Saturday, August 27, 2016

money saving apps

I've been trying to cut down on our grocery bills. Buying for a family of six is expensive and we consume a lot, more each day it seems. This is a very wordy post with no pictures, so bear with me!

Because we live 20 miles from Wallyworld, I make one trip to town a week. We have a small grocery store in the town just south of us (still a 22 mile round trip), but things cost more there. So I stop in for produce and meat, but I try to do the bulk of my shopping in the city when possible.
So here's a list of apps and websites I use to save a little jingle for my pocket!

If you decide to try any of these out, please use my invite codes to join, because I might earn bonus points, cash rewards or credits! Thanks in advance!

Ibotta:

My favorite shopping app! This is an app you can use to get rebates for purchasing items. You buy something, and then scan the UPC and your receipt, and they add the amount to your account. Once you've earned $20 or more, you can redeem it for gift cards or have it deposited into your paypal account (that's what I do). So far I have redeemed $111.80! (I need to look into if I am paying any fees using the paypal option, anyone know?)

invite code: lerrmit gets you $10 when you sign up and redeem your first rebate!

It's not exactly like a coupon, because you have to pay for the item in full and get "reimbursed" later. And I will admit, the first couple of weeks using it, I got burned a few times. Either I'd forget to scan the items until I'd already put the groceries away - doh!, or I didn't read it right and bought one item when I needed to buy two. You only have a week or so to submit a receipt so it's best to do it right away so you don't forget. You can scan the items in store to see if they are the correct ones - for example, it may be for only one specific flavor of gum. And if you don't redeem an offer for 12 consecutive months, you are considered inactive and they can charge you $3.99 a month from your balance. So, don't do that. :)

There are ways to double up on these rebates. Some rebates are generic, any brand rebates. They often have these for shredded cheese, or one gallon of milk, or breakfast cereal. So if there's a rebate for 50 cents off Post cereal and a rebate for 25 cents off any brand cereal, you can redeem both on a single box. They sometimes have additional rebates, like redeem rebates on both Hungry Jack pancake mix and Hungry Jack syrup and get another 50 cents off. So it pays to do some looking ahead of your shopping trip to see how you can maximize your rebates.

Another thing to note is that the rebates are different from store to store. So you start by selecting the store you plan to shop at, and unlock the rebates for that place. So I will do that for Costco, Target, Price Chopper and Walmart. Then I can plan my shopping list around who has what on sale that week. You can use manufacturer's coupons and store sales as well, so you can really save some money off things you were probably buying anyways!

To unlock rebates, there are ads or other things to look at. You may have to answer a multiple choice question or survey. Or watch a short video ad. (I play them while I am doing other things, like folding laundry, and don't actually watch them) Sometimes there's a recipe. 

If your store uses a loyalty card, like Price Chopper, you get to skip scanning the receipts because it automatically does it for you! Love that, I wish it worked that way for the rest of them!

One more thing about Ibotta. You have a "team", which in my case is facebook  friends who are also using Ibotta. There are bonuses each month that you can earn as your team redeems rebates. If you refer someone to Ibotta, they can earn $10 on their first rebate and you earn $5! So there's a good incentive to sign up, right? So far I am the only one on my "team" who is actively racking up money. But every little bit helps, even 50 cents off milk.

***As always, read the fine print and be aware that nobody gives things away for free. They are collecting market research on your purchasing habits. If the idea of someone seeing your receipts makes you uncomfortable, then maybe this isn't for you!***

Checkout 51:

Similar to Ibotta, I have this rebate app on my phone but honestly don't use it as much. Offers update on Thursdays. It does have rebates for alcohol, but I don't buy booze at the grocery store (Kansas, ugh). They also have offers for pet food. I need to spend a little time with this one and figure out how to use it best. I've only earned a dollar there :)

Target Cartwheel:

A Target specific app. It gives you a percent off certain items, anywhere from 5% to 50%. I load my offers up whenever I am going to be shopping there. You can double it up with Ibotta as well. And if you use a Target Redcard, you get another 5% off your purchase.

Walmart Savings Catcher:

This app allows you to scan your Walmart receipts, and they will credit you if another store has a lower price on something you bought. The savings is given back as Walmart credit. It's quick and easy to do. I have earned about $7 so far.

Amazon:

I used to have a real love affair with Amazon. I've been frustrated with the changes in the free shipping though. We're considering dropping our Prime account. When the kids were younger, I used their "subscribe and save" for diapers, which was amazing, cheapest prices and delivered to my door. I have used Prime Pantry several times, and on one order, the crackers arrived smashed (they were packaged in the same box as shampoo and laundry softener, so...) but reporting it was easy and a replacement box was promptly shipped to me. Sometimes they have free samples you can add to your box. Watch for free shipping promos.

Costco:

I have the cheapest membership ($55/year). You can buy an Executive membership for $110 and get a 2% (of amount spent in store) rebate once a year. I have done that, but it was a wash for me, I made back the extra expense but barely. (If you spend more than $230 a month at Costco, you could probably benefit from this.) If you get their Citi Costco card, you can get 2% back on all Costco purchases, as well as other benefits. I hit them up once a month for the monthly sale items, and I love shopping Costco.com for things I can have shipped (for free!) like sunscreen, shampoo, or clothes. Things I always buy at Costco - milk, butter, bacon, dinner rolls, bottled lemon juice, red potatoes, and bottled water. Their cookie trays are delish too if you need 6 dozen for an event. And I fill up my van while I'm there, gas is usually a few cents cheaper.

And finally, my newest favorite shopping site.

Boxed:

This is similar to Costco, warehouse sizes shipped to your home, only with no membership fee. I have ordered from them a couple times now, and I try to place an order whenever they are having a special. Currently, they are teamed up with Ibotta, so if I go through the Ibotta app and make a purchase on Boxed, I get 3% back in my Ibotta account! Pair that up with a code for free shipping, or search their site for "giveaway". Right now that's a free roll of toilet paper. Last time was a free box of Frosted Mini Wheats or Apple Jacks. If you place a $75 or more order, you get free shipping. There is a $20 minimum order to check out. And you get 1% of your order in cash rewards to use on a future purchase. Most purchases arrive within a few days.

invite code: W4N37 gets you $15 off your first $60 order!

(If you're already a boxed.com member, use promo code bulk4school for 10% off a $50+ order.)

So those are a few things I use to save a little money. If there are any others I should be using, please let me know in the comments! I'd love to hear your strategies!

PS - Part of me struggles with the idea of shopping online. I love the convenience of it. I think my mail carrier/UPS drivers hate me. It saves me so much time, not just in the actual shopping but in the drive time to get to stores, which translates into more savings on gas and tires and miles on the van. So I know it's a good thing for us. But I feel guilty with the excess packaging that is involved...

hello my friends!



Whether I want to admit it or not, summer has ended and my kids started back to school last week. I have an empty house for the first time in almost 12 years! It's definitely bittersweet, and I've had a few short teary moments. But I am excited for the next stage of our life to begin.

Things that we've done this summer:

Baseball, softball, wrestling. The kids all did well this summer in ball, AJ's team placed third at state, Zach got to pitch for the first time, and Emma made the All-Star team.



Now moving into fall ball, cheerleading, football, and of course, wrestling. All sports, all the time!

We did a few day trips, took the kids to Worlds of Fun. Spent a day in Lawrence visiting KU's Natural History Museum, bowling, and dinner on Mass. street. A lot of swimming and cousin time. This was my favorite summer yet!



2nd place at the Anderson County Fair Pie Baking Contest! Emma wanted to help this time, so I made the crust and she did the filling. This year we entered a pecan pie. We used this recipe from King Arthur Flour. We left out the butternut extract and I think only used 1 tsp. of vinegar, I was a little nervous about that addition. We added a few extra pecans too.

We made two pies, since it was a new to me recipe and I wanted to test it. I loved the taste, really buttery and delicious. The people who bought the pie in the auction (for $60!) are neighbors of a friend, and told her it was the best pie she'd had in her life! She would like me to make another for them. And a coworker of Troy's has requested one as well. Get your orders in early for the holidays, I may do a weekend bake shop! ;)


The only completed sewing lately has been some corn hole bags to replace the ones raccoons found and ate. Yes, seriously. The kids left them on the porch and coons demolished them! I also made two sets for friends. They aren't hard to make but not my favorite thing to work on. I've been working this week on a quilt top, ran out of the background and now I'm just waiting on fabric to come in the mail. Hoping for a quick finish next week.

I'm trying to wrap up some honey dos around the house because I have applied for my substitute teaching license! I'm hoping to work a lot, but it will still allow me to be flexible in case of sick kids or doctor appts.

I have also been trying to figure out ways to cut my grocery bills down. The older boys have great appetites and my leftovers aren't stretching like they used to! I am writing a separate post on that, hopefully it will be up later today. I have some good ideas to share :)

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day!

I had a great morning cooking breakfast with our 5 year old. He was feeling sad because he'd never gotten to use the stove. So he fried his own egg, made toast for the family, and learned how to peel oranges too!

The older kids got home from church right about then, so I "let" them each fry their own egg for breakfast. I felt like a genius, now they can cook eggs for themselves this summer!

We also had four little fart eggs, which are tiny chicken eggs. I'm not sure which of our hens is laying them, but I'd been setting them aside. So we decided to cook them up, thinking we'd get teeny fried eggs we could feed to our pets. It was a surprise to find they didn't have yolks in them! I'm pretty sure the cats and dogs didn't care...

Photo by Sawyer

I've really been trying to make the most of any free time with the kids. Today we played with a turtle, a snail, and watched some frogs. We are so busy all the time with school and sports and music, and I'm thrilled that they get the opportunities they do. But it means we have precious little time at home. So I can't wait for summer break and arts and crafts, reading and gardening. Maybe I'll even fit in some sewing time one of these days.

We spent the rest of the day visiting my Nana, a trip to my mom and dad's where the kids played five card draw while we watched the Royals, and then home for movies and a steak dinner. Can't think of much I'd rather do than spend days like this with my family!

Monday, March 21, 2016

spring break 2016 in the books

I blinked and just like that, spring break was over. While we didn't do much of anything, we kept busy and enjoyed having a week off from school!



Emma had two school friends come over for a sewing class on Monday. They did such a good job, and each made a pillowcase. They found some cute fabrics at Hobby Lobby, check out the cute peacock fabric! (Their family has peacocks so it was perfect!) I really love teaching kiddos how to sew.


The weather at the beginning of the week was gorgeous, and the kids got to do some fishing down at the lake. Sawyer caught his first fish, and it was a keeper!


Alex caught a bass the next day and wanted to try cleaning it himself. I'm still uncomfortable with that, but he did a good job. He'll get better with practice :) I did stipulate that any fish caught under my supervision get thrown back from now on! Cleaning fish is Daddy's job, not mine :)


We did some shopping, watched lots of movies, and had family pictures taken, which wasn't as painful as I expected...


had wrestling, baseball and soccer practices, piano lessons, and then spent Saturday watching Zach and AJ at District wrestling. Proud to say they both took 3rd and are headed to State this Friday! We'll see if AJ can defend his State title - he's looking at some tough competition, he'll have to really fight for it. I'm so proud of Zach for making it there, he works so hard and he's only 8!

Needless to say, it's been busy around here! I've been working on a few things but nothing to share yet. Today is my "put the house back in order after spring break" day so I'll be buried in laundry, cleaning bathrooms and floors for the rest of the afternoon. Then we're off to piano/soccer/wrestling practice after school. I really could use one of those self driving cars...


Thursday, February 4, 2016

valentines 2016

Hey there! Have you started your Valentines yet? There are so many fun ideas this year! I thought I'd share my faves here, hope you see something you like! For even more ideas, check out my board on pinterest!

A photo posted by tammie schaffer (@craftytammie) on


Heart Shaped Crayons are an easy activity for any age. Every year I buy 4 sets of crayons for school, and at the end of the year they get dumped into a bin and never used again. So we gathered them all up and made some crayons! I bought my Wilton silicone molds a few years ago, when they were on clearance after the holiday. Can't believe it took us this long to try them out!



Sawyer and I spent a morning making them for his preschool class. I enjoyed it as much as he did! I haven't decided yet what the valentines will say, but there's a cute example over at whipperberry.


I also want to try making these lil' love monsters from eighteen25. Aren't they adorable! Be sure to check out their blog, they have lots of awesome tutorials and ideas!


I'm hoping to make these hot glue confetti hearts by Peaches. Planning to try it out this Saturday, when I will have some time for the inevitable clean up. I think these would be fun gifts for the kids teachers, tied to a jar of candy or something.

How about you? What are you making for your sweethearts this year?!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

When woods begin to wear the crimson leaf...*

Here we are, we made it through October! Every year that month gets busier, I don't understand how that's even possible. Still, it's my favorite month of the year!

Our son Zach turned 8 years old. He's grown so much this year, gained 10 pounds and 2 inches :) Sometimes it's hard to remember that he's still pretty young, he looks like the older kids (but acts like he's 5 lol) Loves playing with toys, reading joke books, and watching silly videos. He's definitely my reader, he's been tearing through the Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Stink, and I Survived series.


I made him Minion cupcakes for his class.


He loved his Halloween costume this year, he and our 5 year old Sawyer made a perfect pair.

Our daughter Emma Jane turned 11. She's also gained almost 10 pounds and 2 inches this year! She finally outgrew some of her clothes! She got glasses this year, began playing the flute and taking piano lessons, and is just all around a sweet girl. Sadly, she has no interest in books. But she's an excellent artist and I think she'll be our band geek :)

I still feel bad because her birthday fell on one of those crazy days where we couldn't really celebrate it. We had the Halloween Carnival at her school that night, and I was busy with that all day. They also had a field trip so she didn't get to do classroom treats either. ( I brought in cupcakes the following Monday)


On the plus side, she did get to dress up in her Halloween costume! (Doing her makeup was fun too) I took her shopping the next morning so we could get in some girl time.


Can't forget AJ - he wanted to be Rambo so we threw together an outfit. We ended cutting more off the wig later but this was a last minute costume, so I was happy people knew who he was supposed to be :)


Troy and I went to his sister's annual costume party - and my annual "making of the costumes the day of the party". Next year, I will be more prepared. (Yeah, right!) I freezer paper stenciled the shirts and made the "masks" out of foam board. Only I forgot to put in eye holes. So we only wore them for pictures. We were Terrance and Philip from South Park.


We had lots of parties this month! My MIL is turning 70 so we threw a surprise party for her. It was a big potluck and perfect weather. She had no idea, which was even better! We are heading to Nashville soon to party for real though. Can't wait! Last year was so much fun!




Our church had their fall Bazaar and I made two pies for it. A pecan and a sour cream apple. They looked so delicious I had to make some for us the next day. Troy worked the bingo table and the eldest two kids scraped plates. Love those church lunches, the food is always so amazing.

I also had a birthday, year 42. Pretty low key, we ate out at our favorite mexican place, my MIL made me a coconut cream pie, and then I spent the next day doing this:


Do I know how to party or what?! Troy and I blew a truck load of insulation into the attic crawl space, and we're really hoping to be a lot warmer this winter. I was in charge of shoving bricks of insulation into the machine, and spent the time in between bricks cleaning out my flower beds. We have been really lucky with the weather this fall - my kids are still going to school in shorts!

So between football, cheerleading, after school choir, the Battle of the Books (I'm volunteering), helping at school with Pumpkin Day and Halloween carnival and classroom festivities, the Royals and the World Series (WAHOO!!), CCD, the church bazaar, music lessons, and the kids' homework (which frankly, I don't understand any of the 5th grade math), there's been little to no free time for this mama. Whew. Like I said, we made it!

* from October - poem by William Cullen Bryant

Sunday, September 27, 2015

hello, fall!

whew. school started. and just like that, every day has been a whirlwind! The kids are keeping me hopping with all of their activities and homework.

There's some of this going on:


That's our #66, playing Quarterback and Safety this year! I love watching him play!

There's also a little of this happening too:


I love that she decided to cheer this year! I don't usually tell people this, but I cheered in high school (and junior college!) so I've been showing her a few things that she just rolls her eyes at. I think she's really just doing it for the pom poms! She looked so cute out there! They are doing some basic stunts and she's a flyer, which she really likes. She has also started playing the flute and the piano, so there's a lot of new sounds happening in the house!


Our littlest one turned 5 the first week of school, and so I made some minion pudding cups for his preschool treat. Super easy, and I had fun drawing on different faces :) You could use lemon pudding for true yellow minions, but out of my 4 kids, only one likes lemon. So I played it safe with vanilla. I heard they were a hit!


The older two also got to go to their first concert last night! Cornstock is an annual event, and last night they had a lawn chair country show with Rodney Atkins, Randy Rogers Band, and Travis Marvin. Troy took them and I stayed home with the younger two, who aren't all that interested in sitting still.

I started a quilt for a shop sample at work last week, just have to finish the sashing. It was so much fun to get to sew - at work - while getting paid to do it! Pinch me! I love my job. Especially because they are a new Brother dealer and I got play with one of the fancy new machines! They are getting a Dream Frame for the shop, and I am so excited to try it out! More on that later.

And I completed another quilt top - but I can't share it yet! I was testing a pattern for a friend, and I can't wait to show it off. But wait I must. The pattern comes out later this year, and of course I'll let you know!

How about you?! What have you been up to? Any big fall plans!? I have to do some baking for the church bazaar next weekend, and I'm thinking pies. mmm, pie....

Monday, August 24, 2015

Modern Maples top

Now that the kids are back in school, I am hoping to knock out a few WIPs in the afternoons.

Today I finished piecing together all the leaf blocks I started back in Nov. 2013. I changed it up from the Modern Maples pattern and added more leaf blocks. Here's the link to the free pattern over at Lark Crafts.

Moda Bella in Porcelain is the background fabric, it's a really pretty white/cream with a hint of yellow. The prints are all ones I found at Country Fabrics - they sell fat quarters for $1.75 so I am always bringing some home with me. I went with oranges and golds and a few purples. Odd mix, especially for me, but I like it. There's some Sweetwater, Kaffe Fassett, Amy Butler - really random stuff! Now it just needs quilted.

My goal for this week is to get some WIP blocks sewn into quilt tops. I have several that just need sewn together, and one a day seems reasonable. Here's tomorrow's project, blocks made in 2013 using the Apple Crate tutorial over at Moda Bake Shop and fabric from the Spring House line for Moda. Wish me luck!


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

DIY Planked Ceiling

Today I wanted to share a super easy (and pretty cheap!) home improvement project!


Wood planked ceilings are a great look - and for us, an economical solution to broken sheetrock.

the lovely before on the left - in progress on the right! much better, eh?
My husband was working in the attic crawl space above our mudroom when his foot slipped off a beam and onto the sheetrock below, cracking the seam. Thank goodness he didn't come crashing through! But in all honesty, the ceiling didn't look great before that happened. He had tried to finish the ceiling himself when we added the mudroom, and the seams were visible. After browsing lots of pinterest posts and blogs, we decided to try planking it ourselves.

We bought our planks at Menard's, but I found them at Lowe's and Home Depot too. Just be prepared to buy extra packages! Each pack had at least one board that was unusable due to knots or splits in the wood. We tried to sort them out in the store, inspecting the edges of the packs, but since they are bundled together and wrapped in plastic it's kind of a crap shoot. We ended up making a second trip to get a few more packs. I had figured for two extra but we were pretty choosy in which ones made the cut.  If you're planning to paint them, you can fill in some of those imperfections with caulk and I think you'd be fine.

getting started
Troy and I started out one Saturday morning, and we'd hold the board in place, use the nail gun along one side, pass the gun over and finish the other side. We were nailing into support beams, which we marked before we started. Both of us up on ladders meant we made great time. We were able to get a third of it up in an hour or so, which was all the time we had that weekend. The next weekend we tried to work on it, but I was having trouble holding the boards up and nailing them in. So it went a lot slower, as Troy had to nail up one side, then trade me places and finish the other side. It was frustrating and ended with the air hose getting pinched and springing a leak. So we called it quits after another third was up.

Troy was able to finish the last of it with help from our 9 year old, and it looks awesome! And fun that AJ got to be involved. I hadn't considered that the kids were getting old enough to tackle small projects with us - it opens up a whole new world of DIY for me :) can you say child labor?! lol


Next step - cutting in new lights! We decided to use smaller 4 inch recessed LEDs instead of the six inch we had before. Then, white paint. Although several people have told me they would just clear coat it, I think I want it white.

We used some of our leftover boards to plank half the wall behind the wood stove - it takes a beating from firewood stacked there. I'm a little torn about whether to paint it all white, or if I should do a darker color that won't show the soot and dirt so much. That project is on hold until school starts and I have some uninterrupted time to knock it out!

Speaking of - school starts next week! Hooray! My kids and I are all ready for the new school year to begin. Sawyer gets to ride the school bus this year, and the others are excited to see their friends. I am looking forward to some quiet time in the afternoons.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Nina skirt pattern launch!

Check it out! I sewed a skirt!!


A few weeks back, I saw a call for testers for the new girl's Nina skirt/culottes pattern. You'll want to check out everyone's versions over at Compagnie M, so many cute skirts and culottes! This is my first time trying one of her patterns. I love the fact that she offers lots of information and tutorials on her site! Want to learn to do welt pockets on your Nina skirt? Hem without using pins? She's got you covered. I tried the no-pin hem and it worked great! They offer PDF and paper patterns at their site.

I needed something to get me back into my sewing nook, and pattern testing is a great way to motivate me! And since it was a girl's size I figured I had enough fabric on hand to complete it.


I picked a few fabrics out of my stash and then Emma decided which she liked the best. She chose this triangle print (Mojave in Opaque) from Leah Duncan's Tule line for AGF. Art Gallery Fabrics are so soft!

I sewed the A-Line skirt version. I used the size 10 for my 10 1/2 year old daughter. I did add about an inch of length to it, because she's pretty modest. I'm sure I'll appreciate that trait as she enters the teen years!


There are some adorable versions in the pattern tour that use piping as an accent. I wanted to try it and had white cording picked out. But then I found this vintage canary yellow ric-rac in my trims, and the color and shape were too perfect for this skirt!Same concept though - attach the trim before sewing on the waistband. I was so concerned about getting the ric-rac on straight that I spaced off doing the back darts first - oops!

My model was being uncooperative, this is her "but I AM smiling" face. #beroyal

I needed an invisible zipper, and had one on hand. Only it was 22" long. No problem, right? I thought I could shorten a zipper pretty easily. I didn't notice until I started sewing that it was a metal zipper - so I couldn't sew across the teeth like I planned. I had to hand sew a stop at the top, after I almost pulled the zipper pull off - eek!! That was dumb! Definitely my fault and not the pattern's :) Note to self: use the recommended supplies next time!

There are so many ways you could trick this skirt out. It comes with several pocket variations, and the culottes are adorable too! You can do a side zip, or a front fly, or even make one with an elastic waist (you have to cut your fabrics on the bias - more info here on this version!) I chickened out on trying the side pockets. But now that I've made the basic version, I think I'll try the pockets next. You could also use contrasting fabrics for the waistband or pockets, or do some cute reverse applique. It went together really fast. I made it in most of a morning, and I work slowly :) I suggest making a muslin to check fit first, and then you could use it to line the skirt. I didn't do a lining on this one though.


I'm not sure whether it's meant to be worn at the actual waist line, or lower on the hips, which is how Emma's fits. She's pretty skinny though, and I almost made a size down. I've seen some super cute high waist versions on her blog - but I think it would have been too short on Emma if she wore it around her true waist. Easy enough to alter when you're cutting out the pattern though.

I am definitely still a beginner when it comes to garment sewing. I think that it's ok that it's not perfect - because if I hadn't pointed out my mistakes, I doubt you would have noticed them! And we still ended up with a really cute skirt for Emma. I learned some stuff, so the next skirt I make will be a little better.

And the best part is I feel confident that I could make the grown up version for myself! And then, maybe tackle her Mara blouse pattern... wish me luck!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival

Last weekend, the Overland Park Convention Center was packed with quilters for the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival. The parking lot was overflowing and it was wall to wall people inside. I stopped in for a quick peek at the Festival - and I mean quick, 30 minutes was all I had to spend! I ran into a bunch of guild friends and saw some beautiful quilts. I wish I could have spent some time, shopped some booths, taken a class or two. It looks like it was a huge success!

 I love this tree quilt by Trisch Price. Such a cool design!

She's started a new pattern company with Jenifer Dick! You can check out their new patterns at Everyday Stitches.


Here's one of Jenifer's quilts, it's called Come On Get Happy. And it won 2nd place!


This beauty by Stephanie Dodson of Summerwind Studio is from a bee I belonged to, once upon a time!


I found one of my blocks, in the center with the dots :) The quilting she did is gorgeous too.

I love this churn dash by Carla Timberlake. (I think, I am going from memory here lol)


And another churn dash by my friend Nikki - ahh Hope Valley. Such a pretty line that I wish I would have bought. And I like that she made the setting triangles from another DS plaid. And that she didn't make every block a churn dash. It's a great way to use a layer cake and show off a fabric line, isn't it? I may copy her quilt very soon :)

That's just a quick glimpse into the KCRQF 2015. Glad it was such a good turnout for everyone involved! Hopefully they'll do it again next year.

Monday, May 25, 2015

aww, NUTS!

hard to believe it, but summer has started here! Last week was a whirlwind. All the end of school activities combined with starting a new DIY project - planking the ceiling in the mudroom - well, despite my best intentions, I woke up the last day of school and realized I hadn't done any teacher gifts! I managed to pull it off, but remind me next year not to wait til the last minute ;)



I had planned to make candied nuts anyways, and had all the supplies I needed, so I got busy in the kitchen while the kids got dressed for school. I tried out a crock pot recipe the weekend before, and while they tasted good, they weren't very yummy looking. There are several ways to make sugared nuts. Some involve boiling a sugar syrup, some use egg whites, and the crock pot recipe I tried used butter and powdered sugar.

The recipe I ended up using is very simple, and I made two double batches with great success! Click here for the original recipe. I love allrecipes.com! Here's the adjustments I made. I made a double batch, subbing vanilla for the water and using a mixture of pecans, almonds and walnuts. One thing about the recipe - it calls for a pound of nuts (2 if you're doubling). I should have measured that out for you in cups, but like I said - I was in a hurry! I used my scale to weigh it out. I also cut the sugar to 2/3 c. and 1.5 tsp. of salt for my first batch - which meant the nuts were very lightly sweet and salty. My 2nd batch, I used a whole cup of sugar and 1 tsp. of salt, because I wanted them to be less salty and more sweet.

For the teacher gifts, I filled mason jars with nuts and tied a tag to them with baker's twine.


Here's the tag I made - or make your own! We debated some different sayings - how about "from your favorite nuts!" or "hope we didn't drive you nuts this year!" (I was going to do that one for our bus drivers) Oh - when I printed this at home, it came out fuchsia instead of red. Didn't have time to figure that one out :)

So more on that DIY project soon, I promise! We're going to try to finish the planks today and then I need to caulk and paint, hang trim - ugh, it might take us all summer! Why is it that when you start a new project it keeps growing? You think, hmm, I really should put a fresh coat of paint on that, too, and that needs redone and before you know it you've bit off more than you can chew! wish us luck!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

April, in a nutshell

April kind of flew by, didn't it? All four kids were playing rec soccer. I love to watch their games. When they're little, it's just funny. There's always someone doing cartwheels on the field, or kicking the ball the wrong direction. But as they get older, and start actually making plays - so cool!


Zach did a good job of moving the ball this year, and made several goals. But I think he kicked his shoe off every game, lol! He almost scored a goal with his shoe once. :)


Emma and AJ's team hadn't had a win until the last few games of the season, but improved with each game, and ended up taking 1st in the tournament! So much fun to see them grow as a team. Even Troy, who ranks soccer pretty low on the sports totem pole, said it was fun to watch.


oh, side note? I heard recently (don't remember where) that the saying "low on the totem pole" doesn't actually mean what I thought it did, because the most honored carvings were the ones at the bottom. But you know what I mean, right?


Sawyer loved playing soccer, the little cutie had a couple of good kicks in his last game! He's been wearing his medal everywhere to show people. :)


Our son AJ plays on a tournament baseball team called Rage, and practices 2-3 times a week, with tournaments every other weekend or so. They played their first one in KC a couple weeks back and took 2nd place! Pretty exciting for those 10 & under boys! Rain meant we didn't play at all on Saturday and got a late start on Sunday, playing 4 games back to back and finishing up around 10pm. Late night for everyone, especially in the chilly, misty weather.


The kids' school put on the Music man Jr. for their spring concert, and it was really cute. They had fun with their costumes and had a set and everything! Emma has a pretty strong singing voice, and I wish I had a way to get her some voice training. We recently got a piano so the kids can start lessons this summer. And I heard a little something about a choir group, so I need to get some information about that. They are practicing for the talent show tryouts later this week, Emma's going to sing and Zach wants to tell jokes :)

I haven't had much time (or energy) to make anything. I just sit back and watch the little people I made do their cool stuff  :) Summer is almost here, and I can't wait. Ball games and lots of books, sounds great to me!

Monday, May 4, 2015

May is...

May is a lot of things to me. Field trips and school assemblies, baseball practices, planting flowers in my garden. But this year, May is also something new to me.

May is Lupus Awareness month.



I was diagnosed earlier this year with Lupus, as well as Connective Tissue Disease. Strangely, it was a huge relief to have a name to the mysterious aches and pains. That relief lasted for several weeks, while I tried to learn about these diseases. Then a bit of melancholy crept in, because there is no cure, only treatment. And when my daughter asked me one afternoon "Can I catch Lupus?" it about broke my heart.

I consider myself very fortunate. My rheumatologist is optimistic that with medication we can prevent this from affecting my organs. All drugs have side effects, so I hate the thought of swallowing pills for the rest of my life. I'm taking them, though, because I want to be around for the rest of my life. I've also been taking steps to reduce stress, making sure I get enough sleep, eating better -  and that has helped too. I am learning to say No (mostly to myself, lol)


It's estimated that 5 million people world wide have Lupus. But lots of us don't even know what it is. No two people have the same exact symptoms. That makes it very difficult to diagnose. There's no "test" that says yes or no. That being said, it was a simple blood test that showed I had elevated markers for auto immune. My doctor called it an arthritis panel, and I truly believe he didn't expect anything to come from it. I'm pretty sure he believed I was a hypochondriac lol. I know that's what my husband thought. It's been kind of a lonely road, actually.

Lupus is an auto-immune disease that primarily affects women. It has a whole range of symptoms, and there is a checklist of criteria that must be met to be diagnosed. It can range from mild to severe, and I definitely fall on the mild side, for which I'm thankful.

I'm still figuring a lot of things out, and adjusting. I was felling pretty sorry for myself one day, and my husband reminded me that nothing has changed. I'm still the same as I was before I had a diagnosis. And on the plus side, I can take naps and say "doctor's orders!" haha! :)

Well, I hope you've learned a little something about this crazy disease. If you have any questions or advice for me, I'd be happy to chat in an email! craftytammieATyahooDOTcom

Monday, April 6, 2015

Sanibel Blog Hop (and layer cake giveaway!)



Good morning! Today I get to help kick off the Sanibel blog hop. It's going to be a great week! Sanibel is a new collection by Gina Martin for Moda. Packed with luscious color and graphic patterns, it screams summer and makes me want a fruity umbrella drink!

A photo posted by Oda May (@modabakeshop) on

Once again, Gina has included some prints every quilter will want to add to their stash.



The lawn chair basket weave is cool, and these chairs are fab! I chose three of my favorite prints and made a pool bag!


 They are fast and easy to make, and a great way to show off your favorite fabrics!
 Click here to go to the tutorial!


We are giving one lucky reader a Layer Cake of Sanibel! Use the rafflecopter widget below to enter. Winner will be drawn on Sunday April 12th, and contacted via email. Please make sure I have a way to reach you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I can't wait to see what everyone else comes up with this week! Be sure to check out the other stops on the blog hop, there are giveaways going on all week!

Monday - April 6th
Tuesday - April 7th
Wednesday - April 8th
Thursday - April 9th
Friday - April 10th
Gina Martin at Pattern and Hue

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Now go sew something!

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