Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sweetest Day cake & a sewing project

Happy Sweetest's Day!  Duane and I celebrated a day early with a yummy meal at Olive Garden.  I had been longing for a good steak and ordered their 8 oz. sirloin.  It was breaded with parmesan and herbs before cooking.  It was incredible!!!  I ate every last bite.  lol  Tonight we had a Taco Salad meal with the kiddos and shared a bottle of special Raspberry Sparkling juice.  The kids were quite excited when the fancy goblets come out. 
This afternoon, while Duane was working, I made this cake for him.  It looked and smelled delicious.  I didn't have a bite though.....gluten....and sugar.....sigh.....I have put myself on a 2 week sugar fast.  This is day 5.  My sugar-withdraw headache has finally ceased.  This is good for my body....but oh so HARD!!!
I've been so incredibly busy with housework and teaching Callie each day that my sewing has been much neglected. Here is a project I sat down and did on Friday.  A lady at our church asked me to make a walker bag for a neighbor that had liked the bag that she had(that I had made).  I had fun going through fabrics and coming up with something bright and cheerful.  This picture keeps rotating....sigh....Anyways, the one side with 2 small pockets and 2 medium pockets.  The have a bit of elastic at the top in a casing to keep them from flopping when things are inside.
 The other side with one large pocket with elastic at the top.  I didn't have any bias tape to match, so I made my own up.  That was fun!!  Now I think I'd like to get one of those bias tape binders to make the process go a bit faster.  Maybe for Christmas.....:)
Thanks for looking! Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

October birthdays, Columbus Day & International Day at School

It's International Day at our school this morning.  Samuel is representing the Philippines.  He is wearing the colors of the flag and has a wooden bowl that my brother-in-law brought me back from the Philippines along with some rice--safely sealed INSIDE a plastic bag in hopes that it won't spill all over today--and some coins from the country.  I also printed off and colored a flag and glued it to a chopstick.
 Simon chose Australia and is back from a hunt in the great Outback!!!! lol
 Seth is shirt and a flag.  7th. graders don't get into all the props I guess.:)
 Callie wanted me to take this picture and show it to her aunt Sarah in the Philippines.  She made a play-doh cinn. roll and an Easter basket with eggs during one of her art projects.
 For Columbus Day this year, Callie made a fun after-school treat for the kiddos. 
 Putting the sails on....
 Adding the 'fish' to the coconut 'water'.
 All completed and ready to eat after school is out!!!
 A donut-shaped cake.  He just requested that it have sprinkles and M&M's.  I baked it in a bundt pan and it turned out looking like a 'donut'. Or at least that's what Callie told me.

 Simon, our 11 year old. Very excited with a toy gun from his older brother.  We purchased a used student trombone for him for our gift.  We found it on Craig's List and the guy met us at a restaurant half-way between our homes.  Simon didn't have a clue what we were doing and was VERY excited when he found out!!!  He just started trombone in band this week.
 Seth wanted a cake with candy on it. That was simple enough---thank goodness!! His birthday fell on a Sunday this year.
 Officially the parents of a teenager!!!!
 The expression on this picture was too good not to post....
 A creative gift from Simon.  He put some fun snacks for Seth in a plastic tote and decorated the lid with.
 For Seth's 13th. birthday gift we purchased a trumpet for him.  It is a Bach Stradivari and we found a great deal for it off of Craig's List.  We drove to Michigan and back to look at it.  Seth was very excited to finally have his own instrument.  Thankfully, a relative had loaned us their trumpet for the past 2+ years for him to use.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I made a choice.

Disclaimer:  This post shares things that was so difficult for me to admit to myself for so long.  It is from my heart.  I am VERY passionate about the decision I made and wanted to share with you..... 

This past winter.....around the end of February I made a choice.  I began a life-long journey to become healthier!  A friend agreed to go walking with me every week day morning.  We would meet up at 6:30AM. It was cold.  It was dark!  It was EARLY!!!  WAY. TOO. EARLY!!!  She was so bright and chipper every morning.  I was a train wreck.  A grouch.  Period.  I persisted. She encouraged me.  I got used to the dark. The cold.  The early morning cell phone alarm.  I suggested we start even earlier.  We moved it to 6:15.  Then it was 6:00.  And now...5:45AM!!!  You know. I started being the chipper, happy chattering magpie every morning!!!  Me....the girl that was a perpetual night owl, started becoming a morning songbird!!! 
~waiting for the race to start with my brother~
I was able to make all of my race clothes, running skirt, shirt & compression capris!!!

You see....this was a miracle for me.  I had finally recognized and admited to myself that I had been going through some very dark times in my life.  All was not well.  I had been depressed for years.  This resulted in gradual weight-gain and of course that goes hand in hand with feeling even worse and grouchy and lashing out at others around me.  I had no patience.  I wasn't a very happy person to be around.  I'm being very honest here.....I'm not going to sugar-coat it.  I knew I needed to do SOMETHING!!  I didn't have money for therapy.  And, frankly.....the thoughts of sharing everything that goes on in my head and in my life to a total STRANGER, scared the stuffing out of me!!!!!  I have a thing about taking no medication.  I'm all about trying to fix things naturally.  The first few months were tough.  It was hard.  The first time I barely walked 2 miles, huffing, puffing, out of breath and I was sore!  Yep...I was out of shape..big time.  But, you made be feel better.  Just that little walk.  The fresh air.  The peaceful, cold, dark early morning air.  The sights and sounds of the beautiful world God created.  It helped me.  I walked more and more. 
~ipod in....ready to run....waiting for the sound of the gun~

One month....I logged over 100 miles just walking!!!  Every time I would feel stressed, or I was having a rotten attitude about something that wasn't going right....I would walk, and walk, and WALK!! It was amazing how insignificant I would realized that 'thing' was that was bothering me by the time I got down the road a bit.  Eventually, I decided to try running.  The first time I ran....only about 1/4 of a mile....I thought I was going to die!!!  I was gasping and wheezing.  I kept checking my heart.....I thought for sure it was going to leap right out of my chest!!!  My lungs were on fire!!!  Looking back, I simply think I tried to run far to fast that first time.  But,I wouldn't give up.  I read loads of articles online about running form, stretching, etc....I tried to run a little more each time.  My goal was just to be able to run one mile without stopping.  I finally achieved that goal.  That was all I wanted to do.  But, then, I started to run a little more and a little more.  My brother, who has ran a full marathon before, told me we should sign up for a race.  That scared see.....I'm the type of person that never tries to do something that I think I can't do!  I have to think through EVERYTHING about a particular hobby, etc....before I try it out.  I am scared of failing.  There, now you know another one of my deep, dark secrets.  :)  Well, finally...I agreed to sign up for the 5k event at the U.S. Air Force Marathon. 
~2000 runners waiting to cross the starting line~

I plugged away at training.  I ran in 100 degree weather.  I ran in freezing cold weather.  I ran in the dark.  I ran in the daylight.  I ran in light rain.  It was NOT easy.  I made myself keep at it.  It took a LOT of self-discipline. It was hard.  VERY hard.  
~fighter jets circled the course as we ran our 3.1 miles~

I've lost 18 pounds of fat and gained muscle I didn't even know I could have!!  But, most importantly, I've become a happier, healthier person.  My family is happier 'cause this mommy is happier!!!  I'm not going to give up.  I'm going to keep at it.  This past Friday evening, I ran in my first 5k official race ever!!!  I'm now training for my next race on Thanksgiving Day
~my Dad waits at the Finish Line for us~

 I can't even describe the feeling that came over me as I saw the Finish line.  I got tears in my eyes and tingles all over.  I was a finisher!!!
~My brother and I in our first 5k together~
U.S. Air Force Marathon 2011

 I'm all choked up even typing this up.  This has been a journey for me.  A discovery.  A new direction.  I never want to go back to the dark times I experienced.  Running has given me the stress-relief I so desparately needed.  I'm sharing this....not as a 'look at what I achieved post'....but hopefully as an inspiration/encouragement to someone else. I don't know everyone that reads my blog.  I don't know what you are going through or even how you're feeling right now.  I just wanted to share a bit about the journey I'm on right now and encourage you.  You CAN do it!!!!  Fresh air and a little bit of exercise will do wonders for anyone's outlook.  I'm still daily taking my own medicine.  This is a life-style change for me. A choice God is helping me make.  Every. Single. Day.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I can't stop......

Maybe it's the crisp, cold weather that's keeping me inside.  Or it might even be all the new fall clothing ideas that keep popping into my inbox.  Please, oh PLEASE. DO. NOT. SEND. ME. ANYMORE. CUTE. GIRL. CLOTHING. IDEAS!!!!  But, whatever, the reason.....I can't stop!!! 
I stated very emphatically last night that I was NOT going to sew a single thing today.  Well, as I was cleaning out my sewing cabinet....straightening up the explosion that has rocked the shelves over the past several days.....I came upon a darling t-shirt I had purchased for pennies a couple years ago.  There it sat, patiently waiting for me to upcycle it into...SOMETHING!!! 
Then, I spied a scrap of lavender/white stripes that would be perfect for double layer sleeves.  It was a done deal....I simply HAD to cut out and sew the shirt that was in my head RIGHT THEN!!!  I made the mistake of showing the shirt to my daughter. She insisted on staying in her nightgown until it was finished sewing it up!
Around noon today, the house fairly clean, supper in the crockpot, homeschooling completed, fabric explosion organized (temporarily), I parked myself at my machines and an hour later a new shirt was birthed from the land of garage sale bargains and leftover scraps of fabric. (whew...what a run-on)  Callie was enthralled!!!  We, of course, had to go outside to get some pictures to share. 
I really do have 3 other children, but it's just not as fun sewing boys' clothing. And, seriously.....I don't think they'd appreciate photo shoots in the pj's I sew for them!!!!!!!!!!!!  lol 
How can a mom resist sewing for such an enthusiastic little girl?  She pushes me to try new things....dream up faster ways to sew....and has opened my world up to the color PINK!!!!
Some afternoons, she will sit beside me and my machines....talking....talking....and TALKING!!!!!  She never stops.  At times....I'll admit....I get weary of the constant flow of words that seamlessly spill from her mouth.
 But then, just as quickly, I pause, and look into her eyes, sparkling with happiness. I am gently reminded to be ever so grateful for those moments we spend together.
~Just the two of us....designing and creating and bonding....
...Making memories that will last a lifetime!~

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I'm Baaaaaaaaaaaaaack...............

SEWING!!!!!!!!!!!  Yipee!!!  Doing a little happy dance around my machines!  :)  September 1st, was a HAPPY was the start of an online stash sewing game that I have participated in for the last 2 years.  I worked and cleaned the house like a crazy woman the first part of the week so I could 'take off' for the weekend.  It was WORTH it!!!  The first project was a shoulder rest for Callie's violin. 
Used fabric, etc...that I already had so this was basically a free princessy shoulder rest for her.  She loves it!
This was what I sewed on Friday/Saturday.  4 tank tops, 3 long-sleeved fall/winter shirts for Callie, 4 pajama bottoms and 2 pajama tops for Samuel for fall/winter.
Some close-ups of the shirts.  I used a basic shirt pattern and re-designed each one just a bit differently and was pleased with the results.
I love how this one has a layered-look to it.
I used my coverstitch machine to put binding on the necklines and sleeves.  I also used it for ALL 4 of the tank tops I made for her to wear under shirts/dresses.  Talk about a BUNCH of coverstitching!!!!
This was another project of mine this week.  Matchy outfits for Callie, Kanani & Jenny.  Here they are all ready for church.
I wanted to find a daisy to embellish the lacy part of the dress, but we just couldn't find what I was looking for.  The yellow ribbon bow will have to work until I find the right looking flower.:)
I drafted the cross-front doll shirts from a plain t-shirt pattern.  The skirts are just circle skirts trimmed with lace.  These were so fun to make.  I managed to eek out a dress AND these outfits for the dolls with JUST ONE YARD of fabric!!!  WOW!!!  It was really pushing it!! lol
This was my Sunday afternoon project.  The cascading ruffle skirt.  I used a large piece of project leftover from a shirt I made for myself awhile back.  These are NOT colors she particularly cares for, but I wanted to 'test' the pattern/tutorial FIRST before using up some fabric that she would like.  I was VERY pleased with the results of this skirt and am planning on cutting out 2 more tonight.  She JUST woke up from her nap and was not to happy to have to try on a new outfit!!!lol
She's outgrown her cute yellow sweater already.  I'll have to come up with something different for her to wear this with.
She was giving me her 'sleepy' twirl shot!!!:)
Thanks for looking!!  I have sooooo much fun sewing new things for my family!  Be prepared for tons more sewing this month.  I have a looooooooooong list of 'to-do's'!!! 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

~Peach Pickin'~

On Monday, Callie's second day of homeschool, we drove over an hour to pick peaches.  We jokingly called it a 'field trip'.  She completed all her classwork before we left and I took a nap while Grandpa drove.  (Getting up at 5:45A.M.  for a 2 mile walk followed by a 2 mile run, cooking breakfast, hanging out 2 loads of laundry, teaching a little girl, putting supper in the crockpot, and some housecleaning made for a very tired mommy!!)  This was her very first time being in a peach orchard.  The trees were loaded with ripe, juicy, beautiful peaches!!
 I 'borrowed' Duane's camera to take some pictures of our trip.  My camera has been out of batteries since our Chicago trip.  Purchasing new batteries hasn't been high on the shopping list  of things that we really need as of 
 The peaches were so plentiful, that a basket was filled in no time!
  Beautiful, blue skies and puffy, white clouds, mixed with the scent of fresh peaches made for an absolutely beautiful day!!!
"We can fit just one more peach in that basket, Grandpa!"
 She was very proud of the basket of peaches she picked!
 Not quite ripe yet.
 There's nothing quite like eating a fresh-picked peach outside in the orchard!!
 2 1/2 bushels of peaches picked.
 Mommy & daughter.....