Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Updates for March to Mandaree

My husband and I have spent the better part of today working out the fine details for March to Mandaree today.  We called campgrounds and made reservations.  We plotted an exact course to march and split the days into legs, and I even made a sign up sheet for those who plan on joining us on this 413 mile journey across the state.  Would you like to know more?  Please see us here:

March To Mandaree


Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Fragments

Mommy's Idea

I’d like to thank Mrs. 4444 who thinks I am (or maybe its just my kids are) funny and for giving me the lovely Favorite Fragmenter award last week Smileimage

Let’s start off with Jackson’s Naughty list: (This is just the major stuff from the past week or so)

  • stole several hamburger buns (on several different occasions, despite several attempt to place them out of reach) and ate them, or left parts in random places throughout the house
  • spread powdered pancake mix through 3 rooms down stairs, including on a couch
  • stole the ice cream bucket and ate the last two scoops…. with his hands…..while on the downstairs couch
  • emptied the last of a ketchup bottle on to his plate, leaving it covered about 1” thick
  • dumped a small cup of sandbox sand on the family room couch
  • threw several card and board games down a flight of stairs
  • stole a bag of chips and ate them outside Piper’s bedroom (and left a pile of crumbs behind)
  • applied daddy’s Body Glide (anti-chafing stick for athletes) to his forehead while chanting “BODY GLIDE!BODY GLIDE!!”
  • colored inside his belly button and all over his arms with a green marker, several baths later his belly button is still green

That kid acts like we don’t feed him.  I wonder if it’s the thrill of the hunt?

  • The three oldest ran in the kids marathon last night, well Piper rolled.  It was her best option, she can’t do distance and she was disappointed to not participate last year.  They all received medals and t-shirts.  Tonight MIL and I do the 5k.  The full and half marathon is Saturday morning.  There will be live bands in driveways all along the 26 mile route!

marathon2 2011image

  • I took photos for the “Bit of Norway” celebration here in town.  Many of the photos ended up in the local paper, including my two vikings…


There was a parade, the kids got to throw candy.  It was chilly and rainy, but a viking doesn’t let that get them down!!



  • Being the super awesome parents we are, Aria never had her birthday party…..in OCTOBER.  So we are throwing an end-of-school party for her.  She decided not to call it a birthday party so that one of her friends can attend (their beliefs do not include birthday celebrations, so she never gets to go to parties).  I made these cool invites, and we ordered fun rock star stuff from Oriental Trading Co.  like inflatable guitars and crazy glasses.  I’m going to make back stage passes with their pictures on them when they arrive!

ARIA invite frontXX

  • Its officially kebab and beer season.  Just sayin.

IMAG0125   IMAG0123

  • Today is the last day of school for the kids.  They had “Play Day” on Tuesday where they do fun relay races and play outside all afternoon.  The parents are invited to watch.  Everyone places and gets ribbons for events.




Thursday, May 19, 2011

Moving In

I found something in the yard this week.  At first I thought the kids put it there.  Do you see it?IMG_7831a

How about now?IMG_7832a

There, on the swing set.IMG_7834a

She has moved in.IMG_7838a

And apparently made herself at home.IMG_7841a

REALLY at home.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Getting those cake pops right



I NEED to practice to get something just right.  At least, that’s my excuse for making cake pops over and over again until I perfect them.  A lot of imperfection means many many cake pops that I need to eat!  I first made them last winter, and again this Christmas.  I volunteered to make snacks for the kids’ classes just so I had a chance to make more delicious treats.  I got the recipe HERE from Bakerella, who makes the most amazing treats.  This time around I decided to go with the cupcake pops.  You can see the basic recipe there, but here’s what I found I need to do the job right.


You need your coffee (goes well with the chocolate cake pops, especially), your phone, and your favorite Korean drama all at the counter to really get down to work. 


Oh, you also need cake (I did one strawberry and one chocolate).  Baked and ready to crumble.  I used a recipe I found for cream cheese frosting, but DON’T use the entire batch on one cake or you’ll end up with mushy cake balls.  Mix the crumbled cake and fresh frosting to make a nice play-doh consistency.  On waxed paper, roll out half dollar sized balls and stick them in the fridge or freezer (or outside around here) to cool.  Because I am making the Cupcake Pops this time, I had to get out my little flower-shaped cookie cutter.  I originally got the set for cutting things in our Bento boxes.  The flower shape forms the bottom half of the cupcake.

cakepops3          cakepops4

Stick them back in the fridge again while you get your chocolate ready in the double boiler.  If you don’t have a double boiler, try a larger glass or metal bowl perched over your pot of hot water.  I’m terrible with the microwave, so I’ve never tried to melt my chocolate in there, but I’ve heard that works, too.


I used chocolate bark for the bottom half.  Dip the bottom in the melty chocolate and shake off any excess, let them cool bottoms up.  Dip the candy stick and insert them before the chocolate hardens.  Once again, throw them in the fridge while you melt your chocolate or bark for the top half.


I used white chocolate chips for the top, and a few drops of food coloring to make it fun.  Be careful with the liquid food coloring, it doesn’t like to play well with chocolate.  You’re better off with the gel, but I got it to work. 


Dip the top half to meet the chocolate, then immediately top with sprinkles or candy before it hardens.  I used a foam packing block to stick the finished pops in until they were cooled.


Once they were hardened, I put them in a bucket for the kids to take to school.  Fortunately in a small town like this one, we’re still allowed to bring home-made treats.  They were a big hit!!  I also kept a bunch for me, you know, the imperfect ones…. just in case I needed a fix.


Friday, May 13, 2011

DIY Camera Bag/Purse

Yes, like some of my fellow photographers, I’ve been drooling over some very cool & stylish hand bag/camera bags that retail for upwards of $150.  I actually picked out and was preparing myself to hand over $169 for an Epiphanie bag when I noticed Jamie at Mommy’s Camera posted about making your own bag.  Duh.  I am firmly a cheap frugal mom who’d take two days and make something rather than shell out the big bucks.  Of course I can make my own!! 

I knew what I wanted in a bag, so I set out to find one that I really liked.  I had my mind set on pink when I came across this plum-colored bag.  It has the shorter handles as well as a detachable shoulder strap.  It’s almost empty inside except for side pockets and has a nice square bottom.  I wanted a zipper closure because I can never seem to keep my current purse snapped shut once its stuffed full.  This even has a few outer pockets as well.  I found it at Target and paid $29, which, truthfully, is more than I’d normally pay for a handbag, but my budget was “anything less than $169” so it fit. (Those would be Jackson’s decorations on the door.)


Next I hit the fabric store for my supplies.  I thought I was going a bit overboard on supplies, but these turned out to be pretty close with the size of the bag.  I got 2 sheets of the high-density foam for padding (I used most of both), 2 yards of sew-in velcro (some leftovers, but I use this stuff often) and 1-1/2 yards of a cute cotton print that looked good with my bag.  I think one yard would have been plenty, but again, I can use it for other things.  I chose a light colored fabric to make it easier to see the bottom of my bag (I’m good at loosing stuff in there).  All of this came to $31, but had I used my fabric coupons I may have gotten it for a little less.  I have plenty of white thread, so I didn’t buy any.  (Yoshi was a stow-away.)


I measured the bottom and sides of the bag, leaving room where the padding stopped below the zipper opening.  I cut foam for the bottom (4.5” x 14”), long sides (9” high x 14” wide), and the narrow sides (4.5” wide triangle).  I used medical scissors which snipped through the foam pretty easily, but I would imagine regular sewing scissors might make it a workout.  When cutting the fabric, I left generous flaps when I stitched the foam inside like a pillow case.  This way I could attach the sides and bottom to make an insert that I could remove from the purse if I needed.  This also makes is easy to stash things outside of the foam (like my Nook or wallet).


If you plan to add velcro lines on the long sides of your purse, put them on before you sew your foam cases together!!  I had to seam rip twice because I forgot!  I was getting excited to get done.  I used the soft side of the velcro and made two strips about 3 inches apart along the length of each side.


I folded the flaps together to give the insert a finished look.


I think the insert part was the most work, after that you just need small rectangles of foam to use as dividers.


I cut the fabric generously on the sides of the dividers to give room to sew 1” flaps with the scratchy side of the velcro.  These were quick and easy to make with only one seam.  I sewed the fabric inside out, then flipped it around to give a snug fit around the foam and a nice clean seam on the bottom.


Here are my finished dividers and the insert in my purse.


Here’s a shot of the bag packed and ready to go.  There is still plenty of room to slide things along the outside of the padding as well.


Purse?  Why, this is actually a camera bag!!!  All told I spent $60 in supplies, but I could have gotten away with less.  As I see it, I saved $100!!


Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday Fragments

This week flew by! Time to sum up the time with Mrs. 4444’s Friday Fragments.  You can play along at Half Past Kissing Time!!

Mommy's Idea
  • May is Pediatric Stroke Month!!  I am raising money for CHASA – Children’s Hemiplegia and Stroke Association.  Please help us meet our goal (HALF WAY THERE!!) Purple for Piper – even a dollar or two makes a difference.  Thanks to all those who have already helped out!!! 
    ----------------------------------->  Click the button on my sidebar to donate!
  • The kids had their Spring Concert at school Tuesday.  You remember….wear a dress, stand on risers, hope no one passes out.  Last year one poor kid vomited from the second row on to the back of a girl in the first row.  I caught it on video, but I’ll be nice to them and not show it off.  This year things went smoother.  Only I didn’t get to see ANY of it.  JC was SO unhappy that I had to leave my seat before the show even started.  I spent the entire concert in the hall way trying to entertain a 2-year-old.  I listened at the doors when I could, but its not the same.  Grr…
  • I am now sporting dark blonde hair.
  • The oldest 3 kids are in TaeKwonDo.  This week they invited a nearby club to join practice and SPAR!! This is the first time any of my kids got to do any real sparring.  I was in TKD in college, I loved tournaments and sparring and patterns and board breaking.  I even have some trophies and medals.  It was really fun to see them try it out.

Piper and friend geared up


Aria’s great kick!


Max sparred with a classmate of Aria’s.


Aria, Max and Piper awaiting instructions.

  • Finally had decent enough weather to grill out. Mmmmm! We still had to do it from the opening of the garage, it was raining, but at least it wasn’t snowing.


  • I reviewed a second book for BlogHer Book Club.  Details on that soon.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t fast enough to get in on the latest book review.  They only accept the first 100 who respond to the email, and I didn’t see it for 15 minutes after it arrived.  Apparently that’s all it takes to fill up!! 
  • March to Mandaree is going to be kicking into high gear soon.  I need to start soliciting local grocery stores and suppliers for the things we need to support the marchers.  You can learn more about March to Mandaree HERE!!

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom AND my grandma!!


Have a great Mother’s Day!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May is Pediatric Stroke Awareness Month


Did you know kids have strokes, babies have strokes, even the unborn can have a stroke? Our little girl is a stroke survivor. May is Pediatric Stroke Awareness Month and you can learn more about pediatric strokes at Kids Have Strokes.  This year I am raising money for Children’s Hemiplegia and Stroke Association.  CHASA is first international non-profit organization to offer information and support to families of infants, children, and young adults who have hemiplegia or hemiplegic cerebral palsy, often due to perinatal stroke, childhood stroke, or other rare causes.  I hope you can help us meet our goal by donating.  Even one dollar helps out!!  You can click the button on my sidebar any time, or this nice button below!!  Thank you for helping kids like Piper and their families!