Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Deal Alert!

Graco's Turbo Highback Booster Seat is only $34.99 on Amazon right now!  That's a great deal!

AND free shipping/returns if you have Amazon Prime!  I love a great deal, and this is a great booster seat too.  We have been using it for a few years for my oldest daughter and just recently took the back off so she can use it as a backless booster (and she's 7, so we've gotten a lot of use out of it!)

AND it comes in a cute pink color! :)  I love saving on the everyday things, so that way I can spend more on crafts! Ha!!

I'm just finishing up a rainbow candy princess costume for G for Halloween, I can't wait to show it to you!

Check out the Graco deal here!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Easy DIY Knee Patches

Hello all!

Today I am so excited to give you a brand new tutorial:


I don't know about your kids, but my daughter G loves to wear leggings. So much so, that she is constantly ripping holes in hers! That girl can play hard. I was searching around on Pinterest for ideas, but I couldn't find exactly what I wanted...mostly because I couldn't think of exactly how to describe it. This is a problem I have quite often on Pinterest and it mostly leads me to finding a lot of other cool stuff that I wasn't really looking for.  It's kinda like shopping at Target, am I right?  You don't need anything, yet you end up getting a cart full of stuff! 

So, after figuring out the easiest way for me to patch up my daughter's leggings, I thought I would share it with you!  Here's what you'll need:

Items Needed:
Leggings with holes (or just leggings, if you want to jazz them up a bit)
knit fabric to cover the holes 
Sulky Totally Stable (Amazon link, or you can get at JoAnn's)
Iron
Sewing machine
Scissors
Coordinating Thread

Ready? Let's begin!


Let's start with the knit fabric you'll use to cover the holes.  I think it's important to use knit on knit leggings, as they both will allow stretch.  I tried to fix these pants before with a piece of felt, and it did not last one wear.  This particular fabric came from a pair of Wonder Woman PJs that my sister and brother-in-law got me for Christmas one year!  I cut the bottoms off the pants to make them into insta-shorts and used one of the legs to make an awesome grocery bag holder. (You can read about that here.)

If you don't have some cool printed fabric laying around (this is a great project for using up all those scraps!), you can use a cookie cutter or just freehand a cool shape on some knit fabric or an old t-shirt.


Next, you'll want to cut 2 pieces of your Sulky Totally Stable , making them a bit larger than your shape. BTW, this stuff is awesome for keeping your knits in place while sewing them and it's under $2, so it's worth it to pick some up. I've had mine for a long time, and use it mostly when doing monograms and applique. 


Using your iron, iron the first piece of Totally Stable over the hole, following the directions on the package.  Then place the fabric patch on top of the Totally Stable and place the other piece of Totally Stable on the very top and iron it down.  You'll be sandwiching the fabric patch between the two pieces of Totally Stable, and since they are ironed down, you don't have to worry about using any pins! 

I then took a pen and outlined where I wanted my sewing line to be. I basically traced over the black lines of the stars.  If your fabric patch doesn't have distinct lines like mine, you might consider tracing the fabric patch on the Totally Stable before you iron it down, and then match up the lines while ironing. 

Don't worry, the Totally Stable is tear-away, so when we're done sewing, we'll rip it off and it won't show!


Sew!  I sew with a vintage Singer Featherweight machine and it only has a straight stitch, so I went over the star twice to really secure it.  If you are sewing with a machine where the arm can come off, take it off and sew that way, because it's a bit of a pain to have to scrunch up your material the way I have to.  But it's worth it!


Don't forget to trim your threads from the front and back!


Now it's time to tear away the Totally Stable.  I tore the outside first, then gently pulled at the inside of the star to tear off the Totally Stable on the inside of the star.  I did not tear off the Totally Stable on the underside of the hole, since I thought a little extra something would help to prevent future holes.  You can also trim back the hole on the inside so it matches the shape of the fabric patch.

And then......


Here's a close-up! 

So there you have it!  Easy DIY knee patches for your leggings! Let me know if you have questions, or if you try this method and it works for you, please let me know!




You can also follow my blog by signing up for updates and new posts by filling in your email on the right, or by adding me to your blogger dashboard. 

Thanks for stopping by!

~Patricia



Monday, October 13, 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen: We have a bike rider!

She can do it! Yay!

Every now and then we like to get the bikes out and go for a little family walk/bike ride. Last week while I was trying to walk the dog, push C in her tricycle, and encourage M to keep pedaling ("but my legs hurt!")....the pedal comes off of G's bike. Ugh. Seriously? After a big of adjusting, and having my 4 year old walk the dog, we all got back home safe and sound.

But then there was that pesky bike pedal that had to be put back on.  And there I was, grumbling again, because my 7 year old can't ride a bike without training wheels. It's time I thought. It is time.





(Because The Lion King is my favorite Disney movie, ever.) But, I digress.

So I took off the other pedal and both of the training wheels. M comes over and asks, "Oh Mommy, are you making that a balance bike?" Ummm. Yes. How do you know what that is? "I don't know." And she runs away. Ok.

I give the bike to G. She is not impressed. She cannot figure out the concept of a balance bike or why in heavens name someone would ride a bike without pedals. She hates it. She begs me to put back on the pedals, "but I can do it Mommy! I can!"

Proud parenting moment right here: My response was, "No. I don't think you can." Yikes!  But in all fairness, a few months ago, maybe in the spring sometime, (?) I had taken the training wheels off of G's bike and she had tried to ride and did sort of ok, but not great and then fell and wouldn't try again without being super scared and crying. A lot.  You know that line in the bible about wailing and gnashing of teeth? That. A lot.

So forgive me my child, if I don't want to hear you screaming and crying about how you hate your bike and you need training wheels and all that. Sigh. Fine. If you say you can do it, I'll put the pedals back on and let you try again. Even though you probably can't do it and our nice little afternoon playtime will be spoiled.

But guess what?! She did it!  She actually coasted down our driveway, pedaled down the street and mastered riding a bike without any help from me!

She proved me wrong, and I am so very, very proud of her! We've been out every night since after school to keep practicing, and she's doing awesome. I guess there's something to be said for knowing when you're ready. And she did. She even told me that she had been practicing this weekend and had gotten better; she's so proud of herself!




So what was the magic secret that suddenly she can ride a bike? Age? Better balance? Sheer determination? A need to prove mom wrong? Maybe. I think it was this scooter.



This past year we had an older couple move in across the street, and the wife gave this scooter to G. G has loved playing with it and has gotten really good at balancing on it, which probably helped her to be able to balance on a bike.



Either way, I'm thrilled. And my baby's growing up--not so thrilled about that though. :)

You go girl!




And of course, little sister M is proving she can ride a bike too. :)
 ~Patricia




Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Digital Coupons and Apps

Recently I've gotten back into couponing, and I am excited to say that I've been saving a bunch and getting some really good deals, which feels awesome!  The other day I got a bottle of Dove shampoo for $.27 at our local Publix.

$.27!  That's crazy! 

I've also gotten into using digital coupons from our local Publix and 2 apps: Checkout 51 and Snap by Groupon. The digital coupons from Publix are super easy, you just select them ahead of time and then enter your phone number at checkout.  I usually check a few Publix-specific couponing websites to get the best deals every week, and then I either print out the digital offers or email them to myself so that I can use them while shopping.  Check back later this week when I share my favorite couponing websites.  Feel free to sign up on the right for email updates of the latest blog posts.  I mean, you wouldn't want to miss anything, right?!

Checkout 51 and Snap by Groupon are similar apps, in which you check out the offers (new ones posted every Thursday), then upload a receipt and check the offers that are on your receipt. The receipts are processed within 2 days and you can claim a check when you reach $20.  They both have a combination of fresh food, packaged foods and home cleaning products/air fresheners. With Snap, some of the offers you can use more than once, which is pretty awesome!  Also, with Snap, you can also refer friends and earn money when they redeem offers too.  I signed up for both, because I love saving on fresh foods....well actually I love saving money and these apps are just so simple.

Hint: With some of the offers you only have a few days to redeem, so upload your receipt right away. The hardest part for me is holding on to my receipt! If you stop in at the store and grab a couple items, check the apps that night to see if you could qualify for anything.  I realized I could've earned cash back on the lettuce that I bought yesterday, but I could not find my receipt anywhere!  :(  Now I know to just snap a photot of my receipts so that I can upload them at any time!

Interested?

Here are the links so you can check them out too:

Click here to check out Snap by Groupon and sign up!

Click here to check out Checkout 51 and sign-up!

Click here to sign up for a Publix account and get their digital coupons.

Let me know how much you're saving and we can compare notes!!!

~ Patricia

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Recipe: Favorite Blueberry Muffins (A winner!)

Sometimes I get in a baking mood and just want to whip up something delicious.  So then I frantically look through my list of pinned Recipes (check them all out 160 of them here) and try to find something that looks easy, delicious, and that I have all the ingredients for on hand right now. 

Today I was successful!

I found this great blueberry muffin recipe from Life Made Simple, and it turned out awesome!

Check it out!





My 7 year old deemed these "the best thing you've ever made Mommy!"

Here's the recipe: 

Favorite Blueberry Muffins 

Prep time: 5-15 minutes (depending on how organized you are and how many little hands are helping!)
Bake time: 25 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes (Plus time to wash the dishes afterwards too.)

Makes 12 delicious muffins!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 c. All-purpose flour
1/2 c. Cake flour *
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. vegetable or coconut oil (I used co.)
4 tbsp. melted butter
3/4 cup buttermilk*
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 2 lemons
1 1/4 c. blueberries (fresh or frozen; I used one of those small containers you get at the grocery store).

Topping (optional)
3 tbsp coarse sanding sugar

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350. Put liners in 12 standard size muffin cups.
2. Using a stand mixer, lightly beat together oil, butter, vanilla, lemon zest, eggs and buttermilk.
3. In another bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
4. Using low speed, slowly mix dry ingredients with wet until combined.
5. Remove bowl from stand mixer and gently stir in blueberries. Scoop batter into lined muffin cups. Fill 2/3 of the way full. If using topping, sprinkle sanding sugar on each. ( I didn't have any on hand; they were still good!)
6. Place into oven; bake for 24-30 minutes or until golden brown on top.  Remove from oven; let cool in pan for about 10 minutes.  Then place muffins on wire rack until completely cooled. (Not gonna lie, these are really good warm. :)  To reheat, place in microwave for 15 seconds. Careful, it'll be hot.)

Notes:
* You can use 2 cups of all-purpose flour instead of 1 1/2 all-purpose and 1/2 cake flour. (that's what I did.)
* I didn't have buttermilk, so I made some by putting 1 tbsp of vinegar into a 1 cup measuring cup, then filling with regular milk.  After waiting 5 minutes, pour out 3/4 c. for the recipe. 


Recipe source:
In my own words from: Life Made Simple
Her recipe was adapted from:  Back In The Day Bakery, Blueberry Muffins

Enjoy!

~Patricia


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Some much needed inspiration (and 2 minute confidence booster!)

Have you ever listened to a TED talk?  They are these very interesting (at least to me) talks that people/experts give on various topics. My local NPR station switched from broadcasting "World have your say" (which was basically people around the world shouting their views about things, with no resolution--ugh. It gave me a headache.) to the TED radiohour.  Day made.

My favorite one so far is this one by Amy Cuddy:



It also happens to be the second most popular TED talk ever.  It's titled, "Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are." And I love it.  Basically, it states (backed by research) that you can improve your mood and confidence by doing "high-power poses" for 2 minutes.  As a person who really believes in the thoughts-feelings-actions connection (hey, I didn't go to grad school for social work for nothing!), this is genius to me.

Just do a high-power pose, like the "wonder woman," for 2 minutes before a big or stressful event, and it will help you to feel more confident!  I like to practice my wonder woman pose in the car before heading to a meeting or when my kids are being particularly stressful. (So everyday, basically.)

   Go Wonder Woman!

Listen to the talk and let me know what you think!  I just downloaded the audio and listened in the car on the way to get the kids from school.  You can fast-forward in the video until you get to the examples of power poses, but otherwise I didn't feel I needed the visuals.

For more awesome and inspiring TED talks, check them out here.

Here's to feeling more confident!

~Patricia


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ballet and a Easy Square Skirt Tutorial

First, a little throwback....#tbt:

This fall I wanted to find some sort of activity for the girls to be in. When G was 3, we put her in soccer, which really meant that she wore a soccer uniform while picking daisies in the soccer field. Well, probably not daisies, but whatever flower/weed that she could find out in the field. 

Oh, are we supposed to be playing?


Ok, so maybe she didn't pick daisies the whole time. 


Sometimes she'd just hang out with dad. He volunteered to be the assistant coach.
 
Needless to say, I haven't been much into organized anything since then. I wasn't sure if G liked playing or going to the games, and I wasn't sure I liked sitting outside in the heat watching her pick daisies. I mean, we could do that at home, right?  

So this fall I decided it was time to take the plunge and sign the girls up for ballet classes at the local studio.  Both G and M went to the same preschool (not at the same time), and each Friday the preschool has ballet class. (Their teacher is also a ballet teacher.) So they had some experience and seemed to like it, or at least liked wearing the outfits, which is step one, right?  They are also older, and I think some sort of organized something is important, so we'll give ballet a try. And it's indoors. Very important when it's 90 degrees out for most of the year.

We've been going for a few weeks now and so far, they like it! Truthfully, G hated it the first day, but I told her she couldn't quit until she had gone 3 times, and she's come around and likes it now.  My biggest challenge is actually C, who is devastated that she can't do ballet classes with her big sisters. We're talking won't leave the classroom door, crying and carrying on. The last two times I've finally been able to get her to sit in the playroom they provide for siblings and relax. Whew! Success!  I was worried for a little bit that I'd had to cancel lessons if I couldn't get C to calm down and play. 

G and M in the matching skirts I made them, getting ready for class.

I wanted to share with you how I made the knit twirly skirts, since they are so easy!  For a long time, I've been looking at this skirt on Pinterest and wanted to make it. 

It's a variation on a circle skirt, which is just a large circle of fabric with a hole cut inside and an elastic waistband sewn in.  The Square skirt is just a big square with a hole cut inside and an elastic waistband sewn in.  The original is a double layer skirt, but since I wanted to make one for all of the girls, I just did a single layer.
I placed a bowl (that was about 1.5 times the waist measurement in circumference) in the center of the fabric, and then measured out to mark the length. I made the skirts about 10-12" out.

Hole cut! 

I found this cool colored elastic at JoAnn's.
I made G's skirt with a purple band and M's with a pink band--easy way to tell them apart!

Once upon a time I thought about dyeing elastic and I even pinned this tutorial from dana-made-it.com.
Check it out if you're interested!

After sewing the elastic together, pinning it in and sewing it all together:
Finished! They loved how the skirts twirl!

Side note: since I used a fun knit print, I didn't have to hem anything (bonus!); I just gave the raw edges a little pull and then they start to roll, which makes them super cute too.


One of these days I'll get to my stash of knit t-shirts and make up some cute skirts, these are seriously so easy! Have fun and stay tuned for more tomorrow!

~Patricia