Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Play Kitchen from an Entertainment Center

BEFORE:scroll down to see the after pics, blogger photo is not working with me today.
What we did while mom wrapped presents in the other room...

We have 4 shopping carts now, my living room looks like a shopping center parking lot.

Piper, the reluctant princess.

Chloe loves the bling.

Chloe, Ava, Piper and Logan

This is what I used for the curtains, I love this fabric! I thought about using my Michael Miller "Dick and Jane" fabric but it has more reds and blues so I went with this one and it matches perfect.

Yummy cookies baking in the oven! (this pic was taken before we touched up the paint around the hinges)


So here are the pictures finally! We finished up the day after Christmas. Gary cut the holes for the sink and faucets and put on the door, moved the hinges from the side to the bottom for the oven door. Levi did 3 coats of the paint in record time, it's Cha-Cha Pink Dutch Boy. On Christmas day Grandpa Eissens helped cut out the knobs and burners. I painted the knobs and burners, sewed the curtains and gave instructions on how I wanted it done lol.

Cost: We already had the entertainment center in the basement and it was ready for the dump, we used scrap pieces of plywood to replace the back and for the knobs and burners, also to add the refrigerator door. We used the handles that were on the original but moved them to the new door and placed one on the top of the oven door. I bought 2 packages of hinges for around $2 each, 1 curtain rod $1.79, the sink is a bowl that we had, the faucet was on clearance for $6 (I would have preferred a kitchen faucet but would not pay full price), the paint was $13 minus a $5 rebate, the fabric came from my fabric stash so the whole thing only cost around $20.00! The picture on the oven door is an actual picture of gingersnaps baking in my oven, I just enlarged it and printed it off and slid it into a plastic sleeve before gluing it on. I am very happy with the way it turned out and I am sure that the girls will play with it for years to come. I plan on sewing them some aprons and a chef's hat for Logan soon and for the girl's birthday in August I want to sew up a bunch of play food. Right now they are mainly cooking and feeding the dollies but as they get older they will get into the play foods more. I hope you enjoyed this :) I'm going to blog a little less and craft a little more, I need to build up my inventory for my Etsy store so I can get it up and running full force. It's getting harder to do anything while the girls are awake, because the minute I'm not looking they are climbing or getting into something crazy, especially Piper. Right now she has on her brothers snow pants and is standing on top of the dog crate reaching for a shelf of Cherished Teddies! We are also making some progress in the area of potty training, Ava goes almost every time and Chloe is catching on too, Piper just says "no way" when I try to get her to go. We are far from cloth training pants but at least we are using less diapers ,Yay!! But as you can imagine the girls are really taking a lot of time and require lots of attention, this is nothing new but now that they are getting into more stuff I can't keep up as easily, so there may be fewer posts, we'll see. I can't wait until spring and playtime outside!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

4 Pounds of Cinnamon?

Mom put the camera down and read to me!

Today's post is about a craft that I had planned that won't be happening and a Christmas project that I planned that isn't done (or started for that matter) but it better get done before Santa comes!! I am totally using this blog as a way to force Gary into helping with this one. He told me he would help days ago and that just hasn't happened so lets put a little more pressure on him eh? Yes I am really doing this honey. Smile it will be fun and you will get lots of fun out of watching the kids play with it. Oh yea I should tell you guys what the heck I'm talking about right.
First the one that won't get done, I have roughly 4 lbs of Cinnamon that I bought at the Amish bulk foods store a few months ago to make some great smelling clay that was supposed to be made into adorable ornaments. Upon revisiting the web site I had bookmarked with the recipe I discovered that I didn't have enough white school glue to make it happen and unfortunately not enough days left to let them dry anyway, crap. You can find the recipe here. I am going to buy a gallon of school glue next time I see some, I have looked at Walmart and they don't carry it in huge containers. I also want some for making some Oobleck, I bought some liquid starch for making that already too. Click that link and you see some lesson plans for using "Bartholomew and the Oobleck" by Dr. Seuss. I don't home school but I like to do things like that for summer or weekend activities, the more they learn the better right. Ok let's get down to the business of the project that we have to get done. Here is a picture of our old entertainment center that we are making into a kitchen center for the girls.
It's shoved into the corner so I didn't get the best picture but you get the idea. It is going to be a kitchen center with a sink, refrigerator and oven. I need Gary to cut the wood into the right size for the doors, it's already marked and I have the new hinges too so it should go quickly. I hope he gets it cut soon so I can get busy on the painting. He doesn't like to do "creative" things so he is avoiding it, I told him I will tell him exactly what to do and he doesn't like that either, lol. I saw a pink "retro" kitchen center and it was only $300! What? I would like to have $300 to refurbish my own kitchen, are you kidding, I could replace my counter tops or get a new oven for that. This entertainment center was in the basement. It has scuff marks all over the front of it from somebody putting their feet up on the front of it while they watched TV. I am only guessing that they were sitting so close to the TV because they were trying to keep the volume down so they wouldn't get caught watching it late at night. The drawer that was in the middle was broken and is no longer there and there are water marks and scratches on it so it was going to be taken to the dump soon, but now it's getting a second chance as a kitchen center. Reduce, Re-use, Recycle! Photos to come....soon I hope.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Oops it's not in a can!

I woke up this morning extra tired. I think the late night grocery shopping from Sunday night has caught up with me. Not good considering it's going to be a very busy day. We are splitting up the kids tonight because we are supposed to be in two places at the same time "again". Daddy is taking 2 of the girls to the wrestling meet and I am taking Logan and 1 of the girls to the Christmas Program. If I get done in time I will go over to the wrestling meet when the program is over. Considering the program is at 7pm and that's what time Logan usually goes to bed on a school night this should be interesting. I will probably pay for it the rest of the week.
I cooked a turkey today, Levi brought it up from the freezer and put it in the fridge to thaw, we didn't get turkey on Thanksgiving so he was hungry for some. I put it in this morning and it was done around noon so the girls had some for lunch. For some reason the smell of the turkey in the oven made me want some pumpkin maple custard. I cracked the 4 eggs and added the maple syrup to the mixing bowl. After searching the small pantry and not finding the can of pumpkin that I was sure was in there, I moved the search to the hallway pantry. This pantry was originally a coat closet but Austin put up some shelves in it for me when we moved here because the kitchen is just too small for this big family. I had just cleaned the hallway pantry yesterday and didn't remember seeing a can of pumpkin but for some reason I was convinced that I had some pumpkin someplace. When I opened the door I realized my mistake, there sat a pie pumpkin but no canned pumpkin! Well I was not about to seed, bake and puree a pumpkin after baking a turkey all morning. After searching for recipes I decided to add some more eggs and some milk to the egg and syrup mixture pour it over some bread cubes and turn it into crockpot french toast. I had to crawl on my hands and knees to get out the small crockpot because it was about the last thing in the back of the cupboard underneath the picnic basket and the griddle. Why does it hurt so bad to crawl on my knees now? I don't understand that at all, my knees are fat now, why doesn't that work as a padding? So anyway I put the mixture into the crockpot and made room (crammed it in) in the fridge. I will plug it in tonight and we can have some French Toast for breakfast in the morning.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Snowed in and Sewing-How to Make Korkers- plus some coupon talk.

Not a very good picture but it's really hard to even get everybody to look at the same time! These were from one of our "snow days". We had blizzard conditions and no school for 4 days, I think it was 4 days but it seemed like 2 weeks lol. I was trying to sew with all the kids home and that doesn't work very well! We are really missing our Expedition this year! We are without any 4x4 at all. Gary got stuck twice trying to get home from work last week. Thank God for wonderful neighbors! Our neighbor with a big tractor scooped a drift that was 4 or 5 feet high and about 40 feet long to get to our house and pull Gary out. The road had drifted completely shut on both ends by the time he got off work, ah country life in Iowa.

Yay, I finished the dresses in time for the work Christmas party. I had been planning them since summer but didn't start on them until a couple of weeks ago...I was going to try my own design and see if I could skip putting in 3 zippers. Well it worked out ok for Chloe's dress when I made the *yellow sample dress but unfortunately the "homemade" dressmaker's dummy I have doesn't have arms and I didn't take that into account when making that dress. What does that mean you ask? Well Chloe can wear the yellow dress because she is a little skinny mini, Piper or Ava cannot get their arms into it! the waist is too small so it would require a zipper to get it to fit them and that defeats the whole purpose of trying to make up my own pattern! Geesh! So the fabric sat and sat while I debated on what to do with it. I wasn't happy with the pattern I had and when I tried to buy one that I liked at 2 different stores they were both out of the one I wanted, so I took that as a sign that I wasn't supposed to make that one. So I ended up using a pattern I already had and just tweaking it a bit to my liking, I ended up putting in 3 zippers anyway ugh. I started cutting out the dresses on Monday for the party that was Saturday. I finished hemming them on Sat. morning and made some korkers that day too. I made little snowmen from polymer clay and made myself a little snowman pin so I could match. The gorgeous blue fabric was given to me through Freecycle. I used to be the moderator for our county but gave it up this past summer because I had too many irons in the fire. If I remember correctly the fabric was used for making bridesmaids dresses and there was quite a bit left over and I was the lucky duck who got it! By the way I know you've heard of Leigh Michaels and that's the pen name for the wonderful lady who gifted the fabric to me! Is that cool or what? Here is a link so you can check out some of her books, I really want to read her books on writing soon.

Here are some tips on how to make your own korker bows.

To make the korker bows just wrap some ribbon around some dowels and secure with a clothespin. I used 1/4 inch ribbon and dowels on these. Cut them down to fit into your oven. Bake them on a cookie sheet at 250 degrees for about an hour or so. Take them out and let them cool before taking them off the dowel and they will be all curly when you are done. Cut them into strips about 4 inches long and just group them how you want as far as colors, I like to use 18 to 20 little strips for a full bow, you can use more or less as you wish. Just tie them together and glue onto an empty barrette of your choice. I bought the ribbon at Walmart and the barrettes in bulk from Ebay. The snowmen are made from Polymer clay, buy it when it's on sale for $1.00 per square otherwise you will be paying around $1.75 per square. I don't have a bunch of fancy tools for it either, I just use what I have around the house. The stores want you to buy a fancy little rolling pin and all these gadgets, whatever, I used an ink pin to roll out the blue clay for the scarves.

11:30pm Sunday: I just got back from a grocery trip, I saved over $60.00 all together tonight. Levi (14) went with me and was embarrassed about my big coupon binder! I started carrying it with me so I don't ever miss out on a good deal, if I see a product on clearance or a sale I didn't know about and I have the coupon in my binder where it's categorized and easy to find then I can just whip it out and use it. He threatened to take a picture of me and my binder and my fistful of coupons and send it to the "Hillbilly Corner" for the picture of the week in our local shopper. I pointed out that saving money isn't a Hillbilly thing to do, it's a smart thing to do. He responded with a comment about how every time I put an item in the cart I flipped through 50 coupons. Yea, well I used almost 50 coupons at Hy-Vee and my cart was so full they almost had to get a second cart for me for only $189.00 I have certainly done better but hey I saved a lot of money and I got everything on my list plus I got items that will qualify for another $20 back in mail in rebates. Most importantly I have enough things to put together for meals for a couple of weeks if not more and also snacks and even a lot of frozen foods that are easy to fix in a hurry! My favorites this trip were the Huggies for $4.99 from Walgreens (sale $8.99-$2 coupon and get a $2 Register Reward) and the 2 boxes of Special K/All Bran crackers for .22 cents each after $1.50 coupons. Here is a goofy picture of my receipt from Hy-Vee, it's almost 5 feet long!

*I can't find the picture of the yellow dress, I will look in the closet and try to get a good picture of it today if it's in there.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I'm Still Here!

Sorry about the lack of posts lately! I have been so busy lately with the kids and trying to keep up with the housework. I have had 2 root canals since the last post, Piper and Chloe went through a stage of climbing out of bed about 20 times each at nap time and that really took a toll on my schedule! For about 2 weeks solid I got absolutely nothing done at nap time, ugh. Logan was sick and home from school for 3 days last week and having an extra one home all day means more bickering and when he is sick he can be so demanding and he was throwing up too, Piper had ear infection and then hives after 8 days on medicine. I have decided that she is allergic to the Target brand fabric softener. The bad news is that there are about 15 loads of "clean laundry" downstairs that needs to be folded and put away, and I have no idea which loads have the offending fabric softener in them. Piper is bigger in size but Chloe can usually wear most of the same things so I am separating the newest "clean" loads for Piper to wear with the old fabric softener in it and the other loads will be kept away from her, a pain in the butt yes but better than trying to sort and rinse/dry tons of laundry. Speaking of laundry I went down to fold some clothes and wash one last load for the day around 9pm after the 4 youngest were soundly sleeping, I had to round up some work clothes for Gary-there were lots of clean work clothes but they were mixed in with all the other clean laundry. I think there are about a dozen loads of dirty laundry at that point, and most of the sheets on the 6 beds are going to be added to that in a day or two and the blankets and comforters are going to need to be washed soon. I was sorting and matching socks when Levi yelled "Mom! Come here!" I looked over and he was pointing to the floor. The drain pipe from the washer was disconnected and all of the water draining from the machine was spraying out onto the floor and the piles of dirty laundry! Yikes! The water spread from one end of the basement to the other and soaked books, rugs, stuffed animals, coats and yes the whole pile of dirty laundry! It was a terrible mess, now I have to rush to get all of that soaking wet laundry washed before it gets moldy. Yuck. So I hope everybody can see some of the reasons that I haven't been posting as much lol. We also have 1 son in High School Wrestling and 1 son doing Saturday basketball, I usually do some of the grocery shopping on the weekends but may have to change that. I changed the bath time routine for the girls, I used to do it in the evening as part of the bedtime routine but Levi has to be picked up from practice about the time we normally put them in the bath. Daytime baths allow me to let them have more playtime in the tub, not just in and out assembly line bathing and dressing. I can let them play while I get some cleaning done in the bathroom. This means the bathroom will be cleaned more frequently and will stay better organized. The only thing bad was that they watched me clean the toilet and Piper did the "monkey see, monkey do" thing later that day. She got into the bathroom and dumped a whole bottle of shampoo all over the toilet and sink! Well I'm going to wrap this up now and head to bed, I'm so tired my eyes are crossing. The picture is of Libby our poor chubby little Jack-Rat, I forgot to feed her so she got into the trash and decided to get her own food. The other picture is of my Walgreens deal. The total before coupons was $63.00, after my coupons and register rewards it only cost me $10.00 for ALL of that stuff!! There are 2 boxes of Kleenex, 3 bags of floss piks, 6 Barbie and Spiderman toothbrushes and some kids mouthwash, 8 holiday pencils, 2 bottles of laundry soap, 2 rolls of scotch tape, a pkg of hair ties, Dawn dish soap and a Fusion razor. TEN bucks! I love doing that. I only bought the deoderant because they are black and gold and Levi wanted one, I didn't have a coupon but did get $2 back in register rewards, I could have kept my total down to around $5.00 if he didn't see those and want them lol.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Window markers and misc. stuff

This is what those really cool Crayola Window Markers looks like. Those dots you see are beetles, the ones that appear suddenly in huge numbers each fall in the Midwest. I heard that they are released each year and that they have some purpose but I don't recall what it is, this isn't an informational blog so your on your own if you want to know more. They look like orange ladybugs and I vacuum them up daily because they actually get inside the house yuck. If you smash them they stink.This is what regular Crayons look like on the windows. It was an honest mistake so I didn't freak out about it. Piper saw us drawing on the windows with the markers so she thought she'd try it too. This was last week and I'm really behind on my blog, sorry.

This is a picture of Ava's plate. She was sitting there lining up each noodle so that they were side by side. She does things like this a lot, I was thinking she might have OCD but when I looked at the picture it bothered me that the corn was not together so maybe I am the one with issues!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The chair game

The Chair Game. Directions: 1) Wait until supervising adult is cooking breakfast and is completely distracted because there is no pancake mix and she has to make them from scratch. Chant "cakies-cakies!" for at least 5 minutes prior to this so that there is no way she will try to serve oatmeal or eggs.
2) Flip up headrest of leather chair to reveal the zipper, unzip and proceed to pull out as much cotton candy as you can before supervising adult catches on to the game.
3) Flash the puppy dog eyes and big smiles when adult notices and pretend to play sweetly with the cotton candy by filling shopping cart and play cookware with it, only throw it wildly when adult is not looking.
4) Use teamwork to replace the cotton candy inside the chair or you won't get your "cakies".