Carseat Cover

I recently received an invitation for a baby shower.  So, naturally I had to figure out what to make for a gift.   Usually I make a baby blanket and call it good,  but this time I wanted to try something a little different. Plus, I am sure the mother-to-be will get several blankets. 

I have been seeing a lot of patterns for carseat covers on Pinterest,  so I thought I would give it a try.  I really like the idea of the carseat covers and I wish I had one when my kids were babies.  I really hope the mom-to-be likes the gift.

Here is the pattern I used.  I am not very good at writing patterns out, so hopefully it will all make sense. 

Hook: I

Any three colors of medium yarn. 

Colors: A, B, and C

CH=chain

SC=single crochet 

HDC=half double crochet 

DC=double crochet 

SS=slip stitch

Blanket:

Color A: CH 70

Row 1: In second CH from hook SC, then DC in same CH. Skip one CH, then SC and DC in next. Repeat across.

Row 2: CH one and turn. SC and DC in last SC from previous row. Repeat across doing SC and DC in the SC stitches from row one.

Row 3-6 repeat row 2.

Change to color B and do 2 rows like the previous rows.

Change to color C and do 2 rows. 

Change to color B and do 2 rows. 

Change to color A and do 6 rows. 

Continue this pattern ending with the 8th strip of color A. Do not tie off.

Border: CH one then HDC along the top. At the corners do 3 HDCs and continue around the blanket. SS into first HDC. CH and repeat.  5 rounds in color A, 1 round color B, 1 round color C and finish with 1 round color B. Tie off and weave in ends.

Straps: make 2

Using color B, CH 26. Starting in second CH from hook SC across.  CH 1 and turn.

SC across. Repeat to make 6 rows.

Switch to color C. SC across, then 3 SC in the corner. CH 5, 3 SCs in next corner.  SC across, 3 SC in corner,  SC across, 3 SC in corner and SS to first color C SC. 

SC all around strap including in the chain. This creates a button hole. When you have made it around cut a long tail to sew the strap to the blanket. 

You can use a button or make a button.  I made the buttons using color A.

Button: make 2

CH 3 then join using SS. CH one then 8 SCs into circle.  SS to join.  2 SC into each previous SC. SS to join.  Cut a long tail to sew button to blanket. 

I hope this all makes sense.  Please comment if you have questions.  I hope you enjoy this pattern.

Chair Booties 

One year in the new house, and already my floors have scratches. After my dad so “graciously” pointed this out to me, I decided to take action. 

A good portion of my furniture, including my dining set, are hand-me-downs. And they are old, worn, and not too nice on my floors.  I would love to replace everything,  but it is not a priority for us at the moment.  So, we make do with what we have.   That is why I made these little caps, or booties  (whatever they’re called) for my dining set.

They work great and keep my floor safe from scratches.  I did a really easy and simple pattern consisting of mostly half double crochet stiches.  

I am pretty sure that even when I get a new dining set, I will still use these booties to protect my floor. 

Pattern:

F crochet hook 

CH- chain

SS- slip stitch

HDC- half double crochet 

CH 4 and connect with a SS making a circle. 

Round 1: CH 1, 10 HDC into circle.  SS to first HDC to join. (10)

Round 2: CH 1, 2 HDC into 1st HDC from round 1, 2 HDC into each stitch and join with SS (20)

Round 3: CH 1, 1 HDC into each stitch and join with SS (20)

Round 4-9: Repeat round 3. Tie off when done and weave in the ends.

You can adjust the size to fit your chairs by doin more or less rounds.

Good luck,  and may your floors remain scratch free.

Chicks

I am truly becoming a small farmer.  Well, what I would say is a small farmer.  We have recently added chickens to our little farm, and it is so much fun.  Right now they are just a couple of weeks old, and I am very new to raising chickens.

I have been doing a great deal of research and am learning a lot.  We have the chicks in a bin in our garage with a heat lamp, food and water.  I will keep them there until they are a bit older and it is a little warmer outside.  We clean the bin daily, and that gives the kids a chance to hold the chicks.

We are starting to get the outside prepared for our chickens.  I put together a chicken coop, and we have a spot set up for the coop and run.  I don’t know if we will let the chickens have free range of the property just because of our dog, but the area for the run is very large and there are only three chicks (for now).  I think it will be plenty of space.  I am hoping to start working on the run this weekend with my husband.


I also have a lot of ideas and ambition for these chickens.  I have started a compost pile, in hopes of having the chickens help to compost and I can use it in the garden.  And, of course, we are looking forward to the eggs.  I can’t wait to be able to go out to the coop in the morning and collect eggs.  It is going to be fun.

I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy having chickens, but so far it is great.  On warm days I let them hang out in the coop, and they are fun to watch.  My dog is not so sure about them, and he wants to get closer to them but I am keeping them well protected.  The children enjoy watching them and holding them.  I just hope their enthusiasm continues as the chicks get older.  We shall see how this new adventure goes.

Starting the Garden

Now that I live on a decent bit of land, I am able to have that big garden I have always wanted.  Of course, I do not have a very “green thumb”, but I am going to give it a try.  A couple of weeks ago we bought a greenhouse from Amazon, and it is a pretty good size.  My hope is that starting plants in the greenhouse will help them to be more successful.

On Easter Sunday my daughter and I put the greenhouse together and planted a lot of seeds into starter planters.  We worked the entire afternoon and had a lot of fun.  All of the planters fit well and we managed to fill up quite a few shelves.

 

I was watering the plants every other day, and despite the crazy cold and wet weather we have been having, the greenhouse was keeping the plants very nice and warm.  This weekend, however, we had a disaster.  There has been a lot of hard wind in our area, and a huge gust managed to knock over the whole thing.  All of the planters fell and dumped their contents.  I was so shocked and devastated.    But we all worked together and got the greenhouse standing again.  My husband moved it closer to the actual house to help block the wind a little better, and he replaced the stakes with some bigger, better ones.  We also scooped up all the dirt and seeds and planted them in a small section of the garden.  I don’t know if they will grow, since they are all a mix of different seeds, but it should be interesting.

Yesterday we bought new seeds and replanted everything.  We are back to square one, but hopefully we will have a little more success and no more disasters.  I am keeping my fingers crossed.

In Need of a Fitness Challenge

Bikram+Challenge+Time!

Tax season is approaching an end.  I can see the light ahead and I can’t wait.  That means I will work fewer hours and have time to focus on other things more, like my family, house, and myself.  One thing I’ve noticed from working more hours is that I have put on some extra weight.  I am not very happy about that.  I suppose it’s a combination of having to sit at a desk longer and eating less healthy as I have been doing simple and convenient meals.  My boss has also been taking me out to lunch a lot, and I don’t always pick a salad.  So, needless to say, I need to do something about the extra poundage.

I recently purchased a mini stepper.  It works similar to a stair climber, but it’s a lot more compact.  I just started using it on Monday, and I am only able to last about 5 minutes on the machine.  I should probably mention that I have a heart condition and am a little limited on my cardio.  That is one reason I chose the mini stepper.  I wanted something that would be lower impact but still give me a good workout.  I definitely get a cardio workout, but it isn’t as hard as if I were to run or do aerobics.  So far I really like it and I have been getting on it twice a day.

mini

Working out is great, but I am one who likes to give myself a challenge.  So I am going to try a simple version of the “Walk Across America Challenge”.  I plan on keeping track of my steps and following the Discovery Trail that goes from California to Delaware.  There is something about being part of a challenge that helps to motivate me.  Perhaps it’s my competitive streak.  In this case, I am competing against myself and hoping to meet a goal.  I would love for other people to join me in this virtual trek across the country.

map

I am willing to provide links to the tracker sheet I have made for myself and also keep track of everyone and do up to date posts.  If you are interested in participating in this challenge with me, please leave a comment.  Let me know you want to challenge yourself to walk across America and would like to join my fitness support group.  As of today, the group consists of one (me).  I would also love any ideas on how I should measure my miles.  I saw one idea that did 1/10th of a step equals 1 mile.  Or I could calculate my steps into miles and go mile for mile (livingstrong.com had a great article on converting stair steps into miles).  If others would like to join in this challenge they can do any type of fitness they would like.  It could be walking, running, biking, climbing, etc.  Anything that gets them moving.  I hope many others will join me and we can support each other to achieve a healthier self.  So lace up your sneakers and let’s walk across America together.  Who’s with me?

 

“Confessions of a Murder Suspect” by James Patterson

Description from Goodreads.com

“James Patterson returns to the genre that made him famous with a thrilling teen detective series about the mysterious and magnificently wealthy Angel family… and the dark secrets they’re keeping from one another.

On the night Malcolm and Maud Angel are murdered, Tandy Angel knows just three things: She was the last person to see her parents alive. The police have no suspects besides Tandy and her three siblings. She can’t trust anyone -— maybe not even herself.

Having grown up under Malcolm and Maud’s intense perfectionist demands, no child comes away undamaged. Tandy decides that she will have to clear the family name, but digging deeper into her powerful parents’ affairs is a dangerous — and revealing — game. Who knows what the Angels are truly capable of?”

 

I would have to say my favorite genre of books is Young Adult fiction.  I find that these books are often well written and they move along quickly.  I always like a book that leaves you wanting more at the end of each chapter.  Most of the Young Adult fiction books that I read leave you hanging in suspense at the end of each chapter and make you want to push forward.  They are not overly descriptive which lets me create my own images and I can read them at a decent pace (I tend to be a slow reader).  I also like reading books that I can recommend to my children and help to encourage them to read more.

Confessions of a Murder Suspect, was definitely a quick read.  Each chapter is very short and ends with a lead into the next chapter.  It follows a teen girl, Tandy, whose parents have been found dead in the apartment and she and her brothers are suspects.  Tandy works on solving the case and learns a great deal about her parents in the process.  James Patterson does a great job portraying the characters and leaving the reader in suspense until the very end.  Just when you think you know who did it, you have no clue.  I like to try to solve the mysteries as I am reading (I am usually wrong).  This book definitely left me for a loop.

I would recommend this book to teens and adults that enjoy murder mysteries.  It is a suspenseful thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat.  James Patterson manages to put in a great deal of twists and turns leading up to an unsuspecting truth.

Surviving Tax Season 

istock_000020399553medium1

Tax time is here.  1099s and W-2s are on their way.  I know this because I have gotten a lot busier at my job as an accounting assistant.  Of course I am one of those people who enjoy doing their taxes.  I know, CRAZY.  But I guess that’s why I work in accounting.

I always found taxes are pretty straight forward as long as you have good records and all your tax documents (good tax prep software helps too).  But I am learning that for some people taxes can be difficult and time consuming.  Especially for people who own a business.  Last year was the first time I had a business to report on my taxes, and it was a learning process.  One of the best tools to help with keeping your business organized and ready for tax season is good accounting software.  At my work I do bookkeeping for several businesses and I use QuickBooks.  I love using QuickBooks so much at work I ended up buying it for my home office.

412xioca-xl-_sl160_ QuickBooks offers both a desktop version and an online version.  The Online version charges monthly, but is easily accessible from anywhere.  The online version is always up to date with the latest in QuickBooks, but can become costly over time.  The desktop version is paid for at one time and can only be accessed on the computer it is installed.  The upside to the desktop is it costs less over time, and you can use one version for a few years (unless you are in accounting and need to update each year).

Keeping good books for your business and good records for your deductions and write-offs is a great way to make the tax season go smoother.  Staying organized is key.  Keep all receipts that are business or deductible related and set up folders to separate different items (like sales vs purchases).  If you own a small business and work from home, a good home office is very helpful.  Try not to have all of your business stuff mixed with your personal stuff.  When I started my business I opened a checking account specifically for the business so that I could keep business expenses separate from personal.  It really helps to keep things organized.

Having organization and good accounting records can really help you out during the tax season.  Not everyone needs to go to an accountant to get their taxes done.  Tax software can be a less expensive way to complete your taxes.  I have worked with TurboTax and really like it because it is step-by-step and guides you through everything you need to know to get things completed.  Of course, some people may have larger businesses or more complex situations, in which case I do recommend an accountant.  Good accountants know their job well, and can help you get the most out of your taxes.  Good luck to all this tax season.