Monday, September 29, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - Hell in a Handbasket

It's Menu Plan Monday and this week jumps to a whole new level of crazy. We have two cross country meets, a day off for each kid (but not the same day, of course!), an orthodontist appointment, two lacrosse practices plus a game, THE QUILT SHOW and...oh, to the One Direction concert.

How did I get myself into this? The Pioneer Woman said it so much better than me.
  • Sunday - leftovers from MMC's awesome birthday dinner
  • Monday - Baked Pasta with Sausage and Spinach from the freezer, mixed green salad.
  • Tuesday - Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches (that we didn't get to again last week!)
  • Wednesday - dinner at the concert
  • Thursday - leftover buffet
  • Friday -  quilt show preview party dinner
  • Saturday - oh, who knows at this point?
What's on your menu?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Houseworks Holiday Plan - Week 5 - Be Our Guest></a><br />
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It's Week 5!

How was week 4? It was pretty much a wash here. Grace spent the entire week trying to make up for the days she had been out sick, and I spent about an hour each night being the math teacher. (It paid off: she got a 97 on the test Thursday!) The level of stress put on these kids in 8th grade is just ridiculous.

Anyway, that meant I didn't get any extra cleaning or quilting done, and yesterday I used every spare minute to finish the binding on my star surround quilt and putting labels and sleeves on the other entries. 

This week is all about welcoming guests. Again, I just did a deep clean of the guest room a month or so ago for our Independence Day company, so it shouldn't take much to spruce up. We don't have too many guests, so it's really just to be prepared for the unexpected.

I do pull out some fall quilts and decorations, but keep those to a minimum.  Luckily the list for this week is not too long since next weekend is the quilt show and I know I won't be getting much extra done.

Next week I'll get back on track. I promise! How's it going at your house?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Overheard - Like Family

Thursday night at dinner, I was telling my family about a VIP guest who would be coming into my building on Friday. I was debating what to wear to work since Fridays are normally casual; I didn't want to be too casual, but I also didn't want to be horribly overdressed.

The Pit Boss asked if we had been given any guidelines, and I told him that we had only received an email which asked us to give the VIP "a warm welcome." We assumed that was a euphemism for, "We know it's Friday, but please don't come to work in your pajamas."

To which my boy said, "Maybe that would be the perfect warm welcome. 'Come on in! Wear your pajamas. Have some cocoa.' Like that."

I don't think my boss would go for it, but I like the way that boy's mind works.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

#TBT - Throwback Thursday - Noah's Nine Patch

Quiltin Jenny

It's Throwback Thursday here at Quiltin' Jenny, and I hope you'll link up and share your own creative adventures from your pre-blogging days.

Today's project is a little bit of a cheat because it's a quilt I didn't make.

Remember when I told you the story about my first quilt and how Mom and I made them together? Well, this is the quilt Mom made for My Middle Child (MMC) while I was making that one.

Our nursery was all done in a Noah's Ark theme, but back then there wasn't a lot of ready made decor. We found this fabric - I can't remember where - and fell in love.  The back is my favorite!

Mom hand quilted it, just as I did mine. These pictures don't quite show how beautiful the quilt was in it's prime, since they were just taken this week. The quilt itself, just like MMC, is eighteen tomorrow.

Where does the time go? Happy birthday to my beautiful boy. We love you so much!

Do you have an old mature holiday craft to share with us this week?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

WiP Wednesday - Binding!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I'm linking up with WiP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

Yesterday I found myself with a couple of unexpected hours at home alone and decided to dedicate them to my Star Surround quilt. I really need to finish it because drop off for the quilt show is MONDAY!

I managed to finish the quilting motif in the corners and the stippling around it. I think I'm done quilting, although I'm a little concerned about some of the unquilted areas. Hopefully after I wash it I'll be happy with the results and won't have to try to add quilting after the fact.

My binding is made and I'll be sewing it on, along with a label and sleeve. My other quilts for the show need sleeves as well, so that's what my weekend looks like.

I can't believe the show is only nine days away! What are you working on?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - Schrodinger's Meatloaf

It's Menu Plan Monday and it's fall, y'all! You can tell by the sports, the break in the weather...and the allergies. Grace has been home sick off and on all week, but is much better today. Let's hope it stays that way!

These weeks when we are on the go, have meetings and practices and games and meets and late nights at work, are tricky for planning dinners. We are headed in all different directions, so the menu plan is even more important for those nights when we can sit down as a family. Tuesday and Thursday are the worst, leading The Pit Boss to question "If you make dinner and there's no one there to eat it, does it still taste good?" (Also known as Schrodinger's Meatloaf).
What's on your menu?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Houseworks Holiday Plan - Week 4></a><br />
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It's Week 4 of the Houseworks Holiday Plan!

How was week 3? I made very little progress on our bedroom; however, we did a major purge and deep clean of the kitchen cabinets and pantry. I'm talking about pulling everything out of every drawer and cabinet, wiping down shelves and lining them with fresh contact paper. We went through the Tupperware cabinet and recycled any container or lid without a mate. We gathered a box for donation, threw away some broken stuff, and even cleared a whole shelf in the pantry for The Pit Boss's grill supplies. It was a very productive day, if slightly off schedule.

This week is about the kids' rooms; my kids are pretty much in charge of their own rooms, and they all did a deep clean right before school started, so I'm going to circle around and give my bedroom one more shot.

We've never done the Holiday Home Spruce Up Exercise before, but this would be the year. One of my goals is to have the house in good enough shape to host a couple of graduation parties in May. That means we have to start thinking ahead.

Halloween is pretty much just buying candy and putting out a few decorations now that the kids are older. I'm putting more thought into my costume and decorating for work than home these days!

As for celebrating Advent, I did a smart thing last year when putting away my holiday decorations. I put all of the Advent/Nativity things in one box and put it in the closet last. That way, even if I don't get to decorating until mid-December, I can pull out that one bin without digging through all the others trying to find candles, wreaths, and calendars.

How's it going at your house? What are you doing differently than last year?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

#TBT - Throwback Thursday - Little Man

Quiltin Jenny

It's Throwback Thursday here at Quiltin' Jenny, and I hope you'll link up and share your own creative adventures from your pre-blogging days.

Today's project is another one from my attempts at garment sewing. This may be the most impressive thing I've ever made, to be quite honest.

Back in 1998 my cousin was getting married. She is Deuce's godmother and she wanted him to be in her wedding. When she made that decision, My Middle Child (MMC) was barely a year old, so there were no plans to include him.

I found an adorable pale green suit for Deuce to wear as her ring bearer and thought we were all set; when she visited just a few months before the big day and realized how much MMC had grown up, she regretted not planning on both of them. Of course, finding a cute toddler suit in July was a whole different thing than finding one in February or March when everyone was planning for Easter! I couldn't find anything even close, so I decided to make one.

I hope you are all appropriately stunned by the insanity of this idea.

Anyway, I found some powder blue fabric, a pattern and, with Mom's help, we actually made a suit. We made a suit that fit and didn't fall apart in the middle of the ceremony. We made a suit that looked adorable! He came down the aisle with his brother, holding a calla lily to present to our grandmother in memory of our grandfather.  It was very sweet.

I can't believe this sweet boy is going to be 18 next week. He has made us laugh more times than I can count and is never at a loss for words. He's applying to college now; he's already been accepted to Alabama and Kentucky, so he has options. I'm more proud of him than I can say, and know I'm going to miss him like crazy next year!

Where does the time go?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - Next Week?

It's Menu Plan Monday and I'm clinging to the plan. I keep thinking next week will be less crazy, but that hasn't happened yet this school year. Maybe next week?

Lots of crock pot dinners this week to accommodate all the different schedules and directions we are headed!
What's on your menu?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Houseworks Holiday Plan - Week 3 - Me and Mine></a><br />
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It's Week 3! How did last week go? I barely made a dent in my sewing space, but did spend some time putting things away and clearing off my cutting table and ironing board. Those are the spots most likely to have stuff piled on them.

I've definitely decided not to plan on any homemade gifts except possibly some baking for my coworkers. I really hate to add that kind of stress to an already stressful time of year.

This week we're decluttering the master bedroom, another hot spot/dumping ground. Why is it that when everyone else cleans their rooms they dump the stuff they don't want or don't know what to do with in my room? Finding a better spot for this stuff needs to be on my list for the week. Luckily the other big chore this week has to do with Christmas cards, so I'm off the hook. I gave them up years ago and have never looked back.

I'll also inventory our gift wrapping/mailing supplies, but that's also pretty simple. I've gotten better about not overbuying and I only mail one big box out to my brother's family.

How did week 2 go for you? Will this week be a break or a challenge?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

#TBT - Throwback Thursday - Bless US

Quiltin Jenny

It's Throwback Thursday here at Quiltin' Jenny, and I hope you'll link up and share your own creative adventures from your pre-blogging days.

Today's project is one I started on retreat with my BQF Pam back in 2002. She was trying to teach me how to paper piece, and I started with the flag and then moved onto some simple letter patterns. It was right around the first anniversary of 9/11.

After piecing the words, I moved on to the dove and decided I was done. I'm still not a huge PP fan, and the idea of making any more blocks or making a bigger quilt than this out of PP is not appealing. I decided it would be fine as a small table topper or wall hanging and slapped a border on it. Then I quilting it with wavy lines, bound it, and called it done.

Pam asked me if I meant for it to say "God bless us" or "God bless the U.S."  She thought if I meant the latter, maybe I should embroider a small, cursive "the" in the red space next to "U.S." I kind of like the double meaning, so I left it the way it was.

It's hard to believe it's already been thirteen years since that terrible day. I realize that my children, although they were all alive then, have no real point of reference for before...only after. I also realize that I have several quilts and blocks that were made in the aftermath where I was processing what had happened in our world. Quilt therapy strikes again.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

WiP Wednesday - How to Lose a Friend Who Sews

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I'm linking up with WiP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

Have you read the post How to Lose a Friend Who Sews in 5 Steps over at Alida Makes? That is comedy gold right there, and it's funny because it's true!

I've been doing some not fun sewing this week for a friend.

I don't know what happened to the corner of that picture, but you get the idea. Seriously? My own kids didn't even do scouts, but this is what I've been sewing. The person who asked me to do it is one of my dearest friends who could not lose me over this - she would do anything for me and this is the least I can do in return - but I've been chuckling to myself the whole time thinking of Alida's post.

What kind of lunatic decided to put a patch on a pocket - which means you have to hand sew that evil plastic-backed badge through the opening so that the pocket remains usable - AND made it a badge that changes with rank? At least if they put the flag or some generic scout patch there they could sell the shirts with it already sewn on there. But no, it has to be the badge that gets replaced every so often.

And what about all that random crap on the sleeves? I'm thinking it was a man whose mother/wife sewed it all on for him and he has no idea what hell he's created. 

Speaking of comedy gold, did you see that Pam got famous over one of her funny posts that went viral? Be sure to read the comment section!

What are you working on?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - Relying on Routine

It's Menu Plan Monday and I'm leaning hard on routine; I'm using familiar and favorite recipes, planning pasta for the night before a cross country meet, fish on the night Gracie won't be home for dinner, and a Saturday date night.

My Middle Child (MMC) just wrote an insightful college application essay about the importance of routines during time of stress, uncertainty, or chaos, and it really hit home for me at this busy time of year.

Speaking of college applications, we just got this in the mail Saturday:

 It's especially fun to get the first one. As he said, we know he's going to college somewhere!
What's on your menu?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Houseworks Holiday Plan - Week 2 - Calendar and Creativity Week></a><br />
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It's Week 2! Time to focus on schedules and ~gulp~ decluttering the quilt studio. I guess week 2 of any plan is going to be the tough one for me; on the Holiday Grand Plan week 2 was the office!

Last week was good. I got my desk cleared off and added to the giant "to be shredded" stack.  We reviewed the notes from last year, and thought about this year - everything from "focus" to which recipes we liked and which ones to replace.

Moving ahead: the calendar is the easy part. We are so fortunate that we do not have to travel for any of the holidays, and Deuce will drive himself home from school now that he has a car there. Since I ditched the Christmas cards, I don't do a family portrait session either.

I am looking at the calendar and counting weeks to see when to get my hair done so that I don't wake up the Monday before Christmas and realize that I look like hell and won't have time or access to a salon for two more weeks. Priorities, you know?

I have my Gift List ready, and even have a few ideas. I don't know that I'll be making any homemade gifts this year, but I always laugh out loud at the Crafter's Rule of Four on the Organized Home site. If I followed this rule I'd never be allowed to buy fabric again!

How did last week go for you? What will you schedule this week? Are you making homemade gifts this year?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Fitness Friday - To Tell the Truth

It's Fitness Friday with OzzyPip and Sandy and it's time for truth or dare.

I haven't mentioned this until now, but twelve weeks ago I had some pretty major surgery. Luckily it was also routine and everything turned out exactly as it should. I'm fine; in fact, I'm better than I have been in a couple of years. The #twilters who pay attention to these things might have noticed that I was a little off my game. Not that I had a lot of game to begin with!

So anyway, I was out of work for six weeks and under some physical restrictions for four more. I'm now officially all cleared. Basically, it's time to get off the sofa.

While I was out of work, The Pit Boss was amazing about cooking healthy meals and taking such good care of me. I actually lost a few pounds, despite the fact that I was spending most days alternating between bed and the couch, mainlining all six seasons of The Sopranos and Nurse Jackie. (It wasn't as dark as it sounds.)

Now, though, I'm back to work, back to eating lunches out (Oh Em Gee! Have you tried Chicken Salad Chick?), birthday cake in the break room, and coming home exhausted. Between trying to rebuild my stamina and the start of school craziness, I've let more than a couple of Menu Plan Mondays slip away and eaten one too many Village Burgers.

So those few pound I lost? I found them. Plus some of their friends.

There is some good news, though. TPB is my hero. This week, after we skipped the grocery store again, he went after work on Tuesday and has cooked every night this week. It's been such a relief and pleasure to come home to a healthy dinner every night! To top it all off, he's gotten me out and walking after dinner several times. At first, I couldn't even go a mile before I had to stop. He'd drop me off at home and go back out for the rest of his walk. I'm getting better - this week I've broken 10,000 steps twice! I haven't done that in months. Tuesday night we walked together at the park for about 2 1/2 miles at a pretty decent pace, and I didn't even die.

Now I've told the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I dare you to post your own Fitness Friday and go link up with Pip!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

#TBT - Throwback Thursday - Because He First Loved Us

Quiltin Jenny

It's Throwback Thursday here at Quiltin' Jenny, and I hope you'll link up and share your own creative adventures from your pre-blogging days.

Today's quilt is called "Because He First Loved Us." I made it when Deuce was in kindergarten for his teacher who was getting married. We threw her a little party at the end of the year, and I wanted a quick gift from all of the kids.

I made this small quilt with 4" squares of muslin that the kids wrote their names on, some four patches, and some sashing. For some reason I appliqued hearts onto it. Then I did a faux binding. Honestly, this quilt has so many things wrong with it design-wise. I have no idea what I was thinking!

The label has the verse from I John 4:19 that says, "We love because He first loved us" and all of the kids' names. 

Whatever the case, the bride did a good job of acting like she liked it. It always surprises me when a post from her shows up in a friend's feed on Facebook because she has four kids now. I feel old.

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