Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Homemade Bread

I have tried making my own bread all winter with no success.  One time I had the water too hot and ruined the yeast.  Another time I couldn't find a warm spot in the house so I put the oven on low but that baked the bread too soon.  The last time everything started off well but I ran out of flour so I couldn't make it.

I have been reading a few blogs about cooking from scratch.  I am trying to do more of this for a few reasons: to cut our costs, to eat healthier, and TJ likes to cook and bake with me.  I decided to give bread one last chance... it worked!!!!!

I used this Challah Bread recipe from Instead of using only all-pourpose four, I used half whole wheat.  We also split the dough in two and put them in loaf pans instead or the braid.  I still had trouble finding a warm place so we made a snuggly bed of blankets in our room for the dough.

What is your favourite bread recipe?  Do you have any tips or ideas for me cooking from scratch?

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Magic Flax Seed Bag

First off there is no photo for this because I can't find the memory card for my camera this morning.  I was uploading photos yesterday and got distracted by the boys.  Do you think I can find a tiny little memory card??

Use your imagination here because it is quite simple.  I made a flannel pouch about 4X7 inches (just like a bean bag).  You can make them any size you'd like.  Ours are a nice size for boo boos and such.

Fill you little bag with flax seed.  There are special properties in the flax oil that helps it to retain hot and cold temperatures.  Sew your bag shut.  We keep one near the microwave, zap it or about 20sec.  We also keep one in the freezer.

I'll add a photo later.

Do you have any tips to share?  Let me know.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Earth Day Flowers

Happy Earth Day and Good Friday!

Today I wanted to share a craft that TJ did earlier in the week.  We have been reading Curious George plants a tree and talked a bit about reusing.  While taking out the recycling and I thought we could try reusing the egg carton.

First I cut out each egg cup out of the carton.  Then TJ went about colouring them in.  He also covered them in glue and tissue paper.  TJ is at a stage where he'd like to do everything himself.  I am learning to back off and let him try more often (it's hard to let go with messy glue).

Once everything dried we added pipe cleaner stems.
TJ is going to give a few away for Easter gifts and the rest are on our mantel.

What Earth Day and Easter crafts have you been doing?

I also linked to:
Finger Prints on the Fridge
Fun to Craft
Sun Scholars

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Drool Bandana

I know I was planing to catch up on all my half made projects, but this was too cute and so simple to make.  MJ is teething right now and all his bibs are getting dirty (or they are in the wash).  I've seen these cute drool bandanas on Etsy before.  I'm all for making things if I can do it for less.

I took 2 pieces of material and cut a triangle 17inches along the bottom and 5inches up the middle.
Sew them together and add a fastener!  Easy right?!

I chose to add a layer of polar fleece in the middle of mine to make it more absorbent.  I also used cotton on one side and flannel on the other.  This is because I was using scraps.

As I write this I'm realizing I need to make a few more because MJ's shirt today is already soaking wet.  I'll try o post more pictures of this soon.  Be creative and happy sewing.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Random Ramblings

Today I have a lot of random things on my mind.

Last night I was feeling overwhelmed by all the different things and areas of my life that I struggle to balance throughout the week.  I wrote them all down in no particular order to clear my mind and realized that I had put God at the bottom and my husband never even made it to the list.  Then I was feeling bad.  So today I think for myself I need to write down all the areas again but in a priority order.  That way when I feel overwhelmed again I can look at my list and pick something to work on.

Okay so on my list was to make more food from scratch.  I'm trying to move towards a healthier lifestyle (not that we were all that bad).  Once I got into my mind that our activity of the day was to bake, we were very relaxed and not rushed about it.  TJ had a great time driving the ingredients to me with his truck.  He scooped, measured and had so much fun.  We made a double batch of the dry ingredients (our our muffin mix) for next time.  He loved to bake so I think this is going to be fun.  I usually go all out with an idea and give up because it is a lot of work.  I'm going to go slowly with one food at a time.  I welcome your recipes or suggestions here.

My last thing today is a problem I have with TJ.  I really need advice !!  TJ eats play dough.
Ever since he was a baby he has eaten play dough, paint, glue, sand, gravel, dirt...  He is starting to outgrow it now.  When he was really little he'd eat things as a way of telling me he was done because I'd get upset and take it away.  I gave up on the paint and let him eat it, now he doesn't do it anymore.  I have asked nicely, explained why he shouldn't, given a time out, threatened to throw out the play dough but nothing works.  Should I just let him eat it and see if he gives up one day?

Thanks for reading.  Looking forward to some comments.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Friday's Favourites: I Spy Alphabet Game

This week TJ has been learning the alphabet.  We borrowed the Leap Frog movie Letter Factory from the library.  I think he has requested it several times a day all week.  Amazingly TJ has leaned the alphabet and all the letter sounds just from watching the DVD.  I was planing in the fall to do a little program/ activities and such with him, but I guess there may be no need.

I was thinking of a way to practice his letters when the idea came to me.  Most people know how to play I-Spy.  You think of an object and the other person guesses what it is.  The only clue they have is the colour.  For example "I- Spy with my little eye something that is green."  Oh I bet you didn't know it was my PJ's (I'm blogging very late at night).

Here is how we play, because TJ hasn't quite grasped the concept of the real game yet.  He just looks around to find anything that is the colour or starts with the letter I give him.

Mom: "I spy with my little eye something that starts with M."
Mom: "What does the M say?"
Tim: "mmmmm"
Tim: "I know mmmm, Mommy!"

He has been asking to play all week.  We've also been practicing what the letters say by going through his Thomas the Train Alphabet cards.  We also try out the ASL sign for the letters too.  We watch Signing Time videos to practice our signs.

What alphabet activities are you doing?

Thursday, 14 April 2011

A Week of Learning

This week my boys have astounded me wth the new skills they are learning.

Here is a bit about MJ:
MJ is getting very active.
He is very quick with crawling.
Loves to get into anything he shouldn't (potty, garbage, water cooler) and he is very determined.
He balanced for a few seconds.
Played with play dough for the first time and enjoyed that
Pushed the toy lawn mower while holding my hand.

Here is what TJ has been up to:
TJ has leaned the alphabet and what each letter says.  We watch Letter Factory by Leap Frog
He can also put on his own underwear] and pants (very hepful when going potty)
He can often do his own shoes.
Basically he wants to try to do most things on his own now.

This week we went for a walk in the forest. Our house is along the Bruce Trail.

We played outside at home often.  On the weekend we took my parents' dog for a walk and had a picnic dinner at their local playground.

We usual we've been quite crafty.  I need to spend a bit more time on company business, house cleaning and generally catching up on old projects next week.

I am feeling quite blessed by small things this week.  how was your week??

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Fabric Roads

I have decided I must have some kind of craft attention deficit disorder.  Let's call it CADD.  Every time I get onto my computer I find some new craft I want to make.  I get all excited and drop what I'm doing to start this new project.  In yesterday's post I mentioned that I really need to tackle the mess in my bedroom.  Since I also share my room with my crafts (and my hubby), I may need to tackle some unfinished projects before I can clean.

Here is my list of half done projects to finish:
- 2 bean bags waiting to be stuffed and sewn
- 6 placemats to finish appliques and add a backing
- 1 dress needing the facing and hem
- 1 dress mostly cut out
- 4 quilt squares waiting for two pieces of material each
- 20 (soon to be 24) quilt squares needing to be assembled
- 2 shirts wanting to be modified/updated

The reason I'm going on about all this is because I got distracted Monday night.  While looking for some material online I came across this great idea for fabric roads at Seven Thirty Three.  Yesterday I dropped everything and went about making our own set of roads.  I decided to use up several pairs of my husbands old jeans (he donated them to me a long time ago).

Our roads were extremely simple to make.  I cut 6 inch wide strips of jeans in various lengths. I decided to use the wrong side of the material because the other side is stained and they are all different shades of blue/dirt.

 I didn't sew them or anything because I don't think they'll fray that much.  I used yellow puffy paint to draw the lines on the roads.  Total cost $2 for the paint!

 I still need to make some curved roads.  I'll just add that to my list!!

I linked this post up to the following:
Sew Much Ado

Lil' Luna- All Good Things

My Delicious Ambiguity

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

A Tip and a Tackle

Tip: Laundry Bag Use

I know that many people use laundry bags for delicates, baby clothes and socks.  I heard about this a long time ago and tried it out this week...

You can use a laundry bag to wash all the bottle tops, sippy cup lids, etc in the dish washer.  Just make sure you don't over fill or they don't come clean.  Fill your laundry bag and place it in the top rack of the dishwasher.  It saves from hand washing all those little pieces.

Tackle:  Last Tuesday I linked up to Tackle it Tuesday over at 5 Minutes for Mom. I was so inspired by all the jobs other bloggers were taking on.  I decided to take on the bathroom.  I had missed it during my weekly cleaning schedule at it was getting to be unsanitary.  

 The orange bottle is my husbands industrial hand cleaner, and those are dirty diapers on one of the garbage cans.  We had 3 in the room!  I know, but one is for regular waste, one is for diapers an the other is for cloth diapers and training pants.  I'm thinking of loosing the blue one.

All the laundry baskets were full so laundry was piling on the floor here.  One day this week I managed to get both kids sleeping at the same time so I tackled that nasty room.  I'm so pleased with the results.

It may look a bit crowded but it works for our practical needs.
Next up will be my bedroom!!!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

My Blog's new look

So I decided to give the blog a new look for spring.  Please give me any suggestions or let me know what you think.  I'm also going to retag some posts and make some other minor changes.

Hope you are all having a great weekend!

Friday, 8 April 2011

Foot Print Bunny Garland

Spring is in the air and our house was calling for some Easter decorations!  I came up with a very cute and simple spring garland for the mantle.

Here is how we made the bunnies:
1. Trace your child's foot and cut out the shape
2. Cut out some bunny ears
3. Attach the ears to the smaller heel end of your foot
4. Add some eyes and a nose.  We put the tail where your big toe would be.
5. The flowers I made were from a kit by K&Company but you could easily just make your own flower shapes. I just thought realized I could have made flowers by tracing their hands!

I love that this will keep a cute record of how the boys are growing each year. I know MJ's feet look funny.  He is a very wiggly baby so it was hard to trace well. We made some reindeer at Christmas using the same idea with hand antlers.

How are you decorating for spring?

This post is linked to the following sites:

SYS Thurs

Fingerprints on the Fridge

Fun To Craft

Home is Where My Story Begins

Mamas Kinda Crafty

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Easy to put on reversible Super Hero Cape

My TJ just loves to play dress-up.  The other day we were talking about Easter.  I mentioned that he could wear his bunny ears if he wanted.  He said "Oh yes I need a costume.  I'll be a pumpkin!"

I was inspired my several of the super hero capes I've seen in my blog hopping rescently, but most of them had ties to do them up.  I wanted to make TJ a cape that he could put on by himself.  Here is what I did.

1. I went to the thrift store an bought 2 shirts (okay one was a dress) that were larger that what TJ wears.  This is so that the neckline would be easy to put on.

2. I cut out a basic cape shape using the back of the shirts for material.  On one shirt I included the neck.

3. I made a cool applique for each side of the cape.

4. Sew the two capes together.  Use a zig-zag stitch around the neckline.

5. I chose to add seam binding around the raw neck line.

6. Look out bad guys it's Supper T!!

Some things I'd change for next time:
 - I really need to learn more about sewing with knits.  This wrinkled and puckered a lot.
- use a slightly smaller neckline.   This one is stretching a bit.

"Look mommy I can wear it like a funny apron"
Of course because he can't see the cape if it is behind him!

What is your super hero wearing?

I linked up to:

lil luna link party buttonNightOwlCrafting

Someday Crafts

House of Hepworths

It's Sew Stinkin' Cute

Fireflies & Jellybeans

Thrilled on Thursdays @ Paisley Passions

Wednesday Crafts: Reverse Applique Shirts

Ever since I made my monster shirt I have been inspired to make more shirts for the boys.  Both of my boys had a shirt in their drawer that they were not going to wear.  MJ had one with a bulldozer, but the shirt was made too short and wide to fit anyone.  TJ had a Thomas dress shirt but he doesn't like buttons.  I decided to find a way to save these unwanted gems.  I give you my reverse applique shirts.

They are quite simple to make.  Here are some pictures of what I did.
1. trace around the picture you'd like and cut it out.
2. Pin your picture to the inside of the new shirt with the wrong side facing you.  Now using a zig-zag or applique stitch, sew around your picture.
3. Cut on the inside of your sewing line to reveal your picture below.
4. enjoy your new shirt!!

Sorry I have no pictures of the boys in their shirts.  MJ has worn his a few times.  TJ won't wear any of the shirts I've made him.  Not sure why but I'll be patient.

Does your little one have a shirt that doesn't fit but they still love?  What did you do?

I linked to:

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Tuesday's Tips: Doing housework with kids

One of my first few posts was about our cleaning schedule.  My house still often looks like a mess, but we live at home and we are home all day, so it makes sense.  Today I'd like to share some ideas to incorporate your kids in the cleaning process, teach them a lot, and still get the housework done (sort of).  I know there are those days when you need to just get it done, but for daily cleaning, why not make it an activity to do with the kids.

Relax.  Think for the cleaning as the activity, instead of playing with play dough or lego, you are cleaning. You children will be learning some practical life skills, team work, sorting, fine motor, and having fun.

Buy some child size cleaning supplies.  We cut the handle off a broom, shortened a swiffer, bought extra sponges, spray bottles, and dustpan.  We also have a toy vacuum.

Demonstrate and allow your child to help.  I used to get frustrated while cleaning because TJ was making more of a mess.  Now that I show him how to to things and let him practice I see some improvements.  He is getting better and using the dustpan.  He enjoys sorting cutlery, his favourite thing is to push the laundry basket to the laundry room and unload the washer!  TJ is also a bit nervous of the vacuum.  I allow him to turn it on and off which he likes, then he runs out of my way.

Be safe.  Try using homemade cleaners with baking soda and vinegar.  Just allow your child to use water instead of cleaners.  Watch them near water.  TJ is our dishes rinser.  He always loves to help with the dishes but I don't want him to burn himself with the water.

Don't forget about the baby.  I try to do some cleaning while MJ is sleeping because it is just easier with less people to coordinate.  When MJ is around I often put him in the carrier and let him come along.  I have several styles, I prefer to put him on my back for housework.  MJ likes to watch what we are doing and he is happy to be close to me.  On the weekend MJ got at the broom and was dragging it around the kitchen.  Although he can only crawl, he was actually trying to sweep.

Be creative.  I made a game of matching cutlery and socks for TJ.  He thinks it is fun.  Play pretend is fun too.  TJ like to be a loader, crane or bulldozer to help me.  Outdoors he uses his wagon to pick up yard waste for me.

How are you involving you kids in the housework?

Check out Tackle-it-Tuesday over at the Ultimate Blog Party! I linked up.  Have you?

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Upcycled Sleep Sack

I don't usually blog on the weekend, but I was crafty today and didn't want to wait until next week to share with you all.

I came across this idea from lovinthemommyhood about making a sleep sack from a men's dress shirt.  The original tutorial is from The Cottage Home along with some other incredible tutorials.  I encourage you to check out both of these blogs!

The Cottage Home

The reason I made a new sleep sack for MJ was... I just wanted to try out this tutorial, and because he is outgrowing his old one.  My niece is currently using our next size up. MJ is about the same size as his older cousin, so I had a great excuse to try this out!  Now my wonderful husband doesn't wear dress shirts on a regular basis (he owns two for suits), so I headed over to the Walmart clearance section.  Oh my lucky day!! I picked up two ladies night shirts for only $3 each.  I also got some great kids clothes for gifts...

I mostly followed the tutorial but made a few changes.  I used the full length of the night shirt as MJ is wearing size 18months (he is only 9months old).  I also used the full width of the shirt, so I had very little sewing to do.  On the light blue one I used white bias tape.  On the darker one I used double wide navy bias tape.

Unfortunately for me I traced MJ's old sleep sack that I also made and the arm holes are way too big.  I'll just sew them up and take in a little at the sides tomorrow.  I'd love some ideas for how to decorate them a bit more as they are rather plain.

Have a great weekend and I'll see you next week!