Friday, September 28, 2012

more Lexi

Lily and Lexi were playing 'friends'.
'Kayla' (Lily) knocked on the door and when 'Allah' (Lex') opened the door,
(I'm fairly certain no door has ever seen as much traffic as our front door)
Kayla asked to borrow eggs.
Allah ran off to the kitchen to get some.
She took so long, I was beginning to worry that she was getting real eggs, 
but no, when she came back through the living room, I couldn't see anything,
although, she was obviously carrying something pretend in each hand.
She carefully opened the door and handed the first item to Kayla, saying, "Here's an egg." 
Then she reached out her other hand, "And here is a chick."

(while writing this - the door has opened (and surprisingly, closed) no less than 8 9 times)

Lexi's reading lesson

I couldn't care less if my preschoolers learn to read
while they are still 'preschoolers'.
Tiger momma, I am not.
The little ones like to do a bit of school, too.
Until they get bored and / or tired; then they want to quit.
I'm torn on that one.
Do I let them quit, because - I wasn't he one who ordered the work?
Or - do I make them finish, because they started,
and if I let them quit, even if I don't care if they finish, am I raising a quitter?

Lexi often insists on reading lessons
(meaning, if Lexi is aware that reading lessons have, or will, take place, she wants one!)
We repeat a lot of lessons.
Which I can get away with for several days in a row, until she reminds me that we need to move the bookmark.
Sometimes, I hide the bookmark, so she won't see it, and remember.

As I've done with kiddos in the past,
when the older sibling gets a new letter,
I add it to the younger sibling's flashcards, too, so that by the time they get to it in the book,
they are already familiar with it.
Somehow, not remembering the sound on a flashcard
 isn't as frustrating to them as drawing a blank when we're using the book.
(Speaking of - you should see it - such a wrinkled mess. Definitely our most-used school book.)

We added the letter 'c' the other day, with the soft sound.
Lexi said it as a 't' sound.
I said, "C (the sound), as in cat. Say Cat."


Thursday, September 27, 2012

machine quilting

As soon as I got Lily's quilt pin basted
(I am considering spray basting in the future - any thoughts??)
I made a doll sized quilt out of leftover squares to practice my quilting before starting on the real deal.
It was bad.
real bad.
The tension was totally messed up.
I'd not really had problems with tension and free-motion quilting, unless I 
a) was moving the quilt too fast 
or b) had the needle going too slow
so I reasoned that it must have something to do with having the timing fixed.
Maybe they screwed it up?
So, like I do when I get frustrated with something, I set the quilt aside.

But. it's getting cooler, and Lily will be needing her quilt soon.
Yesterday, I tried more sample quilting.
Same issue - major 'eyelashing' on the bottom.
I called the repair shop and asked, was it possible that fixing the timing messed with the tension.
They said they didn't really think so, but that I could bring it in and they'd look at it.
The shop is 20 minutes away and I wasn't going to town.
So I sat my booty back down in my sewing chair.
I finally discovered that by setting my tension high (but dropping it back down to move from one block to the next)
my problems were solved.

I have about an hour left of free-motion quilting a flower in each block, 
but haven't decided what, if anything, I am doing with the sashing.
Part of my want to hand-quilt the sashing,
and part of me wants to just finish already, and save the hand stitching for Alabama Chanin garments...

Like I said last week, it's not one to buy, but I think it's worth a borrow from the library
and if it gets made into a movie, I'd rent it.
Of course, if you are looking for a great book to borrow, check out These Is My Words.
Now that, is a great book!
I pulled two old Catherine Marshall books off my shelves this week.
Meeting God at Every Turn, I read years ago, and snapped it up when I found it at a yard sale recently,
and I bought Something More from the thrift shop for 10 cents awhile back, but hadn't yet read it.
I like Catherine's writing style; 
 her books speak to me - without hurting my brain ;-)

for more sewing and reading, visit

needle and thREAD

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

another yummy dinner. for my sister ;-)

BLT Salad.
or as Tyler called it - Man Pleasin' Salad

I just laid out 8 plates (Ton' came to dinner tonight :-) Kacy was working :-(
and on each plate, put a layer of each of the following:

Romaine, chopped
Baby spinach, sliced
handful of shredded cabbage leftover from last night
onions, sliced thin 
(I even put this on the kids' plates - not a single complaint, although, if they were building their own salads,
Jeremiah, Lily, and Lex' would have definitely passed on them.)
cheddar, cubed tiny
diced tomatoes 
cubed chicken 
(I just cooked up 3 breasts in bacon grease
 I would have been ok skipping the chicken; my menfolk think they need it. They're prob'ly right ;-)
bacon strips

we topped it with a Parmesan Ranch dressing made by mixing 1/3-1/2 c parmesan cheese with homemade Ranch.

I'd planned to pan-roast sunflower seeds, which would have been a delicious addition,
but I forgot to.
Should you want to add them to yours,
before cooking your bacon
(oooh - or maybe after? Yum!!)
add a few cups of raw sunflower seeds to several TBS olive oil (or that bacon grease?)
in a frying pan and cook over med high heat for about 5-8 minutes and salt.

With or without seeds, this salad is scrumptious!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

broccoli and chicken ~ it's what's for dinner

Unusually inspired when it was time to fix dinner tonight,
I cooked up a broccoli chicken stir fry,
served it on super thinly sliced cabbage
and it was a pretty big hit.

You know I'm generous (some would say, to a fault ;-) with my recipes,
so here goes.

First, thinly slice 2 - 3 lbs chicken breasts while still slightly frozen
add 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
and a splash of soy sauce.
Give it a stir and set aside while you cut your veggies.

Slice or dice or otherwise cut fairly small:
a good sized onion
1-2 yellow squash
11/2 - 2 lbs broccoli

In a separate bowl, put a half or so head of cabbage, thinly sliced (thinner than you think you can cut it)
and cut crossways so the pieces are around 1 1/2 inches long.

For the sauce, in a 3 cup or larger container,
whisk together
2 cups water
1/3 c soy sauce
3 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1/2 Tbs honey
1/4 c corn starch
a few shakes of red pepper flakes

Heat a frying pan on high heat
then add a sploosh of olive oil (which is a tad more than a splash, you know)
and a smidge of coconut oil. If you have sesame oil - add a smidge of that, too.
Throw your marinated chicken into the pan and stir often 'til chicken is mostly cooked.
(maybe 5 minutes?)
Add the veggies and a bit of garlic powder (or a clove or two fresh garlic)
and continue cooking, stirring often.
(Maybe another 5 minutes?)
Throw in a handful of sliced almonds and cook a few minutes more.
Pour the stir fry sauce in the pan and give it another stir.
Reduce heat and cook another minute or two.

Serve over prepared cabbage and enjoy :-)

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Ter - you're going love this :-)

Jeremiah and Josiah came up with it all on their own.

They call it

I thought it looked pretty cool, so gave Josiah a small canvas to work on.

Your own artwork on the wall is way better than in the window :-)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

a bolero and a bunting

It's Thursday, and I've been sewing, 
which means it's time for 

needle and thREAD

I finished my bolero
and have made good progress on (another) top from Alabama Stitch Book.
All hand-sewn, except for the basting at the neck and armhole.
I just love these shirts!

The bolero doesn't fit as perfectly as it was supposed to - 
there's a little bit of weirdness at the front of the shoulder seam.
I haven't decided if I'm going to ignore it, or take it in a bit.
I have a hard time ignoring weirdness at shoulder seams so I suspect it'll be the later.
It should be as simple as trying it on inside out and marking where the pouf is
and stitching it out.
I'm bamboozled as to why I didn't get it right,though, as my pattern should have been perfect.
I guess things have shifted south...

I've even fit in a little reading - I wasn't feeling the Nora Ephron book,
so about half way through, I put it back in the library basket.
Tyler wondered how I could possibly not love something by the writer of You've Got Mail.
I was surprised by that myself.
I guess I like her scripts better than her essays?
I am, however, enjoying The Next Thing On My List.
It's not fabulous writing, and I wouldn't want to own the book or anything, but it's good light reading.

I also was able to get our crayon melts made into a bunting yesterday afternoon
and got it hung just before the sun went down .

I like it!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

melted crayons

When we got home after the reception, we didn't bring anything in except for food and flowers.
I figured I'd bring in the rest a little at a time, as I could handle it,
starting, of course, with the linens.

I went out in the afternoon to get the second bag of linens out of the van
and was met by the strong scent of  lemongrass.
From candles.
that had been, shall we say, warmed by the sun.
I groaned as I walked around to the back of the van;
this did not smell good. 
I mean, the candles smelled good, but the situation
did not.
Fortunately, most of the candles were upright in boxes, but there was one that was not.
It wasn't in a box; nor was it upright.
It was however, in a bowl - for which I was very grateful.
Also, nicely contained, and melty, were the crayons from the kids' table.
I was a little bummed, 'cause I'd been excited about having so many new crayons.

At some point during the week, I followed a link that led to Jean's stained glass bunting post
and thought, "That is what we'll do with our melted mess of crayons."

Saturday was an Alexander type of bad day.
For some reason, I thought all would be redeemed if we just did a craft together.
(yes, I know; you are all hearing "What Was I Thinkin'?" right about now...)

I set out to grate some crayons.
It took
What kind of person does this regularly? I wondered.
Stupid craft people.

I called in kids to help unwrap the crayons,
which sped up the process a tiny bit.

When I growled at the kids in response to their "What are you grating crayons for?" questions,
I realized it might not be the best idea to attempt a family craft after all.

Sunday was a better day,
and I really did want the bunting,
so I decided to pull everything out.
Brandon and TJ (who came down to celebrate Ton's birthday) joined in, too.

Since the mess was contained to the LEM, and the project was such a hit with everyone,
I left everything out and kids periodically went back to it on Monday.
(Of course, by Monday afternoon, they'd made such a mess, I was again wondering, "What was I thinkin?!")

I still haven't managed to turn them into a bunting yet, but just look how pretty it will be.

Which, of course, was exactly what I was thinkin'.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

the reception, in pictures

Let me just say:
the reception was a photographer's nightmare.
I didn't bring my own camera, 
figuring that Roselle would do a much better job of capturing images than I could.
And she did, but she didn't necessarily get pictures of all the stuff I would have.
Like my favorite flower arrangement in the old metal water pitcher...

Also - I think it looked so much prettier than the photos show.
In person, the eye was drawn to the pretty stuff;
in the photos - the stains on the carpet and the cords and such jump out at ya.

Over all, though, what I saw looking through the pictures,
was people having a rockin' good time.

we had to get creative with the flowers - they didn't go nearly as far as I'd planned

that tub - for the silverware ~ it had little trick-or-treaters on it; I just covered it with double sided tape and glitter :-)

 agh - this picture of that picture does not do it justice. When Roselle saw it, she got chills
and said she couldn't believe it was one that she'd taken. Adding glitter made it amazing! you'll have to trust me on it ;-)

Roselle made this (and the groom's cake) as her ridiculously generous contribution to the potluck.
I'm telling you - that woman sure made my kids feel loved!

My talented friend, Amy, with some help from another crazy talented friend,
made this awesome photo prop as a gift to Tony and Kacy.   It was sooo much better than I could have imagined!

the kids table looked a little more Mardi Gras-ish than I would have preferred. still, I think they liked having it :-)

my Eva. always serving. She loves me so!

youngest and oldest. How I love them. And all of the others in between.

When I presented the idea of a dance area to Tyler, there were landscape timbers and cinder blocks involved.
isn't he amazing?! Thanks, Love, for going along with my crazy ideas. And making them (and me) so much better.

three words - double sided tape

my Gramma!

Many thanks to everyone who pitched in to make this a memorable evening for Tony & Kacy.
and everyone else :-)