homegrown mama

Posts Tagged ‘kids’

::dedication suit::

In look what I can do!, sewing on 20112011-11-20T09:30:47+00:0030 9/11 at 09:30

I wanted O to have his own ensemble to wear…

Today, we’re having baby O dedicated to the Lord at church. While we know this city will not be our home forever, Calvary Temple has been a home church to us since our arrival two years ago (!) in January. Last Mother’s Day, we had baby H dedicated wearing my Christening dress, made for me by my nana in 1982. It’s a beautiful white satin and it fit her perfectly.

H at 8 months old

I know it’s the 21st Century and no one would think it odd if O were to wear the same gown, being that it’s supposed to be a gender neutral tradition. However, I just didn’t think it would fly. So I wanted O to have his own ensemble to wear but I didn’t want it to be just something I found at Zellers, Walmart or Children’s Place. I didn’t want anyone else to have the same outfit. So when I stumbled upon this online tutorial for a boy’s vest, I thought it looked easy enough to try myself, along with some pants to match.

Off I went to Fabricland and, wouldn’t you know it, I found an entire metre of herringbone suiting fabric in the bargain bin for $5! Score! I picked up two very manly buttons for the front and two sheets of felt for the embellishment.

I didn’t have high hopes for the professionalism of this project; I’m not a perfectionist when it comes to sewing. I get bored easily and just want my projects done. I just needed it to look good for photos and on the day. But even after considering an unlined, thrown together vest, I realized lining it would be much easier; instead of turning and sewing all the edges, I could simply sew two vests together (like the tutorial instructs) and one would instantly become the liner. Perfect. The best part is that I had one of hubby’s dress shirts in my “upcycle” pile in my closet, just because it had a few small stains. I decided to use that for the lining, which makes it extra special.

It quickly took off from there, and while I decided on the embellishments and snaps after I’d already flipped the vest right side out (which means the stitching can be seen on the inside), I must say the whole thing turned out quite well!

A smashing suit for a dashing young man

As you can see below, the buttons are not functional. I am a little too lazy, and scared, to do buttonholes right now (I know, I know, I should practice on scraps. Again, I’m lazy, remember?). So I hand-stitched snaps inside to make a quick fastening.

Tricked you, didn't I?

Lastly, instead of neatly finishing the hem, I left the extra fabric in the seam to let the pants down at Christmastime. I’m certain baby O will grow enough in two months to need some extra length.

extra fabric for growth

Of course, I did splurge on some adorable suede shoes for this special occasion. They’re too big but it’s not like he has to walk to the alter or anything. And hey, for $7, I’m not too worried.

Shoes for my stylin' dude

Photos of O in his getup to come!


I’ve recently discovered the website Craftsy.com, an online sewing and crafting community, and have started uploading my projects on there. Have a peek!


::Never say never::

In kids, parenting on 20112011-11-16T09:30:41+00:0030 9/11 at 09:30

I recently watched the documentary Never Say Never. This film follows teen pop sensation (and Canadian boy) Justin Bieber on his rise to fame via YouTube and other social networking platforms. An “impressive and whirlwind experience” is probably an understatement in describing the journey that catapulted him from his modest home in small-town Stratford, Ontario, to popularity virtually unfathomable to any regular teen.

According to the film, which culminates in his first sold-out concert at New York’s Madison Square Garden last summer, the now 17-year-old never had a voice lesson before he became famous. He also plays a host of instruments (guitar, piano, trumpet and, most notably, the drums). He’s what you’d call “a natural,” and he is a very blessed kid indeed to have supportive family and friends who encouraged his musical development at an early age. I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that he wasn’t just another manufactured pop act, created by record executives and bigwig producers to make money off of young teen girls.

After viewing the entire show, I couldn’t stop thinking how the most poignant moment for me in the entire 1h 45m of footage was a fleeting shot of his parents in the audience at the featured concert. Though they split shortly after Justin’s birth, they stood together watching their son sing and dance to a crowd of 20,000 fans, tears in both their eyes, and awe on their faces. What a mind-blowing experience!

While a lot of parents would think their kid was wildly successful for these achievements, I am curious: would his parents be as proud and excited if he stood before them in uniform, boots shined, white gloves on, and beret perfectly perched upon his head? If Justin Bieber had decided instead to enlist himself in the Armed Forces, would his mother have cried tears of disappointment and fear instead of tears of joy? Would his father have shaken his hand and wished him good luck as he headed off to Basic Training, or would he have been letdown, thinking he must have thrown away his dreams?

Being a parent sure changes the way the world looks. Risks seem riskier, decisions carry more weight, and character-building is the key to ensuring the “success” of our kids as they grow into adults. And I’m not saying Bieber’s family hasn’t worked their hardest to build on a solid foundation of love, faith and trust (the show clearly reveals that they have!). But part of me feels like it would be quite easy to accept these types of blessings for your child. After all, doesn’t every parent wonder, at some point, “Maybe my kid will be the next [insert favourite celebrity here]”?

I didn’t grow up with much knowledge of Canada’s Armed Forces. And I’m sad to say this is the case for many people I know. But being a part of the military family now means that it also may remain part of my family in the future. If Heidi or Oren want to serve Canada in the Forces, I’d like to have enough faith, and confidence in their character, to wholeheartedly support them for choosing a path with a higher purpose, even if the cost could be their lives. (Of course, if one of them turns out to be a musical prodigy and tours the world selling out major venues, I’d be elated!) But in my heart, I know it takes a special type of person to say, “Yes, I will lay down my life for freedom, and for my country.” And while it may not be what I want to hear as a mother, it certainly stems from the kind of selfless and justice-driven character I want to instill in them as a parent. So no matter what ambitions, hopes and dreams we may have for our children, just remember: never say never.

::Fall fun::

In family, food, outings on 20112011-10-24T09:30:07+00:0031 9/11 at 09:30

Fall is here, fall is here!

Ah, my favourite season has arrived again and I’m enjoying these days of crisp breezes, morning frost and my favourite GAP jeans. But while my love for autumn relies heavily on fashion options, the true reason I look forward to this time of year is the FOOD! I just love that Thanksgiving in Canada is in October, not too close to Christmas, like in the U.S. All September long, I pine for turkey, cranberries, stuffing, sweet potato crisp and chewy ginger chocolate cookies (are you drooling yet?). Time to dig out my scarecrows and fall leaf garlands, toss some gourds in a decorative bowl, light an autumn spice candle, and sit on the couch with a good book and a fuzzy blanket.

Of course, it’s also time for all things pumpkin. We recently took the family to Meandher Creek Pumpkin Patch! Last year, hubby was on a course in Gagetown, N.B., from October to December, so I took H on my own for the afternoon. She was only 13 months old at the time and while she enjoyed sitting in the straw, watching the goats and piglets, and crawling on the mounds of pumpkins, she didn’t really know how to have “fun” there just yet. She did choose her own little gourds and I picked up our pumpkins for the season but other than that, it was a little anticlimactic.

This year, though, my crazy little redhead is two and she’s on the move. She had a blast running through the corn maze, climbing the hay bales, and choosing pumpkins. I was equally excited to take hubby, because dads seem to make these outings more fun for kids, don’t they?

While I was there last year, I purchased a small jar of Meandher Creek’s homemade pumpkin pie spice. It’s great stuff and while I don’t often make pumpkin pie, I do bake with pumpkin a lot in the fall and winter, so this was a yummy find. I  have taken to using it in my recipe for Starbucks Pumpkin Scones. Instead of measuring out the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger, I just add 1.5 tsp. of the pumpkin pie spice in their place and it’s wonderful.

Photo by run for your life

But I also realized how expensive my Starbucks pumpkin spice latte habit was becoming last fall, so decided I would venture to make my own at home to cut costs. Needless to say, I had to buy a new jar of the spice this month at the pumpkin patch, because I just ran out.

Here is my recipe for a homemade pumpkin spice latte. Enjoy while snuggling on the couch with your honey…or babes.

Baxter-style Pumpkin Spice Latte

½-cup 2% milk (use 1% or skim if you’re watching calories)

½-cup hot brewed coffee or two shots of espresso (adjust according to your taste)

½-tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp real maple syrup

optional: whipped cream/dessert topping

Pour milk in your mug and heat in the microwave until hot but not boiling (mine has a beverage setting on it that worked well). Remove and stir in pie spice and maple syrup. Add coffee, stir, and top with whipped cream/dessert topping if you’re throwing your cares out the window. Relax, and enjoy!*

*Note: The last sip usually contains some leftover spices. It’s pretty gritty, so I’d avoid it if I were you!

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