Archive | September, 2012

Don’t Forget To Thank the Neighbor…

18 Sep


My two boys both have their own extremely wonderful qualities, but they seem to be polar opposites of each other. Sam (who is two years old) is naturally caring and compassionate. He is always telling me “you’re the great mommy in the world” and lavishing me with his sweet “I love you”. These attributes don’t appear to be instinctive with my four year old, Ben.

We do all of the obvious things to try and instill kindness and thankfulness in him. We say please and thank you for every little thing. We help friends when they are in need. The children have a kindness jar; whenever I catch them doing something nice I place a pom pom inside of it. When the jar is full we get to do something fun, like go to their favourite park or swimming at the pool. We go to Church where the children are taught wonderful lessons in Sunday school. We bake cookies and take them to new families in the neighborhood. We make meals for people who are going through struggles or have just had new babies. My husband and I actively volunteer with charities like Ronald McDonald house, and participate in walks for cancer, and we tell our children why we are doing these things. We hope that emulating the qualities that we want so badly for Ben will strike a chord somewhere inside of him.

You can’t expect someone to change overnight, most of the time I am still disappointed. But last week, well last week he surprised me. Ben and Sam are probably like most other boys their age. All Summer long they played hard and rough outside. Since their coordination and aim isn’t yet fully developed, a lot of their hard and rough playing resulted in balls and frisbees landing in our neighbor’s back yard. Our neighbor was a good sport about it, always throwing their toys back over the fence. Summer has ended now and the boys are not playing outside as much. Last week Ben said to me, “Hey mom, shouldn’t we thank the neighbor?” I wasn’t quite sure which neighbor we should be thanking, or what we should be thanking them for. Ben went on to explain, “Our neighbor gave our balls back to us all summer; we should thank him.”

Well of course I jumped on this opportunity immediately. We decided that we would bake him some fresh buttermilk cinnamon rolls (love these, by the way you can find the recipe here). We gathered all of the ingredients and bought some of those round disposable tinfoil type containers, you know the ones that look like Chinese takeout tins. Unfortunately with my personality I cannot just do anything halfway. I decided to make a fun printable label to go on top of the container after it was sealed.

Our neighbor is a single man, probably in his early to mid fifties. I immediately thought of the show Home Improvement from the early 90’s. You know the one with Tim Allen? If you remember, he had this neighbor named Wilson. Wilson was always peeking over the fence, offering sage wisdom, but you never saw his complete face. To be clear, our neighbor is not always peeking over the fence, and he rarely talks to us. The only parallel is the fact that he is a single man of approximately the same age. Regardless, my weird sense of humour kicked in, and I couldn’t resist copying and pasting in a picture of “Wilson” on my label. My husband thought it was creepy.

The children and I gathered up our little gift and trekked over to the neighbor’s house. He lives behind us so to get to his front door is actually a decent little walk. As we knocked on the door I looked down at Ben. He was smiling and giggling and I just knew that he was thinking, “This was all my idea, and the neighbor is going to love it!” And just for that smile and giggle, it was so worth the effort! Our neighbor did love it, he was actually very friendly. Hopefully next Summer he will be just as gracious with our children and their outdoor fun, I am sure the cinnamon buns will help with that (they are really delicious cinnamon buns!)

Thanks for reading!

~Lisa K


Ben’s Superhero Birthday Part 3 – Super Activities…and a Hulk Smash cake

14 Sep

All of my best schemes seem to come to me while lying awake in the middle of the night.  This was especially true of the whopper of an idea that I came up with a few weeks before Ben’s birthday party.  Here is the back story.  A friend of ours had recently married a man that she had been dating long distance for quite some time.  He lives in California, she lives in British Columbia.  We don’t really know him as we moved away from B.C a year and a half ago.  So, back to my idea.  A few days before my midnight epiphany, our friend had posted a picture of her new spouse on Facebook.  He was dressed in this amazing movie quality Batman costume.  Immediately I commented, “wow, too bad we didn’t live closer, I would love to have him at Ben’s birthday!”  And our friend responded that he actually does go to parties dressed as Batman.

Now fast forward to 2:00am when the light (in my brain) flashed on.  What if our friend’s husband could dress up as Batman and record some short video messages for Ben and the guests at his party?  Since it was supposed to be a superhero training party, he could tell them that they were all selected to be trainees and kind of introduce the activities.  How could I possibly ask someone to go out of their way to do this for us?

The next day I sent a message to his wife and I did ask.  My friend’s husband not only readily agreed to film the videos, he actually seemed excited to do it!  He filmed three short video clips and sent them to me.  As I watched his handiwork, I was completely blown away!  He had gone above and beyond anything I could have dreamed up at 2:00am.  Well, I will show you and you can tell me what you think.

Here is a link to the first video:  Batman Video 1  This video welcomed everyone to the party and explained that they had been selected to participate in superhero training.

After the children watched this video, they were broken up into smaller groups.  We had four training exercises.  One was an obstacle course through our playcentre.  They had to climb up our little climbing wall, crawl through the play house, go down a twirly slide, then do a “superman swing” on their bellies on each of our swings.  The next “training” activity was accuracy shot.  It was basically just a corn hole game.  Then they were on to the “Leap a tall building in a single bound” – which was just bouncing in our bouncy castle.  I didn’t want to make the games too involved or difficult (these are four year old children we are talking about!)  The last training game was animal rescue.  I had filled our little blow up swimming pool with little balls and various small toy animals.  For each child I told them which animal they needed to rescue and then they had to dive in and find their animal and “rescue” it.

When all of the activities were complete, we went back inside to watch the second video.  This video congratulates the children on completing their training, and sends them on one last mission.  Here is the link to watch it: Batman Video 2

While they were watching this video, my husband spread 50 plus balloon swords all over the backyard.  He and I had made them the night before while drinking some wine.  Lots of fun.  The kids then went outside and had a gigantic balloon sword fight, they had so much fun with this!!  I onlywish we had made more swords.

The last video we played for the children while we were getting the cake ready. My son loves superheroes but I always try to reinforce that being a superhero is about using your strength to help others, not just fighting, so I wanted Batman to let all of the kids know this as well.  Here is the last movie clip: Batman Video 3

The children loved these movie clips.  I did tape them watching them, however I can’t seem to find where I saved them on my computer, hopefully I will find them soon and I can post them here.  This is going to conclude my series of Ben’s birthday party.  I was going to do a fourth post about the cake and decorations, but quite frankly I am tired of writing about this party!!  So I am just going to post some pictures of the Hulk cake that I made.  Thanks for reading!!

~Lisa K

Hulk cake:

First I made the Incredible Hulk figure out of rice krispie treats.

Next I covered the figure in marshmallow fondant

Raaah Hulk Smash! I used candy lego bricks to make it look as though the Hulk was smashing a brick wall.

The cake was red velvet and vanilla swirled together

Sweet Cupcake Ruffled Apron ~ Tutorial and Giveaway

13 Sep

I love making costumes for dress up and play time! You can be so creative and add all kinds of fun details that you wouldn’t normally do with regular clothing.

The design for this mini apron was originally one that I made to compliment a dress for my daughter’s first birthday. I also made one to go along with a Little Red Riding costume. I think it would be really sweet on it’s own for dramatic kitchen and cooking play, or maybe for a tea party. I am going to show you how to make one for your sweet mini chef.

I would rate this a beginner’s sewing project, it’s fairly basic and easy. Here are the supplies you will need:
For the apron-
1/2 meter of heavier cotton for the apron and the tie

1 strip of contrasting fabric for the ruffle (2 inches wide and the length will depend on the size of your apron, but approximately 30 inches)


For the applique-

Scraps of fabric

Various notions (like ric rac, buttons, beads, etc…)

Fabri-Tac or other fabric glue

Wonder under or Heat n bond



First of all you need to decide how big you want your apron to be. My apron was designed to go on a dress that I had made for my daughter. I laid out the dress and grabbed a piece of paper from the computer. I put the piece of paper on top of it, roughly where I wanted the apron to sit. Then I folded the piece of paper in half and drew a curved line like this:

You will want to make the pattern about 1/2 inch wider than you want the finished apron to be, to allow for a seam.
Also in regards to the size, you need to keep in mind that the ruffle will add an inch around the outside as well.

Cut along your curved line and then unfold the paper to make sure you are happy with the shape. Pin to your main apron fabric and cut two of these; one front and one back piece.

Next you are going to cut a strip of material in the contrasting fabric for your ruffle. The strip will be two inches wide. To figure out the length, take your measuring tape and measure around the sides and bottom of the fabric piece that you cut for your apron. You will want the ruffle strip to be approximately twice this length. My ruffle was 44 inches long.

The last piece of fabric you need to cut is for the apron tie. Cut this in the same material that you used for the front and back of your apron. I used a nice white heavier Kona cotton. The strip will be 4 inches wide. It is up to you how long you want this strip to be. It needs to be long enough to go around your child’s waist and tie in a bow at the back. Mine was 45 inches long. To give you an idea, this was long enough to tie and make a pretty bow around my 11 month old’s waist, and it was still big enough to tie a little bow around my 4 year old’s waist.

Now you should have four pieces of fabric: the front and back piece for the apron,

the ruffle strip, and the strip for the apron tie. Does it look like this? Yes? Good!

Now let’s work on the applique!

The design I chose for my applique was a simple cupcake design that I drew myself. When you are designing your own applique, remember to make the lines fairly simple. If you don’t want to design your own, here is a website with some great patterns:

First of all I drew my design in pencil on a piece of paper. When I was happy with the look, I went over the lines in black marker. Next I cut out the design. You have to cut along each line that you draw because you will be using separate pieces of fabric for each piece of the applique. Pin the pattern to your scrap fabric and cut out your design. You will also need to cut pieces of wonder under or heat n bond in the shape of your design as well. Does that make sense? Here are some pictures to help:Draw your design in black markerCut out your design along each drawn line Pin your design to your fabric and the heat n bond. Cut out the pieces for your applique.

Next you are going to take all of the pieces for your applique to the ironing board. Place the fabric, right side up, on top of the heat n bond. Make sure the heat n bond is bumpy side up (there should be a bunch of little bumps on one side of it) Take your iron and press down on top of the design. The fabric should now be stuck to the heat n bond. Now take one of the pieces of fabric for your apron. Peel off the back of the heat n bond and place your design on the apron where you want it to go. Play around with it a bit and make sure you like the placement; once you iron it on you won’t be able to move it again. Be careful that your design isn’t too close to the edge of your apron (you will be sewing 1/2 inch in from the edge). When you are happy with the spot you have chosen, press the iron on top of your design to adhere it to the fabric.

Now we are going to sew around the edge of the design with a tight little zig-zag stitch to prevent any fraying. Play around with the settings on your sewing machine and some scrap fabric to see what you like. For the base of the cupcake I am going to stitch around with my stitch length at .3 and my stitch width at 1.5. For the top of the
cupcake I am going to use a wider stitch, to make it look kind of like fluffy icing (for this I left the stitch length at .3 but turned the width to 3.0). If you have an open-toed presser foot, this is a great project to use it on. It will help you see the corners and turns much easier. Not sure which presser foot I mean? It looks like this: Okay so if you have been following along you should now have a piece of fabric with a cupcake on it. Let’s add some glitz and fun to it. For my apron I cut a piece of red ric rac and used my fabri tac glue to stick it on to the base of the cupcake. Then I took a red flowery button and sewed it to the top of the cupcake, maybe to look like a cherry or a candy on top. Get as creative as you want. You could get some long beads and sew them to the top of the cupcake for sprinkles, decorate it any way you like! Here is my finished cupcake:

The applique part is done, let’s get this apron put together. Take your ruffle strip, fold it in half right sides facing out, and press with your iron. Now you need to sew a gathering stitch. There are a few ways to do this, I like to crank up the tension on my sewing machine and put my stitch length to 4. Sew your gathering stitch down the side with the raw edges. Once you have done this, you need to make sure that the ruffle is now about the same length as the outer curved edge of your apron. If it still needs to be a bit smaller, pull the thread to gather it a bit more. You also want to make sure that your ruffle isn’t super gathered in one area and not as much in other areas, it will look funny. Sandwich your ruffle in between your front and back apron pieces. Arrange it so that your apron pieces are right sides together, and that the raw edge of your ruffle strip is facing the edge of the apron.

It should look like this:

Next you need to sew around the curved edge (do not sew the top straight edge!) of the apron. Sew a 1/2 inch seam, make sure you don’t sew too close to the edge of the apron or you may not catch all of the pieces of fabric. When you are done sewing, clip the threads to make it all neat. Now turn it right side out. At this point you should check that the ruffle is all sewn in properly and that none of the raw edges are poking out. If they are, turn it back to inside out and sew another line just on the inside of the line that you already sewed, to catch the ruffle that you missed. It is very important to check it at this stage, because after the next step you will not be able to fix it.

We are on the home stretch! Take the long strip for your apron tie. Fold the short ends in about a 1/4 inch and iron down. Now fold the strip in half lengthwise and iron. Then open it up and fold each side in half to the middle and iron down, fold the strip back in half and iron again. You should be left with a long strip about one inch wide. If you have ever made your own bias tape, this is basically the same thing. Here are some pictures, hopefully these instructions are clear!

Fold your apron tie in half to find the middle; mark it with a straight pin. Then find the middle of your apron using the same method. Open the apron tie and insert the top of the apron into it, making sure the middle of each are lined up. Sandwich the top of your apron into the tie, and put in a few pins to keep it in place. Now you are going to sew a top stitch to close up all of the open ends on your apron tie.

Start at one of the short ends. Then sew all the way down the apron tie, over top of the apron, securing the top of the apron inside the tie. Continue on to the other end and, hey, you’re done. Here is a little diagram to show you where to sew.

I hope your little chef enjoys her play apron. Here are a couple of other ones that I made.

This one was made for my daughter’s first birthday. I used the same cupcake design but added a one to my applique. You can use different computer programs to find a font that you like. Print your creation and use it as a template.

I made this apron for a “Little Red Riding Hood” costume. You may notice that the letters haven’t been sewn down. The difference is that I used a heavy duty Heat n bond instead of the regular one. I didn’t want the detail of the font to be lost in the sewing. The heavier heat n bond should prevent any fraying.

And now for the giveaway!!

Hopefully my tutorial was easy enough to follow, but just in case you don’t have time to make your own, I would like to give away the cupcake apron that I made. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this blog before SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 16th AT 9:00PM MOUNTAIN STANDARD TIME.{Giveaway now closed}Thank you for stopping by!

~Lisa. K

Here is my little girl having tea time with her apron

Ben’s Superhero Birthday Part 2 – The Comic Book (how I crafted this work of…art?)

10 Sep

ImageAhh the comic book.  This was meant to be a simple craft for a party favor.  It turned into 20 plus hours of intensive crafting and labor.  The finished product – so awesome!  But yes, it took a long time to make.

First of all, I created a story line.  My story was about Superman and Batman saving the “Superbabies.”  The story was pretty basic, but the intended audience was a bunch of four year old kiddies, so it worked well (when you use words like “goober-head”, they eat it up!).  I used a program called GIMP.  You can download it for free here:  I was used to using paint, so it took quite a bit of playing around before I got the hang of using it.  Actually the last several pages of my comic book looked much better than the first few since I got better at using the program as I went along.

To make the pages:  Once I had my story line, I gathered a bunch of background images from the internet.  Google images helps greatly with this task, just put in whatever you are looking for such as “office,” or “sewer”.  I created a folder just for Ben’s party and saved the images in there.  I also rummaged up other images with search words like “comic background” and “superhero comic words”.  I cut and paste and manipulated the images to arrange them onto each comic page.  Next I gathered images of word bubbles and I added in all of the text.


Okay, so now that all of the pages are finished, they need some characters.  My son, Ben, already had a Batman costume that worked.  My other son, Sam, had a Superman costume.  I needed some Superbaby costumes…oh dear, here comes a great excuse for a sewing project!!  I wanted to make the girls some totally over-the-top superhero costumes.  I rationed that they could use them again, maybe for Hallowe’en or playing dress up with their brothers. First came the pettiskirts.   These things are so time consuming!!  I chose some pink and blue tulle to make them, but I made each skirt a little different. One skirt had a blue layer on the bottom, and the second layer was pink. The other skirt was reversed.  You will see the difference in my pictures at the end.  I used a great tutorial for the pettiskirts, which you can find here:  I have to say that having my kitchen covered in tulle makes me a pretty happy girl!


My kitchen covered in tulle

I then designed a dress to go over top of the pettiskirts.  I used my go-to basic bodice that I use for a lot of my dress projects.  If you don’t know how to do draft your own bodice pattern, take a t-shirt with a good fit (not too tight!).  Fold the t-shirt, and tuck the sleeve inside the armhole. Trace around the t-shirt about 1/2 inch from the edge for a seam allowance. For more on making your own bodice pattern visit this link:  I also cut a piece of fabric into the shape of a cape, and folded over the raw edge to hem them.  Then I made some appliques for the front of the dress and the cape.  I wanted to do the superman symbol, but with my daughter Anna’s initial (A) and her friend Calleigh’s initial (C) instead of the S in the centre.  To make this applique, I found a superman symbol online and printed it.  I put the printed symbol under another piece of paper and traced the outline of the symbol, but left out the letter.  I then drew their initials into the design instead.  I cut the design out and there was my template for my applique.

Here is Calleigh’s applique already applied to the dress:

Another idea I had for these costumes was to sew the cape into the shoulders of the dress.  Having two boys, I have a lot of experience with capes!  The ones that attach to the shoulders of costumes with velcro always come off easily.  The other kind that attach around the neck never seem comfortable.  When I cut out the cape, I left a little scoop, or half circle, at the top.  I made sure that it would be big enough that the girls head’s could still get through.  When I sewed the front and the back of the bodice together at the shoulders, I also sewed the cape in with it.  It worked!  A costume with the cape permanently attached.

I wanted to add a skirt to the dress that had a little peek-a-boo in the front, as I was also making a little tulle pettiskirt to go underneath.  I cut a rectangular piece of fabric, a few times wider than the bodice.  I folded it, right sides facing out.  Then I cut the ends on an angle slanting backwards.  When I sewed it all together it gave a nice little peek at the pettiskirt underneath.

Here is my little Anna in her finished costume:

What a sweet little doll!

The other costume I made for this project was a felt hat and bow tie for “The Penguin”  The bow tie was easy.  I followed this pattern here,  I englarged the pattern to get it to the size that I wanted, and I also left off the back “ribbon” piece to make it look more like a bow tie.  I then sewed it to a piece of elastic.  The Penguin hat was  a little more difficult, plus I probably made it a little too tall.  Materials used were: purple and black felt, cardboard (two kinds, regular cardboard from a box and lighter cardboard from a wrapping paper roll), glue gun, and elastic.  I cut the cardboard from the wrapping paper roll to the length that I wanted it to be.  I then put it around my son’s head as a guide for how wide it should be.  You want it to be just a tiny bit bigger than the circumference of the head.  I used my glue gun and glued it back into a circular tube.  Then I cut out a circle of cardboard that would fit just inside the top of the hat.  I covered both the circular tube and the circle for the top with felt, using my hot glue.  Then I glued the circular piece on the top of the tube.  Next I cut two of the same size oval pieces out of the regular cardboard for the brim of the hat.  To get the size I wanted, I just sat the circular tube (or the top piece of the hat) on top of the cardboard and traced around a few inches out.  Then I placed the top of the hat onto one of the pieces of oval cardboard.  I traced around the base to get a circular shape.  Then I cut out the circle (so now it kind of looks like a donut)  I placed this piece on top of the second oval piece.  I traced the circle, but when I cut the second piece, I cut the circle 1/2 an inch smaller.  These two pieces will be glued together, and cutting it smaller will leave a bit of a lip so that the top of the hat can be glued on.  At this stage, it’s very important to make sure that the oval piece of cardboard with the slightly smaller hole will still fit on the head.  Okay, so then I glued the two oval pieces of cardboard together.  I cut two pieces of purple felt to match the ovals and glued them on.  Then I glued a strip of purple fabric around the edge so that no cardboard showed through.  Then I put some hot glue on the lip on the inside of the oval and stuck the top of the hat on.  I glued a black strip of fabric around the base of the hat.  If the hat does end up being a little small, you can glue a piece of elastic on the inside to go under the chin.  Mine wasn’t too small; rather it was too tall and wobbly!

My friend’s son, Joshua, as “The Penguin”

The Photo Shoot

This next part was a lot of fun!  My friend came over with her two beautiful children, Calleigh and Josh.  My friend is kind of crazy like me.  If she didn’t work 80 plus hours a week outside the home, I’m sure she would be doing all kinds of projects too.  Lucky for me she loves photography and agreed to take some pictures of the kids for the comic book.  Calleigh and Anna were “The Superbabies”, Josh was “The Penguin”.  My son Ben was Batman, and my other son, Sam, was Superman.  To make sure I got the shots that I wanted, I went through each saved page of my comic book and wrote down what I needed for each one (for example, Batman and Superman walking, facing right…).  I was a little worried about cooperation, but all of the kids did really well! Here are some pictures from the shoot:

Phew, almost done (or not!).  The last part of the project was to get all of these great images into the comic book.  I opened up my comic book pages and used the free select tool to cut out each image and then paste them into the comic.  Of course I had to play around with the sizes and make sure they lined up with the word bubbles, and edit as needed.  I then had to print out 20 copies of each page! (This takes a lot of ink, I may have had a certain someone do this at work instead of using my own ink)  You could also print out one copy and then take it to a copy store for the rest.  Okay, so now I am sure you are dying to see the finished project.  Here it is, all ten pages!

Thanks for reading!  If you liked this idea, you may also want to read about the rest of this Superhero Party:

Superhero InvitationBen’s Superhero Party Part 1: The Invitation


blog4Ben’s Superhero Party Part 3: Super Activities and a Hulk Smash Cake


Ben’s Superhero Birthday Part 1 – The Invitation

5 Sep

When your husband tells you that every child from your son or daughter’s class needs to be invited to their birthday party so that no one feels left out, you need to stop him right there.  Inviting 20 plus children to any party is just sheer madness.  It’s even worse for the crafty DIY mommies who feel the need to make everything themselves, so much work and effort is put into every little detail.

So yes, this is what happened for my son, Ben’s, fourth birthday party.  Only I didn’t tell my husband he was crazy.  I invited those 20 plus children.  And although it went pretty well, I am saying now that this will never happen again!

Ben chose Superhero as his birthday theme again this year.  We decided to make it a Superhero training party and give them a few “training” exercises to wear them out.  I will get to those in a later post, but for now I wanted to share his invitation with you because I thought it was cute and clever.  I saw this idea on Pinterest a few months ago and wanted to try it out.  I took Ben outside in front of our house and we spent about twenty minutes drawing buildings, a sun, and clouds with sidewalk chalk on our driveway.  Next I had Ben lye down on our driveway and I drew a billowy red cape behind him.  I then had him put his hands out like he was Superman flying through the sky.  I am not a great photographer, it took a few tries to get him in the right position and make it look like he was flying.  Ben was a great sport, and I think the photo turned out well!  Next I edited the photo on Picasa and added some text.  Voila, invitation finished.  I chose to e-mail out his invitations but you could also have the picture printed and send it out.

Part 2- The Comic Book is coming tomorrow.  It’s quite spectacular, you won’t want to miss it!


Preparing for Winter: Blankets, Freezer Meals, Organization

5 Sep

Last week it was Summer, but only a few short days ago the weather did a complete 180. Fall is now in full swing. I spent the Labour day long weekend (as I’m sure many of you did!) preparing for the weather to come. What is it about the change in weather that throws us into preparation and organization mode? Is it some sort of instinct that is built within us, or just a practical conscious choice that we make? I am reminded of Aesop’s Fable: the Grasshopper and the Ant. The moral of the story outlining the importance of hard work and planning ahead.

What do you do to prepare for the coming Winter? Here is my weekend of preparation in review, wow I am tired just reading it.

  • Blankets

A few months ago I bought some fleece that was on sale at the fabric store. Three different prints, one meter of each, to make three blankets; one for each of my children. I let the boys pick their own. Ben picked a superhero one and Sam picked Handy Manny. Anna got Tinkerbell. Then I purchased three meters of soft lambskin fleece for the back of the blankets. Like a lot of my fabric purchases it took up space in my drawer for “one day” when I had time to make them. This past weekend my “one day” came. The blankets were very simple and easy to make. I would say that each blanket took approximately 45 minutes to an hour to sew. First I pinned the front of the blanket and the back of the blanket right sides together. At this point I made sure that the lines were cut straight and that the two pieces of fabric were the same size. Second I sewed around all four sides of the blanket, leaving open a space about 3-4 inches long. Next I turned the blanket right side out and top stitched all the way around the edge of the blanket, about 1 inch from the edge. When I got to the open spot, I just folded the edges neatly inside to make it look like the rest of the blanket. I then top stitched over that spot, and the blanket was done!

Ugh. So difficult to accomplish anything with three children and a dog.

  • Freezer Meals

Another project that I took on this weekend was stocking my freezer with meals. The preparation takes some time but it’s so worth it. Dinner time is probably my most stressful time of day. I have three children age 4 and under. Trying to cook dinner while they are hanging on my legs can be so draining. When I have meals already prepared in the freezer, it is like being on vacation. I pull one of those meals out of the freezer and just put it in the oven. Dinner cooks (practically) by itself while I have time to play with my children. Also there are basically no dishes left afterwards, bonus! Minus the time it took to shop for the ingredients, it took about 2 hours to assemble all of my meals. I had found a website with a few recipes that looked really good. You can find that link here: I chose to make three of the recipes that were posted on this blog; Quesadilla Casserole, Layered Enchilada Casserole, and Wild Rice and Chicken. I doubled each recipe and it yielded 10 freezer meals in total. These recipes were really easy. The Wild Rice and Chicken took only a few minutes to assemble, there was no cooking involved. Just dump all of the ingredients together and freeze, super simple! We tested it out last night for dinner, and it was really yummy, I will definitely be adding it to my dinner rotation. The Quesadilla Casserole and the Layered Enchilada Casserole took a bit longer to put together, but it still wasn’t overly time consuming. The great thing about these recipes is that they use a lot of canned goods, so there isn’t a lot of chopping involved. We have not yet tried these two recipes but our kitchen smelled like Mexican heaven while they were cooking.

My haul of ingredients.

  • Home Organization

The organization part of my weekend entailed a few different things. First of all we cleared out the majority of the Summer clothes from closets and drawers (I got a little misty realizing that Summer really was ending) and we stored them in boxes. Second we took inventory of the warmer clothes that still fit. Ben did not have a lot, actually he didn’t have anything. I guess he really grew over the Summer. Sam had a ton of clothes, as he always does. He is lucky enough to get hand-me-downs from his brother and cousin. Anna did not have anything either considering she was just a little baby last Winter. I sent my husband and Ben to Wal-Mart to pick out a few essential clothing items for Ben and Anna, such as long sleeve shirts and some comfy sweat pants. I will go shopping and pick out a couple of nicer items at a later time. My husband and I then tackled the coat closet and shoes. We put away all of the Sandals and got out the boots. We tried on Winter coats, toques, and gloves. We got rid of anything that did not have a match or was just plain worn out. Whew. Okay. The last part of my home organization project was to update my home organization binder. With (pre) school and tons of recreational activities starting soon my binder is such an important key to running our home. Do you have a binder to organize your home? It’s a great idea and works well if you keep it up. I used to keep a planner with all of my family’s activities and important appointments. As my family grew and children got a little older and involved in more things, a planner was no longer big enough to hold all of the information that I needed to keep track of. You can find a bunch of organization printables at this wonderful website:

That was my long weekend. Unfortunately it was not long enough because there are still many things I would like to accomplish before Winter rolls around. Thanks for reading!

The Natural Evolution of the S.A.H.M (Stay at home mom)

4 Sep

headshotHere I am! Just another stay at home mom starting a blog about sewing, crafting, and her children.  Nothing original, in fact I have a theory that all stay at home moms get to this stage eventually.

The first year staying at home is all about the baby.  Gooing over your sweet little one all day long, getting in lots of snuggles, maybe getting the odd basket of laundry complete.  You dabble on Facebook, post lots of cutesy pictures of baby, but really you are too consumed with baby to fully get into it.

Then it happens.  You approach the one year mark of unemployment. The decision to either go back to your job because maternity leave is ending, or quit and stay home full time is not an easy one to make.  If you choose the latter, the next step of the progression is a little frightening!  Ending your work career and really starting your mom career pits you into a psychological battle.  Letting yourself be dependent on your husband’s income is pretty difficult.  Chances are you have been working and earning an income, contributing to the household budget since leaving school.  Hopefully your husband is gracious and doesn’t tease about giving you performance reviews.

So now you are at home taking care of dear little one all day long.  You are doing well budgeting on one income, but you still stress about not contributing to the household money and having to rely on your husband to make ends meet. Changing diapers and kissing boo-boos doesn’t seem so important in the grand scheme of things.  You start to wonder what you are contributing to society.   Thoughts of entertaining and raising your child slowly turn into, “how can I make money and still be a stay at home mom?”  Several business ideas flow through your head.  Eventually you think, “hey, I was a great writer in high school…maybe I should start a blog!”

Several failed blog attempts later, you have not made a penny (if we are counting this is my third attempt at starting a blog!)  For Christmas your husband gives you an i-phone, you spend the first 48 hours glued to it.  No playing with precious toddler, no laundry gets done.  You peel yourself away from the i-phone long enough to go to a playdate.  While at said playdate, you talk about your new i-phone and someone mentions how much they love Pinterest.  Upon returning home you immediately grab your i-phone and download the Pinterest app to see what all the fuss is about.  IT rocks your stay at home mommy world and unleashes a whole new world of possibilities…

Now two years of unemployment has gone by.  Through Pinterest you have discovered wonderful step-by-step DIY tutorials on every subject imaginable.  You now own a sewing machine, drawers full of crafting items and fabric and unfinished projects that “one day” you will finish.  You have discovered ETSY, you have started your own ETSY shop.  You try to get your laundry done, maybe once a week. Birthday party planning has turned into elaborate works of art that take weeks of careful consideration.  You can no longer bake simple cakes or cookies with regular icing, they are full on masterpieces, works of art. If hubby comes home and the house is messy he understands that “raising children is very busy work”  You have a  new business idea every week and yet, you are so far in debt from the crafting, sewing, cooking, photography and baking projects that you will NEVER earn a penny!

Of course I say all of this with a smile – and yes I am (somewhat!) kidding.  Every mom has days when they look at the clock and realize that the only thing they have accomplished all day long is playing lego with their son (was this really what I was put on earth to do?).  This is okay, this IS your job.  This is my job, and when it comes down to it, I love being a stay at home mom!

I hope you enjoy this blog!

~Lisa K

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