Thursday, August 30, 2012

Reusable Snack Bag

In honor of my son's first week at preschool,
I just finished these reusable bags for him to take to school!

(Pattern can be found here).

He picked out the fabics himself. :) He loves dogs. And yes, he loves ladybugs! Although just to be funny, we call them "man-beetles" around here. And Winnie of course. I might make him some Lightening McQueen ones later if I can find that fabric in my stash. ;)

The inside is ripstop nylon. My first time working with it, and it was kinda fun. It is not waterproof, so these bags can't hold like... a cup of sliced peaches or anything without leaking a little probably. But the nylon does wipe up nicely and can handle all the dry snacks like little crackers, nuts or dried fruit. I have some BPA free little tupper-type things for wet stuff.
If you are interested, you can research different fabrics to line with. Some people used organic cotton. Some people used something called PUL, which I am not familiar with. But I am told that once you get into waterproof fabrics like PUL, you are using essentially plastic-lined fabrics. So I would look to be sure that the lining is BPA free or specifically states that it's food safe. The ripstop I used is 100% nylon, not waterproof, and seemed benign enough to use with food.
Hope everyone is enjoying the back-to-school season. Can you believe it's gonna be September in a couple of days?!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Pothole Gardener

Came across this last week:

Kind of reminds me of yarnbombing, but seems even less intrusive and more benign. What do you think about pothole street art? :-)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bring out the figgy... jam

This is how I spent last tuesday night. :)
Homemade fig jam
If it weren't for the fact that I now own a fig tree, I probably would've never thought to can figs. But the fig tree we have in the backyard has been producing lots and lots of fruit and it seemed such a pity to waste it and watch hundreds of figs rot. It's funny - when you own a fig tree, you learn pretty quickly which of your friends love figs! :) Even still, we couldn't give the whole fruit away fast enough so on the suggestion of a friend I decided to look into making fig jam.
Having never made or even eaten it before, I experimented with a few different recipes. And by experiment, I mean I took nerdy notes and saved samples to taste test against each other. 8) But since most recipes call to leave the skins on and chop them, they all seemed to result in a very lumpy jam. I wondered if lumpy jam was normal or if I was making it wrong, so I consulted a few friends to see what most people expect to see in a fig jam. In the meantime, I also experimented with making the jam with peeled figs. But cooking it without the skins really effected the taste - made it way sweeter. My favorite of the jam experiments was actually cooked with skins, then manually remove the skins after cooking/before processing. But that was pretty labor intensive, so I was looking for something simpler. And if most people expected lumpy jam anyway, it seemed unnecessary.
The results from my poll came back conclusive - most of my friends did expect lumpy jam. So I decided to keep the skins in after all. But also, just because I'm stubborn, I took an immersion blender to it before I processed it. :0) That smoothed it up nicely too.
Hope you are all having a great weekend. :)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

First Day

I Can Tell That We Are Gonna Be Friends by The White Stripes on Grooveshark

Today was my son's first day of Pre School...

He's SO excited. He's been looking forward to this for months. We even made a paper chain a few months ago so he could see how many days he had left before school starts, and he loved tearing a link off every morning and watching his first day of school get closer and closer.

Of course, my mommy heart thinks about how it wasn't that long ago he was just a newborn, cooing in his boppy. And look at him now, such a cool little dude, wearing his backpack. I can't believe what a big boy he is.

I spent the morning frantic, trying to get him ready and making sure I wasn't forgetting anything... Did he have his snack? Water bottle? Did he go potty before we leave? Why was his hair not staying combed? All his cowlicks were acting up again. Then, when we got there, it was finding a parking space... figuring out how to check him in and show him his cubby. I wanted to get that great First Day of School photo, but none of my them were turning out very well because of the morning light, so that was all frustrating.

Then all of the sudden, his teacher, very sweetly came over and welcomed him to class and asked if he ready for some school today and made him feel at ease. He was being whisked away to a half day of learning and fun and friends. Our time was up, so we made our way to leave. I kept looking back at him to see if he would smile or wave to me one more time, but he was already caught up, his eyes glittery with excitement as he listened to his teacher explain what fun things he could do today. Joel lead me out the door, and I peered in the window to check him one more time. And that was when I finally lost it. Do you think he'll be OK? Does he know we left? Should I go back for one more hug???

No, it was too late. I already had tears in my eyes and didn't want him to see me that way. Besides, it was clear to me that he was fine. I was the one having the hard time... :}

I am so excited for him, because I know he's gonna have SO much fun and he'll make lots of new friends... But this morning... my house is way too quiet and my arms feel kinda empty. Even though it's only a few hours, I miss him! :} Joel asked me what I was gonna do with all my free time (a rarity in my life). I said, "Well today my plan is: to cry" Haha. It's true though. I doubt I'll be able to get anything else done this morning.
Can't wait til he gets home and tells me all about his first day at school. ♥

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Helping Out - printable chore chart for toddlers

Sorry for the absence.

(To start with a tangent: why do bloggers always feel the need to apologize for not updating regularly. As if all of humanity wait with bated breath for us to write something. How presumptuous. ;))


We have been busy as usual with life, working, cleaning, cooking... chasing after my toddler who has more and more gumption every day it seems, working on the remodel a little here and there, working on the yard a little here and there, experimenting with my canner (more on that later) and being pregnant. That last one, while easily said, probably takes the most energy. :P

We took a vacation a few weeks ago, and I was gonna post some fun photos and even a printable for a car game we enjoyed. Maybe next time. For now, I wanted to share something else... printable. :}

I've talked before about our perspective on chores around the house (holy cow, I just realized that was over a year ago!). Well, with my toddler starting preschool this week (AHH!) and a bebe on the way... I've been thinking that I should reign in some of the... how shall I put this... lack of focus? I see in my little boy most mornings. Well, he's not really lacking focus. He's just not focusing on some of the things I need him to focus on. Hahaa. So I decided it might be a good idea to create *drumroll* a Chore Chart! (All the non type-A moms just rolled their eyes at me, I can feel it). :P But I think it will help our mornings run a little smoother, when I am trying to get us all ready to go and out the door by 7:45AM. I'm hoping it will keep us on the same page, and with an understanding of what is expected of him every day, along with some motivational tools in the form of recognition and reward. As I shared in that post a year ago, we decided that there are some things we expect to be done unpaid and some that I feel are "extra" chores that are opportunities for him to earn some money. That way, hopefully, he's learning responsibility as well as how to handle cash.

So... I looked around the good old inter-web and found some cute ideas. But in the end I decided to create my own. It's nothing fancy really, but I think it works. One thing I made sure to include were visual clues (pictures, not just words) for my toddler, since he can't read yet. This is to help him fulfill his duties as independently as possible, even though I do have to assist with a couple of them. I'll even give him the stickers so he can mark it off himself when he is done and I'll just check his work. Actually we might go with lamination/dry erase pen so it's reusable and I don't have to print a new one every week...

Just in case it might be useful to you, I thought I'd share it. Downloadable here. :)
{if you have trouble viewing it, you can still click File, Download and you should be able to open it on your computer if you have publisher}

OR here is a jpeg version

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Almost Wordless Weekend

We were on vacation last week and I am slowly coming back to reality. So this morning, I will just share something fun I found in my newsfeed.

I see 36 squares in this puzzle, but I'm sure there could be more... How many do you see? :)

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