Gluten-free me in 2014

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My last day of 2013 involved a thorough visit to the doctor with my husband. Battling homesickness, hypothyroidism and weight gain (even though I’m active), I may have an allergy to gluten.

Instead of having a resolution to lose weight in 2014, I resolve to completely change my diet.

2013 was such a roller coaster for me. Losing my dad in January 2013 was a very sad time. I can’t believe it has been a year since he has passed, and I miss him very much.

I married my best friend in June and moved to Dallas, Texas. He was offered a job we could not pass up. It is the first time I have lived outside of Indiana, but not his. We had several major life changes in the span of six months. Then, I was unemployed and homesick.

It was a major blessing for Daniel and I when I got a job. Not just a job…I was offered my dream job using my background in social work and my education in journalism. Prayer answered!

Being away from my nephews has been very hard for me. I’ve compensated with a few cookies and movie marathons trying to fill the void. I’m not trying to take the cowards way out of blaming or excusing my behavior for putting on weight, but I had one heck of a year! The holidays are over, and I survived it without hugs and kisses from Barry and Sean.

I am ready for 2014. I am ready to move more, eat less junk food, inspire others again, and to love each day as the gift it is from God.

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Halloween masks Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Style

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mask

Aunt Nana strikes again with her crochet!  Halloween is right around the corner, and I have to get these TMNT masks in the mail!

For Christmas last year, we gave our nephews several Teenage Mutant Ninja turtle themed presents. When I found a video tutorial on Ninja style masks in adult and child sizes,  I had to make them for my nephews for Halloween!

They love imaginative play, so I made one in red, blue, purple and orange in adult and child sizes. Over the top? Nah. Cowabunga dude!

Aunt Nana’s Crochet: Indianapolis Colts Inspired hat

Go Colts-HatMy dad would’ve loved this Indianapolis Colt’s hat. He was a tried and true blue Colts fan. Admittedly, I have not really watched the Colts religiously since they won the Super Bowl in 2007.  My nephew, Sean was just a baby then, and living with me at the time with his mother. As a family, we watched the Colts games and cheered them on in our blue!

So, I made Sean a Colt’s hat. I’ll make Barry one, too. It just seems to have a little more meaning for me. I know my dad would have loved this hat! Go Colts!

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Aunt Nana’s Crochet: (WIP) Big Sister Kit

Good morning! I wanted to share an update on my WIP (work in progress) big sister kit. My gift deadline is by Halloween and I will give this gift in person! Daniel’s youngest sister is getting married and we will see the whole family again.

It’s been four months since our wedding, and I miss our family! I can’t wait to see everyone and give lots of hugs. I need an Aunt Nana fix! I love being an aunt.

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pink big sister bag

bow ties are coolThe big sister kit includes a crochet blanket, baby doll burp cloths, a sock monkey hat and two crochet head hands (crown and bow tie). I’m still working on the little details.  All items are handmade crochet or sewing projects. What do you think?

Aunt Nana’s Crochet: Amigurumi ON THE GO book review

Messenger Bag

I finally finished an entire project using a written crochet pattern. Admittedly, it is a simple pattern. I found this book at the Dallas Public Library this week called Amigurumi On the Go by Ana Paula Rimoli. I absolutely had to try to make the adorable messenger bag on the front cover!

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The patterns in the book are for toddler and child size projects. I had every intention of making Barry (my two-year-old nephew) the Bear Bag in Blue from page 46 in the book. However, as soon as I realized how I could personalize this bag without adding the crochet bear appliqué,  I wanted to make one for Sean, too. Sean is seven. He is a very small (BUT MIGHTY) seven-year-old. It is perfect for his size right now.

I don’t expect the boys to keep the bags in perfect shape, but would hope they have use for awhile. This crochet pattern makes for a durable messenger bag that could hold crayons, coloring books and a few tiny toys. It is not made for a heavy duty trip to the public library, but could carry a few small books.

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It has and inside and outside pocket. I used a gray and brown yarn instead of one single color.

outsidepocketThis book has 30 different patterns for kids crochet gifts. With Christmas two months away, I will have my hands full of a few more projects from this book! It’s going to be a Cooper Crochet Christmas. 🙂

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Aunt Nana’s Crochet: Little Prince and Princess crowns

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I love novelty boutique shops! On Monday while I was walking around Willow Bend shopping mall, I stopped into a little store called Paper Crane. It is mainly a stationary store, but there are gifts available for purchase by occasion.  My maternal heart skipped a beat when I saw crochet crowns for babies. They were priced around $17 a piece, but I did not buy one. I knew I could make several for the cost of one.

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With the help of Clare at www.bobwilson123.org, I crocheted a crown for my new nephew and his soon-to-be big sister.  This project takes very little yarn, knowledge of 3 stitches and about 15 to 30 minutes of your time (depends on the size). Clare’s video on You Tube teaches this beauty at a very nice pace. By the second crown, I had the pattern down pat and didn’t need to watch.

These would make excellent newborn and toddler photo props.  I can’t wait to see Jenny & Mike’s little prince and princess in a photo with these!

Little Brother and Big Sister crowns

Celebrating birthdays across many miles…

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Happy birthday, Mom!

We celebrated my mom’s birthday today! Even though she lives in Indiana (1400 miles away), Mr. Cooper and I wanted to send some birthday wishes, smiles and giggles. It wasn’t possible for me to fly home to spend the day with her. Instead, we did a few of her favorite things.

1. Eat tacos for birthday dinner. Check.

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2. Send a silly birthday greeting. Check.

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3. Indulge in a homemade cake made by her beautiful and creative daughter. Check. 🙂

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4. Sing her Happy birthday and tell her I love her…priceless. Thank goodness for FaceTime! I love you, Mom!