Wednesday, January 28, 2009

First Handmade Doll

Emma asked me several months ago to post about the doll I made N. for Christmas. I managed to remember to take photos of most steps, so here they are!

This doll is basic enough that a more experienced sewer could easily do it without a pattern, but since I hadn't touched my sewing machine in over a year (and then only to hem maternity pants!) it was a must-buy.

First step: form the head. I stuffed tubular stockinette with wool then tied the eyeline and vertical strings. The head came out a bit smaller than I wanted, but I've since modified my method of stuffing and my second doll is much better!

Next I used peach cotton-interlock for the outer head and embroidered the eyes and mouth (this required dollmaking needles).

After that it was on to the body. Although the pattern called for print and solid flannels, I used two solids.

Once the two body pieces were done, I attached the head. This was the toughest part. I need to work on my ladder stitch to hide the stitches.

I made the hat, blanket stitched it on, and tied knots at the end of the hat, "arms," and "legs" and that's it! Most the project went very quickly. N. uses the doll for teething and sleeps with it each night.

As I mentioned previously, I'm working on another doll and I'll post a few pictures when that one is done too. This time, I'm embroidering the baby's name and birth date on the doll to make it even more special!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Handmade Christmas 2008

Overdue, but I wanted to share this year's handmade Christmas gifts.

I embroidered the boys' handprints for my parents...

A wool felt Holy Family for a friend:

DH made a fridge for M's Elves and Angels kitchen:

My first try at dollmaking was a knot doll for N:

(I'm planning on doing a post showing this process soon!)

I'm so happy to be back into sewing. I'm currently working on another knot doll for a brand new baby girl and a wool felt Noah's Ark for my boys.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Snow Cream

Fittingly, our themes for the past few weeks have been snow and ice. So we decided to put some of our snow to good use this weekend and make snow cream!

This is quite simple to do and my 2.5 year old was able to virtually make this on his own!

Gather 4-6 cups of fresh snow.

Mix in (these are approximate-- measure to taste) 3/4 cup of heavy cream or milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 1/4 cup of sugar. Stir briskly a few times, and voila! Homemade ice cream!

This tastes amazing-- just like homemade ice cream from an ice cream maker!

We made another batch yesterday for Grandma and Auntie and plan to do some more for dessert tonight!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Current Menu Plan

To go along with my previous post, I wanted to sure our current supper menu plan. These are some of my favorite recipes and a few new ones. I usually plan for two weeks or so with two nights of leftovers each week (we tend to snack/graze all day Saturday and skip an evening meal) and with interruptions and perhaps a spontaneous evening of pizza take-out, I can sometimes stretch it to three. My husband can live with those numbers in the budget!

1/3 Stuffed meatloaf, potato wedges, glazed carrots
1/4 Cream cheese potato soup, pumpkin rolls (didn't cook, sick family)
1/5 Enchiladas (husband took sick day, no cooking again)
1/6 Stir fry with brown rice
1/7 Chili with cornbread
1/8 Leftovers
1/9 Turkey sausage pizza
1/10 Leftovers
1/11 Roast chicken, potatoes au gratin, green beans
1/12 Enchiladas (from last week)
1/13 Spaghetti with garlic and broccoli
1/14 Cream cheese potato soup (from last week)
1/15 Leftovers
1/16 Hawaiian pizza
1/17 Leftovers
1/18 Taco soup
1/19 Chicken and rice bake

I'd be happy to pass on recipes if anyone is interested!

Trying a New Meal Routine

A new year and time to try new things! For a while now I've wanted to try to create a static breakfast menu. Since the baby was born last summer, my husband often gives our older son breakfast for me so I can grab a few extra minutes of sleep (the baby still spends 1-2.5 hours wide awake during the middle of the night). Things are much easier on him if he knows exactly what "day" it is (as do I), and it's nice to have a variety!

Of course, when we were talking about breakfasts, we started talking about lunch! Usually we all have leftovers from supper or sandwiches if we can buy meat from the Mennonite store, though my husband will sometimes eat out at work. All of us are getting a little tired of that routine (especially me), so I decided to go ahead and plan a lunch menu as well. At first I wasn't sure this would work because our food budget is pretty strict and I thought eating leftovers would be the most economical, but it is actually working out well so far. I'm making less food for suppers, so it's evening out. My husband isn't planning on following this exactly, but somehow it's pepped all of us up. In snowy January, I guess that's not hard to do!

Breakfast (all include fruit in season or dried fruit)

Monday- Eggs and toast or breakfast burrito (depends on who's cooking!)
Tuesday- Hot cereal (oatmeal, cream of wheat, farina pudding, etc.)
Wednesday- Breakfast casserole (baked oatmeal, strata, etc.)
Thursday- Leftover breakfast casserole
Friday- Eggs or baked treat
Saturday- Brunch: pancakes, waffles, or omelets
Sunday- Muffins or brunch leftovers


Monday- Grilled cheese and tomato soup
Tuesday- Quesadillas
Wednesday- Supper Leftovers
Thursday- Macaroni and cheese with homemade applesauce
Friday- PB & J with fresh veggies
Saturday- Brunch
Sunday- Sunday dinner


Yogurt, cheese, fruit, or crackers

I'm imagine I'll do some tweaking in the warmer months and replace hot cereals with granola and soups with salads, but for now this is it!

I've been working on dovetailing my supper plans so we don't end up with the same type of meal two days or two meals in a row...for example, no tacos the day we have breakfast burritos or quesadillas and no spaghetti pie if there's mac-and-cheese for lunch. What I'd really like to do is assign a family of food to each day of the week. Monday pasta, Tuesday Mexican, Wedneday slow-cooker, Thursday soup, Friday pizza, etc. That hasn't worked for me in the past, and I'm nost sure why. I really like the idea, that's for sure!

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Visit to an Art Studio

Today our MOMS Club took a trip to a local art studio!
Working with clay...

Experimenting with tempera...

The children had a great time with markers, clay, watercolors, and tempera. We're going back in a month to paint the clay figures we made today (the owner of the studio did most of the work creating a shape for each child)!

I know we'll make many trips to here in the future for art classes. There is a summer program as well as daytime classes for homeschoolers (and cooking classes for adults)! Our club is even discussion holding holiday and birthday parties here!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Around the House

A month or so ago, we cut down a broom and mop and hung them at our son's level...

Over the last week, I rearranged the shelves in the playroom and "extension"...

Most of M.'s Montessori works are on this shelf. It's not perfect since he can only reach the three lower shelves, but I rotate what's higher every few days. I don't have enough shorter shelves to keep everything at his level-- or the room for that many sets of shelves! The top shelf has works that are out of rotation (one good thing about the tall bookcase-- toddler-proof!)

This side has our arts and crafts supplies on the highest two shelves and more learning toys on the lower three.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Eggnog Bread Recipe


3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 beaten egg
1 3/4 cup dairy eggnog
1/2 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
3 teaspoons eggnog


In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powdered, salt, and nutmeg. Combine the egg, eggnog and oil; add to the dry ingredients, stirring just until combined. Stir in the nuts and raisins. Turn into a greased 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. Bake in 350 degrees for 60 to 70 minutes. Cover with foil after 50 minutes if bread browns too quickly. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan; cool on a wire rack. To serve, stir together powdered sugar and enough eggnog to make a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over bread.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Though liturgically this was celebrated January 4, we are more traditional around here and celebrated Epiphany or Three Kings Day today to end our celebration of the Christmas season! We made an Epiphany cake (didn't get a picture before we dove in!) and the Magi joined our Nativity scene. (Thank you, Emma!)

We've been reading The Legend of Old Befana quite a bit in preparation for today. This is an Italian tradition and next year I'd like to expand on the legend and perhaps include a visit from Befana as well. The Last Straw and Story of the Three Wise Kings (this is out of print and can be hard to locate!) also joined our collection. I highly recommend all three! I've been using Catholic Mosaic as a jumping off point to many of our literature choices this season. Though the program is geared toward older kids, the books can be enjoyed by all ages on some level.

Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Days of Christmas

Unfortunately, the stomach bug did not release its grip on the "big boys" until last night, so our plans for the last three days of Christmas were shelved. My husband even took Sunday off from his church job and called in to his "Nine to Five" on Monday! Sick, indeed!

Instead, a lot of this went on:

Today, however, was a new day and the boys and I made my eggnog bread first thing this morning. It was one of the activities M. was looking forward to most during the 12 Days of Christmas, so we had to do it! I'm not sure any stores have eggnog left in their markdown cases but if they do, grab a quart and make this treat!

Delicious and the perfect morning snack!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Eighth and Ninth Days of Christmas

Forgive my late posts...

Our fun New Year's Eve turned unpleasant about 15 minutes before midnight, when our two-year old woke up vomiting. My husband had gone back out to see some friends from work, but he rushed home. Good thing-- the poor baby was up nearly the rest of the night sick and very out of sorts New Year's Day, so we didn't do much. (Thankfully, the baby avoided the bug.)

Later in the afternoon, we started to reorganize and clean in the playroom, but the patient conked out around 4 PM. He slept until 7:00 this morning!

M. was feeling better this morning (though still not 100%), so we were able to go to the birthday party of one of our little friends. He had a good time, but was not as energetic as usual and didn't even finish his piece of birthday cake! We came home to a package from Grandma with new slippers for M. and wool socks for me! We spent the rest of the day cleaning up (Dad tried out the carpet steamer!) and both boys hit the sack nice and early.

I hope we're back up to speed tomorrow for some more fun activities before the Christmas season starts drawing to a close!