Monday, December 21, 2015

A Toddler Nativity

I have been looking for a super kid-friendly nativity set that can be played with by my 1 1/2 year old.  I had looked at this wooden one and several stuffed sewn options, but didn't find one that fit into my very limited price range and my aesthetic requirements.

I was wandering through Hobby Lobby (as much wandering as can be done with a toddler kicking me and the cart) and spotted this felt sticker nativity set on sale for about $3.  That fit in the budget!

I also picked up a large piece of brown felt; folded in half and cut, it makes a great stable. 

I wanted to make this somewhat interactive, yet not so much fun that poor baby Jesus will end up under the couch like so many other toys.  So I settled on buttons and ribbon loops so that we can hang each character up in the stable together and then hopefully he'll leave them alone.

I auditioned the placement of each button and added a few extra buttons so that my son can be creative about where he puts each one.  I sewed on buttons to the stable as securely as possible, and then cut ribbons and hot glued a piece to each piece. I just left the back of the sticker in place since we won't be sticking them to anything.

It's true that this would be more fun with some animals or shephards or things, maybe next year.  I packaged each part up (angel, Mary & Joseph, the star & the wise men, Jesus) separately and am having him open each one up on a different day like a mini Advent calendar.  Then I plan on talking a bit or doing a little activity about each one.  He's only a year and a half old, so I think only a few days worth of activities and advent calendar is enough.

I taped it up to the back side of our door with a lot of washi tape.  If that isn't secure enough I'll use our bulletin board and lots of staples. 

So far it's a big hit! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Very Scandinavian Christmas

I have been working to decorate our house for Christmas a little bit every day this year, while simultaneously preparing for my sister's baby shower and a week at my mom's house.  Busy Busy!

I've always loved Scandinavian decor- so much white and bright and cozy and minimal- and thought I'd see what Scandinavian christmas decor I could find on Pinterest.  Lo and behold, I've already got Scandinavian Christmas decorations all over the place!  Here's what I found:

Natural branch stars:
Theirs: Wabi Sabi

Mine: wrapped in fluffy white yarn

Swagged/Pom pom garland:
Theirs: my Scandinavian Home

Mine: Pom poms and felt circles leftover from last year

Branches in jars:

weihnachtsdeko Scandinavian branches vase salt dough decorations
Theirs: Christmas Ideas with Scandinavian Flair 


Small Christmas Trees:
Mine: Short tree on a box
At any rate, I think I'm done decorating for the year!  Now all that's left is to purge purge purge and paint everything I own white and this will be a true Scandinavian decor blog.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Leftover Cranberries

I know some of you will laugh at me because of how much I've been talking about cranberries lately.  They've been my pregnancy obsession.  I had never even liked cranberries until last year's day-after Thanksgiving, when my Grandma introduced me to the glorious concept of cranberries on top of turkey.  Why had I never tried it before??  SO GOOD.  Try it. 

Well after that, I started having pregnancy cravings for cranberries and even made an entire "Thanksgiving" meal on October because it would all go so well with cranberries.

I use the queen of domesticity, Martha's, recipe.  (Although I'm starting to doubt Martha a bit after receiving an email that promised "10 Laundry Tips to Change My Life".  Really?  Life Changing?  Hmmm).  In an effort to use less sugar in these, I have used 1/2 the sugar and made it with apple juice instead of water and been successful. 
The prettiest color there is!

Now that I have you convinced about how amazing cranberries are (they last practically forever in the fridge, dontchaknow!), I thought I'd tell you the best ways to eat leftovers.  Yes.  Control freak Lindsey is telling you how to eat cranberries.

First, try them on some turkey.  I know I missed Thanksgiving to tell you this, but even a chicken breast would give the same effect.  I think many people are scared to try it but be brave!

The next morning, top your pancakes with it.  Hot pancakes+cold cranberries...mmmm

The NEXT morning, make some oatmeal.  I make steel-cut oats with half apple juice and half water, and then add a big spoonful of cranberries to the top. 

Do you think I've said the word "cranberry" too much yet?  Anyone have any other leftover cranberry ideas to feed my obsession?

P.S. I would have taken more pictures but I heard that Thanksgiving pictures are awful.  Thanksgiving food tastes the best, but stuffing isn't so photogenic.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Bathtime Genius

Do you ever have a brilliant idea and think yourself a true genius--only to google your idea and discover that it's been done before?  Almost as bad as googling your future child's potential name only to discover a woman who murdered her family was named the same thing.  Disappointing.

Anyhoo, here's my brilliant, genius, breathtaking idea that's all over the internet already.

Hanging Bath Toy Storage

We have a little boy who LOVES the bathtub.  We have quite a few bathtub toys that I try to rotate through to keep things interesting, but there seems to be so many all the time.  We didn't have a good storage system for them (plastic bags that I feared would mold or the shower floor were the big ones) because I was living in denial that it was a problem. I also refuse to spend $15 on a scoop that suctions to the wall of the tub because 1. my grandma would say that's a ridiculous product to own and 2. I like to keep as much room in the shower as possible, so I wanted a more flat option.

"AHA!" I said to myself, "I'll make a hanging toy bag out of a lingerie bag!"  A lingerie bag would solve all the dilemmas, it'll hang flat against the wall of the shower, it has holes and will drain properly to avoid mold, and it's meant to be washed so that it'll hold up over time in the shower.  Plus they were $1.50 at Target.  This is the one I got:

It didn't have a hook to hang (many other brands do, if you look around) so I took a small piece of ribbon and sewed it into a loop at the top.  I still need to pick up a suction cup hook, but in the meantime it's hanging from Dillon's shaving mirror in the tub and works perfectly. 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

A Very Spooky Halloween Costume

My absence was due to a nauseating first trimester and a lack of projects to share with the world; I'm back and have done some fun crafty things.  And that's all I'm saying about that!

My son will hate me when he's fourteen and realizes that I dressed him up as a cloud for his 2nd Halloween.  Too bad, kiddo.  I make the costume, I make the rules. 

I followed this tutorial to make a cloud for him to wear on top.  The only difference was that I didn't stuff it with poly-fill, as my stash disappeared.  Instead, I cut three layers, two of white fabric and one of basic cheap batting.  I sewed the perimeter (two pieces of fabric, right sides facing, and the piece of batting on top).  I'm sure it's not technically correct to sew right on top of batting but my machine handled it without any issues at all.  I turned it right side out and hand stitched it closed, then added the inner line of stitching for the snazzy 3-D effect. 

I also didn't follow the tutorial for the raindrop pants, mostly because I didn't want a pair of raindrop painted pants hanging around after Halloween.  Instead, I consulted my fabric stash for several shades of blue/white and cut out a basic teardrop shape.  I tacked them on to a pair of blue sweatpants that we already owned, figuring out that after this costume is over I'll just snip each stitch off and he'll still be able to wear the pants.  I didn't even switch thread colors, I just tried to make a tidy X stitch.  It was somewhat time consuming.  Another option would be to use removable iron-on interfacing to attach them.  Or fabric paint.  Whatever.

The best part is that my kid LOVED wearing this.  He would grab onto the cloud (making it somewhat difficult to tell what he was dressed as) and run through the house with a huge smile on his face.  Who am I to deny my son the delight of dressing as an inanimate object for Halloween? 

The second best part is that this whole costume was F.R.E.E. Pants he wears (and will be able to again), the white fabric was from a sheet set handed down from my Gramma, batting and raindrop fabric from my stash.  And this, Dillon, is why I never throw anything out. 

Literally the best photo I could get because there was so much excitable running to do instead.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Real Food Recipe {Sloppy Joes}

I cook every meal my family eats (except Dillon packs his lunch for work, I didn't do it correctly at the start of our marriage and he took that responsibility back after a few days).  We VERY rarely eat out.  Does this mean I am a cook?  I don't really know about that.  I don't particularly enjoy cooking.  I enjoy baking, particularly the terribly putzy stuff that my mother hates that takes 207 steps to assemble. But I've been doing much more from scratch cooking lately and have found some tasty recipes I thought deserved sharing. Baking I like to be putzy, cooking I like to go on the table in 30 minutes or less (extra credit if I don't have to remember to thaw anything the day before). 

The first recipe I want to share is a quick and super easy recipe for sloppy joes.  I started with this recipe, and adapted it to be Whole 30 compliant while I was doing it.  I didn't own Whole 30 ketchup and I still don't know what coconut aminos are.  Growing up on sloppy joe from a can, this tastes awesome and is really easy, and still very affordable.  Why eat the canned stuff?

Here's a bonus tip: this uses a portion of a can of tomato paste.  Throw the other half in a jar or plastic bag in the freezer until next time.  No need to buy one of those fancy resealable tubes of tomato paste. 

A hit with the "under two" crowd as well

Sloppy Joes
1 lb ground beef
1 yellow pepper, diced (I used green in the photo)
1 red onion, diced
2 T coconut or olive oil
6 T tomato paste
2-3 T apple cider vinegar
1 t ground mustard
1 t garlic powder
Salt & pepper

Saute the onion and pepper in the oil until soft.  Add the beef and brown.  Then, add the tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, garlic, mustard and salt and pepper, add a touch of water or broth if it seems dry.  Let those flavors meld on med/low heat for 10-30 minutes and enjoy on a bun, baked potato (WHOLE 30), sweet potato, or fries. Bonus points if you want to add a different kind of hot pepper, some crushed red pepper or other little kick of heat!

Friday, July 10, 2015


I don't recall where I first heard the phrase "mantique" but I love it.  You must know the manly antiques it refers to: old telephones, beer signs, LIFE magazines, mysterious tools.  I love to go to antique stores, and inevitably Dillon spends his time in the "mantique" section.  His long-time favorite is old ads, maps, and plat books.

I made a costly mistake yesterday.  I had been to THE ONLY antique store in town and found a plat map, which I gave to Dillon for his birthday.  This is the plat map he's been searching years for: a map with the family farm on it.  Actually, it was a surprise to me yesterday because he found the other farm from his mom's side on it too!  Double score! 

I love that we have it now, it'll find it's home on our dining room wall.  But now, what will Dillon look for in the mantique section? 

p.s. we also celebrated with this summer berry pudding which was surprisingly easy and super refreshing on a hot day!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Five Things

It's been awhile.  The end of the "monthly baby post" has left me a bit uninspired.  So here's ten Five quick things that have been happening:

1. The garden is in full swing and we've got our first edible peas and beans!  Now we are headed away for the weekend and our elderly neighbor is going to be watering it for us.  Please don't kill it...please don't kill it...please don't kill it....

2.  My son has been saying lots of words lately.  The big difference is that with some of his words, I can really hear his voice.  He's always babbled a lot but now when he says "up" or "nap" or "meow", I can hear his tiny little high voice and I'm in love. 

3. I've had several discussions with friends about the challenge of cooking lately, and am wondering if anyone would be interested in reading some of my favorite meals?  I wouldn't proclaim myself a cook, but I do all the cooking in my house for every meal (we very rarely eat out) so I do a lot of it.  And I have my fair share of quick, box-free, normal-ingredient meals.  Anyone? Anyone?

4. Our washing machine had an issue last week.  It wouldn't drain at all and an error code came up (isn't it crazy that washing machines have error codes now??).  I checked the manual and found out that we are supposed to check the drain filter monthly for any debris that could clog up the line.  Monthly?? We've been using this baby for two years and have never opened this door.  So now you know too: check your drain filter, at least occasionally.  I managed to fix it by cleaning out the filter, even though it didn't seem to have that much in it; Thank goodness we didn't have to have it serviced! 

The small tube that is *supposed* to drain any water left in the line while you clean your filter, and the large plug on the right that has the filter behind it, where all the water came rushing out and ruined my box of dryer sheets.  I'm a pro, guys.

So THATS what's behind that little door on the left!

5. I made a quick update to this footstool we made several years ago.  I'm so tired of beige and boring, so I got a yard of this pretty blue pattern and stapled it right over the top of the old cover.  It clashes horribly with our safe green couch but I don't care.  Someday the rest of the house will match the footstool.

This is the most true picture I got of the color.  So pretty!

Such a perfect surface for trains and tractors and cranes to work.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Garden update 2

Hello all!  I'm in a snippy mood today because I was hangry after fasting for an insurance-required blood draw (that was cancelled this morning--grr).  But now I've had my coffee and and am trying to make the best of it. 

How about a garden update to cheer us all up? 

First of all, here's the miraculous before and after from putting mulch in our front flower beds.  "oohs" and "aahs" welcome. 


I laid down DeWitt landscape fabric because I heard it is the best and because I never want to have to do it again.  Then covered it with black mulch to match the rest of the front of the house.  In the back, we use free wood mulch from the city so it doesn't match. Quite the difference, eh?


And yes, it's time to talk about the raised garden.  In past years we've been in apartments so I've done my best to grow things in pots and containers, with mixed results.  This year is my first year with a real, in-the-ground garden and I feel like a gardener.  Just look at this!

Just ignore the dirt looking section on the right.  Thats where our spinach was

The tomatoes are looking wonderful, and we have a handful of cherry tomatoes started already.  The beans are huge, as are the peas, and both have buds.  The onions are looking wonderful, and the cucumbers and pumpkins are on their way.  Unfortunately, I still cant tell the difference between kohlrabi plants, broccoli plants, brussels sprouts, and weeds.  yes.  So I have quite a variety growing and I just plan on letting them get a little bigger before I commit to pulling any of them. 

Also, when we installed the garden and filled it with soil we did our best to level it.  We failed.  The spinach corner is lower and as a result is drowning our poor spinach.  I've pretty much given up on it, but it's an easy fix for next year. 

That's it, that's all I've got.  Now, more coffee!

Monday, June 1, 2015

I did a Whole 30

I'm slightly nervous to write this post for two reasons: 1. I have more than one nutritionist or dietitian friend who I am afraid will say that a Whole 30 is a bad idea for some reason or another and 2. Because I don't generally talk about my eating/weight/health with people.  I did have a couple of friends ask me how the Whole 30 went, so this post is for you.  Here we go.  Eep.

Whole 30 is "a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system." according to the website.  It's 30 days of eating only whole foods; you cut out dairy, legumes (including soy), grains, sugar (in all forms like maple syrup and honey), and alcohol.  This leaves you with meat, veggies, some fruit, and healthy fats. 

I have a couple of friends who have done a whole 30 and they did it more than once (so it must be good, right?).  I was looking forward to the "end unhealthy cravings and habits" part of it, because that's my main food issue, I think.  I eat when I am upset and tend to eat a lot of junk--- instead of stopping at a couple cookies, I'll eat half the package.  Bad news. 

So here's how I did it.  I started by not following any of the advice out there for something like this.  I didn't read the book (all the info is on the website, but they suggest reading the book also), I didn't join any facebook groups, I didn't do it with a friend for support, I didn't have my whole family doing it together.  I also chose to do this during a month in which I was hosting two birthday parties (with cake and such) & attending family BBQs.  Go big or go home, right?

We chose to exclude Dillon & my son from this because, well, I ate a lot of meat.  A lot of very expensive meat.  And this pasta & "rice&beans" family just couldn't support a budget where three of us were eating that much organic, grass fed, nitrite free, glitter-and-rainbows-raised meat.  This means that I was also cooking multiple meals at every mealtime and handing my son pieces of english muffin with cream cheese that I couldn't just lick off my fingers.  That's right, I was the epitome of self control for the past month.  I don't know how it happened. 

It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. - See more at:
I liked it because of the tough love section of the rules.  The rules kindly remind you that this is not hard.  It's sort of a "suck it up buttercup" mentality that was great for me.  No cheating, because this is not hard.  Giving birth is hard, beating cancer is hard, drinking coffee black IS NOT HARD. Ah, so true.

At any rate, these are my tips for the whole 30:
1. get thyself a menu planned out.  It was SO MUCH easier for the weeks that I had this menu planned out than the weeks I failed to do it.  I got variety (except for those darn eggs for breakfast, yuck but inexpensive) and could easily think of complimentary foods for myself and my family.  Like burgers without a bun for me, fish with rice for them and broccoli for me, brats for them and sausage for me.

2. have some easy to cook meals.  Because by the end of 30 days, you will be so OVER cooking.  Sausage & sweet potatoes, lunchmeat & an egg, tuna salad.  Ready to eat in 5 minutes. 

3. Aidells chicken and apple sausage, applegate roast beef lunchmeat, homemade mayo (which is truly incredibly easy and I'm never buying from the store again), Balsamic salad dressing, apples cooked in coconut oil, Chipotle chicken and sweet potatoes, beef and cabbage delicious meal, sloppy joes over a potato, la croix sparkling water, and pinterest.

I found some really yummy recipes that I plan to use all the time now.  

My shelves with the blue tape.  I tried my darndest not to look at the not blue shelves.

Blue shelf right in front when I open my cabinet

How did it go for me? I had a weird fascination with food for about a week in the middle, was completely exhausted for two days at the start, and had a hard cider on day 30 (CHEATER CHEATER).  I realized that my milk supply was dropping (still breastfeeding) about a week in so I started eating more snacks, fat, and larger meals even when I didn't really want to, and drinking a ton of water.  I feel really good though!  I am in the "reintroduction phase" of the plan, where I introduce foods back into my diet slowly so that I can track if anything makes me feel terrible (and, presumably, so that I don't crap my pants from eating something different).  And I don't really miss anything, except for the price tag of my pre-whole 30 food.  I've got beans back into my diet so it's not all-meat-all-the-time which I feel good about. 

I lost weight and my pants look laughable. I think my weight has been redistributed a bit which is a good thing.  Most importantly, I feel like I have control over the foods I'm choosing, which is a new thing for me.  Just because it's there doesn't mean I have to eat it.  Somewhat embarrassing that I am learning this as a 28 year old.  I also would like to do it again when I am not breastfeeding so that I don't have to worry so much about my milk supply, and really feel like I have my body to myself again.

There.  Embarrassing post over.  Phew.  Have you ever done a Whole 30? 
It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. - See more at:

Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system. - See more at:
Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system. - See more at:
Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system. - See more at:
Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system. - See more at:
Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system. - See more at:
Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system. - See more at:

Thursday, May 28, 2015

All things outdoor

I wrote this post two full weeks ago but had a photo uploading issue.  So we are all going to pretend that you are reading this on, say, May 18th.  Then, I'll post the "update" post in a few days and you'll be amazed, okay?

I plan on updating here what is happening in our lawn/garden/flower beds.  Every year I have taken some pictures to help me remember what is what and which plants are flowers vs. weeds but then I loose the picture so I'm putting some thoughts here so that I don't lose them.  Nothing disappears from the internet, folks.  Remember that.

So a quick tour of the yard is in order.  Starting in our backyard, you might start by eating dinner on the patio and then look to the left and see this:

Lots of different kinds of hostas.  I think they need to be divided again, because this area seems very crowded.  There are also lots of forget-me-nots but I don't really like them and I should pull them out next year.

Next up is the garden.  It's looking great!!  We have  pumpkins, spinach, carrots, beans, peas, onions, and kohlrabi (I think that's what is growing there, it may be weeds) growing from seed.  Then I bought eight tomato plants (six are beefsteak & roma for canning) and four pepper plants because I can never get those to work well from seeds.  We were gone last weekend and everything jumped out of the ground and it looks like I'm a gardener!!!  The jury is still out as to whether or not I will have to put a fence around this to prevent veggie loss.

In the back of the house we have something interesting going on: A large row of hostas.  They aren't placed along the fence, but about 8 feet in so there is a bare spot behind them full of crazy weeds.  We're just leaving it.  Someday maybe we'll get some more bushes or trees for back here and I can make it look more intentional, and disguise our view into our neighbor's house a little better.

What to do with this strange space back here?  Bushes?  Trees?  Chicken coop?

Next up on our stroll around the house is our side yard.  It's really bad looking.  I've given up hope that it will look good this year. We stuck down those square pavers under the garbage cans and called it a big improvement.  TaDa!

Weeds, hostas (again!), rose bush climbing a strange trellis

By the way, our lawn has really gotten away from us at the moment.  It's pretty comical to me, actually, because there is a distinct line between our neighbors yards and our yard in regards to the millions of dandelions we have popping up.  I'm unwilling to spray them this year though because we have a little boy who literally puts grass in his mouth yet.  So all our neighbors probably think we are the shame of the neighborhood, and I don't care.  Not a priority to us!

On the front of that corner is this cool climbing flowering plant.  I love it because there are always hummingbirds here.  I might try and install some sort of trellis in front of the garbage cans to help hide them and this will grow beautifully on it.

Slowly training this to climb across the top of the garage.  I cut some off when I thought it was dead but it turns out I shouldn't have cut it.  Whoops!

Around the front of the house is this crazy, curly, ugly bush.  We're trying to embrace it.  We have a whole stack of mulch and weed barrier that I AM GOING TO GET IN THIS YEAR so that all the weeds will be gone and pretty black mulch will be here instead.  Along the right side is a new hydrangea plant that will be my favorite thing, I think.

Pride of the neighborhood

Farther to the left, my in-laws recently bought us that crab-apple tree to replace the dead olive tree that we cut down last year.  It's my son's birthday gift, and I'm excited to take his picture in front of it every year to document both of their growth.

Needs to be weeded

Along the other side of the yard is another mess.  I started weeding and mulching this sucker and got about 1/2 of the way along the house before my wrists started acting up so then the weeds crept back in along the other half before we finished it.  The right side looks lovely, but I'm hoping to finish off the other half (to the left of the A/C) this year and then along the fence another year.  It's just too much for me.
Where we sttarted

I will finish the stone border along here at some point.

Wild! Full of lots of bulb type plants, purple round flowers, tall grass, and weeds.  And Creeping Jenny.  Lots of creeping jenny.

Thus concludes our tour of the yard.  I hope you are still with me and I didn't bore you to death, and that my weeds didn't burn your eyes!  I'll post another update farther along into the summer to see how much improvement has been made.  Will she get the mulch in??  Are those kohlrabi plants or just weeds??  Will the neighbors start collecting their torches and pitchforks??? Stay tuned to find out!