Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mama Bear...

Last night, I was reading my devotional before bed and the devotion was on being a Mama Bear. I immediately thought of my friend Kathy, who uses this term frequently. You know, a Mama Bear will bare her teeth and claws to protect her kids.

The devotion ended with: What child (or children) do you protect?

I wrote in my journal:
"I can totally relate to protecting my kids, I love and am totally devoted to them. But I'm struggling with thinking of examples."

And as I wrote, God immediately showed me that everything I do as a mom is being a Mama Bear.

Mama says, "We don't stand in chairs."
(Mama Bear doesn't want her baby to get hurt!)

Mama says, "Eat your broccoli before you get a Popsicle."
(Because Mama Bear wants her babies to get big and strong)

"Here let me spit on my finger and wipe that off your face, " says Mama.
(Because Mama Bear wants her babies to be clean)

Mama says, "You can't watch that show on TV."
(Mama Bear wants her babies to stay babies as long as they can.)

If I discipline my kids, it's fine. But when Matt punishes them, I find myself wanting to protect them. It's my Mama Bear instinct.

Layne has a peanut allergy. And this is when I find Mama Bear coming out most often. It's one thing that's put me in many uncomfortable situations, but Mama Bear prevails and I'm doing what I can to protect my baby. She absolutely cannot be around anyone eating peanuts or peanut butter. It devastates her not to be able to attend certain parties or events and inconveniences our family and friends, but she's safe. And Mama Bear did her job.

I babies staying rear facing.

Remember my I Believe post from a few weeks ago?

I believe that children should be rear facing in car seats for at least 2 years. Broken legs are better than broken spines. And my kids will stay in car seats until they are much bigger than the recommended 40 lbs.

A friend asked me to post more about keeping your children rear facing, so here we go.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says, "All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear facing car seat until they are 2 of age or until they reach the highest height or weight allowed by their car seat's maufacturer."

Why is this the recommendation?

Because it's safer. Check out the video.

* When a child is forward facing, there is a lot of stress on their neck in a crash. The weight of the child's head in a crash causes the spinal column to stretch (which it is not meant to do). It can tear causing internal decapitation.

* Rear facing seats do a great job at protection children because the seat absorbs the crash and the head and neck are kept in alignment.

* Rear end collisions are less frequent than front in collisions and occur at lower speeds.

* A forward-facing child under 2 years old is 4 times MORE likely to be killed or seriously injured in a crash.

Layne stayed rear facing until she was 3 1/2 and Grayson is still rear facing.

So, when do you turn them around?

If they are within 1 inch of the top of the car seat.

If they are at the maximum weight for rear facing

Which leads me to my next point...

Car Seat Selection

We chose Britax car seats-we have two Roundabouts and three Marathons. At the time, they were the top safety rated. And, they are approved to higher maximum height and weigh limits rear facing and forward facing.

Buying a new seat? Check out the link below.

Consumer Research on Car Seats

Proper Installation

If the seats aren't installed right, it won't matter if they are forward facing or rear facing. Many local fire departments will check for proper installation.

Then what? What about forward facing and boosters?

Many people say, "Well, my other kids turned around at 1 yr old and they were fine." But your other kids weren't in a car crash. And you never know. Better safe than sorry.


i-Village Car Seat message Board
AAP Car Seat Guide (Click view Sample for the PDF version)
The Car Seat Lady

Monday, June 27, 2011

Seamingly Smitten Winner!

I'm so excited to announce the winner of the Seamingly Smitten pattern!

I've gotten so many compliments on my new shirt! And I've got plans for a swimsuit cover -up and dress for my little miss using this pattern!


First, thank you so much to Jenny @ Seamingly Smitten for giving away one of her awesome patterns!

If you didn't win, go check out her shop! I will definitely buy more of her patterns!


Okay, enough suspense!

The winner is

Hueisei, I sent you an email to confirm that you still want the Pinafore Top & Skirt :)

Meal Plan Monday

So, remember how I used to do Meal Plan Monday posts every week? Well, I had stopped the past few weeks...and I have seen a huge difference in our house.

  • I went grocery shopping without coupons the other day {gasp. I know.}
  • We ate out three times in the last week
  • And Matt and I had quite a few of those "discussions" about what to make for dinner. Kinda went like this.
Me - What do you want for supper?
Matt - Hamburger and Hotdogs?
Me - AGAIN!?!? You had hamburgers and hotdogs for lunch and dinner yesterday.
Matt - Well, what do we have?
Me - Well, I have chicken I want to use. So, Chicken Alfredo? Chicken Marinara? Chicken Alfredo Pizzas?
Matt - How about Chicken Marinara Pizzas?

I really despise trying to figure out what to make for dinner every night!

So, Meal Plan Monday is back!


{For my sake more than anyone else's!}

I'm going to do this post every two weeks...and plan out our two week meal plan. Right now, I have 3-4 lbs Chicken Breasts and several pork roasts, loins, and chops in my freezer. And lots of pasta in my cabinets! So you'll see meals planned around that! And per my hubby, we have to grill out at least once a week.

Grilling Out, Mac & Cheese, Peas

Pork Roast, Carrots, Potatoes

Grilled Chicken, Twice Baked Potatoes, Green Beans

Baked Penne, Garlic Bread, Salad

Pizza Night

4th of July Festivities - free night!

Girl's Night with my BFFs!
Making Spinach/Artichoke Dip!

Grilling Out, Corn on the Cob, Salad

Beef Tortellini with Marinara, French Loaf

Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

Inside-out Pizza and Veggies & Dip

Homemade Chicken Tenders, Sweet Potato Fries, Corn & Peas

Baked Cavatelli & Garlic Bread

Lunchmeat Calzones

Friday, June 24, 2011

Zipper Pouch {Tutorial} & some organization

Did you see my guest post at delicateCONSTRUCTION a few weeks ago?
That's okay if you didn't, I'll share it here! But you'll still want to check out Michelle's's full of cute ideas!

A little back story on this project. I love organizing and to be organized, but truth be told...I'm not a very organized person. I really, really wish I was though. This project is one attempt at becoming that organized person little by little.
When I had my daughter, a "hair stuff" drawer was a must in our house. Unfortunately, this is what my "hair stuff" drawer looked like. It rarely closed all the way because it was so overflowing.


Some people organize with cute wall hangers or little baskets, but that just wasn't my style. Plus, I'd been dying to make some of my own zipper pouches! Check out the "After." Much improved, right?


I ended up moving things around a bit and putting the zipper pouches in the bottom drawer, but I included a pic of the original drawer too, so you could see the improvement!
Are you ready to learn how to make your own zipper pouches!?! Well. Read on!

{the goods}

Fabric Scraps - the thicker the fabric the better!
Sewing Machine
Matching Thread

{how to make a zipper pouch}

First thing's first. You'll need to cut your fabric. I just eyeballed it and guessed how big I wanted my pouches. Make sure you cut it as wide as the zipper + 1/2 inch on each side for seams. And add 1 inch to how long you want it to be. You'll see why later!
Press your fabric down on one side approximately 1/4 to 1/2".


Next, pin and sew this seam to your zipper.


Repeat on the other side.


Turn the right sides of your fabric together and pin around the edges. Sew with 1/4 inch seam allowance.


Now here's the trickiest part. And it's still so easy! Let's see if I can explain it well.
With your pouch still inside out, you need to create a triangle out of the corner of the pouch. Make sure to line up your side seam and your bottom seam. Iron the corner flat on both sides. Next place a pin in it to mark your seam line. This seam will be how deep your pouch is.


Sew and turn it right side out. Here's what your bottom looks like.


And that's it. It's that easy!
I did this three times. I ended up with a 14" pouch, a 9" pouch, and a 6" pouch. I had planned on having one for bows, one for headbands, and one for rubber bands. And I wanted an easy way for my almost 4 year old to know where they belong when she is putting them away.

I figured pictures work best, so we added a bow to the bow pouch and made a headband out of our other fabric scraps for the headband pouch. She should have no issue knowing where the bows and headbands belong!


Here's a little tidbit. My fabrics were typical lightweight cottons. And the pouches didn't have much form when they were empty. With stuff in them, they stood up okay and were filled out. If you want a pouch that stands up and keeps it's shape, I recommend using a heavier weight fabric, or perhaps lining it with fusible web and another fabric.

Edited to add: I've made more, with a slight twist. I used Wonder Under and fused another fabric to the inside of the fabric. The fabric was much stiffer and held it's shape better!

Linking up at some of these linky parties!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Getting Old...

My group of friends are all approaching 30. The wives are 27, hubbies are 29 & 27. And my girlfriends are always talking about how old we are getting.

27 is not old. And 30 is not old. We are all fairly hip, young moms. We've got our whole life ahead of us! Turning 30 will be no different than turning 25 to me. Age is just a number. I feel like I just graduated high school last year.


{are you ready for the but?!?}

Being at the music festival over the weekend made me realize how old I really am.

I was kicking my 5" shorts {aka mom shorts} and my mom gym shoes {according to Matt}.
Am I old? I don't think so.

And some of those bands were so loud! Do we really need to listen to it that loud?
Okay. Maybe I'm old?

And I can't believe the way some of those kids dressed. My child will NEVER dress like that.
Yeah. I think I'm a little old.

And staying up until midnight felt like I was pulling an all-nighter.
Yep. I'm DEFINITELY old.

{Really 21 years ago, but you know what I mean!}

You know when I really feel old? When we're watching a movie on TV and you look at the "info" and see what year it was made. Then I feel old.

Doesn't it seem like Titanic came out like maybe 7 or 8 years ago? Nope. 1997 (14 years ago!)

Wanna feel really old?
{These are all my favs by the way!}

Girls Just Want to Have Fun (1985)
Dirty Dancing (1987)Pretty Woman (1990)
She's All That (1999) - Remember when this came out?!?!?
A Walk to Remember (2002)
Sweet Home Alabama (2002)
50 First Dates (2004)
The Notebook (2004)

It's good and bad. I like feeling like I'm still a teenager, which means I'll likely embarrass my kids (and myself) when I say things and wear things that really aren't cool anymore. But I like feeling young. 30 really isn't old.

You are only as young as you feel!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

T-Shirt Flower {Tutorial}

So when I made my new shirt I knew that I wanted to add some sort of yellow accessory. I LOVE flower rosettes, but I wanted something a little more whimsy and fun.


My problem...I didn't have any yellow fabric.

My solution...My old VBS yellow tee from 5 years ago!

{you'll need}

An Old Tee
Needle & Thread
Piece of paper (cardstock if possible)

{how to}

Start out by sketching a petal template onto a piece of cardstock and cutting it out. You can adjust the size of the petal to make bigger or smaller flowers. Trace the template multiple times onto the t-shirt. {I think I had 8 petals}

Cut out the petals, being careful to cut inside where you traced with the pen. {That way you don't see any pen marks on your pretty petals.} And the best part of using a tee is that you don't have to worry about fraying.

Next, Get your needle and thread ready. Use your needle to go "in and out" of the petal. {Like this}

Repeat with all eight petals. {or however many you want}

I forgot to take a picture here, but you'll have a line of petals on a piece of thread.

Stitch back through the first one or two petals to complete the circle. Tie your thread off and you've got a flower!

{horrible lighting :( }

You can add something cutesy or fun to the center of the flower to glam it up, but I just left mine plain and simple.

For this shirt, I made my flower into a pin by attaching a pin to the back. I wasn't sure how the flower would wash in the washer, so I wanted it removable. But you can sew it on, pin it on, glue it on.


Who's ready to make some t-shirt flowers!?!?

And if you like my cute shirt...check out the giveaway for a free pattern from Seamingly Smitten! Giveaway ends Monday!

Linking up at some of these linky parties!

Monday, June 20, 2011

New Top & Giveaway!!

Giveaway Closed!
Last week, I made an adorable new tunic for me! My first project for myself! I used the Laurie Claire Tunic pattern from Seamingly Smitten...and I am definitely smitten with the results. The directions were so easy to follow and there were pictures for every step. This would be a great pattern for any beginner seamstress.


I HAD to use my new favorite color scheme...Gray and Yellow. Aren't you just loving everything with this combo?!? Stay tuned for a tutorial on how to make the adorable yellow flower tomorrow!


I would consider myself a moderately experience seamstress...and I finished this tunic in about 1 1/2 hrs. And I'm sure I was interrupted some in there too ;)

I was a little skeptical when I realized that there wasn't an actual pattern to trace or pin to your fabric, but I was amazed that you really didn't need one. And I loved that it was a PDF that was emailed to wait for shipping! I'm truly a Seamingly Smitten believer :)


And the best part of this post is that one of my readers can win the pattern of their choice from Seamingly Smitten! Here's a few of the super cute patterns that you can choose from.

And if you just can't wait or take the chance to win, Seamingly Smitten is offering an awesome Buy One, Get One Free promotion this week! {use coupon code BOGOFREE}

To enter, you can do the following things. Make sure to leave a separate comment for each entry!

* Head over to Seamingly Smitten and tell me what pattern you would choose if you win.

* Follow This Crazy Blessed Life

* Share this giveaway (with a link to this post) on your blog, Twitter, or Facebook.

Edited to add: Giveaway ends on Monday, June 27th @ 9 pm.


Linking up at some of these linky parties!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I'm back....

We are back from the Ichthus Music Festival totally renewed! It was a great weekend with lots of great fellowship and worshiping. We felt so relaxed and slept so good away from our kids. Of course we were dying to get back to them last night, but it was an awesome weekend away.

Not only did we hear the top Christian musicians, but we heard some great speakers. Matt and I both walked away with a new invigorated energy to "step it up" in our faith. We realized that we were both content with our faith, but that we had stopped growing. We loved God, but we weren't doing everything we could be. It was amazing to see God working in us and so many other people in one place!

On Saturday, we went into a Global Village tent, filled with missionary and non-profit organizations. The first booth that caught my eye was someone cutting hair to donate to Locks for Love. I walked by and went through the tent, but God was pulling on my heart strings to go back.

I had said to myself that I would only cut my hair if it was between my chin and shoulders, but after going in and talking to the guy donating his time, I couldn't say no. It was spontaneous...which is totally unlike me!



Thursday, June 16, 2011

Britt Nicole - Set the World on Fire

I'm so excited to get to hear Britt Nicole!

Next few days...

For the next few days, Matt and I get to spend time in Wilmore, Kentucky at the Ichthus Music Festival with some awesome friends and our church youth group.

While I'm there, I wanted to give you a little taste of what we get to hear. These are a few of my favorite songs right now.

Hopefully you'll love them as much as I do!

I could listen to this song over and over again. Love it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

And we have a winner!!

So, do you want to know who won the GracieLuv Creations giveaway?!?!


Without further ado...

Yay, Jess!! Jess is such an amazing person. Jess and her husband, Josh, have recently become missionaries. And next summer, they are moving to Cambodia to do the Lord's work. She has a new blog to document her journey and I love reading her updates.

{And if anyone is wondering, some posts counted as multiple entries}

And, if you are bummed that you didn't win, I have another giveaway coming next week! This one from Seamingly Smitten!

I believe.

I have lots of passion for a few things, but unless you are my sister or BFF, I rarely share my beliefs. Well, I'm trying to change that. There are so many people that could really benefit from me sharing with them, but I'm always quiet about what I believe.

The issue is, that like religion and politics, certain beliefs are very controversial. I don't like to argue or disagree. I usually think, "I know what I believe is right. Let them believe what they want." But I thought I'd take the time to share what I believe.

If you disagree, please keep it to yourself. I'm not here to start a debate or discussion. Or to "knock" anyone else's beliefs. But if you have any questions, PLEASE ask. I'm happy to share more with you! So, here we go.

I believe...

- Jesus Christ is my Savior. He died for my sins so that I can live in eternity.

- I am my babies' parent. Not their friend. I will love them way more than a friend ever will.

- marriage is forever (contrary to the world's belief). There are very few things that would result in divorce for me.

- that a good laugh makes everything better. If you are ever down, search you tube for "baby sneezing mom" It's hilarious!

- that there is nothing that you can do that God won't forgive you for.

- everything happens for a reason.

- children should be rear facing in car seats for at least 2 years. Broken legs are better than broken spines. And my kids will stay in car seats until they are much bigger than the recommended 40 lbs.

- that moms need "me time" occasionally. And they shouldn't feel guilty for it. {yeah. I'm still working on that part.}

- in a woman's body's ability to naturally birth a baby. And having a previous c-section is no excuse. I believe in VBACs. And I've had one.

- that life should not be taken for granted. And we should live life to the fullest.

- in breastfeeding. There is nothing more timeless or natural than a nursing baby. I NEED another baby eventually, just to be able to nurse again.

- in a thing called love. {A little Maroon 5, anyone?}

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mama's Stretchy Pants!

In the last 4 years {since having babies},
my weigh has yo-yo'd within a 15 lb range.

And this has left me with a wardrobe of clothes in 4 different sizes. I seriously own black pants & jeans in sizes 4, 6, 8, and 10...

Right now, I'm losing weight, but I'm stuck right between a size 4 and a size 6. My 4's are definitely not pretty, but my size 6's seem to be falling down by the middle of the day.

Introducing... Mama's Stretchy Pants!
{Well, kinda}

I love that my kids clothes come with those elastic/button adjustable waists. Layne can actually still wear some 2T shorts & skirts that she's worn the last 2 summers AND she's almost 4. {She's a skinny minny}

To solve my droopy drawer problem, I added these to some of my pants. And boy, do I love them!

Wanna see how?
{Unfortunately, I didn't take pics until after I was done. Let me know if you have any questions!}

You'll need:
Braided Elastic {I think mine was 3/4-1" wide}
Needle & Thread
2 Buttons
Seam Ripper
Fray Check

{Step 1 - Cut your slits in the elastic}
Start out by cutting your slits in your elastic. Make sure to measure your slit length with your buttons. You'll want your slit just a bit shorter than your button diameter, so it stays & doesn't slip out.
{My seam ripper was the easiest way for me to cut a straight slit at the right length.}

{Step 2 - Cut a slit in your waistband}
Line the end of the elastic up with back or side belt loop. Pin your elastic in place.

You will need to cut a slit in the inside of the waistband to insert your elastic. I cut my slit between the last two button hole slits. You only want to cut into the inside of the waistband. Not all the way through.
{That way your pants can still the same waist size as they are without tightening}

Add some Fray Check so that the fabric doesn't fray.

{Step 3 - Insert & sew your elastic in the waistband}
Insert your elastic into the hole in the waistband. It should be between your inside & outside waistband.

Obviously, I didn't use fray check :-)

Sew the back end of the elastic to your pants. This should be hidden underneath your belt loop so you can't see the stitching.

{Step 4 - Sew button}
Sew on your button.

{Step 5 - Repeat}
Repeat on the other side.

And you can have your very own stretchy pants too!

I did this on black pants & 2 pair of jean capris & it's worked like magic both times! I love my new stretchy pants. And the best part one can tell the difference!

And I'm linking up at some of these Linky Parties!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Guest Post @ delicateCONSTRUCTION

Hey! Wanna see how I made some adorable zipper pouches to organize our "hair thing" drawer!?

Check it out @ delicateCONSTRUCTION!

And don't forget about the GracieLuv Creations giveaway! It ends on Tuesday!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Monthly Momento Onesies {tutorial}

When I was invited to an upcoming baby shower for a friend at church,
I knew that I had to make these adorable onesies.
For the life of me, I can't remember where I originally saw this idea,
but it wasn't my original idea.


I was also dying to use my new Cricut Expressions that my awesome hubs got me for Mother's Day.

This is probably self explanatory to most, but I'm going to walk you through it anyway!
Like I said, I used my Cricut, so I'll give you instructions for using one & instructions if you don't have a Cricut.

{You need}
Onesies! {I used Gerber onesies sizes 0-3, 3-6, 6-9, and 12 mths}
Fabric scraps {or 1/4 yd is more than enough}
Heat N Bond Lite
Sewing Machine {Or Needle & Thread}

{Cricut method}
To prepare your fabric for cutting, iron your Heat N Bond Lite onto the wrong side of your fabric following the instructions on the package.

Remove the back paper. {Trust Me. Do it. You don't want to scrape the backing off the cutting mat like my sister had to.}

Lay your fabric with the Heat N Bond down onto your cutting mat. Now cut out your numbers!
Here were my settings:
Pressure - 3
Speed - 2

For my set, I used the following cartridges & settings.
{I apologize for my lack of knowledge on what the cutouts/shadows are called!}
1 - Plantin School Book (Shadow)
2 - Celebrations (Shadow)
3 - Plantin School Book (Shadow)
4 - Mini Monograms (Full Cut-out)
5 - Celebrations (Shadow)
6 - Mini Monograms (Negative piece only)
7 - Celebrations (Full Cut-out)
8 - Celebrations (Full cut-out)
9 - Celebrations (Cut out only)
10 - Plantin School Book (Shadow)
11 - Plantin School Book
12 - Celebrations ( 1 is cut out, 2 is shadow)

{For those without Cricut}
Check out my instructions on how to applique here.
Just use Word or some other program to type and adjust the font and size of your numbers.
Then follow the instructions in the applique tutorial.

Once you have your numbers cut out, iron them to the center of the onesie.

Sew around the edges of the fabrics with your machine or by hand. I personally did both depending on how complicated the number was.
Certain designs were easier to sew by hand {although it is definitely more time consuming}.

To cuten {that's a word, right?} it up a bit, I wrote the following saying to go with it.

I printed this up on white card stock. Layered it with a cute piece of scrapbook paper.
And stuck it right on top of my pile of onesies before I wrapped them!

I can't wait to see all the adorable monthly pictures. I so wish I had this for my babies!

And I'll be linking up at some linky parties!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Have you heard of Pinterest?

I just found Pinterest a few weeks ago...and I'm addicted. You may or may not find me pinning at my desk on my lunch :)


If you are like me, you see lots of really awesome idea that you want to do. But then you forget where you saw it. Or like me, you may have a folder called Things to Do, but then you can't find where you stored the folder...Pinterest solves this problem!!!

If you don't have Pinterest and you want an invite, leave me a comment and I'll invite ya :)

Some goodies I found on Pinterest this week...




Tuesday, June 7, 2011

We made the transition...

While in Gatlinburg, the little Mr slept in a pack n play. It worked okay the first few nights...until he realized he could escape with ease. Just call him Houdini.

Here it is 9:30. Sunday night. And we're trying to get both kids to sleep in the same room.

Read a book. Sing a song. Turn lullabys on Pandora {because we forgot the beloved lullaby CD}.

Then we hear, "Mom, Grayson climbed out of bed." And out he walks. Mom put him back in bed. Not a minute later, out he walks again. Dad put him back in bed. And this repeated countless times.

After a while, sister was getting pretty annoyed. She was tired and trying to sleep and her brother was keeping her up.

I'll stop this story here, because it ended up with two exasperated parents looking at each other saying, "Now what?" "How to do you handle this kid?" And our BFFs giving us sorry looks because they can totally relate with being frustrated at their kids. I can never remember feeling like such a failure and so helpless in a situation with Layne. But Mr. Gray makes us feel like this all the time. What do you do when you don't know what to do?

{He ended up taking a drive in the car to go to sleep. Yep. We resorted to that.}

I dreaded him coming home and doing the same thing. Luckily, we got back home and he did bedtime like a dream! We thought that we were golden! Until Friday afternoon.

I work a half day on Friday, so I have Friday afternoons with my babies. Pick them up around 1 pm. And since he hadn't had a nap, he went right in his bed. This would normally be the easiest thing ever. Lay him down with his BB. Cover him up. Turn on some music and close the door.

But not on Friday. The climbing out of his bed began. Again. And again. I am not kidding, I stopped counting at 30 times. No exaggeration.

I even attempted to take his door handle off and turn it around to lock him in. No kidding. {I promise I'd unlock it when he fell asleep}. By the time I finally got him to sleep, I had been crying for 10 minutes while standing next to his crib making him stay in it. While he tried to bite me, hit me, pinch me. I had one of my lowest moments as a mom.

Enough of that. So we packed up the baby crib {sniff, sniff} and broke out the toddler bed. It's been a tough transition, but we are managing. And it's getting better every day.

Sappy me is so sad to see him get big. Within weeks he's become sucky {pacifier} free, sleeping in a big boy bed, and going potty. And the kid is talking in sentences! Where does time go!?!

I guess I figured he'd sleep in his crib until he was 10. or at least 9.