Good-bye Summer! *sniff, sniff*

 

We had a wonderful summer.

I’m so sad to send the kids to school today!  I am going to miss hanging out with them so much!  I think I only sewed twice this summer.  Yikes!  But I’m okay with that because we had a lot of other summer fun.

I always feel like summer goes by so fast & I don’t make a real effort to make awesome summer memories with my kids. When school starts I  usually regret not trying harder.  But this year has been different.  We  made an effort to have fun together daily, not just on our vacations. At the beginning of summer we made a list of things we wanted to be sure to do.  We didn’t get to them all  but we did A LOT more this summer than we usually do.

Here’s some of what we did:

  •  found a park with awesome bike trails
  • went camping in the Boundary Waters
  • summer reading program at the library
  • spent time at the pool & beach
  • had water fights
  • ran through the sprinkler
  • camped in our backyard
  • played kickball
  • went to the movies & ate so much popcorn we almost puked
  • made homemade play-dough
  • discovered shapes in the clouds
  • went tubing
  • played lots of Legos
  • made s’mores
  • had a picnic
  • played Monopoly, Uno, Crazy 8’s, Yahtzee, & Battleship
  • spent time up north with cousins
  • read like crazy
  • looked for shooting stars
  • camped on the north shore
  • fought the waves of Lake Superior
  • went hiking
  • saw the lift bridge in action
  • got LOTS of exercise at karate.

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Today my kids go off to 1st & 5th grades!  I can’t even imagine how they can be that old already!  This will be a challenging year for me, because this is the first time in 10 years that I don’t really have a reason to be home during the day.  My kids will be off, doing their own thing, not really needing me.  I mean, yes, they need me & always will, but I’m serving no purpose all day long while they are at school.  I’m hoping I get on a great schedule & get lots accomplished.  I should have time, for the first time in a long time, to get all my not so fun tasks done, along with my fun things too!  I’m looking forward to it, but hoping I don’t end up feeling like a waste of space…  🙂 I have some thoughts in my head about what else I could do, but for now, I’m not making any big decisions.

So, farewell Summer!  You’ve treated us well, I look forward to you visiting us again!

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Zig-zag Quilt

What a weight lifted off my shoulders!!

I finally finished my youngest son’s zig-zag quilt!  Yay!  I started his quilt in 2010, I believe.  I got the top & back all finished, then moved on to his brother’s quilt.  I got that top & back finished & then set them aside, not having time to finish them up (you know, with surgery & recovery & all that).  I hate when that happens!  Well, now all my unfinished projects are yelling at me, begging for some attention.  I can’t move on until I finish up some of these lonely, forgotten projects.

So, I have finished one & it feels good.  I wanted to do more quilting in the white spaces, but just didn’t have the time or patience.  I just wanted it to be DONE.  Someday I will have more patience & confidence to do some fancier quilting.  I would love to maybe take a class on quilting so I feel like I know what the heck I am doing.

zig zag front(Never mind the crooked pictures, it was FREEZING out!!)

  • Fabric: Kona White, Orange, Cyan, Chocolate & a green I can’t remember the name of, various batik fabrics from Joann’s
  • Pattern: I am pretty sure I used this tutorial from Purl Bee as a guideline.
  • Quilting: Echo quilted along the outside of the zig-zags.
  • Size: Twin (61″x89″)

zig zag back

My favorite thing about this quilt is that T thinks the friendship stars on the back are “ninja-stars”.  Hilarious! 

The Perils of Bargain Shopping

I know you were all so looking forward to my WIP Wednesday post yesterday ;), but I have to apologize, I was just too busy.  Hopefully I can get it together for next week!

Yesterday, I started the morning by driving to the airport so my Momma could fly away to more sunshine.  Then, I decided since I was down that way, I should stop at a few stores I always want to go to.  (Plus, I was BY MYSELF!! No kids pulling at me, begging for Legos!!)

I found…

1 shower curtain liner

2 pairs of workout pants (1 will be returned due to their ugliness)

3 various baskets to organize with

1 box of cute cards

(at TJ Maxx)

&

2 sweatshirts for lounging around the house

3 pairs of jeans for W (1 lined, his favorite)

1 pair of overalls for T (for a school dress-up day)

1 wool pea-coat for me ($9!!!)

(at Goodwill)

Bargain shopping

I got all of this for around $100…  I felt like bargain shopper of the year!  I felt bad spending the money at first, but I found some amazing deals & would have spent many times more than that if I had bought these things for regular prices.

After my shopping excursion, I got home just in time to welcome my 2 crazy boys home from school.  We did a little homework, I started dinner… & that’s when my bargain shopping started biting me in the a $$.

You see, the other day I found some boneless chicken breasts in a twin pack (the package said 3-4 breasts per package), for a really good price.  I am not sure I had ever seen them that cheap.  So, of course, I bought some.  I threw one in the freezer & one in the fridge, all along thinking, “Enough chicken for 2 meals, Wow, what a good deal!”  So, I pulled the package out to make dinner, planning to just bake them in the oven.

(Did I ever tell you I HATE cooking?  I mean I can’t stand it.  I like doing it for a crowd for some reason, you know, the “special” meals like Thanksgiving & Christmas, but the day-to-day dinner cooking sucks.  I hate planning meals, I hate cooking meals, by the time I’m done cooking, I hate eating the meal, &  I hate cleaning up after meals.  Plus, I am the ONLY one in my family who cooks or does dishes,  so I rarely get a break from food.  (Yes, my husband can make pizza or anything frozen, but that’s about it.)  I am picky, my son W is picky, my husband claims to not be picky, but is, a little.  The only one in my family who will eat ANYTHING is T.  I just feel like my time is wasted in the kitchen.  So we eat a lot of really boring, easy things like spaghetti, tacos, & baked chicken.)

Well, it turns out that they weren’t so much boneless, as they were bone-IN, & there weren’t 3-4 breasts per package, but 2 breasts per package.  (If you were paying attention, you will remember that this was a twin pack, so I have 1 more package just like this waiting in my freezer.  If only I had thawed both at the same time!! )  So I was standing there staring at 2 tiny, bony chicken breasts, wondering how in the heck I was going to bake them up & feed my hungry family. 

Defeat.

Then my brilliant, life-saving husband comes in & saves the day.  He said, “Why don’t you just cut them up, fry them in a pan & make noodles?”  I mean, it sounded disgusting, & I really didn’t want to touch those poor, bony, breasts long enough to cut them up, but what could I do?  So I found a Lipton Parmesan noodle package in the cupboard (I don’t normally make these, I’m sure I bought them because they were a real deal one day), made that, fried up the chicken pieces, & everyone got a very small portion of chicken & noodles.  I thought it was pretty gross, W said the chicken tasted awesome (quite the compliment, since he usually GAGS whenever he has to eat meat), my husband ate without complaints (although he looked like he wanted to complain, a little), & T said it was… the best meal we ever had!  Weird.  Oh well, I guess next time I buy chicken I will read the package a little better, & investigate why something might be so cheap.  Maybe a little better planning would be a good idea too.  Hopefully my other “bargains” don’t turn out so poorly!

What are some of your favorite places to find a deal?  Wanna share your favorite quick & easy meals with me?

Super Bowl Sunday

We aren’t a family of sports fans, but we are trying to expose our boys to different sports.  You know, so they at least understand the rules…So once in a while we watch some sort of game & I fumble through explaining what’s going on, then my husband takes over & explains it the right way. 

So tonight we have tried to make the Super Bowl cool by serving treats & dimming the lights. 

I’m not sure they like football.

My 9 year-old is mostly interested in the food & the commercials.  He said “It’s just a bunch of guys knocking each other down for no good reason.  Plus I can’t even see the ball!

My 6 year-old said, “Mom, why do they call it the Super Bowl when they aren’t even bowling?”.  He doesn’t want to miss anything though & keeps asking to pause it so he can get more snacks…he is very interested in the flags & the on-screen scoreboard.

I am spending the time doling out snacks & hand stitching the binding on T’s quilt.  My husband is doing something over on the computer.

Yeah, not great sport lovers at my house. 

On a different note…this morning I read through my journal from my Caring Bridge site from when I had my heart surgery.  It brought tears to my eyes.  There was a lot of joy & heartache in those posts.  I am so thankful for all the love & support we received during that time. Most of all, I am so incredibly proud of the way my husband stepped up & took care of me.  (Thanks hun, I love you so much!) 

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(I couldn’t leave this post picture-less!)
T lost his 2 bottom teeth this week! 

WIP Wednesday 2.1.2012

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday again!  You know what that means, yup, garbage day.

(Did I ever tell you how I love garbage day?  My garbage man is so nice, he always smiles, honks & waves like he loves his job, he also picks up anything that might blow out of the can so I don’t have garbage all over my street.  Love him.)

Oh, yeah it’s also grocery day!

(My kids drank all the milk this morning…  grrr.  Momma is cranky without her cereal.  Can you believe I had to eat a bagel?  Too.  Much. Chewing.)

But most importantly it’s WIP Wednesday!  So here is a rundown of my crafty week.

(Did I tell you that I started a crafty journal?  Yeah, it’s really lame.  I just write the date & any crafty thing I worked on that day.  Otherwise I forget & think I get NOTHING done.  So, I have things like “sewed a button on T’s shirt” written in there.  BORING!!  It does help when I write these posts though!! 🙂 )

Finished:

Random – I took one day to organize my desk & do a whole bunch of random things…

  1. Sewed a button back on to T’s favorite dressy shirt.
  2. Hot glued a magnet back together.  (It’s been sitting in my drawer waiting for some glue for about 2 years…)
  3. Made a covered button magnet with an N on it.
  4. Made some mustaches on sticks.Mustache

I can’t tell you how good it feels to get some of those tiny projects done!  Why didn’t I just get them done earlier?!

3 drawstring bagsDrawstring bags – I made more of these bags!  (These are the last ones for a while…  I’m sure you’re sick of seeing them.)  I used Jeni’s tutorial again.  These are for my oldest son, W, & my BFF’s kids.  The bags are getting much love & plenty of use.  🙂

In Progress:

Orange trianglesOrange Triangles – I spent one evening making triangles into squares.  Yes, I’m magical.  I have a thought on how to lay these out for a quilt but might need to do some figuring first.

zig zag bastedT’s Zig-Zag Quilt – I basted & quilted this twin sized quilt for my youngest son.  Wow!  That was like wrestling an octopus, but it’s done now!  Yay! I also made the binding but still have to sew it on.

No Progress:

Senja’s Quilt

Cut-Loose Quilt

Machine cover

Summer Sampler

Swoon-along

Christmas Quilt

Completed Tops Awaiting Quilting:

Sliced Coins

W’s Brick Quilt

To Do:

January quilt for do. Good Stitches

February blocks for do. Good Stitches

Quilt for my bed

Shower curtain

Pin cushion for me

 Head over to Lee’s Blog, Freshly Pieced, to see what everyone else is working on!

WIP Wednesday 1.18.2012

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday again!  Time to look at all the work done (or not done) this week!

Finished:

drawstring bagDSi bag for T – More here.

diaper bagL’s Diaper bag with bibs, diapers, & wipes – My niece, L, loved her gift!  Her sister asked for a bag too!

In Progress:

swoon block

Swoon-along- I finished my first block!  Wow!  It’s a biggie!  (24″)  I am IN LOVE with my choice of background!  My husband asked me what I was making it for…  ummm…. me?  He thought maybe it was to sell.  Hahahahaha!!!!  No way, Jose.  This is mine!  I am  100% considering making this for my bed.  Even though the colors are all wrong for my bedroom plans.  Maybe the guest bed?  But then I’d never see it…  hmmm….  maybe just my original plan of a couch quilt.  This baby would look GORGEOUS in my family room & living room.

No Progress:

Senja’s Quilt

Cut-Loose Quilt

Orange Triangles

Machine cover

Summer Sampler

Christmas Quilt

Completed Tops Awaiting Quilting:

Sliced Coins

Boys x 2

To Do:

January star blocks for do. Good Stitches

Quilt for my bed

Shower curtain

Pin cushion for me

 Head over to Lee’s Blog, Freshly Pieced, to see what everyone else is working on!

Trip to Iowa

This past weekend we took a (long) drive to Iowa, where my husband’s sister & our 2 nieces live.  We hadn’t been there for about 2 years.

2 YEARS??  How did that happen?

(Oh yeah… I had heart surgery 16 months ago & I felt like crap for a couple of years before that… I guess that would be part of the reason we haven’t made the trip in 2 years.) Anyway, we took our first long drive (6 hours) in our Jeep!  It went very well.  Everyone was comfy & there was enough room in the back for our boatloads of junk.  It was so nice to be able to have everything in the back but still be able to reach it, without stopping, if we needed something (like snack or pillows so the kids could sleep). My feet had enough room around them, even with my purse, a knitting bag, & 2 water bottles in that space!! (Can you believe that I didn’t even touch my knitting???!!!  WHAT??!!)

On our way down I saw a bunch of barns with quilt blocks on them.  So, on our way home I looked it up & this is what I found out.  So I kept my eyes peeled for barns with quilt blocks.  It made the trip home a LOT more interesting!

iowa barn quiltMy husband only stopped for one picture of the barn quilts… so the other pictures were seriously taken with my arm out the window as we sped by.  Maybe next time we can take more time to document them!

iowa barn quilt

iowa barn quiltThey were so cool to find!

iowaWould you even guess this is in IOWA!???  Due to the wonders of GPS, a few years ago, we found a route that is actually interesting!  We used to hop on the Interstate & just drive through corn fields for most of the 6 1/2 hour drive… YAWN!  It was especially boring in the winter.  Double yawn.  We tried this route because it saved us 40 minutes (Yay!!).  Little did we know, we would find a really pretty drive!  We stick along the Eastern edge of Iowa & take some smaller highways, with lots of twists & turns.  The elevation changes enough, in a few different places, to make your ears pop!

iowa field Closer to the Minnesota border, it gets flat again.  The sun was going down & you could see forever.  Seeing snow was refreshing, since we STILL don’t have snow!!

sunsetGood-night Sun!!

So now for some cute kid pictures…  🙂

minnie cakeGrandpa made L a Minnie cake!  Lucky girl!

black lipsWowza!!  Those are some black lips!!

WigThe kids found a Hannah Montana wig to play with!  So funny!!  W made L a necklace out of pop-beads & she let him put the wig on her!  It was so cute!  When we were leaving A & L were hanging all over W.  They really didn’t want him to go.   A even gave him a kiss on the cheek!

doll bibOne of L’s babies wearing one of the bibs I made.

playingL loved her diaper bag!  We played & played & played babies!  I LOVED every second!

dollHappy 3rd birthday sweet girl!!

DSi Bag

drawstring bagMy 6 year-old got a DSi for Christmas.  Ever since, he’s been begging me to make him a bag to carry it all in.  We picked the fabric out a while ago & of course it sat there, staring at me.  On Friday, once I had the Jeep all packed up for our trip to Iowa, I took a couple of hours to put his new DSi bag together.  I used Jeni’s lined drawstring bag tutorial again.  I added some fusible fleece to the lining for some extra padding (because I know he won’t always be careful with it) & also made some pockets that fit a few DS games.

dsi bagHe also keeps a few other goodies in there too.

dsi bagI hope he will get off my back now!!

Doll Accessories

My niece turned 3 & she’s really into baby dolls.  So I made her some doll accessories.

doll bibsDoll bib tutorial here.  Mine turned out a bit small.  If I make more of these I will make them a bit larger.  My printer maybe scaled things down or something….  I also used 3 different closures for her little fingers to practice, Velcro, snap, & tie.

doll diapers and wipesDiaper tutorial here.  Wipes here.  I used knit fabric for the wipes, they are super soft!  I’m sure her dolls will appreciate that.

child's messenger bagFor the diaper bag, I used the Child’s Messenger Bag pattern from the book, One Yard Wonders.  I love how it turned out, but the velcro on the bag ended up about 2 inches too low.  So I had to remove it and fix it.

bag insideThis bag may be a little big for her yet, but I think it’s a bag she will be able to get some use out of, for a while.  I really love the green inside!

child messenger bagThis is my 6 year-old with the bag.  Looks like a good size for him!

bottomI love how the bottom is boxed!  Does anyone know what this is called?  I LOVE it!  I want to try it on a zipper pouch.

diaper bagI can’t wait to see her open this!  I hope she loves it!

WIP Wednesday 1.11.2012

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wow… this week went fast.  My 6 year-old has been sick since Sunday, so I suppose that’s where most of that time has gone.  I have found only small bits here & there to sew.  I am hoping this week holds more quality time for Betty & me.  (I have decided my sewing machine’s name is Betty.  She works hard, she’s a sweaty Betty.)  So, here is this week’s list…

Finished:

ring of stars

December do. Good Stitches blocks- Last week I had one done, I finished the second one & got them sent off this week!

In Progress:

Christmas Quilt- 12 blocks finished this week! 16 blocks left!

new deskNew desk-  Excuse the mess!  I went to some shops in my small town & found this desk for a reasonable price.  I am so happy to have my laptop off my cutting table!  I haven’t gotten it all organized yet because the drawers smell yucky & I don’t want to put anything in them until I get rid of the smell.  Any ideas??  I have wiped them out & have baking soda sitting in them right now.

doll bibs, diapers, and diaper bagDoll accessories for L’s Birthday-  My niece turned 3 this week!  I have decided to make her some doll accessories.  I am making a diaper bag from the Child’s Messenger Bag pattern from One Yard Wonders, bibs from this tutorial, & diapers from this tutorial.  I really hope she loves & uses the things I am making for her! 

swoon fabric options

swoon fabricFabrics for Swoon-along-  I joined a quilt along.  I didn’t mean to, I just HAD to!  It’s the Swoon-along .  I mean, how could I resist? I had the idea to use Heath (the black cross hatched fabric) for the background.  Now I can’t give it up.  I LOVE the idea!  I just haven’t figured out what else to use… (I chose the bottom pile in the dark one night while we were watching a movie…  I think I might love it!)

No Progress:

Senja’s Quilt

Cut-Loose Quilt

Orange Triangles

Machine cover

Summer Sampler

Completed Tops Awaiting Quilting:

Sliced Coins

Boys x 2

To Do:

December ring of stars block

January star blocks

Quilt for my bed

Shower curtain

Pin cushion for me

 Head over to Lee’s Blog, Freshly Pieced, to see what everyone else is working on!