Archive | January, 2012

What to do with old contacts and glasses

26 Jan

Have you ever wondered what you could do with your old glasses or even unopened contacts that you never got around to using before your prescription changed? Various Lion’s Club or community organizations often have a box where you can simply donate your used glasses. Last night while I was going through yet another box of paperwork I was reminded of the Madre Organization. (I had made a donation of contact lenses a few years ago and found the receipt.) Instead of tossing those sealed contacts simply drop them in the mail. Choose to take a few extra minutes out of your day to bless someone else rather than just toss them into the trash.

For more information please visit

Mail contacts or glasses to: MADRE – 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001


Eli’s New Robe

19 Jan


Eli's New Robe


I absolutely love sewing things for my little boy Eli.  To me sewing is a wonderful way of expressing myself artistically.  For someone who cannot draw to save her life sewing is a great outlet for creativity.  It’s also fairly practical in my case.

I also really treasure the memories that go along with various sewing projects.  The fabric for the robe was bought while spending a wonderful week visiting family in Arkansas.  Puppy dogs just seemed to be so fitting for Eli right now.  He loves it when the neighbor’s dog comes to visit or when he has a chance to hang out with the dogs on the farm.  I chose a nice soft flannel fabric for its softness and lined it with flannel to make it even more warm.  A robe seems like the perfect thing for snuggling on a cold winter night don’t you think?


If you look closely you will see a tiny little pocket. Perfect for my little man.

I contemplated for a long time whether I was going to purchase Kwik Sew 3509.  Kwik Sew is a wonderful pattern company but their patterns do not go on sale.  At 10.99 it seemed a little much when I could pick up a Simplicity pattern for .99.  In the end I purchased a Simplicity pattern #3584.  I would not recommend the pattern if you are new to sewing since I made a lot of adjustments.



I might be biased but I think he looks adorable.

I made Eli a size 2 and added 3″ to the length of the robe and 1/2″ to the sleeves.  I also made a 3″ hem at the bottom instead of 1″ which can be let out as he grows.  Instead of loops and a belt made out of fabric the pattern instructs the sewer to just use bias tape.  I thought that sounded awfully tacky so I made my own.  To make the ties I cut 2 pieces of fabric 3X29″.  I sewed the two pieces together to make one large strip.  Sew a tube, inside it out and press.  (If you follow my notes and make the ties you will only need 1 package of bias tape.)

I also made Loops which measured 2 1/4 X 3/4 when finished.  Unlike the instructions I sewed them on very last and placed them right along the finished side seam.

The pattern did include some wonderful tips for sewing with bias tape.  I never knew that you were suppose to place the wider edge on the wrong side of the fabric!  Wow what a difference that makes.  Recently I have really started to incorporate bias tape into more of my sewing projects.  It gives such a nice finished look to items and is easy to use once you get the hang of it.  (I skipped using it to finish the sleeves.)



My mom wisely suggested that I sew the belt onto the robe so that it never gets lost. Great idea! I sewed the ties onto the robe right down the back.


Although it was a lot more work I lined the entire robe with white flannel to give it more warmth. I just placed the lining pieces on the wrong side of all of the wrong side of the main fabric as I sewed.



I didn't particularly care for the Simplicity 3584 pattern but I was very pleased with the way that the robe turned out. (I thought parts of the directions were very unclear and would not recommend the Simplicity pattern for a new beginning sewer.)



Gingerbread Playdoh/ Pumpkin Spice Playdoh

7 Jan

We had a great time making Gingerbread Playdoh this past December.

If you haven’t noticed yet we love making arts and crafts from things that we have around our kitchen.  Playdoh happens to be one of our favorites to make.  🙂  I have been making it regularly with Elijah for almost a year now.  We usually make some sort of Koolaid Play-doh.  It is fast and very easy!  This is the recipe I have used for years.

Playdoh makes an excellent activity for developing motor skills.

Last month I decided to get a little more creative than just making another batch of Koolaid Playdoh.  We made Gingerbread Playdoh and it was so much fun to make.  Quick too!

Gingerbread Playdoh Recipe:

Combine together in a saucepan 2 c. flour, 1 c. salt, 4 t. cream of tartar, 2 T. cinnamon, 4 t. ground ginger, 2 t. ground nutmeg, 2 t. ground cloves.  Then add 2 c. water, 1/4 c. oil, and 2 orange extract (you can skip this if you don’t have any).  Stir all together and you should have what resembles a type of batter.  Cook over medium heat until a thick dough forms.  Knead on parchment paper until smooth.  *Be careful not to let your child touch it until it has cooled slightly.  Enjoy!

This is the way we need the Play-doh.

You can also easily make Pumpkin Pie or Apple Pie scented playdoh by replacing all of the spices lifted above with around 3 T. of Pumpkin Pie or Applie Pie spice.  The recipe can also easily be cut in half but this makes a nice amount to share with friends.  (We actually had some friends drop by the day after we made this.  It was great to be able to share it with them.)


I think Gingerbread Playdoh is a new Christmas Tradition in our home.



Eli’s Couch Cozy

5 Jan

Eli's New Couch Cozy

Even with the craziness of moving I really wanted to make Eli something special for Christmas.  I settled on what I like to call The Couch Cozy.  The perfect gift for a sweet little boy to stay nice and warm all winter.  It’s called the couch cozy because you can pull your legs up inside when you are on the couch all cozy like.  🙂  Basically its a cross between a blanket and a sleeper with feet.  Just perfect.  Eli loves it and can even say Couch Cozy.  So precious.

The Couch Cozy doesn't slow Eli down at all but keeps him nice and warm.

I did use a pattern McCalls 6427 View B but I am sure you could probably develop a pattern from a sleeper.  Eli’s measurements were chest 19 waist 18 so I ended up making him the 1/2 size.  It fit pretty well.  The next time I make this pattern I would like to raise the neckline a little so that it fits higher up.  I’m sure ribbing around the collar would work great as well.  (Eli does need to wear a t-shirt underneath his since it does come down in a type of V.)

A sweet couch cozy for one sweet little boy!
The pattern does recommend using a heavy-duty zipper.  This is a wonderful idea.  I am sure that The Couch Cozy will soon become your child’s favorite pajamas and that zipper will get lots of use.  If you look really careful in the photo you might notice that the zipper is in fact upside down.  The pattern suggested doing this and I found it to be such a creative idea.  By sewing the zipper in upside down your child is unable (at least at this point) to unzip it.  I ended up taking Eli inside a store a couple of weeks ago in his pajamas and he did in fact start taking them off in the cart at Walmart. 😉  Great idea! 
Overall this was a super fun project to make.  It turned out to be much easier than I had imagined originally and a sweet memory of sewing something for my little boy. 




Menu Plan Jan. 2-8

3 Jan

We were blessed to celebrate a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s.   Hope you and your families had a blessed Christmas.  We are settling in well to our new home and welcomed our first real snow today!  Hooray!  I’m sure lots of sledding is in our future this week so we will be keeping the menu fairly simple.            


  • Breakfast: Sunshine Muffins (Carrot-Raisin Muffins), Milk
  • Lunch: Out with friends to a chili parlor
  • Dinner:  Chicken Noodle Casserole with Mixed Vegetables


  • Breakfast: Yogurt and Leftover Muffins
  • Lunch: Zuppa Toscana Soup (just like Olive Garden), Grilled Hummus & Cheese
  • Dinner: We call it the Moe’s Meal: Chicken, Rice, Salsa, Beans, Cheese
  • To Do: Make Homemade Bread


  • Breakfast: Overnight Crockpot Oatmeal with Apples
  • Lunch: Lentils and Rice with Cheese
  • Dinner: Pork Chops, Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans, Homemade Bread




  • Breakfast: Sausage, Pancakes, Eggs
  • Lunch: Leftovers
  • Dinner: @ Church
  • Snack: Crockpot Mexican Dip and Chips