Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What would you do with Gingerbread?

Today is the second Wednesday of the month so Aubrey and I have our link up for what would you do!
We made our annual pepparkaka hus (gingerbread house) using a set from IKEA and leftover candy from Halloween!  A few days after Halloween I went through the candy bucket and pulled out anything I thought would be good for our ginger bread house.  I wanted to buy some peppermint sticks to use also, but we didn't get around to it.  Oh well!

Adam doesn't like to waste frosting.  So he made it snow at our house!  Hahaha!!

Then I wanted to make my "clean" pumpkin bread into gingerbread.  This was not super successful.  Oh it's totally yummy, just not very gingerbread tasting.  More like really rich spice cake.  I swapped the pumpkin for applesauce, the honey for molasses and the spices for ginger and a little pumpkin pie spice.  And I still put in chocolate chips!  Any ideas for making it taste more like gingerbread???

Next month we're rocking chic winter fashion by styling our yoga pants or basic black leggings.  Join us!!

Friday, November 14, 2014

What "work from home mom" looks like to me

Just doing some Saturday night sewing while Adam wrestles the kids in their bedrooms right by my desk.
How much work do you have to do to be a work from home mom?  Am I even allowed to write this post?  Well, I'm going to anyway.  Truth is I make about 4-10 baby/toddler clothing items a week.  Which is way more than I thought I would be capable of in the beginning!  But it looks like we do get faster at things the more times we do them, go figure.

So I thought it would be fun to document my day.  Because people act like it's so hard to do this, but it's really not so hard.  And that makes me think maybe I'm doing it wrong???  You tell me.

Between 6-7am Olivia comes in my room (writing this at 7:15 on a Friday morning and no sign of her!  This is going to be a good day) and we snuggle and watch netflix until I get up the will to live shower.  I shower and she keeps watching what she's watching.  This week it's Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas, but only the Donald Duck part!

After I shower and dress (I only wash my hair on Sunday and Wednesday) we're downstairs for breakfast.  Olivia eats "plain oatmeal" (raw oatmeal with milk and brown sugar) and I make a pot of cooked oatmeal for Axel, and maybe me depending on how much he wants to eat.  I drink two glasses of water before I eat anything (but that belongs in my diet post, not my work post.  Sorry) I also unload the dishwasher from the night before so that my dirty dishes have somewhere to go.  This system is my favorite.

Axel gets up around 8 if it's a preschool day.  I get the feeling he doesn't enjoy this.  If left alone he'll sleep until 9 sometimes (He did today!).  He eats, Olivia gets dressed for school and we're out the door by 8:55 (and even then sometimes we're early.)

Now I have two free hours with the worlds easiest one-year-old.  So I lock the baby gate and he plays while I sew (my work station is in the hallway right next to the two kid bedrooms so we're all sort of in the same space but still separate enough to not bug each other)  Yesterday I had no orders (except for five orders, but no sweatshirt fleece yet, thanks to the longest wait ever from!) so it was just me and Axel time.  We read all of his books and snuggled.  When I do sew I keep his pants next to me, and if he comes over to pull out the fabric scraps from my serger, I ask "are you ready to get dressed?" and he runs away to play. 

After preschool is lunch time.  yep.

After lunch we play for a little bit or watch a little show.  Axel takes a nap at 1.  Olivia only gets 1 1/2 hours of quiet time, so we have alone time before or after quiet time, just depends.  Yesterday we played play doh for an hour and then she had quiet time and fell asleep.  During this time I either sew or cut.  I love to cut while watching TV, it's my favorite.

When the kids are up, we hang out together, wait for dad to come home OR we have a babysitter and I do more work, like run to the post office or draft a new pattern.  Then around 4:30 or 5, Olivia and I cook dinner while Adam tries to keep Axel from screaming.  He never eats dinner, but if he's not throwing food on the floor by 5 or 5:30 watch out!

We eat dinner and then one parent takes the kids to play or bathe and the other cleans the kitchen.  Usually I do the kitchen because I need a break from kids.  After that I put Olivia to bed and Adam takes Axel.  Always.  Olivia and I like to read for 30 minutes or so.  We just finished the Kirsten American Girl books.

And then I work some more.  I sew if I need to sew, but usually I cut out a lot of stuff while we watch TV together.  If I can get everything cut out at night sewing is so much easier during the day.  I go to bed at like 10pm. 

Somedays, if I have no orders or I just need it, I announce it's a no work day.  And then all the times I wrote about working, I usually do some cleaning.  My house may not be perfect, but I really need some order.  Downstairs is always 10 (kid free) minutes away from being spotless, even if that means hiding all the clutter in the stair well.

And if things get overwhelming, Adam takes the kids for few hours on Saturday and that's usually all I need to catch up.  It will be interesting to see how I handle things as my business grows.

I don't feel guilty working while my children play in the next room over, because I worked full time when Olivia was a baby so I know what a privileged it is just to be near them.  I still change the poopy diapers and I can always stop what I'm doing to give a hug and kiss the owie.  I think for now, it's the perfect set up. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What Would You Do. . . with cranberries??

Once a month, Aubrey and I come together to ask, What would you do with. . . and then we Aubrey comes up with something awesome and we each do a recipe, a craft or a shopping trip!  96% of the time, we don't know what each other is doing until we read our posts!

Every now and then I come up with a pretty good idea, and this month I picked cranberries!  I lurve cranberries.  The tartness and the color make it perfect for the holiday season!

I'm not going to lie, I'm cheating a little bit with this post.  Not really doing anything new and I'm only telling you what I have done since business is booming and I'm a busy mama.

First, if you haven't done it before, you GOTTA try making your own cranberry sauce.  One year my brother made it from scratch instead of using a can and it's so good and so easy, I'll never go back. Click here for the recipe.

Second, cranberry salsa.  My aunt makes this all the time for our holiday parties and I LOVE it. 
1-12 oz pkg fresh cranberries
1/2 c sugar (or less)
1 medium jalapeno (be careful!  This is sometimes too hot for me, depending on the heat of that particular jalapeno, so maybe start with less if you're sensitive to heat)
1 green onion
1-2 T fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp cumin
Put all ingredients into a food processor.  Process until mixture is coarsly chopped.  Store in fridge over night to blend.  Serve with cracker and cream cheese if desired.

I don't even like serving it with cream cheese (crazy because I love cream cheese!) because its just so fresh on its own.  Thanks to my aunt Linda for giving me this recipe.  What I love about it is the tangy flavor, it feels healthy and fresh (don't you just crave healthy and fresh after eggnog and like five brownies?) and its red and green.  Hello?  Christmas.

Next month, we're doing GINGERBREAD!!!!!  And I'm so excited because I have a really fun idea for it.  Join us.  Do a craft or recipe, write it up and link it up!  We love company.  ;)  

In the mean time, if you have a cranberry post to share with us, link it up baby!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Five Little Confessions: The Holidays

Once a month Aubrey, Carrie, Jacquelyn and I team up to bring you the 5 Little Confessions link up!  You can confess anything your little heart desires.  And link up!

1. I love Halloween, until I don't.  That's usually a few days before Halloween (not very convenient!) but this year it was right about perfect.  And I think it's because Halloween landed on a Friday.  When it falls on a Monday or Tuesday we celebrate the weekend before so I feel like it should be over, but it just. Keeps. Going.  Glad it's over now ;)

2. Every afternoon nap time and at bed time I pick out four or five mini candy bars and eat them.  I haven't gained any weight, but I haven't lost any either.  I've got to knock it out pronto!

3. I love Thanksgiving, but I don't love the gratitude posts on social media.  Gratitude belongs to the person who gave it to you.  You're thankful for your husband?  Say a prayer and tell your husband.  Write it in a journal.  Otherwise it feels like bragging to me.  And I think some things we're grateful for can really hurt others who don't have those things.  It just makes the comparison problem of social media easier to get sucked into.

4. Not only am I listening to Christmas music, but Olivia is watching The Year Without a Santa Claus right now!  I'm actually impressed that she remembered it from last year and started begging me to watch it.

5. Adam keeps begging me to get a new Christmas tree.  I don't know why!  Ours is small (5 foot, $20 special from Wal Mart like 6 years ago) but our space is small too, so it fits.  I don't think it's the size that makes a tree, but the beauty of it. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Living my dream

When I was 6 or 7 my friend's grandma gave each of us a large box of fabric.  I don't remember if I loved fabric before that (who can remember that far back!?!) but I know that I loved using that box of fabric to make . . . oh gee, lots of things.  I don't know if you can really name what I made.  Maybe crap?  Ha!  I wasn't allowed to use a sewing needle (At least not at my friends house, my mom probably would have let me) so we stapled a lot of fabric together to make clothes for our toys.
I got a child's sewing machine when I was 8 (guessing).  It was broken half the time and I really needed something better.  I dropped out of dance classes to take sewing classes when I was 9 and then for my 10th birthday I got my very own sewing machine!  It's the one I still use today (well, as soon as I get it tuned up, I'll be using it again!).

I've done a lot of "crafting" (hate that word, I'm an ARTIST, not a crafter) Crochet, knitting, needle point, etc etc.  But I feel like I always go back to sewing.  I majored in Family and Consumer Science (the new name for Home Ec) I took a lot of cooking, interior design and sewing.  Funny thing, I didn't take pattern making because the class intimated me too much.  And now I make my own patterns for every piece in my shop!  If I could go back in time. . .

All this to say, sometimes I feel like a fraud.  Like who am I to try and make a mark in the baby/toddler clothing world?  But when I look back at my story, I almost wonder if I ever had a choice? 
What is my goal?  I would love to make 2-3 sales a week.  I don't know if I can handle more than that, but that is a bridge we'll cross when we get there!  And sometimes I wonder if I should just make these clothes for my own kids and would that be enough?  But I think, no.  It wouldn't.  I'm just living on this high I get from sharing my looks with the world (or the small section of the world I share with on instagram!)

What is your life dream?  That hobby you just can't get away from?

*All sweatshirts in this post were designed and sewn by me and are available for purchase here

Friday, October 17, 2014

Food Friday: Homemade Apple Sauce

The food of September is the apple.  And that's when I made this.  I just didn't get around to posting it until now.  Oops!

This is such a simple recipe, so it's fun to get your kids in on the action, especially if they're any good at peeling apples.  Olivia isn't, but that didn't stop her from giving it the ole college try.

We peeled and cored 10 apples and then I just kind of took it from there, with a giant scoop of creamy honey, lots of cinnamon and a couple glugs of my imitation vanilla (I know, I know, my argument is that I don't really bake and I'm not that picky!) Cooked that sucker in my crockpot for 4 hours on high and then mashed it with a potato masher.

It was SO yummy, but not very pretty. Okay FINE, yes I really just forgot to take a picture. But it still wasn't pretty, so you're not missing out.

(Hey!  I've been working on uploading all of my iPad pictures to my picasa web album and check out the gif they made with these pictures.  Equal parts creepy and cool that they do that with out me telling them too. . . )

Friday, October 10, 2014

Food Friday: Clean Pumpkin Bread

Last weekend was LDS General Conference, which means that all around the world, moms and dads are making yummier than usual breakfasts for their families.  (I've always suspected this, but instagram confirms.)  We're also listening to the prophet and apostles teach us about the doctrines of Christ.  Good food just goes great with church on TV (and pajamas if you weren't raised by my father, who insisted we get dressed to help us better pay attention)

Well, I'm ashamed to say I've never really been one of those people.  I just don't like baking!  Pancakes are even more work than I want to do on a regular basis.  But dang it if those instagram photos didn't get to me, and so in between sessions of conference (we watch four 2 hour sessions of conference spread out on Saturday and Sunday) I whipped up a batch of pumpkin bread.

I'm pretty much in love with the clean banana bread recipe I use, and I couldn't find any pumpkin bread recipes that I liked, so I just swapped out a few ingredients and replaced them with what I wanted.  I did pumpkin instead of bananas and applesauce.  I did 1/2 c honey instead of my usual 1/4 c, since the bananas and applesauce usually add to the sweetness and I took them out.  And instead of the 1T of cinnamon (which I'm always a little hesitant to add that much of, since it covers up the banana flavor) I did 1t each of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger.  (OR you could do like 1 1/2 Tbs of pumpkin pie spice) I really liked the amount of spice in this bread, but I like a lot of flavor.  Adjust to your own liking :)

I usually make my banana bread in a blender, but this dough turned out thicker, my guess is because of the liquid level in the bananas and applesauce vs pumpkin.  Who knows.  So maybe just make this in a bowl if you try it.

1 15oz can of pumpkin
1 egg
1/2 c honey
1/4 c oil
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
pinch of sea salt
1/4 c semi sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350.  Combine wet ingredients, and mix well.
2. Add in dry ingredients (here's a trick I use, if you put the flour on top of the wet ingredients, than add all the powders and sodas on top of that, they wont react until right when you mix it), mix well.  Add in chocolate chips and stir until combined.
3. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with cooking spray and pour batter in.  Bake for 45-60 minutes (I like to turn the oven off around minute 50 and then let it sit in the oven for the last 10 minutes, so that there aren't any doughy spots at all!)

And just a reminder before you go off to enjoy your weekend that I'm giving away TWO burlap pennant banners.  Sometimes I do giveaways to get more followers (honesty!) and sometimes I really just want to GIVE.  This is the second one.  I wish I could give one to all of you!

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