Sunday, September 28, 2008

ba-da-buh-bah-dah...i'm lovin' it!

have you ever had the fruit and walnut salad at mcdonald's? i think it is delish. a tad overpriced for me so i thought.......

this might work! and it was tasty:)

i just sliced some apples, took a handful of grapes, candied some walnuts and scooped some plain yogurt for my very own fruit and walnut salad. i haven't calculated the exact cost, but i'm quite sure it is less than the $3 price tag at the golden arches.


i used this great recipe from the crockpot lady to make easy, nummy, candied walnuts for my salad. they would be great on a green salad or by themselves as a power packed snack.

Friday, September 26, 2008

and the winner is.....



to make sure it was fair i had my 2-year-old do the drawing

drumroll please..................
number 10!!!!!!!!!

sarah allsup is getting a tutu! sarah is dear to my heart even though we've never met or even talked. she lives in a small town right next to bakersfield where i've been many times (apple shed...yum!) and she and her husband just welcomed two siblings into their family through adoption last week. the pic above is her two bio kids ...we can't wait to see that precious girl donning her new tutu!


thank you ALL for your wonderful comments and for participating in my very first giveaway...such fun!

if you would like to order a handmade tutu like the one given away, i have decided to start selling them. just in time for costume and gift season. i can make them in almost any size and lots of colors (blue, purple, white, green-tinkerbellish, or a mix). i also have accumulated a collection of very fun ribbon as accents to go with any motiff. i would love to custom make one for your princess and i am offering free shipping on the first 25 orders!

if you are interested simply email me at kristalbydesign@gmail.com with an idea of what you would like your tutu design to be and i can give you more specifics on measurements, colors, and delivery time. i will start with a price of $10 to get things rollin.

again-thanks for playing and "stay tuned" for future giveaways. one was just not enough!

it's fair time

all around the country it's time for fried food (twinkies are my favorite), farm animals, and ferris wheels...it's time to go to the county fair!  here's a few shots from our experience.
a litter of piglets just six days old!
new chickies

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

i need a tutu model!


i made this whimsical tutu and was surprised by how well it came out. i thought....hmmm...i should see if anyone would buy these! my problem...i have no one who will wear a tutu in my house! do you know a little girl who would be tickled pink to have this tutu? if you leave a comment on this post you will be entered in my tutu give-away and i will send it to you! (or i could send it to any address you provide-your niece, granddaughter, friend, etc) the only requirement is that you send me a pic of your cutie wearing it that i could post on my blog. i will close the give-away at midnight (CST) on friday, september 26th and announce the winner saturday morning. we'll have some very scientific way to randomly choose the winner (numbers in a bowl). happy commenting!

Monday, September 22, 2008

what kind of ruler are you?

"God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.  Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."  genesis 1:28

this was ari's sunday school lesson this week.  in order to bring the point home they made their very own "eco-systems".  ari LOVES having his own container complete with rock, soil, seed, and even rain!  
when i looked at the verse he brought home to go with the lesson i was struck again by the word "rule".  there are so many interpretations of that word in regards to the earth and to ruling people.  i started thinking about what kind of ruler i would like to be under.  the kind that uses their rightful power or the kind that uses their influence for the good of their subjects.  hmmm.  i am a ruler.  i am more powerful and influential than my subjects (the earth and its creatures).  most of the time i am happy to "wield" my power for my own comfort and convenience.  would i want to be a subject in my kingdom?  


Sunday, September 21, 2008

stalling with flattery should be an olympic sport



when noah got out of his bed (AGAIN) the other night i went into his room and told him to go to sleep.  he looked up at me from his bed, smiled, raised his shoulder, scrunched up his nose and said....

"i'm sooo glad you 'dopted me.

you're so pretty.

can i have a dog?"

in succession, with expression, and eyes wide open.  he won the gold. 

but he still had to stay in his bed.

Friday, September 19, 2008

cheap wall decor part two

set of four place mats at ross...2.99
cheap wall decor...priceless

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"pizza's here!"

there was a knock on my door sunday afternoon and this is what greeted me. sonny had taken ari to papa john's and let him make his own pizza! needless to say he was very excited and of course, used olives as the topping. if you look closely you can see "A-r-i" spelled out in the middle...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

the teen years: a preview

preview #1
ari's school issues a tote bag with the school logo on it for all kindergarteners to use.  i wanted to try making this super cute bag tags (featured in future post) and i attached one with his name onto his tote.  i asked him if he liked it and he said...."no....actually i hate it."  wow.  strong words.  so i asked "how come?"  he answered "what is it for?"  i told him it was so that he could tell which bag was his among all the bags that looked the same.  to this he replied"i don't want it to look different; i want it to look like everyone elses!!"

preview #2
the next day ari's shoes from ebay arrived in the mail.  i realized his were too small so we looked on ebay for used, velcro, plain shoes in his size.  he chose a brown pair and we won the auction.  when they came ari said he liked them and put them on to go to school.  when i picked him up that afternoon he said "MOM...did you know my shoes are SKETCHERS!??!"  of course, i did notice the brand, but not because i cared, jut because there's a huge S on the side of the shoe.  i asked ari how he knew they were sketchers and he told me that another boy at school informed him of it and that they were cool.  
phew!  glad they weren't the wrong brand.  do you think i should tell the boy that they were "previously owned"?  is that cool?:)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

i guess you want to make soap!


several of you have requested nicolette's "recipe" for making soap. soap making, i have learned, is very much an art, not so much a science. the first two batches nicolette made (and i watched her make) turned out really well. the pumpkin soap from friday night is too young to tell how it turned out yet (soap needs to cure 4-6 weeks before use). she has graciously given me her notes from those two batches, but wanted me to remind you all that there are lots of things to consider since you're working with lye and all so consult soapmaking books or website. you will need to get equipment that you can devote soley to soap making as it can no longer touch food (pot, spoon, blender/immersion blender, etc) and you will also need a scale. those are just a few of the things you need in addition to the actual ingredients. there is a TON of information from professionals on the web so check it out. please let me know if you try it!

Castile (the most gentle soap, great for very sensitive skin and young children)
54 oz olive

6.87 oz lye
17.82 oz water (distilled)

Honey and Lavender
(mmmm...the problem with making these soaps is you want to eat them:)
40 oz olive
10 oz coconut oil
16.5 oz water (distilled)

6.78 oz lye

2 tablespoons of honey at trace

contents of 1 tea bag at trace

2 or 3 (I can't remember) tablespoons of lavender essential oil at trace

Monday, September 15, 2008

martin nature park

yesterday was SO beautiful that nicolette suggested we take advantage of it and visit martin nature park. it was so nice to be outside, enjoying a stroll along a creek and watching the boys....well, being boys:)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

i'm scaring myself



i am just becoming a DIY nut!  ok-not really, but for me...this is out-of-control!  i think i'm scaring my mom:)  i saw a similar idea on the nester's blog and found this base at goodwill for a dollar, got a styrofoam ball for 3 sumthin' and some spanish moss for 2 dollars.  (the nester used REAL moss, but i'm not quite that out there yet:)  and got this beautiful piece for around five bucks!  i just cannot believe i actually put this together by myself because i am a recipe loving, instruction following, non risk-taking person.  this was total improv and it felt great.

how domestic can i get?





last night nicolette let me tag along again while she made soap.  yes soap.  from scratch.  who knew you could even do that?  
it is so much fun to discover that all these things i've been taking off the shelf and throwing in my cart for so many years i could actually make myself!  and i can make it the way i want, and i can leave all the "cost-effective" chemicals, sodium, high fructose corn syrup, out!  i must say, i DO like the option of buying premade things...i DO NOT wish to be laura ingalls wilder where making my own soap was the only option for getting clean:)

Friday, September 12, 2008

our library is going to the dogs



k...couldn't resist the corny title:)  i found out our library is a stop on the "children reading to dogs" tour and had to research more.  turns out someone brilliantly thought that specially trained dogs "listening" to a child read could be really great for a kid's reading confidence!  no correcting, no assigning of a reading group, no deep sighs when yet another word cannot be sounded out...just pure, unadulterated love, and tail-wagging.
i offered this activity to ari and at first he was quite perplexed.  he just couldn't understand how a dog could "listen to a story" when he doesn't speak human.  would ari need to translate into "dogspeak?  after quite a bit of reassurance and explanation, ari decided to give it a try.  he chose his favorite book as of late and we traveled to the library.  there we met two wonderful volunteers and "hercules" a therapy dog very happy to see us.  ari read the whole story and hercules was very attentive and supportive.  ari asked him if he liked the story, and the volunteer assured him it was well-received. 



Thursday, September 11, 2008

check out...

this post documenting us cookin up some fun.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

my other baby is in school!?!

ok-he's not really in school, but yesterday he started his weekly 1.5 hour toddler class at ari's school.  us mom's stay with our kiddies and help guide them through their time in a montessori class.  noah seemed to love it and actually showed interest in the "rules" and "ways to do things"...at least a lot more than he does at our house:)
sonny and fr. blizzard (sawyer's dad) "dropped in" to check on the new students and noah was very happy to see daddy.  we even saw ari on the playground.  
the thing i love most about the casady primary division (toddler-kindergarten) is everything they do looks a lot more like "play" than "work" and they "sneak" learning in all over the place while the kids aren't looking.

waiting to go inside
showing off his "big boy backpack"
coloring with markers and sporting a smock...fun!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

strike!


the bowling alley has two dollar games on sundays until 2:00.  this is our second sunday taking advantage of that special and the boys are hoping it becomes a habit.  the alley is very nice and they set out the bumpers and the bowling ramp (looks like a miniature slide you put the ball on top of, roll it down, and it gives it a little more direction and momentum than your average 2-year-old can on his own:) and smile at us even when the ball clunks on the lane a little hard or gets stuck cuz it was rolled so slowly.  anyone know where i can get cheap used kids bowling shoes?

Friday, September 5, 2008

frugally green


have you clicked over to the other blog i contribute to?  when my friend jeana saw that i and our friend celina were posting things about living in an environmentally friendly manner with little or no cost (often times saving money!) she approached us about starting a blog together.  we call it frugally green and i really like it:)  there are all kinds of ideas on how to be good to creation and your fellow man while being good to your finances as well.  let me know what you think!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

update #1 of 1 million...

so...we were told by our foster agency in california that they would not release our home study ( a long, tedious process) to the new agency and we were so disappointed.  this would have really sped up the process.  just a few moments ago i heard from our former social worker and she checked into it further and said "where do you want me to mail it?"
woo-hoo!

the long, unchartered road...


we begin a journey today that we have been on before, but will look completely different this time.  we are different.  the system is different.  the children are different.  the journey is foster care.  there are so many challenges and cracks in this system and honestly, i don't want to invite that into my life again.  but, i can't get away from the truth of these are the orphans in my neighborhood that Christ talked so much about.  these are truly the least of these in the country that i live.  i can't escape this and so i take the first step with every part of me trembling.  but then i look at noah.  oh how tragic had i let fear keep me from him.  i must walk ahead.  would you join us in this journey?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

not your average pizza box


after weeks of research, work, ingenuity, frustration and more trips to a fabric store than he'd ever want to make, my love has completed his detachable, insulated, pizza carrier for his vespa!

as if this wasn't impressive enough, the true gift of love here is the reason the pizza box was needed.  sonny has sacrificially taken on a pizza delivery job (he only applied at my favorite parlor-papa johns) to earn extra income to battle our debt.  he is on the streets nights and weekends so that i can stay home with our children and even doing it on his vespa to make gas costs lower and leaving me a vehicle.  he even brings me the occasional order of cheese sticks.  

thank you, love!