Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Little Computer Geeks

This is what my family has been working on this week. William was in th IT department at work and they were getting rid of a bunch of old computers and monitors. He asked if he could take them for Matthew, who loves disassembling things, to take apart. So for the last few nights the whole gang has been figuring out just what makes the computer work. At least the nuts and bolts version. This was the first night. The next day they were at it again. Makes for an interesting Show and Tell for school.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Posters on the Wall

As part of growing up I suppose, Brittany now wants to hang a poster or two on her walls. Lucky for me, she wants to hang the inspirational posters in the New Era and The Friend magazines. I did these backwards but this is the after picture. I got six frames from the Dollar store and painted them white. I added velcro to the back so she can change out the posters easily.

This is the before when they were just taped to the wall. I think we improved the wall.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Valentine's Day Pillows

I am thinking of renaming our home The House of Pillows. I seem to have a problem and it involves the production of pillows. Valentine's day has presented such a great opportunity for new pillows I couldn't resist! This is my new favorite. I made it out of circles of felt folded in half then folded again so they looked like a quarter of a circle and then stitched them closely together to fill a heart I had traced onto the fabric. It is really fun to touch.

This was an idea I saw somewhere in blogland. I wrote out the word Love the way I wanted it then taped it to a window and traced it onto a piece of fabric. Then I painted it with acrylic paints and turned it into a pillow.
Did the same thing here. I drew out the heart shape I wanted taped it to the window, traced and painted again.
So what do you think? Should I form a pillow-makers anonymous club?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Family Television

Over the Christmas holiday we watched a fair amount of television as a family. Family Movie night we call it. When the kids went back to school they were really bummed that we had to quit watching a show together in the evenings. I am not a huge fan of Prime time television. Lets just say there is a lot of garbage out there and my kids have enough vices without adding more. The little I can stand are longer shows than I want us hooked on close to bedtime. So I had a stroke of genius. There are a lot of old television shows available on netflix through our trusty Wii. A little searching and then perfection! The Dick Van Dyke Show! So every night since the kids have returned to school we have gathered at 7:30 to watch our show. I wondered if the kids would get the 40 year old humor, if they would be irritated by the lack of color in the show. Matthew did ask me why it was in black and white but there has sure been a lot of laughter at the old jokes. The best part is there are 5 seasons worth of shows for us to enjoy together!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


My friends Circe and Golda invited me to share a few favorites so here it goes:

1. Favorite piece of jewelry or hair accessory: Is it cheating to choose my whole rack of jewelry in my bathroom? I need variety, can't choose one! Oh, but I am loving my flat iron these days if that counts as a hair accessory.

2. Most important favorite thing: I really struggled with this one. Books rank really high but ultimately I went with the what-would-I-save-if-there-was-a-fire-test. I would probably say my laptop I got for Christmas. All of our pictures and loads of other important stuff is on there. Plus I love it.

3. Favorite Make-up: Covergirl Lash blast volume mascara in the orange tube-it is like magic!

4. Favorite article of clothing: Jeans with stretch in them

5. Favorite drink: I am trying to replace Diet Dr. Pepper with water but I'm not there yet.

6. Favorite smelly thing: My Sentsy melting pot when my house is stinky

7. Favorite food: Chocolate, always chocolate

They also asked Brittany for her favorites. Here are hers:

1. Favorite piece of jewelry or hair accessory: My tiny hair bows from Forever 21

2. Most important thing: Books!

3. Favorite Make-up:Lip gloss, it is all my mom will let me wear.

4.Favorite article of clothing: Slippers

5. Favorite drink:Hot Apple Cider

6. Favorite smelly thing:Black Raspberry Vanilla lotion I got for Christmas

7. Favorite food:Irish Cheddar Cheese

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Finally! A good book! I have been reading a lot of fluff lately, just couldn't find anything to really sink my teeth into. I actually started this once before but I guess I was still in too fluffy a mindset. But when my friend Tif mentioned it in a post I thought I would give it another shot because she has great book taste. I am so glad I did! I stayed up late last night to finish it and today I miss the characters just like I did when I finished The Help and The Sweet Potato Pie Literary Club. In fact it reminded me a lot of The Help, they both deal with a period of time we are less than proud of. It is the story of two kids, I suppose it would be considered a coming of age story, living in World War II Seattle. One Henry, is Chinese American and the other Keiko, is Japanese American. Keiko is sent to a Japanese interment camp and becomes lost to Henry. Forty years later some of her families belongings are found in an old hotel Japanese families had used to story precious belongings they hoped to reclaim when the war was over but never had. The unfolding story is one of a boy and girl and a boy and his family during a time that is past. As I am sure you can tell, I really enjoyed it and recommend it!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Candy Jars

More Valentine's Day crafting! I found this jar at a thrift store and while it was sort of cute I thought it could be cuter. After some modge podge, some scrapbook paper, some ribbon, and some candy it joined its friends on my counter.
Now if I could just keep from stealing from my own decorations!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Holiday Canvases

Monday and Tuesday are school holidays around here so I thought I would show one way we have spent Martin Luther King day in the past.We paint canvases in a Valentine's Day theme. The one on the far right was done by me about four years ago and the other three were done by my three kids last year. Matthew and Brittany require no guidance now but for Josh I tried to help him contain his red paint in a heart shape. I love decorating with them and it is fun to see how their art progresses. There were also some I put on the mantle in this post.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Valentine's Day is Coming!

I hosted lunch for my girlfriends this week so it motivated me to get my Valentine's Day decorations out. Of course that led to a few new creations. The new creations include this wreath and banner.

This wreath was based on the yarn wrapped wreaths I have seen around blogland.It was made by a straw wreath that I picked up at the thrift store. I wrapped some fuzzy, nubby yarn around it to disguise the bumpy texture then I added fabric flowers made from Valentine's Day related fabrics and leaves from a felted sweater. The wreath cost me $1.47 I think I got the yarn from the thrift store too and it was $1 and I had the fabric for the flowers. Total cost less than $2.50.

The banner was inspired by some I have seen in blogland too. The fabric probably cost me about $1, I bought more than I used in this project. The letters were $2 and a few pieces of scrapbook paper, about $1 worth. I had the ribbon it was built on and added too already. Total cost about $4. I am on a roll with the Valentine's day decorating, I may have gone too far. There is more to come!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Get Your Order In!

Brittany has been invited to go to girl's camp this Summer. Very exciting! Less exciting is the price tag. Because she doesn't have a very large babysitting clientele yet we have been trying to think of some way she can make some money. Since she is amazing at crochet, much better than I, I suggested she look for some patterns for American Doll clothes. This is what she has created so far. Isn't it darling? It comes with the purse, shoes, shirt, Capri's and headband and is eight dollars for the whole outfit! She is working on this in yellow for one of our friends and will be taking orders for any other interested parties. This outfit in red is also available. I thought I would put it on here for a couple of days before I list it in my shop. Email me if you are interested and look for more outfits coming soon!

The Return of Joe!

See that cute puppy on the right? Well his name is Joe and Joshua loves him. He is the puppy that went with us to Disneyworld and helped Josh be brave on all of the rides to help him be brave. He, along with "Ball Blanket," seen behind, helped us fly on the plane. We love him and he has been missing. I looked everywhere. I had donated a bunch of toys to the thrift store at Christmas but I knew I would never have donated Joe but where else could he be?
Witness Joe's happy return! Josh's best buddy Gage found him in their basement the other day and called to see if this could be him. We were so happy to have him back, especially when cute Gage made a big sacrifice returning him. See Joe is so lovable Gage had fallen in love with him too. There were even little tears when Gage returned him to Josh. Broke my heart! I am so grateful we have Joe back, but even more grateful for sweet friends whom I hope Josh has even longer that a favorite puppy!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

English Toffee

Making candy is a huge part of Christmas around here. My friend Mandi gave me a new recipe for English Toffee and I liked it a lot better than my old one. 1 Cup sugar
1 C butter or margarine
1/4 C water
1/2 package of semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 C chopped pecans or walnuts (optional- I leave them out)
Heat sugar, butter and water to boiling in a heavy saucepan, stirring constantly; reduce heat to medium. cook about 13 minutes, stirring constantly, to 300 degrees on candy thermometer. Immediately pour toffee onto a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. If necessary, quickly spread mixture to 1/4 inch thickness. Sprinkle with chocolate chips; let stand about 1 minute or until chips are completely softened.

This was so good I may make it again for Valentine's Day!

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Year's Day at Oma and Opa's

On New Year's Day we made our way up to Oma and Opa's house to celebrate a late Christmas with them. It was a beautiful day. There was fresh snow and lots of sunshine, the perfect combination. Look how pretty! It is always lovely but especially with fresh snow.

Opa has been working on his new barn and then in celebration of the season found a new place for a Christmas tree! Isn't it cute?

It was the perfect day for sledding and playing in all of the new snow. It was a perfect day, thanks to Oma and Opa's hospitality and generousness. We will definitely be back soon!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Gluten-free Peanut Butter Bars

William had been craving the peanut butter bars we all remember from school lunch for awhile now. So I asked my friend Mandi, a known baker around here, if she had a good recipe. Of course she did and I converted it to be gluten-free. I keep losing it and having to ask her for it so I finally am putting it on here so it won't be lost!
1 C softened butter
1C sugar
1C brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 t salt
1t soda
2 t vanilla
2C flour
2C Oats
When I make them gluten-free I use rice flour and gluten-free oats. I also make half this batch which fits in a 9X13 pan.If you make the whole batch it fits in a cookie sheet.
Press dough in pan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. When it comes out of the oven spread with peanut butter. After it has cooled frost with chocolate frosting. I use Mandi's frosting recipe too.
1 stick butter softened
6T milk
4 T cocoa
3 1/2 C powdered sugar.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Happy 40th plus One!

My parents 40th wedding anniversary was last year. We all meant to plan something to commemorate it but it is on the 18th of December, not a slow time of year, and so somehow it just didn't happen. Well this year my mom decided it was going to happen. So she planned a fabulous family breakfast at The Grand Hotel to celebrate the one year anniversary of their 40th wedding anniversary. Unfortunately she then got the stomach flu days before. So we rescheduled it for the morning of New Year's Eve morning. It was such a great day! Here is the whole group. Good looking aren't we?

Waiting to be seated in the beautiful lobby.

After the wonderful breakfast we explored the whole gorgeous hotel. They have a beautiful new French bakery.
They have an amazing toy store too. Don't you think that Josh looks perfect in this adorable car with his suit and all?

I may have to make a crown like this to use for our family birthdays.

When everything is so pretty you can't help but make a collage of it all!
Pretty tablescapes everywhere!

It was a perfect morning, these cute kids had a great time in such a special place making special memories. Thank you so much Grandpa and Grandma, for such a special day but especially for being such a great example of what marriage can and should be. Everything I know I learned from you!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Christmas at the Sorensons

After pretty much destroying our own house Christmas morning we headed out to my sister's house to share Christmas dinner and open more presents and make more messes. In the week leading up to Christmas I worked like a crazy person making doll clothes. It seem every little girl I know was into The American Girl dolls. Of course they are more fun when you can change their clothes. After dinner Brittany and my nieces put on a fashion show starring their dolls in their new dudes fashioned by Aunt Shell, (that is me). It made me so happy that they had such a good time! Notice that Matthew was the music with his paper jam guitar and they used the karaoke machine to announce each model.

Matthew was so good on the guitar that Josh couldn't resist dancing!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Christmas Morning

I know, Christmas was a long time ago, but I haven't been able to blog much with all of the crazy little people home. So here we go, better late than never. One of my favorite days of the year. I love the excitement, the surprises and the happy faces. As you can see Matthew was thrilled to have a paper guitar, for as long as that lasts. Josh got a new Batman uniform and Miss Brittany is now the happy companion of the now discontinued Felicity. It was really such a good day.

This, however, is what things still looked like a few days later. Needless to say it was a good thing school resumed today. Tomorrow the tree finally comes down and life resumes. It is so great though to have these fun days of Christmas to play with all of the new toys and have fun together.

And when you have two cute matching boys like this how can you resist?!