Saturday, July 26, 2008

Such a Big Boy, sniff,sniff...

Two firsts here yesterday.
I took the kids to tot time at Mercer and as I was walking over to talk to Nora, I noticed this boy riding a big wheel pretty fast right towards me, then I realized it was my son, Lars. I almost started crying. He was so proud of himself that he rode that bike for 20 minutes solid. He practiced turning and going fast and stopping. His feet- without shoes- finally reached and coordinated so he could pedal it all over the gym. Even Ella knew what a big deal it was. She looked at me with a huge smile and open mouth of awe look.

Then in the afternoon, I bit the bullet and took down his crib. I put his mattress on the floor for a transition bed with Ella's rug underneath it. he was so happy to see his new room. Ella and Lars played in there for a couple of hours- pretending it was bedtime and tucking each other in. The real test was bedtime. He understood exactly how it worked and I stayed in much of the night just on the other side of the room to help him to understand he needs to stay in the bed and go to sleep. I did discover how much he likes to play with his animals at bedtime and sing to them and talk to them before he goes to sleep. I wonder what kind of imagination he will have.

This is 2 pretty big milestones in the same day. I can handle it but I am pretty sure that this growing up thing will amaze me every step of the way. When is it appropriate to cry? It's tears of joy , right?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Farmers' Market Fun

This summer one of our regular routines is Farmer's Market. I think it has become something much more social than the actual purchasing of food. I am not alone here on the rise in prices but I do not know when tomatoes increase to $1 a piece? This is crazy! I can get good deals on things like squash, kolharabi, beans, cucumbers- otherwise known as things no one else wants. This is why I have only things I want in my garden and things that I know are too costly at FM.

So, let me talk about the social scene. I think this is such a great happy family friendly atmosphere. There are mommies and daddies everywhere. It is not huge. Let's face it- the market is in a parking ramp. I still think this is weird and kinda confining, but it is nice, cool and shaded for the vendors. On Wednesdays, it is a mini preschool reunion. Ella will likely run into Mia, Elena, Alice, Sebastian, Hailey and Rebecca. Lars is enamored with Sebastian and chases him and his brother Diego all around. The kids climb trees, run and play. Favorite are egg rolls and snow cones. I recommend the peach and orange mix- kinda like a slushy fuzzy navel (without the kick). The fun for me is while my kids are free to run around, I can chat with Nora, Sonya, Jeff, Ellen or any other parents or friends who happen to stop by. It is a bit of a relaxing moment for me (until Lars decides to run away for more snow cone!) but it is so much fun to see our kids play and enjoy being with their friends in the lazy heat filled days and nights of Farmer's Market. Oh, I forgot to mention there is music for the kids to dance to as well. It is often some one kinda folksy and fun and the kids seem to enjoy it so much!

I will need to take the kids to Dubuque's FM, in terms of produts and prices, as I think it is the best FM I have been to. But it does not have the scene our does!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Do y'all know who Mr. Shucks is? He is the mascot for the Cedar Rapids Kernels. He is supposed to be a baseball headed creature with shucks of corn surrounding his head. To further add to the effect he in full costume in real life is about 6 plus feet tall. This is usually horrifying for kids but for some reason my kids are entranced with him and finally want to get to give him high fives and such.

Now I may be biased since I come from a heavy baseball home, but we think the Kernels is great cheap fun for your family. It is a great stadium and it is safe and kid friendly. I would recommend checking them out every summer!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Making A Mermaid Pinata

First wrap up you oatmeal container with background colored paper.

Then take your 2 mirror image pictures of mermaid and you draw in the face and body. Using tissue you create fringes in different colors for the scales and do fringes for the hair. Ella happily helped apply the glue and I applied the fringes in layers over the mermaids' tails and their wavy hair. I think it helped to lay them out before the glue was applied and cut or tear them to size before application. You can leave a little hang over then trim it later.

Mermaid twins!
Attach then around the pinata and fill with candy. Hang yarn through the top part to hang it from a tree. I did find that I needed to perforate the bottom of the container, as it was young children trying to break it open.

I hope you enjoyed my tutorial in making your own pinata! This should be able to work with any idea you can think of! Why buy store bought when you can make your own with stuff from your home!

Bias Bargain!

Yes that actually says 15 cents!

This was the lot I received at Stuff in Cedar Rapids for less than two dollars! I can't wait to get some fabric and make a few more wrap dresses.

And these read only 39 cents. I wish bias was still this cheap.

I am waiting a bias tape maker I ordered from Home Ec. I can't wait to make my own bias with this tool. Yes- I can make it now- but it is so much easier with this maker!!

Swimming Fun

Have I blogged about how much I love Ella's swimsuit? Well, I do.
I think a fun swimsuit every year is a good investment since she has worn it so much.
I get compliments on it all the time. Plus it is so much fun!

We went swimming at the Elks on the 5th of July with Grandpa and the kids had so much fun! It really is such a great pool. I think we are fortunate in Iowa City to have access to so many great pools. I would rank them like this;
1. Elks Club- small and never crowded. Y
Nice zero entry area for small kids. Lots of seating too! ou can eat and hubbies can golf while kids play. I do not have to worry about wierdos here or crazy kids running around. Kids always share toys and mommies and daddies are friendly. Ella and Lars always make friends.
2. North Liberty- huge huge shallow end. They also have indoor and outdoor- both with zero entry. A fun slide for preschool age. Great for swimming lessons too! Rarely crowded and they have a great covered section for the little ones and mommies too.
3. Coralville- The best for the toddler set. They have a huge splash pad that Lars can play in for hours. Also a nice shallow end and slide for preschoolers. I am not crazy with how busy they get and the amount of children that run around.
4. My biggest disappointment is City Park Pool. I love how close they are and , yes, they do have a baby pool section, which is likely from the 70's. this pool is great for swimming age children but not young kids. I can only hope they get the opportunity to re-vamp this pool and update it so my kids can walk down the hill to play at the closest pool to where we live. Let's hope!

Blueberry applesauce

I hate, hate the rosy applesauce our school serves. It is jello packets mixed in with applesauce. I don't know why regular applesauce is not good enough? Well I had some extra blueberries the other day and I now am a huge fan of blueberry applesauce. The kids loved it too. It was too easy- just throw a handful of berries in that the kids won;t eat because they are a little too squishy and mix. Yum Yum!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pop Rocks

I don't think pop rocks are meant for toddlers, at least I never had them until I was much older. Bret had to share his love of this sweet candy with Ella and Lars. I did not think they would enjoy them as much as they did. But here is the proof. Lars was having a tough moment at Nana's and Bret took him for a walk. they came back happily with suckers and pop rocks. Just another good reason they have a daddy because mommy would never have gotten pop rocks!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Fourth of July 2008

Turtle Love

Look close- the orange design is a turtle shell! He has a yellow head, tail and legs poking out.
I did not realize how abstract this fabric looks from a distance!

It seems as if I cannot get enough projects this summer. I saw this turtle fabric by Michael Alexander and it reminded me of my room growing up. I wish I had a picture. It had green walls, with curtains with matching green flowers with orange blooms. I remember decals ont he walls of a pink hippo and monkeys (all pink and orange of course). This may explain my love of orange with green and pink. Well, this fabric became my second dress for Ella this summer. She picked the pink flower button below. I created the pattern base off of a shirt she had- I just made it longer and slightly larger.

I had intended to use more bias tape to finish it off, but one I had the top and the bottom together, I wanted something to bring it all together. I went to the fabric store with the intention of getting an orange or yellow fabric, but then the turquoise polka dots spoke to me. Often to not match- can be the cutest design of all. But I think somehow it all still goes. I love when accidents happen and turn out better than you imagined. I did experiment with the "hidden hem stitch". I did not do a very good job and will need to re-do this, but I think it is a useful stitch to use for dresses. I think the trick is in the ironing. Have I mentioned how much I love my new pink iron? It is a completely satisfying endeavor to iron a finished seam and then topstich it. It still amazes me how I can sew something that looks so cute!

Onesie Fun

I have all these beautiful scraps. What to do, what to do? I definitely need to make some cute little doll clothes for Miss Ella. But for now I made some cute baby onesies and practiced my satin stich or applique. It is not 100% perfect but I think they improved as I went. The pink set is a gift for McKenzie- the snuggliest baby I have held since Ella. The second is for practice, fun and Hazel got one too.

Jess gave me a huge bag of scrap fabrics from her collection that are from the 70's. Most are cut into 3X3 squares- so I see some doll quilts coming my way. I sorted them by color and design. There are some cool ones I will need to post on here. I just love fabric! Especially when it is free or re-purposed. Using old to make into new is one of my reasons for sewing so much lately. Rather than buying new, I would much rather create something. It is so much more fun and personal this way. Now to find the time...

Happy Fourth of July

Fireworks in Iowa City are usually a disappointment. But this year is the exception. I am not sure if the Jaycees were making up for the flood problems this year. Perhaps it was the combination of the Jazz Festival and the fireworks both being downtown at the Old Capitol for breathtaking views. Perhaps it was the friends. I am not sure but it was a fun day and the fireworks were great. They seemed to be longer than ever and they had new ones I have never seen! It was a little on the loud side but we were inside the quad where we could not see everything but it was definitely quieter for the kids.

Sewing Hero

In between my own sewing projects I have been getting sidetracked (is it just me?) but other much cuter projects. I found a darling example of a wrap dress on Tiny Happy. So I decided I would create and sew this for Ella. How hard could it be? Aren't wrap dresses forgiving?

This is the final product and I am really in love with it. I created the pattern, slightly modified from the one that Tiny Happy suggested. Then I did not want to use really expensive material for my "rough draft", so I had leftover curtain material and leftover bias tape. It was quilting bias, so I did cut it in half and refold it so it was smaller. The bias was a bit of a pain. I thought it was coming up too much on the edges so I added a second stitch. Next time, I think one stitch close to the edge will do. I also was shown at Home Ec. to sew it down on the inside (one side of bias at first ten to fold it over for the top stitch. I can't wait to try this on the next one. It sounds like it will take longer and be a bit of work but I think I will be happy with the final effect. It really is the only work that is in the dress. For about 1 yard of fabric, I think this is a very cute dress. I also love how it will grow with my daughter too. I think all clothes should be adjustable.

She wore this dress to farmer's market the other night. I was all smiles when she kept going up to her friends and telling then, "Don't you love my beautiful dress? My mommy made it." Enough to bring tears to me eyes. It may be a dream she will appreciate my work forever. Hopefully someday she will. For now, however I am her sewing hero!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bobblehead Children

So Bret sent this important email to me today and this was the result. I worry he may be working too hard. HA. The kids loved them and were able to play with the mousepad and get the heads to move. You may have done something similar at Christmas called "Elf Me" this is from xmbaseball. You may choose any team you wish but if you happen to like the Cards we are so sorry! Nana called and she thought Ella was one of the cutest Cubbies she had ever seen and I have to agree!