Friday, December 31, 2010

May the Lord bless you    
 and protect you.
 May the Lord smile on you
      and be gracious to you.
 May the Lord show you his favor
      and give you his peace.’

Numbers 6:24-26 NLT

Photobucket photo

Handmade Holidays: Perfect Last Minute Gift for Moms

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Or for yourself...you know, a "merry christmas to me" thing. 

For months now-- ok, really since school started, I have struggled getting my older kids to stay on task from one assignment to the next...they'd want a break, or a glass of juice, or second breakfast, or ...and it would only be 9 o'clock.   Now, if the kids were in school, I believe they would have no trouble sticking with their work...but then again, I can remember even in school getting to pick something from the treasure box after a week of good "on-task" behavior.  Maybe what my kids could use is a little reward or encouragement to stay on top of their work...

So I asked my friend, Ana Degenaar to help me, and by "help" I mean, spend way too much time making me the coolest set of rewards cards I've ever seen.   They are so great!   There are 38 rewards worth 1, 5, or 10 minutes-depending on the value of the deed or work they were caught doing-and range from a piggy ride to playing a board game with mom.  

And now that I have mine, Ana has the cards in a pdf file in her shop, so they can be yours-to keep or give...and since it's a file you print, you can give a set to every mother you know!  

And they will thank you.  

What mom of small kids wouldn't love a set?  


Handmade Holidays: Easy Gift for Kids to Make

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas button bookmarks

How simple are these?  And the kids loved making them-especially 
knowing they were for some very special people!

I bought the ribbons/buttons from Oriental Trading several weeks ago, 
but I've seen some Christmas ribbon in Target's dollar spot, too-
if you can gather some buttons, they make great last minute gifts!

Are you making any gifts with your kids?


One Line A Day

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I think I can handle that.  

Mr. Smarty has been the journaler in our family. At least he's the one who's been most consistent with it over the years.  In 2009, he journaled every single day.  And for the past several years he's maintained a work-out log, documenting each run, cycle or swim.  And I love that he's kept those.  Really.  I am so thankful that he has written down simple, everyday moments that in time will be treasured details of what our life was like. 

But then I saw this book.  And wondered why I always thought he had to be the one to record our life.  Did I think my vantage wasn't worth writing down?  (if that is the case, why do I blog?) Do I think I wouldn't follow through or stick with it? (maybe...likely)  

I still want his side documented, too.  I just want to give this a try.  How fun and telling (and maybe even sad at times) it will be to look back in 5 years to read one line a day?

I think this will help me be more deliberate in adding to the journals I keep for the kids, too.

Do you journal or keep any sort of life log? Any tips for being consistent?   


A Cookie Challenge:: Dark Chocolate & Mint Chip

Monday, December 13, 2010

Do you know Damaris?  If you don't, you need to go meet her.  She's best known for her beautiful blog, Kitchen Corners-where she makes cooking for her family an art form. This month at KC she offered a cookie challenge -bake them, give them, then blog about them...cookies, that is.  

And the same week my mom flew in and what did she have in her suitcase just for me?  A bag of Nestle's Dark Chocolate Chip and Mint Chips-with a recipe on the back just waiting to be made.  

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 10 ounce bag of mint or mint+chocolate chips (about 1 1/2 cups)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla.
Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Stir into butter mixture until well blended.
Mix in the chips. Drop by a rounded tablespoon onto an ungreased baking sheet. 
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or just until set. Cool on pan for about 2 minutes then cool completely on a wire rack.

    Last week, our local Saltgrass Steakhouse (75 & Midpark, Dallas) let our Life Group wait tables with them and donated 100% of their tips to our Angel Tree families!  An entire night's pay in the month of December is a precious thing to a waiter-and they gave it all!  So, it was our pleasure to bring them some goodies this week to show them how much we appreciated their sacrifice!  

    I'm definitely not a foodie, but this was fun-and made even more fun by giving them away...ok, ok, we saved a few for ourselves, but you know...

    Are you baking any gifts this year? 
    Need ideas? Check out all the cookies at Kitchen Corners.


    DIY Sweater Stocking

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    I looked at my armless sweater and 
    realized I had enough for a stocking...

    Waste not, want not...
    Martha has a template, but I just used one of my kids' stockings as a pattern.
    Thanks for all your wonderful handmade ideas -
    I wish my sweater had 15 arms-I'd send you each a cozy mason jar.  
    Sparrow was the random generated winner-congrats!

    Oh, and if you came out to Saltgrass last night-
    thank you-it was a HUGE success!!! 
    We raised $2400 in a few hours for our sweet Angel Tree families!  

    Handmade Holidays: Cheap and Easy and a Giveaway!

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    DIY Mason Jar Cozy

    Last year's snack mix was a hit with my great-aunt.  By January, she asked me to send more!  But the mason jar cozy warms the gift a little, doesn't it?  

    The sweater I found for $5?  I cut off an arm and used hem tape to clean up the bottom edge and keep it from fraying.  (Hem tape is an iron-on tape used to...uh, hem things)

    And because it's Christmas, and the sweater had two arms, I'd love to send you 
    a cozy mason jar filled with yummy snack mix!  
    Tell me about a handmade gift you're giving or gave or gotten,
    and I'll choose one comment on Monday, December 6th. 

    December Thrifting

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    We visited the thrift store today sometime between language arts and science and found a few things.  I love this vintage Christmas tray ($2.43).  And I can think of a 459 things I can put in this milk glass cup ($2.42):

    and this white sweater ($4.99) is why I stopped in.  I needed it for 
    a Handmade Holidays gift-that I'll share soon!

    Have you found any thrifty deals for Handmade Holiday gifts? Leave me a link in the comments!


    Christmas Card Photo Out-takes

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    It seems as if my plans to get things done early so I wouldn't be stressed during the holiday season is just becoming a way for me get stressed earlier.  

    Last week, I made the girls a jumper and skirt for our Christmas pictures.  I love the squirrel cordoroy print from Joann's and Simplicity pattern 9854-that I'm sure I will be using again. 

    So on Saturday's agenda was our family photo shoot.  I always am tempted to show all our out-takes and attempts to get the one kind of acceptable picture we'll use.  If last years attempt was tough with 3 kids, this years photo-now with 4, should have been no surprise. 

    Happy Holidays!


    The Steam Mop that Swagbucks Bought...

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    The little one is almost crawling...well technically she is army crawling. And any day now it will be full-force.  And my floors are gross.

    So thanks to my Swagbucks, that I've gradually traded in for $5 Amazon gift cards, I ordered the Eureka Enviro Steam Mop. 

    So excited!

    Do you swag?  so worth it...

    On a disclaiming side note:
    You may have noticed Pajama Mama no longer has sponsors.  This is my choice.  It is freeing to me to blog as I choose as often as I choose and not feel pressure to sell anything to anyone who cares to read about my life.  Swagbucks is not a sponsor, and gains little from me posing about them.  But You may benefit -like I benefit.  I earn a $5 Amazon gift card about every other week just from using their search engine.  This is nothing, I realize. But it is everything to a stay at home mom who needs very little to make her happy.  A new book, a movie, a steam mop, school supplies.  That is all I've gotten from Swagbucks.  If you're interested, try it out!-And to disclose fully, if you start swagging from my referral link, I also earn a few more bucks-just like you will when you tell your friends!
    Nuff said.


    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    Belle turned 7 last week.  Her wish was to move into her new room with Baby Girl.  The room is now filled with girliness.   I love it.  We finished moving their clothes in this afternoon.

    So, there you have it-our girls' room!

    Handmade Holidays Quick Sew:: Pacifier Clips

    Monday, November 1, 2010

    Is it too early for Handmade Holidays?  Here's one for the babies on my list...

    Joanne's had a 50% off sale on notions last week.  I think I wiped the Plano store out of suspender clips.  I'm loving homemade pacifier clips...I'll give a few a way, but now BabyGirl no longer has to worry about her pacifier clip clashing with her outfit.  Whew-I know she'll sleep better now. 



    Friday, October 29, 2010

    To be honest (and truly grateful), I don't think there exists a better baby, and one more perfect for our family.  I pray that we are what she needs, too!  The other kids adore her, each in their own way.  
    Belle is enjoying being a second mommy to BabyGirl, 
    Boo is a cuddle-er and loves hugging on his newest sister.  
    And BigBoy.  
    BigBoy and BabyGirl are two peas in a pod.  They look at each other and laugh.  They speak the same language.  I love their relationship and pray it's always close.  

    She is sleeping almost every night through the night, although now morning is earlier for us.  I'm wondering if waking in the middle of night really wasn't such a bad thing, when we got to sleep in a little more...
    but it is a season.  

    We had our readoption hearing Wednesday-everything went quickly and smoothly and now we wait for her new birth certificate.  Then I'll apply for her SSN and citizenship.  
    Then we are done, right?  
    I think so.


    Drawing with Children's Books

    Wednesday, October 20, 2010

    Have you read Drummer Hoff?  We brought home a copy from the library on our last trip.  And each of us have commented on the texture of the illustrations...very cool.  Here's a page:

    So yesterday I had to try the style myself:

    Have you ever tried to imitate an illustration style? just for fun?


    Quick Sew:: Kids' Tool Belt

    Monday, October 11, 2010

    I mentioned Belle's taking Woodworking this semester.  She's really loving it.  She brought home a hot pink trivet last week and it's been used every night since.

    Remember these fabrics?  They're medium weight canvas, so I lined it all with flannel.

    I've missed sewing lately. What have you been making? 


    How to throw a Miserable Hot Air Balloon Party in 3 sad steps

    Thursday, September 30, 2010

    1.  Try to make miniature hot air balloons with helium balloons, Yogurtville cups, twine and masking tape.  Do this outside, so the balloons can escape leaving the cups behind.   This sets the tone for the entire evening.   Sad moments to come.

    2.  Take beloved child outside in the 100 degree heat and take MANY pictures when he clearly does not want to be outside.  These will be memories you will want to forget for years to come!

    3.  Finally, take all your beloved children out in the heat to honor the birthday boy with a 2 mile trek in flip-flops from the parking lot to the entrance to the Balloon Fest.   Make sure there are HUGE crowds and nothing a 3 foot child could see beyond the backsides of every other Balloon Fest go-er.

    Boo, you are such a special boy.  Thank you for having such low expectations that you are rarely disappointed.  I am blessed to call you my son.  Next year will be better, I promise.  Or not.