Monday, April 30, 2012

CROP hunger walk

This past weekend, hubby, Baby Chuck, and I participated in the CROP Hunger walk.  We walked around the neighborhood with other church members church and collected nonperishable foods and donations.  It was quite a daunting task because we had to walk outside in the cold and rain and we had to knock on people's doors to ask them for donations.   

After two hours of walking, we were all tuckered out.  
I was very thankful that we could return home to our warm dog, warm food, and warm pjs .


Thursday, April 26, 2012

DIY- Salt Dough Necklace Pt 2

Once I had my my flattened salt dough beads finished (click here to see how I made them), I sanded them, painted them, and mod podged them.  Once they dried, I attached jump rings to them and strung them onto braided and woven hemp string.  Here are the finished products:

(Who knew that salt and flour could make such nice beads?)

DIY- Salt Dough Necklace Pt 1

I'm currently in the middle of purging.  Maybe I'm in the mood for spring cleaning?  Maybe I'm getting an early start on moving?  Maybe I just like getting rid of stuff? Whatever the case may be, I'm tossing out stuff, donating stuff, and saving stuff for my first ever yard sale.  (Yay for yard sales!)  I've already tackled my now slimmed down stash of clothes and now I'm purging our food pantry.

We already got rid of several boxes of pasta awhile back because of our new dietary restrictions. However, I never had the heart to toss out all the wheat products.  Case in point- I found a big bag of flour just sitting there in our pantry.  What to do?  We can't use it. Donate it?  I feel strange offering a used bag of flour to friends.  Toss it out?  Bah, what a waste.  What about crafting with it?  I peeked around online and found a recipe to make beads from flour.  You know me, I was intrigued and so I had to try it out.  

Required ingredients:
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup salt
- 3/4 cups cold water
(Note:  The original recipe made a LOT of dough, so I scaled it back by half.  I probably could have scaled it back even more because I still had way too much.)

Required materials:
- Baking sheet
- Bowl
- Measuring cups
- Wooden spoon
- Knife/ X-ACTO knife
- Skewer/Coffee stirrer

Optional materials:
- Food coloring
- Rolling pin
- Parchment paper
- Paper, pen, scissors

Here's what I did:
(1) I mixed the flour and salt together.
(2) Then, I mixed the water into the mixture.
(3) I kneaded the dough until it felt like play dough.
(4) I divided the dough into two balls.  I added different food coloring to each ball and kneaded until the food coloring was evenly spread throughout. (Note:  I semi-dyed my hands green in the process.  Luckily the dye washed out after several washes.)

Oooh.  What lovely colors!

(5)  I had dreams of making a big chunky necklace made up of big beads.  So, I rolled the dough out into little snakes/logs and then  grabbed off portions of the dough and rolled out uniformly shaped balls.
(6) I used the skewer to create holes through my dough balls so that I could string the beads.
(7) I baked the beads at 250 degrees for 2 hours.  

When I took the beads out, I noticed two major problems:  the beads cracked and the holes sealed up.  

Failure!  What a bummer.
I'm not sure what happened.  Perhaps I should have baked them at a lower temperature?  According to several websites, thicker pieces of salt dough are more likely to crack.  Perhaps I should have made my holes bigger?  Holes seem to have a tendency of shrinking in the oven.  After tossing out these ruined beads I saved the unused dough overnight in an air tight container.  The following day, I went in with a different strategy.

(New 5 and 6) I flattened the dough.  To create the various shapes I created a template with paper, cut it out, and then used a butter knife and an X-ACTO knife to cut the shape out of the dough.  Then, I made larger holes with my skewers.  Here are my final results:

Like diamonds in the rough, these baked salt dough beads ready to be decorated and strung

(Note:  My beads came out a bit bumpy.  I probably should have rolled the dough out using a rolling pin.  Alternatively, I read that you could bake the shapes under a glass baking dish to ensure even thickness.  Also, I found it difficult to lift my already cutout shapes onto the baking sheet.  So, I did my work on parchment paper and then lifted the entire sheet of parchment paper onto the baking pan.)

Click  here to see what I did next!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Big dreams, tiny living

As we prepare for our move back East, hubby and I have been hit with a large dose of reality.  It's fun to dream about cute Tudor style homes in Westchester (drool) or cool Manhattan apartments with exposed brick walls (double drool.)  However, these dreams cost money-a lot of money.  It's really quite daunting when you think of the amount of money.  Oy, I feel my knees getting wobbly from just the thought.  

To choose the right type of housing, we're trying to distinguish between our needs and wants.  Just how much space do we really need?  Do we need that third bedroom?  Does Baby Chuck have to go to a school system that's ranked "8"?  Would he be just fine attending a "7" (or a "6" for that matter)?  Is a washer/dryer unit in the apartment a luxury or a necessity?  Oy.  Despite hours of conversation and going back and forth, I'm still unsure of where or how we'll live.  However, I am sure that we could live in a smaller space if we thought outside of the box.  Some people are doing amazingly creative things with their very small spaces.  Here's one example that I find particularly inspiring:

Now we just need to find that 320-square-foot home and we're all set.  Just kidding....or am I?  Muah ha ha ha ha ha.

Monday, April 23, 2012

First time on bike

This weekend a special early birthday present arrived in the mail:  a baby bike seat!  Even though we only rode around the parking lot for our inaugural ride, we still had a lot of fun.  Nothing beats the feeling of the sun on your back and the wind in your hair.   

I feel the need... the need for speed!

Uh mom...can't this thing go any faster?


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Happy photos

I often worry about whether I'm a good mom.  Am I being patient enough?  Am I being attentive enough?  Am I being loving enough?  Whenever I find myself worrying too much, I take a step backwards and look through my stash of photos.  I look at his chubby cheeks and remember that he's healthy.  I look at his smile and remember that he's happy.  The photos remind me that our little family is making it and that helps to quiet the doubt inside.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

DIY- Polka dot shorts

A couple weeks ago I spotted this pair of red polka dot capris in the thrift store:

They were an odd length and didn't quite work as pants.  But since I loved the color and the polka dot pattern, I figured I could salvage them by turning them into shorts.  This past weekend I took the leap and did it.
Here's what we did:
(1)  I used one of my favorite shorts as a template and cut the pants about an inch longer than my shorts.  (2)  Hubby used a zigzag stitch to make sure that the raw edge didn't unravel.
(3)  Hubby folded the legs up and sewed them using a basic running stitch.
(4)  We thought the shorts were still a bit too long, so he folded them up sewed them using a running stitch again.      

Here are our final results:     

And since we had a bunch of cute fabric, we created a heart shaped patch to hide a stain on a bag. 

It was surprisingly easy to turn pants into shorts.  Thanks hubby for being my seamster!  (Is that even a word?)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bucket List: Meijer gardens

Since we're leaving Holland this Summer, hubby and I created a bucket list of things we wanted to do before returning back East.  One of Hubby's wishes was to visit the Meijer Gardens and see the butterflies.  We went this past weekend and really enjoyed seeing the butterflies and flowers.  By the end of the day we were all tuckered out.

Although Baby Chuck enjoyed seeing those butterflies, he really enjoyed seeing these lovely gals.

Meijer gardens- check!       

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sofa Series 4: Our new (old) sofa is here

The sofa we found at the thrift store and got professionally reupholstered is finally finished.  They delivered it to our apartment last week.  Hubby and I are amazed at how great it looks. 

Oodles and oodles of potential

Tada!  Green fabric!  Man-oh-man, I can't believe we own such lovely furniture.

It is big, beautiful, comfy, and quirky... and we adore it!  The people at Found did such a wonderful job.  Thank you!

(I would have uploaded these couch photos earlier, but every time I sat on it to work on this post... I fell asleep. Too comfy! )

Thursday, April 12, 2012

DIY gelatin facial pore strips

I spotted this diy awhile back describing how you could make your own pore strips using two ingredients:  unflavored gelatin and milk.  Make your own Biore-esque strips at home?  The idea sounded so strange that I had to give it a try.

- 1T Unflavored Gelatin
- 1.5- 2 T Milk

(1) I combined the ingredients into a paste
(2) Then, I microwaved the paste for 10-15 seconds
(3) I used a plastic spoon to quickly stir the goo and then slathered it onto my face
(4) I waited ten minutes and then voila! I was like an aging starlet who just got botoxed.

And then came the difficult part.  Pulling everything off was extremely painful.

Bottom line:  I think I'll just stick to eating gelatin and not wearing it.

Have you tried any diy beauty recipes lately?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter Pt 3: Rice Krispy Peep treat

I know Easter is over, but I couldn't resist buying peeps.  They were on sale.  Plus, they're just so darn cute.  But what to do two dozen peeps?  How about making a very large rice krispy peep treat?*

* If you'd like to make a rice krispy peep treat for yourself, you'll need these ingredients:
- 1.5 T butter
- approx 24 peeps
- 4 C rice krispies
- 1 toothbrush 

- Melt butter in non-stick pot
- Throw peeps into pot and watch them melt
- Laugh maniacally
- Add rice krispies to pot and stir
- Shape the sticky mess into a very large peep
- Let your frankenpeep cool
- Enjoy treat
- Brush your teeth. (These snacks are sugary!)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Pt. 2

Here are some more photos from Easter.

We had a really busy, but really good Easter.
Hope yours was good too!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Living room

Guess what?
We're moving back East this Summer. 
I've started selling our furniture on Craigslist. 
And that's why our living room currently looks like this: 
Does anybody want to buy two beach chairs or a striped rug?  No reasonable offer refused!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Funny license plates

Hubby and I still enjoy hunting for funny signs and license plates.  Here are some that we recently spotted:

To see other funny signs that we've spotted, click here, here, here, or here.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Photos from Evanston

This past weekend we visited Evanston.  It was a very relaxed trip filled with thrifting, eating, and a lot of walking.  Because hubby has been so busy lately, it was extra-specially (look, i'm making up words!) nice to spend a whole weekend with him. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

7 months old

"Mom, I'm too busy for a photo right now."

"Ok, now I'm ready.  Can you show them how I puff out my cheeks?"

Busy.  That's probably the best word to describe Baby Chuck these days.  He's always busy.  He's busy reaching, busy grabbing, busy banging, busy patting, busy blowing, busy making sounds...busy busy busy.  This little bugger just wants to explore the world.  And as his arms flap and flail about, I'm sure his legs are itching to follow.

Baby Chuck, I can't believe that we made it to 7 months.  There were times when I wasn't even sure if we would make it to the end of the day... or even nap time.  (Gosh, how I love nap times.) But here we are. You're my chunky little monkey and I love you very much.

And dear reader, thank you for joining us on this journey.  Thanks for your gifts.  Thanks for your kind words and prayers.  Thanks for your visits, phone conversations, and emails.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.


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