December 29, 2008

O' Fun For... finalizing vasectomy plans

It's a GIRL!!!


Last Monday was the ultrasound, and Dr. Anderson says he's 99% sure it's a girl. He never says 100% about girls in case the kid was just really good at hiding something from the ultrasound camera, but he gave us the 99% instead of his usual 98% since the view we got left very little possibilities of where a boy could be hiding things from us.

Here is a picture of Ellie: (yes, that's probably going to be her name. James is very attached to it, and I like it, too. I think the majority of her Terrorist days are behind her, although the name may come up again during her teenage years...)

This confirmation gave me the green light to start making a bunch of little girl stuff. However, making anything while pregnant adds complications. The kinds of complications that could be avoided if my brain was still processing and sending information like it should. (Although, I'm not sure it ever works entirely, the absent-mindedness lingers long past pregnancy. It's just nice to have an excuse for a few months.)

I made what should have been a simple sundress. It was still relatively simple, a one-afternoon project, but the lack of functioning brain cells created significant setbacks. See the brown ribbon around the bottom? I was planning on using it all along, but it ended up serving an extra purpose when I used it to hide the seam created after I sewed the ruffle on the bottom wrong-sides together, so the seam ended up on the right side of the dress. I decided the ribbon would hide the seam, since if I picked it all apart and tried again there was a pretty good chance I would sew it the wrong way yet again. Seriously.

Here is the finished dress on a blue hanger, since this whole pink thing is still pretty new to us:

I have also started on these stuffed blocks from the tutorial on the London Mummy blog. I am putting the letters of Ellie's name on them so James feels secure about the fact that we will be using that name. When I showed him the dress, he suggested using some white thread to embroider "Ellie" across the front. I decided against labeling our baby. I know my brain has functioning issues, but I am pretty sure I can remember her name. At the very worst, I'll call her "Tobraellie" as I stumble through all our kids' names to find the right one. Although, I think the clothes-labels might have helped at church. Think about it: someone goes to leave, picks up a baby from the Relief Society room floor thinking it is theirs, and then notices the name stitched across her dress. She then sets Ellie back down, picks up another baby, hopefully the right one this time, and heads home. Hmmm. Maybe I'll have to label her after all.

December 21, 2008

O' Fun For... Uncle Aaron and Uncle Brian

...but you can't tell them. It's their Christmas presents.

I had Toby draw 3 designs for me: one for a hooded sweatshirt for his Uncle Aaron, and two for t-shirts for his Uncle Brian. I then turned them into stencils and sprayed them. I think Toby's designs all turn out pretty dang awesome, if I do say so myself.

Here is how the hoodie for Aaron turned out:

The colors in the pictures were hard to get with the metallic paint, but it is a slate-blue hoodie with copper eyeballs on the back. Very cool.

Here are the two shirts for Brian:

The first, according to Toby's description, is of a bunch of different shaped lightning bolts all hitting the same place. It is in the copper paint. The second is an airplane getting hit by lightning. Kind of morbid, but oh-well, I guess that works well for grown-up-boy shirts.

Fun times! Now I only have one pair of pajamas and James' super-secret present left to make. And a few cheeseballs. Mmmmm..... cream cheesey goodness......

December 19, 2008

O' Fun For... people with very vivid imaginations

...because I didn't take any pictures of what we made to go with this post.
We were just lucky to get everything completed and come out alive, let alone take any pictures of the finished products. I can, however, offer links or recipes.

All week I have been printing these gift tags (from Amy Karol last year on the angrychicken blog) out on cardstock, hole-punching them, grommeting them, enveloping them, and finally delivering them for neighbor gifts this year. So much for my simple idea! Somehow I thought the lack of baking and not having to purchase a bunch of supplies I didn't have would speed this one along. Oh-well, it's done now, and my grommet-er is thanking me for the break. Plus, the gift tags are so freaking awesome, I had to share them.

Monday night we went to Grampa T's (my Grampa, the kids' Great Grampa) to make graham cracker houses. I withheld and did not make my own this year. That may be the first time in my life I have passed up that opportunity. I tend to get a bit... ummmm.. involved.. in making my house, and perhaps neglect my kids' frosting-placing needs as I decorate my own house. This year I decided to be strictly a frosting-squeezer for my kids. Sigh. It was still fun, though. This year's trends were adding peppermint wheels to the houses to make them mobile homes and using spare crackers to create garages. You have to enjoy the house building, because the eating part never happens. The origins of Grampa's candy are unknown, but we recognized most of it from several years past. Nothing like vintage candy for some teeth-breaking fun!

Also, we made sugar cookies o' yumminess to decorate last night. Man! That is quite the project with kids! I made the dough in the morning and put it in the fridge. That was the easy part. Then, after dinner, I took a deep breath, washed everyone's hands, and dove on in to the cookie-making adventure. James was very nice and joined the chaos in the kitchen as well. About an hour or more later every surface in the kitchen, as well as every part of us, was covered in flour, dough, cookies, sprinkles, and frosting, but we had enough done to deliver to teachers and home teach-ees, so I sent James off with the kids and the cookies and tackled the mess while they were gone.

Ahhhhhhhh. I remember now why we only do that once a year.

Here is the recipe for the best sugar cookies ever. They are like the pink cookies we would eat instead of lunch in high school. Mmmmm...strange eating disorders.....

Pink Cookies o’ Yumminess

1 c. butter, softened
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 c. sour cream
5 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
4 t. baking powder
2 t. vanilla

Beat the butter, sugar, eggs, and sour cream together in a huge bowl. Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Chill overnight. The dough should be sticky. Roll out ¼” to ½” thick. Bake for 12-14 min. at 350. (If I preheat my stoneware pan, it takes 12 min.) You know they are done when the top feels like a wet sponge when you push on it lightly. (They don’t taste like a sponge, don’t worry.) If they are getting browned, they have cooked too long.

I do have one picture for today. Santa stopped by our house while we were mid-cookie-ing! It was about the most festive moment possible: snowy night, baking Christmas cookies, Muppet Christmas Carol soundtrack a-playing, and Santa dropping by for a visit. It would have made the Grinch scream out in horror. Here is a picture of the flour-y kids sitting on Santa's lap:

I am now almost done with Christmas projects. Woo-hoo! I only have to make pajama pants, and something for James that I will not mention on the off chance that he reads this and I spoil the present. Oh- and also some shirt-stenciling for my brother and James' brother. I can't seem to get away without making anything at all, but I did much better this year than I did last year. I am actually getting sleep this year.

December 13, 2008

O' Fun For... computer nerds and their families

No, it's not some new memory or a shiny new video card. It's... cookies and hot chocolate mix! (ooooo!)

I got going with the holiday treat-making today. I started with the work-gifts for James to hand out. Halfway through I remembered that his whole department is part of a company-wide body fat losing contest until March. Well, their wives and kids can eat the cookies. Maybe I'll send a bag of baby carrots along with the treats...

I got some homemade hot chocolate mix last year and thought I'd be adventurous and give it a try this year. I found a recipe off, but altered it enough that it will just be easier to write the version I used here:

Dana's Re-Vamped Amaretto Hot Chocolate Mix O' Steamy Goodness

*6 1/2 cups powdered milk (or maybe Morning Moo's Low Fat Dry Milk Alternative if that is what you bought on sale at Macey's food storage sale this year... it claims to have delicious milk flavor...)
*1 (5 oz.) package non-instant chocolate pudding mix
*1 1/2 cups -or a bit more- Great Value brand chocolate milk mix (I'm sorry but that is the only brand that will work. If you try anything else your hot chocolate will all be ruined. Ruined I tell you! Okay, maybe not, I've never tried...)
*1/2 cup powdered amaretto creamer (what? You want another flavor? Fine. Be that way.)
*1 or maybe 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
*3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder.

Mix it all up in a big bowl with a whisk. Maybe break up the cocoa powder lumps with a fork before you add it. To make the hot chocolate add 1/3 c. mix to 1 cup really hot water. If the water isn't boiling or close, it may taste powdery. I warned you, so now you have no-one but yourself to blame if that happens. If everything goes right, you'll have a nice cup of creamy, thick, amaretto-y hot chocolate. Mmmmmm. It almost makes me not hate the snow. Almost.

I filled 5 big wide-mouth mason jars (are those quart-sized jars maybe?) just over halfway with the hot chocolate mix.
Then I made these cookies. The only change I made was to add about 1 1/2 T. of the amaretto creamer to the dough right after I added the vanilla. I was getting a little carried away with the amaretto goodness. These cookies are my favorite, but they make over 100 cookies, so I don't bust the recipe out too often. Somehow it never occurs to me to half the recipe...

After the cookies cooled I added a layer of plastic wrap over the hot chocolate mix in the jars, and then jammed the rest of the jar full of cookies.

Then we ate a ton of the leftover cookies so we could close the lid on our cookie jar:

In-between baking one million batches of cookies, I made labels and glued them to the jar-lids:

Here are the tagged and ready final products:

I started out with the intention of writing "From: James and those needy people who call him all day", but changed my mind after I had already written "From: James and those..." so I ended with "...other Haymore folks" instead. As I get older, something odd is happening. I am getting inhibitions and possibly small helpings of tact. I know, it frightens me, too. I changed my mind because I thought it might not be a good plan to bring the attention of James' boss to the fact that I call him once... or twice... or so a day while he is at work. See? Thinking ahead. What the heck? What is happening to me? Before you know it I'll be too hesitant to write "flamingo stylist" under "occupation" on forms or to sing to the Spice Girls with my car windows rolled down. Getting older sucks a little!

On another subject, I've noticed that the more past midnight it is, the more commas, (parentheses), -dashes, and... dot dot dots I use while posting. It gets annoying, I know, but that's just how it is!

O' Fun For... catching up here while slacking in the real world

Phew! It's been a while since I've posted! Sorry about that. James and I ditched out and went to Florida for a week, and then returned to a week of kids with the pukes. (Well, just one puker, and one fever-y whiner.) It's karma's way of making up for our nice peaceful week away. Psch! See if we try that again, eh?
So, here is my attempt to conjure something blog-related out of all this...

While in Daytona Beach we caught the last few days of Hot Rod Week. I felt so guilty about ditching our two boys and then spending the night checking out super-cool cars! Shhh... don't tell them that's what we did! Here is a picture of a car whose paint job I intend to copy if I am ever forced into owning a minivan.

Now don't get your panties in a knot- I have nothing against mini-van drivers. Most of my friends have mini-vans with awesome things like magic doors and DVD players and thirty-eight or so cup-holders. It's just that if I have one, it's going to have to be Pimp-My-Ride style. Besides this sweet paint job, it'll have those hubcaps that keep spinning when your car stops, blue lights from underneath, hydraulics, and a velvet dashboard cover with my initials embossed in it. Now that would be a van with unlimited crafty potential! I'll make sure to get it right about the time my kids are in Junior High. Old enough to be embarrassed by the sweet ride, and young enough that they can't drive on their own yet and therefor need me and the sweet van to take them everywhere. I plan on pumpin' some nice old school rap (and calling it that) such as "Gettin' Jiggy With It" and bustin' out the hydraulics as I pull up to the curb at their school. That would really be doing my parental duty of embarrassing my kids. Ahhh, it's fun to dream....

The actual projects this week have been mostly kid-related as I tried to entertain my sick kids with something other than 8 hours of tv a day. Here we see the snowflakes that Toby and I cut and hung above the kitchen table:

I guess it's nice that these snowflakes are still going to be seasonal four months or so from now, because that's at least how long they'll be up there. Just standing in my kitchen to take the picture I could see outdated craft projects taped to nearly every surface possible. After I tape something to my wall it seems to become invisible to me. That is the only way I can explain some of the things I still have on my wall. In this other picture I took of the snowflakes you can see the last link of our countdown-to-summer-vacation chain taped to the top of the back door, as well as pictures of monster trucks drawn last spring lining the wall next to it:

From the spot where I was standing I could also see a balloon and birthday sign taped to the wall going down the stairs. It is from James' birthday, which was over a month ago. The part of my back door not pictured is covered in at least 15 hand-turkey drawings from around a month ago, too. I forsee them staying at least until the Fourth of July. My house would look very bare without these outdated and forgotten holiday pictures taped to every wall.

Wish me luck on accomplishing something blog-worthy this next week!