Friday, August 26, 2011

Makin’ stuff

I’m doing my best to live up to my super hero name: Craft Maiden. (cue cool super hero music.)
I’ve been crafting like crazy in my limited spare time. I’ve been doing a little bit of everything. I figured I really need to post my projects on here so I can look back at them later.
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This was a super simple project from this week: flannel diaper wipes. I have been using cloth diapers on Mason for the last couple of weeks with great success. With washable wipes I can just throw them into the diapers and toss everything into the washer. Saves money and reduces the amount of trash we are throwing out.
This is only a few of the 20 wipes I made. They are quick and easy and I already had the fabric sitting in my garage. Cost = $0
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Now, rewind back to the end of July. I made a bunch of shirts for Simon to wear to school. This one was my fave. It is a knock-off of one  I found at I fell in love with it and wanted one for Simon. I had one of those “I can do that” moments and I taught myself a new printing technique to get the vintage style color printing on a dark tee. I love how it turned out! It is super soft too.  The Nordstrom shirt was $28, not including shipping. My shirt = about $5!

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This is the original t-shirt I found at

And here are a couple of other shirts I finished for Simon. There are still a couple more that I haven’t taken pictures of yet. Another post, another day.
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Frayed applique Captain America shirt. I experimented with using my Pazzles Inspiration craft cutter to cut the circles just right. 
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Transformers. More than meets the eye.
This shirt used a similar distressed printing technique.
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Before and after shots of the processing. This lightning isn’t good but you can see how after it is processed the colors really pop.

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I finally made myself a new solar cooker last month. This one folds up very compact so I could stick it in a backpack and take it camping. We cooked chicken and veggies in it one day and brownies the next day. With the temperatures being well into the 110 degrees, I love having the option of cooking outside and not turning on the oven inside.

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Speaking of cooking outside, Karissa and I made these rocket stoves out of popcorn tins and vent pipe. They are fueled by small sticks and leaves. They are very efficient outdoor stoves. We finished these at about 11:00 pm that night so the only things we cooked were toasted marshmallows. Since then we have made turkey burgers and campfire eggs and hash browns over our rocket stove. It’s like having a mini campfire in our backyard.
If you want to learn more about these, just look up “rocket stove” on YouTube.

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My sewing machine is getting a workout too. I’ve been making shorts and pants for my boys. I made these grey retro style shorts for all 3 of my boys. One day soon I hope to get a picture of all 3 boys wearing their shorts. I have also made a few other styles but I have yet to get them captured on camera. Like I said, another day, another post.

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And how about a tie and suspenders onesie for Mason? He wore this to his blessing “party” after we changed him out of his blessing outfit.

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A few weeks ago we went thrift store treasure hunting, (looking for popcorn tins for our rocket stoves) and I found this beauty. This chair was 50% off and I paid $15 for it. I wanted it for a photo prop, and to just be a cute chair for our back porch. After scouring the paint section at Wal-Mart I chose to paint it sunny yellow.Now I am in LOVE with this chair. I used it as a prop for baby Ellery’s photos. It is so bright and cheery and, as Jeremiah says, WILD!
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Mason was testing it out before we did Ellery’s pictures. The yellow chair is a far cry from the retro black and gold it was before. The original chair did remind me of my mom’s rocking chair though.

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We have made a goal in our house to eat healthier as well as stick to our budget. I killed 2 birds with one stone with this homemade “crock-pot” yogurt. The idea of making my own yogurt was scary to me but it was so simple. And it takes just as good, or better, than store bought yogurt. Sweeten with a little honey and add fresh fruit and YUM! I have also experimented with making Greek Yogurt, which is my new favorite.
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This was a really fun project. We created a tornado maker using 2-liter soda bottles and tape. I used a little plumbers tape on the inside to prevent it from leaking, and duct tape on the outside. We got hours and hours of entertainment out of this project. I couldn’t help but play with it every time I walked by it. And it was sturdy enough to last through our 2 and 5 year olds. And it’s still going strong!
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It’s a science lesson and a toy in one. This was a big hit with the whole family.
And since I’m talking about making stuff, I have to show off this adorable onesie that Randi made for Mason.
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I LOVE personalized gifts. Randi is such a talented girl. We are so lucky to have her in our family.

Ok, do I still have your attention? And thats not even everything I’ve been working on. I think I have a problem.

And. . .you may see these and other projects popping up on my Cantaloupe Corner blog in the near future.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mason’s Blessing

August 7th was a special day for our new baby. It was his blessing day! 

We had a ton of family show up to support Mason including Mason’s Grandma Udall, Uncle Jason, Grandma and Grandpa Hall, and his Great Grandma and Grandpa Udall, Great Uncles Ted and Chris, Jesse and Randi Udall, Karissa and Cabrena Hall, his Great Aunt Marie and her 4 boys, including Bryan, and his girlfriend Whitney.  I think that is everyone. We had a housefull!

Just before church started I dressed Mason in his white blessing outfit and shed a tear or two at how amazing he is and how Simon and Ryan wore the same outfit for their blessings.

I dried my eyes and we hurried off to church so we could get there in time to reserve enough seats for our entire entourage. I can’t even describe how good it felt to be sitting there amongst so many of the people I love so dearly. Even Jeremiah’s step-Grandpa Jake showed up and bore his testimony. Jeremiah’s Grandma passed away about 2 weeks before so we were happy to see Jake looking up-beat. (I need to post more about Jeremiah’s Grandma and her funeral, she was an AMAZING person!)

The blessing was beautiful. Jeremiah got to give him his blessing, as he has done with our other kids, and he is always so in tune with what the Lord wants him to say. He spoke about how Mason’s middle name, Henry, is very special because it came from his great-great grandpa William Henry Burk. He was one of the most incredible men I have had the privilege of knowing in my life. Mason was blessed to remember where his name came from and to try to be like his great great grandpa. There were other special promises and blessings given to him also.   Jeremiah got up later to bear his testimony and joked about how Mason is a chubby kid and how he got that from his mom’s side of the family. lol.


After Sacrament we all met back at our house for Pulled Pork Tacos, and yummy deserts. We had so many people show up that we ran out of food! All the pork was gone in no time  and the deserts disappeared even faster. I made a scrumptious Brownie Trifle. It’s one of my favorite deserts and it is so pretty.august-2011-052_thumb1

Here are a few pictures from the day. It was special and memorable. Some day I’ll be able to tell Mason about his blessing day and how much love we all have for this sweet little boy.


Before church; Cabrena got some quality cuddle time with Mason.


Jeremiah did NOT want his picture taken. But I had to get him in here since this day was special for him too. august-2011-047_thumb1august-2011-049_thumb1

This is the reason we ran out of food. boys.   Winking smile


This shot is blurry but I wanted to post it anyways. I love seeing Grandma Udall with my boys. She loves babies so much and she is the cutest Grandma! She was really enjoying her time holding Mason.

I wish I had more pictures to post. I did all of the cooking and most of the preparation and I didn’t have time to get more pictures. Next time I’m going to hand Jeremiah the camera. I’m so grateful for my Mother-in-Law. She helped me put all of this together! I don’t know what I would have done without her.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I Heart Faces - Beautiful Eyes

This week on I Heart Faces the challenge is: Beautiful Eyes. How could I resist this photo challenge when my boys have such lovely blue eyes?
This is one of my favorite shots of 4 year old Simon just before he got his hair cut. It's one of the few happy shots I have of him where he isn't making a funny face or cheesy smile.
I love this kid! I get to look into those beautiful blue eyes every day. I'm such a lucky mom!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Baby Ellery Jane

On August 2nd, Heidi and Austin had their beautiful baby girl. They named her Ellery Jane VanSkoyk.  Don’t you just love her name?!
I finally got to meet little miss Ellery on Thursday night! Heidi and Austin stayed at our house Friday night so they could drive to the airport and fly to Utah on Friday morning.  Heidi is so much braver than me. Little Ellery was only 9 days old on her first flight. When Heidi arrived late on Thursday I got to hold their baby for a few minutes before we all went to bed. She was SO TINY! I knew Mason was a big chunky baby but he was at least twice as big as Ellery!
On Friday morning, after walking Simon to school, we dolled Ellery up and did her first photo shoot! I even made a tutu for her to wear. Heidi was a dancer in High School and college, she even did ballet. So I thought the baby tutu would be so fitting for Heidi’s daughter.
I had been looking forward to taking her pictures because I had so much fun taking pictures of Mason and I just really wanted to try some newborn girl pictures too!  We didn’t have a lot of time since Heidi and Austin had to get to the airport but we made the best of the time we had.
I am completely in love with Ellery. She is the sweetest, prettiest little baby. She stayed awake for our entire photo shoot (about an hour) so I didn’t get to put her in the cute little squishy baby poses I had been hoping for but I got some pictures of her beautiful eyes.
Heidi, thanks for letting me do her pictures. I enjoyed every second!
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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Monsoon surprise

It's monsoon season here in Arizona. We look forward to the rain to cool down our sweltering summer heat. Sometimes the monsoon brings in some amazing storms with impressive lightning shows. On these nights, we sometimes get company in our bed. Our boys are really scared of the thunder.

 Sunday night (2 weeks ago) we had just finished dinner at Karissa's house and we glanced out the window and saw a huge dust storm heading into Mesa. We gathered the boys up and rushed home just as the rain started to fall.

I knew the storm was going to be big and scary for our boys so I convinced Jeremiah that we should have a sleep over in the living room.

Just as we got the hide-a-bed out the power went out.

 So we broke out the flashlights and watched Chuggington on the laptop. The boys were having so much fun they couldn't sleep.

The power was out for about 2 hours. The boys never fell asleep on the hide-a-bed. They decided they wanted to sleep in their own beds instead.

The next morning they got their flashlights out again and had fun pretending that the power was out. lol.

We found out the next day that a micro-burst storm had knocked down the power lines nearby and we were lucky to only lose power for a couple of hours. There were a lot of other people that didn't have power until the next morning.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Simon is in Kindergarten!

I knew this day was coming but I had no idea it would be here so soon. Simon just finished his first week of school and he is loving it! He is such a little smarty and he is so excited to learn about everything.
He got to pick out his outfit for the first day of school. His shirt choice: Lego Star Wars!
His first assignment from his teacher was for us to build his name tag to wear on the first day.
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I can’t believe how grown up he looks!
I was more nervous than he was before the first day but once we got there and he lined up with his teacher I calmed down and I was really excited to see him start his first day. His teacher's name is Mrs. Dinet and she seems like a fun and creative person. Simon also has a boy from our ward in his class, so not everyone is a stranger.

He came home happy and extremely worn out. The hardest part of going to school is that he gets so tired that his emotions go crazy when he gets home. Another little boy in his class accidentally took home Simon’s lunchbox today and he was in tears about it. He wouldn’t talk about anything else. He missed his “favorite green lunch box.” The little boy’s mom called me and we will get his lunchbox back on Monday. To Simon that is an eternity.
Ryan has been handling the change really well. He tells me often that he misses Simon but I think he is really enjoying the extra attention. He is so much more calm and quiet when he doesn’t have to fight off his older brother.

Si and Ry

Si and Ry