Monday, December 27, 2010


I hope you all had a wonderful and blessed Christmas.  New Year's is right around the corner!!! I am looking forward to saying goodbye to 2010.

My friend and former pastor always sends lovely Christmas cards and the sentiment he included with this year's card really moved me. I would like to share his words with you:

"Please let us use this occasion to put in a good word for silence--an appropriate word to hear again at Christmas.  We have felt this year that our society has been noisier, with, we think, shameless incivility on both sides of the aisle, with growing evidence of explosive anger and increasing decibels of loudness.  Isn't this then the perfect time to remember "Let all mortal flesh keep silence?"  Shouldn't we softly sing "Silent Night, Holy Night" and " silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given!"? Can't we all find at least a few moments to "be still, and know that God is God"?  Can't we find times in the next days for calmness, serenity, silence, remembering the challenge of the Prophet Isaiah, " quietness and in trust shall be your strength"?  We're working on these questions, and we hope that you will join us, too.

In addition to "Silent Night " -- we're singing "Joy to the World"! May the gifts of silence and joy be yours now and in the coming year."

I want to take this moment to wish all of you a very Happy New Year!!!  I'll be back to blogging next Monday!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

We Met in Fairyland

I finally met the Crafty Triathlete in person!!!  I guess now we will have to stop referring to each other as imaginary friends!

Her son is just darling and, being a big boy, provided Noodlebug with the perfect playmate.  On the recommendation of Amy Powers, I decided I finally needed to see Fairyland.  It is such a charming old-school kind of place and I loved it!!! 

Being a Beatrix Potter fan, I almost wet my pants when I saw Mrs. Tiggy-winkle's house:

Why is this sideways?!!!!!!!!!!

Here are the boys on the boat of the Owl and the Pussycat:

I have no idea why these photos are sideways!!! Grrrr!!!
Anyway, we had a great time and can't wait to get together again.  Kim and Sporty Spice gave Noodlebug a gingerbread kit and we had to do it right away:

It was so great to meet one of my favorite bloggers in person!!!

Merry Christmas everyone!!!
(sorry for the sideways photos)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Stockings are Hung...

Sorry I have been absent.  My last day of work for this year was last Thursday. I have been furloughed until January 3.  It is hard not to have the money but I am grateful to have the time off.  I promptly got sick and am currently nursing a cold. Still, I am looking forward to Christmas Day!!!

Some scenes from our Polar Express ride in Sacramento:

Drinking "Hot Chocolate"

Reading our copy of the book on the train--the Conductor signed it!!!

It was such a great experience!!!  I can't wait to do it again next year! 

I also finished my homemade gifts for Noodlebug. Here is a view of his finished alligator scarf:

I liked the pattern so much I may have to make a matching one for myself!

Here are some pillowcases I made for Noodle. I am addicted to sewing pillowcases!!!  I am giving one of the rocket ship cases to my friend Kim's son for Christmas:

Sorry this one is a bit blurry.
I also finished some hooded towels. These are for some little girls I know:

Whew!!!  Hopefully, I have everyone covered.  I didn't quite get all my handmade gifts done. There were just too many great ideas and not enough time.  I'll keep plugging away though. Maybe some will be Valentine's gifts.

Speaking of my friend Kim, I am finally going to meet the Crafty Triathlete herself tomorrow!!! We have been internet friends for a long time now but will finally get to meet in person.  She is an incredibly generous and creative person and I am lucky to know her. Maybe we'll take some photos and post them on our blogs.

I may not get the chance to post again before Christmas so I wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.  Many blessings to all of you on this very special day.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Saturday Morning

Scene:  Saturday morning, December 11, 2010, 7:00am

Cast: Mommy, Daddy and Noodlebug cuddling in bed

Noodlebug turns on his side to face me.

Noodlebug (spontaneously):  Mommy.....I love you.

And my heart bursts into a thousand pieces...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Game Called Life and Update

This song has been running through my head lately:

I have my eye on the prize.....I get two weeks of vacation starting on December 17.  Time with my family. Time to unwind a little bit. (I am REALLY wound up!)

I have finally started my handmade holiday gifts.  Two towels done and Noodlebug's scarf is finished.  Photos comings soon!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Can You Help Me Find My Christmas Spirit?

I am in a Holiday funk. 

The tree is up as are most of the decorations and Noodlebug is loving it. I connected the tree lights to a foot button on/off switch and the first thing Noodle does in the morning is to run and push the button to turn on the tree lights. 

I have all the materials for my handmade gifts but I can't muster the energy or enthusiasm to make anything.  As soon as Noodlebug goes to bed, I tell myself I'm going to get out the sewing machine but then I just end up sitting on the couch watching the REAL HOUSEWIVES. (I'm not proud of that but, for some strange reason, watching those shows makes me feel better about my life) 

I am having a lot of conflict within my family right now and that, coupled with the fact that we lose unemployment in a month if Congress doesn't do something drastic, is really bringing me down. The only thing I want for Christmas is a job for my husband that will enable us to stay in our rental home and cover our bills.

This Sunday, my family is traveling to Sacramento to do this:

Maybe it will give me the holiday boost that I need.  I hope so.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Santa Visit

Noodlebug is 2 1/2 and people warned me that he would probably be afraid of Santa this year.  He actually did really well. He was a little nervous about the whole thing and didn't want to sit in Santa's lap. He WOULD sit in my lap, however.  He asked Santa for a Slinky Dog. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Giving Thanks and Opting Out

I've been thinking about what I am going to tell Noodlebug about the first Thanksgiving.  I have thought about what it must have been like for the Pilgrims. They arrived here searching for religious freedom and found a lot of challenges and hardships.  Without the help of the Native Americans, they probably wouldn't have survived their first year.  So, when they sat down to that first Thanksgiving meal and looked back at the difficult times they had been through and the friends they had made, I'm sure their hearts were filled with gratitude and praise. 2010 has been a horrible year for so many people I care about. Jobs have been lost, marriages have crumbled, loved ones have passed away, financial hardship is everywhere. 

In the midst of these reflections, I have been taking in all the Black Friday ads that are everywhere. Now, I love a good deal.  I get a ridiculous thrill from seeing how much I have saved by using coupons.  But I am sickened when I think about the lengths people go to for Black Friday discounts.  What does it say about us that we go directly from the Thanksgiving table to waiting in line at 4am for deeply discounted flat-screen television?  I have heard stories on the radio of people pushing and shoving, stealing items out of other people's carts and resorting to truly disgusting tactics to get a good deal.  One poor man was even trampled to death last year because of this game of getting a good deal on things we don't even need.  I am opting out of Black Friday.  I will be cherishing the day off by spending some quality time with my family.  We're going to see the Nutcracker movie and spend some time outdoors together.

2010 has been an annus horribilis full of challenges and sadness.  When I look back, I realize that what got me and others through it was the support of the people in our lives.  Like the Pilgrims, I'll be sitting at my Thanksgiving table thinking of the friends who supported me over the past year and helped me to survive. And I'll be counting my many many blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my blogger and internet friends!  I am thankful for you and I wish you every happiness in the coming year.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I'm Still Here!!! (Handmade Holidays Part Two)

I am 3/4 of the way done with Noodlebug's scarf.  I have the fabric all ready for the pillowcases and I attempted my first set of slippers last night.  (Disaster)  This has been a crazy week but I am looking forward to some quality time off with my family next week.

While I struggle with my current handmade holiday projects, find some new ones at Sew Mama Sew's Handmade Holidays Extravaganza!

They have some WONDERFUL project ideas. I'm already eyeing the firewood tote for my husband.  Stop me before I craft again!!!

Oh, and if you aren't overloaded with creative ideas yet, there are some really creative ideas for Neighbor gifts over at How Does She? I especially like the battery idea for families with children.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

HANDMADE HOLIDAYS (the countdown begins!!!)

I LOVE to receive handmade gifts. They always feel so heartfelt and genuine.  I, however, do not always GIVE handmade gifts.  I am going to make a real effort to do so this holiday season for a variety reasons. I have a bunch of ideas and now I just have to find the time to get started.

If you are in my friend gift-giving circle, please read no further. (this means you Kim and Gary)

No peeking....

Okay, now that they are gone we can get down to business.

For the children of my friends, I plan on making hooded towels using the DIY Dish tutorial.

For the parents of those children, I plan on making photo ornaments using this Little Bit Funky tutorial.

(photo borrowed from and owned by LITTLE BIT FUNKY)

For my girlfriends, I am thinking of doing a set of pillowcases in a holiday print using either this Little Bit Funky tutorial or this one from Dana Made It.

(photo borrowed from and owned by LITTLE BIT FUNKY)

Of course, I love making things for my girlfriends so I am going to attemp to make some slippers using this pattern.  I haven't tried it yet so it all depends on how difficult they are to make.

(photo borrowed from and owned by WINTER PEACH)

For Noodlebug, I am currently knitting a scarf.  I am about halfway through and hope to be done in about a week.  I am using this adorable pattern and it is going well so far.

Also, I am going to make the ABC Learning Toy from Amy Powers' Autumn edition of INSPIRED IDEAS.  I figure it will be a good way for Noodlebug to practice his letters. (see page 35 for a peek)

I have the materials for everything. Now, I just need a little time and energy to get it done.

What will you be making for gifts this holiday season?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Cat in the Hat

So, Noodlebug was the Cat in the Hat for Halloween.  His father and I were Thing 1 and Thing 2.  I have no pictures of us as a family. I'm hoping a friend was able to get a few good ones so you can see us in all of our glory. In the meantime, here are two mediocre photos of Noodlebug's costume. 

(a bedraggled Thing 1 and Thing 2)

(Noodlebug with his friend Kiera holding popcorn balls!)

And here is the Jack Skellington pumpkin that we carved. Noodlebug loves "Nightmare Before Christmas" and I told him I would make him a Jack pumpkin. I didn't even use a pattern!

Now, we have to take down all our Halloween decorations and start planning for Thanksgiving!!!

I'm the Luckiest Woman in the World

(Halloween photos coming soon.....)

Friday, October 29, 2010


Remember this?

I won I won I won!!!!
I can't believe it!!!!

When I was a little girl, I went through a big "King Arthur" phase.  I daydreamed about knights in shining armour going on quests and fighting for the honor of fair maidens. 

By the time I got to high school, it had worn off.  A little bit.  My friends and I went to the local Renaissance fair every single year although I could never afford to get a costume.

In college, I continued the Renaissance Fair tradition but I also took a course on Arthurian legends which reinvigorated my interest.

Now, I will finally have a costume to wear for any festivals or fairs that come my way.  Of course, I won't look as pretty as Kathleen (Grosgrain) but I will do my best.  You think I could get Noodlebug to dress up as a knight?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween Preparations

The costumes are finished. (I'm hoping I can get a good photo of Noodlebug in his costume for the GILT contest)

We carved a pumpkin last night. (photos to come later)

I am ready to proctor the pumpkin contest at work today wearing my flashing pumpkin necklace and my new handmade pin by Kim.

Now, if the rain will just stay away so we can trick or treat. 

Fingers crossed....

Check back here soon for photos.

In the meantime, I am adding this book to my wish list:

Partly because I love Amy Sedaris and partly because I am a poor person who loves to craft!!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

GILT Halloween Best Dressed Photo Contest

As a mom on a budget, I love shopping all the wonderful sample sale/flash sites that have come up over the last few years. Many of them sell high-end children's items at deep discounts which I love. GILT is one of my favorites!!!

When the opportunity came up to share this GILT contest with you (this is a compensated post through the Mom Bloggers Club), I felt I couldn't pass it up!  So many of you are so creative that I know you can win!!!

If you think your child’s costume is the cutest on the block, here’s your chance to prove it. Post a picture of your kid in his or her outfit to enter for a chance to win $1,000 Gilt Credit.
Visit the“contests” tab on the Gilt Children Facebook page or click on this link to enter to win:

How the Contest Works

Between October 22 and November 8, upload a photo of your kid in his or her costume to the Gilt Children page by clicking on the Enter link above. The 10 most popular entries—as voted on by Gilt Children fans until November 19—will become finalists.

Fans can encourage their friends to vote for their the following ways:

1. Invite friends to participate in the contest using this link.

2. Post your vote to your Facebook wall my selecting “share on my wall” when you vote for your favorite photo.

3. Let your friends know that you can vote for each entry once per day -- so submit your entry early and vote often!

A panel of Gilt Groupe judges will then select five winners based on the overall quality of the photo and the costume, announcing the results by November 26 on the Gilt Children page and Twitter account. Each of the winners will receive a $1000 credit for use on

I know I could REALLY use that credit!!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Ever After Frock Halloween Grosgrain Giveaway

The Ever After Frock Halloween Grosgrain Giveaway

Want to win something pretty? How about your own "Ever After" Halloween costume made by Kathleen of Grosgrain?

(photo borrowed from and owned by GROSGRAIN)

Of course,  I hope to win this costume too but I would also be happy if YOU won.
Follow the link at the top of the post to sign up!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

No Tricks Just Treats

You know those women who seem to be able to do it all?  Well, Kim is one of those women. In between her mom duties, her non-profit work and training for an Ironman triathlon, she created some wonderful Halloween goodies for me and packaged them up so beautifully.  It felt like Christmas when I opened the box!

A wonderful wall hanging

A garland and some beautiful cards

BOO blocks that Noodlebug had fun stacking
The Sweetest Handmade Cat with Noodlebug's name on it

I wish my photography was better.  I really don't do these pieces justice.  She also made me an adorable cat pin which I can't WAIT to wear. You'll have to wait for the big reveal!!!!

Of course, sometimes the simple things are the most fun:

I can't believe he fit in the box!!!  You can't see it but his new kitty is in there too.

Thank you, Kim, for all of our Halloween goodies!!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Searching for Divine Divinity

(photo borrowed from and owned by the Food Network)
Our church's bazaar only happens every other year.  As part of the bazaar, one of the women's groups holds a bake sale. There is always divinity. My mother and I LOVE divinity.  When I was growing up back home in Texas, my grandmother made divinity every year and I associate it with the holidays. I made sure to start my volunteer shift at the beginning of the bazaar so I could stock up on divinity.

There was no divinity.

I couldn't have been more disappointed.

So, now I am on a quest to learn to make my own.  First, I have to buy a candy thermometer. The very idea scares me.  Then, I have to find the perfect recipe that won't be too difficult for me.

I'm going to start with Paula Deen's recipe because....well....I love Paula Deen.

If anyone has any recipes or advice to share, please leave a comment.  If I can pull this off, I may be giving everyone divinity for Christmas!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Weekend Highs and Lows

Well, the Craft Bazaar went well.  All of the toddler aprons that I made sold which made me happy.  My mother picked up some hand-carved cars for Noodlebug for Christmas.  They are amazing.  An elderly gentleman in our church makes them.  What was even more special was that he and his wife celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary this past weekend!!!  I picked up this Fall item for myself:

I'm going to hang it on the wall.

Noodlebug picked out this penguin family of hand-painted gourds:

Aren't they sweet? 

On Sunday was the big event I have been waiting for since last year.  It was a trick-or-treat fundraiser at a local children's museum.  I had worked hard to get Noodlebug's costume ready and we arrived right on the dot.  As we were getting out of the car, Noodlebug accidentally kicked me in the eye.  I thought I was going to pass out from the pain.  We didn't know it then but the kick had scratched my cornea in several places.  So, not only was I in pain all day but I was also blinded.  And it poured down rain.  I couldn't really see anything. I missed out on all the decorations and getting to see Noodlebug play the games. It was such a let-down. I soldiered through but when it was time to leave I broke down in the car from disappointment.  And a little bit from pain.

My husband and I went to the emergency room and got my eye looked at.  After drops and pain meds and keeping it covered, it appears to be a bit better now.

Here is a photo of us at the event. I have my eyes closed and Noodlebug's costume is covered by a raincoat:

Oh, well. Maybe next year....

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My Dentist's Choice Tooth Tissues Review

You already know that I feel strongly about dental health in general and more specifically that of my child from this post.  I am always looking for ways to make dental care of a small child easier. That is why I was excited to get a package of My Dentist's Choice Tooth Tissues to try out.

I had heard of tooth tissues before but I had never tried any. I just resorted to using a washcloth on Noodlebug's gums when he was an infant.  There are a lot of positives about this product.  It is fluoride-free.  It is 99% Natural. It has Xylitol which several dentists have told me is a great product for little ones.  It is paraben-free and unflavored.  And they couldn't be easier to use.  They come packaged like wipes in a resealable pouch so all you have to do it pull one out and run it over your little one's teeth and gums. The only con is getting your child used it it. Noodlebug wants to bite down on my fingers when I use the wipes.  He does with the toothbrush too, though.

I have decided to keep these in the diaper bag for tooth-cleaning on the go.  While I try to limit Noodlebug's exposure to sweets and juice, these could be great to use when he has had a ice cream treat or a glass of juice.  They tuck right into the diaper bag.

To find out more about this product, go to the My Dentist's Choice website.

(I received one free sample pack of this product from the manufacturer to try. I did not receive any other form of compensation for this review.)

This Product Was a Free Giveaway

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Current Project

(This is as much of myself as I feel comfortable showing in photos these days)

In the middle of working on Halloween costumes, I am working on another big project.  Me. 

Not only am I really overweight but I don't think I'm very healthy. And I'm not happy with myself.  So, I started hitting the gym at 6am each morning back in August.  My goal is five days a week but I don't always hit that goal.  Right now, I am doing cardio work on the treadmill, bike and elliptical.  Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are the days I am working on a running program. I'm starting very slowly but I hope to work up to running about 4 miles.  Also on MWF, I have been trying to implement the 200Squats, 200Situps and 100Pushups programs. (these are free on the internet)

It is a real challenge to get up in the dark and head to the gym. And then I struggle on the treadmill while these skinny fit women around me seem to do it effortlessly.  But you know what my daily treat is? I get to take a nice long shower at the gym and take my time with my makeup.  Since my husband and child don't get up until about 7:30am, I used to have to stumble around in the dark in our little house and try to be as quiet as possible. Now, I can take my time getting ready in the morning. And, after work, I get to go home and be with my family instead of exercising. And I get weekends off.

The one thing I am really struggling with is changing my diet. So, I have only lost about 4 pounds so far. I'm not going to give up this time, though. I get inspired by the older women at my gym. They are in the gym every morning and they all seem vibrant and sharp and fit. I want to be that way when I get to that age and I know being active is part of it.

So, that's what I am working on. 

This will be a light post week because I am getting ready for my church's craft bazaar on Saturday but I'm going to take photos at the event and share them with you. Hope you are all having a lovely week!!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What I Did This Weekend

I made Noodlebug a Trick or Treat bag to go with his costume. My blanket stitch wasn't the best so I used the sewing machine on the corners to reinforce it.

Then, I made Katy's adorable trick or treat bag from her tutorial just because it is so darned cute!!! It turned out really well. It may be MY trick or treat bag.

(It's a little wrinkled because *SOMEONE* was playing with it!)

I'm almost done with Noodlebug's costume but you can't see that yet. (wink)

More to show you soon!!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Blog Find: NO BIG DILL Candy Corn Necklace

(photo borrowed from and owned by No Big Dill)

No Big Dill is one of my very favorite blogs. Katy always has the cutest tutorials. I really want to make this necklace. It is such a nice classy take on Halloween-themed jewelry. Find out how to make your own here.

Now, I'm craving candy corn.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

FEED Trick or Treat Bag

(photo borrowed from and owned by FEED)
The popular FEED line has come out with a special Trick or Treat bag this year. Sold by HSN, these bags retail for $13 and $3.50 from every purchase goes directly to UNICEF to cover the cost of delivering a year’s worth of micronutrient powder to a child in a developing country.  I especially like the reflective tape on the bag because I am a big safety girl!

I am hand-making a trick-or-treat bag to go with Noodlebug's costume this year but I think I may purchase one of these for myself to use as a handbag or carryall. 

Sold exclusively at HSN.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Dear Santa...

I'm starting my list early this year because I have been a very mostly good girl. 

Will you please bring me this book?

It would really help me with my sewing projects.

Also, I could really use gift certificates to support my various habits that have become true luxury items in my family's current economic status:

Joann's Fabrics
Cinema West movie theaters

Thanks, Santa.

You're the best!!!

(What's on YOUR list?)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Vintage ABC Swap

My friend Kim makes WONDERFUL tags and cards and is a part of a tag swapping group on Yahoo.  She found out about a wonderful swap and convinced me to join in the fun. 26 tag swappers got together and each took a letter of the alphabet. I was Miss I.  For each tag, we tried to incorporate lots of things beginning with our letter from color to flower to virtue.  Our wonderful coordinator is going to bind the cards into an ABC book when everyone finishes.  Almost all the cards have been sent in and I am so excited about the sneak peeks that have been shared. 

I forgot to take a photo of my card. If you look closely, you can see it in the second row from the top. It is the INDIGO card!  I made up this sentence and created my card around it:  "The Imperial Infant had an Imaginative Idea about an Insect."  Hopefully, everyone will like it. I promise to post photos when I get the finished product. So exciting!!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

I was feeling low yesterday. We found out our landlord is raising our rent. With my husband still out of work, we have been just managing to cover our bills. Trying to come up with another $300 a month is going to be very difficult. I was trying to put this out of my mind for a little while and focus on my child when a knock came at the front door.

I have a dear friend who is a publicist for a local publishing company. She is helping to publicize Alice Walker's new book of poetry and had gotten one signed for me. She wanted to drop it off. It was just the boost I needed. Did you notice the title of the book?

Somehow God knew I needed that knock on the front door. And with friends like these, I know I will get by.

(By the way, the poems are great! I read a few last night and look forward to reading a few more today. Sometimes, you just need a poem to give you a boost!)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Super Fast Superhero Cape

Thanks to Jenny over at the Southern Institute for Domestic Arts and Crafts, I tried out a super-fast Superhero cape this weekend.  Still needs a little work but it inspires me to make more!!!

(It was hard to get a good shot of my little superhero!)