What I Made to Wear Wednesday: High Waisted Skirt

Pinterest is an addiction, if you haven't tried it... I highly recommend it!  Most of the time, I like to see what other people have pinned, particularly when it comes to fashion.  My version of fashion is to find what others like or is in style and make my own, usually by upcycling.  Some things are just meant to be, I pinned these skirts and a few days later my friend Sandy gave me a few skirts she wasn't going to wear any more...

Source: modcloth.com via Emily on Pinterest
Source: polyvore.com via Emily on Pinterest

Here's my version and how I made it:
 I started with a long skirt and a pair of scissors.

 My first cut was about an inch and a half longer than I wanted the final length.  My second cut was for double the width +1 inch for the width I wanted the waist band.  The bottom portion is in my scrap bin for now.

For the waist band, I folded it in half, ironed and seamed the whole things with an angle on the end (left an opening for turning).

 When I laid it out, this is what I planned on having the finished skirt look like.  However, I forgot about the fact that the zipper had to stay in the back (based on the placement of the darts, I wasn't interested in totally starting over, if I was, I would have cut differently).

 So, after a bit of trial and error, I settled on this.  This is the back of the skirt with the zipper, I never actually finished the one end.  Sorry I didn't take pictures, but I sewed the waist band on and top stitched.  I then wrapped the "tie" around and wore it pinned in place.  My plan had been to use a funky pin but while getting ready to go out, realized I didn't have one!  Guess that will have to go on my to make list.

Sorry Sandy, you aren't getting your skirt back!

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Peace be with you,

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Avoiding the Over Commercialization of Christmas

I love Christmas, I really do.  I don't however love the over commercialization of it.  Christmas is about the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.  If you disagree with me, feel free to stop reading here.

Don't worry, I don't ruin Santa Claus for my children, I just don't make him the main reason for the season.  I still remember the first time my oldest daughter asked me why some people get anything they want for Christmas.  Here is our story:

Every mom and dad gets to make a contract with Santa before their first child's first Christmas.  Santa brings one special present and some stocking stuffers.  It's easy to tell what Santa brought because he wraps his gifts in paper with his picture or big presents are sometimes unwrapped.  Gifts from others usually have snowmen, candy canes, etc.  Santa brings gifts to children but puts something in everyone's stocking, no matter how young or old.

Christmas is Jesus' birthday and we give gifts to celebrate.  On his birth, Jesus received a gift from each of the three wise men.  To help us remember this, Mom and Dad give each child only 3 gifts to represent the gold, frankincense and myrrh. 
Gold = Garment (an item of clothing)
Frankincense = Fun (game, toy, music, etc)
Myrrh = Mind (something educational: book, puzzle, etc)
Mom and Dad sometimes also like to pick up a few extra things for the stockings.  Grandparents and other relatives are allowed to give my kids gifts, I just ask that they don't go too crazy as it is important to not become greedy.  I also really like the kids to think about what they want to give to others and why.

And finally, a tradition started by my Grandma Marj, the Santa Mouse leaves a gift on the end of each child's bed.  When you wake up in the morning, you can open this gift and play with it until Mom and Dad are ready for everyone to come down stairs.

IronFish thinks I have too many "rules" for Christmas, but I think it is important to have our family's guidelines so we don't get carried away with the commercialism that seems to start earlier and earlier every year.  What are your Christmas rules traditions?

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Peace be with you,

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Mission Organization Monday: The Coat Closet is Ready for Winter

If you haven't seen The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking, I highly recommend checking it out.  I came across her site after her 31 Days to an Organized Home was over but still felt inspired to follow her plan. I'm not going for 31 days in a row, but rather using it as a check list for getting stuff in order around here, I'm trying to spend a few hours a day this month getting our house in shape, before I dig into my growing craft to do list. 

Day 1: Organizing with a Purpose
My purpose: My family.  I know from experience everyone in the family is much happier when the house is in order, me included.  The hard part is keeping it that way, but if everything has a place, the girls are old enough to put it where it belongs, now we just need to stick with it!

Day 2:  An Organized Coat Closet
Ironically, my coat closet is one of the better spots in my house, but it was time to change it over for the winter... before we ended up with multiple seasons and a big mess.  Here's what I started with:
Since our church is collecting coats for WIC, I designated a few that we no longer really needed.  Pool and beach stuff was put into hibernation.  Then I only had the winter stuff to deal with, like three sets of snow pants... Guess what, if you roll them tightly and rubber band them (or hair bands, like I used for the girls) they compact down and can easily be stored in a clean trash can!
 Look, they all fit!
I had two hooks on the door before, but I put them on the door when O-man was still in a car carrier.  I added a hook for him and put a label above each one, he can read his name and reach the hook... they all can now, no excuses!
Below, I had these bins before and tried them as one for each child.  What I decided works better is to have one drawer for each: hats, gloves or mittens, and scarves.  All labeled now (notice the trash bin to the left?  That's the snow pants, leaving enough room for the two long dress coats).
 Rain gear... it needs to be here year round, it just does.  The girls and I each have a jacket that folds into it's own pocket.  Totally worth the price* in my opinion, when O-man gets bigger I'll get him one, but for now, he gets whatever hand-me-down rain jacket we get, he just grows way too fast. (*Thanks Grandma Diane, otherwise, I watch for clearance sales and get the previous season).
 There you have it, a clean coat closet, ready for winter!
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Peace be with you,

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Basketball Lovers Unite

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of TicketAmerica for PayPerPost.com. All opinions are 100% mine.

I have a little basketball fan in my house.  My little guy loves sports, especially basketball.  In fact, he actually can be found sleeping holding a basketball.  For those of you who are pro basketball fans, TicketAmerica.com has your NBA tickets.  Check out a few of the teams below.

Chicago Bulls Basketball Tickets
Los Angeles Lakers Basketball Tickets
Miami Heat Basketball Tickets

Peace be with you,


I'll Race You To The Moon

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cafe Well for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
Well, the turkey is seasoned and ready to go into the oven tomorrow morning.  The vegetables are washed and prepped.  The pies are baked... tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  Black Friday not only means great sales... but the start of a new diet.
Then of course, Christmas will be here before we know it, and with that will come more food.  Sometimes I think food is all I think about.  I'm always guilty of over indulging in holiday treats and for the past few months, I've been really avoiding working out and watching my weight for that matter.  I know I've put on a few pounds already... who knows how many more it will be before New Years resolutions start...
So, put all that together and throw in Cafe Well's new program, Race to the Moon, and I decided this was a great program to get in on.  Cafe Well is a great program with fun challenges to help manager your fitness and health.  Right now, to the first 10,000 eligible registrants, can receive a wireless pedometer and be eligible to win tons of awesome prizes for walking, running and tracking their fitness ventures.  Sometimes a little competition can go a long way for kick starting a wellness program.
There are already some fun challenges, like "Not One Ounce Holiday Challenge," helping participants to not gain any more weight from Halloween until New Years (obviously already in progress, hopefully it isn't too late for me!).  Cafe Well members can even design their own challenges, if I were to start my own challenge, I'm not really sure what it would be... how about "Make Crafts, Don't Eat Crap"...
Enjoy your turkey day, then check out Cafe Well, and join me in doing something good for ourselves!
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Anyone can join Cafe Well, members of HealthAmerica can participate in Race to the Moon.
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Give Thanks!

My family has already started our Thanksgiving vacation... IronFish got home on Sunday from 10 days in India only to drive with the rest of us out to Indiana... sorry, babe.

We arrived safely after a completely uneventful 12 hour drive where I must say, even the 3 year old was pleasant 11.5 hours of the trip, amazing!  We'll spend this week visiting family and friends in Indiana and Ohio before heading back to the east coast on Saturday.

I just wanted to pop in and say thank you to all my followers and bloggy friends out there.  I'm approaching a year of blogging and it has been quite an adventure.  Starting this last fall really helped me to get through what is typically a tough time of year for me as dreary weather tends to effect my moods.  I hope you'll continue to stick with me as I continue to create and share my life and family with you all.  For you I am very thankful.

I promise to be back next week with some fun projects and I'm so excited to participate in The Girl Creative's Creating Christmas Event!!!!!
 Creating Christmas at The Girl Creative

The long car ride has given me time to think of some fun projects.  I hope you will join me.  Now, I'm off to Wal-mart to buy tooth brushes because I (and all three kids) forgot to pack them!

Peace be with you,


Pumpkin Strudelish

We can't decide if this is a strudel or a danish, so we're calling it a Strudelish... or we could go with Dantrudel?  Either way, it was yummy and easy... the kids had fun making it with me.

Yesterday I read probably close to 100 recipes... I just kept seeing pretty foods on pinterest and checking out the how-tos!  At some point I decided I needed to make another pumpkin based breakfast since pumpkin anything always goes over with the crowd.  My goals were 1.) Simple, quick, on hand ingredients.  2.) Decent nutritional value, fruits and veggies always help that!  3.) Low in sugar
I really did try to make it look pretty, it's just not a skill I have when it comes to plating food... cakes are the only thing I can make look pretty... until it's time to cut them and put them on a plate... then they look a mess!

Pumpkin Strudelish
2 cans of low fat crescent rolls
1/2 block of cream cheese
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon of brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Pumpkin pie seasoning and cinnamon to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a glass 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray.  Using one can of crescent rolls, roll out and cover bottom of pan, pressing seams together.  With a mixer, combine cream cheese, yogurt and pumpkin puree.  Mix in vanilla, brown sugar and seasonings, I started less on the brown sugar and more liberal on the pumpkin pie and cinnamon until it had a flavor we all liked... just taste it!  Spread pumpkin mixture over crescent rolls, top with another layer of crescent rolls.  Bake approximately 35 minutes until edges begin to look golden brown.

You can stop here if you like... we did the first time, it was quite yummy... we actually ate it warm and my pickiest eater asked for seconds!  If you'd like to make it a bit more strudelish-y, drizzle a glaze over top.

Cinnamon Vanilla Glaze
1/4 cup of powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
splash of milk or water

Mix powdered sugar, vanilla and cinnamon together and a splash of milk until smooth.  To thin out the glaze, add milk a teaspoon at a time... if it gets too liquid-y you'll have to add more sugar to thicken it up.  It will be a brown glaze, if you want it to be white, skip the cinnamon and use almond extract instead.  This made enough glaze for two if you drizzle it lightly.

Pumpkin puree is full of great nutrients and I used the Greek yogurt to increase the protein.  Next time I make this, I'll probably make a few and see how they freeze, if so, I'll make whole wheat crescent rolls in my bread maker to up the nutrition a bit.  I didn't figure out the nutritional value, but it's got to be better than a store bought strudel or danish!

Peace be with you,

I'll be linking up to some of these parties, stop by and check out the talent!


Jumping on the Band Wagon... or Leader of the Pack?

I know we've all seen the simplicity of sweater sleeves turned into leg warmers lately.  The other day when I was wasting time on Pinterest, I saw a few more cute ones and thought, I need to get some sweaters to do this with.   A little while later, it dawned on me... I have a box labeled "Sweater Parts"...

Now, where did I put that and what is in it?

Turns out:
About 10 sweater sleeves!  Plus, I actually serged all the ends before packing them away... I should have labeled the box "Leg Warmers" since I didn't need to do anything to them... well, some the thread is really obvious (ie, the red ones there) so I need to fold that under and hem it.

And now a random picture my son says has to be next:
I've been busy making lots of hats for the etsy shop, O-man said I had to put this picture of he and "Georgia" in... "Right der, Ommy"... between his coughing and stuffy nose...

So, while I was going to jump on the band wagon and make myself some leg warmers, I should have put these on instead of putting them in the box and I would have been leading the pack!
Guess it's a good thing, since at this rate, I'm never going to get to crocheting or knitting the chunky, funky pattern I drew up... well, maybe by next July!

Peace be with you,

I'll be linking up to some of these parties, stop by and check out the talent!


Pumpkin Spice Donut Holes

I know donuts are considered a breakfast food, but I try really hard to send the kids off to school with something at least fairly healthy each morning.  I've been doing much better at actually making them a hot breakfast since two of their friends come over for an hour before school starts, since their parents are at work.  So, while they play, I make all 5 kids breakfast... I found out they have actually been denying breakfast at their house before coming to mine... I'm good with that!

A few days ago I saw this post at Crumbs and Chaos and thought it was worth trying, especially since I had pumpkin left over from pumpkin pancakes a few days before.  I must admit, I never even thought of making homemade donuts or donut holes before reading this recipe.  I did make a few modifications and they turned out super yummy!  I wish I'd been able to take as pretty of a picture as she did, but lets just be happy I got a picture before they devoured them!
Here is my version, I tried to make it a smidge healthier, might try some ways to reduce the sugar in the future, I didn't want to mess with it too much on my first try.
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1/4 cup apple sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup 1% milk
First, mix your dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Then mix in the wet ingredients using a mixer until well mixed.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes in a greased mini muffin pan (this made a bit over 3 dozen donuts).

While they are baking, mix together 2/3 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons of cinnamon, in a separate bowl, melt 1/4 cup of butter.  Once baked, I popped the mini muffins out onto a cooling rack and began dipping them first in the butter and then coating in the cinnamon sugar mixture.

They were so yummy, I made one of the kids snap the picture since they were standing around eating them right off the plate as soon as they had their cinnamon sugar coating!  Next time I will skip the vegetable oil completely and reduce the brown sugar, I tasted them without the cinnamon sugar coating and I think the sweetness really comes from coating, so all the brown sugar won't be missed.

Peace be with you,

I'll be linking up to some of these parties, stop by and check out the talent!


Christmas Before Thanksgiving... Not for Me!

When it comes to holidays, I love Christmas as much as the next person, but I love Thanksgiving too and feel it gets totally jilted every year:
I don't decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving, I actually decorate for Thanksgiving!  I do however spread my gift shopping out all year and try to be done before Thanksgiving for the shopping portion, leaving me time to enjoy the Christmas season.  If I'm going to make gifts, which I try to do whenever possible, I try to spread those out over time also, but I like to leave "Christmas-y" things until after Thanksgiving...

But, I made an exception this year for my Etsy shop.  I got a custom hat request, ironically for something I was already working on... something Christmas-y.  I'm still working on "Angry Fowl" hats, filling orders and getting ready for a December craft show, but I've been trying to mix it up and throw in a few other hats.

What do you think?  I'm personally thrilled with the way they turned out and already have additional ones in the works.

Peace be with you,

I'll be linking up to some of these parties, stop by and check out the talent!
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