Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Between us, Santa, Grandparents, aunts, and uncles, my kids get so much for Christmas. So much that they don't even remember what all they get; and its overwhelming for Derek and I to find a place for it all. This year we decided to bring it down a notch. We gave the kids each one toy and then the usual underwear and sweater and then we bought a pretty cool family gift - a trip to Wilderness at the Smokies - an indoor water park in Pigeon Forge, TN. We left the day after Christmas and had such a fun time!

Our redheaded daughter got a disposable camera for her birthday thanks to her cool aunt. She was very particular in what she took pictures of and was pretty good at posing us. This picture is one she took first with her camera; then Derek had her take one with our camera.

We also got to see all the awesome Christmas lights in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. This, depicting the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima, was our favorite one at Patriot Park in Pigeon Forge.

They had a kid section that was basically a playground with water shooting everywhere. There was a huge bucket at the top and about every ten minutes or so it would dump out the water on the people below. A little bell would ding to let you know it was coming and when that happened, most of the kids would run to get in the dump zone. All except my girls - they hated it and would run for cover when they heard the bell. John, on the other hand, LOVED it - you can see him here; he's the only kid facing me so I could get a picture of him.

There was also a body board and surfer wave. This line moved soooo sloooow since that had to explain the proper way to enter the wave to every person every time. Nate, however, thought the wait was worth it and rode it a couple of times.

I read on their website that this thing has 19,000 gallons of water per minute shooting up at you. Some men tried to surf; but I only saw a lifeguard demonstrate it successfully, and it was pretty cool.

All six of the kids favorite thing by far was the wave pool and the most stressful for me. Those waves were pretty brutal and Anna insisted on sitting on the edge of the tubes; which, of course, she would get tipped over. Thankfully, no one drowned while we were there; although Anna came close.

Another favorite was the indoor/outdoor hot tub. It was nice to crawl in when you got a little chilly. See the plastic door thing in the picture below? That leads to outside. I've always seen pictures of hot tubs at ski resorts with snow all around and people sitting in their bathing suits; and always that it was cool. Now I can say I've done it! It was amazing how hot you really are even though it was in the low 30s outside.

Here's a pic of the family outside. I was freezing outside with my pants and sweater on while they were nice and toasty.

Here's a pic to show you how the water slides are situated. You entered the slide from inside the building and then you ended back up inside the building. That orange and white slide is the Storm Chaser. Let me tell you, that thing scared the hoo hoo out of me. Derek and two of the boys rode it and they wanted me to ride it, too. I figured, if my eight year old can handle, so can I. Behind me in the line, this crazy kid kept telling his dad how fast the ride was and there was a hill that was so steep that you fly up out of your float. Then when we got up to the ride; it had thunder noises and lightning flashes (remember it's called the Storm Chaser) and by that time I really had myself worked up. I screamed the entire time - not fun squeals - but horrified I'm about to die screams. In the end, it wasn't bad at all and I think it might have been fun. I will tell you this, though, I was crazy sore the next day from holding on for my life.

It was a great trip and the kids loved it. They want to go back in the summer because there are more slides and a lazy river outside. Anna wants to wait until she is two inches taller so she can ride the slides.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Birthday girl

My oldest daughter turned five over the weekend. We spent the day at home enjoying each other's company. Check out that huge slice of cake her Daddy cut for her.

Then we put the tree up and it mostly decorated. I need to redo some things because the littlest one seemed to put four ornaments on one branch; so it's a tad bottom heavy right now.

I have another smaller tree in the den that I'm going to let the kids decorate with ornaments that they have made and received over the years. The boys even brought it down from the attic and set it up all by themselves. I'm loving them getting older to do the bigger jobs around the house. The past couple of months, the older three fight over who gets to use the leaf blower. How long do you think that will last?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lessons Learned

1. No matter how many times I've used a pattern; I always need to reread the directions. First, I forgot that seam allowances are not included on this pattern; and I forgot to add them. The skirt is a tad snug around Red, but seems to fit Ann decent enough. Second, I forgot that you only cut out on the right side of the fabric. So half off my spirals were turned the wrong way and couldn't be used. Luckily I had bought two yards of this fabric and had just enough.

2. I finally used the 4-thread overlock on my serger. I've had the thing for almost ten years and can't believe I haven't taken advantage of it earlier. Of course it took me almost an hour to thread the stupid machine just right; but it was worth it.

3. My girls are pink and purple type girls. I don't think they've ever picked out or wanted to wear green. This just proves that you can add yards and yards of ruffles to any color or pattern of material for any girl to fall in love with what you've made.

Pattern is my all time favorite skirt to make and both my girls favorite skirt to wear - the Redondo that I got from Banberry Place. As you can see, this is the one of the best twirling skirts around.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

New skirts + birthday

I made these precious skirts Friday using ModKid's Emma pattern. This was such a fun pattern and very easy to make. The hardest thing to do was figure out my tension settings on my serger.

I made the pink and white one the way the pattern stated. The black and white one I did just a little different in the way I layed out the petal pieces. I put all the white petals in the background with the black on top and I think I like the effect better.

Today is my baby's 4th birthday. Last night we got dolled up and just her and I went out for the night. She wanted to go to the mall and shop and see Santa. She also got to pick out her own present - which ended up being the Three Muskateers Barbie.

Today Derek stayed home from church since most of the kids are a tad sickly this weekend. I was planning on buying a cake on the way home from the grocery; but when I called he let me know that he had lunch made and a cake from scratch. What a man!

We had a good laugh at the "swampy" looking decoration, but Anne didn't care. He even colored the cake part pink like she wanted.

It's been such a fun day full of Barbie playing and My Little Pony. And .... I have TWO four year olds for a week. Red's birthday is next week.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Corie from Banberry Place is having the greatest giveaways over on her blog.

Some of you might remember the Redondo skirts I've made. If you don't, you can see one here and both my daughter's absolute favorite skirt here.

I've made a couple of the Anna wrap dresses and am about to make a couple more this week. Here and here are a few examples.

These two are probably my favorite patterns to use because of the easiness but mostly they are so darn cute. The reason of my raving over these patterns is to tell you I got them from Banberry Place. It's a great store with great customer service and one of the few that carries Farbenmix patterns. They also always seem to have a sale going on - like 20% off their Japanese fabric going on now - so go on. Click away to Banberry Place and the blog Stunt Sewing to see the AMAZING giveaways she is, well, giving away.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Um ..... a bad idea

So maybe those rag curls were not such a good idea after all. These were the kinkiest, curliest curls I've seen. I tried so hard not to laugh as we were undoing them; but when my 6 year old told her she looked like a clown I couldn't help it.

As you can see she wasn't so happy with her do.

I decided it might help to put it up. So we gave her a "princess up do" and she was quite pleased. Even when I offered to wet it, she declined.

My 6 year old then thought that she looked like a Trojan. You know the Trojan warrior with their mohawk type feathers in their helmets. Again, I had to laugh; but it didn't matter to Red.

She has now decided that she wants me to curl her hair every night. I have decided that I will not roll them as tight and I will definitely take bigger chunks of hair. We'll see how it works tomorrow.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

My try at hair

Nate was in big need of a haircut... Derek was very tired of his mop hair. My opinion is, who cares? With his genes, the poor boy might not even have much hair in 15 years; so why not let it hang over his ears? So Derek decides to cut his hair tonight. I wish I would've taken a picture of it before I fixed it. It was sort of a Barney Fife bowl cut and not very flattering.

Guess what! I couldn't find a single comb in my house. So I used a round brush and scissors. You can imagine how uneven it is. But from afar, it looks pretty darn good, don't you think? I haven't seen a clean cut on this boy in over a year, and I must say .... I LOVE it.

I also decided on a whim to try rag curls on Red. In retrospect, I probably should have looked up how to do this. I'm not sure how this will look in the morning; I'll let you know.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fairy Tale Ball

The entire 2nd grade has been doing a Language Arts unit on Fairy Tales. Tomorrow will be the annual Fairy Tale Ball in which all the 2nd grade students dress as a character from a fairy tale. Chuck decided on Peter Pan. This was such an easy outfit to make and cost $10 to make. I bought a plain t-shirt from Hobby Lobby and cut the bottom and sleeves; then a slit in the top and used some leather cord to tie it up. The bottoms were a brown jersey knit and I used my pajama pants pattern that I'm wearing out. I've never sewn a knit before and have always wanted to. For some reason it scared me. It wasn't bad, although it did roll up as I was trying to sew. I will definitely be using it more, though.

Oh - and the hat. The hat is borrowed from a friend who had a Peter Pan costume. The costume was too small for Chuck; but we were still able to use the hat and the felt boots that fit over your shoes.

About the ball. There will be games, refreshments, pictures, and DANCING! The students even had to pair off and learn a few dances for the event. Chuck learned the box step, waltz, and swing and the lucky girl is Madison. I don't know her, but Chuck showed me his moves so I know she'll be impressed.

Isn't he the cutest? He has yet another tooth loose up top that should be coming out any day now - I don't know how the boy is going to eat.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Happy Halloween, ghouls and goblins! True to myself, I didn't plan and we didn't have any costumes this morning. It all worked out in the end and the kids looked great and had a fun night of knocking on doors. Some friends came over and the Daddy's took all ten kids trick or treating while Nicole and I stayed home to pass out the candy.

Chuck decided to go as a pirate. I had a vest from back in my high school days bought from a craft fair. It's made out of ties and so cool that I've never been able to part with it; even though it hasn't fit in quite a while. I pulled that out along with a lacy white shirt of mine. Complete with some stash fabric wrapped around the head and voila, he was a pirate.

Matt wanted to go as the Grim Reaper. This one was pretty easy. At Target this afternoon, they had black jersey knit twin sheet sets on clearance for $13. He wrapped the top sheet around his body and secured it with a few safety pins and then we put the pillowcase over his head. I didn't cut into any of it; so not only did it make a cool outfit, we also have cheap, new sheet set. For his scythe, we used a mop stick and the top of an old Rubbermaid container for the blade. We just happened to have some copper colored spray paint lying around to give the blade a metallic look.

The girls had some Gothic looking princess dresses from last year that still fit them. On the trip to Target they found two $1.39 witch hats; so they decided to be witch princesses this year.

Johnny went as a mummy. I had an old queen size that I had been saving for a rainy day (like today). I tore it in strips and soaked it in tea to give it a browned, aged look. The poor thing started coming unraveled, though, soon into the trick or treating. Derek said that one of the other kids would step on his rags and J would stop and get pulled backwards.

I think my favorite was Nate. He wanted to go as a nerd. He wore some of Chuck's pants and shirt that were way too small for him. We slicked his hair down and I stuck some up in the back Alfalfa style. The greatest thing of all was some zit makeup I found at Target. They really looked disgusting.

Monday, October 26, 2009

*yawn* ~ more pajamas

Are you tired of seeing the pajamas I've been making? Well, there's still three more pair to show after this; so get used to it.

Here is Matt's pair with the flannel that, I think, screams pleasant dreams. He's been after me to make these since February; so he was so happy when I finished them last night around 9:30.

It is so hard to get a good picture of this boy because he's always making silly faces. Here is Matt with the girl version of himself .... don't they look just alike?