Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Homemade Tooth Tooth Fairy Pillow

SO, I had a friend who's daughter just lost her first tooth.  She wanted something special for her daughter to put her tooth into.  I had made Elliot a tooth pillow so I decided to go back to pattern to make a more girly version.

So these are tooth tooth fairy pillows.  The mouth serves as a pocket for the tooth.  For nervous tooth fairy kids (like the ones that worry about something coming in to their rooms while they are asleep), the tooth pillow can hang on the doorknob so that the tooth fairy does a fly by.  

Phoebe wanted hers with light blue eyes, the pink skirt on top, and bright yellow crown.  Gotta love the silver wings.  

Phoebe's friend got the green skirt on top and the dark yellow crown.  

With the first tooth fairy pillow, I used cheap felt and it pilled up.  Lesson learned.  For this one, I used a wool felt and I am hoping that it lasts longer without pilling.  

If you are interested in making the pillow, it is free pattern on this fabulous blog: http://mmmcrafts.blogspot.com/2009/02/tooth-pillow-revisited.html

Happy crafting!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Back to Scrappin'

It's been over a year since I actually created a new layout even though I call myself a scrapbooker, still buy supplies like crazy, and take pictures every week.  I probably average of repinning a layout a day from pinterest on my scrapbooking boards.  However, last night I felt the urge to scrapbook.  Somehow these red Valentine's pictures just spoke to me.  So, here it is.  I think I'll go back and do some more scrapbooking because this was super fun! 

Happy crafting!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sewing Sunday

I had let my sewing machine sit idle for too long.  I had been drooling over sewing pininerest ideas for months.  School is starting in a week and I was avoiding getting ready.  What is a frustrated crafter to do?  Sew!  So I called the gals and we sat down at my dining room table with three sewing machines, glasses of soda, and got to it.  The funny thing is that I hadn't realized how much I missed it until I started doing it.  Writing has been wonderful but there is something so rewarding about sitting down to a project where you use your hands to create it and it is done in an evening.  I love looking at my projects and saying, "I did that." And this is what I did:

1. I turned t-shirts into summer/spring cardigans.  I wasn't going to wear these t-shirts but cardigans! What teacher doesn't love her cardigans?  Since we begin teaching at o'dark thiry we have to wear layers.  Basically, I slit the middle of the shirt, created my own binding with cool cordinating fabric and bound the raw edges and along the neckline.  It wasn't very difficult.

2.  I also made a coordinating fabric flower to pin onto the cardigan. I found the directions on a blog to make the flower about two years ago and I have been flower crazy ever since.  Click here for directions if you would like to make your own.  I put my flowers on pin backings in case I wanted to take it off or attach it to a headband (my friend Rosy's idea). 

3.  I made a pillowcase.  We've received numerous pillowcases as gifts over the years and I bought a kit of fabric at the beginning of the summer to give it a try.  One thing about mine is that I forgot that one of my favorite places to buy fabric Marden's tends to cut generously and I didn't check the measurements.  The little border fabric was all off and I ended up with a king sized pillowcase.  So, I cut it a little and "made it work".  I had to blindly follow the directions for the case because it made no logical sense to me.  However, it took me about 20-30 minutes so it obviously worked and there were no tricky steps.  This would be a great beginner project!  I could whip up a bunch in a weekend.  Here is the free pattern: pillow directions

4. I had this kit that I bought at Keepsake Quilting that included the fairy panel, the batting, and the backing. Link for the kit I thought Phoebe would love this as a wall-hanging above her bed.  I'm going to give it to her for her birthday.  I am planning on hand quilting around the fairy (given enought time). She loves strawberries and fairies so I'm hoping she likes it.  What little girl wouldn't?

All of these projects took me an afternoon and evening.  Sometimes it helps if you just have the kit and directions.  After a break, this is definitely how I get back into it whether it's quilting or scrapbooking or crafting.  

Happy Crafting! 


Friday, August 10, 2012

This Moment

 {this moment}

*** *** *** 
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.  (From Soulemama- see link in sidebar)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Outdoor Star Wars Party Movie Snacks

So, for Elliot's kid party we had to do a bit of scrambling.  There was a forcast for a big thunderstorm and we were worried that we wouldn't be able to see the movie outside (and we really didn't want 12 seven-eight year olds in our house).  So, we moved the location to a local ice-cream/farm that is fabulous!  If you live anywhere near Concord, NH, you have to go visit Beech Hill Farm. They are so fabulous.

Well, I thought I'd share my Star Wars themed snacks.  Since Elliot is a candy hog, we gave him what he wanted for his birthday.  For the lables, I downloaded a Star Wars font and did a box around the text entirely in Word.  If you want a copy of the lables, feel free to email me and I can send it along.

The very popular Yoda Sodas!
To make:  Sprite & a scoop of lime sherbert
The food:   
Swedish fish = Gungan fish
M&Ms= Storm Trooper energy packs
Pretsel Rods= Ewoke snacks
Popcorn= Podrace Popcorn
Pinapple pieces= Wookie Wonder Fruit
Licorice= Light Saber Licorice

These are a variety of things that I came up with after walking the aisles of the grocery store.  The kids loved reading the lables.  I then gave them baskets to fill up for the "movie" which ended up being an episode of Clone Wars because we had a time crunch with the location change. 

The table after all the kids had gone through. 

This was a super fun party.  We made little pillows for the kids to use during the movie.  Jan pre-sewed them except for a hole for stuffing.  Then we had a coloring contest where everyone got a mustache for participating.  The mustache pictures are HILARIOUS!  We saw the animals at the farm.  Then, we watched an episode of Clone Wars.  Very, very fun!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Someone is 8

It's hard to believe but this little guy
is 8 years old today!!!

He can still be a ham!  That hasn't changed a bit.  However, we have also seen him grow into a young man that excited, smart, and curious.  Jan said once about Elliot that all the world is a scientific experiment, and that is the best description of how Elliot goes through the world.  He is always thinking and trying things and even sometimes pushing the boundaries just to see what will happen.  He does things in his own time and that's ok with us.  He is cautious and sometimes nervous and always knows his limits which makes him moms happy since we can be a bit protective too. 

I'm just so proud of my little man! 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Summer Residency

I know, it's been forever and a day since I have blogged.  I almost entirely missed the month of June.  I squeeking this one out, I think.  So what I have I been up to, you ask?  Since starting my MFA in Creative Writing, I have been crazy busy with writing.  When I have spare time between teaching and raising two crazy kids, I write, write, write.  I am attending the Southern New Hampshire University low residency program and so far, it has been EXCELLENT!  And I'm not just saying that.  I was assigned a mentor last semester who read my story and gave me feedback.  Amazingly, I was assigned the incredibly talented writer Wiley Cash who's book Land More Kind Than Home came out in April. It's an amazing book, go out and buy it right now.  And I'm not just saying that because he is my mentor.  It is honestly a really good, compelling book. I barely ever buy books in hardcover (I'm too cheap) and this one is TOTALLY worth it!

The low residency program started at SNHU and then went to Star Island off the coast of NH.  Hardship, right?  Look at the view from the porch above.  So beautiful! We spent lots of time conferencing on our work, having craft sessions with our amazing mentors (successful writers!), and got to listen to wonderful words put together in ways that made me wonder, cry, laugh, and feel a whole range of emotions.

And on top of all that amazingness, we had this kind of view.  My novel takes place on an island off of Maine, and I was so inspired.  

Such an experience!

Sunday, May 20, 2012


There is something so wonderful about the beach in Maine.  We took a beach walk on Sunday.  It was so lovely.

The kids loved having sandy toes!  They managed to even end up the water.  Crazy!  The rest of us were wearing sweaters. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Kid's Art Show

Because of this book:

Phoebe has been begging her grandmother to have an art show.  So Mimi, being the best grandmother in the world, planned an art show for Phoebe.  The incredients were pretty simple:  a clotheline, clothespins, lots of kid's artwork, treats, and guests. 
We put up a big sign and invited eveyone we could think of.  (Jan has four sisters and 3 made it!) So we had a few friends from the neighborhood who stopped by.  Elliot is embellishing the sign with fireworks.  He just learned the technique in art class and loves to make them.  Phoebe had one half of the clothesline and Elliot had the other. 
When I notice that one of Phoebe's dance class friends showed up in two pictures, I texted her mom.   They were free to come on over. So, we even had some little art enthusiasts. (I think the lemonaid and cupcakes might have helped too.)
Below is a picture of Madison in her dance outfit.  Phoebe loved showing her. 

Elliot being the shy guy spent spent more time under the table or running around the house than greeting the people.  Phoebe lapped it up.  I have two totally different kids. 

Thank good we had the perfect weather for an outside art show.  Perfect fun for Mother's Day weekend!  

Monday, May 7, 2012

Reflection about Screen-Free Week

Well, here's the thing, I had thought that giving up all screens for a week would be the most wonderful thing since sliced bread.  I grew up in a family that said regularly that "TV will rot your brain."  I was convinced that shutting off the TV, computer, and phone would make us all nicer, calmer, and more centered.  It didn't.  There were some huge benefits of turning it all off for the week but there were also some unintended affects as well.

First of all- what we did when we were not watching TV.  The kids rode their bikes A LOT!  Mostly Phoebe and Elliot do endless laps around the house.  However, we also took a little mini-trip as a family to Wolfoboro, NH where they have a FABULOUS bike/run/walking trail that goes from the center of Wolfoboro out by a river and to a nice beach.  It goes even further than the two miles that we biked (4 miles in all) but Phoebe was biking the whole way on training wheels and we hadn't been able to fit Mama's bike on the bike rack so she was walking.  We had a super fantastic day.  I have a wonderful Trek bike that I never ride and it finally got dusted off.  I was so glad that I went.

We also ended up playing board games almost every evening.  We played Battleship, Connect Four, and Sorry.  Elliot is a crafty board game player.  Phoebe doesn't always last but she is just as happy keeping us company with an elaborate art project. Our games had been sitting idle in our game closet for awhile.  They enjoyed the use. 

The best thing about the week is that the kids ASKED to go to bed about an hour before their regualar bed time almost every night.  My kids don't actually know how to tell time but I think not having some sort of distraction made them listen to their bodies more fully and know when they were tired.  Jan and I collapsed in bed early a few times last week as well.  

Another good thing is that I got a whole book read and started another.  I'm a big reader under any circumstance but I got more read and more done than I normally do.   I also realize that I am on the computer almost the whole day at school.  Any computer use that was essential to my job, I still did.  What I realized is that when I am not with students, I am on the computer.  I'm either taking attendance, or creating new lessons, or inputting grades.  I didn't realize just how much time I am on the computer at school.  The problem is that our network is just so slow at school.  It is easily one of the most frustrating parts of my day.  It is such a mental drain to watch that little booting up signal and know that you can't teach class without the computer because you have to take attendance or get your powerpoint or check a grade.  My students begin chatting the minute the computer begins to boot up. 

On the negative side, I really, really missed my Facebook friends and the positive reinfocement I get from Facebook.  I have reconnected with people from various times in my life and I missed the "chat" factor.  I missed finding out what was going on in their lives.  I tell my students that the reason that I like facebook is because I am nosey.  I can get a little peak inside other people's lives.  I enjoy this and missed it over the week. I missed the connection I have with some of the people I don't get to see in person. 

Honestly, I missed playing Words with Friends too.  It's like playing 10 boards of Scrabble all at the same time.   

 Actually, on Wednesday we were ALL grumpy.  Normally, we would have all retreated to our media of choice and ignored each other.  But, we didn't.  We argued just a bit.  And I really, really wanted to whine on Facebook and have someone say that it was ok.  However, I didn't and I got through it.  I talked with some good work friends instead. 

Overall, we all learned that turning off the media is a good idea.  We got more exercise, more sleep, and were generally more connected to each other.  If we can only remember not to take out our grumpies on each other.  If only. We will most definitely do it again next year.  We are already talking about limiting the screen time on a regular basis.  Jan, Elliot, and Phoebe are playing Uno right now. Maybe we changed just a little bit over the week. I think I'll go join them. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Screen-Free Week

It seems that my family is addicted to screen time.  It is not uncommon for my family to be in the living room together on various forms of media: computer, ipod, DVD, Wii, ipad, ect...  The Dater-Roberts family love our technology.  Obviously, since I have this blog, I can be included.  I often feel like my day is not complete without updating my Facebook profile or playing my words in Words with Friends.  

So as a result of all this screen obsession, we are participating in Screen-Free Week.  (It actually stared a little early because a certain young man had a little rule enforcement problem and lost 2 days of screen-time this weekend.)  The entire family is joining in starting on Monday morning.  Jan seems to think that this might be hardest on yours truly since I have this little iphone and pinterest addiction...  We shall see.  

We started practicing today in a restaurant that had not just one little TV by the bar, but FOUR different TVs that you could choose from- FOUR.  A little excessive?  Why would you need to watch TV when going out to dinner anyway?  Shouldn't you be talking to the people at your table?

Phoebe snuck in a little last-minute golf before the screen-free week begins.  

We don't have any specific plans for our week.  We haven't brainstormed various non-media activities.  We haven't made ourselves t-shirts (ohhh, that's a good idea!)  This weekend, the kids went bike riding, played a few games of Sorry, did some crafts, and dusted off the legos.  Elliot is hard-core addicted to media and did find out that a TV left in the attic got a fuzzy PBS channel.  We caught him.  The rest of the TVs we turned off the power strip.  As of tonight, we are done with media until next Sunday.  Wish us luck. 
 The Dater-Roberts get UNPLUGGED!

Practicing not-watching TV with Auntie Sue.

Friday, April 27, 2012

This Moment

 {this moment}

*** *** *** 
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.  (From Soulemama- see link in sidebar)
Just one little comment:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Make yourself a skirt

I have to say that right now I am desperate for some new clothes, and (as usual) we don't have a lot of extra money hanging around for new clothes.  I very nicely was given an opportunity to paw through an experienced sewers stash and take whatever I wanted.  This woman had sewed since the 70's or so and had some wonderful fabrics in her collection.  I was drawn (surprise, surpise) to a bright yellow polyester check. It's scratchy as all get out but so fun a fabric.

I decided that I would make a skirt with the fabric.  I used this pattern: http://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2011/how-tuesday-sew-a-skirt-in-one-hour/ .  It was super super simple and really did take about an hour.

Can't you just imagine a whole polyster suit made of this? Yellow checks!  I think I may have to make a skirt for Phoebe out of it too because she was jealous.  I just love it. 
It looks a little lighter in this photo but it really is more of a cheerful dayglow yellow.  It is your basic elastic waisteband skirt.  No frills.  Zip, zip.  

If you need a beginning sewing project, this is definitely a good starter project with fast results.  

Friday, April 20, 2012

This Moment

{this moment}

*** *** *** 
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.  (From Soulemama- see link in sidebar)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Writing, writing, writing

Tomorrow I am heading to a writing retreat.  With a bevy of females we are going to spend the weekend WRITING.  For a whole weekend!  I am out of my mind excited!  I'm wiggly, can't sleep excited! Fantastic fun!

Monday, March 19, 2012

New Heights

So I snapped this picture of Phoebe before church began.  Isn't she cute with her little wooden elephant? So cute.  

The last two times at church Phoebe and I have been trying out new seats in church.  The first week, she and I sat in the very first row.  It turns out you have a really good view from the first row but that also it's easy to feel everyone else's eyes boring into your back.  However, Phoebe and Elliot's favorite church friends (Lucy and Annie) sit up front so Phoebe decided it was the place to be.  

On this week, Phoebe decided that we would go sit in the balcony.  So Phoebe and I climbed up the rickety stairs to the balcony.  So all was going well.  It was a great view and we had the entire second floor to ourselves.  But see how Phoebe has a wooden alligator in her hand?  See where this is going?  Yes, she managed to drop the alligator off of the railing and down onto an unsuspecting lady that was sitting in the front row.  Yup, I was dying of embarassement.  Fortuantely, it managed to hit the lady in the leg and not in the head.  Phoebe buried her head in shame for about 10 seconds and then started begging to go down and get her alligtor back. 

Fortunately, only about a third of the congregation managed to catch the episode and the minister was oblivious (Thank you Jed!).  I suggested to the minister later that it was our attempt to keep people in the moment. Thankfully he has a good sense of humor and two children of his own. Perhaps Phoebe and I could devise a system with sling shots in the future when people started to nod off? 

It gave Jan quite a scare because when I was trying to pantomime to her that we lost the alligator, she thought that I almost lost Phoebe off the balcony.  Nothing of the sort, I had the back of Phoebe's pants well in hand (even when I took the picture- I'm talented). 

Well, life is nothing if not exciting when having children. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

This Moment

{this moment}

*** *** *** 
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.  (From Soulemama- see link in sidebar)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Off to the Aquarium

On Tuesday we decided to forge off on a adventure to the Boston Aquarium.  Phoebe has been begging us to ride on a train for weeks so we decided to drive from Concord, NH into a computer rail and take that into the city.  We could have parked for cheaper but the kids loved the ride. Why don't they make public transit cheaper??? If they want people to use it, it should be dirt cheap. Really.

Here we are outside the museum.  Our friends Alisona and Ray met us there, thus the group shot. Elliot was just dying to see penguins after his performance in the Penquin Follies at school the week before (see picture below- thank you Mimi) and they have a great penguin exhibit at the museum.  See the resemblance:

We got there in the afternoon which was actually perfect timing; all the school trips and most of the younger napping children had left.  Although this is the hour of young children meltdowns but it wasn't so crowded that you couldn't escape. I am proud to say that Elliot managed his sensory issues with the dark moody sounds of the Aquarium.  When he was a young child, it just completely freaked him out and he was misreable.  He loved it this time.
The ray touch tank was by far one of the highlights of our trip to the Aquarium.  Elliot and I could have stayed there forever.  The rays are smooth and rubbery and soft and wonderful feeling.  Really, it was so cool.  They just fly through the water and brush up against the side of the tank like they want to be touched.  Elliot and I could have stayed there for hours. We both drenched our shirts and had to walk around with wet sleeves for the next few hours. (A few years ago this would have put Elliot in a fit but we rolled up his sleeve and he dealt with it. So great to see him growing up.)
One of our family favorites, the seahorse.  

Some New Hampshire people go to Florida for their vacation, we just looked at it.  The sea lion came right up to the glass where Elliot was.  He looked at Elliot, Elliot looked at him and then they both looked at the lock.  I swear that Elliot would have been playing with that sea lion in minutes if they had been able to get to each other.  It was this funny little playful moment. 

The seals outside.  We were all fascinated by how they swim. 

The best part of the aquarium is that it makes you feel like you are under water.  I am most definitely a water person.  It's sort of floaty, dark, and peaceful.  The book that I'm writing most definitely takes place near the water, on the Maine coast.  It put me in just the ride mood. 

Afterwards we went to Mike's Pasteries in the North End where they wrap up your sweets (canollis, choclate cake as big as a fist, brownies slathered with chocolate frosting) in boxes with bakery twine.  I didn't even take a picture of the box.  We gobbled it all up. Yummmmm!

It's snowing like crazy outside.  Only the second time this winter.  Tomorrow we are off for two days at an indoor water park in North Conway, NH.  Phoebe tried on her bathing suits today to see what still fit.  It cracks me up to try on bathingsuits when it is snowing outside.  What a modern world we live in. We can swim inside while it is snowing outside. The kids are out of their mind excited!

Happy Vacation!