Friday, December 28, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! We had a great day filled with family and lots of fun. Santa came to our house Christmas Eve morning since we would not be home Christmas Day. I wrote a special letter to Santa to ask him if he could arrive a day early - the kids were thrilled that he agreed ;)
Every Christmas Eve we go to my in-laws for a big party. We have a lot of fun catching up with the family members we don't see often, enjoying lots of food and singing "The Twelve Days of Christmas". The singing is the highlight of the night! Everyone gets their own part and we go around the room singing the song and in some cases acting out the part. It is so fun!
This year I decide to make outfits for the kids to wear Christmas Eve. I purchased the Oliver & S Playdate dress pattern a few months ago and knew that was the dress Erin would wear. I thought that the dress would look so cute in a plaid fabric with a white fabric for the yoke. I found some Burberry style plaid that would be perfect for the dress and used the same plaid in the collar and placket of a polo shirt for Jack.

Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas!

I didn't add the pockets to the Playdate dress simply because I was running out of time and just didn't want an extra step. I am definitely going to sew this dress again because I just love how it came out and will be sure to add the pockets next time! This was my first Oliver & S pattern and I am definitely hooked! The instructions were very clear and informative. Next up is the Puppet Show Tunic and Shorts pattern which I purchased at the same time. I already have the fabric picked out for it.  Can't wait to see how that one turns out!
For Jack's polo shirt, I used a Burda Style pattern that I purchased from their website. This pattern was not very easy to follow. I had to search the Internet for a tutorial on how to insert a placket into a shirt because the instructions given with the pattern were just not clear. I found a great tutorial for inserting a placket here. It made the process so much easier and I will definitely make more polo shirts for Jack in the future and probably even some for Erin. I also changed the sleeve pattern to long sleeve instead of short.
I love how their outfits turned out and they did too! We had such fun Christmas Eve and Christmas day with our family and I hope you all did too!
Merry Christmas from the McKenna Family!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Calling All Octonauts!

My little girl turned five yesterday. Five!
I cannot believe that she is five already. I remember the day she was born like it was yesterday - the nervousness, the fear (I had to have a C-section), and the overall excitement. But it was all worth it once I got to see that little peanut! And she really was a peanut...only 4lbs 15oz! Although she is still a peanut (28lbs at 5 years old!), she has grown into a sweet, smart, funny, energetic little lady and I wouldn't have her any other way!

So for her 5th birthday party, Erin requested an Octonauts party. The Octonauts is a cartoon on the Disney Channel about different animals that live under the sea and help to rescue sea creatures. It is very cute and also impossible to find any kind of party supplies here in the States! So I had to get creative. I decided to go with more of an "under the sea" theme and add hints of the Octonauts into the party.
Lucky for me, two of the blogs that I follow Craftiness is not Optional and The Girl.Inspired had Under the Sea inspired parties this summer so I was able to get some ideas from them. I also searched on Pinterest, which led me to some great blogs and websites with cute ideas. You can click here for my Octonauts board on Pinterest if you are interested - make sure to click on the mermaid party by girl.inspired pin and the "seaweed" spinach dip pin so you can check out Jess and Stef's parties - they were both super cute!!
I printed out a couple of Octonaut pictures I found to use as decorations and I cut out some blue circles and goldfish from card stock to create garland. I sewed the circles and goldfish together then added stickers to the circles that I printed Happy Birthday Erin on. I also found seashells, sand dollars and starfish at The Christmas Tree Shop and had them displayed around the house along with lots of blue and white balloons.

For the food, I ordered two three foot heroes from the deli and a garden salad. I also made a pasta salad using seashell shaped pasta. My husband cooked hot dogs and made delicious BBQ ribs. For snacks we had goldfish, Pirate's Booty, cucumber slices, carrots and ranch dip, spinach dip and pita chips and potato chips. I printed up little cards for the food with Under the Sea/Octonaut inspired names and the Octonaut's logo on them for a fun little touch.

The dessert table was my favorite part - I love dessert! I made a round cake and cupcakes using a box mix and homemade butter cream frosting. The cake was inspired by the one I saw at Girl.Inspired. I made shell and starfish chocolates from a mold that I found at A.C. Moore and used them to decorate the cake and cupcakes. I also made goldfish butter cookies by tinting the cookie dough orange. I used the same cookie dough recipe to make sand dollar cookies that I saw here at Mama Miss. And I had a bowl of Swedish Fish to snack on too.

The kids all seemed to have a great time. I had a foam craft for them to do - I found a sea creature foam sticker kit at A.C. Moore. And then they just ran around the backyard and played until it was time for dessert. Each guest received a little favor bag before departing filled with stickers, a bag of blue M&Ms with a few Swedish Fish, some shark fruit snacks and a sea creature that expands in water.

I think the party was a success! Erin said she had the best time and was completely exhausted at the end of the night! (Mommy was too ;))

Happy 5th Birthday Erin!!!!!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

KCWC Day 1 and Day 2

Yesterday was the start of kcwc over on the blog elsie marley. I just recently really checked this blog out and I can't believe it took me so long to do so! Meg has some incredible posts on her blog and her sewing is just beautiful! I am so glad that I found her work and this cool challenge. The idea of kcwc is to spend an hour a day sewing kids clothes for a week. The hour could be spent sewing, tracing patterns or cutting fabric. By the end of the week you should have some cute stuff for your little ones to wear!
So for the first day of the challenge, I made some pants for Jack. I used Dana's Kid's pants tutorial with the flat front option and added pockets. I also added faux pocket flaps to the back with the help of this tutorial from The Aesthetic Nest. The only thing I did different with the pocket flaps is I sewed the buttons directly onto the flap and through the pants instead of adding a button hole - and I only did that because I was being lazy and did not want to make button holes ;) The fabric is from Joann's. I bought it last spring and have not since it there since.
Jack loves his new pants, especially since they have doggies on them! And I am happy that I finally sewed an article of clothing for him!


Faux pocket flaps

The second day of the challenge, I sewed a skirt for Erin. I used Dana's simple skirt tutorial and some Riley Blake fabric from my stash. Its from the Happier Gardens line that seems to be discontinued - bummer. I have wanted to make a skirt with this fabric for awhile now so kcwc gave me just the push I needed. I think this skirt will look cute with a yellow long sleeve tee, some brown tights and some boots!

Simple Skirt for Fall
Rick Rack detail
Now to decide what to sew for day 3!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 7, 2012

First Day of Kindergarten!

I can't believe my little girl is in kindergarten! And full day kindergarten...I am sure going to miss her (and so will Jack - he cried when she left). But I put on a brave face as she got on the bus yesterday. I had to - Erin was less than excited to ride the bus to school. Poor kid cried so hard when we told her it was time to go. I had to carry her to the bus :( Despite the rough morning though, she arrived home a different kid! She had a great first day, loves her teacher and made a new friend! I am one happy mama for that!

Nice cheesy smile lol!

Anxiously waiting

Time to go

My happy kindergartner at the end of the day!

Of course the first day of school needs a special outfit so I let Erin pick out fabric from my stash and choose a pattern for a new dress. She went with some Riley Blake Hoo's in the Forest and The Cottage Mama's Ruby Ruffle Dress pattern but in view B - I love how there are different options with The Cottage Mama patterns. So in true me fashion, I started the dress the night before and was up until one in the morning completing it! Getting up five hours later to get Erin ready for school was not fun but totally worth it when she saw her special new dress!

Cute little dress for the first day of school!

I added some rick rack between the panels and only used one button per side for the closure.

Love the little owls!
I was so happy that Erin did enjoy her first day of kindergarten and her special dress! I hope she has a wonderful year!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Jack's Blanket Finished (finally!)

I finally finished Jack's blanket that I first posted about here.

After I pieced the top together, I put it off to the side so I could figure out how to put the whole thing together. Originally I was going to bind the front piece, batting and minky with some navy blue satin quilt binding. I looked up different tutorials on how to do the binding but just never got around to doing it. So flash forward a year later, I decided I needed to get this blanket done before Jack went off to college! Instead of binding the blanket, I just pinned the top, batting and minky together (top and minky right sides facing) and sewed around the whole thing. I left a small opening to turn the blanket right side out and then top stitched all around to close it up. Simple and it turned out pretty cute!

Cute little bears in airplanes!

Jack was so happy to have something made for him...he took off down the hall to put his new blanket on his bed!

Setting up his new blanket

Almost got it

Yay! A new blanket just for me!!
Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Recipe: Avocado Chicken Salad

Sunday night for dinner, my husband bbq'd a delicious beer can chicken. It was one of the best chickens that he has ever cooked - very moist and flavorful. It was the first time he tried preparing chicken that way and it is definitely something we will have again! Since we are only a family of four with two littles 4 and 2 (who are VERY picky eaters!) we had a good amount of leftovers. Usually when we roast a chicken, I use the leftover chicken to make a pot pie. Since it is way too hot for using the oven, I needed another way to use the chicken and wanted something different. To Pinterest I went and found a delish recipe for BBQ Chicken and Avocado Quesadillas. Since we did not use bbq sauce when we first made the chicken, I simply shredded some chicken and mixed it up with our favorite bbq sauce and then assembled everything. These quesadillas were delicious and a great way to use the leftover chicken but...I still had more chicken left over! Not a lot but enough to use for another small meal for sure.
So this afternoon when I was trying to decide what to have for lunch, I thought of the chicken and the extra avocado that I had and again went to Pinterest - ha! I found a few tasty looking recipes but I did not want to leave the house to go buy any extra ingredients. I just wanted to use what I had on hand. This is the recipe that inspired my avocado chicken salad. I thought I would share how I made mine but of course you could always search Pinterest just as I did for other yummy ideas :)

Avocado Chicken Salad

(Adapted from a recipe found at Becoming Betty)

1 cup of shredded chicken

1 avocado diced

Juice from 1/2 a lemon (lime would be really good too)

1 small Roma tomato diced

1-2 tablespoons of mayonnaise

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Serve in a wrap with lettuce and enjoy!

I used only about half of the chicken salad in my wrap for lunch today so I guess it serves two. I am looking forward to having the rest tomorrow. I think I might try it on some whole wheat toast :)

Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, July 9, 2012

Erin's Graduation Dress - A Cottage Mama pattern

My little lady graduated from pre-school at the end of June. The school she attended held an adorable ceremony for the children. The theme was "Spirit of Americana". The children practiced for weeks all the patriotic songs they would sing and the lines that they had to say. Erin was part of a group that talked about George Washington. Her line was, "George Washington's face appears on the one dollar bill". She said it perfectly and without any help from her teacher! It was such a great little ceremony and the kids definitely had fun and did a wonderful job of entertaining the parents!
Erin requested a pretty dress to wear for her special day and I was happy to oblige! (She really didn't have to ask...I had been hoarding some Sandi Henderson Meadow Sweet fabric since the beginning of the school year for a dress for her graduation!)
Erin did pick out the pattern for the dress. I was going to use The Janey Jumper pattern from The Cottage Mama but when Lindsay's new patterns came out, Erin happened to be looking at them with me and she asked if I could please get her the Ruby Ruffle Dress pattern instead. She loved that the dress had ruffles on it! Since I have an obsession  a love for the Cottage Mama patterns, I placed the order right away. I have both the Janey Jumper pattern and the Shortcake Reversible Romper and dress pattern. These patterns are very easy to follow and the finished garment is adorable and has a professional look.
The Ruby Ruffle dress pattern is no exception. I love how the dress turned out and so did Erin! Again, the instructions were very easy to follow. I love that there are actual photos along the way of each step. Much easier to see what you need to do than looking at an illustration.

Ruby Ruffle Dress size 4 in Sandi Henderson Meadow sweet

Top of dress details - I used fabric covered buttons

Ruffle detail
Side view

Back view - love these beautiful flowers

Having fun dancing in her new dress!

I just love how this dress came out and so did Erin! She is requesting another Ruby Ruffle dress and I am looking forward to making more and trying out the different views that the pattern suggests. :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Strawberry picking fun

A couple of weeks ago, my friend and I packed up our kids and some snacks and headed about an hour north of where we live to go strawberry picking. My friend knew of this great organic farm in Ancram, New York called Thompson-Finch Farm. "Thompson-Finch Farm is a family-run fruit farm that specializes in growing certified organic strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and apples. The farm is known region wide for high quality fruit and our season long "Pick-Your-Own" operation."
The drive up was beautiful, lots of farms and old houses to look at on the way. When we got there, we checked in at the fruit stand, had our baskets weighed and one of the workers let us know where in the patch we were allowed to pick. I brought along my own baskets but they do provide boxes if you don't have your own.
The kids had so much fun picking strawberries! They were up and down all the rows carefully selecting the best berries for picking. It was so cute!

yummy berries!

Jack really had the most fun eating all the berries he found!


Erin took her job very seriously!

She did a great job finding berries!

Strawberry picking fun!
We had a great time at the strawberry patch and came home with a lot of strawberries! I took about a pound of the berries and divided them up into bags and froze them for later use. With the rest, I made delicious Strawberry Cinnamon Muffins. I found the recipe on The Cottage Home blog awhile ago and have been wanting to try it ever since. Our abundance of berries finally gave me that opportunity :) The muffins were delish! And we had such a great time at the farm!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Project Run and Play Week 5: Movie Challenge

For the week 5 challenge at Project Run and Play, the designers had to pick a movie and make an outfit based on that movie. It could be a replica of an outfit worn by one of the characters or just inspired by the theme of the movie. I had a bit of trouble deciding on what movie I wanted to go with for this challenge. I wanted to recreate an outfit that Erin could wear everyday. I didn't want it to be costumey (I don't even think that is a real word). I really wanted it to be cute and wearable. The kids recently watched Charlotte's Web, the live action 2006 version with Dakota Fanning. I just love that book and Erin just loved the movie! (Jack not so much - he did like Wilbur though. He would yell "piggy oink oink" each time he raced into the room and looked at the TV for 2 seconds!)
Anyway, since Erin took such a liking to the movie and she is on a yellow kick, I decided to recreate the dress Dakota Fanning's character Fern wears at the fair the day Wilbur gets his medal. It is an adorable yellow dress with ruffles - right up Erin's alley!

 I made the dress out of some yellow gingham that I had purchased at Joann's for last week's challenge and never used. I created a lined bodice and attached a simple gathered skirt to the bottom. To create the ruffles, I cut six strips that were each 40 inches long by 3 inches wide. I then attached two strips together so that I would have three strips total. I then hemmed each strip and ran a gathering stitch down each one to create the ruffles. After attaching the ruffles to the skirt, I added some white rick rack across the seam. I also added white rick rack to the neckline then sewed a piece of yellow bias tape over the top.
This dress was definitely time consuming due to the ruffles but Erin just loved it and I think it looks adorable on her and pretty true to the original.

Erin's Fair Dress

close up of neckline


back of dress - I used red buttons for a pop of color

Erin and "Wilbur"



I hope you enjoyed my take on Fern's Fair dress! Don't forget to stop over at Project Run and Play to see what the designers came up with this week and to vote for your favorite look!