Friday, November 4, 2011

Look Ma!

This post is really for my mom, who thinks she didn't teach me how to sew. She managed to get Holly and me to make cheesy pre-printed teddy bears when we were young, but our attention spans and hers fizzled out shortly after. My interest in sewing appeared again briefly, long enough for me to pass Home Ec. and make two pair of boxer shorts, which were totally cool to wear in the 90s.

So when our church branch in Sutherland decided to make rag quilts, I blew the dust off the old sewing machine and gave it a shot. The rag quilt turned out beautifully, but my very old sewing machine died in the process. I got a new one a few weeks ago and finally finished my first real sewing project. Ta-dah!

My first dress for Eliza! This was a ton of fun, so I'm thinking she'll be getting a few dresses for Christmas. I still think it needs a little something. I'm thinking two or three decorative buttons on the side of the collar.

I even did the zipper all by myself. So what if I had to read the instructions forty times...
Yes, this is a total brag post. Sorry. I couldn't resist.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Funny Things My Children Say and Do

I have an entire journal devoted to funny things my children say and do. I got the idea from my cousin Michelle, and I'm very glad she gave it to me. Although my children are still small and the journal is largely unfilled, I thought I would share some recent gems. Because kids are hilarious.

*After his first day at preschool, I asked him what he learned. His reply: "EVERYTHING!" Guess we can skip high school and college.
*Liza won't take a pacifier, except as a chew toy. However, she religiously sucks herself to sleep with her blanket every night.
*My favorite quote from Noah: "People are kinda gross."
*I have had a thing for the movie Tangled lately. Apparently Noah does too because in the living room today, he stacked a few couch cushions together, climbed to the top and, with arms spread wide, shouted/sang "I gotta dweeeeem!!!"
*A few months ago Aaron, Noah and I were sitting around talking on the bed. Noah mentioned something about his "other daddy." I told him that Aaron was his only daddy. Aaron pried a little further and asked who the other daddy was. Noah said, "Stucki." Now wanting to pry even further, Aaron asked where Stucki lived. "In a dirty house." Apparently Mom gets around with a slob named Stucki. It has since become our favorite family joke.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trick or Treat

I managed to get both kids into costumes for Halloween. Noah had decided to be Thomas the Tank quite a while ago, which was good because the cutting, painting gluing, taping, and retaping of the whole costume took about a week. Thankfully, I finished Liza's in one nap time.

We took the kids to Grant to go trick or treating on Main Street and to some old friends. It took Noah a few minutes to figure out what was going on, but by the third round, he had it down pretty well. His Thomas costume got heavy after several blocks. I think we'll do fabric costumes next year.

Eliza the Ballerina

Noah as Thomas the Tank Engine. Noah even helped me make this costume. He also helped pull off just about every piece that was glued or taped on at least once.
Side view.
Ready for trick or treating!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Good Rainy Day Toddler Project Tutorial

I am quickly falling in love with Pinterest. I think I may now love Pinterest more than Facebook. It may have to do with the fact that I am totally visual and like the pictures on Pinterest, or it has no advertising, or that I don't have to worry about any passive-aggressive jabs on Pinterest. You know who you are...

Even though we haven't had a ton of rainy days out here, the days outside lately have either been chillier or filled with swarms of flies, the gift we get from the local pig farm. And Pinterest has a whole lot of great ideas on what to do with kids when you are tight on $$$, the kids don't want to play outside, you have no car during the day, and you don't want to stick the kids in front of a TV.

I started with this idea...

...but fingerpaint is messy of necessity, and some genius thought it would be a good idea to put carpet in the kitchen in a rental house (actually, there are at least two geniuses out there that think that because our last rental had carpet in the kitchen too. But I digress...)

So I decided paintbrushes and potato stamps were the way to go. Noah and I created these.

I guess it's false advertising to call this a tutorial, because most of the tutorials I see online come with really awesome step-by-step photos. With mine, you'll just have to use your imagination.


Cardboard box
Acrylic paint (the craft kind that comes in little bottles)
Paintbrushes (preferably ones you don't mind the toddler destroying)
Newspaper for covering the table and your carpeted kitchen
Scotch or masking tape
A potato
A small, sharp knife (exacto or paring knives work well)
Paint smock (if desired. I just strip my kid down and scrub him later.)

1. Cut out one panel of the cardboard box. Trim to desired size. Put child in art smock, if desired. Lay down newspaper on table and carpeted kitchen floor.
2. Let your toddler paint the brown, empty side of the cardboard whatever color he desires. Let the cardboard dry completely.
3. Lightly spell out your child's name in tape on the dry, painted cardboard.
4. Make a potato stamp in whatever design your child chooses. Noah chose train tracks, and I did a leaf for Liza. To make the stamp, slice a potato in half. With a pencil or your knife, draw a simple shape on the face of the potato. Cut away everything that isn't your design, so looking at the potato sideways, your design should be 1/2" to 3/4" higher than the rest of the potato.
5. Let your child use the potato stamp in different colors all over the masked cardboard. You may have to blot off some of the paint before he uses the stamp on the cardboard. Don't worry about mixing colors - it actually looks good if the colors mix. Be sure to do a lot of stamping over the masked letters. Let dry.
6. Peel the tape off the cardboard. Use a small paintbrush to create an outline to the letters, if desired.
7. Hang with pride on the wall.
8. Scrub the paint off your kid.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Revolting Recipes - Intestine Breadsticks

I was really looking forward to our church Halloween party this year, but alas, Liza got sick so we couldn't go. But I made this spooky snack in anticipation of going. I was inspired by this idea here (yes, I got it on Pinterest).

I made a few modifications, though. I was fresh out of puff pastry (I doubt I could get it at the local grocery store anyway), and it sounded expensive and fattening. So I made the same idea with breadsticks instead.

I'd give you the recipe, but it's just Betty Crocker foccacia rolled into breadsticks, then I used a baby spoon to dab some marinara sauces in the seams and sprinkled Parmesan cheese. Voila! A nauseating side dish! Now I just need an awesome Halloween party to go to...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sculpture's Last Stand - The 2011 Sisson Family Pumpkin Carvings

My true artistic love has always been sculpture. The only problem with sculpture is what to do with it after you've made it. For instance, my favorite sculpture I ever made was a head of a gargoyle. It turned out great; I was really proud of it. But who needs a life-sized head of a gargoyle sitting in their living room?

So the only outlet my sculpting gets every year is pumpkin carving. It has a practical use, it's festive and inexpensive, doesn't involve a huge time commitment, affords almost unlimited creativity, and you can smash it a week afterwards and not feel bad about it. Because I get to sculpt so seldom, I like to go all out. Last year I decided to make the globe. It was cool for about 12 hours. Then it started to wither, and South America was never quite the same. Australia and New Zealand quickly collided, and Europe began to sag. By the next day, you couldn't even tell what the carving was supposed to be.

This year, I wanted to make up for last year's flop, and I must say I did a pretty good job. I'm especially proud because my design is also original. So without further ado, I give you the 2011 Sisson Family Pumpkin Carvings.

I did the bat for Noah, the Nebraska sunset for myself, and Aaron (in keeping with his hunting/farm boy theme) did the bugling elk.

Closeup. It looks way cooler in person.

See above.

In the light.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween Fun

Fall has fallen in Nebraska. There aren't many trees, so mostly that means that the corn has been harvested and (for Aaron) the deer are rutting. What fall season would be complete without a trip to the local pumpkin patch? There is a rather impressive one just west of us, near Champion, called Cox Ponds that we went to. The kids loved it!
Noah's lightening the boat full of pumpkins.

An old friend from the Sutherland Branch taught Liza to wrinkle her nose like this. We call it her Pickle Face. As a side note, I have that same dimple on my cheek.

Liza hogging all the pumpkins that were thrown overboard.

Noah driving the pumpkin Cat-illac.

There are few places Noah loves more than a sandbox or a cornbox. Daddy is making sandcastles so Noah can smush them. We nearly had to drag Noah out of the sandbox to go home.

It took me forever to get a cute profile shot, but it was worth it :-)
Just us girls.

Here are a few everyday pictures too. Just for fun. 

"Cookie? What cookie? Oh - you mean THIS cookie..."

Noah loves to hide in small spaces. This is his most recent discovery.