Saturday, January 30, 2010

Winter Snowing Is Great For...

Winter Sewing!

Santa Claus brought Anna Jane a sewing machine for Christmas. I know I'm late announcing that. Christmas Day was spent at her teeny little machine. My mom had given her a little sewing basket with needed supplies the day before, and I had some fabric ready so that we could get started as soon as she wanted to.

I gave her several options to choose from as far as first projects go. A skirt, a drawstring backpack, a Barbie doll sleeping bag, or a stuffed animal. I was certain she would pick the skirt. She didn't. She picked the stuffed animal.

It was actually a last minute brainstorm as I was heading into the playroom with a handful of fabric. I'm so glad I thought of it. Here is her final product:

And the back:

She used Sharpie markers to draw and embelish the cat. Whose name by the way, is Puffy.

Wilson liked the idea so much that he wanted to make one as well. When I asked what kind of stuffed animal he wanted to make, he said "A Daddy."

A Stuffed Daddy. He's even got glasses on. The resemblance is remarkable.

I didn't take photos of our process because I wanted to enjoy the moment and not worry about capturing every step. Since we had 8 inches of snow and a little bit of a bronchitisy cold today, Anna Jane and I made another stuffed animal and photographed like crazy!

She chose to make a seashell. Not a stuffed animal, I guess.

The first step was making a pattern. You could freehand the object like she did with Puffy. We made a paper pattern so that I could introduce the process of pinning a pattern and cutting. She has a nightgown pattern waiting for her to improve her skills, so this pattern was in preparation for bigger things...


The first step was setting up her wrist pin cushion. It was certainly the most important part of the entire afternoon.


Then she pinned the pattern to the selected fabric: a purple quilter's cotton donated by Nana.



She cut two layers of the fabric, following the pattern.


She pinned the two pieces of fabric right-sides together with her sweet little fingers.


She slowly "drove" the fabric through the machine. Only practice and a bossy mom who thinks she knows everything about sewing will help perfect her skills. She's improving rather rapidly I think.



The concentration required is immeasurable.


She left a few inches unsewn so that she could turn the seashell right-side out.


She stuffed it with polyfill that Bobbie Quack sent over the other day.


Behold the seashell:


I stitched up the opening and now it's ready to burst with a mermaid, according to Anna Jane. It was an exhausting day of sewing. The only thing that keep Anna Jane going was a mouthful of carrots.


And the giggle I got when I pointed out her chipmunk cheeks was the highlight of the afternoon!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Little Math and Science


It's January. Time to measure the kids on the wall. We do this twice a year on the doorway into our kitchen.


Anna Jane has grown 2 inches in the last year. It's all in her legs!


Wilson grew 2 1/2 inches this year. It's his rapidly-expanding smart mouth that concerns us more than his height!


And my sweet Henry grew 4 1/2 inches this year. I couldn't stop laughing at that measurement. That's such a dramatic increase!


Distance and Time

Henry and I drove 5 (yes five) long hours to see baby Mahwee (or Molly, as the rest of the world calls her).

5 hours in the car, and 30 seconds for him to demand "Off" when we put Molly on his little lap.


5 hours in the car, 30 seconds holding Molly, and not a moment spent walking across the floor of Emily and Todd's apartment for fear that the cat might attack. He's not really familiar with cats and he was super-scared.

5 hours in the car, 30 seconds holding Molly, no time spent on the floor of the apartment, but several laps around the hotel balancing on the luggage cart.




A Rummage Sale Mini Bar. Henry should be in marketing for the Junior League of Winston-Salem.



Now, I know that as far as genetics go, Molly cannot be my daughter. But look at her. Genetics aside...she could totally be mine.

Go To Soup

Not "Hey, let's get in the car and go to Soup."

But "I'm taking lunch to Linda. Get out the recipe for my go-to soup."

My friend Linda has cancer, dammit. Well she had cancer and they took it out. Now she has chemo, dammit.

I realized as I was picking up the ingredients at the local grocer that I make this everytime I need to take a meal to a friend.

Have a baby? How about soup?
Have cancer? How about soup?
Have a freezer? Let's fill it with soup!

I don't actually like soup. But I like my go-to soup. I love it.

It's out of the Foster's Market Cookbook. I so love Sara Foster and all of her cookbooks. She owns two market/restaurants in Durham and Chapel Hill and she used to work with my Martha. She also has a blog, which I need to look at...I just discovered it as I was linking to her soup recipe.

Another funny thing happened while I was linking to her soup recipe. She didn't have a link to her soup recipe. Ugh, bummer. Pick up a copy of her cookbook(s) or let me know if you want it and I will post. The name of the soup is Succotash Soup with Chicken and Oven Roasted Tomatoes. Mmmmmm.

What I wanted to share with you today is a yummy addition to the soup meal. I delivered the soup to Linda with crackers because crackers and soup make you feel better. Oooey-gooey corn bread makes you feel better too, but not if you are sicky and don't want something so rich.

This recipe is from a cookbook called Potluck at Midnight Farm. What a great title, right? I'm not going to lie to you. I bought this cookbook because the spine was pretty on the bookshelf at Borders. Now, this was many, many years ago. But yes, I judged a book by it's cover. And it worked out pretty well for me and my tummy.

Tamara Weiss is the author and she lives a fabulous life with famous friends on Martha's Vineyard. Mary Steenburgen contributed this recipe to the book. It's called Corn Spoon Pudding, but you can cut it into squares and pick it up like any old cornbread. No spoons necessary.

Corn Spoon Pudding

1 (8 1/2 oz) box corn muffin mix
1 (7 1/2 oz) can whole kernel corn
1 (7 1/2 oz) can creamed corn
1 cup sour cream
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese

Heat the oven to 350degrees. Combine all ingredients except the cheese in a large mixing bowl. Pour into a lightly greased 9x13-inch baking dish. Bake for 35 minutes.
Sprinkle grated Swiss on top and bake 10 minutes more. You will know it's done when a toothpick comes out clean.
Serve warm.

I wanted to take Linda something other than food, so I decided to do a little research on what to give patients receiving chemotherapy. How overwhelming. Heating pads. No, cold packs. Give them something to cover their head after they lose their hair. No, don't draw attention to their soon-to-be-shiny head. How insulting. Books. Video Games. Each suggestion contradicted the last. I'm smart enough to know that every patient is different. And I'm smart enough to know that Linda would love what ever I delivered to her because that is Linda. And I'm smart enough to know that if I took fabric and thread and created something for her, whether she needed it or not, she would tell me she loved it.

I used this tutorial to make a Chamomile Rice Heating pad.


This is the heating pad all folded up, ready to be delivered. When you unfold it, it has four sections, all full of rice. I followed the tutorial except I didn't do any measuring. I picked a piece of fabric that looked about the right size. I have no idea what size it actually was. And I didn't measure the rice, I just put in enough for the grains to spread throughout the bag, but not so much that it would be heavy on her lap (or neck, or boobie, or wherever).

What a terrible reason to share soup. Cancer.

Please go here to help us move towards a world where we share soup because it's yummy, and not because of chemo.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Practicing Expressions

Cameras were clicking all weekend during my visit with Emily and Todd and my Molly. Here are a few of her funny faces. I remember sitting in the hospital room with my three newborns, watching them express every possible emotion on their teeny tiny faces, without actually feeling those emotions.

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I'm sure now that I haven't seen her in 4 days, she misses me tremendously. I think that's why she was practicing her I miss you face in so many of the above photos.

Most of Todd and Emily's expressions were of the I miss you sleep variety.

I'm sure my face had an I miss you sleep having babies expression plastered all over it, but if I can get the Duncan fam to move back home, I will be happy.

For now.

I love my Molly.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Lullaby for Molly

My sister had a baby today. Her name is Molly Champion Duncan.


My first niece!

They are 5 hours away. Too far for an after-work visit, so I have to wait until Friday. It's killing me.

Emily and Todd are big fans of being prepared. And planning. Here is a recent post from Todd on facebook:

Emily and I are both sort of obsessive planners. so not knowing when this baby is going to get in gear and show up is driving us kinda crazy.

Emily started a blog a few months ago with several of her friends who were all expectant mothers. They share their pregnancy, labor and delivery, and new mom experiences. It's called Sweet Tea and Strollers. The group of women (4 of them already mothers) have tried to prepare themselves and others reading for the joys and surprises of having a baby.

Emily asked a few weeks ago for suggestions on what to pack in her hospital bag.
She already had a loooonnnnggg list of items to include. Knowing Emily and Todd, they were not lacking a thing when they arrived at the hospital.

But I did think of one thing that they might not have packed for Molly on her first night. So I'm sending it to them...I bet they didn't pack Molly her first lullaby.

This is my favorite lullaby, by James Taylor. No one can sing it like he can, so I asked him if he would perform for Molly tonight. He said yes, of course. And if the 3 members of the Duncan family need anymore reason to move closer to home, I know of another song in particular that he can sing after he puts Molly to sleep.

Sweet Dreams, Molly. I'm so excited to see you that I could burst into pieces...

Love, Auntie Katherine

Thursday, January 7, 2010


I am guiltily aware that there are no signs of Christmas or New Year's on my blog. No red and green decorations, no glittery crafts, no kid-friendly kitchen activities...Rest assured, those things did take place. I just wasn't able to dedicate myself fully to the season and record at the same time. In the back of my mind, I heard a voice trying to convince me to take step-by-step photos of every little creative adventure. But the mom in me said no. I wanted to fully enjoy all of my activities with my kids and not worry about getting enough photos to be able to re-create the scene for you. And at the end of the night, instead of typing up Christmas wishes and memories for you, I wanted to watch Clark Griswold and his fam for the upteenth time. My favorite part is when he cuts into the holiday turkey and it hisses like an old balloon...that's how Dave cooks chicken.

But I did want to show a couple of highlights.

The LOTS that we had...

We had lots of snow




About 6 inches or so. Which is a lot for us, especially this early in the year. We got out of school a little early to start our Winter Break.

We took lots of pictures for our Christmas card.


Thank heavens for digital cameras. A half hour later and I still didn't have any useable shots. I came this close to sending this one out of Henry attacking Anna Jane and Wilson with a candy cane. Luckily my dear friend Jessica came to the rescue and took perfect photos a few days later.

Lots of warmth by the fire at Granna and Grandpa's house

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Lots of little felted wool Christmas trees

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I love finding beautiful ornament ideas that I can make for family and friends. I found sweaters at goodwill and followed these directions for making these adorable trees.

Lots of hair gel


He thought he looked tough. I thought he looked like a cast member from Leave it to Beaver. But yeah, I told him he looked tough.

Lots of excitement


Anna Jane's kindergarten class sang Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer during their holiday party. Wilson and I attended. It was ADORABLE.

Lots of brothers and sisters


My mom and her brothers and sister, Dave's brother and sister....missed my sister, but she's about to burst with a baby, so we will have to wait another few days to see her. Can't wait!

Lots of time with Nana and Papa


Lots of ballerinas


My mom took Anna Jane to Raleigh to see the Nutcracker ballet and meet some of the dancers. My sister's mother-in-law invited them to the event which included decorating gingerbread cookies and collecting autographs.

Lots of cookbooks


So far the best recipe has come from Texas Tables, published by the Junior League of of North Harris and South Montgomery Counties, Inc. Lots of the photographs in the book were taken at my aunt and uncle's house in Cypress, Texas.

Lot of surprises

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I could not believe my eyes when I saw this gift from my friend Lindsey. Just goes to prove....there is someone out there reading my blog!!

And speaking of my blog, there was a bit (if not lots) of blog love...
Amy of

posted my breadbox on her site on the day after Christmas.

And a fabulous local resource, Triad Smarty Pants mentioned me in their article entitled Year of the Mommy Blogger. Even if you are not local, I suggest you check out some of the articles. This one is my fav so far.

We also shed lots of tears in these past few weeks. We said goodbye to my dad's uncle, John Tatum, Dave's grandmother, Memaw, Wilson's classmate, Errol, and a former neighbor, Eloise Johnson.

It's a new year and we are ready for more lots. Lots of fun recipes, photographs, sewing projects, blog posts, family get-togethers, and bonding with friends.
I'd also like lots of followers, so if you know of anyone who might enjoy reading, please pass along my link. I'm glad you are out there! It has been fun to share with friends, family, and yes, even strangers! Once you comment on the blog, you are no longer considered a stranger, so tell me who you are, or how you found me, or what you think!

My 100th post is in the very near future....I know lots of bloggers celebrate this with a giveaway. I've only done one so far...what do you think? Worth doing?

LOTS of love!