Monday, April 30, 2012

Tutorial & Giveaway: Paci Clip

Here it is - my first ever crafty tutorial.  Not sure there will be more... but someone asked for this one, so I thought I would give it a go. 

I made these paci clips for Clara when she was younger.  They work great for corraling the pacifier, and actually stay clipped to their clothes, unlike most of the ones I purchased.  This was one of my favorite baby "gadgets" and certainly saved us from chasing pacis!

To start out, you will need a few supplies:

18" of Ribbon
1 mitten clip
1 hairband
Thread


These are the mitten clips I use, they are $2 at Walmart in the baby section.  I just cut off the elastic strips and you have 4 clips.  These are much cheaper than buying specialty clips at a fabric store.


Thread the ribbon through the clip.

Fold over 1/4" on both ends of the ribbon and press.  (and ignore my sausage fingers and bad manicure!)

Pinch the hairband in half, place it between the two folded ends, and pin in place.

Sew across the folded ends, keeping the hairband in place.  I usually sew 2 rows, 1/8" apart.

Now it should look like this with one sewed end, and both side still open.

Sew down one side of the ribbon, beginning at the folded end and working toward the clip.

If you use a ribbon that is wider than the clip, you will need to taper at the end near the clip.  Work with folding it over until it is even.

Sew to the end as close as you can to the clip.  Then flip it over and do the other side in the same way.


Press the ribbon so that everything lays flat.  Here is the final product!

They are super easy and I whipped this one up in less than 20 minutes while Clara slept.  (in fact, it took way longer to put together this tutorial than it did to actually make the clip!)  I have found that grosgrain ribbon works a little better than the silky stuff, but either will work. 

Now for the GIVEAWAY part!  Since I have no need for this paci clip in the near future, I would like to give it to one of my fabulous readers!

To enter the giveaway, please:

1.  Publicly follow the Blessings Abound Blog.
2.  "Like" Blessings Abound on Facebook.
3.  Leave a comment on this post telling me about your favorite baby/kid "gadget".

Giveaway closes on Friday, May 11th.

Get your entry in and tell your friends!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Little Copy-Cat

I am finding everyday how much Clara picks up on everything we do. She is such a little copy-cat!


I kiss Clara all the time. Seriously, if kisses sustained a child, Clara would be set for life! I always kiss her forehead when I lay her down to change her diaper or change her clothes. (I tell you this because it pertains to the story below… keep reading)

Yesterday, I had just changed Clara’s diaper and was in our bedroom folding clothes. Clara carried her baby out of her room with a pair of her own pants in the other hand. She laid her baby down on one of the steps that leads into our bedroom, kissed her on the forehead, and proceeded to put the pants on her baby, talking to her the whole time.

It was so sweet. I just stood there and watched her – smiling and holding back tears. She’s growing up so darn fast!

Last night as I was getting her out of the bath, she said, “good night cow, good night ducky, good night elmo.” All bath toys. Then as we headed upstairs she said, “good night josie (cat), good night papa, good night daddy, good night Chase.” We hadn’t seen cousin Chase all day, but apparently she wanted to say good night to him. Too funny.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Saving Strategies

I have had several people ask me about our strategies for saving for a house purchase. Instead of explaining it 20 times over, I decided to explain it here – then I can just refer with a link!

We started saving for a new house about 4 years ago. We knew we wanted to move, and we really wanted a rural property. Unfortunately, rural properties are often expensive, and many times need a lot of work. Since neither Paul nor I are especially handy, we weren’t looking for a fixer-upper!

I’m a saver. I haven’t always been, but I am now. Money burns holes in Paul’s pockets. If he has 2 pennies to rub together, he will spend them. Heck, he’ll spend 1 penny! So I knew we needed a way to save money that would be easy.

Several years ago, my friend Amy introduced me to http://www.ingdirect.com/ . It’s an online bank that offers higher interest rates because it doesn’t have a lot of overhead like brick and mortar buildings. I had a savings account through ING because at the time it offered 6.5% interest, which was really high. ING also offers automatic withdrawl/deposits and takes a few days to move the money. These features made it the perfect option for us to set up a house savings fund.

We knew we could afford a mortgage payment between $1000-$1200. I set up an automatic deposit into ING from one of our bank accounts each week for $250. So we were putting roughly a mortgage payment into savings each month for the last 4 years. You do the math… it adds up! Since it takes a few days for a transfer to go through, the money was not easily accessible, and therefore harder to “accidentally” spend.

The positives of this are that we were able to save a sizeable down-payment for when the right place came along (and it did!) and we have been living like we have had a mortgage for the last 4 years.

We have savings accounts like this set-up for other things too, like retirement, vacations, etc. that transfer a smaller amount weekly or monthly.

We are handling our new mortgage in much the same fashion, continuing to put away money weekly, and then scheduling a direct payment from that account.
It may seem like a little finagling, but with the money out of sight, out of mind… it’s hard to spend it! But you know that in an absolute emergency… it’s there.

If you are interested in setting up an account in ING, please contact me by leaving a comment with your email address and I will send you a referral. A referral will get you a $25 bonus when you make your first deposit, and will get me a $10 bonus. We both win! :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

5 on Friday


It is once again Friday and time to reflect on this week!

Time Off
I had some weekend events this week and last, so I was able to flex some hours this week. This resulted in getting 3 afternoons off! I was able to do some cleaning, unpacking, and run errands. It was awesome!

Rain
The farmers needed the rain we got twice this week. I was happy to have an evening of everyone in the house snuggling in the living room. We watched Shrek, and Clara loved it!


Sun
We had some nice days this week as well which resulted in us getting a bunch of stuff we bought last Sunday at Farmer Seed and Nursery planted. This included 4 apple trees, strawberries, blueberries, asparagus, and raspberries. We also divided and re-potted some of the hostas from the old house. We will still pick strawberries and raspberries at the old house to freeze for this year, but next year we will have more in our own yard!  Here is Clara fast asleep in the back seat after our trip to the nursery.


Dishes Done!
Last night I made pork loin, scalloped potatoes, and asparagus for supper. Paul was kind enough to do the dishes for me.

Dandelions
Clara and I spent a good portion of Saturday morning playing outside. We drew on the garage bib with sidewalk chalk, walked across the pasture to visit the steers, checked on the chickens and bunnies, fed the outside cats, sat in the lawn chairs, and picked dandelions. Clara brought me my first dandelion bouquet – a crumpled fist full – it was perfect!

Join in the Linky Party at Design Your Dwelling and tell us about your 5 on Friday!






Friday, April 13, 2012

Band Aid

I have a crack on one of my fingers, so I have been covering it with a band aid and some ointment to try to get it to heal.

It was not acceptable to Clara that mommy have a tiger-print band aid on her finger. She wanted it OFF! Here is what ensued...














5 on Friday

Beth, a friend of mine and fellow blogger started a new weekly feature on her blog: 5 on Friday. It’s a list of 5 things that were great this week or made you realize how blessed you are. I love this idea and have decided to make it a staple here as well. I think it can be too easy sometimes to dwell on the negative, instead of finding the beautiful in each day.

You can check out Beth’s 5 on Friday at her blog {Design Your Dwelling}.If you are a blogger, feel free to tell us about your 5 and link it up!

I finally got a new purse!
When I was young and rich (ha!) I bought a new purse every month. They were never very expensive, but it was fun to change up my look often and be on the hunt for a new bag. That has most definitely not been the case the last few years. I was excited when my mom gave me a gift card to a local shop so I could buy a Vera Bradley bag for Christmas. I stopped in twice but didn’t find a bag I was in love with or wanted to spend the $$ on. Then the other day I had a few extra minutes and was in that part of town, so I swung in and discovered they were having a retirement sale with 50% off retired bags. I found a bag that is useful and springy – and have enough on the gift card left to buy another bag another day!



Busy Busy
I’m one of those people who really thrives on being busy. The last few weeks have been chuck full of meetings and events, so I have been very busy at the office. The time goes by so fast and I love that I feel like I’m accomplishing things!

Baby Explosion!
Spring has sprung! My sister’s dog had puppies… there are baby kittens and new lambs at my parent’s house… we have baby chicks and ducks… and one of our rabbits had kits!



Living in the Country
Seeing Clara’s excitement over all the little baby farm creatures, her love of being outside, and her eagerness to “help” with chores has made me ever more thankful that we are able to raise our family in the country, on our little “farm”.

Bunco
Tonight is Bunco night with the ladies. It is so much fun to get together, laugh, eat, talk, vent… oh yeah, and play bunco!

I have 1 more to add – I am super thankful for Paul these days. I know I give him a lot of grief, but herseriously is my hero sometimes. I am so thankful that he is willing to get Clara up and ready in the mornings so I can get to work on time. Even on days when she is Miss Cranky-pants, he still finds a way to make her smile. She adores him and loves following him around outside. The pic below is from daycare - she looks so grown up!

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So what 5 things are you thankful on this Friday?