What do I blog about?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas Decorations

I love the holiday season! Had no desire to mess with a tree though. Our apartment is just too small, and our little girl is just too ornery! Here is what we did instead, inspired of course by pinterest.
Wrapping paper tree and Snowman refrigerator

Monday, November 28, 2011

Dress to Skirt

I love clearance racks. We went out shopping on Black Friday and I bought a 45 dollar dress from old navy on sale for $6.97 I thought it was rather ugly and it was a couple sizes too big, but it had potential. As it turned out, it was a super easy project and I LOVE the end result.

All I did was cut off the top of the dress and sew a strip from the top into a waist band. I could have made this into a casing for elastic, but I didn't end up having to because the back of this dress was made out of this cool stretchy fabric.

I took in the sides, trimmed my seams...

Voila! A cute, warm, incredibly comfortable skirt with a matching bracelet from the dress straps.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Meeting Santa

Santa Clause made a special trip to our local Wal-Mart yesterday; our daughter got to meet him for the very first time! At first, she didn't mind. She was mostly just curious. But then she became super concerned by the fact that his very jolly voice sounded exactly like her daddy's, but he certainly didn't look like himself! And then, oh- the tears! My husband had a lot of fun being Santa! Always nice to change up the routine at work a bit.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving and her first word!

Happy Thanksgiving! I received a call from my grandpa today reminding me to ponder my blessings. Gratitude is what today is all about. We all have so much to be grateful for; the list is really rather overwhelming! I'm grateful for an abundance of food on our table. I made my first ever turkey on Tuesday and am happy to report that it turned out delicious and we have lots of wonderful left overs! 
I got my husband to eat turkey by serving it with fat free honey mustard. We served our potatoes with minced garlic and onion sour cream, we like our green beans best with bacon, and we enjoyed baked apples stuffed with brown sugar and spiced oats for dessert.

I'm grateful to have a family to cook for and eat with. 

I'm grateful to have spent an evening full of laughter with our neighbors and friends. They were even so kind as to prepare ALL gluten free dishes including amazing stuffing and to- die- for mac and cheese. Seriously, I've been cooking gluten free for over a year now and they out did me tonight.

I'm grateful for a daughter who... wait for it... wait for it... said her first word!!!! And, the word was... Mama! Yay!! A couple of nights ago, she was crying out at night and I was laying there listening; clinging to the Ferber Method promise of self soothing babies, when I heard her cry Mama. I was so surprised that I went to her right away, but as I soothed her I convinced myself that I had made it up. However, when she awoke in the morning she again cried out, Mama! And then that was it. No more Mamas in the night. No Mamas during the day, not even with all my coaxing. Surely, I had heard something in her baby babble that simply wasn't. Until today when my husband went to fetch her from her afternoon nap. She didn't stop crying when he picked her up and then she called out Mama! And, she reached her little arms out to me when he came into the room where I was waiting.
We snapped this photo today to show off her pearly whites.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes

I got creative in the kitchen today! 
Strawberry cupcake with whipped cream nutella frosting
I made a dozen strawberry cupcakes from scratch using gluten free flour and pureed fresh strawberries as directed by Silvana Nardone. And then, I brainstormed a frosting. I'm over butter cream. Getting the consistency right for decorating is a nightmare and the taste generally over powers the cake, at least when I make it. I wanted something light. This is what I came up with:

1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup nutella

In a chilled mixing bowl, whisk the whipping cream, cocoa and sugar on medium speed until peaks form. Fold in the nutella. Resist licking the entire bowl before you frost the cupcakes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Little personalities

Do you remember the fantastic dress that I mentioned in my post: Little Dresses? Well, I finally took some pictures of our daughter wearing it!

 Adorable, right?
She is 8 1/2 months old now. She's been crawling for three months, and only gets faster every day. I'm convinced that her main goal in life thus far is to join the bishop on the stand in Church. She squirms and whines and pushes against us when we try to have her sit on our laps. She nose dives off the bench when we try to sit her between us. And, she throws her toys in disgust if we try to keep her occupied. Then, when we're distracted fetching toys or apologizing to those sitting near us, she takes off! She books it down the aisle and up the stairs to the pulpit. Needless to say, one of us always goes after her and spends the rest of the service out in the halls. 8 1/2 months old and we haven't sat through a whole sacrament meeting yet! She is just so determined and stubborn and so very strong willed!

Her favorite food is quinoa and her favorite baby food is squash. She is currently getting her second bottom tooth in. She loves noisy toys and walking along side furniture. Recently, she has begun to share; she tries to stick her pacifier in our mouths. She claps and smiles and giggles when we tickle her. She isn't shy at all. In fact, she will push against me and cry to be let down and then crawl into the laps of visiting neighbors and friends. I have one friend who has a baby boy, and my little girl gets so jealous when she holds her son.

She keeps us so busy! And we wouldn't have it any other way! Love that little girl so much.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

What a great guy!

I am surprised by how quickly Thanksgiving is approaching. I have enjoyed the grateful themed blog posts and facebook statuses, the holiday pins on pinterest and the cheerful how- to- cook- this and how- to- decorate- thats on the news stations. This morning I am especially grateful for my husband; I am so proud of him and so happy to be his wife!

He is an incredible father. Our little girl cries when he has to leave, lights up when he comes home, and laughs the big belly laughs when he stretches out on the floor to play. He’s helpful too; takes his turn at spooning baby food into her moving target of a mouth. He changes diapers, and responds to my elbows and nudges by waking up in the night to comfort her cries. 

The morning of her baby blessing back in April.
She's Daddy's little helper!
He is enjoying school very much and really applies himself. I am so grateful that he moved our family here because I can see what an inspired program BYU – I is. Last week, he went prepared to a mock interview. He looked so handsome; I would have hired him on the spot just for that! According to the interviewer who staged himself as an HR rep for corporate Wal-Mart, my husband did really well in his responses. The interviewer  gave him some really good feed back; complimented him for being “real” and even sent him home with a video recording of the interview! What an awesome resource to have! It can be reviewed and his responses improved upon before future interviews for actual jobs.

My husband also attended a meeting with two BYU – I alumni that are currently employed by corporate Wal-Mart. One has been employed for seven years, the other about six months. Their presentation was very encouraging; they spoke highly of the community in which their jobs require them to live in and also of the company they work for. Wal – Mart’s motto respect for the individual is apparently upheld consistently. I was encouraged to know that the company pays for the expensive move when you relocated to work for them. Graduation is a little more than a year away, but I am so glad that my husband is being proactive now in setting his sights on good jobs.

My husband doesn’t only go to school full time, he also works 30 hours a week. My friends, who find themselves in similar situations, and I joke that we are married single moms because our men have to be away from the home so much. Not that we are resentful in the slightest, we’re all proud of their accomplishments and grateful for their hard work and financial support. Work is going really well for my husband. He changed departments and left jewelry/ apparel behind (good riddance) to work in the electronics department- just in time for the HUGE black Friday sales! He has been assigned the very important, over night job, of keeping the line for televisions orderly. His annual review went incredibly well, it is so nice to know that he is appreciated for his good work ethic, and starting in January he will be receiving a fifty cent an hour raise! We know that this is a direct blessing to paying our tithing and we are humbled and grateful to know that our loving Heavenly Father hears our prayers and takes care of us financially.  

Last week, my husband came home feeling very inspired by a lesson he learned in his History class. The topic had been the Law of Consecration and how we can apply it in our lives today. He has taken on a fresh outlook toward our life and all of our many blessing. This isn't our car, it is the Lord's car, where would he have us drive? This isn't our home, it is the Lord's home, what would he have us do with it? These aren't our clothes, they're the Lord's clothes, we should give our excess to who needs them more. He is such a good example to me! I am keeping that in mind today since going to church with a baby is such a dreadful chore, I will be saying in my mind: This isn't my day, it is the Lord's day, and He would have me attend my Church meetings.

I am grateful that my husband is inspired by good things. Grateful that he is humble enough to see the Lord's hand in our lives. Recently, we were watching Extreme Makeover: Home edition on tv. In this particular episode, a new home was built for a single dad raising his three teenage sons. They had gone without so much, because they gave away so much. The dad is very involved in the impoverished community. He tries to bring reading and education, even paying out of pocket to take kids, whom would otherwise be involved in drugs and crime on the street, on field trips to museums. This man is the only male role model and father figure to the majority of the kids in their neighborhood! It was one of those episodes that I couldn't get through without a few tears. And, even though it has been a few weeks now since we watched it, it comes up frequently in conversation. My husband often says that he hopes we live our life like that. He hopes we too can have a positive impact on the lives of others and especially kids. We look at our daughter, and it breaks our hearts to think of other children who are just as innocent and perfect as her, trying to survive in poverty or love-less homes.

I'm going to wrap this up since it's getting quite long! (But not before I add some more daddy/ daughter pictures that I just found on my computer; taken around 8 weeks old.) Thank you dear for being so good to us. I love you!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

GumGum visits!

GumGum (Grandma was a tough word for me to say when I was a kid, ok?) flew in for a visit this week. We were so excited to show her our little home and around our town! We made sure to take her on a campus tour and to take her to Kiwi Loco for some amazing frozen yogurt. She made sure to spoil us all rotten; our little girl is especially grateful for the new toys! Here are a ton of pictures!
Buckled up to go fetch GumGum

High Fives at the air port

Still waiting

Here she is!

Hmmm, are we going to be friends?

New, noisy, toys!

GumGum can sure make her laugh!

Smiles all around

Gumgum bought her that shirt: No More Silent Nights

Sharing pizza

We love our frozen treats

Thanks for spending time with us, GumGum!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

DIY Flower Pillow

I wanted to re purpose a jean skirt and send my grandma home with some sunshine, so I followed cluck cluck sew's tutorial and made a pillow. I thought her tutorial was very easy to understand, and this flower was a lot of fun to make!

Little skirt; big time cute!


Here is my little sweet heart wearing the cute skirt that I made for her! I had so much fun making it and I posted a tutorial here. She just isn't quite sure what to think about the snow!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Peanut butter marshmallow frosting

Today, I wanted to try something new. Ok, so most days I want to try something new. Today it actually worked out well so I thought I'd share the recipe. We enjoyed it with chocolate cup cakes, but it would also go really well with anything banana.

In a microwave safe bowl:
5 T. butter
2 T. milk
1/3 C. Creamy Peanut Butter
2 C. miniature marshmallows
Microwave for thirty seconds and stir. Heat longer if marshmallows don't completely blend.
Stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla.
Fold in powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tutu Skirt tutorial

I fell in love with this little skirt when I happened upon it via pinterest and I made it using sewing in no mans land's instructions. I thought her instructions were hard to understand though, so I decided to make my own little tutorial. What I liked was that the instructions work for any size and that this project took all of three hours to complete. Have fun!  
What you need:
1 yard main fabric
1/2 yard lining fabric
1/2 yard soft tulle
Small length of 1/2 inch wide elastic

1. Measure your little girl's waist and double it. Mine was roughly 17 inches (they never hold still, do they?) doubled to 34. I am going to refer to this number as your magic number.
2. Cut three rectangles out of your main fabric. One will become the waist band and the other two, the skirt. If you want to tier the waist band like I did, then cut the first rectangle the length of your magic number (mine was 34 inches) and 8 inches wide. If you don't want to tier it, then cut it the length of your magic number and 5 inches wide. Cut the other two rectangles the length of your magic number and 5 inches wide. 
3. Grab your first rectangle and hem the top wide enough so that the elastic will eventually fit within. Then, if you don't want to tier the top, go to step 5.
4. Form the tiers. If you have a good method of doing this, then do it your way. Just make sure the finished product will have a width of 4 to 5 inches. How I did it was by creating three folds, pinning them, and sewing them exactly how I wanted it to look, right onto the right side of my fabric. The picture shows this a little better. 
5. Sew the other two rectangles together by lining them up at the side, right sides together. (I should tell you that the original tutorial that I followed made her skirt from a recycled dress shirt. She had to use more than two strips to reach the desired length (your magic number doubled) and that worked out just fine too.) 
6. Hem this long strip and then do a gathering strip along the other end, allowing a good half inch seam allowance. Gather this strip, creating a ruffled strip. Line it up and make it the same length as your waist band. 

7. Line up the edges of your waist band, right sides together, and sew them together from the bottom sewing up, making sure to leave open the top so we can thread in the elastic later on.
8. Cut a rectangle out of the lining fabric the length of your magic number and about 3 inches wider than those rectangles, so about 8 inches wide. This width really depends on the height of your little girl as the lining is what we will be sewing the tulle on to and will determine the skirt length. Hem the bottom.
9. Cut three strips of tulle, all the length of that magic number or longer. I used the whole half a yard, so the length was however long it came off the spool something like 50 inches. The three strips will differ in width though, all by an inch. Like I said, I wanted to use the whole half yard (~18 inches) so I cut my strips 5 inches wide, 6 inches wide, and the remaining ended up a little wider than 7 inches. 
10. Take your thinnest piece of tulle. Line up the raw edge of the tulle with the top of the hem of your lining, onto the right side of the lining. Pin and sew.

11. Turn the tulle down so that the tulle hangs down and topstitch what you just sewed.
12. Now we are going to attach the medium size strip of tulle 1 inch up from your first tulle strip by doing  the same thing. Sew close to the edge all the way around. Again, turn it down and topstitch. Repeat this process 1 inch up again with your widest strip of tulle. Then, sew a side seam in the lining by lining up the side edges right sides together.
13. Take your two main pieces (the waist band and the skirt, both made from the main material) line their raw edges together right sides together. Pin and baste.
14. Take your lining and slide it up in the middle again lining up the raw edges. The tulle should be poking out the bottom. Pin and sew together. You can trim the raw edge of the lining as needed.
I wish I had a better picture of this step. Look at this picture, and then imagine that the waist band was folded down. You will sew the top of the lining onto the hem that attaches the waist band to the skirt (where you already basted.)

15. Take the elastic, which should be a bit smaller than your little girls waist, attach a safety pin and feed it through your large hem.
16. Spread out the gathers of the waist band and then finish off the skirt by sewing the elastic ends together and hand stitching the openings of the waist band shut. You can trim the tulle as needed too, after your little girl has tried it on.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Don't knock 'em brownies

I made sure to make these brownies when my husband was at school and then not tell him what I used to make them until after he enjoyed them. These are simply sugar and gluten free's  Chocolate Walnut Brownies (except I used peanuts) made with... black beans. What I love about them is that they are sweetened mainly by a ripe banana and agave nectar. I don't like sugar alternatives that leave that diet after taste in your mouth! I decided they needed a frosting though and instead of trying something new, I used a chocolate butter cream. So there went the sugar free. But I am determined to deem them as healthy because of those conspicuous beans.