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February 28, 2013

Happy Birthday Dr. Suess! Inspiration Contributor

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 I am so super excited for today's Inspiration Contributor!  She is simply amazing.  I went over to her site to see what she had made for Project Run & Play.  It is here.  I thought it was the most fun costume for a boy I had ever seen.  And then, poof, her blog sucked me right in.  I was very impressed with all of her creations and so inspired by all the things that she did with her kids.  Next thing I knew, I was back a whole year's worth of posts, and on the phone with my sisters. I had to tell them about the awesome new blog I found!  Anyway, read on, because I know you will be inspired!
With love,

Hi Shaffer Sisters readers! My name is Meghan and I blog over at Once Upon A Notion. I am so excited to be here today to share a post for a fun activity that I did with my two little kiddies last year for Dr. Suess' birthday. I hope you enjoy the craft and try it out with your own kiddies!
Thank you so much to the Shaffer Sisters for having me!

"There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

In honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday, the kids and I celebrated with a couple of cute activities. I found a great idea on Pinterest for making Cat in the Hat hat cookies but I used red cookie icing instead of the red candy melts for the stripes. I then searched around for some Lorax themed crafts. I found this tutorial for making a Lorax mask and changed it up a bit based on the materials I had on hand. After making the cookies and the masks, I read the kids The Lorax and they goofed around with their masks.

For the masks, I used some foam pumpkins I had on hand. Drew eyes to cut out on the orange pumpkins and used the yellow to make the moustache

I cut ovals out of brown felt for the nose and glued a Popsicle stick to the back

"I am the Lorax"

"I speak for the trees"

“Look at me!

Look at me!

Look at me NOW!

It is fun to have fun

But you have to know how.”

― Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat

Cat in the Hat hat cookies

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!
February 27, 2013

The Little Things

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   I was having a hard time thinking of what to write about today but then I got thinking about all the little things my friends and family have done for me in my lifetime.  Let me tell you there were quite a few that I thought about.  But what caught me was the things that have been done for me recently by my husbands  family as well as my husband and son!
    Lets starts off back in June 2012 before I got married!!  My new family cleaned my apartment, watched Ralph and took care of me before and on my wedding day.  And since then they have took me in as one of their own and helped me with becoming a mom to Ralph and other projects.  My mother-in-law helped me when I had surgery even though I was completely out of it!!  I love you all so much.  Thank you for the little things that you have done for me !!  It has meant a lot to me in these last eight months.

     The other Little Things that have have stuck out to me are the things that my husband does for me each day as well as my son.  They have had so much patience with me in learning the mom role and have put up with some of my mood swings as well as helping me when I was sick.  I often find a card or a I love you not from my husband and son just because they wanted to say they loved me and cared for me.  I could have asked for a better family than my what I married into!!

     I have always known that if you want to be treated good by others than to treat them as you would like be treated.  And these last eight months I have been taught about love for one another and the bonds it can create.  It truly is the little things that we do each day that matter the most and are the memories that we keep forever in our hearts!

February 26, 2013

Almond Poppy Seed Bread in a Cast Iron Skillet

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I would like to entitle this mini series over the months to come: Me and my handy dandy cast iron skillet.

You see, when I made this move to Chicago, of my kitchen items, I only packed a few things. Those included: some of my cooking utensils and measuring spoons, 1 large mixing bowl, and an 10 inch diameter cast iron skillet. You might wonder why, but the explanation is simple. We were able to take only what would fit inside the van. I was more willing to pack my sewing machine, silhouette, and guitar than all my cooking dishes and tools. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy cooking, but not as much as I enjoy creating something that is lasting. So the cast iron skillet was an obvious choice since I could use it on the stove and in the oven.

The only thing I didn't consider was that it is difficult to boil noodles, when you make pancakes they are a little black, and how do you make all the dishes you are used to without more than one pan. Let me tell you, it has been a learning curve, but also a fun adventure. Every time I talk to Jo and Scary I make them laugh with the funny stories I have to tell from it.

The biggest challenge thus far was when I made mac and cheese for dinner. I didn't have very much room for the boiling water and I had to make sure the noodles didn't stick to the bottom. In the end it worked out just fine, but I spent a lot more time in front of the stove keeping an eye on things.

Anyway, getting back to things. Almond Poppy Seed Bread is probably in my top 3 favorites for comfort food. While I am missing being close to Scary, Jo, and Nae I can't also be without this regardless of the pan situation.

Speaking of comfort food. If you are into it, you should be stopping by our blog the week of March 4th; we will be doing a mini feature and linkin party (click here for a schedule of the linkin parties and their themes for the next few months).

I will be using a recipe from Our Best Bites that I have modified for the right amount of batter and because I really like poppy seeds. Also I'm not as into the sweet as the savory so I don't make the orange glaze to go on top. And here it is:

2 C flour
1 2/3 C sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/3 T poppy seeds
3/4 C oil
2 eggs
1 C milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. butter flavoring (McCormick brand- we've tried other brands and trust me they aren't quite as good)
1 tsp. almond extract

Prepare your pan by rubbing it with butter or Crisco then covering it with flour and dumping out the excess. Preheat oven to 330 degrees. 1. Add and mix dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. 2. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Beat with electric mixer for 1 minute. Then use a spatula to scrape around the bottom and edges of the pan to get any last bits of flour off. Mix for 1-2 more minutes. Your batter should be smooth (minus the poppy seeds) and even. Pour into your prepared cast iron pan. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until done. Pull out of oven. Run knife around the edge of the pan. Flip onto cooling rack or plate and then flip it over so it's right side up. Finally slice and add a bit of butter. You are sure to love it.

If you happen to only have 1 cast iron pan for whatever reason, then this is sure to be a real pleaser.

I shared this at:
February 25, 2013

Flowered Fundraiser Table Runner

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Hand quilting is something I have always wanted to do, but never really gotten a chance to do. Lucky for me, there is a fundraiser for the Young Women in my ward at church that has proved to be the perfect opportunity. They are having a service and goods auction with the ward to raise money to go to girls camp. Besides high contrast clothing, I don't know what is valued in Illinois, but something handcrafted is sure to do the trick. I have the time and they have the money, and wha-la magic.

Given limited resources (so much of my stuff is still in Idaho) and limited time (hand quilting definitely takes some), making a table runner was an easy choice.What do you think of the finished project?

I used a continuous quilting pattern that I had printed off nearly a year ago and had taped 3 sheets of the pattern together on standard printer paper. I don't remember exactly what website I got if from, but if you google continuous quilting pattern, you should find something of use.

In order to get the pattern pretty precise, I placed the backing fabric over the top of the printed pattern and traced it with a washable fabric marker until I had the flower and leaf design from end to end. Then I used pins to temporarily attach the top, batting, and backing together nicely. This would help it so it didn't shift too much as I was hand quilting. Once I had finished quilting this runner, the only thing left was to bind it.

Now it is finished and beautiful. Even though it will be hard to see it go, I'm sure this handcrafted piece will bring a little light and peace into another person's life.
February 23, 2013

Moving/Spring Cleaning Sensory Activity

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We have a couple of things to tell you about today!
Moving/Spring Cleaning Sensory Activity (in Ryder language: Fun Messy Job)
As many of you know Jo and I are both in the process of moving. What you might not know is that we are both husbandless while doing this. Our husbands have moved proceeding us for employment reasons. Though we are without our husbands for the time being, we are not without our children (I have my 2 and she has 3 out of her 5). Packing and moving takes more time and attention than our children would prefer. 
Today, I was trying to sort the toiletries into stuff that was worth packing up and what we should just throw away. The thrifty part of me didn't want to throw away any of the 10 containers of various scents of hand and body lotion. But I have been trying to minimize the amount of "stuff" we take to the next place, so I knew I couldn't keep it.
Then BAM! It hit me.... Sensory Activity for one 3 year old boy. I put different colors of food coloring in the lotion, which upped the coolness level by 10 points!
Win, Win, Win!
1st Win: He had an activity that kept him entertained for over an hour, which allowed me to get some work done.
2nd Win: I didn't have to fill guilty for tossing because I just did a mind shift from lotion to educational supplies. He drew circles, told me the colors and textures as I added the different lotions.
3rd Win:  Smiles and giggles from Ryder. He asked for extensions to the timer deadline several times (I initially set it for 45 minutes, for this activity). And let me tell you he had sooooooooo much fun! He told me that he wants to do the Fun Messy Job again.
I couldn't leave Boston out of the fun but didn't want to give her something inedible so I plopped some chocolate pudding in front of her and she had her own age appropriate sensory exercise. Following both activities the kids visited the tub.

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February 23, 2013

Crazy Cool Announcements

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Crazy Cool Announcements
Remember, how we did the design contest last month? We had so much fun seeing the talent of our blog readers that we decided to open the inspiration windows up.
In March, Shaffer Sister's will be celebrating "Yummy in My Tummy", aka link up your favorite recipes.
To start us off on a good foot, we are happy to be hosting Andrea from Penny's and Pancakes & Shauna from Our Best Recipes as Inspiration Contributors.
We ask as you link up your favorite recipes you follow the themes as outlined:
March 4th : Comfort Food
March 11th: Saint Patrick's Day Food (really anything green or Irish would work here)
March 18th: 30 minutes or less Meal
March 25th:  Easter (this can be from traditional to commercial)

In April, we will be opening our blog up to you for "It takes a Village to Raise a Child", aka link up your parenting ideas. Inspiration Contributors TBA, but I promise they will be awesome! We would love for you to link up your ideas for the following weeks:
April 1: Old Dog Can Play New Tricks (Jokes, Pranks, April fools day traditions, and Fun)
April 8: Singing Out of the Rain (Rainy Day Activities)
April 15: Busy as a Bee (Activities to keep your kids busy)
April 22: Raising Kids is a Walk in the Park (Outdoor Activities)
April 29: Good Ideas for Those Who Wait (Quiet Activities, Travel Games, or activities that will keep your kids entertained while you are found waiting)

In May, we are beyond excited to have our "Make it for Mom" Series where we will be featuring Max with Max California, Suzanne Winter with Winter Wonderings, Shannon from Little Kids Grow, and Vanessa with Designs by Sessa. With themes TBA.

We are really happy with this community we are building, and we are so excited that you are a part of it.  It takes a lot of your inspiration to make this blog what we want it to be.  If you have any great ideas or know of anyone that you would like to see contributing, let us know by e-mailing us at shaffer dot sisters at gmail dot com.
With love,
February 22, 2013

The Best of Project Run and Play: Designer Edition

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So I'm not as talented at this html code thing as Scary, but Boston has an upset stomach and I need a challenge. So here I am and I am excited to highlight our favorites from the designers at Project Run and Play this last season. If you are wondering what we loved, here is each of our top five in no particular order.

We are featuring designs from these lovelies linked below.   We were sew inspired- get it ;) Sew Inspired!
Max California
The Crafty Cupboard
La Inglesita
Little Kids Grow

Jo's Favorites:
Scary's Favorites:
My Favorites:

Shaffer Sisters encourage. inspire. uplift. create.
February 21, 2013

Creating Sarah: Inspiration Contributor

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Hello, friends! I am so excited to be here today.

I am coming today from a little blog called Creating Sarah.  I spend my time there trying to create and discover the me I always wanted to be as I am inspired and uplifted by people around me.  I love to create, especially when I am creating things for my family and home.  I get so excited (almost crazy--like crazy crazy--excited) when faced with the prospect of making new friends.  I'd love to have you stop by and visit, be inspired, and inspire me.  I'll try my best to not be creepy and scare you away.  =)

But first, Jo asked if I would share a little bit of me with you.

I used to be a hiker. Well, actually, I still am a hiker, I just haven't gone hiking in a few years.  Anyway, it was nothing serious, I just enjoy walking in the mountains.  In particular, I love the foothills behind my mom's house where my mom and I used to hike often.

Generally, we had a trail that we would stick to and we didn't vary much from it.  Our main objective was to get some exercise and, more importantly, spend some time together.  My mom is my best friend and this time together was filled with joy.  We talked about everything and I learned a lot about myself: Who I am, who I want to be, and how to do it.

Occasionally, we liked to veer off course a little bit and explore some of the other trails around the hills.  On one such occasion, we found ourselves at the base of a very steep hill.  As we made our way up, it wasn't long before we had to stop and rest.  This hill was stinkin' hard!  I mean, it was so steep that there were times it felt more like we were crawling than walking.  And, when we turned to see how far we had come, it was only a few feet.  It was going to take more work than we had initially expected.

Undaunted, we kept going, taking time to sit and rest when we needed to but always moving on as soon as we had caught our breath.  The top wasn't always in sight, but we knew it was there and the only way to get there was to keep moving.

As we made our final push for the top, I was exhausted.  Determined, but exhausted.  I felt like I was moving at a snail's pace and that I may just roll back down the hill instead of making those last few feet.  Quietly, my mom, who is a stronger hiker than me, reached out and took my hand in hers--not pulling or even really offering any extra support; just to walk with me. Slowly, she took each step by my side until we finally reached the top.  That quiet moment with my mom taught me a lot about life.

Life is hard sometimes.  There's no getting around it, it just is.  Sometimes those hills in life get so steep that you kind of wonder if you are moving forward at all and sometimes you are so close to the ground that you can't tell if you are actually moving up or just laying down.

I know.  My life has been filled with those steep hills and I have found myself sitting down many times to catch my breath and wonder if I'm really going to make it up to the top.

Heavenly Father knows too.  Not only did He send me on this hike, but He is right by my side walking with me, showing me the higher ground.  And, so many times, he has reached out and taken my hand in his, not to pull me but just to encourage me.  He is there to tell me that I am going uphill and that the hike is worth it.  I can do it and I will be stronger once I have.

He reaches out quietly and oftentimes through the people around me.  Sometimes my husband gives me a hug.  Sometimes my daughter tells me I'm beautiful (blootiful, but, that's close enough) or that she loves me and she is so happy I made her favorite meal for her.  Sometimes my baby laughs when I look at him.  Sometimes a friend calls me or e-mails me.  Sometimes a stranger sees me with my three kids and stops to tell me what a good job I am doing.

He knows each of us.  He loves us.  We are his children.  He wants us to reach the top and will find any way He can to encourage us and cheer us on.  Oh, how I love Him and how grateful I am that he sends me up these steep hills so that I can strengthen myself and come closer to Him.

P.S. I made this sign a while ago as a reminder to myself.  I shared my techniques on by blog here if you are interested in making one of your own. 
February 19, 2013

The Best of Project Run and Play Sew Along

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Right now I should be...packing, cleaning or sleeping but instead I am doing something way cooler. Sharing with you one of the sweetest list of DIY children clothing creations known to man (or at least the last couple of months). Project Run and Play sew along group is such a talented group of designers, who find time for sewing along with all of the important things in life. Most of the women (there might be men but I don't think I have came across any) in this group don't blog about sewing for a living they just do it because they love it and love being able to share the possibilities with the world. Along with sharing their skill they come and encourage their fellow peers by leaving the sweetest comments. It is like having a cheering section, peer coaches and the coolest group of friends ever!
Here are some of the things we made this season:
We wanted to take this opportunity to share some of our favorite designs with you. If you were featured feel free to grab the button.
Shaffer Sisters encourage. inspire. uplift. create.

41 Super Sweet Girl  Designs

28 Rocking Boy Designs

If you would like to be removed from this list please e-mail us from shaffer dot sisters at gmail dot com.

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