50 things I’m Bad at

by Dana on May 22, 2015

This might not be the post you’re expecting.
But it’s been floating around in my mind for a couple of years, so I guess it’s time to share.

I keep thinking about the perception we have of each others’ lives…and the pretty pictures we share on Instagram and our blogs…and the persona that we give off.
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We always talk about comparing ourselves; and not comparing ourselves; and how damaging it can be.  I totally agree.  The post last week about Clara has kept me thinking
about it on a personal level, among my own peers.

The more we share our pretty lives, the more those age-old questions simmer in our minds and we start to ask,
“How does she do it all?”
“How does she find balance?”
“Why are her kids always so happy?
 
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And we continue to compare our lives to a persona that may, or may not even be real.
It’s hard enough when we compare ourselves to others…but to compare ourselves to an image we’ve built up in our minds is crazy!

What a funny age we live in.

A time where we can share our lives with the world—and pick and choose what we want others to see.  In 10 years we’ll all be reading books about what we’ve done to ourselves.
Scratch that.
We can probably read books about it right now.

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Here’s the thing—I love pretty pictures.

And I love taking pictures.  Naturally I want to share those with you, and look at your pretty images in return.  Because bright yellow walls, confetti, and happy kids always make me smile.
So please don’t stop sharing your pink flamingo.

But I always hope that through the color you see the real me as well—the Dana default.

I hope it comes across that I have crappy days where I realize that I never smiled.  Or moments when I make clay birds that melt in minutes before my tired eyes.  I really try to share the real, everyday moments with you too.  Because like you, I am a mom, woman, girl, and sister, with ups and downs.
And I know you know that.

So where am I going with this?

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Well rather than talking about how to do it all, since we all know that no one is…doing what we perceive they might be, right?
And rather than sharing thoughts on how to balance creative time with home life, because I have no idea.

I thought I’d share 50 things that I’m bad at.

Well they’re not all bad things, but rather oddities, bad habits, and things I’m no good it–things that help break down the yellow curtain of colorful backdrops and polka dots and show you the same old t-shirt and shorts I wear every day.

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So now when you see pictures of a clean house, your mind won’t create unrealistic happenings beyond.  Instead you’ll know that I cooked spaghetti and frozen peas for the 3rd night in a row (if I even cooked).

So here you go…

50 Oddities, Bad Habits, and Things I’m No Good At

1.  I’m horrible at sports. Don’t ever pick me for your team—unless it’s dancing.  Anything else, go to the next person.

2.  I’m late to everything.

3.  I talk too fast—my dad never understands me.

4.  I don’t like avocados.  I really, really WANT to like them. Believe me; I’ve tried.  I’ve tried guacamole 20 different ways (before you try to tell me that I need this one special recipe that will make me love it). But, I just think they’re “eh”.

5.  I eat more ice cream than I should.

6.  I drink more diet coke than I should.

7.  I stay up later than I should….and often fall asleep on the couch.

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8.  I’m really good at getting the laundry into the machine.  I’m really bad at folding it (which is probably on everyone’s list).

9.  I don’t like pets.  Any kind of pets.  Unless they’re humans, and you call them children.

10.  I suck at making cake pops (but you already knew that).

11.  I use the word “suck”.

12.  I can’t do Taco Tongue.

13.  And I can’t roll my tongue.

14.  My kids have cereal for dinner once (or twice?) a week.

15.  My kids have Little Caesars pizza once a week (for any meal).

16.  I need to eat more healthy.

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17.  I have knobby knees.

18.  I wish my nose was cute as button.

19.  I don’t like chick flick movies.

20. I need to be more sentimental—my husband is first to remember birthdays and our anniversary.

21.  I’m bad at email.

22.  I eat more hamburgers than I should.

23. I once asked a doctor friend if we could simply eat brownies and cake for every meal and then load up on multi vitamins and water? And she started hyperventilating at the notion.  Of course I was joking, only sort of.

24.   I need to be more organized.

25.  I need to be more patient.
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26.  I HATE the snow and being cold.  My “worst scenario nightmare ” would be being stranded in the snow with a short-sleeved t-shirt on….or in icy waters in the middle of the ocean.  Okay, most people would hate that.  But truly, I would rather be starving for two days than sit in a frigid office building, trying to work on a computer.

27.  I do not like doing painting projects with my kids.  That’s what school is for.

28.  I don’t love shopping—in the window shopping sense. I just want to get in and out. Efficiency.

29.  I dated a guy once who faulted me for trying to be “efficient” on our date and I took it to heart. Now, I try harder to enjoy the moment and the adventure that we’re in, rather than efficiently organizing the outing.  It’s hard for me; ask my husband.  But I try.

30.  I have a weird scar tissue thing on my leg that people look at out of the corner of their eye.

31.  I need to improve my posture.

32.  I need to go running more often.

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33.  I once asked my mom what county we lived in—that was in high school. And we were living in Orange County.  No explanations my friends.

34.  I once took my grandma’s cake, turned it upside down, and watched it splat onto the street, as we were walking into her birthday party….because I thought that if I could flip it around fast enough, centrifugal force would keep it in the pan (which we had just learned about in Physics class…and which actually does the opposite of what I expected).  My mom was totally annoyed; my brothers were devastated and started licking bits from the ground.  I promise I’m brighter than it sounds.  I did graduate from a reputable university.

35.  I drive too fast (back to the impatient and efficiency thing).

36.  I love reading US Weekly.

37.  My kids watch movies in the car.

38.  I don’t like sandy feet.

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39.  I don’t like gray skies.

40.  I can become very repetitive and eat the same Taco Bell burrito 5 days in a row.

41.  I hate mushrooms—the kind you eat, and the kind growing in my yard.

42.  I need to read more books.

43.  I often watch TV while doing something else.

44.  I’m antsy.

45.  I don’t like riddles and crossword puzzles.

46.  I didn’t really like one of our children for the first 4 months of life, and I hate to admit that, but it’s truly how I felt.  Motherhood can be hard.  It’s not always cute smoochy kisses in a square.

47.  I know very little about makeup.

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48.  I know all the words to Baby Got Back.

49.  We have a very loose schedule and eat dinner at a different time each night—-mostly because of my creative antics.  I’m always amazed at my friends who have planned-out meal plans for the week are on top of their grocery shopping.  I am not.

50.  It takes me a while to adapt when the schedule changes from what I had in mind.  This is a big one I’m trying to work on, especially because it drives my husband crazy.

And that my friends is what makes me, me.

Wow.  I really had no idea how therapeutic it would be to type that all out. It’s really interesting to see patterns among the list.
I guess what I need to work on most is letting go, enjoying the moment, and taking time to slow down….and reminding myself that you might have a list of 50 things you’re working on too.
We’re all in this together.
Have a great weekend friends!

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Hi friends!
I know you guys like making diaper covers, cause I’ve been watching you do it for years.

the Perfect Diaper and Nappy Cover- free pattern and tutorial by MADE
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The Perfect Diaper Cover pattern was one of those first really detailed tutorials + patterns that I put up on the blog, many years ago.
So.  I decided it was time to give it a baby face lift!

I’ve listened to your feedback over the years and some of you mentioned not having enough room for the leg holes, or that it was difficult to fold the leg holes under.  And some of you mentioned the pattern running small—which is likely because I never included a square-inch printing gauge—so you may have been printing it at a scaled down size.
(Sorry.  Newbie error).

And while some of you may be used to the old post, I’ve created a whole new post here that I hope will be easier for you to follow along with and inspire you to make tons and tons of diaper covers.
I’ve taken the original pattern, added a few extras, shot some new photos, diaper covered some new babies (thanks to my good friend Katherine), and we’re ready to go!

It’s the new and improved Perfect Diaper + Nappy Cover

the Perfect Diaper and Nappy Cover tutorial by MADE
the Perfect Diaper and Nappy Cover pattern and tutorial
the Perfect Diaper and Nappy cover tutorial

The age old question I continue to ask myself is, when?
When will manufactures make plain, white, solid-colored diapers??  I will be first in line to order them by the ton.
But until that happens, I guess a simple diaper or nappy cover is the perfect thing to wear under a summer dress or with a little t-shirt or with a bare belly!  Yum.

They work for boys and girls.  And I’ll show you two ways to make them:
the Perfect Diaper and Nappy Cover by MADE--free pattern and tutorial
Then your babe will be chilling or cruising in comfy style.

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Let’s get started!

[click to continue…]

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3 years old!…and finally talking

by Dana on May 12, 2015

Remember when Clara was a baby and I blogged her progress each month?
I know people always say this—but it really feels like yesterday.
NOT over three years ago.
Three.

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Of course when I look back at pics and see the other things that were going on in our life at the same time, I realize how much time has passed—Lucy was once in Kindergarten, there was another Celebrate the BOY series, Casey learned to pickle beets, Owen played 3 seasons of baseball.
And we moved into our new home! and said goodbye to the old one.

Things have happened.
And somewhere in the middle of it all, Clara turned into a kid.
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That’s it!
I have no more babies.
Sorry.  Don’t mean to be dramatic.  It’s just fun to have documented her milestones these years—since I never did that with the other kids—and to see the girl she’s turning into.

She’s a girly little goofball.
She can rarely keep a straight face and is often looking at you out of the corner of her eye.
Or she completely closes her eyes with the old “if I can’t see them, they can’t see me” act.
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She loves pink.  She wants to wear a dress every day of her life.  She hates her hair in a ponytail.  She prefers clean hands.
She like cats.  Correction: she loves cats.  And dogs.
She really makes me laugh!

And it’s fun to look back at baby pictures—having a better idea of her personality now—because it’s like I can see that same little person in her all along….through the serious moments and the needy ones, the sleepy faces, and the giggles.
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She’s that same Clara, just a little bigger, and with so many wonderful things to learn.
Raising kids is really amazing!
How are we allowed to do this?
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The biggest thing that’s changed since my last update is that she talks!
If you follow me on instagram (@danamadeit) I’ve mentioned a few times that Clara doesn’t say much, but I’ve never gone into the details of it all.

Maybe because there aren’t any real details.
We don’t know why she’s speech delayed, but she’s about a year behind her peers.
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When she was 2 years old I didn’t worry too much about it, since the other two kids were late talkers.  But by 2 1/2 she still wasn’t progressing.  So we went to see a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) to have an evaluation done, and we had her hearing checked as well.
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The good news is that her comprehension is right on-par for her age, and her hearing checks out fine.  It’s always amazing how much you can communicate with your child without words.  90% of the time I know exactly what she wants and needs and what’s bugging her.  But I know there is so much more she wants to share with us.  Maybe your child is experiencing, or has gone through speech issues too?

Our pathologist wondered if it was apraxia of speech, which is more of a neurological disorder rather than a muscle issue.  But as Clara learns and progresses, we’ve ruled that out.  Mostly she has an articulation problem–trouble making the proper sounds—and her language is behind as well, but largely because she can’t articulate what she wants to right now.

BUT.  She has made huge progress in the last 6 months since we started therapy!
I am amazed.
For the last year I watched her peers spouting off sentences with detailed words like “eagle” rather than just “bird” and all I hoped was that one day Clara could simply say, “milk?”
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Of course it’s silly to compare our kids to other kids, because each child has their own timeline.  It’s the same battle we face as adults—the compare and contrast.
Why do we do that to ourselves?
It seems extra ridiculous as I type this out.

But it’s hard to accept when your child (or yourself) has an issue.  I know there are children and parents dealing with more challenging situations and my heart goes out to them.  I don’t mean to make light of the struggles many families go thru.  Clara’s speech delay is not severe and over the years, it will come together.  But this has given me a glimpse of that parental feeling of just wanting your child to “be normal”.  Well, normal in the sense of hitting the normal milestones—yet still being unique in their own special way.  I guess we all want to fit in and feel accepted….which ironically, despite my fears, is exactly how her school friends treat her.  They love her!  When Clara walks in the room the girls yell “Clara!” and smother her with hugs. And I want to cry.

So, we continue to see a Speech Pathologist once a week and we work on words with her at home (both with flashcards and with this cool app called Little Bee Speech).  And little by little it’s coming together.  Just this week she said to me, “Mom. Watch a show?….turn it up please.”
What?!
Um, no we’re not watching a show right now….but a sentence!  A (mostly) full sentence!

She can now say many of the colors, family names, she says “I love you” at bed time, and so many more words.  And most of all she’s making real efforts to try and say new words, to mimic sounds….which is a huge improvement.
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So we’ll get there with our Clara Cat.
What a blessing she is to our family, as are your kids in your lives.
Parenting is one of the hardest things most of us will ever do.  But it has rewards you can never gain anywhere else in life.
I hope all is well at your house!  And that you’re getting extra help where you need it.

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RECIPE: Fresh Pineapple Jam + Sauce

by Dana on May 7, 2015

It’s weird to think of a fruit as being “IN” right now.
Because I can’t ever imagine it being “out”.
But seriously, pineapple is everywhere!
So hot right now.
Like Hansel.
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It’s on fabric, being tossed around as pinatas, on t-shirts, in my tummy….

It’s quite possibly one of my favorite fruits to eat.
And it’s Yellow!
And it reminds me of being somewhere warm and happy.
And it’s just so cute with it’s crazy leafy head.

So the other day I got experimental and wondered….why aren’t people eating more pineapple jam?
Maybe they are and I’m just not aware of it?
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I guess it’s often masked as “Pineapple Topping”—which is so amazingly fantastic, that I totally get it.  But if you’ve never had pineapple jam, then today is your day.  Let’s make Pineapple Jam and Sauce!
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Because this stuff is amazing on toast, pancakes, English muffins, and yes, on ice cream.

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If you’ve ever made Freezer jam before, you know how easy it is.
And if you’re a first-timer, you’re gonna freak out over the simplicity!

Freezer jam is a little different than cooked jam because you don’t have to be as strict with sterilizing the jars and equipment–so it’s really fast and easy to make.  The downside is you can’t keep the finished product on your shelf (as you can with cooked jams). Instead you need to preserve it in the freezer (for up to 1 year) or in the refrigerator
(for 3 weeks).  So get some freezer space open!  Or you’ll be in 65-jam-jar-bind, like me.

I’ve been experimenting with different flavors lately….citrus raspberry, strawberry + blackberry….and of course Classic Strawberry is always a favorite.   For this recipe I followed the instructions for “Mango jam” on the Sure Jell box and it turned out delicious.  It’s a bit runnier than standard Strawberry and other jams.  But I decided that I kind of like that, because it works well as a jam AND a syrup AND an ice cream topping.
Options!

FRESH PINEAPPLE Jam + Sauce 
(Freezer Jam Recipe)
Makes about 6 cups of jam

3 cups mashed pineapple – I used one ripe pineapple or you can use canned pineapple
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
5 cups sugar
1 packet of Sure Jell Premium Fruit Pectin *
* It’s important when making jam that you follow the recipe listed on the pectin packet you’re using.  Recipes may vary from brand to brand.  This recipe is for the yellow Sure Jell box (linked above).

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Directions:
• Slice a fresh pineapple into large chunks (you can also used canned pineapple but I highly recommend fresh.  The aroma will fill your room and make you all happy inside)

NOTE on picking a good pineapple:  I always smell the bottom of the pineapple at the store.  If it smells like a pineapple—even if it’s just a hint of pineapple scent—then it usually ends up being a good one.  If you can’t smell anything at all, no good.

Slice the pineapple however you like.
Just make sure you get as many of those little knots out…and the seeds that are in those knots.
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Try.
TRY to resist eating those luscious chunks.

And throw the remains in your compost pile—we just started one this year and I LOVE how minimal our trash flow is now.
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• Smash the fruit until you have 3 cups of smashed pineapple (a food processor or blender works best)
• Remove any stray seeds left behind.
• Squeeze 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice into the pineapple.  Everything will smell Ah-mazing at this point.  Be prepared.
• Mix 5 cups of sugar into the fruit, stir, and let it sit.
• Combine 1 packet of Sure Jell + 1 cup of water in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Boil for one minute.  Remove from heat, pour into fruit mixture, and stir for one minute or until blended.
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• Use a clean measuring cup or funnel to pour jam into clean jars (I love the Ball 8 oz Jelly Jars—or the 4 oz jars if I’m making a jam medley for gifts)

• Let the jam sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
Store in the freezer for 1 year.  If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator before using.

NOTE: As my jam settled in the fridge, some of the liquid separated to the bottom of the jar.  But I simply stirred it together again and it’s fine.
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Now enjoy!
It’s yummy on toast.
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But truth be told, I’ve fallen victim to the “Topping” as well….
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It’s might be even yummier on vanilla ice cream with sugared pecans.
Mmmm.
One of these days I’ll make coconut ice cream to go along.
And the universe will be complete.

Check out other yummy recipes by clicking a button below:

http://www.danamadeit.com/2013/08/diy-strawberry-freezer-jam.html 

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