Wednesday, October 11, 2017

CraftingCon: Villains: Batman's Harley Quinn {2014 Halloween Throwback}

What to do for Halloween?!? It's that time of year again and I have some costume inspiration for you!

Pulling this post from the past! This is my middle monkey about 3 years ago!! Not the costumes this year, though the baby can for sure wear it!

You can check out the whole bunch and our costumes on the Batman Themed Costumes post!

This post contains affiliate links. all reviews and opinions expressed are my own. I did not receive compensation for this pattern to make this garment.


I'm Jessi, and I blog over at The Berry Bunch! Thanks so much for having me share some inspiration for costume, villain design! I am so excited to share with you the costume for baby girl this Halloween. Crafting Con has been such a fun event! Check out my July competition post for Star Wars here.

The Berry Bunch: Crafting Con: Batman's Harley Quinn

Our costumes always center around a theme and this year little man picked Batman. So what to do for baby girl? The hubby suggested she be Harley Quinn. Why not? And, it fits in perfectly with this month! We may not have a joker in our group, but when Harley Quinn is this cute, who needs a joker?

The Berry Bunch: Crafting Con: Batman's Harley Quinn

For the Harley Quinn outfit I used Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop's Aloha Burn Blocker. Baby girl is a funny size, 12-month length with 6-month width. My little skinny minny. I extended the shorts to be pants and moved the zipper to the back and color blocked. Instead of neck binding hubby and I (it was a team effort) drafted the collar and used a minky.

The Berry Bunch: Crafting Con: Batman's Harley Quinn

The Berry Bunch: Crafting Con: Batman's Harley Quinn

The hat is a basic hood pattern that I just sewed the seam until it was fairly tight fitting. Then added the jester/horns stuffed with poli-fil. and attached the ends under the chin. She did not like it at first, but I think she likes the feeling of the jester/horns bouncing as she runs! She would not stand still for pictures!

The Berry Bunch: Crafting Con: Batman's Harley Quinn

And the back! 

The Berry Bunch: Crafting Con: Batman's Harley Quinn

Hopefully, this offers some inspiration for your Halloween costume sewing! Isn't it amazing what you can do with any kind of pattern?

The Berry Bunch: Crafting Con: Batman's Harley Quinn

Thanks again for having me share for CraftingCon! Happy Sewing!


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

What is This 'Calm' You Speak Of? {My One Word Update}

I was holding my breath, trying to keep from screaming at the top of my lungs. I needed to let it loose. I don't doubt my face was turning red. I'm sure the kids weren't positive how to handle mommy at that moment. The look of fear was plain to see in their bulging eyes, but then so was their attempts to stifle laughs as per the shape of their upturned little mouths. But good gravy man alive, if I had told them not to do something over and over again, day in and day out only for them to do it. I'm going to lose it. Or make a spectacle of myself trying not to. This was one of those times. I was making a spectacle of myself. At least it was from the comfort of my home without the many spectators at, say, Walmart. 

Me trying to stay calm is like telling the tide to stay out. Or, at least, that is how it feels to me. Especially when it feels the children are refusing to follow directions. It's amazing how something so simple seems to be forgotten at the drop of a hat. But, that is beside the point. They are children after all. Me on the other hand. I'm trying. I'm trying so hard to be a better mom. A better wife. A better me. I need to find some calm so I can be that better me that I know is in there. Somewhere.


I've been working on it. It has been 6 months since I made that my "one word" for the year and a million other things have crept up. I kept thinking that I should change it. But that would defeat the purpose of picking that word, of being guided through prayer and circumstance to that word. 

This is where that word has directed me so far this year.

I need to be intentional. 

Intentional with the kids: setting boundaries, laying down the rules for particular playtime, intentional with stating my expectations for them, intentional with setting them up for a great day. It's amazing how much I can do to make the day run smoothly. Of course, it is always after the fact when I smack my forehead and tell myself, "well Jess, all that frustration could have been avoided if you had just done _______." Yeah. Intentional. How many times do I lose my cool only because the kids just didn't know what was expected? It's not an innate quality of life. We are here to teach and guide them. They don't know unless I tell them, teach them, help them. 

Same with the Husband. Mostly this focus is expectations. He doesn't know unless I tell him. My mom-in-law said something along the lines of that. She was so right. And it is so true. I'm trying to tell him more. I let him know that I need to know too. It's amazing how much of my frustration with the kids was just bouncing off the frustration with him. That frustration stops there when we know what is expected when we know and understand the disappointment and can correct it at the source rather than spread it around to everyone. It's easier to forgive and ask for forgiveness when we know where we fell short.

I need to set goals for myself.

Now, I know what you are saying. "Hellooo, Jessi. Isn't that the purpose of the One Word? Not to have those resolutions and new years goals hovering over you all year only to fail because you didn't even work on them?" Umm... yes... but, no. Not those kinds of goals. Goals like, what kind of person do you want to be in 6 months? Your situation and circumstance is due in part to the type of person you are, right? So, the best way to change things is to set those goals for you. Set yourself up for the growth.

I want to be the type of person who finishes things. Like, projects and the simple act of putting things away. (seriously, how hard is it to put a pair of scissors away instead of leaving it on the counter, but I do it all the time!) In order to get there, I need materials and a place to work in. I have the materials and space but it is so disorganized. My brain is disorganized. The clutter is out of this world. I don't like waking up to a huge heaping mess in my room/office/craft room. I get out of bed cranky just looking at it. I do all I can just to avoid being around all that stuff!

Honestly. We had all the kids' toys (and I mean ALL of them) in our bedroom. Right at the foot of our bed. it was awful. We had bought a new thing and needed a place to put it. The space where the kids' toys were happened to be the best place for that huge thing. So we gave the kids their toys back. 

Having the room to move back was amazing! It helped me realize that I need to clear out some of the stuff I already have to make the room I need to be able to do the things I want to do (phew, that was a mouthful!). I am in the process of getting rid of a lot of stuff. Husband questions lots of it, too. He even suggested getting a shed to store fabric and things. I would almost never go into a shed for fabric. Create room by making a house just for fabric? A dream to some sewists, I get that. Maybe one day in the past it would have sounded perfect to me. I have read so many places "You cannot keep all the things and keep a clean house". I need to get a control on the excess first. I want to feel that I created the space by being better, not just shifting it from one building to another.

Now that all those things are making their way into the living spaces to be sorted, organized, and gone through, I find I have been getting more irritable more quickly. Mess? Yeah, mess, you gotta go and that means a lot of the stuff has gotta go too. 

I need to find contentment with what I have.

I need to not buy more stuff if I am getting rid of it, right? I need to be happy with thankful for what I have. I need to pass on those things so others that need it (or rather, want it) can get a hold of it and I need to do so with joy in my heart. That's such a big thing. Do the things with joy in your heart. It's amazing how much that joy can overflow. 

I'm working on a contentment challenge that will go through until Christmas. Just what I needed at the time I came to the realization that I needed it. Perfect.

I'm not perfect. Staying calm will always be a work in progress.

I imagine I will continue to hold my breath to keep from screaming at the top of my lungs just to vent frustration. After all, kids are the kings and queens of blatant disregard for rules and I am only human, after all. 

The fact that these lessons are coming up for me is just evidence that I am focusing on the right "one word" this year. I am doing my best to listen, pray, and learn. It's not easy, but then when is life ever easy?

What was your focus this year? What have you learned from it so far?

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Mom Life: Let's Speak with Compassion and Grace

"If I can clean my house, vacuum my floor, do the dishes and still play with my kids anyone can do it. They are just being lazy moms."

I read a comment similar to this not too long ago. It made my heart rate speed up, my hands start to shake and I needed to talk to someone immediately lest I blow up at some unsuspecting person (namely the children due to proximity).

The comment was tagged with a blog post here. Now I can totally respect a mom saying to another mom, "it's ok, you can do the dishes. The kids wont miss anything and you wont miss anything. Just do the dishes." Sometimes we just need to hear that it is ok. In fact I try to keep on top of the dishes fairly regularly in my house. Sure sometimes it sits a little bit especially when it comes to unloading the dishwasher when the toddler is awake. Goodness knows that girl will drag every single spoon, fork and everything within reach all over the house only for me to need to wash them again.

But, if you were to come over a year ago, the kitchen counters would have been covered in dirty dishes. Cups with milk in the bottom, plates with syrup and crumbs, sticky pots and pans on my stove. I'll stop before I gross myself out. But, you get the idea!

Would I have called myself lazy? Probably. But why do that to myself? I was in a season of life where I felt I couldn't do anything right. Postpartum depression had taken over my life and you would have been lucky just to catch me in something other than my pjs! I wasn't lazy; I was sick. If anything, I was in a season where I needed compassion the most. I needed some grace.

Fast forward to about a month ago and you would have found me with a bunch of dirty cups all over my counters and sinks and clean ones in the dishwasher just waiting to be put away.

But that was the season of life I was in. I had 10 people staying in my house and we were grieving the loss of my mother-in-law. She was dearly loved and is dearly missed. My focus was not the dishes, but the people. The dishes would get done eventually. My people needed compassion. We all needed some grace.

Just like the seasons change throughout the year, so we enter seasons of motherhood. Seasons where our houses are spotless and every dish and cup gets cleaned immediately. Seasons where we can barely lift our bodies of the couch to eat a chip let alone cook a full course meal for our families.

Just like the seasons we enter, there is a blog post to coincide. It makes us feel guilty that we aren't doing the dishes when we know we should. Guilty that we aren't playing with our kids the way we feel we should. Guilty that we are being lazy. Let's speak with compassion and grace. Goodness knows we have enough guilt without having other moms adding to it.

Hugs to you momma.

Hugs to you for the season you are in. Whether it be with an itty bitty baby, a school aged minion, a teenager, or any of the seasons in between. Hugs to you with your dishes in the cupboard or in the sink.

Tough love is one thing. But, compassion gives so much more. We all need some grace. There is a reason these times are called seasons. They wont last forever.

Let us watch our words and speak with grace. Someone may be in a tough season of life and need to be shown some compassion. You just might not know who. One day, it may be you.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

My One Word {and} Why I Don't Want to Fly Standby

"I'm sorry, I can't check you into your flight."

Not words a mom with 3 unruly and tired kids wants to hear. Everyone is done with the vacation, everyone wants to go home. I'm trying to stay calm while my kids are obviously not calm and instead hooting and hollering at the counter in the airport.

"I'm sorry but the system locks us out 30 minutes before take off. I can set you up to fly standby tomorrow morning at 5am"

I look at the clock. it was 28 minutes before scheduled departure. I missed check in by 2-3 minutes.

That means another night it a hotel. The possibility of not actually flying home tomorrow, and another night in a hotel. The kids start chanting 'I want to go home' on repeat, and growing louder by the minute.

The lady behind the counter continues... "The plane is only half full, but it will get you to Chicago. Now, the next flight from there to get you home leaves 4 hours after you arrive, but there are only 10 available spots. Flying standby we can't guarantee you can fly. There are other non-direct routes that will get you home by 8pm tomorrow. If we can get you on the flight straight from Chicago you can be home by noon."

What were my choices? I can't go home. I'm tired and cranky. My hands start to shake I am so upset. I replay the car ride from DC to Charlottesville. My incessant nagging to get everyone moving and into the car. All missed by 2-3 minutes. My heart starts racing and tears start welling in my eyes. "Sure", I say. I'd much rather be home by lunchtime than by bedtime.

She starts to chastise me for being late. I did not need a lecture on punctuality. I was the one harping on the others to get into the car.

Stay Calm. That was all I kept telling myself all while this attendant behind the counter kept talking about arriving to places before start time. I wanted to scream. I wanted to ask her if she had kids, or how hard it would be for her to leave a family member she hasn't seen in 15 years. But mostly? I just wanted to scream.

Instead I say to myself, Stay Calm. I call husband and let him know to keep the rental car another night. He says he will bring it back around so we can load all the car seats, luggage and kids.

And then a person comes up to the counter at the computer next to me. Same situation. Late by 4 minutes. Going to New York. Instead of being calm, he throws an adult-sized temper tantrum. Yelling, cussing. The works.

Guess what? They. Let. Him. On.

Stay Calm.

Oh well, he didn't have three kids and a spouse in tow. It would have taken us 30 minutes just to go through security! I had a moment where I thought, "could I have gotten what I wanted if I threw a fit?" But I always tell my kids that doesn't get them what they want.

I take our itinerary, we get a hotel and board the 5am flight the next morning.

We arrive in Chicago. We find the gate, talk to the people.

"The flight is full. But we will call you once boarding begins if we can get you on the flight."

That means I have to wait 4 hours?!? The kids are tired and wont stay still. The baby is fussy, crying, hungry. The other two are whining every two seconds. I have to wait 4 hours to find out whether or not I can take my tired and cranky kids home? My palms start to sweat. I start to shake. My body is tired from lack of sleep (about 3 hours) and my emotions are going haywire. I just want to cry. I just want to go home! Stay Calm.

The attendants are working furiously on the computer moving seats, granting first class upgrades.

Boarding starts.

They call our party to get us onto the flight. They move some more people around to keep us all together and we are able to board the flight and go home! Relief!

The tears start running. I am so grateful and thankful. The kids are excited to go home.

I never want to do that again!

I continue to tell myself: stay calm.

I had been praying and asking for guidance on what I should use as my goal, or guiding word, this year. Last year it was intentional. I needed it with post-partum. I thought about re-using this word this year as I still need to work on it, but it did not settle well on my heart.

Calm, I heard it over and over again. Be Calm. Stay Calm.

But I didn't listen.

It took 3.5 months and flying standby (I NEVER want to do that again!) for me to finally hear.


Husband said he really wasn't ready to go home yet. I needed a slap in the face for my one word. The kids just wanted to go to sleep.

So we got an extra night of vacation. We got to get the kids to bed earlier than they had been the last few nights.

And, I was up for a 12 hour day the following day.

My one word this year: CALM

Our only group picture from our Vacation! Folly Beach, SC
Easter Day: Happy Easter!

what's your one word?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

I Love Food {I Hate Food}

I have a love-hate relationship with food.

You know the battle? I love to eat food. Yummy... Tasteful... Flavorful... I love ingredients that are common but thrown together in such a way which cause your taste buds to dance. I love foreign and exotic flavors from across the globe which add an element of excitement to dinner. I love trying new foods, new recipes, and eating something outside of our normal dinner line up.

But, for the component of supreme dislike: I don't like to prep food. I am not good at taking the time to read the ingredients and follow the directions. I usually end up making a mistake and botch dinner or I change it to the point where it isn't the same and can't recreate the amazing meal. Hey, I'm working on that! But, it probably keeps me from eating all the food all the time! Ha!

The other night I was super excited. I found a cool cookbook at the library and was going to try one of the recipes. It called for wine, an inexpensive cut of beef, some simple ingredients in my cupboard already, and a new veggie I have been trying to fit into dinners lately. It was a win in my book all the way around. I even doubled the sauce, a mistake I thought I learned the week prior with a recipe from the same book. I followed directions, prepped the ingredients, set the crock pot and was good to go!

I loved it. Loved the flavor. Loved how the meat turned out, tender and juicy. I loved the combination of it with the orzo (first time trying that too). Took a bite and I was ecstatic. Looked over at the baby who was happily devouring her food...

See, I have this tendency to cook for the people in my house. I cook to appease the minions. I cook to feed the husband.

This time, I did it. This time I cooked for me.
Love. The. Food.

I look back at the baby who was silently spitting out all her food. The oldest was complaining about the leaves being something you weren't supposed to eat (it was bits of dried basil). My middle was pushing her meat around with her fork and her orzo with her spoon. Husband asked with every bite, "what's this, what's that flavor, what's this flavor".
Hate. The. Food.

We made a meal once and had some people to come over. One of our guests complained about feeling bloated from "eating this junk". That was a few years ago. What we made was from scratch. How could it be junk? It wasn't junk. But it stuck with me. It was enough to discourage me. Maybe there was/is something wrong with my taste buds. Or, maybe my flavor palate is just different.

And now my family was not eating what I had made...  again...

Love the food...

Hate the food...

It's a fine line.

Do I cook to appease the masses? Or do I cook for me?

I think I am just going to start cooking for me. I have a feeling there will always be that love-hate relationship with the food.

Monday, February 20, 2017

What Kind of Example is My Messy Room!?

"Why should I clean my room, Mommy, when your's is such a mess?"

My mouth dropped open. I'm sure a fly might have flown in, buzzed around a bit and left. Those were the words that came out of my oldest, my 6-year-old's, mouth. Sure, I might have been scream yelling at him to clean his room for the last few hours days prior to that question's utterance, just to get the house ready for guests. But, come on. Your 6, child!

How do you respond to a statement such as that? How do you combat the logic and reasoning presented to you by a 6-year-old mind? Because, it's true right? I mean, what have I shown my son besides a messy room? What kind of example am I leading?

We celebrated the baby's 1st birthday a few weeks ago. It was glorious. Funfetti cake with bright blue frosting... The kids were playing their little hearts out in the backyard... We spent the better part of a week cleaning the same parts of the house over and over again just to be ready in time.

As a friend of mine went through our master bedroom to use the bathroom (the guest bath was occupied) I cringed at the thought that she would have to traverse the tiny pathway and actually see the mess! Oh good gravy, the mess... The Mess... With all the yelling and watching and supervising, I never got to lay a finger on my own room.

How much time a day do you talk to your kids about cleaning up? I am pretty sure I tell my kids about 10 million times. Ok. Maybe not that many times. But, I'm sure it's a lot. I tell them to clean up if they want to watch tv, clean up if they want candy, clean up so they can drive their power wheel car outside, clean up for this, clean up for that. I am sure I say it 10 million times more than is absolutely necessary.

But, how often do they see you cleaning? I am pretty sure I spend most of my time standing at the sink washing the gazillion bowls they thought was necessary for breakfast. Apparently a kid needs more than one bowl for cereal in the morning. I don't understand their rationale, or how they manage to get the bowls. I place them high in the cupboard on purpose. They are ninjas... But, do they see me tidying up my own things? Not really. I leave them where I put them, set them down on the counter real fast so that I can pour a glass of milk and forget what I was doing in the 10 seconds the action of pouring milk takes. They don't see me clean.

After everyone at the birthday party went home, we were left behind to take in and absorb the shambles that only a really good birthday party leaves in it's wake. I walked into my kids' rooms and saw the mess. My son looked at me with defeat in his eyes. I just shook my head, shrugged my shoulders and gave him a hug. "did you have fun with your friends?". "yes" he told me. Then I walked to my bedroom and looked at the mess there. No one except my 1 friend went through there and it was worse than my son's room. What am I showing my son? What kind of example am I setting with my own room a mess?

Have you read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (check out my initial review here) or ClutterFree with Kids (initial review here) or Allie Casazza's Blog? Even the multitude of the organizing/tidying/purging/cleaning facebook groups say to do the same thing when it comes to teaching your kids how to clean/tidy their own spaces. I'm sure if I search harder I could find it stated more. Lead by example. Eventually they will do it too. 

Really, that's what I need to do to get my kids to clean their rooms? Lead by example? At least that's the position we are in now. The towers of boxes and books and fabric and patterns all need to get torn down, purged/cleaned/organized. No matter how long it takes, I need to clean my own stuff and my kids need to see it being done by me. 

Maybe they might not clean it right away. Maybe they will find another excuse. But if I can get it under control at least I am leading by example, and they will learn through their interactions with me and my things. At least I wont hear him say "why should I if you don't."

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Blogger Tribe: Sunday Lately: Week 112

What do you need to do when you need to connect to some sister bloggers? Join Sunday Lately!

Sunday Lately is such a great way for us bloggers to share and see what is going on with each other!

Enjoying - They say this stage of life is one of the greatest and to hold on to it? Well, I am fighting to hold on to it so hard. I'm fighting the cranky dragon of mommyhood and trying so hard to just enjoy the kids as they are in this moment. Which of course is super, super difficult! Especially since they are full of attitude!

Delving - Back into menu planning for the week. I found a new way to keep track of what meals to do and I can add to it anywhere I am, and it is always with me!

I've tried a menu on the fridge, a framed one on the counter, one in the planner, several different apps, and lately it's been hard to keep it up. The apps are a little more confusing or, because I use mostly my own recipes, they require me to enter it all in.

I've been using Google Calendar! It's already on my phone, it's on one of the pages (is that what it's called? either way I can swipe and see it) and I use the notifications to remind me to do stuff! Which is super handy since I use google calendar this way already for other things: events with the girls, blog posts, even working on the budget. I've only been using it for about a month, but that is pretty good for me. And sticking to it.

Forgiving - Since I have been that cranky mommy dragon, I need the kids to forgive me more than usual. I need to forgive myself all the time.

Relying - What do you do when the baby doesn't sleep? The dishes have been piling in the sink, the laundry is piling in the dirty clothes baskets, the toys are multiplying before my eyes across the floor. I've been needing help. I need to have someone to rely on when I am a mombie, tired mom zombie surviving on coffee, and I can barely focus on the task of taking the oldest to school let alone everything else. This is probably one of the reasons for cranky mommy dragon. I need to be able to rely on my husband to be there to pick up a little bit of slack as I try to navigate the world of NO Sleep!

Hoping - Please baby. Please, for mommy, get some sleep! Actually, today, she has napped. Twice! SO I got one in too! Yay!

Sunday Lately with Blogger Tribe

Friday, February 10, 2017

Boys Can Wear Pink v. 3

Welcome to our stop on the Boys Can Wear Pink tour!

Eeep! So much excitement for the Boys Can Wear Pink tour this year!  This is the third year, and our third year participating! You can check out our previous posts here and here.

This year I went simple. Little man has the Classic Polo from Peek-A-Boo Pattern shop (check out the affiliate link here) and I decided to do pink for the placket and underside of the collar. He picked out his button snap color.

This is my second polo ever. and I am pretty excited how it turned out. The collar looks like it hangs pretty well and I love the pop of pink that comes out from underneath!

He wanted to wear it to school to show all his friends his new shirt that has pink and that his momma made for him.

And somehow, of course, the collar became some form of ninja face mask thing

I added a side vent too, because it's just cool and polo shirts scream side vent. My first time sewing one in on knits.

I love the color combo of the blue and pink together. I was going to darn a pair of pants that have a hole in the knee using matching blue and pink embroidery thread, but I cannot find my thread *darn*. A project for when my craft space is a little tidied up.
I'm excited how it turned out, and it's always a win when the kiddos love the me-mades too.

And now... drumroll....

There is a giveaway!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway
 2 digital designs of choice from Thread and Grain
2 PDF patterns of choice from Sunday Girl Designs
2 Patterns of choice from CKC Boys Patterns
3 PDF pattern pack from Ellie And Mac Pattern of choice from 5 out of 4 Patterns
Pattern of choice from New Horizons
Pattern of choice from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop
Pattern of choice from Little Moo Designs
Pattern of choice from Laela Jeyne Patterns
$30 gift certificate to AVTR Fabric
$30 gift certificate from Phat Quarters Dates html

And don't forget to check out these other awesome makes!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Amuse Top: Winter Wear Designs: One Thimble Tour Issue 14

One Thimble 14 tour has begun and welcome to my stop! I love One Thimble and the awesome patterns that goes with it! This edition does not disappoint! 

I've sewn up Winter Wear Design's Amuse Boho Dress and Tunic and I am in love with it! From the flow of the design and the length (I went with the tunic length). It is so comfy! Plus the panel in the front is great for scrap usage! I may have fussy cut mine though. ;)

I've jumped on the legging bandwagon a little late and am in need of long enough tops to coordinate into my wardrobe. For me, the tunic length is perfect!

There are gathers in the front and the option for gathers in the back. I opted out of the back gathers to conserve on fabric. The blue fabric I used was gifted and I barely had enough!

I've always been a fan of the raglan style sleeves... 

This was my first time doing a side vent. I'm so excited by the look of it, and the feel of it that I my just start hemming more of the clothes with it! and the shirt tail hem! *heart eyes emoji* 

It's really hard to take a picture of that by yourself!

I think it's super cute! The first thing I have sewn for me since having the baby (that is not costume related), and I love the fit. 

This is the first woven top I have ever made for myself. and I am pretty excited with how it turned out! 

Check out the other awesome makes!








Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sunday Lately 109

I'm joining in with Blogger Tribe's Sunday lately today! I actually have some quiet time to sit at the computer! Sure, it's late, but it is quiet time! Yay! It's still Sunday, so I feel super on schedule! Even if there only is 1.5 hours left as I write this! Yay #momlife

Writing: I've been working on getting some "lesson plans" written up for Virtual Book Club for Kids and Kindergarten prep for little S. I did one with her already and she loved it! After all, it involved three of her favorite things: Penguin (from the series by Salina Yoon), rocks, and paint! Check it out here it was fun and I even felt excited by my painted rocks, and I don't paint!

Quitting: I am trying super hard not to sit on my behind while N is in school and/or when baby K is napping. I need to get this house in order, purge a ton of unwanted items, and organize like crazy. I miss sewing, and really I need the house in order so it' not in complete disarray after a mini sewing session. Not to mention I have no place to put my machine! I guess it boils down to: I need to quit saving stuff

Fixing: My organizational skills and hoarding tendencies. I boxed up baby boy clothes about a month ago and need to actually get them out of the house. Small steps, right? Ha! It'll free up so much space! I just need to actually go take them somewhere. My usual line up is consignment, consignment then donate. I should just donate. get it out. But I use the money from consignment to buy the kids the next size in clothes, so... Then it just comes down to having the time to drive to the consignment and hope they aren't too busy. After all I only have less than 3 hours while N is in Kindergarten!

Celebrating: The kids celebrated their 100th day at school! They were to dress up as if they were 100 years old. N wore a button up, with some momma made pants and hat! Loved it! He did not want to wear make up to look wrinkly and had no desire for baby powder in the hair to make it look gray. But her is just too darn cute!

We will be celebrating baby K's first birthday next week! I cannot believe she will be 1 already! She's a little daredevil, spitfire girl and I love her to pieces!

Updating: My bag. I'm weaning myself from the massive diaper bag and trying to work my way back to some form of mom purse where I can carry my planner, wallet, a diaper and wipes and call it good. I usually keep a spare change of clothes in the car for the kids so I don't feel it's necessary in the diaper bag. But, my wallet is falling apart, and I have the envelopes stashed in many pockets in the bag. I need it all in one place. I don't know when I will be able to sew up one but I have a few patterns and tutorials I have gathered. I can't wait to pick one that will work for the system and I can *sniff* throw my falling apart wallet away.
I also need to update my wardrobe horribly. It was a goal last year, but with post-partum everything, it hasn't happened yet. Back to a goal for this year!

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Penguin and Pinecone by Salina Yoon: Using Your Senses {Read and Play}

We jumped in with Virtual Book Club for Kids and their weekly book selections this past week. Since S has only a year and a half until she starts Kindergarten, I figure it might be a good idea to start doing more to get her ready. It was so fun when we followed along while N was a preschooler... This week's theme is penguins, and the main book is Penguin and Pinecone by Salina Yoon. We love her Penguin series and S was super excited when this one came in at the library! (seriously, holds are awesome!)

There are so many directions you can take this book, one of the reasons we love the series! We went the science route and combined it with art!
**Check out my inspiration of the painting activity over at Inspirational Laboratories**

What you need:
  • Penguin and Pinecone by Salina Yoon
  • objects from around the house to practice using the senses (Sight, Sound, Touch, Smell, Taste)
  • Rocks (we searched for ours outside. Yay, Desert Nature!)
  • Black, white and orange paint
  • paintbrush
  • newspaper (I'm just glad I had the wipes available! oops!)
  • wipes for quick and easy surface clean-up
We've read the book several times by this point. I opened this "lesson" by feeling, sniffing, and looking at the book.

When I get to the point where Penguin is using his senses to discover that pinecone is not a snowball and cold we pause and talk about what Penguin is doing in each of the images (using sight/eyes, taste/mouth/tongue, touch/hands/feel).

Discuss the senses and how we use them to observe and make sense of the world which surrounds us. Practice on objects from around the house and what senses we use for those particular objects. We used a koosh pool ball, a soft rattle, a foam number, and a lolipop!

Using sight, touch, (and maybe smell) search for the perfect rock on which to paint your own penguin. We talked about not always using all our senses (we don't want to lick rocks, Yuck!)

If you decide to wash off your rocks, give them time to dry. We just dry brushed off the dirt before starting.

While we painted we talked about P being for Penguin and Pinecone too! And I think these turned out great!

I ended our activity with a quick recap of our senses!

The possibilities are endless!
These little rock penguins were super fun! We did some role play after they dried. Paint some more and use them for counting, one-to-one correspondence practice, non-standard units of measure, Paint some pinecones and use them in combination with penguins for adding/subtracting, create a tic-tac-toe set

Monday, January 16, 2017

My Motherhood is {not} Defined by a Pair of Toddler Jeggings

My life seems to revolve around the kids' clothes. I buy their clothes as they grow bigger. I make their clothes for special events. I wash, dry, fold and put away their clothes as they get dirty. Doesn't it seem like a never ending flow of laundry?! It only gets bigger and bigger and bigger by the day, no matter how many loads are done. Oh yeah, right... I keep buying more... And. cannot forget those outfits and clothes I favor! You know. The ones I feel I need want to take a picture of every. single. time they wear it? Yeah. those ones. They are so gosh darn cute! They should wear it Every Day!! (too much? yeah, too much..) But they are so cute! 

I think it's even harder when those favorite outfits, those favorite pairs of clothes, are hand-me-downs from older siblings. It's as much a favorite then as it is now! And you get to experience all the glorious cuteness again! Like a pair of girl's toddler jeggings. The kind that actually looks like jeans, but isn't. It even had pockets, real pockets, on the back with the word "love" embroidered on them. I swear, it was my go to pair of pants for my middle when she wore that size and by golly, it's my go to pair now for my munchkin too. But gee whiz if I never got a picture of those darn cute pants with 'love' on their little bottoms! Gah, I love them even now!

What happened to those favorite pair of pants? Gone. Vanished! Off the face of the earth! (ok, maybe not off the face of the earth, but it sure felt like it!) I was in a state, looking everywhere. Literally turned the diaper bag inside out, looking for those pants. Could. Not. Find. Them. I was devastated. Seriously, ugly cried about a silly pair of toddler jeggings with the word 'love' embroidered on the back pockets. I try to justify my feelings by saying they are one of the few pairs we have which actually fit. They are one of the few pairs she can wear with everything. But, all that does is make it worse. I become more of a basket case.

How in the world did I end up in such a state over a pair of pants? It's not just the pants! It was a blanket, a pair of shoes, a stuffed animal, a toy car. Something. Something hard to replace. I felt like such a bad mom because there I was yelling, crying, so distraught over a pair of pants. I asked myself how, how could I keep my kids safe and healthy and happy if I cannot even keep track of a simple pair of pants?!?

As I sat on the floor, the contents of the diaper bag surrounding me in the entryway, I realized the absurdity of the statement. My motherhood is not defined by whether or not I've kept track of a pair of pants! How many other items have I lost my cool trying to find? How many other items have I let get to me so much to the point where I feel like a failure because I cannot find them in a moments notice? Why am I letting objects dictate my worth as a parent?

I looked up from my weeping mess on the floor (the Kleenex' adding to the pile surrounding me) and look at my kids. Do they care the pants are gone? no, they care about their mommy weeping on the ground. The baby would rather go naked than wear clothes anyway! They smile at me and ask if I am ok. I'm alright because they are safe and healthy and happy. After all, it was just a pair of pants, right!?!

My house is a mess. Chock full of stuff that doesn't matter, stuff we really don't need. The laundry, be it dirty or clean, scatters it's way across the floor from bedroom to laundry room. I might loose a pair of socks here or there, accidentally leave a spare pair of underwear in the bathroom at the grocery store. Have a shirt fall out of the diaper as I search for my wallet at the gas station. But I can always replace those things. Even if I never got them in a cute dressed up picture I still have the precious moments and memories. I cannot replace my kids. Their smiles are what define my worth as a mom.  They are happy and healthy and safe and they have stayed that way because I focus on them and not the contents of the diaper bag .(hence those lost items!)

You know what happened with the pair of jeggings? I kid you not, it showed up 2 days later. In my son's room. It disappeared long enough for me to have a revelation. I was so upset; I'm surrounded by junk and can't even hold on to a special pair of pants. I needed those special pair of pants to disappear for me to realize where the imposed importance came from.

The pants aren't what was special. My kids made those pants special. 

There will be more things made special because they will make it so. Their smiles, their laughter, their beaming little faces is what will add sentiment to whatever comes next. And, regardless of the endless flow of laundry, I will do my best to remember...

My life is not defined by a pair of toddler pants!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

2017 Finish A Long: Quarter 1: Goals {2017 FAL Q3}

I sat and contemplated up until the last minute whether or not to try the finish a long at all this year. I did not complete anything from this list last year and I have since just removed items because I am never going to get to them! Ha at this point those things I had planned are no longer going to work for the recipient! Too much time has passed! I need to get my sewing space in order first! Nothing has happened since moving everything out to create the baby's space about 6 months ago... Goodness me...

Here are my goals for this quarter!

1. Labyrinth Lap Quilt... 

A photo posted by JessiBerry (@jessiberry09) on

2.  My band shirt memory quilt... 

3. This is little lady's baby shower quilt. From 2013...

4. This circle quilt. 

The Berry Bunch: 2015 Finish-A-long: Circle Quilt

5. Peasant Tops pattern by Tie Dye Diva Patterns they are a 12 month and 18 month size, half sewn up

The Berry Bunch: 2015 Finish Along: Peasant Tops

Wish me good luck! ;) It's so hard to sew with the toddler who gets into EVERYTHING and a DEMANDING preschooler. I'm lucky to get anything done during the day!

Linking up!

Just Jude Designs