Toddler Dress: The Girl’s Fringe

Wendy has been needing a new dress for awhile now and after shopping around a bit, I decided just to make her one! Ben bought me the Fringe Dress pattern from Chalk and Notch for Christmas and shortly after they released the Girl’s version. I was super excited when I saw that the sizes run from 12 months to 12 years! I definitely have plans to make some twinning dresses for me and both my girls (I think for Easter!), but I  was glad to make a small one just for Wendy to kind of test the pattern out and get my bearings.

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Honestly, I haven’t been sewing clothes for very long but there are several things I’m comfortable with. As a result I think I sometimes get to thinking I’m actually good at sewing (ha!) but sewing patterns is a good reminder to me that I am very much a beginner!

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This particular pattern had a couple things I’d never done before-including a lining! I also busted out my never-been-used blind hemming foot to sew the hem. So the pattern was a challenge BUT the instructions were SO easy and thorough that I was never confused about what to do or how to do it.

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I sewed Wendy’s dress in a 2T. In retrospect, I think I could’ve gotten away with sewing her an 18 month size, but this way we have room to grow! The fabric is a rayon from Joann’s.

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I forgot to get a picture of the back when we were outside for thirty seconds taking pictures (and freezing our buns off!-which is why we were only out for thirty seconds) so here’s a close up of the back and you can get a better feel for the fabric. It’s very colorful and bright and I love it.

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Here’s Wendy’s model pose! Haha! I love this girl!

Books Lately

I haven’t done a book post in forever! I’ve been reading plenty, but I just haven’t taken the time to do a post- -for some reason these posts take forever to write so they get put off. Anyhow, here’s a few of the books I’ve read in the last little bit and what I thought:

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The Lunar Chronicles (Books 1-4 {Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, & Winter}) by Marissa Meyer

About: The Lunar Chronicles is a loose retelling of four classic fairy tales (Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel & Snow White). It starts with Cinder, a pretty regular teenage girl who works as a mechanic and feels picked on by her obnoxious step-mother. But she’s also a cyborg. When she meets the prince of New Beijing she doesn’t expect to fall for him, but she also doesn’t expect to discover crucial information about the Eastern Commonwealth’s relationship with Luna all on the Prince’s android she just happens to be fixing.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️5 Out of 5 Stars: There is a LOT I could say about this series. First, let me say that I often choose books without reading their summaries if I see them around on social media enough. So I had no idea that this series was so very sci-fi, futuristic, fantasy, dystopian, teenage romance-y. But it is. So don’t let that surprise you. After reading Cinder I was not very impressed at all. The story had so many loose ends, it was pretty predictable and very out there, in terms of plot. But I decided to give the next book a try and I’m so glad I did! I ended up loving the series as a whole. I feel like if you go into the books knowing what you’re getting (YA sci-fi, romance, etc.) you’ll be able to enjoy them more. Here are some reasons I loved these books:

  • Meyer does a pretty good job keeping each story close enough to its fairytale that it’s recognizable but still exciting and (mostly) unpredictable.
  • Each book builds on each other so in Cinder you’re mostly reading about Cinder, but in Scarlet you read about Cinder and Scarlet. It keeps things progressing at a good pace.
  • The books are totally 100% clean! (imo)
  • I feel like so many books these days are written with hopes to become movies and it shows. I never got the hopes-to-be-a-movie vibe which was so SO refreshing. In fact, in an interview with Meyer at the end of my audiobook she said that her publishers were asking her to write a fifth book but she declined because that just wasn’t how the story went. Good for her!

Even though I totally loved these books, I wouldn’t recommend them to everyone. If you’re into the genres listed above, definitely give them a try! Also, I ended up reading Stars Above and truthfully I felt like I could take it or leave. There’s like a huge fandom for The Lunar Chronicles and I feel like Stars Above was written more for the diehard fans. Truthfully I’d say you could skip that one unless you fall into the diehard category. But I have heard Fairest is super good so that one is on my To-Read list!

 

Educated by Tara Westover

About: An autobiographical memoir about growing up with extremist, survivalist parents and what it took to break free.

⭐️⭐️⭐️3 out 5 Stars: This is the book everyone is talking about so I’m interested if any of you have read it and what you thought! For me, I really loved the first half of the book and then really struggled with the second half. The first part was so interesting and there were lots of crazy happenings that kept it going at a quick pace. Then the end got super repetitive and it seemed like Westover wasn’t quite sure how to end her story. There were a few main things that really bothered me about the book. First and foremost, I feel like there were a few occasions where Westover misrepresented the church I belong to  (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or Mormons). For the most part, she made it clear that her parents weren’t really teaching what was being taught at church but by the end of the book it was pretty clear that her interpretation of the church’s teachings is that women are inferior to men and ought to only have goals pertaining to motherhood and be submissive to their husbands. Yikes! I completely disagree! I’ve always understood (and been taught, I daresay) that men and women are equal. I’m really sad that she came to this conclusion, but reading about her parent’s relationship and some unfortunate conversations she had in college, I can understand why she believes this to be true. Another thing that bothered me was that, when I stopped to think about it, I realized Westover is only 4 years older than me. She’s barely into her thirties. And I feel like she’s written this book pretending to have a lot more wisdom than she actually has. Don’t get me wrong, the book is very well written and Westover has a PhD. But there wasn’t much closure in the ending and I just feel like maybe a decade or two plus a little more healing would have given a more satisfying ending. The book is pretty good, very intriguing and made me think a little about education (probably more about parenting). Is it a MUST read (as I’ve seen many people insist)? Not in my opinion., although I don’t consider having read it a waste of time.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

About: Leni is used to moving around a lot, but when her dad moves her and her mom up to Alaska something seems different. Dad’s never been the same since returning from Vietnam and for the first time in a long time Leni thinks things are turning up. That is until winter comes and she realizes she has more fear within the walls of her own home than out among the wild world.

⭐️⭐️⭐️3.5 stars out of 5: Unfortunately for me (and Kristin Hannah), after having this book on hold for months, it came available to me only a few days after our big earthquake. So as Hannah described some of the terrors of living in Alaska, I was a little wary if I even wanted to continue. But I did finish and I ended up enjoying it mostly. The first half drags as we see the same thing happen over and over again. But the last half is filled with so many plot twists that the story moves right along. My first response to the ending was kind of like, “Um…are you serious?” But then I just decided to like how it ended despite my qualms. I do have to say that this was my first Kristin Hannah book and I was kind of surprised that her writing style wasn’t anything to write home about considering how much hype surrounds her books. I think some authors are great writers and some are great storytellers and Hannah falls into the storyteller category. Even though I ended up liking it, this isn’t a book I would readily recommend to everyone because it’s very dramatic and a wee bit unbelievable.

Alaskan Courage Series by Dani Pettrey

About: Bailey vowed never to return to her hometown of Yancey, Alaska but when her aunt dies, she has to go back to get things in order. She’s surprised when she runs into Cole McKenna and even more surprised when he asks for her help in solving a mystery concerning two divers and a hidden treasure.

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3.5 out of 5 stars: I read the first of this series (the one described above) when we lived in the bush. I just finished the fifth and last of the series and for the most part, they are pretty good books. They fit into the “Christian Mystery Romance” genre (yes, apparently that’s a thing), so they are very clean and can be very cheesy. In fact, I took a long break from them after the third one and when I picked up the fourth I was a little incredulous. Were they all that cheesy? Had I forgotten? But reading the fifth left me feeling better-it wasn’t nearly as sappy. So maybe Pettrey had a hard time writing the fourth book? I don’t know. Let the fact that the series took me several years to finish attest to the fact that they’re not super amazing books, but they are nice for a moderately exciting, know-what-you’re-getting-into (the book follows each of one of the 5 McKenna siblings as they fall in love and solve some sort of mystery), fun little read. The books are very Alaska-y and very adventurous.

Christmas Jammies

Well Christmas has passed and you guys might be all holiday-ed out. But I just wasn’t organized enough this year to post about our Christmas jammies BEFORE Christmas. Maybe next year will be that year. But THIS year, you get to read about our matching pajamas 2 weeks late.

Do you guys do matching pajamas for Christmas? My mom always made matching pajamas for my family when I was growing up. There were years she threatened to stop doing it just because of how much time and work it took (she had 7 kids to make pajamas for!), but we always begged her to keep the tradition going and she would.

When I was a little older my mom told us about how the tradition had started in her family growing up. My grandma always made matching pajamas for her children as well. One year, around Christmastime, my mom’s family adopted my Aunt Richelle, who was 8 at the time. My mom said that Richelle was very quiet and reserved. On Christmas Eve that year, my grandma brought out the matching pajamas and Richelle later said she knew that there wouldn’t be any pajamas for her because she didn’t belong in the family. But of course my grandma had made pajamas for everyone including Richelle. That’s when Richelle knew she was apart of the family and when she started to be more comfortable around them.

I don’t know if I’ll always do matching pajamas, but I sure am grateful for this sweet story and I definitely think about it every year whether we’ve got matching pajamas or not! I like what the matching pajamas represent.

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This year I really loved making these jammies! I will take advantage of any time I can make these girlies match! I had a few different ideas for pajamas, but in the end I decided to just a simple shirt and pants with ribbing trim.

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I got my fabric from Joann’s. The cactus fabric is a cotton knit. And the ribbing is a rayon, polyester, spandex blend that is sparkly (why I chose it) and verrrrrry stretchy.

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I made my own patterns, just by tracing jammies the girls already had. It was super easy.

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I got a serger last year, which made sewing these knits a cinch! One new thing I tried out with these jammies was a twin needle for hemming. I honestly don’t know why using a twin needle doesn’t get more hype. You can see the hem of the shirt in the above picture and how it’s been hemmed with a twin needle. It was so easy to use and took my hems to the next level without any extra effort from me (it looks better irl than in the picture).

If your machine can do a zig zag stitch (which I don’t know why they’d make one that can’t), it can handle a twin needle. They only cost a couple of bucks and I definitely think they are worth buying!

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For kind of winging it, I think these jammies turned out really well! I had a lot of fun making them and working on these jams made me want to turn it into an every year tradition. Although I think next year I’ll use fabric that’s a little less Christmas-y so that I can get away with posting about them after Christmas and you guys won’t have to gag from looking at one more Christmas post!

December 2018

I guess I’m going to squeeze one more post into 2018…and, okay, there’s really no need for squeezing since 2018 wasn’t my most stellar year for regular posting. Oh well. I’m hoping to keep posting through 2019 but I’m not sure about regularity quite yet. I like posting once a week but I don’t know if I have the content to keep that up. We’ll see! I know my blog is small and I only have like four followers, but if there’s any posts you’d like to see more of, let me know! Anyhooooooow…here’s a few happenings from this month along with a healthy amount of Christmasy pictures:)

•Post big earthquake life has been no joke. The aftershocks have tapered but we even felt one today. Life keeps going but there is certainly a fear at the back of my mind that needs to be kept in check. And poor Wendy still gets nervous any time she hears a loud or unexpected noise. We hear our neighbors often so Wendy’s gotten to where if she hears something she’ll say, “It’s just the neighbors.” I’m pretty sure we inadvertently are conditioning her to hate neighbors. Whoops…

•We’ve done some really fun activities this month. Our church had a Christmas party and they invited some reindeer! I had to ask around to confirm but no, reindeer are NOT at every Christmas party up here so we really got a treat! They’re surprisingly soft and sweet creatures!

•We also has the opportunity to go cross country skiing with a couple from our church. There’s a groomed and lit trail not too far from us. We had so much fun that we decided to give each other skis for Christmas. We even got Wendy a little pair. We’ve taken her out once and she seemed to enjoy it. We’re hoping to take the skis out a couple more times before Ben goes back to school.

•This was our first Christmas ever that was just us and I honestly had mixed feeling about it. I’ve always wanted to just do our own thing (traveling during the winter gives me anxiety) but since Ben has always had long breaks, it’s just made sense to visit family for Christmas. This year Ben still has a long break but we knew traveling wasn’t in our budget. So we stayed at home and lots of it I loved but we also knew each of our families were spending so much time together and it was hard to know we were missing out. There’s benefits and downfalls to both staying home and traveling I suppose.

•I will say our Christmas Day really was wonderful. We just hung out, snuggled, and played. The girls seemed to have lots of fun. We felt so loved-so many of our presents under the tree were sent from family members who said they just wanted to make sure we knew we were missed and loved. And Wendy fell asleep that night in like two seconds which was really really nice.

•I know-blah, blah, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas. Sorry! It’s just such a big focus in December! So this was really our first year of having kids on Christmas AND having them understand what was going on. I know traditions are going to develop and morph over the years, but I wanted to have some traditions in place. I think we did an okay job but man, oh man, I have GOT to get going a lot earlier next year. I feel like I crammed way too much that last week before Christmas and it really makes it harder to keep Christ at the center of Christmas. Here’s to being a more responsible adult next Christmas season!

•But I did feel good about the amount of sewing I got done this month! I made the girls matching jammies. And I made jogger pants for both Ben and I. And I had so much fun making everything! I would’ve had more fun if I wasn’t finishing hems 2 minutes before dinner on Christmas Eve, but whatever.

2018 was kind of a crazy year for us. We had a lot of big changes and unexpected happenings. But we’ve also been so blessed, especially that we have each other. During this coming year I’m hoping to get a little bit better at adulting, be a little more kind and a little more patient, and keep enjoying the sunshine.

DIY Quiet Books

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I thought the day would never come!

But here we are, many many months after dreaming up this project and not only are the quiet books FINISHED they are also shipped to their respective owners. The only thing that’s left is to throw mine into the trash because I’m so sick of looking at it I think it’d do best there!

Ha! I’m joking of course…kind of.

No, this project has been so fun. It has taken a LOT longer than I had anticipated but I loved working on these quiet books.

So one of the main reasons these books took so long—hey, have you noticed I’ve been using the plural version of books—is because I decided to make a quiet book for my girls AND for all the little girl cousins as well, which ended up being SIX books in total. So when I made a page, I really made SIX pages. So, yeah, it took some time.

The reason I decided to make lots of quiet books is because I love all my sweet little nieces and, as I was buying lots of the supplies, I realized that it just made sense. For example, many of the buttons I bought for the I Spy page came in packages of six. Another example: I could buy 4 zippers at Joann’s for 2 dollars a piece, or I could buy a pack of 100 zippers for $8 on Amazon. Buying in bulk proved to be most cost effective and where I know lots of littles, I just decided to take the plunge.

I got lots of my ideas from Pinterest and a couple from Instagram. There were so many cute pages to consider, but when I started to get going I realized that lots of the pages I was seeing were impractical because of how much time I’d have to put into them. So I tweaked my plan as I went and worked on a page by page basis. I wanted to do lots of other pages, but when it came down to it, I was ready to get these Quiet Books out of the way so I could work on other projects.

My biggest rule for my pages was that everything (with one exception you’ll see at the end) had to be attached to the book. I cannot imagine putting a ton of work into something that’s just going to get lost. A quiet book is supposed to help with stress not add more of it! I also tried hard to think of things that would actually keep kids busy, not just be something to look at. Time will tell if I did a good job with this goal!

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(Forgive the bluish pictures-daylight up here is weird during the winter.)

I had lots of ideas for a cover page, but as it was the last page to complete, I kept it relatively simple. I did add buckles to keep the book closed because Wendy is wild for buckling things. Like it literally kept her busy for hours during our drive to Alaska! Ha!

So let’s just open this guy up already…

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Ta-da!!! The car, boat and plane all move back and forth across the page. This was the first page I made and after dealing will all those tiny pieces, I decided to keep things simpler with the other pages but this is one of the cutest pages!

I’ve seen lots of cute quiet books that are just texture books. I love that idea so I decided to incorporate it in my quiet books by having the page opposite be a texture page. This one is probably my favorite texture page–it’s reversible sequins! Which will keep anyone busy-child or adult!

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This page has the zipper rainbow! And on the left is a crushed velvet.

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The I Spy page was the most fun to shop for. I bought everything for it when I was still pregnant with Greta and Wendy and I went all over scouring craft stores and stores like Marshalls and Tuesday Mornings to find little trinkets to add. Buttons were an easy thing to add, especially because we found buttons that looked like cows or strawberries or snowflakes. Scrapbooking stuff was also oftentimes a win. I didn’t use these but I think alphabet beads would be awesome to use. We added other things you can find around the house like pennies and paperclips. When we bought everything, I was looking for anything that was itty bitty, but when I started sewing the pages together, I really wished we had some bigger things-maybe even up to 2 inches tall (my pages are 9 inch squares). Oh well. For whatever reason, I was so set on using Poly-Pellets (which were surprising hard to find) to fill these but you could easily use rice.

I’m so sad you can’t really make out the fabric on the left but it’s this super awesome  pink fabric with an iridescent netting overlay. It’s kind of bumpy. It makes me think of mermaids. I love it.

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I the idea for this page on Instagram and I thought it was genius but the actual execution took some tiiiiiiiime. And some trial and error.

It’s a puzzle…

Eh?? Kind of cool, right? So I used Heat n Bond to iron the butterfly/tiger onto a plain white background then I sliced them into 9 pieces and matched them up. I tried sewing them together with my machine but the needle accumulated glue and started skipping stitches. So I ended up blanket stitching each one by hand. And even then I couldn’t always get the yarn linking them together perfectly straight. This page gave me the most headaches by far. But I like how they turned out (mostly).

On the left is a soft bumpy orange minky.

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The balloon button page was super easy and it got me verrrrry comfortable with sewing buttonholes!

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On the left is a kind of spacey iridescent silver (who knew I’d have so many opportunities to say iridescent in one post! #blessed ;).

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You made it! This is the last page! On the left, I used a gold flecked plush fleece (very soft) and on the right I designed a little page that can unbutton…

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To this fun little coloring station (and the only page that has removables–what’s a lost crayon? Not at all stress inducing!)!

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I bound each of the pages as you would bind a quilt (on a sewing machine, thank heavens!), adding ribbon loops to the left edges so that I could bind the pages together. I was planning on using binder rings for binding, and I even ordered some on Amazon, but I ended up not liking how that looked at all. So instead I used faux leather ribbon to tie the pages together. It’s not my favorite look but it does the job. (On a semi-related note, if anyone needs 50 2-inch binder rings, give me a shout.)

So, if you want to make your own quiet book, here’s some advice you might want to consider:

  • Forget wasting all your time and just go buy a ready made activity book from Barnes and Noble. Haha! I kid! Mostly! But really, it is a time investment (and I believe it’d be a time investment even if you’re not making six books at once), so make sure you’re committed. And, I’m serious. While I was knees deep in felt and buttons, I’d see really nice quiet-type books for not a bad price. It’s worth considering if you’re not sure you’re up for the long haul.
  • Having said that, I had a friend tell me that how she’s done quiet books is that she gets a group of friends and they each make multiples of one page and then share the pages. So you end up with a variety of pages. This is GENIUS! If I ever want to make another quiet book THIS is how I’ll do it.
  • If you still want to make your own (I truthfully had a LOT of fun making these…and it gave me something to do while I listened to the Lunar Chronicles!), I would say to just choose one page at a time. Once you get working, you might change how you want to do things which is totally fine! It’s just harder to change course if you’ve already bought everything.
  • This might not deserve its own bullet point but I bought a bunch of felt in all different colors but as I was making my books, I realized that blue and white were the only colors I wanted to use as backgrounds. So. Buy a bunch of blue (varying shades) and white. All other colors just buy one sheet. It’ll do.
  • Just plan a page at a time, but do think of binding from the start! That’ll change how your page is constructed.

If you guys have any specific questions about my quiet books, feel free to ask! I know I complained too much about all the time they took but I really did enjoy making these books! It’s a fun project and I still find myself thinking of new pages to add (but it might be awhile before I gather the gumption to actually make them).

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All six of them finished! Best feeling ever!

WIP Wednesday +an update

Well we had a crazy weekend. In case you missed, a town close to us experienced a 7.0 earthquake on Friday morning. Where we live, the quake was a 6.7. We lost electricity and had things fall off counters and out of cupboards but none of us were hurt. In fact, there have been minimal injuries, no deaths, and while there has been quite a lot of damage to buildings, no buildings actually fell during the quake. We, our community, has been very blessed and everyone has responded so quickly. Our power was back on within 4 or 5 hours. And one of the roads that had been badly broken has already been completely fixed.

We’re still feeling aftershocks and experts say those can continue for weeks after a big quake so that’s been an exciting, terrifying thing to live with. Ben’s school had enough damage done that he’s home for this week, which has been a huge blessing. I could say a lot more about the earthquake but that’s kind of (understandably) been all anyone here is talking about…and I’d very much enjoy a break.

So instead of regaling you with a play by play of the earthquake…here’s some of the stuff I’ve been working on! When I was a kid, I would check out a big ol’ stack of books and I’d be so excited about all my books that I’d read a couple chapters of one and then start reading another one. It was common for me to be reading 3 or 4 books at the same time. Turns out my sewing is very much the same. It seems I’ve always got a handful of projects going on at any given time. In fact, lots of the projects I had completely forgetten about.

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Seeing all the crap that’s fallen off your shelves after having an earthquake sure makes you think, “Why do I have all this stuff?” So I’ve been going through boxes and getting rid of stuff we don’t need or use and one thing I uncovered was this hand embroidery I had started. I hardly even remember working on it. But I kind of love it so I’ll have to finish it soon!

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Here’s another one I started after Wendy was born. I really like it…but there’s enough I want to change on it, that I think instead of finishing it, I’m going to re-do it. Do you guys hand embroider? I only recently learned how to do those roses and they are so easy and so cute they make me want to embroider all the things!

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I finally finally got my La Passacaglia out again (since before Greta was born-yikes!). After pulling it out and laying out all the pieces and staring at fabric, I was still having such a hard time getting going! I’ve realized a lot of my rosettes are so same-ish. So I’ve tried to branch out and use fabrics I haven’t used much, and I think it’s going well. I’ve seen some La Passacaglias that are only one color and I think that’d be so hard to do! I’m using a bunch of colors and I still struggle to have variety! This one was the first rosette I finished since pulling my Passa out again and Ben told me that it looks a lot different than my other ones. I’m going to take that as a good sign:)

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After Thanksgiving, I took advantage of some sales at Joann’s and got fabric for Christmas pajamas! We’ve been missing Arizona, so I thought the saguaro knit was appropriate. And I couldn’t get over the sparkly rib knit for cuffs and waistbands! Sometimes I think my skills are a lot broader than they actually are. I bought some navy flecked knit to make some pants for Ben and I but I’ve been too nervous to even get started! I know being pajama pants it’d be pretty hard to mess them up…but I just want to make some pants I actually want to wear…you know? I guess my skills won’t improve by doing nothing…wish me luck!

And hey, I totally forgot I was going to share this picture Ben took of one of the roads that was broken up by the earthquake. Bonus for you for making it to the end (if that’s your idea of a bonus;)!

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October/November

Oh man, it has been soooooo long since I got on here! I’m sorry for the giant break but also I really loved taking a giant break. Here’s what happened: when President Nelson gave a challenge to take a 10 day break from social media, I decided to include blogs/blogging in my break. And I seriously needed one! So instead of giving myself 10 days, I gave myself much longer (just from the blog…not from all social media)…and then I started realizing that as much as I needed the break, I actually kind of need to blog too. Yeah, I know personal blogging is like so 2008…but I really love keeping this thing going. It helps me organize my thoughts and keeps me productive. It’s a good thing for me so imma just keep at it, please and thank you.

So…so, so, so. October and November. They were busy and relatively sleep deprived and at the moment I can’t remember much of what happened during those months…but that goes hand in hand with sleep deprivation, right? So here’s what happened and what was on my mind for October and November (at least what I can remember;):

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Can we just talk about general conference for a minute? Was it just me or was conference super awesome this time around? I mean, I love conference always…but this particular conference seemed to speak to my soul. It was stuff I needed to hear and I had no idea I needed it. I’m thinking I’m going to do a post about President Nelson’s challenges…maybe when I finish The Book of Mormon?!

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Am I allowed to talk about reasons for sleep deprivation on here or are you all sleep deprived as well and wanting me to do my whining elsewhere? I won’t take long. Sleep schedules are weird. I’ll think we’re in a good rhythm and then randomly Wendy will wake up at 4 in the morning ready to go…or (sometimes and) Greta will decide she needs to eat 4 times during the night instead of just once. I know a lot of people have it worse than me so I try to keep my cursing to a minimum. And, hey, in 18 years I might be able to get a full night’s sleep again. Maybe.

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Sweet baby Wendy Boo turned 2! I know, it’s so crazy! She is a little ray of sunshine, although I must say that she read the terrible twos manual and she is doing a fine job sticking to it. She is still increasing her language and communication skills (the other day I asked her if she wanted a burrito for lunch or a sandwich and she said, “Ummmm sugar!”). She is such a good helper. She loves being outside and the cold seems to have no effect on her. For her birthday we did what she loves best which is watch movies!

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Greta Jean bean has been growing at an alarming rate. She is 8 months as of yesterday and we already pulled out the 9-12 month clothes, what?!?! I love it. She loves snuggles and doing anything that everyone else is doing; she hates to be left out! But when it comes to eating, she chews food and then spits it out, so…whatever, weirdo;). She is crawling everywhere and pulling herself up to standing. I don’t know how all this happened so quick-I just had her last month, right?

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Holiday season is upon us and we’ve had a pretty good time. Instead of being creative for Halloween, we just used costumes my cousin gave us which actually ended up being pretty appropriate-it was like 23 degrees or something for trick or treating and we were only out for about 15 minutes total. So the effort put in was comparable to what we got out of it. Thanksgiving was very nice. We did miss our immediate families but we were grateful to have family to go to. And it was delicious so it was definitely a win. (Side note: We realized we’ve only had Thanksgiving with Ben’s family once the whole time we’ve been married which must be fixed soon-especially considering they’re they pie experts. That was a sad realization. On the flip side, the last time Ben was in Alaska for Thanksgiving was one we spent apart {I was in Idaho} so I was grateful to be with him this time around:).

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I finished a huge project (I’ll be sharing it soon!) and I’ve finally had a chance to get out some other things to work on and it’s been so refreshing! I pulled out (and dusted off, yikes!) the old La Passacaglia quilt that will be done in approximately 7.5 years. And I bought fabric for some Christmas jammies. I just love sewing so, so much. I’m grateful I have a creative outlet that I enjoy so much! I’ve been thinking about making an instagram account exclusively for my sewing projects…would anyone follow that? Maybe I’d just be setting myself up for more stress…okay the REAL issue: what would my username be???

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Alaska! Would I even be in Alaska if I wasn’t talking about it all the time? Ha! We had the most gorgeous fall ever. It was short but all the true Alaskans kept saying how long it was! Perspective. We got our first snowfall before Halloween and it’s been pretty cold ever since (although this week has blessedly been in the 30s!). I’m terrified of what the temperatures will do and what staying inside will do to my sanity! Time will tell if I go crazy. The best thing, though, was we the northern lights!!!!! It was magical!! I feel like I should be writing this in all caps. WE SAW THE NORTHERN LIGHTS!!!!! IT WAS MAGICAL!!!! But seriously-it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen in my life! Like it literally brought tears to my eyes. That alone is worth a trip up here! (I know my picture is not the most amazing…but the show we got was!)

September 2018

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Oh man, I really have been trying to get myself in gear and get back on a regular posting schedule but for some reason I’ve just felt so much busier lately! Hopefully I’ll get better at getting projects finished and getting them up on the blog…but no promises! Here’s my monthly meanderings:

  • This month we took a short trip to see Kenai and Soldotna which are really cute little towns that are right next to the ocean. I went for a short run and found this gorgeous wildflower park (the above picture)! A sign there said it’s one way the city contributes to a healthy ecosystem. It had me all heart eye emoji and seriously wondering why every town doesn’t do this???

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  • Speaking of exercising, my cousin here invited me to go to her Zumba class with her. It’s a good workout and nice to be sweating with a buddy but I don’t know, I just don’t really love it. It definitely gets my heart rate up, which I guess is the goal right? But going makes me think “Wow. I am crazy uncoordinated.” I’m pretty sure if I could see a video of myself Zumba-ing that would be the end because yikes! 2F0A7A2A-AD5D-4572-9567-6C93482D2221
  • It seems like most houses here in Alaska (I house shop even though I’m not buying a house it’s normal mmkay?) do not have carpet and ours is no exception. Only the girls’ bedroom has carpet and I’m not going to lie: sweeping is the worst! The ol’ postpartum hair loss is still in full effect, not to mention we have a dog! I couldn’t/wouldn’t justify the buy right now, but I’ve seriously been thinking that if we ever bought a house with non-carpet flooring, I’d buy a DJ Roomba for sure (yeah, yeah, I know it’s just a Roomba, but why wouldn’t you make it a DJ if you knew it was a possibility?).

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  • On a similar note, we are living in a duplex and I have yet to meet the neighbors BUT judging from how often we hear Frozen from over there, I’d say our girls would get along really well. Ha!
  • I’ve been eating this delicious salad most days for lunch and loving it. And, surprise! Wendy actually loves it too! Maybe that’s not surprising…there is peanut butter in the dressing…

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  • Alaskans are so dramatic. And time will tell if their drama is warranted but seriously everyone is like, “The winter is coming…” and “The darkness is coming…” Like stuff straight out of a horror movie. I would say, “Yeesh! Chill out, guys! You’re making it worse!” But I’m too busy having a panic attack because ohmygosh IT’S COMING!!!!

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  • As for the girlies, they are both growing so much. It is crazy! Greta is now 6 months and just like clockwork, I had to pull out her 6 months clothes. It is a beautiful relief that she is growing so well! She’s also learning (a little too) quickly and while I can’t say that she’s crawling, exactly, but she is definitely inch-worming around (what??? why aren’t you staying little a little longer, please???) and sitting up without any help (just lots of padding in case she gets tipsy). And Wendy’s always been pretty good with Greta, but this month she’s developed a stronger affinity for her baby sister. She asks to hold her regularly and will baby talk her ear off when they’re face to face (Greta in the carrier and Wendy in the grocery cart). It is adorable and, honestly, a relief. Sisters are the best and I hope they always have a strong relationship. Wendy has been talking so much lately. She can even “read” me some of her books (don’t get excited, just the ones that have like a picture of a duck and you’re supposed to read “duck.”). She can sing the first part of the ABCs and Row, Row, Row Your Boat. And when I’m cleaning she’ll yell, “Keen up, keen up!” Because she knows and loves that song too. She’s a giant stinker to poor Jaeger dog and loves to make him growl. Ugh. We’re working on it. I’m really grateful for my babies and the opportunity I have/ choice we made to have me stay at home with them. We might be richer had we chosen a different life but just richer in a different way.

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Grandma’s Sunbonnet Sue

During our time in Idaho over the summer we were able to “help” out while Ben’s mom and grandma readied their homes to go on the market. And I do say “help” with full quotations because with two little ones running around we really only offered the teeniest little sliver of assistance on all that needed to be done (can you put negative slices on the pie chart? Because now that I’m thinking about, I think we may have just-read:definitely- added to the load).

Anyway, Grandma’s property consisted of plenty of land, two houses and several out-buildings which she and Grandpa built over 40 years ago. As you can imagine, this added up to quite a lot of stuff to go through, much of which, I suspect, hadn’t seen the light of day for years and years and years.

One such box was peeked in and sent my way because the contents of the box appeared to be mostly fabric. Happy to add to my fabric stash, I started digging through the box to see what I could glean.

I had no idea what a treasure I would find in that box. Among yards of fabric I found these:

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A neat little pile of Sunbonnet Sues, appliqued with a steady hand, wearing an assortment of colors and prints.

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I asked my mother-in-law who had sewn these and she confirmed with Grandma that it had most likely been sewn by Grandma’s mother, Great Grandma Dutch.

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I’m excited to add these little Sunbonnet Sue blocks to my stash and hopefully I can get the quilt finished that Grandma Dutch started.

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Here’s a picture of Grandma and Grandpa Dutch. I never had the chance to meet them, but I hope that I can learn more about them as I work on this project. Family history is cool!

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Books Lately

It’s no surprise I’m late to the game with reading technology, but have you guys ever used the Overdrive app? It sounds dramatic but that app has seriously changed my life!

Here’s my two cent plug about Overdrive before we get into what I’ve been reading lately. My mom introduced me to the app right after Greta was born. And by that I mean that she literally took my phone, downloaded Overdrive, got me logged in and even picked out a book for me to read. Since then, I’ve literally only checked out books through Overdrive. I still love regular ol’ paper books and we still absolutely go to the library. But reading books on my phone has all sorts of convenient aspects.

For one, holding a phone while nursing is about ten times easier than holding a book. Now, instead of just having social media to browse, I can be reading. I’ve pulled out my “book” pretty much anywhere and everywhere when I have an extra minute or two to be reading. Also, the fact that I can browse in the comfort of my own home is incredible. My browsing days vanished after I had Wendy, when entering a library with a baby became a game of Russian roulette.

The down side for me is that it’s just one more instance where I’m on my phone and I hate that that’s what my kids see. They don’t see that I’m reading a book. Oh well.

If you haven’t, you should really give the app a try (or whatever digital system your library uses) and see if you like it. I mostly check out eBooks, but we’ve downloaded audiobooks as well for road trips and stuff. I have absolutely loved using it.

***Steps off soapbox***

Here’s what I’ve been reading lately:

Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple

About: a mom who goes missing under peculiar albeit hilarious circumstances and Bee, her daughter, who searches high and low to find out exactly what happened to her mother.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4.5, rounded up) Out of 5 Stars: This is definitely a lighter read that’s not meant to be taken too seriously. There were parts that had me laughing out loud. I thought the characters were rather realistic but the storyline was far from boring. The format was a little hard to get used to on Overdrive

Dumplin‘ by Julie Murphy

About: Even though she’s overweight, Willowdean has always been comfortable in her own skin. That is, until her coworker Bo starts showing interest in her. Suddenly self-conscious, Willowdean pulls a stunt she hopes will help her regain her carefree attitude: she signs up for the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant.

⭐️⭐️⭐️3 out of 5 stars: I wasn’t completely head over heels for this book and I kind of felt like it didn’t take complete hold of the opportunity it had in sharing a love-yourself-regardless-of-how-you-look message but it was cute and fun and overall an enjoyable read. And it really made me want to see the movie.

This is Our Story by Ashley Elston

About: Five friends go out on a hunting trip. While all the boys are claiming that what happened was an accident, none of them are willing to come clean on the details of what happened that day. The only fact that is clear is that one boy died on that trip, and one of the remaining four pulled the trigger.

⭐️⭐️2 out of 5 stars: This story had a lot of potential which is probably the only reason I finished it. Unfortunately, I felt like the story was sloppy with many key points being explained in a really crappy, hard-to-follow way. It felt like the author’s first novel (even though it’s not). I also hate it when mysteries give you clues all along the way only to have the conclusion be something that you could never have figured out on your own. This was one of those stories.

Finding Ultra by Rich Roll

About: Rich gave up alcohol many years ago, but as he struggles to make his way up the stairs one night, he realizes he’s traded one addiction for another. Overnight he decides to overhaul his fast food diet for one entirely plant based as well as to get back into exercising. In a matter of months he’s testing his limits by completing an Ultraman race-which includes over 300 miles of swimming, biking and running.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️4 out of 5 stars: Ben and I listened to this one on audio while traveling during the summer and we both really enjoyed it. His story of being an alcoholic was riveting and his transformation from couch potato to Ultraman was interesting, if not inspiring. He’s a little bit preachy, but I didn’t think it was overbearing.

Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

About: Popular comedian, Jim Gaffigan explores what it entails to be a father to five kids in the middle of New York City.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️4 out of 5 stars: This is another one we listened to and, again, both enjoyed. Some of it is amusing and some of it is laugh out loud material. If you have children, you are guaranteed to find something in here you can relate to and laugh at. It’s pretty clean although there were a couple jokes (in my opinion) that bordered on sacrilegious (although they’re just one liners). I’m sure the book is great but since he is a comedian, listening to the audiobook was great entertainment.

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

About: Samantha’s mother is very clear about how much she disapproves of the large, rambunctious family who lives next door. But when her mother is busy with a new campaign, Samantha finds herself being pulled back to the Garrett’s house again and again. Just as she finds herself falling for Jase, something unthinkable happens. Samantha suspects she has the answers, but telling the truth could cost more than she can imagine.

⭐️⭐️ 2 Out of 5 Stars: To me the author wanted to write a romance but knew she needed some sort of “plot” and “climax” (I know! The very idea!) As a result, you’ve got an okay teenage romance (it’s a YA book but definitely geared for older teens) with an incredibly lousy plot progression. The big issue didn’t present itself until more than halfway through the book and it was probably the dumbest problem I’ve ever read about in a book. I kept reading because I thought surely something bigger and more worthwhile was coming (it didn’t). The redeeming quality of this book was that the Garrett’s family is big (like 8 kids) which is basically unheard of in the literary world and the author did a great job projecting a happy chaos.

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

About: Tom and Isabel live a quiet and remote life alone on a small island where Tom does the important work of a lighthouse keeper. After years of infertility and miscarriage, a boat washes ashore their tiny island carrying a dead man and a wailing infant. Tom and Isabel must make choices and live with the consequences of those choices.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️5 out of 5 stars: Fraught with moral dilemmas and allegorical language, this book reminded me of literature I read in high school. I’d say this book is definitely love it or hate it in nature. I ended up loving it, as imperfect as the characters were. I should warn that the story could very well be a trigger for anxiety, so read with caution.