Saturday, November 30

Love Letters Envelope Quilt for 12Squared

I finished up last year's 12Squared quilt this month.  Now, I'm ready for this year's, even though the year's almost over.
 I hand stitched with red around each block.  Then, machine quilted around all the envelopes.  My dear little machine was just not big enough to hand the volume of this quilt.  It ended up being a very generous twin sized.  So, the top is a bit loose, but I actually like how cozy it makes the quilt look.

 The weight and overall design of this quilt reminds me a lot of the one I made for Henry.
I feel like I'm so predictable!  Time to try something new.

Monday, November 25

9 Months Awaits

9 months

Three more months until they are one.
I'm trying hard to appreciate each stage as it comes, but I won't lie, planning a first birthday for these two makes me giddy.
At nine months they are...
crawling (Tessa is more adventurous than Charlotte)
pulling up
loving Sam's Club soft pretzels
interested in board books and love being read to
have two teeth each
Charlotte weighs 20 lbs & Tessa is 19 lbs 8 oz and are both 28" long

Saturday, November 23

Everything You Never Knew You Wanted To Know About Lego Robotics

Last summer, Lucy had the chance to try out for her school's selective 5th grade First Lego League team (FLL).
And she made it!  
I was super proud of her and had no idea what it meant.  I mean, I knew there was robot building and programming, and something about a big table, and extreme weather.  But, that was it and if I pressed her for details, I was often left more confused.
Today was their big qualifying competition and after spending eight and a half hours at the school, it is finally all clear.
FLL is an international organization that encourages kids 9-14 to explore engineering, science, and computer programming.  Each year, teams are presented with a real world problem to research, do a number of presentations on, and design their robot to assist in solving.  Each team builds a unique robot using a Lego Mindstorms kit.  Similar to this.  The kits come with a variety of wheels, sensors, and different sized parts.  The kids have to consider the challenges the robot must complete when they are designing it.  And, there is no adult help in the design or the team will be docked points at the competition.

This year's theme was Nature's Fury.  The kids had to pick a natural disaster to research.
Lucy's team picked wildfires and their team name was...
THE WILDFIRES and they named their robot ROBOFIRE.
Lucy's team came up with a hypothetical solution to wildfires: a backpack for campers that holds materials to contain small fires and put them out quickly.  They made up a skit showcasing their backpack and performed it in front of judges, to demonstrate teamwork.  Then, they had to present their research findings to another panel of judges.  Then, their robot was critiqued for design and function.
Finally, the robots got to compete.
This is what the set up looked like.
The league regulated course was laid out on the center tables, where teams competed two at a time. Video of the table tops was projected on the large screen hanging in front of the curtain, so you could see the action!  The screen on the left was the scoreboard.  
 Only two programmers from each team can stand at the table during this part.  The course is set up like a natural disaster zone, with a number of obstacles-- there are Mini Figures to pull to a safety zone, a lever to release a Lego airplane suspended on a cable, etc.  The robot starts in a designated corner, the kids feverishly program it for a specific obstacle.  Then, off it goes!  It autonomously and hopefully goes where it's suppose to go, completing the mission and returning to the start corner to be programmed for the next task.  They are trying to get as many missions completed within 2 1/2 minutes.  
It was really intense (in a nerdy sort of way)!  
 Here's an action shot of ROBOFIRE pushing a supply truck and ambulance to a goal.  The teams can change out attachments on the robot to help it do different missions.  Each completed mission is worth a certain amount of points.  And, they get docked points for mishaps.
Each team gets to run their robot three times.  The best score out of the three is added to their other scores for teamwork, presentations, and research to determine the winners.
Here's a video of one of the Wildfire's rounds.  The stupid judge was standing in the way, but you can kind of see how intense it was.  
 After they age out of Lego robotics (at 14), the kids can go on to create and compete this type of robot.  Bomb Squad was the 2012 world champion and performed for the kids today.  This was pretty neat to watch as it made basket after basket.
 The FLL team from Mountain Home (where the State championship will be held next month), was invited to lead out the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade with their robot.  Isn't that awesome??  These are junior high kids!  Their team will get to travel to New York next week.  While I really hate parades, I am going to have to watch at least the beginning to cheer on our fellow FLL friends!
Even though the Wildfires didn't qualify for State, I am one proud momma.  It's pretty amazing to watch a bunch of 10-year olds doing something I have no clue about.  
Future NASA engineers at work.
I'm certain they will do even better next year as now we understand what this Lego League stuff is all about.

Friday, November 22

Burpy Bib

I like bib patterns.  A lot.  I like that they are usually a simple project.  I like that the finished product is useful.  I may or may not have curated a small collection of them.
Here's my latest addition. 

 This bib is great because it also doubles as a burp cloth.  I like that it covers the shoulders, because my babies are always spectacularly messy eaters.  They prefer the "turn your head and cough" method of spitting food out.  I used a soft blue polka dot flannel and backed it with an even softer pink French terry.  The fabrics are so cuddly.

Sunday, November 17

Boys' Pants: McCall's Pattern M6502

McCall Pattern M6502

I bought this pattern about a year ago and finally got around to making them for H, who is desperate for pants.  
Granted, he has out grown the largest size (5), but I just added a little here and there as I cut out the fabric and it ended up working out.  Actually, this pattern seemed to run larger than the sizing measurements and I ended up taking in the width I had added to the waist and legs.

 I think he'll like these because he's not a fan of jeans and this pattern calls for a knit waistband with elastic and a drawstring.  
 This was a fairly quick and easy project, especially since I didn't bother with the cargo pockets and roll up tabs.
Here's the best I could get with them on him, running to get to school.

Friday, November 15

Danielle's Baby Shower

 I forgot to take pictures before the shower, but I did snap a few with my phone as I was cleaning up.
 Danielle is expecting her first girl and I couldn't be more excited for her.  She was really liking purple and gray and little monkeys, so I tried to stay with that motif for decorations.

I made some garland out of pink, purple and gray scrapbook paper.  Lucy helped me make big tissue paper flowers.

I wanted to do a money tree, so I just spray painted some branches from the yard and put them in a Mason jar.  To clip the money to the branches, I decoupaged scrapbook paper to wooden clothes pins.  It turned out okay, but I wish I had more time to think that whole thing through better.

I made chocolate cupcakes and chocolate buttercream frosting and lemon meringue cupcakes.  I looked a few recipes online for the lemon meringue cupcakes, but most used an Italian meringue frosting, of which I'm not a fan.  So, I just used the meringue recipe I use for pie.
Lemon Meringue Cupcake Recipe
White cake mix
Lemon pie filling or lemon curd
Meringue-- 2 egg whites + 1/4 cup sugar

Make cupcakes according to box instructions, but slightly under baking them.  Cool and cut the core out of the center of each cake.  Fill the hole with lemon filling.  Make the meringue by beating the egg whites until soft peaks start to form.  Slowly add the sugar, while mixing on high until firm peaks form.  Top cupcakes with the meringue and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, or until the meringue starts to brown.