Thursday, December 2, 2010

PERFECT Christmas Card

This is SO funny!
All I want for Christmas is you (If you're holding a bunch of presents that are also for me.)
Perfect.  Please check out Sycamore Street Press!  This is a great online shop with stunning letterpress everything.  Here is another awesome one:
I think these people would be my friends.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

And the Winner Is....

And the winner is:  LIZ eemoody77!! 
Congratulations! Awesome that you stayed home and avoided the crowds - now you get to spend the money you saved.  AND it is free!!  Thanks so much for posting!

Giveaway II

Hello!  Thanks for posting and following and fanning and etc. etc.  My littlest boy broke his arm in two places yesterday afternoon - from a very minor fall off the couch - hmmm.  well, it was more of a "let's see if I can walk off of the couch onto the back of my little push motorcycle and ride it around the room."  So after the evening at the ER and lots of holding him, I didn't get to choose a winner.  Right now he looks a little like he's been beat up and is, "starving" so I'm going to take care of him some more and hopefully choose a random winner this afternoon.
Since I know you are all sitting around waiting and tapping your fingers, you should *totally* go over to Tip Junkies and print out these smiles and mustaches.  They will make you laugh.  Or at least it will look like you are laughing while you hold up your smile!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Free Stocking Pattern

I know I've gushed about her before, but I simply adore Denyse Schmidt.  I'm pretty sure we would be fast friends and share ideas with each other and stay up all night sewing together.  We'd paint each other's fingernails and braid each other's hair - wait - that is my dream of what it would be like to have a sister - forget that last part....  She has done it again, not only has she created the MOST beautiful handmade stockings, but she is giving away the pattern for FREE.
This is such a great pattern, because like all of her designs, it is really open to personalizing it just for you and your kiddos!

Love it.  Oh please let me know if you make them!  I really want to, but I'm already running out of time with what I have to get done before Christmas!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Russian Tea, or, Is it Raining Where You Are?

It has started raining her in Portland.  If all goes the same this year, this should continue until the 4th of July.  This means it is going to be cold and damp for SEVEN. MORE. MONTHS.  It is raining so hard outside right now I can hardly hear myself think.  The only thing that can help that "I'm-so-freaking-cold-not-even-FIRE-can-reach-this" kind of cold is my new favorite thing in the universe, Russian Tea!
I am new to this lovely, citrusy, steamy concoction, but I think I'm the number one fan.  My friend made a little canister for me a couple of years ago for Christmas and I have been rationing it out ever since.  My parents said it was a staple in Alaska as I was growing up, but I apparently was left out - clearly everyone else loved it as much as I do and people protected their shares.  Today my friend Kattah brought me a NEW tub of it and I almost hugged her and then immediately made myself a cup.

I started this blog when it was POURING rain in Portland and today I sit in the country watching it snow and snow and snow outside.  Snow is infinitely better than rain, but amazingly Russian Tea is JUST as fitting today.  I didn't bring what little I have left so I tried a hack version with some black tea and some powdered Wassail.  Simply not the same thing.  I had to find the recipe, so here it is:


  • 2 cups orange-flavored drink mix (e.g. Tang)
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup instant tea powder
  • 3/4 cup lemon-flavored instant tea powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  1. In a large bowl, combine orange drink mix, sugar, tea powder, cinnamon and cloves. Mix well and store in an airtight container.
  2. To serve, put 3 teaspoons of mix in a mug. Stir in 1 cup boiling water. Adjust to taste. 
I found this recipe at but it seems to be pretty universal; a little more sugar here, a little less there.  If you are feeling ambitious, here is a *real* version that you could entertain with, but seriously, it isn't necessary, the original is fantastic and lasts and lasts.  It is a GREAT gift, as well - your friends will be as impressed and thankful as I am to Kattah!


HEY!  Just in time for the holidays I'm going to do a giveaway with CSN!  You can choose from any of their stores: from luggage to toys to entertaining essentials!  I'll send the winner $35 gift code.  You can use it as you choose.  You can order from any of their over 200 online stores, from leather messenger bags to modern entertaining to holiday gifts for your kids.
I'm waffling about the looming black Friday tomorrow.  There are great deals out there, but staying inside while the snow falls and I'm WARM is very hard to pass up.  Enter my contest and you can mark one of the things off of your list and maybe sleep in an extra hour!
You could get your son one of these FOR FREE:
or TWO of these for your daughter and your niece:
or get this for a fraction of the price:
You know the drill.  Leave a comment here telling me your plans for Black Friday, or what you did on Black Friday and you get one entry.  Tweet about it and post it here and get another.  Share it on Facebook and let me know, and I'll give you another. Become a  fan of this Cats in Aprons blog and leave a comment to let me know, and you get ANOTHER entry! **I meant become a fan of Cat on Facebook for an entry and FOLLOW this blog here for another entry.  Oy, the terminology these days!!**

I'll choose one of the comments at random on Tuesday, November 30th and I'll let you know who wins.
If you do brave the crowds, good luck!  I'll *probably* be toasting you with my warm cup of coffee although I will be surrounded by crazy crowds - my own family!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Baby Jesus and Mr. O.

This is Baby Jesus.   He is my son's lovey.  None of my kids have ever had a 'blankie' or a specific lovey that they couldn't sleep without.  Until now.  Until Baby Jesus.  Our Mr. O. has always loved babies, and when his big sister took all of hers back, he was left with NONE.  That is until he found Baby Jesus.  Baby Jesus is just about two inches tall and came in the arms of his mother, Mary:
Holy Folks Small Mary Plush Doll 
She was a gift from the kids' Fairy God parents.  Mary is safely tucked away in Miss Mae's room, but Mr. O. has taken Baby Jesus and will. not. let. go.  He can't sleep without him.  He sets a place for him at our table.  He buckles him into his stroller and pushes him around.  He calls him, "Baby Jesus."  He feeds him with a doll bottle that is two times his size.  Did I mention Baby Jesus is 2" tall?!  
It is very, very, sweet but DOES solicit quite a few giggles from all of us. "Don't throw Baby Jesus!"  and "Uh-oh, we lost Baby Jesus again!"  And every night before drifting off to sleep, O. says, "I love you Baby Jesus."
We all adore Baby Jesus but I was afraid he would lose him for good and would be devastated.  I also thought he needed a baby that would fill his arms - one he could really snuggle with all night.  We found this amazing woman on etsy.  She also writes a lovely blog that I would like to escape into for even just one day.  To be able to make the things she makes!!!  Find her at Driaa.  She was a dream to work with and makes personal dolls, too.  She'll make them perfect for your little person down to the embroidered shoes and hand knitted sweaters!  Look at Queen Elizabeth!!
(Mr. O. was asleep when he arrived in the mail and I ripped him out of bed to open the package.  He was a little groggy and grumpy...):
This is how our  new baby arrived, complete with a sweet sewn heart on a ribbon:
and he came with his own personal blanket!!

 The new baby is yet to be named, but he is clearly part of our family now.  Baby Jesus is still #1 in Mr. O.'s heart, but that is kind of how it should be!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

West Elm Has Free Holiday Printables!

West Elm has free printables! So great!  This is the Botanical Suite for gifting:
 There are four suites:  Botanical, Animal, Snowflake, and Graphic, and all four come in the gifting option like I've shown, as well as an entertainment package with menu cards, labels and place cards.  Great idea!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Holiday Shopping

One of the many pitfalls along the path of losing one's mind is the annual holiday shopping.  I used to be able to keep exhaustive lists of each recipient in my head along with a running tally of about how much I'd spent on each.  I've never been so organized as to have a monetary cap that I tried to stay under, however.  This is a *fantastic* idea that hadn't occurred to me until now.  I've always just tried REALLY hard to keep costs down, make what I could manage (read: stay up all night sewing the day before the last day of ensured delivery at the P.O., or aforementioned recipients will be opening said gifts), and prayed for the best.  I have a round figure for what the big gift Santa leaves will cost and about how much a few smaller ones will cost for each kid.  Now that we are up to 3 kids, and my brain is slowly leaving the building, I need to get organized.  I've already ordered and received packages, hidden them, and CAN'T FIND THEM.  I received this in my in-box today.  It is a HOLIDAY. BUDGET.  It is from Google docs, so it is clunky and there are no totals or anything. I *do* know how to use the sum function, and I *could* put it in myself, but instead I opened my trusty Excel, scanned through the loaded templates and found this:
here it is bigger (NOT my numbers):
It is a COMPLETED spreadsheet!  We aren't going anywhere for Christmas, so there is actually MORE information than I need.  And doesn't everyone have BOXES of wrapping and lovely tags left over from over shopping the sales last year?  More zeros for my budget!!  I'm a little giddy.  And I haven't even put any of our info in yet!  You should *totally* check out YOUR Excel spreadsheets, or click here, and make holiday budgets.  I'm going to.  As soon as I can find that damn box of presents that is hidden somewhere in this house!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Shop For Makenzie Day in Portland!

Next weekend Cat in an Apron will join 12 other awesome (I simply can't break that WORD - I quit using it for about 20 years and then my son started using it and it is BACK) retailers at Purple Moon on Northeast Broadway.  I'll finish up my Christmas shopping!
AND Cat in an Apron will have *giant* markdowns.  We are talking *huge*.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Shop For Makenzie Day!

Our shop for Makenzie day was a huge success!  Our list of incredible retailers are so generous to help out a fellow mama / mamapreneur / family in need.  Erin Shirey wrote the most beautiful letter of thanks.  They have allowed Makenzie to go home to strengthen herself for the surgeries ahead of her.  They are at the hospital every day, and now Erin is taking care of the normal things we do at home everyday AND is a 24 hour nurse to Miss Makenzie.  I know how harried I am by the end of my days!  And at the same time, how wonderful to be able to hold Miss M. in her arms and let her sleep in her own bed. 

I'm so proud to be part of this amazing group of people who have rallied around this awesome family.  I'll let you know how much we get to send her when all of the paperwork dust has settled.  And don't forget the "donate" button will stay on our Shop for Makenzie page - feel free to use it or send people to it.

AND don't forget Cat in an Apron and more incredible vendors will be at our Shop for Makenzie day here in Portland at Purple Moon!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Halloween Birthday Party

AND here are some pics of the Halloween Birthday party.  Mr. H. turned 8, but there were kids from 2 to 9 years old with us.  Here are the "goody bags".  I gave them out throughout the party as they "won" things.  We filled as many glass jars as we could find with water and food coloring to make it look like an apothecary/scary lab.  I put cauliflower in green, twisty leaves in brownish orange....

The kids came in to our kitchen table and cut out masks from Brian Gubicza Illustration.  I had cut black ribbon in the pretty little crystal and silver dishes in the middle of the table.  The kids just cut out the masks, punched holes, threaded the ribbons, and voila!  Masks!  Everyone came in costume, but I always like to have a an activity part of the dressing up aspect of the party in case anyone feels left out with what they are wearing.
 Once everyone had arrived we played our first game, wrap a mummy!  I split the kids into 2 teams and they wrapped one of their team members in the entire roll.  First to the end of the roll wins!!  It was hysterical and got a lot of the wiggles out.
Next we had taped all of the pieces of a plastic skeleton around the house for the kids to find.  They did find them, in record time, and put Mr. Bones back together.
The rest of the party was spent noshing on yummy Halloween-y treats, freeze dance (if you've never watched 10 second graders dance their hearts out, I *totally* recommend it!!  TOO funny.  And adorable.), and an impromptu game of toilet paper limbo.  A grand afternoon, indeed.
Yes, that is a gummy worm coming out of a bear skull.  Good times, good times.

How to MAKE the Mummy Costumes

Last year, my two older kids were Egyptians and I could NOT think of how to make a baby Egyptian costume!  Instead he was a mummy.
  I used this video to make his outfit:

This is just how I made the kids' costumes this year.  I think I spent about $15 on both of them.  I had a ton of muslin I used instead of sheets, tea dyed everything, ripped and sewed my brains out!  A GREAT idea I found somewhere, was to also tea dye a pair of white tube socks.  When they went trick or treating, we put them OVER their shoes, it looked GREAT!

Want to Find That Lovely Outfit?

I forgot to post the link to the etsy shop: Choklit

Can I be HER When I Grow Up?

Or at least something like her for Halloween next year?  Holy crap the gorgeousness.  I have so many posts to get on here, I'm just going to start with our latest:  Halloween.  Some day I'll spend time on MY costume like her, but for now, I dress three kids and leave myself 5 minutes before we have to be somewhere!
I adore Halloween!!!  I love it so much I had my first baby a few days before it.  After 7 years of pirate, dinosaur and Lego parties I finally got to have our first Halloween birthday party!  Birthday party: Friday.  After that party, my daughter was invited to another great party by her sweet friend.  Saturday brought TWO more parties.  Trick or Treating didn't even happen until SUNDAY.  We had three days of costumes and revelry.  It was pretty fantastic.  And now I'm pretty sure my blood has reached some sort of sugar saturation level only rivaled by a child at a circus eating pounds of cotton candy.  mmmm...  cotton candy!

I took photos of the kids over the course of the three days and these are the best:

And then our favorite incredible photographer, Stephanie Bryan, took these:  (!!)