing out candy and instead pick up some recycled pencils, because I'd rather promote creativity than consumption.
Check out Green Halloween's FAQ's page on some common questions and concerns about changing the way you celebrate Halloween this year.
We all get stuck sometimes...when we need to breathe fresh creative energy into our work. Well I tried to do that by creating a mini album for a friend's birthday. She is a scrapbooker so I combined a bunch of coordinating print paper and solid colored card stock, along with letter chip boards and tags. On white card stock I put an idea for a new layout or a photography challenge. Two of my favorites were the "50 things I love" layout in the picture above and also the photography challenge to "spend an entire week on your knees, taking pictures of your kids to see the world from their vantage point." It took a few weeks for me to come up with the ideas, basically I always had a notebook in my bag and when I would think of an idea I'd write a note to myself. The book is held together by a binder ring, one of my favorite things. And all of the riboons tied on the binder ring can also be used in layouts. The covers of the book are laminate samples from Home Depot. Yes you read that right! While shopping for new kitchen cabinets and countertops I took some samples and then found them to be perfect for this book. And you can't beat free!
Government Liquidation, LLC (GL), a Liquidity Services, Inc. marketplace is the exclusive contractor of the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMS) for the sale of surplus and scrap assets of the United States Department of Defense (DOD).
Met 2 sisters at the playground who both have purchased/bid on items from this site. So basically it's the government getting rid of stuff for cheap. At first you think well I don't need scrap metal from an airplane or a heating duct but wait...when I recently went on and clicked on the auctions that closed today there was a new Thomasville love seat and also children's' carpets with the ABC's and numbers. huh? Sure there was also NAYLOR ORTHO GLUIDE & AIR TECHIQUES DELIYDRATOR COMPRESSOR but really who doesn't need one of those! :)
It looks as though almost every state has a warehouse and it seems as though items can be shipped, but don't quote me on that. The 2 women I met, one purchased a mini van through this site and the other one got a lot of 5 bikes for her 3 boys with 2 to spare for friends for 75 bucks!
But now...oh beautiful Shoppers and their triple coupon days. I planned my Friday night at the grocery store...alone without kids... so I could really concentrate. I pulled all of my under 1.00 coupons out and organized them in recycled envelopes by aisle in the store. (Yes I am that anal.) The store was tripling coupons 50 cents and under and doubling up to a dollar. With calculator and coupons in hand I went to work and after 2 hours my brain felt like mush and my cart was spilling over. I had to quit, and I never even got to the frozen food aisle. Did I buy food that we normally don't eat? You betcha! It's been a long time since my kids have had rice chex cereal. No it was not all organic, yes some of it is filled with sodium and preservatives...but let's face it sometimes I need to just get food on our plates and I don't have the time to always remember to soak beans the night before.
All in all, I am very proud to say I saved $95.35 by using coupons and some of the items I got free!!!
As I mentioned in an earlier post we are trying to make all the gifts for the boys this year. I'm really excited about giving this gift to Zane. I just know he's going to love this house and the peg people. I bought the house at Michael's. It's actually one of those paint it yourself bird houses. Since it had a door that works I knew it would be the perfect place for the peg people to live. And the added bonus is that the peg people can fit through the bird hole...what could be better than that!
I bought the peg people also at Michael's they come in a pack of 2 and you paint them yourself. I still need to add a clear finish to the guys. I used the 40% off coupon that comes with our Sunday paper and you can also use competitor coupons at the same time, one for each store per person. Do you know what that means?? Cheap craft supplies!!!
Ok so we are at the playground and there is this kid who isn't playing with anyone else, he's around Logan's age. Logan was in school so I assumed this kid was home schooled. Zane goes over to this kid and the kid doesn't stop playing...doesn't even notice Z is there. Then my autistic radar goes off and I watch Z interact with this boy. He (the boy) is in "his zone"...Logan use to get like this a lot...not so much during the school year but it did reappear during the summer.
He will be so into what he is playing with that the house could be on fire and he wouldn't notice. The only way to get him out, of this zone, is to mirror him. To grab a guy (for example if that is what he's playing with) and totally do exactly what he is doing with the toy, right next to him...and for some reason that's how you get autistic kids out of it and willing and able to engage in play with you.
So I watch Zane doing exactly that with this little boy. And finally the boy looks up at him and Zane immediately starts talking to him. The little boy is doing echolia which is repeating either the same word or phrase over and over again. Something we have seen in our house many, many times. Well Zane goes right there with this kid. And because my kids are pixar junkies Zane knew right away what movie he was reciting and delivered the next line in the movie. Instantly they were friends, they go running off and take turns trying to climb up the slide. I look over at the other mom and she has tears running down her face with the biggest smile. I go over to her and ask how old her son is....making small talk...and she can't peel her eyes away from Zane and her son....and finally she says "he's never played with another child like this ever!" I smiled and replied, "My oldest son is autistic." She looks at me and says "so is he, but he's never played like this before." I couldn't stop smiling either. I was so proud of Zane for bridging that gap. For being the child who plays with the autistic child at the playground, not because he was told to but because he found comfort in this boy. And at 3 to show the type of advocate for his brother that he will be. It's natural..it's what he knows. And I am just so happy that I got to see it with my own eyes.
In a cold pan pour just enough canola oil to cover the bottom, drop a single kernel and crank the heat to high and cover. Everything happens quickly so sit tight and wait. Once that kernel pops, pour in enough kernels to cover the bottom of the pan, no deeper than one layer otherwise the bottom layer will burn. Listen for the pops. Once they are fast and hard , remove from heat and do a little shake. With the pot! Pour into a bowl and let cool.
An inexpensive snack. $1.50 vs $30 a month pretzel habit. If you put in a sealed airtight container, the popcorn will remain fresh for a few days.
Not only am I making all my Christmas gifts for friends and family this year but I'm also making gifts for my kids. Normally I stock up all summer on almost new toys at yard sales but this year hubby and I have decided to pair back on the toys and give gifts that spark more of their imagination instead of the latest superhero guy and all of his plastic glory. So last night I made these 2 masks for the boys. Both are made out of felt in their favorite colors. I see a lot of Dash in my future.
Why do I want to make my own applesauce? Well I hear it taste better than store bought, but aren't most homemade foods? But seriously I'm tired of spending $4 a jar on organic, sugar free applesauce. It's an item that is always on our shopping list. And the amount of glass jar waste makes me sick to my stomach. By making it myself not only are the boys eating fresh, in season apples but we can keep recycling the jars for next years canning.
It's an all day event, I'm not going to lie, but to me it's worth it.
Fill the biggest pot you own with about an inch of water and pour in the chopped apples leaving 3 inches from the top. Cover and boil. Reduce to medium/low and continue to "cook down". Every once in a while lift the lid and give it a stir. Once all the apples are cooked down I use a hand held masher to make sure all the pieces are mashed. Pour into your canning jars and place in a water bath canner for 20 mins in a rolling boil. Next year Mom has promised to teach me the secret family recipe for apple butter. YUMMY!
I give up!
And so on freecycle it went and not sits in another person's yard waiting to be made over and enjoyed. There comes a point when the to-do list is so long that you need to be straight with yourself, will you ever really get that done? Could you hire someone instead? Or just accept things for what they are?
Acceptance and letting go...lessons well learned this time around. I have a feeling I'll be seeing them again on this journey.
It's so nice for me to pick up a magazine and read a recipe and not have to think about flour substitutions. It's a small thing but it makes me happy. If you have allergies or food sensitivities I highly recommend checking out this magazine. And keep in mind a subscription would also make a great gift for the holidays!
Living Without Magazine
When we were moving from Seattle to MD and Jon was already on the east coast and the kids and I were in Seattle trying to sell our home, all of my craft stuff was already shipped but I saved a bunch of odds and ends of yarn to knit a blanket. I called it "the moving blanket". And every night I would work on it and pray that this move was the right move, that we would find what we are looking for, that we would be happy. I felt as though I was stitching those prayers in with the yarn. Logan has now adopted "the moving blanket" and it has permanent residence on his bed.
I'm going to try and make a point to incorporate this type of meditation into all of my crafting work. If you plan on making gifts this year, take a moment to quiet the rush inside of you and honor the person you are making this gift for, release a blessing for them. And in your heart when they open your gift you will know they are receiving more than a scarf/skirt or hat...they are receiving your best intentions for them.
These cookies are fantastic! They remind me of Chips Ahoy. And added bonus is that this recipe will make 3 1/2 dozen cookies and they freeze really well.
To make flour blend combine 2 cups rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch, 1/2 cup tapioca flour and 1 teaspoon xanthan gum. Store in a container with tight fitting lid; stir before using.
2 1/4 cups Gluten Free Flour Blend
1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup firmly packing brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons gluten free vanilla
1 (10 ounce) ounce package (2 cups) gluten free chocolate chips
Heat oven to 375.
Combine flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, salt and xanthan gum in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Combine butter, brown sugar and sugar in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla. Continue mixing until well blended.
Reduce speed to low and slowly add in flour mixture. Once both are well mixed together add chips. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 9-12 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 1-2 minutes before removing them from the baking sheet.
These biscuits are actually better than Bisquick. Seriously!
1 1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup soy flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. xanthan gum
6 T butter
1 cup soy milk
1 T cider vinegar
1 cup water
Preheat oven to 350.
In a large mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients. Then add the wet ingredients. Mix with a mixer on medium until smooth. With a large spoon drop the dough on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes until golden brown.
Heart beating faster.
Oh I forgot to mention there was a substitute teacher today.
The aide that helps another little boy in the class was standing at the door...young guy...could barely make eye contact with me...way too cool for this job. I ask him if Logan is in there and he says nonchalantly, "no Logan got on the bus."
"WHAT?!?! He doesn't ride the bus!"
"He said he rode the purple bus, he went with those kids."
My heart is in my throat. Tears barely holding back. I swoop Zane up and on my hip, and I run. I run like I am running for my life. Because you know what, I am. I dodge kids,jump semi over one. I run past the 2 women doing hall duty, them calling after me. I run out of the school and grab the school counselor with the walkie talkie. Barely able to talk because tears are about to explode and the ugly cry is about to happen, I muster...
"Logan gets picked up. Substitute teacher put him on the purple bus."
The doors of all the buses are closed, the engines humming.
She is quick to get the buses to stop... I jump on the purple bus and there he is... third row from the front looking lost, eyes wide.
Once off the bus I hug him and release some tears of relief. I explain to him that Mommy is not mad at him but I am mad at the substitute teacher for putting him on the bus when his backpack is labeled that he is a pick up.
We head into the school so I can complain because this is not happening again. This could have been really bad. What if I didn't catch the bus? And it's not just because there was a substitute teacher, why didn't the bus driver catch that they had a new kid on the bus that he/she has never seen? And would the driver notice if he got off with another kid?
Who is watching to make sure these kids leave the school and end up in the right hands? Every morning there is a huge fuss about having parents sign in with the office before walking their child into the school. Why isn't as much care taken to the kids leaving the school?
There is no room for error when it comes to the safety of our children. And if I have to I will be a thorn in their side reminding them that they better keep my child safe or they will be held accountable. This was unacceptable.