Saturday, May 23, 2009

It's Raining in the Desert

She just couldn't resist the raindrops this morning. We've actually had a couple of cloudy rainy days here. I'm sure the sunshine will be back soon, so we're enjoying the clouds while they are here. 

Brad is on his way home from Colorado right now. He had another interview there yesterday. We're hoping that we get some good news soon. He's had enough interviews over the last couple of weeks and I think a couple of more phone interviews next week. We are praying hard that he gets an offer soon. 

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Handmade Birthday Gift : Drawstring Backpack

Here's another birthday gift I made recently. Unfortunately, we missed our friend's birthday party because it was in the middle of all of us having the flu. Hopefully, we'll catch up with our friends soon so that we can deliver this gift.

I found this adorable fabric on the clearance table at JoAnn Fabrics. I really should not go into that store! I went in for some lace trim for the apron I made and walked out with a couple of yards of fabric. I just love the strawberries. I thought it would work great for a drawstring backpack. I used these instructions.

Since this backpack was for a little girl turning 3 years old, I thought I'd make it a bit smaller. I used an 8.5 x 11 piece of cardstock I had as my template. I think that size is going to be fine this time since she's so young. But, if I make it again, I'm definitely going to make it a bit bigger. It was a little too small even for my 4 year old. Next time, I think I'll try making it 10 x 14 inches and maybe even bigger for an older child. The instructions call for 13 x 17 inches.

We filled the backpack with some sidewalk chalk and some fun colored pencils.

I just love the red and yellow! I'm really happy with the finished product. I'm trying to decide now what to do with the rest of the fabric. I definitely think some kind of clothing set for my daughter. I'm a little nervous about sewing clothes. I have no idea why. I just feel more comfortable with crafts. I think it's time to get over that!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

8 Year Old Guest Blogger

Boog finally got to go out to Galloping Grace yesterday. He wrote a little about his first time back and Michelle over at GG posted it on her awesome blog - Galloping Grace Youth Ranch. In his first draft, he wrote that his first time back was "wicked." I asked if there was anyway to come up with a different adjective. He chose "cool" instead. Oh well, I tried. ;) Other than that, they were his words with only my help with some spelling choices. Thanks Michelle for using it. You definitely made his day!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Wild West Birthday!

Roni had very few requests for his party. He wanted a "western" theme with hot dogs, cake with ice cream and a pinata. Thankfully, I could make that happen. I used a lot of ideas from the Family Fun website like the instructions for the horse cake. The games and activities I had planned were a total bust. Oh well, you win some and you lose some. We had paper bag vests for the kids to color as well as some sheriff badges I found online. I had a game where you try to knock down cups with a squirt gun. But, the squirt gun was so pathetic that it couldn't even knock them down from about an inch away. 

But, the food was good! Grilled hot dogs with yummy salads and watermelon that my friends all brought to share. We really have the greatest friends here. One of my friends even brought goodies to stick in the pinata. 

And here is my son's happiness. This kid really believes that the only way to have a party is with a pinata. We found this pinata at Party City and thought it was too cute to pass up. All the kids went home with a bandanna and some goodies from the pinata. It really was a fun party! To make the day even better, Roni received his cards from his grandparents in the mail. He's out with Dad right now spending his birthday money. Wow, I can't believe he is six years old!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Still Hanging Out

A month ago, I posted a picture of my kids climbing our little tree in our backyard. The tree was just starting to bud. Here they are again climbing our same little tree only this time I could barely find them through the leaves. What a difference a month makes!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Finally Feeling Better and New Nicknames

I'm so glad to finally be feeling a bit better. That flu bug seriously kicked my butt. I can't remember the last time that I was sick with the flu for SEVEN days. Ugh. I'm still coughing and gunky, but feeling so much better. I actually did some laundry and dishes today. No more writhing on the couch in feverish pain. I can't tell if the kids are glad or not. I mean, I know they're glad that I'm feeling better, but I think they have kind of enjoyed having the run of the house for the last week. One of the days they spent building fences from our Keva planks all over the front room. I wish I had taken a picture, but I wasn't really thinking straight. They ran through the sprinkler in the backyard. My oldest finished the Harry Potter series. My middle guy copied words from a book to make a story and my youngest made a gigantic mess. Well, she was sick for the first couple of days with me. She just recovered much faster than I did. Now, we have to get back on our normal homeschool routine. We might just wait until Monday though.

During the last couple of days, I've been thinking that I would give the kids new nicknames on my blog. I've been using their initials, but I know it's sometimes confusing to read especially "A" since "A" is also a word. So from now on, I'm going to refer to my oldest as "Boog." When he was just a baby, his grandparents gave him the nickname "Boogie." It never really stuck at our house, but he loves it. So that's where I got "Boog." I'm going to call my middle guy "Roni." When he was really little, Brad and I started adding "roni" to the end of his first name kind of like "macaroni." And I have never had a nickname for our daughter. I'm just not very good with coming up with cute nicknames. We watched Tinkerbell a couple of times over the last week (her favorite movie at the moment) and thought I'd call her "Pixie." It seems to fit her and she liked it too. So from now on - Boog, Roni and Pixie.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas in my life, especially my mom! 

I was surprised today with flowers blooming on the patio. I assumed that my petunias had died off last fall. However, two sturdy plants made it through the winter and started producing new green shoots this spring. Today one of the plants started blooming. So fun! Add to that a Starbucks coffee treat from my sweet husband, and I had a great way to start the day. The only bummer has been this awful flu bug I've been fighting since Thursday. It has really sapped all my energy and made me miserable. I have no idea if it's the "H1N1" or not, but whatever it is, it's been awful. Hopefully, I'll start feeling better soon, since we have lots of preparations this week. My middle son is turning six and we have a big party coming up next weekend.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Handmade Birthday Gift : Little Girl's Apron

We've had a ton of birthday party invites over the last month or so. This week alone, we have 4 different kid's birthdays. We're also on a really tight budget right now. (Can you call it a budget when there's no income?) ;) So, I've had to get creative with gift giving. I like to make handmade gifts anyway, so it's actually been kind of fun. I've made aprons from tea towels before for gifts. They are super simple and fun to make. I'm always on the lookout for inexpensive and cute tea towels to use. These two towels I found at Target on clearance and stashed them away a couple of months ago. I pulled them out this week to make an apron for a friend of my daughter who was turning 4 years old this week.

I used these instructions as my starting point. I cut off the bottom section, 17 to 18 inches from the top. In the past, I've just turned that shorter section around and used it for a pocket. But, this time I wanted to use the coordinating dishtowel as the pocket so I set it aside to use for something else.

Then I cut the top corners off. I measured 6 inches centered on the top and marked the towel. Then I measured  10 inches from the bottom on both sides and marked the towel. Using a straight edge lined up with the two marks, I cut off each corner of the towel.

Next, I cut out the pocket from the second towel. I wanted to use the pattern with the stripes going in the opposite direction so I had to measure out what I needed (plus some extra for the seam on one side) and cut that out. I actually forgot about the seam when I cut it out. Thankfully, I was pretty sloppy and had enough.

I added some lace trim along the edge of the pocket when I finished that edge. Then I sewed the two sides of the pocked to the apron. Then I measured 4 inches in on both sides and marked the towel. I sewed along my markings to divide the big pocket into three smaller pockets.

I used extra wide double fold bias tape to finish the bottom seam. I also used the bias tape to finish the sides and create the straps. I had wanted to use Velcro or a "D" ring for the neck strap, but my Velcro was too wide for the bias tape and the "D" ring was too big. So, I ended up just making straps, about 15-16 inches for the neck straps and 17-18 inches for the back strap. 

Voila! Finished Apron! I think it turned out pretty darn cute and for less than $5. I threw in a small whisk and spatula to complete the gift. 

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Preppy Meets Hippie

Look what landed on my front porch yesterday! My mom surprised me with a new pair of Birki's. She bought me my first pair of Birkenstocks a year ago for my birthday and I LOVE them. But those were really tame compared to these. These are a pastel plaid with glitter beads. So fun and perfect for summer! I even painted my toenails before I took the pic. Thanks Mom!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Back at the Ranch

I know that I've gone on and on about how much we love Galloping Grace Youth Ranch, but well, I just can't help it. I really love that we get to be a part of such a great organization. I love what they are doing for my kids. I love that my kids are getting to experience something I wouldn't have ever been able to give them. (Here's my post about our first time out there.) May is the opening month of the 2009 season. Lucky us, we got to be there today! I only had C and A with me today as B was feeling poorly this morning. Boy, did he miss out!

The kids were so incredibly excited to see Mr. Max, Miss Trish and Miss Steph. Poor C was so excited he couldn't sit still for anything. It didn't take them long to feel comfortable on the horses again. Doesn't C look like a pro? The smile on his face was just priceless. The stress around our house lately has really been affecting him. He's been especially struggling in new situations. I wasn't sure how he would do today since it's been several months since he's been to the ranch. He did so well and he was so happy. That made me happy too. 

Before we left the house this morning, A kept talking about how she was going to ride by herself today. Brad and I tried gently to prepare her that she might not be able to since it was their first day back after several months of not riding. No, only a few minutes with Trish and she was riding alongside her brother.

A quick high five between brother and sister. Such a great morning! We can't wait to go out again and bring along big brother too!