05 December 2013

Camera Strap

It's a little difficult keeping up with the blogs now
that I've got four kids, but I'm trying to get better again.
Please bear with me.

I was thinking about quitting this blog and putting all my crafts and things up
on my family blog again, but really, I do much better with two even
though I haven't been that great lately.

But life's a work in progress, right?
And a balancing act, especially trying to fit all the stuff I want
to do into a day.  One thing that has 
been helping me is adding some organic apple cider vinegar
to each glass of water that I drink.
At first, it's not that good.  But now I'm to the point
where water doesn't taste quite right if it's not in there.
It's helping with my energy, and a bunch of other things....look it up.

Anyway, the purpose of this post is to show my cutie camera strap that I made yesterday.
I followed the tutorial here,
and then followed her advice and tried adding a strip of jumbo rickrack, which I liked.
And then I added three yo yos with button middles to make it 
a little more cutie.
Her tutorial is really good and I thought it was pretty easy to follow,
so definitely head over there if you want to make yourself a new camera strap.
Go Idaho!

I love it!

I know it's kind of an awkward picture, but the hardware isn't very easy to get on and off,
and since I had attached it before I took the picture, I wanted to
keep it on the camera instead of dealing with that hassle.
And I just used scraps, which is even better.
I have an old SLR camera that stopped working right a few years ago, which is
when I started saving up for the fancy DSLR that I was finally
able to buy last year when it went on sale before Christmas.
I used the hardware from the camera strap from my old camera...I just cut off the 
seatbelt material, then sewed this new one right onto the hardware.

02 October 2013

Chasin' Cheeky Houseparty

Have I ever mentioned that I am a member of Houseparty?
It's awesome.
They offer different parties all year that you apply for to be a host,
and if you're selected, they send you a party pack with stuff to
host a party so your friends and family can try new products.

I've done it for several years now, and I've been able to host around 6 parties.
The last one was last week.
It was a Chasin' Cheeky party, for the new Hasbro game.
The kids loved it!
Even my 18-month-old got in on the fun and was able to put rings on the monkey.

We played Chasin' Cheeky, Hi-Ho Cherry-O!, and Memory.
We were also given some new Cheetos to try, and everyone thought
they were delicious.

If you're not a member of Houseparty, I highly recommend heading over to the
website and signing up.  There are some great parties coming up!

19 August 2013


I was recently contacted by someone who has asked that I share
her incredible story, and after watching the video,
I am happy to do so.

Heather was diagnosed with cancer a few months after
having her first baby; she was told she had just over a year to live.
Fast forward 7 years, and now she is cancer free.
You can see a great video about her by clicking here.

She is trying to raise awareness of Mesothelioma (cancer caused by asbestos),
and also to encourage people to continue to hope as they struggle with
whatever problems they are dealing with.

12 August 2013

It's a Winner!

We went to the fair on Saturday, and I was excited to see
a blue ribbon next to my cake.
It's not my best work, and I definitely had some problems
when I was putting it together....
(for some reason I bought an off-brand shortening - big mistake!
And I know better than that...)

But it all worked out beautifully.
As you can see, I went with the taller, more realistic bluebirds.
My husband said that they were better.
When I went to pick up my things yesterday evening from the fairgrounds,
I received an envelope with my prizes in it.
I brought home a blue ribbon, a sample of Red Star yeast,
a coupon for more yeast, and my score card for the cake.
I scored Excellent in each area (Appearance, Creativity,
Craftsmanship, & Appropriateness).

At the bottom were the following comments - "Swirls on top
coordinate well with bottom layer; contrast of color is good; 
piping is uniform; roses look like fabric - very nice & pleasant to look at."

I was quite pleased with everything.

01 August 2013

Sneak Peek

The county fair is next week.
I've decided to make a cake to enter.
The top layer will have two bluebirds, but I couldn't decide which kind I 
wanted to do.  So I came up with these two sets.
I think both sets are adorable, and I can't decide which one I want to use.
It might come down to which pair dries the best.  I still need
to try to add the legs (the sticks on the plate), but I want to make sure that
the beaks stay in place first.

Which one do you like the best?

24 July 2013

Betcha Can't Guess...

...what my last name starts with!

Here's my latest home project.
I love it.
And we've still got room on the wall in case
we come across more letters we love or another idea on how to make another one.

I spent less than $30 for all of it.
The white sparkly one, the lower case orange, and the uppercase red
all came home with me in my suitcase from Utah,
when I stopped at the Wood Connection.
The vinyl letters also came from there - in the clearance box for .50 - $1 a piece.
I made the yellow one - it's cardboard wrapped in yarn.
The green and brown ones were found at Michael's for .99 or less.
And the blue one with a threaded letter I made myself from scraps around here.
I'll post a tutorial on that soon.

Here's another look:

20 July 2013

Watermelon Cupcakes

Every July, our church celebrates the 24th of July.
It's the day that the pioneers finally arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847.

The celebrations are all different, depending on where you live and what your
ward/stake (congregations/groups of congregations) decides to do.
In our current stake just outside of Seattle, they plan a big party for the afternoon.
There are bounce houses for the kids, games, and a pot luck where they supply the main dish.

Last year, we were really disappointed with how the day went.
I won't get into it much, but it was hot, everything was late, and we were hungry.
And it didn't seem to be very organized.

This year was so much better.  The weather was perfect (overcast and cool),
the girls enjoyed the bounce houses, and it started on time.

I volunteered to bring some cupcakes again this year.
Last year, if you recall, I made some cutie little covered wagon cupcakes.
But people tended to view those with suspicion.
I think they thought the white was paper and weren't interested.
And this year I wanted to take something that looked great and was more appealing, but
I couldn't think of a pioneer-ish cupcake.
So I decided to do a summery cupcake.

Watermelon won.
 Don't they look delicious?
I used a vanilla cake mix (because the store didn't have white),
made it as usual, but added a small box of watermelon jell-o for a hint of flavor,
and some pink food coloring for a better color.
 Then I stuck some cutie gingham paper to the bottom of these clear plates to make it seem
like a picnic tablecloth, topped them with some delicious 
vanilla buttercream frosting and a Sour Patch Kids watermelon candy.
They turned out great, and they were eaten quickly.
Always a good sign.

12 July 2013

We made some fireworks shirts during FHE a few weeks ago.
Of course, they were to wear on the 4th of July.
I bought the shirts at Joann when they were on sale, 2 for $5.
I let everyone choose if they wanted red, white, or blue.
Except Daddy, since he didn't come with us.  And the baby, since
I just used one of his old onesies.
We cut up some painters tape and placed it where we wanted
the fireworks to be.
Then put some cardboard between the front and back of the shirt so the
paint didn't run through.
 Then we started painting.
We used acrylic paint and round stencil brushes.
Just dab around where you want it.
 We let them dry and then I sealed the paint in
by ironing the shirts...make sure to use a cloth between the shirt and the iron - you don't
want to get paint all over your iron.

 The results:

11 July 2013

Wood Craft

I spent a quick weekend in Salt Lake City last month,
and while I was there I stopped in a the Wood Connection.
It's a little shop that sells unfinished wood crafts.
It's probably a good thing that we don't live nearby and that the things
they sell online are limited, because it's pretty tempting to buy up the whole place.

So many fun things!!
Of course, since I was flying home and had to keep my luggage light, since
I wasn't going to pay to have it checked, I was limited by more than a budget.

I grabbed several things, though.
Some I am still working on, but this one is done and displayed
on the mantle.
The watermelon pieces were around $6, and the vinyl was on
clearance for 50 cents.
I painted the back piece of the watermelon green, then
glued on some red gingham paper, then glued on the beadboard
that I had painted red, and then glued on the seeds.
The yellow sign was a piece of scrap wood from the garage.

They actually sell 2 more pieces of watermelon, which would have made a super
fun collection, but the weight and the budget were considerations that I had to keep in mind.
You can check out their website and see a few things they sell online,
but looking around their blog allows you to see finished products that people
have created from the unfinished products they sell.
So fun!

07 June 2013

BIC Soleil House Party

Are you a member of houseparty.com?
You should be.

Go sign up.
It's free, and you are able to host great parties to let friends 
and family know about new products that have come out, or are about to come out.
I've hosted several in the past, and last Wednesday I was able to host
one for the new BIC Soleil Shave & Trim Razor.

I was sent 12 razors to give to party guests, and a box of 
other items to make the party enjoyable.
We talked about how great the new razor is (no one had heard of it before),
but I used it prior to having the party & let me tell you,
it's my new favorite razor!!
I was already a fan of BIC Soleil razors, but this one is even better.
It has a little attachment that you can slide on the razor & trim up the bikini area.
Go try some out.
And sign up for houseparty, because you can host great parties like this and 
get new products to give to your friends.

28 May 2013

Picnic Basket

My little brother is married!

It was so awesome to be able to be with him while he got married.
What a great experience that was last weekend.

And since I was able to finish their present (with time to spare!) and give it to them,
I thought I'd better get on here and post a picture of it.
 I made a large tote that I thought would be a great picnic basket,
with a coordinating picnic blanket.
The tote is from a pattern that I have made once before.
It's large, has 6 outside pockets, and 4 inside.
I don't know his wife very well, but I knew that she likes blue and yellow.
I found some great floral fabric, and lined it with yellow polka dots.
 The picnic blanket is a fabric painter's drop cloth.
I think we used the 5'x8' size.
And to embellish it, I grabbed a stencil brush, taped off a few stripes on two corners,
and dabbed on a bunch of acrylic paint.
After it was dry, I 'set' the paint by running it under a hot iron.
(But used a dry cloth in between the iron and blanket.)
 Here's some close ups of the material.
I wish it was mine!
It turned out so much cuter!  The light blue line on the outside is some
bias tape I used to make the pockets stand out a little more.
 And since we couldn't just give them an empty picnic basket,
the kids and I went down the grocery aisles at Walmart and chose
a bunch of random, picnic-friendly food to fill it with.

21 May 2013

New Projects

So I obviously stopped following along with the 
Blog Every Day in May stuff...I didn't really like the topics, 
and I forgot.
Surprise, surprise.
It's a rare occasion when I don't forget something around here.

BUT, I have been remembering to take pictures of a few things we did last week.
There were 2 delicious holidays to celebrate -
sorry you missed them if it was because I neglected to post them.
Chocolate Chip Day,
I tried a new recipe, found here.
But I made a few changes.  One, I used mostly-melted butter.
My mixer is having a tough time lately, and since it'll take a few years
to save up for a new one, I can't mix up cold butter.
Even using mostly-melted butter, I sometimes still end up with little clumps
of butter that won't smooth out.
Especially frustrating in the frosting process.
But back to the cookies!  I also used regular Hershey's cocoa powder,
since I had it on hand.
And I didn't make them giant.
And I added white chocolate chips.
Super delicious!
Here's the dough:
 That's the only picture I took of those babies.
But they were good!
Also, last week we celebrated Reese's Day!
So I made some delicious treats using Reese's Pieces.
Peanut Butter Shortbread bars, and chocolate cupcakes with
peanut butter frosting and a few candies on top.
So good.
And since Sunday was
Neighbor Day,
it was a great excuse to give away some goodies.
And I took most of them to ward choir, where they were promptly eaten
as soon as we were done.
I had never made shortbread before, and it was easy!
I tried to not use my hands to do the final mixing, but it's kind of necessary.
My brother is getting married this weekend, so I've got a project going.
I'm making a present, which I can't tell you what it is
just in case one of those lovebirds reads this blog, but here's a sneak peek:
And here's another sneak peak at a project that is a joint effort between
my husband and I.
Any guesses what this could be?

 And finally, since I already had the sewing machine out,
I changed the blue strap on this little tote my sister no longer wanted.
It had only one blue strap, but I prefer bags with
2 handles.  So I busted out some ribbon,
guessed on a length, and did a quick switcheroo.
 I like it.
Here's a picture that shows the blue, in case you were wondering.
It worked really nicely to take to church.
It held my scriptures, hymn book (since it was my turn to play
the organ), small notepad, keys, and the lesson that I had prepared to teach.
I have been needing a different bag to use because my last one is now
in the garbage.  I just hope I can keep this bag white enough!
So far, so good.

13 May 2013

Go Green?

I'm not a big fan of the whole 'go green' movement.
Not that I don't participate in some environmentally-friendly things, as well as try to 
minimize waste.  I just think the slogan is lame.
And it annoys me.

10 May 2013

Book Love

I LOVE books!
We have bookshelves full of books around here, and I've
read many - I'd even venture to say most - of them.
At any given time, I'm in the midst of
reading at least 3.

I have a few go-to authors that I seek out every time
I'm at the library, just in case they have something that I haven't read before.
Here's the list:

-- Mary Higgins Clark - great mysteries with strong women 
as the lead characters, not graphic, and she keeps the language clean

-- Carol Higgins Clark - follows the same writing style as her mom (above),
but focuses her books around one woman as the lead character in each one

-- Mary Jane Clark - also write the same style; it's convenient to look for
all three of these women, because they are on the same shelf

-- Ann B Ross - writes about Miss Julia, who is a sassy
southern lady who starts to really live after her husband dies unexpectedly;
also contain mysteries

-- Joanne Fluke - write Hannah Swenson murder mysteries;
each book contains delicious recipes throughout - each recipe
that I've tried has been delicious

-- Joseph Delaney - writes the Last Apprentice series; can be found
in the young adult or juvenile section, depending on your library; 
all about witches and fighting evil

-- Jan Karon - wrote a series about a small town preacher, known as
the Mitford Series; delightful! She's also writing more books
about the same preacher after he's retired, the Father Tim series

I've been working my way through a list of basic western canon
that my brother gave me a few years ago. It's long - around 500 books or so.
So when I can't find something from one of my favorites or am not in
search of my book club's current read, I will look for something from this author.
As I've been reading these recommendations, I've found some great classics:
--Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
--all Jane Austen novels - Pride & Prejudice is my favorite
-- The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
-- Les Miserables - Victor Hugo (long, but worth it!)

07 May 2013


I'd rather not.

06 May 2013

Bank Holiday

I don't really know what to think about this title.
Today is not a bank holiday,
and since I don't frequent the bank it's not a big deal to me when they are.
Sometimes I worry that we rely too much on a debit card.
We really don't have cash in the house, which should
probably be rectified in case of an emergency; it's not like someone would be willing to just
take my word for whatever it is I need the cash for.
Good idea.
I'll work on that.
And some for the car.

Fit & Healthy

I'm trying.
A little.

04 May 2013

5 Great Blogs

5 of my favorite blogs are:

She's a homeschooling mom of 10 kids, has great insight into
a wide variety of topics, wonderful pictures, and it's usually really interesting to 
see what she has to say.
I don't think that I could maintain my sanity with 10 kids, and I'm really,
really hoping that I don't have to find out.

She's an amazing cake artist, DIYer, and I know her!
We're even related in an
kind of way.
Ashlee always has one project or another going on, and her ideas are awesome.

Crafts galore!
With awesome tutorials and detailed pictures.

If you haven't heard of her, you should check it out.
She's fabulous.
We've got her first cookbook here & it's awesome.
She's got stuff on homeschooling, photography, cooking, farm life, and all kinds of other stuff.

If you're interested in homeschooling at all, she's a great resource.
And she's made some great things for preschool.

03 May 2013

Spring is Here!

I guess I got a little ahead of myself yesterday & mixed up the
topics for the 2nd/3rd days.  Oh, well.
And I also forgot to include the link to topics, which
gave me a hiccup to find it today.
So if you're interested in where my topics are coming from, it's here.
I didn't sign up to join the list - mainly because I don't want to.

But spring is here.
I think it's really been here for quite a while.
That's one nice thing about living near Seattle - our winter was really
mild & we've had great sunshine off and on for a couple months.
Which beats the surprise snow that I've seen friends and family getting
across the country.

We discovered a new park in early April. 
It's the Tacoma Nature Center.
We took a short walk along part of Snake Lake, but had to turn around
early because I realized I left the camera on the front seat of the car.
Then we crossed the parking lot and found a nice playground.
We would have stayed longer, but it started raining and turned really cold.
So we ended up spending the rest of the morning at the Tacoma mall.
Which was fun.

02 May 2013

Day in the Life

I read on a friend's blog about the challenge/encouragement
to Blog Every Day in May.
So I thought I'd try it.

Before I had even heard about the idea, I tried to post
on my family blog about my toddler's birthday,
but the pictures won't upload.
So like any lazy blogger, I gave up.

But I really have been trying to do better about blogging myself and
reading other blogs.  I really like it - but for some reason I haven't been much into it lately.
 And here's a great opportunity/challenge to get back on track and
into the habit of doing better.

I'm sure you're all frantic to find out what a day in the life is like over here at
Mary Poppins Perfect.
Let me tell you, it's full of excitement.
If your definition of excitement is:

- get up between 5 & 6
- read scriptures, check email & facebook, sometime workout
- breakfast & shower
- get the girlies up & fed breakfast while the baby drinks a bottle
- get the baby up
- let the kids play, sometimes read the paper, dink around online
- homeschool or preschool co-op, laundry
- continue previous step of play/paper/online, sometimes adding in dishes or other chores
- snack for baby between 10 & 1030
- baby in bed for nap between 11 & 12
- feed girlies lunch
- personal time: may consist of nap, computer work, planning for homeschool, tv, etc; basically anything I can't do with kiddies underfoot
- get said kiddies up & fix snack
- read books, continue other things with kids
- welcome husband home, run errands or work on home projects or hang out with family
- dinner prep
- dinner, family devotional
- bedtime
- free time! read, piano, online, sometime workout, projects, tv with hubby, errands alone
- bed between 9 & 11, depending

Occasionally we have the car during the day so the kids and I can visit friends or run errands during the day,
but that really doesn't happen too often.  Which is nice sometimes, especially
on the auto budget - dealing with only 1 car - but sometimes our big house gets pretty small.
I've been trying to find a nice playground near our house that I'm willing to walk to...the closest one is a bit
too big for my kids (just a few ladders, monkey bars, & a slide) - we tried another one that's a little farther, but there's no where for me to sit except the grass, which was wet & there was a lot of garbage
in the bark, so I didn't like the baby playing there.  And it didn't really have much, either.
But the other day we were driving through a nearby neighborhood & noticed one that looks promising.  So next time we go for a walk we will probably head over that way.

16 April 2013

Dr Seuss Day Dinner

It's a month (and a half!) after the fact,
but we celebrated Dr Seuss Day for the first time around here.

First, we made some Cat in the Hat hats.

And invited some friends for a special dinner.
 We ate some Poodles Who Eat Noodles salad,
Cat in the Hat jell-o parfaits,
Butter Battle rolls,
 Green (deviled) Eggs,
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish pretzels,
Oh the Places You'll Go swirl cookies
& some ham steaks.
Apparently the pictures were all taken before the ham was finished cooking.
And it was just normal - no green ham for me, thanks.
We also made sure to read Dr Seuss books at bedtime and throughout each day that week.

If you're interested in making the pinwheel cookies, here's the recipe.
Although I didn't exactly follow it.  I made my own sugar cookie dough and followed
the directions from there.

08 March 2013

Johnny Appleseed Day

Monday, March 11 is 
Johnny Appleseed Day

The lucky guy has two days each year dedicated to him.
One in September, on his birthday, but today
is also celebrated in his honor since it's more of a planting season.

And although we are working on getting our backyard landscaped and have been
looking at what types of trees we want back there, we aren't quite
ready to plant.  So, instead of planting a tree or some apple seeds,
today we will be celebrating Johnny Appleseed Day by eating apples!

I think that's a pretty good idea.
Which is why I came up with it.  And later, I will be trying out
this recipe for Apple Crisp.
I'll try to remember to let you know how it went.

11 February 2013

How to Replace Toilet Handle

When we moved into our house last year,
the downstairs toilet handle was broken, as shown below:

Last week, I replaced it.
All by my lonesome.
(Unless you count the little one underfoot.)
For $5.
And now I'll show you how to do it, too.

First, buy a handle replacement kit.
I found this one at Lowe's.
Next, take off the top of the tank.
 Then turn off the water.
Flush the toilet so the water level goes down.
And since the water is off, it will stay down so you don't have to get your hands wet.
Take a look at the white plastic piece hooked on the end of the
handle lever: mine is plastic, but yours might be a metal
chain of some sort.  I prefer those, but didn't feel the need to replace this one,
since there's nothing wrong with it.
Remove the 'chain' from the lever, see below:
 Carefully set that aside.  You could drop it in the water if you want, or you might be able
to drape it/hook it over the floater rod (the gold piece in the pic above).
Or have a handy helper grab it for you and hold it in place.
 Next, unscrew the nut on the handle...it's right up against the tank.
I neglected to take a picture of it, until it was done.
Dispose of those pieces.
Next, insert the new handle lever into the hole.
 Slide the new nut onto the lever, and turn it a few times so it
won't fall off while you reconnect the chain.
 Reconnect the chain.
If you have the weird plastic kind like we do, make sure you double it through
the lever.  And pay attention to which hole you attach your chain to.
When you push the outside handle, you want the chain to lift up the flapper.
If you look up to the picture with my daughter's hand, you will see 
what the flapper is - it's the large flat piece on the bottom that's attached
to the chain.  That picture shows it in the up position.
The picture above that one shows it down.

Once the chain is attached in the correct spot,
tighten the nut to the handle.
Here's my completed photo.
Turn the water back on.
 It will flow into the tank.  Mine stopped where it should.
If yours doesn't, you may have altered something that you weren't supposed to.
Good luck.
 Replace the tank lid.
Enjoy the new handle.

05 February 2013


I always loved getting hand-me-downs from cousins.
It was so awesome to get a huge garbage bag
and go through it and see all these 'new' clothes that were just for me.

So I was pretty excited when my sister-in-law
asked for our address so she could mail a few of her
son's old clothes to us for the baby.
 Thank you!!
And we piled them around him so he could enjoy them right away, too.
Although he was more interested in escaping.
But he's already wearing some of them, and I especially love the red plaid
jacket that is fleece lined...he looks so big when he wears it, not like a baby.
But having all those teeth makes him look like that, too,

Were you happy to get hand-me-downs when you were little?
Or lucky enough to get them for your kids?
We've always kept our kid's old clothes, since we aren't done having children.
I think it's ridiculous to get rid of them when I know I'll
need some again sometime.  I'd rather store them for several years rather than
spend the money to buy all new ones.

31 January 2013

Valentine's 2x4 Decor

As prizes for the games at the yellow & gray
baby shower, I made some
Valentine decorations to give away.

And I ended up loving them so much that I was sad to see them go.
But I made sure to take some pictures so
I could remember how they looked when I get out to the garage & cut some wood.

Since my husband was working on the table during the week
leading up to the shower, I had to choose some wood from the scrap box.
But it turned out okay.
Just not okay enough to have more that are the right size.

Bummer, man.

 I think this LOVE sign is a 1x4, about 7 inches long

 This conversation heard was a 2x4, about 3 1/2 inches tall

And the Be Mine sign was a 2x3, about 12 inches wide

I don't have a way to cut vinyl, and my painting skills are very lacking,
at least when it comes to writing clearly and cute-ly.
So what I did for the letters was:
-- open PowerPoint
-- make a box the size of the wood (for instance, a 1x4x7 rectangle)
-- insert a text box into the rectangle and type the word I want on the block (LOVE)
-- choose the font & change the size so it fits in the box
-- move the text box to the side, delete the rectangle, and do the next one
-- when done with all desired text boxes (3 in my case), print it out
-- I cut the words out so there was one word on each piece of paper (I ended up with 4)
-- use painter's tape to secure the paper to the painted/dry block
-- use a ball-point pen to trace the outline of the letters
-- remove the paper and carefully trace the imprint of the letters left by the pen (I used a Sharpie)
-- love and enjoy the result

**It's a good idea to make sure that the paint on your block is dry;
otherwise your Sharpie will stop working**