Sunday, January 29, 2012

flourless peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

flourless choc chip cookies

For our scavenger hunt last weekend, I knew the boys would need a fun snack after all the running around.  The idea was for Emma G and I to make cookies together.  However, she was more interested in watching the boys find the clues, so I did it solo.  I tried out a new cookie recipe that I had been eyeing for a while, Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies courtesy of Martha Stewart. They were a hit.  Many of the comments mentioned chilling the dough.  Although this might be helpful, I don't think it's necessary.  The dough was very crumbly but I just pressed it together to form a ball and it was fine.  They pretty much stay in a ball as they cook and are very soft and crumbly still after baked, but they are very, very good.  They are perfect for those with gluten allergies.  Just know that the recipe only makes about 24 cookies.  That might sound like a lot but not when you have hungry boys that have been running around looking for clues. :)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

scavenger hunt fun

scavenger hunt clue

Well, the "plan" for today's post was to post photos from our fun scavenger hunt we had last weekend inspired by The Future Door. However, technology was not in my favor this week. My hard drive went bad. There is mostly good news to this story. I was able to transfer just about everything safely to my hard drive. Everything, that is, except my scavenger hunt photos. All but the photo above were corrupted. You'll just have to take my word for it. It was a blast. The boys had such a good time. Joshua asked if we could do another one the next day! I did get a photo of the grand prize winner with his copy of The Future Door but, like I said, it was corrupted. Be sure to read my review! Young boys would love this Sherlock Holmes inspired series!

Side note: My computer is now in the shop for the next several days getting a new hard drive. I think it's the perfect time to take that blogging break I wondered about. I'll see you when I see you! Before I go, I do have our scavenger hunt snack recipe scheduled for tomorrow. Have a great week, peeps, and I'll see you soon!

Friday, January 27, 2012

a bundle of goodness

doll clothes

I love being able to give handmade gifts.  I know some people could care less, but for me, it's so satisfying.  I was riding high on the fun of sewing baby doll clothes when I realized they would make the perfect gift for an upcoming birthday party for our friend's little girl.  After double checking that she did indeed have the right size doll, I got to work.  Unfortunately Miss Emma G wasn't able to help me this time (I mostly worked on the items while she was in school or in the evening), but she did give her stamp of approval.

knit dress & bloomers

I already had a couple of knit items made, so I added bloomers to go with the dress.  I had never made these before but they were easy enough as long as I remembered to pull the elastic as I sewed.  (Pattern here and bloomer instructions here.)

dress & diaper cover

I made a dress to go with the knit diaper cover.  It's reversible which makes it all the more fun. I love the criss cross it makes in the back. I did have to make it slightly bigger to fit a Cabbage Patch Kid sized doll. I believe I printed it at 120% and then I made the straps longer.

doll outfit set

I also made an outfit like the one Emma G and I made together (pattern here).  I cut the ruffle wider this time (6 in.) so the shirt would cover more belly. :)

stack of diapers

diapers and wipes

Then I found the easiest tutorial on making little diapers using felt and velcro.  You could easily make these without a sewing machine using stick-on velcro or hand stitching it on. But wait...you can't have diapers without some wipes, right?  I saw this idea on Pinterest, and put my pinking shears to work. Again easy, and oh, so cute!

baby blanket for doll

name tag

I had originally planned on putting the gifts into some kind of diaper bag, but I just couldn't find the "right" one, and I didn't think I would have time to make one. I found a small flannel remnant that was perfect for a little blanket. A little bias tape and some pink fabric I already had, and not only did I have a blanket (and cute name tag), but something to wrap everything in!

sweet as candy

I seriously think this is my most favorite birthday gift I've ever given. It all came together so easily, and I had so much fun making everything. You should see my Pinterest Sewing board.  I have so many plans for making little doll clothes and accessories for Emma G's babies!

StudioJRU

Linking up with Jennifer @ Studio JRU for Sneak Peek Friday.  Lots of creativity to see over there on Fridays!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

the future door {review}

the future door

Quick Synopsis

A mystery is afoot at 221 Baker Street, but will Griffin Sharpe be able to figure out the clues before the future catches up with the past?

When Sherlock Holmes moves out of Baker Street, a new tenant moves in—a mysterious woman named Elizabeth who has long been a fan of Holmes. When she discovers that Griffin and his uncle are also detectives, she becomes very friendly. So when Elizabeth goes missing along with a special invention, Griffin sets out to rescue her.  But finding Elizabeth will take them on a race against the clock that bends time itself!

Review

The Future Door is the second in the kid's series, No Place Like Holmes.  I love that the smart detective, Griffin Sharpe, is a kid.  He is a budding Sherlock Holmes which has his uncle, Rupert Snodgrass, inventor of some crazy contraptions, slightly jealous and proud at the same time.  It's such a fun adventure book that incorporates Biblical truths like God using "even the most painful tragedies for good."  I also love how the book throws out one liners of the clues Griffin sees when he's in a sticky situation or when he's trying to figure out a crime.  I think it helps kids think and draw conclusions for the outcome.  I would definitely recommend this book!  Silly names (Snodgrass??), problem solving adventures, and truths from God's word?  Need I say more?

My nine year old boy's opinion of the book..."it's cool and mysterious." There you have it.

Recommended age: 8 and up
The Future Door flipbook


Disclosure: I received a copy of The Future Door free in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.  This weekend look for the fun scavenger hunt we did inspired by the book!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

it's where i am

in the clouds

Do you ever have those days (or maybe even weeks) where your head feels like it's living in a cloud and you just can't focus or think properly?  I feel like I've been that way since last week.  I need to prioritize some of the things I'm doing (including some new stuff which I can't wait to share more about in the next couple of weeks!), but I feel like I'm playing catch up everyday.  It's like I'm running but getting nowhere. What I need to do is stop, catch my breath, clear my head, and make time to focus on prioritizing.  Maybe I need a blogging break (again).

Do you ever feel like this? How do you get out of the cloud?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

chase it down

chase down your passion

Monday, January 23, 2012

it was calculated :: risk

With my 2012 "word" being risk, I am studying risk takers in the Bible.
It's fascinating to learn these nuggets from Bible greats.

I love studying Joshua, a great leader that seemed to obey God without question, in this risk series. However, I add Moses to this series, because I think I can relate to him a little bit more.

burning

God appeared to Moses in a burning bush.  A BURNING BUSH!  What an obvious sign that God was about to speak something important!  I know the task at hand, to bring the people out of Egypt, was not an easy one.  I guess that's why Moses brought up every excuse in the book of why he couldn't do it.

There's a difference between knowing you're inadequate and that you need to rely on God, and whining, complaining, and making excuses with an "I can't" attitude. 

It says that, after the last excuse of not being eloquent of speech, God's anger burned, resulting in Him giving Aaron as Moses' mouthpiece.  Moses did end up obeying after all his excuses were thwarted.  He knew the difficulty of what he was being asked to do.  He didn't show a blind faith. Instead he calculated the risk and then obeyed. What a journey, witnessing amazing miracles, relying on God for food and seeing it rain down from heaven, and being the one God chose to deliver the Ten Commandments.

I can only imagine the Moses pre-wilderness was a completely different Moses post-wilderness.  I wonder if he ever regretted whining like a child in those early days.  God may call me to risk, but that doesn't mean He's not there beside me through it all...

Scripture reference: Exodus 3, 4

Sunday, January 22, 2012

hearty chicken minestrone

hearty chicken minestrone

We recently celebrated with our friends as they brought their son home from Ethiopia!  To help ease them into a life with three kids, we brought a meal to them, Hearty Chicken Minestrone from The Kitchn.  I used to never try out new recipes on people other than my family, but it seems that is becoming the norm now.  I've never cooked with chard and loved this addition to the soup.  I did use canned beans for the sake of time (I didn't plan well to use dry), and I used MSG free chicken broth (love the convenience of chicken broth in a carton, hate the MSG part so I spend a little extra to get it without).  I would definitely make this again!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

raw and imperfect

Joshua recently asked me if I would post some of his photos.  I love that he even cares about that and that he asked me.  He really is getting quite good, and I want to encourage him in it as much as possible.  It was one of those weeks, however, that felt like it left little time to have some fun shooting (both for him and myself).

raw & imperfect

He took this photo of me during our Valentine's Photo Booth shoot.  I really like his composition, and that's why I'm posting it.  I don't like the dark circles under my eyes (it was a not makeup day), or the fact that I didn't blow dry my hair.  Obviously I had better things to do on this day, and I did not think I would have my photo taken.  However, I post it because it's raw (I resisted the temptation to edit it) and because I need to let go of my perfectionistic tendencies sometimes (this post awakened that). Sometimes letting go is part of taking a risk, isn't it?

Friday, January 20, 2012

because every girl needs a pink gator

When my friend, Stacy, called me in October telling me that the only gift her daughter requested for Christmas was a pink alligator, I knew I needed to help her out.  I mean, every girl needs a pink gator, right?

pink gator

As I browsed Ravelry, I found the perfect pattern, Plush Alligator by Kristi Benedict.  It was well worth the $5.  The belly is my favorite!  This gator is actually quite long, 18 inches, if I remember correctly, but it knits up super fast using a bulky yarn.  I used Lion Brand Thick & Quick in white and pink and wooden buttons for the eyes.  I'm a total fan of wooden buttons.

awesome belly

wooden eyes

If you know a girl who needs a pink gator, let me know, because I'm in the business of making sure every girl has a pink gator in her life. :)

StudioJRU

Linking up with Jennifer @ Studio JRU for Sneak Peek Friday.  It's the highlight of my week.  You should check it out!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

up to my ears in knitting

Sunday evening I realized I had FOUR knitting projects in progress.  This is so unlike me.  I'm a one project at a time kind of girl.  I start something, finish it, and move on to the next project.  How I ended up having four at one time is beyond me.

I took a deep breath and started working on the one that was closest to being finished.  Before I knew it, I was down to THREE, then TWO, then ONE!

baby socks

I hardly ever knit anything for myself, so after the handmade holiday rush, I decided to start a pair of knucks.  After I finished one knuck, I started on some baby socks.  They had to be made for Miss Emma's teacher as she returns tomorrow after being on maternity leave.  Then I got two hat orders thanks to Joshua's teacher.

flower power hat

I made a flower power hat in some very soft and squishy Charisma yarn (same kind of yarn I used for Joshua's afghan).  Then I made a Chess Play hat using Fair Isle knitting, a technique that I had never used before.  It was quite simple and I love the way this hat turned out.  Knit in one of the local high school's colors, I think it will be the perfect mix of warmth and school spirit!

chess play hat

I'm now left with just one knuck to make.  Knitting is my evening wind down so I love having a project to work on.  Although I'm not advertising knitting orders, you can certainly email me if you want something made!

*Baby sock pattern is from the book, More Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

101 bible adventures {review}

101 bible adventures

Overview

101 Bible Adventures offers kids a high-energy, adventure-filled approach to reading, interacting with, and learning life lessons from the Scriptures. It takes 101 favorite adventure-filled stories from the New Living Translation and puts them into one amazing book. Each Bible story has a brief overview so kids can get a bird's-eye view of the story, a key verse that sums up its meaning, and a Read and Learn application section that challenges kids to make their faith active. 101 Bible Adventures gives kids a great way to explore the Scriptures while highlighting concepts such as building good character; the importance of having good role models; and themes such as forgiveness, love, and God's wonderful plan for our lives.

Review

I really love how this book is organized.  It's pretty easy to find the different "adventures" in the index if you know where they are in the Bible as they go in order of where they appear.  It would have been nice if they would have also included the adventures arranged alphabetically for young readers who are unfamiliar of the Bible reference to find easier.

reading a book

I also love that it has an application at the end.  I always love applications. :)  After Joshua read the story of Joshua in the book, I asked him what he thought about it.  He liked the layout.  He especially liked the overview at the beginning.

Each "adventure" is only two pages long.  I really think it helps the Bible not seem so overwhelming to read for kids.  Don't think for a minute, though, that two pages isn't enough.  Between the overview, the story (taken straight from Scripture), the application, the key verse (which would make a great memory verse), and the cute little comic at the top (great for our visual learners), those two pages really pack a punch!

Look for 101 Bible Adventures in stores now!

Disclosure: I received 101 Bible Adventures for free from Tyndale House in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

sewing time with my girl

Yesterday the kids were out of school for Martin Luther King, Jr. day.  A three day weekend is always nice, however, with several days of meetings last week, I found myself behind entering the weekend. I never like that feeling.  Monday morning came, and I thought I would tackle my {small} to do list and then it was going to be quality time with the kids.

That to do list was quickly (although reluctantly, if I'm honest with myself) scratched as I realized Miss Emma needed something to do to avoid the quickly approaching boredom.

EG sewing

I suggested we sew some clothes for her dolls to which she enthusiastically agreed.  She's shown an interest in sewing with the machine, so I need to seize the opportunity to teach.  We searched the ever popular Pinterest and found what we were looking for.  A quick look through my stash of leftover material and we found the materials we wanted.  Of course, I picked out about four different outfits (yes, the ever ambitious mama).

happy girl

What I love about this pattern is that it's really versatile.  With the simple bodice, you can then make a dress or a shirt like we did.  What I didn't realize about this pattern is that I needed to print it between 120-130% to get the size I needed for the doll.  I swear the doll in the photo looked just like Emma G's doll, but after we sewed the first shirt, it was more the size for a Barbie.  I also didn't pay attention to the "fold."  It wasn't printed on the pattern so it wasn't until after I cut the pieces, that I saw that important piece of info.  So...pay attention to the fold or you'll have lots of weird shaped scraps!

new doll clothes

Those little setbacks didn't seem to hinder the spirit.  I kept hearing her say, "This is so fun!"  She even picked out a business and website name for us. :)  And don't you just love the buttons she wanted added to the shirt?  I went to bed envisioning our next project and find myself today only wanting to sew doll clothes!  I'm so glad I ditched the to do list for time with my sweet girl.  It was the best three hours of my day.

Monday, January 16, 2012

he shouted like a crazy person :: risk

With my 2012 "word" being risk, I am studying risk takers in the Bible.  
It's fascinating to learn these nuggets from Bible greats.

I've always loved the story of Joshua in the Bible.  God told him to do something crazy and he just did it!

blow the horn

Verse one of Joshua 6 describes Jericho as being "tightly shut."  Then wouldn't the logical thing to do have been to use force to get through the walls?  Instead God told Joshua to do something illogical and completely crazy...march around with horns for 6 days, and on the 7th, march around 7 times blowing trumpets and then shout.  Maybe God was going for the shock and awe factor?

march around

What's amazing to me is that, after God gave his instructions, it says Joshua called the priests and relayed the plan.  He didn't question God.  I wonder if he had ANY inner turmoil or if his faith in God was so strong that he knew obedience to the crazy plan was the only option.  Was he not scared to risk looking completely crazy? Did the thought, "What if this doesn't work?" ever cross his mind?

"When God speaks, take up the shield of faith and run the risk of looking crazy."

I ask because these questions are what first pop into my head.  However, God did not call me to sit idly by in my comfortable place.  No, He called me to trust in Him and obey, even if it means running the risk of looking completely crazy.

Scripture reference...Joshua 6.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

incognito outtakes

During our incognito Valentine's photo booth shoot the other day, the kids had fun taking some photos of mom, too.  Jeremy walked in the door to me sitting there covering my face with a mustache, homework not even started.  NOT a normal after school sight.  Loads of fun, though.  I especially loved them coming up with ideas.  Don't you love Joshua's umbrella??

his umbrella

copying brother

one cool dude

sticking out tongue

mother/daughter

I usually more of a fan of color photos, but I really love these in black and white.  I think our indoor winter fun is going to be photo shoots!  Don't forget you can order your Valentine's photo package here!

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