Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Festive, Easy, Fourth of July Skirts

Tonight I finished 3 skirts in 3 hours! (Less if you count that break for checking Facebook). I used an awesome tutorial for a simple skirt from Dana Made It, and it couldn't have been easier! I'll walk you through some basic steps, but head over to her site for the low-down on how to make an easy skirt in less than an hour!


My girls and I switched up our playroom yesterday, and moved my sewing stuff into the room, and moved about half of their toys out (and into a friend's garage sale---yes!). Since 4th of July is next week, I thought it would be the perfect time to try out my new space and finally put this fabric to use (it's probably from last year, not gonna lie). 

So festive! 


I'm pretty sure I bought this as a remnant, and I had just enough for 2 skirts for the big girls!

And (so proud of myself for this), I actually ironed and
added little touches like the top-stitching on the top of the elastic casing.

Double stitching on the hem (you can see where I started using up a bobbin of white thread here!).

After I finished those 2 skirts, I found this starry fabric quarter and decided to make a little skirt for my little daughter. She's 2 and I cut the fabric quarter the long way, so that I'd have a little extra length for her. 


After cutting 2 equal pieces with a pinking shears, sew together to form a large tube and press out your seams. (and I used my iron this time around too!)


I then ironed the bottom hem up a little bit.


I then used some leftover bias tape for the bottom hem.


To make the upper casing for the elastic, I first ironed down the top a small amount (like I did with the bottom already), then ironed down enough to cover my elastic. I ironed down about an inch because I used 3/4" non-roll elastic for this project. For the 2 skirts up top, I used 1" elastic.  Don't forget to leave a space in your casing so that you can pull the elastic through! 



Sewing the bottom of the casing.
 

Sewing the top of the casing.
Finally, I used a safety pin to pull the elastic through the casing.  I left it open for now, since I will measure the skirts on my daughters tomorrow, and then finish the skirts by sewing the elastic together and sewing the casings shut. Easy, peasy! 


And, it always helps to have a hot mug of tea to keep you company on late nights!  This is my new favorite mug, that I found while cleaning my house. It was a gift from a good friend, and the verse always reminds me of her! 

One of these days I'll have to do a post about my latest (and I think last) organizational method, the Konmari Method. I have gotten rid of so much junk that was just cluttering up my house; it's been amazing! 



Thanks for reading! Follow along to see the big reveal tomorrow and for other fun crafts and ideas! You can enter your email (look in the right sidebar on desktop) or "like" me (and a few posts) on Facebook

~Patricia

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Peru!! Restaurant Reviews and a whole lotta ocean!


Today I wanted to share with you photos and restaurant reviews from our recent trip to Lima, Peru!

My husband and I, his mom, a single friend and another couple all went together. We had the BEST time! I definitely would go back, and if you ever get the chance to go to Lima--take it! We literally ate our way through Lima (it probably took me a week to recover from all the food), and it was delicious.

We arrived Thursday night (really late), and after checking into Hotel Estelar and having Pisco Sours (because that's what you drink in Lima, obviously!), we all retired to our rooms, ready to check out the city in the morning.

Friday: The hotel breakfast was great, as was the view! Also, don't get too close to the window; there are no screens. Anywhere. And no bugs actually, which made the lack of screens ok. 

That's right friends: no screens on the 21st floor.

For Friday's lunch we went to a cute little neighborhood place called Mama Olla after we explored the Miraflores neighborhood a bit. We walked from our hotel all the way down to view the ocean at an upscale shopping mall. I bought a cute set of fake pearl earrings, because I felt naked as I had left all of my real jewelry at home (you can never be too careful while traveling, but I felt really safe in Miraflores).  After all that walking, Mama Olla was great. The food was yummy and the server, Angel, was super sweet and helpful.  Sure he tried to sway us to order the most expensive items on the menu, but with the exchange rate, even those weren't that pricey. 



Friday night we went to the amazing restaurant Astrid y Gaston. For a 30 course tasting menu. Which changes every 6 months, including the paint colors and decor. It was amazing. Seriously. There were only a few items that I didn't like, and I really didn't feel like it was too much food either. It does take a really long time to eat that many courses, but it's an awesome, once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

One of the amazing, crazy dishes at Astrid y Gaston. It's actually orange cake with a sugar candy that looks like a cracked egg! 
The kitchen, where the magic happens.
Above the kitchen: We are free, and may we always be.

Saturday, we walked off some of that food from the night before at the Indian Market. The weather was perfect the entire time we were there, 70 degrees and pleasant. The word is that it doesn't rain much at all in Lima. We bought a couple of touristy souvenirs at the Indian Market, like an alpaca blanket, Peruvian nativity set, bracelets and bags for the girls, and of course, some paintings. I also took my photo in front of a fake Machu Picchu, because hey, faking it is a lot easier than hiking it. Lol



Saturday afternoon we booked a cooking class with a local guide, which turned out to the be most memorable part of our vacation. The guide, Paula, was so friendly! 

We first went to the local spice market, where she showed us some of the local fruits and where the locals shop for food.  If they sold cherimoya here in the US, I would buy it everyday. It's better than ice cream. Seriously. So. Good. 

After that we rode the bus back to her house.  The bus was super crowded (and surprisingly not stinky at all!). At one point I wasn't even holding on. I was so squished that I just let the crowd of people hold me up while riding along. And I have to admit, I was giggling to myself the whole time. It's pretty funny to be the foreigner on a Peruvian bus, something about the absurdity of being squished into a bunch of strangers on a fast-moving bus made me laugh. 

At Paula's house, we met her mother, an inviting women that was so sweet, even though she didn't speak English. She taught us to make causa (a cold potato appetizer) and ceviche. They were both so good! Paula showed us the secret to making a great Pisco Sour: the order in which you add the ingredients is important and don't let your ice cubes melt.  This is the site where we booked the tour, if you ever get to Lima and want to do it. 

Causa y Ceviche

Sunday a few of us went exploring and walked all the way from our hotel to the beach. The beach in Lima is basically a bit of dirt and a whole lot of rocks.  It's super beautiful, as you can see:

I could have spent hours just staring at the ocean, but there really isn't any place to sit, except on the rocks.
We walked down a huge hill cliff to get there:
Lima is up on a cliff, overlooking the ocean. We walked down the entire cliff on a path, it actually wasn't that bad.
We also passed a surfing competition (which inspired me to want to try surfing-more on that later), so we ended up walking the beach and then getting some snacks at La Rosa Nautica. It's on a cute boardwalk, with a few shops, and has a great view of the ocean.  The shops, oddly enough, were pricing everything in US dollars (apparently it's a tourist destination), but the food was good and the view was better. The waves are just so pretty! 

Me, after lunch at La Rosa Nautica.
And the walk back up. Easier after a few pisco sours.
That night we had dinner at Huaca Pucllana, a name we could never quite pronounce, but somehow everyone knew what we were saying. We tried a bunch of different foods, and it was all really good!  I was really stuffed from the late afternoon snacks, so I didn't really enjoy it, but I sampled a few things here and there and liked it.  We sat outside on their patio, next to the ruins, which date from 200 AD to 700 AD.  We got to view them a little that night, but the tours were already closed. We actually tried to come back on Tuesday to visit, but that's the one day that they are closed. (Can't say we didn't try to sneak in a little history on our foodie trip, lol.)


Want to see more of our fabulous trip?  Stay tuned! I'm going to save the rest of the restaurant reviews (Central, Rafael and Cala) for another post, coming soon!  And sorry if everything is sounding so yummy, it was!!

~Patricia

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Gymnastics and a Winning Crock Pot recipe!

Today was an interesting day! It was the girl's second class of gymnastics and of course, little C was running again. Last week she was so excited that she just couldn't contain herself and kept running, and running, and running...all around the gym!  Thankfully, her teacher was really understanding that it was her first time at any sort of class like this. They "pinkie-promised" last week that she'd be a good listener this week.

Well, guess what? This week her teacher was on vacation. So little C went off with another teacher and stayed in the class for maybe 10 minutes before she started running again.  This time the new teacher just handed her to me, saying "Maybe you'd like to try the Mommy and Me class instead?" Ugh.

I mean, of course, I would like to try it, except that it's summer, and I have 2 older girls who have been so, so, so excited to try gymnastics and this particular time worked for all 3 of them to have a class at the same time. Which means that if I can get my 2 year old to stay in her class, then I get to have 45 minutes of uninterrupted me time, even if that means I get to read a book at the gymnastics gym...I'll take it.  Little C and I had a heart to heart after she was  asked to leave  kicked out of class; she was so upset that she couldn't go back. I'm hoping it'll help for next week! Fingers crossed!

After gymnastics, the girls and I headed to the craft store to pick up some yarn.  Exciting news!  I got an order to make a set of dryer balls!  So exciting!! We also picked out a few American Girl-type dresses that were on clearance, and the girls were super excited to play with them when we got home.

I also tried a new crockpot recipe tonight, which actually turned out pretty good!!  Maybe the girls were just hungry from all that jumping and tumbling, but they all asked for seconds. That's a win in my book!  Check out the recipe below if you're interested in making it; I was pretty stoked that I had all the ingredients already in the house.

Slow Cooker Curried Chicken with Ginger and Yogurt
from Real Simple 

Ingredients:
1/3
cup
tomato paste
4
cloves
garlic, chopped
2
tablespoons
curry powder
1
tablesppon
grated fresh ginger
1
teaspoon
ground cumin
1
medium onion, chopped
3/4 cup water
2
pounds
boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 10)
kosher salt and black pepper
1 1/2
cups
long-grain white rice
1/2
cup
plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
2
scallions, thinly sliced

Directions

  1. In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, whisk together the tomato paste, garlic, curry powder, ginger, cumin, and ¾ cup water. Add the onion and stir to combine. Place the chicken on top and season with 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  2. Cover and cook until the chicken is tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours (this will shorten total cooking time).
  3. Twenty minutes before serving, cook the rice according to the package directions.
  4. Just before serving, add the yogurt and ½ teaspoon salt to the chicken and stir to combine. Serve with the rice and sprinkle with the scallions.


I cooked mine on high for 4 hours and the meat was easy to divide up for the girls and myself to eat. Yum!  Even my husband had some, so I'll 

I'm hoping to get back to blogging more regularly now that school is out. I've started the Konmari method in hopes of getting my house and craft supplies in order too.  I've got a bunch of dishes and clothes and toys and your basic household space fillers that I'm ready to part with.  If you want to join me, pick up the book on Amazon and let's purge and then fill our lives with joy together! 

~Patricia 

Friday, April 10, 2015

DIY Designer Frame

Do you love a quick easy project?

I do! I do! 

While browsing on Twitter, I found this awesome tutorial for a DIY Kate Spade-inspired frame that cost her less than $2! 

And I happened to have the exact same frame at home! (but it cost me $2--wha??)

So last night I got to making one of my own, and I can tell you that it is as easy as it looks. :)


For the full tutorial, check out the original post here: modpodgerocksblog.com  The original contributor writes over at Crafts by Courtney.  It's a pretty cool blog, check it out! 



Then run out to JoAnn's or Michael's and get yourself some supplies to make this cool frame.  You just need a frame, some polka dot scrapbook paper, a little wooden word or figure, extra fine glitter, some craft paint and modge podge to glue it all together--easy, right?

 I'm going to put it up in my freshly painted bathroom, can't wait to show you all that when it's finally ready! 

And now that I have some new gold glitter, I'm going to have to make something--stay tuned!

~Patricia

PS--If you're not following me on Twitter yet, you're missing out!  Click here to follow me!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter Wrap-Up

So this past Sunday was Easter!  It's one of my favorite holidays, mostly because it's all about spring, new life, pretty dresses and spending time with family. 

And of course, Jesus.  Growing up, my favorite church service was the Easter Vigil mass.  Watching the entire church lit up with candles as a child was just magical.  When I was older, I sang in the choir and even participated as a lector. Let's just say that when I was growing up, going to mass was a big, big part of my life.  

Now, I would like to share that love with my girls, but it's hard for me to do.  I keep finding excuses to not participate fully, and I feel like the kids still can't sit still long enough for me to get something out of the mass.  Easter Sunday mass this past week was so, so crammed with people, I couldn't enjoy it.  We were squished.

And out Lent Challenge to not watch tv was a success at first (you can read about it here), then a few weeks in my husband suggested a family movie night.  Which we did.  And then that lead to some tv watching. Which lead to a lot of tv watching, which lead to less tv watching, which lead to playing video games. Ironically, I never wanted a video game system because I didn't want a bunch of video games junkies, sitting around playing video games all day.  Now, I actually like it, provided we are all playing together and it's not just one of kids sitting by herself playing alone.  At least the mind is engaged and it's way better than listening to those snotty girls on the kids movies these days.  (Does that comment make me sound old?) (Side note: someone asked me to write them a letter of recommendation the other day.....it really hit me that I am an adult--yikes!)

Anyways, we did participate in the church's Easter egg hunt after mass, after we stood and waited in the hot sun (and the chocolate candies in the eggs all melted).  We then went to a friend's house and did another egg hunt, had brunch, and let the kids play the afternoon away while the grownups chatted.  It was really nice! Except for the 2 potty accidents.  I could have gone without those.  Every time one of the kids pees her pants, I think of that country song--"You're gonna miss this"---and I think.....No. No, I will not miss this.

I will miss painting and doing crafts with the kids.  Here are some photos of Easter eggs we painted the day before Easter.  We did "partner painting" because M was getting super tired and would start to cry every time her painting wasn't perfect. So I made up "partner painting," which basically just meant that every time she got frustrated, I'd switch paintings with her.  

Problem solved.

The bottom is the first one we did, then I got smart and added lines with a permanent marker--much easier!

Painting an egg....eating an egg.



You might think that I printed the eggs off of some fancy website I found on Pinterest, but no, I just free-handed some eggs and gave the kids some watercolors and away we went. 

Easy and fun. My kind of craft. :)

Hope your Easter was just as relaxing as ours!

~Patricia


The Egg Gallery

Monday, April 6, 2015

Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe

Tuesday is Taco Night!!  Whoop! Whoop!

Sorry, I get a little excited about Tuesday Taco Night, only because I know what we're having and can plan for it.  I don't know how many times I've tried to meal plan, I just can't figure out a good plan that works for our family.  

But I can always count on Tuesday Taco Night. Or Thursday Taco Night--just keeping it real y'all.

So in honor of taco night, I wanted to share with you the awesome homemade taco seasoning recipe we use. It was so easy, the kids put it together, and I threw it in a glass container to store for later.  This is so easy, I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner. 

G even labeled the taco "sesing" for us:
Cute, huh?

Here's the recipe:

Homemade Taco Seasoning
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons of Chili
  • 1 Tablespoon of Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic salt (or garlic powder)
  • 2 teaspoons of pepper
  • 2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of Paprika
  • ¼ of cayenne or red pepper flakes (you can double this if you want an extra kick)
Instructions
  1. Mix all the seasonings in a small bowl. Transfer to a jar and reserve.
  2. When you need taco seasoning, use 2 Tablespoons for a for a pound of meat (or just use 2 Tablespoons for any soup).
We actually didn't have the garlic salt or powder, but it tasted just fine with all the other ingredients.

We made nachos for Taco Night last week:


Let's call it a win!
~Patricia

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A quote a day

Today.

Today is my oldest daughter's 8th birthday. Wow. I still can't believe it!  Everyone tells you the time goes fast, but you don't realize that it actually does....until it actually does.  It goes so fast. 

My 8 year old.  She's spunky, fun, energetic, quick and marches to her own beat. I love that about her!  But sometimes, I get the feeling that she doesn't love those things about herself. 

So I decided to give her a little boost by giving her a frame (I'm going to let her decorate it) that I'll fill with a new quote every few days.  I got most of the ideas for the quotes off of my Pinterest "Inspiration" board.  I love using the Internet to inspire!  There's too much garbage out there anyways these days.

Here's the lowdown!
Start with a cheap, wooden, customizable frame. I got this one at JoAnn's in the clearance section for $2.



Grab some fun papers and cut them to size.  My frame holds a 4 x 6 inch photo, but it has rounded corners, so I just made the papers a little bit smaller, so I wouldn't have to round all the corners. (hey, it works!)


I was proud that I used materials for this that I had around the house, and even got out my Creative Memories personal trimmer from my scrapbooking supplies.  I haven't used this thing in ages! Is Creative Memories even around anymore?!


Search and find just the right quotes and write them on the papers.  Nothing fancy! 

 

Gosh, I love a good quote! 


And voila! That's it!  Easy peezy!
Once we get the frame painted, I'll share that too.

I am going to start with this quote:
Your voice is my favorite sound.
Your name is my favorite word.
Your hugs are my favorite feeling.
Your smile is my favorite sight.
I love you. You are amazing! 



What's your favorite quote? I'd love to hear, please share in the comments! 

Thanks for reading! 
~Patricia