Thursday, January 8, 2015

Reading Challenge 2015!

I love to read, but I tend to read the same things over and over:
a.) Food memoirs 
(other people's business plus recipes? Two of my favorite things!)
 b.) Books by my tried and true authors (like Dave Eggers or Elizabeth Berg)
c.) Novels that are getting lots of hype 
(the best ones seem to be by first-time novelists)
d.) Cooking/health/parenting books
e.) Books about to be made into movies 
(I will read pretty much any book so that I can justify overly criticizing the movie)

Books I don't usually go for:
Philosophical, non-fiction, murder mysteries, Jane Austen and similar classics, books with disturbing subject matter (obviously), and biographies
In an attempt to branch out,

I can think  of a few books already.
Book I should have read in high school? Frankenstein or Scarlet Letter
Book my Mom loves? Walden 
Book everyone has read but me? Outlander or Unbroken

Take this challenge with me...or maybe recommend some books that would work?
  The fun begins!
Saturday, January 3, 2015

14 Things I Loved about 2014

      I know I haven't blogged much lately, but I just love New Year's roundup posts. I definitely do NOT want to have 15 resolutions in 2015, but I thought it would be fun to look back at 14 things that made me happy in 2014!

1.) Having a baby! Arthur Conan came on Groundhog's Day and Super Bowl Sunday and has been my squishiest, easiest baby yet. He is such a cuddlebug--2014 was daily baby love fest!

2.) And more babies! I got two more nephews and a niece this year. They are all adorable.

3.) We started homeschooling! We are still finding our rhythm, but I have loved having all of my kids with me everyday.  We are doing lots of science, reading, and exploring. We are going through a homeschool charter school, so my kids still participate in activities like horseback riding and martial arts. It has been so fun!

Coco making butter after reading Little House in the Big Woods
4.) My bed! I was going to say that we are in a rental house after living with my parents for 2 years, but all I really care about is that we have a king sized bed!  Considering at least one child ends up in bed with us every night and the fact that we have slept on a full-size bed for the past 3 1/2 years--I am so so thankful for a big bed! 

5.) My serger! This was the one thing on my wishlist for the past 2 years, and my hubby got it for me for my birthday. I love it so much--I use it every time I sew, and it is super fast. This pretty much changed sewing completely for me!

A serger finishes all your seams--if you look inside your clothes, they were all finished with a serger. Less ironing, hemming, and folding. Perfect.
6.) Our van! We got a used Toyota Sienna last January, and it is so nice to have a running, working vehicle that fits all the car seats. I love it.

7.) Seeing lots of family and friends this year. Obviously :) The blessing of living in California is that we have lots of loved ones here.

8.) Children's Book Club. We started having kids' book club with a few other families, and it has been so fun.  Before this, I never finished reading a novel to my kids, but now, we all love reading time.  As a result, we watch much less tv, and the kids think of little projects to "show and tell" for book club time. So far, we have read The Borrowers, Matilda, Gregor the Overlander (reading now), Danny the Champion of the World, and the Mouse and the Motorcycle.

9.) My husband has started strumming! I have had a guitar for 11 years, and this year, for the first time, my hubby finally decided to learn some songs on it! It makes me so happy to see and hear him strumming away and watch as he learns new skills (and super happy that I can teach him a little). Music is a huge part of my life, and I grew up always hearing my Dad on his guitar--so this brings me great, great happiness :)

10.) This movie. It's rated R for what? 4 f-words (which I hear when my neighbors are talking outside soo..) I loved it. The music is perfect; the ending will make you cry with happiness; and the main actor looks like my little brother.

11.) This book.  This was probably my favorite this year--I just loved it and loved the ending, which might make me a bad person? You'll have to read it to see...

12.) This quote. 

13.) This makeup.  Nothing make you feel better than lip stain you get for $1 at the drugstore that you actually love!! (not sure why it's so expensive on Amazon...)

14.) This soundtrack. We went and saw Into the Woods, and the soundtrack is kind of charming/kind of annoying...but when your two year old walks around the house singing, "I wish to go to da festi-baal!", it is the cutest thing ever.

So goodbye 2014! Thank you for all the little joys :)
Saturday, November 1, 2014

Watch, Read, Listen!

So turns out that 4 kids means way less time on the computer :)
 I am okay with that--I have been reading a lot more than usual lately, and I am patting myself on the back for getting un-hooked from the Internet.
Now only my husband is addicted to Pinterest .
Here is some good stuff that I've been loving!


     I can't find any good shows!  And I can't stay awake through movies! Boohoo. So here is my ADD short-clip watch list on Youtube: Good Mythical Morning, Studio C, and Jimmy Fallon clips like this.
Here is a good one from Studio C :)

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.  I love this book! I don't buy books, but I would buy this one just to read it over again (and I don't re-read books).  This is marketed as a romance, but I actually think this book is a Beauty-and-the-Beast-best-friendship-type story, if the beauty is a neurotic, immature English girl and the Beast was a grumpy quadriplegic.  It's a little controversial in that a main topic is assisted suicide, but I really loved the ending and the writing.  It gave me the warm and fuzzies!


Nico and Vinz's When the Day Comes.
The music video is 6 minutes, but it's probably the best music video ever.
The actual song is about 3 minutes, and I like to play it in the mornings to start our day.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Pattern Testing! : The Alder Skirt

              Last week, I got to be a tester for Imagine Gnats' new skirt pattern, the Alder Skirt!

 Why yes, I will show you cell phone pictures taken by a 5 year old in the bathroom :)
(Where is my camera?  I haven't seen it since we went to the beach!)

This was a really fun, fast sew!  I made it up in a kind of heavy cream corduroy I had, and I like the weight--but it would be so awesome in something much lighter weight, too.
I sewed a size 8, which fits perfectly, and I love how the back has some shaping with back darts.  The pockets are my favorite, though.

I have been wanting to sew a lot, so pattern testing gives me the deadline I need to get something finished.  It is really really hard to pull out the sewing machine--not because I have a 3 month old (he is a great sleeper and goes to bed now at 8)...but because I hate lugging my sewing machine onto the kitchen table and spreading stuff everywhere. If I ever get a table just for sewing, I have a feeling I would get a lot more done!
On the plus side, less sewing means more reading, so I guess there's that :)

Anyways, you can purchase the pattern here.  I highly recommend it!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Watch, Read, Listen!

I haven't done one of these for a while, and I love reading other people'
here are my latest media loves!


  Our latest Redbox rental was: The Way Way Back, which I liked!  I love Sam Rockwell, and he plays a great role in it--so I enjoyed it.  The movie is a little sad throughout but has a good ending.  It is a teenage summer/family drama.
  Also, I have watched this sketch a lot lately--so funny! (Be careful clicking on any other Key and Peele clips, though, as some are really vulgar.)


  I jumped on the bandwagon and read Divergent.  I loved it.  I was sad when it ended.  I watched the movie trailer like 5 times.  I started the second book the next day. It is your very-popular violent-female-protagonist-in-a-dystopian-society teen fiction.  Such good brain junk food!  And, I thought, much better than the Hunger Games.


    I really like cover songs, and this one by the Gregory Brothers is my favorite lately:

Plus, it is done by brothers, which is awesome! 
On a side note, Quincy's favorite song lately is Shakira's Waka Waka, which is equally awesome but is getting less and less awesome the more I am begged to play it.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Sewing for a little girl...

I am on a mission to go the fabric district next month, but before I do, I have challenged myself to use lots of my fabric up! 
I have been doing lots of sewing for Cosette, because she is in the most need--mainly of shirts and dresses.  She loves them and for some reason prefers to wear dresses that I sew for her, which is awesome.    

The other day, she came out wearing this get-up, which is all homemade. This just makes me so happy!

She is wearing a dress made from this free tutorial and pattern.  I left off the layers and instead lengthened it to maxi length and added strip of stretch lace across the front--all materials from my big stack of Michael Levine Loft fabric, so super cheap!
She is wearing much-loved Lucy in a baby carrier made from scrap fabric, using a pattern from Little Things to Sew, which I checked out from the library--so pretty much free!
**I always like to point out the cost of making things, because it is worth it to me to make things cheaply. Otherwise, I would just buy them--my time is too precious!**

Here is Coco on Halloween, wearing a candy corn dress...finished at midnight.
Her school has a no-costume policy, but I really wanted her to wear something festive.
She loved it!

I bought a big discounted bundle of patterns last month, and this dress pattern was included.  It is the Sally Dress pattern, and it has no buttons or zippers, which means it is awesome!

Coco is always very appreciative of everything I make her (with the exception of one thing--maybe I can get her to model it, though)...and since she is my only girl, I am very appreciative that I have my one girl to sew dresses for!
Friday, October 18, 2013

30 Before/During/After 30 Part 1

It's been a while since I looked at this, so I thought it would be fun to post. Then I got tired of writing halfway down, so this is the first half! 

My 30 Before 30 List*
*I turned 30 in June, so I am giving myself another year!
  1. Memorize 10 poems. Progress--3 down (Invictus by William Henly, Litany by Billy Collins, and Wild Geese by Mary Oliver.  There were a couple of others, but I forgot them!) Currently working on Soldier of Fortune by Robert Service.
  2. Memorize 5 piano pieces. Progress--Memorized the 1st page of the Downton Abbey theme song. 6 more pages to go on that one. Guess I should practice more!
  3. Read a mind-stretching church book. Progress--None. I need recommendations, but no Hugh Nibley please--I am not quite there yet!
  4. Have a repertoire of great vegan dinners. Progress--Pretty good! I have gotten some really good recipes lately, but I am at like 7 consistent recipes and would like 20.
  5. Sew at least one wearable dress. Progress--Completed! I made a green dress that I wore on St. Patrick's Day!
  6. Get the best abs of my life. Just abs. Progress--Ummm, I am going to say that I did have very very good abs about a week before I got pregnant with baby #4. Those abs were a result of a new gym membership and a no-grains diet. The gym, the abs, and the no-grains are a no-go for me right now, though. Boo.
  7. Build a stylish, fun wardrobe. Progress--Pregnancy-stalled until further notice.
  8. Increase my knowledge of family history. Progress--Completed! I have been on both mine and my husband's family search pages a lot and have read several journal entries of my ancestors. Knowledge increased!
  9. Pick an actor, series, or genre, and watch the complete works. Progress--Still can't decide which actor/series/genre to follow, although I have watched all 5 seasons of Parks and Rec in the past couple of months. Does that count? I am considered everything and anything Patrick Stewart, since it just seems like he can do no wrong...although that is a lot of Star Trek to watch!
  10. Read a book about Joseph Smith. Progress--Again, I need a good book recommendation!
  11. Teach myself blog design. Progress--Nada. My computer time has been very limited lately.
  12. Get caught up on baby books. Progress--I got caught up and then got pregnant, so now I have an entirely new book to start!
  13. Take a class. Progress--Incomplete. Which class? Hmmm...
  14. Create something out of a new-to-me medium/process. Progress: Completed! The kids and I spent an afternoon making doll food out of polymer clay, which was awesome and cute!
  15. Have a good exercise regimen going. Progress--I did for a while but have since fallen off. Exercise for me is a weekly class plus a couple of nights a week of the exercise bike or prenatal pilates.  Definitely need to step this one up!

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