Keeping It Real ~ On speaking terms with God

Saturday, March 31, 2012

In this past year I have really come to cherish my relationship with God.  I'm going to share a bit of my story today...

"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart."

You will have to forgive me.  I consider myself to be a "beginner" when it comes to my journey of faith.  I have all sorts of inspirational quotes and sayings that I have jotted onto my iPhone with no references.  So if you know where they are from please share in the comments. 


8 Months ~ pregnant with the boys

 My journey of true faith began with the conception of my children.  Darcy and I had struggled to conceive.  We had turned to a Fertility Clinic for help.  And discovered that our chances of having a baby were significantly lower than that of the general population {something like, it may take 5 times as long}.  After years of planning and trying we conceived in August of 2005.  We miscarried our first child in November.  I remember being devastated.  As we grieved, one of the things that people would ask/tell us was "don't you think everything happens for a reason?" My reaction was to always feel angry and hurt.  There was absolutely no reason that we should lose our child.  I was not on speaking terms with God.

 The nursery ~ each time we had gone to the clinic, we purchased a teddy bear.

Early in 2007 we set off to the Clinic in the hopes of trying again.  It was a mild day in February, a Tuesday.  Darcy and I went to our favorite restaurant, the Mongoli Grill, where we went every time that we were in town.  We both received the same fortune {two fortunes} in our fortune cookies "Tuesday is an especially important day for you".  On our way home the same day I decided to purchase a lottery ticket.  We won twenty dollars!  

"Bloom where you are planted."

And a month later, I knew.  I knew that we were pregnant, I felt it.  The doctor called with my blood work and said "yes, you a barely pregnant."  I just knew.  Our first ultrasound was scheduled a couple of months later.  The technician scanned my tummy.  She asked about our experience with the fertility clinic.  Had we done invitro fertilization?  No.  Had I been on fertility medication? No.  She said, "wait right here, I'm going to get your husband".  Darcy came in and the technician showed him the tiny fetus on the screen.  Then she said "and what do you see here?"  "Two?!?"  Sure enough, we were pregnant with twins.  {And Darcy was speechless for at least 36 hours}.


Our first ultrasound ~ baby A and baby B

"Renew a right spirit within me."

Since the birth of our boys I have been on a journey of faith.  I am building and seeking a relationship with God to tell him how incredibly grateful and thankful I am.  That he chose us.  That he has led us on this path of discovery.  That he cares about us and has a grand plan for our lives.  Do I believe, now, that everything happens for a reason?  Yes. And God will reveal all to us in time if we open our hearts and minds to him.

"With God all things are possible."

xo Heather

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Classic Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Friday, March 30, 2012

cookie titleThe best Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie recipe ever {I’ve shared it here before}!  Straight from my grandma…
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cream together:
3/4 cup margarine
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp water
2 tsp vanilla

Add:
1 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
3/4 cup chocolate chips {I use milk chocolate}
Drop onto greased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 mins.
March 2012 248
xo Heather

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Crochet Easter Eggs

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Well I'm back to crocheting!  It truly is addicting.  I love this craft that you can take with you anywhere.  We've got a 16 hour {round} trip to visit family for Easter and I have some really fun crochet projects planned for while we are on the road.  Check out my Crochet Like A Ninja board on Pinterest for some of my inspiration.
 I made these three little Easter Eggs for our three kiddos.
I followed this awesome pattern from Tara at Easy Makes Me Happy.  It was really easy to follow and gave the egg a nice oblong shape {instead of being a round ball}.  I've ordered a slipper pattern from her as well that I can't wait to try.
This yarn is a Mega Brushed acrylic that is super soft!  I ordered  a bunch of yarn from Herrschners for a really good price.  Any tips for where to buy yarn from?  With shipping to Canada?
And every time I go Thrift Store shopping I look for egg cups for the kids.  This is the first one that I've found and it was only .25 cents!  Score!  

  Thanks for stopping by!


xo Heather

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Quatrefoil Wall Reveal

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I love how a can of paint can instantly transform a space.  Want to update a room but have a limited budget?  Paint.  And it's easy peasy!
This wall in our dining room / kitchen got an update with a few coats of paint and fun DIY Quatrefoil Wall Stencil

The color is Ground Nutmeg by Behr.  I love it!  It's a rich orange that is far from being too "halloweeny".  What do you think of the mirror?  We've had it forever.  Paint it?  I'm leaning towards buying a new one with a large brown framed border.   Yes??
Here's the before shot.  The table {on the right} is also an oldie but a goodie.  It has great bones and I'm in the process of giving it a really fun herringbone makeover.  To the right of the post / pillar is our kitchen.  I decided to continue the paint color on the far wall {around the sliding glass door} and into the kitchen {without the stencilling}. 
I left my spring decor on the buffet.  I like the blue / orange contrasting colors.
I painted the stenciled image using a glossy clear finish.  It's really cool.  At some angles you can't see the quatrefoil at all while at other angles it really pops!
So your thoughts on the mirror?

I'll be posting our refinished table soon and hopefully a full dining room / kitchen reveal after that.  Chat soon!

xo Heather

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Simple Tunic Top Tutorial

Monday, March 26, 2012

Today I'm sharing my Simple Tunic Top Tutorial {say that three times fast} with you. 

I have been wanting to make myself a tunic style top for a long time.  With plenty of curves, I find that tops with an empire waist are the most flattering.  But... I can never seem to find them in the stores!  This is my first, wear worthy top and I Love It!!! 

Tunic Top Tutorial
 Simple Tunic Top inspired by this pin.
 1.  First I had to figure out the measurements.  Using a measuring tape, I measured the largest part of my torso.  For me that was my bust line, which measured 50" {I usually wear size XL on top}.  Then I added 8" for seams and seam allowances.  Next I measured from the top of my shoulder to my hips {30"} and added 2" for seams and seam allowances.  My materials:
58" x 32" piece of fashion fabric.   A light cotton blend works best.
96" single fold bias tape
12-14" of 1/4" elastic
Coordinating polyester thread
I used 1/2" seams throughout.
2.  Now I cut the material into 4 rectangular panels.  Each measuring 14.5" x 32".
3.  Next I sewed two of the panels together, creating a shoulder seam and repeated with the other two panels.  I also folded over the edges, ironed  and sewed them to help prevent fraying.
4.  I cut the bias tape into 4, 24" pieces and sewed one onto each side of the two long panels.  With 12" on either side on the shoulder seam.
 5.  Here I have completed sewing on the bias tape.  
6.  Now I sewed the two long panels together, creating a front and back to the shirt.  I started sewing where the bias tape met and right down to the hem on the front and back.  
7.  Here my front and back panels are sewn together.  
8.  Now I sewed the sides of the shirt together.  Again starting from the bias tape and down to the hem.
 9 / 9.  Next I measured how much elastic I needed by stretching it tight under my bust line.  When the elastic retracted it was 13" long.  Using a zig zag stitch and keeping the elastic stretched out, I sewed it to the shirt, below my bust line.  Photographs show the front and back of this step.  10.  Finally I folded, ironed and hemmed the bottom of the shirt.
 The perfect shirt for a curvy girl!
I paired it with my DIY Tree of Life Necklace... I might just have some fashion sense after all! LOL
I plan on making many more of these ~ they're the perfect addition to my closet for spring/summer.
If you make one, would you let me know?!?!  I would love to see it!
Version Two ~ I created my own bias tape and shirred the line under the bust.
Love this print!
Tunic Top Tutorial
Version Three ~ I used a knit, stretchy fabric {super comfy} and made it longer to go with leggings.

Love 'em!
Thanks so much for visiting.
Have an awesome day!


xo Heather

Token Economy {a behaviour modification program for kids}

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The boys are old enough now to really understand reward and consequence.  Some days it feels like all we do is remind and nag them.  Redirection, warnings and time outs are a regular occurrence.  Take your plate to the sink, pick up your toys, share the lego, flush the toilet... how many times do I have to ask you?   Seriously?!?  In an effort to help Darcy and I to focus on and reward the positive behavior we see in our kids, we've started a Token Economy

From Wikipedia:
A token economy is a system of behavior modification based on the systematic positive reinforcement of target behavior. The reinforcers are symbols or tokens that can be exchanged for other reinforcers. 

So in short, it's all about rewarding desired behavior.  The trick is to quickly recognize and reward the positive behavior {no matter how small or insignificant}.  Rewards are never used to bribe a child to accomplish a task and are never taken away for negative behavior.  The child should always associate the Token Economy with positive reinforcement.  I have used this type of behavior mod plan in large childcare settings and with troubled teens in the past.

Here's how we introduced a Token Economy to our kids {4, 4 and 8 years old} at home:
We started by stocking up our Token Store.  We purchased reward items that we knew the kids would like to earn.  We assigned token values to each item {ie. a child could purchase a sticker with 5  tokens}. While we were all sitting at dinner we told them that mom and dad were opening up a Token Store.  We were really excited and animated about the whole thing.  
"Check out all of the cool things in our store!!!!"

We showed them some of the items in the store and told them that the store would be open once a week {Fridays after dinner}.  We explained that they could purchase these rewards with tokens.  Naturally they asked "how do we earn tokens?" 

Darcy and I had talked about behaviors and tasks that we wanted the kids to focus on.  I created this chart and taped it to our dish washer.  We showed the kids and explained what each behavior/task meant.  We plan on modifying these as the kids improve and mature.  We also showed them the jars {labelled with their names} where they can deposit and store their tokens until the Token Store opens.  

We've been using this system for over two weeks and have already seen results.  The little miss said that she really loves earning tokens {she's a great helper} and Cameron {who was intentionally peeing all over the toilet} earned 4 tokens for wipe/flush/wash hands on the first day!

Tips:
Keep it positive
Keep it simple ~ our behaviors are a bit abstract, maybe focus on something more specific
Keep the token values of items low ~ we over valued a few things.  You want the kids to be thrilled when they go to shop, not bummed that they don't have enough tokens for something.
Keep on top of it ~ reward. every. little. thing.  Catch and be attentive to the positive behaviors that you are looking for.

Good luck!


xo Heather

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Simple Ruffle Dress Tutorial {Shabby Apple Knock Off}

Friday, March 23, 2012

Today I am sharing this really Simple Ruffle Dress Tutorial.  
And when I say simple, I mean it.
I am totally a self taught, beginner sewer.
If I can do it...
so can you!

How cute is my little model?!  That's my niece, B.  I have created two of these dresses for her {size 4 toddler} and two dresses for our little miss {size 6X}.
Gorgeous hey?!  

For this project {one dress 4T or 6X} you will need:
1/2 meter of fabric for the dress
1/4 meter of coordinating fabric for the ruffles
About 20" of 6mm elastic
1 pkg of coordinating bias tape
Coordinating thread
Pins and safety pin
Scissors
Seam ripper
Quick turn kit {optional}
Sewing machine
Iron


I have included my pencil sketch.  I hope that you find it helpful!  It was inspired by this 
ruffle my feathers dress from Shabby Apple.  If you have any questions along the way please email me heatherpainchaud{at}hotmail{dot}com or find me on facebook.  Here we go...

1.  Fold the fabric in half.  Using a t-shirt that currently fits your child, trace the neck and arm seams {adding 1/4" seam allowance}.  Cut out the neck and arms.  Repeat so that you have a front and back piece.  Determine what length you want the dress and cut the bottom as desired.
2. Right sides facing, sew the shoulder seams together.
3.  Right sides facing, sew the sides together.
4.  To protect the seams from fraying serge all of the edges.  You can also fold the fabric over onto itself and then sew the seam or use a zig zag stitch along the edges as I did here.
5.  Trace the cut edge of the arm onto paper to create a sleeve template.
The curved edge of the sleeve template should be the same length as the entire cut edge of the arm hole.
6.  Cut two sleeves using the pattern that you've just created.  Add 1/4" around the pattern for seam allowances.
7.  Fold over and iron the straight edge of each sleeve.  You are creating a pocket for the elastic, be sure to make it wide enough for the elastic to fit through.  Stitch the folded edge.
8.  Pin and sew the sleeve onto the dress.  Right sides facing, the curved sleeve edge is sewn to the edge of the arm hole.
9.  Using a safety pin, slide the elastic into the pocket.  Measure the circumference of the child's arm to determine the length of elastic you need. 
10.  Tack each end of the elastic to the end of the pocket on the sleeve.  Invert the dress so that right sides are facing and sew the rest of the sleeve together.
11.  Fold, iron and hem the bottom of the dress.
12.  Cut small slits into the neckline of the dress.
13.  Sew bias tape around the entire neckline.  Try to stretch the tape as you go.  This will help the neckline to lie flat when completed.
14.  Cut 3 strips of coordinating fabric 45" x 2 1/2".  This length worked for both the 4T and 6X dress.
15.  Sew the edges of the strips together lengthwise.
I just discovered this quick turn tool!  It saves hours on inverting long tubes of fabric.
16.  Invert the long tubes.
17.  Iron each one so that the seam is at the back.
18.  Release some of the tension on your sewing machine and select the longest straight stitch.  Sew straight up the center of each strip of fabric using a different color of thread than you plan on using to sew the ruffles onto the dress with.
19.  Grab the bottom stitch and gently pull on it while holding the fabric.  This will create a ruffled effect with the strips of fabric.
20.  Pin the center ruffle into place.  It may be helpful to chalk a straight line down the center of the dress.
21.  Pin all three ruffles, following the center one as a guide, all the way down the dress.
22.  Sew all of the ruffles into place {be sure to adjust your tension and use your regular stitch}, straight down the center of each one.  Be careful not to stitch through to the back of the dress or create any puckers in the material.
23.  Using a seam ripper, pull out that first row of stitching that you used to create the ruffle.  For me that was the light pink thread.  Trim off all of the excess thread.
Now you've completed a super cute spring dress!  Easy peasy.
The girls are wearing these ones for Easter.
An elastic sleeve for the little miss.
And a quick cap sleeve {with no elastic} for B.
The girls wore these ones out to dinner the other night.  It is so fun to watch them ~ they love to match and call each other "twins".  

I have a really, really easy Summer Shirred Dress in the works so be sure to follow along and check back in soon!

Thanks for visiting!

xo Heather

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