Friday, November 27, 2009

Things I'm Thankful For

1.  My wonderful little family.  I have an awesome husband who works so hard at everything he does and is a good man.  And my little Ellie is such a joy.  It is a wonder to look at her and think about where she came from and how much is ahead of her, and a little daunting to think about the important role I play in that, but still the most exciting thing I've ever done.

Seriously, how can you not love these two faces?

2.  A wonderful extended family.  I married into such a great family.  They are so talented and generous!

3.  And food...because it's Thanksgiving!  Last Thanksgiving I was 8 weeks pregnant and very nauseous all the time, so I didn't get to eat as much as I wanted.  This year...well,  let's just say I want to start training for a 5K.  Just kidding, I didn't over do it, but I do want to start training for a 5K.  It's my newest goal.

That's all.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Favorite Pastime

During the may years I spent at BYU, both as a student and while teaching there, I picked up a favorite pastime that I was sad to leave behind when we moved.  I loved to pick up the campus newspaper, The Daily Universe, and read the the letters to the editor, but even more so the Police Beat.  Police Beat at BYU is particularly amusing because of the nature of the student population.  There usually aren't any serious crimes, the worst usually being theft of someone's backpack (that they left laying around thinking that no one would steal it because, hey, it's BYU) or someone's (unlocked) bike.  But frequently there are very, very amusing "reports."  I think BYU students have a tendency to get scared easily.  Take this entry for example from Oct. 14:
October 6: A suspicious looking backpack and lunch box were reported to be on Maeser Hill. Police came, but they did not find anything.
October 9: A suspicious male was reported to be wearing a long black coat and cracking a whip in a parking lot. Police were not able to find him.
I love it.  So I was very excited when I remembered that I could read these little gems online, at the Daily Universe's website.  I've done some catching up and decided to share a few of my favorites.  For a good time, keep reading.  For an even better time, you can read them all by clicking here.

Nov. 13: At 5:30 p.m. a woman was walking up Maeser hill to the testing center when a Latino male walked up behind her, asked her the time, then grabbed her buttocks. The suspect then ran westbound on the path and the female began chasing him. The suspect then stopped, turned around, and yelled obscenities at the victim. The female reported the incident to the police two and a half hours later, after she took her test.

*now, harassment is not funny, but what is funny is that she tried to chase him down, and then didn't report it until after she took her test.  I noticed that a few weeks earlier a similar report was filed.  Some guy is getting a big kick out of grabbing girls at BYU.  I hope the police get it him, but that will require a quicker report, I think.
Nov. 6: A car was moved out of its original stall at Helaman Halls and was parked perpendicular to the parking spot. Police arrived and concluded a large group of people picked up the car and moved it.
Costume Crimes (it got it's own heading!)

October 24: A boy in a gorilla suit was reported attempting to scare girls in Wyview Park. Officers located the monkey man, asked him to go home and he did.

October 30: Several males were running through Brigham Square wearing only capes and underwear. When officers arrived, the caped crusaders were gone.
*clearly the reporter doing the write up for that particular Police Beat has a sense of humor.  I think you must in order to write these. 
October 31: Six individuals were reported throwing something wet off the Tanner parking structure. The substance was determined to be soup. The suspects were instructed to clean up the mess.

October 26: A caller reported a male behaving suspiciously in a parked car. Officers investigated and the suspect was simply taking a nap.
October 23: A call was received at 4 a.m. from Heritage Halls reporting five students arguing about a laser pointer. The students were shining the laser into the eyes of people driving and students walking by. The students with the laser pointer were informed about the dangers of laser pointers and given warnings.
*I would like to point out that probably 90% of all "disorderly conduct" reports are committed in on-campus housing (aka-Freshmen, bless them).
Oct. 11 Several female students left their apartment for 30 minutes to attend ward prayer. When they returned to their apartment, they found a severed elk head on their kitchen table. The suspects could not be identified and the elk was disposed of at the materials handling building.
And on that disgusting note, I'll leave you.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A New Blog

I decided to start another blog.  I've been able to do a lot of sewing lately that I'd like to share, and so instead of posting everything to our family adventures blog, I started  So if you want to see what I'm working on, go there.  I'll also be posting links to things I think are cool and I want to try.  And to giveaways (because I love free stuff).  That's all.

Silly Faces

Yesterday I put a bright yellow dress on Eleanor and took some pictures, trying to get one that I liked enough to blow up to a 5x7 to give to grandparents.  Mostly I got some seriously silly faces, and her trying to eat her dress (everything goes into her mouth these days).  I did get some nice ones, but I love the silly ones maybe even more.

I think this is the one below I'll print out, unless I can get a better shot today (though it may not be in the yellow dress because she spit up all over least it wasn't anything out the other end!)

Monday, November 16, 2009

How to do Lattice Smocking: (this is for you Melinda!)

I was first introduced to lattice smocking when I was working as an assistant costume designer for BYU's production of Hamlet.  I was enlisted to smock nearly two yards of red velvet for a costume that was worn all of 10 minutes on stage (see Gertrude, the standing woman.  I did the red stuff, which is about how it looked onstage unless you were in the first 6 rows).

Needless to say, it took me a total of 24 hours to do.  I did it at home (my roommate Tiff can attest to that), during my TESOL/BEEDE classes (anyone whose ever taken those will understand why that was possible and possibly more educational that the actual classes), and whenever I had some spare time. 

But boy have I put that skill to use!  I used it on my baby's blessing dress, and on another dress I recently made her (I call it her Spain dress, because it's red and yellow, and I love Spain).  So I've had a lot of people ask me how to do it, and I swear it's really easy.  So here is a picture tutorial, if your interested.

1.  First, you'll need to decide how big you want your lattice work, and make a grid.  The red velvet above is done on a 1 inch grid, and the baby dresses I did on 1/2 inch.  I wouldn't do anything smaller than 1/2 inch, which is what I'm using in this tutorial.  I just made a grid on Word and printed it out, then poked holes in it, pinned it to my material and mark the holes.  For this tutorial I used a marker, but you'll want something that will wash off or dissappear.

2.  Here it is marked out (I just did a little bit for demonstration).

3.  Below, I marked with a line the points you will be pulling together.  I don't normally do this.

4.  You'll start on the bottom of your second row of dots.  Make a tiny stitch to secure your thread.  Then make a tiny stitch on the diagonally to the left.  You'll pull the thread all the way through until the two points are connected.

5.  When the points are pulled together, it will look like this.  I like to make a little knot onto the fabric so the fold stays secure.

6.  You'll notice that tucked into the fold you just created is the point that was the next one up from the first you started on.  You'll make your next tiny stitch here, but don't pull the points together.  Instead, give just enough length in the thread so that lays just how it is, and secure it by making another knot.

7. You'll now be connecting this point with the one diagonally to the left.  So make a tiny stitch, pull together, and make a knot to secure it.

8. You'll ten find the point that it tucked inside the fold and do as you did before (secure the thread to this new point) and keep alternating left and right.  A row will look like this.  Tie off the thread when the row is finished because you'll start the next row from the bottom.

The front will look like this.

9.  Now it is time to start the next row.  In reference to the first dot we worked with, you'll move to the right two rows.  Secure the thread here and pull it together with the point diagonally to the left (just like you did on the first row). 

10.  You'll continue in the same pattern as before.  You'll notice the thread lines line up making zig-zags across the fabric.  You'll know that your off if your zig zags aren't lining up (or the front doesn't look like it's making a lattice).

With the second row started you can see the lattice forming on the front.

Here is the Spain dress I made using this fabric.  I  modified baby dress pattern I have; instead of cutting the yoke separate from the skirt, I cut out the top of the yoke and then extended it down to make the skirt so it used the fullness that the smocking created.

When you have to cut out your smocking for sewing into clothing, I recommend tracing the pattern onto the smocked fabric, doing a basting stitch just inside this traced line and then cutting out along the line, otherwise you might loose some of the smocking work when you cut the threads that created it. 

Pie Crust

This is my new favorite pie crust recipe.  I think the key is chilling the shortening.  You can substitute butter just fine as well.  I think the next time I make it I'll do a little less shortening, maybe 1/3 cup, because it felt just a little greasy to me (though it could have been my old shortening).


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening, chilled
3 tablespoons ice water


Whisk the flour and salt together in a medium size bowl. With a pastry blender, cut in the cold shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Drizzle 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water over flour. Toss mixture with a fork to moisten, adding more water a few drops at a time until the dough comes together.

Gently gather dough particles together into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling. (I have done it both chilled and not-chilled and they came out the same).

Roll out dough, and put in a pie plate. Fill with desired filling and bake.
Alternative:  If you need it to be a pre-baked crust, bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Helping Dad

The other day Ellie started fussing after Ben and I had finished eating dinner, so Ben volunteered to go up and get her out of her crib and play with her while I finished loading the dishwasher.  Since Ben isn't able to be home very much while she's awake, it was a great arrangement ("doing the dishes" isn't so bad when a machine actually does them).  So I filled up the dishwasher and then went upstairs to get Ellie and feed her.  I walked into the computer room and was greeted by this sweet sight.

She was a happy camper just sitting in Ben's lap watching him work on the computer.

These are definitely my two most favorite people in the world.  Heavenly Father must really love me to have made them part of my family!

And a token picture of happy Eleanor at 4 months.  She was trying to grab the camera...silly munchkin.  Oh, I meant to include this in the last post.  We have a lot of little nicknames we call her (like munchkin, or chica), but my personal favorite was first uttered by my brother-in-law Aaron when we told him we were having a girl and naming her Eleanor and calling her Ellie--Ellie, Ellie, Jelly Belly.  Now, I happen to love Jelly Belly Jelly Beans, so sometimes I call her my Jelly Bean.  I'm totally making that as her costume next year...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

4 months

Ellie is officially no longer a newborn.  That's what my mom says anyway.  But she certainly is bigger and smarter too!  For instance, today I was working on the computer but she sure wanted some attention and was squealing to get it.  So I got a blanket and I tossed it over her, holding onto one end and slowly pulled it off, playing a kind of peek-a-boo.  She grinned as it came off and started kicking and quickly realized that she could kick it off.  So we just kept doing it over and over.  I'd through the blanket on her, and she kick and kick till it came off and then grin at me.  She's a pretty quick learner, I think anyway.
I'll get a better picture of just her soon, but in the meantime, let me do a little bragging.
Here are things that 4 month old Ellie loves to do:
squealing-not necessarily our favorite thing, but sometimes it's cute and she KNOWS she'll get attention if she does it.
blow spit/milk bubbles-this is cute, until there are so many that they are all over her clothes.  But she get a big kick out of it
playing with her toes-this is by far the cutest and never annoying, so she can do it all she wants.
playing with toys-she's progressed a lot in holding onto things, bringing them to her mouth, switching hands and the like.  She just doesn't do a good job of picking them up on her own yet.
sporadic rolling over-she's gone from tummy to back a few times now, and even from back to tummy.  She's mostly good at getting onto her side and then sucking her hands.
trying to crawl-when she gets tired of laying on her tummy she puts her face down and tries to scootch forward by doing a crawling action with her legs.  It's frankly not very effective and just makes her more frustrated.  But she gets points for trying
standing-obviously assisted by a grown-up, but she holds her own weight and she loves it!  It seems to be her favorite vantage point because she can see so much more from up there!
laughing-usually this are kind of silly-not-exactly-laugh-sounds, but every once in a while we get a soft chuckle or a nice real big laugh.  It's my favorite noise in the whole world.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Quick Funny Story

Ben has been substitute teaching during the day and usually comes home with some amusing stories (just like I did when was a sub).  This one does beat all.  There was a boy who was more talkative that he needed to be, so Ben was chatting with him.  The kid was in junior high, but I'm not sure what grade, but here's how the conversation went (basically):

Kid:  I think I have some sort of disease that makes me laught all the time, like, I think of funny things and then I just laugh.

Ben:  Yeah, it's called adolescence.

Kid:  Really?  That's a real disease? (other kids in class snicker)

Ben:  Yeah, you're going through it right now.

Kid:  Wow.

Then one of the other students explained that adolescence is another term for your teenage years.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Shabby Apple Dare to Design Limoncello Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Shabby Apple Dare to Design Limoncello Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Just doing another one. I love yellow and I love pintucks.

Shabby Apple Dare to Design Lawn Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Shabby Apple Dare to Design Lawn Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

So I found this website where this woman makes and gives away clothes. And their beautiful. So I'm posting this so I can be entered. That's all.

Get a FREE Photo book

I've been working on making a digital scrapbook at  I really like this site and it is pretty easy to use.  After you create the scrapbook you can have as many or as few copies of it printed as you'd like in lots of different formats (hardcover, softcover, lots of sizes too).  Anyway, I just got an email announcing that they are giving away 1,000 softcover 8 x 6 books this week only (ends Nov. 11).  Click here, make your book and then just put in the code TRYMIXBK at checkout.  I'm going to make something, but it's a surprise!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Guess who?

I know I already posted something today, but I couldn't help doing another one.  I found some pictures of Ben and I as babies and I can't believe two things: 1.  How much we look like each other, 2. How much our daughter looks like us.  The question is, who does she look more like?  Now taking votes.

The Best Peanut Butter Cookies in the Entire World

That's right folks, they are the best. A few months ago I had a cravings for peanut butter cookies, but the recipe we had was always too crispy (especially if you didn't eat them all that night, and choose to save some for the next day). So Ben did a little a Google search, and pulled up this winner. They stay soft! Though I cna't tell you how long because they were a gone within a few days. We did store them in a plastic container in the fridge, but dang they were good! So I feel the need to share.


1/2 cup margarine, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour


Combine margarine, peanut butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla. Blend together very well.
Add flour, baking soda and salt with mixer.
Chill dough 15 minutes in the refrigerator. Roll into balls by hand.
Place on sprayed cookie sheet.
Using a fork, press down the balls and create a criss cross pattern.
Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven until edges very lightly browning (about 7 to 10 minutes).
Don't overcook (duh).