Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Book Review Blog



I just wrote a review for TLC Book Tours for the book Call me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

Due to me wanting to take my blog back to the way it used to be and just blogging my day to day, I've decided to start a separate blog for all my book reviews.....you won't miss out, I'll let you know when there is a new one.

So go on over and take a peek at Call me Irresistible, it's such a cute fun read :)




Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Click for Babies: The Period of Purple Crying



Do you know what the Period of Purple Crying is?

I will be honest and tell you that I didn't, until I received an email from a wonderful lady called Harriet, asking me if I would be interested in participating in this campaign, in crocheting or knitting something to donate to babies born in the month of November, as a way to educate parents about the period of Purple Crying.

Knowing that I love to crochet and knit, I couldn't think of a better way to spend my time than to contributing to such a wonderful cause.....but first let me tell you a little more about it.
 
a normal yet difficult developmental stage when infants between two weeks and four months can cry inconsolably for up to five hours a day.  The program helps educate parents and caregivers across North America on how to cope with crying and the dangers of reacting to crying in frustration by shaking or harming an infant.

Nicholas didn't give me any problems, he was the easiest baby to take care of.  Jasmine on the other hand definitely went through the Purple Crying stage.  I would literally walk around at night, rocking her in my arms while she screamed bloody murder.

I didn't understand it, she wasn't hurt, she wasn't needing a diaper change, she wasn't hungry, she wasn't colicky.  She just WAS crying.  It is by far one of the most distressing things to go through as a new parent, you feel so completely helpless.

Thankfully, I stuck through it and even though I didn't understand it or even knew that it was perfectly normal for an infant to do that, I never shook my child or took out my frustrations on her.

Unfortunately the same can't be said for many others out there.  It's heartbreaking to even fathom.  Something that the program wants to remind everyone of is:


If you feel on the edge, it’s okay, to put the baby in their crib, or another safe spot, and WALK AWAY.


Cry if you must.  Yell if you must.  Just do it away from the baby, count to ten, compose yourself or ask your spouse or a family member for help, just don't EVER take out your frustrations on the infant.  



So I'm joining in with the Click for Babies campaign and doing my part to bring awareness.


Click for Babies is a grassroots knitting campaign, and is currently recruiting knitters and crocheters across North America to make purple baby caps out of soft baby friendly yarn. These hand-made caps will be given to parents of babies born during the month of November, along with information on the Period of PURPLE Crying, to help raise awareness of this life-saving project.
You can find the list of participating hospitals in North America, as well as information for where to send the hats, on http://clickforbabies.org.


I know many of my readers are either pregnant right now, or know someone who is and I think this is extremely important to share, especially with a first time parent.  Just knowing that it's normal and it's NOTHING that you have done wrong or could do, will help save so many babies lives.

All you need to do is knit or crochet PURPLE colored baby caps using soft baby friendly yarn and send them to local or  National organizers.

For a list of participating Hospitals, click here.

If your State is not participating, which Arizona isn't, you can still send your caps to:

National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome
C/o Click for Babies
1433 North 1075 West, Suite 110
Farmington, UT 84025



Baby Cap Patterns
Struggling to find a baby cap pattern?
Here are a few links to baby cap patterns available online.




Ravelry.com is also great online resource for knitters, crocheters and others to share patterns of their own, find a pattern and also get ideas for caps.


You can however use WHATEVER pattern you are most comfortable with, as long as it follows the following guidelines:

Guidelines for Caps

  • Caps should be made using any shade of PURPLE yarn. Other colors of yarn may be incorporated into the cap, but a shade of PURPLE should encompass at least 50 percent of the cap.
  • Yarn and thread labeled as "baby friendly" should be used for caps.
  • Infant heads come in a variety of sizes. As a general rule, caps should have a circumference between 7.5-13.5in and a height of 3.5-6in
  • Please refrain from including “pom poms” or any type of strap to secure caps to baby’s heads. These pose a potential choking and/or strangling hazard to babies.


I'm putting up a Mr Linky. If you want to join in, just add your name to the list. You won't be sending me anything obviously, but it would be neat to see how many of us will commit to making at least one little cap to help this amazing campaign. :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

{ Happy Homemaker Monday }




The weather in my neck of the woods:
Disgusting, gross, unnecessary....should I go on?  LOL   I'm so over this heat wave, it truly makes me miss Idaho.


Things that make me happy:
Baking


Book I'm reading:
The Star Garden by Nancy E. Turner, still very much enjoying this book.


What's on my TV today:
Eureka


On the menu for dinner:
Rice with chicken, peas and chourico


On my To Do List:

Ironing
Few more loads of laundry

Homeschooling



New Recipe I tried or want to try soon:
Nothing new but made some Artisan bread that I'll be posting the recipe to on the food blog, shortly. 

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In the craft basket:
Amigurumi animals
Patchwork Placemats
Blooming Pillow


Looking forward to this week:
Hubby being on leave starting Thursday


Tips and Tricks:

If you have cast iron pans, or a wood stove that has collected "gunk" from being used over and over, remove the crusting with a paste made of cream of tartar and vinegar, it will make cleaning a breeze!!


My favorite blog post this week:
A Rose is Not a Rose


Blog Hopping (a new discovered blog you would like to share with the readers):
Amish Stories



No words needed (favorite photo or picture, yours or others you want to share):


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Lesson learned the past few days:

That I AM doing the best I can with my children's homeschooling.  That I should have more confidence in what I do and realize that even in those days that I may not feel I'm doing enough, the results I'm getting clearly reflect the opposite :)


On my mind:
Crafting, Crocheting and Cooking


Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
Psalm 119:105

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday

It's so hot outside, and I mean extremely hot to the point where we had to run some errands on Friday and actually felt sick inside the truck.

It was 3pm and the truck was registering 122 degrees.  GROSS!

So Friday afternoon we had an appointment at a local library for Nicholas' DIBELS test, they're usually done over the phone but the first one of the year they like to do it one on one, to get a better reading from the kids.

He did extremely well, we're so proud of him.  By the end of 3rd grade the benchmark for reading is 110, Nicholas is reading 180 words per minute.  YAY!   The teacher was so impressed with him, she couldn't say enough about how well he read, how well he expressed himself and what a great memory he has when retelling the story and the details.

I think for me, it was a huge relief to know he's doing so well but it also made me stop and realize that I should be proud of myself too.  You have no idea how many times I've questioned if I'm doing the right thing by homeschooling, I keep wondering if I'm maybe not teaching them the right way or not explaining it well or not giving them what they need, so when I see results like this it brings it all home for me.

I AM a proud homeschooling mama and my children are thriving and I couldn't be happier.

So onto what we've done this weekend, like I said with the horrible heat wave we've been enduring, we've spent the whole weekend inside.

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I started the morning early, while the household was asleep I got two loaves of bread started.....the one above is a simple artisan type bread baked in a bowl in the oven.   The other one is another artisan type bread but that one has been sitting on the counter almost the whole day and tomorrow morning I just gotta switch it to a cast iron pan and bake it in the oven.  Can't wait for fresh warm bread for breakfast.

There was some laundry and some usual housecleaning, and some lesson planning while I enjoyed my morning coffee.........

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Lunch time came quickly around though, I don't know about you all but it just seems to me that there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done, I'm always busy and I'm never really free for much time.

I figured for lunch to keep it simple so I made some Grilled Cheese and Bacon Sandwiches which I've been making for years and it's one of the family's favorite....simple but yet so so good.

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In the afternoon, while the last load of laundry was going, I was able to start a new project.

I got the Mabel pillow to make but Lordy, it has stumped me. I'm on the 5th row and completely confused, I had to do it and pull it apart and redo it and pull it apart a couple of times, it started getting extremely frustrating and the picture doesn't really help me see the stitches either.....so I set it aside and went with something easier for now.

After seeing Lucy's Blooming Pillow I knew I had to make one for myself.

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This one works up pretty fast, but just like Lucy explained, it's definitely a trial and error pattern and a counting a stitch here and there and knowing when to increase and when not to.

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It's coming along just fine though, I'm loving it already.

Rest of the day was the usual, folded mountains of laundry on my bed while watching a movie......Life as we know it. It was so cute, I enjoyed it :)

Dinner was a twist on the usual Baked Spaghetti....

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And now, here I am, 9:30pm and tired and thinking that I should go to bed but I may just pick up my book The Star Garden and read a little more.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and have a really good week ahead.

God Bless,

XXXXX

Friday, August 26, 2011

Round and Round and Round

Working on the Granny Square Blanket

I've said it before, I'll say it again, I find something very relaxing and therapeutic in crocheting.

So remember the Granny Square Blanket I just started?  I've only worked on it about 2 days and about an hour each day but it's coming together so quick.

Granny Square Blanket

One of the reasons why I love Granny Squares, Granny Stripes, Granny anything.  It's just so easy to do, I find myself watching TV or chatting with the hubby or kids and my hands are just moving at their own pace.

Granny Square Blanket

Round and Round and Round I go, now we're getting to the longer rows, it's starting to feel a little heavy and that just makes me even more excited to continue.

Next on the list?  Some of those Amigurumi Animals from my new crochet book but, also......I just purchased the pattern to make my very own Mabel pillow.  Oh it makes me giddy just looking at it.

 Image Credit:  Sarah London

If you're interested, you can purchase the pattern from Sarah London right here.  

Just scroll down towards the bottom of the page, or don't, you can just take your time and look at all the wonderful patterns Sarah London has to offer.

I'm off to go another round or two with my Granny LOL 

Good night everyone!

xoxoxoxoxo



Thursday, August 25, 2011

{ Cooking Thursday }


Good Morning, here is today's recipe.

Again thank you to all my usual participants and to the new faces I'm seeing pop up :)

Atum com GraoAtum com Grao (Tuna Chickpea Salad)

2 cans of chickpeas, drained
2 cans of tuna, drained
onion, finely chopped (just add as much as you like)
parsley
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
vinegar
There is nothing difficult about this salad, just mix all the ingredients together and serve.
Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Crafting, Crocheting, Cooking......

A little of this and a little of that.

First of all, I have to tell you that I got my hair cut again last week because I just can't handle long hair anymore, it drives me insane.  So I went and got it cut, asked for the same style again but was not really pleased with the back, it seems to be the area these hairdressers have the most trouble with.

SO, this afternoon I had to run some errands and ran back into the Salon and begged them to please fix the back, so they did and they charged me zilch and I walked away happy.  YAY!

But first things first, let me show you how I started my day

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A cup of coffee and some crocheting.  I've started a granny square blanket using, again, mostly Cath Kidston inspired colors.  This blankie is going to be for me since the last beautiful one that I made, I sent to my little 2 year old niece in South Africa :)

Nicholas was up about 30 minutes later so we got to work on his homeschooling and were finished pretty quick, he had short lessons today and was happy to get through them while munching on his breakfast.  Always a good day when that happens.......since all you homeschooling mamas out there know that there are days that you want to run away, far far away LOL

After schooling and while his sister and daddy slept, he went about watching some cartoons and I turned to my newest project using the fabric stashes I got at Joann's Fabrics.


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I've decided to make patchwork placemats, but just wait until you see the final product.  I can't wait....but I have to because after cutting all 4 out and laying them out how I wanted, I realized I don't have batting.  *sigh*

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I set these aside and made a mental note to grab some when I went out to get printer ink.  Have I ever told you how much printer paper and ink we go through while homeschooling????

Goodness gracious.

I did a little laundry, pottered around the kitchen etc and got a little more cooking done.  Lunch was Portuguese Tuna Salad.

Atum com Grao

Then after hubby got up, I went to the BX to grab some printer ink, some birthday cards for family members and look for the batting, which they had NONE.  UGH!  I'll have to wait until Friday.

Ran by the commissary for some more milk because we go through it like crazy in this house and a few other things, and then because it was so darn hot outside (heat wave and all), I grabbed a small diet coke to drink.  Opened it up on the way to the truck, took a big drink, closed it and placed it near my purse in the cart.  Got to the truck, put the groceries in, took out my purse and took the cart back.

Came home and reached for my diet coke....................................................*crickets*

Dagnabit, I left it in the cart LOL   Only me!

Anyway, by the time I got home after the errands and the haircut it was already time to start dinner.......I get so happy when I'm my kitchen about to cook.

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But then I started thinking about how I need to back to get my hair colored because, what on earth is all that white doing on my head????  I'm 37 years old....I don't want all this white yet.  I blame the kids and the husband, they are the ones driving me batty.

Nicholas took this pic LOL  Usually when I'm cooking he'll come in a couple of times and ask "what's for dinner"...or...."is it done yet, I'm hungry".....and I usually turn around and make a face and do a zombie kinda stumble with my arms stretched out.  He thinks it's hilarious.

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But back to business, there are hungry people and food to be cooked.

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So I fixed dinner which were these delicious little Portuguese meat pastries....Empadinhas.

Empadinhas de Carne

And now, it's time for me to relax, sit on my bed and work on my crochet blanket again.  Perfect kinda day, starts with crochet and ends with crochet, makes this gal very happy.

But I'm still thinking about my grey hairs and I'm not impressed LOL  Oh well, I'll leave that for another day....toodles for now.

Sandra
xoxoxoxoxoxo


Monday, August 22, 2011

{ Happy Homemaker Monday }




The weather in my neck of the woods:
We have a Heat Advisory for the next week so I'm glad I don't have to go anywhere or leave the house.  We'll be staying indoors and out of the sun's way.


Things that make me happy:
Being myself and not following the masses.


Book I'm reading:
The Star Garden by Nancy E. Turner....this is the third and last in the series.  I'm going to be so sad when it ends.


What's on my TV today:
Eureka
Would like to finish watching Meek's Cutoff
Also have the new Jane Eyre 2011 version to watch which I'm very much looking forward to


On the menu for dinner:
Portuguese Chicken with potatoes


On my To Do List:

Ironing
Few more loads of laundry
Washing floors
Homeschooling



New Recipe I tried or want to try soon:
Homemade Hummus
 
Homemade Hummus


In the craft basket:
Amigurumi animals
Patchwork Placemats


Looking forward to this week:
Staying indoors
Having my husband home during the day


Tips and Tricks:
Here is a great tip about dusting! Don't you ever get tired of dusting your TV 3 or 4 times a week? Well, here is what you do! It's simple and easy too! All you need to do is take a fabric softener sheet that has been used in your laundry and after cleaning your TV, rub it all around the area that you don't want to dust anymore! It's a guaranteed success! Instead of attracting dust, your TV repels it!




My favorite blog post this week:
Ooooh so many, I'm slowly going through my google reader and just soaking up all the goodness. 

Imagine the sound of a right royal trumpet fanfare...


Blog Hopping (a new discovered blog you would like to share with the readers):
Pretty Little Things



No words needed (favorite photo or picture, yours or others you want to share):

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Lesson learned the past few days:

That I have a lot more patience than I give myself credit for.


On my mind:
Crafting, Crocheting and Cooking


Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:
The LORD is my light and my salvation -- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life -- of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1

Sunday, August 21, 2011

End of the weekend.....already?

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I don't know about you all but I am starting to think that weekends are just not long enough anymore.

As a child they felt like they would drag, like Saturday would last 300 hours and then Sunday would come and it was another boring long day.

Nowadays, I wish for that time.  I just want to be able to actually say that I got some rest and did nothing this weekend.  I think it's been a while honestly since I've been able to make such a statement.

This weekend was a blur, a total blur, I feel like I'm still on Friday night and looking forward to some down time but yet it's Sunday night and I know a whole other week of school, housework and craziness awaits me.

So, Saturday we headed out.  We made a quick stop at Joann's Fabric because I'm determined to hunt down the Mollie Makes magazine.  I'm beyond frustrated folks, I found the first issue back in June and in the UK they're about to release issue #5 and I've found ZILCH since that issue.

COME ON USA, you're killing me.  Chop Chop on the mags.  I must have the worst luck  in the world, either that or bad timing and always show up when they're out.

Anyway, made a stop at Joann's, the elusive Mollie Makes was nowhere to be found and matter of fact no one knew what I was talking about which makes it even worse, oh well.   We walked around for a bit and the kids grabbed some little turtle stuffed toys, while I picked up a new crochet book.

Super Cute Amigurumi Animals

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How cute is that?

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My kids love turtles so of course this is one of their favorites

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Adorable monkey

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Slithering Snake....I really like this one.

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Panda, who doesn't love Panda's?

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I also picked up two of these stashes that were on sale.  I'll be making some patchwork placemats and some other goodies which I'll show you :)

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We stopped at Ono's Hawaiian Barbecue for some lunch.  That place is always packed, but I guess we got there at the right time because within 10 minutes it was all but cleared out.  It's SUCH good food...yum.

The last stop was at Sam's Club, I've been looking for Basmati rice but everytime I go to the commissary they are out.  Again must be that bad timing of mine....so I picked up this huge bag, don't have to worry about it for a while and besides, I really dig the way it looks.

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Today has been all about being in the kitchen.  I'm exhausted but did manage to cook up some yummy stuff.

Lunch was Homemade Hummus and some Grilled Pita Bread.  SO good, if you've never tried making your own hummus you really should.

Homemade Hummus

Right after lunch the kids and I did some school work, they always pick Friday's off and want to do it on Sunday....so there we were for a few hours getting through the lessons.

Soon as those were done, I had to get right into dinner preparations which were Rissois de Galinha or Chicken Rissoles.

Massa para Rissois

Delicious but very time consuming and by the time those were done, dinner was rolling around so onto that.

I'm thankful for bedtime, for my shower, for the moments I get to climb into my bed with my laptop for some blogging, a good book for reading and my shows on the TV.

Tomorrow.....well tomorrow we will begin all over again :)

Clementine Candles

Clementine Candles

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.

One of my favorite quotes EVER!  I really do try to live by this example, so I spend quite a bit of time looking for ways to use everything I have in my home.

When I came upon this idea online a while ago, I just knew that it was definitely one I would be trying.

Thankfully I have a good memory because I completely forgot where it was and ended up not bookmarking it either.  Doofus that I am.  I'm quite positive it was on Pinterest though.

The best part of this is that you don't need wax, or candle wick or anything that you don't already have in the house.

So here we go...........Clementine Candles

Cut through the skin around the whole clementine, don't go too deep, besides you can enjoy the yummy clementine later.

Clementine Candles

Gently peel the skin from the clementine.  You want JUST the skin, the way I do it is by gently sticking my thumb in between the skin and the fruit, then work my way around.

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When you get to the end, stick your finger gently into the middle of the clementine and make sure you remove as much of the white piece that extends from the skin into the middle of the fruit.   THAT is your wick so try to get as much of it as possible....if you accidentally break it or don't have enough, you going to have to try with another one.

Clementine Candles

At this point, peel off the other half of the skin and score it with a little knife, you want whatever shape you wish, I made a start but I've also made hearts before or initials or whatever.

Clementine Candles


Clementine Candles

Take some olive oil and pour a little bit into the bottom, you don't need a lot at all, just a tiny bit into the half that is going to be lit.  You want about an 1'8" to 1'4" of the wick above the olive oil.

Take a lighter or a match and hold it lit to the wick for a few seconds....because the wick is wet you'll have to hold the flame there for a few.

Clementine Candles

Once it stays lit, then you can cover with the other half.   The bottom half will last quite a long time because the olive oil seeps into the skin.  As with every other candle, KEEP an eye on it, don't just light it and walk away.

Clementine Candles

It's so cute and it smells really good too. :)

NOTE:  You can also use oranges, grapefruit etc.  I've wanted to try with a lemon but because of it's shape I don't know if I could make it work, but I'm TRYING :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Today at home......

♥ enjoying folding a mountain of laundry with my sweet helper (he only folded 3 articles of clothing but I'm thrilled that my 8 year old BOY is learning to do these things)

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♥ enjoying the fact that in his innocence he gets distracted from the task at hand and decides that the TV is way more interesting

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♥ enjoying a little morning break with a cup of cappuccino and some hooky fun

Afternoon break

♥ enjoying adding a few little things to my kitchen baker's rack

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♥ still enjoying and loving my apron

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♥ enjoying doing dishes while watching the daily goings on of life outside the window

Kitchen window

♥ enjoying my Prairie Traveler's companion book and learning so much

Reading

♥ enjoying my fresh parsley drying near the window

Drying Parsley

♥ enjoying a few minutes with a cup of tea and some blogging

Blogging Time

♥ enjoying the little steps that go into dinner preparation and using colorful cookware to make me smile

Dinner preparation

♥ enjoying my family's face as they taste yet another Portuguese dish and delight in it's flavor

Galinha de Fricasse

♥ enjoying saying goodbye to a busy day and hello to the setting sun

Sunset

♥ enjoying some new favorite artists such as Leddra Chapman from the UK.