Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Busy!


Photos by: Jessica Chapman


I've been so busy keeping kids and house and dealing with some crazy stuff that's been thrown our way that I just haven't been able to get the camera out the last few days. And, although it's only been a few days, I'm feeling guilty for not posting new pics and stories for ya'll. I'll try tomorrow to get on the ball. After all, Camden has a new haircut to show off. We got rid of the bowl cut, and I MISS IT. Oh, I miss the little boy face that was under that bowl cut! And, miss Ella Bella is doing some crazy stuff with her hair, too... she likes to twirl a little piece on the side of her head, so she has a little horn that just will not go away. We have a full day again tomorrow. The good news? I'm getting a lot done. Rooms are getting "spring cleaned" and reorganized. And, I've discovered that my bedroom closet actually has a floor! (gasp!)- which is totally cleared out and looks amazing. It's awesome what getting RID of stuff can feel like. Sometimes we hold on to things because we can't bear to get rid of them, but I honestly couldn't BEAR looking at all THE STUFF that we had in there... LOL- so Rid we did, and it feels so awesome to actually WALK IN to my WALK IN CLOSET! Yay! I'm talking every last detail is organized, and I was totally bragging to my sister about it today. Yes. I'm very happy with my ability to rid the excess and keep "only what you love". Wow! :)

...and, some new pictures went up in the master bedroom, so I'll be taking pics of those soon. ...and some new ceramic pieces that my grandma bought are ready to go up, and I'll take pictures as soon as it's all done. It's almost where I want it. I have pillows and a quilt for the foot of the bed planned, but those will come later on in the year. I have too many projects before then.

Okay well that's the quick and dirty update and now I'm off to bed.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

He learned it from his Granddaddy


Photos by: Jessica Chapman

More Storage!


Photos by: Jessica Chapman


for a little girl who has a lot of stuff.

Ella's Room Redo


Photos by: Jessica Chapman


Ella's room is still the same theme, but as I said earlier in the week, she has so much stuff, we needed a new organization system. So, a new shelving unit, a new rolly-cart with drawers and voila!, She has more space! Here, you can see my favorite sitting corner in her room. I've added the butterfly stained glass window as I said before, and my French Toast Girl paintings that used to be displayed downstairs.. I love how the pieces look in her room. I also had room for the new bunny that Gee and Granddaddy brought her, and the Cabbage Patch Kids that Granny Annie got her for Christmas. Her room is beautiful, still, but just with a few more little touches here and there.

Japanese Baby Dress


Photos by: Jessica Chapman


Made by Mommy!! This little dress features designer fabrics by Michael Miller and Moda. It is fully lined with Moda pink and white leafy print. It has a big pink bow in the back. Bloomers to match. And I'm still working on the matching bow.

Japanese Baby Dress- Back.


Photos by: Jessica Chapman


Made by Mommy!

Hannah & Hailey


Photos by: Jessica Chapman


Hannah and Hailey stayed with us last week for a little bit and Joe had a great time playing "tea party" and "cooking" with them. We can't wait for Ella to get this age!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Rocklily Block


Photos by: Jessica Chapman

The Sew~Amy Picnic Party Block


Photos by: Jessica Chapman


I was up late sewing tonight.

Can you tell?!

I had a bit of March blocks to get caught up on!

Tub Time


Photos by: Jessica Chapman


Sitting up has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for us! Even at bathtime! :)

Fabric Contrast


Photos by: Jessica Chapman


I used the red polka dot for the apron trim because I love the contrast. Ya'll know how much I love turquoise and red! This apron is so lovely!

Strawberry Apron for Connie


Photos by: Jessica Chapman


This cute little apron was made without a pattern, I sort of just designed it as I went along. It's super cute. And it's headed to Connie.

Family Meal Planning & Organizing

Just wanted to offer my experience on how I organize and plan our family meals.

As a busy mom with a 3 year old, a 7 month old, and a husband who works all the time, but takes time out of his day to make it for dinner- every night, a lot of planning goes in to making sure that we have home made meals each night. It was not always this way, we used to be the three night a week takeout/eatout people because of poor planning and hectic lifestyles. But after realizing that a family meal is the most important thing, and after the birth of our daughter, we decided to slow things down a bit and add a bit more planning and organizing to be sure that we are enjoying family meals together. (And not over spending on foods that are unhealthy anyway!)

The first thing I do is plan a weeks worth of meals. I also have 3 or so "fast back up meals" on hand- for those times when I get home late, I forgot to thaw something out, or something hectic/crazy happens and I don't have as much time as I thought to devote to cooking. Having these back up meals helps us avoid the unhealthy (and pricey) take out meals that I mentioned before, and that my three year old probably wouldn't eat anyway! (He is a very healthy eater!)

I grocery shop for my weeks worth of meals and I'm extra careful to be sure that I have all the essentials on hand ahead of time. I wash, dice, chop, and prepare all of my fresh fruits and veggies in advance so on weeknights that is already done for me. I tend to like to do all of this on Friday, Saturday or Sunday afternoon, to prepare for a smooth week. It's actually more fun to do this when you get back from the grocery store as you are cleaning out the fridge from the week before and organizing everything.

I also sometimes label certain items that I have purchased for meals, because my husband and 3 year old are notorious for digging into something that I had set aside or purchased for a specific meal.

I post my menu that I have created on the fridge. In the morning, I look at it as I'm getting the kids breakfast, and set the things out that I will need on the counter, and thaw the meat if necessary. Then, when things are out on the counter already, I don't even have to think about it at the end of a long day, I just grab the things that I need to cook and get to it. I keep a little plastic bin in the front of my fridge for fresh items that I will need that need to stay refrigerated, and I move those items to that bin, so I have my dry goods sitting out on the counter and my cold goods right in the front of the fridge ready to be prepared.

I start cooking, and feed the baby as I go so I can actually sit down and enjoy a meal with my husband and three year old. The baby sits in the high chair in the kitchen as I'm cooking and I give her "drive by bites" since she's such a fussy eater and takes forever to eat. And sure, this will change as she grows, but this is what works right this very moment. I also wash dishes as I use them and use the dishwasher as a drying rack, and then put them all away the next morning. So, all of my dishes are done by the end of the meal except for the plates, cups and forks that we used and the serving dishes, which normally house our leftovers anyway.

By creating a menu, I save time and money and we waste less food. A little planning and organizing goes a long way!!

Weekend Update


Photos by: Littlecottonrabbits


Isn't ellie-rose just adoreable? Littlecottonrabbits has such cute stuff!

Okay, Ella and I had a good weekend. Joe and Camden went out of town to visit Grannie Annie and help her with some house stuff, so Ella and I used the opportunity to have some friends over and have a girls weekend. Joe and Camden left at 11am on Saturday, and Ella and I cleaned from 11am until 6pm. I organized and dusted and cleared out old products from my bathroom that had expired, etc.... When I start cleaning, I get very detail oriented and have to make sure every last detail is perfect. It's the OCD in me.

Stephanie and PJ arrived at 6pm, we had dinner and had fun with the kids!

Once Ella and PJ were in bed, Sheena came over too. We sat around, drank good wine, and talked about our lives, our kids, and anything else you could imagine.


Then we woke up on Sunday and I helped Stephanie finish her first quilt. We decided not to go to church today because Ella didn't sleep well last night and I actually slept in until 10am! WOW! Stephanie left around 2pm, and then Ella and I reorganized her entire room.

Seriously, this girl has some CLOTHES. And maybe it's because she's 7 months and she is still wearing her 3 month clothing!!! She was running out of room and things were getting buried because she didn't have enough drawer space for all of her clothing, bedding, blankies, etc. She also has a lot of accessories and other stuff, so, I picked up a few organizing tools inclidng cute baskets, bins and a drawer set....and we whipped her room into shape. It looks awesome now!!!

I was able to put out her cabbage patch animal babies from Grannie Annie and her new chenille pink bunny from Gee and Granddaddy. I also relocated a few of my favorite things into her room- my french toast girl paintings, and my butterfly stained glass window that Joe's mom got me before Joe and I got married. It's a perfect "garden" window, and we took it down when we did our beach room decor, and I'm happy that it has found a new home in Ella's window.

So, the entire upstairs is clean, organized and beautiful. Whew! That felt awesome! Because, during the week, I don't get to go upstairs much other than to change Ella, and put her in her bed. I'm always down stairs with the boys and don't want them out of my sight, so I just don't venture up there.... and by the end of the day, I'm too tired to do much by way of a huge organizing project. SO, I'm SOO happy that it is done and out of the way! ...and it feels SO GOOD to spend time up there now! A clean, clutter-free, organized home is pure bliss!

My next adventure is my kitchen! Oh, it needs help! BUT, I will be taking and posting photos of the upstairs tomorrow, and I will save the kitchen project for next weekend!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hopeful Hannah - An Owl Sitter


Photos by: Jessica Chapman


For Terry in Canada.

Spring, Spring, Spring!


Photos by: Jessica Chapman

Our Spring Book Selections


Photos by: Jessica Chapman


The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
and
Home for a Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown <-- My fav!

These are ALL my favorites but I've always loved Home for a Bunny. I've been reading this book to Camden since he was a year old. The boys enjoyed the books for today, and learned a lot about SPRING.

Spring is Here!


Photos by: Jessica Chapman

Our spring collages from this morning. The boys had a fun time coloring, cutting and gluing. :)

Happy 1st Day of Spring!

I have plenty of birdie activites planned for the boys today- and we are reading a ton of spring themed books! Happy 1st day of Spring! I will share with you later my BIRD QUILT that I'm planning for Spring, too! (and this one will be for ME!)

And I just LOVE how Google is celebrating.



Kudos to them for celebrating Spring AND one of the best authors ever, Eric Carle. WE just LOVE the Very Hungry Caterpillar. It's one of Camden's top 5 favorite books.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sitting Up! - Finally a milestone for our midget. :)


Photos by: Jessica Chapman


Ella is SITTING UP! WE are so super excited.

My little heart.


Photos by: Jessica Chapman

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Photos by: Jessica Chapman

Camden and Dylan made St. Patrick's Day Clover Handprints. They had so much fun rubbing their hands in the green paint. They thought it was so cool. They also made lucky charm necklaces and pressed clover-flower refrigerator magnets. Once we got on a roll with making stuff, we just kept going. They were both being cooperative and having fun, so we just rolled with it.

For lunch, we had Green Tuna Salad Sandwiches, Green Apple slices, and Green Juice! They were weary about the green Tuna Salad at first, but once I told them it was "shrek food" they were gobbiling it up. LOL.

We had a good St. Paddy's day!

St. Paddy's Day Cupcakes


Photos by: Jessica Chapman

Dylan brought over St. Paddy's day cupcakes to share. They were awesome and the boys had green faces before it was over. :)

Torpedo Footballs


Photos by: Jessica Chapman

They are throwing their new torpedo footballs that Dylan brought over. They played outside with them for an hour. Boys! :)

She is grabbing EVERYTHING now. :)


Photos by: Jessica Chapman

Floral Binding


Photos by: Jessica Chapman

I love this Moda fabric that I used for the binding. A mixture of light pink, white and maroon. It's perfect. :)

Placemat Set


Photos by: Jessica Chapman

This is a very dark photo, but this is the placemat set that I made for my sisters. I think they came out cute, and will be making a set of my own once we get our new kitchen table. :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

This really hit home with me. Click through it and think about it.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Photos by: Jessica Chapman

I have a ton of fun things planned for the boys today. Everyone is wearing green. Dylan brought over green cupcakes. We are having a GREEN meal for lunch. We are going to paint green pictures, and make clover magnets. It's going to be a blast.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

#1,568th reason why my husband loves me.

It's all about the dirt cake.............. LOL.

My mom and dad are in town - staying with my sisters down the street, and I just made this dessert to go with our meal this evening. Camden and Joe are EXCITED. They LOVE this dessert!

Okay, I admit, this isn't MY dirt cake recipe, but one that was passed to me from my Mema, and I've made it this way ever since. You can find variations by searching on the internet, but I have tried most of them and I think this one is certainly the best. However, I have tweaked it for my liking. Some of the recipes out there are so sweet they make you ill after a few bites, but this one- well, let's just say it's so good you will eat the whole flower pot, and someone will be licking the trowel and artificial flower stems. :)

So, here it is: THE FAMOUS DIRT CAKE RECIPE

(I do believe this is one of the reasons my husband fell in love with me, by the way, hence the title of this post. So, if you are currently trying to woo an Oreo-loving man, I highly recommend making this. You'll have him at O-reo.)


Ingredients
1 stick of butter, softened
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 LARGE packages instant vanilla pudding mix
5 cups milk
1 container Cool Whip
1 pkg Oreos

Directions
Toss all cookies into a large ziplock bag, hand it to a three year old and have them crunch them up. (my son thinks this is the best part, especially since he's learned to seal and reseal a ziplock bag so he can sneak a whole cookie now and again.)

Mix butter, & cream cheese with a handmixer until whipped and creamy.

In a large bowl mix milk, pudding and whipped topping together.

Combine pudding mixture and cream cheese/butter mixture together.

Layer in flower pot, starting with cookies then cream mixture then cookies on top.

Chill until ready to serve.

Add artificial flower and trowel if you really want to get fancy. Add gummy worms if a bunch of kids will be eating it. (I leave gummy worms off, as I don't like the eewy gooeyness that they get after being in the dirt cake for awhile, and I don't like how the gummy worm taste gets into the oreos/pudding mixture...)

Enjoy!

(photo courtesy of MarthaStewart.com)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sisters Visit


Photos by: Jessica Chapman


I went over to my sisters house during naptime today for a quick visit, Cammy and I. I had to drop off my beloved B3 laundry sorter to Christina who claimed it when I told them both it was up for grabs. Now that my laundry room is my sewing studio, I don't have room for that cart, even though it's really really cool and I lusted after it for awhile before finally buying it. Hopefully she puts it to good use. :) I, on the other hand, do laundry every day now, so there is no need for such a cart. Our dirty laundry goes right in the washer. This system works for me and keeps dirty laundry off of our floors.

While I was there, I took my quilt, because I had wanted to photograph it at their house, as it matches SO perfectly- with their yellow walls and plum/maroon couches, it looks like it was made for the space.

And I just may have to order some more of these fabrics and make them a placemat set. I think it would be beautiful.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Birdy Binding & Seed Fabric


Photos by: Jessica Chapman

A close up of the little birdies perched along the binding, and the yellow "seed" fabric. This quilt was finished Sunday. More below.

Birds & Blooms Quilt


Photos by: Jessica Chapman

The Birds & Blooms Quilt was completed on Sunday. It is now featured in my shop. I love, love, love it. My wonderful husband says that the photo just doesn't do it justice. He agrees that it's much, much more beautiful in person. My favorite is the birdy binding, with all the little birds perched on the sides. And the yellow sashing features bird "seeds". It's the little details that really make a quilt special. This quilt measures about 35 x 31. The perfect size for a baby quilt, a wall hanging, or a special lap quilt for someone in a wheelchair.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

At Peace with the Binding


Photos by: Jessica Chapman


I'm finishing up the birds and blooms quilt this morning. This one is for my shop.

I commented to my friend Kacy awhile back that I hate, hate, HATE handsitching the binding. It's the last thing that you do before the quilt is finished. Before you can wash it to gain that crinkle, vintage look. It is something that seemingly takes SO LONG... at the point where you just want the quilt to be DONE.

But, really, I've made peace with the binding. I have ENJOYED stitching the binding on this one. It's like I'm sealing it up with love. It gives me time to sit with the quilt, the body of it draped over my lap, and stitch, and admire my hard work in piecing, in choosing a background, in the detail of the backing, and, sitting with these beautiful fabrics really isn't bad at all.

So, even though I'm a go-go-go type of person, I have learned the beauty of just sitting for a bit and taking it all in. This quilt will be done soon, and I'm super excited.

Friday, March 06, 2009

She loves him.


Photos by: Jessica Chapman

And they are getting along so well lately. So well. He takes great care in handling her, and she laughs and giggles and smiles each time she sees him. It's amazing to watch.

Today we went on a trip to the Tallahassee Museum of History and Science. Camden and Dylan had a blast looking at all of the animals and running along the boardwalks. Ella was content to ride in the stroller and watch. We went with Ms. Sheena and the twins, and Camden and Dylan were very nice and polite to the girls. Afterward, we all ate at McDonalds. The boys just thought it was the best thing. I am sorry that I don't have any pictures. Keeping up with three kids and all the stuff that comes along with three kids is a feat, so I didn't want to risk taking my beloved camera and losing it.

I am looking forward to a fun moms night out tonight, we are headed to the craft store and then to Jasmine! Woohoo!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

A Walk.


Photos by: Jessica Chapman

I took a walk to the mailbox today during the boys nap. Ella and I scooted along. I brought my camera with me, and my good lens. Besides the neighbors looking at me like I was some kind of FBI spy, It was a nice walk. I took a few photos that came out well, including this one.

And it was such a perfect photo for the day. Really. Because day before yesterday this was a bright yellow flower. And today, it's already a seed head. The dandelion can change from flower to seed head over night. Each seed has a tiny parachute to spread far and wide in the wind.

I like to think of this as a flower for me today. Each seed head is a moment that I spend with the boys and with Ella. A seed that will travel, and will be planted. It has been a trying last few weeks, and I'm happy to have gotten back into a sort of routine with the boys. And although some times are tough, and I'm exausted at the end of the day, it's all worth it. Because my little dandelion seeds are being planted: a love for God, a compassion for others, a love for art and books. It's all worthwhile, because although it may not seem important today, or tomorrow, or the next day, it's these tiny seeds that will shape these boys (and girl).

And that's the most important job of all.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Nettie Block


Photos by: Jessica Chapman

The bottom part is my favorite, where she's grabbing for the flowers. I admit, that was planned, but I like my idea, still.

The Sew-Do-I Block ~ SC3


Photos by: Jessica Chapman

This is on it's way to Thailand.

Monday, March 02, 2009

A New Project


Photos by: Jessica Chapman

I started a new project. This one, I'm in love with. I can't wait to see the finished product!

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!


Photos by: Jessica Chapman

Today we are having a day full of Dr. Seuss fun!

We read The Cat in the Hat, One fish, Two fish, Red fish, Blue fish, and Green Eggs & Ham. We even had green eggs and ham for lunch!

After naptime we will watch Horton Hears a Who while we color our Horton pictures.

It has been a fun day!

Green Eggs and Ham


Photos by: Jessica Chapman

Saying our Lunch Prayers


Photos by: Jessica Chapman