Saturday, January 31, 2009

Look Who's Back!

Yep, picked up the machine on Thursday... and my quilt is nearly done now. Oh, she runs so smoothly now.

And last night we put Justin's birthday gift, an ice cream ball, to use making our very first batch of homemade ice cream. I can't eat ice cream (especially when it is as rich as this was) but I did take a little lick and boy, it was good.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Day

We had a snow day after all.Not horrible, but enough I guess to close school.... but not the neighboring schools. Hmmmm. So we spent the morning with Alex teaching Hudson and I how to finger-knit. Alex was "roped" into making the tails, cuffs and chest "muffs' for 15 cat costumes for the spring dance performance, so she decided she needed some help.

She tried to teach Ethan too, but having the yarn wrapped around his fingers made him think of Chinese finger traps, and we happened to have a bunch from Justin's birthday party on Sunday. His real birthday is Jan. 21st, but he was traveling for work, so we celebrated on Sunday with a Chinese New Year twist.And a cake made from stacking Oreo Caksters thanks to Grandma.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I just got a call from the sewing machine repairman. My machine is finally done!! Yay! I had no idea how much I missed it. I can't wait to finish my little quilt! I am going to pick it up tomorrow unless we get all the snow we are expected to. Nothing yet... but there is talk of school closing.

The repairman said that there was a jam in the bobbin area... jammed so weirdly he has never seen anything like it. Yikes!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Totally Random

My sewing machine is in the shop. I am feeling a bit low (combination of missing my husband, grieving my grandma and I have a touch of the stomach bug that Hudson had earlier this week). My parents took my kids for the day. I took a nap. Had some chicken soup and now I'm bored.... so I am going to write about something that has been on my mind recently... packing my kids' lunches. (I can hear the collective, "Huh?")

I estimated that I have packed about 1600 lunches over the course of my kids' schooling. And I still have many, many years of lunches to go. (My kids are 11, 9 and 6. My daughter brings her lunch every single day. The boys 3 or 4 times a week.) I have tried to use all reusable packaging for the kids' lunches. The hardest thing for me was finding a nice leak proof drink bottle. We tried Litterless Juice Boxes made by Rubbermaid, but we had trouble with them leaking in the lunch pails. I still have a few on hand at home for the kids I babysit for or for a car trip. I'm not worried about my kids tipping them over- they are pretty much over that stage- but the boys' lunch pails get tossed into a basket at school- and sometimes end up upside down. So these just didn't live up to our needs. Then I found Foogoo straw bottles. I bought mine off of Amazon almost exactly a year ago, but then found them in Target and my grocery store Wegmans. The funny thing is that they are in the baby section. These are great. They don't leak and are pretty easy to clean. I recently saw them again at Target and they have a new design that is even easier to clean! I might get another. On their website and in stores they come in all sorts of designs, but I got all three the same plain blue so that they could be interchangeable between the kids (and I'm not a huge fan of licenced characters all over my kids stuff). They keep the kids drinks cold, are BPA free and have kept approximately 480 juice boxes or milk containers out of the landfill! (I guessed that there are about 40 weeks of school in a year. My daughter would take a juice box every day= 200 boxes per school year. My boys took one about 3.5 times per week= 140 per boy per school year.)

For their sandwiches (or wraps, or peanut-butter roll-ups, or leftover meatloaf, or whatever) we use Lock 'n Lock containers in the 15oz size (I can't find the exact one on that site, except in the 17 piece set. I bought mine individually at Wegmans.) The 15oz size is perfect for a half sandwich or a wrap made from a large burrito shell and then cut in half. (My daughter's favorite is a spinach wrap with humus, baby spinach and match-stick carrots.) I have also bought the Lock 'n Lock lunch kit and use the small containers for salad dressing and croutons (if my daughter is taking a salad) and my husband uses the large one for his sandwiches. I'm psyched to discover the divided containers on that site. I'll have to get some of those!

We also try to avoid buying individual packs of yogurt, so we buy a large container of vanilla yogurt and put it in Rubbermaid x-small containers (4oz size). Same with pudding... I'll make a box of instant pudding and put it in the Rubbermaid containers or in Gladware 4oz, stick them in the fridge and they are all ready for packing in the lunches. These are two places where we really reduce garbage!! I like the Gladware because they are so cheap and they don't leak, but the lids are harder to clean. There area lots of little crevices that trap pudding.

For fruit (sliced apples, canned peaches that are mostly drained, applesauce, grapes) and pretzels or crackers, we use Rubbermaid twist and seal cups in the 1.2 cup size. It's funny because many of the reviews on that site say that they leak, but we've never had any trouble with them leaking. They are my favorite container.
So here is a typical lunch all packed. I made my daughter's lunch bag because we couldn't find one "cool enough". It has a sleeve on the side to hold the thermos (you can see the top of it sticking out a bit) and a pockets on the inside and outside. I wish I had made it a tad bigger... on days when she brings a salad we use a lot of containers and it is just barely big enough. My boys are not handmade- theirs are from Old Navy and Arctic Zone. The Arctic Zone is a little small... it is a tight squeeze to get all the containers in there, but it has a solid easy to wipe interior that I like.

So there you have it. Are your kids school age? Do they bring their lunches? Any advice for me?

Friday, January 16, 2009

My week

If you want a glimpse at what my week was like, these are my facebook* updates from this week...

Sarah wonders why every time Justin leaves to travel for work something weird/tragic/major happens here at home?????
Sarah is wondering if Hudson's timing could be any worse... he has the stomach bug and this is just not a good week to be sick!
Sarah realizes that the day your son has the stomach bug is not a good day to run out of laundry detergent!
Sarah is missing Justin.

It's been a rough one. My husband left for 15 days on Sunday. (He travels for his job.) Then my grandma died on Monday. She was 96 and had suffered with Alzheimer's for about a decade. It was horrible. It was a blessing that she is finally at peace. Tuesday my son came down with the most dreaded and evil stomach bug...both ends I'm telling ya, both ends!! Wednesday were the calling hours (does everyone call them "calling hours"? or is that a po-dunk thing to say? I don't know what else they would be called, but my sister who lives on Long Island told me they call it something else there- although she couldn't remember what.) Thursday the funeral. My sister and cousins and I sang. My sister read the eulogy. My mother sang Ave Maria. it was beautiful.
Today I am recovering. I feel exhausted, although i am going out to dinner with my parents, aunts, uncles and cousins... most of of live nearby, but a few traveled from all over the country (Wisconsin, Montana, Washington State) and they leave tomorrow, so we want to get together one more time.

My sewing machine is still on the fritz. My wishful thinking didn't work this time, but here is picture of the pj bottoms I made for Alex for Christmas. She loves them. I feel bad that I didn't make the boys anything.
*Yes, I am on facebook....want to be my friend?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Scrap Quilt

I had hinted that I wanted some blankets for couch snuggling for Christmas, but it fell on deaf ears I suppose, so I decided to make myself a gift - a scrap quilt. It started like this... some scraps lying on my sewing table.
Which pretty quickly morphed into this in about an hour. The picture below is the top about half way done. I didn't have much rhyme or reason for the scraps I chose, except they had to be either mainly green or brown. Then I threw in just a little bit of light blue just for the heck of it. I didn't realize that I had so much green fabric lying around. I guess I like green... of course that should be obvious as 6 of the 9 rooms in this house are green. The quilt should be fun... it will remind me of all the projects I made last year using these fabrics.
Now, I have told you before that I am incredibly cheap and lazy...wonderful character traits, no? So not only did I decide I would buy nothing to make this quilt except the backing (I didn't have a big enough piece of solid fabric for the back- and I used an old flannel sheet for the batting) but I also didn't measure anything.... lazy, I tell ya. But I plugged along and it was coming out just fine- a wonderful smallish quilt just big enough for me to snuggle with on the couch- and then "crunch!!"... something happened to my machine. Don't know what. Hope it's not too serious. (My cheap lazy brain says, "Wait till tomorrow... it will be better!") And now I'm bummed because I was sooooo close to finishing this tonight. Oh well.

And while I was at Joann's buying the backing fabric I picked up this super cute book. I haven't really looked too closely at it yet, but now that my evening project is put on hold, maybe I will.

Friday, January 9, 2009

New Year..... catching my breath

Sorry I took quite a break there... between Christmas prep and then recovery I have done very little in the way of anything crafty. And so far this new year is kicking my butt!! But I wanted to check in here and say Happy New Year. I especially want to say Happy Blogiversary to Amber!! Hi Amber! And thank you so much for mentioning me in your post about your anniversary. That was awesome. And also thank you for mentioning me and the bag I made you in your give-away post. You are too kind. Seriously!! That bag is fantastic and I am jealous of the winner :( Oh- and I love the new look over there, Amber. So soft. Love it. OK then.....

I just re-read the last post I wrote here...OK, I guess it was the second to last post I wrote and thought I should let everyone know that I survived the weekend before Christmas.... the babysitting/fundraising event went relatively smoothly and the Christmas Pageant went pretty darn well. Thankfully I had the forethought to get all the kiddos in their costumes and snap a group picture in front to of the backdrop (I decided to forgo any individual animals and went with a simpler backdrop, that I painted 3 nights before the show). One woman in our church said it was the "most moving Christmas pageant" she has ever seen. Wow. See the shepherds beards?? How cute are they? I was also talked into making a Patrick costume for my nephew. My sister wanted to order one for him for Christmas but they were , so I stupidly volunteered. Actually I said, "Why do make him one?" And she said, "Why do YOU make him one?" So I did. It was a hit. I also made Cate an oven mitt and a matching one for her mom. I put them with some sprinkles, cupcake papers and a cool spatula. I was told that Cate received a play kitchen from the big guy, so she was pretty excited to have her own little oven mitt.
Up next is a scrap quilt. I 'll try to get some decent pictures of my progress soon.

Happy New Year to you all!! Thanks for hanging in there with me!