Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Preview of the years to come and Halloween Fun?

So, after Cooper's bath, I put on his diaper and went to grab some shorts and I come back to find him like this.....naked playing video games on the PSP.

Why does this feel so much like a glimpse into the future?

On another note, today was Chase's Halloween party at school. He is the scary looking Joker, I was overruled on that costume which I guess is bond to happen when there are 5 boys against one me in the house right now. The party was a whirlwind. I made homemade goo with the kids while my friend Kelli and I chased the two toddlers around!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Apron Swaps Galore

This is why I love swapping, look at this adorable apron I got from Marcel from the Hot Drinks for Hot Mama' Apron Swap. I have been friends with Marcel for awhile through Apronista so it made it even more special to receive one of her creations.

It is adorable, perfectly sewn and the pocket which I tried to get a good pic of is darling. It came packed with lots of treats like herbal tea, a dish towel, coasters and even a tea strainer! Thanks SO much!

Now, here is my newest creation shipping out for the the Sweets for the Sweet Apron Swap. My partner loves country chic, french country so I had to go with a shabby chic patchwork version of Morgan Moore's Ruffled Apron. I hope she loves it as much as I do! Now, I am just awaiting my Holiday Apron Swap Partner so I can start a formal apron.....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Food for thought on this Sabbath Day

This was sent to me by my mother-in-law and I loved it so much that I needed to share it with all of you.

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Katrina) Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'

In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us. Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,
Ben Stein

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fall Extravaganza-Halloween Present

I feel terrible but I have no Halloween decorations up to share, I just decorated for fall this year. I also have not finished sewing Jonas costume yet so I have no pictures of the boys in their costumes yet. What I do have is pictures from the Pumpkin Patch from last weekend. We love going to Bates Nut Farm each year. It has hay mazes, rides, ponies, food, crafts and of course a huge pumpkin field!
In order to protect the privacy of our foster son, we made sure to take some group shots without him and/or he is boxed out of the photo.

Make sure to stop by Three-Peas to check out the other entries and to play along for a chance to win some GREAT prizes!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Going Yo-Yo Crazy-Fall Extravaganza

I am cheating a little by adding this as a Fall Craft for the Fall Extravaganza but Tiff will understand!

I have been busy having fun making samples for my "Embellishing with Fabric Flowers" class and I thought I'd share a few with you. I just LOVE yo-yo flowers, they are so versatile. I usually make pins and hair clips out of them so I thought I'd challenge myself and step up my game a little. Here are some of the results:

Yo-Yo Pillow

I made this with a larger circle (about 7 inches) using fabric from Heather Bailey's Pop Garden collection. I love his pillow so much I am considering making a matching quilt....maybe even a yo-yo quilt.

Yo-Yo Flowered Jeans

This was definitely one of those projects that left me wishing I had a little girl to put them in! I simply used fabric from Sandi Henderson's Ginger Blossom and Farmers Market collections to add a few yo-yo flowers. Then I threw in some rick-rack I had on hand, added the ruffles and a matching belt and voila! Not bad for a $9.99 pair of jeans.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fall Extravaganza-Halloween Memories

First off, yippee....I was the prize winner for yesterday's Fall Extravaganza challenge and I won A Cherish Bound Recipe Story Starter AND a Coupon to publish Cherish Bound's Newest book (Available Nov. 1) "Our Favorite Recipes", how cool is that?

Today's Fall Extravaganza theme is Halloween Past. I have a few memories to share......

Favorite Trick or Treating memory.......when Jonas (now 12) was just 2 years old, he was just as friendly and outgoing as he is now. Every door we knocked on he would say his attempt at "Trick or Treat" and then would walk right in the house to make himself at home. It was too funny, he just didn't get that they weren't opening the door to let us in!

Favorite Costume.....Jonas again. He was Elvis that same year. I will have to dig out a photo to was sooooo cute! How did we manage without digital camera's back then?
And here is a fun picture from last year, I can't believe how much they have grown since then:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fall Extravaganza-Favorite Fall Recipe

Here in California, Fall sometimes comes and goes without much notice. It is still in the upper 70's to low 90's here so we don't get as much of the leaves changing colors and the cold wind a blowin'. So, when I read our challenge today at Tiff's blog I had to really think.......Fall recipe???

I pretty much cook the same year round but then I thought of yummy cider. So here is a great recipe from Paula Dean:

Hot Cranberry Cider

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 cinnamon sticks, plus additional sticks to use at stirrers
1 tablespoon whole cloves
8 cups cranberry juice
6 cups apple juice


Put the sugar, cinnamon sticks and cloves in the basket of a large coffee percolator. Put the juices in the bottom of the percolator. Let the mixture perk as if making coffee. Serve with cinnamon stick stirrers, if desired.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

New Holiday Apron Swap

I have always wanted to make (and own) a formal apron for hosting during dinner parties and the holidays and Shawnee is having another wonderful swap you can sign up for here , the details are as follows (from the flirty apron swap blog):

Flirty Apron Swap IV, Winter 2008 – Holiday HostessLast Day to Sign Up: October 24, 2008Last Day to Mail Packages: November 24, 2008

We are going to make glamorous, girlie aprons that you could wear to a festive holiday party to spice up a basic black dress for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Solstice, and/or New Years. You will make an adult size glamorous Holiday Hostess apron and your unknown pal will make one for you.

Please complete the registration form HERE and read the Rules and Package Requirement posts as well. With this new software, I can only take 100 registrations. So, sign up quick to guarantee your spot!Here is one more thing I would like you to consider before joining this swap (you'll see this same information on Lucy's Sassy Apron Swap page).To join in this swap you don’t have to be an expert seamstress, but you do need to be experienced enough to pull a nice apron off. We expect an apron that would pass in 8th Grade Home Economics - not an "A" but at least passable.We don’t want to get too fussy here and scare anyone off. As Lucy says, I also love to see the work of new seamstresses and have had some as partners in swaps and have loved the work they do. It is fresh and full of enthusiasm. If you feel that your work is not good enough, you can also swap an apron made by another crafter. There are many at Etsy worth buying from. Just be sure to give credit where it is due and honor the apron artist.

Hot Drinks for Hot Mama's Apron

I finished up my Hot Drinks for Hot Mama's Swap apron last week but hadn't gotten around to taking a picture until today so here it is:
I wanted to do something a little more fun and playful for this theme and I had a great time shopping for goodies to go with it! I got her a tea bag case, a mug cozy, some apple cider mix from Julian and a spiced cider soy candle......I hope my partner likes it all!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

one of THOSE nights

We welcomed an adorable new Foster son on Saturday afternoon. He is an absolute breeze but the first night in a new place was a little rough on him which made it a little rough on us. Since I don't nap unless I have to (trust me, it is for everyone's safety. I am a huge grump if I nap) I am still playing catch up.

Fast forward to 1:57 am this morning. I awoke to a strange almost barking sound on the baby monitor. Now if one baby wakes up, the other will wake up so I jumped up too quick (head rush)and opened the door, stepped out to the hall and.... into a huge puddle of puppy pee. Oops, I forgot to take the puppies out one last time and I must have slept through them scratching at my door. Back on track, get baby making strange noises before the other starts crying. As I get to the stairs the strange almost barking sound has become a louder real barking sound. The baby gate was left open and I realize that Chewey (the hyper puppy) is in the babies room. Oh crud. Cooper HATES loud noises and our new foster son does not like the puppies yet......this is not good.

Chewey and I pass each other on the stairs. Cooper is crying so I run into the room and grab him just as the new little guy starts crying. One bullet dodged. I walk to my bedroom making sure to dodge the pee puddle in the dark, no such luck....gross! I wake up my husband, who has the amazing ability to sleep through these things or at least effectively pretend he is, and hand off Cooper. I put Chewey outside as a "time out" (which mostly upsets her sister Sugar) and move on to cleaning up the pee puddle..... and my feet.

Now, one thing about Cooper is that once he is up, he is up. So he proceeded to play in our bed until 4 am. Since my husband was working upstairs until late last night making him the last one down and the culprit who left the gate open that started this whole fiasco, I decided I was justified to roll the other way and sleep through Cooper's 2 hour play time session. It won't win me the wife of the year award but there is always next year :o)

Friday, October 10, 2008

I Can't Believe I Am Telling You This

My kids are BIG infomercial junkies, really, it is the truth. I, however, am not. With a pantry full of unused gadgets the kids have talked Nana into getting "me" I had to put my foot down somewhere!

Enter, the Pancake Puff. I remember Chase coming to us as a toddler excited about the commercial he had seen for these saying we really needed to have this! Since that day, every time the infomercial came on, I have been attacked with begging, pleading boys desperate for the Pancake Puff. My little chef Jonas, was so amazed he could make his famous omelets in there and all the amazing possibilities he would go on to list for me. I have never bent on this one. NO WAY!

I thought I made it clear this was never going to join my pots and pans drawer then guess what arrived for the boys yesterday, much to my shagrin........

So who got to make chocolate chip pancake puffs this morning? Thanks a bunch Nana, the kids love it and I, well, I will find a way to get you back :o)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Attention TWILIGHT Fans

As many Twilight Fans may be aware, Stephanie Meyers has been working on Midnight Sun which is Twilight from Edward's perspective. I have been so geekily excited about this because you know how different the beginning would have been from his point of view and any way to revisit the characters is a welcome one.

Bad news is, it got leaked which is a horrible violation of Stephanie's rights and trust. She is so distraught over what happened that she put the book on hold indefinitely. Good news for us is that she posted the entire draft (264 pages) online to download for free HERE

Happy Reading!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

New Me, Meet Old Closet

I have a closet FULL of clothes that I have not been able to wear since I was five months pregnant. Seeing that Cooper is now 16 months, we are talking almost two years have gone by where I can only fit into about 10% of the clothes I had hanging in there.

Before having my youngest, Cooper, I was at my smallest and fittest since high school. I went to the gym three to five days a week and had a personal trainer. After my third child (and gladly surrendering my career as a Compliance Paralegal) I just have never been able to make the same time and hiring a trainer is no longer a luxury we can afford. So what was a girl to do?

I turned to NutriSystem which I realize is not that cheap but I would have spent more replacing my wardrobe and my self esteem would have remained in ruins. Well, 2 months and 18 pounds later I am happy to report that I am back in a majority of my old clothes although (truth be told) some of them I no longer care for or have anywhere to wear them to!

I wanted to share some great non-NutriSystem favorites that I have discovered.

1. Trader Joes Bambino Pizza Formagio. A lot of the Nutrisystem diet is about portion control. So this pizza is a small main course but the calories are right and the taste is delicious! Serve it with a salad, non fat dressing and vegetables and it is a great dinner that doesn't taste diet at all!

2. PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter. I know, I know....sounds strange but it is really good and you can not beat the calorie count, even reduced fat peanut butter at the store is 190 calories (110 fat cal.) per serving while PB2 is 53.2 (16.8 fat cal.) for the same serving size. It is made with high quality peanuts that are slow-roasted and pressed to remove the oil. Once mixed with water, PB2 has the same consistency as full fat peanut butter with all of the natural roasted peanut flavor but with nearly 85% less fat calories. You will go through a jar quicker then regular peanut butter so don't stress about the minimum. I love it spread on a wheat waffle, topped with sliced banana. What is cool too is that you can mix it directly with jelly for instant PB & J!

3. Weight Watchers ice cream and bars. We get these by the cart full at Vons. I keep waiting for the press conference to come out where they say just kidding.....these aren't diet. They are soooo much better then the Skinny Cow desserts, you won't feel like you are missing out on anything!

4. Ron and Franks Hot Chocolate with Splenda. Last year I gave up caffeinated drinks which was hard for a longtime coffee addict. Three cups of black coffee and a triple shot non fat latte were my morning staples. So giving up my replacement, hot cocoa, was an issue. Luckily I heard about this 20 calorie cocoa which is a great substitute. The only flavor I could do without is the dark hot chocolate (tastes a little burnt) but the rest are wonderful!!

5. Butter Buds. These are great for cooking with and pouring over cooked vegetables! My kids love it on the corn on the cob!