Lottie vs. Her Parents @ Bedtime

I have an update for those of you following the saga of Lottie vs. Her Parents @ Bedtime.
So about the time Alton went back to school Charlotte decided that she would not go to sleep by herself. We tried several things, but the only thing that worked was one of her parents laying down either with her on our bed, or sitting in her room with her until she was SOUND asleep. You can imagine that this was wearying and counter productive to her parents accomplishing ANYTHING after bedtime. Laundry languished in laundry baskets… Daddy and Alton had to basket dive for clean underwear… and forget about anything bring ironed.

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One of the things we tried was converting her crib to a toddler bed. The idea being that maybe she was tired of feeling so enclosed while she slept. So I begrudgingly removed the front of the crib that both of my babies slept in and let her sleep like a big girl.

That helped one night, and then she was back to the terrified screaming if we left her alone.

We have hard wood floors in most of the house. So sitting on the floor next to the toddler bed conversion was uncomfortable. And the chair in her room was not designed for a parent of any size above 50 pounds. So I thought, “We should just convert her crib to a full and then we will have room to lay next to her.” (We tried having her sleep on the bottom twin bunk bed in the room with her brother, but it was still taking her a LONG time to fall asleep, and one night she kept her big brother up to midnight. On a school night. So we were back to square one.)

We tried letting her fall asleep on our bed, and then moving her, but she would often wake up during the relocation process, and we would have to start the putting her to sleep process all over again. So for a while, we were letting her sleep with us all night.

Lottie and her toddler bed

Her last day on the toddler bed. Sunday, October 12, 2014

Have you ever had someone pick your nose for you while you were sound asleep? I hadn’t until recently. This is not a practice I recommend or ever want to get used to. So we started making her go to sleep in her room again. Because besides the nose picking, kidney kicking, and inability to accomplish anything our room at night, Lottie started to act like our bedroom was her bedroom and when you would tell her it was nap or bed time, she would grab her monkey lovey and head for our bed. Her proprietary stance was cute, but worrisome.

I began shopping for full sized mattress sets and the prices were well outside what I wanted to spend. So we languished; on either the unforgiving wood floor, or the equally unforgiving but extremely fashionable toddler leather chair.

Then one day on one of my mama message boards, a very kind mama was giving away a queen sized bed. I took it. The story of the relocating of that is a mini-epic. Another blog post perhaps?

We got the mattress and box spring back to our house, but we needed to procure a bed frame. Thankfully that only took two days and then we were set.

Finally we got the bed assembled in her room. I got a SUPER cute quilt and sham set at Home Goods, and sheets from Bed, Bath and Beyond. I did not cry while taking the toddler bed apart, but that was a very close call.

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These two wasted no time playing on the new bed, and trying it out.

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Clearly ready for her nap on her big girl bed.

Well, we are now three nights in on the big girl bed, she is so utterly in love with it, that we don’t even have to lay down with her anymore. We just pray for her, hug and kiss her goodnight, and she is going to sleep BY HERSELF!!!

I can fold laundry at night again!
There is NO ONE kicking me in the ribs while I am trying to sleep, and not once has someone stuck their finger up my nose while I was sleeping in the last three days.

Hallelujah!

New In the Shop: Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread

Bread Gluten Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip detail full web

 

Made with loads of sugar pumpkin and a blend of five spices that define the scents of fall, this quick bread will not last the time it takes to order it. My four year old asked if it was made with awesome because it was so good. Not to pat myself on the back, but I think it’s pretty good too.

We understand that not everyone can have gluten, whether dictated by dietary needs or a life style choice. Gluten-free doesn’t have to mean tough or dry. I think I have created a recipe that makes a moist and flavorful gluten-free pumpkin bread that you and your family will enjoy. The first time my husband ate a piece he asked, “I thought you said this was gluten-free?” It was. It was just that good.

Each loaf of Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread is $18 a loaf for regular or $20 a loaf for Chocolate Chip. You can order it in my Etsy Shop, or contact me directly if you are local.

 

Hybrid Laser Tag Birthday Invitations

So Alton FINALLY decided on having a laser tag birthday party. I say finally, because he changed his mind about where he wanted to have his birthday party about 5 times. Including the day before the actual party. Sorry dude, the invites went out already.

I have SO been enjoying my Silhouette Cameo Cutter and Starter Kit Bundle. The project possibilities are just endless. I made his birthday party invites with only a tiny bit of printer ink, some thread and of course shapes cut out with my Cameo.

GLCT Laser Tag Invite

GLCT Laser Tag Inviteback

 

The invites came out fantastically if I do say so myself. His friends were extremely impressed with the threaded “laser” on the front of the invite. I just used a needle and thread after I glued the Paper pieces to the front of the card. Then I glued the back over it and that hid the thread knots. :)

(By the way, Wendy recommended this glue: Beacon 3-In-1 Advanced Craft Glue, 4-Ounce and it is hands down, the best crafting glue I have ever used. I use it on ALL of my hybrid projects now.)

I got the gun shape here:

Ready, Aim, Fire! Felties by Chelle's Creations

 

It was so easy to load into the Silhouette Software, and then used Wendy’s instructions for Printing and Cutting digital scrapbooking layout elements with your Cameo. The rest of the shapes came from the Silhouette Online store.

I also used my Silhouette to fancy up his birthday cupcakes!

Alton Birthday 2

Alton Birthday

I would definitely say that he (And all of his friends) enjoyed them!

Gender Reveal Cake!

So my friend Jessie is having a baby! Her second baby in fact. She knows I like to bake, so she asked me to make her a gender reveal cake. I was a bit nervous, because I don’t pipe, but I do make a mean chocolate ganache and chocolate buttercream. She gave me carte blanche to decide how to decorate it, so here’s what I did:
reveal cake outside



I made a chocolate mocha cake for the top and bottom layers. The center was a mixed berry cake with mixed berry Jell-o added for color. (I would just like to say, I don’t think I will do that again. It gives it a fake berry taste that I am not a fan of.

Then I made a chocolate ganache filling between the layers.

Gender cake inside

I finished it with a medium chocolate butter cream and smoothed it on, and then piped a smooth border. (Note to self, I NEED to sign up for piping lessons.)

For the decorations, I had a lot of fun with my Silhouette Cameo Cutter and Starter Kit Bundle. I used several different shapes including Dress Up Clothes, Baby Boy Onesie Card, and a couple of general shapes. For the word art center piece, I made that up in Photoshop, and then imported it to the Cameo, and had it cut out in a circle. Can I just say for a moment, that I am madly in love with my Cameo and I am so glad it has came into my life?

I am not a professional cake decorator, but I had fun making this one, and I am so touched that she thought of me to be a part of her very special family memory. Congrats Jessie! I hope little boy number is just as big a blessing as your first son. :)

mysiggie-1

If You Bake Cakes You NEED These!

So a few weeks ago, I happened upon Wilton Small Bake Even Strips, Set of 2
whilst I was roaming the Amazon Universe. I was intrigued and asked my Facebook friends about them. The reviews were mixed, so I added them to my Amazon wish list and promptly forgot about them.

A couple of days ago, a friend asked me to make her a gender reveal cake. (Pictures of that later.) I decided that I wanted to give the Bake Even strips a try.

Oh. My. Word. I have NEVER EVER had a cake come out of the oven that perfectly even before. They are PERFECT. I don’t need to trim them at all.

Gender cake inside

They are only $10 for the small ones, and if you have Prime (and you should), shipping will be free.

Mother’s Day Is Almost Here!

Flyer Mothers Day 2014

 

I don’t ship cupcakes, but they are available for local pick-up.

If you are local, you can contact me through my Facebook page, or here from my blog shop.

If you are not local, or just need an item shipped, you can order from my Etsy store.

Thank you so much for supporting my small business!

How to Shred Chicken Perfectly and FAST!

Wanna hear a secret? My friend Karen tipped me off to the best trick EVER for shredding chicken for chili and other yummy things.

The Stand Mixer with the paddle attachment will shred 2-6 boneless breasts beautifully.

Shred Chicken


Just throw your cooked breasts in your stand mixer bowl, put the paddle attachment on, and turn it up to 3 or 4. Then watch the magic happen.

I will NEVER again shred chicken by hand. This does it so fast, and perfectly! I have done with just two and as many as six. It comes out better than if I had done it by hand.

Chicken and Black Bean Chili

Chili Chicken and Black Bean



Ingredients
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, thawed
2 cans black beans
1 can tomato sauce (14 oz)
2 cups chicken stock
1 medium onion diced
1 green bell pepper diced
1 orange bell pepper diced
1 T olive oil
1 T chili powder
2 t cumin
salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste

Directions
Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. When the olive oil is hot, add the chicken breasts, and turn them once after the breasts have browned nicely. While the chicken is browning, chop the vegetables. Add them to the pan where the chicken is browning and cook for a couple of minutes until the onions are translucent.
Then transfer the chicken and veggies to your crock pot.
Drain and rinse the black beans, add them to the crock pot with the chicken stock, tomato sauce, chili powder, and cumin. Heat on low for 8 hours.
When you are ready to serve, take the chicken out, shred it, and then add it back to the pot.

Serve with Corn bread or tortilla chips. Top with cheese, sour cream, or cheese and sour cream. ;)

Enjoy!

Using Patterned Papers With Your Layouts

So if you have spent any time at all looking at my scrapbooking pages, you will notice that I LOVE using patterned background pages. I started doing so in earnest after reading a blog post about it. (That designer/scrapper no longer has a design blog otherwise I would link it.) It’s to the point now where I don’t think I physically COULD just use a solid colored background paper. One time when I wanted a second opinion on a layout I was working on, I asked Cheryl (aka GoneWithTheWind) how to improve the persnickety layout I was working on, and she suggested using a solid background paper. Now, I had a lot caffeine that day, so the heart palpitation I had at that moment may well have been a coincidence, but I don’t think so.

I LOVE patterns.

So today I am going to walk you through using a patterned background and even MIXING patterns. I know this causes hear palpitations in some scrappers, but seriously, if you follow the rules, you will be fine.

You may be asking yourself, “Wait a minute, hold the phone, there are rules?”

My husband adores me more than some people find plausible. But when he asks me why we have to do something a certain way and I mutter, “It’s in the rules,” he just sighs and does what I ask him. Yes, there are rules. Some of them are unspoken, some of them are standard visual layout rules, and some of them I am seriously just making up on the fly from the seat of my pants.

1. Patterns, papers, and heck even font types like to hang out in odd numbers. Choose, 1,3,5, or 7 papers to work with. For whatever reason, this REALLY helps things to be more visually pleasing. I don’t know why it does, but this is seriously in the rules. (The real ones, not just the ones I am making up on the fly.)

2. Mix your papers up as you please, but you need a visual break between your patterned paper and your photo to draw your eye to the photo.

Bug Town by the Scrap Orchard Designers and Number Templates by Scrapping with Liz

Bug Town by the Scrap Orchard Designers and Number Templates by Scrapping with Liz

Amber Shaw’s Call Me Sweetheart and Fuss Free: Shake It 5 by Fiddle Dee Dee

Notice that even though Alton’s First Birthday layout uses 5 (odd number 5!) different papers, it doesn’t look too busy? It’s because the star burst paper on the edges draws your eye in to the adorable photos. The photos which I used a white stroke on to break up the patterned paper and the photos. Same thing on Lottie’s 52 Weeks layout. The white Polaroid frames set the pictures off nicely.

3. Be aware of the scale or the patterns you are mixing. Sometimes big and little patterns can play nicely together. Sometimes they don’t.

Sweet Ride by Down This Road Designs and Folded Templates by Scrapping with Liz

Sweet Ride by Down This Road Designs and Folded Templates by Scrapping with Liz

See how the polka dot and the stripes are about the same size-ishness, and the arrow circles and the diamond papers are about the same? They all kinda go, and the shapes compliment each other nicely. (And for those of you counting right now, my 5th paper is the turned corner teal on the right there. ;) )

4. When in doubt of what to mix with what, go with the classics. They are classic for a reason.

If you are unsure what patterns play well, here is a list of my suggested pairings:
Florals with stripes
Plaids with polka dots
Chevrons with polka dots
Damasks with stripes or diamonds

These would be some of those unspoken rules I was talking about earlier. I am not sure if they were written down anywhere before, but now they are here. :)

The bottom line is, don’t forget to have fun. These are YOUR MEMORIES. And if mixing an argyle paper with chevrons makes you happy, DO IT! Just make sure you scrap often and journal well, because someday, your grandkids will look at your scrapbooks, and they won’t care what background paper you used, they just want to see pictures of their mommy or daddy wearing naught but a bunch of birthday cake and their birthday suit. Go forth and scrap!

If you found any of this humorous or even helpful, leave a comment. I LOVE comments!mysiggie-1

Rain-aggedon 2014

So we live in Southern California, and we are in the midst of yet another drought. Today however it is raining. Well, sprinkling with purpose really, but as far as we poor Southern Californians are concerned, it’s raining. I love days like today. They are perfect for making bread and homemade soup. So that’s what I am doing today. I am making my honey oatmeal wheat bread and I am making a variation of my friend Diane’s chicken vegetable soup. The last time I was at Trader Joe’s, they had parsnips available in the root section, so I snagged those and I added them to the soup. I have never in my life knowingly eaten or prepared a parsnip, but my preliminary judgement is that it seems to be a slightly porous white carrot. When I peeled and chopped it, it smelled just like a carrot, but instead of sinking to the bottom of my stock pot with the potatoes and carrots, the parsnip chunks are bobbing on top.

Lottie is on day four of what we think is a case of Roseola. We thought her fever broke, so we ran to Panera and Starbucks for a birthday treat this morning. But she then proceeded to take a 4 1/2 hour nap.

Well I think I will go snuggle my cuddle muffin and then go chop some chicken for my soup….

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