cooking (25) crafts (10) Fitness (1) gardening (3) Home Organization (10) kids (68) school (9) sewing (28)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It finally pays to live in LA!

Yes, it is November, and we are playing outside comfortably without coats! The weather here has been great. The temperature has been ranging from the low 70s to the low 80s! We are getting a lot of wind right now, as there is a cold front coming through, which should bring the temperature to the low 60s. That is a heat wave compared to the PA and MD weather that I am used to :o)
So, the kids are actually getting a lot of use out of the swing set. We have also been spending time outside with friends at local parks too. Yesterday, we went to the library for story hour and then to a park close by afterwards to play with some friends. They don't like it much when kids run around like animals in the library.

Oh, and speaking of reading, I can't keep Jack away from books (or Audrey for that matter). He has even started challenging himself. He picked out 20 books from the library yesterday. And he would of picked more, but I told him he had enough. He is reading level 2's and 3's and even picked out one level 4 that we read together. Right now, he is sitting reading silently to himself. And every night, he reads a chapter in a Magic Treehouse book.

Here is a short video of the kids. I really enjoy watching them play. For NOW, they play wonderfully together, so I am enjoying every minute of it!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Repurposed Shirts

I found an idea to reuse old shirts on one of the many blogs that I follow. Jack has so many shirts, they don't all fit in his drawer, so I went through is drawer and pulled out 8 shirts to turn into 2. All I did was cut the sleeves off one shirt, and cut triangles out of 3 of the shirts. I also cut the cuffs off one of the shirts to create a colored edge on the blue shirt. I zig zagged around each triangle and sewed the long sleeves into the short sleeves. This project was really quite easy, and made a fun shirt! Now I am looking for more ways to repurpose his shirts.

This one looks a little funky because it isn't laying flat, but the triangles are distributed just like the blue shirt that Jack is wearing. The blue cuffs in this shirt were made this way, so I didn't have to sew them in.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Giving Thanks!

We had a very nice Thanksgiving, although it was just the four of us and we wished we could have been with all of our family and friends, you were all in our thoughts. We are truly thankful for all of the loved ones in our lives.
Thanksgiving was actually pretty relaxed because I did so much prep on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, I made a cranberry cheesecake, mashed potatoes, a healthy version green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and a turkey brine. I also made fresh corn bread, cubed it and added it to cubed french bread for stuffing.

So on Thursday, all I had to do was cook the turkey, make the stuffing, and heat the sides in the oven. It was all quite delicious, although we weren't very pleased with the green bean casserole. So if anyone has any fabulous vegetable sides that they'd like to share, I'd love to hear about them!
We ate a 3pm, had everything cleaned up by 4:30 and later on ate the cranberry cheesecake. As you can see, Audrey loved it!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wombsday Wednesday

Yes, I realize that today is Thursday, but I keep forget to post pictures on a Wednesday.
Right now, I am roughly 26 weeks. The little guy is quite the mover, and he kicks me constantly. This pregnancy, like my other two, is quite uneventful. I don't have any cravings, or any sickness. I have gained about 10 pounds, and have "popped" as you can see. Jack took the full body picture of me. And if I didn't share, we will be naming him Ayden James, and he is due March 2.

Monday, November 15, 2010


We had a very busy, but fulfilling weekend. We had two major events going on-- Westwego Fest (fundraiser with the homeschool group) and Oak Forest's Jambalaya Cook Off and Fair.

Westwego Fest is one of those carnivals that runs all weekend, so I helped out for bits of time on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. In addition, we had a birthday party to go to on Saturday. And then there was the Jambalaya Cook Off. We have been planning this event for about two months, and our hard work really paid off. If was a great day! We had carnival games, a jumper, and face painting for kids. Jack ran around like a maniac all day!

He got his face painted with a "Penn State Fleur de lis." Leave it to Jack to think that one up! We had 4 different Jambalayas for people to taste. I think for our first time trying this, that it went really well. We also had concessions and the most wonderful cupcakes donated by a woman in our development who runs a small bakery out of her home.

Best of all, we spent the day surrounded by friends. We have such a great group of people, with such great hearts and spirits that it was an all-around phenomenal day! One resident even showed up with a professional sound system, so we had nice music all day. Ahh, now to thank all of the people that helped out, and move on to planning our next event. Doughnuts and pictures with Santa and a parade of golf carts and fire trucks through the neighborhood!

Oh, and sorry about the side ways video. I have no idea how to flip it, so you'll have to flip your computer or your head. I finally got video of Audrey's moves! Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Living Literature

Yesterday, Jack participated in "Living Literature." The kids picked a book to read at home, and participated in a 2 minute presentation about their book-describing their favorite, scene, character, or a brief synopsis. Jack read a book about the Statue of Liberty, and did a great presentation! The amount of information he remembered was great, he looked at the audience the whole time, and didn't hem and haw. Maybe if all kids started public speaking this early, it would be easier for them as they get older. We shall see how Jack does with public speaking as he gets older. For now, I am definitely seeing improvement. When he presented his information about Germany, he was much more reserved and didn't look up a lot--but at least he spoke!

Here is a link to a picture of Jack and the other kids that participated. Oh, and they were asked to bring a snack that represented their book. We brought ants on a log (you, know, celery, peanut butter and raisens). We called them the ships of immigrants!

After Living Literature, Jack participated in PE, where they practiced for Presidential Physical Fitness. They practiced running, and ran in groups by age. Jack tells a very animated story of how he won in his group. They all started out together, pushing, then Jack and another boy got the lead, then the other boy was ahead of Jack. Jack tells of having a pain in his side (that's what happens when you eat right before you run) and he just ran harder and passed the other boy and won. Now he likes running. Lol, he must not be my kid--I hate running :o)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Our Own Place to Play

Last week, Bryan and Hans built the kids a swing set. They did a great job, and Jack had a lot of fun helping. Audrey even got in on the action with Jack's hammer.
I just love the swing set! We found plans online and bought the supplies, and made it "from scratch." It is very sturdy. There is a tower with a slide coming down from it, a sandbox underneath, and a beam off the side with 2 swings, a baby swing, and a see-saw type swing, which the kids are using above.

The kids absolutely love it, they spend a lot of time out there every day. Ahh, an advantage of being in New Orleans- nice weather in November where you can play outside comfortably.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Bugs Bugs Bugs Bugs!

Last week, we went to the Insectarium. It is a very nice museum and it's amazing to see what Jack is retaining and building on with his knowledge! The highlight for the kids was probably eating bugs. Jack loved it. We all ate some bugs--even Bryan. Although I tried to get a picture a picture of Bryan eating a bug but he ran away too fast. I did get a picture of the stamp on Bryan's hand

I ate a bug!

They also had an area where you could pet bugs--you can tell that Audrey loved it! I have many more pictures that I will have to upload to Kodak, I just didn't want to flood the blog with pictures.

A Little More Crafting

I have completed two more quick projects. First, I made another quilt. This one is for Audrey, so that she keeps her paws off the new baby's quilt. The back of this one is "popcorn fleece." It feels just like chenile, although it's a little heavier, and about $5 a yard cheaper! The front is all of these crazy and fun colors--I love it!

Then I had to find a $5 gift for the homeschool holiday dinner (crazy santa thing). I didn't really want to buy something just for the sake of buying something, so I decided to make something. But then I couldn't decide what to make. Thankfully, my mom called and helped me out. She told me about these cute coasters made from 6 pieces of fabric, all 4 1/2 inch squares. The top four pieces are folded in half, wrong sides together, raw edges out. You weave them together like you were closing a box top. Then under that is your bottom color (right side facing up), then on the bottom is a square of quilt batting or fleece. I used fleece since I have a large remnant that I've been using for various crafts. Sew all of the layers together with 1/4 inch seam allowance, leaving a section open to turn. Clip the corners and turn. Last, tuck that open edge in and edge seam around the whole square.

It took less than an hour to make 4 of them and they were a big hit!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

You Must Brine Your Turkey!

Last night, we attended our homeschool Holiday Dinner. Yes, it's early, but I guess homeschoolers like to be ahead of the curve :o). Each family was asked to sign up to bring two dishes. We brought a turkey and mashed potatoes. I recently saw a post by the Pioneer Woman about brining a turkey. I have never brined a turkey, so I decided to give it a try. Now, I have never been all that big on eating turkey, but this turkey was amazing!!! I actually wish I could have brought some home for leftovers. Many people even complemented the turkey! All I did was brine the turkey for about 24 hours, rinsed it really well and then cooked it. I generally followed the Pioneer Woman's directions for cooking (10 minutes for every pound at 275 covered really well with foil, then taking the foil off and smothering the skin with a stick of butter and cooking at 375). But the turkey wasn't cooking fast enough for me so I cranked up the temp to 500 for the last half an hour.

So, please brine your turkey, your guests will love you!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My family update

A quick family update. My dad has had two chemo treatments, and has handled both well. My parents are doing so good that they left for Florida today. They will be driving back to PA in a couple weeks for Joe's third chemo treatment. They will be staying in Wellsboro until the 4th treatment (3 weeks after the third), because he will be "scanned" again between the two treatments to check the progress/success of the treatments.

Since I was taking a moment to update you on the family, I figured I'd finally upload some pictures from our visit.
This is where Audrey spent most of the week. She loved finding books and laying down at the bottom of the steps to read to herself.
This is the last picture I have of Frisky, in one of his favorite spots- with Joe.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Oh, what fun! Jack and Audrey went trick or treating with Spencer this year. We started the evening at Spencer's aunt's house, where Audrey got to play with some baby dolls. She just loves dolls! Then we walked all over our neighborhood. It didn't take long for Audrey to catch on to things. A lot of the people had music playing, and Audrey had to stop and dance at every one. She was hilarious. I need to get video of her dancing.

Oh, and at the last minute (Saturday), I decided to change Audrey's costume. She was going to be a puppy, but the costume is made for cold weather- definitely not Louisiana weather. So I went to Hancock Fabrics and bought all these crazy colors of tulle and some red and white polka dot fabric. I figured I could make her look like a clown. I'm not sure that she looked like a clown, but she sure did look cute! And Jack was a ninja. He picked the pattern and fabric out.

And by the end of the evening, (we walked maybe a quarter of our neighborhood) we had 2 VERY full candy bags. I sorted it out and kept maybe a third of it. The rest will be going to work with Bryan (about 5 pounds of candy). If it stays here, I will end up eating most of it. I have such wonderful will power!