Thursday, November 10, 2016

Holiday Boutique


So excited about the holiday boutique that I am participating in this Saturday! My friend's mom is putting it on in her home for the second year in a row. Last year it was so fun and there were so many cute things! Here's a sneak peek of some of what I will be selling. I started sewing these in January because I knew that I wanted to participate, but with two babies under 2, I had to get a head start! They need some good ironing after being in a box for so many months. Email me if you are in the Salt Lake Valley and you want the address! :) shieldedhome@gmail.com











The cow one is probably my all time favorite blanket. If I knew I was going to have a baby girl someday, I probably wouldn't be selling it! It is made using Lori Holt's Cow from the Farm Girl Vintage collection. 





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Friday, October 7, 2016

Christmas Lights and Snow Cones

January 26, 2007 I turned 17. It was the best birthday I have ever had. Steven took me skiing for the first time (which was a whole story in itself). After skiing, we went back to his grandparent's house to hot tub. There was probably two feet of snow on the ground and it was snowing big, soft flakes. There were Christmas lights around the hot tub and I remember thinking about how magical it looked. We got in the hot tub, and Steven just looked at me for a minute. Then he said, "If I show you something that my sister and I used to do, will you promise not to laugh?" I nodded excitedly. He jumped out of the hot tub, ran inside and came back out with two cups, two spoons, and juice. He filled up the cups all the way with fresh snow and poured juice on top. He handed me one and said, "Fresh snow cone!" That was the moment that I realized that I had to be with him forever. Sitting under the Christmas lights with a fresh snow cone in my hand and him by my side was my perfect scenario.

It has been almost 10 years since that moment. Last night, Steven and I put our two babies down for bed and got back in that same hot tub. There was no fresh snow cone this time, but there were a lot of stars out.

Have you ever felt the chapter in your book coming to a close? It's a strange feeling when you know it's happening. There are a few times in life when it's really obvious that there's about to be a new chapter... Graduating, moving to a new state, having a baby... These are times when you are expecting to have a chapter change and you can somewhat prepare for it. Then there are times that you get a new chapter suddenly, and you have days or hours or minutes to get used to it. We recently had one of those changes. We had plans for the next little while, and a major kink got thrown into it. Heaven gained another angel that we already miss so much. Whether it's a grandparent or parent or spouse or baby you never got to know, there will always be a little pocket in your heart that can only be filled by them.


Thinking back to 10 years ago sitting in that same hot tub brought back a lot of memories for us. We spent senior prom at this house. We had innumerable family parties here. We brought home our babies here. This is where they both took their first steps. This is the house where when I was having a bad day, Grandpa would put his arms around me and remind me that I'm doing just fine and then he would take me out to lunch. At the end of the day, the house is made of bricks and wood. It's the love and memories made here that are more important. And those are the only things that we can take Home with us.

Now for the next chapter.




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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Beauty and the Beast Quilt

Isn't it always fun when family is in town? We were lucky this past weekend to spend time with my sister Torri and her adorable hubby, Taylor (known to us as Tay-Tay). She had mentioned to Alexa about a week before she came that she would love a Disney quilt like Alexa is making. If you know our family, you know that almost everything revolves around Disney in some way or another! 

Well, in 2 days, Alexa and I made a quilt for her! I don't even know how we pulled it off to be honest. It is really simple, but it was so much fun working with Lex on it. It's fun having a sister that sews! My plan is to slowly start forcing the rest of them to do it too... :) 

   {me, Torri, Alexa, and Abbey}

Here it is! Alexa has only been sewing since Christmas, and I've been sewing for a couple years now. So we were really proud of this! Torri loved it which is why we were extra excited.  



For the drawings, we used the same method that I used for Weston's car mat. It's really easy. Here's the simple version. 
First, draw on your fabric using a Sharpie and color it in using crayons. You want to do it fairly dark because it will fade just a little. Next, you will need to dip a rag in white vinegar and put the rag over the picture. You are going to press it with a hot iron. Make sure you just press, not iron because we don't want to smudge the crayon. Lay it out to dry, then it's ready to use in your quilt!




Hope you are all having as fun of a summer as we are! 


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Monday, May 23, 2016

The Most Delightful Cookies




So many people are always asking me about my chocolate chip cookies. They ask me if it's a family recipe passed down or if it's a secret recipe that I won't share. It's always such a compliment when people ask me! But honestly, all of my "secret" ways are actually really easy.

First off... The best recipe is simply found on the Nestle Toll House chocolate chip package!

Here is the recipe for high altitude that I follow...

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup butter (2 sticks)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 package MILK chocolate chip cookies

Grab a mixing bowl and mix together the flour, salt, baking soda. Set aside.
Cream together the butter and the two sugars.
Add the eggs one at a time and then the vanilla.
Slowly mix in the flour mix.
Add the chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 degrees on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes until golden brown.



Now here are the little changes that can make your cookies PERFECT.

*The butter should be at room temperature. If it's too cold, it makes it hard to mix and cream with the sugar. If it's melted down in the microwave, it's too runny. I leave my butter out the night before, or at least several hours before I'm ready to use it.

*Depending on how large the eggs are, you may have to add in more flour. The last several times, the eggs have been so big that I have had to add about 1/2 cup extra flour, sometimes more. The way you can tell that you need to add more flour is by touching the cookie dough. If at the end of all the mixing, you touch the dough and it's sticky... It needs more flour. You should be able to pinch the dough and not have it stick to your fingers.

*When your cookies are coming out flat, the first thing to check is if you have enough flour in the mix using the pinching test I just mentioned. The other thing it could be is your baking soda has gone flat. To test if your baking soda still works, get a little glass of vinegar and put a teaspoon of baking soda in. If it doesn't fizz, time to get new baking soda.

*Most people don't believe me with this trick, but I don't use the whole bag of chocolate chips. I use about 3/4 of the bag. And I only ever use milk chocolate. Never, ever semi-sweet. Why have semi-sweet when you can have the full amount of sweetness? :)

*I don't always follow the minute count of the recipe. I consistently watch my cookies. I make sure the edges are golden brown, but I pull them out about a minute early. Most people don't know that they still continue to cook on the inside when you pull them out of the oven and they are still hot. I pull them out a minute early and then leave them on the baking sheet for 5 minutes or so. Then I transfer them to the wire rack. If you pull them off the cookie sheet too soon, the bottom of the cookies will melt through the wire rack. Pulling them out a little early leaves the center of the cookie really soft and they keep for a few days longer. Within an hour of baking them, they go into a sealed container.

Hopefully this helps! Comment below with any questions or success stories!

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Happy First Birthday, Baby Boy!

In 9th grade, Steven would always walk me to my 3rd period class. On the way there, we would ask each other get-to-know-you questions. I remember one day, I asked him, "Who is your best friend?" He said, "Well you don't know him, but his name is Colton." He told me all about how they grew up as close as brothers. I don't know why I said this to him (or really why I remember), but I said, "I really love the name Colton!" Fast forward 10 years, a wedding day, and one older brother... and this little Colton was born.



It's strange the feelings that come with being a parent. The stress, the worries, the happiness all seem more intense than they did before. How did I ever go to sleep at night without my last thoughts being these babies? And how did I wake up without thinking about them? I believe in soul mates in the romantic way of speaking. But I also believe in a different kind of soul mates; the kind where the people around you are meant to be in your life. I feel like children are the truest form of this type of soul mate. Whether they come to earth through your own body or someone else's, your children have a hold on the very core of your existence.



Last Sunday, the boys were wrestling around the room. Weston was trying to hide his trucks from Colton and Colton was trying to bite Weston's wiggling toes. There were squeaks and giggles and screams. Steven and I were laughing and I turned to him and said, "Do you remember when Sunday afternoons were so peaceful and quiet?" He said, "Ya, and I will be sad when they are quiet again." Babies grow into kids, and kids grow up. So I will soak them up while I can.




This past Saturday, we had a birthday party for Colton. We are so lucky to have so many fun, loving people in our lives! We had a Sesame Street party because that is literally his favorite thing.













Colton is such a fun little guy. He absolutely refuses to walk, although he can stand up and shoot a basketball into the hoop with no problem. He loves to play basketball and catch. His first word was "ball" and he says it so much that he will even say it in his sleep! He also says, "hi" "bye" and "dad" "ba-ba" and "up above". He learned the last phrase from singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star".
























Every week I take the boys to the library and they always sing the song with hand motions. Now whenever he wants to sing, he will do the hand motions and sing "up above". {Cue my heart melting} He loves to watch movies, and he is an avid reader. I didn't realize how long a 1 year old could sit and just look at books until he came along. He loves animals, big and small. He is always trying to sneak off to climb something. He is a fruit snacks lover and an all around great eater. He already knows where my candy drawer is! He is so friendly. I love watching him interact with other kids because he will crawl right up to them and say "hi!" and wave.


He was a mommy's boy for a while, but now he's switching over to the dad side (How does Steven keep getting so lucky!). He is full of life and happiness and light. His Grandpa Ken is always saying that Colton has a twinkle in his eye, and it's true! I just can't believe it's been a whole year already. I love you so much sweet little Colton!



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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

ABC Felt Book for Colton's #1 Birthday!


I just love quiet books! They are so fun to make and it's so fun for the kids to look at. Colton's first birthday is this weekend and I barely finished his birthday present in time!



One of the fun parts about a quiet book is that you can add different textures to add to the touch and feel quality of the book. I used a lot of buttons in this book and jewelry wire for the guitar. 






Watch for another blog post this weekend about his birthday party details (Sesame Street!) and the cutest smash cake pictures you've ever seen!
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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Quilty Fun Anniversary Quilt!





One of my favorite quilting artist is Lori Holt. She's incredible! I bought her first book last year called Quilty Fun. It has so many cute patchwork quilt ideas! 

If you have read my blog before, you know that every anniversary, my husband and I make our gifts for each other. This past December was our 6th anniversary. The traditional gift for anniversary 6 is wood or metal. Well, I stretched that a bit and appliqu├ęd a big tree on this quilt! It was a lot of work putting this together with a 2 year old and 6 month old, but somehow it came together just in time!


I used a lot of the different blocks from Quilty Fun and made it into my own. The house, the apples, the leaves, and the flying geese are all in her book. It was really easy to follow because it has pictures that go step by step. It's really great for visual learners! I hadn't ever done anything like this before and I was able to do it without a problem, which means you can too!



The apple cores are my fav! :)



I was able to use all my scraps and some of my Aunt Sue's stash so the whole quilt only cost me a few dollars for the backside fabric. Her book makes great use of scraps!




My handsome date! :)

Have fun quilting! 

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