Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 Confessions and {Realistic} 2014 Resolutions

Every year we make resolutions. This year, I'm confessing first. Confession is good for the soul. 

  1. I've gained weight. Yep, I said it. I did great before the Disney trip and lost 15 and almost got back to goal... then trying juggle teaching with family and a WAHM business combined with lots of fall allergies and sickness and having the house for sale did me in. I'm up 27 pounds from goal weight. I'm ashamed of it. I SHOULD do better. 
  2. I've often fed my family junk. There, I said it. Yes, I reached into the freezer section for chicken strips and fries. We've run through too many drive-thrus. Maybe that's another contributing factor to number 1? 
  3. I let my kids watch way too much tv. Part of the problem is working from home (I know, that's not a good excuse, but it is what it is). It's easier to turn on the tv and get a few uninterrupted minutes. Between sewing and grading papers, I needed a lot of minutes. I know, easy is not always best. I'm confessing. 
  4. I let deadlines and events sneak up on me. Yes, I have them in my calendar, but I just can't seem to get a handle on a working schedule for us. I often forget until the day of that I've got something scheduled. I've spent many nights up late sewing to get an order out by my shipping deadline. I need to get a better handle on this. 
  5. I haven't taken care of me. By this point, it should be obvious, right? But when I actually take time to get my hair cut and styled and take a relaxing bath or read a book for pleasure, I feel SO much better. I should really do it more often. I often forget to do those things for myself because I'm so busy catering to everyone else. 
So those are my confessions for 2013. I feel like a slacker. I feel like I've failed. With that in mind, 2014 is going to be a fresh start. Let's start over. Here are my REALISTIC goals. I've made goals in the past that I haven't kept, so I'm going to keep this year realistic. I'm also actually writing them down... I have no clue what my resolutions were last year (probably to not gain any weight...). 

  1. I will get active. Yes, I want to lose the weight I've gained. However, I've decided to try and not focus on the number and instead focus on my activity. I'm going to start out with 3 workouts a week plus some running. I loved the 5K I did in August. I want to get back into running. So I WILL get active!
  2. I will freezer cook once a month. Okay, that sounds nothing like eating healthy, but it is. When I do freezer cook, I use fresh ingredients bought in bulk to fix 6-8 meals. Then on those days that I have a sewing deadline, my oldest has an orthodontist appointment after school, then we have a band concert in the evening, I'll have dinner covered! Maybe we'll eat out less and I'll reach for the chicken strips and fries less often! See, it works! 
  3. I will do more family activities. Let's get real, we're probably not going to watch less tv. We can do more family activities. More family cooking. More family hikes. More family games. More family crafts. My goal will be one planned thing a week. That seems realistic to me. Then when some other mom shows me pictures of the salt dough ornaments she and her daughter spent a whole afternoon decorating, I won't feel as if I've failed because we haven't done salt dough ornaments. 
  4. I will get organized! This is a whopper! I probably need to research time management. I need an app or something to keep me organized. I don't need to look up at the calendar and go "Oops, Jenna has a birthday in two weeks! CRAP!" Yeah. That happened this year... 
  5. I will take care of me. Maybe part of the reason I've been so sick since August stems from this confession. When I don't get enough sleep and eat junk and don't work out, I get sick. When I don't take time to pamper me, I don't feel like getting active or staying on schedule or fixing something healthy, or doing anything extra. 
So I guess this is the biggie. I think maybe, just maybe, all the other resolutions will fall into place if I just take care of me. Taking care of me allows me to better care for my family and my business. Moms everywhere should take time for themselves. Maybe we could all be better moms if we did!  

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Season of Giving (Juicing for the Holidays)

There's nothing worse than being sick in bed with the flu or a nasty sinus infection, especially when you have young children. Since August, it feels like we've had one bout of illness after another. It's been exhausting. So when my husband started coughing and losing his voice last week and my ears started aching from pressure, we decided we had to do something different this time. That meant hitting natural remedies hard before we needed antibiotics. 

We started dosing up with B6 and L-Tyrosine supplements. Then we doubled up on probiotics and started drinking Emergen-C. Then Chris got a brilliant idea to look up juicing recipes for sinus congestion. We really wanted to avoid another trip to the walk-in clinic and round of antibiotics this time, so I started Googling recipes. I found this at It was one of the top recipes for congestion (we're not fans of the V-8 flavored juice recipes). So Chris headed out and bought supplies... 

This recipe calls for these ingredients.

  • Apples - 2 medium (3" dia) 
  • Celery - 3 stalk, large (11"-12" long) 
  • Cucumber - 1 cucumber (8-1/4") 
  • Ginger - 1/2 thumb (1" dia) 
  • Lemon (with rind) - 1/2 fruit (2-3/8" dia) 
  • Lime (with rind) - 1 fruit (2" dia) 
  • Parsley - 1 bunch 
  • Spinach - 2 cup 

We chop them up into about 1-2 sized chunks. Then we run them through our juicer. 

According to, "parsley helps to inhibit the body's release of histamines, which explains its use by naturopathic healers for allergies and sinus congestion." Combine that with the ginger ("Being a warming herb, ginger can help knock out a fever. ... The warming effects make it a natural decongestant as well as an antihistamine, making it the perfect remedy for colds."), celery ("Celery roots, fruits (seeds), and aerial parts, are used as ethno medically to treat mild anxiety and agitation, loss of appetite, fatigue & cough.") and lemon ("Lemon juice assists in curing respiratory problems, along with breathing problems and revives a person suffering from asthma.") for one awesome punch of healing power! 

But how does it taste? I won't lie, it's got a kick to it. That ginger and it's warming properties really add a bit of spicy flame to the drink. But it's not bad! Trust me, I've tried far worse pharmaceutical medicines! Here's my glass of goodness I drank. 

We've done a glass a day for 3 days and feel much better! My congestion is nearly gone. My ears no longer ache with pressure. My husband's cough was greatly reduced and his voice has returned. We've both had more energy that allowed for us to actually take care of our kids while we recovered! I'm calling this one a miracle cure this holiday season! Christmas Eve is tomorrow. We were worried we would have to stay home and cancel all family outings this Christmas, but I think we'll be plenty well enough to head out of town tomorrow! THAT is a Christmas miracle! Now cross your fingers none of us come down with the flu in the next 24hrs! 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Calling all Knights! {Testing for Charming Doodle}

I was so lucky to see Elisa Clark's post announcing a Call for Testers last week. I saw the preview and was in awe! I knew immediately that my son would FLIP and love me to the moon and back if I made him that hoodie! (Okay, he loves me to the moon and back anyway... but I love making him happy!) Here was the pic from the Call for Testers on Charming Doodle's blog. (Keep reading... there's a coupon code buried in here...)

Imagine my surprise when I got the e-mail saying I was selected!!! I was THRILLED! Yay! My son wanted orange for his hoodie... then we settled on maybe a golden orange. I went to the store and found neon colors or team in stock... no orange or gold. So I grabbed the bright blue and went with it. I knew I had a stash of ribbed knit at home, so I decided to go with blue and grey. 


The construction took me several hours, but the end result is SO worth it! My son was so happy! He immediately declared it his favorite jacket and asked if he could wear it to school! 

The Knight Hoodie features two large front pockets to keep those hands warm! It's sized from 2T to 10 year but I heard a rumor that the designer is planning on sizing it up to adults!!! The zipper goes all the way and is very easy to attach! Do not let the zipper scare you away! 

The 'armor plating' is added throughout the construction. The pattern includes very good pics for the visual seamstress (like me!) and makes putting this jacket together very easy. 

The elbow and helmet armor plating really MAKE this look. It's unique and full of fun! Oh, and take a look at how it looks with the hood DOWN! Just unzip and the hood lays perfectly out of the way! I LOVE it! Be sure to go subscribe to her blog. She's got some great patterns planned for spring 2014! 

So if you're little Knight loves to dress the part, you will want to pick this pattern up from Charming Doodle! Use code DECEMBERKNIGHT at her store HERE  between now and Christmas to save $3 off the pattern! YAY!!! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and all those other greetings and salutations! 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

It's ANNA! {New Pattern Release}

Once again, Megan of Made for Mermaids has out done herself! This time, she's tackled Disney's new movie, Frozen. The first of her Frozen patterns is Anna. I was LUCKY to get chosen to test this weekend! (Okay, I was little more than lucky, I was super excited and wanted to jump up and down when she said I was in! YAHOO!!!!!) A little birdy tells me Elsa is next on the list... Shh!!! Don't tell anyone!

One problem... I don't have an embroidery machine. IF you do, she gives you links to an awesome bodice design and the floral design for the skirt. She also provides some amazing templates if you want to paint your bodice. I suck at painting fabric. Really, it's bad. We're not even going to go there... I left my bodice blank. I still love it!

The dress has a zipper closure in the back. The bodice can be done in a variety of fabrics. I did mine in corduroy for the cooler weather we have right now. I trimmed my bodice in an iridescent ric rac for contrast, but many of the more true Anna dresses had gold trim.

The bodice is fully lined and directions for the zipper are very clear! If you've never done a zipper on a dress (writer raises her hand), don't let that stop you! I've done zippers on bags time and time again... but this was my first on a garment! (My second came the next day! But that's a post for later this week...)

The blouse underneath is a separate piece! This is great because you can use it for other outfits or change out multiple colors! The long sleeves are perfect for that winter theme! I love the elastic for easier dressing with little wriggly princesses.

I also made cotton velour leggings to keep her warm during this photo shoot... then you can barely see them in the pics! But it helped to keep her warm! I love the length of the dress! It's perfect for the Anna look!

So head on over to Made for Mermaids (on Facebook, Etsy, and Craftsy!) and grab your pattern! There's still time to get one of these sewn up and under the tree for your little Frozen fan! Hurry! Get $2 off if you buy before Monday! If you buy on Craftsy, use code ANNAFROZEN. If you buy from Etsy, the price is already adjusted! HURRY!