Monday, November 23, 2009

Tawashi: Me Washy Your Dishes

Well, I just typed this whole post up and Blogger decided to delete it and the pictures I posted along with it. In short, here are these tawashis (scrubbies) I just completed. I found the link to the pattern over at Elsie Marley. To get the most scrubbing power, I used some relatively scratchy acrylic yarn.

Side View.

And here's the wash cloth that I also completed recently. I used cotton yarn for this for absorbency purposes.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Another Lisa Leonard Giveaway!

I love reading Simple Mom blog. They did a series on cloth diapering a while back that I still look up sometimes. Anyway, they're doing another giveaway for Lisa Leonard jewelry gift certificates, so go check them and Lisa's site out!

If I win, I'm getting the Be Still necklace. So simple.

American Girl Clothes and Patterns

I heard through the grapevine that Naomi is getting one of the exquisite and fashionable American Girls for Christmas. Not from us, of course. $95 for a doll is highway robbery, but I do think the dolls and their books, especially, are a well-made and even an educational treat for a little girl who will treat them kindly. Naomi is pretty meticulous with her toys, so I think she'll handle the doll fairly well. When I asked her which doll was her favorite, I let her look at all the choices on the website, and she was dead set on Elizabeth, Felicity's blonde friend in an elegant pink dress. I like Felicity's red hair and purple dress better, but I'm not a little girl whose world is seen through Pepto-Bismol pink glasses. (Personally, Josephina is my favorite.) Naomi also really loves Addy, the other little doll in pink, but Elizabeth was her final answer.

Knowing that Naomi loves to dress her dolls up, I decided that I should probably make some doll clothes to fit the 18" inch American Girl doll, so I set out to find some crochet and sewing patterns that would work (ah, if only I could knit). Let me tell you, there are tons out there, but I needed quick and easy since Christmas is only 39 days away, I think, and I don't get much time to sew with three little lovlies running around and needy.

Here are some links to things I found that I'd like to try to make. First and foremost, the tutu. A tutu is an essential for any little girl and her doll (We signed Naomi up for ballet classes starting in January with Parks and Rec...only $35 for 12 weeks!). Next, a crocheted vest that I'm sure could be embellished in any number of ways. There is a link to a little skirt for the doll at the bottom of the page. And this page with tons of crochet patterns, like a jacket, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, pants, skirt, etc. Not all these will be for Christmas, but birthdays and such. Notice most of the links are for crocheted clothes. It's kind of a pain to get my sewing machine out and then have to clear it off the kitchen table for every meal, so until I get a table and corner of my own, I will crochet more than sew.

Hope you enjoy the links! Feel free to comment with other links you've found!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Bright Sunshine-y Baby

I can't believe my baby is 9 1/2 months old now! Didn't I just bring her home from the hospital like a couple of weeks ago? Wow! She is lively, for sure, and all my time is consumed with the lives of little curly haired blonde girls. Illiana Sunshine (which means Bright Sunshine) captured my heart, and I just had to share some photos of her that I took.

Loving the Little People

Playing with my belt

She's all about the arm-flailing

Sunshine in the Sunshine

How can I get anything done with someone so cute crawling around?

I love watching my girls investigate things

Ok, enough baby boasting! I love her and all my little girls! Here's a closing shot of Mae:

What a ham! And what a mess!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Everyone's Favorite Tex Mex Dish

For some reason, in my family, everyone loves Mexican food...well, it's probably Tex Mex in reality, but I don't know exactly what qualifies each. A few months ago, I had some taco seasoning and a bunch of ground beef, but no taco shells and no corn chips on hand (one of which is necessary for either tacos or taco salad), so I came up with something new that turned out to be one of my and my husband's favorite meals. I don't have an exact recipe, because I tend to use what I have on hand, but here's a general idea of what goes into this dish.

3/4 to 1 lb of ground beef, browned
1/2 of a 15 oz. can of crushed or diced tomatoes w/juice
2 cups frozen or canned corn (drain if using canned; thaw if using frozen)
1 1/2 cups rice, cooked (we like brown rice here; it's healthier)
1 packet taco seasoning
1 cup cooked beans, drained (I really like black beans in this)
LOTS of cheese (hey, we're from Wisconsin; it's a staple here)

(NOTE: We have little kids and somewhat picky adults, so we leave out peppers, onions, and green chilies in ours; feel free to accent your dish with these as you wish.)

Mix everything except the cheese together. Then shred the cheese (use 6-8 ounces). Mix in half the cheese with the rest of the mixture and sprinkle the other half on top when you're ready to bake it. I usually  bake mine at 350 degrees, uncovered) for about 20-25 minutes, or until it's a little bubbly, slightly brown. I usually bake mine in this old, vintage looking pyrex dish that I'm crazy about (It looks to be about 4-6 quarts; I'm not good at estimating, and I'm no chef).

Some variations: Use a whole can of tomatoes for a more "soupy" consistency and use this as filling in a whole wheat tortilla, rolled up. Use no meat and more beans for a vegetarian version. Of course, feel free to add onions, peppers, green chilies, salsa, less cheese (what??). Serve it with corn chips and sour cream.

This is a super easy meal to throw together, especially if you cook up a whole bunch of ground beef ahead of time and keep it frozen in 1/2 to 1 lb. increments. I'm always looking for fast, easy, cheap, kid-friendly meals for my family, especially those using ingredients we can find at Aldi grocery store (that really cheap place where you can find most things, but not everything--no whole wheat tortillas or brown rice here).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

DIY Rainbow Crayons

Today the girls and I finally got around to a fun kid craft that I've been wanting to do with them for a long time. With a love of coloring, the girls go through crayons pretty quickly, with many of them breaking or getting worn down after much use, so we end up with lots of little broken pieces. A week or so ago, I went through their crayon boxes and separated out the little pieces into a bowl for us to make rainbow crayons with.

The girls have been pretty excited to do this project, so today I told them if they would help me peel the crayons that still had paper on them, then we could make them. Since the sun was shining and there was, miraculously, no cold wind blowing, we sat outside on a picnic blanket peeling the crayons and eating cinnamon swirl bread. Afterwards, I let the girls put the crayon pieces into the muffin cups to make their own color combinations. I had to help Mae a little, because she wanted to put giant handfuls in each cup. Although they each got to make 12 crayons (a muffin tray full), I think they could have made better crayons if I'd only let them make six each. The results were a little thinner than I was hoping for, but usable nonetheless.

I think I may have let the crayons "cook" a little too long. My whole kitchen smelled like candles when you blow them out after I took these out.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Feeling Uninspired Taggy Meme Questionnaire Thingy

I haven't been posting much lately, and I have some time right now, but I'm feeling a bit uninspired. So, I saw this questionnaire thingy on luvinthemommyhood and felt inspired to do that at least. So, here goes:

Making : some crocheted wash cloths
Cooking : nothing right now...we've been eating slow cooked pork bbq for the past couple of meals

Drinking : water, a nursing mom's best friend

The Happy Intercessor (AWESOME) by Beni Johnson and Walking on Water by Madeleine L'Engle (also completely awesome)
Wanting: to finish my current work project so I can get paid

at my banjo that I need to practice if I ever want to learn!
Playing: with Naomi and Mae and Illiana with Little People

Wasting: a perfectly sunny day inside

Sewing: want to make some doll clothes for the American Girl I heard Naomi's getting for Christmas

Wishing: that Wisconsin winter was not on it's way

Enjoying: some peaceful music by Aradhna

Waiting: on God to tell us what to do
Liking: that my mom & dad get to come visit us in a couple of weeks

Wondering: what's in store for this next year??

Loving: that my girls played together for over an hour upstairs without any altercations

Hoping: that I make good progress on my writing work tonight
Marvelling: at how much God loves me even when I screw up
Needing: some free time to actually sew

Smelling: leftover lunch smells of pork bbq

Wearing: t-shirt over thermal shirt and corduroys (sounds so grunge)

Following: the Light

Noticing: that I need to improve my posture

Knowing: I am loved

of doing some work now
Bookmarking: some fun refashioning projects
Opening: MS Word to do work now
Giggling: over Illiana's great big belly laugh from her gut while I was swinging Naomi (she doesn't really laugh too often like that)
Feeling: great that I've been getting up a little early to do WiiFit and get a shower before the little ones awaken!

I guess that's about all I've got in me to write today. Guess the theme is GET TO WORK, JESSIE!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What I'm Working On... this awesome wash cloth from the free Lion Brand crochet pattern found here. The stitch is a combination of single and double crochet stitches that make this fascinating pattern.

Close-up Shot of the Bark Sedge Stitch Wash Cloth (halfway done)