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December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

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"Like the shepherds of old, we need to say in our hearts, 'Let us see this thing which is come to pass.' We need to desire it in our hearts. Let us see the Holy One of Israel in the manger, in the temple, on the mount, and on the cross. Like the shepherds, let us glorify and praise God for these tidings of great joy!"
—Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "
with love from all of us, Merry Christmas
December 24, 2013

Quick present for that person you forgot {Free Printable}

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Last week my mind was in a fog and my body was in a mess with stomach flu and I forgot a number of presents. Today, I was doing last final presents and realized I was a couple short. I looked around at my house for things to make presents and in my pantry I found all shelf stable the ingredients for Tres Leches. I went over to Our Best Bites and got off their instructions for Tres Leches Cupcakes and then modified the instructions for cake instead of cupcakes. Then I made a winter themed recipe card to put on the front of the box cake.
Tres Leches Printable (JPEG)
Thought I would share it with you in case you are in a bind like me. I am off to make a few more gifts & dinner before putting the kids to bed. Do you tell your young children that Santa is coming? Or do you just let them be surprised? We aren't telling our kids after a couple years ago when Ryder woke up at 3 AM in pure excitement. That was my most exhausting Christmas.

Have a Merry Christmas! I hope you are able to make pleasant memories with your love ones as you celebrate our saviors birth.
December 20, 2013

Pink Tie -Big Boy Tie from Peaches & Peanuts : Pattern Review & One Day Sale

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Ryder has always had a fair amount of energy. Even at birth he always let out the loudest cries, wanting to show that he wanted to be heard. Lately this extra energy has taken a toll on his church ties (which are all snap on or velcro). Week after week it seems like the tie options are being narrowed by Ryder's extra energy. I knew something needed to be done but didn't really know what to do about it...kinda like getting him to stay at Primary at church but that is a different story.
Recently, the ultra talented Mommy of 6 (soon to be 7) Shannon from Little Kids Grow, has recently released her own pattern line called "Peaches & Peanuts". For a mommy who's little boy is growing up (literally, not just figuratively) way too fast I am pretty excited that her patterns are made for the 6-14 crowd. When she made a call for Pattern testers for the small/medium sized "Big Boy Tie", I jumped at the chance. And this is one that you should jump at purchasing today (12/20/2013) because she is offering today only at 99 cents! Now it available for $2.95.
If you have a boy, Ryder and I say it is a MUST BUY PATTERN! Read below to find out why and then go take advantage of her sale price and go purchase. 
This tie was a really quick sew and I love the way that Shannon set it up so you don't have to use interfacing or a very large strip of fabric. It really requires a relatively small square of fabric, with little waste. For this tie I used a basic quilters cotton, but the pattern also works with silks and other fabrics. In the future I would love to try using a medium weight upholstery fabric, because Ryder loves Slim Jim's "carpet bag ties". I love how simple this tie was to put together it 10 steps from start to finish.
You might be wondering why I chose the fabric I did. (1) You can't see it in the pictures but this fabric has tiny little polka-dots, similar to the material that I used here. Ryder loves polka dots, they are one of his favorite prints on his sisters clothing. Every time I make or put Boston in something polka dot then he makes not of it. He loves it so much that he has asked in the past for me to make something polka dot for him.
(2) Real boys aren't afraid to wear pink. I figured while we were doing polka dots we should push the limit just one more way and do pink. And I like the fun nature it gives the tie without being too costumey (that isn't a word but I want to use it alright?).
(3) Little Hint: This tie is actually the first preview into Project Run & Play's next season. I am really hoping to pull out some solid looks for Ryder this season and the tie is critical to my Week 2: From the Movies design. The next time you see this tie should be paired with some other momma made items......"Gotta _ _ _ _ e." Theme. Any Guesses on the Movie?
I guess that you can probably guess from the pictures that Ryder totally and completely loved it. When I tried to take it back after the photo shoot, he tried  and just so you know he fought me when I tried to take it back. And put it up for Christmas. I hope that I can whip out a few more for stocking stuffers.

I can't believe it is 5 days until Christmas! The last several days I have been under the weather so now I have a lot of catching up to do. How are you guys doing? 
December 12, 2013

Ooh Yum Harvest Cinnamon Rolls!

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My inspiration is from
Go there and check it out, because frankly, this may be the first time that I didn't change a thing.  BIG DEAL!!  OK, thinking back I would change one thing.  As soon as you take the rolls out of the oven, flip them out of the pan, so all of that ooey gooey cinnamony carmely stuff is on top, not solidifying on the bottom of the pan.  Enjoy!
With love,

Oh just one more thing, 
There were 3 boys in the bed and the little one said, "Roll over, Roll over, so they all rolled over..."  
Yep thats how I found them

December 10, 2013

Speedy Gonzales Sewing: Simple Winter Mittens {Free Pattern}

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Today, we are over at Paisley Roots, as part of her Giving Christmas Series.  I know that Homemade Christmas Items are crucial part of keeping our budget in check this Christmas. And these mittens are in expensive and so quick & easy that you could have your kids help with them. For more about how Ryder helped me with this project and another ways that I have helped Ryder learn the reason for the season go over to Paisley Roots.
Free Simple Mitten Pattern PDF
I added some simple applique templates that could make these handmade items pass for a commercial mittens.
Hope everyone is doing a better job sewing and making through their list than I have. Time to get my nose out of the computer and back to world of the needles and thread. Oh, that reminds me I need to pick up all those pins that Ryder dumped 1 hour ago.
With Love,
December 09, 2013

Just In Case You Missed it {Plus a little Giveaway-Closed}

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Last week we were pretty with real life, doing and writing blog posts. We kinda had some blogging brain freezes that resulted in us not redirecting you to the proper channels.
We forgot to send you over to Frances & Suzanne's blog to show you Jo's awesome snow pant flip of Shwin & Shwin's No. 9 Trousers.
How would you like to win a copy, of Shwin & Shwin No.9 Trousers? Just leave a comment with your favorite tradition (and if you are a non-reply blogger leave your e-mail address too). We will close this giveaway on Wednesday, 11:59 MST. To give you enough time to make it before the Flip this Pattern linky party closes

Image of Number 9 Trousers
Thank you Shauna for sharing this awesome pattern with one of our lucky readers! I know we were so excited to have this as a stylish boys pants pattern in our bag of tricks.

Al also shared her "What Child is This?" Mini Quilt Tutorial over at Jill Made It. What a great way to remember the reason behind the season.
Al included a pattern to make your own version of this mini quilt.

With Love,
December 06, 2013

3D Model of the Earth/ Rice Krispie Treat Style

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Oh what do you do when your 5th grader comes home from school, and tells you that he has to make a 3D model of the earth, and that is the only homework he has, and it is due on Monday and you are pregnant and you forget on Saturday and you don't shop on Sunday?  
Well, this is what I did.
I ran to the store at 5:30 this morning for ingredients for rice krispy treats.
At 6:15 we started making our project.

It started with a gum drop inner core, followed by a purplish red outer core, an orangish mantle and a blue crust with green continents.
As a qucik note, if you ever have to color rice krispies, its easy to color the marshmallows and butter before adding the cereal.   

SuperMan was pretty proud of the project overal.

 Eating the left over rice krispies made for a pretty yummy breakfast, especially if your pregnant.
With love,
-Jo and Superman

December 05, 2013

Homemead Cooked Cereal Bread

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As the weather cools off, we tend to eat a lot more cooked cereal.  We love cracked wheat. Farina, Grits, and Rolled oats.  Really anything that warms the tummy and sticks to the ribs, I am a fan of.  Plus I don't know if you've noticed, but a good grain cereal is full of vitamins and minerals at a fraction of the cost.
However, from time to time, we have leftovers.  Yes, even in this burgeoning home of 8.  So, what do I do with the leftover cereal?  Let me show you.  

 It just takes two cups of your left over cereal (ours was oatmeal this time)

 Leftover Cereal Bread Recipe
4-4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3  1/4 tsp of yeast
1 c water
1/3 c brown sugar
4 tsp butter
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
2 c. cooked cereal 
I throw the cereal, water, sugar, and yeast in the mixing bowl and let it stir on low for about 3 minutes.  Let it rest for five.  Next add all of the other ingredients and stir for 5 minutes.  I have to take mine up to a medium high speed.  Let it rest for 10 minutes.  Stir for 2 rest for 10.  I continue this process for about an hour.  Then I let it rise to double. (about 20-30 minutes).  After it rises I punch it down and this recipe makes to loaves so I seperate it, and shape the loaves, and let it rise to double again.  All the while preheating the oven to 350.  When the bread has risen again, I put them in the oven for 30 minutes.  It smells done at 20, but leave it in!  When the timer rings, pull them out and butter the tops.  This leaves the tops soft and moist enough to cut without crumbles.  I have never had this bread recipe fail me.  Good luck!  Try it and let me know what you think.

 I love the way a buttered top looks!  So warm and shiny.  It can't be beat!

Butter the bread and add some honey, and call it breakfast.  At least we do.  Thats what makes us Superheros!
With Love,
December 02, 2013

Christmas Homemade: Keeping Calm During the Holiday Season

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So this post was going to be how to save money at the Holidays but totally morphed into something else. The rest of the month this blog is going to be filled with seasonal suggestions but we want it to be known that these lists are to help simplify holidays not to bring additional stresses or to-do's, so I guess this is a good place to start.  

I love a good deal as the next frugal momma, but it seems like every Black Friday seems to be bigger than the year before. There are so many good deals that it is easy to get caught in the I want so therefore I need trap. It is really easy to get everything we "need" plus a few things that are "good deals" that we never considered.
My least favorite holiday memories are the time: (1) I was sick for weeks after waiting from 3 am to 5:30 am in the cold at Best Buy to get a laptop and then spent the rest of the day checking off my list looking like a zombie from lack of sleep, (2) It took me 30 minutes to get a few rows of Walmart only to have a total breakdown and turn around (it took Slim Jim 30 minutes to find a parking spot and my Father-in-Law saw a fist fight break out over DVD's), etc. These experiences left me feeling
As opposed to my favorite Christmas memories, that are filled with family and friends I love. They are ones like the Christmas Eves we got together at Grandma Twila's with our cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. We watched the black and white versions of Christmas Carol and its a Wonderful Life. Or the time we spent helping her put up her Christmas decorations and we would be rewarded with cinnamon sugar toast and hot chocolate.
I don't think most of us want a commercialized Christmas it really comes out of wanting what is best for our love ones. Commercialism is tide that is very easy to get swept up in (or at least for me). I think by wanting to give our families "everything" we are distracting from what we would really like them to learn and experience. 

1. Being Honest with yourself and your family as to what you can spend. 
Most of the people that we will be giving presents to us care for us enough to want what is best for us. We all love to have that awe moment when someone opens a gift but that doesn't require a certain price tag.
Christmas Towel Tutorial & Free Printable
Last year we knew we wanted to give our grandparents a gift but really didn't have the money to spend. Our families are very religious so I knew that they would appreciate a gift that highlighted the reason for the season. I decided on a pretty framed scripture with a customized towel. The gift took very little time and spent very little (I only had to pay for the frames and I purchased them at the dollar store, the ribbon and towels I already had on hand). I was able to do all four of the gifts at the same time, I think it took an hour and half.

2. Make a simple list and keep it close as a reference. 
I assess the needs or stages of my nuclear family and then as many of those holes with homemade gifts. Keep in mind for young children you don't need to give them expensive or a lot of gifts just gifts that they will like.
Here is my list for the kids this year, taken from Instagram. I am pretty sure that I will not get through it all but I am going to try to do the things that are most important and feel out what could be saved for Valentine's Day or Boston's birthday

3. Think about the person you are "shopping" or making for. 
Last year Al and I went together on making several gifts but before began we scoured Pinterest looking at our friend's boards. We tried to find good matches for their personal style or needs.
I had Momma Shaffer snap a shot so you could see it in use.

My dad had given us his old truck (that he loved dearly) a few months previous, when we put our new plates on we saved his plates and made him a license plate keyholder. It was another easy gift but my dad and mom use it every day. We took a piece of wood that we hand on hand from other wood projects (guess someday we could show you those) routed the wood, spray painted, applied some hooks we had on hand (if you don't have any on hand they are just a couple dollars) and attached the license plate. It has been enjoyable for him because he was able to remember those summer drives with his girls beside him.
The picture of Jesus with the little child symbolizes our angel brother. My mom carried him full term only to loose him before birth.
For mom we knew it would be kind of fun for her to have individual pictures of her whole family for her office. So she could show off each child and grandchild. Last year after the school year ended she took it home and since then it has been sitting on her mantel. When ever we go home my kids always want to play with the "blocks". Again we were able to make these out of supplies we already had on hand. The base is a 4 by 4 from the time that Slim Jim and Samson tried to make us sturdy benches that Dad ended up helping them rework to a much more manageable weight and size. And the blocks were cut by Samson he took all the 4 by 4's and cut them down to 1 by 1 by 1 blocks. We sponge painted all the blocks in a oil based paint that we had on hand from refinishing Al's kitchen table. I then cropped pictures with rounded corners of each family member in Photoshop to fit the block. Al cut out a number (for the order they joined the family), a birth date, and a name in vinyl on her Silhouette. After hours of weeding vinyl we applied each one and then applied several coats of Modge Podge and it was good to go.

4. Come up with creative ways to make memories not spend money.
If you have a group of girl friends that you are close to that you want to do "something" for but the money isn't there to purchase a gift for each one. Plan a girls night in. Have everyone bring a dessert/snack, favorite colors of nail polish and rent a chick flick (or to save a little bit more watch a classic chick flick you already own and no in and out like Anne of Green Gables).
Al and I did this last year and it was so fun, we just forgot to snap a picture.  But a Christmas story book reading could also be fun for your friends with kids with simple chocolate milk and marshmallows.

5. Share your talents/time with neighbors. 
Instead of another plate of cookies maybe you could invite them to go caroling with you or invite them over for games. 
Don't you love Jo and I's little Christmas Dresses?
Growing up we had several adopted grandparents (most of them were shut ins) that we would visit through out the year. The always had great stories and we were really taught by example how lucky we had it and how to serve others. December was my favorite month to visit our "other grandparents" because we got to act out the nativity as a family. Dressed up in bathrobes, stick horses and baby doll in hand we would do a creative remix of the nativity scene (there were just 4 of us so not hardly enough to fill the whole nativity, there was always double casting of several roles. Dad would read the Christmas story from the scriptures and we would quietly act it out. Without a doubt we learned the reason for the season and were able to give those shut ins the companionship that they desperately needed.

6. Don't run faster than you have strength. 
I know I have a tendency to over do things and often times this means that I don't get the sleep I need or enjoy my family as much as I should. Like a home without clutter makes our home a place of refuge, the holidays without the "fluff" will bring calm to our minds and good memories for our souls. From year to year, person to person we will need to evaluate what is "fluff" and what isn't.
This is from Slim Jim and my first Christmas married at my inlaws house. My mother law has the prettiest home on the holidays.
For me last year the "fluff" that I removed was a perfectly decorated tree with glass balls, Boston was crawling & standing and I didn't want her to be tempted by the glass ornaments so I just cut strips of fabric on the bias and tied it. It was very simple and stress free. It was the third year in a row that one of us had lost a grandparent during the holiday season and I couldn't muster much Christmas "fluff" spirit.
This was the first year Ryder really understood the concept of Santa, he woke up at 3 am. Which wasn't really ideal because I was about 37 weeks pregnant and very tired. He was so funny about his stocking.
I don't think a complete list of how to keep calm during the holiday season but these are the things that help me. What would you add to this list? What are you doing different this year compared to years past? 

Since we are two days into December, we are just going to say we hope you have a calm and enjoying Christmas season. And have an enjoyable and wonderful memories with those you cherish.

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