Monday, April 30, 2012

Hayley is Six Months Old

Last week my baby hit the half a year mark. I know every mommy talks about how fast their baby grows up. And it's true. Just a mere six months ago we were bring our sweet new baby Hayley home. And yet, she has grown SO MUCH during that time.

Hayley has started eating a couple bites of solid food at dinner times.

She is talking all sorts of sweet baby talk. When she's happy is all whispers of ta-ta and da-da. And when she's not so happy it's ne-ne and meh-ma.

She is still so smiley.

Caitlin and Hayley are starting to have more interaction with each other.

Tummy time is now fun instead of frustrating. 

Hayley is mostly sitting by herself now. I still have to stay beside her though to catch her when she does lose her balance.

And I think about the next six months and what will happen during that time. In just another few blinks of time she will start crawling, walking, using words, and more. Motherhood is such a precious thing. It's life long. But this phase of motherhood, so sweet, is such a flash.



And of course, you can't take pictures of one without taking pictures of both. So here's both my girls. They're just too cute!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Contributing Blogger

I have two awesome announcements to make today, both involving my real life friend Amy from The Cheap and Choosy. First up is that Amy has opened her Etsy shop Seams to Streams. She is sewing some really cute things for babies; black and white snugglies that can also hang in the crib, and travel changing pads. The best thing about her shop is that it's non-profit. All proceeds support the digging of wells in Africa.

I just love Amy's selflessness!

She has been devoting so much time towards this new effort and of course the time and effort that she devotes to her sweet family, that blogging on The Cheap and Choosy has taken a backseat. Sometimes we as moms have to let things go to make way for better things. But that doesn't mean they have to die. Amy has decided make The Cheap and Choosy a community blog. Community blogs are so great because you can get several thoughts/ideas/perspectives on one subject in one place. Her motto is 

"Simple. Frugal. Intentional."
Isn't that a fantastic motto to live your life by!

I am also extremely honored and flattered that Amy has asked me to be one of the new contributors to The Cheap and Choosy. I need to get her a headshot and little blurb to put up on her contributors page. While I will still be here three days a week, I am so excited to begin joining in a conversation with others who want to live a "simple. frugal. intentional." life too.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Enough Bookshelves

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.  ~Anna Quindlen, "Enough Bookshelves," New York Times, 7 August 1991


I've been looking around the web for some quotes for a project I'm working on and I ran across this one. I had never heard it before, but it's absolutely me. Not right for that project, but still so me. Since Hubs and I have moved into this house I think I've asked him to build a bookshelf in just about every room we have. Well, maybe not the kitchen. Although......

I've wanted built-ins around our fireplace in the living room. - Haven't got them yet.

Built-ins with a window seat in Caitlin's room around her double window. - Haven't got them either.

Our office would look beautiful with built-ins all over like an old-world library. I settled for turning the closet into a bookshelf. And it was immediately filled to the brim.

Now, I'm scouring craigslist, thrift stores, and anywhere else I can think of to find a cabinet or shelf to be a linen closet/bookshelf for our bathroom remodel.

But what's driving me crazy is this gorgeous inspiration photo I found on pinterest.

  

I LOVE how they used old crates as a bookshelf. And I have just the place for it. I could even make that linen cabinet in the bathroom this way. But I can't find any crates!!! It's driving me nuts. I've called grocery stores and a wine store, I've searched craigslist, google shopping, etc. Where did this person find all of these crates??? Do you have any? Know where I can get some?

There are some craft crates at craft stores, but they are smaller and at $9 - $12 each, too expensive for my budget.

If I can ever get my hands on enough crates, the right size, this beautiful bookshelf WILL be mine.

Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house.  ~Henry Ward Beecher

 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Shirred Dress with Spaghetti Straps

Some pictures of your kids make them look so grown up. And some seem to preserve that sweet innocence of childhood. I love the photos of Caitlin below because they show her sweet three-year old self perfectly. While I took these to show off the little Princess dress I made her, I think I'm going to frame them and put them up somewhere because they are just so....Caitlin.

I made her dress using those pre-shirred fabrics at fabric stores. I'm sure you've seen them before. They've been around for a long time. You just measure the amount you need to wrap around, sew up the side and voila, you have a dress.

Well, I found a sweet princess pattern fabric recently and couldn't resist. It didn't help that it was on sale either. Hee hee. The only problem I had with it, was that it wouldn't stay up. Poor skinny minny. Don't we all just wish we had that problem!

So I added some white spaghetti straps that we could tie at the top of her shoulders. So simple, and so very Caitlin.




Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Sweetest Guilt Trip

One Friday a while back, Hubs came home for dinner and we had the sweetest evening. Not that we don't normally have a good time, but this day in particular stood out from the norm. He sat down at the table and played with Caitlin and her moon dough. I mean he was really in it; molding dough, having fun little conversations with her, the whole bit. I had Hayley in the Baby Bjorn, folding some laundry, and joining in on the chit chat.

It doesn't sound like much, but it was just a sweet and peaceful moment. And it gave me a little guilt trip. You see, our darling sweet three-year old girl has SO much energy. That energy often runs rampant and feels so out of control. But when you give her a project and sit down with her and just play, real engaging play, she calms down and is just the sweetest little girl. She craves that individual attention and blossoms when it's given. And guess what I haven't been doing enough of; sitting down and quietly engaging with her one-on-one, sans baby.

Any mom with more than one child I'm sure knows this dilemma. How do you fit in one-on-one time with each of your children, still get lunch and dinner on the table, and keep the house fairly clean? It often feels and sometime is an impossible task. Especially right now. Hayley is only 5.5 months old and although her days are in some ways routine, they are also in many ways still not routine. Because of that uncertainty, I haven't really settled into a 'do this at this specific time' schedule.

So I decided to make a loose schedule for me and the girls.
  • The morning is breakfast/get dressed/mommy chore time. I believe that children need to learn to play by themselves, just not all day. This is now Caitlin's and Hayley's play alone time. Caitlin does her thing and Hayley is in her exersaucer/jumper thing.
  • When Hayley takes her early morning nap sometime around 8:30 - 9:00, Caitlin and I can have some one-on-one time.
  • After Hayley wakes up, we go outside and play for awhile.
  • Hayley's next nap time is usually sometime between 10:30 and 11:30. During that time Caitlin and I can have some more one-on-one or I can do chores (whatever the day calls for). Plus lunch anytime between 11:00 and 12:00.
  • Naptime for Caitlin is at 1:00 and I get some one-on-one with Hayley during this time, plus she will take a nap while Caitlin is sleeping too.
  • When both girls are sleeping, that's some mommy craft time/mommy nap time/clean-up the house time (whatever the day calls for).
  • After the girls wake up we have some snuggle/wake-up time. Then it's play by yourself time while mommy prepares dinner.
  • Daddy comes home and then it's dinner and family time.
So far this has been helping a lot, but I still struggle with the mess. I just can't get it all done. So I keep reminding myself that my title is Stay-at-Home MOM, not Stay-at-Home Housekeeper. It was no wonder I felt overwhelmed, frustrated, and even a little depressed over the housework. It's a never ending, impossible to complete job. And you know what they say; "When momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." It's amazing how much better I feel when I focus on being mom instead of housekeeper. And my girls are eating it up too.

And because every post needs a picture...here's one of me and the girls from Easter Sunday.



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

It's Time to Redo the Bathroom

Hubs and I moved into our house 3 almost 4 years ago. And while we have worked on some rooms, we haven't done a thing to our master bathroom. And let me just tell you, it's terrible. Metallic paint on your bathroom walls terrible.

We have both been wanting to repaint it for awhile, but just haven't. You know how that goes don't you? I told Hubs that if we were going to go through the effort of painting it, we might as well do a whole redo. Mommy needs a peaceful sanctuary where she can take a relaxing bath, read a book, and escape for a few minutes. And what do you know, after that whole "I need a place to take a break" guilt trip, he said ok. Squeal!

Before we start doing anything, I want to show you the before pictures.






Ghastly!!


I'm hoping to start taking down hardware and start painting the walls this week. I'm so excited to start working on it! So excited that I've lost sleep over it. I just can't turn my brain off of what I want to do to it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

JuJu Beads Reminder

Just a quick reminder to use your discount for JuJuBeads! You've got until the 25th to use the code GingerlyMade for 25% off anything you like in Jenny's shop. If you haven't checked her out yet, please stop by JuJuBeads2. I know you'll love what you see. :)

Taking in the Sides

Have you ever been gifted a piece of clothing that just didn't fit? I have. Plenty of times!! People always seem to think that I'm bigger than I am. Hmm? Do I really look that size?? Anyhoo. In the past I would keep it for a long time and then end up selling it at a yard sale or giving it to a thrift store. But not any more!!!

I've finally come to the amazing and rather spectacular conclusion that I can just take it in and make it fit. Ah, genius! I mean, I've only had a sewing machine for years and yet I'm just now in the past year really using it. What's up with that?

It's really not hard to take in the sides on a shirt. You gradually taper your new seams from the arm pit so that you don't accidentally make the arms too small. After you taper in as far as you want, just follow the path of the previous seams to keep the same shape.

The trick is not to cut the fabric until after you've sewed your new side seams, tried it on, and like the results. If you don't cut the excess fabric until after you like what you have, you can always go back and take out any mistakes you may have made. A.K.A. making it too small. (Hee hee. Don't ask me why I added that one in there for you. That's for another post.)

I actually took this shirt in 3 times because I was scared to take it in so much. I probably took in 2 inches or more on either side.




Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Blackberry Blossoms


Our blackberry bushes are in full bloom. Their delicate little white flowers promising sweet fruit to come. I can hardly wait!

But these little white flowers have also caused a bit of debate and over one question. Should we put netting over the bushes to keep birds from eating all our berries? Hubs says we definitely should. He's probably right. I just hate having to drape nets over everything in our yard all the time. It looks strange.

So I ask you, is there anyway to prevent birds from eating all of your berries without netting the berry bushes? I'd love to know what you've tried.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Crocheted Frilly Dress

I've been crocheting patterns out of a book called Oh Baby! Crochet. And the very first pattern is for this amazing Crocheted Frilly Dress. I fell in love with it a long time ago, but have been reluctant to take it on. While the stitches aren't that hard, it's just a time consuming project to make. But oh my, isn't it gorgeous!!


I had meant to make one for a friend when she was pregnant with her now 10 month old baby. And then I thought I would make one for newborn Hayley who is now 5 months old. It would have been a beautiful dedication dress. Thankfully the pattern offers a variety of sizes all the way up to 12 months.

I finally made it and had it ready for Hayley's Easter dress. It took me every last spare minute to finish it in time, but I did it. I just can't get over how beautiful this dress is!



Monday, April 9, 2012

Cookie Wands

Last week I posted about Caitlin's three-year birthday party. She had so much fun! One of the big hits of the day were the cookie wands I made. Even the guys liked them. "They're girly, but they're really good."


All you need:
  • Sugar cookie dough (either bought or made. I used this recipe and it was really tasty.)
  • Skewers (cut off the pointy end to prevent little mouths from getting hurt)
  • Cookie Frosting and Edible Decoration
What you do:
  1. Roll out your dough on a lightly floured surface. You want them to be about 1/8 inch thick. Or should I say thin. If this feels too thin, it's ok because you are going to layer the cookies.
  2. Cut out shapes using whatever cookie cutter you like.
  3. Place one cookie on the cookie sheet.
  4. Lightly press a skewer onto the cookie.
  5. Top with another cookie and gently press into place.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 - 15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
  7. Once the cookies have cooled you can frost and decorate them however you like. Make sure you use cookie frosting not cake frosting. Cookie frosting will set and harden a little while cake frosting stays gooey.

I had meant to tie ribbon around the sticks at the base of the cookies to give them a little extra panache. But I just didn't have the time for it. Even still, people seems to really enjoy them without the ribbon.

As you scroll down through the pictures, notice the two ladies eating the cookies. They are Eric's mom and my mom. The grandmas. Aren't they cute!



If you decide to make some of these super cute, super fun cookies post some pics and share with me. I'd love to see what you come up with!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Miracle-Gro® Expand ‘n Gro™ Concentrated Planting Mix: Sponsored Post

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Scotts® for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

You all know Eric and I spend a lot of time each year in our vegetable garden growing our own food. What you may not know is that each year we have to buy soil to refill the planting beds. Plants use up your soil and although you can replenish that soil with the help of cover crops, but Hubs and I have not quite got the hang of that yet. So we get a load of soil and also use a little of our own compost.

It's important to have quality soil for both veggies and flowers if you want to them to grow well and bear good fruit. And that's why I'm excited about using a sample of Miracle Gro's Expand ‘n Gro™ Concentrated Planting Mix. While we have already refill the vegetable beds this year, Hubs is also building me some raised flower beds to put on our deck. I'm going to try out the Expand 'n Gro there and see what beautiful flowers I can grow.

EnG Product Shot.png

What really attracted me to this product was the fact that they use all-natural coconut coir in the mix. These all natural fibers hold up to 50% more water than basic potting soil. I had never heard of coir before, but this is what Mirable Gro had to say about this key ingredient.

Coir is a lightweight, all‐natural material derived from coconut husk. Coir consists of 2 components: fiber (both long and short) and pith. Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam, Dominican Republic, and Mexico are the top producing countries of coir. Harvesting coconuts begins with de‐husking. The copra (flesh) and milk of the coconuts are used as food, but the husk itself is also useful. First, long fibers are removed. These will be used in the manufacture of ropes, doormats, mattresses, automobile car seats, and garden pots. The remaining short fibers and the pith, which makes up about 70% of the weight of the husk, are by‐products of the fiber industry. Previously, these materials were disposed of, but now they are compressed and sold around the world as soil amendments.

Not only the coir, but this is a concentrated product. Anything concentrated leads to smaller packaging. Expand 'n Gro expands up to 3 times when you add water. And since it is Miracle Gro, will feed your plants for up to 6 months. Plus you get up to 3 times the flowers and vegetables versus native soil, significantly improves soil for multiple years.

Check out this cool video for more detail on using Expand 'n Gro.

If you need an easy way to prep your garden this year. Try Miracle Gro's new Expand 'n Gro. And save a little cash too by clicking on the link below to visit the sponsor's website and print a coupon for $3 off.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Caitlin's Princess Party

Yippee! I finally got a new charger for my laptop. I've been mysteriously absent because I couldn't charge, and therefore couldn't use, my laptop. We've had to buy three of those chargers now. I don't know why they keep breaking. Anyway. While I've been on an unintended blogging hiatus, we've been rather busy starting with Caitlin's third birthday.

My oldest little princess turned 3 a couple of Saturdays ago! It's crazy how fast she is growing up! She is the most amazing little girl. She is kind, sweet, and can be surprisingly thoughtful for such a young little lady. I am truly blessed to be her Mommy.

Cailtin had been talking about her birthday party for weeks. She was so excited, I don't think she could really believe that the day had finally come. Before people began showing up, she was running around the house singing nonsense songs as loudly as she could. She just couldn't contain her excitement.

Although we had planned to have her Princess party in the backyard so all the kiddos could run and play, the weather had other plans for us. But despite the rain, her party turned out great! She had so many friends and family show up to offer their love. All the girls were dressed up like the little princesses they are. Plus they had cupcake cake and cookie wands for all, and a pinata.

And I just HAVE to tell you about this pinata. It was the most disappointing pinata ever. It was a really cute castle shaped pull-string kind. It had all these ribbons hanging from the bottom and instead of hitting it with a bat, you pull the strings. Ideally, only one string will release the candy. They are supposed to be better for younger kids. I mean a bunch of two to three year-old kids with a bat is kind of a scary thing if you think about it. But this pinata was just plain pathetic. None of the strings worked. So we thought in the absence of a bat, they could just poke it. Nope that didn't work either. I had to use my fingernails to poke a hole in the bottom and then have the kids just rip it open. Oh well, once the candy fell it didn't matter. They girls squealed with delight as the candy rained down on them and immediately began scooping it up.

We bought Caitlin her first bicycle as her birthday present. Of course, she'd rather play with the $6 scooter we found at a yard sale the week before. But I think part of that is simply the learning curve that goes with a new bicycle.

All-in-all it was a fantastic birthday for a special little girl. I love you sweetheart!












 
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