Craft/DIY Ideas, Parenting Tales

Fun With Tie Dye

One of the items on our summer bucket list was to tie-dye T-shirts.

We took advantage of a nice day about a week and a half ago to do just that, then were able to wear them to Raystown Lake where my side of the family took a little vacation last week.

My crew + 2 nieces
My crew + 2 nieces

I had no idea how they would turn out as I hadn’t tie-dyed a thing since I was in elementary school. Which was, um, quite a number of years ago and I’m sure I was just doing what the teacher instructed us to do.

Thankfully in our tie-dye kit (Jacquard brand) there were clear instructions as well as a pretty informative DVD that showed us how to do the different designs.

Each one is a little bit different, which is the beauty of tie-dye I guess.

We started out with plain white cotton tees. The kit contained a powder (soda ash) that you mix with water to make a solution, then soak your item in it for 20 minutes or so.

When done soaking, you can then make your design using rubber bands. I tried the scrunch method, bulls-eye, spiral, mirror image, and stripes.

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After rubber-banding all of your items, give them another good soak in the solution. In the meantime, get your dyes ready. Our sweet little kit had them ready to go in bottles, you just had to add some water and shake ’em up.

Wring out the excess, then lay on a protected surface. Warning–this is the messy part!! Messy can be fun though:)

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The next step is to add your color. This was by far my most favorite part of tie-dyeing. I don’t think you can really “mess up” as they are all supposed to be unique.

After the color was on, I put each separate piece in a plastic bag to sit for a day. Once the day was up, I took off the rubber bands and rinsed each T-shirt out well, then gave them a good washing in my machine. It was fun to see how our creations came out!

Me and my Fab 5
Me and my Fab 5
...and a view from the back.
…and a view from the back.

As you can see, the kiddos then wore them to Raystown Lake, where we had a good time with family.

My favorite little monsters.
My favorite little monsters.

All in all, I really enjoyed tie-dyeing and would enjoy messing about with it more and trying out some different pattern ideas.

Points to Ponder

A Little Bit Scary…

So today’s post is a bit different from what I normally put on here.

Today I am sharing/venting about something that happened this week that really bugged me. It all has to do with food.

First of all, y’all know I love to make stuff. Pretty much anything DIY and you know I’m all over it. One of the things I really enjoy making is bread. This is something I really do on a regular basis, baking bread at least every other week. Typically I make a few loaves, we eat one right away and I freeze the rest for future consumption. However, I do buy some bread items occasionally as well, usually scoring them for around a dollar each. By the way, if you never make your own bread, I in no way judge you. Not everyone has the time, patience, or even desire to make their own bread. I’m just weird like that.

Anyhow, sometime within the past month I bought hot dog rolls from Wal Mart, getting their Great Value brand pack. Somehow we ate most of the pack and apparently one lonely hot dog roll got lost in the depths of my bread box. I have no idea how I missed it, but somehow it just surfaced yesterday.


Now granted, I can’t remember the exact date we opened this pack, but I know it had to have been probably three weeks prior to my finding it again.

Well, guess what?

That lonely hot dog roll looked and smelled exactly the same as when I bought the pack. It wasn’t hard, funky, or even starting to go moldy.

What does that tell you and I about what is in these rolls/buns?

Um, the word “preservatives” comes to mind. Lots of them, I’ll bet.

I turned the package over to check the ingredient list. I only knew what a few of the ingredients actually are. As for the rest, I would have to have a pretty good knowledge of Chemistry to even have a clue what they are.

This is just a little scary to me. And it makes me glad that I’m weird and enjoy making my lovely loaves of bread. I know exactly what is in them, and they’re pretty good too.

This whole incident reminded me of a quote I had tried to explain to my kids recently:


This is after they were reading a library book about weird and wacky foods. One of my boys was fascinated by the page about Twinkies and was reading us all the Twinkie myths about its longevity and possible shelf life. I had to explain that anything staying good that long had to be pretty cruddy for you. (As a side note, they also read about Spam and couldn’t believe someone would put pressed ham in a can. We did buy some and cooked it up just as a teachable moment. And yes, even though it was probably bad for me, I thought it was pretty palatable.)

Anyhow, I just had to get the hot dog roll incident off my chest. (For an even scarier one, check out this link and read the whole way through to the bottom.) It just makes me think of how we should all be more mindful of what we’re putting into our bodies on a daily basis. We don’t do too shabby around here, but I know there’s times we could do better.

That’s all for now, I just thought I had to share that!

Parenting Tales

Summer Bucket List

Well, school is out and we’re all getting used to our new summer schedule. So far, so good!

This year I had the kids make a summer “bucket list.”  I had to explain to them that it is a list of goals for the summer, places you want to visit, or things you want to accomplish before summer is over. Believe it or not, though I am a goal oriented/list-making type of person, I’ve never done this! It was fun to hear what they felt was important to do while school is out.

Here’s what we’ve come up with so far and I’ve encouraged them to add on to it as they think of more ideas.

Daniel (almost 12!):

Learn archery

Go to Boy Scout camp

Go tent camping in the backyard at least twice


Go to the beach at least once

Go to Hershey Park

Read a little bit of the Bible every day

Go to camp

Make a solar oven

Try new science experiments

Heidi (8):

Help Daddy with stuff

Make a quilt

This one is done!
This one is done!

Go to the garden

Use the fire pit to make supper

Go to camp

Read Pippi Longstocking

Have a picnic lunch outside once a week

Joey & Josh (6):

Go to Grandma’s for a sleepover

Make cardboard swords and shields

Go to McDonald’s for lunch at least once (specifically one with a Playland)

Reading Camp

Go to the pool

Go to yard sales


Go to Kilby Cream at least once (because ice cream is very important to me;))

kilby cream 001

Re-do our fire pit

Grow potatoes in a bucket

Take everyone fishing

Read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

Read Seven by Jen Hatmaker

Tie Dye T-shirts with the kids

Make a chevron quilt

Refill our chest freezer with veggies and fruits that we’ve grown

Learn how to use a serger

Try out at least 3 new hiking trails

Go to Raystown Lake

Family vacation at a state park


We’ve accomplished several of these so far and look forward to crossing more off of our list!

Craft/DIY Ideas

Crochet-Edge Baby Quilt

This is a project that I had in the works a few weeks ago. My best friend was expecting her third child in May and I intended it as a baby gift. Since she didn’t find out the baby’s gender ahead of time, I wanted to make a baby blanket that was sort of gender neutral.

madelyn 001

Yes, I realize that it looks a bit more girly than boyish, so it’s a good thing that she had a little girl.

For the quilt squares, I used what was left from my living room curtain project. (They are Amy Butler’s “Lark” line of fabric–FYI)

I know this sounds kind of cheesy, but I used a dark blue fabric for the back that is similar to pajama jeans material. It actually is nice and super soft, so perfect for a baby!

madelyn 005

Instead of binding this like I would a typical baby quilt, I added a couple rows of blue crochet for something different. First I used the blanket stitch setting on my sewing machine, then wove this soft baby yarn through the perimeter. Using that, I did 2 rows of single crochet around the whole thing.

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I think it added a little unexpected touch, so I would definitely make another one with a crocheted border.

madelyn 009The best part of all? Delivering my gift to this beautiful baby girl and her mama. Oh, and seeing my own daughter snuggle and love on a precious newborn. (How can you not love holding a newborn? It’s like one of the best things ever!)