Epiphany Celebration!

I was envisioning more of a snowflake craft extravaganza when I thought about a January seasonal celebration, but then Epiphany! I usually try (and fail) to make a king cake for Mardi Gras. But when I was looking up ideas for epiphany this year, king cake kept coming up. Then it hit me, KING cake= 3 KINGS! Duh!

Usually my cake is tasty but ugly. My dough is just never right. But this year, I went straight to my favorite baking recipe site: King Arthur Flour. You guys, if you’re not using their recipes, you are missing out! They are so easy to follow and they never disappoint.

So this year I kneaded it waaaaaay longer than I normally do and it turned out so good! It rolled out into an actual rectangle JUST LIKE IT WAS SUPPOSED TO! And it was absolutely delicious. I didn’t roll it out quite big enough so it baked into a bit of a blob, but there was an actual spiral with filling inside. And it was soooooo good. I just need to remember to order some purple sugar sprinkles. My just-add-red-food-coloring-to-the-blue-sprinkles-plan didn’t ::quite:: work out the way I had planned, but the kids didn’t complain. 🙂

Happy New Year!!!

I love the new year! Everything always seems so fresh, shiny, new, and full of possibilities. 🙂 I’ve been doing some project updates this week, but for the sake of clarity I’m going to do a very brief recap of my 2020 goals.

  1. Project life. 16/20.
  2. Scrapbook. 9/20.
  3. Hexies Progress. Done!
  4. Kid Adventures. Done!
  5. Montessori Trays. Done!
  6. Girl Scouts. 13/20.
  7. Bee Yourself Quilt. 15/20.
  8. Blog posts. Done!
  9. Liturgical Living. 9/20.
  10. Home Projects. 17/20.
  11. Recipes. 4/20.
  12. Butterfly/ Caterpillar Progress. Done!
  13. Nine Patches. Done!
  14. Date Nights. 8/20.
  15. Plants. Done!
  16. Staff Development Progress. Done!
  17. Books. Done!
  18. Trash. 15/20.
  19. Caring Place. 12/20.
  20. Pounds. Well, I’m still up 5 pound from my pre-quarantine weight, but I am down 15 from my covid high, so a partial win? It’s finally moving in the right direction at any rate.

I have been trying to decide how I want to structure my goals for this year, but I just can’t choose! The time for dillydallying is past though so here goes. As much as I loved 20x20in2020, it was kind of a lot to keep track of and I felt like I was shoehorning in some goals that didn’t really fit the structure, so I’m changing it up this year. I’ve decided to pick 10 things to work on this year, and then I’ll probably still set smaller monthly goals.

  1. I want to finish my hexies! At least the center of the top. lol. That’s 14 more hexie blocks and then the assembly. Once it’s together, I’ll need to make some decisions about borders etc, but just getting the hexies together would be amazing. Since I finished 14 blocks this year, it feels achievable?
  2. Butterfly Quilt. I have the center assembled, just need to make some decisions about borders and finish the pinwheels. I’d love to have this completely finished by the end of the year, but a lot of that hangs on how I decide to quilt it. At minimum, I’d like to have the top completed.
  3. Caterpillar Quilt. Same except that I’m not as far along with this one. I have the top 8 rows assembled and all of the caterpillars appliqued. I need to finish the embroidery on 2 caterpillars, design and applique 5 blocks of fruit, and assemble the center. Also, so many pinwheels. lol.
  4. Project Life. I want to finish 2019 (3 layouts), 2020 (November and December), and keep current with 2021. I think there is zero chance that this happens, lol, but it’s good to have goals.
  5. Scrapbooks. I’d love to finish 2020 (4 months), keep current with 2021, and make some progress towards closing the gaps. Hmm… I’m so far behind it’s hard to know what to set as a goal. lol. You know what? I’m splitting this goal, so number 5 will be current scrapbooks: 2020 and 2021. I think this is actually doable. Which leads us to goal number 6…
  6. The dreaded scrapbook gap… I’m caught up through the end of October 2018. So maybe finish 2018 and then scrap every other month for 2019? No, better idea. I’m going to shoot for finishing the calendar layouts (which I hate doing) and then 2 additional layouts per month. That way at least something will be scrapped for each month and it’s seems more doable.
  7. Bucilla Advent Calendar. I’m adding this to my master list so that I will be reminded to work on it all year instead of waiting until mid November to pull it out. lol.
  8. Monthly Kid Adventures. I want to pick one bigger adventure each month. Something totally new. Current ideas include some local state parks.
  9. Monthly Seasonal Celebration. Pick a monthly theme and do something. lol.
  10. Homeschool. Take advantage of our Blossom and Root curriculum! Not sure how to make this measurable, but it’s a goal nonetheless.

So then I’m left with January goals…

  1. Thank you notes.
  2. December Daily.
  3. Project Life. Finish 2019 and November 2020. Work on January 2021.
  4. Scrapbooks. I’m focusing on Project Life this month, so just keeping current with January 2021.
  5. Kid Adventure. I want to take the kids to Mother Neff State Park. It seems like a totally doable day trip.
  6. Get organized for January homeschool.
  7. Finish teal and navy fruit blocks. This is high priority! I want to get the caterpillars to the same spot as the butterflies.
  8. Hexies. I’d like to finish 1 block.
  9. Seasonal Celebration. I’m sure I’ll come up with something? Maybe some new Montessori trays?
  10. Windchime. I’d like to prep and finish 1 block.

Whew! That was a long post, but it helps me to organize my thoughts and set goals. I’ll try to have some more posts with pictures soon!

2020 Quilty Recap

I thought it might be good to do a little progress report on all of my quilts. One of my goals for 2020 is to actually ::finish:: some projects and I’m hoping this helps motivate me to accomplish that!

  1. Hexagons. The OG quilt. I started off the year with 11 of the 12 super hexies completed, 20 blocks total, and fully 1/3 of the quilt sewn together. I now have all 12 of the super hexies done, 34 out of 48 blocks completed, and 1/2 of the quilt assembled. Which sounds pretty impressive when I type it out! I basically got 14 blocks done this year and I have 14 to go. I’d really love to finish this top this year.
  2. Bee Yourself. This is the second oldest UFO quilt and I made some real progress this year! I started off the year with 21/ 63 blocks done and I’m ending with 36/ 63 done. That’s 15 new blocks done! Plus, I have a plan for most of the remaining blocks which is half the battle!
  3. The third oldest UFO quilt is my Christmas one. I started the year off with the top finished. I ended up sending it out to be quilted by a longarmer and it looks amazing! I’m about halfway done with the binding and then it will be finished. 🙂
  4. Next up is my Windchimes! I started the year with 3 blocks complete and now I have 9! I thought about stopping here and making a small wall hanging, but I love these blocks too much to quit. I’m thinking maybe 4×4? Or even the full 5×5!
  5. Then comes the Butterflies and Caterpillars. I started the year with 16 butterflies done and now I have all 39 finished! For the caterpillars, I started with 5 done and now I have all 11 done minus a teeny bit of embroidery on 2 of them. As for the fruit, I started the year with no fruit and I now have 12/ 17 done. I’ve also finished all of the 9 patches and I’m about 1/4 of the way through the pinwheels. 🙂
  6. Pixilated Heart Quilt! This one was so fun and easy that I’m considering making a second one. 🙂 I finished the top last year between Christmas and New Years, then I set it aside for a loooooong time. I actually quilted it myself and bound it this year. It’s a favorite to snuggle with on the couch!
  7. I started by 60* diamond wallhanging in April and it’s almost done! I’m hand quilting it so it’s taking a bit longer, but I’ve just got the border to go. 🙂
  8. In May I started a low volume log cabin quilt and I’ve now got 6 blocks done. I’m in no hurry with this one, but it’s been fun to play with low volume fabrics.
  9. And my final new project is my Ice Cream Soda Quilt! I love this one so much! I have 14 blocks done and a bunch more to go. I think there’s something like 68 in the finished quilt? They are so much fun! I’m not in any rush to finish this one; I’m just enjoying playing with all of the pretty fussy cuts. 🙂

All this to say that my big quilty goals this year are to finish the hexagon, butterfly, and caterpillar tops. 🙂

Scrapping?

This year, I feel like I’ve made loads of progress on my quilts, decent progress on Project Life, and minimal progress on my scrapbooks. I’m considering a big push to get some scrapping done this week to avoid getting further behind. So some mini goals…

  1. Project Life. I was doing really great on this goal, but then the last 2 months I’ve done basically nothing. I’d really love to do the last 3 weeks of 2019 at minimum. If I could get November and December of 2020 done it would be a minor miracle. It would also mean that I would be completely caught up with Project Life! I was doing so well doing Project Life in real time and I’d like to continue with that trend in the new year. Which means I should really order a new album and page protectors. lol.
  2. Scrapbooking. ::le sigh:: Thus far, I’ve managed to get 9 months done which means that instead of catching up I’ve fallen further behind. I was loving working in real time, but then I fell off the bandwagon in September. Speaking of which, the only layout missing for September is the calendar layout. I’d like to get that done, plus 2 more months. That would mean that I’d have completed 12 months in the past 12 months. Going forward, I want to get back to scrapping in real time while working on closing the gaps. More on this later in the week. lol.
  3. December Daily. I’m keeping it super simple this year, so I’d really like to wrap it up this week. I made a point to simplify the design so that there’s only 1 pic per day and I tried to be intentional about making sure I had a pic for each day. Today I’m going to try to get all of the pics printed.

I’m currently debating if I want to try for another massive year long goals project. Maybe? I do like the idea of 20x21in2021. But some of my goals don’t really lend themselves to that format. So maybe set 21 project goals instead? I know that I will probably end up starting some new projects (lol) but I’d also really like to finish some projects. Like catching up with the scrapbooks. The butterfly and caterpillar quilts. The hexagon quilt. Still pondering.

Halloween!

Y’all. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. And I’m so sad that it’s so weird this year. No pumpkin patch, no trick or treating, ugh. It sucks. BUT!!! I decided that I had to find a way to make it fun for the kids anyway.

I felt like a massive slacker, but I didn’t have it in me to make costumes this year. My plan was for the kids to just dress up from their dress up bin, but then earlier this week that made me really sad so I ordered some costumes as a surprise for the twins. They were huge hits with my Frozen obsessed Mia and ninja obsessed Xander. 🙂 Kate didn’t want to dress up until this morning, lol, but luckily she was able to dig out last year’s costume.

I was looking through my pinterest board to see if anything looked fun and I found this pumpkin balloon activity I had pinned years ago. Luckily, RaptorDad is ever indulgent with my crazy ideas so he tracked down some balloons and helped me make this.

We shoved a piece of candy in each balloon as we were blowing them up and then taped them together into a pumpkin shape. Then the kids took turns popping the balloons and finding the candy. It was a ton of fun. 🙂

Chantilly Lace Cake

Y’all.  Whole Foods makes this insanely addictive cake called a Chantilly Lace cake.  It’s RaptorDad’s favorite.  🙂  Considering that every time we venture into a Whole Foods I manage to blow the grocery budget on gourmet olives and baked goods, I decided that I needed to learn how to bake this cake myself so I could limit our exposure to temptation.  lol.  After much searching, I found a copy cat recipe that looked pretty amazing and assembled all of the fancy ingredients.  Except for, you know, sugar.  lol.  So back to the store we went.  Y’all.  It did not disappoint.

It’s probably a good thing that this recipe is insanely complicated because if it was easy, I’m afraid I’d be making it once a week and we’d all gain 1000 pounds.  lol.

Kate was working on her edible model of the Alamo (why???) that was due today, but she took a break to make a fondant flower for the cake.

It’s Cookie Time

Y’all.  My brain is mush, but I PROMISED you a blog post so here it is.

We have been knee deep in cookies for the past week and a half, but the end is in sight!  Kate had an insane goal of selling 650 boxes of cookies, but she has worked her little tushie off and we are almost there.  As of today, she only has to sell 45 more boxes!  ::I think I can, I think I can, I think I can::

I’ll be back next week with some quilty, scrappy, yummy, updates.  🙂

 

Field Trip! And Pogo Pass Review

At the beginning of the summer, I bought something called a Pogo Pass.  Basically, you buy the pass and then you get 1 or 2 admission tickets to a bunch of different places over the course of the next year.  (If you’re interested, I think I have an affiliate link that I can email to you that lets you get the pass for $39.98)  Has it been worth it?  Hmm…  I actually just totaled up what we’ve used so far and I’d say it will PROBABLY end up being worth it.  For sure, it encouraged us to get out and try new places we wouldn’t have gone to otherwise so in that sense it was absolutely worth it.  And I imagine we will hit up 1 or 2 more places before our passes expire which will make it worth the sticker price.  That said, we didn’t take advantage of a lot of the places on the pass either because they are in Waco (I’m not driving 2 hours to take my kid roller skating) or the just weren’t things I could do with the babies (looking at you Hawaiian Falls.)  But, if you had only older kids I think it would definitely be worth it.

Which brings us to today!  I was looking through the Pogo Pass trying to decide on something fun to do over Winter Break, and saw Wonder World.  Um, yes please!  I am addicted to cheesy roadside attractions and I have wanted to go to this place ever since I went back to school at Texas State to get my teaching certification.  Was it fun?  Yes.  Was it insane with 2 preschoolers?  Yes!  Am I disproportionately disappointed that they didn’t sell souvenir patches?  Yes.  lol.

Luckily Kate’s BFF’s mom is super duper awesome and she always agrees to come along on my crazy adventures.  The Pogo Pass got us into 3 of the 4 attractions and I decided that was enough for my crew, we just missed out on the Wildlife Train ride.   My friend found a Groupon that included all 4 attractions, so we did the Cave, Observation Tower and Anti-Gravity House, then had a little picnic and left before they got on the train.

The Cave was fun, but to say that it wasn’t very accessible would be like saying the Sahara is a little bit dry.  I wish I had brought my wrap so I could have worn Mia, but I ended up just carrying her for large chunks of the tour while abandoning my friend to deal with Xander.  Did I mention she’s awesome?  lol.  Still, I think this is a good starter cave for kids because they can actually touch all of the walls which makes it less stressful.  That said, there were some tight spots so I wouldn’t recommend it for someone who was claustrophobic.

Kate loved the observation deck and even with my deep fear of heights I can agree that the view was lovely.  But the Anti-Gravity House?  Oh lord.  You could not pay me enough to reenter that place.  It’s designed to be disorienting, and it straight up made me fall over.  Luckily, I was near a helpfully placed bench, but yikes.  I’m still dizzy just thinking about it.  Kate, on the other hand, would have happily spent 3 hours in there.  Even I’ll admit that they had some pretty cool optical illusions with balls and water appearing to roll uphill.

Bottom line, am I glad we went?  Yes!  We had a blast and it wore the babies out enough that they are both currently napping in their cribs which is my major litmus test for if an activity was worth it.  Would we go again?  Um, probably not.  It’s kind of a one time is enough sort of experience.

As for the Pogo Pass?  I have enjoyed having “free” activities to do with the kids, but I don’t think we will be buying one again this summer.  Maybe when the babies are old enough to really take advantage of  more of the activities it will make more sense, but for now I think we’re better off looking for the occasional Groupon.

January Goals Plan

Remember when I said I was going to try to post once a week?  Apparently I have a lot to say.  lol.  I really should space them out, but I wanted to put out my January plan to hold myself accountable.  Here goes.

  1.  New bake.  In the spirit of it being January, I’m going to attempt something healthy.  I have my eye on this recipe for quinoa breakfast bites.  I’m a little bit skeptical of weather or not my kids will eat quinoa for breakfast, but it would be awesome if we could break them of their z bar habit.
  2. New dinner recipe.  This is a combo goal!  I’m going to attempt to make chicken tikka masala for our Epiphany dinner.  I found a recipe using my best friend, the crockpot.  Now I just need to find some garam masala.  I might just order it off of amazon, but I also figure my kids would get a kick out of a field trip to a specialty grocery store.  We’ll just have to see how much time we have this week.
  3. Montessori trays.  Y’all!  I actually had these ready to go on the 31st!  And they have been a huge hit.  Mia especially loves them.  I can’t wait to get started on revamping my H is for Heart valentines stuff for February.  🙂
  4. Feast Days.  As I mentioned already, we’re celebrating Epiphany this month on January 6th.  We’ll have Chicken Tikka Masala for dinner since the 3 wise men came from the east.  I’m planning to write up a whole blog post after the fact about how we’re celebrating.  Since Epiphany falls on a Sunday, I’m going to try to come up with some more fun crafts and stuff since we’ll be home and not busy at school.  🙂
  5. Hexies.  We’ll see where we are at the end of the month.  I’m so far behind I’m not sure it’s worth trying to catch up.  lol.  I might need to come up with a new plan.
  6. Scrapping.  I’d love to get November 2017 and January 2018 done.  We’ll see.
  7. Project Life.  Hmm…  Maybe I’ll try to do June 2018 and December 2018?  I’d love to get caught up, but I also really love doing current stuff.  I’m going to play around this month and then solidify my goal for February.
  8. Portraits.  No ideas yet.  But I’m sure we’ll come up with something.
  9. Sewing Project.  I’m actually really excited about this one.  My Quilt Guild makes donation quilts for various charities and sometimes they issue challenges to encourage people to participate.  This time they gave out novelty prints and one of them was keroppi!  I’m obsessed with keroppi so I had to participate.  🙂  The idea is to add fabric from your stash to make a quilt or quilt top.  Since I don’t really have a stash (yet!) I ordered some fabric.  lol.

    As you can see, it’s a charm pack of low volume fabrics in a whole rainbow of colors!  My plan is to fussy cut keroppi hexagons and then applique them onto the charm squares.  Then I’ll machine sew the squares together to make a quilt.  I might need to add a border depending on how big it ends up.  We’ll see.  This is due at the February meeting so I’m hoping to finish it in January.
  10. New Park.  I’m leaning towards a nature park rather than a playscape park, but we’ll just have to see.
  11. Blogging.  My goal was to have 4 blog posts by the end of the month, but I think I’m going to change that to having a blog post scheduled for each Monday in January.
  12. Get Healthy.  January goal is 2 work outs a week, 10K steps a day, and track all food in My Fitness Pal.  Lofty goals indeed, but I gained almost 10 pounds in December!  Yikes!  Time to get back on track.

Should we check in on my Mini December Goals?

  1.  Write Thank You Notes.  Done!
  2. December Daily.  Done!  I’ll try to take some pics of it and blog them later this week, but the reader’s digest version is that I switched to a 4×4 format and it’s freaking awesome.
  3. Take and edit family pics.  Done!  And I think they turned out really nicely if I do say so myself.
  4. Edit/ Print/ Scrap November.  hahahahahaha.  Not even close.  But this one was always a stretch.
  5. Organize new toys.  Still a work in progress.  Especially since I dumbed out a bunch of their toys to reclaim my Montessori bins.  lol.  But it’s better.