Merry Christmas to all...


I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas. We had a wonderful day of rest and play. Just what this family needed.

A couple of pictures to share.


(starting them early around here)


Yummy Snowmen


How about a sugary little winter project? Seriously, Maddie ate one half of one of these and was running circles around the house.

White Chocolate Marhsmallow Snowmen

20 lollipop sticks
2lbs white chocolate (I buy a big block at a local store- about 1.50 a pound- you could probably use chips or almond bark)
About a cup of milk or dark chocolate
60 big marshmallows (plus extra for munching)
20 small marshmallows
Thin pretze sticks cut in half
Assorted candies and chips for decorating
We used what I had:candy corn, chocolate chips cut up, sprinkles. Mini m&m's would be good or mini chocolate chips.
Wax Paper

Melt the white chocolate over a double boiler or using a fondue pot. I used an electric fondue pot and it works great. I can adjust the temp so no burnt chocolate. I melted the milk chocolate in the microwave and rewarmed as needed.

Put 3 large marshmallows onto a lollipop stick.

Swirl in white chocolate to coat. Shake of the excess.

Lay on a sheet of wax paper and start decorating. Attach pretzels for arms and have at it with the other decorations, eyes, nose, buttons, mouth etc.

Add the small marshmellow to the top and let cool on counter or pop in the freezer. The white chocolate needs to harden before you dip in the milk chocolate. Once hardened dip just the tops in the melted milk chocolate to make the hats.

Again let cool or put in the freezer. Put in a cellophane bag, tie off with a ribbon and done. Super simple, a bit on the messy side but the girls had a blast.

Oh don't forget to eat, maybe while reading Snowmen at Night- one of our favorite winter books.



Hello to those of you that periodically still check-in here. I've been a bit silent lately. Sorry for that. I realized yesterday that I haven't even been taking any pictures. Which means if there is anything going on around her I'm not documenting it at all. So I need to get some crafty stuff going at home so I can start posting here. I'm thinking I need a header spruce up...(and maybe I could get rid of the two pictures that have been up there for awhile.) and a fresh blogging start.

First off... I really love all the comments I get but whenever I go to respond I get the old have you seen it? Well it means I can't reply so I did a bit of looking and found out you can change your settings so that I (and all the other bloggers you visit) can comment directly.
So here goes
go to your blogger dashboard
go to edit profile
check the box that says show email address.
I think it only shows it on the email I get about your comment.
Okay hope that helps and I look forward to have a bit of a chat with you.

In other news check out the crafty crow for some great winter/christmas related books and projects. I just love that website.

On the kidmade front. I am on an unintentional, unannounced break over there. I hope to get some pics up and get all official with the break soon. I really need to rework some things over there and get some focus.

I also got sucked into the whole facebook many friends from so long ago.

Since I haven't been taking any pictures or doing much I thought maybe I would show you who as been being creative and taking pictures around here.


Dan has, lots of pictures of his fish. Oh and the "I just want to set up one tank" is now at least 6. The girls love the fish and now when Dan asks me to look at his tanks I just nod and say "that's nice honey" Much as he does when I ask him to look at my sewing or knitting. Acutally it goes more like this.

Dan "oh, that's nice. What are you sewing?"
Mary "Um, I'm knitting"
Dan "Yeah, um what are you sewing"

Seriously, we have this same conversation everytime I knit.

Being thankful for the little things.


Turkey art


Sudoku and tomato soup


Simple little projects that look so cute found here


Pancake Sundays
and all the other little things that make our days special. Most of all I am thankful for the three voices that I heard first thing this morning wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you may be as blessed as I am on this day.

I sat down to write a post....

and my computer went on the fritz. I spent the better part of my day backing up all my pictures just incase it really died and scanning and downloading. Hijack this buddy. It looks okay for now and I did get a bunch of knitting done while watching thousands of files being scanned. Seriously, what demented person creates viruses and malware just to annoy a mom that has pies to bake and blog posts to write. Go hug your kids, tell them you love them and hopefully they won't grow up to be hackers (umm do you still call them hackers? it seem so 1990's)


a few hours later including a trip to target....


Just one word today.....


Laura and the Blue Mermaid


We never managed to get the Halloween decorations up but we did get the pumpkins carved and finished making the costumes. I love Halloween and the girls had a blast. We must have had 100 kids come to the house.


Meet Laura Ingalls


and the Blue Mermaid.

They were originally going to be Laura and Mary Ingalls but Maddie saw a mermaid costume in the pattern book (the most gaudy, sparkly over-the-top thing in there. I think the one we made is actually more over the top!) and had to be a mermaid. A quick search on google and a bit of idea stealing from here and a bit of Mommy-Maddie collaboration and I had one happy mermaid and a very pleased Laura (using this pattern). Most people thought Annie was Holly Hobbie and delighted in telling them she was "Laura, you know from the Little House on the Prairie Books." Hope you all had a great halloween and are getting over the sugar shock.

Warning...venting post ahead.



This picture pretty much sums up the way I've been feeling lately. I wish I was the one taking the big bite out of life, but no I feel like life is taking a big bite out of me. Yesterday was whorl-winded enough to send me fleeing to the computer with one screen searching for a farmette and another looking for a job for Dan near said farm. He walked in and asked why I was looking for a job for response.."Because I really just want to be a homeschooling, farm living, goat milking mama." He just looked at me, said "I don't want to be a farmer" and walked away. A mama can dream can't she.

So you ask what is it that's making you so crazy this year? Well in addition to the normal stuff around here: work, kids, soccer coaching, soccer playing (for me-a girls gotta get some exercise), normal housework-which really isn't getting done, I am back in school. It's only 2 classes but they are online and are really kicking my butt.

Why back in school you ask. Because some young 20 something verison of myself thought it was a great idea to leave school with 2, yes 2 classes left to take. I can just take them online or by mail I said. Ummm, that was 12 years ago. You would think I would have done this when I was foot loose and fancy free with no kids, nope. Or maybe when the girls were babies and I didn't have a job outside the house, nope. I chose to start this when there is soccer, and scouts, and work, and preschool and all that other good stuff going on. Maddie is in preschool 16 miles away from our house at a community college, I thought it would be perfect, she can go to school, I can study on campus and save $12.00 a day on gas (it hurts to type that) by not driving back and forth. It's a great plan but add in the 4 hours I'm gone 3 days a week and it's like another job. And I have 3 more classes to take because I've been gone for so long. The grand plan is for me to start grad school next year in Early Childhood Education.
So yesterday for the first time in I don't know how long we had McDonald's for dinner. We ran to soccer practice,came home did homework, jammies, books bed and a bit of dreaming for mama.
As much as I love the idea of being a farmer I don't really think I could do it. Well, I could but I would be one of those messy farmers, with crazy rigged up fences, rusting tractors and chickens running across the road. So for now I'll keep it as a dream, get up a little earlier each day and finish up my classes, ignore the chaos at home and realize that all of this is really just me taking a big bite out of life.

In other news the new kidmade challenge is up here and to all of my friends and family that have been calling and wondering where I am, there ya go. And there is no intentional slight on not returning call, just not so much time.

Where I've Been Since July.....


spending as much time as I can with these three people.


Because there is usally nowhere else I would rather be. Sitting in a chair, listening to the waves and watching them all playing together on the beach is about as good as it gets in life.

Where I've Been Since July.....

helping the girls learn how to do this....




Bike rides are so much more fun with no training wheels and no Burley. We've been putting our new found skills to lots and lots and lots of practice.

Sorry to have disappeared with out a word, we are all doing well. There is more of what we have been upto to come.

I'm off to take a little siesta.

How about a bunch of stuff....


I hope you all checked out the link for the Train Stop Dress giveaway by Kathleen of Grosgrain. Not that I want you all to get in on the action I would really love that dress. Can you believe she makes them and then just gives them away. Wow. I have this theory that there are people that have more hours in their day than others...She is definitly one of those.
So onto the other randomness for the day...
A few nights ago I got in the car after work and started to pull out, for some reason I looked at the odometer and what did I see...


Super exciting.


This is Annie modeling another handmade gift. It's basically the same dress as this one but a bit more refined. I shaped the top piece of the bodice and gave the front a bit more fullness, which I love. I used some clearence fabric from Joannes and the ribbon was a piece I picked up in New York here. The fitting was easy on this one, it was for my 7 year old niece, Ally and she is the same size as Annie. I went with criss-cross straps for the back because well I just love them. A few more shots.



I've been really trying to clean-up my act while sewing, paying attention to loose threads and wonky seams. My new found love for this is the french seam, easy to do and no raw edges. I really am planning to do a little tutorial for this dress. The more times I sew it the more I learn. Next one is going to be in linen with maybe some freezer paper stencils or some free motion sewing....hmmmm I do need a darning foot for my machine.

Have a great weekend.

Train Stop Shirt Dress GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!


Train Stop Shirt Dress GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!



I was just sitting here pouting a bit about feeling like our days are getting away from us and there has been very little to post about when I came across this little swap. Something I definitly have time for.

It's a mini book swap hosted by molly coddle. It's simple send one book to another family, get one book from another family. Go check it out.

4th of July Fun...




I totally dig the 4th of July. It's all about fun and family and friends and yeah, food. We had all of the above and more. Hope you all enjoyed yours.

The new kidmade challenge is up, a few days late. Oh well, go on check it out. And I added a button for a new flickr goup, all about free or almost free fun for kids.

kidmade and a homemade gift.


The gallery is up for the Take Only Pictures, Make Only Art kidmade challenge. Please go and check it out. All of the submissions are amazing and inspiring. I really can't put into words how beautiful the work is. The July challenge should be up later today.


Just to add a bit of randomness, this is a little top I made for my niece for her birthday. I had bought myself a little dress at Target and loved the style. I decided I could reconstruct it. Other than coming out a bit smaller than I intended it worked out great. I was even able to do some shirring for the back. I have tried this in the past without any luck. The top was only 3 pieces and the straps. I think there will many more of these to come this summer. It's the perfect wear as a dress or top or with a long sleeve shirt and a pair of jeans kinda dress. I have come to the conclusion that I really enjoy sewing more when I don't use a pattern, I seem to always mess up the pattern and then become frustrated. Making it up as I go along seems to keep the flow going.

Anyone want a tutorial for this? I will try to pull one together when I make the next one.

I hope everyone has a great 4th of July. Lots of food, friends, family and fireworks.

Butter, blueberry muffins and haiku.



Annie and I have been reading the Little House on the Prairie series. I've been meaning to do a few projects related to the books but haven't gotten around to it. One day while at the grocery store I picked up some whipping cream with the intention on making butter. Friday the girls were a bit squirelly and needing to be occupied,
"hey, do you want to make butter?, you know like Laura and Mary."
"okay mommy."


So a bit of cream, a ball jar and some good old-fashioned shaking and butter. Okay, It wasn't quite so easy, I accidentally dumped the first batch down the drain and the girls were pretty much done with the shaking by then so I got a good workout.



Well, if your gonna make homemade butter you better have some yummy homemade baked goods to spread it on. We made the best batch of Blueberry Struesel Muffins thanks to the Cooks Country Magazine. I love making muffins but they never feel like bakery muffins, these were better.

While we waited for the muffins to bake and cool we read a bit of Haiku-Dogku to be exact. They both loved the story and Annie loved figuring out the pattern of the syllabels-that girl and her patterns. As we daintly ate our muffins and butter, er, devoured our muffins we wrote some of our own blueberry muffin and butter inspired haiku:


Blueberry Muffins.
Hot from the oven. Cooling.
Homemade butter. Yum.
It's always the simplest parts of the day that provide the most satisfaction and anything that requires us to wear our vintage aprons is doublely good.

the -ing words


"The present participle form of English verbs ends in -ing. Its most basic use is
to describe an action in progress, whether as part of a compound verb, an
adjective, or in a participal phrase." -from Ultimate Style the Rules of Writing
Isn't that what summer is all about? There hasn't been much blogging around here but our summer has been full all sorts of other -ing words. I'm feeling a bit tired from all of it. Maybe I need to do a bit of lazing and reading. Enjoy a bit of our -ing words in pictures.


::tagging and laughing





While camping...









I'm off for a bit of cleaning, a little sewing and then some barbecuing....

kidmade news....


A "green fish" submitted by the Dancing Robot family.

The Blowin' in the Wind Gallery is up. Such amazing work. Don't forget to check out the June kidmade challenge-Take Only Pictures, Make Only Art. There is a ton of inspiring links and this one is perfect for a lazy day at the beach or stroll through the park.

We're off to the zoo. I love summer.

Just a little post....




Summer is officially here. School was out on Wednesday, the thermometer is registering in the high 80's and it's muggy. Summer in Chicago. This year we bought pool passes so I am hoping to put them to good use. The plan is to get all our "work" done before noon and then head out for some water fun. We don't have much else planned, maybe a vacation bible school and swim lessons at the end of the summer. I may be regretting this with the girls already driving each other crazy and Maddie more often than not in tears.
I have extended the deadline until next monday for this months kidmade challenge so if your looking for a little something to do with the kids you can check it out.
I haven't been doing a ton of sewing lately but a few projects have made it off the machine. The pillow in the picture was a gift for Annie's teacher. I had her draw a picture and then printed it on to fabric using this product and then added the strips. I am quite pleased with the way it turned out. It only took about 3 hours from start to finish, I think it takes me longer to pick the fabric. I know I saw a pillow like this last year around this time and filed it away for future use. Sorry I can't remember where. It was such an easy and satifsying project I think I may need to make a few more for our house. The family room could use a bit of color. I also love this one made by Jen.
So what do you all have planned for the long summer ahead?

Six, Six, Six years for Annie


It's all happened so fast. The crawling, the eating, the walking and even the riding. I stood by you through each of your milestones, cheering, encouraging, supporting and yes shedding a bit of tears. Now you are six. Six years with you in our lives, six years of watching you grow and change and yet you are still my little baby. I wish I could stop the clock so that you will always need me as you do now but more milestones and growing awaits you and really, I love watching you grow. Happy Birthday my little slice of heaven. I love you.






Seriously, she was one darn beautiful little baby. I'm just sayin'.