Tag Archives: diy

“From Scratch” Ain’t Always Worth It

I know.  It’s a stunner.  I’m a total DIY girl, but I have realized today that somethings are just not worth DIY-ing.  Is that a word?  (Dang you, Pinterest, for nourishing my fevered desire to do it myself.)  Certainly, there are things that I don’t really want to do myself…like, folding socks, for example.  I don’t mind it when they all match, but they never do.  It’s disheartening.  That said, I undertook 3 mini research projects with DIY potential this morning, which may or may not have been fueled by weird pregnancy cravings.

I love crispy puffed rice cereal, sourdough bread, and yogurt.  Not so much together, but individually, they’re awesome.  Kind of like caramel corn and broccoli with cheese sauce.

Last night, the combination of watching my hubs make popcorn in our hot air popper and realizing that the only cereal we have in the house is Cheerios (which are great, but I’m just not feeling them right now), made me wonder if said air popper had more than one application.  Corn is a grain…rice is a grain…you see where I was going with this, right?  It won’t work, unless you happen to have rice that still has its outer husky shell thing attached in your pantry.  I do not.  I found some recipes that swore that you could fry cooked sushi rice and it would be kind of like the real thing, but it ain’t worth it.  I don’t fry things for a couple of reasons.

  1. I like my eyebrows where they are, thanks.
  2. My tummy doesn’t like fried or greasy things.  Not even doughnuts.  It’s sad, but what are you gonna do?

I have come to the sad conclusion that it ain’t worth puffing rice from scratch.  Which means that a trip to the grocery store is likely in order, unless I start craving Cream of Wheat sometime soon.

My hubs brought a loaf of sourdough bread home for our little date night on Monday.  I never remember how much I like sourdough bread until it’s been a year since I’ve had any.  Even though I can’t puff rice, bread is totally within my realm of capability.  I make it quite often.  This lead me to check out exactly how to start a, well, starter.  I have found about 30,000 conflicting recipes and techniques and I’ve only just begun to sift through them.  I called my grandma this morning to ask her how, and completely forgot when we started chatting.  It was awesome, but I remembered an hour later that I completely missed that proverbial boat and I’m going to have to call her back later.  My sister did that Amish friendship bread thing for awhile when we were kids, and that used a starter, so I can probably ask her, too.  The thing that I have come to realize is that a starter is like a pet.  For real.  You have to feed it every day, keep it in an ideal climate, and possibly talk to it to make sure it isn’t lonely.  Do I really want to undertake the responsibility of caring for a colony of wild yeast bacteria?  I’m still on the fence about this one.  I do love kitchen science, so maybe it’ll be a go.

My last “I really want” was yogurt.  Yogurt has turned out to be the only foolproof way of getting Toddler to consistently do dairy.  He doesn’t believe in drinking milk unless it has been flavored by Cheerios and is drunk by the spoonful.  It is a time-consuming and messy process, particularly now that he’s also into DIY.  With Momma.  One of the things I’ve come to discover about maintaining my blood sugar levels is that I can’t do dairy.  Well, I can do cheese, butter and small (1/4 cup) amounts of carb-smart ice cream, but that’s it.  I’ve switched to almond milk for the rest of my milky needs, but I can’t find almond milk yogurt anywhere.  I know it exists…just not where I can get it without paying an arm, a leg, and possibly a bit of my soul into the bargain.  It just isn’t worth it.  And then I got an e-mail about a DIY yogurt machine on sale.  (Dang you, Amazon, for nourishing my fevered desire to do it myself.)  I read reviews, recipes, researched (you guessed it) yogurt starters, different ways to make it with almonds, etectera ad nauseum.  I’ve gotta say…it’s tempting.  Like, a lot.  My kiddies go through a metric butt-ton of the stuff, so it’d by nice to be able to control what goes into it.  (I have issues.)  And if I could make my non-dairy non-soy (allergies…what are you gonna do?) version into the bargain, that’d be great, too.  Right?  I can take care of two bacteria colonies!  What are a few billion more mouths to feed?

Or, perhaps, I should just buy a loaf of sourdough bread when the itch is really strong and continue to live without yogurt in my life.  Need is a vacuous concept, after all.


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Making a Baby for Baby, Part 2

Well, dang.  I started this post on 22 April, and it has remained a draft.  Lonely…unfinished…forgotten.  When we last met, I was pretty sure I had gotten an A in my class and I was waiting for New Baby to arrive.  Now, 8-ish months later, I can confirm that I did get an A.  Happily, New Baby also arrived a little ahead of schedule via induction.  (It’s a long story…I’ll tell you some day.)

I promised to share the pictures of the Little Brother doll I made my erstwhile Baby to prepare him for his transition to Middle Brother.  I am happy to say that I think it worked…Baby (henceforth to be referred to as Toddler) and New Baby are best buddies, and I couldn’t be happier!

Without further ado, allow me to present to you the Little Brother Doll (brought to you by insomnia and by Simplicity Pattern 2809).

A Face in Progress

A face in progress.  P.S.  My hubby was totally creeped out by this process…

Finished Face

Dolly’s finished face.

A flat little dolly body...complete with ears and a belly button.

A flat little dolly body…complete with ears and a belly button.

Back of dolly's crocheted wig.

Back of dolly’s crocheted wig.

And the Little Brother Doll has hair!

And the Little Brother Doll has hair!

Sadly, when I went to the hospital to have my real New Baby, the doll was left at home sans clothes, which my mother finished in time to present Toddler at the hospital when he met his real little buddy.  I really thought I had pictures of him with his clothes on (the doll, not my babies).  Apparently, that is not the case.  I will remedy that situation at some point in the (let’s face it…probably distant) future.

I need to find the clothes first.  Toddler figured out how to work snaps.

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Back on the Air

So, apparently it’s been nearly a month since the last time I posted.  I’m happy to announce that I successfully completed BMIS 330 prior to New Baby’s arrival.  The course final grades just got posted, and I’m very reasonably certain that I can check off my eighth non-resolution as complete.  (Dude, I aced my final.  I’d happy-dance here, but that’s kind of painful and New Baby doesn’t appreciated getting bounced around any more than my abs do at the moment.)  I apologize that radio silence has been in effect for this last half of the class, but I just couldn’t bring myself to write any more than I already was…and I was pretty sure you wouldn’t want to read anything about the Open Systems Interconnect (OSI) Model or exactly what the function of a network router was.  Which is where my brain has been living for the last eight weeks.  If I was wrong about that, please let me know and I can post some techie stuff, too.

Now that class is over, I’m in the three-ish week countdown to New Baby’s arrival.  My nesting instincts kicked in this weekend…finally.  I wasn’t sure if they were going to go into overdrive this time or not, but here they are.  Boom.  I now have a burning need to paint my bathroom a different color and to paint a mural in the nursery.  I’m fairly certain that neither of these are going to happen, but I’m daydreaming about it anyway.  We got New Baby’s crib and two new dressers for the nursery so both babies can have clothes available at the same time.  Bonus: Hubby and I got to play furniture Tetras yesterday during set-up.  This is one of the awesome things about having a smallish house.  Every time something new comes in, it turns into a mental exercise of epic proportions.

I’ve finally gotten back to working on Baby’s doll.  Yesterday.  The face is nearly embroidered, and it is cute…not scary.  (There may or may not be a needle currently sticking out of his left eye at this very moment, but that is easily remedied.  Sorry, Buddy…)  I’m really hoping my sewing machine decides to cooperate and actually sew curves and not spit oil randomly for this project.  (It does that.  Frequently.  I don’t have the heart to replace it…it tries so hard.)  I didn’t really leave myself any time for having to redo anything seeing as I barely left any time for it to get done in the first place.

I also decided that there needed to be shirts included in this iteration of big brother benefit packages.  Which actually never happened last time because I got put on bed rest, so I’m really excited that this plan is really and truly in the execution phase.  I’m not going crazy with this project.  I swear.  Oldest and Baby are each getting a new book and a t-shirt that proclaims their place of brotherly awesomeness (i.e. Big Brother and Middle Brother).  I’ve already done the graphics work…just need to print them out on transfer paper and iron those suckers on.  New Baby gets one, too.  I even did Daddy and Momma graphics, but those are not high priority at the moment.  I think all that’s left for the brother bags is Baby’s doll, “something” for Oldest’s bag, perhaps some goldfish crackers and/or teddy grahams…and New Baby’s stuffed animal from his brothers.  The procurement of the last item is still on the to-do list because any trip to Build-a-Bear requires much planning and forethought…neither of which I have been mentally able to handle yet.  I’m a sucker for stuffed animals anyway, and Baby has been so good…and clingy…and emotional…lately that I’d be an idiot to walk into that cuddly hornet’s nest without some sort of plan and The Enforcer (a.k.a. Hubby/Daddy) on hand.  In all honesty, we’ll probably end up walking out with three animals instead of one.  What can I say?  The Enforcer is a sucker for pleading eyes, too.

Holy potatoes.  I just realized my mom and little brother will be coming down here in a little over a week.  This is getting real, y’all.  I should probably get those labor bags packed, too.  Maybe they’ll actually make it into the hospital for labor this time.  Hey…I can dream, can’t I?

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Making a Baby for Baby, Part 1

This afternoon, I started working on prepping the construction of Baby’s baby.  This is the part of a sewing project that always takes the longest for me.  Cutting out the pattern pieces, ironing everything, laying the pieces out on the fabric, staring at the layout, hating it, completely redoing the layout…you get the picture.

I ran into a bit of a snag with my typical process because a few of the pieces need to be cut four times.  I didn’t want to cut them individually, and I never cut more than a double layer of fabric at once because it gets…messy.  So, I made extra pieces for the arm, ear and leg.  That way, I can stew over my cutting layout in peace.  And yes…I’m fully aware of how neurotic that makes me sound.

Once I get everything cut out of the fabric, I get to go through the same process for the interfacing and then have to attach those pieces to my fabric pieces.  I’ve never had a project that required said interfacing for each pattern piece, but I suppose it will make the knit “skin” more sturdy.  I ended up going with a good quality apparel knit because sadly, craft velour is not sold at any of my local fabric stores and I didn’t feel like ordering from some random website.

I’m really excited about what comes after the cutting.  I get to embroider a baby face, belly button, and other little touches that will probably not mean anything to Baby at the moment, but will make my detail-needing self really happy.  I also get to try to make baby hair, but I’m going to wait until his head is assembled and stuffed (that sounds so weird) so that I can make sure his hair fits correctly.

And that makes my baby’s doll sound like a miniature Donald Trump.

To be continued…

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A Baby for Baby

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been brainstorming about ways to introduce Baby to New Baby.  As Baby will be just under eighteen months when he becomes a big brother, diplomacy isn’t really a viable option.  Enter early childhood memories…

When my (first) baby brother was born, he brought my sister and me baby dolls so that we could take care of our babies while Mommy took care of hers.  I remember it (read the bribe) working really well.  When Daddy came to tell us that we had a little brother, we told him that God got our order wrong and to send him back.  Well, at the hospital, he gave us presents…and we decided that he could stay.  Plus, he was adorable.

I really think that this could be good for Baby.  We can practice how to touch and treat New Baby, and he’ll have one of his own to snuggle while Momma’s feeding or snuggling hers.  (I’ve come full circle.  Life is weirdly wonderful sometimes.)

This began a quest for a cute (read not scary) boy doll.  Lemme tell you…my dreams have been haunted by some of the monstrosities I came across during this process.  Seriously, I couldn’t find one that wouldn’t send me running away screaming except for American Girl‘s “Bitty Baby.”  As cute as they are, they’re all girls…and $55.00, which is a bit outside my budget.  So, I decided that sewing Baby his very own baby brother doll would be a better option.  And I couldn’t find a pattern that I really liked anywhere.

Until today.

I found Simplicity Pattern 2809.  It is exactly what I was hoping to be able to make (without spending hours drafting my own pattern).  The baby boy doll looks incredibly huggable, and I’m going to be able to tweak the aesthetics of his face and body really easily.  This dude’s gonna get a belly button.  I also decided that I’m going to crochet him a wig cap out of Lion Brand Fun Fur yarn so his whole head is nice and fluffy instead of attaching random bangs to a bald baby head as directed by the pattern..  I’m so excited!  I got the stuff I need to make the doll today while I was at the store picking up the pattern that I (quite uncharacteristically) had the presence of mind to call ahead and put on hold.  Once I make him I’ll move on to clothes and/or accessories.  There’s a pattern for a teddy bear and a blankie, too.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to get a start on him absolutely no later than next week.  I really want to do it tomorrow, but I have an early morning date with a disgustingly sugary drink that’s going to turn me into a shaky, wobbly mess for the rest of the day.

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Goodbye, 2012

What an interesting year it has been.

2012 seemed like it would be fairly “normal.”  You know…work, school, work, diapers, work, laundry, work…I saw all of those on the horizon for this past year.  What I didn’t see coming was the switch from being a working mom to a homeschool mom…or the possibility of loving said switch.  I didn’t see the collapse of a soggy dining room ceiling, a tornado stealing our shed and then dropping it on the neighbor’s car, or the dog eating the living room carpet to soothe an upset tummy coming, either.  Apparently, Professor Trelawney I am not.  (Wait…)

Continuing to highlight some of the more memorable moments of this past year:

  1. I started this blog…and then put it on hold around Oldest and I started summer break so I could attempt to write The Great American Novel of 2012.  Instead, I conducted The Great Purge of His Bedroom while he was off visiting relatives in various places. Maybe in 2013…
  2. We got our annual mandatory academic progress test results back…Dude passed with flying colors.  All paperwork was filed and curriculum purchased so we could continue to homeschool during the 2012-2013 school year as well.  In case you were wondering, fourth grade rocks!  I’ve gotten to teach basic electronic theory during science this term.  *flexes techie muscles*    We have had a few awesome field trips and done some pretty fantastic projects that will (hopefully) be covered in more detail during later posts.
  3. Baby has twelve teeth, a fifteen-ish word vocabulary, and can walk like a champ.  We discovered on Halloween that he was apparently born knowing how to use a light saber.  (He made the cutest Yoda I’ve ever seen…I’m telling you.)  He absolutely loves books, cars (said with a Bostonian accent), trucks, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,  and our dog-dogs.
  4. He is also going to be a big brother in about three-ish months!  We found out that New Baby was on the way on my birthday, which was about the best present ever.  (I’d been wondering what all the nosebleeds were about…apparently, that’s how my body reacts to being pregnant.  Fabulous.)  Yet to be discovered is whether or not gestational diabetes and bed rest are on my horizon this time around.
  5. Thankfully, the whole second trimester energy spike thing happened right around the holiday season, so I was able to make and bake a whole lot of stuff that will also (hopefully) be covered in more detail during later posts.
  6. Item 5 was brought to you and all actual beneficiaries in part by the discovery of Pinterest.
  7. The disasters mentioned in Paragraph 2, plus a few others.  It’s okay.  We survived.
  8. Hubby presented me with a KitchenAid mixer for Christmas, and it has changed my culinary life this past week.  I still can’t decide whether to call it The Beast or Bonnie.  It’s a toss-up.  I’ll keep you posted.  So far, we’ve made four batches of cookies (gingerbread men, spritz, vanilla-mint candy canes, and cinnamon roll sugar cookies), icing, my grandma’s legendary Anadama bread, and mashed potatoes.  As a side note, this year was my second making Christmas dinner all by myself, and I didn’t set anything on fire!  All of that Food Network viewing is so paying off!  My in-laws further expanded my culinary horizon with their gift of the ice cream maker attachment.  Holy frostbite.  That thing is awesome!  I made honey-vanilla ice cream the day after Christmas and grape sherbet (chalk it up to weird pregnancy cravings) this weekend.  There is but one thing to say about how they turned out.  Dude.  Okay, moving on.
  9. I can now say that I’ve given hermit crabs a bath.  Considering how much they resemble spiders and my arachnophobia, this is quite a feat.
  10. Much amazing time with family and friends, including a two-week visit with my baby brother this summer, surprise visit from my Bestie while we were Up North for Thanksgiving with my grandmothers, parents, brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins (oh, my!) and another surprise visit from my sister and her husband the weekend before Christmas.  Hopefully, this new year will contain much more of this line item.  Also, please note that the board game called Frazzle! is pretty awesome and adds a lot to family gatherings.  It comes with a gavel.  ‘Nuff said.

I could go on and on, but I shall restrain myself.  Suffice it to say that I have learned so much this past year, and while moments of it were more painful than others, God has been incredibly good to me and my family and I am so grateful to Him for everyone and everything He brought our way.  Looking back on this year, this verse keeps coming to mind.

When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider this:
God has made the one
as well as the other.
Therefore, no one can discover
anything about their future.

Ecclesiastes 7:14, New International version

No amount of crystal ball gazing or reading the tea leaves would have prepared me for the roller coaster of this past year.  (What say you, Professor?  Besides that I’m in grave danger.  I live with gravity every day.  You don’t have to tell me that.)  This year, more profoundly than other years, has shown me exactly how much I have learned (and have yet to learn) about trusting that God can handle things much better than I ever could.  One just has to sit back and enjoy the ride…even if it comes standard with wet drywall and doggie indigestion.

Happy New Year!

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