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Friday Five with a Freebie

It’s been record-settingly cold this week, making me want to do nothing but sit under a blanket and drink all the hot drinks. We’re far enough south that we didn’t get any snow, but we got lots of rain. I love the rainy weather, but when it’s too cold and wet for kiddos to go outside and play, it’s a challenge. So, no snuggling under a blanket all day and no other blog posts this week.

These guys get a little crazy inside for a week!

Soup week

One thing I love about the colder weather is that it makes soups and stews make sense. I love cooking soups because they’re easy, filling and can be a one pot meal. This week I worked from a list of soups for our dinners, making meal prep so easy. I think my favorite was the sausage and potato soup. My kiddos preferred the Chicken Pho.

List-style meal planning like I did this week works better for me than planning for each day. Look for a post about my method soon.

Sewing projects

I actually did some cold-inspired sewing this week. Our old windows get a bit drafty in the winter. As a quick fix, I started with the window in the living room and sewed a quick, heavier curtain from an old cotton sheet lined with flannel. It’s not the prettiest, but it hangs hidden behind the lighter weight existing curtains on an extension rod. We can easily take it down on warmer days to let in the light. I may need to add hooks or screws for the rod to rest on, though, because our cats keep pulling it down.

I similarly covered two other windows in our bedroom. The rest will be more visible, so I’ll need to be more thoughtful with my fabric selection for them.

Voting

We early voted on Monday. I’m happy to have it done, but it’s a little strange for me. I always vote on election day, which makes the whole process seem more exciting. I’ve always thought it strange that election day isn’t a holiday. This year would be different regardless to prevent huge crowds at the polling places, but it would be nice if people were given the day off from work and school, so it’s easier and children could go to see the process. I still plan to stay up and watch election results come in, even though it could be days or weeks before all the mail-in ballots are counted and the results finalized.

Daylight savings time

Have I mentioned how much I hate daylight savings time? This weekend is one of my favorites, because we finally get to set our clocks back to what my body insists is the real time. We also get Halloween and a full moon, so the weekend could be really awesome or really interesting.

Sale and a freebie

Today and tomorrow all of my Halloween embroidery design files are on sale for $1 each, and this one is free! My fellow procrastinators can download them instantly for your last minute projects. Everyone else can get them on sale to save for next year. 😉

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Friday Five

Sometimes throughout the week I think of things that I’d like to share with you but aren’t really worthy of a whole post. They could be things I’ve been working on, other sites I’ve discovered, shop or sale info, or general randomness. My solution is the Friday Five, where I quickly share some of those random or interesting things.

Sewing machine struggles

My Kenmore needs repair again. This time I got so frustrated with it that I packed it up and moved it off my desk. I don’t like using my Brother for anything except embroidery. I’d hate to mess up my only embroidery machine when I have another basic sewing machine. So, that leaves me with my vintage Montgomery Wards Signature. It works really well, but I’m not as familiar with all of the settings. I’m nervous about sewing anything special, because I don’t want to ruin anything by having tensions or stitch length wrong.

It’s also on the other side of my craft room from my other machines and in it’s own table. That means I have to bring everything I need over to it, rather than have it stored within reach. That all has deterred me from sewing lately.

I finally decided earlier this week to try to finish some of the masks I was working on when my Kenmore broke. Those are fairly simple and I have plenty of cotton fabric, so if my machine eats it, it’s not too bad. So far I only finished one, though, due to interruptions and being slow on an unfamiliar machine.

I guess someone felt the need to decorate it for Halloween.

Masks?

On the subject of masks, I’m contemplating adding them to my shop, but not sure if there’s still enough demand for handmade. I keep getting requests from friends and neighbors, though, so maybe? It would be nice to have them listed so I can have a catalog of sorts to show people when asked. Thoughts?

These were a special order from a friend. Luckily I finished them before my Kenmore broke. Sewing someone else’s fabric on an unfamiliar machine is scary.

Meal planning is hard

I had a dentist appointment last weekend that involved an extraction along with some fillings. That means that along with my usual gluten and dairy free restrictions, I’ve had to accommodate not really being able to chew. For most meals, that means planning for the family and separately for myself. I’ve also been fairly successful with losing some weight lately, so I didn’t want to get out of my healthy eating habits by living off mashed potatoes and ice cream for a week. That made it more challenging, because most of the healthy, filling foods I can think of require chewing. Luckily I’m down to only avoiding things that are crunchy or have small seeds that could get painfully stuck.

Odd shopping habits

I finally reorganized the pantry shelves this morning in an attempt to make meal planning easier. For some reason, I have four jars of salsa. Four! Three of them are the bigger jars, too, and all the same variety. I also have a ton of dried black beans, two varieties of split peas and lots of lentils. The black beans and lentils kind of make sense, but I’m the only one who likes split peas. I also thought I had black eyed peas and was planning on using them in a curry this weekend, but I don’t. At least now I know what I have and what I need.

Creative Home Projects Bundle 2020

The Creative Home Projects Bundle 2020 is only available for a few more hours. I talk more about it in this post. If you’re interested, be sure to order it before 11:59pm Eastern time tonight. For total disclosure, I do receive a small commission on bundles sold through my links. If you’re into DIY, I do think it’s worth having a look at the list of everything included and see if it’s right for you.

There’s also a 30 day money back guarantee. Before I became an affiliate, I purchased several of the bundles. I loved all except for one. Maybe it was because I already followed a lot of the authors in that bundle, but I just didn’t feel like I gained any new information from that particular bundle. I requested a refund by email within the 30 days and had it right away with no problems. I always hate guarantees or free trials that make it hard to cancel or request a refund, so I really appreciate how easy it was with Ultimate Bundles.

That’s it for today. Have a great weekend!

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Five minute jogging stroller rain shield

I’m really hoping Friday marked the beginning of a nice, rainy fall. I love rain, but hate driving to pick Finn up from school. The car line is almost impossible to deal with, so I always park nearby and walk up. With the time it takes to get Beckett in and out of the car at home and at the school, finding a place to park and then fighting the traffic to get in and out, I’m almost positive walking is quicker. It’s certainly more pleasant. So, I decided to make a rain cover for the stroller. I don’t mind a little rain, but Beckett hates it. Weirdo.

I went the incredibly quick, made with stuff on hand route. I may upgrade it in the future, but for now I’m sure it will do. First, I took some clear vinyl material that has been sitting in my stash for years now and draped it over the stroller where I wanted it and trimmed of the excess length. Then I measured the sides from the edge of the vinyl to the frame of the stroller (14 inches for each side in my case). That part I planned to do in some sort of breathable fabric.

IMG_4530

To attach it to the frame, I planned to use elastic around the edge. That idea came one day last week when I thought I might have to walk in the rain and discovered that a fitted crib sheet almost fit perfectly in place over the stroller. I have some thrifted sheets, so I found a fitted twin and cut the 14 inches off ends with the elastic. I used the serger to attach the cut sides of the sheet to the long sides of the vinyl. (Note to self: vinyl goes on TOP near the foot, not on bottom.) Once I figured out proper material placement, constructing it took maybe three minutes.

It’s still not snuggly fitted, but with a couple of binder clips to tighten the top edge it would have worked for Friday if I hadn’t chickened out due to the possibility of thunderstorms. Rain I can handle, but dodging lightening is a bit much. I will probably add a few darts or snaps to snug it up some if I think it will be used a lot.


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Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 8

— 1 —

Thanksgiving was nice and relaxing, for the most part. The turkey was yummy, although the bacon prevented the skin from getting crispy. But, there was bacon. We kept things fairly simple. I didn’t even have a pumpkin or pecan pie. None of us LOVE them, and Blue Bell was on sale, so we went with ice cream. Last night, though, I oddly craved pumpkin pie. Must be some weird turkey association. If we’re crazy enough to leave the house today, I may see if Kroger has any pumpkin pies left.

— 2 —

Sweet moment I caught while setting the table.

— 3 —

Beckett has developed a way to critique food. If he likes something, he holds it up in the air and babbles about it for a few seconds. Foods he’s less than fond of get dropped unceremoniously off his tray. He approved of the turkey and disapproved the dressing. He seemed to like the cranberry sauce, but it was too slippery for a full, over-the-head approval.

— 4 —
Beckett had his 9 month check-up Wednesday of last week. He’s doctor likes to do blood work at that check-up to check for anemia and lead and maybe some other things. I missed a call from her Friday evening, so I called the office Monday to find out the results. Normally they leave an “everything’s fine” message if the results are normal, so I’m assuming something is up. Her nurse returned my call Monday afternoon to tell me that the doctor wants to discuss the test results with me, the doctor is out of the office until this coming Monday and no, she can’t tell me anything, I have to wait for the doctor. Fun times. Last year at Thanksgiving I was hoping that Mr. B wasn’t anemic. This year, I’m all “Fingers crossed for anemia!”
— 5 —

I woke up this morning with another sinus headache. It’s beginning to become a Friday tradition. 😛 Today I was lucky in that Chris was here to watch the kiddos, make me coffee and start a shower for me so I could attack it with hot steam and caffeine since the Sudafed and ibuprofen weren’t working. It has calmed to a dull ache, as long as I don’t bend over, or move my head in general. Thank you crazy Texas weather.

— 6 —

I’m thinking I need to do a “5 Quick Takes Friday”, since I seem to lose steam after five. I know my life has to be interesting enough to post seven random, interesting things every Friday. I suppose I could go to Walmart for five minutes. That should give me enough material for all seven posts today. The only problem is that I am not insane.

— 7 —

I can’t decide where to put the Christmas tree. We have a nice, fluffy, big tree that is huge in our house, and we have a smaller, slightly Charlie Brownish tree that I bought last year thinking it would work better. I would really like to go all out and do the pretty tree, but I’m having a hard enough finding the room for even the Charlie Brown tree.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!
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Quick Takes Friday, 3rd edition

— 1 —

I’ve decided I need to move someplace that has one month of winter, one month of summer and fall the rest of the year. I’m getting tired of sweating one day and freezing the next, or, better yet, freezing in the morning, sweating in the afternoon and switching back to freezing around 2am.

— 2 —

With Beckett trying to spend as much time on his own two feet as possible, I am fighting the urge to bubble wrap everything, including our hardwood floors. I get the easy clean-up and less allergens, but I want carpet. Wall-to-wall carpet, not just area rugs. It makes crawling around on the floor chasing after babies easier and it’s a lot softer for babies who fall down 5,872 times a day.

— 3 —

New home builders should start including an extra room in their floor plans designed for the sole purpose of storing outgrown children’s clothing and baby gear. It should have deep wall to wall shelves on one side, enough built in drawers to hold about five years worth of clothing and special hooks/cubbies to accommodate all the big items.

— 4 —

I actually enjoy good political discussions and debates, so election years are fun for me. What really bugs me, though, are the nicknames people give to The Other Candidate or The Other Party. It bothers me whether they are doing it to My Candidate or The Other Candidate. To me, it makes me discount everything the person is saying if they can’t make their point without being rude. I fully support people making use of their right to free speech however they choose. If they really want me to take them seriously, though, they’ll make their point using respectful language that would make nice old ladies proud.

— 5 —

My earlier style post has me wondering what exactly are “mom jeans”? When I was younger, mom jeans were high-waisted, tapered-to-the-ankle jeans. Sometimes pleats were involved. Boot cut jeans were considered universally flattering and makeover shows everywhere convinced women to ditch their “mom jeans” in favor of boot cuts, regardless of whether you even owned a pair of boots. Now I’m hearing boot cut jeans being labeled “mom jeans”.  So, what are the current “mom jeans”, or possibly more important, what aren’t? If my only non-mom jean options are low rise or skinny, I’m screwed.

— 6 —

At least 95% of my posts are typed one handed with either a wiggly or sleeping Beckett on my lap. Sometimes this results in typos or poorly phrased sentences. The me who needs to do something semi-creative even if it isn’t perfect and the former grammar police editor me are constantly at odds over this current fact of life.

— 7 —

I still need to make Beckett’s Halloween costume. I think I have decided on the Stay-Puft marshmallow man. I don’t think he’ll hate me too much. I suppose if I don’t get his costume worked out, I could just dress him in normal baby clothes and say he is Stormageddon. Either way.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!
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MIA Lately

Today is supposed to be a Friday Five post, but honestly, it’s been a rough couple of weeks and I’m at a loss for what to share. First, we learned of my brother in law Patrick’s unexpected passing at the end of October. (There’s a gofundme set up for his family here.) A few days after, my Uncle John passed away, followed a few days later by my Uncle Vince. 

Uncle John
My cousin and her dad, my Uncle John, taken a few years ago.
Uncle Vince
Dad, Mom and Uncle Vince, circa mid-1990s.

My uncles were a big part of my life growing up, and they will be greatly missed. While trying to write a few things to be read at their funerals, one of the hardest parts was choosing what to write. I have so many happy, and silly memories of them.

Today, I think, will be spent in my craft room happy place, creating and remembering.