Friday, January 29, 2010

Flattery really will get you anywhere with me!

So thrilled that you guys liked my little girlie's dresses! I got warm fuzzies from all your sweet comments. Thanks friends!

Y'all asked some questions about patterns and sewing machines -

Pattern: Um, yeah, I'm not so good at patterns/following directions or anything of that sort. Not good at all. There have been many a times that I get to the end of a recipe and I realize that I missed like 3 major steps -oops! So I didn't use one. I did google and read a lot and then came up with my own style. And when I tell you that they are easy to make, I am not lying!!

Sewing machine: When Joseph and I first got married, I had delusions that I was going to be Betty Crocker and sew all of our clothes, bedding, curtains, seat covers...all while growing a garden and making all food from scratch. We brought that bad boy home, Man read the directions (we already covered why he had to do that!) and then taught me how to use my machine. (Quite thankful that his mom does sew and made him spend many an hour in the fabric store!) I made curtains. Then I got pregnant within 2 months of getting married, had a terrible prenancy, a newborn, a toddler, another terrible pregnancy, move across country, a baby & toddler, another move across country... Needless to say I've never gotten to that role of Betty. All that to tell you that, yes, I did use a sewing machine and think you could probably do it by hand, but it would take forever. F-O-R-E-V-E-R!

Since I have been of no help whatsoever, what I am willing to do is a tutorial for you all. I went to the thrift store a couple of days ago and found some more pillowcases ($1), so will work on a tutorial this weekend. It took me about 2 hours to make 2 dresses. It probably wouldn't have taken so long if I didn't have the most curious 7 year old who wanted to "help".

Looking forward to showing y'all how easy this is!!


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Oh, I love having little girls!

While I didn't make any resolutions this year, there is one that I made last year that I want to be a lifelong resolution. Last year I resolved to learn something new. And I did. It was yoga and I completely fell in love with it. Love. it.

So much so, that next month I get certified to teach it!! But that's a whole 'nother story.

Anyway, this year I have decided to try to learn something new every month. This month I learned 2 new things: how to use my camera AND how to sew pillowcase dresses. I'll talk about the camera class in another post, for now I am so excited to show you my handiwork:

This was the first dress that I made. Simple. And then this:
Getting a little more fancy, okay so maybe this isn't fancy to those of you that actually sew, but for me this is f-a-n-c-y!!
And this was the last thing that I made. This time I used the fabric for the ties instead of ribbon.

Seriously people, I didn't even take home ec! While this isn't the best sewing job ever, I had so much fun and these little dresses are going to be perfect play dresses for the summer. And best part of all: cost me $1 per dress!!! $1 pillow cases from the thrift store and I already had the ribbon. Oh, I did have to buy the buttons, but they were $.89.

Um, hello, do you know how expensive it is to dress these Diva's?

Now, my biggest issue is I'm totally addicted to making these and have all sorts of ideas for future dresses. All-sorts-of-ideas!! I have a bad feeling that these dresses will be the only things that you see my little Diva's dressed in for a long time!!

Anybody need some dresses?


Friday, January 22, 2010

Thank you Jesus for another year!

Caleb said to me the other day, "So you are going to be 35 this week right?"

I gasped, "What! No, I'm going to be 33."

He gave me this little smirk and said, "I know mom!"

Yep, I turn 33 today. Wow, that's crazy. Time is flying right by me. I remember when I was 28 and I had a friend that was 34 and I thought to myself, "I'm so glad I'm only 28. 34 seems old." And now that I'm much closer, I'm realizing it's not so bad.

I'm excited about being 33. I'm healthier, stronger, wiser, and more focused than I was 5 years ago. It really does seem like as I get older, life gets more exciting and full of opportunities.

So bring on 33! I can't wait to see what you have in store for me!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

It's a good thing I married into the military

In the past 15 years, I have never lived in the same place for longer than 3 years.

We have lived here, in this house, for 3 and a half years.

And I am so ready to move. SO ready.

Unfortunately, we still have a year and a half left here. That is a long time. Especially for me. (Did I mention that I previously have never lived anywhere longer than 3 years?)

Okay, so we aren't moving cities. Can't we at least move to another house? There is this neighborhood, less than 1 mile away, that has the most gorgeous houses with lots of trees and character that I would love to move to...

"No," was the thundering response that I got from my very-practical-financially-savvy-almost-never-tells-me-"NO" husband.


"Fine, then can I paint, get new curtains, refinish furniture, redecorate the bathroom...?"

Very-practical-financially-savvy-almost-never-tells-me-"NO" husband said, "Yes. That would be way cheaper than selling the house.

"And then we could landscape, put in a pool, add an addition..."

"NO." (I hope he doesn't start making this a habit!!)

So, I decided to start with a much needed face lift for our dining room table. The dining room table and I have history.

(And with most history lessons, this one is long and drawn out, so you may want to go to the bathroom, get a snack and drink or just skip it!)

We originally bought a dining room table when we were first married, but it broke during our move from Colorado to North Dakota. So we bought another table at the BX in Minot and when that arrived, it was already broken. (Are we jinxed or what?!) At that point we contemplated not even getting a table, but eating on the couch got old. Therefore, we went into the very small town of Minot to one of their two furniture stores and I found a table that I fell in love with.

And as with most things that I fall in love with, it was more than we wanted to spend. But I really, really loved it so Mr. Very-practical-financially-savvy-almost-never-tells-me-"NO" husband - said yes!

So we purchase the table and bring it home and I loved on it. Until the day that I spilled nail polish remover on the table. Apparently nail polish remover not only removes nail polish, but also finish on tables. Note to self. Had to learn that the hard way. And not just once, but twice. Which is par for course on how I learn things...

But I digress.

Over the years there has been many a marking on that table. Deep gouges from a little person who likes to bang their fork in the table, Sharpie from a little person who likes to use Sharpies, but has no business using them, water spots from a little person who spills their water and then puts their placemat over it instead of cleaning it up and so on and so forth. The chairs have suffered even worse than the table. The 4 chairs that we got to go with it. I have no idea why we only got 4 chairs. But we did. And it hasn't been too big of a problem.

Until the Diva's came along. And want to sit at the table. With the rest of us. How dare they?!

Well, I have been looking at new tables but the reality is that they aren't in the budget and, well, I actually am attached to the scars of my table/chairs. They tell the story of my little family. And the reality is that we are not out of the toddler woods yet and I have two wild rough boys, so there are likely to be more scars to come. Many, more scars and hopefully many, many more memories too.

One of the nail polish remover stains

So I decided to buy a bench that is practical, long and gorgeous and has come in handy when the kids have their little friends over. I also decided to recover the dining room chairs. They do it all the time on HGTV, so it can't be that hard, right?

Right! I found this gorgeous fabric that was not only on sale, but is a great color to hide stains. Then Man and I worked together and LOVE the end result. Take a look:

Our new fabric on the left

And while we were having fun covering things, we have this white suede ottoman. Well, it used to be white, now it's just stained! So we had enough fabric left over to cover it too. Came out pretty nice, huh?
And those are some of the projects that I have been working on lately. I also made curtains for the boys room, but have no pictures of them so you will just have to believe me when I tell you they are cute and a huge improvement. Oh, make no mistake. There are still more projects in the works. Afterall, we aren't moving any time soon.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday

I have two words for you:
Accountablilty Kids
Changes Life
of Tired Mom.
(Okay that last one was 3, but I didn't capitalize it so it doesn't really count!)

A couple of months ago, this girl in my Sunday school class sent an email out about a company that she encountered at a MOPS convention called Accountability Kids. She was having a little get together at her house for moms who felt frustrated with having kids do their chores. I think I was the first one signed up!

So I went, watched a little video (same one that is online), lamented with other moms about how hard this mom gig is and purchased two chore boards.

And I am so glad that I did because they have helped revolutionize the Mad House. Really.

I'm sure that there are many ways that chore board can work, but here is how we do it: The kids have boards that I put magnetic strips on the back of and put on the fridge. They each have a set of chores/jobs/duties that they do in the morning, afternoon and evening. Here are an example:

MORNING - get dressed, brush teeth, quiet time with mom, make breakfast, make lunch, get backpack ready, ect.
AFTERNOON - homework, take out recycle, straighten room, ect.
EVENING - set table, clear table, clothes to the laundry, clean bathroom, brush teeth, read ect.

MORNING - brush teeth, make snack for school, get shoes and socks on, quiet time with mom, make bed, ect.
AFTERNOON - straighten playroom, clean bathroom, have snack, ect.
EVENING - brush teeth, clean room, clothes to hamper, read, ect.

They have more than that, but you get the idea. Now here is the best part: for each set of chores they can earn a ticket if they do that set with a cheerful heart and do a good job. No cheerful heart, no good job = LOSS of a ticket and you still have to do the work! Hmm, yeah, bummer.

And why do they care about these tickets? Oh, so glad you asked!

These tickets are currency around here. With these tickets they get to do all the extra-fun activities that they like to do. Nintendo DS, XBOX, watch tv, computer time, have a friend spend the night, stay up late on a weekend night, and so on. All those activities cost a ticket (or multiple tickets), so like to play XBOX they have to pay me 4 tickets. Love it!

The kids have opportunities to earn more tickets by doing more chores and by getting Best Behavior cards. They get those for teamwork, problem solving, kindness, showing joy even when you aren't happy, ect. Each Best Behavior card is worth 3 tickets.

The kids also lose tickets for disrespect, fighting, complaining, ect.

They can also earn money by trading in their tickets (each one is worth $.25), Best Behavior cards ($.75) or by getting bonus bucks. For example when my car is trashed I will pay Caleb Bunus Bucks to clean it out.

And Accountability Kids has forms for keeping track of all this on their website for free.

Okay, so lets be real. I have tried different things for years. And they may work for a couple of weeks, but I wasn't good at being consistent, so they would fall by the wayside. Well, we have been doing this for a couple of months now and we are still going strong.

It has especially been great for my sweet Luke. That child has a little harder time focusing and remembering what he's supposed to do next. With Caleb I can rattle off 10 things I want him to do and he will do it all. Lukie needs more reminding. And that can frustrate a mama that has twin tornadoes running rampant. But with this program, he knows to go and look at his board to see what to do next. Love it!

I also love that there is this special card that they can place a star on at the end of the day if they did their chores, had a good attitude and were kind and respectful to others - then they get to put a star on their card. After they fill their card, they get to have a special date. They get so excited when they get to put a card at the end of the day!!

The way that we do the program isn't exactly how they suggest, but it works for us. I love that it can be tweaked to work for your family.

Some of the free download ables.

Last night Luke filled up his Special Date card with stars and says, "I did it! I worked so hard! And now I get to go on a date with Daddy to IHOP." He was so proud of himself and that made me so happy for him. I love that he's learning hard work and perseverance.

Here's what works for us, for more ideas check this out!


Thursday, January 14, 2010

I've lost one of my jobs!

The following is a fairly new AND so special moment that is commonly seen around here lately:

The girls LOVE when their big brother reads to them before bed time. Love it! And Caleb gets a kick out of it too. He's reading skills are quite impressive for a first grader. He started reading last year, but this year is much more confident and almost never trips over words anymore.

Caleb's funny - occasionally I will hear him say, "Girls if you don't lay down and be quiet, I'm not going to read to you anymore. I'm not kidding." He sounds just like me!

This picture definitely brings me joy!


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hurry Up! We're late for church and I want to get a picture!

For Christmas this year, my MIL got the sisters matching dresses for them AND their baby's! Here are some quick pictures I snapped on our way out the door.

Puhleeeze don't be fooled by these sweet, smiling faces. These little sisters are something!!

Awww, look at the little angels - halo's and all!

Luke and Lily Kate. Are they delish or what?!

And then Ella and Caleb - SO yummy!


Saturday, January 09, 2010

Twister Sisters Pet Grooming...

...coming to a town near you!

Ella: "Don't touch anything, I just want you to watch what I do first."Lily Kate: "Okay..."
Titan: "Um, are you sure they know what they are doing? I'm outta here if they hurt me!"

Ella: "So we just lift up his ear to brush the hair underneath. Go ahead, you can do it."
Lily Kate: "Um, okay..."

Lily Kate: "Like this?"
Ella: "Yes, good job."

Ella: "This is so much fun!"
Lily Kate: "Mama will be so happy that we are brushing the hair into the dust pan! This is great!!"

(No dogs, especially Titan Dog, were harmed during the documentation of this craziness!)


Where to begin?

I guess I should first introduce myself. Hi, I'm Sab Mad and I am the MIA author of this little 'ole blog. It has been almost a month since I last posted anything here. So let me do a quick recap on life at the Mad House:

  • This Christmas was the busiest one we have ever had. It was insanely busy. And I vow to never do another one like it. There it is, in writing. We had parties, parties and more parties. Super fun, but exhausting!
  • I'm involved in a lot of different things and most of the time it doesn't feel too overwhelming. I think that it is because they don't usually all merge at once. I learned the hard way that they do at Christmas. Note to self: Leave town during Christmas to shrink from some responsibilities.
  • My Mother-in-law came for a visit and it was a joy to have her here. She brought her 3 youngest and they were great playmates for my kids. While it was a little nuts around here sometimes, they all got along famously and the boys were very sad when they had to say goodbye. Their visit, however, did confirm that my house is not big enough for 7 children under 10. So I think triplets are out of the Mad future. Hopefully...
  • Joseph was off for a week during Christmas, but we were so busy it didn't really feel like a break. He had big plans during this break to go visit Urology to make sure that triplets are out of the Mad future, but I chickened out the night before his surgery. We plan on revisiting the idea at some point in the future... Note to self: Your husband must go through surgical procedures if you want to be assured that you will not have 7 kids in your future.
  • It took me a week or so to recover from Christmas. Going home to my parents really helped. Mama brings me breakfast in bed every morning and gets the kids up and fed. She also entertains the kids while I take naps. (I know, she's amazing!!!) While breakfast in bed significantly helps stress recovery, it is NOT so good for the waistline. Especially since the food that she was making me wasn't remotely healthy. Note to self: If you are going to eat fatty food, you should at least have to walk to get it.
  • New Years Eve made me feel so old this year. Not only did I NOT stay up to ring in the new year, I actually called the cops on my neighbors. I'm getting old. In my defense, they started rocking my house at 9pm when I went to bed and I didn't call the police until 1:30 AM when I could no longer take it. Note to self: You are turning 33 in two weeks, not 83!
  • I didn't make any New Years resolutions this year. It is the first year in ...many that I didn't make any. Not sure why? Note to self: Think about making some New Years resolutions - for next year!
  • When I got home from my week of weight gain mini vacation I decided that I wanted to spend this month doing projects around the house. So I caught the last day of Hancock Fabric's 50% off sale and bought yards and yards of fabric. I made curtains for the boys room and am currently working on recovering our dining room chairs. Note to self: Put some pictures up of your work!
  • This has NOTHING to do with ANYTHING, but this is the second night this week that I am watching football whist there is no male in the house watching it with me. Note to self: Get a life!

Well, that gets us caught up a bit! I plan on doing some picture catch up here soon!