Monday, March 12, 2012

A New Beginning...

After blogging at The Great Adventure here on Blogger for nearly 4 years, I'm switching things up! What started out as a way to keep family and friends up-to-date with our lives when we moved from Texas to New York City has slowly morphed into rambling about craft projects, gardening, organizing our house, and the day-to-day adventures of raising 7 busy kids. While I still plan on blogging about our adventures, I plan on sharing more about home making, organizing, craft projects, cooking, and the other stuff that fills up our days.

So please head on over to Life, Kids, and the Pursuit of Sanity and check out my new home on the web! I can't wait to see you over there!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

18 Clues That You Live in a House Full of Boys

It's one of THOSE days. You know the kind--the kids are super hyped up after being down with colds for the past few days. The chaos of having chores fall by the wayside while everyone held down the couches has resulted in a crazy build up of mess. (How DO they make such messes while holding down the couches?!?!?) "Let's work together to get the house back in order" is met with blank looks as if you're speaking a foreign language.

On days like this I figure I can either throw up my hands in despair while sending everyone to their rooms for the rest of the day, or I can laugh and move on. I'm choosing to laugh! So here, in no particular order, are some of the things that I experience on a regular basis thanks to my house full of boys.

18 clues that you live in a house full of boys:

  • Dirty socks randomly appear in every room, and they are usually full of holes despite the fact that you Just. Replaced. Them. less than 2 months ago.

  • While you can certainly HEAR your children, usually all you can see is a blur as they run by.

  • Your family owns more toy guns, swords, and light sabers than silverware.

  • Part of the reason you have no silverware is because your spoons have become shovels, and your good forks get mysteriously thrown away with the paper plates when the boys clear the table.

  • You can call their names til you're blue in the face, and they can't hear you...until you walk out into the garage and turn on the 4-wheeler, then they show up from every corner of the house wanting to go for a ride. This holds true for any vehicle or power tool.

  • "Making their beds" is defined as picking up all pillows, sheets, blankets, and stuffed animals that were knocked onto the floor overnight and piling them on top of the mattress in one giant lump.

  • You have 4 bathrooms but the chances of finding a toilet that is both flushed AND has the seat down is slim to none.

  • You wash more clean clothes than dirty clothes because it is apparently easier to throw the clean clothes back in the hamper than to put them away.

  • It's not unusual to have at least one child dressed as a superhero at any given time.
  • Toothpaste is an acceptable medium for decorating the bathroom.

  • The kids' bathroom can be the site of more than a dozen showers/baths a week, yet the shampoo and soap never seem to run out...

  • ...unless it's the 3-year-old's nap time and he sneaks into the bathroom...then the shampoo is likely to be poured down the drain.

  • Spontaneous wrestling matches can occur at any time, usually without warning.

  • You can't keep enough food in the house, and no matter how "full" they are after a meal, someone will be complaining that they are starving within 15 minutes of finishing a meal.

  • Even the most mundane, harmless object will be used as a projectile of some sort. Stuff is flying constantly!

  • At any given time, there is at least one jar laying around that contains a living creature with 6 or 8 legs.

  • Checking pockets before doing laundry is a hazardous endeavor.

  • If it's quiet, you KNOW someone is up to something they shouldn't be!

You know, raising 6 boys is a loud, messy, CRAZY job...but when I really stop and think about it, I wouldn't have it any other way!!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go vacuum the playroom...assuming I can find the vacuum. And the playroom! ;)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Shamrock Garland

When it comes to holidays, I've always had the best intentions of decorating. I mean, I DO go all-out at Christmastime, but other than that I've been a pretty pitiful decorator. I'm not sure why...maybe it's a lack of time? Or maybe it's just too much work to scoot the kid-induced clutter out of the way to stick some cutesy holiday what-nots in its place.

So this is why it's somewhat amazing that it's only March and I've already decorated for 2 holidays this year. Granted, it's just my mantel so far, but it's a start, right? My Valentine's heart garland was inspired by something I saw on Pinterest. I came up with this St. Patrick's Day shamrock garland because I so enjoyed having something there the whole month of February. Once the hearts came down, I just HAD to have something to go up in their place.

Plus, I'm over half Irish, so of course this is a holiday I have to celebrate!

I started by tracing a shamrock-shaped cookie cutter onto a piece of paper. Then I enlarged it by extending the outline free hand. I cut it out and traced it on fabric. Now, normally I would have used my disappearing fabric marker for this, but it had apparently been "borrowed" by Not Me, so I resorted to a ball-point pen.

I made a sandwich of my traced shamrock, a square of cotton batting, and another matching piece of fabric, right sides out.

Then I pinned them together and stitched about 1/4" inside my lines. If the shape wasn't so convoluted, I would have stitched ON the lines and then cut it out 1/4" outside the lines, but in this case I think it would have messed up the shamrock shape.

My stitching lines aren't perfect, but since they have a sort of scrappy look anyway with the unfinished edges, that's okay.

I thought they needed something else, so I stitched a button to the center of each shamrock. I then attached them to a piece of 1/4" green ribbon using a tiny dab of hot glue. I think they turned out pretty cute!

Now I just need some decor for the top of my mantel...and I really should figure out just WHAT the boys did with the piece of wood they broke off that scroll-y piece on the front of the fireplace!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Happy Birthday, Josiah!!

Look who's FOUR!! It's hard to believe my little guy is getting so BIG!

His birthday was actually yesterday, but he wasn't feeling well so we put off celebrating until today. Poor baby. He was so excited about having cake and presents last night, but just couldn't keep his eyes open. He's feeling better today, although he still isn't at 100%. I think our plans to take him to our local bouncy/inflatables place will have to wait until later in the week.

Jonathan made his cake, from a mix that Josiah picked out himself. Joshua decorated it with red sugar and Spider-man figures. Yes, he put the Green Goblin up on Erector Set pieces so it would look like he's flying. I'm trying not to think about how unsanitary that probably was!

On a totally unrelated subject, I'm at the 1-month mark on my weight-loss endeavor. I'm down exactly 6 lbs., out of a total 20 I want to lose by the end of May. I'm happy with my progress so far. Now I just need to keep it up! I'm sure birthday cake doesn't help much. :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Inspired by Pinterest -- Cute Ribbon Flower!

Who else is loving Pinterest?!! I love how visual it is...I used to bookmark sites I wanted to return to, but then when looking at a list of bookmarked sites, I never could remember why I had saved it to begin with. Now with Pinterest it's all visual, and categorized, and shareable...what's not to love?

Anyone else find themselves pinning, repinning, and liking tons of stuff but then never finding the time to actually DO the ideas you are pinning? Yep, that's me!! So many great ideas out there, so little time.

So I've decided if I'm going to play on Pinterest, I'm going to take the time to try out some of the recipes, crafts, school ideas, and decor ideas I am finding there. And, of course, I'm going to share them with YOU! :)

Yesterday I tried out a tutorial for a ribbon flower. The original tutorial can be found here. Here is the one I made:

The instructions called for using a wood burning tool and a washer to trace, cut, and seal the ribbon at the same time. While that sounds amazingly cool, I don't own such a tool. So I made do with a thread spool and a pen.

I used 1.5" grosgrain ribbon cut 2" long, and heat-sealed all cut ends with a cigarette lighter.

The instructions weren't specific on how to sew them together, so I ended up sewing it once, taking it apart, and then sewing it again. Turns out it worked better for me starting and ending with the needle on the right (printed) side of the ribbon, instead of coming up from underneath, which is how I did it the first time.

I stacked 3 buttons of different sizes and sewed them onto the middle of my flower.

Then I covered an alligator clip with matching pink ribbon and hot-glued it to the back of the flower.

And here it is in use by the resident girly-girl:

She, of course, loves it. She loves ALL things cute and girly!

Cute, silly girl!!

It was very quick to make, maybe 30 minutes or less. I do like her other bows better, so I don't think I'd make a bunch of these. But it did turn out cute, and was super easy. The site with the tutorial looks like it has a TON of bow-making info. I haven't explored the rest of the site yet, but I will!!

In other random news, did y'all know that March is National Frozen Food Month? I usually take advantage of the great sales on frozen foods and stock up my freezer. While I'll still do that to some degree, I'm also going to celebrate by doing some serious cooking of freezer meals this month.

Last October I made over 30 freezer meals over the course of a week, so that I could relax during the holiday season with about half our our dinners already made. It made life SO MUCH easier! Those meals are now long gone, so it's time to feed the freezer again.

I'm working out plans and menus right now, so that hopefully I can start shopping and cooking next week. Check back later as I'll be sure to share the process (and links to recipes) here!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What's Cookin', Jon? Snow Cream!

Hi, everybody, and welcome to Jonathan's new video project! Jonathan has many interests, but two of his favorites are cooking and, um, hamming it up for anyone who will pay attention. He and Joshua have both become interested in taking and editing video since they got video cameras for Christmas, so we've downloaded a simple video editing program for them to play with. Here is the first installment of Jon's new blog series, "What's Cookin', Jon?"

(Yes, we're aware that there is no actual cooking in this recipe...we wanted to start simple!)

He wants to make this a weekly contribution to our blog. Please leave him a comment and let him know if you enjoyed it. I know he'll be asking!

Snow Cream
2 c. milk
1 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 gallon or so fresh snow

Mix milk, sugar, and vanilla together. Stir into snow. Spoon into bowls and enjoy!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2012 Cross-Country Road Trip Part IV--McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, Scottsdale, AZ

After our visit in Albuquerque, we visited with my Dad in Scottsdale. Every time we visit, we HAVE to take the boys to the Railroad Park. With a train to ride, a carousel, and a huge play scape, what's not to love?

Joshua, Josiah, and Jonathan. I don't know why they always insist on crowding into this little car, but they do. Every time.

See? It's teeny. I'm waaaay to claustrophobic to get in there!

The adults, along with Jeremiah and Joanna, rode on the open-air benches instead. Jeremiah looks thrilled, dontcha think?

Joanna was thrilled! She smiled and giggled the whole ride.

The boys waiting their turn on the carousel...


Joanna and Peepah

Josiah loved the horses! I had so much fun watching him.


Time for an ice cream break!

Then it was off to the play scape!

My little human bulldozer...


Jonathan and Joshua liked this spinning thing.

Jordan having fun...

Even a princess must play in the dirt every now and again!

My cutie-pie Josiah!

Hope y'all enjoyed the pictures! I'm off to finish up school and do some sewing. I've got several projects calling! :)
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