Thursday, August 27, 2015

First Day of School

This was the week. I sent Miss Peachy off to her first day of first grade, also her first full day of school, yesterday. And today was Cream's first day of four year old preschool. (Ironically, she doesn't turn four until this weekend.)

Yesterday was much more of an emotional day for me than I would have guessed. How on earth did our baby turn into a six year old first grader already?! Knowing that Peachy would be spending seven waking hours five days a week away from our house hit me hard. It will be great for her. She loves to learn and was so excited to be going into first grade where she would have more learning time.

And I know that the rest of us will adjust to the new schedule soon as well. I think that saying good bye to our carefree summer days is part of my struggle. There is nothing I like better than taking our time getting ready in the morning. Letting the kids play together in their pajamas. Just being together without having to rush around. Ah, the days are fleeting.

And Miss Cream is entering the world of school, too. She will be attending the same school as her sister three mornings a week. You may recall that we didn't send Peachy to preschool at all. It was what worked for her and our family at the time. I really struggled with the decision on whether to send Cream or not. In the end, I think that it boiled down to guilt. I think that I felt that I was pushing her out of the house, hurrying her growing up. However, in the end I let that go and realized that she would enjoy preschool and benefit from it. And frankly, I would benefit from her attending. I also told myself that if it isn't working out we can always keep her home and try again next year.

So, three mornings a week I have Mr. Shortcake to myself. I really am looking forward to being able to run errands with only one child in tow. (One child who can ride in the cart! And who doesn't ask to look at toys!) I am not sure that having one child at home will actually give me more free time. After all, two of Shortcake's best toys are gone now! But I think we will enjoy our time together and the girls will enjoy their time together and appreciate all being home together more as well.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Cold Brewed Iced Coffee

I love, love coffee. And I don't just mean the sweet coffee drinks at coffee shops. I love a good strong cup of joe. In the summer I love a slightly sweetened iced coffee. Again, I don't mean the 500 calorie sugar bombs with a hint of coffee flavor. This summer I tried an iced coffee at Caribou that was almost perfection in my mind. So, I set off to see if I could replicate it at home minus the $3 price tag. After looking on the internet and a little tweaking, I have become quite happy with my version. So happy, in fact, that I no longer like to purchase iced coffees from coffee houses. I thought I would share my process with you so that you too can master the art of cold brew iced coffee at home.
When I first started making this, I bought some bold (but cheaper) ground coffee. I figure since I am adding sugar and cream, it didn't have to be high quality coffee. However, Mr. Cherry gifted me some whole bean coffee from Pete's for our anniversary and one of the bags was an iced coffee roast. I was wrong, it does make a difference. The Pete's was better. In the future, though, I might go back to the cheaper variety.

I start with a 4:1 ratio of water to ground coffee. (You can just use room temperature water here.) I have found that my Pampered Chef Quick Stir pitched works great for this step. I just add the coffee and water and then use the plunger to make sure all of the coffee is submerged in the water. Then I let the concoction sit overnight (or at least 8 hours.) I do use the plunger to stir it a few times, but I don't think this would be necessary.

Now you get to filter the coffee from the grounds. I have a coffee cone that I use at times to make our regular coffee. It helps to pre-moisten the filter before inserting it into the cone. I then carefully start to pour the coffee into the filter. I try to avoid getting lots of the grounds into the cone and have found that keeping the pitcher set to the filter setting really helps. If you do get too many grounds into the filter, it takes a longer time. You might also have to switch filters if it gets too clogged. I found my glass carafe at Target in the kitchen section for a couple of dollars, but also saw some that would work in the dollar spot recently.

Once the majority of the liquid has been poured out of the pitcher, I call it good and throw away the grounds. Another tip I have picked up is to sweeten the coffee to your liking now. I had been adding sugar to each individual cup I made, but since it gets chilled it was hard to get it all stirred in. I am still working on my sugar to coffee ratio and you will have to experiment with this as well. Once I have added the sugar I give the carafe a good shake and then refrigerate until it is chilled.

Whenever I want a cup I add some ice to my glass, pour in some coffee, stir in a splash of cream, and top it all off with a dollop of whipped cream.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

WIP {Work In Progress} Wednesday

The finished product!

Today I actually have a completed project to share with you. With the help of my mom, I was able to get a project completed in part of a day. (Who am I kidding, with little of my help, my mom finished this  for me!)
I forgot to take a picture before we started. I thought I would be able to find a picture, but I think I always cropped it out of pictures because I didn't like how it looked. No longer!

Ever since Peachy was a baby, we had a glider rocker that my parents handed down to us. And ever since we inherited that chair I have been meaning to recover it. The forest green upholstery fabric screamed the 90s. However, the project intimidated me and so, I never got it done.
Last I decided to look at the fabric store and see what I could find to finally put that chair out of its misery. It was meant to be, as I found an upholstery fabric that I really liked that happened to be on sale for less than $6/yd. I bought three yards and then texted my mom to see if she would be willing to help me out when they came the following weekend. (I will let you guess what her answer was?)
This was a very easy project as the cushions were attached with snaps. We decided to get rid of the old fabric, which only required ripping out three seems on the back cushion. We used the existing foam and created a pattern from it. We decided to go with a box type of construction.
I am thinking I might add a few covered buttons to the back to pull it tight and add some visual interest. Any guesses as to how long that project will languish on the to-do list?

We did have to do a little tweaking once it was all sewn up to fit the fabric a little to the foam. I am completely happy with the change. It is amazing what a change a little bit of fabric can make! (And lots of help from my mom.)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Shortcake 18 months!

This little man celebrates his 1.5 year birthday today!! It is so hard to believe how much he has grown in the last 18 months. From our sweet and gentle little babe in arms to our sweet and adventuring little man. There is just something about this little man that grabs tight at my heart. He is a perfect mix of sweet and energy.

Since he mastered the art of walking after his first birthday, there is no slowing him down. He is determined to see the world and learn all about it (mainly through the sense of touch and taste.)
He is also a great communicator. Through words and signs he gets his point across the majority of the time.

While his sisters really do love him, I hear repeatedly to "keep him away from our stuff!!" Just doing his best at being a little brother. He loves them as well and is so eager to join in on their play and fun.
We are so blessed to call Shortcake our own. We praise the Lord for adding him to our family!

**All photos taken by Home Grown Photography**

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

WIP {Work In Progress} Wednesday

While sharing a finished project is the ultimate goal of most bloggers, sometimes the process is just as intriguing. I have decided to start sharing with you whatever is on my cutting table, sewing machine, or craft area each Wednesday.
Here is my current sewing project.
I am participating in the 2nd Annual Craftsy Charity Sew-Along. This is the second year that Craftsy has chosen the project of sewing smocks for NICU babies. Often when babies are born too soon and too small they end up spending weeks or even months in the NICU before they can go home. Many of these little babes are too small to fit into any regularly made clothing. The goal of this project is to make these NICU friendly smocks for hospitals around the nation.
I had fun looking through my fabric stash and picking out some great flannel and cotton combinations for these itsy-bitsy smocks. I chose to make the serged version, but there is a sew and turn version too. If you are able to sew, I encourage you to sign up for this excellent project. On our own we may not be able to make that many, but together we can give so many little babies a cute and comfortable outfit to spend their days in.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Morning Constitutionals

In and effort to exercise more, I have been trying to get out and walk everyday. For a few weeks I just squeezed it in when I could. Sometimes in the morning, sometimes during the day with the kids, or sometimes in the evenings. For the past couple of weeks I have been attempting to get it in before Mr. Cherry leaves for work which not only helps me to get it in everyday, but also allows me to walk on my own. It is a great time for me to clear my head and start to focus on the day ahead. The peace that it gives me at the start of the day is worth getting up a bit early to me. (Sometimes I wish I could get another in somewhere in the middle of my day!)

While we do live in the middle of town we have a large cemetery a block behind us and an awesome park a half mile away.

Another advantage of walking in the morning is the wildlife that I get to observe. I have seen the obvious like rabbits, squirrels, geese, and ducks to the not quite as ordinary deer to the awesome sightings of heron and a pair of fox!

The cooler mornings also work to my advantage for the time being. (I know I will need an extra layer or two if I keep this up.)

Is there anything that you do to carve out some peace during your busy day?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Weekend In the Rearview

The weeks are simply flying by right now. It seems like we just had a weekend. Not altogether a bad problem, just boggling to the mind at times.
We had no big plans for the weekend, but managed to fill it in with some family time as well as getting some things crossed off the to-do list. (More Mr. Cherry than me. His to-do list seems to be a mile long these says without shortening up. I guess it keeps him out of trouble and from getting bored.)

I have been trying to make an effort at getting out and exploring new areas and events in our area lately. There is nothing wrong with our usual haunts, but it is fun to see what else is all out there. The kids and I hit up a store downtown that we have been meaning to go to and then did some exploring on trails around the river. There are some awesome houses in this area. I love seeing all of the different  areas and characteristics of the era the neighborhoods were developed.

We snuck downtown again on Saturday and took in some boat races as well as the farmers' market.
We made it to early service for church on Sunday. We usually play it by ear. If we are up and ready we head to the early service and if not we go to late. It is nice to have a few extra hours of our day if we can make it to early.

Cream and I hit the town in the afternoon to run some errands. It is so good getting one-on-one time with each kiddo. Also a bonus to only have to get one child in and out of a car seat and in and out of stores.

We were supposed to go to a swim party Sunday evening, but it was canceled due to rain and thunderstorms. The girls were disappointed, so we fixed it with some ice cream.
Cream and Shortcake also enjoyed playing in our Puddle Jumpers.

There you have it. Our weekend. Spending time as a family and enjoying our home and city! What were you up to this weekend?

Friday, August 7, 2015

Pinterest Eye Candy {Part 1}

It is no secret that I love Pinterest. I have been drinking the Pinterest Kool Aid since the beginning. (Remember when you had to wait to get an account?) I have 81 boards ranging from home decor to recipes to parenting. Every once in a while though, I find a pin that I just love, but have no where to put it. It may be a home decorating idea that is just awesome, but not for a room in our house. Or a craft project that rocks my socks, but I don't have the ability to create. I hate to lose a great idea, so I created a board for these rogue pins. Who knows, maybe someday I will have the perfect use for them! In the meantime, I will gorge myself on the deliciousness of the Pinterest Candy.
I have decided to occasionally share some of these pins with you, because you are my friend and caring is sharing! Maybe they will inspire you or brighten your day!
Today I will share some of the crafty projects that I just can't bring myself to tackle.
Amy from the blog momADVICE shared these darling knitted coffee cozies! I don't do any needle work. I have too many other hobbies going, but these cozies almost make me want to pick up some knitting needles. Go and check them out!
Another grouping of needle work projects! All of the hoops shared in this collection on the website Acaixdaestefi are so beautiful and inspiring. I wish I could read the site to learn more about them. These constellation hoops are so cool. Go and see the rest!
I am such a fan of all types of bunting. Big buntings, mini buntings, paper buntings, tape buntings, fabric buntings! They are all awesome! These crochet edge buntings from the blog SillyOldSuitcase are what actually started this board. I just couldn't not pin them. In fact, the entire blog is filled with sweet pictures and fun projects.
There you have it friends. A bit of sunshine inspiration and for your day. I hope you enjoyed it!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

House Progress

Mr. Cherry has been keeping busy with home updates in the last few weeks. We finally got the entryway textured and painted. Phew! Now we just need to add in some decor and put the trim back up once we get flooring in. Mr. Cherry took on the texturing himself. He truly is a do-it-yourselfer, for better or worse. It took a bit of learning. Also renting a bit more powerful air compressor. Now he is all set to tackle all of the other walls that will need to be textured in the house.

(Right honey?) We ended up painting it a light grey from Valspar called Basket of Bobbins. I really like how it looks in there. It works well with the blue in the neighboring dinning room and looks so fresh next to the yellowish walls in the hall. I am thinking of bringing the grey into the hall and living room, but maybe lightening it a bit. We also replaced the dated light fixture and doorbell. We went with this light fixture from Home Depot and really like it. We are thinking of actually buying another and putting it in the dinning room.
He also changed out the sink and cupboard in our small bathroom. This room only has a toilet and sink, yet the sink took up lots of property. Also the faucet was hard for the girls to turn on and off. We started by looking at just replacing the faucet for the time being, but decided on changing the entire fixture and sink.

We found a great low profile fixture at Menards. The difference is amazing. The room feels so much bigger and more usable. Also the kids can wash up in there so much more easily now. (The sink is low, but that works for us in this room. I don't think you would want a sink this low in a regular bathroom, but for a washroom it is perfect. There also isn't a counter, but it works for us in this situation.) As long as the sink was out, Mr. Cherry also removed the duck wall paper that graced the walls since it only cost 23 cents to mail a letter.

The walls are now a lovely shade of bright 70s green with a coating of wallpaper paste over the top. I will be getting in there and scrubbing the walls ASAP. We would also like to change out the mirror and lighting in this bathroom and eventually change the flooring. It will be a pretty easy overhaul with a big impact.
And the final project off the list is hanging the patio lights I had bought this spring. I knew that I wanted to add some sort of ambiance lighting to our covered patio since we moved in. I had done some online shopping for a larger bulb string of lights. Then I found just what I was looking for at Shopko this spring. I wanted to let Mr. Cherry hang them because those jobs are better left to his attention than mine.

 I tend to slap things up just to get the job done. He takes his time and does it right. (We work well together.) We ended up stringing the four sets just below the ceiling around the outer walls. The soft lighting is perfect for hanging out on a summer's night. (That is until the mosquitoes come and carry you away.)
It feels good to be getting some home projects off the list. Everyday our house feels more and more like us.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Up-Cycled Friends Update

 Over the past week I have been working on filling an order for a local store. I decided to try a new design that I have been thinking about for a while and created an Up-Cycled Moose Friend.

I love how they turned out. It is always rewarding seeing my ideas come to life. Like most creators, I have more ideas than time in my day.

(Especially since it is summer and the kids are all home and we are busy with activities and enjoying being outside.)

I also made some more bears out of a buffalo plaid shirt that I had thrifted. I have enough shirt left to make one or two more and then it will be all used up. I do however have back up stashed away. I scored an awesome red and black plaid vintage wool blanket. There will be lots of fabric there!