In my last post, I wrote how sewing is therapy, releasing endorphins that calm an anxious mind, giving a sense of satisfaction of a job well done, and utilizing the right side of the brain, especially after a week of left-brain analytic activity.
And now I present a sewing contest that encourages all sewists out there to share your creations as well as your sewing story. It is called SMYLY – Sewing Makes You Love Yourself. You can read about it here.
Here is my entry and my story:
This is the Heather Dress from Sew Over It.My sewing story is that I have sewed since I was about 12 but once I became a mom I didn’t have as much time to sew for myself. I sewed a lot of curtains, costumes, and Easter dresses for my three daughters. I taught them to sew and we have lots of happy memories sewing together.
But all four of my children are now adults and I miss them so much. My husband and I are enjoying our “sweetheart years” as my friend referred to the empty nest, but I find myself drifting toward sadness and borderline depression. Quite honestly, parenting young adults is the hardest time of parenting EVER, mostly because I can’t do much. And so I’m prone to worrying about them A LOT, which isn’t good, of course. And that’s where sewing comes into the picture.
So I’ve really ramped up my sewing in the last five years or so. It has brought me a very satisfying, productive, distraction from that which would try to take me down. The Heather dress, in particular, is comfortable, classy, practical, and lovely at the same time. I feel great in it.
I’m an avid gardener and the garden is abounding in peppers and cucumbers. So, what do you do with all that produce that you can’t possibly eat? You make relish, of course.
Here’s a great simple recipe:
5 cups finely chopped unpeeled pickling cucumbers
2 cups finely chopped red bell pepper
1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped peeled onion
1/4 cup pickling salt
1 3/4 cups white vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
1 tablespoon celery seeds
Place all the vegetables and the salt in a stainless steel bowl to mix and then let rest for about 4 hours.
Place your glass jars into the dishwasher and time it so they will be clean and hot right before you’re ready to put the relish into them.
Place the vegetables into a colander and drain out the liquid. Use your hands to squeeze out extra liquid. Next, place the vegetables into a pot along with the sugar, mustard seeds. celery seeds, and vinegar. Bring to a boil, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes. While that’s boiling get your canning water boiling.
Place the vegetable mix into hot jars. Be sure to dunk the lids and rims into boiling water to sterilize as well, and then place the lids on to the jars. Place the jars into the canning water (which should be at a rolling boil). It will cool a little after you lower the jars. Let it get back to boiling and then let them boil for about 10 minutes.
Take them out carefully and let cool. Listen for the “pop” that indicates the lid has sealed, Later, test the lid by pressing the center to make sure it’s sealed. It shouldn’t give. If it didn’t seal properly, you can try boiling it in the canning water again, or putting it in the fridge to use up right away.
Hey Everyone – It was time to update my window seat. The primary “sitter” of the seat is our dog, Dutchess, who loves to gaze out into the world every day, and as you can imagine, over time that cushion got pretty threadbare.
So off to Joann’s…
I needed a piece of foam that measured out to 62″ . The kind ladies at Joann’s will cut if for you to fit your length. The width, however, is up to you to cut.
So, out came my electric knife! After I measured and drew a line to mark my width, I used my electric knife to cut right along the line.
Then… the fun part. I picked a heavy cotton fabric with colors that matched my decor. I used the measurements of my foam (remember it was 62″) and added the 2 inches on both the top and the bottom (making the total length 66″ plus seam allowance). Then the width of the foam was 13.5 and I had to again add 2 inches for the width of both sides, as well as allow for seam allowance. Then I cut the fabric, sewed it up like a pillowcase, and finished the top by folding over a hem. I chose to not sew it closed and left it just like a pillowcase so I can remove it easily to wash. I just use safety pins to close it up.
I’m happy with the look.
And Dutchess likes it too!
There it is! It didn’t take long at all and it makes such a difference!
Hey guys, I thought it might be fun to do a post periodically about where Deacon is in his development. He is growing and changing so fast, I want to have a record of some of the things he has done! Also, this is a little more of an in depth Deacon fix for all of the family that lives out of state.
Deacon is getting so big and strong! At his last Dr. appt., he weighed 15 lbs. He loves when we help him stand, and he likes to shift his weight around like he’s dancing (He is definitely his father’s child!). He has rolled over, both front-to-back, and back-to-front. The back-to-front is actually a funny story – When he rolled over the other way, I kind of knew it it was coming because he was pushing and leaning and working really hard before it happened. But for going from his back, it was totally out of the blue! I was drinking my coffee one morning, watching him play on the floor on his back, and he just flipped over! no fuss, no working for it, just casually rolled.
He also loves to grab at hanging toys, my hair, and Cory’s beard. Once he even grabbed Cory’s glasses off of his face and started to chew on them! I had a chuckle at that one. One thing I’m not too excited about is that Deacon has figured out how to arch his back and scoot himself backwards like an inchworm. I’m thrilled that he’s figuring out how to move, except that he keeps doing this in his crib and bonking his head on the bars!
Deacon looooooves people. He is definitely an extroverted baby. Everyone thinks he is a great, happy baby because when he is around people he is all smiles (for the record, he IS a great, happy baby, but boy can he throw a fit!). Sometimes I wonder if he gets bored just sitting at home all day with me.
He loves playing games like Peekaboo, Where’s Your Nose, and Airplane. He also loves being tickled, although he doesn’t seem to have very many ticklish spots. He enjoys watching us do whatever we’re doing, and he gets mad if we lay him down, because he wants to know what’s going on.
I am still exclusively breast feeding Deacon. He is a good eater, and usually eats about every 2.5-3 hours. Now that he is four months old, we could start introducing cereals, but I haven’t decided if I want to do that yet. I’m really interested in Baby-led Weaning, which starts your child off on normal table foods (that have been cooked to an appropriate eatability), and lets them pick and choose how much and what to eat. It’s really intriguing to me, as it can help fend off pickiness later in life. BLW recommends, however, waiting until six months to start so that your child’s digestive system has a chance to finish developing. If you have used this method, I’d love to know your tips in the comments!
Deacon was doing a great job of sleeping at night. I would put him down at 8, “dreamfeed” him around 11, (which simply means nursing him without fully waking him up) Then he’d sleep until 7 or 8 in the morning, waking up once or twice for a quick snack. However, in the last week or so, we’ve been experiencing 4-month sleep regression. Deacon has been waking up every 2-3 hours, and taking much longer to fall back to sleep. I’ve been trying to teach him to put his paci in on his own to help him self-sooth, but he hasn’t quite figured it out yet.
During the day he has been learning to fall asleep on his own, which has been hard but seems to be working. There were a few days there where he would cry for an hour, only to fall asleep for twenty minutes (don’t worry, I would go in and soothe him every 5-10 minutes until he fell asleep). But he seems to be getting the hang of it. Today for both naps he fell asleep within 10 minutes of being put down, and didn’t cry at all.
Deacon is working on grasping objects and sitting up. Soon he will be on the move, I expect! Hopefully soon he will get back on track with his sleep schedule. In the meantime, I guess we will just have lots of middle-of-the-night snuggle sessions.
I have a super simple fudge recipe for you. Seriously, this is totally I-have-a-two-month-old-and-can-barely-remember-to-brush-my-teeth easy.
Granted, the texture isn’t quite perfectly fudge-like, but it’s close enough to satisfy my fudge craving and the ease of this recipe totally makes up for it. If you want a true fudge recipe, beg Mom in the comments to share hers! it is also delicious, and a much more accurate recipe. This one is totally cheating. I think I originally found this recipe in the Hershey dessert cookbook? It has been a long time since I’ve looked at the recipe. I’ve got it memorized!
Here’s how easy it is:
Melt flavored chips with sweetened condensed milk and vanilla, and cool. Thats it.
here’s the step by step:
2 c. Chocolate Chips (I prefer milk chocolate)
2 c. Peanut butter chips
2 cans of Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 tsp. Vanilla, divided
line a 9×9 pan with aluminum foil, bringing foil up over the sides.
In a microwave safe bowl, place chocolate chips, 1 can of condensed milk, and 1 tsp. vanilla. I like to line the bowl with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
Microwave on Med (50%) for 1 minute. Stir. If chocolate chips aren’t melted smooth, microwave in 15 second increments at 50% power, stirring after each. (I only needed one extra 15 sec).
Pour into prepared pan and spread with a spatula.
Repeat steps 2-4 with peanut butter chips and remaining sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.
Pop the pan in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours.
Use aluminum foil to lift fudge out of pan and invert it onto a cutting board. Remove foil.
Slice into 1-inch squares. Pour a big glass of milk (If you are like my hubby) or a nice mug of tea (If you are like me) and enjoy!
This fudge does tend to get a little sticky when left at room temperature, so I recommend keeping it in the fridge until it’s serving time.
I am going to a baby shower today, and I thought I’d share with you the gift basket I put together for the new mama! When I had my shower, I definitely got a lot of stuff that wasn’t absolutely necessary (sooo many newborn onesies!) so I definitely want to get my new mama friends things that they will need and use. I would have loved to receive one of these baskets (I actually ended up making one for myself!) so I think it makes a great gift for a nursing mama.
The Breastfeeding Basket
This is a basket filled with all the things I found to be essential while breastfeeding in those early days (well, to be honest, I still use all of these things except for the lanolin!). I really think these items helped facilitate breastfeeding Deacon, and I was so glad for all of them. Here’s what I included:
Cloth Diaper Burp Cloths. I received several different types of burp cloths, and these are the ones I like the best and use the most. Very absorbent, and larger than your average burp cloth, so it catches more! (Also how funny is it that the label says they are good for car washing and waxing? So random!)
A Water Bottle. Not just any water bottle, though. It has to be an insulated, one-handed one. My hormones were all over the map my first few days postpartum, and I would go from shivering to sweating quite suddenly. A water bottle that kept my water COLD was so nice. Breastfeeding makes you thirsty, and when you are holding a baby you certainly dont want to be fussing with opening a water bottle!
Nursing Pads. I actually use the disposable ones, but the mama registered for these so thats what I got her. And yes, nursing pads are pretty much indispensable unless you want to be a leaky mess and have milk stains all over your shirts. (Yes, breastmilk does leave a stain. Ask me how I know.)
Pump-compatible Baby Bottle. I would only include this if it were super obvious from the registry that the mama-to-be was planning on pumping. Fortunately this mama was, and she registered for the same type of pump that I have. I have an over abundance of these bottles, and I barely use them – Deacon has only taken a different kind so far. So I included one out of my stash (complete with nipple/collar/cap – apparently they don’t come with those a lot of the time??)
Snacks. Any type of easy, one-handed snack would be fine here. I went with fruit snacks because they are yummy and semi-healthy, and I wasn’t sure if mama had any food sensitivities. Other good options would be trail mix, nuts, dried fruit, or pretzels.
Lanolin. This was so necessary for the first week or two. I used it religiously, and my nipples never chafed, cracked, or bled. Even though they have adjusted to breastfeeding, I still use it sometimes after pumping.
So a recap, with links to where I got most of this stuff:
There are lots of other things you could add as well – a book or iTunes gift card would be nice, or if you really wanted to go all out you could also get them a Boppy. That’s a little more pricey, so it was out of the budget for me, but it would be a nice touch!
And I am Gail, a 54 year old wife, mama, homeschooler, teacher, blogger, and now Grammy! I am making the jump from my former blog, Regailing.blogspot.com which featured parenting tips and my hobby of sewing and refashioning to join forces with my beautiful number 3 child!
My background is a BA in education, a MA in counseling, and then 25 years of experience homeschooling our four amazing children. Since our youngest is now in college I have returned to the classroom, and now I teach middle school. I really loved my years as a stay-at-home mom, and highly recommend the sacrifices it takes to make that work. But there are many successful parents out there that have chosen otherwise… the important thing is to put your family before your work and other outside activities, and keep communication between all family members a top priority!
Lydia and I plan to share our creative endeavors, parenting ideas, and tips on making our homes places of refuge for our family. We hope you’ll join us for this journey!
I’m Lydia, the daughter part of this Mother-Daughter Dynamic Duo. I thought I’d share a little about myself before getting into more content-related posts (Stay tuned for an intro from Gail as well!).
I’m a stay at home mom. I have a precious baby boy named Deacon who pretty much has transfixed my whole self. He’s great. See?
I also have a pretty great hubby, Cory. He’s smart and wise and handy in all the ways I am not. Also he has a very attractive singing voice. He pushes me to love God better and more deeply than I knew I could.
We met in 2011, when he was a senior and I was a freshman at Ashland University. We were friends, and he graduated. He thought about leaving the country, but decided to stick around Ashland instead. So, my sophomore year, he finally got the courage to text me and ask me what my favorite condiment was. That was his idea of a good conversation starter, and I guess it worked, because about a month later we were dating. A little over a year after that we got engaged, and then a little under a year after that we got married. January 1, 2015. New Years Day.
And now, almost two years later, we have a house and a baby. Our nest is pretty cozy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!