Friday, November 30, 2012

Upcycle: Jeans to Skirt

Abigail wore this pair of jeans last week, and I knew it would be the last time before there were full out holes in it. My crafty mind took over and I thought, shorts? Nah, she has plenty of shorts. A skirt? Yes! So, here is my step-by-step. 
Step 1: Cut the pants (always with a rotary cutter) right above where the hole is, or will start. Do not throw them away.
Step 2: Rip the seams from the inner leg to the crotch. 
Steps 1 and 2

Step 3: Cut the bottom of the pants at the outer seam and use the back of the leg. Iron it flat, and cut off the hem.
Step 3

Step 4: Pin the leg pieces to the inside of the pants. Its a little tricky to see here, but you want to line up the crotch piece and then sew going down each "leg piece."

Step 4

Step 5: Sew it. I sewed it with white thread as I wasn't worried about what that seam looked like.
Step 5

Step 6: Iron it flat. Trim or cut to make it straight across or curved, as is your preference.
Step 6

Step 7: Either hem the skirt, or continue in my (semi-cheating) technique of adding a girly ruffle.

To make the ruffle: I picked a piece of fabric, made it 5 inches wide and however long (definitely longer than the 28 inches I needed. Folded it in half and sewed a ruffle stitch. (Make the tension the highest it can go and make the stitch length the widest. Then just sew.) I then pinned it, right sides together, and then sewed. Ironed it flat and Viola!

Finished Product

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wednesday & Thursday Cleaning Recap

Can you believe I got a day behind? Me either. Anyway. according to my schedule, Wednesday is the kitchen. From looking ahead, I realized there was no day for living room, play room, dining room ... what? So, I revamped a bit. Yesterday we cleaned those main rooms, which is really quiet easy, as the kids are getting better as picking up their chores.

Today, Thursday, is "errand day." We took that a step further and hit Costco in the "big city." We will not need another Costco trip in 2012, I'm sure. Hopefully not for a few months, actually.

When we got home from errands, I cleaned the kitchen. Kids napped were quiet in their room while I did dishes, cleaned out the fridge, wiped down every counter/flat space and put out our new Christmas baskets we purchased half-price from Michaels. (Did I not mention we went there too? I needed a craft shopping trip.)

I also worked on adding a portion of my shot glass collection to the display on top of our cabinets. My Uncle Tom made me these awesome wooden display shelves and I am glad to have a place to put them again.

So, now we are four days in to our new cleaning routine. I think its going very, very well. This weekend we will do more unpacking and begin Christmas decorating. Next week we will add in "school at home" routine.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Last night I made a new recipe, using a vegetable I've been intimidated by in the past. I just trusted the directions and went for it. It was fantastic! My kids loved it, my husband took more for lunch today, it was awesome. I imagine this will be part of our regular meal rotation.

Spaghetti Squash Casserole
spaghetti squash (I will explain how I cooked it in directions)

Veggies (I chopped these and froze them during one of my meal prep sessions, and took them out to thaw in the morning)

  • red pepper, diced
  • zucchini, diced
  • carrot, shredded (I used two)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • tomato, diced
16 oz tomato sauce (I used a veggie one, with mushrooms, etc.)
4 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan (not really necessary)

1. Put the squash in the microwave, whole for 1 to 2 minutes. Cut it in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and the stringy membranes. Put the halves face down in a baking dish (microwave safe) and add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water. Put in microwave for 12-14 minutes (8 min each half if you need to do it in parts). When it is done, it will shred easily with a fork and resemble spaghetti noodles. Scoop out all the "spaghetti" with a fork and place in a 9x13 baking dish. 

2. Preheat oven to 350.

3. Saute veggies in 2T olive oil.

4. Add veggies and tomato sauce to the squash, stir.

5. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and bake for 30 minutes.

6. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Daily Cleaning: Tuesday

This morning, Declan bounded out of bed a little before 7, and since I was being lazy, he crawled in with me. He's been sporting his new Cars button down pajamas, which he had to have because his arms were cold during the night. He crawled in, rolled over on Steven's pillow and pretended to snore. What a way to start my day.

At 7 precisely, Declan woke up Abi and they decided that breakfast should come before Morning TV. So, after a bowl of oatmeal and cereal, respectively, they headed to their rooms to get dressed. Declan asked on numerous occasions, "What are our chores today?"

Tuesday is bedroom day. Luckily, most of the things on the bedroom list have been done this past week during unpacking, so it was pretty easy. While the kids were eating breakfast with their Dad, I stripped their beds and laid out their clothes. They got themselves dressed (mostly). And then picked up their toys and got everything off the floor. That was really all they needed to do today. While they watched their morning Spiderman show, I Swiffer Sweep Vac'd their bedrooms and remade their beds. Two bedrooms - done! The guest room (which has been renamed GeeGee's room - since my sister Maggie was the first to stay there) was really simple, just needed the floor swept. My bedroom required a little more work, as the laundry was ready to be done, and my room tends to be the catchall. But, I'm currently on my third and final (for today) load of laundry and I've put away most of the things that have a place.

Its 1:30pm, I've accomplished a LOT today. Breaking down the cleaning into 30 to 60 minutes, spread throughout the day has helped so far. I feel like I have time to get everything done and my kids are learning to help.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Daily Cleaning: Monday

I found this fantastic cleaning breakdown on Pinterest. I decided moving into a new home was the perfect time to implement. Combining this list with these blog posts on chores appropriate for toddlers, we jumped right in. Here's how our Monday morning went:

6:50: "Mama, the sun is getting up!" from Abigail. I was halfway through my first cup of coffee and they inhaled two bowls of cereal each.

7:30: "One Spiderman and Friends, please Mom!" from Declan, as he's using the remote to set it up. Sure, I'd love to finish my coffee.

8:00: Time to get dressed!

8:05: Monday cleaning ..... Bathrooms!
Declan's chores: wipe down the toilets (the whole toilet, even by the floor), put all the towels, washcloths, and floor mats in the washing machine, and take the trash out to the garage. He was awesome at this! Attacked the toilets with the Lysol wipes, covering every inch at least twice. In fact, as we were in my bathroom, he exclaimed, "I forgot to wipe the flusher in my bathroom. Be right back, Mom!" I really hope he cleans with such fervor as we go through the week.

Abigail. Well, not so great. In her defense, she is battling croup and, as we now know, an ear infection. Nevertheless, the tears started the second I started brushing her hair. After a few meltdown moments, I sent her to her room. She was there about 5 minutes crying and then knocked on the door, "I'm ready to clean Mama." Abi's chores are to wipe down the door knobs and the front of the cabinets. She also helped Declan with the towels in my bathroom, since there are "so many." She got into the cleaning spirit. I think as she starts feeling better, she'll adjust to it.

8:35: The kids were putting on their shoes to go outside and play, and I was finishing up the bathroom floors with my new, fantastic, Swiffer Sweep Vac. Day one of cleaning was a success!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Freezer Food: Act One

Last June, I made about 8 crock pot meals in one evening and put them in the freezer to be eaten over the course of the month. The Great Power Outage of 2012, thwarted that plan and I lost everything. Then we got orders to move to Arizona and I was trying to downsize food. Now we are settled in Arizona and we have a stand alone extra freezer. It is just wanting for my food prep.

1. Pick out meals
2. Compile shopping list
3. Shop (ugh!)
4. Prep food and freezer bags.
5. Remember to thaw out bags and throw them in the crock pot for dinner!

The first time I made these 12 recipes, doubling one since I couldn't find a 2 pound cut of London broil. I found most of them on Pinterest, but would be happy to send them individually if you want to try some. Some are as simple as just throwing everything in the freezer bag. Some of them I just prepped the vegetables, because cheese and cream based products do not freeze well.

  • Cheesy Vegetable Chowder (veggies only)
  • Garlic Honey Chicken
  • Dijon Chicken
  • Chicken Broccoli Alfredo
  • Chicken Fajitas
  • Cilantro Lime Chicken
  • Beef Burritos (this is the one I doubled, and I'm glad I did!)
  • Beef Stroganoff
  • Spaghetti Squash bake (veggies only)
  • Breakfast Casserole (veggies only)
After buying quite a bit of food, and at least 10 pounds of chicken breasts, we assembled all the ingredients on the counters. Maggie was helping me, and she started assembling ingredients from the pantry while I started chopping. It took us about 2 hours, including clean up, and we had 13 meals ready. So far we've had 3 meals and they have all been wonderful!

*Note: I'm not entirely sure of the prices of each meal. I bought a lot of other staples while shopping. I will pay better attention next time, because I am very curious.