Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Friends!

Last Friday Kendra and Lilyann came over to play. The kids hadn't seen each other in quite awhile so they were very happy to get to play! 


Lily and Zeke are just so cute together! Both of them are such cheesers! 


Kendra and Ella were having fun coloring My Little Pony pictures. They all played so well together. They ended up being at the house for 10 hours and they still weren't ready to part. Both Kendra and Lily started crying when it was time to go. They wanted to spend the night, but it just didn't work that night. I do see a girls sleeper over in our near future! 

Monday, November 24, 2014

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

We normally put our tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving, but this year it just worked out better for us to put the tree up the Sunday before. Plus I had a fire under me to get it done so I thought I should just go with it. 



I've tried to get the kids involved before and they have been to a point, but this year they helped out even more. They were so excited when I told them we were decorating the house. They had actually asked early the week before. Daddy is always the one to get the tree up and the lights on. Then I put the garland on and the kids help me decorate. 


We are not one of those families that has a bunch of random ornaments that the kids have gotten. I grew up with a tree like that, but Michael and I have always had a theme for the tree and we like it that way. We did tell the kids that maybe we would get them their own tree so they could decorate it with whatever they want. 


Sweet shirtless helper! 


Silly sightless boy! 


Breathtakingly beautiful girl! 


And per tradition Jack got to put up the star. 


Owen is very jealous that Jack gets to be the only one to put up the star so this year he was given the job of putting up the stockings! 


All done...except the tree skirt to cover up the stand that has a jimmy rigged leg that needs to be propped up with a couple books! 

It's so crazy that it's Christmas time again. One thing that I have really been thinking about lately is family time and how the retail world is trying to rob us of that. It's so sad that they are having sales on Thanksgiving night! I don't necessarily feel sorry for the shoppers they are willingly making that decision to go out and shop. I'm more sorry for the workers that have to be at work and they don't have a choice....if they want a job! I will not be shopping on Thanksgiving day. I do love going out and shopping on Black Friday, but I will not be out and about until later in the morning. I wonder what the retail world would do if we refused to let them rob us of our family time...maybe they'd give all their workers their family time back! 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Zeke's Therapy!


This is Miss Jodi working with Zeke at therapy. She is technically an Occupational Therapist, but she has great success working with kids that have food aversions. We've only been to therapy 3 times and we have already begun to see an improvement. I always bring Zeke a lunchbox filled with some foods he likes and some he doesn't. The Miss Jodi and have get to eat! First they pick out the type of cloth they are going to use since Zeke hates to be messy. Then they play the pat pat game where they wipe their face. Then they brush their teeth with this funny brush that has a bunch of bumps on it. This helps Zeke with his texture issues. Then Zeke gets to pick out his plate, bowl, fork, spoon and anything else that he can have control over. We've learned that he likes to be in control....wonder where he gets that from...and when he feels out of control he just wants to shut down and not participate at all. So we are giving him control in the form of choices. He still has sit at the dinner table, but he gets to pick out all the stuff he needs. 

After getting all the necessary things ready then Miss Jodi gets food out of his bag and ask him if he'd like cheese or yogurt. Again giving him choices, but still getting him to take food. They play with the food by cutting it and then poking it with toothpicks to eat it or using dippers for yogurt. Anything to make it fun for him. 

At home we've been doing these same things and we've been passing around the food instead of dishing up the food on his plate for him. Again this is giving him more control. The rule is he has to put one of everything that we are eating on his plate, but he doesn't have to eat. He has even asked for foods he hates just because he's excited to scoop it onto his plate. The other day I was passing around the veggie tray and I told him he could pick which one he wanted on his plate, but he had to put at least one. He chose 2 baby carrots and then took a bite! Seriously I about fell over!!! It was a teeny tiny bite, but still....HUGE success! He did grimace and said, "I no like it", but he didn't spit it out and he tried it WILLINGLY!!! I'm pretty sure that was the first bite of veggies that he's had since not being on baby food anymore. The progress in just 3 sessions has been amazing and I can't wait to see Zeke open his world up to more and more wonderful things! 

With his bad eating habits and on-going potty training this has led to another issue...constipation. He is exactly like Owen was when he potty trained. He did fine for the first month and then he decided to start holding in his poo. I have no idea why this is....fear of pooing, being lazy or what, but he went almost a full week without have a really healthy movement. I started giving him Miralax which is the same stuff I gave Owen and a couple days later he finally went. Poor guy had not been feeling well at all! Now we are giving him a maintenance dose of Miralax everyday to keep him regular until his body is back in the swing of things. Oh the woes of being a toddler that doesn't eat veggies!!! 

And down the hall in another room while I'm with Zeke is Ella with Miss Joanna. She is getting her second round of speech therapy. She's doing fabulously and Miss Joann is sure she'll be released before Christmas. She mainly just needed to work on her being sounds for things like 'nack' instead of snack and then her pronouns. She will say things like, "It's she turn to ride on the bike". She's doing great and I'm so proud of her! 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ella's Elsa Dress!!

A couple weekends ago my Mom kept the kids for me so I could get some Christmas sewing done. Ella has been asking me to make her an Elsa dress for a couple months now. I thought about buying her one since they were on sale at Fred Meyer's for only $16, but Ella hates tulle and how scratchy it is and all those store bought dresses are so itchy.

The first thing I did was check Pinterest for a tutorial since the pattern at Joann's was $18 all by itself. Plus patterns just freak me out. I don't know why. But the thought of having to spend money on the pattern and then buy all the material just seemed a bit much. I ended up decided to take what I had read from a few different patterns and put them together.


I picked up some super shiny satin for the skirt and then matching material for the top, but it had some bling. The cape was white see through material that had gems on it and was not scratchy at all. I also got matching thread and some snowflake embellishments.



The first thing I did was draw up my own pattern by using a shirt I had for Ella. Then I cut out the front part of the bodice and the back. A few weeks before it was time for me to start sewing this I was really freaking out about how I was actually going to construct the bodice and the straps. Elsa's dress is more of an off the shoulder number, but I didn't want it to be like that. I thought about making it strapless and using elastic to hold it up, but that seemed a bit funny too. Then we had Care & Share at MOPS and I found the most perfect white shirt that became the base for the whole bodice. 


It's hard to tell from the picture, but the neckline comes down just a bit and there are white flowers following the neckline. I thought those would be a perfect place to put the snowflake embellishments. I also loved the 3/4 length sleeves with the bell look. After cutting out the two bodice pieces I pinned the front piece to the shirt and then laid the back piece right side down onto the front piece and pinned them together. 


Here's what it looked like once it was all pinned. 


Then I just stitched the sides of the bodice pieces together. 


Once they were stitched together I was able to just flip the back piece over the top of the shirt and now the bodice is finished except for the sewing on the top of both pieces. 


I pinned the top portion of the back and contemplated sewing it down, but then I thought I might want to just sew it down with the cape all at once so I waited. 


Moving onto the skirt! I wanted it to be full so I doubled Ella's waist measurements when I was figuring how much fabric I needed. I pinned the fabric right sides facing then then sewed up the long edge. Now I am not fluent in sewing at all so I have no idea if I even did this right. Normally sewing up a seam like this is no big deal, but I had never sewn with this type of material before. I might have used the wrong foot or even the wrong tension setting, but it worked so I guess it was fine! 


This next part was way more difficult than I imagined. Normally sewing a waist isn't that hard at all, but that's because you can press the fabric so you can pin it down to thread the elastic through. Yeah this fabric would not press at all. 


Lots of patience and folding as I went and I finally had it pinned and ready to stitch. 


I stitched around the waist leaving room to feed the elastic through and then stitched that section closed. 


Onto the hem....again seriously more irritating since it couldn't be pressed. Who knows maybe I didn't even need to sew a hem. I'm not sure which materials fray and which don't. Still learning here! 


To make Ella's cape I needed to scrunch the cape material to a smaller size. I ended up having to call Kim to find out how to do this step. Thankfully it worked perfectly. I used the longest stitch possible and then when I was finished I just pulled the bobbin thread and it bunched it together. This was way easier than I was expecting. 


When it came to attaching the bodice and the skirt together I was really stumped. I finally decided to put the bodice portion inside of the inside out skirt and stitch around the waist of the skirt again attaching the bodice. Of course there were a few places that got missed and the bodice wasn't attached so I had to go back and fix those. I'm sure there was a way easier way to do it, but it worked!


Seriously by this time I was feeling pretty proud of myself! 


Next I attached the cape to the back of the bodice and then stitched it all to the shirt. I also stitched the front of the bodice to the shirt as well. 


When I was done I thought the front of the dress looked a little plain so I took some ribbon I had and attached three pieces to the front with a snowflake at the top of each ribbon. I also put three more snowflakes up around the neckline. 


The cape is so pretty. I did end up trimming it since it was way to long, but I made sure it was longer than the dress so it will flow behind her. This ended up taking 4.5 hours to make and it actually was really fun. It's fun learning new things and being challenged with my sewing skills! 

Ella keeps reminding me that I haven't made her Elsa dress yet and I keep saying that I have lots of projects to work on and I promise I will make it for her. I hope she loves it come Christmas morning! 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Kitchen Organization!

The other day I read something on FB about kitchen organization and how when your counters are all crowded it can make you feel overstimulated visually. I walked into the kitchen and thought that maybe that person was onto something. My plans for the day had unexpectedly gotten changed so I thought why not tackle the kitchen. 


I forgot to take a picture right before I started...you can see on the left I had already started taking things out of the cabinet. One of the things the lady had mentioned is the fact that most of us keep a lot of things on the counter when we literally use them for a few minutes every week. Her thinking was how hard is it to take something out of the cabinet for those couple minutes and then put them back. 


So the first thing I had to do was organize the cabinets better so I could fit the things that were on the counter in there. That cabinet in the corner is where we store all the coffee/tea/hot cocoa and then all the baking basics like flour/sugar/brown sugar. 


It's amazing what you come across when you organize...this is my mouth guard from one of my gum surgeries forever ago. Seriously...why did I keep this!!! 


Here's the cabinet all organized. I was able to put the white canisters that were on the counter in there. The coffee maker and the hot pot also are up there now. We don't even use those everyday so it does seem silly to have them on the counter all the time. 


This opened up the whole corner of the kitchen. The bread basket and the cake ended up getting moved later too. 


Here is the snack corner. This area is always so packed...we are serious snackers in this house! This part of the kitchen has bothered me for a long time, but because it's tucked to the side of the frig it's kind of out of view so I've just dealt with it. Part of the problem is those darn huge boxes of Costco stuff. The popcorn box won't even fit in the snack cabinet.  


I'm one of those people that would have fit in really well back during the depression era. I don't throw away any reusable containers. I remember going into my Grandma's kitchen when I was little and she literally had about 20 Country Crock containers just waiting to be used. These containers are my Otis Spunkmeyer cookie dough ones from the boys fundraiser at school. They fit the popcorn bags perfectly. 


 One box down...lots of organization to go! 


I was able to use a few Costco spice containers to fit more snacks in and it was looking better. 


I ended up moving the paper towels and my kitchen brushes and sponges over to the right side of the sink. It made more sense since I mainly use the right side of the sink anyway. This side of the kitchen was looking much better. I still wasn't really happy with the area on the right of the stove. That's where I put all my paperwork and all the pens/pencil. 


All the spices used to be in the corner above the sunflower canisters and it seemed silly that they weren't closer to the stove. So I reorganized the upper cabinet to the right of the stove so I could move them over. That left this corner cabinet open so I was able to put all those big chip bags up inside the cabinet. I love that they aren't on the counter. The donut box and cake pan aren't things we normally have so they aren't something that will be on the counter all the time. 


I finally came up with something I liked better for the "office" portion of the kitchen. It's much cleaner and I love it!!! 


The next day I decided to tackle the pantry. We have such a huge pantry I don't really have to be super organized, but it always helps! The top part of the hanging organizer is filled with all sorts of baking things like food coloring, icing and sprinkles. They really were taking up a bunch of those little pockets so I knew I wanted to relocate those. 


The pink thing hanging in the pantry is my new grocery bag holder I sewed for myself. It seems like I'm always sewing things for others so it was fun to sew something for myself. 


I freed up a bunch of those pockets so I was able to put different things in them like...medicine/nail polish/the boys glasses. 



The pantry used to be organized to where a bunch of stuff that we used regularly was in the way back so I changed that and moved it forward. 


All those baking things got put inside one big clear reusable container so I can easily see them, but they aren't taking up all this valuable space. 


And to top off this reorganization adventure I even cleared off the top of the frig! All the work was definitely work all the free space that's now on the counter! 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Halloween at Ga-Ga & Pa's!!!


My 4 cute kids!!!


Little Miss Tinkerbell!!


Sheriff Woody!!!


Jackson Daniel AKA Spiderman!!!


And of course...Owen Army Man!!!


He seriously can't get any cuter!!!


The neighborhood was exceptionally empty this year. I think it was because Halloween fell on a Friday. People were able to go to parties and not have to worry about getting kids to bed for school the next day. 



Look...


at all...


that...


candy!!!

On top of that we went home with literally 10lbs of candy that Ga-Ga & Pa had purchased. They usually get over 200 kids, but this year there weren't nearly that many. 


Woody holding Woody!!