Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Working Song

Something occurred to me the other day while I was cooking supper. And sadly, it was not the fact that what I was cooking sucked. That would have been good to realize before supper and not during. But anyway....
Two separate things came together in my brain and I had a thought. It did hurt just a little, yes. First of all, around Thanksgiving Sara Groves (one of my favorite singers) came out with a new video called "Setting Up the Pins." Here it is if you want to watch it:

So it's a song about working and the mundane things we all do over and over each day. Just like setting up bowling pins and knocking them down. One line caught my attention...."My grandmother had a working song. Hummed it low all day long."

A working song, huh? Never heard of it.

Then last week I read this post at Sherri Ann's Keeping Room. She talked about her mother always singing and when she wasn't singing....she was humming.

This is new to me and I wondered why mothers don't sing much anymore. I mean, they might, but I don't know of anyone who walks around singing all the time. So I thought maybe, just maybe, it's because there is never quiet. I don't mean quiet as in no children screaming talking. I mean there is always a TV, a CD, and ipod, a movie, or some other technology making noise for us.

We have music in our home, but mostly it's when we turn off the TV and put in a CD. We let other folks do the singing for us. Does that matter?

I think it does. This is a new thought and I'm still letting it roll around in my brain, but for the last month I have found myself singing while I work and the most remarkably old songs are coming to my brain. Songs I haven't heard in years. Songs we sang at church when I was growing up. Songs my kids don't know.
Wonder why I've been singing more lately? We got rid of our TV. Well, not the actual TV or how would we play Wii or watch DVDs? But we have no service of any kind. No DirectTV. No cable. Not even PBS. And so, in this new quiet that has filled our home, I have found myself singing.
It makes me think of this verse, "Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
When I listen to someone else sing, am I thanking God in my heart? It's possible, I suppose. But mostly that CD just becomes background noise. When I am singing or humming music that has come from my heart.....that's different. When my children come to ask me a question, and they stand there while I finish singing the line or verse I am on (smiling while I sing to them), then they are seeing me giving thanks to God from my heart.
I remember my mom humming while she sewed, but mostly I remember her watching soap operas while she ironed. :) I do have good memories of the records she would play while she folded laundry. I don't know.....I think we stifle some good stuff with all the noise we have going on around us all day long.
A working song. Singing and giving thanks to God while we work. Hmm. Did any of you have a mother or grandmother who sang while she worked? What do you think about all this?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Teach Me To Be a Mommy

That's Sweetheart's constant request.

I usually don't take my kids to the grocery store. Somewhere along the way, we all got into the habit of them going to my parent's house while I shop. My dad tells me to send them down and honestly, who wouldn't want to shop alone? But the other day I decided to make them come because children need to shop with you. It's a good lesson.

Sweetheart wanted me to teach her to shop and she was all business. So I talked to her about checking the best price and how much you get for that price, etc. She took it very seriously as I sent her to pick out the best deal on crackers or whatever. She was pretty good at it and pretty harsh too. We weren't getting anything if it wasn't on sale or off-brand by golly.

Little Bit had a job too. That girl is GREAT at finding things. If ever anything is lost in this house, she's the one to call. She remembers where she saw it last and goes straight to it. It's nearly like a photographic memory but I won't go there since we've been working on the numbers 11-20 for two weeks now.

Anyway, I gave Little Bit the job of finding the in-store coupons that hang up here and there around the store. She was all over that job.

I've been feeling the weight of training them lately. I have only girls, which is different than parenting only boys, or those with both. I am the main example for these chickens. I've been thinking about the need to train them to be excellent helpers to their future husbands (hopefully). I want my girls to be very equipped to run a house when they marry. I don't want the to have to flounder around for years feeling overwhelmed.

This summer, instead of doing weekly themes, sister and I have decided to make this a summer of homemaking skills. Each week when our girls get together there will be a sewing project or cooking project, etc.

And I'm excited about that, but honestly I know the biggest way to teach our children is just day to day. The difference is in the narration. Instead of just having them help with something, or do something......I must talk them through it. I must explain why we do things this or that way. I must say things like, "When you grow up and have your own house....." I know that these everyday things are very important.

How do you train your daughters?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Plate Spinning

School---math, history, phonics, spelling, writing, Bible, science (oh science, you've been slipping through the cracks badly), etc.

Bible--2 days behind on reading. Gotta get caught up.

Supper---Ok that's taken care of tonight. We're having a pot luck at church. Gotta make rice and a cake this afternoon.

Kitchen--still not 100% clean. Gotta clean that before I can cook.

Laundry--ug. Still wet and in the dryer from....was it yesterday? Gotta fix that.

Book Club--1:00. Get your teeth brushed everyone. Find your shoes. YES, it's almost time to go!!! Where's my notebook?

Sewing--ack. There sits that skirt. I still haven't put elastic in it. I need to sit down and think about these lessons. I need to write stuff down. I need to finish those aprons.

The plates (and the list) go on and on and on and on........

What plates are you spinning today?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sunup to Sundown

At 10:00 last night S started listing things he still needed to do. The kitchen was on my list. But I pointed out that the day was over. We ran out of day. The pioneers knew when to quit working---they quit when they ran out of daylight.

"Darn artificial lighting," he said.

It's true. We would do so much better to work until the day was done and then do some sit down work and then QUIT. But we continue to be convinced that nothing will keep operating without our direct involvement. We must work until bedtime/exhaustion every night because we need more money and how will God ever be able to provide for us if we don't run ourselves silly?

I'm kidding there. But it's true that, as Americans, we feel very self-sufficient. And very much like it all depends on us. Anyone else struggle with that? I'm not saying we shouldn't work hard--just that we are very disillusioned about who is in control.

On a happy note, I was praying yesterday about finances and how I could help. By the way, I stopped praying for "us" to know what to do and started praying that my husband would have the wisdom to make the right financial decisions and that my husband would have peace about everything. It may seem like a small thing, but I believe we should pray for our husbands as they are the head of the family. And that our children should learn to pray for their dad in that way.

But God did hear my prayer. This morning I got a message from a friend wondering if they could pay me to give their daughter sewing lessons once a week!

Every now and then I fall back into old habits of worrying. I foresee things coming up that we will need to pay for and HOW WILL WE EVER DO IT and I forget all the times that God has been faithful. Um, which is ALWAYS. But mostly, I remember. I remember what a miracle it is to me that I am home and we are still making it when it seemed so completely impossible just a few short years ago. Do I know all the answers to how we will handle the tires that need replacing and the dental visits that need to happen and all the other things I could sit and think of?


But I know Someone Who does.

And can I just say that trusting feels a lot better than worrying?

Monday, January 25, 2010

House Sounds

The house was silent in the few hours before dawn. Then, the alarm clock pierced the silence. Toilets flushing, hangers rattling, shoes scuffing, refrigerator slamming, baby burping, diaper bag zipping, door slamming, car leaving.....

....and silence. For 10 hours.

And then, the noise would return as the family drug in at the end of the day. And the happy sounds of family living in the house would return for a few hours before bedtime.

But OH those 10 hours of silence.

And 11:00 in the morning.....the dryer spins, the iron hisses, the children laugh, the footsteps are everywhere, the back door opens and closes, the books shut, the pencil sharpener hums, the toilets flush, the scissors cut, the pantry squeaks, the mailman comes, the keyboard clicks, the phone rings, and the house.... very, very happy.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

When You Have a Bit of Solitude..... seems you can accomplish things. Saturday my parents unexpectedly took my girls to Sister's house. It was a last minute decision and as they rushed out the door and S off to the golf course....I found myself alone.

All alone in the house. As in, no other people around.

It was weird. I talked to myself a bit.

And I wandered around for a good 15 minutes before I decided what to DO with that time.

I finally reached the conclusion that I had plenty of projects to work on and also everything I needed to complete said projects. What I had been lacking was solitude. And the absence of interruption.

So, I tell you all that so you won't see my accomplishments and think, "Man, I wish I could get that much done!" It is ONLY because I was alone, people. On a normal day, I accomplish things like getting dressed and feeding everyone. Saturday was different.

I already showed you my cheap wall art I made.

I also sewed a skirt. Actually, I started this on Friday night. This one is Sweetheart's in spite of the hanger that indicates size 5. She's a bit on the skinny side like I used to be. I got over it.
I made a matching one of those for Little Bit. Anyone recognize the fabric?????

I also whipped up these curtains for my mom's dining room. The panels came from my aunt and they match my mom's newly painted (OK it was last year) dining room AND her living room curtains perfectly. I sewed the fabric at the top. It matches the valance I made for her kitchen last year.
And I have a plan for one more project for the girls' room. But everyone came back home and my solitude was over.

Oh well. It made me remember how much I like doing projects. I have many more plans for skirts and my mom is digging around in her fabric collection for pieces I could use. Like this one:

I have 2 plans for this fabric, actually. Can you guess what I'm going to make with that cute stuff?

Also, about those rag quilts I am going to make for the girls. I decided to quit being a flannel snob and trying to get all this matchy-matchy flannel for the quilts. My mom had some scraps of light blue and pink and I took them by golly! As long as the quilts have pink and green mostly, what's a few other colors thrown in? That's what quilts are all about, right? Besides, it'll make each girl's quit unique. So, I am now accepting flannel fabric donations. Any color. I'm not a flannel snob.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Diary of a Room Makeover: Cheap Wall Art

I remember when I decorated Little Bit's nursery. I spent under $2.00 on the pictures. Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever spent more than a few bucks on things to hang on the wall---they are just too easy to do cheaply.
I set out to make a picture for the girls' new room today using these pieces of scrapbook paper. All three sheets were between $1-$2. I don't remember exactly, but scrapbook paper is cheap.
But before we get to that, let's walk down memory lane. When Sweetheart was all done with her nursery decor at about age 4, I made her a princess room. It was based on this blanket that my mom made.
That is still her favorite blanket, by the way. Anyway, I took the colors from that blanket and made her a princess room, as requested. But something in me just couldn't DO Disney Princesses everywhere. It was just so....commercial.

So I made these. Actually, I told Sister what I was thinking and she drew the stencil for me. This is Belle and Aurora .
And these are Jasmine and Cinderella.
Well, the hair and dress colors are anyway! Thanks for walking down memory lane with me. Sigh. My sweet little 4 year old baby. But the reason I got these frames down from the closet is for the new wall art.

First, I googled an image I liked and swiped it right off the 'ol internet. It's best if you google "______ stencil" because the simple black lines are easier to work with than a detailed picture.
Then I cut out all the pieces and began tracing them onto my scrapbook paper.

Next I cut them all out and erased any left-over pencil marks.

Since I had painted the mats for the princess pictures, I had to paint over the mat with the new color.

Then I just used a glue stick to glue it all in place and a pink sharpie to add details.

Cheap and beautiful!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Dare I Say It?

I have been home how long? Let's see.....Little Bit was 3 when I came home and now she's 6. Wow! Three years! Seriously?

Anyway, I think I might maybe possibly somewhat be getting the hang of this homemaking stuff.

It's not that my house is all "orderly" or "organized" or even half-way so, it's just that I'm starting to get my groove.

OK, maybe I'm just having a good day. Supper was GOOD. Want the recipe? You know you do! It's the end of the money month so I was looking for frugal recipes online today before I went grocery shopping.

Bubble Pizza

Ingredients: 3 cans of biscuits--the cheap kind
1 jar spaghetti sauce
mozzarella cheese
toppings (we had pepperoni)

Cut the biscuits into quarters and toss them in a bowl. Pour some spaghetti sauce over them and toss them around until they are all coated. Spread these out in the bottom of a casserole dish. Then, pour some more sauce on top. I didn't use the whole jar.

Top with cheese and whatever toppings you like. Cook at 350 degrees until the biscuits are done---about 30 to 40 minutes. Mine got almost too brown on top when I kept it there for 40, which was what the original recipe said.

SO good and filling!

Also, S and I were talking about the girls' clothes last night. We both agree that we want them to dress more like girls and less blue jeans. Can't imagine where they get THAT example from. Ahem. So we looked online at some skirts and he asked me to start buying some for the spring. But instead, I started sewing some today! I looked for easy skirt tutorials online and they are abundant.

Here's the one I'm using. It's really easy. I'll let you know how it comes out!

Also, I went grocery shopping today and came in WAY under budget. Maybe, just maybe, I'm starting to get better at this stuff.

I know I've been married for 16 years, but it's like I'm just starting out. Things I should have had down pat by now I'm still working on.

But today....was very good.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A World Where I Do Not Belong

Did you know that I have a child with a disability?

At least I think I do. I'm not really actually totally sure.


Here's the lowdown. Little Bit, our 6 year old daughter, was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome at the age of 4. I'm listening to her tic right now. Only it sounds like a cough. It's been going on for a week or 2 now but only when she's awake and mostly when she's in bed. Don't worry, that tic will soon be replaced with another. And another.

Because we were already homeschooling when we found out about her TS, I haven't had to deal with a lot of things like 504 accommodations and I haven't had to learn much about ADA and IDEA and all the other strings of letters there are to learn about.

I do know that in some cases, TS is considered a disability. But those people have a much worse case of TS than my daughter. Hers really isn't all that bad most of the time. I think. Compared to others? Wait. I don't know any others.

We have good friends whose son has autism. Hang on. Do I say he HAS autism like it's some kind of disease? We have good friends whose son is autistic. Wait. Do I say he IS autistic, as if that's the main descriptor of his life? See? A mom whose child had a disability would know these things. Anyway, shortly after Little Bit's diagnosis, my friend sent us some information on a "special needs day" at a local event. It seems we could get in for free to this event. She wondered if I was interested in getting these e-mails, as she is the president of the local autism chapter and is privy to this kind of information.

I told her yes, absolutely. Free is good. But I've never been to one of the events. (They aren't just for kids with autism, but all special needs) One reason we've never been is because.....I would feel like an impostor.

My child doesn't LOOK like she has any sort of disability. Would people be looking at our family trying to figure out which one of us was the disabled one? Would she wonder why she was there with all these other children who have special needs? She doesn't know she has special needs. (Does she? I mean, physically she's fine.) Actually, in light of the other types of disabilities that would probably be represented there....she just doesn't seem to fit in.

I don't fit in. I don't really feel a part of this world of disabilities.

When it comes to moms of kiddos with disabilities, I'm like a freshman at senior prom.

And's not all "normal" around here. We are dealing with something. But everyone has something, right? My older daughter had asthma. That was a lot to deal with. Maybe even more than we've dealt with tics. The tics don't get me up in the night to give them breathing treatments.

The thing is.....there's a scale of some sort when it comes to this stuff. Or so it seems. If you have a child who cannot walk, talk, feed themselves, etc. then you are dealing with big things. You definitely have a child with disabilities. If you have a child who has seizures or learning disabilities or physical challenges......these things QUALIFY you in my mind as a mom of a child with disabilities. I admire you. I cannot imagine walking in your shoes. I see what all my friend deals with.

Am I really a part of this world?

I have trouble with that.

And yet, I need to know. I don't want my child to be discriminated against when she is older and I am not there to stand up for her. I've read Brad Cohen's book. It happens. So I guess I need to educate myself about laws and find out how or if this all applies to my daughter.

So I'm pushing the door open a little and placing one foot inside. I hope I'm welcome here and that no one sees me as an outsider who doesn't belong. It's for my daughter that I'm coming in here, you understand. Gosh, I hope my dress is OK and I don't look like a dork in front of all these seniors.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

No Child Left Inside

Some days I just feel so thankful to be homeschooling. I'm thankful to God for this blessing. I'm thankful to my husband, who goes to work every day and makes it possible for us to be home. I'm thankful for the freedom we have.
The people who make homeschool regulating laws just don't seem to fully understand how it works. All of this took place AFTER "school" was over. The workbooks were shut. The pencils put away. The math practice done. Of course, if I lived where I had to count minutes of instruction, this would totally count.
For some inexplicable reason, it was 70 degrees today. Of course, the kids went straight outside when school was over. They decided to begin a club.
Every club needs a flag, right?
I'm not sure ducks will be part of the rescuing, but still.

They created a lot of habitats, with a little help from their Littlest Pet Shops. Those are real live snails above that they rescued. From the horrible dirt they were living in under the tree in the backyard. Poor things.
You'll be glad to know some earthworms were also rescued. And taken very good care of.
After I took these, I showed them a library book that told how to make a bug observatory in the yard. You dig a hole, drop a yogurt cup inside, put some food in there, and cover the thing. They covered it with a frisbee propped up with some balls. Then you check it and let the bugs go and try another food to see what kind of bugs it draws.

That's a whole lotta science for little bit of work. And no planning on my part.
I LOVE days like this.
And I'm reminded that these things don't happen very much when we are running around. We've been staying home a lot lately. AND we got rid of all TV service. There are so many good things out there to do, but when you don't really have the money, it makes the decision easy.
And the results are good.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Deep Question Day

I have a serious topic today in spite of my mood. (Not in a very serious mood today! :) I decided a few days ago to ask this though because I have found that blogging is a really quick way to get a ton of opinions from many different walks of life.

That's exactly what I need now because what I know about some things is completely shaped by my experiences, which are limited at best. How do I know this? Well, it might have something to do with the fact that I live on the block I grew up on and go to the same church where S and I were born.

Really, we were born in hospitals but you get my drift.

Here is my question......what do you think/know/believe about women teaching young men? What I mean is, at what age/grade should women stop being the Bible class teachers for boys? AND why. Because some people might not have thought about this before or heard much about it. I know what I have heard in my life, but I want a broader perspective.

You know, I'm really assuming a lot with this, but let's see where it leads.

OK--let me have it in the comments section.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Secret to Organization

I think I've found it!

Sister moved to a new house this weekend so Mom and Dad and I shared the responsibility of keeping her girls during the move. My parents picked them up from school on Friday and kept them two nights (they came to my house to play during the day some) and last night they slept here. I'm taking them to the their new house this morning.

So, Sunday nights at our house go like this: We feed the girls a snack at 4:00 or so and a little after 5:00, we all leave for the church. S leads Bible study at our church on Sunday nights so he has to set up tables, make coffee, copies, etc. I teach the children on Sunday nights so I have to set up, make copies, get my supplies together, etc. There just isn't enough time to eat supper beforehand so we usually end up getting fast food on the way home because it's nearly 8:00 by the time we eat on Sunday nights.

But YESTERDAY, because I had four kids with me, I spent my afternoon cooking and chopping everything for Chipotle-at-home burritos and putting all the ingredients in little bowls. Everything was in the fridge waiting for us when we got home. I also set the table before we left, had the girls lay out their pajamas, and had all the beds ready.

So, the secret to organization? Have more kids.

It'll instantly force you to get more organized.

What do you think of my theory? :)

Today, I'll be feeding all four of them, overseeing dressing and hair, enforcing toy pick-up, packing them to go home, and then driving them there. (It's about an hour away) The house will probably be cold since the power hasn't been turned on yet so we need to dress in layers. My goal is just to help sister get stuff ready enough that they can smoothly walk out the door for work/school tomorrow morning.

So we get the day off of school like everyone else although I had not planned to take it. I haven't heard any complaints.

OK--my newly organized self is off to shower and begin this long, arduous, process of suppressing the giggling and screaming so that productivity can reign.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Teddy Bears' Picnic

Good grief! What happened to the week? I'm sorry I haven't posted since Monday----I really do have lots to tell you.

Today I'd like to share a birthday present I'm piecing together as I go. The girls are going to a birthday party for Big Girl today and I'm still working on her present! Big shock.

Whereas my girls are into dolls, their friend is not. She has a teddy bear family, which I think is so sweet. So we decided to make a play picnic set for her bear family. We already had a picnic basket. We've had this for years and it used to have soft food in it. We located a piece of cheese, a tomato, and a bottle of grape juice from the original set, but that's not what bears eat anyway. The girls said they did not play with the picnic basket anymore, so check that off. (If you didn't have a picnic basket, here's a tutorial.)

Then I took a piece of fabric I used to use in my classroom. Was it a tablecloth or a curtain? I can't remember. Anyway, I cut it down a bit and hemmed the edges. Check off the picnic cloth. (The girls informed me that picnic cloths should be RED, but I showed them the basket is blue and white checked inside. Not that this matches but whatever.)

Then I used some scraps from one of the girls' dresses and made some itty bitty bear napkins.

I next went in search of bear food tutorials. Here is the finished set.

  • This tutorial for felt cherries gave me the idea for blueberries. What bear wouldn't want some berries on their picnic?

  • Here is a tutorial for the saltine crackers. Perhaps Baby Bear will need some crackers to eat with her honey?

  • The cheese and fish ideas came from....well, from the girls. I just sewed them. Very simple.

  • The ant idea was also the girls'. It was Little Bit's idea to string them together. I wasn't quite sure how I was going to make them until she said that. It reminded me of this garland I made Sister at Christmastime. So, that was the inspiration for the ant. She wanted me to make 3 and string them together but I only have time for one today.

Ideally, I'd like a jar of honey in the basket, but I'm not sure I can pull that off today.

Monday, January 11, 2010

It's Just One Step Up From 8-Tracks

S was in the Navy while I was in college. This is how old we are: we WROTE LETTERS the whole time we were apart. And called each other.....long distance.....from a "land line." Actually, he usually called from a pay phone. Did I tell you that I thought about buying someone stationary when they graduated from high school about 7 years ago? Then it occurred to me: they have a laptop with their own e-mail account. Why would anyone want stationary when they go off to college? Sigh. You don't want to hear the story about how S and I went shopping for a new answering machine many years ago and out loud in the aisle we said, "Where do you put the tape? I don't think this one comes with a tape!"

S also had a Walkman. I put a link there for those who are too young to know that it was the kind of Walkman that played cassette tapes. Oh's a link for cassette tapes. I don't think it's possible that any of my readers are that young, but you never know. He had quite the collection of cassette tapes because when you live and work with hundreds of other guys in tight ship quarters, it's nice to put on your headphones and listen to music. And drown out the sounds of puking. Hey, I've never been to that part of a ship, I'm just telling you what I've heard. (Oh, I'm just kidding about that link. They were early 90's headphones, not late 70's!)

So the reason I'm telling you all this is that recently I moved some furniture around and found 2 entire drawers of cassette tapes. Some were mine, some belonged to S. Tonight, I'm going to reach into the WalMart sack at my feet and pull out a random tape to share with you! Are you ready? Let us see what is in our collection that has sat, untouched, in our nightstand drawer for lo these many decades.


OK, actually that was quite boring. Apparently somewhere along the years, we got rid of most of the 90's music and just kept our Christian music. So, I guess it hasn't sat there untouched. Still, there were some gems in there. How about this one from 1984. Do you suppose there is any possible way that thing plays?

Oh...I gotta tell you. I just now opened that cassette case to see if there was really a Petra tape inside and WHAT a feeling of nostalgia that was! The feel of the case in my hands, the way I automatically slide that tape out into my hand like I've done 4 million times before....that was weird. When was the last time you opened a cassette case? It was like deja vu!

Also, I'm sorry to admit this but I also found this tape. Oh come on, that link doesn't have a picture and I think a picture is required for you to be properly horrified with me. Here. I want you to know that I looked long and hard in my college town record store for that tape just so I could get S a copy of the song "Convoy." If you don't know what Convoy is, you can google it yourself and you will find out it was NOT ONLY a song, BUT A MOVIE AS WELL!!!

As to WHY I was looking for the song Convoy for S, there is no link to explain that behavior.

Also, I'll just end with this story. Sister and I both had tape players in our bedroom. Well, I had a tape player. She, and I mean this with all sincerity, had a ghetto blaster. That is actually what we called it. With straight faces. I'm not sure we knew what a ghetto was or where that name originated. We weren't saying it to be funny. That was the name of her tape player and that is how we referred to it. I'm just really hoping that we never did that outside of our bedroom for other people to hear. Gee whiz, what nerds.

ANYWAY.....we both kept a blank cassette tape ready at all times and when a favorite song came on the radio, we would FLY across the room to push "record." If you were really lucky, the D.J. would announce the song beforehand so you got the whole thing and not the song minus the first few notes. When the tape was full, we labeled it "Radio Songs" and we had our own tape of all our favorite songs.

I found my sister's tape in that sack. I sure would like to know what's on it. Wouldn't you love to know what songs were so all-fired good that she would fly her 16 year old self across the room to catch them on a Gold Supertape 90?

But alas, I don't own a cassette player that works anymore.

I'm FAR TOO high tech for that.

OK fine so I just threw away 10 or so VHS tapes with recorded TV shows on them. And YES, I have a VCR.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Our New Year Party

We hung decorations high....

and a bit lower....
We got activity bags ready to open each hour of the evening. The first one contained some materials for painting. The next one had stickers to put on some new 2010 calendars. (We marked every one's birthdays.) Also some special necklaces.
The last one contained bubbles and an empty bottle to make noisemakers out of.
They painted a few papers and Sister and I cut letters out of them to spell HAPPY NEW YEAR. Then we took their pictures holding up each letter. When all the pictures get put together it will make a really cute scrapbook page for Sister. Whatever we can do to further her scrapbooking!
They had fun.
We also had snack time. I made cookies with royal icing per JulieMom's tutorial. The cookies were NOT pretty, but they were DELICIOUS! The royal icing part actually worked out really well, it was the black gel writer that was hard to deal with. And I got a little sloppy towards the end. But no one complained and they were eaten.

THESE little girls were EASY to put to bed.

THESE took a bit more effort!

Happy New Year nearly 2 weeks late, everyone!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


This room gets my attention. See the colors? See the quilt-y bedding? Only we want birds instead of frogs. Oh, I like these beds.

Also, I decided to make rag quilts for their bedspreads. (picture from this site) I've made rag quilts before so I know I can do them. I think they will be so cute with all different prints in green and pink! Some stripes, some flowers, some solids.....oh, it will be nice.

So I feel like at least I have some sort of direction now.

Just one more little question......if the rag quilts are made from flannel and are all patchwork-y (I've got to learn better suffixes) then what do I do with the curtains?

I'm ready for your suggestions. Really, this is OUR room re-do.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Best Laid Plans

Nearly a year ago, I began to talk about re-doing the girls' rooms. Back then, they were in different rooms but we had plans to put them in one room and build loft beds.


Then I picked out fabric for bedspreads and chose a paint color. And I actually painted their room.

Oh wait. FIRST, we changed the room we were going to re-do. I BEGAN re-doing one room and now they are in a different room. It's painted a lovely shade of green and I haven't done another blessed thing to that room since.

So we've got one wildly hot striped comforter and one Dora comforter. And nothing hanging on the walls. And a sheet on the window. I'd share pictures but I'm not sure you could handle the loveliness.

So here is where I need your help. The fabric I bought for their bedspreads? I don't like it anymore. I don't want it. It was only $20something for all of it so I don't care about the price. I'll use that fabric for other things. That's not it.

Can I have permission to change my mind? Can I please pick out totally new fabric and do something totally different in there? The green walls stay.......I want to go pink and green. I can't quit seeing beautiful girls' rooms in pink and green. The girls even walked down the aisle at Target last week and said, "Oh Mama, this stuff is PERFECT for our room!!!!"

And don't think for one minute that if I could find affordable bedding I wouldn't buy it rather than sew it because I would. What I would REALLY like to have are quilts.

Only I don't really.....quilt. So that's an issue.

Ug. I HAVE to do something to that ugly room. And fast. And we are going to get those loft beds done soon too. S is starting his lawn care business back up this spring so as soon as we get a few more customers, maybe we can get started buying wood. Which he will then not really have time to build anything out of because he'll be busy mowing. :)

It's a vicious cycle. Any ideas for what I can do to these beds in the meantime? Any bedding ideas for me? Because this room needs HELP.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Starting Off With a Bang!****

Well, I'm 39 today and this morning I fell in the shower.

Soon they'll be finding someone to sit with me during the day.

It was a slow motion, train wreck happening right in front of you kind of fall. There wasn't shaving cream so I was using shampoo to shave with (anyone been there?). This particular shampoo was more slippery than expected and my foot slipped off the edge of the tub and right into the mini-crate of bathtub toys. And after what seemed like 5 minutes of grappling and dancing around......I landed.

I was stunned but I did appreciate the humor of it.

Then a few minutes later my toe began to sting. You don't wanna know.

And of course we have no band-aids in the house except those teeny tiny ones you can use for infant's fingers. We have more band-aids in the first aid kit in the back of the car but S drove that to work today.

So I am sporting a non-stick gauze pad held on with masking tape. And house shoes.

I am positive the bruises will start showing up tomorrow.

I have a date with my husband tonight and I will not be going in house shoes. I'll figure something out.

****This is NOT the recommended way to start your birthday off!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Waking Up....

I didn't think I was ready.

But THEN, I pushed the furniture around in a new way.

And I replaced a burnt out light bulb.

And I opened the blinds.

And I wrote "Welcome Back to School" on the white board.

And it started to feel good.

I was reminded just now of a poem I used to have by Elspeth Campbell Murphy. She talked about the sound of the chalk writing on the chalkboard waking up her classroom after the long summer.

It felt like that today.

Because I didn't think I was ready, but then I started seeing the books and the stickers, and the new crayons (I replace their crayons mid-year), and the curriculum that has sat waiting for several weeks.....

....and I remembered how much I love teaching.

I'm still not actually ready, but suddenly I feel pretty good about starting back.