Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Heart Quilt Progress via Instagram

I've been making some serious progress on my heart quilt, originally posted here. The goal was to have it finished by Valentine's Day, but since that didn't work out, I moved on to other things and just pull this out when I have some time to kill, but not enough to plan out something new.

This is going to be picture OVERLOAD. I have been taking a picture of each section as I piece it so you can get a better view of the fabrics used.

I thought it may be fun to show you all each section as I piece it, you know, so you can see all the amazing fabrics!

Section two. Y-seams ain't got nuthin on me!

Section 3.

And then I went to my friend Chelsa's house and busted out a ton of sections (so yeah, that's her amazing bedspread):

Section four.

Section seven.

Section eight.

Section nine.

Section five. Missed this one.

Section ten.



Monday, March 18, 2013

Meal Plan 3/18 - 3/22

I'm going to keep things short this week as I'm preparing my very first vegetable garden. Squee!

Monday: Minestrone Soup
Tuesday: Dinner with in-laws
Wednesday: Salad
Thursday: Beans and Cornbread
Friday: Dinner at our friends' house

We got lucky this week with a couple dinners out. I love sharing meals with my family and friends and this week we got lucky to have two nights off!

As for the beans this week, I use HamBeen's 15 Bean Soup bag from the grocery store. I add chopped onion, a can of Rotel diced tomatoes, a dash or two of chili powder, 2 cloves of pressed garlic, and generally some salt, to taste. In the past I have added some ham hock or bacon fresh from the butcher. This time, even though we've been eating vegetarian, I opted for a couple ham hocks from the butcher who sold them to me for $3! That's a good price for fresh ham hock. Dump it all in a crockpot with a few cups of water (just to cover the beans) and set it on low for 6-8 hours. It's a great meal that will have lots of left overs for our small little family. Add hot sauce or shredded cheese when serving.

My grocery bill was pretty high, about $160. I needed honey, flour, EVOO (which costs an arm and a leg), and a few other staples. As I mentioned in previous posts, my staples were dwindling. The cost for the actual meals this week rolled in at a whopping $47.

If you are ordering your Bountiful Basket this week, don't forget you have until tomorrow to make your donation.

Also this week, I am making whole wheat bread using a recipe on the side of the flour bag, a cinnamon raisin bread for breakfasts, and I'm going to try out that cornbread recipe on Thursday. A very bread-y week. Part of me wishes I had a nice mixer that could knead the bread for me, but I am very grateful for the stress relief and arm workout making bread gives me.

Hope you all have a great week eating healthy!


Thursday, March 14, 2013


Sometimes I like to make things.

elephant softie

Pattern: Tilly and Tommy Elephant Softie by Retro Mama
Fabric: Constellations by Lizzy House

Putting together this elephant was a breeze. I originally bought the pattern because Clara loves elephants and I thought it would make a great toy. Then the pattern sat, forever, filed away, until this week when I decided I needed a quick finish. I busted this out in a couple hours while watching Wreck It Ralph with the fam-bam.

I'll be making more of these, for sure.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sensory Play: Water Beads

Before I had Clara, I stumbled upon a site dedicated to playing with your kids called Play At Home Mom. I knew I was going to be staying home with Clara but since she's my first child, I didn't really know what I was supposed to do with her. I know people who let television raise their kids, who never let their kids touch books, who never let their kids get messy, and I didn't want to be that mom. I knew from the start I wanted to be a hands-on mom so I researched and pinned and incorporated mess into the raising of Miss Maze.

I've gotten some questions about what I do with Clara and how I have time for everything. And the answer is simple: I don't have time for everything. Clara Mae is my priority. I'm a Stay-at-Home-Mom before I'm a Stay-at-Home-Maid or a Stay-at-Home-Quilter. Yesterday, I had planned to vacuum and mop my floors, but instead we had a fun little impromptu play date with Alyssa (Pile O'Fabric) and her kids. This morning, there are billowing tumbleweeds of dog hair roaming across my kitchen floors and the remnants of crushed Cheerios in my living room. I am meticulous about my home being organized and clean, but I've learned to loosen my grip on those reigns, just refuse to be stressed, so I can live a fulfilling life with my child.

I don't know how often I'll post about what Clara and I do or how involved of a set-up it will be, but I would love to inspire other moms to get hands-on with their kids if they aren't already. Let them be messy. Let them be independent. Let them be kids.

I would also like to say here that I am not an expert in child rearing. I don't have training in occupational therapy or pediatric anything. I would also like to say that my parenting style is not necessarily the best and I am by no means attempting to degrade anyone, especially based off their parenting. I think we all have different gifts and qualities that form us into the people we have become, so whether parenting or in a leading role at work, we know what woks for us. I happen to be ridiculously patient with children and have not a shred of patience for incompetent business associates. I know who I am. I know what I can handle as a mom. We make messes.

So here is the content of my first post.

Water beads.

These were created for use in flower vases, to give the vases color and help store water. They are non-toxic, so if they land in the yard they won't kill my very tiny patch of green grass, which is good, because I like my little spot of grass.

Water Bead Sensory Play

I bought these beads at the Dollar Tree down the street from my house. You can buy them already hydrated, like I did, or you can buy them in little packages that look like seeds. That kind will need to be soaked in water over night to completely hydrate, but the directions are on the package for you to follow.

Water Bead Sensory Play

For the sensory "table", we are using one of mommy's quilt project bins. I bought it at Wal-Mart for about $7. It has a lid and can be stored under the patio table outside. I would eventually like to get/make a sensory table for my yard where Miss Maze can stand and play, but that's just not in the budget right now. I improvised and she still loves it. Toddlers are easy to please. I imagine something like this for the future:

My AMAZING friend, Nancy from Owen's Olivia, put this piece together for Creating With The Stars hosted by EC3. You can check out the link here to see some other pictures of her sandbox/sensory table and to learn more about the Creating With The Stars contest going on now.

Water Bead Sensory Play

Clara had a blast, but I can't show you the rest of the pictures because she decided she wanted to play naked.

I'm trying to be a 'yes' mom.

Yes, you may use mommy's measuring spoons in your sensory box.
Yes, you may put rocks and dirt in the sensory box with your water beads.
Yes, you may take off your diaper and run around naked with the dogs.

One of my main concerns, as followers of my blog may already know, is our budget. I want to have fun and I want Clara to learn, but we need to do it on the cheap. Sensory tables are great for that and I will be sure to let you know where I get my supplies for each set-up. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Meal Plan 3/11 - 3/15

This week's Bountiful Basket brought me a couple surprises.

I even got mangos today @jennaappleton! #bountifulbasket

I got lots of yummy leafy greens, bananas, radishes, MANGOS, and bok choy.

Yeah. Bok choy.

I knew what it was because I know the produce section of my grocery store well. When they actually have it, it's nestled between celery and kale, both of which I purchase frequently. I've never prepared bok choy, or eaten it, for that matter.

Which got me thinking: what else haven't I tried?

I grew up with a mom who learned to cook from her mom who grew up during the Depression. We added oats to our ground meat. We had a loaf of bread and a tub of butter on the dinner table EVERY NIGHT. We ate a lot of potatoes. None of this was out of necessity. It was habit. And this is not to say my mom isn't a good cook. My mom's cooking is super tasty, but she didn't have Pinterest or internet or even cooking shows. She prepared what she was familiar with, which was based off a diet developed when there wasn't much around.

While living at home, I never tasted avocado, mango, asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, celery, kale. I tasted kiwi candy in fourth grade because a classmate brought it back from their vacation to New Zealand, but I never had a kiwi fruit. And to this day, I've never tried brussel spouts, starfruit or bok choy. Actually, last week was the first time I ever tasted leeks. They were delicious.

I am a typical American and that's sad.

Getting the Bountiful Baskets has completely changed the way I cook and look at food. I am trying things I've never experienced. I am raiding the annals of the internet for tasty recipes to try. And I'm loving it.

What haven't you tried? It's easy peasy for us to look up recipes now. You should go nuts and try something new. Then tell me about it!

This week's meal plan:

Monday: Asparagus Bok Choy Frittata
Tuesday: Salad with radishes (need to use those babies up!)
Wednesday: White Pizza using the same recipe for the crust as last week. This time, we're going thin crust.
Thursday: Salad again. We got A TON of leafy greens that we want to munch up this week.
Friday: Left overs or smoothie. We have a game night Friday night, so we will be munching.

This week I had to stock up on some basics. At Costco I bought cans of chicken broth, refried beans, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. I also picked up plums, apples, grapes and mozzarella. The total came to $46.90.

My Bountiful Basket was $16.50.

My grocery bill, which included baby food for Clara, a chocolate Easter bunny for her basket, some unscheduled guacamole for me and a 1/2 gallon of the most amazing ice cream in the world, came to $53.69.

My weekly total for eating healthy? $117.09 leaving me $182.91 of my $300 bi-weekly allotment. Not too shabby, especially considering nearly $50 of it was for ingredients I didn't NEED for this week's meals.

Snacks will be oranges and apples (we have a ton) and lunches will be PB&J, salad, smoothies and left over soup.

Meal Plan 3/11 - 3/15


Monday, March 4, 2013

A Pinafore Pattern by Imagine Gnats

I was one of the lucky ladies asked to pattern test a new pinafore pattern by Rachael at Imagine Gnats. Oh. Emm. Gee. I couldn't say "yes" quickly enough. This pattern is adorable, and what's more, Clara LOVES it. She cried when I took it off her. I think she would sleep in it if I let her.


This pinafore pattern comes in a wide range of sizes and in PDF format. I loved being able to just print out patterns at home rather than waiting for them to arrive via mail. I made the size 1 pinafore which fit Maze, who wears an 18mo, like a glove. I think next time I will make her a size 2 since she's growing out of her clothes so quickly these days.


The pattern is versatile. I made mine reversible, but you could easily add length to make it a dress or follow one of the pocket patterns included to add a special place for your little lady to hide her treasures. As previously mentioned, there was a minor melt down involved in the taking off of the pinafore, so the other side didn't get photographed. It's a lovely burgundy with pink and red flowers from Cosmo Cricket. If you follow me on IG, you can see it there.


There is a small section where hand stitching the turn hole closed is mentioned. Me, being the lazy mama that I am, chose to ignore that direction and just topstitch around the whole garment. It worked like a dream!

Pinafore back

If you are interested in learning more about this pattern or testing future patterns for Imagine Gnats, go to this page to see how to get involved.


Also, you should check out these other links to see other patterns already released and to catch up on all the happenings over at Imagine Gnats. Rachael has been sewing up a STORM of kids clothes lately. If nothing else, those are totally worth a look. Or two. Or three.





Got a couple wonky pink stars made too. Productive day.

Just a couple wonky pink stars to add to a very special quilt. I can't share too many details as the quilt will be a surprise, but please keep happy thoughts rolling to the person who will receive this quilt.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Meal Plan 3/3 - 3/8

There seemed to be an interest among commenters to see my meal plan each week so I will start sharing more frequently.

After assessing my ingredients, I had a fairly small grocery list for this week. As I mentioned in my last meal planning post I usually have one expensive week and one cheap week.

I spent $75.77. I wasn't kidding when I said I could guess the cost!

Here are this week's recipes:

Sunday: Minestrone I made this one a couple weeks back and still have left over Parmesan rind to use up. This is a perfect end of week meal because it gives me a chance to toss in any veggies that are on the verge of spoiling. This week, I will be adding lots of carrots, zucchini and spinach.
Monday: Potato and Leek Soup This is a recipe I had planned for last week, but my parents invited us over for pizza (on their dime!) so, of course, we said yes! Since I still have the ingredients, I will make this early in the week.
Tuesday: White Pizza with homemade pizza crust I don't have a recipe for this pizza and I've never made it before. The plan is to make the pizza dough, brush is with EVOO and some crushed garlic, top with spinach, dollops of ricotta and some yummy mozz. Maybe I'll toss in a little fresh oregano to give it a little extra flavor.
Wednesday: Black bean burritos. I'm going to wing this one too. Black beans, sautéed yellow onion, diced, lettuce, tomato, monterrey jack cheese. Mix together and fill whole wheat tortillas. Cover with green chile enchilada sauce and bake on 350F until cheese has melted (about 15 mins should do it). Again, no recipe. Just using up ingredients before they go bad.
Thursday: Spinach Strawberry Salad I already have some dressing to use and won't add chicken.
Friday: Left overs and planning day.

For lunches this week, we will be eating peanut butter and honey (all natural and picked up last week at the grocery store), tortilla chips with salsa/guacamole, whole wheat quesadillas, and as always, we will have fruit and veggie smoothies. Breakfasts will be eggs and turkey bacon (before they go bad) and fresh oatmeal with berries.

I also plan to make broccoli and asparagus for side dishes/snacks this week.

Monday I will order my next Bountiful Basket for pick-up on Saturday. Check their webpage to see if there is a pick-up site near you!

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