Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy First Birthday Hayley

Some days it's hard to believe that my baby is one year already! Then other days I just look at her and how much she has grown in the past year. She's walking and babbling, loving and fighting with her sister. She is the sweetest little baby full of smiles and giggles.


I don't have to see Eric walk in the door. I know he's there because of the squeals of delight and the Da-da Da-da I hear from Hayley when he gets there. She loves her Daddy!

She loves her Mommy too. She doesn't call my name very often; only when she's really upset and needs rescuing. But when it's time to sleep, I'm all she wants. And all I have to do to get one of the best hugs around is kneel down on the floor and hold my arms out. Hayley comes running with the biggest grin on her face and falls right into my arms.

Watching Caitlin and Hayley together is amazing. They are so sweet sometimes; giving each other hugs and kisses. Caitlin likes to pick Hayley up and move her from place to place. Sometimes Hayley minds and other times she doesn't. Then there are the times they fight like only sisters do. Not growing up with my sisters makes it difficult for me to understand, but I know at the end of the day they love each other, so I just try to roll with it.

Caitlin wanted to make a birthday cake for Hayley. We made a hot fudge pudding cake. Mmmm.
Not the best picture, but it was sooo good.
I was so scared to be a mommy of two. Much more scared than becoming a mommy of one. This year has brought a lot of adjustment for our little family. For me, it has meant learning that it's ok to let my girls cry sometimes. I never really did that with Caitlin when she was a baby. But having two means having to take care of one when the other is upset. Not always, but it happens; especially at bed time.

Despite the learning curve, Hayley has brought so much more joy to our family. She is a happy baby and hearing her little giggles makes my face and my heart smile. I'm getting teary now as I write this. Now that she is one and walking around, we've been really enjoying how much more the girls can play together. Caitlin has taken to pushing Hayley in the swing and toy car. It's beautiful! I can't wait to see how much more they are going to play together over the next year.


I can't wait to see what the future holds for you little Hayley. I love you baby!


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Monday, October 29, 2012

Gardening with the Gardeniers

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

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You all know how much I love spending time in my garden. Hubs and I were too late this year to plant our fall vegetable garden. Although we did plant some garlic in a pot and I'm curious to see how well they turned out, I'm really hating it right now because I know I won't be getting any broccoli, turnips, collards, or carrots. So sad.

So instead, I'm commiserating with the Gardenieres and getting tons of inspiration for other fall gardening projects. Have you heard of them?

The Gardeniers are hand-picked green thumbs led by master gardener, William Moss. They’re real-life gardening enthusiasts with real-world experience when it comes to growing, anything. The Gardenieres will be covering the country, inspiring us all to get out and garden, facing unique growing challenges and meeting you online, in social networks and, occasionally, right in our own neighborhoods. All to make this the most remarkable, most conversational and most enjoyable growing season ever.

There are several videos about edible gardening which you know I love. But I wanted to share a different gardening style today for a beautiful flowering garden. Because I spend a lot of time with my vegetable garden, I don't typically have a lot of time for flowers. My yard needs more flowers! It needs the color and the beauty. So for me, bulbs are the easiest thing to do and a totally kid friendly project. Check out this video about how to plant bulbs. They are so super simple!

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Check out http://www.gardenieres.com for great fall project ideas from the Gardenieres!

And if you want even more ideas and beautiful garden pictures, check out the Miracle-Gro Facebook page. There are tons of inspiration on these sites!

 

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I'm trying to do a better job of making our home more festive for the holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas are the easiest for me, but I know I could still do better. Adding a few table decorations that I can use everyday during the fall season can really help add that extra little something.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Foodie Friday: Squash Casserole

One of my family's Thanksgiving Day staples is squash casserole. I know it's not something you typically find on a holiday table, but for us it's comfort food.

I had a really hard time photographing it. Casseroles are not very easy to take good pictures of. So, if the picture is less than, just trust me on the taste. This dish is also perfect for using up any squash you froze from your garden.



Ingredients:
6 medium squash
6 tablespoons melted butter (3/4 stick of butter)
3/4 cup crushed saltines
1/2 onion finely chopped
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp sugar
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Steam squash until tender. Drain and mash.
Mix saltines and melted butter.
Combine all ingredients.
Pour into greased casserole dish.
Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes.

Enjoy!

Linking Up To: Christy's Cuties,Crafty Cousins, Family Ever After, Frugally Sustainable, JAQS Studio, Just Us Four, Lines Across, Momnivore's Dilemma, Not Just a Housewife, One Artsy Mama, One Little Momma, Our Delightful Home, Sew Much Ado, Serendipity and Spice, So You Think You're Crafty, Sugarbee Crafts, Tatertots and Jello, Tip Junkie, Tip Junkie


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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Campbell Homecoming

A look at the non-crafty side of life. Last weekend we went back to our old Alma Mater Campbell University for Homecoming. We had a lot of fun hanging out with the kiddos doing all the fun activities they had planned. We didn't actually stay for the football game because it was getting a bit late for the girls, but that's ok, we aren't exactly the best football team out there.

Cutie in her pigtails
Jumping around on the inflatables
Hayley had fun dancing to the music
How far can you get Eric? Caitlin was racing back and forth without a tether. She got further than Daddy.
Caitlin and Daddy petting the camel. Hayley took off after him saying "Nay nay". I guess she thought he was a horse.
Meet Oscar. He took us all for a ride.
Daddy's girl wanted him to ride with her; not Mommy.
So Mommy and Hayley rode together.
It was a good thing we got in line for the camel rides when we did. We were some of the last few who were able to get on.

What family fun have you been having this fall?


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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Maternity Top to Non-Pregnancy Top

Now that I'm beginning to pull out my fall and winter clothes, I've realized that most of my clothes from last year are either maternity or extra roomy because I had just had Hayley and hadn't yet returned to normal clothes. (I mean, really, who actually gets back to normal clothes in a matter of weeks.) Most of my long sleeved shirts just don't fit.

Sunday, I was getting ready for church and needed a black top. I found a pretty maternity shirt. I love the crocheted neckline on it. But it was just too big and baggy. Good thing too, I haven't been pregnant for a year now. I wouldn't want anyone thinking I still was! I ran down stairs to my sewing machine and five minutes later had something that fit nicely and looked decent.

Pinch your baggy shirt while wearing it to get an idea of how much you'll need to bring in the sides. Then when you have it off, mark that amount with a pin.

Start at the arm pit and taper into the fabric following the natural shape of the shirt. Do this on both sides.


Don't trim the excess until you've tried the shirt on and like the fit! That way if you took in too much, you can pick out the stitches and start over. I actually didn't trim the excess fabric at all. I can't feel the extra and you can't see it either, so why bother? That way, if we ever do want to have another baby, I still have my maternity shirt.

**But that is a HUGE unlikelihood. Two kiddos are perfect for me and honestly the thought of having a third right now scares the crap out of me. I'm not saying we won't, but if we do, it's going to be God's plan and not mine. **

So here's the before and after.


Wow! I can't believe I just posted that before picture. I look terrible! That's what a teething one year old sleeping in your bed kicking you all night long because she keeps tossing and turning will do to you. Or at least, that's my excuse anyway.

I mean really, let's take a side by side comparison. I was going to do a full-length side by side, but picmonkey only let's me do squares not rectangles. Hmm. Any tips out there for that?


Seriously though, the shirt fits great and no one would ever know that it was formerly a maternity shirt.



Linking Up To: Crafty Cousins, Family Ever After, Frugally Sustainable, JAQS Studio, Just Us Four, Lines Across, Momnivore's Dilemma, Not Just a Housewife, One Artsy Mama, One Little Momma, Our Delightful Home, Sew Much Ado, Serendipity and Spice, So You Think You're Crafty, Sugarbee Crafts, Tatertots and Jello, Tip Junkie, Tip Junkie


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Monday, October 22, 2012

Cornhole Tutorial

 

Cornhole. Bean bag toss. Throw the bag into the hole. Whatever you want to call it...it's fun! And if you buy your own set, a little expensive. That's why it pays to DIY!

Building a cornhole set really isn't that difficult. Beginners can make one, just don't let the longish supply list get you down.

Supplies:
2 - 24"x48" (that's 2 feet x 4 feet) 1/2" inch thick board
4 - 4 foot long 2x4s (box frame)
4 - 21" long 2x4s (box frame)
4 - 11" long 2x4s (legs)
10 - 2" wood screws
4 - 3" wood screws
4 - 3/8" x 4" carriage bolts
4 - 3/8" washers and wing nuts

Paint and painters tape
Tracing paper

8 7"x7" duck cloth squares in 1 color
8 7"x7" duck cloth squares in another color
16 cups Corn, beans, or rice

First you build the box. I didn't get any pictures of the process, but it's really simple. You use two of the long and two of the short 2x4 pieces to form a rectangle. Then screw the box together using the 4 3" wood screws. Then screw the 1/2" thick board on top making a box using the 8 2" woods screws. It should look like this, without the hole, when you're done.


Draw a 6 inch circle in the middle (horizontally) of your board exactly 9 inches from the top. We used a kitchen bowl, which just happened to be the perfect size, to make a circle. Drill a hole in the middle of your circle. Then you can put your jig saw in through the hole you just drilled and cut out the circle. It won't be perfect, so be ready to sand any rough edges off.


Next drill a 1/2 inch hole on each side of your box frame. They should be about 2 inches from the top.

Now get the 11 inch 2x4s. These are going to be the legs so your board sits at an angle.Use your jig saw again and round off the top. Use the photo below for reference. It doesn't have to be perfectly rounded. You just want the legs to move in and out of place easily without hitting the box frame.

Drill a hole in each leg 1 1/2 inches from the top of the rounded edge.


Line up the hole in your box frame and the hole in your leg piece. Attach with carriage bolt, washer, and wing nut.

Now your set is built and completely functional, but still a little boring. You're probably going to be hauling these bad boys to a football game or cookout or somewhere, so.... Let's show a little team spirit and let's paint them up in your favorite team colors.

For us, we are a house divided when it comes to team loyalty except our Alma Mater. So Campbell Camels it was.

We first painted everything black. Then we taped off a triangle with the point ending in the hole and painted that area orange. And then we painted it orange again, and again before we finally got it to cover up all that black. In hindsight, maybe we should have painted orange first and black second.

Next we wanted to have the CU and fighting camel on the board. It would have been easiest to use a decal or something to stick on, but I couldn't find one big enough. So on to plan B; tracing paper.

We some tracing paper and printed out the logo we wanted to use. I taped the tracing paper, color side down, and the printed logo in place so it wouldn't slip. Then I traced everything.

Once I took off the papers, an outline was left and I could paint in the lines.



After all the painting was done, we needed to seal it. Three coats of poly-acrylic sealed it and gave a nice slick surface for the bags to slide on. I used a sponge brush to keep the finish smooth. Sometimes a regular brush will leave bristle streaks.


Oh, bags. Can't forget those. You need eight bags; four in one color and four in another. I needed black and orange obviously, but I couldn't find orange duck cloth. So I resorted to white and a packet of dye. You know there's a reason why the package of dye says to stir your fabric. It's so the color spreads evenly and I didn't do that this time. Oops.

Place two pieces of fabric together (it's duck cloth so I don't think you have to worry about right side/wrong side, but just in case you aren't using duck cloth - right side together). Sew around leaving a small hole. Trim your corners.



Inverse bag through the hole. Fill with 2 cups corn. Regulation bags are 13 ounces and two cups of corn is perfect. If you are going to use beans or rice you can check the weight if you want.


Then tuck in the raw edges and sew remembering to back stitch at the beginning and end to reinforce your seam.


Now all you need is a way to keep score. Hubs drill two sets of 20 holes in the back side of the box frame. He used a 7/32 sized drill bit. I added vinyl numbers to help keep track. You put a golf tee in the hole to mark your score. The first to 21 wins.


Did you notice I said Hubs drilled 20 holes and in the picture I have the number 21. Yeah, we didn't communicate very well on that one. Oh well, we know that whoever gets the next point after their golf tee is in the final hole wins. And of course, Hubs keeps beating me. I mean, look at that concentration!



Linking Up To: Christy's Cuties, Crafty Cousins, Family Ever After, Frugally Sustainable, JAQS Studio, Just Us Four, Lines Across, Momnivore's Dilemma, Not Just a Housewife, One Artsy Mama, One Little Momma, Our Delightful Home, Sew Much Ado, Serendipity and Spice, So You Think You're Crafty, Sugarbee Crafts, Tatertots and Jello, Tip Junkie, Tip Junkie


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Friday, October 19, 2012

State Fair

I don't have a recipe this week; partly because we spent yesterday at the state fair and I was too pooped to come up with anything, and partly because we have been working on another project that I will hopefully have for you Monday. So instead, I thought I would share some of our photos from the fair.

I love going to the State Fair. Animals, artisans, food, rides, games. We live close to where the fair is hosted every year, so it's almost a tradition for us and definitely something to look forward to every October.

We started out looking at the animals. And of course posing for some granny pics.
Pappy showing Caitlin the bunny rabbits.
Look at that!
Getting some snuggles.
Pony rides! Giddy up George Washington. Seriously, that was the pony's name.
Look at that grin!
Flying elephant rides.
Lady bug rides. Plus a wiggly worm, giant slide, and a kiddy roller coaster.
Pappy, Mammy, Eric, and Hayley resting a bit while Caitlin rode her rides.
And then I either got tired or forgot to take anymore pictures. Oops.

We ate some fair food, watched BMX bikes and stunt motorcycles, went through the craft tent (duh), listened to some bluegrass, and had a great time.

Have you been to any state or county fairs this fall??



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