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.