Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Back to School Wardrobe: Planning Update {kids clothes}

I know it's not back to school anymore. It's already nearing the end of the semester! But... Back in August I talked about the kids' clothes for going back to school and looked at different planning tools/worksheets with which to build their capsule wardrobe for school. You can check out that post here.

To be honest, that post super stressed me out. documenting what the kids had and trying to find the holes (which is what I have been attempting for my own wardrobe for the past, I don't know, 4 years?)... I gave up documenting the girls' clothes. We are blessed to receive hand-me-downs and it's not necessary at all. Through the good graces of friends, we have not needed anything for them.

My oldest is in need of clothes, however. I was still overwhelmed by trying to document and find holes in his wardrobe. Totally overkill for a 7-year-old who still has tons of shirts he has yet to grow out of and a taste as simple as {tee + pant + shoe} and an aversion to layering shirts. No button-ups over graphic tees, or graphic tees over polos here. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that maybe he might decide to try that combo. I always thought it looked rather sharp.

The simplest approach for this mom of 4 is simply, did we make it through the week without the blaring "mom, I have no clean pants!!!"? I've since put a box in the kids' closets and much better about telling them to take off what they are wearing if it doesn't fit and put it into that box.

We've since made it to the point where he is in need of pants (about another 2 pairs). I got lucky with clearance items at both Target and Walmart, but since have stopped looking. He could probably use a khaki pair and another blue denim. He has blue denim (2) and a black denim (1).

He is also in need of another 2-3 long sleeve shirts. He currently has 2 graphic tees (1 is getting a bit snug) and a long sleeve school shirt.

So, I'm making a plan. I miss sewing. I want to sew him a couple shirts, and maybe store buy another 1 (or 2).

Shirt 1:
He likes Spock from Star Trek (the original series) and a shirt for that would be awesome.

Looking at this picture, I am thinking a raglan maybe modified with a v-neck but without the high neckline. It's moments like this where I wish I had an embroidery machine, or cricut maker, or silhouette. The symbol will have to be freezer paper stenciled on.

Shirt 2:
He likes Pokemon. Now, with it being super popular I was hoping to find a shirt like this in kids sizing. I have not had luck in my semi-non-thorough search.
I will use a basic long sleeve shirt pattern and color block in the black, red, and white parts. I am thinking either applique the circle, or sew a set in circle. either are an option.

Shirt 3:
Who doesn't love comic characters? DC or Marvel, gotta love them all. Flash seemed fun (plus Sheldon had a few Big Bang Theory episodes where he "ran fast in the flash costume" according to N.
Now picture something like this...

in this pattern

It's the Thumbs Up Tee by OUSM Designs. (Feeling Nostalgic at the moment. Seriously, my little boy was so cute!) I will be freezer paper stenciling the symbol on the shirt too.

Fingers crossed I will be able to accomplish these things! My machine is still hiding in it's case!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Read A Book: In This House We Will Giggle by Courtney Defeo {Parenthood}

I am the type of person who will fill up my holds list from the library with books I want to read and still not have anything available. It doesn't help that my husband and I share the library card for the electronic sources. Once my hold list is full and I need a new book, I scourge the database for an available book.

I came across In This House We Will Giggle by Courtney DeFeo and decided to give it a go.

This time around searching for a book, I was looking for a quick and fast read. This one seemed like it would fit the bill for a fast and easy read, but I had to check it out a second time. Not as a bad thing. I loved this book and the ideas presented. I'm considering purchasing it, and I rarely now purchase books.

Parenting is hard. Kids are hard. At first, I thought this book was going to be more about laughter, ways to parent without yelling, at this point I cannot completely remember what I thought this book was about. So, I cannot remember what I expected when I started reading. It does give some activities to do with the kids to fill the house with the sound of laughter. But the bulk of the book is about instilling virtues in our children, with suggested bible verses and applicable activities.

I like being able to use bible verses with the kids to teach them virtues and life expectations. And as we discuss the verses as we use them, it helps remind me too. Being a baby in my faith still, it's fun to watch the kids grow in theirs alongside me.

The study is broken down by month, which is why i feel i need to buy this book. Activities to practice the virtue are applicable and realistic. I couldn't wait to get started. Though for this month, the extent of our practice is thanking God for things in the morning. Which actually had helped my morning mood. 

I know, after getting this book and beginning the practice, I would have a hard time with forgiveness (the family cross is an incredible idea!) Because sharing your sins is embarrassing and should be humbling. It would be great at modeling for my kids though! 

And I would have a hard time with generosity because the days we had nothing are so close still. Trying to feed a family of 4 (at the time) on $35 a week is still so fresh in my mind I get scared we will be back in that position again. A ridiculous fear, and one I'm obviously going to have to fight through. I get scared we may need something and therefore have a hard time giving things away. Goodness knows I want to give. I need to do it and get over my fear. I do have a lot of time to share though too, not just physical items. I need to remember, it's not about just stuff... after all, we are just stewards, everything belongs to God.

I am looking forward to buying this book and putting the activities into practice.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

1 Thing to Make Life Easier After Baby; Preparing for Baby {HomeLife}

Something about the impending arrival of a brand new baby can send the minds of adults into a tizzy. And, rightly so. Babies require so much work to take care of and often the regular needs of a house can get set aside. At least, they do in my home. There is nothing like having your 8-year old coming up to you all stressed out, while you are nursing a baby because he has no clean pants. Or combating ants in the kitchen because you have not had the energy to stand and sweep or do the dishes after every meal. I mean, taking care of a baby is extremely exhausting, not to mention time-consuming. Who wants to do dishes and laundry?!

There has to be a few things that can be done to make it easier, right?

At least a few things?


I have no idea with laundry and sweeping. I am not going to wear baby just so I can sweep the floor (a suggestion amongst several bloggers). It's hard enough holding him, throwing in sweeping the floor and my back is sore afterward. I'll fit it in when I can. When I don't have to hold the baby.

I am going to give myself some grace when it comes to the floors. And the ants? They were looking for water so were over the sink instead of the floor. They've since left, thankfully. Hopefully, they don't start coming to the floor. I'll just continue asking for help until I can actually sweep again. Since no one else sweeps, it'll remain a mess.

My main concern for after the baby came was food. Goodness knows I was not going to want to cook dinner. The MOPS group is amazing with setting up a meal train every other day for a week, and I'm blessed with some amazing friends bringing meals too. And when Brandon went back to work, that was a definite lifesaver. But for the other nights, I needed to have something.

The one thing I would suggest to do to prepare for a baby? Get some frozen dinners ready to go.

Seriously. Frozen home prepped food is going to save your sanity.

At least what little sanity you will have left after lack of sleep and feeding a newborn will take from you.

What did I use for our frozen dinner recipes?

I shared with you (not an affiliate! I don't get anything if you sign up!) when I talked about meal planning back in June (you can read that here). And it has still been an incredible element to our dinner planning. I saved favorites and went back to see which ones could be frozen. I prepped several of those for our freezer and for my mom to have when she took the kids the nights we were in the hospital.

Here was just a few: (chicken for tacos and burritos (feeds for 2 nights), meat mixture for tater tot casserole, 2 bags of spaghetti sauce (that feeds us two nights in a row, so 4 nights)

I also had 2 enchilada dishes and 2 lasagnas(my own recipe).

Actually, I still have 1 meal in the freezer still (1 lasagna)!

With having food ready to go, it helped free up so much time for other things (like sweeping that darn floor, or the laundry)!

We started prepping meals again about a week ago. Little man has been here almost 2 months and we are now starting to get back into routine having eaten almost all the meals. Between friends and freezer meals, the 2 months have been incredible. You don't realize how much time a day you spend on prepping and cooking food until you really don't have time and can't.

I have to say I am so thankful for It makes the week go so much smoother (especially with the new baby). I originally signed up for meals to use and stash in the freezer when the baby came, and I am planning on sticking to it because it makes life THAT much easier.

Sure, now it takes an entire day to prep 5-7 meals. I gotta stop to feed my constantly hungry baby. But it makes the rest of the week run smoothly. I can focus on homework and reading with the older kiddos.

So? Expecting a baby? Prep some freezer meals. You won't regret having that little bit of free time to sit as you recuperate.

Already had a baby? What have you done to make life easier after a baby arrived?

Thursday, October 11, 2018

2018 Finish-Along: Quarter 4 Goals {2018 FAL Q4}

How are we onto the last 3 months of the year 2018!?! Did you accomplish sewing last quarter?

Guess What?! I Didn't!

I have been so busy with having and taking care of a baby that I did no sewing what-so-ever last quarter. 

That's a pretty decent excuse, right?

I wanted to have Samara's Quilt done by the time she turned 5 (didn't happen) and then I wanted to have done before the baby was born (I was trying to get things ready for his arrival), and my sewing machine just did not come out of it's case. I have Halloween I need to do, so the machine is going to have to grace us with it's space it takes up for the next 2 weeks. Eeek! Thank goodness I am not going to sew 6 people's costumes this year.

On to my wish-to-complete list!

Samara's Quilt

This is my main priority. Gosh Golly, Gee Whiz. It needs to get done. I am such a sewing slacker!

Maybe I can have it done for her for Christmas? Though not as a present since she has watched this long drawn out process. And if I finish it sooner rather than later, I am not holding on to it until then. Maybe it might be nice as a Christmas Eve gift, but I won't wait. Ha! If it is done!

What still needs to be done:
  • finish the last border (green fabric)
  • baste (the backing is a pink minky she had picked out)
  • quilt
  • bind (in a gray and white striped fabric)
  • label

Abacus Quilt

I have not the expectation to get to this. But, just in case.

I need to:
  • cut pieces
  • sew remaining blocks
  • assemble to top
  • border if necessary 
  • baste
  • quilt
  • bind
  • label
Band Shirt Memory Quilt

The Berry Bunch: 2015 Finish-A-Long: Band Shirt Memory Quilt

I am adding this in, though I am sure that I will not complete it (let alone even get to it!) this quarter. I'm debating another border or calling it good (I'm leaning towards calling it good!). The black large notes is a flannel and have since decided against that. The backing will be Jazz Jam from Andover Fabrics. The colors and notes are perfect for this quilt!

I need to:
  • baste
  • quilt
  • bind
  • label

First and foremost is Samara's quilt, since I haven't made her one in her 5 years of life. Poor Thing. Though I have made her more clothes than any of the other children. 

What do you have to finish?


Friday, August 3, 2018

Back to School Wardrobe: Planning {Kids Clothes}

We have been in school for 3 weeks. Already it has been 3 weeks! I am stunned it has been that long. It has gone by so fast.

I was worried about my little one starting kindergarten, and I still am a little worried. She is loving it though! I am sure she feels like such a big girl going to school like big brother.

I'm sad she is spending more time away from the home. I loved having my bouncy high energy girl here at home. But, I am excited she is showing others how awesome she is. And, I do love the fresh start of a new school year. New backpacks, new supplies, new learning, old and new friends. And... Of course... New clothes!

Well, really, in our case it's paring down the wardrobe. You should see all of the clothes the girls have! It's boxes upon boxes of clothes! We have been so lucky to have friends and family give us hand-me-downs. I know we won't be this lucky forever. And, you should see how picky Samara is when it comes to her clothes. So we are going to go through and take out all the things she doesn't like to wear, then go from there. Maybe this might help keep her from changing her clothes 10 times a day?

I've grabbed a few planning tools for capsules and used those to compile a mixable wardrobe for the oldest two. I'm not going to suggest a certain one for you to use. It's more based on personal preference and what works for you. I will go through each one and which one worked best for us.

The Planners/Templates

Have you tried searching the website for planners, templates, and/or printables? It's ridiculous. And, they are all lists to type or write on. I prefer something I can use pictures. My overtired pregnancy momma brains can't comprehend past letters. Plus I love the visual the pictures give to my little ones. Even though my boy can read now, visuals are still nice to have.

Time for School Sudoku Planning Tool. From Free Notion. My first thought is that this might be good for my little guy to see that he can layer button-ups over regular shirts... I will need to do duplicates of this to have enough clothes to get through the week. My kids are too rowdy and play in the dirt, so re-wearing an item for them gets me a little grossed out. I have to do laundry once a week and refuse to do it more often.
4x4 from Vivienne Files. I've been using this one for my capsule, you can read about it here and here.
Harper+Lu's Capsule Planning Template. Mac is one of the awesome ladies behind sew altered style. This template is perfect for getting through the week.

I added a box for notes (so I can type in what I need for the kids. It kind of also turned into a holding place for items as I sifted through.

I am building these with the kids. Especially for the sudoku, they are dictating where to put a garment item. After all, these aren't my own clothes I am wearing. This is for them, and they will be wearing the clothes. Please forgive the quick phone photos. I can't waste too much time when going through the clothes with the kids. Attention spans only last so long...


For his sudoku. I like having the different outfit options laid out for me to see. Samara could care less, she mixes and matches everything anyway. Nikolai, however, has a hard time. If we buy a pair of pants and a top he has a difficult time pairing up those items with other garments. Eventually, they lose their newness and he can filter them into his closet, but it takes a while. I am hoping that seeing this helps that.

In the 4x4 I like that, without having to do multiples, I can have the clothes for the week. I honestly find it funny that we have mostly red and green for my little guy. I had no clue until I filled in this template. I am wondering if it was the season when we purchased the items, or just what we gravitated towards when making purchases.

Harper+Lu ... Another I love without having to make multiple times. It has one extra garment than the 4x4. It gets through the week perfectly. With changing likes for the kids I think this one is better as it doesn't necessarily focus so much on a specific color scheme but more on the items. Though for a true capsule wardrobe everything would pretty much blend together well.

What he needs?
A couple pairs of pants, long sleeve shirts (about 5 to get the full 7: some plain for layering short sleeves), a sweater, and a jacket. Oh, and a new pair or two for shoes! I was looking at his pair currently and it is starting to fall apart! I will wait on these for when the weather cools off. The boy is getting ready for a growth spurt, I'm sure.


You should see all the clothes we got rid of, just from stuff that fits but she doesn't want to wear. This girl is funny. It took us multiple sessions to go through it all. And, we need to do more! She has several shorts I do not want her wearing to school. I prefer a more modest approach to clothes and shorts are hard to find. 

Sudoku for her. I needed to get her other shoes pictured, But she is constantly wearing them! The black pair we picked up when Babies-R-Us closed and we got a few things for the baby too. Her wardrobe is not very mixy matchy capable from the looks of this. I had a really hard time with it.

Her 4x4 back to school. I thought I couldn't make it work. I thought most of her colors would be pink and purple. I was kind of surprised. Just like with Nikolai's. I love seeing the colors my kids gravitate towards!

Her Capsule "prime"

What she needs?
Layering options. We have 5 pairs of bike shorts to wear under skirts and dresses. But she is in need of sweaters. She has a ton, but all of them she refuses to wear and half of them are getting too small. She is going to be in need of a winter jacket, but that can wait. As for pants... The kid has a drawer full of them! Ha! So she is in no need there either.

Perhaps a pair of pink shorts would be good if I can find the Bermuda style at Walmart like the pairs she has been wearing.

Which one?

Given that this is the first time I really have gone to this length for the kids' clothes, I am wondering if it was more time consuming than necessary. We have overspent on clothes in the past, and a lot of those clothes we still have that fit now (like my big guy's shirts. Ha!). 

I think I liked Harper+Lu's Capsule Planning Template best for Nikolai. It fits him the best, and even though he needs some more work mixing and matching his stuff, he gets there eventually after the newness wears off. I guess it kind of is a toss-up between that and the 4x4 from Vivienne Files. I asked him which one he likes better and he says the Harper+Lu's is better.

For Samara, it is a tough call. I also liked the Harper+Lu's Capsule Planning Template but I also really liked the 4x4 from Vivienne Files. Mostly because that girl has a hodgepodge of options.

As time passes I think I would like to cross reference mixability with the Time for School Sudoku Planning Tool

I'm hoping that if I continue keeping up with something like this the kids may be able to, if not do it themselves, at least be able to fill the holes and needs in their wardrobe more effectively later on. Unlike buying things just cause they like them or want them. Such is my difficulty with clothes. Intentionality is a good thing! Right?

Do you use a planning tool when going over what to buy/sew for your kiddos back to school wardrobes? If you do, share the one you use! If not, would you use one or do you think it is too much work?

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

I Don't Like "Rainbow Fish": I'm Not Alone {and} Why We Will Still Read It {Parenthood}

I was first introduced to "Rainbow Fish" by Marcus Pfister for Virtual Book Club for Kids. The library wait for the hardback was forever and a day, so I decided to go with the board book. After all how different could the board book be? That was my first experience with board books being a slightly condensed version of the actual book. My impression of that book was less than thrilling.

Fast forward a few years. Our MOPs group brought back the Book Club for Kids we started my year as the events and creative activities person. The host picks a book, does a craft, and maybe a snack to go with it.  

The recent pick was the "rainbow fish". 

My son is studying rainbow fish in second grade. I realized in some conversation with him that I hadn't read the full story, or there was something I was missing.

I decided to go and experience the book in a new light. So many people enjoy this book. I felt I must have been missing something.

And... I missed parts talking to some other moms.

I decided to find a reading on youtube. We sat and listened to the whole story. I was let down by the story again. 

The artistry is alluring. I understand the want to teach our kids to share. It's the premise behind the type of sharing that drives me nuts about the book. There was more to it and I couldn't put my finger to what I didn't like. 

So I set to trusty Google to see what else others might have said. I can't be alone in my opinion in this over-opinionated cyber world. I found at least 4 (here, here, here, and here) posts. The rest, several pages were art activities for kids. Yet. I am not alone in my opinion of the book. Thank goodness, at least.

1st issue. overly prideful. I have this same issue with Thomas the Train. Yet, kids are like this. We weren't born void of sin, so that's understandable. The colorful fish would flaunt his scales to the other fish even though they wanted to play with him. Now there is nothing wrong with taking pride in god given gifts, abilities, and traits. Yet, flaunting them is not ok. The rainbow fish wanted to know why the other fish turned their backs? Maybe if he made more of an effort to play. It wasn't the fact that he had the scales and didn't share that was the problem, but the fact that he was flaunting them to the other fish.

2nd issue, the demanding little blue fish. Like so many of the other posts, this one bugs me. The rainbow fish had every right to say no to giving away his scale to the little blue fish. It was not asked of him to give a scale away but demanded. We don't demand things in this house. We ask nicely. At least that is what I tell myself and remind my children when they demand. After the octopus said his thing and the little blue fish came back further irritated me. Starting to not be mad because he only wanted one scale. Again, a demand. Not asking nicely.

3rd issue, the other fish only played with him after he gave his scales away. Like another of the posters stated, what if there were more fish and he didn't have enough scales to give to them all? He is essentially buying his friends using the scales? Are those fish true friends? Taken literally, should we harm ourselves for the sake of having someone as a friend?

My husband found it nuts that he wasn't happy until all the fish were the same, with one shiny scale per fish. He claims socialism undertones.

What I wish was that there was more to the growing happier when giving his scales away. More towards the rainbow fish's change in behavior and attitude and less about the fish taking away the scales and playing with him because they have a scale. Don't get me wrong. Generosity and giving is a good thing to promote, it's the premise behind it that bugs me the most.

Now, I'm not going to shun this book from my house.

The best thing about this book? All the room for this book gives for meaningful discussion with the kids. Life isn't perfect. Stories aren't going to present and solve problems perfectly. This book gives so much for us to use with our kids from the behavior of the rainbow fish to the little fish.

I hope my kids will be better than to flaunt something in front of their friends. I hope they don't demand things from their friends or expect their friends to give them something just because they have so much. I hope they know that it is ok to say no to giving a piece of themselves away, that those people aren't going to be very good friends if they demand or expect that.

All those points you can use throughout the book and talk about. We were lucky. My son brought up the book and a writing assignment he had from their study. What kinds of things can you share with your friends? He didn't know. It also happened to be my daughter's 5th birthday and she picked the meal. My son threw a fit because he didn't want to eat it. She picked chicken wings, tater tots, salad, and rolls and he didn't want to eat the bone-in chicken wings. It was the perfect opportunity to talk about the kinds of things that we can share vs. things we might not want to share and don't have to share. Our now 5-year-old chose to share some of her favorite food with her family because it is something she enjoys. My son decided to eat the food despite the bones in the chicken. He enjoyed dinner, and ate more than what my husband and I anticipated. And, he said he had an idea for his writing assignment.

I still don't like the book. It's not a favorite. But we may not have had the discussion at dinner about sharing. I hope that we can read that book and use those disliked elements for developing further meaningful conversations with my kids.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

1st day of School {parenthood}

When you walk your child up to the kindergarten playground for the first time, how did you feel? Excited, sad, nervous? How was your kindergartener?

I think having been a teacher help facilitate my excitement when I walked my first up to the kindergarten playground for the first time. Though this year, with my second, I was apprehensive. So many concerns ran through my head. Will she be ready? Will she follow directions well? Will she learn what she needs to in order to progress to the next grade level? She is such a young kindergartener, only turning 5 three days after the first day of school (meaning tomorrow!). I was not as sure of her starting kindergarten as I was of my first starting. 

It's hard to get over that apprehension. 

Wait. Back up a sec. School started already? It's only July! 

I know that's what you're thinking. How in the world have you started school already when it is only July. Haven't most districts just ended their school year?

We are in a district that sets up a "modified year-round" schedule. We love it. The kids were rowdy and ready to back right when it was time to go back. They missed their friends. They still have the same 180 day school year, but longer fall and spring breaks. If we were to travel, it would work out perfectly.

Still. I let them go despite my own nerves. The kids loved their first week. I was nervous. But as the week progressed I felt much better.

My kindergartener wishes it was full day kindergarten instead of half a day and my 2nd grader? Well, he is a second grader and ready for the weekend to play with his siblings.

The best way to overcome the apprehension? Time. I'm still nervous my young kindergartener will fall behind. I'm worried my play focused 2nd grader will end up needing remedial work in reading. But, only time will tell. I just need to let them be them. It's such a hard thing as a parent. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

2018 Finish-A-Long: Quarter 3 Goals {2018 FAL Q3}

Motivation is a good thing to have but so hard to come by! My motivation to do anything is extremely limited.

Having accountability through friends, link-ups, you, my readers, is great too. On something like the Finish-A-Long, it is very one-sided. We, the crafters and bloggers, post and share what we are working on, making, sewing, creating and that's it. We hope for comments and responses but those are not all guaranteed to take place.

So, here I am hoping to keep my motivation up to complete at least 1 more quilt this quarter during the finish-along!

Samara's Quilt

I got the grey border added during the last quarter. I just need to:
  • finish the last border (green fabric)
  • baste
  • quilt
  • bind
  • label

abacus quilt

I did not do anything with this one last quarter. I am really hoping I can get more of my craft space cleaned and organized. In my daydreams, it makes it easier to work on a project at this stage.

I need to:
  • cut pieces
  • sew remaining blocks
  • assemble to top
  • border if necessary 
  • baste
  • quilt
  • bind
  • label
Band Shirt Memory Quilt

The Berry Bunch: 2015 Finish-A-Long: Band Shirt Memory Quilt

I am adding this in, though I am sure that I will not complete it this quarter. I'm debating another border or calling it good. The black large notes is a flannel and have since decided against that. The backing will be Jazz Jam from Andover Fabrics. The colors and notes are perfect for this quilt!

I need to:
  • baste
  • quilt
  • bind
  • label

First and foremost is Samara's quilt, since I haven't made her one in her *almosr* 5 years of life. My time is quickly running down since the baby is due in about 7.5 weeks! fingers crossed! 

I'm hoping I can keep up the momentum with even 1 finish a quarter!
What do you have to finish? how do you keep the momentum going and the motivation when your discussing them others is extremely limited?


Thursday, July 5, 2018

2018 Finish Along: Finishes {18 FAL Q2)

Can you believe the year is halfway through already? The kids start school in about a week and a half!

This summer has been crazy with the kids losing their minds inside because it's just too darn hot to play outside and the only time it's cooled off is ... never! Usually, by now we have had a monsoon storm or two, but not this year. So we have not even gotten the respite from heat a storm gives.

I have managed a finish this quarter! (yay!) I only listed three in my FAL goals for this quarter.

Labyrinth Lap Quilt

You can check out the details here.

One is better than nothing! yay!

I added in the project planner from Sew Of Course into my bullet journal to keep track of all the finishes I have and what I have left to do for them. She has a pretty neat printable. I like the accessibility of having it in my bullet journal. Which I will have to move soon since I'm running out of pages in this one. LOL, but that's ok!

I am color coding by quarter what I have completed. orange was prior to joining back in, the pink was quarter 2, blue will be quarter 3. I've only listed 3 projects since those are all I can think of at the moment. I'm sure once I go through my craft space and organize it some (one of many nesting projects in the works as well), I will find more and write them down as I come across them.

How'd you do this last quarter?

Linking up to the Finish A Long! 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Organizing PDF Sewing Patterns {Self Care}

Organizing our things. How do we do it, how to get our plethora of junk squared neatly away in tidy places so we can find it when we need it and put it back when we are done with it? I am not the greatest at giving my things homes. I have too much stuff. And I am definitely not great at putting things away when I am done with it either, but I have been working on it and getting better.

But, as a sewist of PDF patterns, how do we organize those? And I am not meaning the ones already printed. I have yet to find a system in place for those. The hanging file folders in a crate is no longer working since it won't hold all of them! I am talking about those the digital copies we all have a knack for collecting.

Just having my pdf sewing patterns stored on Google drive, in a folder is starting to get a little bit stressful. I have a lot of patterns (not nearly as many as some though) and having them in one file got too cumbersome to sift through. Then I started separating them out by the designer.

It's really nothing special. But it does help a little. Surprisingly I am familiar with most the sewing patterns I have, but of course, tend to go to the same designers for the kids and certain designers for me.

Yet I needed a better way to catalog. So I went through and wrote down all the patterns I had in google sheets. I have them listed by designer, pattern name, the type, how many times I have sewn, and whether it is woven or knit (I think I may need to fix several).

Speaking of how many times I have sewn a pattern, these numbers are crazy and I definitely need to sew from my stash...
women's patterns owned: 52
                            Sewn: 17
                            Not sewn: 35...
                            that's about 33% of my sewing patterns I have sewn!
Kids patterns owned: 115
                      Sewn: 59
                      Not sewn: 56...
                      51% have sewn.

I locked the first row so I can sort the columns in alphabetical order by any of the categories. Which I love and has been a great help!

And I love having the different tabs at the bottom. Since In my folders the kids and adults patterns are all mixed in together, this makes it easier if I am looking for something for me or for the kids.

The kids' patterns I have listed the sizes so I can sort by size too.

I saw in one of the facebooks groups someone link to this tutorial from "Attack of the Seam Ripper" on using Trello to index your sewing patterns. Now, I am a huge fan of using Trello, but this process is taking me a lot longer than the spreadsheet! I am doing it a lot more slowly. I do love that I can link to the pattern I downloaded in google drive, I can link to project plans in another Trello board as I sew, and I can link those to my blog schedule board. 

I just don't know about organizing them at the moment, and I think I may end up changing the lists around. I'm just not super sure yet. But, it is neat to see them. all laid out so nicely.

There are so many different ways to organize your digital sewing patterns and to catalog them. How do you organize and catalog your sewing patterns?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Meal Planning Hassle {Home Life}

The never-ending necessity... It's like Laundry; you do it one day only to have to do it again the next.  It's exhausting. Especially when you have to fit it into a budget.

It makes me tired just to think about it.

What's for dinner?

If you can wing it with contents of your cabinets, freezer, and fridge then power to you! I need to have a plan. I cannot just wing it. It stresses me out.

And trying to decide what to make?! I still have issues like I talked about in this post from over a year ago. Do I cook for something I will enjoy, or something everyone else will? Granted, the family needs to eat too.

I gave up and stopped planning. What we spent on groceries pretty much doubled. We ate fast food and processed pre-packaged way more than we had been. Of course, at the time I wasn't focusing on the budget too much anyway. But, I needed to start figuring out food and lowering the expenses there because it was starting to hurt expenses in other areas.


I needed to get back to meal planning. I needed to have an easy answer for the "what's for dinner" question. So I started using the meals we were making and created a list in Trello.

As we went through the meals I would check them off so we had some variety until we ate from the whole collection and then uncheck them and start over.

It worked for a while. But I quickly grew tired of the process. I wanted to not have to be the only one making the decisions, but none of the meals sounded good to the other members of the family.

A friend had posted, on Facebook, about a freezer prep and planning site with meals to make for the month. I could fit the subscription into the budget, but the number of meals to pick from overwhelmed me, and fitting food for one month into the budget of half a month was not an option. I would have to at least go every two weeks.

Meanwhile, the question still lingered. Every day. What's for dinner.

These are the things I have started using to help alleviate the meal planning hassle recently and it's been working for the last few months.

I came across another meal prep option, in video form. The people were prepping meals in 30-45 minutes for the entire week. I watched several videos in a row and was impressed. The concept was similar, the price was the same. I decided to give it a try and if we didn't like it I would cancel the subscription.

The meals were pretty good. It was different than we were used to. But they fit into our normal (not inflated) paycheck budget. Plus we've tried new things. Things we wouldn't have even thought to attempt before! Just this weekend we had salmon. Both of us have had bad experiences with salmon. It was not something we would have thought to try. But we did, and we enjoyed it!

Even the husband was joining in on the prepping of the food! If you want to check it out, it is

The question was still there. What's for dinner?

But the kids enjoy looking through the pictures and help planning the meals. They like helping do the work on prep day (we do it on Sundays). Sure it takes us longer to prep 5 dinners than an hour (we use mostly fresh ingredients), but it has been amazing.

I started using Ibotta again to help with the costs. Since it's a rebate program, the return is not as fast. Plus a lot of the items are pre-packaged which does not make it into our home as often. But, with snacks for the kids, cereal in the morning, toilet paper, and craft supplies it does indeed add up. I've had a few gift cards come through for Walmart, and used to buy things we needed! It's not points based but actually change. I prefer that so much more!

You can check it out through my referral code another bonus is it doesn't cost anything to sign up!


Have you jumped on board the Zaycon train yet? We first got some ground beef. It was amazing. The meat comes in 40lb increments, so make sure you have room! It was yummy meat.

They just had a 99 cent per pound chicken sale. I had to jump on that. When you pay regularly 1.99 per pound, 99 cents is amazing!

Check them out through my referral code: 
I only get credit if you buy something.

As of now, Zaycon's doors are closed. Sad as it was awesome meat.

Click List

Our local Fry's Foods (Part of the Kroger family) offers click list pick up. 

I don't use click list to order my food. I use it when I am planning to make sure I stay within budget. It keeps a running tally of the price. I can see whether items are on sale with the ad. 

Then when I am in the store I have the app on my phone and it has them listed in aisle order in the store. Perfect to make the trip go smoothly and quickly. I just go in order of the aisles as I shop! It's been life changing!

What do you do?
I'm still working on ways to keep my budget down or to stay in my budget. It's a constant learning game. What are some strategies you use to stay within your grocery budget?

Friday, June 15, 2018

Tear Paper Craft: The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli {Read and Play}

"Mommy, can you read this book to me?" ... or from the toddler ... "Read a book?"

Day after day after day, book after book after book. 

I love my kids' enthusiasm for reading.

I just don't love doing it all the time. the same book after book, over and over again.

And now that it is summer, it is the perfect time to get some crafty, playtime ideas together. 

Our MOPS group is bringing back Kids Book Club from when I was creative and activities leader and I am super excited, I had to jump in! It needed to be something summer-esque like watermelon or ice cream.

Ooh. Making Ice Cream would have been perfect too. 

We are not making ice cream. I'll have to file that for later.

I went searching the library and came across a few watermelon books. Have you seen how many watermelon crafts there are on google? I didn't even try Pinterest. We love some tear-paper art here. Can't go wrong with having kids tear their own pieces of paper.

"You mean I'm allowed to be destructive?" As their little faces beam with every satisfactory riiiip of the construction paper. Hey, It's good fine motor practice for those little fingers too.

You need:
half a paper plate
about a quarter to a half a piece to a full piece of red construction paper
about a quarter to a half piece of green
liquid glue
q-tips to dab glue
black paint for seeds (little fingers make cute seeds)
         or black construction paper circles cut from a hole punch if you don't want to brave the paint. We just ended up using construction paper

Kids tear and glue to make a slice of watermelon. then glue the black seeds down (or paint the seeds) on the red. Super easy, super cute, and the kids love tearing the paper.

We read "The Watermelon Seed" by Greg Pizzoli to go along with the craft. It's all about swallowing a watermelon seed. It made me laugh a little given my current state. The kids didn't quite get why I  thought it was funny.

I'm super excited that the big guy has enjoyed reading this book multiple times over since this activity.

What are some watermelon crafts you have done with your littles?

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Sewing a Mini-Capsule: Update {Self Care}

At the end of March, I shared with you my plans for sewing a mini capsule. Or rather, filling in the holes of what I currently have. Now that it's the end of Me Made May, I'm ready to share my updated mini capsule.

And, now you know our big news you can understand my need for a mini capsule! One of the reasons I have been kind of working on the wardrobe is I had gotten rid of a bunch of my maternity wear way before baby 4 was even close to coming. I was fighting through this winter with elastic around the button of my only jeans that didn't kill my hips until I *finally* made my Love Notions Maternity Sabrina Slims and a friend giving me a pair of rtw skinny maternity jeans (among other awesome items).

I used the book The Curated Closet By Anushka Rees to help me out a little bit too. Mostly colors and what kind of items. I have way more than enough skirts for my lifestyle. Even if they are super comfy in the heat. You can read what I had to say about it here.

Here was the plan (using the 4x4 wardrobe sheet from Vivienne Files)...

And what I have now...

<img 4x4 update>
Added Items:
Ponte A-Line Skirt
Grey shorts
Mint Tank
Purple Tank
Maxi Skirt
Denim Capris

Ponte A-Line Skirt

Using leftover fabric from the navy Ponte pants I made a while back I made a knee length A-line skirt. Instead of gathering the waist of the skirt I decided to go with about 2" box pleats. They are far from perfect, don't sew pleats when the kids are awake and messing with you. Trust me.
 I've been wanting a pleated skirt for a long while. I would have preferred it in brown, like a faux suede, but that wouldn't fit in with my clothes and probably wouldn't ever get worn. It may be better in a woven material than the knit, but it didn't require any extra purchases! It's not a "love it!" item, but it is sufficient for now. I discovered this fabric pills horribly after several washes, so this is just going to be a seasonal item. 

Grey Shorts

I was given some grey shorts and decided to add those in place of the pinstripe grey pants! They are super comfy, and perfect for our southwestern desert heat. I'm super excited to have these and have worn them quite a lot recently.

Mint Tank

I used some leftover fabric from Halloween this last year and made myself a knit top using Pattern 4 Pirates Layer Me Up Shirt cut as a tank. It is so nice and cool in our really warm weather though I don't know how long it is going to last since I had to get creative about cutting it out of the leftover fabric. (shame on me, I know) ... I have had a really bad case of forgetfulness and ended up having to restitch the neck binding on twice! I don't know what I was thinking messing up the ratios as bad as I did. No matter how hard you try quartering the binding is not going to match up with the shoulder seams. Gapped in the back and super stretched in the front just looks so bad! I almost didn't fix it, but so glad I realized there was just no pulling off a poorly attached neck binding.

Purple Tank

This fabric is leftover from a project I had intended to make for the girls but ended up not for some reason. It's from one of those buys where you just get yards upon yards and then never use it. But it was perfect for this project, and I have room to grow. It's the Pattern for Pirates Free Spirit Tank. Super comfy. Super slinky, and super stretchy. I might make another top out of this material. Goodness knows I have plenty of it!

Maxi Skirt

I switched out my mint cardigan for a flower print maxi skirt. I got this from a LulaRoe seller who was closing up shop and selling everything discounted (IMO that's the best time to buy LLR pieces because they are way too expensive!) And I love the material. Perfect in the summer heat!

Denim Capris

I traded out pants for these capris. I am thinking I would much prefer shorts. These, I thought I got rid of, came from a time of my life when I disliked showing off my thighs in public and refused to wear shorts. I have since discovered how much more comfortable shorts are and have gotten over my thigh insecurities.

I'm super happy with how these outfits are turning out so far... (forgive my not so good phone pics, I was rushing through naptime)

Seriously!? So many outfits from a 4X4 Wardrobe from Vivienne Files! And that's not even all of them! I missed the ponte pants with a couple of the shirts! I am impressed. Now to just work on styling with jewelry, changing out shoes, and my hair (cause I am so tired of a bun and so want a haircut!)! 

Now what?

I'm thinking the cardigans need to be switched out for something else. Just one was not enough and I don't need them for the weather we have now. At least that is what I am thinking. Another top in that color, or a tank so I have a sleeved and non-sleeved option. I will need to sit on that one a little bit more. But now that our temperatures have hit a high where layering is just too much with the heat, I am thinking switching them out will be best. A lot changes in two months! I need to work on these things faster! LOL!

Although, I did pick up some cute leafy green patterned olive semi-sheer knit (mystery, it was from Walmart).  I am thinking it would make a perfect kimono. I assume that would make a cute layering piece and if not a cute swim cover. Not that I ever go to the pool. I added it into the plan, but with the gray. I think it should change places with the cream. But isn't it lovely?

I am also thinking of trading out my ponte pants for another pair of shorts. I haven't been wearing those either, it's just too hot and I can't handle the heat right now!

Had you been working on some self-care sewing?