Friday, April 23, 2010

Sun Hat

Boy has it been sunny lately. Little man and I have been visiting the park almost daily. We walk or I ride my bike pulling him in the trailor. I'm going to be BUFF by the end of this summer. I can't believe how much weight that thing adds to the bike. Well, the park is great but has one drawback. No shade at all! They have these lovely, huge shade trees all throughout the park but nowhere on the playground. I don't want my little one to get sunburned. Me that's a different story. I need some color. Anyway, he has a baseball cap but, that doesn't protect his ears. So, I took a trip to the Outlet Mall. They wanted $10.50 for a tiny hat! I came home frustrated and not willing to give that much for a HAT. So, I searched online for a tutorial. Gotta love the internet and other moms who want to protect their little kid's beanies. I ended up making my very first, very own pattern. That was crazy in itself.
You too can make your own pattern. For this project you need a circle for the top, a rectangle for the middle, and bigger circle for the rim.
First, measure around your child's head (circumference). Take that number and divide it by 3.14. This will give you the size circle you need for the top. Make sure to add 1-2 inches for seam allowance. You don't want it to be too tight.
Second, take that circle and make a second one that is 2.5 inches bigger around the perimeter. It will be a smaller circle inside the bigger circle. The bigger circle = the rim of the hat when you cut out the smaller circle.
To make the middle, I made a 4 inch wide rectangle that was long enough to go around lil man's head with 1-2 inches of seam allowance.
Then, sew all the pieces together. I worked from top to bottom. You can also make this hat reversible by making 2 of the hats and sewing them at the edges wrong sides together. I used leftover fabric from making him a backpack so, it didn't cost anything.

View from the top

Modeling his new hat. I love it. Now his little noggin and little ears are all safe and snug from that bright sun.

Happy Sewing!

Craigs List

So, I'm becoming a little obsessed with Craigs List. I usually have zero luck getting anything. Of course it's already gone when I e-mail about it. But, luck was with me recently. I happened to be on looking under the kids section and the first thing listed was: Free Swing Set to a Good Home. Well, what better home could it possibly go to? So, I crossed my fingers and sent a quick reply. To my astonishment the owner happened to be online and responded immediately. Within 10 minutes or so we even arranged for pickup! I was ecstatic! My great husband and father in law went and got it that week. So, I pushed my luck. I have been wanting a bread machine. I want to make my own bread because it's healthier and cheaper and less work than making it by hand. There happened to be 3 on there. Of the 3 the only one available happened to be the one I liked the best. My loving, oh so wonderful huband went and picked it up for me the next day on his lunch break. I rewarded him with of course, homemade bread. I got the thing for a steal $20. They start at $50. This one makes up to a 2lb loaf and has all of the wonderful settings like dough, etc. Here are my fabulous steals:
My little man swinging away the evening right after daddy put it together.
It is so happy in our back yard.

My new friend who is getting a lot of use already. I love the smell of fresh baked bread!

My very cute little first loaf. It was yummy.

If you like Craigslist you would probably like freecycle too. Check them out.

Happy Baking!

Water Bottle Bowling

Another fun Toddler project for my little man. He is really into balls and throwing. So, I came up with an idea to make him a bowling game. We normally don't buy bottled water but, what better way to recycle and reuse and entertain a child all in one.
For this project you will need: 1. Water Bottles. I used 5. You can use as many as you want but, I didn't want to store more. Make sure to let them completely air dry before you start. 2. 1/4 cup or less of Epsom Salt or sand or beans. You just need something to give the bottle a little weight. 3. Food Coloring to dye the salt or whatever you use. This is optional. 4. Labels to wrap around the bottle. I wanted to make this educational as well as fun. So, I measured the circumference of the bottle. I made my labels 9 inches long and 2 inches wide. I made each label a different color. Then, I put a different shape on each label and a number inside of the shape. So, this will help with colors, shapes, and numbers all in one.

To Assemble:
Measure out your Epsom Salt into a bowl. Add whatever color of food coloring you want. Mix it up. Pour it into the bottle using a funnel. I used a piece of paper folded into a funnel. It worked well. Don't put the lid on until the salt is dry again.

Attach your labels with craft glue or whatever works best for you. I then put clear contact paper over them to make it harder for little hands to rip off the label.

Last glue your lid on. Make sure it is nice and tight. I can't even imagine how bad that mess would be.
Here's the finished project. I think they turned out pretty cute. Lil guy found them first thing this morning and has been having a blast. This project costed cents. I had everything on hand except for the water bottles. I saw a little bowling set at Wal-Mart for $5 but it didn't have numbers or shapes. The pins were just different colors. The best thing about this project is it's completely customizable. You could do letters or animals too.

Happy Bowling!

*Project for personal use only, please.

In Use

I am officially using my homemade laundry detergent! I am very hopeful that it won't affect our sensitive skin. I would love to do laundry for pennies and say good bye forever to expensive store bought detergents. Making the detergent was even easier than I thought it would be. It was nothing to measure and mix the borax and washing soda. The most time consuming part was grating up the blasted bar of soap. I started (key word) with using a hand grater. It did not end that way. I am not a patient person by any means. It was taking FOREVER. I am trying to keep life simple here so, standing at the kitchen counter hand grating a bar of soap all day is not my idea of productive. So, I started thinking about what I could do to speed up the process. A light bulb turned on. I have a blender/chopper that sits up high in a cabinet all by itself collecting dust. The thing claims to be able to break up concrete. So, I thought why not a bar of soap? So I dusted it off and gave it a job. It is no longer useless. In less than 15 seconds I had soap DUST! It was awesome! It made it so fine that it mixes in wonderfuly with the other powders. Making the fabric softener was even easier. All I did was combine the ingredients into a Rubbermaid Shaker bottle. Just remember to shake it up before every use because the baking soda settles to the bottom.
Here are my laundry staples sitting happily together on the shelf over my washer and taking up very little room.

Happy Laundry Day!

Breakfast for Dinner

At our house this is one of our favorite nights. We have actually made this a weekly habit. One night a week we eat breakfast for dinner. We love breakfast so, it was only fitting. Last night I made homemade biscuits and gravy. Yum! I did cheat on the biscuits though. I didn't make them homemade. They were still delish! Here is the recipe that I use.

Basic White Sauce
Serves one hungry family of 4
8Tbsp (1 stick) butter or margarine
8Tbsp flour
4 Cups Milk
Salt/Pepper to taste
1lb Sausage

Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Blend in flour, salt, and pepper. Cook over low heat. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Add sausage (brown before adding to gravy).
Hint: I usually don't add the salt. The sausage is enough salt for us.

Baking Powder Biscuits
Betty Crocker
2  Cups Flour
1 Tbsp Sugar
3 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 Cup Shortening
3/4 Cup Milk

Heat oven to 450. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Cut in shortening using pastry blender until mixture looks like fine crumbs. Stir in milk until dough leaves side of bowl (dough will be soft and sticky). Place dough on lightly floured surface. Knead lightly 10 times. Roll or pat to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with floured 2 to 2 1/4 inch round cutter. Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart for crusty sides, and touching for soft sides. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Serve Warm.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Tick Tock

Does this ever happen to you? You sit down at the computer to only check your e-mail and then find yourself on Facebook, and then one site just leads to another site. The 5 minutes you were intending to spend on the internet turns into, oh say, 1-2 hours. You look at the clock and say, "Oh my, where has the time gone?" Well, this happens to me all the time. So, I'm going to try something new.
Ta Da! I dug my little kitchen timer out of the back of my spice cabinet where it was happily collecting dust. Now, I'll just set it for how long I need to be on the computer and hopefully break myself of this terrible habit. Most likely I'll probably be so absorbed in what I'm doing that when it goes off it will scare me half to death. Wish me luck.


Tiny Tot Belt

My poor little boy has no bum. Poor kid can't help it. Yesterday, I think his pants fell down 3 times. I've had enough. I went into town today and bought supplies to make him a big boy belt. So, if you have a child that suffers from the same problem here's how to make the solution:
Supplies: Decorative Ribbon, 1yard of cording (measure your child's waist to determine how much you need), and 2 D rings (you'll want them bigger than the cording so you can pull it through to tighten the belt)

Step 1: Pin your ribbon to the cording on both sides and then sew in place.

Step 2: Place your D rings together on one end. Make sure to fold the end of your cording under so it will have a finished end. It was a beast to sew through this thickness.

Step 3: Fold the other end in the opposite direction and sew it the same way.
Here is the finished product.

My cute little model just couldn't wait to try it out.

Up close, rear view.

This is such a versatile project. You can use different colors of cording with or without ribbon for decoration. I also have an idea for using one belt but adding velcro so, you can change the ribbon for different outfits. I'm going to try that next.

*Please use this for personal use only. Please do not use my pictures.

Laundry Update

So, I have been looking for the Borax and Washing Soda forever. We were at the Urbana Wal-Mart a couple of weeks ago and I thought I'd look again. They actually had the Borax but, no Washing Soda. I went to Meijer this week and they had the Washing Soda. Yea! Now I can actually make the detergent. I spent a total of $6 which I think is great because it will last for several months. Can't beat that!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

One Week Boutique

I'm so excited about One Week Boutique! It starts on Friday, April 9th. It will be at the old Best Buy Building next to Ashley Furniture in Champaign. The address is 606 W. Anthony Drive. One Week Boutique is a wonderful consignment sale of infant, toddler, and children clothing. They also have baby furniture, toys, maternity clothing, etc. When I was pregnant with my little one I found maternity clothing for super cheap that still had the price tags on them. The sale will feature spring/summer clothing. The hours of the sale are:
4/9       9AM-7PM
4/10     9AM-7PM
4/11    11AM-5PM
4/12    12PM-7PM (most items 50% off)

For more information you can check out
Admission is $2 but you can find a free admission ticket at the above website

Happy Shopping!