Halloween Fun

The Statler girls definitely enjoyed Halloween this year, all three of them!   Since the public schools around here are not allowed (???) to really celebrate the holiday, I knew we had to make up for it at home.  I think we did a pretty good job:

Two trips to the pumpkin patch (well three including Ls field trip), hosting a pumpkin painting party with neighbors, lots of Halloween crafts, pumpkin baking, pumpkin carving and of course the big event “trick or treating”.  

    
    
    

  
As for costumes, that became a slight challenge.  Earlier this fall I fell in love with a cow costume idea for Emaline.  Wanting all three to match,I thought the older girls could be cowgirls!! Nothing better right?! I mean a cute polka dot cow with her cowgirl sisters (all decked out in tutus of course)😍😍😍. WRONG! Liesel and Moira were having none of this idea.  I even tried the “but you get to wear a pink cowgirl hat and boots” approach— nada. They can be tough.  

I quickly surrendered.  Some battles just aren’t worth a fight.  So, Liesel decided on a dancing ballerina and Moira, well, she had her heart set on something much more specific.  Yes, ms. MJ insisted on being a fairy-princess-mermaid-ballerina😂.  Points for creativity perhaps? 

Lucky for me Emaline is too young to have a say, so a polka dot cow for her🐮💗. Thanks to the girls cousin, Lydia, Liesel had inherited a beautiful ballerina dress.  I only had to add ribbon to her ballerina slippers to make them more “authentic”✔️.

Emalines cow costume was farely easy.  I used a long sleeved white onesie and ironed on black patches from hobby lobby.  

 For ears, I hot glued felt to a head ban.  

And of course, I couldn’t let my little Emaline escape without a tutu.  So using my Tutu template from previous years, I made her one out of white shimmery tulle. With her “milk” jug in hand she was ready!! 

   
Now for the fairy-princess-mermaid-ballerina.  I found a costume (with tulle of course!!!) on Pinterest.  It was very similar to last years Princess dresses. The entire dress took two nights worth of work, not bad.  A little wine helped too🍷.  

 
Thanks to hobby lobby and the dollar store, we added some wings and a crown. And voila-a fairy-princess-mermaid ballerina was born! 

 

We had a fabulous Halloween night. The rain held off and we enjoyed my homemade Chili before the girls headed out for trick or treating.  We ended the night with some Pumpkin Pie while watching Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin! Another great Halloween for the Statlers🎃👻 

    
   

Nap time Curtains

So, ever since we moved into our house (2years ago) I have been dreaming of making curtains.  But things got in my way- no sewing machine, having babies, potty training kiddos, other projects- the list goes on and on.  Finally enough was enough, well that and the fact that our blinds in the front room broke…

Long ago we decided that when we got curtains they would be floor to ceiling drapes.  We both love this look and feel it would show off our 9ft ceilings! However, 108″ panels are hard to find and when you do they are either a) a hideous pattern or b) ridiculously expensive.  So making them ourselves was the only option.  

Lucky for us Joann Fabrics was having a 50% sale so we scored our fabric for $4 a yard!  Since the curtains were for our front room (which has gray horizontal stripes ) I decided to go with a white linen material.
However, we still had a problem-I do not sew nor do I have a machine.  I was excited to find tons of how tos on no sew grommet curtains.  After seeing and hearing rave reviews we thought it seemed simple enough.  I bought the grommets off of Amazon for under $7 and the no sew heavy duty iron hem tape was from hobby lobby for $2.50. Now we were ready to go!!

After I put the girls down for their afternoon nap, I laid the first panel down on my floor.  I then ironed it.

 
Then I marked where I wanted the hems to be.  I did 1″ hems on each length side, 1.5″ hem on the bottom and a 4″ hem at the top where the grommets would go.  After each side was marked, I ironed in a crease this made the taping go fast and easy.  Once the crease was made I laid the tape inside the hem and ironed it on.   

 Having used the no sew tape to make the girls curtains black out, I was already a huge fan of the stuff!  It is extremely easy to use and super durable!

Now for the grommets.  Following the directions on the box, I laid out the grommets on my top hem.  Marked them, cut them, and snapped them in place.  

    
 
Boom👊. And that is how you make curtains in one naptime for a total of $44( which includes the curtain rod)!!
And did I mention how amazing they make our front room look?!  

  

 Loving them and already dreaming of the curtains I will be making for every other room in our house…once the fabric I want goes on sale🙏

Strawberry Jammin’

Strawberry season is a favorite over here!  Something we look forward to every summer. This summer we anticipated it even more because it was one of the activities on Liesel’s summer to dos that could be done with a broken arm.  

  

  

    

  

We picked a total of 17lbs!!🍓🍓🍓🍓. On the ride home I began dreaming of all I would make with these delicious berries…muffins, pancakes, shortcake, smoothies and of course JAM!  Little did I know how much my three little fruit flies would consume!  I had none to freeze for smoothies!!  Luckily We went right to work on jam.

The past few years I made freezer jam and have never been satisfied.  It always lacked the rich sweet berry flavor the stovetop kind had.  This year I came across a Crockpot jam recipe and could not wait to try!!   It turned out great!!! So much flavor and easy easy easy✔️

What you’ll need

* 2lbs fresh strawberries ( I used about 4lbs)

* 1cup sugar

* 1/4c lemon juice

* 1 package of pectin


Spray or grease your crockpot.  Place ingredients in a large bowl.  Using a potato masher, mix until combined.   

    
   Place mixture into crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4.  Stir occasionally.  

 
Once my just mixture had thickened, I placed it in the food processor for a bit to get consistency smooth.  

Then pour jam into mason jars.  You can put jar into fridge for upto two weeks, or into freezer. Enjoy!!

   

Rainbow Beans

This past week L and MJ school was all about rainbows.  One of my favorite themes.  High on my list to try this year was diy colored beans.  Sensory play is still big over here and rice/sand/water gets old after a while… This week was definitely the week to try out a new recipe!  It fit in perfectly with our theme😊.  

I pinned a few recipes for all different kinds of colored beans. But ultimately I went to the store in search of the cheapest white dry beans they had!  On sale were navy beans.  I grabbed a few bags and we were good to go.  Having a large quantity of food dye at home, I decided to try that first instead of paying money for watercolor dye ( recommended in a few recipes).  I had also read warnings against vinegar, and decided to follow them. 

The rest is easy.  Pour one cup of beans into a bag.  Drop about 15 drops of the color you desire.  Seal the baggie and begin mixing the beans around.  This was a favorite step for the girls.

  

Once your beans are the color you desire, lay them out on paper towels and make sure none are clumped together.  The allow beans to dry for 3-4 hours.  I let ours dry over night just to be safe. 



Side note, we had a slight problem with our purple beans😂. They turned out, well, black.  I think the girls were a little over zealous with the drops.  But it didn’t phase them.  Liesel even said,” I think they wanted to be more indigo than purple.”  


Once dry, have fun!  The girls had a blast just playing and exploring with them.

(I was even able to squeeze in a 45minute workout while they played happily and content-win!)

 There are so many different ways you can use them as learning tools.  Here are a few we did:

Using cupcake tins and a rainbow sheet, the girls sorted them by color. This again, kept them busy and engaged for quite some time.



We used the beans to outline sight words and letters.  



Making the beans into patterns was a huge hit!



Liesel and I also made pictures out of the beans.  I love seeing her creativity at work!

I am so glad I finally made these.  Easy, cheap, and a fabulous learning tool, what more could you want?!  I’d love to hear any other ways you use your beans!

Love Day

I love valentines day! Maybe it’s because it eases my Christmas blues with lots of pink and new decor, maybe it’s because I’m a sucker for all things romantic, or maybe it’s because it gives me an excuse to indulge in Reese’s chocolate hearts…

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This year I celebrated the holiday with even more excitement. I had recently found out that valentines day was becoming obsolete in the public schools around here. Now referred to as friendship parties, kids are no longer allowed to pass out valentines or partake in fun parties filled with heart shaped everything. Waahh. Because of this I decided I really need to live up our preschool holidays!

Liesel and Moira school was filled with Heart crafts, valentine books and everything pink you could imagine!

Liesel and I had a blast making, creating and putting together her valentines. “Owl Be Your Valentine”

IMG_0593. Click here for instructions.

I also was in charge of the snacks for Liesel’s preschool party and had a blast creating a few! The first was heart shaped rice crispy treats, dipped in white chocolate, covered in sprinkles (artistically places by L &MJ) and placed on Popsicle stick. Easy, delish and fun to create!

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IMG_0587. I found some cute heart bags in the dollar section at target and placed the treats inside

IMG_0589. In an attempt to get something healthy in the kiddos amidst all the candy, I put together fruit kabobs. Heart-shaped strawberries and purple grapes. Easy and at $2.50 a carton for strawberries, it was budget friendly too.

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For teacher gifts I put together a little gift bag full of tea. Wanting to show our appreciation for all they do! So thankful for Liesel’s teachers this year!

IMG_0597. They surely are “TEArrific”!

On the actual holiday itself, Eric and I had big plans of a family date day. Filled with exploring our children’s museum, and getting dressed up for dinner out! But illness struck and both Eric and Moira were not 100%. Instead we opted for a relaxing day at home. It was perfect! The day started with a yummy breakfast- equipped with heart shaped bacon

IMG_0609 and ended with a trip down memory lane. Talking to the girls about our favorite love story-our own! We decided to show our wedding video and the girls couldn’t have been more excited!

IMG_0625. A few of my favorite quotes included : daddy can you dance with us like that?
Isn’t this great, Moira?
and can we watch that again, tomorrow? I really love that movie.

Heart exploded! Valentines Day 2015-you really were full of love!

Peppermint Mocha- RFS!

Well, I did it! After searching and searching and tweaking, I finally found a recipe for peppermint mocha that is free of refined sugar AND absolutely hits the spot! I truly had my doubts and was starting to believe I’d have to live the entire season without one. Praise Jesus, I do not!

Now, I’ll be honest, it does not taste identical to sbucks. However, the flavors are perfect and there is even a hint of sweetness that leaves you wanting more. I am hooked and you will be too!

Ingredients
1.5 T cocoa powder
3 T pure maple syrup
1 tsp raw honey (optional but adds a touch more sweetness)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk ( could also use coconut milk or regular)

In a medium saucepan mix powder, syrup, honey and milk together over medium heat. Continue to heat until completely mixed and warmed. Then, remove from heat and add in extracts. Allow creamer to cool to room temperature and store in an air tight container for up to one week.

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While mixture is cooling make your espresso. I made two shots of espresso. Pour into mug and spoon 3 TB of peppermint creamer and mix. I then steamed about 3/4 cup of almond milk in my frother and poured on top. You could also just add your creamer to a cup of coffee. Either way, it’s a perfect Christmas treat without all the yuckiness of refined sugar and other mystery ingredients.

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DIY Tutu Princess Dresses

And operation Halloween costumes 2014: complete. I am even three days ahead of schedule! This year the Halloween costume discussion started early. The girls were set on princesses-no changing their mind! Liesel wanted to be Sleeping Beauty I mean Aurora and MJ wanted to be Cinderella. After these decisions were made in…August, I didn’t give it much thought until we were getting closer to the holiday. I began looking around and soon found that to buy princess dresses new ( not even the “Disney” brand) were going to be around $30 easy. That is when I made a new declaration, ” if costumes are going to cost >$20 each, I would find a cheaper way to make them myself!!” So I hit up Pinterest. And of course she didn’t let me down ( she rarely does).

I found a few tutorials on tulle inspired dresses and I was sold!. You can see I am a sucker for tulle, exhibit A, exhibit B. The idea seemed fairly straightforward and easy for a non sew-er like me☺️.

I first located some crochet tube tops for girls. They are similar to the head bands, but wider. I ordered them from kissyface creations for $2 each. For Moira I order a small light blue top, and Liesel’s was a medium light pink. I received both in 2 days! Next up was the tulle. Luckily Hobby lobby had all tulle on sale for .89 per yard! To be safe I ordered 6 yards of each color ( pink and blue), I also bought one yard of white.

To make the dress you must first measure your child from the bottom of tube top to about the ankle. Then add 1 inch and multiply by 2. After finding measurements I began cutting and cutting and cutting. I made each piece about six inches wide. This process would have been easier if I would have bought the pre measured tulle but I’m cheap and those were going to cost more than twice as much! Once you have your strips cut ( good to start with 30-40), you can start threading. Take one strip, fold it in half and feed it through the bottom loop in your crochet top

IMG_2096.JPG *tip: use a crochet hook, it makes this part go very fast*. Next, pull your bottom strips through the loop and pull gently until you make a nice knot.

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IMG_2098.JPG. Continue until every hole on the bottom line of your crocheted top is knotted.

Next I made the embellishments aka sleeves and bodice using the white tulle. We had a few princess dress ups ( play condition) that had a Cinderella and Aurora picture on the front. I removed the picture and hot glued them to the front of the dress. Here are the finished products.

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The girls love them!! I bought two tiaras at the dollar tree and called it a wrap!

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IMG_2089.JPG But what about Emaline? We can’t forget our little Emmy! I first thought I would make her a costume similar to the girls except, Snow White. I quickly nixed this idea thinking it would be too difficult to make one so small. Maybe sew her a tutu??? Then while at Target last week I saw this little Cinderella bodysuit on clearance for $8 and I was sold!

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Now our little princesses are ready to trick or treat🎃
In total I spent
Tops: $4
Tulle: $10
Tiaras: $2
Cinderella suit: $8
Total- $24!!! Not bad for three costumes☺️.