Sewing

#StitchingSanta 2017

Button

Sheila over at Sewchet has coordinated a crafters’ Secret Santa (called #StitchingSanta) for the last few years. I’ve been on the sidelines watching as everyone exchanges such lovely, thoughtful gifts so I finally decided to join in this year! You can choose to do crocheting/knitting, sewing, or both. I chose to do the sewing Secret Santa.

I got my recipient today and I’m so excited to get to know her through her blog. I’ve already started perusing and am starting to get some ideas…

‘Tis the season, friends! 🙂
ETA: veterans of #stitchingsanta: do you have any advice for items to consider (or avoid) for the parcels?

Sewing

Yes, I made them again…

This post is long overdue, has been sitting in my drafts for some time, waiting for me to finish the 3rd version, but it’s still not done, so I figured I’d post this, just to get it off the draft list.

On May 7th, 2016, I FINALLY sat down at my sewing machine for the first time since June 2015. The last project I made was another diaper pouch/changing pad combo, but didn’t post about it until December. This time it was … yes, another one! I know too many people having babies, I guess! And it’s a quick-to-make go-to gift and a useful item for the receiver.

In fact, I had 3 left to make, so rather than do a post for each one, I’m lumping them together. (and they’re all way overdue — is there a bashful smiley face?)

This first one was for my cousin’s youngest, and oddly enough, I completed it on his 1st birthday. I did change it up a little by keeping it square instead of rounding the corners and added batting in the middle. So it’s more comfortable to lay on (instead of just 2 PUL pieces of material sewn together).  I was able to use all material from my stash (minus the batting) so was happy about that! Orange is my cousin’s favorite color and I liked the idea of using a few different solids, instead of patterns like I’ve used in the past. It’s not perfect, but I’m pleased and my cousin was happy to have it!

IMG_0228       IMG_0231

The second one was for my best friend Krista, who had a little girl about 3 weeks before Dom was born. The fabric for the changing pad and the batting were the only things I had to buy; I already had the fabric for the pouch and the bias tape. (you may remember the pouch material from the alphabet pillows I made a few years ago). So the one above was given to my nephew on his first birthday, I didn’t get this one to Krista until shortly after her daughter’s 2nd birthday. (I’m on a roll..)

 

       

The third one that still isn’t done is for us! Can you believe it? I never got around to making my own. And even worse, I have all the materials and they’re all sitting in a bag waiting for me to get to it. Dom is 2 — he’ll be in diapers for a bit longer; is it worth it to make it? I suppose we could always re-purpose the pouch for something else once he’s out of diapers…

Monthly Wrap-Up

October 2017 Wrap-Up

monthly wrapup

How are we in November already?

Dom 👦

Well, October is a big month for Dom: it’s his birthday month! He turned 2 this year and I’m struggling to fully realize how quickly time has passed since he was born. We had a small get-together with family this year, rather than an actual, full-on birthday party. The weather was perfect and we were able to hang out outside and the kids could play in the yard and it was a really great day. We did it the day after his birthday, so he heard the “Happy Birthday” song two days in a row, so can you really blame him that for a couple of days after that he kept saying “Happy birfday Dom”?

He’s still into his music, and we’ve added “Happy” by Pharell, “Dominck the Donkey” by Lou Monte, and “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake to his playlist, along with the Fitz and the Tantrums songs and some of the Mary Poppins soundtrack. He’s also getting closer to saying “supercalifragilisticexpealidocious”, he says “supa-calla-ecca-docious”.

He’s still in the hitting phase, though, so if you have any experience/have any advice to share, please do so!

He’s also starting to say some of the alphabet on his own, which was surprising and exciting to hear. He can associate certain letters with people (such as “D” for “Dom”). However, when he does that, he calls every letter “D”, even if he’s matching the letter with a correct word. For example, he a has a friend at school named Wyatt. When he sees the letter “W” he says “D-Wyatt”. He also says the letter “T” is for “Papa” since Papa’s name is Tony. So we’re working on that. 🙂

HIs monthly color table was special as we had people write some happy birthday messages:

He was a Christmas elf for Halloween and had fun trick-or-treating. We went to my cousin’s place (first Halloween in the new neighborhood) and we all had a really great time. 🙂 I’m thinking of starting a mini-scrapbook just for Halloween over the years…


Books/Reading 📚

Books completed: 0
Books in progress: 2
Year Goal: 22/24
Historical Fiction Challenge: 7/5 (Completed in August)
What’s in a Name Challenge: 2/6

Outlander update: my friend and I are in the 5th book, but it’s slower going, and season 3 of the tv show is about halfway over.

I have a Book of the Month membership and need to start being better about reading those books when they come in – I have 11 that still need to be read! (top of bookshelf in the picture below is only unread books from BOTM). I think I may focus more on those books in the new year.

Crafts 🎨

Sewing
Sewing projects completed: 0
Sewing projects in progress: 3

I’m still working on the initial pillows. It would have been completed except when I was putting the stuffing in, I tore the fabric — and not on the seam where I could easily fix it. 😦 So I need to get new fabric for Dom’s letter. I have the letters cut out and pinned for 3 other pillows though.

I haven’t done any more with the Colette Sorbetto I mentioned in my last wrap-up, but I’m hoping to carve some time for it. It’s going to be a knit version and Colette has a great tutorial on their site for tweaking the pattern to work with knit fabrics. However, I did also just get the Rita Blouse pattern from Gretchen Hirsch (Charm Patterns by Gertie) and I’m really excited about it (so many awesome versions posted in the Rita Sewalong Facebook group). I already have fabric picked out and really want to do it right. I’m going to start by making a muslin with a cotton bedsheet we don’t use. 🙂 Most likely, I’ll end up moving the Rita blouse ahead of the Colette tunic. Posts will follow for each of them, once they’re actually done… so I mean, stay tuned, but also, don’t hold your breath. 😉

Knitting
Knitting projects completed: 0
Knitting projects in progress: 1(2)

I still haven’t touched the cabled hat pattern by Purl Soho, so I don’t know if I should actually count it in the “in progress” line above (that’s what the 2 is for).

Still working on the other hat for my friend’s baby. Hoping to wrap that up in the next week and will post.

 

Weight Loss🏋
Aside from noting either weight loss or gain, there really hasn’t been anything else to share in this space, so I’ll be removing it from future posts… so I guess I’ll be back to Dom, Reading, & Crafting. 🙂

 

Are you ready for the fall and all the fun holidays coming? Or are you wishing it was still summer and you were sitting on a beach somewhere?

Monthly Wrap-Up

July – September 2017 Wrap-Up

monthly wrapup

I’m a few months behind, so I’ll sum up July, August, and September here to catch up. So be prepared for a longer post than normal…

Dom 👦
Man, the downside to being behind 3 months of updates is that there’s so much going on! Dom is so funny. I know I’ve said that every month, but he really is. I think he likes to make people laugh. His little personality is totally shining through and he’s a lovable and loving little guy. As noted in past months, his vocabulary continues to grow at an amazing rate (his daycare teacher says she’s surprised by all of his words). He’s saying numbers in order (oddly enough, it’s usually the later numbers: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13). 8 seems to be his favorite, he says it all the time.

He also likes to ask for “one more” with his little finger up in the air, which sometimes turn into “I want 8.”

He likes different juices, which is good for variety. And he loves all kinds of fruit: blueberries, bananas, watermelon, grapes… those are his favorites. He also continues to eat his veggies without a fuss (corn, carrots, and peas being his favorite). He loves pizza. Thursdays at the daycare are “pizza day” so all the kids yell “Pizza Day!” And now Dom calls all pizza “pizza day.” He does go through little fussy periods from time to time, but they usually only last a couple of days.

We did some blueberry and apple picking and had a lot of fun!

He enjoys Mary Poppins, and often asks to listen to or watch “Super,” “Step in Time,” “the animals,” (when the animals sing in “Jolly Holiday”), and especially the penguins. He’s still a big fan of Fitz and the Tantrums and still loves listening to “Handclap,” though “Roll Up” is his preferred Fitz song right now.

He did get an upper respiratory infection in July and that wasn’t fun to deal with (we also had to do albuterol nebulizer treatments at home), and that whole ordeal lasted a couple of weeks, along with some really crappy sleeping. Since then, our sleeping hasn’t really been great/back to normal (we’ve been having stretches of nights in a row waking up in the middle of the night).

“Mickey Clubhouse” is his favorite show. He has Crocs with Mickey Mouse heads on them and he calls them his Mickey Clubhouse crockies.

He’s also currently in a hitting phase 😔 which we’re dealing with, but it makes me a little sad that it’s happening  (though I suppose it’s better than biting…)

We kept up with our monthly table coloring, which you can see below.

July
August
September

I think I may need to start doing Dom updates separately from these monthly wrap-ups…

Moving along…

Books/Reading 📚
Books completed: 12
Books in progress: 0
Year Goal: 22/24
Historical Fiction Challenge: 7/5 (Completed in August)
What’s in a Name Challenge: 2/6

I haven’t read any books toward the Back to the Classics Challenge, and I don’t anticipate reading anything to qualify anytime soon, so I’ve removed that from here.

One of my best friends started reading the Outlander series at the beginning of the summer, which I read a number of years ago. She started asking questions about things I didn’t really remember, so I started re-reading them along with her. We finished the 4th book in September. And truth be told, there was a lot of stuff I had forgotten, so it’s been good to re-read. And we’re also watching the 3rd season of its television counterpart.

Crafts 🎨

Sewing
Sewing projects completed: 1 (1 in progress)

I finally made another one of the diaper pouch/changing pad combos! It was waaay overdue (2 years overdue, to be exact) for the intended recipient, but I think she liked it when she got it. ☺Wasn’t even my intention for the pouch fabric to match the changing pad fabric so closely.

The project I’m working on is an initial pillow for Dom. You may recall I made some a few years ago for some nieces and nephews. I’m finally getting ’round to making them for Dom and a couple of nephews/friends. They’ll be Christmas gifts.

I almost said 2 in progress because I started getting the pattern sorted for the Colette Sorbetto top, tunic version (I’ve been drafting a separate post on that, but can’t tell you when it will go up since I haven’t done more than trace & cut out the pattern)

Knitting
Knitting projects completed: 1 (2 in progress)

I still haven’t touched the cabled hat pattern by Purl Soho.

But I did make a hat intended for a friend’s new baby. But I think the yarn I chose was too bulky because it came out almost fitting me. So I thought about who I could give it to and ended up giving it to the little girl that the above diaper pouch was made for! And she loved it (she wore it during her nap in the day I gave it to her).


So I’m working on another hat for a 5-month-old. I’m trying a new pattern and like it so far. Will share pictures once it’s done.

Earlier in the summer, I made a plan of what I wanted to do (for both sewing and knitting) in 2-month chunks of time (though I did lump June-July-August together). Needless to say, that plan went out the window, as I really haven’t dedicated any time. However, I do plan to re-organize myself (and the sewing room) and will work in bits and pieces and take my time, rather than expecting to complete x number of projects in a given amount of time. I hope that helps me work through some things but also improves my construction.

Baking/Cooking 🍽
Still nothing new here. I’ll probably remove this as a category for the rest of this year…

Weight Loss🏋
Weight lost as of September 30th: 1.5 lb gain (since June 30th, some fluctuation each month). Need to have better focus. Will figure it out… (I hope)

Life is busy, but I hope to get back on here a little more regularly (again).

Happy fall! 🍁

 

How was your summer/beginning of fall?

Monthly Wrap-Up

June 2017 Wrap Up

monthly wrapup

How have we already completed the first half of this year?!

Dom
I’m beyond being able to keep track of all the words he’s learning. It’s incredible to watch his brain process everything and I love when he “tells a story.” For example, when we go to daycare, we have to take an elevator in the garage and occasionally see a bunny outside. So Dom says bunny, his version of elevator, and Nonni (my mother-in-law works at the same place so we carpool together). So he’s telling us that we saw a bunny near the elevator and Nonni was with us.

He’s still obsessed with trucks and we’ve added a new book to our bedtime routine: “Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site”. I’ll write more about our books and reading time in a separate post (I can’t believe I forgot to write about his favorite book in last month’s wrap-up — stay tuned!)

It wasn’t all fun and games this month though. Dom had some sleeping issues later in the month that we struggled with. He was waking up in the night for a few nights over the last week/week-and-a-half of the month. One night, we were up for around 3 hours (~1:30 to ~4:30 am). He wasn’t fussing/crying for that whole time (pretty much only for a bit at the beginning), but just wouldn’t fall back to sleep. Thankfully, it wasn’t a work night but it was still really rough (I had to take a bit of a nap when he napped later that day). We’re not sure what was going on there (my sister suggested maybe it was a sleep regression). Whatever it was, it has passed, thankfully!

And here’s our June artwork:
(we didn’t do as much coloring this month)

June 2017
July 1 – ready for a new month!

I may need to consider having Dom posts separately from this monthly wrap-up as it can get a bit long…

Books/Reading
Books completed: 3
Books in progress: 0
Year Goal: 10/24
Back to the Classics Challenge: 0/12
Historical Fiction Challenge: 3/5
What’s in a Name Challenge: 2/6

Crafts
Sewing projects completed: 1
I finally made another one of the diaper pouch/changing pad combos! It’s waaay overdue for the intended recipient, but I’m still going to give it to her next time I see her (hopefully, soon!). Wasn’t even my intention for the pouch fabric to match the changing pad fabric so closely.

 

Knitted projects completed: 0 (2 in progress)
I still haven’t touched the cabled hat pattern by Purl Soho. But I did start a hat for a friend’s new baby, so I’ll finish that up soon.

For crafts in general, I’ve started to make a plan of what I want to do in 2-month chunks of time; though I did lump June-July-August together to start. So for this summer, I plan (hope) to make another changing pad/diaper pouch combo, finish the 2 knitting hats in progress, and make an insulated market tote bag. I also want to make the updated Sorbetto top tunic version that came out recently. So with June gone, I now have 2 months to do all that — good luck to me. Haha! (I’m planning to use Dom’s nap times as some time I can dedicate to these things, so hopefully, I’ll see more work and finished projects over time.)

Baking/Cooking
nothing new here.

Weight Loss
Weight lost since last month: 1.5 lbs
I got the 12-week weight loss program from Spotebi and had a bit of a false start at the end of June, so will attempt to kick it off again on Sunday. I’m also planning to be better about my use of the It Works! products I currently have (I was a bit better about using the supplements a few times this month).

Overall, I’m generally pretty happy with progress on all fronts. One thing I’m considering is re-naming/re-branding my blog as it’s not only about books anymore (hasn’t been for a while now). Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome! 🙂 (I’m not that creative!)

 

How was your month?

General

5th Annual Camping Trip

I’ve had this post sitting in draft for a while; I think it was mainly because I needed to add pictures — which are still on my regular camera and not uploaded to my Google Drive… but considering this trip was now almost a year ago, I’m just going to post it (with some minor tweaks giving the timing of the post now)…

As I was writing my 2017 goals post, I commented about doing our annual camping trip and realized I never posted about it. 2016 marked our 5th annual camping trip! My cousin and I were excited that we kept this going and have truly made a new tradition for our families.

This year, we were able to get the “party” site, which can accommodate multiple tents and has its own little parking area. We were so excited. We were going to have 3 tents for the 3 families. We were 7 adults, 1 teenager, and 4 kids under the age of 4. We knew it was going to be so much fun!

<cue thunder crashing>Then the weather happened. It rained a bit, off and on, on the drive up to New Hampshire. But it was fine when we pulled up to the campground. 2 of the 3 families arrived around the same time. As we started unloading the cars, the sky opened up and was pouring buckets down on us. We set up 2 of our pop-up canopies to cover the stuff that we had already taken out of the cars, as well as the kids (though my niece, 3 years old at the time, was LOVING splashing around in the quickly forming puddles). I sat under the canopy with the kids while some of the other adults tried to put up tarps over where we wanted to set up our tents. Unfortunately, that just wasn’t meant to be because the water was heavy so they couldn’t pull the tarps up high enough. And the ground was getting super muddy and filling with puddles. So even if we could have gotten the overhead tarps up, we would have still been putting the ground tarps and tents over muddy puddles. There was no way we would have been able to successfully set up our tents in this weather. We realized even if we did get a break in the weather to set up, and then if it kicked back up again in the middle of the night, it would be a complete nightmare to try to pack up the kids and the cars in the dark. We decided to start driving around to see what places might have some vacancies (not yet cancelling our reservation at the campground, just in case).

Meanwhile, the third family was en route. Have I ever mentioned the campground is in a dead zone and we need to drive about 15-20 minutes away to a nearby town to get cell service? Anyway, when we did get back into a reception zone, we were able to connect with the other family and explain what was going on. They said they’d look around where they were for anything available (they weren’t too far away at that point). We stopped at Attitash (one of the nearby mountain resorts) and, just for the hell of it, decided to see if they had any availability to accommodate our group. Turns out, they had 2 different mountainside houses available! We toured each and picked one. It was a full-on house, so we had a full-size kitchen, enough bedrooms for all of us, a living room, dining area, etc. We were able to store all our foodstuff in the kitchen, and didn’t need to deal with ice, and bears (I’m sure I posted about bears on a past trip?), and all that other stuff. We had beds to sleep in, we had AC, and after the kids went to bed the adults were all able to sit around the dining table and play cards, games, chat, or watch some of the Olympics. It turned out to be a great time! The weather was still pretty rainy all weekend, so we entertained ourselves with some of the amenities at Attitash (and after the first night we checked out at the campground).

All in all, we had a lot of fun. And we’re seriously considering doing two trips each year: one “real” camping trip and one in a house!

Monthly Wrap-Up

May 2017 Wrap Up

monthly wrapup

Let’s get right to it!

Dom
I feel like a broken record when saying “new stuff again this month!”, but it’s so true. His vocabulary is growing exponentially. It’s getting harder to capture all the new words. He’s starting to repeat after us pretty quickly and then retaining the words (so now we’re definitely being more careful about what words we say around him). He started the month saying “gub” for love (as in “I love you”) but by the end of the month, he was stringing together “I love you” into one sound (which I can’t even begin to figure out how to type) and it’s super cute. He’s also starting to say “I don’t know” and “what happened?” (not perfectly clear, but understandable to us). He still loves all things that go: cars, trucks, motorcycles, bikes, and especially planes and helicopters; he always gets so excited and shouts “pane!” or “cocka!” whenever he sees one. The way he says Sonny’s name has evolved from “Sa” to “Sushee”. He’s even stringing words together to make a story. For example, he says “nonuts (donuts) – bike” (and sometimes includes “dada” and “sushee” — telling us that he rode his bike to get donuts with dada and Sonny; we took a walk to Dunkin’ Donuts and he rode on a tricycle that we push). Whenever he sees letters (on anything – t-shirts, store fronts, etc.) he says “O-P-Shee” (his version of A-B-C, I assume). And he just started saying “otay” (for “okay”).

I’m having so much fun spending time with him and watching him learn and discover. We took him to the Children’s Museum a couple of weeks ago and he loved it (the large animatronic dinosaur there, not so much, but everything else he was totally into).

For the past few months, I’ve been taping coloring paper down to his little table in our dining room and keeping crayons available so he can go over and color whenever he wants. At the beginning of the month, I put a new sheet down and kept it for the entire month, to see what kind of doodles we would collect. And after about a week, I decided I want to do this each month, so I’ll be sharing our monthly masterpieces (and anyone can color, doodle, draw on the sheet — grown-ups and kids alike).

Our May Masterpiece

Books/Reading
Books completed: 0
Books in progress: 2
Year goal: 7/24
Back to the Classics Challenge: 0/12
Historical Fiction Challenge: 1/5
What’s in a Name Challenge: 2/6

Crafts
Sewing projects completed: 0
Still aiming to complete that farmer’s market insulated tote I mentioned last month. (and the farmer’s market did start this month and goes through October; I’ve been once so far)

Knitted projects completed: 0 (1 in progress)
Haven’t touched the cabled hat pattern by Purl Soho in a couple of months, and haven’t done anything else.

I want to make a monthly plan of what projects I’d like to work on – no pressure to complete quickly, but really just trying to set aside a little bit of time each week to dedicate to projects. We’ll see how it goes.

Baking/Cooking
I followed a recipe for regular pancakes (no buttermilk) that I found on Pinterest, called Easiest Pancakes Ever (I only just realized it was a Martha Stewart Recipe as I was pulling the address to hyperlink to this post). They were decent. They weren’t very fluffy (not like the pictures) but they still tasted good. I added blueberries (Dom and I both enjoyed them)

Weight Loss
This month’s weight loss was: 1.5

Last month I mentioned I was going to start Spotebi again after we finished watching Sons of Anarchy. We finished watching it pretty early in the month (disappointing season finale, by the way! I knew what was going to happen, but it was an overall disappointing episode, but I digress…) but I haven’t restarted Spotebi yet. I did upgrade my Fitbit to an Alta that I’ve been wearing for almost the entire month now, and I did have 7 days in a row where I did over 10,000 steps each day! I’ve used the treadmill workstation at work a couple of times to get more steps in, too.

But I still need to get more activity going in my day-to-day and also focus on better eating. Feel free to send along any healthy, easy recipes that you enjoy! 🙂 (easy being the operative word!) — and if you have any suggestions for at-home workout routines that you find effective.

Work
Work is definitely picking up so I’m glad for that! There’s a lot to learn in my new role and group, but I’m really happy to get into it.

All in all, it has been a good month, but still hard to believe it’s over already and that we’re nearing the end of the first half of 2017 — time really is flying. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year holds and I look forward to weekend getaways and vacations we’re planning!

How was your month?

Monthly Wrap-Up

April 2017 Wrap Up

monthly wrapup

Let’s get right to it!

Dom
Last month I mentioned that my sister and I signed up my nephew and Dom for swimming lessons. We have the last one on Saturday. The boys love it! They have so much fun playing in the water and making lots of noise to hear the echoing in the pool. I may consider signing him up again in the fall when they have their next round of classes.

He has added some new words to his vocabulary, including color, pizza, cookie (that one is very clear!), moah (“more”), and doah (“door”), bittie (“binky”), ankoo (“thank you”), peas (“please”), Goo (“Goofy”), pane (“plane”), and cocka (“helicopter”). He also has been giving kisses, which melts my heart (there’s always something new each month that melts my heart). A new animal he likes to imitate is the penguin (he says “wah wah wah” and sort of waddles — really, he’s imitating what I do when referencing a penguin).

He’s become obsessed with the song “Handclap” by Fitz and the Tantrums, always saying “clah clah” and clapping his hands so we can play the song in the car, or the music video on the TV. He sways/steps side to side and claps his hands the whole time. However, I am getting a bit tired of the song, so any recommendations for new fun songs are welcome!

Books/Reading
I read 3 books this month
Books read: The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister, Modern Lovers by Emma Straub, and Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Year goal: 7/24
Back to the Classics Challenge: 0/12
Historical Fiction Challenge: 1/5
What’s in a Name Challenge: 2/6

Crafts
Sewing projects completed: 0
I bought some farmers market fabric and insulated lining as I’d like to make a market bag to use when I go to the farmer’s market that’s set up near my work on Wednesdays (I think it starts in May). I bought the fabric back in March but still haven’t done anything yet… need to get on that.

Knitted projects completed: 0 (1 in progress)
Haven’t touched the cabled hat pattern by Purl Soho in quite a while, and haven’t done anything else.

Baking/Cooking
Nothing new 😦

Weight Loss
This month’s weight loss was: gained 1.8 lbs

I’ve promised myself I’m going to restart Spotebi at home (as soon as we’re done watching Sons of Anarchy — which, if I’m being honest, is what totally threw me off back in March; we should be finished with it by the end of this week).

I’ve been making a shake with the It Works! protein powder a few mornings each week at work. But I need to be better about remembering to take the supplements after meals. I also started using the wraps on my sides and am starting to notice a difference, so I just need to keep up with those (aiming to do them weekly; I have 3 left in my supply).

But what I really need to do is focus on eating better and being active, more than anything else. I’m hoping with the better weather, we’ll also get outside and walking more on the weekends, at the very least.

Work
I’m settling into my new role and am enjoying it so far. I’m currently less busy than I was in my previous role, so I’m hoping that changes soon, as I feel more motivated when I’m busy. I like working with a sense of urgency and always having a to-do list.

General
We hosted our first holiday (Easter) at our house and it was great. Hubs did an awesome job with the food and the weather was gorgeous so we were able to be outside and the kids got to play in the yard and the sandbox and this sprinkler thing we got and everyone had a really nice time.

This past Saturday I had my sister, 2 cousins, and their kids over and we had a great time. It was so nice to see all the kids playing together (5 under the age of 5). The weather was awesome so they were able to enjoy all the things mentioned above. We talked about trying to do something like that monthly, and rotating whose house we go to.

How was your April? If you have school-aged kids, did you do anything fun on their school break?

Monthly Wrap-Up

March 2017 Wrap Up

monthly wrapup

OOF — March was an insane month, so much going on! Can’t believe we finally made it to the end.

Dom
Dom continues to amaze us, with his ever-expanding vocabulary and understanding. A few of his new words this month include “buh-buh” for bye-bye, “caw” for cough, “truh” for truck, “nigh-nigh” which is night-night — and he’ll grab a blanket and pat the couch to lay down – but not sleep –  (he’ll also grab the blanket we use for Sonny and say “nigh-nigh” as he carries it to Sonny, at which point one of us needs to take the blanket and cover Sonny); and “tra” for trash, and he loves to help us throw trash away, whether it’s a tissue, diaper, or piece of fuzz he finds (one time he even took a tissue from my mom mid-nose blow so he could throw it away). He also says some colors (“blue” and “purple” being the easiest to understand), and we practice saying a bunch of words and names of family members every day. He tries to jump, which is hilarious, and he likes to dance around, too. He also started to do a bit of crawling, which he had skipped in the general order of things (he went from scooting on his bum to walking). So I was pretty excited to see that, despite the fact that he’s a very capable and sturdy walker (and he likes to run, too).

He did get a second ear infection, 5 weeks after the first one. But despite that, he still remained fairly cheerful. My little champ.

My sister and I signed up Dom and her son, Will, for a baby swim class, which starts on April 1st. Can’t wait to see how he’ll do!

Books/Reading
I read 1 book this month. (and I have 1 in progress)
Books read: Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney
Year goal: 5/24
Back to the Classics Challenge: 0/12
Historical Fiction Challenge: 1/5
What’s in a Name Challenge: 1/6

Crafts
Sewing projects completed: 0
Knitted projects completed: 0 (1 in progress)

Still working on a cabled hat pattern by Purl Soho.

My leadership team at work got me some sock yarn and a book with 10 different sock patterns, so I’ll be checking that out soon, too!

Baking/Cooking
I forgot to post about banana muffins I made back in February, see the post here. I made the banana muffins again in March, and they were just as good as the first time. 🙂 (except I put the chocolate chips in all of them!)

Weight Loss
This month’s weight loss was: 2.7

I continued with the 4 week beginner at home workout plan from Spotebi. You’re supposed to do the workouts Monday through Friday with the weekends being the rest days, but there were times due to tiredness or lack of time (and if I’m being honest, laziness), that I ended up taking a day or two off and pushing out the schedule. I still haven’t finished the 4 weeks (did about 2.5 weeks worth of workouts over a 3 week period), so I need to get back into it, ’cause I liked doing them.

I also purchased some items from a company called It Works! (discovered through a friend & his wife, hey Jimmy & Kim!). I wanted to get back into Shakeology, but was interested to see if there were cheaper options out there and It Works! has a cheaper and still tasty chocolate protein powder to make shakes (my favorite being a chocolate, peanut butter, and banana shake! — do you have any combos you like??) Along with the protein powder, I got a couple of supplements and 2 body wraps. The wraps have a lotion on them that is supposed to help firm and tone your targeted area. Obviously, I tried it on my mid-section first. You’re supposed to wear it for 45 minutes for the first time and can do it every 72 hours. I did it 2 Saturdays in a row, the first time for 45 minutes and the second time for 2 hours. I haven’t noticed a significant visible difference after the 2 wraps, but I have noticed my jeans feel looser, so that’s good (and I’ve lost about a pound since trying the wraps). I ordered a few more wraps and will see how it goes. (My rep, Kim, says that it usually takes about 3 wraps to really notice a visible difference). I just have to get into the habit of remembering to take the supplements to get maximum results.

Work
So as I mentioned at the beginning, it’s been a really busy month. We had our annual team face to face meeting this past week and its was really busy planning and prepping for it. At the same time, I was also transitioning my responsibilities to a new person I am taking on a new role within another group in my department (and it starts on Monday!).  Though I’m sad to leave my current team (I’ve been working with them for almost 5 years), I’m really excited for the new opportunities, projects, and challenges that comes with this new role. And I’ll still have opportunities to work with my now old team, just in a different way.

Bring on April!

How was your March?

baking

Banana Muffins

We try to keep bananas around the house because we all like them (I wish I could type out how Dom says “banana” but I don’t think I’d capture it; maybe some like “blamana”…anyway..) But I like to keep them so a few can get ripe enough to use for baking. Often, I end up making a banana bread (tried & true recipe from my mom), but sometimes I want to change it up. When that happens, I turn to Pinterest.

About a month ago, I came across the Perfect Banana Muffins by My Mommy Style, and like the pancakes I recently tried, this recipe lives up to its name, too! I used my new Nordic Ware muffin pan without any liners. I made half the batch with chocolate chips. These were easy to make. They’re light, fluffy, moist, and delicious. It was hard to eat just one, so I was happy to “test” one of each to include some pictures. 😉

banana muffins

 

chocolate chip banana muffins

I will most definitely use this recipe again (and again…)!

Do you have any banana muffin variations you like to make? Share in the comments!

cooking

Homemade Buttermilk Pancakes

I love breakfast. It’s my favorite meal to make. I’ve taken to doing pancakes, waffles, scrambled eggs, or French toast on Sundays, trying to start a family weekend tradition.

I’ve wanted to make buttermilk pancakes for ages but always forget to buy buttermilk when I’m at the store. Last month, I finally remembered to pick some up and that weekend attempted to make them. I found the Best Ever Buttermilk Pancake recipe from Lovely Little Kitchen on Pinterest and its name is no joke!

These are some of the best pancakes I’ve ever made/had! I added chocolate chips to the second half of the batch.

plain
with chocolate chips!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even hubs, who isn’t big on sweet breakfast foods thought they were really good, too. I said I was never going back to Bisquick! (In reality though, I have used Bisquick once since then. It’s faster to do in a pinch).

I’ve made these a second time as well, and they were just as good as the first try.

Buttermilk is going to become a regular staple in my fridge!

A friend of mine (Hi, Kellie!) said her husband tried banana chocolate chip blueberry pancakes when they were on their honeymoon and he thought they were amazing. I just might have to try that next!

What other pancake variations do you like/recommend?

Monthly Wrap-Up

February 2017 Wrap Up

monthly wrapup

I can’t believe February has come and gone already. This year is flying by. (I know it might be funny to say that after only the 2nd month of the year, but the weeks really are moving!)

Dom
It really is incredible to watch him grow. So often I watch him walking around and think “when did we get here?” He’s learning more words (most recently started saying “up”, “no”, “no more” (like “no more monkeys jumping on the bed). He gives kisses and hugs, and blows kisses (along with a “mwah” noise). He makes funny faces, does silly dancing, and is all around a bunch of fun. We’re loving watching as he discovers and does new things.

He did get an ear infection earlier in the month and that was no fun at all, though. He was on a 10-cycle of amoxicillin and he liked it. Whenever I said it was time for his medicine he would make an “mmmm!” noise, and then go sit in his little chair so I could give it to him, so at least there’s that. But we had 7-8 nights in a row of waking up in the middle of the night for extended periods of time (I had to take a few days off from work). I’m happy to say that all has passed, but it was getting really tough with all the waking up!

Books/Reading
I read 0 books this month. (I have 1 in progress)
Year goal: 4/24
Back to the Classics Challenge: 0/12
Historical Fiction Challenge: 1/5
What’s in a Name Challenge: 0/6 (the 1 in progress will fit this category)

Crafts
Sewing projects completed: 0
Knitted projects completed: 0 (1 in progress)

I’m working on a cabled hat pattern by Purl Soho. I’m excited to see how it turns out since this is the first time I’m really working with cables. I’ll post about it when complete.

I do want to start another sewing project, just not sure what yet. (Suppose I should just get those diaper pouch combos out of the way…)

Baking/Cooking
I made buttermilk pancakes from scratch for the first time (and made them twice)! I’ll have a post up about those soon. 🙂 (and will update with a link here after)

Weight Loss
This month’s weight loss was: 1.0 pound
I thought it might be a bit more, but I’ll take it!
I started an at-home work out plan from a site called Spotebi. They have many different plans to choose from (some free, some for purchase). I decided to try the free 4-week beginner workout. I’m really liking it so far. There’s variety in the exercises, and a mix of HIIT workouts and yoga sequences. (you may have seen some of my instagram posts to the right on my blog here). But I’m in my second week and still going strong, so that’s a plus for me. Now I just need to get better about eating (though I’ve noticed I’m eating smaller portions, and taking my time, but I need to focus more on what I’m eating, too.)

How was your February?

Share Your World

Share Your World – February 6, 2017 (Week 6)

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(links to Cee’s post for today)

This is a weekly challenge hosted by Cee over at Cee’s Photography. She poses a few questions each week that we’re supposed to answer.

Today’s questions are:

Regarding your fridge, is it organized or a mess inside?
It varies. Right now it’s a bit of both. I like things to have their place but sometimes they get moved around because other items only fit in a certain way.

Do you prefer your food separated or mixed together?
When I was younger, definitely separated. I even ate each food one at a time. (Example: at Thanksgiving, I’d eat all the turkey, all the cranberry sauce, I’d mix mashed potatoes and corn, and then eat all the stuffing).  Nowadays I’m into all different kinds of food that have to be mixed (burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas…. hmm, I’m sensing a theme here; even adding peas to my pasta!). But I’ve always mixed mashed potatoes and corn – one of my favorite food combos ever!

Do you prefer reading coffee table books (picture), biographies, fiction, non-fiction, educational?
Mainly fiction. I’ll read the occasional non-fiction like a memoir, but definitely read and enjoy fiction most often. (you’ll probably figure that out if you look back at old book reviews on here, or even the lists of books I’ve read in the past)

Close your eyes. Listen to your body. What part of your body is seeking attention? What is it telling you?
My brain and my eyes. They’re exhausted and want to go to bed. My entire body is tired. (Dom was diagnosed with an ear infection last Wednesday so we’ve had some really tiring nights for the past week since he keeps waking up)

Sewing

Sorbetto Tank Top Take 2

 

Back in 2013 I made my first shirt ever, using Colette’s Sorbetto Tank Top pattern. I decided to try it again, as I figured it would be an easy pattern to get me back into sewing clothing. I also wanted to use some fabric I’ve had in my stash for a few  years now (originally intended for a Sewaholic Lonsdale dress, I think). It’s Bloom Stretch Cotton Sateen, in navy with white specks (from Fabric.com, ordered through Amazon back in – wow – 2013!, no longer available on either site).

Bloom Stretch Cotton Sateen in navy with white specks
Bloom Stretch Cotton Sateen in navy with white specks

The first time around, I used a Keepsake Calico cotton, which was pretty stiff for this shirt, I think.  (This was when I was really first getting into sewing, so didn’t really know much about different fabrics yet. I was also somewhat overwhelmed by the variety, so stuck with the cotton area that was most familiar to me.) The top was also a bit too short for my comfort. So this time, I decided to use the stretch cotton sateen and I lengthened the top by  2 inches and made the armholes slightly bigger. Since this is a tank, I didn’t have to worry about matching up sleeves (whew! — one step at time to pattern adjustments, Danielle!)

As part of my resolution to dedicate more time to sewing, I started by cutting out the pieces for this pattern during one of Dom’s naps. (I found a note I had written on the back of the pattern instructions from when I had traced these pieces with my adjustments — and it was from September!)

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easing my way back into sewing with a 2 piece pattern project!

(side note, I think I saw on the Monthly Stitch blog that someone just sewed a bag that had 50 separate pieces, due to the linings and interfacings, etc. — yeah, 2 pieces sounds like a good start to me)

I actually sat down to start sewing it about a week later, one night after he had gone to bed. Since my sewing room is right across the (narrow) hall from his bedroom, I moved by machine, table top ironing board, and my handy little kit down to our dining room.

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sewing in the dining room

It was clear to me that I was a little rusty – see the embarrassing picture of the staystitching below. Luckily, it’s covered by the bias tape, but also, you can’t even see the thread on the fabric because it blends so well.

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Oof! that’s some rough staystitching!

I was very pleased with how the front pleat turned out. Neat and even. And I think this material will be better than the Calico cotton from the first one, which got super wrinkly after the first washing, and made it difficult for the pleat to lay flat.

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front pleat — not the best picture, but as close as I could get to show you; it’s a bit hard to see due to the fabric pattern

I bought navy bias tape for the top, but then started thinking that I might want to use a contrasting color that would pop (like pink or green). I went back and forth on the idea for a little bit, but when I checked out some other options, nothing really stood out to me, so I stuck with the navy.

Now I have another big admission: I broke another sewing cardinal rule: I didn’t double check that the size cut out of the pattern still fit. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I added a couple of inches to the length and trimmed a teeny bit off the armholes but I failed to mention that I had used the same size from when I first made this shirt 3.5 years ago. I’ve had a baby (and still haven’t lost the accompanying weight) since then. I tried it on after adding the bias tape to the neckline and was really bummed to discover that it was too tight. I mentally kicked myself for not re-doing my measurements to be sure it still aligned with the pattern.

I also realized that the armholes are still too small for my comfort (too high up in my armpit to be comfortable for me). I decided to open them up a bit more before adding the bias tape.

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Before
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Adjustment
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After

Needless to say, there will be no pictures of me wearing the shirt, so you’ll have to make-do with pictures of it on a hanger. (someday I’ll get a dressform!)

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In the end, I’m actually pretty pleased with the construction, despite how long it has been since I last sewed a wearable item (a Sewaholic Renfrew top back in 2015 — though the armholes on that shirt are also a little uncomfortable). However, while this material has a nice stretch, I think it still might not be completely right for this top.

General Lessons Learned:

  • always double check measurements before diving in, especially if it’s a pattern cut out long before actually sewing it up
  • take my time with construction (try not to get impatient with the more “boring” steps, like finishing seams)

Pattern Specific Lessons Learned:

  • use a fabric with more flow
  • re-print and cut out updated pattern pieces to fit my current measurements
  • If updated pattern pieces don’t meet my needs: add additional length to bottom and make bigger armholes

Have you made this top? What adjustments or embellishments have you made? What fabric do you recommend using?

Monthly Wrap-Up

January 2017 Wrap Up

monthly wrapupJanuary had me off to a good start for 2017! Let’s get right into it:

Dom
He’s 15 months old! We had his 15 month check-up near the beginning of the month and he’s doing great. 25 lbs and a little over 30″ tall. He’s learning new words all the time (such as “Papa”, “Pooh”, “poo-poo”, and sounds like he’s trying to say “key” and “tool”) and understanding more and more each day. He transitioned from Infants to Toddlers at the daycare over the last 2 weeks of the month. Exciting, and a little sad that he’s already moving up! (But more exciting; I can’t wait to see what new things he learns!)

Books/Reading
I read 3 books this month. I don’t expect I’ll keep this pace through the year, but it was a nice start!
Year goal: 3/24
Back to the Classics Challenge: 0/12
Historical Fiction Challenge:1/5
What’s in a Name Challenge: 0/6

Crafts
Sewing projects completed: 0
Knitted projects completed: 0
Time spent sewing: I’m not going to track this in hours as I originally thought I might, but will really just re-cap if I spent any time during the month focused on any aspect of a sewing project. I am probably about 85% finished with a project that I was hoping to complete before the month was out, but the last steps took more time than I remembered  when I first made it a few years back. I just need to finish some bias binding and a hem and then its done! I hope to post about it in early February. But despite not finishing yet, I’m really pleased that I actually got as far as I have. And I will not pressure myself to finish projects by a certain self-set deadline. (And with The Monthly Stitch introducing Amnesty Day, I can still have a chance to participate in the monthly challenges!)

Baking/Cooking
Aside from some pre-packaged mixes, I haven’t done anything new here.

Weight Loss
This wasn’t previously listed in my goals, but it is something I am tracking, so what better place than my monthly wrap up? I weighed myself on January 1 and again on January 31. I’ll proceed to weigh myself on the last day of each month and track the (hopefully) loss each month.
This month’s weight loss was: 1.1 pounds — have to start somewhere! 🙂

Overall, I’m happy with how January kicked off 2017 for me. How did January treat you?