Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Planting Gardens

A week or so ago we were having some unseasonably warm weather here. The kind that makes you beak out the shorts and realize you dont have any sunscreen thats not expired!

We were able to get out and about every day during that nice weather, which was something everyone (mostly my sitr crazy 2 year old) really needed! We ate dinner on our patio every night, we to the park everyday at least once, went on evening walks around the neighborhood, played in the yard, met up to celebrate with old friends and planted spring flowers. It was a great week, made me so excited for summer!

During one of the days savanna and I planted some flower seeds and some bulbs in some hanging baskets that we found at the dollar store! (sometimes that place has GREAT finds!)

 At first she was just throwing them in
 But then she got a little more concerned with placing them just right!
 She was most excited about scooping the dirt with her princess cup

She doesnt enjoy having stuff on her hands, constantly wiping them off!

 we planted a few bulbs in each of the 4 baskets, and them sprinkled them with wildflower seed mix
Then we gave them a good soaking!
 watering her gardens has become her favorite daily activity!
 As I was hanging up the holders on the fence for her baskets she got a hold of the box with the rest of the wildflower seeds
  she just wanted to ensure that a few flowers would be GUARANTEED to bloom in this one! :)

This is just TWO days later...sava

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Head First into MoeJean Designs

I've done it! I've jumped in head first! Sink or swim

Ive always been afraid of rejection, I think maybe that is why I've hesitated so long to launch. Afraid that no one will like my work, or that they wouldn't sell, or people will criticize. Well, being afraid of others never made anyone feel accomplished.

I get compliments daily when I wear my creations out and about, and I have even sold a few right off my own neck and the people that have purchased pieces from me at the several craft fairs and holiday shopping events I attended last year have all reported back that they get compliments.
So I decided to jump in and try out Etsy.com  as a platform to share my work.

Here are a few of the creations currently on my Etsy site

When looking for jewelry for my self I look for several things; uniqueness, affordability, durability and quality. So when making jelwery I strive for the same things.

I love wearing jewelry, and I like mine to be unique. When I started doing this I wanted the jewelry I made to be unique as well. I buy my beads and findings in small batches, and while I may make 2 similar pieces at the same time they will not be exactly the same.

I also like to have a large selection, be able to wear different pieces all the time, So Im also looking for Affordability. I know that in this ecomomy, most people are looking for afforablity! So if its treating yourself to a new piece to add to your collection or searching for the perfect gift I want to be within reach. When something you love is affordable, it allows you to have more of it.

As a mom to small children, one of whom still nurses and is carried around a lot, I'm looking for durability in beauty. Ive seen a lot of necklaces out there marketed to moms. Only a small few have caught my eye only to loose it in the price. I design my jewelry not only to be affordable but to be durable and made with the best quality materials available to me.

Im excited to share my creations with the world, to watch people enjoy the things I have made. I hope you will stop on over and check out my site MoeJeanDesigns check back often as I have spent much of this week potographing my work and will be adding new items daily! Not to mention the 1000 or so ideas I have for more necklaces and bracelets!

I would like to offer my readers a discount to celebrate the launch of my store, you will recieve 15%  off your order when you use the coupon code:  MOEMAMA threw the end of april.

I try as much as possible to shop local , and when we do go on vacation and I'm searching for souveneers I try to support the local economy there as well by searching for a unique reminder of my trip. My goal for this year is to get my jewlery into a few stores here locally. Im looking for local businesses-a gift shop, clothing shop, consignment store, boutique, feed store or tasting room Im really open to embracing any opportunities that may come my way.

As important as going local, I will also be trying to build my Etsy sales, but teaming up with other bloggers to promote, so If you are a blogger and intetested, please feel free to contact me! I have a few Ideas!

I can be reached via email at MOE JEAN DESIGNS @ GMAIL.COM

Friday, April 8, 2011

My Photo Wall

I have been wanting a photo wall in my home for just over 2 years. I had seen them on a few blogs, and was in love with the idea. We had just moved into a home that a great wall up a staircase and I had big plans for it! I started collecting pictures and frames for it and then I found out I was pregnant. A birth of another child meant that there would be more pictures to add. I pretty much put my project on the back burner, only getting prints as I found them free online. After Adam was born I was anxious to get going on it again, but really lacked the time for getting it together.  In January of this year we decided to move again! UGH. But the new house is perfect for us, and it has a GREAT wall for my project!

Not a great shot, but its all I have of the before. Its.A.BIG.wall.

But as soon as I saw this wall I was anxious to get started! I pulled out the baskets of picture frames I had all set aside and started painting!
I decided to paint them all flat black, and I just used the cheapest black spray paint they had at walmart. I think it was $.97 a can. Worked great! Next time I do a project with this much spray painting involved, I will invest in the sprayer that attaches to the can, my finger was sore for a week!

I spent the next week going threw all of the prints I had collected and matching them up to the frames, ordering more of Adam and more recent favorites of the kids.

I have so many wonderful shots of my kids that it was really hard to decide
Waiting to be hung
I spent several hours laying them out on the floor trying to find a good layout, because they were going UP the wall and not accross the wall it was harder to get a good Idea. I then started useing papers in the size of the frames and taping them to the wall to get a good idea.
I thought this was working great, my husband, however, didnt agree. And when it came time for him to start hanging them it ended up that we didnt place them where I had layed them out.
Here is part way threw. I should mention my husband informed me that he hates when I post pictures of him on the internet when he is wearing sweats and looking "like crap". I say "PSSSHHH"

Here is our "finished" project. (before I got the level out) There is plenty more room to add as the kids grow! There are a few white frames on there that I hadnt intended to use that I needed as fillers, but they will be painted black as well.
Im quite proud of this wall, and My photos of the photos dont really do it justice. Of the 35 photos that are on the wall, only 5 of them were taken by someone other than myself. Im also quite proud to say that this wall cost me less than $40 to accomplish. Most of the frames I either had on hand or collected from various garage sales and such. Of the few that I did purchase, I payed less than $1 a piece for on clearance. 
I got all of the prints free or deeply discounted from online promotions as they came about. I spent about $9 on spray paint!

This "j" is a little project I threw together at the last minute for the wall, I will share that soon as well!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Oh my funny faced little girl!

The other day while I was feeding Adam, Nana was having a "saaack" (snack) I was taking pictures of adams gums and she said "hey, Takea my pictha mama"

I love all her facial expressions and never seem to be able to capture them spur of the moment so I took the opportunity to see If I could get her to do any of them

 She really likes to show off her teeth!

 This is her "angy" face

 Pure happiness

 Not sure what I asked her here....But she was clearly not going to do it!

 This is her cold face. She makes this face and shakes. I have it on video its the most adorable thing ever.

 Say "cheese" 

I said make a funny face....she obliged. :)

I love this little girl more than I ever imagined someone could love.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Still no teeth!

Look at those gums. And those beautiful perfect lips. 2 weeks shy of 8 months and I see no sign of a tooth on the horizon. I'm really in no hurry for teeth to be honest. I just LOVE big empty, smiling baby mouths. 

Especially this one.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Baby food time- Peas!

Adam is now 7 months old. SEVEN MONTHS. ::sigh:: Hard to think hes already that old. Well, around 4 months I started to introduce solids (rice cereal) in high hopes that it would keep him full and help him sleep for a few hours at a time, if not all night.
At 4 months he really was not interested in the food at all. He would just spit it out. I was persistent and I offered it to him everyday, usually in the morning when he was happiest. It took about a month of this before he started to actually eat any of it. And once he got the hang of it, hes been on a roll eating! I cant honestly say that its helped any with his sleeping, like Ive said before, he just isn't a great sleeper.

One thing I really wanted to do with Adam was to make his baby food. This isn't something I really thought I  had the "time" to do when Savanna was a baby. Now that I'm making 95% of his food I realize that I DID have the time. It really takes such a minimal amount of time. Bummer. But really Savanna only ate "baby" food for 2 months, she had teeth early and really like to eat food she could chew.

Once Adam mastered rice cereal, I started introducing a new food every few days, At this time I did use store bought organic baby food. The main reason was that I didn't want to make a huge batch of something only to find out he was allergic. He tolerated everything like a champ! Then I started making small batches here and there, but this was the part that was really time consuming. So a few weeks ago I spent a day making several large batches of Adams favorites at the moment.

I made peas, apple/pears sauce, yellow squash, and carrots. It was really fun, and even though it seems like I spent the "whole day" making baby food I really didn't, I made it in between the normal goings on here. My children don't leave me large blocks of time to get anything done let alone an entire day! :)

My friend Marni is a baby-food maker too and she has great tutorials! Ive definitely been using her as a guide!

My first order of business this day was the peas. Adam really likes peas, and I had tried and *failed* at peas a few days earlier.

FAILED? At peas? YES! I had read online somewhere an easy way to make peas. I was so excited especially as it didn't involve shucking a 10 pound pile of fresh peas in order to get an ice cube tray full! and its not really pea season anyway! I won't link you to the post as I don't honestly think the *fail* was on me, it just wasn't something that worked in general.
But I will tell you what I did,
Take 1 bag split peas
grind to a fine powder
mix with boiling water to the desired consistency
place in trays.

Sounded easy and almost effortless. I did everything and I even have a blender/emulsifier that is more than capable of grinding to fine powder. The end result of this was horrible, bland, dirt flavored, mealy, peas.

They went to the garbage. I could NOT serve them to Adam.

My next attempt, of similar process, just in a different order!
I started with about a pound and a half of organic split peas.

Make sure that you wash these very thoroughly  

Add them to your crock pot and cover with water. I wasn't sure how much water at first so I did equal amounts of water and peas but I ended up adding more and more water threw out the day. So next time I will just pretty much fill the crockpot. 
They soak up a lot of water

Let them cook for hours! I would say like 5 on high until they are tender enough that you can mash one in between your fingers.Mine cooked longer but I had them on low, and at one point on warm because I had to leave and didn't want them to soak up all the water in my absence and burn.
Once they reach the point of being done strain the peas and reserve the water. 

Place the peas in the blender/emulsifier  (my mom recently bought a vita mix so we have a very powerful blender) But this should work just as well in any blender or food processor, and if you are having trouble I would just try smaller batches. I was able to put my entire crock pot of peas in at once, as it mixed I added some of the reserved water to thin them a bit. ( you can also use breastmilk or formula to thin and for extra nutrients and calories, I use the water because I have been throwing some misc pureed veggies into our meals)
Once you reach your desired Constancy you can spoon the peas into ice cube trays and freeze. (these are the ice cube trays from IKEA. They are NOT ideal for a batch of this size, but they are cute! Once they are frozen I pop them out on a clean surface and bag them in quart size zip-locks, and place several of those into a larger zip-lock and store them in our large garage freezer. I keep 1 quart sized bag of each variety of food in my inside freezer, about a weeks worth give or take a few days.
This batch made about 6 regular size ice cube trays and 4 IKEA trays. I think I will add more water and make them a much thinner consistency resulting in a few more trays yielded out of that batch. During the freezing and reheating I think they loose a little too much moisture and I end up adding a tablespoon of water per 2 cubes when I make them for Adam.

The blending and pouring into trays takes less than 10 minutes,I spent about 15 minutes threwout the day adding water and stirring, and then about another 10 to bag and label the frozen peas. 35 total minutes of my time is well worth the savings and nutritional value.  Adam will eat about 3-4 ounces of food at any givin sitting, 3-4 sittings a day.
Organic baby food is between $1-$1.50 per 3oz jar. I spent $2 on the bag of organic split peas. That is a HUGE savings.

One other thing, I do not like peas. I despise them. I will not eat them and pick them out of anything they may be in. As I was testing for the done-ness of them, and as I was blending them I did try them. I have to say the flavor of these vs. the flavor of canned or even fresh peas is amazing. They had a very rich, almost meaty flavor!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I am still here.....somewhere, under all these boxes!

I cannot believe its already March. Where has this year gone?

"Hello, 2011?....Can you hear me?....PLEASE slow down!"

We had been toying around with the Idea of moving for a few months, and at the end of January we found the perfect house.

So since then I have been packing, cleaning, moving, unpacking, organizing, and this last week DECORATING! My favorite part! I have actually been working on a HUGE project this week, I cant wait to show it off! I started this project just about 2 years ago! And its Going on the wall TOMORROW!!!

Along with all the moving stuff, Ive been busy trying to sleep train my 7 month old, trying to get him to take a bottle. There hasnt been too much sleep on my end in the last few months. Once I *finally* decided that I was over not sleeping very soundly because there was a little baby in my bed for at least 60% of the night, and I convinced myself I was prepaired  for the 2-3 sleepLESS nights it would take to get him settled and into a great sleep pattern I finally began my battle.Well, 3-4 sleeepNONE weeks later....Battle seems like to nice of a word for what this little guy is doing to me. Im EXHAUSTED to say the least. He is just really not a sound sleeper, he is restless and wakes himself so often by his own movements. He is too big to swaddle, and really would not have it anyway. And Im about ready to fashion some device that safely attaches the pacifier to the babies mouth for the entire night.

Ive been keeping myself busy during the day trying to get this house decorated wall by wall. There are A LOT of BIG walls in this house. BIG walls, that I have always wished for, so many Ideas....Now that I have them....Im at a loss, well, maybe not a loss for ideas. a loss of time, and money, and sensibility.

So that is pretty much what I have been up to in my absence.

Stay tuned...I have great things planned! (Sleep isn't one of them I'm sure!)