Cole 1st Degree Black Belt & Gabe’s Orange Belt


I know, I know, it’s already all over Facebook but I had to share my thoughts about Cole’s tae testing this past Friday evening. He has worked so hard to finish this up before we move to Houston. The pic above is NOT Cole – it’s an adult in the class that also tested for his and got it. Cole made the same break before this man did – Cole got his on the first try – and it took this guy 3 times but he did it!!! It was just such a great shot, I had to share. If you click on it, you can see all of Cole’s and Gabe’s testing pictures at my Flickr account.


Here’s another pic – love these boys. They have worked so hard! I hope we can find a place they love as much in Houston. We will miss the many friends we’ve made at Gretna Tae Kwon Do – lifelong memories for sure. I called a few places in Houston and it sounds like his black belt will be honored everywhere but no matter where we go he’ll need to relearn all the colored belts to be a junior instructor to help lead the classes. We’re lucky to have such a willing kid. That’s almost like starting over but I understand why. The kids look to Cole already to help them with their lower belt ranks and he would need to help them with those wherever we go – even if they’re different from the ones he’s already learned. I am so excited for both Cole and Gabe and the skills they’ve learned. I told Cole they’ll pay off for the rest of his life if he doesn’t get lazy in his old age!!!

Never Looked So Good!


The realtor’s sign has never, ever looked as good as with it’s “SOLD” sleeve on it. Cole admitted he went out and hugged it after he watched the realtor put it on. HOORAY! Fingers still crossed for a smooth closing…

Contract Signed – Prayers for Closing!

clematis nice

We have a signed contract and signed counter offer. Now, pray that all goes smoothly (don’t you think we deserve some of that smoothness?) through closing. It has been a rough year. We have learned much about our limitations, of which there are many. Showing a large house with 4 boys for 10 months has been no easy task, and the last month without hubby has been lonely. Those who love me best outright lie and say that I’ve handled it very well. I highly doubt that, but my only real benchmarks are: nobody’s dead, the house did get clean enough to sell and we all made it to church on time most of the time. Even if one week Ben was in his camoflauge rain boots (it was National Rain Boots Week, didn’t you hear?). I am now in MESS mode – living proof that we do have lives and we don’t have to clean all the time!!! I will NEVER apologize for a messy house again – I will be proud to LIVE there with my complicated, busy life. Socks and shoes strung out all over the mudroom means that my kids are here, alive, healthy and playing and remembered to take their shoes off – good kids that they are. Books and magazines strewn about means we have a little time to sit. And think. And ponder. And perhaps even learn something. It’s only day one but I have high hopes for days 2, 3 and beyond…here comes SUMMER!!! I say, bring it on!!!

p.s. The clematis pic is from our backyard deck – we will miss some of the plants we have babied for six years. Don found a replacement “vine” in Texas but it was a little too Little-Shop-Of-Horrors looking for me!

Last Day of School

I’m extremely sad today. My boys are growing up. No more kindergartner for 2 years (and then I’ll REALLY cry!). Not to mention that my kids are about to wreak havoc on my life for the next 3 months! I absolutely love having them home but — let’s be honest — I’m not going to enjoy cleaning even MORE than I already am for showings, etc. I think we’ll be playing outside. A lot. I think I might pull out some summer plans that we made last year that we never got around to doing for one reason or another. The kids had some great ideas:

– talent show
– visiting an old folks’ home
– plant a garden (we’ve put off too long thinking we’re moving)
– surprise a family with cookies
– study birds
– visit a farmer’s market
– make homemade syrup night (elderberries, anyone?)
– pumpkin patch
– art night at a museum
– bike night
– rolfson track & field
– numbers night (I don’t even remember what this is!!!)
– tent in the backyard
– camping
– dance night
– cooking night
– campfire night
– no tv week
– reading night (okay, so we practically do this one every night)

Not a bad list to start, right? I’m going to aim low – one special thing a week. I can handle that!

Ben’s Minky Dinosaur Blanket

I posted earlier about Ben wanting specific fabric at Joann’s…well, here is what we did with our two yards of each fabric: dinosaurs on one side – green Minky fabric on the other. The blanket was super easy to do – finished in one afternoon – but it took longer than it should have (doesn’t it always?) because the heat-n-bond I used to put the B-E-N letters on gummed up my needle and kept breaking the green Sulky thread. If anybody knows how to do a satin stitch so this won’t happen, please, please let me know!

Step 1: Lay fabric out with right sides together. Cut to the dimensions you want (I could use tips on accurately cutting large rectangles!).

Step 2: Print out the letters you want in the font of your choice – thicker is better and easier to sew regardless of what your stitch will be (best are zig zag or satin stitch).

Step 3: Cut out the letter and either trace it onto freezer paper or staple it to freezer paper and cut out the same shape out of the freezer paper. Create the letter so the waxy side is on the back.

Step 4: Iron the freezer paper, waxy side down, onto the fabric you want to create the letters – mine was brown. Cut out carefully with as smooth of edges as possible. After they’re cut, you can remove the freezer paper if you’d like to.

Step 5: Adhere heat-n-bond to the BACK side of the letters as per the directions on your product. I would highly recommend using a lighter version than the ultra heat-n-bond that I used because when satin stitching it created enough heat to gum up my needle and keep breaking the Sulky thread I was using so for the three large letters I had I had to clean the needle and rethread about twenty times! I, myself, will not be using a wonder-under type thing again but pin my letters in place securely and just sew them on that way. Tip: I ironed one letter on at a time while the others were pinned to the fabric so I would have a visual guide as to where each letter should be juxtaposed with the other two.

Step 6: I started out satin stitching but ended up having to zig zag because of the gummy needle situation (see above). To make a satin stitch with your machine, just widen your stitch width and shorten the stitch length to 1 or so (you can test this out and create a satin stitch to your liking).

Step 7: Return blanket top to match up – right sides together – with the minky bottom and sew all around the edges using about a half of an inch seam. I used a dinner plate to round the edges of mine – easier for kids to make their own beds with that shape of blanket! Then I sewed all around, leaving a 4″ to 5″ opening to turn the blanket inside out.

Step 8: Topstitch all around the edge as close to the edge as you can get while fingerpressing the opening and stitching it closed. Then, sew around the blanket again about a half of an inch inside the edge to give it a finished look. All done! Easy as pie. Definitely a favorite utilitarian blanket around here – and it looks so cute in Ben’s room.

Please, please if you know of a faster, easier or better way to do any part of this project, please let me know!

Beach Theme at Home Workshop

Look at these pretty beach-y pictures mentioned at Home Workshop. It makes me want a vacation so badly (and boy do I deserve one since hubby left for Houston without us over 2 weeks ago!). The thought of an entire year or longer living like this makes me swoon (and not in a romantic way!)…I’m going to my happy place…in my head, anyway, and it’s A BEACH RESORT!!!

Flower Collar Tutorial from Katie Did

I don’t have girls but these two almost make me want to have another baby!!! What a cute idea. I think I’d like this idea reinterpreted with felted wool or even fleece so the edges don’t fray (though I much prefer the natural fabric and recycling of wool sweaters). Very cute idea from Katie Did!

Inspiring Bathroom Remodel

Check out this bathroom remodel from Fly Through My Window. Amazing stuff – and so inexpensively done, really. I like how she kept the orange. The fabric on the chaise thingy really pulls it all together. Lovely and inspirational!

Make a Duvet out of Vintage Sheets!

Nest Decorating has a duvet tutorial – by making it out of floral bed sheets! What a great idea for a hotter climate, or just summer. You could use a very lightweight filler. Would be adorable with Nick & Nora sheet patterns for childrens’ rooms. Gets the ol’ gears spinning in the head, doesn’t it? Check out local thrift stores for vintage floral patterns if you are into Shabby Chic. I have found some of the neatest things at Goodwill lately. I am seriously addicted.

Buffalo Diversion While Getting Sod

Some nice person from church has a tiny bit of sod we could use to patch in where we sold our playset a few weeks ago so I drove into Papillion to pick it up. Along the way there was a field of buffalo – with TWO BABIES!!! Two baby buffalo – they were so cute that on the way home, I pulled over to get a better picture (where, oh where is my Nikon D90 when I need it – hurry up and get out of the shop already – did I mention I kicked it out of the car and broke MY SECOND over-a-thousand-dollars camera?). Anyway, I was midway through the street and the big one actually growled at me so I was not brave enough to get any closer. It looked like it would come through that measly barbed wire fence and get me! I’ve never heard a buffalo growl before – and neither should you. Trust me! The video of Jack is just a bonus for his Dad who is still lonesome for us (I hope) in Texas. It was in the car on the way to get the sod.

Escapades with Ben & Minky Fabric Ideas

Today I went to JoAnn’s. Actually, twice. I hesitated going at all because Benjamin was grumpy and I was too. I knew the day would go much more smoothly if I just stayed home. My friend was going, though, and I love to feed off her beautiful energy so I went along with the idea, hopped in my car, and met her there. It helps that our children are in love (she’s 2 and Ben just turned 3 and he calls her is “grill-friend”). Anyway – Ben would not put down a bolt of fabric. It was hideous green with dinosaurs but he loved it. It was in the same aisle as the Minky fabric and he actually pulled down a matching soft green dotted fabric too – yes, he had two bolts. Unbelievable. Then he wouldn’t let them go and so I gave in (I had two 50% off coupons to use) and got 2 yards of each fabric to make a quilt for him. We had the fabric cut and when they bagged up his fabric, he wanted the bolt instead. He cried and cried for the bolt of dinosaur fabric. It was insane. I tried showing him we had purchased some and it didn’t suffice (anybody else going through the stubborn 3 year old phase?). I purchased some matching green thread and went to lunch with my friend. Afterwards, I found another coupon that was going to expire on Saturday so I went back in for binding material. I lost track of Ben and — guess what? — he came walking out of the aisle with the newly-put-away bolt of dinosaur fabric. What a crazy kid. On the way home, he slept with the fabric in his car seat. I told the realtor no showings for tomorrow because I am going to have to make that stupid quilt in one day. We’ll see how it goes and I’ll be sure to post pictures tomorrow. The pictures above are inspirational ideas found on flickr from Southern Sassy Pants, Snug A Bug Blankets and Baby Gees.

How to Make a Ric-Rac Brooch

Found at Craft Stylish. I think I got this link also from the Craft e-zine. I don’t know what I would do if my in-box didn’t receive their daily update. I love browsing through the collection and rarely does a day go by where I don’t like SOMETHING in their offerings. Inspirational stuff!

Making Baby Layette Gown out of T-Shirts

I saw this idea on CRAFT the e-zine and followed the link to This Mama Makes Stuff. What a great idea – take those super nostalgic concert t-shirts and make them into stuff for the next generation. Love downcycling and retaining the sentimental value. Great idea!

Craft / Sewing / Knitting Room Storage Ideas

I ran across a few articles with some great ideas on craft room storage. Check out these pictures and follow the links to the original postings for even more ideas! Hope they spark a little cleaning on your craft room! The pictures above are from Apartment Therapy. There’s also a fabulous video or two showcasing her studio on Anne’s Crafty Storage blog here.

Free Pillowcase Sewing Pattern

For those of you who are a beginner like me, check out Karlee Fuch’s FREE pillowcase sewing pattern here. Sweet dreams!