Posted by: Meagan | January 29, 2014

Controlling TV Time!

Since my oldest has started school it has been difficult to control the  amount of TV time my 3 year old was watching. I would falter and give in and let him watch too many shows. It can be easy to let him watch educational shows and documentaries, yes, my 3 year old does like documentaries, mostly of the dinosaur variety. I stumbled across this free printable on Pinterest and I thought it would be perfect for us and… I was right.


I put it up, right by the TV, and explained that he could only watch as many shows as were on our new little TV. He was fine with that and really he just wanted me to start a show already. After he watched his shows for the first day, he really wanted to watch more, but I reminded him that watching 5 shows is plenty for one day, and he said okay, rather mopey, but he left and found something else to play with. He quickly became very good and would remind me to move one over if I had forgotten. The first time the boys didn’t use up all of their allotted shows, as they were getting in bed they insisted they should stay up and watch 2 more shows since they hadn’t earlier. Ha! They quickly came to realize that 5 was the maximum and that they don’t HAVE to watch that many in a day.


One thing I like about the printable is all the options, you can have as many as 9 shows and 2 movies and there are 2 extras you can use at your leisure. Obviously that is a lot of TV, but if you have multiple children having that many helps you to divide it up between them. Especially if one has school part of the day, etc. I have a laminator and so I laminated the printable and then cut them out. I stuck tape on the back and to keep track I just move one circle from one side of the TV to the opposite at the beginning of each show.


I’m excited to get my kids down to even less TV and I know this nifty chart will be there to help me out! I hope you enjoy this chart as much as we have.


Posted by: Meagan | November 5, 2013

Blanching & Freezing Carrots

Blanching is such a scary word, an intimidating word, but really when it comes to carrots it just means boiling. Whew! Boiling is much less intimidating than blanching, who doesn’t know how to boil water? I think anyone over the age of 10 can handle it. You may be thinking, Why must I blanch? Can’t I just chop up carrots and throw them in the freezer? Well no, not really, all fruits and vegetables contain enzymes and bacteria that over time break down the destroy nutrients, change the color, flavor, and texture of food during frozen storage. In order to destroy those enzymes and bacteria we have to blanch ’em dead! If you have diced carrots you only need to boil them for 2-3 minutes, easy peasy! So lets get to the step by step directions of how to blanch and freeze carrots.

1. Acquire carrots. You can use store-bought carrots if you realize you aren’t going to get them used before they go limp or dry. Homegrown carrots or farmers market carrots, are generally much sweeter and have more flavor than store-bought carrots. I got my carrots from my cousin’s garden. Thanks for the free carrots Shaun and Hattie! Once you have your carrots wash them in lukewarm water.


*For personal reference root vegetables like carrots and potatoes stay good much longer if they still have their original dirt on them. So if you get homegrown potatoes for someone don’t wash them until you are going to eat them and keep them in a brown paper bag. The paper bag is breathable so moisture doesn’t get stuck in the bag and mold the potatoes and keeping them in the dark keeps them from turning green and sprouting. Store bought root vegetables are pre-washed and this is why they generally don’t stay good for very long.

2. Peel your carrots and cut the ends off. I then like to do a quick rinse.



3. Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil.

4. Dice up those carrots!


5. Once they are diced get a large bowl fill it with cold water and some ice cubes. You want the water to be really cold to stop the cooking process.


6. Once the pot of water on the stove is boiling pour carrots in and boil for about 3 minutes.


7. After boiling for 2-3 minutes drain water off carrots and immediately put carrots in ice water. (Boil longer if you are wanting to freeze strips of carrots.)



8. A general rule of thumb is that you keep the carrots in the ice water for the same amount of time you boil them.


9. After time is up drain carrots again.


10. Use freezer bags to store carrots and don’t forget to write the contents and the date. This way you can keep track of what you already have and how old it is. Freezer bags are better than regular bags because they are thicker and help protect your food from freezer burn. Pour as many carrots in a bag as you would usually use in a meal or soup, etc.


11. Put bags in the freezer! I like to keep my freezer food flattened in their freezer bags, this cuts down thawing time dramatically! To thaw put bag in a bowl of lukewarm water for 10 minutes or so, or you can even throw them right into your casserole/stew/etc. frozen if they will be cooked for a while.



Where did I learn to blanch carrots? By talking to friends and family who have done it, also from this blog post, and doing it myself. Enjoy!

Posted by: Meagan | November 1, 2013

November is Winter Clothes Re-Make Month!

I am not a sweatshirt/sweater person because I think they look frumps, HOWEVER I have seen some awesomely-cute remade sweatshirts/sweaters and isn’t a well-done sweater or sweatshirt better than looking at the same few winter coats and jackets?

There are some pretty cheap sweat shirts/long sleeve shirts around so if you look around a bit you can find a cheap one to play around with. You can also raid the closet, clean it out and see what treasures you can find and remake for hardly any cost at all! I want to see what you make, and I’ll show you what I’m making because I’m feeling creative.

Some ideas that might get the juices flowing, and I have quite a few pins on my Sa-weet Sweatshirts Pinterest board for even more inspiration.


braidedback heartelbowsweater

Posted by: Meagan | October 30, 2013

Pumpkin Cake Walk


I have volunteered for FAR too many things at my son’s school this year. Room Mom, Box Tops, Read-a-thon, Halloween Carnival, Room Helper… it never ends people. I am so busy I wake up and go go and when I get to bed I know I haven’t accomplished nearly what I need to. I am kicking myself and now I can consider this year my trial by error year and next year, no Room Mom, no Halloween Carnival. Call it the fault of an overzealous parent of a kindergartener. I’ll stick to a parent volunteer for 2-3 things but no more than that. Okay, this being said, I was put in charge of the cake walk at the school’s first Halloween Carnival. I made Cake Walk Number Cards, and Cake Walk Call Cards and Cake Walk Sign, feel free to use them to your liking!

Pumpkin Cake Walk Numbers (1-10)


Pumpkin Cake Walk Call Cards


Pumpkin Cake Walk Sign

The sheets are black and white. If you want to color them, or let your kids have at ’em. You can also just print them off on orange paper and call it good. I have a laminator and so I laminated my pages to stand up to the wear and tear of being walked on by elementary school children for an hour and a half. Laminating also makes them reusable since you’ll be able to pull the tape off of them, they looked perfect even after 200+ children walked all over them! Which is what I was going for. I hope you enjoy these as much as we did. I’ll be using them again for sure!

By the way this is where I found the pumpkin clip art!

Posted by: Meagan | September 25, 2013

Halloween Trick-or-Treat Bag Tutorial

I started this post last year but with the birth of boy #3 I didn’t get it posted. I am happy to announce that once again, Halloween is a-comin’! Last August my boys and I were in the fabric store buying fabric for the Christmas and birthday gifts I was frantically trying to get done before the baby arrived and they spied the Halloween fabric. They begged me to buy fabric so I decided to skip the plastic trick or treat pumpkins and make trick-or-treat bags for my boys, only I finished just one bag in time for the big day. Oh well, you can’t win them all can you?


1/2 yard of fabric per bag

Matching Thread

Sewing Machine


-Wash, dry and iron the fabric

-My fabric is already cut to a half yard, I then folded it in half and cut 4 1/2 inches off each end for the handles.


-Sew the handles: Fold fabric hotdog style (remember that from elementary school?!) so the design is on the inside, and the fabric is long. Sew, I did a large seam allowance of 1/2 in. Turn right-side out and iron. I decided I wanted the seam on the underside of the handle, that is personal preference you can put the seam wherever you want when you iron it down.


-To keep the handles from getting to floppy, and I think it looks a lot nicer, I sew the edges on each side about 1/4 in. in.


-Repeat steps for second handle.

-Time to sew the bag. Fold down each end of the large piece of material. I folded each side down about an inch, iron and then rolled it down another inch, ironed and sewed across.


(Note: Some may want to sew handles on BEFORE sewing up the sides of the bag, I did it last so I could better eye the placement of the handles, but do whatever you prefer!)

-Take your piece of material and fold it in half with right sides together, sew each side. I double stitched the seam for extra protection and keep it from fraying. Using pinking shears on the exposed edges can also help keep the fraying down to a minimum.


-Next attach the handles to the bag, sewing a rectangle with an X through it helps secure handles really well.


-After handles are attached you are done! This bag held up great to a little boy’s night of trick and treats, I’m really happy how it turned out and his big brother is super excited to get his very own trick or treat bag this year.


Posted by: Meagan | August 29, 2013

How-to: Make a Yo-Yo

Making yo-yos is fun and once you make a few it becomes a super fast project you can do while watching your favorite show or chatting with friends. These would also be a great sewing project to teach children, once you make a few yourself that is!

First you will need your equipment. I purchased and suggest you do too, a Quick Yo-Yo Maker. I know it’s possible to make them without one but using one makes the process much faster. I bought my large yo-yo maker for less than $7 at my local craft store.


It separates into two pieces.

IMG_2738Put your fabric in the bottom part of the maker (pale yellow part) right side down. Then you will put the top part of the maker (darker yellow) on the the top.


Make sure you have holes to push your needle through and snap the top down to secure it.


Then trim excess fabric from around the maker. You are ready to sew!


Personally I like to fold the edge over so the center of the yo-yo looks more finished, you don’t need to do this but I think it looks much tidier. Knot the end of your thread and start your needle from the bottom of the maker towards the top.


Continue sewing around your yo-yo maker being sure not to sew over the top of the bottom (pale yellow).


Sew all the way around back to your knot.


This is what the top of your yo-yo should look like after you finish sewing.


Pop the bottom from the top.


Pull on your thread.


Pull tightly until your yo-yo looks like this.


Knot you thread and cut the excess thread and tidy the edges of your yo-yos and boom you’re done!


Soon you’ll have quite a few ready for your projects!


Posted by: Meagan | August 21, 2013

WIP: Heritage Quilt Update #2

Well it’s about time for another Heritage Quilt Update! (You can find update #1 here, and my original post here.) The quilt is coming along really well! I have almost received all the squares from my female relatives and I’m getting really excited to piece it together. I love how different each square is, I’ll outline each square in a plain cloth of some color… blue? yellow? I’m not sure yet. Originally I was thinking I would make a huge Queen sized blanket, but I want this to be more usable, so I’m going to sew it into a large throw quilt to snuggle up with on cold nights, or while watching movies, or reading with the kids. I’ll also be embroidering all the ladies’ names on their individual squares so we will always remember who sewed which square.


I finally finished two squares, I’ll admit, seeing the amazing squares I’d received was pretty intimidating, my grandma’s square has perfect points. But I finally pulled it out and made my squares, I’ll probably make one more to  help even out the number of squares.


This is my first ever applique piece. I really love how it turned out! Hopefully my next update will be my finished quilt! I’m already working on piecing the boarder. I’m so excited!


Posted by: Meagan | August 16, 2013

DIY: Strawberry Freezer Jam

There are two women that I strive to be like. My grandma and my husband’s grandma, Betty and Jean. My grandma is 89 and still working in her garden, making jam, canning peaches, snapping beans and shucking corn. My husband’s grandma, Jean, is the most kind, welcoming and non-judgemental woman I know. She showers you with hugs and “atta’ girl!”‘s. My grandma, Betty, serves to show her love. When I was in college I received a massive package from my grandma full of dried fruit (my favorite.) When we were driving across the country we stopped in and spent the night with my grandparents and she sent me on down the road with several jars of freezer jam, knowing that my boys are picky and love that jam. When I was a child my grandparents would come visit for a week or two and she would deep clean our entire house, not a small task since my dad was divorced and he had 4 children at his house 24/7. After she deep cleaned the house, washed the windows, scrubbed the blinds, she would can and can and can plums. We had a massive plum tree in our backyard and we were sent out over and over to pick plums for her to make into jam so she could leave us supplied for the next year. When she wasn’t cleaning or canning she was teaching me cross stitch and embroidery, and showing my dad how to curl my hair without burning me. Grandma tried to instill as many good habits as she could in the amount of time she was there. We would come home from school, usually we’d throw down our backpacks and watch TV, she made us do our homework first, tidy our rooms and then go outside to play. I wish I understood the importance of her lessons then and applied them to my life.

One of my favorite things was to come home from school to find jars of strawberry freezer jam on the counter, my grandma still cleaning up the kitchen and planning dinner at the same time. One time as a young woman I made freezer jam and for some reason it didn’t occur to me to make it again over a decade later when a friend of mine brought homemade freezer jam and rolls over after my third son was born. Since then I’ve made strawberry freezer jam a staple in our diet and if you do it right it saves you TONS of money! If you garden or would like to, strawberries are perennials and will come back every year so that’s always a plus in the savings department. (Though newer plants produce more than older so after a few years you have to start rotating out the older plants to keep your yield up.) Or you can always buy berries on sale, which is what I currently do! Also, buy sugar on sale or in bulk. There are 3 ingredients for strawberry freezer jam.

1. Strawberries

2. Sugar

3. Pectin

4. Water

Ok, I lied there are 4 ingredients, but sometimes I don’t count water as an ingredient.

You will find directions on the pectin packet and they are awesome, no fail directions so read them!

-Wash and cut the stem off the strawberries


-I like to cut up the berries before sending them to the blender, blend to the consistency you prefer.


-Measure 2 cups of blended strawberries, pour into large mixing bowl.


-Add 4 cups of sugar and stir.



-Let sit 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.


– Combine pectin and water and bring to a boil.




-Add pectin to strawberry/sugar mixture and stir well.


-Pour into jam containers and let sit at room temperature until the jam sets up.


-Once jam is set, put in the freezer (or fridge if you plan to eat immediately.)


One thing I love about my grandmother is that she truly wastes not. This is one of the jam jars she sent along with me.


A small Prego sauce jar with a Smuckers jam lid! Another one I forgot to take a picture of was a Pace salsa jar with a Smuckers caramel lid! What a wonderful reminder to me that we don’t need to throw those jars and containers away, just reuse them, though I admit I’ll probably take the labels off mine. 🙂

Posted by: Meagan | August 15, 2013

A Post! With More to Come.

Have you ever looked at dinner in progress and thought, “This isn’t looking very good.”


And then it’s finished and it’s delicious.


That was our dinner last night, and probably how this blog has been recently. But please don’t give up on me! I have some fun and exciting posts coming up including DIY Freezer Jam and a tutorial on making yo-yo’s (the fabric kind.) And an update on my August of No Pants! Yes, I am doing it, and I’m half-way through the month wearing only skirts! So please stay tuned and thank you for your patience while we have moved across the country and and slowly settled into our new home.

Posted by: Meagan | June 3, 2013

Summer of No Pants!

I don’t know if you have seen this blog: Hideous! Dreadful! Stinky! but they are hosting their third Summer of NO Pants! I love this idea and would love to encourage everyone to step out of your comfort zone, toss those pants, capris and shorts in your drawer and pull out your sewing machine and sew some skirts this summer! There are past tutorials on the blog and pictures galore! I am in the middle of a move and my machine is all packed up and will be for a while depending on when we finally find a place to live, but I’m determined to make August my pants-free month. I wear pants pretty much every day so this will be an adjustment for me and if you feel overwhelmed at doing it for three months, join me for an August of No Pants! Woot Woot! You can take June and July to sew a few skirts even. Below are just a few of the pictures and links to their tutorials from the Summer of No Pants 2011.


Image from Thar She Sews!


Image of One Hour Dress from Live Laugh Love


Ruffled skirt Image from Grits & Giggles

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