Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Quilt

I bought a quilt kit in August (thank you, my dear mother-in-law, Colleen) from a place in Sisters, Oregon called the Stitchin Post. The quilt is for Ayla, and her cousin, Natalie, will have the same one (just different backing). My goal was to start it (and finish?) before the baby comes... so here I am starting it!
Come to find out, this kit is completely pre-cut!! I didn't have to cut all those squares and rectangles... but you can pretend I did. There were a couple pieces missing that I had to find replacements for, but I just substituted some light green flannel (the whole quilt is flannel). So it was completely easy to piece together, much to my delight.
The kids helped me lay it out on the floor with the batting and backing... such good helpers!Then it was time to plan the actual quilting of the quilt. The part I dreaded the most. I have made a few quilts, my first being my senior year in high school as my senior project (!), but they all have been kind of rushed with no regard to bunching and whatnot... and I wanted this quilt to be one that Ayla will keep with her through the years, thinking of her mama and how much I love her. So I thought, I better figure out how to do this right.
In my "research" I was looking for something simple that would go with the lines of the quilt. I wanted to do the big flowers everywhere, but I don't think I am experienced enough for that! Yet. So I landed at Tallgrass Prairie Studios, and found a great tutorial for straight line quilting. Tyler and I decided that would be the best (yes, Tyler was called in for help in this decision. For being a simple guy, he certainly has a great eye for design. Ha, Ha). And I do have to say that it is turning out wonderful. And pretty quickly too. I have spent a couple hours moving the tape and finding room on the kitchen table between meals, but it has been fun, and it looks ... great! Aren't the above birdies adorable?! I wish they were pink, or Ayla wishes they were pink; but she didn't have the pink fetish when I bought the kit!
and I just wanted to point out the great picture in the background... it was a Christmas present from Tyler's mom, Roxanne. And I just adore it. It reminded me of Colton and our cat Jack, right away, and then I read the note that said the exact same thing! Colton thinks it really is him, but I tried to gently explain... oh, well. So cute! And Ayla says "Where's Ayla and Sofa?" (Sofa is our other cat)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Years approaching

New Years is always a time for "resolutions".... I am not a fan of these, because I never seem to follow them to a "T". Things change; you adapt yourself and your plans. Especially with a new baby coming, a resolution seems silly... so here are a few goals I have in mind for the turn of the year:

* keeping better track of our food bill for the month. This is a HUGE one for our family. We have never really had a tough time with our finances (and still don't) but it would be nice to have a handle on what we really do spend on our lives. And food is always a constant! So, to do this, we have decided to try the envelope method: you decide how many envelopes you need and label them. We have narrowed it down to our two trouble spots - Food and Miscellaneous. Set a budget for yourself and put that cash for the month in the envelope. No more using debit and credit cards for these things, only use your cash stash. In addition to this, we plan on writing down on the envelopes where the money is going and when. Hopefully this will help us in our quest to gain insight in this area of our lives.

* exercise a couple days a week. I used to be really good about this; and then the kids came, and that went out the window! I only have been exercising when I feel like it. Walking is included in this goal... it is a great exercise and relatively easy to do with a couple kids. I also plan on continuing yoga weekly. I think this is improving my back and overall health. I really hope to lose this baby weight ASAP after little one is here!

* be more patient with the kids. Pretty self-explanatory. I feel like I get a little overwhelmed at times (which I guess is slightly understandable with little sleep and pregnancy and what not!), but I feel like I take it out on the kids for little things.

* stick to a punishment for actions made by kiddoes. Tyler and I both have a hard time with this. One of the kids does something really bad, something is taken away (either favorite toy or an activity) for a day or so, and we end up giving in before the allotted time. Or we say no treats until after dinner, and then I find myself giving them a little treat... it always seems easier at the time. Today they were really whiny at the grocery store and I mentioned to them that if they didn't start acting a bit better, they wouldn't get a granola bar that was picked out. Well, they didn't act better, and I didn't give them a granola bar! Yeah Brooke!

* start my projects earlier. I would love to make a list of birthdays, holidays and write down exactly what I would like to accomplish for these occasions. Time gets away from us all, and most celebrations seem to sneak up on me! So yes, I plan to think of next Christmas already! Ha, who am I kidding! This is going to be hard!

* appreciate my kids and husband every day. Maybe not every second or minute, but at least everyday! It is so easy to take these everyday people for granted and not let them know how much I love and cherish them on a daily basis.... I will try hard on this one. They deserve it!

Monday, December 28, 2009

30.5 weeks

We are 3/4 of the way pregnant! I thought of that while I was walking today at the gym! Sounds funny, but at a little over 30 weeks, that is what we are! (These are pictures from today)
I can't believe it.
Sleep is getting hard to come by at night. I seem to toss and turn because of my legs getting sore sleeping on my sides, or because of heartburn, or this cold that seems to manifest at night and makes it impossible to breathe through my nose. But, Tyler is awesome and usually takes over with the kids. Cause he knows if I get up, there is no chance of me falling back to sleep easily! And taking a nap with Ayla during the day keeps me sane. For now.

This is Ayla after our nap today... nice hair, Sweetie!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Some Christmas cheer

Just a couple pictures from our Christmas days....

Apple cider donuts on Christmas Eve morning with some of our favorite people, Jill's family. I really think this will be a tradition for Christmas Eve morning... the kids loved it!
Kids making a gift for the kitties... they haven't really appreciated it yet, though!
Opening their gift from Quin and Trent...Christmas Eve gifts... Colton chose a fire station from Grammy, and Ayla chose an outfit and bottle from Grandma...
Christmas morning and their Santa gifts... Ayla got a chair and cute pink puppy slippers, Colton got more train tracks... to add to our collection! Santa ven set it up for him!
Us in our matching PJ's... I made them! ( I hate patterns, but didn't do too bad with them! It was an Oliver + S pattern, and was pretty easy to follow. I love them! and so do the kids - even Tyler loves his tractor PJ's)Matching sweaters made by Grammy - there is even one for the baby for next year!Hope everyone had a great Christmas, and enjoyed family, food and traditions!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Just a little randomness

I won!! I won the giveaway I blogged about on Monday! The cutest little handmade felt stocking with an ADORABLE real looking little mouse! I am so excited! Will the new stocking be the new babes? Or mine? Who knows!
I also won a different giveaway on SewFantastic's Blog, from a great little etsy store named Lightning Bugz, with some adorable snuggly little animals.
So the total is 6. Six different giveaway's this year! How crazy is that?!

Speaking of crazy... this picture is of Ayla a couple weeks ago that I forgot to share... she LOVES the phone (she is talking on a fake cell from her Papa). Her favorite person to talk to is Granna (for real on on play phones) and she just BABBLES. When you tell her time is up, she holds up a finger and says "Almost."
So cute. And yes, she loves getting into baby toys, too.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Great giveaway at Imagine childhood!

Check out this great giveaway at Imagine Childhood... they have fantastic things for your creative kids, and I just love their stuff! This giveaway is for a great handmade stocking and a couple stocking stuffers.

Right now, I am thinking about finishing my projects.... only a few left to go! The kids and Tyler are writing out names.... Colton is obsessed with writing everyone's names. And what a genius - he looks at the stockings for reference!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Yesterday, we decided to try our hand at some salt dough ornaments. The recipe was extremely easy, and even though we had to wait awhile to decorate, the kids thoroughly enjoyed the whole process!
They each made (or helped) a couple... and then Tyler had to show off and do a tractor, an excavator and a piggie. the kids thought it was fantastic. I chose to make a mushroom and a gnome (when finished, it looked a lot like Santa!)

I think they turned out fabulous!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Things I am Loving Right Now...

* Having the baby kicking me all the time :)
* Evening in Missoula tea that Jill gave me (Oh, so good!)
* Having all my Christmas sewing done and sent (at least the stuff for sending... still have some kids stuff to sew)* The way Ayla dresses herself; she loves to layer (think pants with dresses or skirts and sweaters)* Big fat flakes of snow (although it is melting as of today)
* This new lemon ricotta tea cake... Yummy!* Going to sleep early (before midnight)
* Colton's new sarcasm.... absolutely hilarious!* Winning cool stuff on blogs these last couple weeks! (Here, here and here) Yeah, me!
* This quilt given to Ayla by her Great Uncle JB! Made by his mother... isn't it fantastic?! It is all hand-stitched! Which I so appreciate now!
* The Christmas decorations

Monday, December 14, 2009

Just a couple tidbits...

My favorite saying for gift giving this holiday, courtesy of Danielle (who heard it from a friend, and so on...) :

...."something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read." (thanks Danielle, for the correction!)

How great is that? Kids get so MUCH these days (mine included) and it is hard to narrow it down, but I think I will try to stick to this saying. We are close this year, but not right on.

And... there is a great giveaway over at one of my favorite online stores.... imagine childhood. They are giving away this adorable stuffed polarbear and a great book to match! Head on over there!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas tree adventure

Getting a tree has been one of my favorite things to do since living in Montana... we get a $5 permit, head into the woods, and pick a good one (Tyler does the picking!). And the kids usually have a great time. This year we went during nap time and when it was like 10 degrees, so the kids and I stayed in the car! Tyler looked around in a couple different spots, and we decided to keep driving... until we saw the tree. This one happened to have a red balloon tied to it, saying "Pick me, pick me!" It was a great looking tree, and we decided to take it. I know what you are thinking, someone had marked that tree to come back for later... well, finders keepers, I guess. Tyler ended up tying the balloon onto the tree next to it, which was a little scraggly, but what can you do, right?(do you see the drool in the pic above? Yeah, he was tired!)

We had a fun time, and the decorated tree looks awesome!(recognize the garland? We made that when Grammy was here.. a project out of Handmade Home by Amanda Soule)

Earlier that day, my friend Jill, and her family, watched Colton and Ayla so Tyler and I could have a little date. We decided to hike up Lone Pine, the State Park right in our backyard, and then we headed out to lunch at a local cafe. We had a great time, and will get to repay Jill and her family tomorrow by watching their 3 little ones. I hope they have a great time!

This last week, I hosted a cookie swap with 9 other fabulous women, and we had a great time. It turned out better than I expected, and I think (hope) everyone had a great time. I made some little giveaways so that I could show my friends how much I appreciate them.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Playdough and ornaments!

So today has been a rough day for me... well, started last night with the kids constant whining before bed, when all I wanted to do was finish up some xmas presents... go figure. 2 hours of constant crying... and Tyler was playing basketball.
Well, it continued this morning with me. I will just blame it on being pregnant for now. I even threw a plate into the sink... the kids decided that was about time to go upstairs and play :) Ha ha! Even Tyler steered clear... oh, the things we put up with.
So I was trying to get out of my funk, but making good on my promise to the kids to make some fun ornaments they could paint. We did some of it yesterday, but then I figured out that I did it wrong! So we started again today. (do you see the playdough- not colored, under the plaster? You can make any shape you want!)
First you need some things:
plaster of paris (which actually is not all that good for you... read the back :()
and the ingredients for this playdough recipe. Very simple recipe and makes some great playdough! Just remember that it looks lumpy, but will smooth out... just keep stirring!

Make the playdough (or use some you already have), then have the kids put their handprints into it, or footprints?... then you pour the plaster of paris into it and wait for it to harden. Remember to put some sort of hangy thing (paper clip or something of the like) in the top area, so that you have an ornament to hang... (see the paper clip in it?)
After it is done drying, you can take the playdough away from the plaster, and do what you want. .. paint, color with markers, etc.
This is what happens when you take the playdough off too soon! the thumb falls off!
But you can imagine how cute they will be!

Or you can mess up, and let the kids paint them anyways!

Here is another playdough recipe....haven't tried it, but sounds yummy! Chocolate scented playdough

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Great new family magazine

I often check one of my favorite blogs, and Heather, the blogger of Shivaya Naturals, has co-invented a great new family magazine called The Rhythm of the Home! It is fantastic, and I encourage everyone to check it out!
There are great projects and homemade gift ideas, and some great articles. And it is FREE!
We have been busy here, getting things ready for the holidays... more pictures soon.

Go check out the magazine!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving and traditions

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. We did. We celebrated with some friends and enjoyed some great food and great company. The kids had a fun time running around and laughing, and we had a fun time watching.
Kids are so amazing and full of energy and wonder. Ah, to be a kid again.
Looking back to when I was a kid, remembering what we did on Thanksgiving, all I can picture is a house full of family, good food, and us cousins running around together creating massive amounts of chaos.
It makes me sad to think that my kids don't really get to see their cousins that often because of our choice to stay in the military. There are so many reasons to be in the military, and so many reasons to be close to family. Traditions is one of them.
I am really looking to create wonderful and meaningful traditions for our kids, and ones they want to carry on with their future families. Do you have any ideas? For Thanksgiving, Christmas, or maybe just any in general. Favorites?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Reading a cookbook?

The last couple days, I have found myself actually reading a cookbook. I saw that Soulemama (I read her blog daily) used this particular cookbook, and all the food she makes looks amazing, so I thought I would order it from the library, and I am glad I did. The recipes just seem so simple and I bet they will taste amazing, although, I have only used the pancake recipe as of yet (and it was pretty good, maybe just a little too thick). The book is called Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros, and I have requested it for my Christmas gift from Tyler. I will be trying out more recipes as soon as we do a little shopping :)
I also have been sewing and knitting, although it seems like nothing is getting finished, just started! Here are some pictures of the Christmas stockings I am knitting. You can find the pattern for free on ravelry or here, and I just modified it for stripes (I love stripes) and I added some experimental decorative stitching on Colton's. For some reason, I had never tried seed stitch before, but I really like it.

Scissors have been the "it" thing for my kids lately. They found some decorative ones I had in the garage for crafting, and totally latched onto them. They keep them busy for quite some time, so I figure I will let them... but only at the tables. I just love how they get so into cutting and concentrate so hard!Tyler has also been keeping them busy with train tracks.. one of our favorite toys at the moment! He actually took these pictures just so he could make an exact replica the next day per request from Colton. What parents do for their kids right?!

Have a great week!