Thursday, May 31, 2012

Homespun Yarn.

Have you ever tried working with homespun yarn? Because I have. And it's a PAIN for me. It keeps unraveling and fraying and..ugh. Maddening, really.

I bought some Lion Brand Homespun Yarn in Lagoon with the intentions of having it become the start of a blanket. That ended QUICK when I started using it, so then it stayed in my craft room.

And stayed.

And stayed.

And stayed.

I haven't touched it since January.

Until today.

I figured I needed to get some destashing out so I'd have an excuse for more yarn.

And the yarn was/is SO soft. It'd be a shame not to make something of it.

So I made this.

It's a baby cocoon/baby basket/babypod/a lot of names. It's a photography prop for newborns. They go into it like they're still in utero, but some are still small enough to be able to stretch. I wanted to make sure I used something soft when making it, and I didn't have any wool. The pattern called for that homespun yarn so I figured, "Why not? If it doesn't work out, I frog it and it goes back in the craft room."

It worked. By some miracle, it worked. I'm SUPER happy with the results and the way the yarn feels. SO happy, infact, that I want more of this yarn.


I know, I know, I'm /facepalm-ing it up enough for myself right now. But I want more in different colors. It's just SO soft. And SO pretty. And SO...GAH I WANT MORE.

Someone shoot me.

OH. Pattern for the cocoon can be found here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

5 Years. Wow.

5 years. Wow. They went by FAST.

This is how I remember him.

The little boychild that made houses out of cardboard boxes with my Riah.
The little boychild that won my heart over reading stories of mermaids and dolphins.

The little boychild that was once allowed to play in Riah's bed. Yeah, don't know if that'll ever be able to happen again without having to kick Kristy's ass.

The little boychild who is destined to be a rockstar.

The little boychild with such captivating, bold, blue eyes.

The little boychild that loved food. I seem to remember that during one late night Wal-Mart trip with his mommy and me, we passed by a Burger King and he very excitedly exclaimed "YAY!"

This little boychild is 5 years old today. 5. FIVE. And you know what?
He isn't the only thing that has gotten any bigger in those 5 years. The love I have for him in my heart has grown as well.

Happy birthday, Legoman Flowerpants. You may be getting bigger, but you'll always be the little boychild that stole my sweet potatoes.

Aunt Rachel loves you very, VERY much.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

SAHM Hustler.

I love making myself sound "gangsta".
Mostly because when I do it, all I can picture is the Korean mom from The Hot Chick that's just trying to meet them "hafwai". I don't have the thick Korean accent, but my mom does. That movie is just so awesome. I have a deep love for Rob Schneider.

The other part to that is I really, REALLY wish I was still young and "cool" and "hip". Because I'm old now. I can't get away with saying things like "Erryday I'm shufflin'" and look normal. That makes me sad. I miss my youth.


Take this picture into your mind.
This family ranges from 4-6 people in a household. 2-4 of those people are children ages 5, 5, (almost) 4, and (almost) 2. There are clothes that need to be bought, food that needs to be bought, bills that need to be paid, etc. There's so much money that goes into it. SO MUCH. The husband is the only one that works. The job is one that pays, but no where near the amount that is necessary to really live. Cuts need to be made.

It's tough when you start off as a young family, in an economy that's been taking downfall after downfall, but you do your best. Not for you, for your kids.

I know a lot of people, whether young or old, are having money issues. We make a lot of compromises in things, and that includes me making things. So I'm going to give you an idea of things we do.

1. Hand-me-down clothes. We have 4 girls and one boy, so the girls get a lot of hand-me-downs. I keep the clothes in good condition. Also, I keep an eye out on Craigslist, Freecycle, and Facebook groups, as well as checking out Goodwill and The Salvation Army. Sometimes you can find some GREAT stuff for better prices. The oldest and youngest do get more new clothes than the middle kids, but the middle kids get new stuff, too. I also sell the clothes that no one else will be able to use for a few bucks here and there to get them new clothes.

2. I make our dinners. All of them. From scratch. We rarely eat out, and while that kind of sucks for the husband and myself, it works for all of us. I'm able to incorporate the kids in learning measurements and help aid their counting when they help me, and I'm also able to introduce things with nutritional value a lot easier than if we were to go out. Sometimes it's pretty tough to come up with meals that works for everyone, but we use the "you get what you get" rule in this house. It works for us.

3. Any repairs on the house that can be done ourselves, we do ourselves. We also get furniture at cheap prices and fix it up ourselves to serve fully functional. Most of the stuff in our home was bought used. We can have new stuff once the kids are older and money's better, but at the end of the day it's all material.

4. For entertainment, I use a lot of crafts for the kids or get them outside playing. We go to the park or nature conservation center. We opt for free sources of entertainment.

5. I make my coffee at home. This makes the most sense because, well, I'm the only one in the house that drinks it.

6. I take my own photos of the kids. With our income taxes, we splurged to get me a good camera while weighing the pros and cons. We found that me taking the photos vs. having a professional photographer take them would be a lot cheaper. And so far, it's worked for us. I get exactly what I want as far as the photos go, plus I get them doing the things I love seeing them do. It doesn't matter if it's a bad day, because I can wait. It's unscheduled and random. I love it.

7. "Date" nights happen at home. We have a lot of DVDs (I'm talking 300+) that came from the $5 bin at Wal-Mart. We also have Netflix instant streaming. Netflix is rather unimportant, so we could do without it, but the husband and I will stay in and watch a movie with popcorn. This cuts back on the money we'd spend at a movie theater ($20+ for ONE movie? Get outta here.) and dinner, not to mention gas in the SUV.

8. For home decor, I make everything. I wish I was kidding, but I'm really not. We don't have a lot of things right now, but it's a work in progress. Occasionally, I'll get something on clearance, but typically I do it al.

9. CLEARANCE CLEARANCE CLEARANCE. I can't stress that enough. Look for major sales on anything and everything. There's a good chance you'll find something you need. That's a GREAT place to get party supplies.

10. I make our laundry soap. Trust me, this saves a bundle. I also use an HE washer and it's safe. The only difference between regular laundry detergent and HE detergent is the amount of suds - no lie.

I'm sure there's more things that I do. I'll add them as I think of them.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Out of our element.

When it comes to beef or pork, we're pretty basic people.


Sometimes, I don't think we even know that there's other ways to prepare it. It just doesn't make sense to us. I can't really blame Kyle for it. He's a southern boy after all. But me? I'm just all over the place.

I really think I need a trip back north.

So, I've been trying to stay away from bar-b-q because..well...I don't like being outside. And with the schedule Kyle works, I'd have to be outside to do the grilling..I don't like that idea.

Well w00t for different ways to cook pork!

During the process, you'll probably step back and be all "Um, no. This is going to be disgusting."
Don't worry. It won't be.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Impromptu Birthdays.

This sounds so bad, but we were SO unprepared for Riah's birthday. We weren't expecting the girls to be here this soon, but due to some unfortunate circumstances with their father's family, they came yesterday. We got to celebrate Riah's birthday with her, and as exhausting as it was, I LOVED it.

We let her do her presents first, because I made the cuppycakes from scratch and needed time.
She got this wicked sprinkler seal that came with a beach ball. And a bubble machine. And she was full of jumps and shouts of excitement.

And then she saw her cuppycakes. And that was a whole new level of excitement.

We sang her "happy birthday", she blew out her candles, and then the kids went to town.

Kyle and I had to get into the fun.

And then the girls had a sleepover of sorts. We laid their pillow pets and blankets in the living room and popped in Tinkerbell. They loved every minute of the "sleepover" aspect, except for Gabe crashing the party.

Not too shabby for having less than 24 hours to prepare, right?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I don't love you much, do I?

I don't love you much, do I?

Just more than all the stars in the sky.

I don't love you much, do I?

I think you hung the moon, and that's alright.

See how it sparkles in my eye.

I couldn't hide it if I tried, that's right.

I don't love you much, do I?

Just more than anything else in this whole world.

This little beauty entered the world May 24th, 2007 at 9:14am, just as opinionated and outspoken as she is today.
Happy birthday, my dear baby girl. I hope your future is every bit of amazing as you deserve it to be.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ravioli? Holy Cannoli!

Oh, how I miss Chris Farley. :(


Pretty much, any cheese or pasta dish is a huge hit in this house. Not so much with Kyle if veggies are involved, or minced garlic. He doesn't like the texture of it. Lame.

I'm constantly trying to find ways to make different pasta dishes aside from spaghetti and fettuccine alfredo because, let's be honest, these can only go so far before you're so beyond sick of it that walking down the pasta aisle at the store makes you nauseous. Food that's easy and kid friendly is also a plus.

There's honestly no way to really get a glamorous photo of this. No way. I tried. But you know what? If you make it, it speaks for yourself. Gabe actually finished it ALL, without much on the floor or table. That's saying a lot.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Quickie: Our Dinner Tonight

Just bragging here. No recipe.

This was our dinner. Hellooooo bacon tacos!

A nice little spin on brinner, eh?

Still some kinks to work out, but I'll definitely be making them again.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Snap. Crackle. Pop.

This is another SUPER easy dinner, one that kids will DEFINITELY approve of. Using an old favorite cereal of mine.



Did you know there's other things you can do with them without making rice krispie treats?!

And yes, it pairs GREAT with mac 'n' cheese.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I didn't know her.

My father grew up in Washington, in a small town called Neilton. I've been there, there isn't too much.

He was raised by his mother alone. His father was killed when he was quite young.
They lived in a small blue house that my grandfather built himself.
When he was of age, he enlisted in the United States Army, which sent him to Seoul, South Korea. There, he met my mother.
At the age of 19, he wrote my grandmother, asking her permission for marriage. At that time, he wasn't old enough. If memory serves me right, he had to be 21.
My grandmother refused. My father waited and then married my mother when he could. They stayed in Korea for years after that. That is where my brother and sister were born.
They sent my grandmother photos of her grandchildren, as she was the only grandparent alive. My mother's parents, both of them, passed when she was just 13. She was the second oldest out of 6 kids. Most of the responsibility fell on her shoulders. Infact, I still have an aunt and uncle that we don't know about, because they had to be given up for adoption due to the circumstances. My mother still thinks about them a lot.
When they came back to the states, my grandmother had a wedding for my mom and dad. The explanation being "she didn't trust the Korean wedding". I'm unsure of how true this is, as I'm just being told stories.
She helped my parents get on their feet. My parents and siblings, after moving quite a bit, settled in Pennsylvania. My grandmother stayed in Washington, in the home her husband had built for them.
While in Pennsylvania, I came along somewhere. For Christmases and birthdays I received a box of gifts from my grandmother. When I learned to read and write, my grandmother exchanged handwritten letters with me, though I doubt mine made any grammatical sense and I had a hard time reading her cursive penmanship. We would occasionally call eachother, just to check in. This is the extent of our relationship. I had only seen photos of her. She might as well have been a stranger to me.
When I was..about brother and sister had moved. My brother was in the Marines. My sister had married and had her first son. My father got a job transfer and moved us to Missouri. The move was at the beginning of summer, and I knew no one. It was hard, and I enjoyed every visit from family members we had.
Somewhere during that time, my grandmother boarded a plane and visited us for two weeks. This was the first time I met her. She waited until everyone else had left before she began walking slowly off the plane.
While she was with us, we went to Branson. She bought me a deck of Elvis playing cards. One morning, at our house, she calmly walked upstairs to let us know that there was a lizard in her room and asked if one of us could please take care of it, which my dad promptly did. She helped my mom make sure she got the potato salad just right. She attempted to teach me to crochet with all the patience in the world. She was a kind woman, with a big heart, though my dad will argue that she was a very strict parent. I suppose you have to be that way, though, when raising 3 children on your own with little money to stretch.
After that, our relationship continued with phone calls, letters, and the occasional gifts. I hadn't seen her since.
Years passed. I married and had my first child, Riah. When Riah was 8 months old, I got the phone call from my sister. My grandmother wasn't doing well and my mom and dad were driving to Washington to be with her. These would be her last days.
She passed away in a hospital bed with my father by her side. She did not get to meet any of her great-grandchildren.
My (at the time) husband, daughter, and I boarded a plane and made the flight to Washington. It was winter, cold and snowy, and I had to say goodbye to a woman I only heard stories about. But nothing about it was tense or sad.
Her funeral was a joyous occasion full of laughter and some tears, but mostly stories. This is where I learned about who my grandmother was and what a pain my father was.
This is where I learned just how much like my grandmother I am.

My father, mother, sister, brother, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, (ex)husband, Riah, and I drove to the little blue house she still lived in. It was rundown greatly and needed work, but that didn't matter anymore. The land had been bought and we were cleaning the house out so it could be bulldozed down. The house was a mess, you could say. My grandmother kept everything. She had crochet projects in the works, old letters to Santa from my father, and books covering the walls of her bedroom. We found my grandfather's dogtags from when he served. We found so many things that my father thought were lost forever. She kept it all.
Among the things, we found this.

This is a teaset that was sent to her by my mother and father while they were in Korea. It's 30-40+ years old. It was boxed in the original, tattered box, wrapped in Korean newspaper. It was never taken out despite the blue color, which was my grandmother's favorite color, but she kept it all the same. It's one of the few things I have left from my grandmother's house.

I didn't know my grandmother. But I loved her.
Don't take the relationship you have with your family for granted. You don't know if that day will be the last you have.