Friday Five

1. On Sunday night Bryan and I were startled awake at 4am by a loud crash coming from downstairs.  My fearless husband said he'd go down to check things out and grabbed my sewing scissors just in case he needed a weapon.  Luckily it was just our blinds that had fallen off the wall mount, but I informed him that had he used my nice scissors on anything besides fabric he would have been dead meat.  

2.  Jillian has started to notice numbers and she loves to count.  But the only number she knows is 2 so she's constantly counting things "two, two, two."

3.  Jamba Juice was doing $1 smoothies this week and you better believe we hit that up.  Jilly and I went with Lisa and Blake (who gave us the best tip- they'll split any drink so Jilly can have her own bitty cup- so brilliant.)  Then we went again with friends last night.  

4.  Bryan and I downloaded the Life360 app on our phones this week.  You can see where your family members are at all times.  On Thursday I drove home from San Jose and was about to text Bryan that I had made it when I got a text from him saying "Welcome home!"  Kind of creepy, but also cool.

5. Jilly tried Ramen for the first time this week and it was love at first bite.


Fairytale Town

Fairytale Town is a cute park that has lots of fun things to play on and some farm animals.  I realized that Jilly would get in for free because she's not 2 yet so we asked Christina and Kylie if they'd like to come with us.  We had a great day, but the best part was probably watching these two walk around the park holding hands.
 the lion and the tin man
 they found these chairs all by themselves and sat down for a rest
 driving the tractor together
Thanks for a fun day Christina and Kylie!


Pumpkin Recipe #1

I have high hopes for lots and lots of pumpkin this fall.  Yummm, I feel like I've been waiting for this all year!  Our first recipe was pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting.  This is Bryan's mom's recipe and very likely Bryan's favorite cookie of all time.

1 cup shortening (I didn't have enough this time so I used half shortening and half butter and they turned out just fine)
3 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups canned pumpkin
2 tsp vanilla
5 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

Cream together shortening and sugar.  Beat in eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla.  Mix dry ingredients and add to the mixture, then mix well.  Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 400 for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Frost when cool.

1 package cream cheese (8 oz)
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 box powdered sugar (I'm not sure how much this is, I just add it until it seems the right consistency)
1 tsp vanilla

Mix until creamy.

This makes a lot of cookies.  I halved the recipe this week and got about 30 cookies.  We gave plates to a few friends and polished off the rest in 3 days.


Gangnam Style

Jilly and I watched PSY perform on Ellen last week and she couldn't help but bust a move.



I was going to write a post about our weekend, but then I realized every single one of my pictures was of these cute girls.  You'll just have to trust me that there were adults around the whole weekend, and we had fun too.  

Jilly and Kirra at our favorite park 
(at first we had to ask them to hold hands but then they loved it)

 a bubble bath is always more fun with your cousin
 playing in the sand at Lake Tahoe
We didn't think it would be so warm so we didn't bring swimsuits for the girls, but they didn't seem to mind going pants-less at all

 Jilly made some new friends

We're so glad that Trevor, Kristen, and Kirra moved to California so we'll get to see them a lot more!


five on friday

1.  I bought a big bottle of bubbles and bath time is now everyone's very favorite part of the day.  

2.  On Wednesday my friend invited Jilly over to play while I ran a few errands.  It was absolutely heavenly to shop by myself.

3.  Jilly is obsessed with the word "mine" lately (terrible twos are coming on strong.)  This week anytime she found my book (These is My Words, which is so, so fabulous) she'd say "my book my book!" and start flipping through the pages "reading."

4.  It's no secret that I love Chick fil A.  A couple of my friends found a pin that had the recipe for the delicious Chick fil A dipping sauce and they kindly passed it on to me.  This week I made it and it was ah-mazing.  It even made broccoli taste good!

5.  We made a video of Jilly doing her best tricks.  Enjoy!


A Sewing Table

When we moved into our house I was so excited to use our extra room as a craft room (along with a variety of other uses.)  We found this table on Craigslist in the spring.  It was nothing great- lots of scratches, stains, and dings, but it was only $20.  
A few weeks later Ace Hardware was having a free paint day so I picked up a can of coral paint (named fruity orange.)  Then my can of paint and my table sat around waiting for months and months and months for me to get my act together.  I dreaded having to sand the whole table, and it was constantly covered with projects.  But now that it's finally done I'm kicking myself for not getting to it earlier because it makes my room so happy!
 I also got an unfinished wooden chair from Ikea and painted it white, and made this placemat from extra curtain fabric so my sewing machine can slide around easily without messing up the table.  Jilly is modeling a cute little porcelain bowl one of my students got for me in China.  It's the perfect place for spare pins.


Busy Jilly, Part 1

Last year I almost joined a toddler busy bag swap, but we were about to leave on a trip to Virginia and I just didn't have the time.  So in the past few months I've been searching pinterest and making my own little activities for Jilly.  These are things I can pull out when I'm working on a project, taking a shower, making a phone call, etc.  They are all activities she can do on her own which is absolutely fantastic for my sanity.  Plus, they've all been very simple and inexpensive to assemble (in other words they make me feel like a super hero.)

1. Pipe Cleaners and Beads-  These beads were leftover from my teaching days.  I waited to let Jilly play with them until I knew she wouldn't put them in her mouth (so basically just in the past couple weeks.)  I love the serious concentrating face she makes when threading the beads on the pipe cleaners.  She also sometimes sorts them by color, or just spreads them around the room (not my favorite option.)

2. Animal Heads and Tails- I actually deserve no credit for this one.  My super fabulous friend Shauna made these for her Busy Bag Exchange and was willing to email the file to her lazy friend (me.)  All I had to do was print, cut, and laminate.  Despite how it looks in the picture Jilly is getting pretty good at matching the correct head and tail.  And animals are always a big hit around here.

3. Pom Poms- I bought a big bag of pom poms (I never buy anything from Michael's without a coupon) then washed out a used plastic container.  When I cut the holes in the lid I started out really small and gradually cut them bigger because I didn't want to make them too big and take the challenge away.  This is one of the very best activities at keeping her occupied for a while.

4. Alphabet Milk Caps.  Months and months ago I saw something on pinterest that used milk caps so I started washing and saving mine.  One day I realized I had saved all these caps but hadn't used them at all and could not remember (nor had pinned) the original idea.  So I let Jilly start playing with them, and what do you know, she loved them!  Eventually I decided to add something more and picked up some sparkly chipboard letters at Michaels.  The letters were sticky, but not nearly enough, so I mod podged them on.  Right now they're just fun to sort, stack, and throw, but I have visions of one day teaching Jilly to make words with these.



Taco Bell

Some friends and I go walking together every once in a while.  One day we were walking through my neighborhood and ended up at Taco Bell (don't all walks end up at Taco Bell?)  We hadn't ever been to Taco Bell for breakfast, so we each tried something and it was pretty decent.

In the mail the next week we got coupons for Taco Bell's breakfast menu.  For some unknown but lovely reason we got 5 pages of coupons.  There are 8 coupons for a free item on each page.  So that means coupons for 40 free items!  So my friends and I have now made it our Friday tradition to walk to Taco Bell and get a free breakfast.  Our husbands think it's the funniest thing they've ever heard and will probably never let us live it down, but we love going together.  And, so what if our breakfast negates our walk?  At least it's free!

 Perry, Jilly, and Afton enjoying Taco Bell one morning



Our life of late in phone pictures-

1. Jilly's new favorite activity, 2. Oakland Temple, 3. Teal Baby Skinnies- I may die of cuteness, 4. Love that her hair is long enough for a unicorn horn, 5. Fancy girl eating with her gloves on, 6. Static on the slide


from the library

Last week Janssen, Merrick, and Landen all posted their library books as part of their Sisters Share it All Series.  It was fun to see what books they all were currently reading.  Then that same week I was denied a book at the library for the first time because I had already reached my limit (30 books, which is quite low if you ask me.)  So I thought it was a good time to scrounge up all those library books and see what we have.  I returned a big pile of books so I could start checking out again so this is my current stash.

My Books
 The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley,   I actually first heard about this series on Merrick's library list; it sounded like one I would like so I picked up the first book.  I haven't gotten very far, but so far so good.
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner,   Bry and I listened to The Maze Runner and half of The Scorch Trials on our Disneyland drive, but I am struggling to finish listening and I highly doubt I will ever read the others.
These is my Words by Nancy E. Turner,   This has been on my "to-read" list for years after hearing so many great reviews.  I'm thrilled to finally be enjoying this brilliant book.
Thunderstruck by Erik Larson,   Erik Larson is a genius.  His research is meticulous, and I love all the fascinating details he incorporates in his books.  This takes place in early 20th Century London (think Downton) and it parallels the lives of Guglielmo Marconi (inventor of the radio) and Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen.  I haven't returned it to the library yet because Bryan is hoping to read it.
In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson,   Another Erik Larson book, this one takes place in Hitler's Germany.  I haven't started it yet though.

Jilly's Books
Babies on the Go by Linda Ashman
Quack! by Phyllis Root
Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs!  by Sandra Boynton (I'm trying really hard to give Sandra Boynton a chance)
Sleepyhead by Karma Wilson and John Segal
Ladybug Girl Makes Friends by David Soman (oh we love Ladybug Girl)
One Red Sun by Ezra Jack Keats
Llama Llama Zippity-Zoom by Anna Dewdney
Baby, I love you by Karma Wilson
Can't you sleep Dotty?  by Tim Warnes
Hippopposites by Janik Coat (very cool opposites book)
T is for Taj Mahal: An India Alphabet by Varsha Vajaj (I love these alphabet books, and our Indian friend is coming to dinner this week and I thought he'd enjoy this)
Mouse Count by Ellen Stoll Walsh

Elmo's Music Magic
Mickey's Adventures in Wonderland
Elmo's Bye-Bye, Pacifier! Elmo and Mickey Mouse are heroes around here


Christmas Advent Calendar

I had some leftover fabric from the stockings I made last Christmas so I browsed pinterest and came up with an advent calendar.  I didn't want to be scrambling on November 30th, so I got it done early.  And ever since I started thinking about Christmas, I can't stop!  I want jingle bells, Christmas cookies, and a decorated tree.  But, until these things are appropriate, I'll just enjoy my calendar.  Here's how you can make one too. 

You need-
Christmas fabric
fusible webbing
printed numbers 1-24
felt (1 sheet of red and 1 sheet of green were plenty for me)
bias tape
wooden dowel
** You don't have to use batting, you can just make fabric pockets.  I wanted mine to be a little thicker.  If you don't use batting, start at step 6)

1. Cut out 24 squares of batting approximately 4 1/2 inches long (doesn't have to be exact, but can't be smaller)
2. Cut out 24 strips 8 1/2 in x 4 1/2 in.  I used leftover fabric from my Christmas stockings
3. On the back side of the fabric strips make a mark halfway along the long sides (at 4 1/4 in)
4. Pin a square of batting onto each rectangle at the halfway mark.  The side of batting along the halfway marks should have a straight edge, but none of the others need to.
5. Sew around the square as close to the edge as you can.  Repeat for all pieces of fabric.
6. Decide what order you want the fabric pieces to be in on the calendar.  Either leave the pieces sitting out in the order you want or take a picture to keep handy.  (This will make sense in the next few steps)
6. Print then cut out the numbers 1-24.  (I used Bernard MT Condensed font in size 180.)
7. For every number, cut out a piece of felt and a piece of fusible webbing the same size.  Make sure you choose the color of felt you want for each color of fabric.  (for example- my green plaid fabric was first and I wanted a red number on that fabric so I made my 1 out of red felt.)   
8. Peel off one side of the paper on the webbing and iron the fusible webbing to the felt.
9. Pin together in this order- felt on bottom, fusible webbing in middle, and number on top backwards and facing down.  Then carefully cut out the numbers.
10. Fold your fabric in half so it is now a square
11. Peel off the paper on the back of the numbers and iron them to their correct squares.  Be sure to do this on the side of the square that does not have the stitching from sewing the batting and the fabric together (this is a mistake I made as you can see.)
12. Once all your numbers are ironed on fold each piece of fabric so right sides are together.  
13. Stitch around the three edges (not along the fold) and leave about a 1 1/2 inch opening along the bottom.  (Sew inside the stitch you already made to connect the batting to the fabric.)  Then snip off the corners and pull the pocket through the hole you left open.

14. Iron your pockets flat then topstitch along the top edge about 1/2 inch from the top.  
15. Pin the pockets on the large piece of felt (with help from your little assistant.) It would probably be a good idea to measure and make sure your pockets are evenly placed, but let's be honest, I am way too lazy to do that.  Sew the pockets to the felt around the 3 bottom edges (leave the top open so it's a pocket!)
16. Pin the binding around your felt.  Be sure to fold over the end and overlap it.  Then sew it on!

17. To make straps to hold the calendar up cut 5 pieces of fabric 4 in x 7 in.  Fold over and press the short ends about 1/2 inch.
 18.  Fold the strips in half lengthwise, right sides together, and stitch up the long side so you have a tube.
 19. Use a safety pin to pull the tube through so it is right side out.
 20. Loop the strips and decide where you want them to go then stitch them on along the same seam you made for the binding.  Slide a wooden dowel along those babies.

 And you are done!