Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween : Phineas and Ferb Costumes

We had pretty big plans for this Halloween. Then, you know, I went and had a baby and reality set in. Wanting to keep a family theme, but also keep it frugal and fast, we decided to go as the Flynn-Fletcher family from Phineas and Ferb, one of Stinky's favorite shows.

For comparison:

We considered spraying the boys' hair, but with the cold and damp weather here, hats were a better way to go. All in all, we spent under $25 for the costumes. I had to paint Stinky's shirt. Who'd have thought it would have been so hard to find an orange striped shirt? Rotten's pants were made from a 99 -cent thrift store tee, and I only had to but half a yard of orange fleece for his hat and buttons for my earrings. Everything else we had on hand. Not as big or bold as last year's Shrek costumes, but I wasn't going to stay up all night sewing when I'm already up several times a night. Stinky's already putting in requests for next year- and they're quite a bit more involved.
Happy Halloween, everyone!

Sunday Inspiration

Be there for your children. Sit on the bed and enjoy the late-night talks--try to stay awake! Pray for the Lord toinspire you. Forgive often. Choose your battles. Testify frequently ofJesus Christ and His goodness and of the Restoration. And most of all, letthem know of your trust in the Lord.

Bonnie D. Parkin

Thursday, October 28, 2010


We've been sick again at our house, which means that Stinky is doing lots of this:

Meanwhile, Rotten is doing a lot of this:

Unfortunately, when they weren't doing those, they were crying, and I was having Tina Fey's fantasy from Date Night about getting a diet Sprite in a hotel room all by myself (for me, it's Dr. Pepper, but no need sweat the small stuff.).

I hate it when they're sick. I feel sad when they're miserable and don't really understand why. I have to admit, though, that I feel like a better mom when they're sick, because I understand what to do. Big boys can be given juice and snuggles in my bed when they wake up coughing. I can sing to a stuffed up baby in a shower to calm them down and open up airways. Sure, it can be exhausting, but give me a kid with a cold, and I'm okay. I don't worry about doing that wrong.

We had a meeting at preschool where we could discuss issues with our children with the parent educator. Stinky's had me in tears a few times lately, and I don't always understand what he needs. I was given a few ideas, but mostly reassurance. The parent ed. said, though, that it is much harder to parent in our generation than it was two generations ago. There was less pressure on parents to do things just so, less 'do it wrong, and your child will be in prison.' I don't worry too much about Stinky being in prison, unless you count dinner with the neighbors earlier this month, but that's nothing I need to get into.

I worry about getting through the next week without losing my mind- every week. Anyone else going a little crazy? I'm sure we all are. So, I'm finding my sanity in the little things: mixing 'greedy-ants' into cookies with Stinky, the taste of Dr. Pepper, singing to Rotten, hearing the hum of my sewing machine, crashing on the couch with WBH at the end of the day. Combine those things, and I know I can make it until at least tomorrow before I lose my mind.

Those things are way better than a hotel room and Diet Sprite.

Cookie Friday: Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

1/2 cup margarine or butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp almond extract
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
yellow and red food coloring

Cream butter and sugar together. Add egg and almond extract. Slowly add flour and baking powder. Remove 1/3 of dough. Tint remaining dough yellow- try to refrain from saying "Don't eat the yellow dough!" Remove half of the yellow dough, and add a few drops of red food coloring. blend until dough is desired color of orange.

*hint- make the colors very bright. They fade a little while baking.*

For the shaping tips, I refer you to cakespy's directions at Serious Eats.

Dust both sides in sugar and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Cool on a rack and store in tupperware to prevent drying out.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

He Made It Monday

WBH's pumpkins this year are his best yet. A barn owl for my mother...

a death star for our good friend...

and some wild things with their king for us.

To see some of his other work, click on the pumpkins tag at the end of this post.

Sunday Inspiration

I suppose no one is as handsome or as beautiful as he or she wishes, or as brilliant in school or as witty in speech or as wealthy as we would like, but in a world of varied talents and fortunes that we can't always command, I think that makes even more attractive the qualities we can command--such qualities as thoughtfulness, patience, a kind word, and true delight in the accomplishment of another. These cost us nothing, and they can mean everything to the one who receives them.

Jeffrey R. Holland

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pumpkin Patch Kids

I love fall. I love cooking in fall, the warm, hearty food after being outside in the cold. I love the colors, and the transition nature makes. I love the smell of spices and leaves. I love the way that fall begins the time of year that is full of traditions.

One of our traditions in the trek out to the pumpkin patch. We've gone to the same one for four years, now, and each year it's more fun. Stinky loves running through the muddy patches (with our sunny October, there was much less of that than the year we took the picture for the header). We told him this year he could choose his own- but he had to be able to pick it up and carry it to the wheelbarrow by himself.

My parents got some free pumpkins as part of the CSA at this farm, so we went with them. WBH will be carving one for them this weekend. Check out his past work here. He's got some big ideas for this year's pumpkin.

Yeah, I love fall.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cookie Friday: Pumpkins and Everything Cookies

Stinky will eat these, but these are really a hide-them-from-the-kids-they're-so-good-you-want-them-all-for-yourself kind of cookie. We made these for friends over for a movie night, and the plate needed to be refilled before the end of the movie. The chocolate chips can be replaced with raisins, nuts, or left out altogether. Give them a try!

Pumpkins and Everything Cookies

1 cup flour
1 1/4 cup quick oats
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Mix first six ingredients separately, set aside. Mix butter, sugars, egg, vanilla and pumpkin with blender, then add dry ingredients slowly. Manually stir in chocolate chips. Drop 1-2 inch balls onto greased cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes, or until tops are no longer sticky. Move to cooling rack. Makes about 2 dozen.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sneaky Jealousy

Stinky has been great about Rotten. He adores him. He wants to love on him all the time. Somedays it makes me crazy, especially the weekend we all had a nasty virus and Rotten wanted to be held by me and only me, all day long. I'd hear things like "Mommy, please put down Rotten and come see this," frequently, and I realized that jealousy has started to set in.

It tears my heart right in two. He's good about being patient with it, most of the time. He's become such a big boy- the potty training is done, he can dress himself, and entertain himself for longer periods than before. On one hand, that's great. On the other, it's easy to slip into the habit of letting the him play all day and at the end, realize that he hasn't gotten the quality or quantity of attention he wants, and that I want to give him. The other day, after WBH returned from work, and Rotten was asleep, I put my 'stop, drop, and roll' policy into play, and found Stinky in the playroom. We read, played 'Aliens versus Pirates,' and created a puppet show about Stinky saving his family from a dinosaur. He soaked up the individual attention, and was glowing. And the guilt hit me hard.

Since then, I've planned a list of projects for us to do through the end of the month, so that he always gets one-on-one time with me while we work on an art project or cook together. We've implemented a daily routine with planned story times and Stinky-Mama time, and it's helped with the acting out that I believe is coming from jealousy.

My friend at the Unlikely Rebel Mama wrote a great post about making the adjustment from one child to two, and balancing the attention. She's a few months ahead of me on this one, and her advice is so great and sound- I know I needed it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I Made it Monday: T-shirt Tutorial

I kind of wanted to subtitle this post "Dang, it feels good to be a crafta" after the Geto Boy's song "D#$n it feels good to be a gangsta." Please don't google it, the lyrics are horrid. My point is, that when you see something you like but realize you could make it for way, way, less... dang, it feels good to be a crafta.

These shirts are evidence of that. I saw this shirt in a movie, and thought it would be adorable on the boys. I spent a whopping dollar on this project for Stinky's t-shirt, and the rest was stuff I had on hand. This is also a good way of hanging onto shirts that get stained. So, without further ado, here's the tutorial for freezer-paper stencilling your t-shirt.

What you'll need:
T-shirt, onesie, bag, or whatever you want to place the image on.
freezer paper
scissors or exact-o knife
fabric paint
sponge brush
First, find an image. Line-drawings and silhouettes work best- keep it simple. Trace it on to some freezer paper with the sharpie, and cut out. Scissors are doable, but exact-o knives work really well. Save inner pieces, like the part of 'd.' They tend to get lost easily.
Next, place cardboard underneath your shirt to keep the paint from bleeding through.

Place stencil onto the shirt, try to center as well as possible. Iron the paper onto the shirt on the 'silk' setting. Press until the freezer papaer has adhered to the shirt. Make sure you include parts like the little circle out of the d.
Using sponge brush, carefully paint over the open parts of the stencil. Be careful not to go over the edges of the stencil- see the second to last picture? That's why 'stud' is underlined on Stinky's shirt.

Allow to dry for at least 5 minutes, up to overnight. If paint is still wet, peel very carefully, especially around the small details

Make sure all paint is dry. Put it on the intended wearer and admire your awesome work.

WBH says he doesn't need the shirt. It's implied.

Rotten really likes his.

I've used this method on shirts, bags, and tea towels. It's fun and easy. Let me know if you use it- I'd love to see what you make!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday Inspiration

As parents, we know how unwise it would be to indulge our children’s every desire. But children are not the only ones who spoil when showered with immediate gratification. Our Heavenly Father knows what good parents come to understand over time: if children are ever going to mature and reach their potential, they must learn to wait

Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday Inspiration

One afternoon while I was working on the blog, Stinky plopped this down in front of the monitor. "When this is done, you have to get up, Mommy," he said. Point taken.

I've been guilty, since Rotten was born, of trying to do it all. I thought I was doing an okay job, too, but lately I feel a little stretched too far, and I need to reinforce the seams I feel like are coming apart. Stinky's having a rough time lately, too, and I need to focus on helping him this week.
I'll have another I Made it Monday plus tutorial when I come back on the 18th. I hope you have a great week.

* * *

"Most of us intuitively understand how important the fundamentals are. It is just that we sometimes get distracted by so many things that seem more enticing. Printed material, wide-ranging media sources, electronic tools and gadgets…can become hurtful diversions or heartless chambers of isolation. Yet amidst the multitude of voices and choices, the humble Man of Galilee stands with hands outstretched. Waiting. …He does not speak with a powerful megaphone but with a still, small voice. "

Deiter F. Uchtdorf

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday Inspiration

"Now let me take a moment here to note that we must take care in our families not to cause spiritual or emotional snakebites in the first place! In much of today's popular culture, the virtues of forgiveness and kindness are belittled, while ridicule, anger, and harsh criticism are encouraged. If we are not careful, we can fall prey to these habits within our own homes and families and soon find ourselves criticizing our spouse, our children, our extended family members. Let us not hurt the ones we love the most by selfish criticism! In our families, small arguments and petty criticisms, if allowed to go unchecked, can poison relationships and escalate into estrangements, even abuse and divorce. Instead, just like we learned with the poisonous venom, we must 'make full haste' to reduce arguments, eliminate ridicule, do away with criticism, and remove resentment and anger. We cannot afford to let such dangerous passions ruminate--not even one day."

David E. Sorenson

Friday, October 8, 2010

Cookie Friday: Clov-er Doodles

Snickerdoodles are awesome, I don't know too many people who don't like them. Stinky reacts a little to cinnamon, though, so we have to improvise. For these, I used cloves and ginger (making the clov-er). You don't get the crackling cinnamon exterior, but using the cloves makes them look a little freckled. This particular dough makes a super cake-like cookie. Hope you enjoy, and have a great weekend!

2 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking poweder
1 cup margarine
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

sugar/spice coating:
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. ginger
Mix dough and chill for at least two hours, but overnight is best. Roll in sugar-spice mixture and space evenly on the cookie sheet. Press to 1/2-inch thickness with a glass. Bake at 375 until cookies are a golden brown.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Mind: Numb

We are still in jim-jams at noon, our teeth are unbrushed, and the mind-numbing sounds of Nick Jr. are playing in my living room right now, which can really only mean one thing: I'm not 100%. I wouldn't even say I'm 75%. A flu shot yesterday and a two boy lack-of-sleepover on the couch last night will do that to a girl.

To be clear, I'm not judging anyone who is cool with Nick Jr, and there's no judgement coming for letting kids watch TV- we do much more of that than we should here, especially lately. I just hate most of the programming, and I tire VERY quickly of the "I WANT THAT!" that comes with commercials that play during children's programming. For these reasons, I usually stick to PBS with some Disney Channel for good measure.

I'm curious today- What concessions do you make when you don't feel on top of your game? And what children's program makes you want to throw your shoes at the TV?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"Stop, Drop, and Roll."

Rotten is a snuggler. This is a nice way of saying "Rotten wants to be held all the time and freaks out a little if put down." It's made a dent in my productivity and housekeeping. I've had to establish a "Stop, Drop, and Roll" policy. As soon as he's out, I stop rocking/bouncing, drop him off in his swing, car seat, or bassinet, and roll on with cleaning, cooking, or time with Stinky. Without this rule, I would not get a single thing done all day.

But sometimes, nothing is okay, too.

Monday, October 4, 2010

I Made It Monday: "Ruby" Jewelry.

When I was younger there was a wonderful older woman in our congregation named Ruby. I've never met someone as kind and purehearted as she was. You couldn't be around her and not feel loved. For graduation, she gave me a set of costume jewelry- a double row of pearls with earrings. They were a little large for everyday wear, but I used them on stage all the time, including for the talent competition the year I won Miss Auburn.
I hadn't worn them for years and some of the paint was chipping off the beads when I found the strands of pearls recently, but I couldn't even think of getting rid of them, so I decided to re-vamp them. I love the way they look, but I think I might add some color to the necklace with an organza flower pinned to the bow.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunday Inspiration

Although it is true that making comparisons can be beneficial and may motivate us to accomplish much good and to improve our lives, we often allow unfair and improper comparisons to destroy our happiness when they cause us to feel unfulfilled or inadequate or unsuccessful. Sometimes, because of these feelings, we are led into error and dwell on our failures while ignoring aspects of our lives that may contain elements of true greatness.

Howard W. Hunter

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cookie Friday: Flour-Free Peanut Butter cookies

These peanut butter cookies are the best, and the worst. Seriously. They're amazing, but I have no self-control over them (as you can see above, Stinky loves them, too). These are modified from Paula Deen's Magical Peanut Butter Cookies

Flour-Free Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar, plus a little extra
1 egg
1 teaspoon almond flavoring (vanilla is fine, but almond is so much better)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend all ingredients well, and place rounded spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Press a criss-cross pattern into each cookie, and sprinkle some sugar on top. Bake for 12 minutes, allow to cool slightly before removing from pan. Yields 1 dozen.
Edit: It's better to undercook these slightly, than to overcook them. Cooked too long, these get very crunchy and dry.