Thursday, April 10, 2014

We are official!

It's actually been a few weeks now, but you should really go check out our new blog.
Mae & K



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Monday, February 24, 2014

My kids' names

I would say that an important part of creating a blog is deciding whether or not you use your children's names. In my blog-reading endeavors, I have seen a few options, and I thought I'd share my thoughts on these options with you.

Option 1. Real names
This is the option I have chosen for my blog. I am extremely fond of the names I've chosen for my children, and I love being able to share things that involve their names. By using their real name I am able to share the story of why we picked the name we did, or I would be able to share any monogrammed projects with ease. Because I love names, this is my favorite option, and I love seeing what names other bloggers have given their children. If Cheri hadn't used her boys' real names, we might not have used Baden for our second son. 

Option 2. Fake Names
I know of at least one blog that has chosen this option. And I'll be honest, I often wonder if they accidentally call their kiddos by their fake blog names.
This option gives you more privacy. I know this is a concern for many people. Using fake names gives a blog the same feeling as using real names would, but without the added ease of sharing. I imagine when you use fake names you have to be careful and double check everything before you post, as well as making up an excuse if you wanted to share anything monogrammed. 

Option 3. Nicknames and Initials
I did consider this for a moment. But of course, I had already established Mackay's name as a fact on my personal blog before I got into sewing and sharing. It was a passing thought, but I didn't want to do all the extra work to go back and find every place I said Mack's name and replace it with the nickname. (Not to mention instagram!) But for those of you who are curious, I would have used Crash for Mack and Scout for Baden. 
Just like fake names, this option gives you privacy. I imagine this option is a tad easier than fake names. I may not call Mack "Crash" currently, but I might if it was his name on the blog. A friend of my friend uses initials on her blog, but she actually does call her kids by their initials as a nickname. Nicknames and initials can also be used in projects easily. And maybe people would find it interesting to know why you chose the nickname you use for your child.

All three options are great, use whichever one works best for you on your blog. 

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Mae & K

Have you noticed any changes? I'm so excited! My sister-in-law Karen and I are starting up a blog together! I'll still be blogging here, while our website is created. And then my fun projects will have a new home and this blog will go back to being my personal, family blog. We're probably still a ways out from having everything up and running, but I'm horrible at surprises and keeping secrets. I'm hoping to learn a lot from this experience and I'm definitely going to share!

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Baden: how he got his name. (plus cute pictures)

So we named our baby Baden. It's a name most of you have probably heard, because of I am Momma Hear me Roar, but I was introduced to the name before I started reading blogs.  Nathan asked me how I liked this name before we got married. And I was honest. I didn't like it. I thought it was too much like Braden, and just another one of those Aiden, Caden, Jayden, Hayden sorts of names that were hugely popular at the time (they're still hanging around).

Baden was briefly mentioned and quickly shot down as a candidate for Mackay's name. I seriously never would have even considered using it as a name, until I ran into this tutorial. Baden is so cute! I made Mack his own Captain America shirt, and really started considering the name Baden as cute and completely usable.

Nathan loves this name because of Robert Baden-Powell who was the creator of the Boy Scout program. Nathan is an eagle scout. His family has been very involved in scouting throughout his life. Nathan is currently involved with a Venture Scout Troop and really loving it.

When we found out we were having a second boy we had a really hard time coming up with names. I spent hours pouring over my name books and lists. I eventually came up with a list that included pretty much any name I would ever consider using for a boy:

Alvin Baden Benson Adam Ammon Amos Arthur Axton Baxter Bennett Blake Christian Christopher Dallin David Emmett Easton Garrett George Gordon Hugh Hyrum Jackson Jacob Joshua Landon Marshall Oliver Owen Peregrine Lucas Preston Ransom Ronan Samuel Talmadge Weston William

Nathan went through the list and crossed off all the names he doesn't like, and we had: Alvin Ammon Baden Baxter Dallin David Emmett Easton Garrett Hyrum Jackson Landon Owen Preston Samuel.

After talking through that list in depth, and considering middle names we announced our final three combos: Benson David, Baden Garrett and Hyrum Perry.

And then something weird happened. I started to call the baby Baden when I talked to him or thought about him. The nickname squirt hadn't stuck the same way Beaker did for Mack, and I'd mostly been calling our little guy baby. I tried calling him Benson our Hyrum when I thought about him, but neither had that "right" feeling that calling him Baden gave me.

I've always been pretty set against naming your child until you meet them, but I felt like I was going to burst if I didn't tell Nathan that this baby already had a name. I decided to ask Nathan if there was one name of the three we had that stuck out to him. He admitted that he'd also been thinking of the baby as Baden. Then he asked what I thought of Baden Perry. I said I liked it, but hadn't ever suggested it because he loved Hyrum Perry so much. We decided our little guy was supposed to be Baden Perry. Nathan loves that his initials are BP, just like Baden-Powell.

Right after Baden was born I think we both had a moment where we weren't sure we had picked the right name after all, even though we'd told our family and filled out the paperwork.


Now, I can't imagine him having any other name.



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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I decided to bring home my refashion guest post today. It was so fun to be a part of Magda's series! 


When I was little I drove my parents crazy because I kept everything. I would keep little trinkets and bits of this and that to create furniture, toys, pictures and other accoutrements for my dollhouse. Thankfully, I'm better now at distinguishing treasure from rubbish. But I can't think of a time when I couldn't look at something used and see potential. When I started sewing clothes for my little boy I knew there was a world of possibilities in old clothes.

Here's a picture of Mack in some pajamas I made. I took the old pajamas apart, used the pieces as a pattern and sewed new pajamas reusing the zipper. This was one of my first clothing refashions. 

Another favorite of mine is this shirt with a Harry Potter quote, made from a really awful pair of men's shorts.

This little outfit is when I truly fell in love with making clothes. I used a pair of my husband's wool dress pants that I accidentally shrunk in the wash to make the pants and vest in this ensemble.

Repurposed Nathan's practice jersey into a jersey for Mack.

Repurposed a top sheet into a hangout hoodie.

And this little pea coat from an old wool shirt takes the cake! 

When Magda invited me to participate in her refashion month I was so excited! I grabbed the last slot available because I wasn't sure how much sewing time I would have after Baden arrived. I haven't had a ton of time to sew, but I whipped up a little tutorial.

Jeans make a wonderful resource for repurposing. I'm currently working on a pair of Small Fry Skinny Jeans made with a pair of my old jeans and some scrap fabric. I want to share the steps I used to make bows for the back pockets.

In addition to cutting out my pocket piece, I also cut a rectangle of my accent fabric. Mine was 5x2 inches, I eyeballed the measurement based on how much of the pocket I wanted covered.

Use a rolled hem foot to finish one edge of the accent piece. 

Pin your piece onto your pocket. The right side of your accent piece should be pinned to the wrong side of your pocket. I used a 1/2" seam allowance because that is what the pattern called for. 

After sewing the accent piece onto your pocket piece, flip it to the front, press with an iron, and baste the sides. 

Cut out the pieces for the bows. I used a 3x3 square.

Fold in half and sew a tube with a small seam allowance.

Turn the tube right side out, tuck in the open ends and top stitch the whole way around your little rectangle.

Fold the center of your piece several times, kind of like an accordian.

Stitch in place.

Make another small tube. Sorry, I forgot to take pictures of mine. 
Wrap your tube around the center of your bow.

Pin your bow to your pocket.

Sew your bow onto your pocket. Make sure that your center piece has been sewn on well, and that the ends won't come up. Clip off any excess fabric.

Add your cute back pockets to your favorite pants pattern!

Thank you so much for hosting such a fabulous series Magda! There have been some fabulous posts shared by so many wonderful blogging friends, and I'm glad I was able to be a part of it.




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Thursday, February 6, 2014

I'm still here!

Baden in his monster hat from Aunt Karen.

I've just been too busy snuggling these chubby cheeks to blog. Baden is super snugly. If he had his way we'd spend all day long cuddling in bed. 

Mack sure loves his little brother. He is very attentive, and always wants to know where Baden is to make sure he is okay. 

Kisses all day long. Violent toddler love. 

And reading. Mack is super into reading. I've toyed with the idea of teaching him to read, even checked out a book to help. He just doesn't quite have the attention span yet.

We've been taking lots of naps around here. Like I said, this guy loves to cuddle.

Mack is helping me clean the house. I've been deep cleaning for about 6 weeks now. I made a goal to fill the box Baden's car seat came in with things to get rid of, and I've surpassed it by quite a lot. It feels liberating to purge! Though it was a bit embarrassing when Nathan's friend asked me if I was already pregnant again, and nesting. I'm really looking forward to finishing organizing the house! Hopefully only a few more weeks worth of work. 





I can't believe our little Ninja Turtle is going to be 2 months old on Sunday!



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Monday, February 3, 2014

Welcome to February

My life is almost back to normal, Baden will be 2 months this Sunday. I spent the whole of January living in a horrid mess because I had decided to simplify my life and get rid of a bunch of crap. Needless to say, sewing was not an option when I had free time. I organized and cleaned and organized some more. 5 diaper boxes full of things I no longer want, and a pack and play are sitting in the living room, waiting to be taken elsewhere. 
And as a reward for finally mopping the kitchen floor last night, and for having no dirty dishes besides the ones from breakfast today, I'm treating myself to a new pattern.
I bought the Tuileries Dress from Sewing in No Man's Land. I've known since Kelly first announced she was making the pattern that I wanted to buy it. I love how simple the design of the dress is. And that little pleated skirt! 
Then I saw this version of the dress with the button placket by Teri from Climbing the Willow. So adorable! 
So if you want to buy this dress you totally should, and for the next 3 days it's only $3, which is awesome!




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Friday, January 31, 2014

guest posting

I'm sharing a little tutorial for bow back pockets today over at House of Estrela  as part of Magda's refashion series.


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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Confessions of a Non-Chef: Karen's adventure in freezer meals



My sister-in-law Karen is the bomb. I admire her so much! She is super talented, and makes the cutest baby gifts! I need to share pictures of the adorable monster hat she made for Baden, now that his head is big enough for it. Karen is the person who introduced me to No Big Dill and Made and from there the whole world of blogging about sewing for kids. 

Karen is the one who made Mack his "Beaker" shirt. 

Anyway, she shared a post on her blog all about her recent adventure in freezer meals, and I loved it so much I begged her to let me share. Lucky for you, she said yes! So here is the post Karen shared on her blog:

Image credits: 1, 2, 3.

So I have pretty much not ever had any time to post on my blog in the last couple of years.  Between nursing prereq's, starting nursing school, teaching piano, having a baby, and now a new job, I don't see it happening anytime soon.  Sigh. 

I have had many people ask me for advice on freezer cooking.  I made it known via Facebook that I was planning to make an entire 4 months worth of freezer meals last August.  I had this plan that if I had easy dinners that were 80-100% done already, I would be able to feed my family healthy meals and go to school and save money.  It actually turned out really well!

First of all, I planned.  I planned and I planned and I planned.  I used Pinterest and food blogs that I know (thank you Pioneer Woman/Kevin & Amanda!) to find recipes and ideas.  I made an Excel sheet of the recipes, ingredients, and how many of each I was going to make.  I have used Microsoft Excel exclusively for the last 5+ years for my job, so it is what I always use when I am organizing my thoughts.  I made a prep plan that consisted of approximately 6 separate days of prep work (about 3-4 hours each day).  And I made a grocery list that was 3 typed pages long.  At that point, I was seriously doubting my abilities to do this.  I actually really hate cooking, so why would I be putting myself through this!?  But I was determined that this would be the best thing for me to do for my family.  So I muscled through.

Next, I shopped.  I shopped and I shopped and I shopped.  I spent about $800 in 3 separate shopping trips.  Walmart/Super Target employees wanted to take my life.  I felt the same way, because Walmart gives me road rage.  I hate grocery shopping.  (Why am I doing this again?!)  Muscling.

Ok, so now (wish I would have photo documented this - maybe next time) my entire kitchen and dining room were completely filled with cans, pasta boxes, spice bottles, disposable dishes, etc.  Four months worth of meals, remember?  But as I prepped and cooked, the pile was slowly whittled down, so no huge biggie (unless you like to be able to actually EAT at your dining room table).

Now for the prepping.  Every night I started after my children went to bed.  I had a 12-month-old baby at the time, and there was no way for me to do that kind of cooking with her crawling around my feet.  So from around 8 pm to 12 or sometimes 1 am for about a week, I cooked.  I cooked and I cooked and I cooked.  Every night I started out excited to put my little pile of meals in the freezer.  Every night I ended up throwing a tantrum and getting a hug from my poor, poor, supportive husband.  Remember, I hate cooking. 

In the end, I had approximately 96 meals in my big garage freezer.  It was stuffed to the brim.  It was beautiful.  And I spent the next 4 months pulling something out of the freezer one or two days before I wanted to make it, then popping it in the oven for 45 minutes or so, depending.  Easy breezy.  It really was worth it!

Here are some links to recipes that I LOVED and some advice/hints:

Don't make multiples of a meal you have never tried or never heard of anyone else trying.  My family loves this one recipe of chicken enchiladas, but it does NOT freeze well.  The tortillas end up with a snot-like texture and I literally choked this down with a "It's fine, EAT IT" directed at my children four times.  I threw out two more because it was seriously gross.  Fresh made, yum.  Frozen/thawed, snot.

That being said, you can freeze ALMOST any meal that you currently make.  You don't necessarily need to find "freezer meals".  You can also prep and freeze parts of a meal and then prepare the rest on the night of.  For example, I made a bunch of spaghetti sauce, taco meat, and cooked plain ground beef.  Then I would just thaw it out and heat it up, along with fresh ingredients to make my meal.  For the spaghetti sauce, you just need to cook spaghetti noodles and have some bread and a salad.  I could handle that after a long day at school.  Also, I found that thawing the meals out completely before heating them up helped them heat evenly and not have burned edges, etc.

Please, please, please use disposable dishes.  I know.  The Earth weeps for my sin.  But I don't have 80-something casserole dishes.  Nor do I plan to anytime soon.  You will conserve water by not having dishes, so the added garbage is evened out.  That is my position.  You can buy 3 packs of 8-inch square cake pans from Walmart for $1.  Casseroles that size were perfect and sometimes too big for my family of four and baby.  I put the spaghetti sauce, taco meat, and plain ground beef in quart-sized freezer bags.  Again, that amount was perfect for my family. 

If you are going to bag something that is very liquid-y, double bag.  Don't think you don't have to.  You have to.  The tantrums mentioned earlier were caused by the following.  I spent all night cooking, putting things like chili or smothered burrito mix into gallon freezer bags.  Then when I took my work out to the freezer, inevitably bags would magically open AS I LIFTED THEM TO THE FREEZER SHELF.  Two nights in a row I had food literally down my entire front, all over the garage floor, and all over the freezer.  At 1 am.  Hence tantrum, hence poor supportive husband.  Please, for the love of all things holy, double bag!

K, now for the recipes!  If you actually read this far, bless you.

Chicken spaghetti (my family's favorite) - Seriously, so good.  Freezes really, really well.

Lasagna - I had never made homemade lasagna before.  I almost just bought a bunch of frozen ones at the store, but decided to save a little money and go outside my comfort zone.  I'm so glad I did.  Homemade lasagna is awesome, and not as hard as you think.

Homemade Hot Pockets - these were a big hit with my kids, and SO easy for those nights I didn't even want to deal with the oven because I was so school-wasted.  I also used Rhode's roll dough instead of making from scratch, which made it even easier!

Tater Tot Casserole - I made several of these dinner-style, with ground beef and veggies.  I also made some breakfast-style, with eggs and bacon pieces.  Both are really yum.

Shepherd's Pie - This is one I had never made before.  But it ended up being awesome and freezing really well.

Fiesta - I would call this chili, but my husband wouldn't let me because I put corn in it.  Whatever.  This was one that ended up all over me when I didn't double bag.

Smothered Burritos - this was so easy!  I chopped up the raw steaks, dumped them along with 2 cans of enchilada sauce and 2 beef bouillon cubes in a freezer bag, and then thawed and cooked it in a crock pot as the recipe says.  Another one that was all over me.  This was a favorite, and I will be doing it again.  I think this time, I will completely cook it and then freeze it, so all I have to do is thaw it and heat it up before putting it in tortillas.

Spaghetti Sauce - I have been making spaghetti sauce like this since my mom did it when I was a kid.  1 lb ground beef, 1 spaghetti sauce seasoning packet, 1 can tomato sauce, about 1/2 tomato sauce can of water.  The end. 

Taco Meat - Even easier than spaghetti sauce.  1 lb ground beef, 1 packet taco seasoning, water as directed on seasoning packet.

Plain Ground Beef - I just browned some ground beef and split it into freezer bags to be used for Hamburger Helper or other things like that. 

I had some others that my family ended up not liking or they didn't freeze well.  So they were kicked off the list for next time.

I hope this crazy giant, non-picture blog post helps you get motivated to do freezer cooking.  It really did save my family money, saved me time in the long run, and it kept us from eating out.  Even with the frustrations and some failed meals, I am definitely going to do this again for next semester.

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Friday, January 17, 2014

4 years ago

Four years ago a cute boy handed me a note during church...

"Dear Maegen,
So you know that i really like you. and we've talked about this train officially being on the tracks. so i'm just gonna be brutaly honest. nothing would make me happier right now. :)
lol... check yes or no
(little boxes under the yes and no)
Your almost boyfriend,
Nathan"

OK, so to explain it a little. The "dear Maegen" really needs no explication, and neither does the, "so you know that I really like you." The train he mentioned comes from when my dad asked me who was driving the crazy train, and Nathan and I talked about it and decided we're driving it together. The brutally honest bit was basically the theme of our relationship because we had both just come out of disappointing relationships and neither of us was interested in playing games. We still try to be "brutally honest" about everything we are feeling. The check yes or no comes from the George Strait song, which we both like. The almost boyfriend is from me calling him that after stealing his ring.

I could never have imagined where my life would go after I checked yes.

And I really couldn't be happier.




Unless Baden wanted to start sleeping through the night...

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Drafts

I don't know about you, but I tend to write up blog posts that just sit and sit for ages.
Drafts.
I think I have around 35 for this blog.
And some of them are really old. And I'm probably never going to post them. And I should really just get rid of them.
Right?
But then the "what if" thought comes.
I'm never going to delete those drafts, because I'm a "keeper."
Some people would say "pack rat."
And I think I can live with that.
I got an award for it in 5th grade.
I know you're all wondering...
I still have the award.

Back to drafts.
Do you have things you've written and haven't posted? Either because you decided halfway through that the idea wasn't worth posting after all, or because you're too scared to share what you're thinking?

And for those of you wondering...
Yes, this post did sit as a draft for a while.

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Monday, January 6, 2014

Yarn Wrapped Letters

Yarn wrapped letters are an adorable craft I've seen all over pinterest. I don't have my own little girl, but I have made them for others. 
A for Avery.


How cute are they?! 
And they're very easy, just time consuming. (especially the A, and I'm assuming all enclosed letters-- D, B, O, P-- will be the same). If you make the letters yourself they're pretty inexpensive. I made all 5 of these letters using cardboard and paper maché. The flowers are removable hair clips. These are one of my favorite baby gifts to give!
I'm definitely planning to make some letters like these when we have a little girl. Whether I do her full name--like I did for Lucy-- or just an initial will depend on what we choose for a name. 


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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Hello 2014!

I would say I've been AWOL, but the fact of the matter is that I've actually been ABIHABWHTGITNICU (away because I had a baby who had to go into the NICU). So I know you all understand. And I know all of you who have more than one child understand how your sweet little two-year-old can suddenly turn into a horrible tantrum throwing monster who doesn't let you get a thing done.
So maybe I haven't been sewing or blogging. And there's a good possibility I won't participate in the Project Run and Play Sew-Along this season, which makes me sad, but I have a cute baby I can snuggle to make me happy again. As I get used to this mom-of-two thing, I am finding I have a little bit more down time (that I'm not using to nap) and I'm trying to get caught up on reading blogs (400+ posts behind), and also devouring the first two books in the Divergent series (have you read it?!) as well as a few other novels. Updating my own blog hasn't been high on my priority list, but I don't want to stop completely. This month you may just get to know me really well. We'll see what I decide to blog about while I don't have time to sew.


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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Baden

Well our little Badenator has made quite an entrance into the world, and I haven't been on a computer since he got here.
I'm not done writing out the full story, but here are some quick details for those of you just dying to know. All the pictures are from instagram.

Baden Perry arrived at 12:20 am on December 9th.

He was 7lbs, 5oz and 19 inches long. He came with a full head of hair!

I got to hold him for a little while after he was born, but he wasn't crying very much and they ended up taking him away to the NICU.
Me getting to hold Baden for the second time, after they whisked him away to the NICU.

This was taken last week. He had TTN, pneumonia and jaundice. 

He has blue eyes and a cute little mohawk. 

Our most recent update is that his lungs are clear of pneumonia and TTN, the jaundice is long gone. He's a champion breastfeeder, and is doing a good job of gaining weight. He's been in the NICU for 9 days now, and can come home just as soon as he's been weaned off the oxygen. Mack still hasn't gotten to meet Baden-- siblings are banned from the NICU during RSV season.

Here's Baden and Daddy just last night. 


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