Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Handprint T-Shirts

Mom,  if you are reading this, it is your own fault if you see your Christmas present early. I already warned you! Check your texts.

I gave my sister a shirt that Griffey and I made for her birthday.  We got a shirt from Ross and painted it to look like this owl.  It was so cute and she wears it all the time.

Well, my mom was super jealous of that shirt and looks at it mournfully when she sees it.  She really wants one.  So Griff and I made her giraffe one for Christmas.  I got both handprint ideas off of Pinterest, but I also searched on Google and there are a ton of different handprint craft ideas.

We used fabric paint from Michaels and a t-shirt from Target.  This is a great gift idea if you are looking for something meaningful and inexpensive.

Hex Nut Bracelets

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30 Hexnuts (I used the brass/gold ones) (either size 6-32 or 8-32, mine are 6-32 because I got more in a pack for the same price.  They are a little smaller.) These are 5-10 cents each at Home Depot and Jerrys

Twine (whatever kind you want.  I used a smoother white kind which looks nice but does not hold a knot very well because it is slippery.) Maybe $4 at Jerrys for way more than enough for five

Clasps (2.99 for 5 sets at Michaels) Jewelry Essentials Findings: Toggle Clasps Item JC11856-102

Crimps (2.99 for 150 pieces at Michaels) Bead Landing Crimps.  I just bought the largest ones I cold find because they hold six pieces of twine.
 I copied these bracelets from this brilliant blog and adapted them slightly.

Firstly, Cut three 2 ft pieces of twine and tie a knot at the end.  Leave a few inches to put the clasp on later.

Braid the three strands about two inches.  This is easiest by taping the knotted end to a table while braiding.  On the link I have provided there are great pictures of the process which make it very easy to understand. 

When it is time to braid the leftmost strand over the middle one, thread a hex nut onto the ledft strand and push it up the the braid.  The hex nut should be at an angle with the outside part higher than the inside part.  In this direction ( \ ).  After the hex nut is pushed up to the top, then braid the left strand over the middle like usual.  Pull it tight.

Now do the same thing with the rightmost strand.  Push a hex nut up to the braid at this angle ( / ) and braid the right strand over the middle.  You will notice that you are doing a regular braid and just beading on a nex nut before you braid over the strand. 

Continue this process with the number of hex nuts you prefer.  I used 18 on my first one and then decided to do 30 on the rest.  It depends on the look you want. 

After you have put on all your hex nuts, continue braiding normally for another 8-10 inches, depending on your wrist size.  Also, this depends on how many hex nuts you put on and the size of the hex nuts. 

The bracelet I made is designed to wrap around your wrist twice.  You can also make this bracelet shorter, with less braid if you want it to only wrap one time.

Tie a knot to finish it off.

I wore mine like this and tied the ends, but since my twine was so smooth, it kept coming unknotted.  I decided to add a clasp to mine, which the other blog did not do. 

To add the clasp, string the strands onto one half of the clasp and fold back toward the knot.  Wrap a crimp bead around the three strands and the other three strands that were folded back (6 strands total).

Crimp it tight and do the same thing on the other end of the bracelet.

This bracelet is a unique way of making everyday objects into something beautiful and unique.  The hex nuts can be arranged differently after it is made, which makes the bracelet have multiple looks.


O Christmas Tree!

Our Christmas party was on December 3rd and I wanted to have a Christmas tree up before then, which meant going to get one during finals week.  Since it was such a busy time, we went less than a mile away to the lot in the Walgreens parking lot {so Christmasy, I know. Maybe we'll make it to a tree farm next year.  It seems like we should considering we live in Oregon}

Griffey got a free candy cane from a dirty lumberjack Santa and accidentally dropped it on the ground.  He put it back in his mouth and when I tried to fish it out, Griffey wasn't about to give up his candy cane, but he did spit out about three pine needles. Oh well. It's fiber, right?

 Griffey was really interested in helping Adam with the ropes.  I usually help, but I wanted to photograph instead.

 Griffey loved unwrapping the ornaments and putting them all on the tree.  As you can see, he had a favorite spot.

 I think I accidentally overtrained Griffey.  When I ask him to smile, this is the face I get.
Ta-Da!  I like our tree because it is a story of us.  I don't like the idea of having a kid's tree and a nice tree because the tree represents who we are as a family.  There are craft projects from when I was a kid on there, ornaments we got the year we were married, and ornaments with pictures of when Adam came home from Iraq. 

One tradtion that my family had when we were little was to watch It's a Wonderful Life  while decorating the tree, which is something we all looked forward to.  Since we don't have that movie yet, we carried the tradition on by watching another Christmas movie while decorating the tree.

Christmas Cookies

I think activities are more fun if they have cool names.  For instance, Adam and I are in the middle of Winter Workout Madness {see what I mean?!}.  So, last night I announced it was Christmas Family Fun Night and the activities would include decorating sugar cookies and reading "A Night Before Christmas" which we just checked out at the library.
We decorated them right before dinner, so Griffey was waiting patiently until he could eat one.  Adam and I frosted while Griffey put the mini m&m's on them. 

Since Griffey decided not to eat dinner {which was lasagna, who doesn't like lasagna??}, he didn't get to have a cookie.  When he woke up I really wanted to give him a cookie, but Adam said to wait.  I finally broke down around 9.
Making these cookies reminded me of frosting sugar cookies as a kid because I made the frosting how my mom used to--by mixing powdered sugar, water, and vanilla together, then dividing it up and coloring it.  Also, when we were all done, I put the extra frosting in a container in the freezer, which reminded me of how my sisters and I used to sneak it out of the freezer and put it on graham crackers.

Christmas Cross Stitch

Tis the season for....cross stitching!

I got the package for this little gem at Goodwill and thought it was the perfect Christmas craft project for the free time I had this week.  It only took a couple days and it is actually really relaxing and to do.  This was my first attempt and it is very sloppy on the back, but no one will ever know!
 I recommend cross stitching to all because, while it is very much an old lady thing to do, it is also very fun and relaxing and cheap {especially because there are loads of kits of them at Goodwill}.  Plus, once you are done, you can add it to your list of talents and impress everyone.  LIke your grandma! That's who this lovely ornament is for.
Good luck!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

getting gas

Griffey was 'driving' his tractor around the room and said "Oh, I need to get gas."

"Oh you are getting gas?"


"How much was it?"

"It was six dollars"

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My New Pillows

I am really liking yellow, grey, white, and dark blue together.  So, I started getting a bunch of unique pillows to go in this color scheme.  I bought the first two and then coverd two that I already had.  I still have some more old pillows of different sizes, so I'm not done yet. Here's what I have done so far:
I made the one on the right. I used fat quarters and trimmed one side to fit my previous pillows.

Each side has a different pattern.  The back has is light grey with a dark grey pattern, while this side is dark with a light pattern.  I sewed the ends of the ribbon/cord stuff in when I sewed the pillow together and then stitched it in place by hand after I stuffed it. 

pillow #1 fabric from Jo-Anns, #2 Target (on clearance!), #3 fabric from Jo-Anns, #4 Ross
I think I need a small, white lace one to finish it off.

This is the only before picture of my pillows that I could find. It's from May 2010.

I thought pajamas were kind of related to all the talk of pillows, so here is a picture of Griffey and I before we went to Pajama Storytime at the Springfield Library.  A girl came up to me and asked if I was Griff's sister because Mom's don't wear jammies to these things.  She was shocked that I was a mom and wearing jammies.  I thought it was funny.

Another related picture: Griffey fell asleep with his flashlight on.  He got it for his birthday and really likes carrying it around. His room was actually dark but the camera flash was pretty powerful.

My First Christmas Craft of the Year: Ornament Wreath

Ta da!
I got the idea from EDDIE ROSS.com, which has some great craft ideas.  The link for the tutorial on this wreath is here.

It was so easy and inexpensive because the wreath form is just a wire hanger, opened at the top and bent into a circle.  You just string on the ornaments (which I got at the dollar store and a garage sale) and tie a bow on it.  The picture below is a wreath from the tutorial.  It shows a different way to do the bow, and that the color options for the wreath are endless!

This was a great project because it took about 20 minutes and less than five dollars. Enjoy!

Oh, also, on the tutorial it says to glue gun the tops of the ornaments onto the ornaments so they don't pop off.  I didn't do this because the ornaments I got at the dollar store had different tops and this seemed pretty time consuming, so just check what kind of ornaments you get to see if you need to do that.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day

When Adam first came home
I can't believe Adam came home from Iraq only last year.  It seems like it was a different lifetime.  In a way, it kind of was.  I think I took myself out of my life for a little while.  I remember being sad sometimes that Adam was in Iraq, but most of the time I think I convinced myself it wasn't really happening.  People say that I was really strong then because I was able to push through our circumstances and stay in school and have a baby and hold it together, but I think I was just really disconnected from what was happening then.

My husband was gone for a year.  It was hard.  He wasn't just gone, but he was in a war.

I know I was strong when he was gone.  I know I pushed through pretty well and made the most of our circumstances, but I was only handling a fraction of what Adam was going through.

I had my family and friends and my home and my things and my environment and my school and my own bed.  Adam had a dirty cot in a tent with a bunch of rowdy, rough around the edges guys in their early twenties.  My husband was taken from everything that made him happy and comfortable and all of a sudden found himself in a surreal nightmare.

It did feel all of a sudden too.  I cried all the way home from dropping him off in Corvallis when he left.  I laid in bed and cried all night.  When I was finally able to talk to him after a few days, we were both in shock.  He was just here. At our home. In our bed.  Now he was in Georgia training for a deployment he shouldn't have been on.  We didn't know what the next year entailed or how we were supposed to get through it.

I remember talking to him and just feeling like this wasn't really happening.  How could this be happening? He was in class last week.  He was working at his job and eating dinner with me and going to school.  He was just here and then he was gone.

When he came home on leave and I touched his face in the airport for the first time in 6 months, it didn't seem like him.  It was weird to see him in person and I remember looking at him for a few hours convincing myself he was really there.  That week was very fast, but so important.

It was a long, challenging year.  There was bitterness, resentment, distance, and anger. Remember this and this?

It was hard, but we learned a lot and grew closer.  Our relationship is deeper now and we understand eachother better now.  That experience was going to either pull us apart or weld us together and I'm grateful we were both commited to the welding option.

I am so proud of Adam for coming through all that he faced during that year- and there was a lot.  He was strong and never gave up what he believed in.  More importantly, he kept his family in the front of his mind and the whole of his heart the whole time.

I am proud of Adam for being a veteran on this Veteran's Day because it signifies his strength during this time, as well as during his first deployment and the 10 years he was in the military.

Thank you Adam.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Healthier Changes

I seem to go through spurts of working out a lot and eating healthy and then getting frustrated because I don't see results fast enough so then I eat junk and don't work out and then I decide I should again.  It's been a lifelong cycle.

I have been doing P90X though and going to the gym a lot and I have been trying to find healthier recipes that I like so I won't feel like I'm "dieting" but just eating healthier food that I really like.

I started tracking my food (calories, carbs, fat, protein) and exercise on http://www.myfitnesspal.com/ which is a free, awesome website that helps you make goals and adjust your calorie and exercise amounts to meet those goals.  Plus, most food are already in their database so it's easy to put your info in.

Just thought I would share because it is a great website!

Smart Thinking

A couple days ago, Griffey tried turning on the hall light but he was barefoot so he couldn't reach it.  He ran over to his crayon box, grabbed a crayon, and put it down on the ground below the light switch.

He stepped on the ground and got the burst of height he needed, because he could reach the switch now.  It was pretty funny. I don't really think the crayon helped much though.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Castle Rock

Castle Rock Hike
  • 2 miles round trip
  • Up the Mckenzie Hwy near Blue River
  • Great view! 

We spent half a Saturday [oct. 14] driving up here and hiking around.  Griffey had a blast hiking on his own.  It was pretty steep, so he was in the backpack for most of the time.  This last picture was taken toward the end of the trail when he was walking on his own.  Right after this picture, Griffey got going downhill too fast and Adam had to run ahead to catch him.  I love his little hiking boots that we got for free somewhere.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Griffey's So Cute

He has been calling me honey or mama or honey mama a lot lately.

I was sick today and almost every time I coughed all day, he said "bless you mama."

He loves the ten little monkeys song.  I caught him last week drawing circles on a piece of paper, at least 20 circles.  After each one he drew, he had his bear kiss it and made the kissing noise.  Then, he would draw another one and bear would kiss another one.  Over and over again.  I asked him what he was drawing and he said they were monkeys.  He also heard people doing construction outside our house and he thought it was monkeys. "You hear those monkeys Mama?"

A couple nights ago, he woke me up crying and screaming in the middle of the night.  I layed next to him and asked him if he was scared.  He said no.  I asked him why he was sad and he kept saying something that I didn't understand.  After he repeated it a few times, I realized he was saying, "Thomas doesn't want to play."  I said, " You were having a dream and Thomas wouldn't play with you?" He said, "yes," still crying.  He was sad because Thomas-the train- wouldn't play with him in his dream.

He loves going to the library.  Yesterday, we went for family story time and the theme was pizza.  They read us a few books about pizza and then we all made paper slices of pizza.  When we left, he seemed disappointed.  It was because he was expecting some real pizza too after all that hype.  So, he was being cute enough that Adam and I brought him to Costco for pizza.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Jackpot: Best Sugar Cookie Recipe!

UPDATE: I found an even better recipe.  While this one is awesome, the new one I found is so much better. http://dimock.blogspot.com/2012/02/seriously-best-sugar-cookie.html

When I want to find a good recipe of something, like sugar cookies, I just google "best ______ recipe."  It gets the job done.  I found the best sugar cookie recipe on ourbestbites.com.

The problem with sugar cookies are that sometimes they are really dry or crunchy or hard or way, way too soft and crumbly.

This recipe is the best and it does not have a lot of ingredients.  You can find a detailed recipe on the link above, but I will share a shorter version here.

Sugar Cookies
recipe from ourbestbites.com

1 C real butter (no substitutions!)

1 C sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 t almond extract (you could use vanilla instead)

3 C flour

1 1/2 t baking powder

1/2 t salt

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy- about 2 minutes. Add in eggs and extract and mix to incorporate.
In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt and whisk to combine. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until completely combined.

Shape the dough into 2 flat disks and wrap in waxed paper and place in the fridge to chill for 1-2 hours. If you want your cookies to hold their shape well, the dough needs to be chilled properly. A great tip to speed things up is to immediately roll dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper and place on a flat surface in the fridge. It will chill super fast and be ready to go in no time.

When you're ready to roll out dough lightly sprinkle flour onto your work surface and roll out dough with a rolling pin.

Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes. The baking time really depends on how you like them. If you like them really soft under-bake them. In my oven, about 8 minutes does it. However if you're making large cookies, or ones with small parts or heavy frosting, you might want to be careful because they might break when they're super soft.

About 8 minutes will get you a really soft cookie, a few minutes longer (when they start to just brown around the edges) and you'll get just a little crispiness around the edges and then a soft center, bake even longer (and roll thinner) and you'll get a buttery, crispy cookie that will just melt in your mouth. Any way you do it, they'll taste good. Remove onto cooling racks when you're done and let cool completely. I honestly think these even taste better the second day.

***A change I made to it was that I dropped dough by spoonfuls onto the cookie sheet and pressed them down with my fingers.  This was a lot easier than cutting out shapes.

For the frosting, I mixed powdered sugar and water together to make a glaze that I dunked the top of the cookie into.  I put them on a drying rack to drip the excess frosting off of and topped with sprinkles.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Waiting to be Booed

I was reading The Meanest Mom's latest blog entry about being booed and I have to say, I completely have a different outlook on the whole 'booing' tradition.

'Booing' someone is when you leave a sign and instructions on your neighbor's doorstep with a special halloween treat.  The instructions tell the neighbor to make a a couple copies and do the same thing to more neighbors. 

I am a fan of this tradition because I like giving things to people, I like being neighborly, and I like to come home and see if anyone else has their 'booed' signs up.  It is really cool when every house on the street gets booed and everyone has the signs on their doors.

So, I went out and booed my neighbors.  I got the sheet off the internet, got some little containers from the dollar store, and filled them with candy and toy eye balls.  Three neighbors were given these four days ago. 

Since then, one has put their sign up and none of them have booed anyone else.  FAIL.

Ugh.  This happens every year.  I have tried booing my neighbors since we got married.  That is four years of unsuccessful booing. FOUR!

In high school, our neighbors all got booed and had their signs on their doors.  Everyone in our area of the street had been booed but our house.  This was not okay with me.  I want to be included!!  So, one night my sister, Makenna, and I went out with a Sharpie and changed all the signs that read "BOO" into "BOOB." 

This made us feel better, but it still wasn't the same as being booed.

I am going to give my neighbors the benefit of the doubt and wait a little longer to see if they put their signs up or boo anyone else.  Then I am thinking of trying it again with other neighbors.

I mean, I even chose people that had pumpkins and halloween decorations out.  I thought this year would be different.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


You know when you come across something that makes so much sense and you can't believe you've never thought of that? Well, I had  food version of that happen to me.  See what I mean?:

That's not my hand, I found this online.  I did try it though and it was amazing and everyone loved it.  Fill the inside of strawberries with cheesecake filling.  Then dip the top in graham cracker crumbs.  Wal-Mart sells cheesecake filling already made, but I just made some up on my own by tasting it until it was right.


Random Funnies

Sometimes I save random pictures on my computer that I thought were cute or funny and then I forget about them.  Well, I just found a few that I thought I would share.