Friday, April 26, 2013

More Bloomers

Yesterday, after I made Miss Faye the new skirt I also made her a pair of bloomers to go with this pinafore. They are the same bloomers that I made to go with this, only this time I did add the elastic to the bottom of the legs. I also added a cute little ribbon bow.

She is wearing a shirt that my mom saved from when I was a baby. 
I still need to get pictures of her in the bloomers and the pinafore but the top was in the laundry already.

I think next time I will make the bloomers a bit shorter. These are knee length and just a bit too long. I may add some butt ruffles next time as well!

I really love these because they are simple and they are roomy enough to fit her cloth diaper. They are also easy on and off to change said diaper.

Here is a quick pic of the fabric I picked up to make her another outfit. I just can't decide what to make, another pinafore/bloomer set or a dress or something completely different. I have been scouring the internet looking for cute patterns. I did find one that I liked but it was much too expensive so I still have my feelers out.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Another One!

I had to do it. I made another Lazy Days skirt. Miss Faye loves it. I used extra fabric I had from these wash cloths. I am officially out of elastic now and I have been having trouble finding it in bulk. I specifically like 5/8" braided and for some reason that one is not that easy to find. It also looks like my little Miss is going to have red hair!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Pinafore Part Deux

I got busy and made another pinafore. I really love this pattern!
I had to pin the pattern today because my chalk wheel ran out of chalk. Of course I had just been to the fabric store the day before. Oh well, it only added a few minutes. If you don't remember from the cutest pinafore ever post, I am in love with this pattern. It is from Sew Sweet Patterns and is called the Mayah Reversible Pinafore and Bloomers.

There are only a few pieces to cut out and sew together, so I decided to try my hand at some applique using the fabric from the reverse side.
Let me tell you. I am terrible at using the freehand satin stitch on my sewing machine. It turned out okay but my perfectionist type personality keeps telling me to rip it out. I think I will leave it in and then get some more practice....I need a baseline to see if I'm getting any better.
Anyway, the top is done and looks amazing!
And these next two pictures keep turning when I upload them and I can't turn them again. You get the idea though!

 Now for the best part....the fashion show!
It is still a bit big on her. I did make the next size up, hoping it would fit the entire summer. You can really tell in this pic. I really do love the fabric as well. The pale creamy butter color looks good with her complexion.
Here is the other side.

The Best Venison Chili Ever.

I have a weakness for chili. I think I have always loved it. I will admit that I was really picky when I was little and only ate the meat out of it, but I have grown up and the more chunks the better!

I make chili for our family about once a week so I have gotten pretty good at it. I don't use the packaged seasoning mixes since they all have gluten and tons of chemicals in them. Plus, it maybe takes about 20 seconds longer to put together your own seasoning. I didn't take pictures of every step...just the end result.

I used just over a pound of meat...I cubed two venison steaks and a couple of pork chops and tossed them in the pan to brown (I used 1T. of bacon drippings for this as the venison is so lean that it drys out without some nice fat). I then added a can of red beans, two cans of tomato sauce, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1/4 cup beef stock, and all my seasonings. I let it simmer for a bit and hit the cutting board. I chopped one sweet onion and one bell pepper. In a separate pan I sauteed the peppers and onions until they were soft and the onions were almost translucent. At this point I added them to the meat mix and kept on simmering.

I really want to stop using canned tomato products. We have a veggie share from a local farm for the summer and we have our small garden in the backyard. Between the two, I hope to can enough tomatoes to get us through next winter and spring.

Now that I went off on a tangent, let me get back to my chili.

Here is the picture of The Best Venison Chili Ever
....and for the actual recipe....

1-2 lbs. cubed/ground/shredded meat (pork, beef, venison, turkey, chicken, etc..)
1 bell pepper
1 sweet onion
1-3 jalapeno (however much you want for your preferred amount of kick)
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cans tomato sauce
1 can red beans
2 T chili powder
1 T garlic powder (or 3-4 cloves)
dash of oregano
dash of red pepper
1 t. cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 - 2 T bacon drippings or butter (we are dairy free so no butter here)
1/4 c. beef stock

Cube venison steaks and a couple of pork chops and tossed them in the pan to brown (I used 1T. of bacon drippings for this as the venison is so lean that it drys out without some nice fat). I then added a can of red beans, two cans of tomato sauce, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1/4 cup beef stock, and all my seasonings. I let it simmer for a bit and hit the cutting board. I chopped the sweet onion and the peppers. In a separate pan I sauteed the peppers and onions until they were soft and the onions were almost translucent. At this point I added them to the meat mix and kept on simmering.

You can top the chili with some nice fresh avocado for a yummy creamy texture.

Enjoy, I know we did!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Paleo Kids Day 2

I have been eating primal/paleo since September 2011. We stick to it for the most part with some indulging. I never switched the kids to this style of eating because I didn't really have the energy. I know that is a totally lame reason but there you have it.

Well, Owen has been "sick" since before Christmas. We thought it was a cold at first. One that just never went away. He never had a fever and just always would sniff his nose. It was never really drippy enough to even bother with blowing it. Recently he has started to clear his throat a lot. He was starting to sound like an old man. I finally broke down and took him to the doctor to see what was up. Turns out he has some allergy signs. Massive post nasal drip being the big one. Our doc is awesome and she gave us some all natural chewable pills to help him out. Well, he totally hates them and fights us crying every time we try to get him to take them. So, I start doing some research.

I know that grains/gluten are not good for our bodies and I also know that dairy can really be bad. The dairy causing extra mucous and the grains/gluten causing inflammation can either trigger allergies or mimic them. So, we made the decision to put the entire house on a strict paleo eating plan (oh, and we figured out about a month ago that Miss Faye cannot tolerate dairy or eggs in my diet...crazy skin issues), no grains, no chemicals, no dairy, as much all natural and fresh foods as possible; total clean eating.  Plus, I would rather change how we eat and correct the problem than to start constantly drugging my 3 year old. There are times when drugs are appropriate, I do not feel that this is one of those times. Owen is also getting some apple cider vinegar every day (that stuff is just awesome).

I started out by telling the boys that we were doing this. I gave them a week's notice. We talked about it every day. How some of the foods we were eating were causing Owen to not feel that well. We told them what they will no longer be able to eat and we gave them a huge list of what they WOULD be able to eat. I made sure to talk with the school so they could encourage the boys while they were there.

We are on day two, and so far it is going great (I'm knocking on every piece of wood I can get my hands on here). Breakfast is the hardest for the boys. They were used to getting up and having cereal or a fruit bar on their own. I'm having to direct them to the copious amounts of fruit and veggies that are now in our house; as their go to "fast foods".

Tonight for dinner I made a simple dinner of chicken, carrots, and spinach. The chicken was just cooked on the stove top with some seasoning and about 1T of bacon drippings. The carrots were just boiled then had a bit of salt and garlic added (I know this is like the worst way to make carrots. I usually like to roast them but just didn't have the time...I am doing the single parent thing tonight while G is out of town for work). The spinach was cooked as if it were creamed spinach but I used chicken stock in place of cream. I thicken it with almond flour.

The boys were not fans of the spinach (I was was awesome),but loved the chicken and carrots (full disclaimer here on the chicken...Hugh HATES meat. The fact that he ate 5 bites of it without complaining and then asking if we can have it again tomorrow night for dinner just about blew me away. Our policy for eating is that the boys have to have one "no thank you" bite. After all, how can you say no thank you if you have not tried it to see if you even like it. They also have to have that one no thank you bite every single time a food is put in front of them. They also do not get something else in place of that food, if they are still hungry then they must eat what is on the plate).

So, without further ado...THE picture (I so want a better camera)!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Cutest Pinafore Ever!

I am busy trying to make some summer clothes for Miss Faye. I came across the cutest pattern. It was so cute that I stopped shopping around and bought it right away.

I also hit the store the next day to pick up fabric so I could start right away!

Once I sat down to start today I realized I need to organize my sewing area. I had a disaster on my hands. Scraps of fabric everywhere and a few projects in various stages of completion just sort of spread out, left me with not much room to work.

Not perfect but MUCH better!

Back to my Pinafore....The top is reversible so I picked up some great fabrics to have fun with this pattern.

The pattern came from Sew Sweet Patterns and was a PDF. I printed it out right away and once the boys went to bed I got the pattern taped together and traced onto my swedish tracing paper (I love that stuff).

When ever I make clothes I make a point to pre-wash and dry the fabric to pre-shrink it. It took me all of about an hour to put together the pinafore and wow is it just adorable!
I still have to get the buttons on. My little miss woke up from her nap and I had to stop sewing for the time being.
I think the the two materials are perfect together. I don't think I'm going to wait until summer to put this on her. I think I will put it over a long sleeved onsie and some leggings!
The back is just too cute! I will add the buttons and take some pictures of Miss Faye in it tomorrow. Oh, and I also planned on making the bloomers to go with it.

ETA...The finished outfit! I am so in love with it! It is a bit big on her but I did make the 9 -12 month size since it is for summer and it is only April still. I added a ribbon trim around the bottom of the bloomers...the pattern had elastic around the bottom with cute little ties on the sides. I may still add some elastic to see what I think.

The back
The reverse side...she was starting to get mad at me for messing with the clothes. The blue in the fabric is the same as her eyes though. I'm soooo in love!
And because I just can't wait for summer, I put a long sleeved top underneath with some leggings!
It is just perfect! I can't wait to use the other fabrics to make it again!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Painted Table

When my oldest was about 3 he took to stabbing the table with his fork. I realized that instead of fighting him all the time I would just get a different kid friendly table. I hit up all the garage sales in the area and got a great table that came with 2 leaves and 6 chairs.

I sanded and primed the table then painted the entire thing white. I painted the edge of the table green and blue..

Next, I found a fun stencil and got a few more colors of paint. I covered the entire top of the table with the stencil.

While it was fun, it was just a bit too bold....Here is the entire top after I completed the stenciling.
I toned it down a lot buy dry brushing more white over the top and the edges.

After that I put around 5 coats of poly on.
And finally in the newly painted dining room (I will put a post up soon with these pictures).
I still need to paint the chairs. I am planning on painting each one a different color to match the colors in the table.

Rag Bags

I have always tended toward the crunchy side of life. I breastfeed for more than a year (I almost made it to 2 years with each of my boys), I use cloth diapers, the main cleaning chemicals in our house are baking soda and vinegar, and we use rags instead of paper towels.
I make all our rags out of old t-shirts. Instead of tossing it when it gets a hole in it, we put it in a box in my sewing area. After I have collected a few, then I will spend an afternoon cutting them up (I cut the seams out and any pictures get cut out) and I finish the edges with my serger.

If you take the step to go paperless in your home it is great, but once you do, you realize that you have to find a solution to the storage of the rags. I found a pattern for a rag bag in the book Handmade Home by Amanda Blake Soule that I just loved. It turns out it is very easy to make as well.
I ended up making a few more as gifts! One for my mom.
 One for my cousin J.
 And one for my other cousin J
I hung it from a hook in the dining room low enough so that my youngest (at the time he was 2) could get in the bag to have access to the rags. We use the rags for everything you would use a paper towel for; cleaning up spills, as a napkin, washing windows, etc.... I wash them with our towels, in cold water with vinegar in the rinse cycle. No fabric softener is used on them at all.

I am glad that we made the switch and even more glad that I found an attractive solution to rag storage!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Laundry Schedule

Everyone hates laundry. I know of no one that enjoys it. Yet, it has to be done....and there is a LOT of laundry for a family of 5. Sheets, towels, baby socks, rags (we don't use paper towels here, only cloth), kid's clothing with only one a small difference in size....well, you get the picture. It is a lot of laundry that is not that fun to sort. We kept getting to the point of drowning with all of the folding. No one wanted to fold because it was so difficult to sort at the same time (well, really only Greg did the laundry before. He always gets mad that I say we when it is only him doing something), plus the space needed to have all the folded piles was immense. Think about taking all the clothing for 5 people and washing it by sorting darks from imagine folding it all. 5 piles for underwear, 5 piles for socks, 5 piles for pants, etc. Needless to say that method is the wrong one with so many people...oh, yeah....and having to check the tags for all the kid pants and shirts to know which pile to put it in just added more to the fun factor.

I started checking out all the pinterest laundry pins I could find. Then I started googling it. I decided that we would just give up clothing and become nudists start assigning each person a laundry day. We hit the store and got a couple more baskets and now each person in our house has their own. Not only that, but the cloth diapers, and towels, and sheets each have their own baskets as well.

Every two to three days I have to do a load of diapers.

This is working out really well for us. Each person puts their dirty clothes in "their" basket and on their laundry day they bring their basket to the living room. I get it washed and folded and back in the basket by the end of the day (let's be honest here....rarely does it actually get folded that day, but it does get cleaned and dried that day). Each person is then responsible for putting their clothes away (well, except Faye). When the folding does happen it is much easier to just grab a basket and fold that one person's things and put it back in the basket.

Now what I want to do is to build one of the basket towers that I keep finding on Pinterest, like this one...

If anyone has any wonderful tips on getting a magic fairy into the house to fold all this laundry that would be great..