Tuesday, May 27, 2014

T-shirt Dress

I know today was Tuesday... but it was really a Monday. You can't get any more Monday-ier than the day after a three day weekend.

The Man goes off to work leaving me with a very sad child (she loves her some daddy-time) and we cuddle. A lot. So with all that one-on-one, "play-with-me", constant-skin-on-skin-touching time we needed today I was very thankful for naptime.

And then I remembered it was "Monday".... and I needed to make something.

And I knew what needed to be done.

See, little girl had a batman phase. I don't think it's 100% over, but it's not as pronounced as it used to be. So when she got a batman shirt for Christmas she was excited. Now, it's passed over every morning for skirts and dresses. So I thought a batman-dress would be a perfect solution to keep the item in circulation.

This past weekend I found the perfect "batman yellow" shirt at the thrifty shopper to use for this project.

It was time... to make the shirt-dress.

You will need: 

A t-shirt that fits your child. 
(It's OK if this shirt is a little too short like the one used here. 
You're gonna make it much longer soon.)

An adult size shirt (basically, a ton of fabric for a little bit of money)

*optional- Computer with Netflix subscription playing Season 2 of Parenthood (So Jasmine can go all the way to Europe for work but Crosby has to be "on duty" 24/7? Oh, and Julia wants another kid so we should just do it? Fine... whatever. Dude, don't even get me started on Adam. He's gonna burst. I just know it. Dude's gonna blow. a. gasket.... Sarah? I like Sarah in a "cheer for the underdog" sort of way but I'm glad she's not my sister. Girl's got iss-ues. )


You're gonna wanna cut the sleeves and the collar of the big shirt off. 

ah-like so

Then, using your serger (or your friend's serger) or your sewing machine (or your friend's sewing machine) or a needle and thread (I'm pretty sure you're on your own on that one) sew from the top of the shirt all the way down to the bottom.

See, when you use a serger you get a nice, "professional", edge which is why I suggest bringing that serged edge all the way to the bottom.If you're using a sewing machine there isn't much reason to go all the way to the bottom save having a "store bought" look. So if you wanna save yourself 10 minutes you totally could just sew a line where the sleeves were in order to make a tube.
At least in my opinion. 
(For goodness sakes, it's 10:30 and I'm exhausted just re-reading this! Do whatever you want.)

Once you've got yourself a large fabric tube you attach that to the smaller shirt, right sides together. You can baste the skirt to the top to give it a ruffled look. You can pleat it and pin it so you have little darts where you want it.... do whatever you want. I'm betting that if you're still reading you have a basic grasp of sewing on a machine. Most everyone else has checked out right now. 

A serger really comes in handy for projects like this one. 
If you don't want to invest in a serger, invest in a friend with a serger. 

Now this is where you stop. You make a loosey-goosey simple dress for a girl in your life. Don't complicate it. Move on. Don't try to be fancy. You'll save yourself an hour + of your life.

If you do decide to be fancy you're gonna wanna take the sleeves off, attach new sleeves made from the sleeves of the "skirt material" shirt, attach one perfect and spend at least 30 minutes trying to make lightning strike twice. You'll also decide to shorten the skirt part, forgo going upstairs to get your mat and circular blade, just "eyeballing" it and taking it up 5 inches too short, deciding that you want to try to give it a "cabbage leaf" edging causing you to adjust every. stinking. dial on the serger. All while sweating profusely because who turned the summer on?!

Then naptime will be over. You will not have done dishes, put away laundry or even showered. But you will have a gift for your sweet child. 

And this is how it will look. 

Her face says it all.
Her words? 
"Can you try again? This is for a boy."

Rating: 7/10. Would do again. Would stop before trying to be fancy. Would get the circular blade out. Would measure... would choose pink or the color du jour: "Elsa-blue".

Thursday, May 15, 2014


So, I just got this email from snapfish.... shutterfly.... whatever. It's an email:
Please accept our most sincere apologies. We mistakenly sent an email that was intended only for new parents who recently made baby-related purchases at Shutterfly. We’re truly sorry if you received this email in error. We realize this is a very sensitive issue and we did not mean to upset you in any way.
We care about our customers above all else and have taken measures to ensure this will not happen again. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us atcustomerservice@cs.shutterfly.com and we’ll get back to you.
John Boris
Chief Marketing Officer
Shutterfly, Inc.

And I was all.... Dude, chill. You sent me an offer targeted to those with babies. I don't have one. No biggie. I get all kinds of spam for "performance enhancing" drugs and I don't have anything to... ummm..... enhance.

People are having babies. It's expected.

I'm not. That's life.

No matter if I had 1 more, 5 more or 10 more.... my baby-makin' days were bound to come to an end. And for the foreseeable future, they have.

Am I sad about it? Yes.

Am I happy about it? Yes.

(Please, please, please let ONE person named Mary read this post!!)

It is what it is. Feeling those tip-toeing around the fact that my boobs are purely decorative at this point of my life is worse than knowing that when my daughter grows out of her clothes I truly have no reason to keep them. (Not that it stops me from keeping a few items here and there.) I'm aware of the position I'm in. I'm aware what I'm missing out on... but this is what I have. 

The fact is I love my little family. I love being a mother to one. I could give you a list but here is my number one reason. Everytime, anytime; THIS is why I love having only one child.

When the ball of dirt, hair and smiles comes running to me with a dandy lion clenched in her fist, kisses it and gives it to me.

"I picked it and kissed it for you because I love you. It's a flower-kiss."

I can bundle her up in my arms, look into her (my) grey-blue eyes hiding behind the wisps of her dishwater blonde hair and tell her, without a doubt, without guilt, without a second thought.

"You are my favorite."

And it's the truth.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

1 1/2 Ingredient Body Wash

So it's a Make-it Monday..... with a Try-it Tuesday.

Yesterday I made some body wash. This is a project I've wanted to do for some time but I've had some epic fails in the past. With a little bit of research I found it's all in the soap you start out with.

You gotta use Dove. Not Irish Spring, not Dial, not Yardley....Dove. No I don't have any product endorsements in this blog (yet) but I'm telling you for this recipe you want Dove.

For this recipe you will need:

Dove Soap (2 4 oz. bars)

Yup. That's it...... two ingredients. Not even. Let's be real, here.  Water shouldn't really even count.
One and a half....

Snnnnniiiiiifffffffff! Ahhh,  smell that fresh soapy smell. It's awesome!

You COULD use any of the Dove soaps you wanted. The Pinky stuff, the Man-smell stuff. Whatever. It just needs to be -say it with me- Dove soap.

Here's the hardest part- Grate the two bars of soap.
As fine as you can, as much of it as you can.
You want this puppy to melt up fast so no big chunks-o-soap.

Put 4 cups of water and your two grated bars of soap in a BIG pot and put it on Med-Hi heat.

Like last week, you don't want this to boil over so stay in the kitchen and stir it up every so often until all your soapy chunks are gone and you have a big pot of clean smelling white stuff.

Once it's boiled down transfer the soap liquid to a bowl. I used my kitchenaid mixer bowl but if you don't have one, any ol' bowl will do.

And let it sit. For a long time. A couple of hours, until the liquid cools down and thickens a bit. 
I waited until the metal bowl was warm enough for me to touch it with both hands.

Side Note:
Hand wash the pot you used to boil down the soap stuff. Or you'll have four inches of bubbles in your dishwasher and an overflow of bubble water all over your kitchen floor.
Bonus: I have clean kitchen floors now.

Mix the soap in your kitchenaid or with a handheld mixer for a few minutes. Nothing magical about it. Just enough for the cool stuff on the top and sides mixes with the molten hot stuff in the middle. 

Funnel into bottles. I used condiment bottles I found at the grocery store for $1.50 each. 

That's it. Really.... Body wash for a couple bucks.

Now, although I made it yesterday I didn't USE it until today.

Do I like it? I LOVE IT!
It smells happy, it's thick,it cost me about $1.75 to make and I don't have to hide it from my family like I usually do!  I can make more for next to nothing. 

This was out of the bottle yesterday afternoon. A little runny. A little "meh".
I mean, it smelled good... but meh.

24 hours later.... look at that high quality body wash! 
That ain't no Suave body wash!
It's DOVE Body Wash!!!

Rating: Another win!!! If you like body wash and don't wanna dole it out in little paper cups to the family like I've contemplated, this is for you! Like I said, the hardest part is grating the soap. You can do this!!!

Extra bonus win: Your kitchen will smell nice and soapy clean for at least 24 hours..... I'll let you know when it fades!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Garage Sale-ing (or Teaching Your Child How Not to go in Debt)

The trees are budding, the tulips blooming and dandelions are plentiful.... Spring has sprung in our corner of the world! People are cleaning out their homes and it's Garage Sale season!

This morning I took my little girl to her first real neighborhood Garage Sale, not as a spectator but as a shopper! To make math real I doled out five one dollar bills. We talked about how each dollar was equal to four quarters OR 10 dimes OR 20 nickels. Honestly, I had no idea that $5 would buy so much! (Or that so many senior citizens would just give things to her for being so cute with her little purse. So much for the math lesson.)

She got one of every garage sale category; stuffed animal- check,  books- check, craft kits- check, outdoor toys- check, ziplock bag filled with odds and ends from a bigger, more elaborate play set- check...... she was having. a. ball!

Her last and most expensive purchase, for a whole dollar, was a Polly Pocket car that was obviously broken. Even though I pointed that out to her she insisted that she wanted it more than anything in the world and paid with her very last dollar. Within 5 minutes she looked at me and sobbed "It's not a great toy. It doesn't work at all." tears starting down her face.

I felt for her. I truly did. How many times have I bought something and was immediately hit with buyer's remorse. From little things like the fruity gum at the checkout that went waxy once the flavor ran out or a shirt on clearance that seemed OK but looks kinda meh now I have it at home... To big purchases like the SLR camera I bought under pressure when that electronics store went out of business at the mall that really isn't user friendly and now, two years later, I could have bought a Canon or Nikon for the same price... or my very first car that I bought on my very own: A '92 Chevy Lumina that was a BOAT but burst into flame less than 2 months into ownership. (After spending the same amount of money I paid for it to fix the alternator, starter and head gasket.)

But what did I want to teach her in this lesson in money and choices and frugality? I mean, I had a few dollar bills in my pocket. I could have just handed one over to her and it wouldn't have made a dent in my shopping plans. If I really wanted to I could have walked back to that house and told the seller that they sold a bum toy to a little girl and, I don't know, gotten her dollar back or exchanged it for another toy.( I mean, what kind of person sells a BROKEN toy at a garage sale?!?!? Ok, breathe in- breathe out. I'm OK. I'm OK...)  Either way the tears would stop and I could go on with the happy morning.

For some reason this seemed like a big lesson to her broken heart. (One I wish I had learned waaaaay before I bought that Lumina.)

I sat on some random person's front lawn with her little head on my shoulder and broken toy in her lap. She wailed for a bit and I just held her in her broken moment as people walked by and stared at the sweaty woman with the weeping child on her lap. The sweaty woman whose shirt exclaimed "Stay At Home ROCKSTAR".... I was not feeling like a Rockstar at the moment. I wanted to crawl up into a ball and die.

Once her breaths evened out I smoothed back the hairs plastered with sweat to her forehead. I explained that she made a bad purchase. How I gave her advice on what to do and she made her own choice and sometimes they come with their own consequences. That we need to not buy what our heart wants in the moment but to "stop, think and cho-o-oose". (Credit: Daniel Tiger)

"Momma, I should have listened to you."

"Yeah, I know you feel that way."

"I was foolish."

"It's OK. It happens. To everyone, even grownups."

"Mom, I'm never going to make a bad purchase again. I'm gonna stop, think and cho-o-oose next time."

Can I have that in writing?

We continued shopping, finding the motherlode of scholastic books. I went SHOPPING for our home library! At that same sale they had TONS of little girl toys, priced to sell. Little girl looked them over, played with a few and remarked to me as we left that house. "Momma, I ran out of money. I couldn't buy anything there, my heart wanted stuff but I knew I had no more money."

"Was it hard?"

"A little bit."

"I'm proud of you for making good choices."

.... and we literally skipped back to the car.

All this started as a Facebook Post but the story went on and on and on. I don't know what led me to share this slice of our day. But there it is. A moment of our real.

A moment of perspiration, tear, and snot soaked ugly turned into a learning moment for my little one. Reminded that if we can pray in the moment for the strength to stay cool we can turn it around. We can get back to that happy moment we had just left and all be a little better for it.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Liquid Dish Detergent (Borax free, no weird ingredients)

I spent a good hour pouring over recipes and grocery store websites. Picking and choosing meals everyone in the family would eat that were a little bit more nutritious than pasta and canned marinara sauce. Planning meals that could stretch from dinner to lunch and hopefully a bit to go in the freezer for later, too. I searched multiple grocery stores for the best choices in produce. I cleaned, cut up and divvied up veggies and fruits, putting them in individual packets for grab and go snacks. I had breakfasts, lunches AND dinners planned for a full 5 days.

I was feelin' pretty good about myself. I was all struttin' around the kitchen: "Who's that Proverbs 31 wife? Yup, you know it! Don't be hatin'. I'm just followin' scripture, boyyyeee!"

Then it was time to do dishes. With no dishwasher detergent.

(That's the air escaping my personal Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon.)

THEN I remembered that someone on Facebook had recently posted a recipe for dishwasher detergent. Scrambling, I looked it up but one of the ingredients was citric acid which I didn't have and Borax which is..... -sigh- in my opinion it's good for some things but not for others: Laundry soap? yeah. Tub scrub? sure. Dish soap that may, theoretically, end up in my, and my family's, digestive tract? can we find something else?

So a little Google search found me a recipe with ingredients I had on hand and no borax... and off I went making some dish detergent.

You will need:

1 1/2c Water
1/2c Vinegar
1/4c Dish Soap
2 Tbsp Salt
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
 1 Tbsp Washing Soda

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.
Stir on stove over medium heat until dissolved.

(NOTE: You do not need to boil this mixture. 
From previous experiences with liquid laundry soap I knew 
it does not take long for things of this nature to boil over. 
Take a few minutes, stand at the stove and stir 
until you feel the granules of the salt and washing soda "disappear".)

Let the soap cool and store in a glass container.
(or in the empty dish soap container you threw into the recycling yesterday. Not pictured.)

Happy Bubbles!

The bubbles look happy. The soap smells heavenly.... but does it work? Let's find out!

Today is Cinco De Mayo and I happen to have had a ham hock in the freezer from our Easter Ham. 
You know what that means! Beans and rice!!! MMMmmmmmmmmMMMM!

On my (nearly licked clean) plate is the aforementioned beans and rice. Some salsa, sour cream and cheese melted from the warmth of the beans straight 
from the dutch oven. MMMMmmmMMMM!
This was sitting in my sink for a good 45 minutes as I ran around after dinner doing other "wifey-mothery-facebooky" things.

I'm a slacker and generally don't rise off my dishes prior to going into the dishwasher. 
In fact when we went dishwasher shopping (11 years ago?) the only feature I wanted 
was to not have to pre-rinse my dishes... 
we got that dishwasher. 

Long story short, the dish was not pre-rinsed. Just popped in the dishwasher as is. 

Did it wash?

You tell me.

That be a clean plate.

A bit blurry but look at that shine!

So we got a win here! This is my new go-to dishwasher detergent! No borax (which really isn't good for washing dishes what with the fact that it's usually a main ingredient in ant bait), no citric acid, no other weird "I gotta go back to Wegman's.... again!" ingredients. 

Rating: You should totally do this! Today! Go turn of your computer/mobile device and make it, you'll be happier for it! (Happy bubbles, remember?!)