Thursday, June 24, 2010

Getting ready for the beach

Our family is headed to the beach this weekend for a full week and I am so excited! Dear husband and I have had several "realistic" conversations about how we will have fun together as a family, but also take turns giving each other a break. Don't get me wrong, I can't wait to sit on the beach and play in the sand with the girls and swim in the ocean. But, one thing I really want to do is sit in the sun and read...all by the quiet...without curly girlies yelling my name!

In getting ready to go to the beach, I have been busy cleaning, packing, cooking, and doing a little sewing! A few months ago I saw a precious market skirt on MADE and have been wanting to make one for both of my girlies. Well, after taking a month hiatus from sewing, I finished them. I think they are really cute, but let me tell you, they definitely helped me to grow in patience!! Honestly, I can actually see how I am growing in patience and all the credit is given to my Great God and the work He is doing in my life! A year ago, I would have just given up and not persevered through even a simple skirt like this. I'm thankful for His grace and mercy that I find new every day!!
So, I made many many mistakes - ripped out sooo many seams, ended up breaking my own seam ripper and measured the initial material pieces incorrectly because they are a little short and therefore, I am unable to do the pockets on them. However, my girlies love them and that is all that matters! Oldest curly girlie made me feel so loved and appreciated when she shouted out, "Mom, it's just beautiful!!"

Another sewing project that I made and am extra excited about is a simple little drawstring bag. I've been wanting to make a bag like this for our trips to the pool. My Mom gave me a great book from Martha Stewart called "Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts". It has a ton of great ideas and I definitely recommend it, even if you aren't a big MS fan, you know who you are!! :)
So, once I cut out my fabric (which is very busy and loud but fun & girlie for the summer), I realized that I wouldn't be able to make the bag the way Martha did because of the pattern on my fabric. So, I ended up just designing another type of bag myself! I used my knowledge from making purses with my Mom and all her sewing wisdom (thanks, Mom), played around with the fabric and the design, and made this.

Like the market skirt, I made lots of mistakes and had to rip out at least one seam, but I'm pretty happy about how I was able to make this without a pattern or tutorial. I will post instructions after I get back from the beach!

Lastly, I want to share this fabulous recipe for making your very own homemade granola. My family really likes granola, especially for breakfast with yogurt, so I wanted to make a batch to take to the beach. One of my closest friends (who I am sooo thankful for and actually first inspired me to start this blog) graciously shared her granola at the pool with my oldest curly girlie and because it was such a big hit with both my girls and hubby, I asked her for the recipe. So, we took a little field trip to Whole Foods to get the coconut oil and then I made a BIG batch last night.
I made a few adjustments (less butter and oil and added flaxseed) to the original recipe and it was delicious!

1/2 stick butter
1/2 c brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 c maple sugar
1/2 c honey
1/2 c coconut oil
1/4 c canola oil
1 TBSP cinnamon
1 TBSP vanilla extract
8 c whole oats
3 c coconut - I used flaked
1 c whole ground flaxseed meal
1-2 c nuts and/or dried fruits (can leave out - which I did in my first batch)

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine the first 8 ingredients in a medium pot. Simmer on low, stirring constantly, until it thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove pot from the heat, add the vanilla extract and stir.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, coconut, flaxseed, and nuts/dried fruits. Pour sticky honey mixture over the oats and stir to combine, making sure all oats are covered.

Spread granola over the 2 baking sheets and cook for 10 minutes. Take it out, stir it up, and bake another 10 minutes. Remove, stir again, and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Take granola and paper off the baking sheets and let it cool on the counter tops. Granola will harden once it has cooled. Break up and store in an airtight container. This makes a very big batch so enjoy and share with a friend!

I'm off to finish my packing! Good night!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A house of curls

After months of talking myself out of starting a blog, here I am writing my first post. I'm actually quite excited about this opportunity to be real and transparent about life in a home full of curls!
Both of my daughters, my husband, and I all have curls so I thought it fitting to title my blog "House of Curls". It's funny, I was actually surprised when curls started forming on my first daughter's head!!
I am starting this blog as a means to share with my friends and family some of the many memories that are taking place in our home. As a homemaker, my days are filled with cleaning throughout the day, cooking for my family, crafting with my girls and caring for many, many needs. It's challenging, and I daily find myself exhausted from all of this, but at the end of the day, when the kitchen is (sometimes) clean and the girls are finally in bed asleep, I am thankful! I am thankful that I can clean dress-up clothes off the floor, have a conversation with my 3-year-old about why we don't push our sister, try out a new recipe and it not taste well, and create a new craft idea with the girls only to find that they would rather just cut up paper. Now, in the moment that things are happening, I admit, I am not thankful, I am often frustrated and disappointed. But, I know, this is all part of the Lord's plan for refining my own character and making me the woman that He has created me to be.
So, my desire for this blog is to simply share glimpses of our life with you, both the trials and the triumphs. And you will likely see more trials, because that seems to the pattern of our life these days, but I hope that through these trials our great God will get the glory. (I Cor. 10:31)