Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hi, my name's Aundraya....I'm addicted to sewing.

   I think I have a new addiction.  Look what I made today!

It's a pillowcase romper!

She's a pirate!
   I had a lot of fun making this one.  I found two tutorials that I followed. First, I used the steps for a regular pillowcase dress from this website.  I liked it, but then I found this one with the cute elastic around the pant legs, so I followed those instructions for the bottom half.  I think the end result was rather adorable.  To make it easy, though, I'll give you the full instructions of what I did.

What you'll need:

1 Standard size pillowcase, in the color/pattern of your choice
Elastic (I used 1/4" for the top and the bottom)
Ribbon (I used 3/8" Grossgrain)
Sewing Machine

Begin by cutting off the part of the pillow that is sewn closed, making sure to keep your cut straight.  Next, fold your pillowcase in half lengthwise.  On the seam side, draw a rounded L-shape that is about 5" down and 1 1/2" from the seam.  If your ribbon and/or elastic is a bit bigger than what I used, just make sure you still give yourself enough room to make the casing over the elastic.  Cut out the L-shape.  Unfold your pillowcase; you should have a nice U-shape now.  Next, while staying on the ugly side of the pillowcase, fold the U-shape down 1/4", and iron it flat.  Pull the curved parts as best you can (you can even use starch, if necessary).  Then fold them over another 1/4", iron them flat, and pin them in place.  Sew that in place, and repeat on the other arm hole.

Next, fold the top over 1/4", and iron in place.  Then fold again 1" and iron and pin in place (if you are using wider ribbon/elastic, make your second fold 1 1/4").  Sew your casing.  For the length of your elastic, measure your model from armpit to armpit, and subtract two inches.  (Ie, Monkey's chest was 12" so I cut 2 pieces of elastic to be 10" each.)  Snake the elastic through the casing.  If you need to, use a safety pin.  Once your elastic is poking out the opposite side, sew your ribbon to the end (make sure if you have a design on your ribbon that it's facing the right side), and then sew the elastic to the inside of the casing. Repeat on the other side.

  Next I tried the dress on my little monkey, and had to cut it down to size a good bit.  I wanted her shorts to be just above the knees, so I made a mark and (after taking the dress off of her) cut straight up the middle.  Using the top of the cut as a point of reference, I made another U-shape which would later be the crotch and thigh area.  Then I measured Monkey's thigh and subtracted 1".  I cut two pieces of elastic to that size.  Next fold the bottom of the legs 1/4" (you should be looking at the ugly side btw), press with your iron, then fold again to 1/4", press, pin, and sew.  Leave the U-shape untouched for now.

Next, pin the elastic onto each side of the leg hole just above the sewn edge.  Find the middle of the leg hole and the middle of the elastic and pin that so that you keep the elastic evenly spaced.  Next sew, making sure to stretch the elastic as you go.  Repeat with the other leg hole.  Now, with the pretty sides together, fold the U-shape at the crotch in 1/4".  Cut notches in it so it will curve well. Then pin in place and sew.  That's it!

   I love how cute this outfit is, and I love that it's not another dress!  This means Monkey can play however she wants without showing her panties off to the world or getting a dress tangled around her legs.  

Update:  My sister pointed out that Monkey's picture looked a lot like another famous photo, so let me present to you Ryleigh the Riveter!

Monday, July 30, 2012


  Lately I've been reading the ReFashionista's blog.  I love how she manages to make something fabulous from something, well, not so fabulous.  She goes to the thrift store, picks up something funky, brings it home, and "repurposes" it.   I really like that word: repurposed.  I feel like I've been "repurposing" my life.  It started when I signed up for school, but it's grown from that.  I went from keeping the balance between mother and wife to being the only parent.  I'm trying to keep up with all my new goals, from working out to sewing, and school (the thing that started it all) will be beginning in a few short weeks.  With all this, I should be worn out, but I'm finally feeling great about me, about all my new purposes, and I'm loving my life.  I guess I've repurposed my life from one of hiding in fear to one that face fears daily, even the little ones.

   I'm proud to say that I'm finally tapping into those creative juices that I know are flowing around inside me.  Taking a leaf from the Refashionista's book blog, I decided to go through my closet and find something to repurpose.

Decisions, decisions
  I wound up going with this shirt/dress that I bought from Charlotte Rouse last summer for $5.  I've never worn it, although it's very cute.  It was too long for a shirt, but too short for me to be comfortable wearing it as a dress.

The Chosen One ;-)
   I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do with it, so I just started ripping out stitches.

  It made for some very relaxing and peaceful work.  I was a little intimidated by the ruffle part, so I just cut those along the seam as best I could.

   At this point I knew I wanted to use the ruffles, and I was beginning to realize that this was going to be more or less a smaller version of the original.  I also stopped taking pictures because I had no clue how to go about all this, and I ended up throwing it all down in frustration before heading to bed.  This morning, however, I woke up refreshed and picked up where I left off.  And, this is the final result:

  I love this color on her!  She's so tan from this summer that it just looks perfect with her complexion.  And, of course, I have a Before & After picture:

        Monkey was such a big girl through all of this, being still so I could measure, trim and pin, and then being such a cute little model.  Now she's watching her favorite movie as I type this and get a few house chores accomplished.  Before I head off to do the latter, though, I wanted to share a couple games Monkey has been playing.  She's learning her number symbols, so these are a couple things to help her identify the symbol and recognize that it correlates to the amount.

  All you need for the first is a piece of paper, a marker or crayon and stickers.  Write the numbers on the paper, spaced out enough so that you have room for the stickers.  Monkey loves this one, and we hung it on the wall as a point of reference.  If she forgets what a number looks like, she can go count the corresponding stickers to figure it out.

Next up we did a game that requires an egg carton, a permanent marker and plenty of beads.  Write the numbers 1-12 into each of the egg slots.  Then let your little one place the correct amount of beads into each slot.

    Well the movie's coming to an end, and I still need to fold clothes, so I'll see y'all next time :-)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

She's Ready for her Close-up Mr. Demille

     I've pretty much decided that my child is going to be an actress, or a singer, or a dancer, or something that requires everyone to look at her.  She definitely knows how to command the attention of an entire room, for better or worse.  The other day, when my mom and little brother came to visit, we had to go into the Pass and ID place to get my mom's pass for the weekend to drive on base.  We were there for about an hour, waiting in line because everyone decided to go at the same time.  We passed the time pleasantly enough, talking, catching up, and of course, paying extra-special attention to Monkey's endless antics.  There was a good crowd, so it's no surprise that Monkey was in the middle of the room, where they could all see her.  She was dancing and jumping around until that got old.  That's when she started to sing.  Lately she's been making up her own love ballads, which are greatly influenced by all those Disney movies mommy lets her watch.  In the middle of everything, she belts out, "My heart is so full, and I love my Juju, and my Bubba is in my heart, and I will be so sad, because Mommy will be DEAD!!!"

   Yeah, she said that.  My mom (Juju) busted out laughing, and my little brother (Bubba) was torn between laughter and embarrassment.  I, meanwhile, was trying to recover the situation because all the old ladies who had been grinning and encouraging my little girl now looked at me with shock and indignation.  I just gave a weak smile and a shrug and said, "Gotta love those Disney movies".  That relaxed them a little, and I was able to convince my little brother to walk my little performing artist around the garden outside until we were finished.

    I'll be signing my little singer/songwriter up for dance in a few weeks.  Hopefully that will give her the limelight she seems to be craving, while also teaching her new skills and providing a new atmosphere to make friends.  I'm excited, and she is too.  She keeps asking me when we're going to dance class.  I may have created a monster.

    As for me, I've been up to my normal stuff of keeping busy.  I'm excited that July will be over in a few more days, that's one month down :-)

  I'm going to be sharing two recipes with y'all today, as soon as I figure out which ones I want to pick. How about a good ole Coffee Cake to start off with?

I love Coffee Cake for breakfast :-)

Hmmm....I can almost smell it.
 Coffee Cake Recipe

  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar, and sour cream; add eggs and vanilla and beat well. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl then add to creamed mixture; beat well. Generously grease a 10-inch tube pan. Make topping by combining chopped nuts, sugar, and cinnamon. In bottom of the well-greased tube pan put about one-third of topping mixture; alternate layers of batter and topping, ending with batter. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.

"C" is for Coffee Cake
  And now, how about a dinner recipe?  I'm thinking this Tuscan Pasta with Tomato-Basil Cream will be the perfect recipe to share.  I didn't realize that I had this pinned about 5 different times on my "Recipes to Try" board, but I did, so I figured it was high time I tried it, and I'm so glad I did!

Tuscan Pasta Recipe

  • (20-oz.) package refrigerated four-cheese ravioli (I used Buitoni)*
  • (16-oz.) jar sun-dried tomato Alfredo sauce (I used Classico)
  • 2 tablespoons white wine 
  • medium-size fresh tomatoes, chopped**
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Garnish: fresh basil strips
  1. 1. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  2. 2. Meanwhile, pour Alfredo sauce into a medium saucepan. Pour wine into sauce jar; cover tightly, and shake well. Stir wine mixture into saucepan. Stir in chopped tomatoes and 1/2 cup chopped basil, and cook over medium-low heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Toss with pasta, and top evenly with 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Garnish, if desired.
  3. *1 (13-oz.) package three-cheese tortellini may be substituted.
  4. **1 (14.5-oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, fully drained, may be substituted.

It didn't last long.
Well I need to go check on my rising star to make sure she's not getting into anything.  Yesterday I caught her wearing my pink high heels from last Homecoming with a purple scarf and a pink tutu while putting on my make up.  I wish I would've had my camera ready.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Keeping Busy

   These days I find myself trying to stay as busy as possible.  I've had several family members attempt to help me with that goal by visiting, starting with my little sister, joined by my older sister.  Then came my Moma Deana.  She was quickly followed by my mom and little brother, who stayed behind with me after my mom left.  Even with all these visitors, however, I still find the month of July to be going by very slowly.  I'm looking forward to August, since it will bring with it my chance to be back in school, but it's still July.  So, I've been filling the time with projects as well as people.

   For my birthday, my mom gave me a sewing machine, and when she came to visit she helped me learn the basics, took me to get supplies, and even helped me begin a dress for Monkey.  I finished it today, and I'm so excited that it came out alright!

My beautiful model!
The iron-on my little brother picked out!
     The best part about this dress is that the material only cost me about $10!  I used three handkerchiefs you find at Walmart for $1 a piece, two pink camo ones for the front and back, and one black handkerchief for the bottom trim.  The iron-on was about $3, and the ribbon was about $4.  Talk about a bargain!  I didn't even have to buy a pattern or anything because my mom pointed me in the direction of this awesome website that has amazing tutorials!

    I've also been cooking up some goodies for my first care package to send to my husband.  Because it's a birthday box, though, I can't share everything I put in there yet, but I do want to share this awesome recipe for Homemade Granola.  Yes, J, if you're reading this you'll be getting a bag of it in your box.  The recipe is from Paula Deen's Holiday 2010 issue, but the recipe itself comes from her step-kids.  Here it is:

See, J?  It's all lined up by your box, ready to go :-)

Michelle and Anthony's Dried Fruit and Nut Granola

Here's what y'all need:
3 cups rolled oats
1 3/4 cups sliced almonds
1 cup roasted and salted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup firmly backed brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
3 TBS butter, melted
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 (7 oz) packages mixed dried fruit

Preheat oven to 250.  Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.  In a large bowl, combine oats, almonds and sunflower seeds.  In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, honey, melted butter, cinnamon and salt.  Add to oat mixture, tossing gently to coat.  Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan.  Bake for 1 hour, stirring mixture every 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool in pan completely.  Stir in dried fruit.  Store mixture in airtight containers for up to one month.

   My favorite part of this recipe is how much you can play around with it.  Take the dried fruit for example, there's so many to choose from!  This time I went with mangos, bananas, and strawberries, and it was perfect.  However you mix it up, you've got a yummy, customizable, healthy snack to get you through the day.  

Y'all enjoy and have a great night!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Do One Thing Everyday That Scares You"

   Over the years, I've discovered something about myself.  I'm a chicken.  I am!  I am afraid of just about anything you could name.  Some are reasonable fears that come from years of experience.  Take, for example, my fear of public speaking.  I'll never forget the time, in my Freshman year of college, when the teacher (being a laid-back and easy-going woman that everyone loved and could relate to) said that she knew that the weekend had had a lot of social distractions and asked us to be honest about who hadn't read the chapters assigned.  My hand shot into the air, grinning and saying, "Oh yeah, who was too busy at the Renaissance Fair?"  This was before face-palms were a thing you said instead of did, and that day I saw at least three faces actually hit their palms.  Apparently that was the weekend the first Twilight movie came out, and most people had spent their time at the midnight premiere, not watching men in tights pretend to joust and explain falconry.  I didn't get the memo.  Needless to say, I'm much more cautious about what I say in public now.  Hence, Public Speaking=Reasonable Fear.

   I also have irrational fears, like my fear of going to the hair salon.  Don't misunderstand me, I love having my hair cut.  I like feeling pampered when someone else washes my hair; I'm all for the dead ends being gone, and that feeling of lightness when you get rid of a couple of inches.  But, I can't seem to drag myself to the hair salon as often as I should.  The reason?  Two words: head lice.  I am so petrified that I am going to sit down in that chair, and as the woman begins to brush out my hair, she'll jump back, saying, "Ma'am, we'll have to ask you to leave.  You have lice!"  Then I'll be forced to hang my head and walk out while she sets about burning all her brushes.  I know this is irrational, but it doesn't help that I had a three-year-old in daycare up until a month ago, which made the fear at least possible.  In my mind anyway.

   Finally I have emotional fears.  These are the fears that make me feel like if I even try, I'll fail.  Then I don't try and I never change, so I feel like a failure anyway.  I saw the quote "Do one thing everyday that scares you" on Pinterest, and it spoke to me.  Tonight I was scared again.  I wasn't afraid of the run that was facing me; I was afraid of the idea of failing.  I was afraid of all the people on my street laughing at the fatty as she ran by.  My mind went back to PE in middle and high school, and I almost didn't do it.  But then I remembered this quote, and I began to feel something totally different.  I felt excited.  I felt ready to rip off those chains of fear and face my obstacle head-on, and you know what?  It was worth it.

    Tonight I finished Day 1 of the Couch to 5K program.  I came home with my calves burning, drenched in sweat, and jittery, but I felt like a bad ass!  I told myself when I started out that I wouldn't be one of those people that talk incessantly about their workouts (and I still don't plan to...incessantly), but I get it now.  It's a feeling of pride I've never had before.  It's pride in oneself, and I wanted to share it the best way I know how.

   Keeping in theme with a healthy lifestyle, I made a yummy soup that I want to share.

 Summer Squash and Corn Chowder

2 slices applewood-smoked bacon
3/4 cup green onions, divided
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 lb yellow summer squash, chopped
1 lb frozen white and yellow baby corn kernels, thawed and divided
2 1/4 cups low fat 1% milk, divided
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese

Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven over med-high heat until crisp.  Remove bacon from pan, reserving 2 tsp drippings in pan.  Crumble bacon and set aside.  Add 1/2 cup onions, celery and squash to drippings in pan.  Saute 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Reserve 1 cup corn; set aside.  Place remaining corn and 1 cup milk in a blender, and puree until smooth.  Add remaining 1 1/4 cups milk, thyme, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper to blender.  Process just until combined.  Add pureed mixture and reserved corn to the Dutch oven.  Reduce heat to medium; cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring constantly.  Stir in 1/8 teaspoon salt.  Ladle about 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 4 bowls.  Top each with 1 TBS onion, 1 TBS cheese, and 1 TBS bacon.


PS-If you want the Nutrition facts, simply click on the link :-)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Things You Just Don't Say

  So tonight Tessua and I were having one of our texting conversations, and it went a little something like this:

Me (talking about deployment):  "It's just one of those things that you don't really understand until you've been through one."

Tessua:  "Yeah, and then you get the people handing out advice..."

Me:  "I know!  Like when they say, 'Well it's not like you've never done this before.'"

Tessua:  "Agh! I feel like we need laminated cards to hand out...'Things No to Say to a Military Wife'.  We can count down from 10 or something.  Number one should be, 'Distance makes the heart grow fonder'."

Me:  "#2:  'At least he's not in Afghanistan'."

Tessus:  "Haha, unless of course, he is."

Me: "Let's not get technical. #3 should be 'I couldn't do that, that's crazy!'"

Tessua:  "Haha, I like that one.  I just say, 'Well I did, and I did it well.'"

Me:  "Nice, and #4 should be, 'Aren't you afraid he'll die?'  I'd like to just say, 'No, idiot, that never crossed my mind until just now'!"

Tessua:  "Yes!  People need to know better than to bring up death to a woman whose husband is deployed!  #NavyWifeIssues!  Idk if it exists, but it needs to!"

I vowed to google it, and apparently there already is a list (for the full list of things not to say, click here).  Sad times.  But!  There are no laminated cards yet, so I think we need to get to work on those!

  Not all my time has been spent griping about ignorance.  I've also been working on a few projects.  Of course, I'm going to share my favorite (so far) with y'all.  I was so proud of myself for finally making something that I had pinned on Pinterest that was neither food nor Monkey related.  They were these DIY coasters, and the turned out fabulously!

These are the ones I made for my sister.
  These were so easy to make, and they'd be perfect for stocking stuffers or a little something for a neighbor or the friend who has everything.  So here's what you'll need:

Plain white tiles from Home Depot (Mine were only $0.11 a piece)
Scrap-booking paper of your choice (or you can use photos, wrapping paper, etc.)
Mod Podge Gloss
Rustoleum Crystal Clear Enamel
3" foam brush
3/8" self adhesive felt pads

First, cut your paper (or photos) into 4x4" squares.

I love the 12x12" scrap-booking paper because you get 9 squares out of each sheet.

Using your foam brush, add a layer of Modge Podge to your tiles.  Next, place paper in the center of the tiles, running your finger over the top to get any bubbles out.  Allow to dry for 15 minutes.  Add three coats of Modge Podge over the top of the paper, allowing at least 15 minutes between each coat.  Wait at least an hour after the last coat before spraying with the Rustoleum Crystal Clear Enamel Spray.  
In a well ventilated area (preferably outside) apply 2 or more light coats (within minutes of each other) of the enamel spray, spraying in a steady back and forth motion, slightly overlapping each coat.  Wait at least 30 minutes to fully dry.  Add the felt pads to each corner, and you're all finished!

These are the ones I made for myself.  
I loved the way they came out!
After seeing these, my mom requested a set.

  Well it's too late for me to do much else, so I'm going to hit the hay.  I hope everyone has a wonderful evening and a relaxing Sunday :-)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Deployment Goal

   Life's been pretty busy lately, what with the fractured skull, the 24 hour visit home, and the house guests, but I'm enjoying it, because it's helping this month pass by quickly.  I've also been busy working on my deployment goal.  In the time that J is gone, I'm getting into shape.  The goal is to be able to run a 5K with him when he gets home.  Anyone who knows my husband knows that working out is to him what cooking is to me.  Go figure!  This homeport, though, J made an effort to get involved with me in the kitchen, so it feels right that before he left I made more of an effort to take an interest in what he loves to do.  We began the Insanity workouts together, and although I was proud of myself for hanging in there as long as possible with the videos, I realized that my fitness level was way under what those required, so I decided to start off a little slower.  I began the Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred the day after J's departure, and I'm enjoying it.  I'm also seeing and feeling a difference already.  I don't have an ideal weight in mind, but I do have an ideal feeling.  I want that feeling that comes with chasing my little girl around the house and up and down the stairs without getting winded. I want the feeling of a pair of jeans that no longer fit suddenly becoming too big.  I want the feeling of sitting down without sucking in, and I want it in a way that doesn't mean I have to punish my body for enjoying good food.

   With that in mind I've also begun to make some (small) changes to the way I eat and cook.  I'm not saying I'm going to throw out my Paula Deen magazines any time soon, but I am saying that I'm cooking more vegetables and drinking more water.  I'm also "pinning" more healthy recipes, like this one for Chicken Divan.

Here's what you'll need:

1 1/2 lbs broccoli (3 large heads) chopped
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp. light butter
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp. shallots, minced (onions would work too)
4 Tbsp. flour
1 cup fat free chicken broth
1 cup fat free milk
1/4 cup white wine (or dry sherry)
6 oz. shredded reduced fat swiss cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
Cooking spray

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the broccoli and boil for about 3 minutes.  Pour into a colander, and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.  Drain well and set aside.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Saute chicken on medium-low heat until browned and just about cooked through (about 5 minutes on each side).  Remove from heat and transfer chicken to a cutting board.  When cooled, slice chicken into bite sized pieces. 

Heat a medium skillet on medium heat.  Add the butter and oil until melted and then add garlic and shallots (or onions).  Sprinkle flour and whisk until smooth.  Stir in broth, milk and wine (or sherry) and bring to a boil.  

Remove from heat and stir in half of the swiss cheese.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange broccoli in a casserole dish.  

Pour half of the sauce over the broccoli. 

Arrange the chicken on top and cover with remaining sauce.

Sprinkle in remaining swiss cheese, grated parmesan cheese and top with bread crumbs. 

Spray a little oil on top.  Bake 30 minutes, serve hot. 

I don't have a picture from when it came out the oven, but I can tell you that it was yummy!  It didn't even taste like something that's low-calorie or anything like that.  That's probably why I loved it.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Farmer in the Dell

   As I said in my last post, Monkey's skull fracture will take about 2-3 months to heal itself, and in the meantime we're supposed to be taking care that she doesn't injure herself further.  The doctor was very clear when she said no swings, no trampolines, no climbing, rough-housing, or basically anything that could increase her risk of falling for a week.  The doctor failed to mention that telling your daughter to go get dressed was a no-no.  I walked into her room a few minutes after I sent her in there and found her two feet off the ground, standing on her wobbling, plastic toy kitchen in the closet, trying to pull a dress off the hanger!  I think I almost had a stroke!  I'm also under the impression now that my darling J must have given her a mission to give me as much grief as possible while he's away, because everything that's happened so far sounds like something my mother-in-law would tell me he had done as a child.  Between the two of them, I'll be grey-headed by the time I'm thirty.

    The worst part about the doctor's orders (even though they're reasonable) is that they eliminate our favorite option for passing the time: the park.  Monkey can't even use our own little swing-set in the back yard.  This has caused Mommy to be a bit more creative.  Today we made Farmer in the Dell Puppets.

  I found a great site that has printables to turn toilet paper rolls into puppets, and I'll link each character individually.

Here's what you need:
Print outs of the farmer, the wife, the child, the dog, the cat, the mouse and the cheese
6 toilet paper rolls (or three paper towel rolls cut down to size)
1 toothpick

Simply print out the characters.  Have your little one color them, or you can choose to print one out that is already colored, and then assemble them on the toilet paper roll.  The cheese came with the mouse printout, so I just taped it to a toothpick.

Monkey loved this!  She's been playing with these things more than her toys today.

She was singing, "The cheese stands alone"

After the joy of singing “The Farmer in the Dell” wore off, we lined these puppets up as pins and bowled with them.

Next we made a fort in Mommy’s office, where I was able to catch a break while Monkey entertained herself with two activity books.  Plus she was seated, therefore less likely to hurt herself.  

Apparently dogs are allowed in this fort.

This Tag Junior Reader was a gift from Monkey's grandmother, and it's  the perfect thing for when she needs to be entertained but Mommy needs to be busy.

Add caption

After all that and a movie, there was still too much time before bed, and Monkey was getting more and more insistent on the park, so I took her outside and let her run around with the dogs, play with chalk, and roll in the dirt to atone for the lack of her favorite pass-time. All I can say is thank God for Pinterest, because I am out of creativity, so that's where I'm headed now.

Only, change "Facebook" to "Blogger" and you've got me pegged.