Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wanna swap?

I've been thinking to myself lately how fun it would be to do some kind of swap with other bloggers.  Maybe an ornament swap?  Or just a swap of random little packages?  Maybe a swap of some favorite trimmings for sewing projects?  Or scraps of fabric?  I don't know.  It just sounds like fun to me. 

If it sounds like fun to you and is something you might like to participate in, would you let me know in the comments?  (And of course it's okay if you live outside the US.)  Please also make sure to leave your e-mail address if it's not already linked to your blog profile.  Oh, and please let me know what kind of swap you'd hope to do.

Man, I get excited just thinking about it.  :)


It's almost midnight!  Must post!  Must post!

I've had a number of things today that I took pictures of and planned to share with you all, but one of those things took WAY longer than I thought it would (a little Christmas present for Olivia) and turned out kind of dumb.  Isn't it sad when that happens?  Meh.  Anyway, hopefully I'll be more interesting tomorrow.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Spirit

Fourth Saturday in a row

It feels like we've had four Saturdays in a row.  And it has been awesome.  Also, because we've had time to do all the fun things we wanted to do and run all the errands we wanted/needed to run, here on Saturday numero quatro we've finally had time to work on some projects we wanted to do.

So today was mostly full of spending quiet family time together while we worked on our own little projects.  Well, okay, Olivia mostly just played and slept and got into stuff and had us read stories to her a million times, but Bryan and I had projects we've been working on.  Bryan's project is more of a hobby, but mine has--of course--been entirely about Christmas.  More specifically--wrapping presents.

Yes, I've spent an entire day chipping away at wrapping presents.  It didn't take all day because we're dripping with diamonds and we have so many presents to wrap that it takes all day (ahem... it usually wouldn't take more than about 30 minutes).  It took all day because I've been working on quite a large handful of tutorials for all of you.  See?  Now don't you feel loved?  Well, you should.  Because I spent a whole day on you.

Anyway, more on all this later.  Right now I'm tired.  Very tired.  And we've still got to do some damage control on our messy apartment before our little heads hit our pillows.  So... goodnight!

Friday, November 26, 2010


Free printable tags from me to you can be found HERE
Okay, so I didn't quite meet my goal to finish all of the family Christmas presents before Thanksgiving, but I'm not feeling too bad about it.  Why, you ask?  


Because as of about an hour ago I am now DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE with EVERY SINGLE ONE of the Christmas presents I had planned to make this year.  Woot woooooooot! 

I'm sure just because I'm me I'll still make a few more things to add to the pile, but not because I need to.  Everybody on our family list has got a present made by yours truly that is FINISHED.  

Ahhhh.  :)

Now for the wrapping!

But we'll do that another day. 
Right now I'm off to decorate for Christmas.  Yay!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Woke up.
Felt gross.
(Too many fudgies last night, perhaps?)
Made a cherry pie.
With a latice top.
Picked up Alison.
Got rolls and little pickles at Macey's.
And dropped off Toy Story 3 back to RedBox.
(Didn't love it.)
(Didn't cry.)
(But maybe almost.)
Went to Lisa's.
Helped prep dinner.
Ate a lot of great cookies.
And some bean dip.
Lounged around.
Failed at Ligretto.
But we didn't finish, so it doesn't count.
Ate an awesome Thanksgiving meal.
Fell asleep on the couch.
And, consequently, skipped helping with clean-up.
(Sorry, Lisa.)
Woke up to Phantom of the Opera.
And a phone call from Amanda.
Then Olivia woke up from her nap.
Went to Amanda's sister's house.
For pecan pie.
Played more Ligretto.
Failed at it again.
Said goodbye.
Came home.
Put Olivia to bed.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Today feels like Saturday

Lace Brooch (see tutorial HERE)
Yesterday was the last day of classes for Bryan before Thanksgiving break, but he had planned on going in to work for a few hours this morning.  That was, of course, until the "blizzard" warning was issued and all of campus was shut down at 3pm yesterday.  So Bryan was sent home from work and we stayed in our cozy apartment, waiting for snow so terrible and thick that we wouldn't even be able to see the buildings right next to us.


If that was a blizzard here yesterday, then let me just say that I survived many such blizzards--probably at least once a year--growing up in Oregon City.  (Note: for those of you who are not familiar with the Portland, Oregon area and fail to grasp just how pathetic that reference is supposed to be, just know that it hardly ever snows and sticks in the Portland area.  But when it does, everybody goes crazy.)  Yes, our blizzard that was supposed to commence at 4pm yesterday didn't start until hours later and consisted of snow that came down in nice slow and fluffy flakes...and didn't even stick to the roads.  It was pretty pathetic.

Anyway, the point was, it got Bryan out of work.  Yay!  Not that he has a bad job or anything.  He has a great job--quite possibly one of the top five student jobs on campus--but I still like to have him home every chance I get.  :)

And so, since we're all home today and we don't have church, it feels like Saturday.  Yay!  It also feels like Saturday because I really want us to do all of our chores today.  We're spending Thanksgiving with relatives and friends and we've already decided that we're going to decorate for Christmas on the day after Thanksgiving, so it would be really nice if we could clean the apartment today so it would all be nice and clean and ready to decorate on Friday.  Ya know what I'm sayin'?

Anyway, I'm off to start cleaning.  And to keep Olivia from trying to "type" on the laptop with me and pull on the internet cords.  Wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Can I just say?

I really am so excited about our Christmas cards.  We ordered them last night (took forever because there are so many good ones to choose from--for reals) and I can't wait for them to get here!  Eeee!  (<--That's me squealing with joyful anticipation.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

You know what I love?

Mail.  And we're not talking junk ads here.  We're talking good mail.  Brown paper packages tied up with string--that sort of thing.  And one of my favorite things to get in the mail during the holiday season is everybody's Christmas cards.  It's fun to hang them up and think about our family and friends as we see each card.  So I was a little bummed when we decided to skip sending out Christmas cards last year.  It was just too spendy.  But this year, Shutterfly is changing all that.

They have so many first-rate options for Christmas photo cards!  And it lowers the cost even more when I don't have to buy cards and print out family photos.  I can just buy one thing and be done!

And you know what lowers the cost even more?

Being a blogger.

Wait, what?  Being a blogger makes Christmas cards cheaper?  Yes.  Yes it can.  I'm not sure how long the offer will be available, but right now Shutterfly is offering a promotion for 50 free Christmas cards to bloggers willing to share their love of Christmas cards with others.  You can check out the details on that awesome deal HERE.

And, of course, Shutterfly also has an awesome selection of Christmas cards that aren't quite so Christmasy.  They call it their "Holiday cards."  I call it their "Classy, but not red, white, and green" selection.  :)

I still can't decide which layout we'll go with, but, rest assured, there will be Christmas card lovin' coming from the red kitchen this year!

So hop on over to Shutterfly and get going on sending out some fun holiday mail!  :)

*All images courtesy of Shutterfly.

So close I can taste it

By the way.  I have a goal. 

Finish all of the family Christmas presents by Thanksgiving.

(i.e. by Wednesday)

We just finished some more yesterday (don't worry, it was good family togetherness doing it, totally Sunday appropriate in my book), I have one thing already in progress that I need to finish, and three things to make.  And then we will be DONE DONE DONE!

So it's totally possible.

And then...

Once all of that is done...

If things go according to plan...

I should have a little something Christmasy to share with you all...


If things go according to my plans...

I should have quite a few Christmasy things to share with you all...

Before Christmas...
To help you get ready for Christmas...

Are you excited?

Thumb Sucking (part 2)

I've had some request for follow-up on the whole thumb sucking issue, so I thought I'd give you a little update.


Okay, so last Wednesday when Olivia woke up I noticed some little bite marks/scabs on her right thumb (the one she sucks 99% of the time).  This worried me, so I called the pediatrician and had a chat with the nurse.  She told me to bandage her up and restrict the thumb sucking by putting socks over her hands.  I did this that day and I think if you asked Olivia she would tell you it was the most miserable day of her life.

(Side note #1: Singing "Popcorn Popping" usually makes Olivia really happy, even if she's really sad, so when she woke up from her nap on Wednesday and was really sad about the tights being over her hands, I thought I'd cheer her up by singing "popcorn."  Man was that ever the worst idea in the entire world.  Note to self--don't sing a song with hand motions when you've ruined your child's life by covering her hands.  I started singing it to her and she just looked down at her hands, made an even bigger sad face, and cried even harder.  So cute and funny, but so, so sad.)

The next day her thumb was looking better and I didn't feel like continuing the misery, so I didn't bother with the tights.  Happy day.

The day after that (Friday) when she woke up in the morning I noticed that her whole right thumb was red.  It was weird.  So I called the pediatrician and chatted with another nurse.  She said it sounded like she had an infection and I'd better bring her in.

(Side note #2: We were running late to her appointment and I was in such a hurry to get to the doctor's office that I didn't bother to get Olivia dressed.  And she was still wearing blue pajamas that we're borrowing from a friend.  But as I was walking into the doctor's office I realized my mistake and thought, "Everybody is going to be asking me how old my little boy is all day."  And I was totally right.  What was the first thing both of the nice ladies that sat next to me in the waiting office asked?  "So how old is your little boy?"  Note to self--do not dress your little girl with hardly any hair in blue pajamas if you plan to take her out in public.)

So anyway, I took her in--blue jammies and all--and the doctor confirmed what the nurse told me on the phone.  She had gotten an infection from those little bites back on Wednesday.  First of all, gross.  Biting yourself and getting an infection from it?  Totally gross.  Second of all, poor girl.  I hesitantly asked the doctor if I was supposed to try and keep her from sucking her thumb until the infection went away.

Okay, so I'm going to tell you what the pediatrician told me, but I just want to put out the disclaimer that if you're seeking medical advice for your child then you should consult the child's doctor--not my blog.  In other words, I'm sharing it here as part of the story, not because you should definitely take this advice too.

Basically the doctor said, "No.  You won't be able to keep her from sucking her thumb.  It's her way of soothing herself.  And all sorts of people will tell you all sorts of strange solutions for getting her to stop sucking her thumb; the stores sell a bunch of stuff, but none of it really works.  The only thing that's really effective is something an orthodontist can put in her mouth, but we won't do that until she's three.  So don't worry about it."

Let me just say, I love this doctor.  It will be a sad day when we have to find a new pediatrician (when we move).  He is sweet, has years and years of experience, and always gives it to me straight without a lot of fluffy nonsense.  And he always tells me not to worry about stuff in a kind, but straightforward way.

So I know this will probably disappoint those of you who were hoping I had some great solution to share for getting kids to stop sucking their thumbs, but you know what I've done about Olivia sucking her thumb since we left the doctor's office?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  Well, except giving her the prescribed antibiotic so she can get that thumb back to full health.

In other words, I've given up on this battle for now.  Because it's not really one that I wanted to fight anyway.  And I'm pretty sure I'd lose.  So, for now at least, we will just enjoy the peace from a happy little thumb-sucking, self-soothing girl.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Parenting: Touching the Hearts of Our Youth

Although the activities often fail, are hardly ever planned out ahead of time, and don't seem to produce any immediate results, doing preschool time with Olivia has, if nothing else, been worthwhile because it gets me off the computer, down on the floor, and playing with my sweet daughter. I am loving the one-on-one time and so is she. I am loving getting to know her that much more. It's a gradual process and one that's as ever-changing and growing as Olivia is, but each day I am working on being "in there" just a little more.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Things I Like

This is not a sponsored post.  This is just a random post of just a few of the many things I like on Etsy right now.  Enjoy.  :)

Meadow Bird Box by Beehive Kitchen Ware

i love oregon by {q.a.} DESIGN

5 Lovelies Peggies by Naked Peggies

What do you like on Etsy right now?

Happy Saturday!

I'm off to be naughty and eat cookies with milk 
while Bry and I watch West Wing.  :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Getting my husband to mop the floors guilt-trip-free (and a free printable!)

If Bryan got a nickle for every time he heard me ask, "Can you do me a favor?" he'd be a rich man.  And if he got another nickle for every time he actually does the favor I asked him to, he'd be twice as rich.  But there are times when I know he gets tired of me asking him to do things.  And there are times when I get tired of asking.

Now hold that thought for a minute and add it to this next one...

Every now and then in my blog surfing I'll stumble upon posts where people talk about their system for having a clean home.  Often the women writing these posts have big houses.  And, while I'm genuinely impressed by their system and their determination, those posts often left me with this thought rolling over and over in my mind:
We live in what will (hopefully) be the smallest place we'll ever live.  If I can't even keep our tiny little apartment clean, how am I ever going to keep a whole house clean someday? 

It's a daunting and overwhelming thought.

With these two thoughts rolling over in my mind I started thinking about a system for cleaning that would work for us.  I know a lot of people have a system where they assign a chore to each day of the week-- Monday: laundry, Tuesday: mopping, etc., etc.  I like the consistency of this plan--the consistency that everything gets done at least once a week--but I know myself pretty well and I know that if I assigned a chore to each day of the week I would, slowly, but surely, start to hate each day of the week because of the chore that was attached to it.  I need flexibility in my life.  And commitment that isn't set in stone.

So I talked things over with Bryan and we decided on a little chore chart for ourselves.  First we brainstormed and made a list of all of the household chores that should get done at least once a week.  We chose not to include things like laundry and dishes because those things get done on a need-to-be-done basis.  We thought of enough things that we would each need to do one chore a day (Mon-Sat) in order to get them all done.  (We actually ended up with one extra chore, so one of us just does an extra chore each week.)

Once we had our list I went and made a not-so-ugly little graphic in Picnik.  Because another thing I know about myself is that I don't keep ugly things around long.  On the other hand, pretty things tend to get a lot more use.

So I printed them out on cardstock and cut them accordingly...

Then I grabbed a handful of those junky magnets we get in the mail...

And some double-sided tape...

Cut up the magnets and used the double-stick tape to stick the magnets to the chore chart pieces...

Then just stick 'em up on your fridge (or wherever...that's magnetic) and put 'em to work!
We organize ours as you can see in the pictures above--with all the not-done-yet chores on the left.  Then next to that we have each of our weekday labels.

Once we do a chore we just move that chore from our not-done-yet area and put it next to the day of the week.  

I'll admit that sometimes we'll skip a day (or two or three or four...or more) and then as we catch up on our chores we just fill in the days that are blank.  We have kind of an unwritten rule that all of the chores have to be done before we go to bed on Saturday so that we can have the apartment all clean and nice to enjoy on the Sabbath.  Having a clean home on Sunday really means a lot to me.

Then on Monday we just move the magnets back and start the cycle over again! 

So far this system has worked awesomely (is that even a word?) for us.  And I am delighted to say that, because of this chart, I walked into the apartment a couple of weeks ago to find Bryan down on his hands and knees mopping the bathroom floor.  For the first time.  Ever.  In our entire marriage.  Without me having to ask him.

Another reason I love this system is because it keeps me from having an internal emotional break down every time something gets dirty right after I just cleaned it.  Before we were working off of this little system there would be times when we'd go a long time without vacuuming.  Then we'd finally vacuum and it would feel so nice and clean and then... something would make it dirty.  A cracker would get crumbled into it.  Leaves from outside would blow in.  And I'd internally agonize over the tragedy of our once-clean carpet.  Now?  It's not such a big deal.  I know it'll be clean again soon, so I don't stress so much.  Maybe I'm just weird like that.

And the other great perk of this system is that we don't have to do any certain chore on any certain day.  And although we do tend to pick the same chores for ourselves each week, there's always the option to switch it up a little if we want to.  Flexibility.  And commitment that's not set in stone.  Just what I needed.

Anyway, I hope this will be helpful to some of you others out there!

In the printables below I've included:
  • the weekday sheets (with blank spots for the names so you can write your own in)
  • our list of chores
  • a sheet of blanks so you can write in your own chores (these would also make great labels for other things!)

Chore Chart (part 1) Blanks for names with weekdays from Notes From A Very Red Kitchen copyright Katie Lewi...

Chore Chart (part 2) Chores List from Notes From A Very Red Kitchen copyright Katie Lewis 2010

Full Page of Blank Tags copyright Katie Lewis 2010 Notes From A Very Red Kitchen

How do you handle chores in your home?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

So productive day of cleaning

This picture has nothing to do with the post, but aren't those baby shoes cute?
I think Olivia was a little sleep deprived from her day of no sucking on thumbs yesterday.  How do I know?  Because she took a four hour nap today.  A FOUR HOUR NAP.  Man, if I had known she was going to sleep that long I probably would have worked on some projects I've been trying to make time for.  But since I didn't know ahead of time that she was going to sleep that long, I first spent quite a bit of time just lazily poking around on the computer (read: blogs) and then once I got tired of that I decided to be a fun mom and let Olivia splash her bath toys around in the sink for preschool time once she woke up.  But that meant I needed to wash the dirty dishes in the sink.  So I did that.  And then one thing led to another and I had done all of my chores for the week and Olivia was still sleeping.  Finally she woke up after four hours of nap time and Bry and I went for a run.  So my awesome idea for a fun preschool activity will have to wait until tomorrow.  Anyway, it was amazing to actually get stuff done.  But I don't think it's bound to happen again any time soon.

More on chores tomorrow.  It will be great.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thumb Sucking... hoo boy

I literally sucked on pacifiers until I was 6 years old (and then suffered through a lifetime of orthodontia), so I just kind of always assumed that any child of mine would be hooked on pacifiers.  But not Olivia.  Olivia is a thumb sucker through and through.  No special blankies.  No beloved stuffed animals.  Just her thumb.

When this all started (back when she was about a month old...ish?) I was a little worried about it, but, really, what're you gonna do?  "Oh, my one month old finally found a way to soothe herself... I think I'll sabotage it."  Yeah right.  So we didn't really do anything about it and we've just kind of hoped she'd grow out of it on her own.  I figured it might take a few years, but I figured it wasn't really a big deal.

Until this morning.  Olivia's been teething (again) and we're pretty sure she has 4 teeth coming in at once right now.  Poor kid.  So I think it was sort of due to all that, but this morning I noticed something on her thumb and realized it was little bite mark scabs.  Eeek!  My poor girl!  Thumb sucking is one thing, but hurting herself is something entirely different.  At least, to me it is.

So I called and chatted with the nurse at the pediatrician's office.  The  moment I mentioned thumb sucking she chuckled.  And, I have to admit, so did I.  I felt pretty ridiculous even calling, but I wanted some advice.  This very kind-hearted nurse suggested putting some Neosporin on the little bite marks and wrapping it up in a band-aid... and then putting socks over her arms so she can't pull the band-aid off.  We chatted a little more, chuckled a little more, and then she wished me luck and added, "It'll be hard any time, but it's easier to break her of it now than when she's 2 1/2."  TRUE.

So I let Olivia finish playing with her little friend that was over and eat lunch in peace and then, a few minutes ago, just before I laid her down for her nap, I put three band-aids around her owie finger (one to cover the wound, one to hold the first one on, and another one to hold the second on on since she was flailing around and I accidentally bent the second one in half and made it stick to itself).  Then, keeping her un-bandaged hand away from the band-aids, I promptly slipped a pair of thick tights on--one leg covering each arm with the spot for her bum going across her chest.  Then I topped it off by putting on her zip-up sweatshirt so she couldn't take any of it off.  Whew.  By the end of all this she was CRAN-KEY!  We read a book together to calm her down, said a little prayer to ask Heavenly Father to help her, and I laid her down to sleep.

She SCREAMED for at least ten minutes, but I think she's finally fallen asleep.

Anyone else have any experience with this?


Thanks so much to all of you who entered the Wendy & Peter giveaway!  It's always fun to read all of the nice things you have to say about my sponsors.  I love all of their products/services so much and it makes me happy to share that love with all of you. 

Now, on to the winner!  Our winner was chosen via Random.org and it was... comment #2!  Marae who said,

Marae said...
ooh, nancy drew!

Congratulations Marae!  I'll be in touch with you about your sweet winnings. 

Thanks again everyone!  We'll have some more awesome things to giveaway soon, so stay tuned!  And be sure to check out Wendy & Peter!

Last Chance

...to win some of these awesome goodies that you've all been drooling over for the past week.

Giveaway closes tonight at 11:59pm (mountain time).

Stop drooling.  Enter HERE.

Monday, November 15, 2010

My favorite so far

While Bryan and I were busy on our visits to college campuses a little while back, we missed General Conference.  We've been meaning to watch it on our own since then, but life keeps getting in the way.  Finally today when I was sitting on the couch crocheting a headband for myself (more of an ear warmer, really) I thought to myself how bored I was just sitting there crocheting.  Then I remembered--I can watch General Conference!  So I've been doing just that. 

Here's the link to my favorite so far. 

Click HERE

It fills my heart and reminds me of all that I am and all that I want to be.

Happy Monday!

Wedding Warhol

Remember when I said I was off to make another little Warhol dress the other night?  Well, here's how it turned out:

Bryan's awesome sister is getting married in late December and we couldn't be happier for her.  Her fiance is an awesome guy and they're so fun together.  Anyway, their wedding colors are kind of a blue and gray color scheme, so this little dress is for the big O to wear on the big day. 

It's made from some gray denim I had lying around (that I got super cheap on clearance a while back) and a white t-shirt I got for free from a neighbor a few months ago.  It was a cute t-shirt, but it had acquired some stains, so it was perfect for a little dress like this.  :)

Since I couldn't just fold the fabric over and sew for the armhole like I did on the last one, I made some "bias tape" out of some of the extra t-shirt fabric.  I didn't actually cut it on the bias or anything; I just cut a strip and folded it like bias tape.  It was so easy and it worked super great.  And it has the added bonus of Olivia not having to deal with denim right under her little arm all day.

Oh, and because I know some of you will ask, I made this straight off the 6-12 month pattern with no alterations to account for the fact that this dress is made from denim instead of knit.  I didn't know when I was making it if it would fit or not, but... it does!  Barely.  We have to pull it up from her toes to her shoulders (instead of pulling it over her head) but it does fit just fine.  

Since the wedding will doubtless be on a cold and wintery day, we'll probably have Olivia wear this with a white, long-sleeved onesie, some thick cream colored tights we got, and her cream colored bow from Wendy and Peter.  (Click HERE to enter to win some of your own!)

But I'm curious... do you think it's Wedding-y enough?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thanksgiving Daily


Relief Society.

Christmas Extravaganza.


Ahhhhhh. :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

These finally came in handy

So... remember the ol' Alphabet Beanbags?

I started making them when I was pregnant with Olivia.  We've pulled them out a couple of times before, but they really haven't seen much use.

Until today.

Today's preschool time was another lame-and-low-key day since I'm super busy doing a bunch of last-minute things to get ready for our big Relief Society Christmas Extravaganza tomorrow.  But I figured a little something was better than nothing.  And basically everything we did was Olivia's idea anyway.

First we read some books she gave to me to read.

Then she started pulling out the basket of Alphabet Beanbags, so I decided spur of the moment that we'd play a little game.

Round 1:
  • dump out the basket of beanbags in front of Olivia
  • ask her to hand me one
  • say the name of the letter/sound the letter makes as I put it in the basket

Rounds 2-7:
  • dump out the basket of beanbags in front of Olivia
  • have a free for all where both of us toss the beanbags back in the basket
  • try to say the letters on the ones I throw in and whatever letters I can see Olivia throwing in
  • lather, rinse, repeat

Olivia loved this game.  She and I both get the hiccups when we get hyper and giggley and, well,  she had some major hiccups going on.  Cute kid.  Anyway, here's to another day of easy peasy preschool time.  Hopefully next week I'll get a little better at planning ahead though.  :)


Click on the button above for the Alphabet Beanbag Tutorial 
to make your own 
(out of old t-shirt scraps)


Find more fun and easy preschool ideas on the Preschool page.  You can also find them by clicking on the Preschool button in the header.  Enjoy!