Thursday, June 30, 2011

Putting Friends to Bed

I've always loved when Mady copies real life in her play. Okay, except last week when I heard her playing drive-thru. ("I'll have chicken and fries. And milk. Uh-huh. Yup that's everything.") Eeek! No more wendy's for a while...

The other night I told her it was almost bedtime so she needed to pick up her toys. When she was done Daddy would read her a story.

He walked into the living room to find her "doting" on her "babies" and their "friends" putting them all to bed.

I think the last one is my favourite because she realized this doll didn't have a blanket (apparently hippos and monkeys don't need them) and she went on the search for something that would work. A cloth Bible cover? Sure, why not?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Birthday Dress for Kate

I decided a few months ago that I wanted to make the girls their outfits for their birthdays this year. For Mady (and technically for Kate too) I made her poodle skirt. Kate's birthday theme (don't worry, Christina, I'll announce it soon!) didn't really lend itself to a particular outfit. So instead I went in search of a cute dress pattern that would be simple enough for me to make and be super cute.

Be still my heart! There are WAY too many cute dresses for little girls out there. Where does a person start?? I turned to Etsy. Mostly because I like the idea of a PDF pattern (easy to store and reuse) and I could browse for hours after my kids were in bed (I have vivid memories of my childhood standing with my mom as she poured over what felt like hundreds of pattern books bored out of my mind). I didn't want to be rushed while I was looking.

I'm not sure how I found this Etsy shop (I'm going to assume through something I searched), but I came across Pink Poodle Bows.  Let's take a minute to talk about this shop and why I love it. First of all, her stuff is CUTE (in my head, I'm saying that more as CA-YOOT, so just think it that way, okay?). And that's what I was looking for. There's interesting elements in all her dresses that make it seem like they were more work than they are. I like that. I have plans to order more.

Second, her patterns are cheap. A lot of etsy patterns run for about $8. Hers are only about $5 (depending on the exchange rate with Canada. When I bought my pattern, it was cheaper. *wink*)

Her instructions are good for people like me who are new(er) to sewing. The pattern that you print is done in such a way that you can't mess it up (and neither can your computer's margins, which other patterns I've used have). I liked that. She has colour pictures throughout the patterns and the instructions are literally step by step and VERY clear. And as a side note, she sets up the instructions so that you do all the ironing together and all the basting together etc. so you're less likely to miss something, or forget to set your machine back (which she also reminds you). Basically she's fabulous!

I know I sound like I'm getting some kind of paid endorsement, but I'm not.  Really, I just had a fabulous experience and I wanted to share it with you all. So, if you're looking for cute dresses for little girls (she has other stuff too!), you need to check out Pink Poodle Bows.

Apron laid on top

Now onto the dress. My sister and I are doing a joint first birthday for our girls since they're really close in age. We picked the pattern together (another nice thing about on-line shopping when you live in different provinces). We decided to do the same dress, same fabrics, but in different locations on the dress. The dress we picked is called the Madison (if you want to make one too). It's a dress and an apron. It took me about 3 hours to make the dress (I had some fabric folded under and had to rip stuff out (grr!) so it took me a bit longer than I had hoped. The apron only added another 30 minutes or so to the whole pattern.

I'm going to make a matching diaper cover and hair bow as well (eeek, when will I have time??).

Of course it will be MUCH cuter when it's on my little mini-model, but some things (such as blogging and picture taking) are easier to do when she's not awake, so you'll need to wait until the party!

linking up here:
Keeping It SimpleThe Girl CreativeMaking

Todays Creative Blog

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Nephew's Birthday Card

Well my youngest nephew turns 2 today! On the weekend the girls went to his party with Mark (I had to miss).

This is the first card I had designed completely on my own without an "inspiration" card to go off of. I wasn't thrilled with my card stock options (I'm out of some of my basic colours), but over all I'm liking the design.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Father's Day Cards

I know I'm a week late in posting this, but I'm blaming the Canada Post strike because I had to wait until I saw my Dad to give him his card and therefore didn't want to spoil any surprises.

Months ago while reading through blogs (it was probably at Christmas), I saw someone give the fabulous gift idea of a "Year of Yum" (I don't know who it was, so if it was you, let me know and I'll link to your post). The men in my family are hard to give gifts to, so I tucked that idea into my "vault" of ideas in my head to pull out when necessary. Father's Day seemed like the perfect opportunity. Mady helped me pick out containers and then helped to make some treats to put inside.

Of course I used my silhouette to make the cards and the little gift certificate to go inside. This is a pretty simple gift to give. There is some upkeep throughout the year, but with the amount that I bake, I'm not too concerned about that part. Hehe!

My Dad has already returned his container (it was within hours of getting it, but to be fair he shared). I told him due to the strike it would be longer than a week to get it back. I will see him at Kate's party weekend/Our annual stampede weekend in a couple of weeks so he'll get it then. I'm counting on having to refill it during the weekend...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Birthday Card for my Father in Law

Remember when I made a card for my father in law for his birthday and in my haste I popped it in the mail without taking a picture of it? Ya, that sucked. Thank goodness my mother in law totally understands (she makes cards too) and didn't think it was weird when I asked her to photograph it for me.

She was taking pictures off her camera this week so she sent it my way. Funny, when I looked at the picture I realized I also forgot to put the ribbon detail I had planned. Whoops.

I think this idea came from something I saw on the silhouette flickr group. I love this happy birthday circle. It's just fun! I don't know if you can tell, but the sentiment is on the inside of the card and pops through the hole in the front. I'm pretty sure you can see that, but you never know. Anyway, this is a simple, fun card and can be made more masculine or kid friendly just depending on the colours you choose. You can even do all sorts of colours of stars if you want to add to the interest. This will be a design I do again for sure.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Looking for fun summer ideas

I'm kind of a funny gal. I loathe winter, but then when summer comes, I hate bugs and being too hot so I'll gladly stay inside. But then I feel like I waste the whole summer. So, I'm making a list of fun things to do with Mady that will make me go outside. Ha!

Here's what I have:
Make popsicles (to eat outside)
Blow bubbles with the bubble machine
Run through the sprinkler
Pull out the kiddie pool
Have a picnic at a park (with friends!)

That's all I've got. I need ideas, people! I need some sunshine. Kate and I are just not people who like to sit outside for no reason. Not even to tan. Hehe!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Stampede Debate

I have fantastic memories growing up of going to the Calgary Stampede. My family has been going for forever (no really, basically forever). Every year we go down to the grounds and after spending the day on the rides and eating supper in Weadickville we go to the chuckwagon races and watch the grandstand show (and I sing along. You can read about it here).

Who doesn't love an excuse to dress up in western duds and eat pancakes and bacon for 10 days? I look forward to it every year (truth be told, I could do without the country music, but for 10 days I can stomach it.)!

This will be Kaitlyn's first year at The Stampede (you may remember that I went into labour an hour after getting home last year...). The other day I pulled out my cowboy hat for a prop for my choir's concerts this week and Mady proceeded to tell me all about last year (I'm shocked she remembered so much!).

As a kid we would often go to the parade. We didn't live in Calgary so we would stay at my grandparent's house, wake up super early (5am? 6am? I don't actually remember, it was early!). Drive downtown and set up our little "camp" on the curb side. My mom had a little cooler of breakfast and treats for us. I'm sure we brought some other stuff to do for the long wait.

Here is the debate. Do I take the girls this year? I have no idea if Mark would be able to accompany me. If he can, it would be easier, but if he can't then I will have a 1 and 3 year old, a stroller, a chair or two and a cooler bag of food (which could probably go in the stroller).  The parade doesn't start until 9am (I think there's a pre-parade at 8 or 8:30), but in order to get good seats we would have to be there early (6? 7? I'm not actually sure).

There are purchase-able seats on bleachers, but they're bleachers, meaning it would be a bother to take my stroller and I would have to have both girls on my lap. And, they're so over-priced it's not even funny for something that is essentially free.

The other option is to watch it at home on TV, but that's NOT the same.

So I guess the question is, should I do it? Anyone else want to go with me and make an adventure of it? Anyone done this with small children (alone?) recently and have some tips?? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Favourite Children's Books At Our House

Madelyn loves books! She'll gladly bring a stack of 20 books and then sit listening to them all. She's always been good at sitting through the lengths of books. We went the library the other day to check out some Fancy Nancy books. The librarian told me she was too young for Fancy Nancy. I assured her that she wasn't! Even the early reader versions Mady will sit and listen.

She's at a funny stage of books. She'll still bring the "baby" style books to be read intermixed with the more advanced picture books. Here are some favourites for the preschoolers at our house (meaning we read them until we're so sick of them we have to hide them).

Little Blue Truck - I think this one is a favourite because of the voices that Daddy does when he reads it. And though I have two little girls, this is a book that both boys and girls would enjoy (and boys would probably like it even more so).

Fancy Nancy - As I mentioned  above, Fancy Nancy is our new favourite. Mady loves all the fancy pictures. The other day I even heard her throwing in "Nancy" phrases into her play "ooh, la, la!" I tried not to laugh too hard.

Duck and Goose - This was a series that Auntie introduced us to (she has a knack for picking good books and most of the ones she has given our girls have become fast favourites - Thanks Auntie Mel!). I love these books because they have nice pictures and are sweet little stories. Duck and Goose 123 was probably Mady's first official favourite book. Kate is starting to like them now too.

Robert Munsch books - I know he writes lots of books, so I'll try to narrow it down, but they are just so much fun! I think Mady's favourites at the moment are Moira's Birthday and The Fire Station. She also likes my childhood favourite, Murmel, Murmel, Murmel.  There are very few that we're not big fans of (Millicent and Wind isn't high on the list). I've read his books since I was about 4 so I feel like I know them well. If you've never read a Robert Munsch book (or at least if you've never read more than Love You Forever), you need to check them out. They're fun and silly and inspired by real life kids (and Canadian too!).
Ten Little Racing Cars - Remember how Mark like's race cars? This is the perfect book for him to read to Mady. This one has been hidden for a few months because we literally read it about 10 times a day each. If you need a book for a race car lover, this is a good choice!

That's just a quick peek at our book shelf. We have many, many more that we love and as Kaitlyn discovers books there are sure to be more. What are the favourite kid books at YOUR house?

Friday, June 17, 2011

My Week in Statistics

Songs memorized: 16 total (8 of which were mastered this week)
Items baked: 5 (but that will go up today!)
Average bed-time: 11:00pm
Average wake-time: 6:00am
Things planned to get done: 57
Actual things I got done: About 25
Planned shopping trips made: 2
Shopping trips for forgotten items: 6
Pieces of cake eaten: 4
Hours at choir rehearsal: 5
Noses wiped: 2 little noses repeated about 100 times each
Number of time I have said “cover your mouth when you cough please”: Infinite
Number of nasel rinses, gargle sessions and vitamins taken in order to not get sick: 2/2/12 (this only started 2 days ago, it will be repeated every day until the whole house is better)
Emails written: 11
Emails needed to be written: 15
Loads of laundry: 6
Hockey games watched: 0 (I hear I didn't miss much)
Minutes spent looking for Kate's soother: 14 (seriously where did it go??)
Times my silhouette used: 1
Number of hours of sleep I would like in order to catch up from the multiple wakings of a sick baby: 12
Days Mark was away: 2
Books read to Mady: 7 (on repeat. Ha!)
Days left until the sanity of my life returns: Who knows?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Kaitlyn's 11 month pictures

It's amazing to me how fast a year goes by! We've only got one month left with our "baby" (spare me the "its time for another one" speech, please!).

Kate has become very determined this month. She wants whatever Mady has and has started shrieking if she doesn't get her way (I'm not a fan and that WILL end soon!). She is walking around all the furniture and has even gotten brave a few times and tried to stand on her own. The other day, she held onto the side of the stairs and attempted to "walk" down them. Luckily I caught her in time. I'm noticing that she likes to figure things out on her own and will purposely not do things the way I suggest to her as if to spite me. I think I'm going to have to be very creative in how I parent this one when it comes to giving her suggestions! But it's all in how you say it, right?

Teething as been full force. She has 7 teeth now with the 8th one about to pop through at any moment. I think all her canine teeth are pretty close to coming through too. Really I just want the molars to show up so she can chew more things.

Speaking of eating she's becoming quite the lover of food. She can't seem to get enough calories in her day because of how active she is.

What a sweet little face she has. She totally has me wrapped around her finger!   :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sock Hop Outfits

For our Sock Hop party (covered in posts here and here) I made outfits for myself and the girls (Mark is not exactly a "dress up in a costume for a party" kind of guy so I didn't bother making something for him.

Before the party started we got some pictures of us girls together. I've discussed before how difficult it is to get everyone looking in the same direction and smiling. This is made worse by a slow shutter on the camera. It was during this photo shoot that Mark was convinced along with me that we need to upgrade our camera!
can you totally tell Madelyn is my daughter? We have the same smile!

The girls each got a poodle skirt and then I made dog-bone appliques which I put onto felt and glued on a pin for their shirts (I didn't make the shirts, that's still above my skills!). For Mady I made a number 3 as well. I decided to pin them on so that: When they outgrow the shirt before the skirt, they can still match. Should something happen to the shirt (Kate is amazing at filling diapers up the back and only getting the shirt) I could easily switch the applique to a different shirt no problem. And if the shirt/skirt still fits Mady when she's 4, she can still wear it, without it having a weird 3 on it (and when Kate gets to that size at age 2 it won't be weird either). Is that too much over-thinking? Probably.

The hair bows I made for them worked quite well. Except Kate has decided she no longer wants her hair done. Which sucks because now she actually has enough hair to do something with. And she doesn't forget that clips and bows are there. She'll pull at them until she gets them out. Which is pretty much what she was doing in this picture...

 For me I wore my 50's apron which also means I can check number 1 off the list! Whoot!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sock Hop Party Part 2

Part 2 of the Sock Hop coverage is all about the fun stuff! As I said in yesterday's post that covered all the food and decorations, this one is going to feature all the stuff we did. Be warned, there are a lot of pictures as this is documenting for my brain (and the grandparents and other extended family) more than anything!

I always like to have something to do while waiting for the other kids to arrive. I made a version of Don't Eat Pete in 1950's cartoon characters (not that the kids knew who they were, but for the sake of a theme...). Let the record show that Don't Eat Pete is lost of 3 year olds! I wasn't sure if they would understand it or not. Sometimes kids totally surprise you. Epic fail. They had fun eating the smarties instead.

Kate had her own version of the limbo
Of course you can't have a sock hop without dancing. This is Mady's favourite thing to do. I knew they would entertain themselves just with dancing, but I didn't want them to be too bored either. I started out with the limbo. I thought it would be a good starter. Uh, no. Again, 3 year olds don't get it. I didn't really expect them to, I just thought it would be funny. Maybe it was because I started with it, or maybe it was because they're 3 (and technically 2.5), but it didn't really work. Good thing they're forgiving!

But there's one activity that I knew would rescue us... BOWLING! The kids loved it. We let them play for a while....

I think we (uh, I mean Jeff) set up those pins about 20 times.

Then we ate some food and had floats. Is there anything better than Root beer and Cream Soda Floats? I love them!

Next we played pin the tail on the poodle. After a failed first attempt where we learned that the blindfold could be seen through, we doubled it up and tried again.

Someone still got it perfect. Hmmm... Good job Claire!

Everyone played except the birthday girl. She would have none of it. I even tried to demonstrate as a way to convince her. Nope.

(after everyone left, I managed to get her blindfolded and spun, but then once I instructed her on the "pinning" part she proclaimed that she "couldn't see!" So we took off the blindfold and she just placed her tail. Which, judging by the placement, tells me she didn't understand the game!

From left to right: the one I placed, Makenna, Madelyn and Claire. I made tags for the babies, but didn't really expect them to play.

We lined up the girls in front of the juke box. I had originally planned on getting each family in this style and then forgot until everyone left. So we just have the oldest girls representing each family. Claire was determined not to smile. Ha!

This picture totally looks like Mady and Makenna are sharing a secret and Claire feels left out. Aw!

And, except for Claire not smiling (which I'm convinced is only because I asked...) Is this not so cute?

(In case you're wondering, that's a 3 and a dog bone applique that I pinned to Mady's shirt (so I can reuse the bone on a bigger shirt since i know that will be grown out of before the skirt. The three was just for her birthday, but they got a little wonky in this picture)

Finally it was time for the real dance party. I taught the girls the hand jive:

We started at half speed and they kept up pretty good

Full speed was a little too much for one of our contestants!

(The Hand Jive is Mady's new favourite thing to do. I catch her sitting doing it all the time now. Hehe!)

And then we let them loose to DANCE!

Though it clearly looks like Mark is busting out the moves in this picture, I guarantee you that is not what was happening. He was simply standing up. And look! So is Kate! And then she fell over.

Cake was next. Happy Birthday to You...

She blew out one candle at a time. Ha!

Afterwards we went back for more dancing and the balloon release. Let's talk about this for a minute.

This is how I envisioned it:
Music playing, kids dancing and the balloons released, cascading on their heads, little girls giggling with glee.

This is more how it played out:
Music playing. Mady unsure what I was about to do when I said I was going to open up the balloon drop (I think she thought the whole thing would fall on her head) so she followed me up out of the living room to the kitchen where the pull cord was anchored. This caused Makenna to follow. Leaving Claire alone in the living room. The pull cord was not exactly easy-release, but the balloons did fall. And once they did THEN they were fun to go play in!

Here it is on video (which looks funny while I'm editing this post and it won't let me watch, let me know if it shows it okay):

Last we opened presents.

Reading the card that has her picture on the front. Photoshopped from pictures off my blog so she's actually in her poodle skirt and bow. Very clever, Katie!

A slinky!
A Princess Sticker book. She's in love!
Thank you hugs

And since one of the presents included that slinky, we had to all figure it out. Such fun!

A spring, a spring, a marvellous thing!

Don't worry Kate, your party is next!