Monday, August 22, 2011

Make-it-yourself Monday!

Guess what!?

I finished TWO projects this week, both of them last Monday! That may just be a personal record, not really, but I am pretty dang proud of myself! I don't usually make time to get crafty, but it sure felt good to do so!

The first finished project is my denim wetbag! I'll use it for her dirty cloth diapers, wet swimsuit, dirty clothes, whatever. I made it a decently big bag, but not huge. I think I'm happy with the size, but I haven't tried it out yet. I originally gathered a bunch of notions to embellish it with, but then quickly decided they were all too cute to use on a wetbag. However, when I finished the wetbag it was too plain-jane blah for me. So, I added a bow. I'm okay with how it turned out, especially since it's the first wetbag and first zipper I have sewn. (I am still cursing myself for choosing DENIM instead of an easier fabric to work with, like cotton!!!) I took about 15 pictures, and yet not a single one seemed to turn out. That's what I get for using my cellphone as my main camera! (I have dreams of buying a digital SLR camera. Seriously. Ahhhh...and moving on...)

The other project I started and finished was the homemade Mod Podge and the finished product! First off, the recipe that I found was a good base, but I definitely tweaked it A LOT. I started with the base, but wasn't happy with the consistency, so really, if you try this at home (which you should if you like Mod Podge) just make sure you keep stirring and be mindful of what ingredient is needed. Mine turned out much lumpier than the real Mod Podge, but it still worked well and the lumps weren't a problem at all when it came to the project, they smoothed right away!
Meet Lumpy Lumperson.
Welcome home, Lumpy!

Icky old pot from garage.
And this is where the napkins come in!
This is about one and a half layers in. I wish I would have removed the purple border.
Finished! This is about 4 layers of napkins.
This was a lot of fun to work on and see it come together. I didn't intend on doing more than one layer, but I really didn't like the look of seeing the purple borders on the edge of the napkin, it just broke up the design too much for my liking. I actually like it better with the multiple layers, too, what a surprise! I love that about crafting, if things don't go as planned, there's still a good chance you can make it work and play with it until it looks decent.

The napkins I used were double ply, so I peeled the layers apart and only used the printed layer (but kept the solid color backing for a future project) so that it was easier to apply and didn't crumple up with the Mod Podge. I'm really happy that I picked a good day for the project, it was a hot hot day with dry heat, so I just set my pot outside to dry between layers and it literally only took a few hours for each layer. It may have to do with my homemade Mod Podge, but I remember (when using the real Mod Podge) waiting and waiting and WAITING for my crafts to dry.  It was such a blast to finish it all in one day! However, I have been applying more Mod Podge throughout the week just to give it more protection.

I am thrilled that this turned out so well! I originally wanted to Mod Podge a small piece of furniture, but thought "Just in case this all goes wrong, I'm going to sacrifice my ugly old pot that's been collecting dust in the garage before I ruin something I actually care about!" I also used an old pan and utensil to mix up the Mod Podge, too. I was pretty skeptical, you see. However, to my surprise and delight, nothing was ruined and my project turned out just fine!

I already have plans stirring in my head of what to Mod Podge next. The roof of  Belle's new wooden dollhouse? The chair for my sewing table? Picture frames? Ohhhh, the possibilities!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Make-it-yourself Monday!

I'm a craft-a-holic, and it's a problem. Right now I have several unfinished projects, scarves to knit, a newspaper wreath that I started a year ago, and a denim wetbag that I have a goal to finish this week (I've only been working on this one for about a week - pretty good, right?). I also have about a hundred projects in line that I'd like to start.

So instead of finishing the projects that I have started, or starting a project that I have all the supplies for, I am going to instead start a project to make the supplies for a project that I'd like to start. Did you follow that? Anyway, I'm going try to make MOD PODGE! Man, this stuff is great, but instead of buying it I'm going to make it myself because I like saving money and making extra work for myself.

I'm going to make this during Belle's naptime and depending on if the stuff turns out, I'll even start covering something to give it new life!

I'll report back next Monday on how it turned out - hopefully with a finished product! (But with my track record, it could take a year!)

Here's a little teaser of what I plan on using:
Left over napkins from Belle's first birthday party

I am so excited about this project, I might just start and finish it all in one week!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Pinch those pennies, people!

I get such a high from saving money. I like to stretch our hard-earned money as far as we can take it. It's actually kind of a game for me now. I enjoy clipping coupons and finding good deals! I remember a conversation I had with Papa Bear not too long ago about how clipping coupons is just not worth it with all the time wasted finding, clipping, sorting, etc. Watch me eat my words, mister, this is a blast AND it's a good for my family!
Spending quality time with my scissors at 1:00 am
My little thrill could actually benefit you, especially if you don't look at your ads. Did you know that kids eat FREE at IKEA through the 21s? Mom and Dad don't even need to buy a meal, it's all about the kiddos! (Proof: no coupons, just a promo going on) I was already planning on going there, so this just makes it that much sweeter. Ohh, I love me some IKEA!

As everyone knows, it's Back-to-School time and that means sales! It's the perfect time to stock up on crayons, paper, bandaids, clothes, hand-sanitizer, lotion, and the list goes on!  It's also a good time to start gathering items for a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. Need ideas?

I had a pretty big pile to sort through and there were so many good ads with long expiration dates, so my organizer is nearly half full! I honestly couldn't even tell you how many coupons I clipped, but I had a blast! My super fancy coupon organizer is actually a 4x6 photo book that snaps shut, and it has a pretty durable cover. I still need to make some labels, but it's really not hard to find things since they are in clear pockets. I love it...and so does Belle!

Future extreme-couponer. Sorry, Papa Bear!

Wanna know what's really exciting? It's the weekend, which means more coupons coming to my mailbox - yipee!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thankful Thursday!

Oh, I have SO many things to be thankful for. I would have to say the biggest blessing in life that I have is my family, and my daughter is the absolute center of my world. And I wouldn't have my daughter without Children's Hospital, so my first Thankful Thursday goes to them!

When Belle was born we found out that she has four heart defects. I had several ultrasounds and apparently none of the techs, docs, or nurses noticed the uniqueness of her heart. So to say that we were shocked would be a HUGE understatement. (Just to clarify, none of my ultrasounds were done at Children's Hospital.)
First picture of Belle. Papa Bear unknowingly snapped a picture of the moment the nurse discovered the uniqueness of Belle's heart.
Immediately after she was born, Belle was transported to the NICU at Childrens Hospital of Minneapolis. The happiest and most exciting day of my life, quickly turned into the hardest, most devastating day of my life. As I was sobbing in my post-partum hospital bed (hearing the cries of newborns and their consoling mothers), I was missing my baby that was in my tummy just minutes ago, and is now across town (which felt like a world away, since I couldn't be there) in the care of someone else, and I don't even know if my child is doing well, struggling, or even alive. However, in the midst of all this, I was thinking about her name. Her name means "heart"!!!! My sweet darling girl was named the night we found out she was a SHE, when I was about halfway through my pregnancy and long before we knew of her heart defects. We had looked at several baby books for months, I had seen that name many times, but I am convinced that God named her. God knew her heart, knew her uniqueness, and KNEW that I would need to know that He was protecting her, especially when I couldn't!

Fast forward 6 weeks: Belle had her first (and only, to date) heart surgery under the wonderful and capable hands of Dr. Charles Baker through The Children's Heart Clinic. He, and the wonderful people of Children's Hospital saved my daughters life, truly. We wouldn't have our energetic, spunky, dimpled-smile, comedian-of-a-toddler, without them. So, since they gave me the most wonderful gift I could ever imagine, I try to give back whenever and however I can. One way our family (with our wonderful extended family, friends, and friends-of-friends on our team) gives back is by participating in Heartbeat 5000,

Reunited with my baby just after surgery.
The Dimple Squad!
 This is a highlight video from the event this year. Yours truly, along with Papa Bear, and Belle make an appearance at the end, right around the 4:25 mark. :) Check it ouuut! *hiiigh five*

I am and will forever be indebted to Children's Hospital for saving Belle! Thank you for being so loving, supportive, understanding, educating, and all-around, top notch! While the circumstances are less than desirable, I am so glad that we are able to discover and enjoy you and your wonderful team of angels in scrubs and coats!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

We're Three!

 Yesterday Papa Bear and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary! It was such a great day. As I was awoken to the sound of Belle on the monitor, I rolled over to find an anniversary card and flower on Papa Bear's pillow. What a great way to start the day feeling so loved!

Belle and I had a fun day at home, she "helped" me "sort" laundry. This means she decided to take my laundry pile and distribute it all over the lower level of our house. I can't complain though, I still have the same pile of laundry sitting next to me on the couch, begging to be ironed, folded, and put away. 

Anyway, Papa Bear got home around 3pm at which time I started getting ready for our hot date! "Getting ready" means I straightened my hair and changed into a dress. Papa Bear prefers me without make-up and it was our I decided to indulge him (except a little mascara).

Papa Bear picked Redstone Grill, and I couldn't have been happier with his choice. Our waitress came to the table and asked us if the white linen napkins were okay or if we'd prefer black linen napkins instead, that was when I knew we were at a fancy shmancy restaurant. (If you know Papa Bear and I, you know we rarely dine out and when we do it's typically the drive-thru.) We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and our little chaperone, Belle. The food was ahhhh-maze-ing! Papa Bear ordered meatloaf and I have to say, this isn't your grandmother's meatloaf.

Grilled Meatloaf from Redstone Grill

Belle had a lot of fun showing Papa Bear and I every single light in the restaurant while saying "ight" while pointing to it, playing peek-a-boo with the wait staff, and dancing to the music. It was so much fun having her join us on our anniversary dinner, really, even Papa Bear said it was fun to take her there. She is just a blast: without a doubt, the best kid we have ever had!

We savored every bite, but saved half for our lunches the next day, and headed home to put our little lady to bed. Once the little one settled down, Papa Bear and I cuddled up on the couch, drank some sparkling berry juice (we're not wine drinkers) and ate cheesecake swirled brownies (yes, it tastes as good as it sounds). 


We sooooo enjoyed our anniversary and agreed it was perfect anniversary, the best we've had so far. It's actually crazy to think Papa Bear and I have only been married three years, it feel so much longer! It just seems like he's always been a part of my life and I can't imagine what it would be like without him. Our life, marriage, house, finances, etc., aren't perfect, but I feel so blessed with the life God has given me!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Basically the same old, same old.

I'm starting over with my blog.

I haven't written here for almost a year, so it was just the right thing to do. My little lady, Belle is already a year and a half old and time isn't slowing down, so I am going to try to document it so as not forget every.little.awesome thing that she does. By the way, she says awesome is that? (I'll try to post a video of that soon)

I'm pretty much going to be using this as a little diary to myself to remember our journey but you are welcome to join me for the ride. I'll likely be melting over the words and cool things she does, complaining about how my lack of energy is directly attributed to her ever-flowing energy, cloth diapering and how addicting it is, and my journey to become a good cook for my family. Basically the same old, same old, stay-at-home-mom schtuff that isn't the least bit boring to me.

Thanks for reading this so far!