Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Another Patriotic Craft....

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 I have been wanting something like these for a while but had forgotten about them. So glad to have found them on Poppies at Play.
Easy, Peasy!
Another craft where I have the supplies!
Who's gonna join me?
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Flag Decor....

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I am SOO making this this week. 
Anyone wanna join me? 
I have left over bead board from Keegan's room.
Easy and yet what a statement!!
Love It!
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Celebrating 15 years!!

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15 years ago today I married my sweetheart in the Idaho Falls, Idaho LDS Temple. It seems like just yesterday and yet like it's been forever. We've had plenty of ups matched by plenty of downs.
We moved a few times, living in 3 different cities and 2 states.
We've traveled cross the country by car, plane and a van loaded with boys.
We've shared heartache.
We've laughed til we cried.
No one knows me better.
No one loves me more.
Our family has grown to include 4 little boys (who are growing too fast)
Life changes but yet I remain ever so in love.
After 15 years we are still beating the odds.
We are part of the 47% of families with a mom and dad!
For time and eternity, I love you!
Happy Anniversary Babe!
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My Garden...

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The before....
just a bunch of weeds, no flowers, no vegis....
There are a couple of flowers here...hidden in the weeds...
And some raspberries with a soon to be planted grapevine....minus some weeds....
Now the after....
We have a rather small garden so I opted to used some of my flower bed. I want to fill it with perennials rather than annuals but they will have to come little by little so in the meantime the flower bed will be filled with vegis....
Like sunflowers, pumpkins, canteloup, and watermelons....
bell peppers, jalapenos....
and tomatoes for salsa in the fall. I plan to trellis the cucumbers up the trellis by the stairs
In our garden space we have peas, carrots, beets, beans, and lettuce...
Now if I can keep little boys and a dog out of the garden...then if the sun will shine through the rain hopefully we will have wonderful sprouts poking through.
Ohh, and I did get the grapevine planted too. I noticed this weekend I have some blossoms on my strawberry plants and my raspberry plants are thriving! I can't wait to enjoy fresh berries!
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Monday, May 30, 2011

What a difference blinds make...

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When we moved in I just put up curtains. I wasn't sure what I wanted for living room window. It faces west. We have a beautiful view but in the summer I had the curtains closed most of the day to keep the hot sun out. I don't care for vertical blinds but our window is 97 inches wide!
I finally figured what I wanted. Through the winter I just enjoyed bathing in the afternoon sun. With summer trying to come I thought I'd better get my plan in gear...
The before...
I wish I could have gotten a better picture. My next camera will have the option to leave the flash on for backlighting like this...
Thankfully my darling hubby is getting very good at putting up window treatments. That is one think I just don't like to do. He just smiles and says "ok babe" when I finally decide what I want put up.
Blinds are basic but so functional. I opted to go with one large blind and two smaller ones to match the sides of the window that open. Simple but I love them.

Without a back yard last year leaving the curtains closed didn't matter....
but this year....
...we have a beautiful backyard to enjoy. Not to mention simply enjoying the daylight.
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Sunday, May 29, 2011

This weeks menu 5/29

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A couple of months ago I chose to cut my hours back at work. They didn't have a "part time" position but rather a "as needed" slot. At the time they were always needing more help and numbers were increasing. I could get all the hours I wanted and needed....fast forward a couple of months and I am worried they have over compensated by hiring too many people. Time will tell but for the next month I am incredibly stressed about if I will get any hours let alone the part time hours I need. It is so nerve racking!!! Needless to say, I will be scrimping everything down that I can. I am thankful we are used to eating from the pantry but that does mean we already have that tightened down. We will see how much better I can do especially with summer upon us and little boys home who seem to have hollow legs!
Clam Chowder (yes, it's STILL raining)
Meatloaf (we had spaghetti instead last week)
Green Salad
Soup and Sandwiches
(it's suppose to be rainy again)
Rice and bean burritos
BBQ (keeping our fingers crossed for sunshine!)
Last week I did manage to stock up on some of our summer treats. The freezer is full of  popsicles and ice cream. And I laid down the law- only ONE per day! Yeah, I know, wishfull thinking! Now you know why I work nights, I have to police the boys snacking! lol
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Girls sun dresses...

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Joann Fabric finally opened. I am thrilled!
I have always wanted to make one of these simple summer dresses. The fabric was on sale so I bought some.
Just enough for a dress for my little niece
 I had my dear friends daughter try it on to measure for the ribbon straps. So cute! These pictures just don't do it justice. In the end I opted to go with tie straps- just to be safe.

I also picked up this print.
I am totally jealous. I may have to make one for myself. They had longer prints too. Maybe with the grand opening deals coming up this week.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Summer skirt....

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I quite enjoy summer skirts. They are cool and comfy. I have one in a lightweight cotton that I wear regularly through the summer. With our plans to visit California this summer I wanted to have a couple more dresses to enjoy. I took a pattern off my favorite summer skirt and made this one.
Skirts really are easy to sew. They are very forgiving. They require basic sewing skills and are easily adjusted if a mistake is made.
To make my pattern I laid my skirt on a piece of butcher paper and traced a pattern. I had to stretch out the waistband to get the correct width. Then, I laid it on the fabric, taking into account the fold and selvage edges. After cutting it I just needed to sew the front and back together, add the waistband and hem it. I opted to add some eyelet lace.
It is a little longer than I wanted but I still like it. Since I had all the supplies this lovely skirt didn't cost me a think! With JoAnn's open I got some more fabric to make a couple more skirts.....

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Patio Swing Redo....

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About 10 yrs ago my wonderful parents gave us a lovely patio swing for Christmas. We have enjoyed it so much. Long summer hours swinging with my boys, reading a book, or just watching them play. It's such a comfortable swing.
Remember when I recovered the cushions last summer?
Well, shortly after finishing them my dear son ran and jumped on the swing in a frantic attempt to escape the puppy chasing him. A lot of laughing ended in WOAH!
After so many years of weathering the canvas base lost it's strength and split in two. Thankfully the cushions protected his knees from the cement.
The swing was showing wear in other places as well.....
I decided to put it aside until this spring. I just couldn't get myself to toss it. It still had great bones and just needed a little TLC. Besides my growing urge to recycle.
I checked on new canvas but realized a canvas drop cloth would be cheaper than fabric from the bolt. Plus, it would be already hemmed. After a few rough measurements I finished sewing slots for the bars to slid into. Unfortunately I learned the base to the swing have been welded together. I was able to take the back bar apart and thread the fabric through the opening I had sewn. The rest of it would have to be hand stitched. It wasn't too bad. I just spent the evening on the floor watching t.v. while I stitched. My biggest concern was the strength of the stitch. I used full strength cross stitching thread. Then crossed my fingers and reassembled everything.
Ahh, much better!
The rusted frame was an easy fix with a bit of spray paint. I used a textured paint that dear hubby likes better than the original. My dear friends came over and we visited while he swung gently on the swing. Yep, it survived. He gave it a good test run. Thanks Jeff!
My cushions are faded pretty good already but it is still comfy.
Now Mr. M can join mom on the swing during the hot summer weather- I'm determined summer IS coming!
The swing is always SAFE!
Yep, there's still many more years of enjoyment in this lovely patio swing. 
Gotta show it off...
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Sunday, May 22, 2011

This weeks menu 5/22

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I haven't been able to get my Bountiful Basket for a couple of weeks. I chose sleep over loging on. I work nights and after 24+ hrs awake I just couldn't get up after my first hour of sleep. Hopefully tomorrow I will make it on and manage to get a basket. I have been able to clear out the vegi's and fruit though. Plus it is good to pull from the bottled supply in my pantry.
I had dear hubby help with input this week. He has managed to get out of any input (I prefer to have the families suggestions) for a couple of months now. It does alter just a bit what my plans are but at least when I am too busy or wiped out to cook he knows what the plan is and can help.....


Pork Chops
Green Beans
Mashed potatoes

Chicken and Wild Rice soup
Peach Cobbler

French Toast


Scallops potatoes
Fresh vegi's from Bountiful Basket (hopefully)

I have been busy chasing boys and enjoying some time reading. I haven't yet learned how to do all that I WANT to do while doing what I NEED to do so I have neglected my blogging a bit. 
This week I hope to have several posts though. 
Joann Fabric opened in town- HORRAY! So I have some projects to share from my shopping there.
The sun has peeked through the clouds a couple of times so I will be able to share some outdoor gardening.
I also pulled the sewing machine up and finished a refurbish project just in time for summer.
I am hoping to finish a redo project I started a couple of months ago to share.
And I'll be sharing a special soon to be 9 year olds birthday bash.
So stay tuned, I'm hoping to make it a great week!
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tips for helping with Speech Delay

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Many of you know we have been struggling to help Mr. M learn to talk. He is now 3 yrs old and only puts a few 2-3 word sentences together. Normally a child should start speaking 2-3 word sentances at age 2. Age 2-3 is a crictical window of opportunity for language development. Perhaps even earlier. Last summer he tested as low as 1% in some areas. Yeah, he was struggling.
Mr. K went through speach therapy which we later found was common with children with Aspergers Syndrome (of course we didn't know about his Aspergers until years later). After this I had some idea of tips and tricks. I started trying to remember some of our old tricks, trying to help Mr. M they way we had been taught.
Have you ever thought of that?
How to teach a child to talk, I mean?
I hadn't. How do you get him to say "ball"?
We have been on a strong learning curve for 1 1/2 yrs now. There are so many little things that you don't think about in learning to speak. I thought I would share some of the lessons we've learned. I plan to do a series of posts sharing some of the information we have learned and some of the handouts given to us. We are not there yet. I have often found myself very frustrated at the slow pace. We take 2 steps forward and 1 step back. Then, just when I thought we were making headway he has his 3rd birthday and no longer qualifies for therapy. Don't worry, we aren't giving up but at least we have a good start. We were fortunate to start early. We had a great doctor who didn't put it off saying "let's wait and see". We have had amazing therapists!
Sometimes kids are simply delayed and will start talking on their own but the window of opportunity is before age 3 and can be easily missed. Plus early intervention programs only cover up to age three.
Whether your child is on track and you want to be more active and knowledgeable or if your child is struggling hopefully you can find something to help you and yours!

Ideas for Communication Goals (from It Takes Two to Talk)
1. Motor imitation without toys ie. peek-a-boo or clapping
2. Motor imitation using toys and objects ie. pushing cars, building blocks, or brushing teeth
3. Transition from motor to sound imitation ie. m-m-m (good)- rubbing tummy or oops!- toy falling
4. Early single words ie. mom, dad, oh-oh, no, bye etc
5. Later- two word phrases ie. car go, dad play, go out

Did you realize all those "baby games" actually build pre-language skills? Yep, clapping, patty cake, peek-a-boo, giving five, even pulling faces all help to build the foundation for language development within the brain. I had never realized that eye contact and turn taking were language building blocks. It makes sense though. Communication ie. language is not just verbal. It is nonverbal and full of expression and actions.
First comes the imitation of actions, then the imitation of sounds, after that comes first words.
Line upon line.....
So your challenge for this week is to PLAY! Just park it next to your little one, either with or without toys and play. Pay attention to eye contact. Practice turn taking. Make silly faces. Repeat any sounds or words you child makes. Have fun. Remember
Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.
-O. Fred Donaldson
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Sunday, May 15, 2011

This weeks Menu- 5/15/11

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Here is what I have planned for this week. I will have a few things to get. I think the only things will be sausage, roast beef, and porkchops. I didn't get my Bountiful Basket yesterday. I am hoping to finish up a few stragglers in the produce bins and then restock them on Saturday. Friday and Saturday hubby is taking the boys on the Father and Son's campout. There are certain times that are great about having ALL boys. Times like bathroom breaks at the restaurant and Father Son's campout weekend! Mr. M just turned 3 so dad may try to beg out of taking him (between you and I, I highly doubt he will be able to once Mr. M learns they are all going camping...) Either way it will be a great weekend with some quiet for MOM! The cherry on top is that Joann's is opening on Friday here in town. Yeah! I've been waiting. I want to get some projects done. Now I won't have to drive so far!
So add to my shopping list some camp food and hopefully I will be done.

BBQ Chicken Pizza
Rice and Beans Burritos
Sweet BBQ Pork chops
French Dip
Turkey Casserole

What are your plans for this week? Anything yummy in store. Let me know whatcha got! 
Inspire me! 
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Thursday, May 12, 2011

A feel good story!

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A couple of weeks back we got high value Similac coupons. One for $5/1 and one for $3/1 Similac products. I don't use formula but clip them for friends or to trade. Krazy Coupon Lady clued me into the nearly free price at Walmart for the premixed 32 oz bottled of sensitive formula. I decided to use my coupons myself. I purchased 5 bottles at $0.84 each and 6 bottles at $0.50 each. Then we dropped them off at the food bank. I enjoy sharing our excess with the food bank at various drives but this was the first time I bought something solely to donate. I figured, I donate canned goods at that price all the time and baby's need to eat too. 
My darling husband ran it into the food bank. He returned with a feel good story that nearly brought tears to my eyes. The ladies oohed and aah-ed over the formula. They shared how desperately they need formula and seldom get it. They were currently out, of course, and a mom had come in the day before asking for some. 
They had to turn her and her baby away!
It nearly broke my heart. I had waited one day to take that formula in! DANG IT!
They were so thrilled to have more formula and even more thrilled that it was for sensitive bellies. I wished I had more of those coupons to share. I do however have some enfamil coupons, so now I am on the hunt for a bargain on Enfamil to donate.
So many of us are surviving and something so little could make a huge difference for a little someone. If you have any of these coupons rush out, buy some formula for pennies and take it straight to your local food bank. 
I can't tell you how good I felt as we pulled away. My heart was touched.
Service- pass it on!
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This weeks menu 5/9/11

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I'm a way late but thought I would share anyway. I have planned 2 weeks menu. My shopping list was still short but there are some great sales going on right now. You can check them out at PYP. By stocking up during great sales I manage to cook from my pantry most weeks. Instead of shopping Walmart for dinner I shop my pantry previously stocked from great sales! It's a great feeling to know I can feed my family without a single trip to the store when times are lean.

Chicken Enchiladas
Turkey, potatoes, green beans
Turkey noodle casserole
Clam Chowder
Chicken Nuggets
Olive Garden Zuppa Soup

I will post next weeks menu on Sunday. I bought a couple of Turkey's with the November sales and have had them sitting in my freezer. While browsing the freezer and storage I realized I should cook one of them. The end of this week will be nice but it has started out raining and cool. Perfect for soup and comfort food. I may make some changes and break out the grill again this weekend but that will depend on if hubby is up to it. He is the grill expert, which I totally enjoy! It means a night out of the kitchen for me!
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Monday, May 9, 2011

Take in mom tray....

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With a new mom announced in church yesterday finding this post was perfect. I'm not sure if plans for dinners have been made but I will have to check and perhaps do just this...
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Apron tutorial....

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I love this apron. I may have to try out the tutorial...
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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Skirt patterns

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With summer coming on I find myself wishing for more skirts. I love the light, flowing feel of them. They are so much cooler than even capri's. I have lots of fabric remnants. I am hoping to find some use for some of it. Perhaps one of these patterns will work...or maybe several!

Simple no hem skirt

Patternless A-line

Pettycoat skirt

15 skirt tutorials!
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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Summer Activities

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I was thinking of summer plans and the need to maintain some structure. Spring break reminded me that 4 boys with too much free time is misery waiting in the wings.
This year I am thinking of doing motivational education.
I want to come up with a topic each week for the boys to study.
If they complete the task at the end of the week we will have an activity related to that; a trip, park, museum, or just a fun treat/party at the house.
Here is what I have so far...

Pioneer history= This is the Place Park
States and Capitols= trip to California
Geography= Antelope Island
Scavenger hunt= picnic up the canyon
Name the Oceans= Pool Day
Food Pyramid= progressive dinner with friends
Aeronautics= Hill Air Force Base Museum
Geology= Kennecot Copper Mine  plus this passes off scouting activities
animals--Thanksgiving Point animal farm or the zoo
Mexico--have a fiesta
trains--Heber Creeper
Writing--Storytelling Festival
Government--State Capital Building
----something for bowling-----
----something for the movies----
-----something for camping----
Reading minutes goal= Lagoon

I thought they could find 10 facts related to the topic. We can go to the library, check out books for that weeks topic to read throughout the week.
My 1st grader to be may just have to color or write something, maybe a dot to dot....
I also plan on getting Summer Bridge books again.
Anyone else have some ideas? I want it to be fun but educational too. Last summer we didn't get out a whole lot and Hubby didn't get out much at all. He has Fridays off so this would be a great family outing. Something to break up the long summer break. Could be lots of fun!
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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Trash to Treasure...

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I find myself looking at "trash" in a whole new light. 
While out shopping with my friend I picked up a bottle top. My friend wondered if I had lost my mind. She asked what I was picking up a bottle top for. I told her I planned to use it on a hair bow. Her response was "uhm, ok!?" I think she still thought I was crazy.
Well, this is what I had in mind...

I spray painted the bottle top metallic, added a princess sticker and placed it in the center of ribbon.
I originally had it like this...
but I felt it was missing something. I think curling some of the ribbons was just what it needed.
My other great find was a nightstand. I didn't get a before picture taken, just picture 1970's brown with brass....
I actually picked this up for my friend. Now I am WAY jealous. I should have kept it for myself. I'm sure I could have found a spot for it...somewhere. ;-p

Kaylyn finished this herself. She said she would never have done this before but now, she can't wait for the next project.
She added the feet. I'll let you in on a secret...
They are fence post tops!
I love Love LOVE it!
and it only cost about $25!
It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do!

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