Monday, August 30, 2010

30 Before 30 - Wuthering Heights

One book down, 29 to go!

Wuthering Heights quick and dirty review: Heathcliff is the most miserable fictional human being ever created. I kept hoping he'd find Jesus. Once I realized it wasn't in the script, I just wanted him to die. Happily, I wasn't disappointed.

Next Book: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

I'm 1/30th of the way there!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Nature Walk

If you know anything in the world about me, you know that I am not a nature person. But...on a Sunday afternoon where nap time is destined to be a lost cause {insert bitter remark about how much I love weekend naps}, and the weather is beautiful, it's a nice alternative to staying indoors.

I figured if Sadie and I were going to take a nature walk today, I should probably look up some fun things to do while on a nature walk. After reading through a lot of varied advice on the "best" way to take a nature walk, I decided to scrap any plans of structure I may have had, grab a Ziploc bag and my camera, and take Sadie outside to see what we could find. What a backyard adventure!

The very first "interesting" thing we saw was this mushroom:

Sadie wanted to touch it, but since I'm not into nature, I have no idea whether it was poisonous or you know?

Then we proceeded to collect pine needles and those little flowering weeds that grow all over every yard I've ever called my own. She was so excited I was letting her put "nature" in a baggy!

We saw a bunch of bugs like this ladybug:

...and this bug that could sting us if it wanted to. Once again, that is pretty much all I know about it. Do you know what it is?

...and this cricket-y, grasshopper-y, cicada-ish thing:

She was really interested in anything flowering...even the weeds. Because to a 3 year old, flowers are flowers, y'all.

She also found her "very tall" shadow...notice her bag full of nature goodies tucked safely under her arm.

By the end of the walk, I heard her repeating my keen observations of, "let's take some of this, it looks natural!"

And we walked away with this haul:

All in all, a pretty good visit with nature if I do say so myself.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Magnet Boards a la Sweden

Today, I went to IKEA for the very first time ever in my whole entire life. Ever. It was the beginning of a love affair with simple, cheap Swedish products. No licensed characters, no fluff, just simple, clean, cheap stuff with unpronounceable names. (Did you ever play with the Swedish furniture name generator?) IKEA was a little overwhelming...kind of like an amusement park for thrifty women who don't have thrifty taste.

We got three things (we said we weren't making any purchases today, but I did find a few things that I had to have). Two of the three things were plain, wall-mountable, metal boards for magnets. I wanted one for Sadie's play area and one for her room. Last December, Sadie and I worked together to make her first magnet board. That one has been used a million times, and I thought it was time to have one we could mount for play on the wall.

Here's the new one in her play area with a few of her old magnets on it:

And since she has a TON of alphabet magnets (which, by the way, she LOVES to try to spell words with), we thought we'd put one in her room so that she could spell things to her heart's content.

$12 each. BARGAIN. Thanks, IKEA.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Happy Birthday to my Daddy!!

What a lucky girl I have been to have a Daddy who loves me and is proud of me all the time (despite my imperfections), and who has taught me the values of hard work, contentedness, easy laughter, and fierce, unconditional love for my family.

I love you, Daddy!!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Family Rules

I ran across this the other day at Ohdeedoh and thought it was a fabulous idea:


...and now my darling Katy B has inspired me to try my hand at some family rules for our little clan...results forthcoming!

You can find the entire Family Rules Ohdeedoh post here.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

World's Ugliest Apron - Tutorial!

I know you've always wanted to make the world's ugliest apron. Thankfully, I have the step-by-step instructions right here! Your apron may not be the world's ugliest, but the idea is to make it for free (i.e., use scraps of stuff you have lying around). In that spirit, you might be surprised with the hodge-podge gem you end up with!

1. Measure yourself in the applicable parts (your chest, your waist, and from the top of your chest to the top of your waist). You'll only need to measure the front of your body for this pattern (unless you want the top to go all the way around your body?)

Here are the measurements I used:

(note, I thought the skirt was too short, so I added a ruffle. I also ended up darting the top, because I over-accounted for my chest. You may also need to put a couple of darts in the chest...unless your boobs are bigger than mine...which is likely).

2. Cut out the top and bottom according to the measurements you've taken. You'll want to have drawn out your pattern on the wrong side of the fabric so that you make the correct cuts.

3. Stitch both pieces up all the way around. I put a couple of pleats in the skirt (this is super easy - just fold about a quarter inch of the fabric on top of itself in a couple of places and secure with stitches).

4. Cut out three pieces of fabric approximately 5" wide:
(1) 40" long (short neck tie)
(1) 25" long (long neck tie)
(1) 60" long (waist tie)

(Once all your pieces are cut out, you should have something like this):

5. Fold each of the three 5" wide pieces in half length-wise, wrong side out, and iron flat for stitching

6. Stitch up the open side of each piece. Each piece should be a tube when you're done (i.e., open at both small that you can turn it right side out).

7. Take a safety pin and attach it to one of the open ends. Push the pin inside of the tube and thread it all the way through to the other side. This will put your tubes right-side-out again.

8. Iron each of your three tubes flat. (Again, these will be your neck straps and waist tie)

9. Fold the ends of each of your 3 tubes inside themselves and stitch closed (so that you can't see the ugly frayed edge).



10. (optional) Attach a ruffle to your skirt. (I did this because I was unhappy with the length).

11. (optional) Cut out a pocket and add it to your apron. (I didn't do this because I don't ever see myself needing a pocket).

12. Piece everything together and pin on the wrong side so that you can sew it up.

13. Stitch it all together!

Congrats! You are the proud new owner of an ugly apron!

(I stole most of this tutorial from here. Her version is really cute...if you have time/money to go out and purchase fabric, I would definitely shoot for "cute" instead of "ugly")



Friday, August 20, 2010

How to Make a Button for Your Blog (Blogger Only)

I had a hard time finding good tutorials on making my own button for my blog when I wanted to create one, and even when I found the tutorials that I could use, I changed a few things based on my experience with button-building.

Would you like a button for your blog? Here's how to create your own in 7 (very) easy steps!

1. Find a photo/image you like...I liked this one:

2. Edit the bejeepers out of it to make it look and feel like you want it.
a. **VERY IMPORTANT**: Make sure you resize to less than 200 pixels wide. Most sidebars are 200 pixels...if you make your button wider, it will be cut off on one or both sides. That wouldn't be cute, would it?
b. Make sure you put the name of your blog on want your buttoneers to have someone to refer back to when they post your button!
c. I used to do every edit I made to the pic above, and I got this:

3. Once you are happy with your image, upload it to (or some other image hosting site). What? You don't have a photobucket account? Please join 2010 and create one RIGHT NOW. (Don't worry - I only created mine for the blog, otherwise, I wouldn't have one either).

4. In Photobucket, copy the Direct Link from the "share this image" box. The link should look something like:

5. You will need to create HTML in order to get your button into your blog. Using the code below, replace "yourblogURL" with your blogs direct URL. *KEEP THE QUOTES.* Then, replace "yourimagedirectlinkURL" with the direct link you copied from Photoshop (step4). *KEEP THE QUOTES*

&lta border="0" href="yourblogURL" target="_blank"&gt&ltimg src="yourimagedirectlinkURL"/&gt&lt/a&gt

Your code should now look something like:

&lta border="0" href="" target="_blank"&gt&ltimg src=""/&gt&lt/a&gt

**IMPORTANT** - in the code above, I have replaced all of the ">" and "<"with &lt and &gt so that the text would display properly. In order to use the code, you will need to replace every instance of "&lt" with "<" and all of the "&gt" with ">". (I have changed the text colors to help you with this)

6. Once you have your HTML code, go into your blog and select "design" (top right corner). Go to your sidebar gadgets and click "add a gadget." Choose "html/JavaScript." Add a title in the title bar (if you want one). Something like, "take a button" or "here's my awesome button" or "this is a title." Whatever floats your boat! In the content portion, paste your new HTML code from start to finish (including the <> at the beginning and end) with no extra spaces before or after.

7. Save! You should have your button in your sidebar! (I followed these instructions step by step - my new button is in the sidebar)

Have fun with your new button!

Was this helpful?

Would you be interested in a quick tutorial on how to make it clickable (i.e., if someone clicks on your button from any source, it will automatically link to your blog)?

Need more references? Oikology101 and Mandablogsabout taught me a lot about buttons...enjoy!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

30 Before 30

I am embarking on a little journey over the next 23 months. There are 30 books I would like to read before I turn 30 years old. Some of them I have read cover-to-cover before, some of them I have read bits and pieces of (or Cliff's notes on), and others I have never read.

I chose my 30 Before 30 based loosely on the following criteria:
1. Have I ever wanted to read this book?
2. Is this book generally considered a game-changing/life-altering/otherwise profound piece of literature?
3. Did I pretend to read this book in high school?
4. Do I think this book will have a marked impact on how I view my circumstances (and the circumstances of those around me)?
5. Do I believe that I will enjoy this book?

{Note: #1 and #5 are very different - There's a difference between wanting to do something and actually believing you'll enjoy it. I WANT to lose 30lbs, but I do NOT ENJOY the process of losing 30lbs. Those things are done for discipline so that I can get what I want in the end. In the same respect, some of these books have been chosen for pure enjoyment (Winnie the Pooh), and others have been chosen because I think it's "the right thing to do" (War and Peace).}

I should have probably used some sort of a rubric to weigh out the books and decide which ones made the cut based on my 5 criteria above, but I didn't. I just picked randomly based on a whim.

So, in no particular order, the 30 books I want to read before I turn 30 on July 14, 2012 are:

Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
Animal Farm - George Orwell
Crime and Punishment - Feodor Dostoyevsky
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Graham
War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell
The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
The Holy Bible - God :)
Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
Gone with the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Sallinger
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
Where the Sidewalk Ends - Shel Silverstein
The Little Prince - Antoine de St. Exupery
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
Sidhartha - Herman Hesse
How to Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie

Here are the ones I went to Barnes and Noble to pick up last night...they were in the bargain section - aren't they beautiful?

I am going to keep a spreadsheet with how long each book is, what date I start, and what date I end. I'm also going to be keeping you posted along the way. I hope I'll make my goal, and I'm going to really try to do it, but if I can't, I'm not going to beat myself up - worst case scenario, I'll have still read at least some of them, right?

Tonight's book: Wuthering Heights

Let me know if you want to jump on board!


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How to Create a (mostly) Free Date Night

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this before (maybe only a thousand or so times...), but we are broke. Not the kind of broke that requires grocery gift cards (don't worry, mom), but certainly the kind of broke that requires thoughtful attention to where we spend our money.

Because of our need to watch the pocket book, Eric and I don't get very many "real" date nights. Since we've lived here, we've left Sadie with a sitter once (ONCE!) to go out together to dinner and a movie...and even that was only because Madison's mommy and daddy are awesome and let us share a play date with them so that they could go on their regularly scheduled date night.

Are you broke? Do you have an awesome date night solution? Here's ours...

E&K Date Night Ingredients:
(1) Sleeping Preschooler (8:30pm!)
(2) Something to do (something we don't normally do - a game, a movie on demand, etc.)
(3) Sofa bed (this is because it makes the house look and feel we're at a hotel or somewhere BESIDES our house)
(4) Lots of cushy pillows so that we can pile up and watch a movie on the sofa bed ---WAY more comfy than a movie theater seat (and lots cleaner too!)
(5) A bottle of Riesling (because it's sweet and makes me giggly)
(6) Something delicious to eat (maybe dinner? maybe ice cream? the less work I've had to do to prepare it, the more it feels like a real date.)
(7) NO cell phones, laptops, or other distracting media.

Bake at 350 for 2 hours. Voila! Date night. We love it because even though it's not spectacular, it's what we have...and mommies and daddies definitely need their date nights, right?

Movie on Demand: $4.00
Ice Cream: $2.00
Riesling: $12.00 (go ahead, get the cheap stuff)
Accommodations: $0.00
Dinner Out: $0.00
Babysitter: $0.00
Tip: $0.00
Fuel: $0.00

Total Date Night = $18.00
{happy dance}


Monday, August 16, 2010

Sadie's World

Do you see the little pennant curtains in the far right of this photo...behind the bookshelf?


First: I made them out of the same shower curtain I used for the curtains.
Second: Do you wonder what those are for? Or have you already figured it out?

They're for Sadie's little hideaway behind the bookshelves! We had some extra square footage in the new living room, so we gave Sadie a spot to call her own...

She loves it because she has a little area that is all hers (especially since we literally have to crawl under the little curtain to get inside). I love it because it means the toys are completely out of view. My house doesn't look like preschooler city unless I really want it to :)....and sometimes I really want it to.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Early Birthday!

This week, Punkin and Uncle Ricky sent Sadie Lou and I our birthday presents. They are about 6 months early per our family traditions of giving presents at the complete opposite month as the holiday, but we were VERY excited!

Off to Target with a shiny new giftcard...

I got a shower curtain, and a couple of gray 95" panel curtains with grommets:

And I turned them into living room curtains:
(added the detail at the bottom because I needed more than 95")

Here's what they look like from afar:

You can't see the detail unless you're behind the bookshelf, but luckily, in our house, we go behind that bookshelf a lot...(what's behind our bookshelf? Stay tuned...more on that tomorrow).

If you look closely, you'll see an awesome new yellow pillow on my sofa. Punkin and Uncle Ricky gave me that as it is close up:
Yay for beautiful dinner napkins! This was literally a 10 minute sewing easy (tee hee). Ahh! I love it!

And here's Sadie enjoying her new Barbies a la Auntie Heather and Mommy:
(and check out my fabulous new "I" coasters!)

THANK YOU, Punkin and Uncle Ricky!! We love you guys!


Kendra and Sadie


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sadie's Pennants

WHEW - I have been a busy girl today. I've squeezed every productive drop out of this Saturday and I now have enough blog material for the entire week. I *really* hope nothing interesting happens for the next 5 days so that I can show you the fruits of all my labors.

I worked on Sadie's pennant flag window treatment today. I'm so happy with how it turned out!
Eww - someone needs to clean the camera lens, huh?

Here's a quick tutorial:
Step 1: Make a cardboard, cardstock, paper, etc. triangle template so that all your pennants come out the same size

Step 2: On the wrong side of the fabric, trace the template (you'll need two triangles for each pennant)

Step 3: Place the wrong sides of each pennant together to sew

Step 5: Sew it up. I left the top (short side) open so that I could turn them right side out...worked out great because the tops got sewn into the ribbon anyway.

Step 6: Once you've turned the right sides out, iron it flat to get all the wrinkles out
(the one on the left hasn't been ironed yet)

Step 7: Top just looks better, I think.
(the one on the left has been stitched - the one on the right hasn't)

Step 8: Choose the ones you want to hang up
...and sew them onto a ribbon. I used a ribbon I've had in my stash since Sadie was born. It was on a package we received, and I couldn't bear to part with it. So glad I didn't!

Step 9: Hang...all done!

Strung up a second set and made a lamp...


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