He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young
. {Isaiah 40:11}

31 July 2010

ApPliQue Pj SHiRtS

Though I was sure to include a ton of pictures, this is SuPeR easy and, depending on the amount of detail you include, SuPeR quick! The best part is, you can make just about anything!

What You'll Need: 
Paper with image of choice
Fabrics that you'll want for each part of the picture
Freezer Paper
Heat n Bond
Writing Utensil{markers are best}
Medium piece of cardboard
OnE: Pick your picture and trace it onto paper. You can trace it directly onto freezer paper but if you ever want to duplicate your image it's easier to keep the original.

TwO: Trace each individual piece of your picture onto your freezer paper as shown below. Notice the cab of the truck. Even though the part of the cab behind the windshield will be covered, you want to cut out the whole cab piece. 

Cut out shapes a little bigger than you've drawn them and, using the dry setting, iron them onto the front of the fabric you'd like to make them out of.

 FoUr: Cut the Heat N Bond large enough to cover your fabric pieces and, using a dry iron, iron it to the back of the fabric pieces. 

Cut out your pieces and peel off all your paper

SiX: Get your shirt ready. Using a hard surface {I used a bamboo cutting board} lay your shirt down and place a piece of cardboard {or a magazine or something hard} between the layers of your shirt to prevent the Heat N Bond from leaking through to the back.

Iron down your background pieces. When using Heat N Bond, it is best to not move the iron around. Instead, place the iron onto your pieces and count "5-Mississippis", pick up the iron and repeat over another portion of the picture. You are going to repeat this process starting from the background and working to the foreground as shown below.

I highly recommend sewing down your edges. Sometimes, after lots and lots of love, the edges can fray. Since I expect these to be your kiddo's FaVOriTe shirts it's best to be preventative. {I fooled around with different lengths and widths of stitching as I went to get a funky affect.}

Lately, CJ's favorite character is none-other-than Elmo so I couldn't resist. 

30 July 2010

Peasant Shirt... Dress? Tunic!

I found this pattern for a peasant shirt and tried it twice. I'm not gonna lie... I couldn't figure the darn thing out! After two "fails" I decided to scrap it and make my own pattern which I may or may not share down the road when I get it down to a science. 


{Of course Miss Mak smiles non-stop on a moment-to-moment basis but when the camera came out today this is what I had to work with. At least the dress is cute!}

28 July 2010

Simple Ways to Show 'em You Love 'em

It is easy to get caught up in the daily routine and forget that sometimes "taking care" of your kiddos just means making sure they know you love them. I know that sometimes I get caught up in the daily grind and don't take advantage of my time with him. As good ol' DC Talk says it "Love is a Verb" so here are a few ideas for when you're in a dry spell of brilliant ways to tell your kids you love them without having to say it.

1. Go for a walk at their pace.
2. Sit down and read as many books as they want of their choosing.
3. Take them out for ice cream.
4. Set up a tent in the living room with blankets, chairs, pillows, whatever you have around.
5. Play with your kids. Don't just observe, get down on the floor with them.
6. Make a treasure hunt around the house or yard with a map and all.
7. Take them to the local petting zoo or pet store and explore the animals together.
8. Take them out on a date, just you and them.
9. Set aside and hour and head to the park.
10. Cook them their favorite meal.
11. Cook with them.
12. Sit down with them over cookies and milk and ask them how their day was.
13. Have their favorite snack out for them when they get home from school.
14. Hide notes in their lunch boxes {when they're young. This could be embarrassing for older kids who are just "too cool"}.
15. Turn off the TV, step away from the computer, mute your phone.
16. Go see {or rent} a movie of their choosing.
17. Write them a letter that tells them how proud you are of them.
18. Take pictures of them and keep their photo album updated.
19. Redecorate their room with or without their help.
20. Use a white board to put up daily notes to them.
21. Craft or paint with them. Create with them.
22. Ask their opinion when you can.
23. Mail them a letter in the mail.
24. Invite their closest friends over for a movie night.
25. Do their regular chore for them {every so often!}.
26. Give them a back rub.
27. Give your daughter a pedicure and manicure.

I could go on for a while but I'd love to know... what do you do with your little one to tell them you love them without words?


You'll Need:
Fabric A - 15" x 30"
Fabric B - 15" x 30"Pocket Fabric - 9" x 14" {2}
Fabric Yo-Yo {2} Fabric Applique Leaves {4}
Handles - 34" x 4" {4} you can alter the length based on your needsFusible Web/Heat n' Bond
Fusible Interfacing {optional} - 13" x 28"

The Method:
**Be sure to duplicate the steps to make two, identical sides**
OnE: {Pockets} Fold pocket fabric in half so you have a 9" x 7" rectangle, press the seam.

TwO: Stitch the three open sides with a 1/4" seam being sure to leave a 2" opening for turning. Turn and press seams flat. {There's no need to stitch the opening closed, you'll take care of that in the next few steps}. Repeat with second pocket.

{Applique and Yo-Yo} If you are doing the applique flowers on the pockets, now's the time. Iron on the the applique leaves where you'd like {sew around the edges for a little extra "somthin'-something"} and sew the flower into place being sure to stitch through the center.

If you want to top stitch the pocket, go ahead and do that now about 1" below the top of the pocket.

FoUr: Fold your 15" x 30" fabric into a 15" x 15"square and press to create a crease on the folded edge. Open and lay on table.

FiVe: Lay your pocket piece into position. Measure 1/4" up from the bottom of the pocket and place a pin to mark your spot.

{top of the bag }

SiX: Using the bottom of the pocket as your pivot point, flip the pocket over. Pin the bottom of the pocket into place and sew using a 1/4" seam. Fold the pocket back into position and press to crease the bottom of the pocket. {This will ensure your pocket doesn't pucker in the next step.}

SeVeN: Stitch up both sides of the pocket and leave the top open. For this, I prefer to do a tight zig-zag stitch close to the top to reinforce the pocket so it doesn't peel off over time and a running stitch for the rest. {Oops! I forgot to take pictures for the next couple of steps. I'll improvise, hope it works!}

EiGhT: I decided to divide the pocket to make room specifically for a cell phone. {I HATE fishing around for mine in a big bag}. About 4" from one side of the pocket, stitch another
line to create the divide.
NiNe: Once both pieces of fabric have their pockets sewn on, it is time to add the interfacing, if you'd like to use it for added stability. Place the interfacing, with the shiny side down, onto one of the 15" x 30" pieces an inch from all sides and iron into place. Now fold the two pieces of 15" x 30" fabric in half so they are 15" x 15" squares. Sew up the sides and leave the top open.

At the corners of the two 15" x 15" squares, make a point at the corners
like shown below. Measure in 1 1/2" from the point and draw a line. Pin into place. Sew on the line. Then snip your corner about 1/2" from the seam. These will create a flat bottom for your bag.

EleVeN: {Handles} Take all four of your handle strips and do the following... Step 1: fold your strips in half lengthwise and press. Step 2: Unfold them and fold the sides in towards the crease and press. Step 3: Fold in half and press again so you have a long "v" shape.

TWelVe: Cut your fusible web into two strips that are the width of your handle
minus 1/4" and the length of your handles minus 1". {Example: My handles, once folded and ironed were 1" x 34" so I cut two strips of fusible web to 3/4" x 33".} Iron them down the length of two of your handle pieces.

ThIrTeEn: This part is kind of hard to explain so check out the bottom right picture {above} for reference... Take one strip with webbing and one without. Lay the piece with the webbing down on the table with the "webbed" part facing up. Peel off the paper of the webbing. Place the strip without the webbing in position so that its opening is on the o
pposite side of the opening on the bottom piece. Using a hot, dry iron, press these to pieces together, doing your best to keep the two strips aligned. Repeat this to make your second handle.

FoUrTeEN: Sew down both sides of your handles 1/4" from the edges.

We're down to the final steps! Time to assemble!

FiFteEn: Turn one side of your bag inside out. Place the other bag inside so that the right sides are together.
SiXteEN: Stick your handles in between the two bags and position your handles 2" in from either seem and 2" exposed out of the bag like shown below. Pin into place.

SeVeNTeEn: Stitch 1/2" around the top of the bag leaving 3" to turn.

EiGhTeEn: Turn. Press. Top Stitch at 2-3 varying lengths to finish it off.

Whew! You are done! Enjoy!

26 July 2010


Okay... so I haven't made these yet ...

but I will and wanted to share them with you in the meantime. I love how organic these look, as if they were carved out of stone. Martha Stewart was generous enough to give the world a video tutorial on making these. Thanks, as always, Martha! You can also find a written tutorial from 33 Shades of Green {where I snagged the above picture from since she made some beautiful pots}.

A friend of our family's, when I was growing up, made her own birdbaths out of over-sized hosta leaves and concrete like these.

These are definitely on my list.

25 July 2010

These Aint Your Mamma's Yo-Yos

Growing up I HATED these things. My mom learned how to make them and ended up making millions of them and put them on everything. They were always country looking and, needless to say, I wasn't a fan. However, I think when Miss Mak joined our family my outlook on all things girly changed. All that to say... these are cute, quick, easy, don't require a sewing machine and they can be used in fun new ways that aren't the usual country style.

You'll Need:
- Fabric, 1/4 of a yard or less will do
- Bowl/Plate or something round to trace
{Be sure it is DOUBLE the size of the Yo Yo you want to make}
- Needle & Thread
- Button {optional}

OnE: Trace the circle onto your fabric and cut out

TwO {A}: Stitch 1/4" all the way around the circle, as pictured
TwO {B}: Fold the edge 1/4" in on the wrong side of the fabric, iron into place for easier stitching, and stitch all the way around {this will give you a finished center if you're not putting embellishments on your yo-yo}

THrEe: Once you get all the way around the circle, gently pull the thread and the yo-yo will begin to close down the center.

FoUr: Tie your ends off.

FiVe: Sew your button or other embellishments on.

24 July 2010

Three Column Blog

You may have noticed that I recently updated to a 3-column layout. I have found that, when skimming other crafty blogs for brilliant inspiration, this format is a little easier on the eyes. That being said, I know NOTHING about html and how to change things so THANK YOU to the dear woman who posted this link.

{Homemade Butter}

I've wanted to try making my own butter for a while now and once I realized how easy it is I had no excuse not to. I mean it... this could not be easier! The only downside is that the butter is only good for a day or two so it's a great idea for dinner parties or big families.

Buy. Pour. Mix. Done.

FIrSt: You need cream. Paturized heavy cream {NOT ultra pasturized}. It needs to be room temperature so leave it out on the counter for an hour or so.
NeXT: Place the cream into a food processor or a stand mixer or a bowl and use a hand mixer or a jar with a tight lid.
THeN: Start processing or turn on the mixer or start shaking the jar.
NoW: Wait. The food processor will take about 6 minutes. The mixer a little longer. The jar method may take up to 20 minutes {The jar may take longer but what a great workout and it doesn't cost you any electricity AND if you have kids you can just make them do it!} While you wait, the cream goes through several stages. After a while it will thicken to the consistency of whipping cream. Keep going. Then it will get to the texture of cream cheese. It will stay at this stage for a while. Keep going. It will "break" and you'll know it when it does. This is when the butter separates into buttermilk and butter.
FiNaLlY: Drain off the buttermilk and save it for bisquits or waffles and if you have a cheesecloth handy, squeeze out as much of the buttermilk as you can. What you're left with is butter!

23 July 2010

My Worst Fears

As any parent or spouse can attest, a regular {sometimes constant, sometimes nagging} concern is the fear of losing a child and/or spouse. It is a universal feeling and requires lots of "letting go and letting God" otherwise it can be consuming. Well, for the first time, I had a new and horrifying feeling/experience. Rather than envisioning CJ falling down the stairs, Miss Mak suffocating in her crib or Sweet Hubs getting into a car wreck... it was ME that was breathing my final breaths! This is something I was never warned about or prepared for. My mother never sat me down to tell me the "need-to-knows" of motherhood and my friends who had experienced this never gave me a heads-up about the angst of this experience. In trying to discover why I was never warned about such a thing, I came to discover that most woman feel as if they alone experienced this and that telling others would make them seem crazy. Well, crazy or not, I'm here to tell you...

This can happen! This is normal! This is terrifying!
I assume, as in all things, everyone's experience is different. For me, I was at home on the weekend and was playing with Miss Mak while Hubs was working out in the garden and CJ was sleeping. Out of no-where I felt as though I was physically taking my last breaths. That each single gulp of air I swallowed was one closer to my last. I thought of how I simply cannot die now because my kids are too young and when they grow older they won't remember me. I started to panic and think maybe this was the Lord preparing me so I ought to enjoy every single second I had, and at that time I was literally thinking minutes or even seconds. {I realize, at this moment, that most of the realizations I had that day were/are true but to face them head-on was bewildering!} I went out to the yard to tell Hubby that I was having strange morbid thoughts and that I wanted him to be prepared just in case. {I guess I now understand why people are afraid that telling others will make them seem crazy!} While giving him more details I started to tear up and didn't want Hubs to see me cry so I carried Miss Mak back into the house and stared at her for a while just in case it was my last chance to see her. Hubs, after questioning my mental stability, came in to check on me and saw me crying over Mak so he took her and started asking questions, trying to understand where this all came from. As we talked, I watched him play with Mak and felt as if I was on the outside looking in. I actually thought "This is what they'll look like when I'm not around. I hope he can find happiness without me. I know he'll take wonderful care of the kids without me." {Yeah, awful, I know!} None-the-less, I made it through that night and many nights after but that experience has lived with me. I don't think it was a call to feel as though every day is my last because there is no way one could live a sane life carrying around that kind of burden day in and day out! I believe it was a reminder that our moments are precious, don't sit on the computer all day when you could play with your kids. Don't watch TV when you could talk to your husband. Don't skip out on spending time with your friends because it's too much work to get out of the house. Do make sure your salvation is secure, don't put it off until tomorrow.

If you haven't experienced this and have no idea what I'm talking about, just write me off as a "nut-job" and come back soon for a good recipe or craft idea. If you have experienced this,
YOU ARE NOT CRAZY and you're not alone. My mom had the same feelings too and said she figures it comes from realizing the weight of the responsibility you now face with a husband and/or kids. Before all of this, it was just you. You could do crazy things like jump out of planes and max out your speedometer. Now your life and your decisions affect others. You, my friend, are normal :)

21 July 2010

{Stuffed Peppers : With a Twist}

This is a take on Paula Deen's Stuffed Red Peppers
This isn't the typical saucy stuffed peppers... it's got lots of flavor and cooks fairly quick compared to many of the recipes I've tried. *It's even better with peppers from the garden!

What You'll Need:
4 large peppers of any color
1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cubes of beef bouillon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 c cooked rice
1/2 c shredded cheese {cheddar or mozzarella}
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 cup hot water

What To Do:
Preheat the oven to 350.
OnE: Cut peppers in half from top to bottom, keep the stem intact. Remove seeds and ribs.
TwO: Using a hot skillet, saute ground beef, onions, garlic cloves, 1 bouillon cube, salt, pepper, and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent. Drain off fat.
THrEe: Add rice, cheese, tomatoes and soy sauce.
FoUr: Stuff pepper halves and place them in a baking dish.
FiVe: In a small bowl, ix the hot water and the remaining bouillon and pour the mixture into the baking dish around the peppers.
SiX: Cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
SeVeN: Remove the foil and spoon the juice from bottom of the dish of the casserole over the top of the peppers. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the peppers are soft.

Think on These Things

I used to have a lot of anxiety about ... well... life! I got to the point of having panic attacks
regularly and ended up seeing a Christian counselor for a while. Needless to say, believe me when I say I know about stress, worry and anxiety! If nothing else, this is just a friendly reminder that even when we feel like things won't get better, that we won't make the right decisions as a wives or moms, that our home isn't in order or that others are going to think ill of us (a while back I ran into a friend at the store and looked like I hadn't slept or showered in a week! My poor friend!) ... God has it all under control.

Philippians 4:6-9, verses I cling to regularly....
Do not be anxious about ANYTHING but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about THESE things.

As women/moms, we are so susceptible to guilt and worry because we feel like it's our job to hold the world together. If we drop the ball, everything will fall apart. if we don't handle a specific situation well than the rest of our family's lives will fall apart. Well, it's not our job to hold all things together so when we feel stressed out or caught up in all the "shoulds and shouldn'ts" of life/mommy-hood, the solution is simple. STOP IT!! Don't stress. Instead, let God know how you're feeling and think of all the things you have to be thankful for. Because when you do that... peace, which only God can give us, protects our minds and feelings from all the worry. And not only should we not fixate on all the trivial things that worry us. We should instead think of God's truths. This is a clear cut promise from God. Do "A" and the result will, without fail, be "b".

Also, a while back I worked {and yes, I mean worked} my way through the book "Created to be His Help Meet". It is an intense book but makes a wonderful point. "Joy begins with thankfulness". When you find yourself getting distressed or discontent, stop right there and make a mental list (or even a written list) of all you are thankful for. Taking our focus off the immediate, often trivial circumstance, puts things back into perspective and reminds us that God has, as always, got it under control.

16 July 2010

The Cracked Pot

Courtesy of Dog on the Roof Group
The Cracked Pot - A Chinese Parable

A water bearer in China had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which he carried across his neck.

One of the pots had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his house.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect for which it was made.

But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After 2 years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself because this crack in my side causes water to leak all the way back to your house."

The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you've w

atered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house."

15 July 2010

Thinly Slicing Meat

This is a quick tip from Rachael Ray that I really like...
When cutting meats thin for things like cheese steaks or fajitas, pop the meat in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to solidify it a little so it doesn't slip all over the place while you try to slice it.

14 July 2010

Words I Desperately Needed to Hear

Two kids under two years has dulled my Type-A personality a little, on the surface at least. However, with a shallow search, my desire for perfection is lurking underneath and rears it's ugly head far too often. I have recently found that my selfish desire to have everything just the way I like it has affected my mood like a dark cloud overhead and it requires far more effort to stay cool than it should. To top off the silly frustrations like crumbs on the kitchen floor {remnant from the blessing of never having to worry about where our food is coming from} and loads of unfolded laundry {more clothes than many people own}, my sweet CJ decided it was time to potty train. A full morning of pure success lead to an early afternoon of wet undies and my patience didn't just tip-toe out the back door... it bolted into the wall a few times before crashing though the window.
I woke up in the middle of the night last night unsettled about my attitude. I am a wretched sinner. I am caught up in my own desires more than the needs of others. I grumble about the crumbs when I should be thankful for the banquet that left them. I have been wondering if this was something worth sharing... why expose my sins?... then this...
I did a search for an all-natural mommy's perspective on potty training {the first search I have done of this type} and stumbled onto a blog aptly named "The Natural Mommy". Ha! I liked what I read so I skimmed her site and this caught my eye. I couldn't have said it better.

I don’t know exactly when my life changed.

I don’t know when I lost control.

When the stress started mounting.

When I started yelling more.

Loving less.

I woke up one morning and didn’t like my life anymore.

The children were fighting, screaming, crying, clinging, smothering. I couldn’t demand obedience. Not even if I screamed. Which I did. A lot.

I would plead with God for patience. To be filled with His Spirit. To be a better mom. I begged. I tried. I failed. I tried harder. I failed harder.

I stopped asking.

I knew I should be reading my bible, but told myself God understood that I was busy. That I never had a moment to myself. So I didn’t have time for Him.

My heart grew colder.

The first prayer I prayed, I almost didn’t.

It was two days before Levi’s birthday - the day before his party - and his present hadn’t come yet. Josh thought it could still make it, but I had given up. And you know something’s wrong with life with Josh is the optimist of our relationship.

“Maybe we should pray for it” slipped from my mouth before it was even fully thought and I was immediately embarrassed. As if God would answer such a pitiful prayer. A meaningless request.

And yet, somehow, the thought was strengthened within me. And I prayed.

And He answered. It came.

For the first time in months, He had my attention.

That night, I hit my knees on our living room floor and begged His forgiveness for my absence. My pride. My anger. My failure as a child of God and a mother to my children.

The day after Levi’s party, on his birthday, we went to church. He wooed me fiercely with songs of a Love no sin could diminish.

The realization that it was Father’s Day brought a flood of tears as God planted the knowledge in my head that He had never left me. I had turned my back on Him. Unlike my earthly father, He was always there, waiting for me to open my eyes to see, my ears to hear.

I resolved to try harder.

And failed spectacularly.

But He remained with me, waiting for my eyes, my ears, to find him.

This morning, alone in a car, I cried out to him. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t be the mother I wanted to be. Why wasn’t He helping me? Why couldn’t I do this?

I found myself in Romans less than an hour later.

He found me in Romans.

I found Him in Romans.

We met in Romans.

And He explained to me the concept of Faith. Not works. Faith. Not trying. Trusting. If I am a perfect mother in my own power, how does that glorify Him?

I need to let go.

I am letting go.

Let go with me.

Say it with me.

I am letting go of the heavy burden of perfect motherhood and letting the faith that Christ will fulfill his purpose in me wash over me.


Quinoa {Keen-what?}

Actually pronounced "keen-wa", this grain is a nice alternative to the usual starches as a side dish. Our family is taking a stab at whole grains rather than just breads or potatoes for our meals and this is one of the first things we've tried. It reminds me of rice and has a little crunch to it. I figured I would share this with you since, until recently, I had not heard of it and assume you haven't either. Next on the list is spelt, followed by bulgar and barley.

Expand your horizons... Give it a shot!The only ingredients required are quinoa, water or chicken stock, and a pinch of salt

Dry: very small and opaque

Cooked: still small but translucent with a curly-q "thingy"

13 July 2010

{Breaded Parm Zucchini Chips}

Now that our veggies gardens are starting to fill out there are many zucchinis to be eaten.
This is a great recipe {courtesy of my mother-in-law} for when you have more than your freezer can hold!

What you'll need...
1/3 cup bread crumbs {plain or Italian}
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 t paprika
1/2 t salt
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 medium zucchinis, thinly sliced
1/2 c melted butter {optional, see step TwO}

How to make it happen...
{Pre-heat oven to 375}
OnE: Mix all dry ingrediants {except the zucchini} in a gallon sized zip bag.
TwO: Wet zucchini slices with either water or melted butter, add to bag in handful-sized batches, and shake to coat with breading mix.
ThReE: lay, single layer on a baking sheet.
FoUr: Bake for 15 minutes, flip pieces, return to oven for another 10-15 minutes. Chips are done when breading has darkened and zucchini has softened. {I like to make mine crispy so I bake it a bit longer.}

09 July 2010

Buying Local {A Visit to the Farm}

Thanks to a friend of my sister-in-laws, we have become acquainted with a great local farm for our milk. Smyth's Trinity Farm in Enfield, CT {minutes off of exit 46 from I-91}.

Their cows are grass fed with no antibiotics or hormone injections {they aren't labeled organic but we consider it just as healthy} and it's just plain good, especially their chocolate milk which tastes like a melted Frosty from Wendy's! They sell their milk, whipping cream, and half-and-half in glass bottles and offer 1%, 2%, 3%, chocolate and coffee flavors in quarts and half gallons sizes. Their prices are competitive too, compared to organic milk from the grocery store. I looked at a 1/2 gallon of whole organic milk today at our local grocer which sold for $4.19. Smyth's sells theirs for $4.50 BUT that includes the $1.00 bottle deposit that you get back when you return the jar. It's actually cheaper. Yay for us!
Anyway, I just wanted to share this little gem with you locals. If you're not from around these parts you can do an internet search for your state {ex. "buy local in Texas"}.

*Don't get your hopes up if you go to visit... this picture was taken in Western Pennsylvania, Smyth's does not look like this!

06 July 2010

Do Tell {a poll of sorts}

My sweet boy, CJ, isn't even 2 years old yet and I already know that he's seriously lacking in the "tasking risks" department. Both Sweet Hubs and I agree that it's a trait we would like CJ to do without.

Yesterday, CJ and I met a few friends at the spray park for a cool down on a hot summer morning. CJ and I got to the park early and had the whole place to ourselves for a little while so I figured I'd try and get him used to the concept of shooting water as opposed to placid pools. {I will preface this story by saying that I acknowledge that, at his age, this park may be intimidating.} At any rate of flow, high strong sprays or gentle spills, CJ was all but terrified. I determined that I was not going to let my little man run away crying, especially when it was a situation I knew was safe. I picked him up and, at first, let him touch the water to show him how it didn't hurt. I did this a few times. Then he started asking to go touch but when I tried to put him down, he would cry and cling to my leg. After about half an hour of on and off water touching I finally picked him up and warned him we were "going in" and walked him under the umbrella of rain. He cried and clung to me and screamed a little but I did it a few more times despite the tears.
All of that was to set up my question{s}... When faced with the fears of your little one, how do you handle it? Do you have any recommendations or strategies? Do you have a dare-devil? Any thoughts on this, of any kind, would be greatly appreciated. I am very curious about how different parents handle a situation like this so please share!

{If you can't figure out how to comment... click on the "comments" link below this posting and you can add your comments there. Happy sharing!}

05 July 2010


This beauty was a commissioned by Hubs.

"Victory Gardens were vegetable, fruit and herb gardens planted at private residences and public parks in United States, United Kingdom, Canada and German during World War I and World War II to reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war effort. In addition to indirectly aiding the war effort these gardens were also considered a civil "morale booster" — in that gardeners could feel empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce grown. This made victory gardens become a part of daily life on the home front."
I don't think Sweet Hubs believes this is necessary for the war we currently find ourselves in but none-the-less, here it is!

02 July 2010

Tell 'em You Love 'em

I recently heard about a couple who sit down every New Year's Eve and write down the top 50 things about the past year.Within days of reading about that idea I was reminded of the very sweet idea of writing letters to your children for the big events in life so that your kiddos would know you were thinking about these events long before they happened {also often done when a parent doesn't think they'll be around when these events (wedding, first child, turning 30) happen}. I loved both ideas but neither seemed just right to me. One, I'm way too forgetful to conjure of 50 ideas to cover an entire year and two, writing letters for specific events seemed awfully formal for me. I wanted something more fluid, more spontaneous, more candid.

I bought one notebook for each member of our little family for the purpose of writing notes specifically meant for that person. When something happens in the day that I think I'd like to share with CJ, Miss Mak or Sweet Hubs, I write it down. For the kids, this could be anything from "you have the most beautiful smile" to "the year you were born, President Barack Obama was elected as the first African-American president". For Sweet Hubs, I could write something like "thank you for working hard outside the home so I can work hard inside our home" or "you were the sexiest man I know!". As of now, Hubby and I are the only ones who have written in the books but when the kiddos are old enough, we'll show them how to share their thoughts too.

I highly recommend this or anything like it. It is exciting to share things that are on ours minds with the kids with the intention of them reading them one day and knowing that all along, mommy and daddy are thinking of them.


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