Monday, November 30, 2015


I've been rereading this series because it's all kinds of wonderful - especially if you like stories that are on the usual side.

The author, Ransom Riggs, took odd antique photographs  and used them to inspire his interesting tale about Jacob,

a 16 year-old boy, who sums up his life like this, "I use to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was."

I just finished the third, and last book, and I must say I am pleased with how the story wrapped up. If you're looking for an interesting read, I highly recommend Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.

Monday, November 23, 2015

My Daughter's New Go To Dresses

I've been doing a lot of sewing for my daughter lately. All using this pattern and I love it!

And when I say love, I mean love. It's from the same pattern shop where I got the pattern to make these pants and this blazer

One of my favorite things about Go To Patterns is being able to print the pattern out at home. Thirty minutes at the dining room table with the scissors and tape and I had a full sized pattern. I actually prefer these print-at-home pdf patterns to commercial sewing patterns; Simplicity, Butterick and McCall's print their patterns on tissue paper and, sometimes  they can be a pain to use.

The Go To Signature Dress has got a ton of mix and match options, so I can make a bazillion different things from it. So far K has gotten a maxi dress with inseam pockets and a flutter sleeve, and a short sleeve tunic with a kangaroo pouch. (OK, maybe I can't get a bazillion different options, but the math teacher in me is quite confident that 3 length options X 4 sleeve options X 4 pocket options X 3 waistband options = 144 combinations. And that doesn't even take into account that you can do things like put a cap sleeve over a long sleeve.

Plus, this dress is so easy to sew  up. At first I was a bit nervous because I'd never done a sewn-in neckband before, but it was surprisingly easy; Andrea's directions were quite clear and really easy to follow. After sewing in two of them, I feel like I've got it down. (Believe it or not, I actually like doing that step with my sewing machine better than using my serger.)

If making so many items from one pattern sounds odd to you, then you don't have a finicky child. My daughter is all about how clothes feel. If something is just quite so, she won't wear it. So rather than risk purchasing things she might like, it's just easier to make things I know, or at least can be fairly sure, she'll love. And the Go To Signature Dress fits that bill perfectly. 

The tunic length is perfect for leggings, (In fact, I may just have to buy this pattern next.) Actually, the next I need to do is to order some really cute fabric for another maxi dress. K is getting frustrated with me since I'm only letting her wear this one once a week.

I was given this pattern at no cost, but the opinions presented in this post are my own.

Monday, November 16, 2015


With all the Harry Potter love we've had around here, I decided to try making a treacle tart. Treacle tart is Harry's favorite desert, so it had to be good, right?

The kids struggled to find the patience to wait until it was cool enough to eat and then raced to the table to tuck in and take their first bite...

Blech! It was awful. Like walk-over-to-the-trash-and-spit-it-out-and-go-get-a-drink-of-something-to-wash-the-taste-away-awful. I was so bummed.

I started thinking about the recipe I'd used.  First of all it called for imitation golden syrup, because, of course, where I am going to find golden syrup in Northern Michigan? Meijer says they carry it, but I have yet to find it in stock. The recipe said to make imitation syrup by mixing corn syrup and molasses, but it was was way too molassesy - to the point of being bitter. (Molassey is a word, right?) Plus all the lemon juice made it very very tart. It just didn't taste like a delicious desert; I mean it has to taste good if Harry loves it so much, right?  We just had to give it another try, so I broke down and ordered golden syrup from Amazon and using the recipe from Lyle's, we tried again.

I'm glad we gave it another go because it ended up being delicious; like mom-will-you-make-this-again-next-weekend delicious. We all loved it. I really liked the short crust, but my favorite part was listening to my children talk as they slurped giant spoonfuls of whipped cream. They  had a very in-depth  discussion of why they thought Harry liked treacle tart so much. It was amazing how one desert helped them make a much more personal connection to their favorite books.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

So Happy, Yet So Sad

This Post contains spoilers.
If you plan to read the Harry Potter books,
but haven't yet,

It's over. We're done. Finished...

As a family we've been enjoying the Harry Potter books, on and off for several years now, and we recently reached the end of HP and the Deathly Hallows.


We've read or listened to all 4,224 pages (according to Scholastic) and fallen in love with JK Rowling's incredible characters.  

I'm so proud of my nine year-old daughter. She just couldn't wait to finish listening to some of the books, so she grabbed each book off the shelf and read them herself. There was no way I would have even attempted an 800 page book when I was nine, but she was determined to know exactly what happened. Keeping secrets was hard for her. She knew Dumbledore died; she knew Snape had a good heart; yet somehow she managed to keep quiet about it. (I'm still in awe she was able to keep her mouth shut.)

Coming to the end of the story was a wonderful thing: learning secrets and coming to know the truths that seemed impossible; to know who lived and who died, and how good managed to triumph over evil. Yet, at the same time, reaching the end was awful. The tale is over; there's isn't any more. 

The kids are genuinely sad that they've reached the end of Harry's story. And while the thought of introducing them to new tales with wonderful characters excites me, there's just something about Harry, his friends, Dumbledore, and Snape that's going to stick with us. I hope for a very long time...