November 30, 2011


Posted by Lori~

I recently went thrift store shopping and found two items that I had to have! 

First up…is this “Norwegian” calendar.  Actually, I have no idea what language it is, but is sure looks Scandinavian to me.  You see…it brings back memories for me.  My father is 100% Norwegian and my Grandmother could speak fluent Norwegian.  (Unfortunately, Grandma Dagny is no longer around to translate for me).  It is my heritage and was MUST for my wall.  I will need to do some checking to ensure that it in fact is Norwegian.  TOTAL COST=$1.25!  PERFECTION!

Next up, I found this basket with frog lid.  It caught my eye and is the perfect spot to catch junk (keys, pens, receipts, and so much more).  TOTAL COST=$2.00! 

I love thrift stores…especially when I find one-of-a-kind items.

PS:  If any of you know Norwegian!  PLEASE HELP!  


Check it out!  Jen (wom-mom special guest) made this onesie
for her son for Mur-Man's party!  AWESOME!


Posted by Ethne~

Last year I found a sweet new Christmas trick for the girls – Portable North Pole!

At four years old, they fully believe in Santa Claus.  I think it’s wonderful to see the spirit of the season through their eyes.  We explained to them that Santa and Jesus are friends and that Santa helps celebrate Jesus’ birthday by giving presents to good kids around the world, just like we share gifts with each other.

In that spirit, I was tickled when I came across their website last year.  You share some of your child’s information (first name, zip code – to give Santa directions, skills the child has worked hard on and what the child might want for Christmas).  This information is then compiled into a video, emailed to me, in which a real-life Santa talks to them.

This is not real Santa
It’s really amazing how real it is.  Last year, the girls thought it was so cool – complete amazement!

I’ve placed an order with the elves again at Portable North Pole – to be delivered a little closer to Christmas (it’s actually already sitting in my in-box so the timing is up to me).

November 29, 2011


Posted by Lori~

Mur-Man will be two this Sunday and his party is this Saturday (MAN—HE IS GROWING UP TOO FAST!).

So…Angry Bird mania is happening at my house.  I spent the weekend in my hometown in oil-boom, ND and of course enlisted the help of my mom (Crafty G-Ma) to help out in making Angry Bird plushies!

I love crafting with my mom…but of course this was another marathon project!  We started at 8:00 a.m. and didn’t wrap up until 11:30 p.m. (and I stayed up longer to finish up more details)!

Seriously...this is the ONLY photo I took of my mom working on the birds!
We didn't want to show our faces!  Seriously though, I LOVE her sewing machine!
But it was worth it…they are adorable.  I used the pattern and instructions found here.

My nephew J actually wore this shirt to help make the birds!
And the best part was my nephew J (who happens to be an Angry Bird fanatic) helped out, as well as my brother’s girlfriend Dena!  It was GREAT!

J all grown up...he will actually be sporting an angry bird costume to the party!
J and Dena (she is SUPER CRAFTY!)
And I think the results are FABULOUS!

BABY PIG!  Mur-Man will be getting a King Pig!

You can't read it...but that's the birthday menu
The best part is this project cost me NOTHING!  We still had fleece left-over from Mur-Man’s superhero capes from his first birthday party and of course mom had all the rest! 

More Angry Bird projects to come…I PROMISE!  And of course photos from the party!  I can’t wait!

November 27, 2011


Posted by Ethne~

I’ve just finished a quilt project of mine that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time.

This hearkens back quite a few years to an evening at my GT bff Grizz’s house.  While there, I saw that her mom, CF, had a quilt made for Grizz out of all her old t-shirts.  The ones from high school and college – we all have them!

After that, I set aside my most favorite/sentimental t-shirts in the clothes sorting; I have long ago stopped wearing t-shirts on any regular basis.  Just not my thing anymore.  Too boxy and not flattering enough for my figure.  But I’ve got some seriously killer memories with some of them.

I just sat on this idea (and the shirt pile) for a few years, letting it mull over; and also because I was way busy with the twins.

Then last November I watched Twilight saga Eclipse at the theater and Bella’s mom gave her a t-shirt quilt.  That was all the catalyst I needed.  You know how I love Twilight.  I had the project entirely ready to go, with that exact thought in mind.

Edward, my love

So in January I sought out my fave local fabric store, Fat Quarter quilt shop, for colorful flannel.  I had seen a quilt Crafty Grandma (Lori’s mom) made that had sandwiches of flannel sewn together, with raw edges sticking out to the front.  The edges were snipped and when washed it got all fluffy.  This is what I planned to do.

I found black and white fabrics with colorful patterns.  The flannels coordinate, and that’s really all that was necessary; I needed to like the flannels since nothing about the flannel was going to coordinate with any of the t-shirts – they weren’t going to coordinate with each other either.

Back of quilt

I cut out large squares of my t-shirts and equal sized squares of flannel.  The pieces were sewn wrong sides together with about a 1” seam allowance. 

One of my all-time fave t-shirts from college - we made it!

I then laid the sewn squares out in a pattern I liked (I checked the back, too, to see that the flannel fabrics aligned ok) and sewed each row of squares together.  Then I sewed the rows together to make the quilt.

KD and Easy Mac weren't really all that helpful
laying out the t-shirt squares

All of the cutting took me a good day.  All of the sewing took me another day.  (Day can be translated into evening/partial day depending on how fast you work)  The most tedious task was snipping the edges of all the squares.  Literally every edge had to be snipped, approximately every ¼” to ½” to ensure that the fabric didn’t fray in a bunch of threads, but instead just made soft and fluffy rows.

I’m serious, this took me two evenings and was a complete pain in the a$$.  My hand was like a claw when it was all over and done with.  Good thing I don’t have anymore fave t-shirts because I am not doing all that snipping again (I made a quilt with this technique for Shaun’s sister, HS, a few years back so I should’ve remembered the lesson).  I love the end result though.  Perfect for the t-shirts and an option for a homemade gift.

Why did it take so long to finish?  I’m not quite sure.  In large part because smaller projects for the blog and the kids have taken a lot of my time.  I got a bee in my bonnet on the way home from work on Tuesday, though, so I got it all done that night.

And just to walk you down memory lane:

There’s the WHS honor student and graduation shirts; my 1990 Earth Day shirt; the 1988 Fort Union Grand Dedication shirt (the National Park my dad was superintendent of back in my school days); my UM YA YA college motto shirt; my Mt. Rushmore staff shirt (I was a Park Ranger at Mt. Rushmore in college); and my Pod 124 Absolut ad t-shirt we made and had screen printed ourselves.  The beauty of it all is I get to look at this and these memories every day I snuggle up with this quilt.

Lori, fresh from being our graduation speaker at WHS;
my dad still says it's the best commencement speech he's ever heard

Lori and I are on the far left; Grizz is 4th from the left

LOVE IT.  Oh, and in case you’re wondering, go with a 14” x 14” t-shirt square for your quilt if you make one.  I started out with 12” squares and realized quickly that wouldn’t be big enough.  Caused me a bit of grief to even all that up.  I don’t remember the flannel maker and name; I bought it almost a year ago, sorry.

November 25, 2011


Posted by Ethne~

I remind myself on occasion how blessed Shaun and I are.  I should do it more often.  When I wrote up this list, which is certainly not all-inclusive, the things I’m thankful for really added up.  I love my life!

I am thankful for:

1.    Shaun – he is my Edward.

2.    KD & Easy Mac – they are the loves of my life.

3.    Theodore – his health is still good!

4.    Our families – all of them!
5.    Whit’s Master’s degree – I am so proud!

6.    That when Emma wandered off at the Renaissance Festival a good person found her and returned her to us.  I don’t even know her name but she is an angel to me.
7.    Rich & Mel’s marriage – it is a joy to have them in our lives.

8.    Lori, Lori, Lori – besides the usual best friend stuff, I couldn’t write a blog with anyone else!  DECISION DONE!
9.    That Whit and Bryan will (hopefully) be moving back to big city in 6 months!
10.                 My GT Best Friends: Lor, Grizz, Steph and Slags
11.                 Dot being the most understanding realtor and wonderful friend – UM YA YA!
12.                 My slightly narcissistic sense of humor.
13.                 I have pretty nails and toenails.
14.                 McDonald’s unsweetened large iced tea for $1.
15.                 My HTC Droid Incredible.
16.                 Thrifty Nana loving Twilight as much as I do (Breaking Dawn was sooooo good.)

I'll never get sick of looking at him.

17.                 Thrifty Nana going Black Friday shopping with me each year.
18.                 My Singer Curvy.
19.                 That Shaun cooks and cleans more than his fair share – I’ll be better next year, Hon.
20.                 My wedding ring – I still smile every time I look down at it.
21.                 My VS Bombshell Bra.

22.       Pinterest.

See, that’s a lot of joy!  Happy Thanksgiving to you all.  I hope your Holiday weekend is as lovely as mine has been!

November 24, 2011


Hallelujah it’s Thanksgiving in the United States and this equals a four-day weekend for me!  YIPPPPEEE! I am headed to my hometown—boom town ND!  That’s right…I can’t wait to see my family!  I am thankful!
I am thankful for so many things…I love life.  I wouldn’t change anything!  And here’s why:
1.    I love my husband Steve and am thankful that he makes me laugh, is uber-intelligent, wears sexy glasses, and is my best friend (of course equal to E).  He will see a chick-flick with me…no question!  He reads the blog daily…no question!  He is mine and I am thankful!

2.   I love my Mur-Man!  I love that I have a boy full of life and almost two.  He is adorable, he is sweet, and I L.O.V.E. when he says he loves me too!  I am thankful!

L.O.V.E. him!
3.   I love my dog Roger!  I love watching him give Mur-Man kisses and putting up with Mur-Man’s toddler roughness!
4.   I love my friends!  I surround myself with people who make me better!  Thank you friends for helping me laugh until there are tears in my eyes (Ethne—you do this all the time), thank you for listening to anything and everything happening in my life.  Thank you for improving me!

Oh the high school memories--I feel lucky!
5.   I love my family!  I love my mom…I love that we are very similar!  I love my dad…I love that he is a kind soul.  I love my sister and brother—how did we the three of us turn into such wild ones?  I love my nephews—they are ADORABLE and thoughtful!  I hope Mur-man will be just as thoughtful too.
6.   I love my students!  I love that they make me feel young and that I can help them grow!
7.   I love my house!
8.   And of course…I LOVE WOM-MOM!
I am truly thankful! 

November 23, 2011


Posted by Special Guest Steph~

**Hey everyone, Happy Thanksgiving!  One of Lor's and my bff's, and GT cohort, is our regular correspondent and WOM-MOM follower, Special Guest Steph.  She texted me a little while back and said she found this awesome wine at her mom's in OR, so we agreed right then and there that it should be a blog post.  So just in time for the Holidays - check it out!  GENIUS!  THRIFTY!  What more could a WOM want?  xo, Ethne**

Steph and AK
Steph's future princess, baby EK

"Recently, my kids and I took a trip to Oregon to visit my mom, Grandma Jewel.  My husband was on a week long hunting trip, so rather than risk pulling my hair out and parenting solo, the three of us hopping on a jet plane and headed west. 

My mom lives in an average sized town in Oregon, an hour north of Portland in the heart of the Columbia River Valley – wine country.  There are a number of wineries along the valley and beautiful vineyards around every corner.  My mom and her husband even grow some grapes and combine them with a neighbor who bottles the wine. 

New to her town is a renovated wheat mill called Sunshine Mill named after Sunshine Biscuits, originally created at the mill.  The original structure had the milling equipment built right into the building itself. This massive equipment, all powered by electric motors designed by Thomas Edison, still exists in the building today.  The new design is formed around this equipment in an attempt to preserve historic design.  I’m kind of a nerd for historical buildings, but there was something even more cool coming out of Sunshine Mill. 

Cut to Copa di Vino, loosely translated meaning “wine by the glass.”  This cool concept created by winery owner James Martin, was crafted after something he saw in France while on vacation; wine sold in individually packaged glasses.  Copa di Vino is single portioned glasses of wine bottled right into a 100% recyclable plastic container.  There’s no separate glass needed.  And no pesky corkscrew either.  The patented package is even wine glass shaped!  Each generously portioned serving is a cheap $4.  They are available in single portions, or in a package of 12 – mixed or same variety.  How’s that for thrifty?

So check out their website or facebook:  Copa may not be available in your area, but it’s available online.  Who knows, you might see it in your area soon – I have a feeling word will travel fast on this cool product!"  


Posted by Ethne~

As promised, I knew it was a MUST for the girls to have Angry Birds hair bows for Mur-Man’s 2nd birthday party we’ll be heading to in a few weeks.  Super exciting!  We’ll do Angry Bird t-shirts like Mur-Man’s here too, but I’ve gotta find red Good Will shirts first.  I’ll make them when I get to little city because Lor’s already got the stuff.

Yay, party!  [self portrait by Easy Mac]

I watched the tutorial from this site, which laid it all out pretty well (one thing that's helpful is how she heat seals the ends of the ribbon so they don't fray, but basically she touches the ends of the ribbon with a flame until it melts slightly).  Her ribbon sizes were a little bigger than mine (so the lengths of her ribbons were longer), but I found that my ribbon selections worked just fine:

Two 6” pieces of 3/4” wide red grosgrain ribbon (for the head) ($1.67 with 40% off coupon for spool)

One 6” piece of 3/4” wide white grosgrain ribbon (for the head) ($1.67 with 40% off coupon for spool)
Two 2” scraps of the red ribbon (for the head feathers)
One 2” scrap of 3/8” wide orange or yellow grosgrain ribbon (for the beak – I used orange) ($1.99 for spool)

2 small scraps of black ribbon for the eyebrows
2 googly eyes – whatever size you want – mine were 7mm ($0.49 package)
Hair clip or ponytail holder – I used ponytail holder
Matching thread colors, scissors, lighter (for heat sealing the ribbon ends)

Obviously I will have extra ribbon left over, so the project itself didn’t cost exactly that much per bow – of course I had to make two.

Follow the directions the lady gave in her link here and the video she embedded in her post.  It’s pretty easy.  The pictures of the steps are below:

scrunch to a bowtie
wrap tightly around center with red thread
tie thread ends tightly to a knot and snip ends
scrunch three bows together with white on bottom
larger width ribbon would be a bit fuller
fold this strip into a loop that's angled in a triangular fashion
to look like a beak;
glue then snip the ends and seal the loose ends with a flame
fold this scrap of red ribbon into thirds and glue shut well;
snip in half and glue together in a slight 'v' shape
glue on the triangular beak;
glue on the googly eyes;
glue on the eyebrows;
glue the hair feather 'v' onto the back
glue the clip or ponytail hold onto the back

I’m really pleased with how these bows turned out and can’t wait to see all the coordinating Angry Bird party kids. J

November 22, 2011


Posted by special guest Jen~

Jen comes back to us with part two of her cloth diapering adventure.  Thanks again Jen (WOM-MOM EXTRAORDINAIRE) for her valuable information! 

PART II: Supply, system, laundering and care, and leakage

Yes, cloth diapers are more labor intensive than disposables. There is no way around it. They need to be rinsed, washed and stuffed. But I’ve incorporated all that into my routine and it is now just part of life. Our daycare provider (who had the original misconceptions about cloth diapers with pins and covers) uses the cloth diapers and has no issues with them. She is great! However, we do use somewhat of a hybrid approach. We use disposable diapers when we go out and travel. It is a little cumbersome to fill the diaper bag with the cloth diapers and then carry around the dirty ones. And our daycare provider uses a disposable at nap time. But for the most part, Smiles is in cloth. 

If you Google “cloth diapering” you will find tons of blogs and message boards with all kinds of info on the care and different systems people use. I’ve used a combination of several different techniques and here is what we have found works for us.

First the supply. We have 14 BumGenius one size, 9 Bumkins one size, 3 Bumkins size small, and 1 Charlie Banana one size, so 27 in all. Smiles is almost 4 months old now and we are going through 8 to 10 diapers a day. I wash diapers every other day, sometimes I can go every third day, but that is pushing it. Smiles will eventually grow out of the Bumkins size small diapers so we will be down to 24. They tell me as he gets older he will go through fewer diapers in a day, so that shouldn’t be a problem and we should have enough to last us until he is potty trained.

Storing the clean diapers
What we spent. Well, it isn’t cheap to start your cloth diaper system. But in the long run, we will see a savings. We spent about $350 on the diapers themselves, $50 for the wet bags for storing dirty diapers, and $40 on the sprayer for the toilet. So in all, $440.

Expandable snaps--they will grow with the child!
 The system. You will definitely need a sprayer attachment for the toilet. This is necessary for rinsing off the solids into the toilet. Smiles is only getting breast milk right now so his BMs are mostly liquid, but you still need to rinse off the diapers to prevent staining. After spraying the diapers off in the toilet I just store them in a wet bag on a hook in the bathroom until wash day. With both wet and dirty diapers I remove the liner before putting in the bag. They wash up much better if you remover the liner.

Washing the cloth diaper with the toilet sprayer
Washing. I have a high efficiency washer and dryer and I love them. Of course it isn’t necessary to have these in order to do cloth diapers, but it helps. Firstly, you only use half (or less) the amount of detergent as recommended. This is important because if the diapers get a residue on them from the detergent they loose their absorbency. The diaper manufacturers often want you to use the special detergent they sell, but IMO and that of other cloth diaper bloggers I’ve seen you can use a fragrance and additive free detergent and that will work just fine. I use Tide Free and Clear. It is important however to make sure the detergent is free of additives, fragrance, and softeners.

Setting the washer settings!

I run the diapers through the “heavy duty” cycle and set the water setting to HOT and add the SECOND RINSE. I was using the “Sanitize” cycle, but this cycle uses a lot of energy to get the water extra hot, and I don’t think that is absolutely necessary. The SECOND RINSE is important to make sure all the detergent is rinsed out of the diapers. Again to prevent build up and damaging the absorbency of the diapers. If diapers get stained you can hang them in the sun to bleach out the stains.

Drying. Here is where it gets a little tricky. Depending on the type of diaper you get, you will need to either hang the diapers dry or you can put them in the dyer. Be sure to read the care instructions for the diapers you get. The BumGenius diapers MUST be line dried. The liners you can put in the dryer, but the outside must be line dried to prevent damage to the waterproofing. The Bumkins diapers can go in the dryer but I often end up just line drying all the diapers, it doesn’t hurt. I bought a drying rack for this purpose. I can hang the diapers outside on the line in the summer, but hanging them outside in the winter in North Dakota is a bit of a problem unless I want to freeze dry them.

Diapers drying on the line.
However, I did start to have a problem with the Bumkins leaking. The wetness was actually seeping through the outside waterproof fabric. I contacted customer service and they actually told me to put them in the dryer to seal up the waterproofing. That seemed to work.

Leakage. Well, I can’t deny that we have had some blowouts and leakage with these diapers. Although, I can’t say that it has been any more than it would be with disposable diapers. There have been some times where we have leaked around the legs and that is a common complaint from other cloth diaper users. But honestly, that hasn’t bothered me that much. And, except for the wetness seeping through the waterproof fabric on the Bumkins (which we have remedied) I think these diapers are working well for us.

So that is how we do it. If you don’t mind investing the time and washing responsibilities, I’d say cloth diapering is the way to go. I love it. I smile every time I hang them to dry and all in all, it really isn’t that much more work. We have already upped our laundry quota since Smiles was born, so what is a couple extra loads a week anyway. Thanks to the WOM-MOMs Lori and Ethne for letting me share my experience. I hope what I have learned can give you some insight as to what might work for you.

Thank you Jen for sharing!  We have learned a ton!