Thursday, November 19, 2009

Freezer Paper Stencil and the Laser

Back in April I think it was I posted some pictures of the Laser engraving machine that is residing at my house. Sadly I had only been doing the routine maintenance stuff and not really using it for crafty projects until recently.

Project 1 - the paper wreath. I found this tutorial here and decided it would be most helpful to laser cut the 64 leaves.

Project 2: Freezer Paper Stenciling. I have seen many tutorials recently on how to do it and while it looks cool, I was not prepared to cut out intricate details by hand. I'm a perfectionist and I knew I wouldn't be happy unless the stencils were perfect and I just don't think I could do it by hand. Inspiration struck and I spent the afternoon finding/prepping images to stencil and away I went.

Mr Robot there is actually silver, if you can't tell. I kept it pretty simple as this was my maiden voyage, but I'm so excited to do more!

I love it! I LOVE the laser too!

Here are some tutorials I have found useful in stenciling and painting fabric.
1. Lil Blue Boo - Freezer Paper Robot
2. Make and Takes - Fabric painting with Acrylic Paint

I learned some tricks I thought were neat, so if you need tips, let me know.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Advent Calendar Round 2

I am making advent calendars for the sisters I visit teach and I made a few changes that I felt it deserved another post.

Here is the finished product.
1. I wrapped two rows of matchboxes at a time. I like how you can see the pattern on the paper better, not to mention it was faster and I used about 1/2 the amount of paper.

2. My Mom found these awesome "ornaments" for mini-trees at hobby lobby. Snip, snip, and suddenly those balls are knobs for the drawers. Each package has 100 balls and Christmas decorations are 40-50% right now. We found them in silver, gold, iridescent, red, and pink.

3. Waste not, want not. I took the leftover wire from the balls and wrapped it around a pencil. Then I glued one end of spiral to my star and the other to the base.

Find the original tutorial over at Inspiring Creations

Friday, November 13, 2009

Craft Night

Dear Blog ... I haven't abandoned you. Here's proof.

Last night I had some friends over for a craft night. YAY! We made these super cute advent calendar Christmas trees from matchboxes.

Click HERE if you want to see the tutorial over at inspiring creations!

Here's Cedar's Tree

Kelli's Tree
Alex's Tree
Edna's Tree
Happy Tree Family

My tree isn't finished yet. It looks a whole lot like Edna's though. :)
Thanks for coming over girls, it was fun!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Giveaway at Make it and Love it

I love the website Make It and Love It. Such inspiring stuff. She's having a giveaway.
I hope I win!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A new Adventure!

So I realize I haven't been blogging too much, however we have been up to a lot of fun things.

Most recently I decided to open up a shop on Etsy! I have been crafting like crazy and loving every minute of it.

Come check out my etsy shop.

I of course have an accompanying blog too,

I have a give away going on, so come on over!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Independence Day 2009!

This year for the 4th of July we decided to host a family barbecue. It was pretty low-key which I loved, because I have a tendency to get all stressed out over hosting events!

My BIL said this pictures had better not end up on Facebook, so I am respecting his wishes and blogging them instead. :)

We played some Rockband....

Joshua and Taisei sung back-up.

This picture cracked me up because it was a picture of Joshua and Tai looking at pictures of themselves on the computer.

These cuties are two of my other nephews, Kazuma and Asher. (So technically Kazuma is my second cousin-in-law, but that is just a mouthful.) They are about 6 weeks apart and are just cute as can be.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dragon Party

Joshua's friend, Josh, turned 3 and had an awesome Dragon Party. Holly did such a fantastic job with swords and shields for the kids to paint, a Dragon egg hunt, pin the tail on the dragon, and a fantastic Dragon cake.

You couldn't hardly pull Joshua out of the playhouse in their backyard. He loved that thing! If ever he decides to run away, I will know where he went.

Joshua and Josh

Morgan thought that painting her sword was the coolest thing ever. We let her go until she decided it would be more fun to just stick her fingers in the paint.

Here is the awesome cake Holly made. The wings and fire are fruit roll-ups. I just can't get over how adorable it was.

Thanks for inviting us, we had a great time!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Culture Pass Tips

I was going to post a response to Missy's comment about tips for obtaining a Culture Pass, but I figured it would be valuable information for everyone.

I don't recommend trying to get the passes from the Tempe library. They put the passes for the day out at random times to avoid mobbing. (Yes, I'm serious.) Therefore you have to just be very lucky to get passes for the hot ticket places(Zoo, Children's museum, science center, AZ museum for youth).

Each library branch has 5 tickets to each place, so I recommend trying a smaller branch of the Mesa or Phoenix libraries.

The tickets are "checked out" for a seven day period. It doesn't matter when you use the pass in the seven day period, it won't be available at the library again until it has come due on your card. Therefore each library might not even have all the different passes available every day of the week.

You might want to make friendly with the librarians to find out when different passes will be coming available. From my observations they don't appreciate people that are too pushy or try to get around the guidelines. On the day I got the passes to the Children's museum a woman and each of her kids checked out Phoenix zoo passes. So this one family had 3 of the 5 passes for the zoo. The librarian wasn't too keen on it, but they can't really refuse it.

Some of the museums have different times where admission is free. For example the zoo is free for kids all summer. Phoenix Children's museum is free the First Friday of the month from 6-10pm.

Check out the website for additional information

If you have any tips or important info, please comment. I like to do things with military like precision and knowledge is power. (Yes, I'm that much of a control freak)

Phoenix Children's Museum

On July 1st, I finally made it to the Phoenix Children's Museum with my SIL Tiffany, and my Cousin-in-Law(CIL) Nanna, whom I really sort of feel more like is a Sister in law, but I think now we are just getting confusing . We were able to use Culture Passes to get in for free!! I love free. It was so much fun. It was a lot of work chasing down Morgan and trying to keep Joshua from being too shy, but once they both got into it, it was a total blast.
I hope to make it back several times while the culture Pass program is still going on, but I'm not sure I'm ready to fork over the $135 it would be for myself and the 2 kids for a membership.

I took so many pictures, so I've done more collages to get as much bang for the buck. It seems like collages are the only way I'm ever going to get caught up on all the fun activities we have been doing. On to the pictures!! (Click for bigger)

Joshua's favorite part was probably the car race track or all the different "ball drops" they had. They best way I could describe it is like a big game of mousetrap, except you can just keep dropping these balls and watch them follow this big track.

Morgan's favorite part was the grocery store area. She LOVED scooping up the beans over and over again.

My favorite part was the toddler area where kids over 3 weren't supposed to be. It was an enclosed area so Morgan couldn't escape and it was just so nice and mellow there.

After a few hours there we stopped at the slowest Burger King in existence and got some lunch. We came back to the house and let the boys play while we ate and relaxed. It was such a blast!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Many Faces of Morgan

I think the pictures say it all!

Click for larger image.

Father's Day weekend!

So besides enjoying our new TV we had a pretty fun Father's Day weekend. Saturday morning we got up and took the kids to the two-story carousel at Superstition Springs Mall. Joshua was brave and rode on the top level because Daddy was with him.

After that we met up with Ryan's Dad at Fuddrucker's for a delicious lunch. The kids loved all the games to play, and I really enjoyed the stuffed animal, claw game. I decided to make all the Dad's in my life Giant cookies. Yum! There's a picture in the collage of my FIL with his cookie and his card, it sang "Lean on Me."

On Sunday, Ryan got to prove what a good Dad he was and stay home with two sick kids. That night for dinner we went over to my parents house to celebrate with a nice Prime Rib dinner. Yummy again!

Father's Day Finally!

I've been holding off on my blogging because I really wanted to get our Father's Day project finished. It finally is done!

For Father's Day Ryan got a new flat panel TV. Yippee! Only problem is that it wasn't going to fit in our old entertainment center. We decided to get creative with the Expedit bookcase that we already had for my craft supplies. With a lot of playing and a little bit of helping from the kids,

we turned this...

into this . . .

I love it and I'm pretty sure Ryan does too! Happy Father's Day Ryan! You totally deserve a nice place to kick up your feet and relax sometimes! We love you!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Kez Klipz Contest

I saw this contest for a super cute little pettiskirt for Morgan. I want it so bad!
So go check out the cool skirt I am going to win for Morgan!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Father's Day Preview

Here's a preview of the shenanigans we were up to for Father's Day!

Morgan is 18 months old!

(Morgan in Grandpa's boat.)

Well she's been 18 months old since June 5. She was 29 lbs and 33.5 inches tall at her 18th month check-up.
Morgan is the consummate Daddy's girl. As soon as she hears the garage opening she runs toward the door saying, "Daddy! Daddy!" She's even figured out how to pull open the heavy door to the garage, so she can get to daddy faster. Time to install those child locks!
She adores her brother and insists on doing everything he does. This does not make Joshua very happy most of the time.
She is getting pretty vocal and building up her vocabulary pretty nicely. She loves to try and parrot the sounds that we make, which is such a change from Joshua.
Morgan loves to dance and sing. She particularly likes to dance to the Curious George theme song.
When I took her to the ER for the flu a few weeks back I tried to comfort her by singing Twinkle twinkle, I am a Child of God, and all other songs I could think of. Instead of being comforted she just got mad that she was trying to be pacified. That is until I switched to 'So What', by Pink. She snuggled right in and went to sleep. She's a pistol that one.

She has only been able to go nursery once as she has been sick the last two weeks. Poor thing. She did great the first week though!
Here is Morgan on her first day of nursery. She wasn't too into the photo-op.

Here is how most interactions with her brother end. If I remember correctly she was freaking out because she fell down in the grass. She hates grass and can't put her hands on it. A princess through and through.

I can't believe Morgan is 18 months old already! Time has flown by so fast. We sure do love our little princess.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sew Crazy for polka dots!

I saw these awesome dish towels at Big Lots, 4 for $3, but I didn't have anything to do with them. I was a responsible adult and put them back. Two days later I see a tutorial for making a tote bag from dish towels, it was kismet.

I have had this stuff just sitting around for awhile and finally made the time to sew it all up. You can see how to make yourself one HERE. Very simple considering I'm definitely in the novice sewing category.

The fabrics I chose lends itself to being reversible although it isn't necessarily intended that way. I got a little carried away on the pocket, but what are you gonna do?
I had also seen this tutorial for a wet bag at Little Birdie Secrets. I had not actually heard of a wet bag before, but in the land of perpetual summer you need a good place to store wet bathing suits, clothes, etc. It went surprisingly well for my first zipper and sewing a vinyl insert. If you are going to attempt this, I suggest reading the comments as some folks ask good questions.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dinner Accomplished

Last week we defrosted the deep freeze and besides having to throw out some REALLY old things, I got a good inventory of what is in there. I am horrible at planning ahead so I'm usually trying to defrost something last minute, or we're stuck with boxed Mac 'N Cheese or some other cop out type of meal.

I've decided to try meal planning in earnest. I am also expecting great benefits by fewer trips to the grocery store, less eating out, and less food waste as well. Scroll down to the bottom of my blog and you will see my dinner calendar thus far. Fancy, huh? I like it.

Here's what I have done and I think it would be so cool if someone else gave it a try too.
1. Go to
2. On the right there is a box that says "My calendars." Click on the link to Create a new calendar.
3. Name your calendar and put whatever info you want to. I pretty much left everything blank.
4. If you want to post your meal calendar on your blog you will need to select the option to Make This Calendar Public.
5. Get your settings and info how you want and then click the Create Calendar button
6. Now you are ready to rock and roll! Click on a day, type in what's for dinner, and click Create Event.
7. If you want to Edit Event Details, you could go so far as to put in a recipe or something like that.
8. Now it is time to share your calendar with your blogging audience. In the My Calendars box, click Settings.
9. Next, click on the name of your calendar.
10. From this screen scroll down to Embed this calendar. The default size is quite large, so click on the Customize the color, size, and other options link.
11. On this screen you can mess with the settings to your hearts desire. My calendar is about 500 by 400 I believe.
Hang in there we are almost there.
12. Now add it to your blog. In blogger, go to the Layout tab. Select Add a Gadget, I recommend above or below your posts.
13. Select HTML/Javascript and then paste in your code from the Google Calendar page.
14. Save in the bottom of the window, and you are all set.
15. Time to preview your blog and make any adjustments to size, or location as needed.

If you decide to do this, please let me know. I'd love to get some more dinner ideas.
Also, if needed I can do a proper tutorial with some screen shots. If you get stuck somewhere let me know!!

Good Value Brand? Good Grief that's gross!

We are far from brand name snobs around here and the majority of the time I am very pleased with the store brand products offered. However I have recently noticed an upcropping of an even cheaper selection of products that goes by the name of Kroger Value(at least at Fry's.)
I have seen the same plain white packaging at other stores, and I have a feeling it's the same stuff even if the name is different.

Back to the point. Yesterday I went on a marathon shopping expedition at Fry's and had on my list a few Good Value products to investigate.
#1 - Kroger Value Apple Juice COCKTAIL. I hadn't noticed the word Cocktail when checking out the ad. Cocktail, means 25% juice. I didn't even bother checking out what the other ingredients may have been.
#2 - Pillsbury-esque buttermilk biscuits. (You know the kind in the pressure can that you twist and pop.) Well upon inspecting the product, I noticed it said artificially flavored buttermilk biscuits. Mmmm, Yummy, let's see what makes it artificially flavored. Among a host of crazy long chemical names, I come across less than 2% of beef tallow.
I'll be honest, I didn't know exactly what tallow was when I read it, but I knew it didn't belong in my biscuits.
Just so we all know, beef tallow is rendered from the hard fat around the kidneys and loins. Doubly lucky for us tallow can be stored for extended periods without the need for refrigeration.

Honestly I have been fighting the nausea ever since I started writing this post.

#3 Imitation shredded mozzerella cheese. (this was not on my shopping list, but by this point all of the Kroger Value products were flashing like neon lights to me.) I couldn't even bring myself to look at the ingredients.

I check labels carefully due to Morgan's allergies, but I'm not overly fanatical about all natural, or organic products. This however crosses into completely insane and not fit for human consumption. (IMHO)

There is such a thing as TOO cheap and I now feel that my previous avoidance of these products were completely founded.

What sort of crazy items do you run into at the grocery store?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Conversations with Joshua III

This afternoon we were coming down the stairs after naptime and I was carrying Morgan. I was encouraging Joshua to move quickly down the stairs as Morgan gets a little heavy.

Mommy: Joshua, let's keep moving, Morgan's getting heavy!
Joshua: Oh, it will hurt when you drop Morgan. She'll roll down the stairs and that will be funny, but it will hurt her and that would be too bad.
[emphasis added]

Apparently he enjoys physical comedic gags. At least he would feel bad about his sister getting hurt. I also enjoy that he is certain that I will be dropping Morgan.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Foods I am grateful for....

We've been dealing with Morgan's dairy, egg, and nut allergies for 6 months now and I am happy to report that it's not as bad as we thought it would be.

I wanted to put together a quick post of some of the foods that make our life easier. Some speciality, and some not. These are in no particular order. I didn't feel like organizing the order blogger uploaded them in.

1. Tofutti - soy cheese. We've only ever tried the cheese slices, but it makes a grilled cheese, Morgan will eat. Yay!

2. Costco organic animal crackers. Delicious and allergen free. Yippee!!

3. Ritz crackers. Buttery crackers with no dairy? Why, yes sir-ee, they do exist. Thank you modern manufacturing and artificial flavorings. :)

4. Ener-G Egg Replacer. I think a box of this stuff is about 6 dollars. However, 1 box is over 100 eggs worth. Good deal! Food storage here we come!

5. Soymilk - She won't drink the stuff, but very helpful for cooking and other things. Rather an obvious choice, but it's quite useful all the same.

6. Duncan Hines cake mix. Be still my ever beating heart! A cake mix without eggs or dairy in the mix. After her birthday cake drama, I am so pleased to find an easier solution.

7. Nucoa margerine. The only dairy free margerine sticks I have been able to find. Oh and look, it's no burn. Check your grocer's refridgerated section.

I know there are others, but these are my favorites. There is life after allergies! Now I can just hope she will outgrow most of them.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Splash Park

My Mom and I took the kids to the Splash pad at Jaycee Park in Tempe. We got there pretty early, and we had the whole thing to ourselves. It was pretty nice.

Joshua LOVED the water gun shooters and would run over everytime they came on. One thing I really liked about the park is that the water wasn't on a timer or anything like that. You could go and push the button to start the water anytime you wanted. Maybe if we keep going back my kids will get more used to the whole thing and actually want to get splashed a little more!

I think you can click on the collages to see a bigger version.

The Stock Shop

As I mentioned in my last post. We picked Papa Darv up from work one day and gave him a ride home. Thankfully my FIL mentioned that they had lots of baby animals that Joshua might want to take a look at. He loved going to Papa Darv's work. I'd never been there either, so it was pretty fun to see that it was so picturesque.

I asked Joshua to count the number of chicks. He gave up at 14.

This was probably Joshua's favorite animal. It was "fluffy bunny." He even stopped a random customer and told them to look at the fluffy bunny. It is a Lion Head rabbit. Furry little guy.

Dinner Calendar