Saturday, December 29, 2012

Home-Made Family Christmas

One of our family Christmas traditions is making home made gifts for each other. Over the last few years I have seen my kiddos get more and more excited about giving gifts. They get so excited that they can't always keep it a surprise, but we're working on it.
I sometimes have problems coming up with ideas of gifts for my youngest (3 years old) to make. This year I had the sudden inspiration to have him make recycled crayons for his sisters. It worked out great. He loved peeling the papers breaking the big pieces and filling the muffin papers. I did have the oven a little too hot so there was some separating of wax and color, but they still turned out well. His big sisters ooo-ed and awe-ed and he beamed.
My 5 year old decided she wanted to make ornaments this year. I handed her some felt circles, glue, sequins and colored feathers and she went to town. I had to help with the glue because my fabric glue is getting kinda old and hard to squeeze. She had a blast making them and they really sparkle on the tree.
My 7 year old loves to bake her presents. This year she wanted to make ginger bread houses for everyone. Daddy loves to bake too, so he helped her make them with real ginger bread. She was super excited to pull them out for dessert before we opened presents (another tradition we have is opening presents on Christmas Eve).
My oldest (9 years old) wanted to make felt dala horses this year. She has never done any embroidery work before, but really wanted to give it a try. We found some directions for different stitches, and after practicing a few she went to work. She even stitched each siblings name onto one side of their horse. I think they turned out great. Her little brother is even sleeping with his. I love to watch them get excited about giving, and really appreciating the gifts they get, knowing someone took their time and effort to make it for them. It may be just a little family tradition, but it means something big to us.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thankful Chain Tradition

Over the last several years we have developed the tradition of making a "Thankful Chain" on Thanksgiving. Simply put, during a meal, we go around the table and each say something we are thankful for. Each thing is written on a separate strip of paper.
We keep going around the table till we can't think of any more things to write down, or we run out of paper. These strips of paper are then taped into a long chain. Finally, we hang this up as our first Christmas decoration of the year.
The rest of our decorations haven't caught up to us yet, but our chain has been hung so we are beginning to feel a bit in the spirit of the season anyway. Happy Holidays to one and all!

Today's Textile Therapy

I have wanted a tree skirt for our Christmas tree for a while. But in years past it just wasn't to be. Today, the family went on an outing to the fabric souk and discovered many wondrous finds. Among these finds were these fabrics.
Hubby and I did some quick figuring to determine how much I needed to make a tree skirt and we figured 4 meters would be more than enough, and I could use the spare for a runner or something (or somethings).
When we got home I did some more figuring, measuring, re-figuring, and double checking those figures. Then I had Hubby check my math to make sure (this wasn't cheap stuff, so I didn't want to blow it). I really appreciated my Jr. High math teachers today!
This is the end result. Now if our household goods would just arrive so I can put it around the Christmas tree, it would be complete.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Comb Finder

I have 3 young girls, who can NEVER seem to find their combs or brushes. I have made pockets for them, placed labels on them, bought 3 different styles so they would know which was theirs...still every day we hear, "I can't find my brush!"
So recently, My husband found some fairly inexpensive combs and drilled holes in the handles. He also got some chute-cord (a very long stretch of it).
We took all of this into each girls' bathroom, they are luck to each have their own for the time being, and we tied one end of the cord to a comb. We measured and cut a length that would allow the girls to stand back and be able to comb all of their hair comfortably in front of the mirror.
Then we tied the other end of the cord to a fixture in the the bathroom so the comb will never leave the bathroom. My dear husband also singed the ends so they would not unravel. Now, as long as they do not figure out how to untie the knots, we will hopefully not hear about missing combs for a while.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

It's in the bag! ...Popcorn that is

Popcorn is a "feel-good" snack for me. Perhaps it is because it brings fond memories of movie nights as a kid...or maybe it just hits that buttery salty spot like nothing else.
Anyway, I found on pintrest directions for microwave popcorn with just a paper lunch bag. Alright, lets try it. Guess what! It worked!
Directions: 1/4 unpopped kernels in a paper lunch sack fold over top (no staples!) microwave on high for...oh...I set mine for 3 minutes but stay close! Once the popping slows to less than 1 pop for 3 s econds stop it and take it out the dress it however you like
Now I love buttery salty popcorn, but my insides have a war with anything dairy or related to dairy, so I had to give up my butter. Happily I found this spread that comes in soy or sunflower oil (I'm not in the US so I don't know what is available there) and this stuff melts like butter and tastes like margarine - close enough for me! The best thing is it hold the salt on so I have a happy mouth and happy tummy.
..oh, and the kids are happy to have some too!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A new first for me...

I haven't posted for a while due to the big move. Things are settling down a little so I will hopefully have more to post soon. In the mean time I thought I'd just share a little tid-bit.
My dear sweet loving husband it trying his best to spoil a way. I have had a few opportunities to go out and spend time with other women (without the kids). He has always encouraged me to go to these things, with the hopes of saving my sanity.
Well today I had the chance to go to a "Spa Brunch" with several of the ladies around here. I had never had a manicure nor a pedicure, and today I had both! It was fun to sit and chat with other moms over brunch and be pampered a little. I did let someone else pick the color for me as I really had no idea what to choose. So, What do you think?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Some of my hubby's handy work

Just sharing some projects that My husband finished just before our big move.
He finished this beautiful coat/hat rack just before the movers came. Please ignore the piles. It was the easiest way of organizing I could think of so I could tell them, "everything in this room goes to the sea shipment. Everything in that room goes to storage."
He created a stand for the church choir to hang the mic cords on so they would be off the floor and out of the way.
He also remade the stand for the acolyte sticks.

Friday, August 3, 2012

My Linen Closet Solution

Years ago, my mom told me about an article she had read where they suggested putting your folded sheet sets in the the pillowcase to keep them all together in the linen closet. Now I see the same idea all over Pinterest.
Well, the idea is great, but my family is now large enough that having sheets for 5 beds of varying sizes, and a family that doesn't always pay attention to what sheets fit what bed...I needed a simpler answer. I needed an easy way to tell what size the sheets were so sleepy-middle-of-the-night bed changes, or my do-it-my-self 3yo could be sucessful without creating too much extra work for me. I had an abundance of extra pillowcases, so instead of storing sheet sets in the matching pillow case, I put the sheet sets into "color coded" pillowcases. Twins, in white, queen in dark blue. We are preparing for a big move, and I think these are the only sizes of bed we'll have, so the king and full size sheets will be stored (in different colors) till the next move.
* Disclaimer: I am not an expert of folding sheets, this is as neat as my sheets get. Also, these pictures are taken on the floor as these sets are getting ready to go in a box for our move. If you really want to see them in a closet, you'll have to request that after the big move is over.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Taking a break from packing...

We are in the throws of a BIG move and I just had to take a break. Kids are at grandparents for a few weeks so I can get some work done without their well meaning, but not so helpful "help".
I came across, in my cleaning several broken dress-up necklaces that had been hidden in an empty can (sometimes I don't ask's just easier to accept what is). I had a creative inspiration and while my lunch was warming up I grabbed my hot glue gun and had some fun. Now they have a decorated-necklace-treasure-holder to suprise them when we unpack.
Think they'll like it?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Teacher's notebook

A friend recently asked about how I get organized for homeschooling, so I thought some pictures might help.
First let's talk about my notebook. I use a simple 3 ring binder. I've seen people use fancy ones or decorate them, but I'm fine with plain.
I did get these great dividers to put in it that have pockets. These are great for answer sheets or printable that we will need in the next few days/weeks.
The first section I have is a basic blank calender, that I sketch out things like holidays, vacations, and weeks just off school.
Then the other sections are for each child's schedule. In this notebook I only keep 1 quarter of assignments at a time. (This is the section for my 4th grader)
At the back of my 4th and 2nd grader's sections, I have a score sheet just for my own reference. I plan on making changes to this sheet to make it a little easier to use.
This is the 2nd grade's section.
Here is the kindergartner's.
Last is the preschooler's. His schedule is very general and I only follow it as well as he is interested. Some days sorting cars by colors is just right for school - and we toss the schedule.
Each child also has their own notebook with their own copy of their schedule. In their notebook I keep the schedule for the whole year, adding each quarter as we get to it. This serves as our yearly records.
The older two have dividers to add any loose papers. Most of their writing is in spiral notebooks, but there are quizzes and worksheets (and sometimes pages from co-op) that I want to keep in here.
Finally, each kid has a shelf to keep all their books, with exception to their spiral notebooks that stay in a pocket on their chair. (The 4th grader's)
(The 2nd grader's above, and Kindergartner's below)
(and recently added, the Preschooler's) I do find the more kids I add to the mix, the better organized I get. I'd lose my mind if I didn't!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

At Home and Travel Brush holders

I made these nice toothbrush/ hairbrush holders for the kids...well two of them; I ran out of velcro so I'll have to make the other two later.
I made them so they could hang on a clothes hanger or a towel rod....
...And when it is time to travel, they can be rolled up.
I had a batch of ribbon given to me some time ago. I wasn't sure what to use it for, but I thought it would work nicely for this project. I'll have to find another project or two to use it all up.
I also had some left over wash clothes from another project that I thought would be bright and cheery for the kids.
I used 1/2 a white cloth for the top and a whole colored cloth for the pockets. The Velcro dots I sewed onto the white first then I sewed the two washcloths together.
Then I marked where to sew the vertical lines for the pockets. I used painters tape and sewed right along the edge. I also used the tape to hold the tie ribbon in place while I stitched up the side.
My older two are excited about these and can't wait till I finish the others and let them hang them up. I also think htese will be great for their trip to Grandparents' in a couple months.