Monday, December 7, 2009

To Scream or not to Scream...

I want my kids to know how much they are valued and one of the ways I show them how they're valued is to know what is important to them. I know Isaiah likes his pb&j with jelly only served open face. I know Liam has a hard time after nap and likes to be cuddled for awhile. I know Owen looks forward to Mommy time after his brothers are in bed. I know many of my childrens' preferences and demonstrate my grasp of that information on a daily basis. So why do they always act like I have no idea who they are!?

We all know that screaming is a part of being two (and apparently three as well) but it seems impossible to not take it personally. There are times when my kids scream and it is very easy for me to see it for what it is: a tantrum, power struggle, lack of sleep, hunger pangs, etc. But there are other times when their screaming goes straight to my soul.

Sometimes when they scream I hear it as: "you don't know what I like" or "you never remember my favorite things" or "you don't pay attention". I know that they're little. I know that they are not saying those things. I know that I'm an awesome mom ninety percent of the time. So why do I hear hurtful statements sometimes when they scream?

I'm not sure I know the full answer to that question but I think it provides me with a way to spot check myself. When I feel like my kids are telling me I'm a horrible mom, I have to take a moment, look at the situation and figure out if I am being a horrible mom. Sometimes I have to readjust my attitude because I am not modeling appropriate behavior and sometimes my kids are just being kids.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Homemade Shipping Envelopes

The holidays are upon us. Relational gifts are waiting to be sent but it seems strange to put such a thoughtful gift in an ugly commercial mailer. This tutorial will show you how to make your own shipping envelope from a paper grocery bag. You could then decorate it with markers, stamp images, modge podge, stickers or even let your kids have a go at it. For sewers, or people with large fabric stashes, it seems like you could do the same thing with scrap fabric. Let me know if you try it and how it turned out.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Fabric Covered Buttons

Have you ever thought of making your own fabric covered buttons? It never crossed my mind but now I am intrigued. This tutorial shows how to make buttons (duh!), hair clips, rings, and earrings. I'm saving up my allowance to buy some button blanks but first I have to find store that sells them. Have you seen any? Do you know of a good craft/sewing store to try?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Food Gifts for the Holidays

I've always wanted to give food gifts during the holidays but the jars never seemed pretty enough to hand out regardless of the tastiness inside. I stumbled across a canning label template that has finally changed my mind. Merriment Design tells you everything you need and walks you the process step by step.

Why stop with food goods? Glam up your craft closet with decoratively labeled jars, spice up homemade bath salts, tuck in knit goods like gloves and a lacy scarf. There are so many things that can creatively be given inside a glass jar (they come in many different shapes, sizes, and styles) and the labels give it such a personalized touch.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Allen Wrench on Aisle 23

To Whom it may Concern,

First and foremost, let me say, I love IKEA furniture! About 70% of the furniture in my house is IKEA furniture and I plan to buy more in the future.

I know that IKEA wants to take responsibility for the environment and is taking many positive steps in that direction with flat boxes, using waste products, and reducing resources used in production of your goods.

There is one area where your company could improve. With almost every piece of IKEA furniture I've purchased, I have received an allen wrench. I now have dozens of them around my house and in my toolbox. I would love for your store to provide a way to recycle allen wrenches at your store and, ideally, for your store to find a way to reuse them.

I have talked to many other individuals who frequently shop at your store and many of them have shared similar concerns. Almost all of your packing materials are recyclable except for the wrench that comes with many of your products. I would greatly appreciate your business devising a way to make the allen wrench yet another area in which sustainability and concern for resources is a high priority.

Thank you,
Laura M.

PS: For any of you reading this letter on my blog, I would encourage you to send a similar letter to IKEA

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Flashback I didn't see Coming...

Does anyone remember Bravestarr??? Andy and I were reminiscing about cartoons of our youth when Andy pulled Bravestarr out of the blue. I had never heard of this cartoon! Andy claimed to even have a toy horse from the series. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, we were able to find it on Hulu. Why not watch a couple of episodes, right?

Holy Crap! That is one wacko cartoon! Just watch the intro and you'll see what I mean! According to IMDB, the show debued in 1987. It is about an American cowboy who has to protect New Texas from renigade robots. It is so strange to watch! I can't believe my husband, who was only allowed to watch Nova, was allowed to watch it!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

How to Make your own Hand Sanitizer

I stumbled across this awesome recipe for natural hand sanitizer. I have yet to try it since it is a little heavy on the natural oils and my budget seems spoken for until March! My husband prefers to use hand sanitizer throughout the day instead of trying to squeeze in true hand washing while helping chase our three boys. I never realized making my own sanitizer was even an option!

The recipe looks very simple and straightforward. I will be trying it probably in the spring. If you decide to try it before then, please let me know how it works!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Send Postcards for Free!

There are three things I enjoy: getting something in the mail, anything free, something to do during naptime. Hippopost to the rescue! Their website allows you to pick a picture (upload one of your own or choose one of theirs), type out a message (up to 14 lines) and send it to anyone you want. They print and send it out. The catch? You choose an advertiser (they usually have one or two choices) that puts a little blurb at the bottom of your postcard.

We've used Hippopost to send out thank you cards, keep in touch with extended family members, and send birthday wishes from the kids' favorite toys. There are so many possibilities. We're even considering using the website to send out Christmas post cards this year. You can send up to ten postcards a day.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Extra Produce, Anyone?

Have you ever hear of Veggie Trader? It is billed as the "craigslist for veggies and fruit". You sign up (its free!) and then post what you have and what you want in return. It is fairly new so there aren't too many people in my zip code posting yet but that's why I want all of you to sign up. Just think of all the fun veggie and fruit trading that could happen next summer if we spread the word. Do a blog post, send some emails or even put it on facebook: Veggie Trader is a great idea!

Monday, August 24, 2009


The best comic ever…rewritten if modern child psychologists got a hold of Calvin.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Mint Tin Candle

A mint tin candle is the perfect way to re-purpose an old mint tin. I could see these being a part of a homemade spa gift basket or a housewarming gift. Anyone feel like getting crafty???

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Watercolor Stencil Portrait Gift Idea

I know there are some of you out there who love to paint. I found this unique idea for a Watercolor Stencil Portrait and thought how great it would be to have some done of the boys. Check out the link and let me know if its something you're interested in...looks fabulous to me!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pop Tab Gift Can Tutorial

I love using these pop tab gift cans to "wrap" children's gifts, jewlery, bath salts, baby onsies/booties, candy snacks or anything else that fits inside. I will now attempt my first tutorial...enjoy!

1. Any size pop tab can will do (I just happened to have a bunch of smaller fruit ones). Flip the can upside down and using a safety can-opener (it leaves a little bit of a dull lip which is how you will seal the can towards the end), take off the bottom of the can.

2. I found it helpful to do this step in small batches...guess what my kids had for snack that day!

3. After removing the bottom of the can, carefully peel off the label and set it off to one side.

4. Rinse and dry the can. You want it absolutely clean. You could even run it through the dishwasher.

5. While the can is drying, take the label and trace it on the back of whatever you are using for your new custom label (scrapbook paper, fabric, graphic print, etc). Cut your strip of paper.

6. Using stick/craft glue, attach your new custom label to the dry pop tab can.

7. Put your gift item inside the can. I prefer to wrap my gifts in tissue paper or fabric just to insure it doesn't get any goop on it during the last step. Using a hot glue gun, attach the bottom of the can back on and let dry.

Voila! Your pop tab gift can is complete!!! You can dress it up even more with ribbon tied to the pop tab itself or leave it plain.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Felt Strawberries

I know there are several of you out there who love felt and all things using felt. I am not one of those people but I found a tutorial for felt strawberries and thought they would make great gifts for some of my nieces and nephews. I would love to trade with you if you wanted to make some strawberries and/or other assorted felt food items. They would definitely add to rainy day play.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Seed Stitch Dishcloth

I make these in sets of two using organic cotton or linen. They are great for everything from wiping down counters to using for baths.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Two-tie Sling

I love this idea!!! Its basically two ties, sewn together to make a water bottle or camera sling. I get the ties at thrift stores and dry clean them at home (no one wants gross ties). The purple one is up for grabs if anyone wants to trade for it. The length is adjustable, you just tie the skinny parts of the tie together to make the bag hang the desired length.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Garter Stitch Kids Scarf

This is a great gift idea for siblings or couples if done in matching or complimentary yarns. I love the look of variegated yarns in the simple garter stitch. This pattern works well for kids because there is no right or wrong side to the scarf. Relatively quick to knit.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Washer Ribbon Necklace Gift Idea

A necklace made out of washers and grosgrain ribbon...who would have thought! I stumbled upon this unique gift/craft idea while staying up much too late one night. This would be a great gift idea for that spunky person who is impossible to shop for or someone who really enjoys being an original. I have yet to try this myself so drop me a line if you decide to give it a whirl.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Neat Gift Idea for Kids

I would love to have this awesome roll-up kitchen playmat if anyone out there would like to use their sewing skills and trade for something I can make. I could really use at least one of these to use for a Christmas present so let me know if you want to try to bust one out.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Toy Ball

I can knit this ball out of a variety of colors (and color combinations). It is a little time consuming to knit so a bit of a heads up would be awesome. I stuffed the ball with fabric and yarn scraps which make it super soft and absolutely machine washable. Both of my boys love having a ball they can actually throw inside the house.

Two-tie Sling

I did it! I finally sewed something sharable!!!!! I found a tutorial online for this super sweet water bottle sling, and guess worked! It was the easiest thing in the world after I found ties that were the same size and shape at the Salvation Army (don't worry, I washed them at home using a dry cleaning kit I've been holding on to for years). I was surprised that it was big enough to fit our Klean Kanteen but there it is. It would also make a great camera bag...hmmm...maybe I should go make some more...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Kombucha Craze

Blame Wendy for this one...I want to make my own Kombucha tea. For those of you who have never tried it (but who really should!!!), Kombucha is a super potent, fermented tea which has been made in China and Eastern European countries for centuries. There are huge health benefits but the best part is the taste (almost like hard apple cider).

The process for making the tea almost seems like a bad science experiment gone wrong. It involves a "mother mushroom" (which is no mushroom at all but a pancake like glob of bacteria and yeast), mason jars, tea, sugar, and a whole lot of good timing.

You can find commercial kombucha in most health food stores. It comes in original and a variety of other flavors. Once I convince Andy to invest in my own mother mushroom, you can just come over to my house. Until then, you'll have to support the economy.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Twisted Gnome Hat

This is one of my new favorite patterns! The hats fit kids all the way up to adults...all I do is change the length (from brim to peak). I prefer to make them out of 100% virgin wool which is naturally water resistant. In the bottom picture I added one strand of colored yarn just to mix it up. These hats are super comfy and as Andy says, "I'm gonna wear this hat all the freakin' time!"

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Double Loop Scarf

This is a great scarf for chunky, variegated, or multiple yarns. It can be knit in a narrow or wide pattern and to any length. The pattern looks the same from both sides of the scarf. It is a great project for short notice.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Hand Warmers

These are basic handwarmers...they can be made for small adult hands all the way to up to a men's large. I can knit them in variety of colors and fibers. They can be short (wrist length) or a little longer. It takes me a couple of days to knit one set.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Yet Another Blog

My last post included an idea about exchanging handmade gifts and I realized that I would need someplace to display what I can make and eventually, include items that other people can make. Hence, I created "Gift Exchange". Over the next couple of weeks, I will be posting pictures of things I have made in the past that I would love to make again for someone else. If you're interested in anything I post, just shoot me an email and we'll talk about color, yarn and size and go from there. I would love to only give handmade gifts throughout the year but people can only use so many things made from yarn. Check out the new site and let me know what you think.


How great would it be to only give handmade gifts throughout the year? The problem is that my family and friends will only tolerate so many knit gifts before their thankful eyes begin to glaze over. Hence, the creation of "Gift Exchange".

I will be posting all of the wonderful knit items I can make (and hopefully other things as well once I start developing my other areas of craftiness) which I hope that you will want in exchange for the awesome handmade items you can make.

If you see something you like, just shoot me an email and we'll go from there...deciding the color, size, yarn, etc. If you would like to post some of your crafty items, let me know and I'll set you up as a guest blogger.

We are a community of gifted people and I think it would be great to share with one another. Let me know what you think of this idea...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Early Start on Christmas

I went to the craft store for a pair of knitting needles and ended up with a bag of 50% off yarn. Half of the yarn is undyed organic cotton. I had to justify my purchase to my husband by the time I got home so I decided this bag of yarn would be for Christmas presents. You read it right...I'm starting early this year since my goal is to knit at least 60% of my Christmas gifts this year. I found an awesome washcloth pattern that will be perfect for the cotton yarn. If anyone is interested in bartering Christmas presents (a gift using my craft/skill for a gift using your craft/skill) just send me an email. I would love for all of my presents to be handmade this year!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Random Tip of the Week

Throw a loosely wadded ball of tin foil in your dryer to get rid of static!

We don't use dryer sheets for a multitude of reasons (that shall be another post) and all of the alternatives we tried...well...they all sucked! I picked up the tin foil trick from a random source (I can no longer remember) and it works like a charm. I don't even use brand new foil. I reuse a piece of foil that was covering something in the fridge or freezer (a piece that has little to no food on it). I keep the foil ball in the dryer until it sneaks its way out with a load of clothes but that's no biggie because Isaiah's face lights up like a christmas tree when he spies one of these "space balls" amongst the socks. Yeah for foil!

PS: Did you know that you can recycle tin foil with your aluminum cans??? You can.

Monday, February 23, 2009

3rd baby truths...

This following “list” is an email someone sent me a while ago. I thought it was pretty funny.


The Evolution of Parenthood

Your Clothes -

1st baby: You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as your OB/GYN confirms your pregnancy.

2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible.

3rd baby: Your maternity clothes are your regular clothes.

The Baby’s Name -

1st baby: You pore over baby-name books and practice pronouncing and writing combinations of all your favourites.

2nd baby: Someone has to name their kid after your great-aunt Mavis, right? It might as well be you.

3rd baby: You open a name book, close your eyes, and see where your finger falls. Bimaldo? Perfect!

Preparing for the Birth -

1st baby: You practice your breathing religiously.

2nd baby: You don’t bother practicing because you remember that last time, breathing didn’t do a thing.

3rd baby: You ask for an epidural in your 8th month.

The Layette -

1st baby: You pre-wash your newborn’s clothes, color-coordinate them, and fold them neatly in the baby’s little bureau.

2nd baby: You check to make sure that the clothes are clean and discard only the ones with the darkest stains.

3rd baby: Boys can wear pink, can’t they?

Pacifier -

1st baby: If the pacifier falls on the floor, you put it away until you can go home and wash and boil it.

2nd baby: When the pacifier falls on the floor, you squirt it off with some juice from the baby’s bottle.

3rd baby: You wipe it off on your shirt and pop it back in.

Diapering -

1st baby: You change your baby’s diapers every hour, whether they need it or not.

2nd baby: You change their diaper every 2 to 3 hours, if needed.

3rd baby: You try to change their diaper before others start to complain about the smell or you see it sagging to their knees.

Worries -

1st baby: At the first sign of distress - a whimper, a frown - you pick up the baby.

2nd baby: You pick the baby up when her wails threaten to wake your firstborn.

3rd baby: You teach your 3-year-old how to rewind the mechanical swing.

Activities -

1st baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics, Baby Swing, and Baby Story Hour.

2nd baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics.

3rd baby: You take your infant to the supermarket and the dry cleaner.

Going Out -

1st baby: The first time you leave your baby with a sitter, you call home 5 times.

2nd baby: Just before you walk out the door, you remember to leave a number where you can be reached.

3rd baby: You leave instructions for the sitter to call only if she sees blood.

At Home -

1st baby: You spend a good bit of every day just gazing at the baby.

2nd baby: You spend a bit of every day watching to be sure your older child isn’t squeezing, poking, or hitting the baby.

3rd baby: You spend a little bit of every day hiding from the children.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Too Cute

Okay, as if you didn't have enough to do already! I found a super cute site where you can waste tons of time checking out the cute pictures and sweet stories.

The Conservatory Overcoat GIVEAWAY!!!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Human Slavery

While doing my usual StumbleUpon, I found this awesome website: Chain Store Reaction.
It has about 80 popular companies that you can choose to send the following email:

As a loyal customer who has appreciated and purchased your product(s), I ask that you join me in the fight to eradicate slavery and human trafficking. Like me, you probably didn’t know that there are 27 million slaves* in the world today, most of whom work in agriculture and mining.

That means I’m likely wearing, eating, driving, or using a product tainted by slavery. What’s more, without the ability to know where a company’s raw materials originate, a company can’t be sure it’s not inadvertently selling products produced, at least in part, by slaves.

I know this criminal practice is not your fault as sure as I know we all share a responsibility to end it. I know that responsibly eradicating slavery from a supply chain as diverse as yours is neither quick nor simple, and I promise to support your brand through the mistakes, discoveries, and growing pains intrinsic to really addressing this problem. All I ask is that you begin.

Now, I sure love your company, but if one of your competitors chooses to take on this fight against slavery and you sit it out—well then, I’ll buy from them instead. As good as you are, if I have to choose between you and freedom, freedom wins every time.

Please fill out this questionnaire to this letter listing out some of the specific, tangible things that your company could do to help end slavery around the world.

On behalf of 27 million global citizens and a lot more American Consumers, I eagerly await your response,

Until we’re all free,

Laura Mo

I would strongly encourage you to check out the website and to learn more about human slavery. It happens everywhere. I plan to send an email to every company on their website who has not provided a response and I will also send a letter concerning human slavery to my Representative and Senator.

Monday, February 9, 2009


Miracles do happen.
Liam can be happy.

I would never have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes but Liam has been happy all afternoon...and I haven't been holding him!!! He has crawled from one end of the house to other and back again. When he spies me, he hurriedly crawls on his little chubby knees with a look of glee (real glee!!!) on his face and then he is off again! There is hope for our household after all.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Favorite Laundry Soap Recipe

I just finished making my second batch of laundry soap and I thought I would post my favorite recipe. I prefer the powder version (I think it is easier to make/store). I previously posted it in the comment section but I thought I would bring it to light in case anyone missed it.

Powdered Laundry Detergent
1 cup grated Fels Naptha Soap
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup 20 mule team borax

Mix and store in airtight container or bag.

For light loads use 1 tablespoon. For normal loads, use 2 tablespoons. For heavy loads, use 3 tablespoons.

I use anywhere from 1 tablespoon to 1 1/2 tablespoons. I find that I don't need any more than that, even for the dirtiest loads. For my next batch I want to try some Dr. Bronner's soap. Let me know if you come across a sale.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Confessions of a Homebody

I tend to be a homebody. I could stay at home for weeks on end with no outside contact and be perfectly happy (that's probably why I never answer my phone). I have plenty of things to keep me busy or at the very least waste my time. Something new is always going on with the boys so the novelty rarely wears off. Knitting is a perfectly happy solo adventure and yet...I find myself drawn towards community.

Don't get me wrong, I spend plenty of time at home but I find myself spending more time with others. Why would a perfectly happy homebody spend time with others? Because relationship nourishes me in a way that I can't do myself. My relationships with others force me to look beyond myself, to be dependent, to enjoy time rather than just pass the time. I tend to want to do everything by myself but for me, that is empty arrogance. There are actually very few things I can do by myself, for everything else, I need community.

Raising the kids cannot be done by myself or even just with the help of my spouse. I depend on community to grow with the boys and show them that families are all beautifully different. I appreciate all of the clothes we've gotten as children in our community have outgrown them. I value the time my community has spent looking after my kids but more importantly, investing in them and loving them completely.

Personal growth cannot be achieved by myself. I depend on others to hold my hand and hold me accountable. I appreciate all of the women who have spoken truth into my life out of love. I deeply value my community for showing me that God's love and grace have a deep and meaningful place in my life. I can humbly say that I am not the same person I was two years ago and that my life has been drastically changed because of God and my community.

Love is nothing when it is isolated. Love is everything when it is celebrated, shared, lived, and given away. Love has no reference point without community.

All of this is a way of letting you know that this happy homebody is choosing community over isolation one step at a time...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Isaiah and I passed the afternoon by playing with cars and learning about pockets. I was laying on the couch (trying to be passively involved in the playing) while Isaiah zoomed his car up and down my leg. Suddenly, he looked at my face and said, "Mommy, pocket. Pocket, mommy." He then proceeded to shove his toy truck in my pocket only to retrieve it a moment later. He paused and then said, "My pocket, mommy." And I tried to explain that he had no pockets because he was only wearing his boxers (yes, he was partially clothed for a change). But before I could explain completely, he spied his fly, and exlaimed "POCKET!" In went the truck, off went the boy and closed went mommy's eyes.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Dreaded Morning Sickness

Ah...morning old friend. I haven't missed you at all but apparently, you have missed me. You stay by my side from morning till night, barely missing a moment. I've even lost all desire to knit in your delightful company. I must tell you, however, that I plan on getting rid of you in the next week. You heard right: the ginger root is coming!!! We'll see how well you stand up to crackers, water, and oh so bland food. Your end comes near!!!