Thursday, January 10, 2013

I've decided to Move over to WordPress

Here is my new address so you can find me:

It's not a decision I've made lightly.  I've been deliberating about it all fall and all winter.

Pros for Blogger:
1- I'm used to it.
2- It's cuter
3-It's where all the crafty people are (unless they break the mold and go with typepad.)
4-Most of my friends and family use Blogger.
5-I love the widget that shows all of your blogs on the side and tells me the title of your most recent post so I know to go read it.

Pros for Wordpress:

When I make a comment on someone's blog, or if they comment on mine, WordPress shows me first thing with a little comment notification.  I can immediately reply.  If someone replies to a comment I made, WordPress tells me.

With Blogger, I have to either remember to check the box for follow-up emails (I never remember to check the box) or remember to keep checking back to see if anyone replied--don't remember that very often either.

So in the end, I've decided that WordPress allows for more of a conversation.  That is what keeps me blogging--to stay connected to my families that are far away

I'll miss my RSS feed widget, but I'm hoping that I can figure out how to do the same thing in WordPress.  In the mean time, I can use the Reader

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Scripture Cases

For their 8th birthday,  we give the kiddie pies their own set of scriptures.  I promised Pumpkin Pie a case to carry them in, and about 2 months after her birthday, I finally made it using this fun scripture case tutorial with great step by step pictures from PolkaDotChair.

I made one for Cherry Pie, too.

I was making cases for a Bible and Triple Combination, soft paper bound, which together are larger than a mini-quad (what Melissa at PolkaDotChair was making a case for).  I like my cases to fit pretty closely so the books aren't wallowing around in there.  Also because my kids have a tendency to hoard bits of trash and I didn't want much room left for bits of paper.  If you want to make your own case for scriptures like ours and don't want to do the math, here are the dimensions I used.  (Also in case I decide to make more and want to remember the math.)

1--  9 3/8 x 8 inch for the flap
2-- 6 1/4 x 8 inch for the front & back
1-- 4 3/8 x 20 inch strip for the gusset
2-- 2 1/2 x 16 inch strips for the handle

It took a little bit more than a fat quarter for the lining:

2- 6 1/4 x 8 inch for front & back lining
2- 5 1/4 x 8 inch for front pocket
1- 9 3/8 x 8 inch for the flap lining
1- 4 3/8 x 20 inch strip for the gusset lining

I included a seam allowance of 1/2" everywhere except the handle- do 1/4" seams on the handle.

The first case I made was too tight.  The gusset was 1/4 inch too narrow.  I ended up unpicking all the seams and resewing them smaller so that there would be more room in the case.

**This is one of the secrets I've learned that has made me happier with my sewing.  When it isn't right, I take the time to fix it.  It's totally worth it.  If you hate unpicking, check your seam ripper.  If it is so rusty, it looks like you stabbed someone with it and left the blood to dry, spend $4 on a new one.  Totally worth it.

**Secret #2 top stitch.  It makes everything look more professional.

I adjusted the measurements for the second case and it turned out perfectly.  (The measurements above are the adjusted ones.)

Here are the instructions from the tutorial because I found it confusing to go back and read her instructions with different measurements.  

1. Front Pocket:  Take your front pocket pieces of fabric and sew them right sides together across the 8″ side. Press the seam open and turn right side out. Press and top stitch along the top.

2.  Place your sewn piece over your front piece of denim.  Baste around the edges of the denim piece to hold in place.

3.  About 2″ up from the bottom  and in the center of the fabric pocket, attach a magnetic snap.  Make sure you only go through the fabric piece and not the denim also.

4.  Sew straight lines through one end of the pocket to create some pen/pencil slots. Make sure you backstitch at the top of the pocket.

5. Attatch gusset:  Take your denim gusset piece and pin it to the denim front piece that has the pocket attached.  Sew around 3 sides.
Trim any extra denim (of the 3″ wide piece) off the top.
Pin your denim back piece to your gusset piece. Sew.

6.  Repeat Step 5 with your lining fabric to form the bag lining.

7.  If you are going to add an appliqué to the flap of the bag, appliqué it to the denim flap now. 

8.  Take your denim flap piece and your fabric flap piece, place them right sides together and sew around 3 sides (leaving the top open). Clip corners and turn right side out.  Press.

9.  Top stitch using contrast thread around the flap.

10. Take the other part of your magnetic snap and attach it to the inside of the flap (the piece you just sewed). Place it in the center about 1″ up from the bottom.

11. Place the right side of your flap inside your bag facing the right side of the bag back. Stitch in place.

12. Sew the handle denim pieces, wrong sides together, using a ¼” seam.  Leave one end open for turning.  Turn, Press, and Top Stitch.

13.  Place the handle in the bag and center it in the bag.  Stitch it in place on both sides.  (the handle).

14. Place your bag lining inside your bag (right sides together). Pin. MAKE sure the bag lining and bag pieces line up perfectly, if not adjust the seams on your bag lining piece until they do.
Sew 1/2″ down from the top of the bag beginning at the left front corner and ending at the right front corner (you are leaving the front side open for turning.) 

15. Turn bag right side out and press.  Turn under the open edges of the bag along the front and press under.  Top stitch (to close the opening), starting at the bag flap on one side, around the front to the other side of the bag flap.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

On the Menu this Week

I made a schedule.  It is the mother of all schedules.  It is a plan.

If I follow the plan, all my wildest dreams will come true.

My new year's resolution is to follow the schecule, follow the plan.

Part of the plan is to have biweekly menu plans and only shop twice a month for groceries.  This will save me time for sure and probably money, as well.

Here is this coming week's plan:

Menu for Week of January 6

                  Breakfast: Oven Peaches and Cream French Toast
                  Lunch:  Tomato Soup & Melted Cheese Sandwiches
                  Dinner: Chicken Pot Pie

                  Breakfast: CrockPot Eggnog Cranberry Cracked Wheat Mush
                  Lunch: Peanut Butter & Honey Sandwiches or Leftovers
                  Dinner: Puerco Adobo, Brown Rice, & Cole Slaw

                  Breakfast: CrockPot Apple Cinnamon Cracked Wheat Mush
                  Lunch: Sandwiches or Leftovers
                  Dinner: Taco Soup, Bread & Butter

                  Breakfast: Crock Pot Cracked Wheat Mush
                  Lunch: Sandwiches or Leftovers
                  Dinner: Freezer Raviolli, Alfredo Sauce, Steamed Broccoli

                  Breakfast: Apricot Ginger Refrigerator Oatmeal
                  Lunch: Sandwiches or Leftovers
                  Dinner:  Chicken Enchilada Casserole, Green Salad & Ranch Dressing

                  Breakfast: CrockPot Banana & Coconut Milk Cracked Wheat Mush
                  Lunch: Sandwiches or Leftovers
                  Dinner: Quinoa Broccoli Casserole, Garlic Bread

                  Breakfast: Applesauce Muffins
                  Lunch: Pasta Salad
                  Dinner: Garlic-Lime Chicken & Baked Sweet Potatoes


You'll notice that Sunday-Friday breakfasts are actually made the night before.  The crockpot mush recipes are actually steel-cut oat recipes from Monica at The Yummy Life.  I'm trying them with cracked wheat.  I think they'll work just fine.  Lunches are simple.  So that the Man-of-the-House can take leftovers to work for his lunch, Sunday-Thursday dinners are ones that reheat well.   If for some reason there are no leftovers, He'll get salad with cooked chicken added.

I do serve an afterschool snack to my kids each day, which will be
veggies & dip, strawberry yogurt, popcorn, oatmeal cookies & milk,  green smoothies, things like that.

At the beginning of every week I make a big green salad and a fruit salad and we eat those with dinner each night. 

I subscribed to the Grocery Shrink's Weekly Menu Mailer for about four months, and the biggest thing I learned was to plan food for every meal.  Previously, I have only planned dinners and bought the groceries for that plus eggs & milk.  I never had enough food in the house and my plans never worked.  I learned from Angela to plan lunches and snacks (especially on the weekend when everyone is home all day.) 


Our New Family Mission Statement: Side by Side

We have our Family Mission Statement written!  Just in time for the New Year!

The Man of the House and I have been reading Steven R Covey's book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families

We've had some family home evenings where we shared what we were learning with the kiddie pies.  They picked right up on the ideas.  They are better than I am about changing their behavior. 

Habit 2   [Begin with the end in mind] has you create a family mission statement.  We had a couple of brainstorming sessions as a family.  We let everybody say all their ideas and I wrote them all down.  No one was allowed to interrupt or criticize anybody's idea.

We talked about:

What kind of family do we want to be?

What do we want to do together?

What kind of feeling do we want in our home?

What is important to us?

How can we contribute to society as a family?

What is our purpose as a family?  These were my favorite answers
Pumpkin- So we won't be by ourselves
Blueberry- so we don't live in boxes when we grow up
Cherry- learn to love each other
Cutie- be nice

We got ideas ranging from "no shouting" and "be nice" to "Dad should give mom chocolate" (thanks, Blueberry) and "pizza on Fridays."  I had about 3 pages of notes of things we wanted to do and learn and be as a family.

So how did we take all those ideas and form them into a Family Mission Statement that we could all get behind and be inspired by?  For 2 or 3 months, we just let those ideas cook in our minds. 

Add in this: At my brother's wedding, his bride's family sang a song I had never heard before, but instantly loved.  The song is called Side by Side.
I thought, what a great thought to have as part of your family culture--that you'll do things together and enjoy it.

That sounds really like,  duh, as I type it, but I've been going through this phase where I just want to be by myself and do my own thing and everybody just leave me alone and do their own thing.  It's not a good attitude for a mom to have and I've been struggling against it, but I keep catching myself back in that attitude.  Clearly I need more than just to realize my thoughts aren't right, I need a paradigm shift.

Add in this:  One evening, Ben and I had a real heart-to-heart discussion about a few things and I realized what he was asking for was for me to be his friend.  He doesn't just want to do the things he likes (example: climb mountains).  He wants to do the things he likes WITH ME (climb mountains with me). 

Suddenly I knew how to put our family mission statement together in a way that would be inspiring to us (I felt inspired) and would help us keep focused on what is important. I ran the idea past Ben & he liked it.  So here it is Ta Da!  Our Family Mission Statement.  We might edit it a bit more before it goes up on our wall, but essentially we've got it.  It is a little bit long, perhaps, but I didn't want to be too general with things like just say "Be Responsible"  I felt like it needed to be more concrete for me and for the kids.
Side By Side

Our family is committed to living the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We will serve the Lord by being missionaries, by serving those around us, and by keeping our covenants. Being a Celestial Family is our goal.

Education is important to us, and we will never stop learning. We value the arts and other cultures. We will honor traditions we have received from our heritage and create new ones. We will discover and develop our talents to share and uplift others.

We love working and playing together, especially outside, keeping our bodies strong and healthy. Everyone will help with chores without complaint.  Being self-sufficient is important to us.

In our family we promise to be each other’s best friends.  We will do fun things together; we will help and encourage each other. We will always speak kindly and give each other hugs and kisses.  We will love each other.  We will stay together and encourage each other even if hard things happen. 

We will respect each other by being polite and never shouting.  We will appreciate each other’s efforts and remember that everyone is trying their best.

We will keep our house a clean and peaceful place so that we want to come home to it.  We will keep the Holy Ghost in our home.

We will be thankful in all things acknowledging the Lord’s Hand in our lives. We will show our gratitude by being generous with what we have.

We will walk through life together:  side by side.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Begin at the Beginning? Maybe not....

"Begin at the beginning.  And when you come to the end, stop."
So I've figured out my problem.  My problem is I always want to talk to people the same way I blog.  I want to begin at the beginning of my story and tell how I progressed and how my thought process altered and then show where I am now.

The problem with that method is that my first sentence is often in direct contradiction to where I am now.  So then when I'm at a party and talking, people hear my first sentence and are like, "Whoa, that's not right."

Then they get this look on their face like, "I'm not happy with what you're saying." 

OR WORSE, they interrupt me and say, "You really think that?"

And I'm all, "No! Wait! let me finish!" and I get all flustered.

And sometiems they are all,"I'm done listening," and I don't ever get to explain my story. Or worse, in trying to defend my story, I make some gross generalization that I'm way too smart to actually believe myself and totally cut the ground right out from myself.

I need to start at the end and then go back to the beginning.  Important information first.

Maybe I should blog that way too.  Important information first and then fill in the back story.  Maybe you all read my first sentence and are like, "Leaving now." and never finish it to find out how I learned something.

Come back, I promise I'm smarter now.