My daughter puts everything in her mouth. She also has a thing for textiles and patterns and her favourite things to chew on are the strings of her Daddy's hoodie :) One of her little friends had this great little blanket with a bunch of tabs for playing with and chewing - how perfect. It looked pretty easy to make and so I made one and you can too! Start to finish it only took about 15- 20 minutes.

First cut 2 squares of 10 inch x 10 inch fabric. I chose a flannel and that "binky" fabric.

Next cut 16-18 pieces of various ribbon that measure approximately 3 inches long each.

Place right sides of fabric facing each other. Fold a piece of ribbon in half and lay it with the looped side pointing into the fabric and pin.

Remember that your baby loves hoodie strings and go on a search to find some and then realize you have about a thousand baby gift bags with strings! Cut one out!

Continue with the looped ribbons all around your square of fabric. Place as many as you like depending on the width of your ribbons. Sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance all the way around the squares but leave a 2 inch opening on one side.

Here's the small opening :)

Turn the blanket right side out. Use a pen to help push fabric through the hole.

Add one more piece of ribbon (this time facing out) and sew the hole shut. Backstitch.

Observe your daughter who has been happily chewing on your cardigan during the entirety of this project.

Replace your cardigan with new "meant for chewing" tab blanket. Success!

Super easy and quick and would make great shower gifts!

Tab Blanket: DIY

by on 9:28 PM
My daughter puts everything in her mouth. She also has a thing for textiles and patterns and her favourite things to chew on are the string...
I'm a regular follower of Ashley Anne's blog "Under the Sycamore" ( I stumbled across it this spring and have been hooked ever since. Last month she had a guest blogger that gave this cute DIY on how to create a Christmas Organizer.

Dani and I decided that we must make them and found time last week (ironically on the same night that my family carved pumpkins) to create these highly useful beauties. The planner includes tabs for "The List", "To Do", "Calendar", "Cards", and "Menu" and has envelopes for receipts and coupons. It's fabulous.

Mine is the far left, Dani's is the middle one and the right one is a gift :) Check out the link to make one yourself!

It puts me in the Christmas spirit just looking at it and I've already started filling out the "List" section :)
I live in a "goods challenged" city. Meaning that there is a lack of good shopping. You can usually find the essentials but anything beyond that is hit or miss. This is overwhelmingly true of cute kids clothes. For a while we had it good with the "Wholesale Club" that carried the JOE line but now all we have is Walmart :( I was desperate for some cute girly clothes to outfit Hanny and when I could find nothing I resorted to grabbing plain onesies that Kai has outgrown and attempting to "girlify" them.

This first one was super simple. I scored a few cute doilies from Sally Anne on "Thrifting Tuesday" (a weekly outing for me) and just sewed them onto an old onesie. Once she's outgrown it I'll take the doilies off and use them on something else :)

Hannah has a lot of baby leg warmers that I have her wear with onesies so I wanted a little detail on the bum of this one. What better than a little ruffle bum?

Measure a piece of fabric twice the length of the area you want to cover. Hem the top and bottom and then make a gathering stitch down the middle (set your machine to the longest stitch and don't reverse. Pull the thread and gather it equally.) Then sew it onto the onesie.

Do the same with another fabric and sew it above the first ruffle. Make as many ruffles as you like, I stuck with two.
How cute is her little ruffle bum?

To embellish the front I made fabric "yo-yo's" out of the same fabrics. Cut a large circle from the fabric and then start stitching a 1/4 inch in from the edge all the way around. Then pull your thread and it'll gather into this little circle. When sewing it to the shirt I added a button to each one. I also sewed two little flower buttons by the overlap on the shoulder for added detail. Make sure they're on good - we don't want a choking hazzard!

We may not have loads of options in this town but I'll be thankful it forces me to get creative. I love her little girlified onesies :)
This past nine months has been nothing short of a fairytale. We decided early in on in the pregnancy of our daughter that we would scrimp and save to put away enough money so that my husband Dean could take the Parental Leave, as I hadn’t gone back to work in between kids. Best. Decision. Ever. To begin with, I have an amazing husband. He gives 110% at absolutely everything he does whether it be working and providing for our family or being at home full time and parenting. I will never forget what it was like to wake up every morning with my spouse beside me. I am crazy thankful for the gift he gave me pretty much every morning of sleeping in a little later since I had been the one getting up at night to nurse Hannah. I will never forget what it was like to get up with our kids, make a pot of coffee and just relax on the deck as a family – every day! I will never forget the texts I’d get from Dean while I was subbing describing how he was feeding Hannah with a medicine dropper because she wouldn’t take a bottle. I will never forget waking up on any random weekday and deciding to head down for Minot for the day to take in the Zoo and do a little shopping. This season has been the most amazing season of our lives. It is a rare blessing for a family to be able to spend almost an entire year together every day. I know I will see the effects of this time for years to come in our kids. My son had his dad to play with, follow and model himself after every day, all day for nine months. I can see already how his character has been forever influenced in such a positive way. My daughter has been cared for her entire infancy by both parents and has bonded as such. Unfortunately this season is ending for us next week but we will treasure it forever. If you ever have the opportunity to split a parental leave I HIGHLY recommend it cause everyday is pretty much a fairytale.

ifamily - Fairytale

by on 2:01 PM
This past nine months has been nothing short of a fairytale. We decided early in on in the pregnancy of our daughter that we would scrim...
It never fails to amaze me how little kids loved to be chased and startled! My son cannot get enough of being chased. He especially loves it if you come out of nowhere and start pursuing him. He screams with delight and inevitably “turtles” somewhere waiting for you to catch up to him and tickle his little toes. My daughter makes you work for even the hint of a giggle from her and the most successful attempts are those involving popping your head from behind something and growling. While going back and forth from both these activities last night it reminded me of a game my brother and I used to play with my mom when my dad was on the road.
It’s basically a version of “hide and seek” but with a few more elements of surprise incorporated into it. To begin with you need to go throughout your house and move major obstacles from the walkways. It’s then time to turn off all the lights in the house. Did I mention that it’s much more fun to play this at night? Once all the lights are out and you’ve determined the off limits areas (such as stairs) you need to pick who is “it”. Have the “it” person go to the counting area while you give each person hiding a blanket.
During the hiding time you need to run and pick a place in the house to hide. It’s a little easier in the dark and with a blanket because technically you could plant yourself in the middle of the floor and the seeker still wouldn’t see you right away.
Now the object if the game is for the hider to scare the seeker before the seeker finds them. It adds a great sense of excitement to the game as you’re pretty much on edge the entire time waiting for someone to pop out and startle you. You can make it a little safer by giving the seeker a flashlight but it makes it a little harder to hide and get the jump on them.
I actually ended up playing this with my son the other night and he had an absolute blast!
The "Vanderboys" are some of my favourtest boys around :) They and their super cool parents (Nick and Megan) are pretty much family and we're blessed to know them. Here's what I love about the Vanderboys...

First off I love how Kayd can rock the mohawk. He's cool that way :) I love how Kayden really thinks about everything and seeks to understand. You can see his gears working constantly to understand the world around him and things like grace, forgiveness, and sharing :) At almost 4 years old he is wise beyond his years... I think he was probably wise beyond his years even in diapers!

Oh and I forgot... I love Kayden's "Blue Steel" pose :)

I love Jude's sense of adventure and his determination. He sets his mind to something and he does it. He constantly amazes me with his athletic feats and the things he can climb or scale. I love how he runs to give me hugs when he sees me and how kind and compassionate he is with little babies like Hanny. I also love his "awkward arm" :)

Kes is soooooo sweet. I love that sweetness and his laid back personality. I love how he likes to just chill in the swing and how patient he is with Hanny (who is always going for his face!) I can't wait to see him grow more and more into who he is!

The boys' Auntie Kim calls them the "Vanderboots"... so here's a little pic of the Vanderboots - literally.
I can't wait to meet the fourth installment to the Vander-clan in April! Love you Vanderboys!

Vanderboys :)

by on 7:32 PM
The "Vanderboys" are some of my favourtest boys around :) They and their super cool parents (Nick and Megan) are pretty much famil...
I feel like it's kind of important to have somewhat of a sense of style no matter what I'm doing and that goes for building and crafting as well. I have a ton of purses/handbags that I'm not currently using and doubt I will again but that I like and want to have a purpose for keeping. I decided that they work great as cute little tool boxes!

This purple bag is one of my favs but it's far too small for a mom with 2 kids so instead I filled it with my all of my cute pink tools. And I think it's even cuter when my 6' 6" manly husband pulls out my cute purse and uses my pink tools :) Especially in front of his friends :)

I've decided lately that I need to have all my favourite colours of spray paint on hand at all times and they fit perfectly in this big brown purse!

Hope you can recycle your old purses too! Let me know any other ideas you have for them!
I've been seeing these chalkboard speech bubbles being used as photo props and decided that I must have one for myself! I am far too impatient to order one online (you can find them on various Etsy stores) so I figured I'd make my own. I bought the supplies right away but it took me a couple of weeks to actually get around to making one (so it probably would have been faster to order one) but I enjoy getting the craft on!

To start I stole some colouring paper from my kid's craft table (li
ke the hole in the wall? My son's handiwork!) If you don't have a nifty roll of paper like this you can use newspaper to create your pattern.

Next I drew a pattern. Here's the easiest way... Use a ruler to draw a square or rectangle the size you'd like your bubble. I did 14 " by 18 ". On each corner measure 1 1/2 " from the corner. Free hand a curve between the two points. Repeat for each corner. Then, pick the side you'd like the "tail" on and measure 4 " down and then make a "triangle" from the end point back to the bubble. Round the corners on the tail as well and then cut out.
Tape your pattern to a sheet of hardboard. ( I picked this up at the hardware store and could buy a half sheet of it). I think it was 1/4 " hardboard. It's super light and you can write on it. Trace your pattern onto the board.
Use a jigsaw to cut out your shape. With hardboard it'll chew up the edges a bit so you'll need to sand them with a fine grit paper.

After you have everything cut and sanded (just the edges) you need to spray a coat of primer (well I did at least, my dad would be so proud that I did ALL the steps!). After the primer I used a paper bag to lightly sand the entire surface (another nifty trick I learned from my dad :). Then spray your chalkboard paint (or roll it on.) Follow the directions on the can :)

Here they are all painted up and drying in the sun. It says to let cure for 24 hours and then rub with chalk but I had a shoot that afternoon so I let it cure for about 3 and rubbed the entire surface with chalk. Worked fine for me.

My little helper. He's so handy!
And a look at the finished product! Used it with 3 of my fav little boys, the Vanderwalls otherwise known as the "Vanderboots". This was the last pic we took and they were pretty done so we focused on their cute little feet (where you couldn't see the crying) and got a fab picture :)
It was just after supper on Sunday night when my two-year old looked outside and exclaimed, “It’s darken out there!” And yes, unfortunately it was dark out there, pretty much pitch black at a mere 7 pm! On the up side though it was still over twenty degrees outside and so we decided to go on an evening adventure in the dark. I suggest that while it’s so nice outside that you and your family do the same.
When you have young children such as myself it’s not often that you venture out after dark. Especially during the summer when “dark” does not come until many hours after bedtime. This makes being outside after dark a great novelty for my kids. By just going on a simple walk around the block your kids can see everything in a whole new light (or less light at least!). Things look new and different and they can stop to gaze at the moon and contemplate his facial features.
If you really want to amp it up though you can invest in glow sticks! On our Sunday evening adventure we first outfitted ourselves with glow bracelets. Our son had a fabulous time “cracking” them and seeing the light spread. We also had a glow “sword” which surprisingly provided a huge amount of light and it looked wicked cool! We packed our kids in the stroller and headed down the street towards the park. It was super cute just to see all our little bands of colour strolling down the street.
The park was the highlight of the outing because there were no streetlights whatsoever and we just had our glow sticks to guide us. Because of the lack of light we did need to make sure we were right with our son wherever he went but we all had a blast climbing the play structure and zooming down the slides with our glow sticks high in the air. The great part was that it was just as much fun to watch someone play as it was to play yourself.
Because we are nearing Halloween most stores have different glow stick paraphernalia for sale and you can stock up on quite an assortment. I hope you have the time to take advantage of this great weather and go on a glowing adventure!

ifamily - "It's Darken"

by on 3:04 PM
It was just after supper on Sunday night when my two-year old looked outside and exclaimed, “It’s darken out there!” And yes, unfortunat...
After a month of rain, once if finally cleared up I bathed the kids, chopped off Kai's mop, outfitted them in plaid and dragged them to the backyard to get some fall pictures. I've been collecting vintage linens and figured they'd be a cute backdrop for their blue and red plaids - and they were :) I started out just shooting Hanny (because she can't crawl yet and thus has to sit there while I take as many pictures as I like). Kai flabbergasted me and actually asked if he could sit by "The Hannah One" (as he calls her). I kept my cool though...

Everyone always comments how I "cloned" Kai to make a second baby... never really saw it. Yeah they look alike but identical? I see it a little more here :)

What a handsome little man he's turning into...

She is too cute for words!

Ah the wide mouth smile I love!

I used some photo overlays from Pugly Pixel to make their "fall cards" to give out to family and friends (and thereby force them to display my kids on their fridge). I'll post them once I've hande them out.