Thursday, January 30, 2014


I (almost) finished another dress today! I still need to finish the button loops and sew on buttons, but I haven't found the right buttons yet. It's actually perfectly wearable without buttons, so I'm claiming it as a finished project. This one is the Charlie Tunic as a Dress. I've had this pattern for a while and just finally got around to making it. I love pretty much everything about this pattern. I had originally planned to make some of these for Owen (just the tunic, not the dress, obviously), but he's been refusing to wear anything but his Skylanders T-shirts, so I decided to make something for Brenna instead since she still wears things I make her. Although she didn't want to try this on since it meant taking off her "Matching" dress first. I'm sure she'll wear it once the matching dress is in the wash.
I absolutely fell in love with This fabric. I could barely refrain from ordering the whole line. My bank account didn't allow for that though. It's not only the cutest print, but it has a really nice smooth feel to it. I did buy a couple more cuts, hopefully I'll get to them this week too.
I can't wait to actually get this on Brenna!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Matching Dress

Recognize this dress? Brenna needed a dress to match her doll's dress. I'm hoping to make a matching pinafore too, but I don't think I have quite enough fabric leftover. I need to find something else to use for the lining or else I need to check Joann's and see if they have more of the same fabric. This is my first finished project for Kid's Clothes Sewing Week, but I have been sewing for an hour a day all week. Pattern tracing and cutting out all count as sewing for the challenge. I have another project that is almost finished, although I just realized that I can't finished it completely until I have buttons and I don't seem to have any I like, so I'll need to make a trip to the store.  I used one of my favorite Brenna patterns The Handmade Dress, Miss Violet. I've made this little pattern several times for Brenna with different variations each time. This time, I added long sleeves and skipped the smocking.
I don't have any pictures of Brenna in the dress yet since she's still feeling a bit out of sorts and these are the pictures I got earlier when she actually asked me to take her picture. She brought me the camera case and said "Smile" , but this was the best I could get.
Maybe in another day or two, I'll get modeled photos!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Three Months! {Ketogenic Diet}

This little guy has been seizure free for 3 months now! He's still not feeling well and has spent most of the day asleep, which actually makes 3 months even more amazing! Fevers have been a huge seizure trigger for Owen and he's had a fever off and on for a few days now. Most of his (bad) seizures occur while he's falling asleep, we cut out naps for that reason even though lack of sleep is an even bigger seizure trigger than a fever. The last few days, he's been sleeping on and off all day and still hasn't had any seizures. It's been 8 months since the last time we had to call an ambulance! the Keto diet can be a major pain sometimes, but it's working!!!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Still Sick! {Ketogenic Diet}

picture taken before illness
The three older kids are still well, but the rest of us have all been hit with the bug. I'm starting to feel a little better, nursing and fevers don't go well for me though. I tend to get dehydrated, extending the illness a bit. Most of the kids' fevers finally broke today. We've had Owen's neurologist on the phone, but he's been able to stay home. It's always nice to not have an ER visit. Luckily he's a total pro at swallowing pills now. He isn't supposed to run a fever since it's been a seizure trigger for him in the past, but he can't have children's medication due to the carbohydrate count. That means he has to take 3/4 of an adult tablet. Swallowing is much easier than trying to crush it and hide it in his food, especially since he can't have extra food to take it in.
Here's a math problem for you: If Owen gets 3/4 of an Ibuprofen every 6-8 hours and gets 265 calories of non-oily, high fat food at 9, 12, 3, and 6 plus one smaller snack at 9. How often do his meals and his meds line up to be taken at the same time?
 Answer: Never!
On that same note, have you ever tried to cut a tablet in quarters? Not exactly the easiest thing ever. We are also allowed to give him 1 1/2 of a junior non chewable tablet, but they don't actually seem to exist anywhere other than the imagination of the doctors, so 3/4 of an adult tablet it is. Now try all of that while also coordinating medication for 3 other kids on no sleep while sick yourself and you've just experienced a small part of our lives. The good news is that it isn't a stomach bug, so we haven't had to deal with vomiting on the keto diet yet. I'm going to try to get a little bit of sewing in and then go to bed. I know, I know, I should just skip the sewing, but I already failed the last challenge and I'm just not up to another failure right now. Plus sewing is extremely relaxing to me and I really need something relaxing right now.

Saturday, January 25, 2014


I had all sorts of plans for what I'd do once I got ahead on Owen's meals and a plan in place for the rest of our meals. Getting sick was NOT in those plans. Luckily, I was ahead on Owen's meals and had a plan in place for the rest of the families meals when I did get sick, as it has made things a little easier, but that's not why I wanted to be ahead. I had great ideas about getting to spend the 8-12 hours I spend making Owen's food on something fun like sewing, or taking the kids to the zoo, or playing at the park, or any number of other things we used to do on the weekends when we weren't spending 8-12 hours cooking. Instead, I've spent the last two days in bed barely able to lift my head up. Duncan says he doesn't feel good now (no fever yet) and I think Rod is coming down with it now. So far everyone else seems fine though. I'm finally starting to feel a little better, so maybe I can still get some sewing done tomorrow. It is the start of Kids Clothes Sewing week and I'm hoping to actually do an hour of sewing a day this time. Brenna needs a few things and I still haven't finished Morgan's dress from last time.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Boy Scouts-Open House!

Rod actually remembered to take the camera and get some pictures of the last Boy Scout meeting.  This meeting was an open house for upcoming scouts, so the troop made sure to pull out all of their fun stuff. Our troop (I say our loosely here since Rod is the boy scout parent. I did Cubs and Girl Scouts) has an indoor archery set up, a rock wall, and hoverboards.
It still seems weird that my boys are now some of the older, experienced scouts. Look at how little the new guys are. We've been with this troop for 5 years now. If anyone local is looking for a scout troop let me know!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

It's a Boy!

Our first grandbaby is a boy! Simon and Kristi had their ultrasound today.  I'm so excited! Okay, I'd be just as excited about a girl too. It's just so fun to know.
Baby's sweater now has a complete outfit. I pictured THIS little sweater with a calico dress underneath for a girl and a white shirt and blue jeans for a boy. So, as soon as I found out, I had to make a little pair of jeans. I'd already picked up a package of white onsies to tye-dye/ embellish.
I made the little jeans out of a pair of big jeans that had a hole in them using THIS free pattern.
I have so many ideas for sewing projects for this little guy. I can't wait to get started. I should have until June to make stuff, but little boy is measuring up almost 2 weeks big, so he might not wait that long.

Quick Rant!

The other good thing about reusable bags over plastic, you don't have to panic if the baby puts one over her head.
I was in Walmart today with the youngest 4 kids. I had this conversation with a random stranger.

Random Stranger: "Wow, are these all your kids? You're not hiding anymore anywhere are you?"

Me: "Well actually, I have 3 more not with me today."

Random Stranger: " Really, are you serious?" " So you have like 9? " (I guess 3+4 =9, he must teach common core)

Me: " Well, only if you count the two who are married and moved out."

Random Stranger: " So are you trying to make your own baseball team?"

Me: " Actually, I was going for a football team."

Random stranger walks away laughing.

Now, Random Stranger was actually being nice compared to a lot of the comments I get out in public. He was laughing and smiling the whole time and didn't walk away muttering under his breath, so this rant isn't aimed directly at him. I've actually had much worse comments made in public about my family size. Once when Duncan was a baby, Rod and I were at the grocery store with the 4 little kids and these really nice seeming ladies came up to us and gushed over how adorable and well behaved the kids were. As they were walking away, one of them said that my kids were so cute I should have more of them. I told her that I agreed. Instantly their entire demeanor changed and they backed away from us muttering about how I must be sick and my husband should get me some medication. That was probably the worst response I've ever gotten. Usually I just get the "are they all yours?" and "Don't you know what causes that?" comments. Sometimes I get the "Oh, you poor thing, how do you ever manage?" and my personal favorite " You must be so patient and so organized!" That one is absolutely hilarious because patience is not one of my personal traits and organization is not my strength, as anyone who actually knows me is well aware of.

Okay, here's the rant part. Why is it anyone's business how many children I choose to have? I'm not giving them all up to foster care. I'm not completely neglecting them (contrary to what some of them might believe at any given time). I'm a stay at home Mom and I homeschool them too. They are obviously fed and clothed properly. There's no reason to think that I'm creating a whole bunch of kids I can't handle taking care of. So why does anyone care how many I choose to have? If we are talking about using birth control or getting an abortion it is "My body, my choice". So why doesn't that hold true if I choose to have more than two kids ( three is permissible under certain situations like two of the same gender or a new spouse).  I do happen to believe that my husband has a say, but if no one else belongs in my bedroom when we are discussing contraceptive choices, why are they allowed in if I'm choosing not to use contraception? I just find it so weird that no one seems to think the two are related. If someone in politics mentions anything about restricting abortions, everyone goes nuts, screaming at them about how it's a woman's personal choice and no one has a right to say anything. Even if the woman wants others to pay for their contraception or abortion. BUT,  it is perfectly alright to lambast anyone who chooses to have more than two kids.

Now, I'm not actually going to debate abortion, contraception, or reproduction here. I just don't understand why on one end of the spectrum, it is a personal choice. While on the other end of the spectrum it is destroying life as we know it (okay , it is a bit hilarious that choosing to reproduce is destroying life as we know it while choosing not to produce isn't) and therefore completely up for public comment. I just don't understand how the same people who are against laws limiting abortion and want everyone to have free contraception are the same people calling for laws to limit how many children a woman can have. Can't they see the irony? I'm just saying," My body, my choice" should work both ways. Is that really such a novel concept?

Monday, January 20, 2014


It seems that Mr. Nobody and his sister Miss Not Me have been visiting again.
This used to be my NEW curtain rod. I replaced the one that got bent up just before Christmas.  Yeah, it lasted about a month. This is actually a record, usually they last 6 months to a year. Blinds aren't really an option, they cost a lot more to replace and get destroyed even faster. Plus you have the whole strangling hazard thing and I just don't trust their safety measures to stand up to the kind of use my kids can dish out. So, I guess I just need to keep investing in curtain rods. Anyone know where I can buy them by the case?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Freezer Meals

Long, long ago, in our pre-Owen days, I used to do a lot of freezer cooking. It just makes so much more sense to make multiples of a meal at once and put some of them away for later than to cook something new every single night. I never really do the whole month worth of meals in a day thing, usually I just make multiples of whatever we are having or make a whole bunch of meals based on whatever meat was on a super sale this week. However, the last few years my freezer cooking has mostly gone out the window. Finding the extra time has been difficult and the pre-planning has been virtually impossible. I've managed to rally a few times, like before Brenna was born, but nothing regular. After we started the ketogenic diet with Owen, it became abundantly clear that bulk meal prep was the only way I was going to get anything done besides Keto meal prep. I've been really good about getting a weeks worth of Owen meals made every weekend so I have time for things like homeschooling during the week. Meals for the rest of us have still been extremely haphazard though. Honestly, I've been so sick of cooking, that I just haven't been able to get things together enough to do much for the rest of the family. I keep saying that I need to do some bulk cooking and fill up my freezer, but I keep not doing it.
Last week my friend Renee wrote THIS blog post and it was just what I needed to finally goad myself into getting some meals made up. I made a list of some of our favorite freezer meals and the ingredients I needed. Then, Rod and I spent "Date Night" at the grocery store. I always make my lists up to include several different recipes and decide exactly which ones I'm going to make once I see which meats are on sale. Rod and I each grabbed a cart and gathered up all the ingredients I didn't already have on hand plus all the other things we were out of. It's so nice having a helper at the grocery store, one of us can gather produce while the other handles frozen food or finds things we've missed. It gets you out of the grocery store a lot faster. We brought everything home and started that night making up everything that wouldn't fit in the fridge. The next 2 days, I finished everything else up in my "free time".
Our final tally was:
 3 meals of Sticky Ribs
 4 meals Ginger Beef
 2 meals Sesame Soy Beef
   All from Fix, Freeze, Feast

 2 pans Kielbasa Potatoes
 2 pans Tater Tot Casserole
 4 pans Chicken Enchiladas
3 meals worth of meatballs (I was going to freeze these in sauce, but I couldn't decide which sauce, so I froze them plain and will make sauce when I serve them)
5 meals worth of browned ground beef (pre-browned ground beef is one of my freezer staples it is just so versatile. This is one thing I have done regularly even since Owen)

Now, not all of this actually made it to the freezer. We ate one meal of meatballs (with spaghetti sauce over rice), one Chicken Enchilada, and one meal of Ground Beef (nachos), while I was preparing everything. That still leaves me 22 meals in the freezer. Plus ingredients ready and waiting in the pantry for a few more meals that don't freeze ahead well.

Now, my goal is to get extras of one meal made ahead each week from now on. That should keep me up to date. I used to have a freezer cooking book (sorry, I can't remember which one) that suggested making 8 of one meal one night each week. That way the first week you would eat one of the meal and put the other 7 in the freezer. The second week you would make 8 of another meal, eat one again plus another night eat one of last weeks meals. By keeping that up, in less than 2 months you would then be cooking only once a week and eating something different each night. I admit I've never been quite that organized about it, but I also don't mind cooking more than once a week. I usually aim to make 4 of a meal once each week. That system worked for us for many years. I hope I can get back on track with it now.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Owen's Doughnuts {Ketogenic Diet}

I used THIS recipe to make doughnuts for Owen. The first ones I made he didn't really like, so I added sweetener and some cinnamon and now he really enjoys them. I didn't really make many changes to the original recipe, but I though I'd post it here anyway. That way you can see how a little tiny change can make a big difference.

Macadamia Nut Doughnuts   268 calories at a 3.11:1 ratio

41g   Egg (raw, mixed well)
18g   macadamia nuts, dry rstd w/ss Mauna Loa Kirklandsig
7g   coconut oil-refined
.1g   baking powder- Calumet (Kraft)
.5g   cinnamon, ground
3.5g   Truvia natural sweetener
3 drops Bickford vanilla extract (not calculated, part of the 15 "free" drops)

Grind nuts into butter. Melt coconut oil and mix all ingredients well.
Bake in mini doughnut maker. I don't follow the indicator lights when cooking these. I cook them for a few extra minutes after the light tells me they are ready.

You can see that I followed the original recipe pretty closely. Owen needed a few less calories and a little lower ratio so, I started by reducing the coconut oil. Then I added in the sweetener and cinnamon since I wanted more than just a pinch.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Do you see anything new in this picture? That's right, Brenna got her ears pierced! She got sick and tired of people calling her a boy just because she's still follically challenged (our new term for bald).
Brenna has been asking for "pretties" and trying to take our earrings out and put them in her own ears. I barely got an earring out of her ear canal the other day. We've spent the last week or two preparing her for the process and telling her that it will hurt. Brenna doesn't do pain well.
Devon was about this age when she pinned down a little girl at play group and tried to pry the earrings out of her ears. We decided that was enough interest and got her ears pierced a few days later. They did the first ear and she started crying and tried to get out of the chair. Then, they showed her the earring in the mirror and immediately she sat nicely and turned her other ear to them. She let us take care of them without any fuss and even turned them herself. So, we got Morgan's ears pierced at the same age and it was a bad decision. Morgan did not really want her ears pierced and complained all the time. She fought us every time we tried to clean her ears. I decided I was not going to get Brenna's ears pierced until she was much older.
I changed my mind the day I had to dig the earring out of her ear. I figured she was telling me she was ready.
She sat perfectly still the entire time. She didn't cry either before OR after. They told us they'd never seen anyone her age handle the process so well. she's thrilled with her "pretties". She admits that they hurt, but doesn't want to get rid of them. The technician was very impressed with how well Brenna seemed to understand the process. We'll see how cleaning goes once the novelty wears off, but so far, so good. When we were deciding on earrings she decided she wanted blue like her eyes. Seriously, this kid is so girly. Not even two yet and she wants earrings to match her eyes!


Someone (or actually Nobody) decided I needed a little help with my knitting.
Luckily nothing got unraveled and I was able to untangle the yarn in less than 10 minutes. I'm not sure if this was the work of a kid, cat, or the little dog who likes to sleep in my knitting bag. Or possibly some combination of the three.
I'm just glad the already knit part was spared!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Taco Soup

Taco soup is probably my most requested recipe. It's so incredibly easy I have trouble even calling it a recipe. It is infinitely adaptable for any number of people and it is perfect for both the crock pot and the freezer, although I hardly ever bother with either since it is so easy to put together.

 Start by browning a pound of ground beef (or turkey). I usually buy large packets of hamburger at Costco and brown it all at once. Then I put about 2 cups into quart size freezer bags for future soups and casseroles including this recipe.
 Next open one can of corn, drain and put in the pot with the ground beef. You don't really have to drain the corn, but I don't like the taste of the broth on commercial canned corn. Yes, you can use home canned and even frozen, they both work great.
 Then add one or two cans of diced tomatoes. I usually add one big can, but I didn't have any this time, so I used two little ones. DO NOT drain the tomatoes, you want the tomato liquid.

 Now, start opening cans of different types of beans. I try to use at least 3 different types, but really you can add anything you wish. Five cans is about perfect for my family, but it's easy to add more if we have guests. If you add more than about 8 cans of beans, you might want to add more tomatoes and corn. Then dump in the cans of beans, broth and all. DON'T drain the beans. You want the bean broth ( although the kids did drain the beans once and we just added water and bit more seasoning then usual. It was still pretty good, but not AS good).

 Finally add taco seasoning to taste. I'm guessing one packet would be good if you buy packets. I buy my seasoning bulk and have never actually measured, so you'll just have to guess. Mix everything up and heat until just boiling.

We usually serve shredded cheese on top and tortilla chips on the side. Cornbread is really good with it too, but Taco Soup is usually what we make here on busy days when I haven't planned anything for dinner, so we usually don't get cornbread made. This is such a perfect thing to make for days that don't go exactly according to plan. It's great for unexpected guests too. So quick and easy and, like I already said, everyone loves it.