Wife, Chicken Mommy, eBay Seller and Walking DIY Disaster

I blinked and summer was over: I have to cook dinner again

The kids are back in school. I don’t know why the quiet house always surprises me, and each year at the start of school I find myself missing the kids when they aren’t here. I will never miss the talking back or ugly looks when they are in a “mood,”  but something about not seeing them during the day is a little sad.

With back to school has come regular hours and meal times. I’m bracing for the hectic flurry surrounding sports and student council, the darkness that starts at what seems like the minute school lets out. And i’m getting back into the swing of meals that don’t take forever to produce.

Enter the rotisserie chicken: 4 meals in one bird!

1) Eat the chicken like animals while it’s still warm. Picking and pulling with fingers is allowed.

2) Scrape off any good size chunks to use in a casserole or in quesadillas

3) On low heat simmer for however long it takes you to remember you left a chicken carcass simmering on the stove. After pulling out all the bones, collect any bits of meat left and add to chicken chili or sandwiches.

4) strain all the leftover chunks and keep the water from the simmered all day chicken. Homemade broth is the BEST. Freeze in ice cube trays or muffin tins and use throughout the year in recipes that call for broth or water.

Here’s how the last chicken ended up:

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I sent the kids to Sewing School! Sewing School 2 blog tour & giveaway

The summer days are long enough without facing the task of entertaining a 12 and 14 year old when it is raining. Since I have been working on a quilt for my husband as an anniversary gift, the kids were naturally curious about what I was doing. To my delight my sweet friend Andria Lisle and her co-author Amie Petronis Plumley released a follow-up to their first book (Sewing School) not long ago and I knew a review project would be just the thing to keep the kids occupied on a rainy day.

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Now, if you know me, you know I am the meanest stepmother on the planet. I expect the kids to do daily chores and read for an hour each day in the summer. Sometimes I even make them WRITE! Usually my reminders for the learning part of the day are met with grumbles and discussions. Any educational pursuit that doesn’t elicit a negative response is awesome, and since the kids think Andria is so cool, they didn’t even complain about trying projects from her books!

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We were graciously provided a copy of each book. If you aren’t familiar with them, Sewing School came out of a sewing class for kids that Andria and Amie taught in Memphis, TN. Kids were taught hand sewing skills and completed a number of projects utilizing their skills. In Sewing School 2, machine sewing is explored. In combination with the hand sewing skills, kids are prepared with a solid foundation for future projects on their own.

Since Michael has not used a sewing machine before and Emily has some machine time under her belt, Michael chose a project from Sewing School and Emily picked a project from Sewing School 2. Amazingly we only had one meltdown out of frustration (needle threading can be a bear!) Having read both books, I was confident that the kids could manage on their own for the most part. Not only are the instructions easy to follow, the corresponding photos are spot on! I loved that kids are photographed demonstrating each project. Somehow I think that seeing other kids completing each step builds confidence. While Michael became frustrated with certain aspects of getting started, Emily simply slowly but surely worked her way through her own questions and before I realized it, she was just about finished!  Once Michael got settled in and focused, he was able to utilize the tips and other helping points of the book to finish with no further issues. The dictionary was a great reference for both kids, but especially for Michael who was able to double check that he really did know what the terms meant. For me, it was valuable to be able to refer the kids to the index or dictionary while still working on my own project. (For parents with younger children, more supervision will be necessary)

Michael chose to save a special t-shirt by turning it into a pillow. (Sewing School, p. 120)

He loves his STAX shirt!

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Emily chose to make a zipper pouch. She raided my scraps and chose a gorgeous

Kate Spain print from the Cuzco line. (Sewing School 2, p. 91)

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Can you believe I got REAL smiles out of a 12 and 14 year old?

Great work Andria and Amie!

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Find more info at the Sewing School blog

 

If you want to alleviate some summer boredom and teach your kids a new skill, you can find Sewing School 2 at booksellers and online at Amazon

 For other projects, check out all the stops on the Sewing School 2 blog tour:

July 7 – Our Busy Homeschool

July 8 – scrumdilly-do!

July 9 – Crafty Moms Share

July 10 – Jane of All Trades

July 11 – Windy Lou

July 12 – Adventures of a DIY Mom

July 13 – Improv Diary

July 16 – He Sewed She Sewed

July 17 – Teach Beside Me

July 18 – All Things with Purpose

July 19 – The Crafty Crow

July 20 – Family Style School

July 21 – Such Designs

July 22 – Red Bird Crafts

July 23 The Long Thread

July 25mayamade

GIVEAWAY!
Enter to win Sewing School AND Sewing School 2
One U.S. winner will receive a copy of BOTH Sewing School books

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was provided copies of Sewing School and Sewing School 2 for review. I was not compensated for this review.  All opinions and elicited genuine teenager smiles are my own/property of WindyLou.

Heatin’ up

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Hexie, hexie, hexie

We went on a long baseball tournament. I sewed a lot of hexagons. BY HAND!

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I’m busy! Here are some cute kittens and kids

It’s summer y’all. That means I’d rather be outside playing in the garden, running around just to be outside or otherwise occupied. That makes me a shittier than normal blogger!

But look! Pictures! of cats! and kids!

I went to Memphis. There were kittens.

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There were nieces! and Monkey! The museum wore us out. It also was apparently not exciting enough.

 

IMG_2793We found the bees at the zoo

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We took the requisite posed pictures at the weird holes in the walls at the zoo. Mostly though, we just played with kittens. How could we not?

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Summer bloggy blahs

I haven’t been feeling very blogilicious lately. Something about warmer weather, traveling for baseball every $*%&^)@#$%^ weekend and instagram. It’s so easy to pop up photos for instant gratification that my instagram account has just about taken over. Here are a few of my recent faves.

 

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Better yet, just come see the photos as I post them. My feed is chock full of kitties, flowers and FABRIC. The sewing bug got hold of me again, so I’m back to it, and trying my hand at quilting! Find me on Instagram as wwwindylou

Everybody needs a SpareOne: Buy one, donate one SpareOne emergency phone

I’ve been hanging on to this SpareOne emergency phone trying to figure out how to review a product that I hope I never have to use. This week with all the tragedy surrounding the Oklahoma tornado damage is a great time to think about emergency preparedness. I grew up in a household that planned for emergencies. We had backpacks under our beds with clothing, non-perishable food and water and basic first aid kits. We also stored extra food and water in case of hard times (which we ended up using during a time my dad was out of work for a year) and we gardened to have healthy foods to store.

As I think about how my life and technology have changed over the years, I am happy that I have kept the habit of preparing for the future. In my own home, I store extra supplies, water, food and keep a store of first aid supplies. Now, I also keep a SpareOne emergency phone. It’s quite a neat idea – a battery operated phone whose battery lasts for 15 years. The packaging is waterproof, floats and the phone is operable through the bag. Knowing that we are covered for emergency phone calls in the event of a disaster is a great feeling. Although we all have cell phones, having a waterproof, cold temperature proof phone offers more peace of mind.

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Yesterday, I was contacted with a special offer in relation to SpareOne and the Oklahoma disaster. Right now at SpareOne.com you can buy a SpareOne emergency phone at a discount and an additional phone will be donated to people in tornado stricken areas. Anyone using the code BUYGIVE04 will receive a $20 discount on each phone purchased, a SpareOne phone will be donated and SpareOne will track buyers coming from WindyLou.com!

This is a small way to help the recent Oklahoma tornado victims and first responders, and at the same time, prepare your own family.

 

DISCLOSURE: I was provided with a SpareOne phone for review purposes. I was not compensated for this review/article and all opinions are my own and honest. This review is provided as part of my relationship with itsaglamthing.com

I dyed

I’ve been working with a new group that sends me products for review. One of the recent boxes on my doorstep was a nifty set of all natural, organic dyes! I was super excited to try these because I had promised one of my stepdaughter’s friends birthday cupcakes. Her favorite color was green, so I yanked off the wrapping and got coloring.

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The Nature’s Flavours dyes come in glass bottles, and must be refrigerated. I love the heft of the bottle and not feeling like I am going to squeeze a little plastic dispenser so hard that the coloring will fly everywhere. (Yes, I know this from sad experience!) The box is sturdy enough that I can store the entire set in one spot of the fridge and not have to worry about the bottles rolling all over.

Since the colors are all natural, they don’t have the fakey neon look of other food coloring. I liked the difference in a more natural color. It didn’t take a ton of coloring to get a nice shade either. At first I worried I would have to use half the bottle to get a nice shade of green, but I didn’t!

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My requisite taste test of frosting delivered no surprises either. Another thought at the back of my mind was that with the dyes being plant based, the frosting would taste like beans or grass or something icky. Not so!

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Everything turned out just right and from all reports the cupcakes were well received! To order your own set or to check out more all natural products you can find Nature’s Flavors online at their website, on facebook and twitter.

 

Disclosure: I was provided Nature’s Flavours Rainbow Pack of Natural Colors for review in affiliation with www.itsaglamthing.com I was not compensated for this review.  All opinions and photos are my own.

It’s Spring Cleaning Time! Bust out the JAWS

A while back I reviewed and gave away an awesome household cleaner: J.A.W.S. The Just Add Water System is cool because the products are environmentally friendly AND the packaging is minimal. The best part is the little refill holder attached to the bottle – it doesn’t get lost in the dark corners of a drawer or cabinet.

Since we tried the sprays indoors this time I tried the degreaser/cleaner on a REALLY grubby project. I’m renting a booth space in a boutique mall, which has sent me hither an yon trying to find all sorts of displays and shelving. I found a darling chippy old cabinet, but man o man was it dirty. Armed with my JAWS I decided to see if it would work on the crusty cabinet.

I’ll let the picture give my answer:

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Y’all that is years of who know what all caked on. I didn’t photograph the whole cleaning sesh, but needless to say I’m an even bigger fan of my JAWS now.

Here’s the skinny on a few sales at a couple of stores: BOGO sale on JAWS cleaners April 14-27 at Busch’s and April 8-21 at Hiller’s (www.Jawscleans.com). It’s normally $4.99 a bottle at each store (with one refill included). The sale is a BOGO at each store, so it’s $2.49 a bottle with the included refill. The sale is on the JAWS Glass and Hard Surface Cleaner; JAWS Multi-Purpose Cleaner/Degreaser; Bathroom Cleaner/Deodorizer; and Disinfectant Cleaner Degreaser.

AND

I’m also giving away another full line of cleaners valued at $20!

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Painted Farmgirl

I’ve been working on a little side project. There is a soon to be open craft and antique mall in the next town over. I am delighted to have a small booth there for my overflow vintage lovelies. This is what I have been working on: price tags!

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