Thursday, October 24, 2013

Egg-Free Meatballs

These meatballs were one of the first things Sophie ate when she starting eating solid food, and they are still a staple in our house now at 3 years old. Sophie has an egg allergy so these are egg free, but they taste just as delicious as the regular kind!

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon basil
Olive Oil

Pulverize oatmeal in blender until it has the consistency of flour. Mix in bowl with ground beef and seasonings. Slowly pour in milk. I usually pour a little bit, mix, then pour a little bit more. Adding it too fast makes the meat sticky. Roll into balls and cook over medium, turning frequently, until golden brown.

I usually make a batch of these and freeze them to have on hand for quick meals. To freeze, put the meatballs in a single layer on a plate covered in wax paper and place in the freezre for 1 hour. After 1 hour, they will be firm enough for you to store in a Ziploc or container without them sticking together.


Blogger Tricks

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fall Leaf Craft

Can't your yard use a few less leaves this time of year? Here is a fun, easy craft for the kids using items from the back yard.

You will need: 
  • A variety of colorful leaves
  • Glue
  • Construction Paper
Start by cutting a tree and grass from construction paper and glue it on to another full sheet. Then let your child select colorful leaves to glue on the tree.

This could've kept Sophie busy for hours! These pictures are actually from LAST fall....before I started the blog. Look how tiny she is! 

Here she is showing off her artwork.

Enjoy the weekend!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Here in Our Corner: Fall is in the air!

I love this time of year. The weather is  starting to cool off after a long hot summer and it's time to decorate for Halloween!  Robbie has been busy decorating the yard, which made the perfect backdrop for taking pictures of Sophie and Audrey.

Sophie has definitely inherited her dad's love of decorating. She asked me to call him at work the other day to see if she could help him decorate that night. Then told Audrey that when she "gets bigger and bigger and bigger" she would teach her how to "decorate with my friend Daddy."  This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our Halloween decorations....  The big stuff doesn't go out until a couple days before the 31st.

My favorite part is our wreath, made by Robbie of course!

Our mantle is looking festive as well!

I'm up to my eyeballs with designing and sewing Halloween costumes. Why in earth can't I just go to a store and buy costumes like a normal person??? This year I've probably bitten off more than I can chew! I'm making costumes for all 4 of us....with no patterns! I can't tell you what we'll be yet but it's going to be amazing! Here's a sneak peak of part of my costume.....  Can anyone guess?

I'm excited about some major changes coming up for Night Owl Corner! I'm moving to Wordpress! I'm so grateful that I have a friend / neighbor who is a computer wiz, and he's graciously offered to help me because it's a bit  too much for me to tackle on my own. Choosing a theme has practically taken over my life for the past couple weeks so sorry I've been MIA around the blog. There are simply too many options. But I think that I've finally made up my mind and can now get the ball rolling. Stay tuned for the new look coming soon! 

Now back to the sewing machine...

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Ultimate Cinderella Costume

Flashback to last Halloween: Sophie as Cinderella 

I mentioned in a previous post that the Sullivan's Island Dress was my masterpiece but I think I'm going to have to reconsider that comment. THIS dress takes the cake. 

I'm not going to lie....making this almost drove me over a cliff. It could not have possibly turned out more beautiful but the process of making it was extremely stressful.  

It was a joint project between me and my dear, sweet mother-in-law Marie, with me taking the lead and Marie (who is a master seamstress) coming to bail me out whenever I hit a roadblock. Which was often. 

There were tears shed. And yes, as much as I hate to admit it, there were probably a couple bad words said. It was hard to make. HARD. I didn't think I would ever see the end of it. 

But finally, after days of hard work, we ended up with this.

Yes, I know she's wearing tennis shoes instead of glass slippers. Try to reason with a 2 year old!

We used the Butterick B4320 pattern for our basis but just winged a couple parts of it that we wanted to modify, including making some adjustments to the size to fit a 2T, attaching the crinoline to the dress, and making the hem long enough to be let out as she grows.

And speaking of hem, can you see a hem line? No stitches visible! The hem is sewn to the  crinoline rather than the dress itself.

The side "flaps" (what do you call those things anyway?) proved to be the hardest part. 

The directions included with the dress pattern made absolutely no sense. My mother-in-law couldn't even figure it out and she's an expert at reading patterns. 

Thankfully I found Ashley's Cinderella Dress tutorial at Make it and Love it which has great instructions for making those side flaps. I also used the Make It and Love It's headband tutorial. I wish she'd let me put her hair up in a bun like Cinderella but no such luck.
We were in a race against time to finish it before leaving on our trip to Disney World in mid-October last year. ( I wish we could go back this year!) We literally were scrambling to finish it the night before we left. 

But every bit of the drama was worth it when I saw Sophie wearing it when she met Cinderella and Prince Charming. I had to fight back tears. Seeing my little princess in her pretty dress standing next to Cinderella made every bit of the hard work worth it. This picture is worth 10,000 words!

When we finally got to the front of the line, Cinderella walked up and took Sophie's hand. Of course she told Sophie how pretty the dress was. (We also got numerous complements from other people at Disney.)

We were very lucky that evening to meet Prince Charming as well. I hear he doesn't make appearances very often. He even danced with her! 

Yeah, I really should've brought some Kleenex with me that night! Talk about being choked up.

Rapunzel, Snow White and their princes were also meeting and greeting that night and they oooh and ahhh'd over her dress too.

The guy playing Snow White's prince was the same guy who played Ariel's Prince Eric when we were in Disney World in May 2012 and he actually remembered Sophie. She must've made a lasting impression when she wrapped her arms around Ariel and wouldn't let go. Seriously, I thought we were going to have to get a crow bar! Here's a picture from that day. 

Anyway, the Cinderella dress was a major hit. Gorgeous in every way and totally worth all the endless hours I spent slaving over the sewing machine. 

Now it's time to work on our costumes for this year. For mine I've bought shiny black fabric, purple sequined fabric, wire, a gray wig, and suction cups. Can anyone guess what I'll be???

Linking to these parties.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Best Breastfeeding Products

I truly believe breastfeeding is the best way to nourish your baby. I nursed Sophie for 13 months and plan to do the same for Audrey. It's not always easy, but stick with it because it will be one of the most rewarding experiences you'll ever have. Along the way, I have discovered these great products that make nursing easier and more comfortable. You can click on any of the links below to purchase directly from Amazon.

You can pump completely hands free if you can fork out the bucks for the Medela Freestyle! The battery operated motor also allows you to walk around.  If I had to do it again this is the one I would go for! It sure would be nice to have that mobility when chasing after a toddler! 

Medela Pump in Style Breast Pump
I have the Medela Pump in Style. I have used it heavily (3x/day for 13 months with Sophie and 4 months so far with Audrey) and it's still going strong with no problems.  It's slightly more affordable than the Medela Freestyle and you can make it hands free by using the bra shown below. 

Simple Wishes Hands-Free Bra
Yes, I know it looks funny but it works! Trust me, you don't want to have to hold the shields up to your chest for 15-20 minutes at a time.This bra makes it so much easier.

More Milk Special Blend 
If you ever experience milk production issues, try More Milk Plus Special Blend. When Audrey started day care, I found that I was not pumping as much as she was drinking in bottles during the day. This often occurs because the baby is much more efficient at getting milk than the pump is. I gave More Milk Plus Special Blend a try after a lactation consultant recommended it to me, and now I'm getting about an extra 2 oz. each time I pump. It's an herbal product with fenugreek, blessed thistle, fennel seed and goat's rue.  I've been able to make all her bottles each day and usually have an ounce or two left over.

The Breastfeeding Mother's Guide to Making More Milk 
This book is an excellent resource for improving low milk supply. It covers the causes of low milk supply, the way your body makes milk, and how babies contribute to your milk production.


Boppy Pillow
This helps you support the baby at the perfect position for nursing, and can also be used for tummy time and as a support for the baby to sit up in. I would also recommend getting a water resistant cover because the baby WILL spit up on it. Trust me! 

Tommee Tippee Bottles
Personally, I find these bottles to be the best for transitioning a baby between the bottle and breast. Audrey uses these and has had no problems with nipple confusion.  

Tommee Tippee Anti-Colic Bottles
Audrey needed the anti-colic bottles as a newborn to help reduce air intake and spitting up. We found them to be very effective. 

Udder Covers  Breast Feeding Nursing Cover
I didn't have a nursing cover with Sophie and I honestly don't know how I survived without it. This enables you to nurse with privacy when you have a friend visiting or if you're in a public area. 

Sensible Lines Milk Trays
These trays let you freeze breast milk in 1 oz. sticks which defrost easily and never create waste because you only defrost exactly how much you need.

Medela Tender Care Lanolin 
This product goes on much smoother than other lanolin creams.


Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags
I use these bags once a week to sterilize all of Audrey's bottles and pump parts, as well as pacifiers and straws from Sophie's sippy cups. Just put 2 oz. of water in the bag and pop in the microwave....easy peasy!

Medela SoftSheild Breast Shells
These are great at the beginning to promote healing and to protect your breasts from being irritated by rubbing against your clothes.


Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads
Soft and absorbent with a waterproof backing that protects clothes. 

  I hope you will find something here to help you on your breastfeeding journey.

Linking to these parties!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Best Halloween Costumes

We love love love Halloween around here. Robbie's birthday is on the 30th so it's the perfect excuse to have a costume party. I would like to share with you some of our best costumes from years past.

Our first big bash was for Robbie's 30th birthday. He dressed up as a pirate and I was a medieval princess. How gorgeous is this dress? The sleeves were my favorite part.

My dress was borrowed from his mom's costume shop at school and was handmade by one of her students. She oversees costume design for all of the school's play productions and has a massive storage room full of costumes. It's so much fun to go there and look through all the stuff which just goes on for rack after rack after rack.  For Robbie's pirate costume he wore his own pants combined with a shirt and accessories borrowed from the costume shop.

I made the pointed hat myself out of a rolled up tube of poster board that I covered in crushed velvet fabric. Then I stuck a yard or so of organza into the little hole at the top of the hat to make the "veil" part. (What do you call that anyway?) I wish I had a tutorial to offer but this was made in the days long before I thought about starting a blog.

Yikes....look at that banister. HIDEOUS! This picture was taken before Robbie replaced it with a white banister and wrought iron spindles. Check out this post to see what it looks like now. 
The following year we dressed as a flapper and a gangster. 

We went for store bought costumes that year because we were deeply engrossed in construction of Halloween decorations for the yard. Stay tuned for a post on that later this month! I bought the flapper costume here.

And that wig would be perfect for recycling into a Snow White costume one day. 

Sophie arrived during the next year so for the following Halloween we did family themed costumes. Robbie was Peter Pan, I was Wendy and Sophie was Tinker Bell. 

 Doesn't Sophie make the cutest Tinkerbell ever???

Robbie's mom made his costume, my dress was made by one of her students, and Sophie's costume I believe is no longer made but you can find something similar here. My father in law was Captain Hook, wearing items from the costume shop. (And he would probably object to me putting his picture on I will just skip it!) 

The following year Robbie and I were Gomez and Morticia Addams. I borrowed my dress from a friend and Robbie's suit was store bought. He could not keep that mustache on straight to save his life!


The plan was for Sophie to be Wednesday but it's impossible to find a braided wig for a 1 1/2 year old, and I suspect even less likely that she'd wear it. So at the last minute we decided that Sophie would be the Addams Family cat! 

Here she is with the ears:

Later this week I will be featuring Sophie's costume from last year that was a true masterpiece, and entirely handmade by me and her grandmother.

My Halloween costume this year is in progress. I've bought a gray wig, purple sequined fabric, shiny black fabric, wire, stuffing and suction cups. Can anyone guess what I'll be???

Linking to these parties!