Friday, February 27, 2009

Along with a few other homeschool families, we took a field trip to a nearby farm that hosts science & history lessons each Friday. This morning's lesson was the "Three P's of Gardening", where the kids got to plant and take home cups of pumpkin, squash, and bean seeds!

Although, the distracting highlight of the trip was seeing and feeding all the animals!

Have a great weekend,

{Paper Booties}

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

This past weekend, I hosted a baby shower for a friend. She's expecting her first girl, so PINK had to be the theme! For the favors, I pulled out every piece of PINK scrapbook paper I had, and made booties! Very simple...just used this template from Stampington!

{Motivate Me Monday: Cardboard Testimonies}

Monday, February 23, 2009

Worth the watch for a motivating Monday...

Check out Like a Warm Cup of Coffee for other Motivate Me Monday Posts,

{An Inviting Kitchen}

Thursday, February 19, 2009

In the spirit of renewal and refreshing, the Nester has been doing a series on "10 minutes to a Room You'll Love." In each post, she's given her readers a handful of simple, low-or no-cost ideas anyone can do make their space a little more inviting. And who doesn't want a more inviting home...in less than 10 minutes?

So over the past month, along with Nester's other faithful followers, I've remade my bed, brought in a thing-a-ma-bobby from the kitchen to my bathroom, and incorporated more fabric into each room. And today, the Nester is having a linky show-and-tell about the little changes we 've made.

I'm cheating a little, because I'm posting about a change I made, oh, maybe 5 years ago. But it really was simple and inexpensive and follows the Nester rule for softening the kitchen by incorporating more fabric into the room.

Our kitchen came with a little built in window seating area. I loved the space but left as is, it was cold and hard. It screamed for softening, warming and inviting! fabric. To start, my mom and I made cushions that took waaaaay longer than 10 minutes, (thank you, Mom) but when I found fabric I liked for that project, I ordered a few yards (maybe 2.5?) of a coordinating striped fabric for a window treatment for my extra long window.

Okay, I started typing a tutorial on how I made this awning, but it started taking longer than it actually took to make the awning, sooo, I'll just post a few pictures to give you the idea.

(plumbing pipes and hardware from Home Depot spray painted to match the light fixtures)

So that's my kitchen, and I love it. And if you're ever visiting, I pray you find it as inviting as I do.
Don't forget to stop by the Nesting Place for links to everyone else's 10 minute changes!

{Picture Life Workshop is coming to DALLAS!!!!}

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I've been following the blog of Holly Brimhall for a while now. I drool over her kids' photos wishing I could capture my own kids childhood with the same results. And in April she's coming to Dallas to do a workshop!

According to Holly, "It’s basically a workshop geared towards the beginner, although we’ve had MANY people attend who already own their own photography businesses. We start with the basics – explaining aperture, shutter speed, ISO, how to shoot in manual, rules of photography, natural lighting, lenses, photographing people of all different ages, hours and hours of photoshop, etc. We feed you either lunch or dinner, go on a photoshoot – where you can watch Amanda and I in action and then try out your new skills, have a question and answer time, and share everything we know with you. You ask – we answer…nothing held back! The workshop will start at 9am and finish around 8pm. The cost is $395. You will also receive a workbook, full of beautiful color photographs, our photoshop workflow, etc."

Go on over to Holly's site and comment for a chance to win a FREE admission! If you post on your blog about the workshop, you can earn another 10 entries!

{The Rules for Family Rules}

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A few months ago, a homeschooling mom of 6 shared with me their family motto that I immediately stole and put to work in our family! Are you ready for it? Here it is:

We will obey,
the first time, the right way
and with a cheerful attitude.

I love it! Now, oftentimes, I just have to call out, "First time, Boo," and he'll stop, turn around and obey. It works so well, but we noticed there were still areas where that rule doesn't apply.

We needed more rules. My kids needed to know what's expected of them. Too often, Mr. Smarty and I would find ourselves beyond frustrated, when simply the kiddos didn't know they were breaking a rule. We hadn't taught them. They only learned the rules in our house when it becomes painfully obvious to us parents that there needed to be a spoken rule. And until late, there haven't been any rules, except the Obey Mantra, and more than enough frustration.

I remembered a few guidelines for creating classroom rules that I had learned when I was going through my teaching certification and sat down with the kids at our IKEA easel (thank you, Christy) and talked through some new rules for our family to function and thrive.

I had our rules in mind, but as we talked, I led the discussion so we arrived at a new rule together.

I limited our rules to 5, and made them broad enough to encompass several trespasses. For example, "Don't hit" is not a rule, but "Respect others" (or be considerate to others) is. Now this rule also includes not making messes for other people to clean up. Other people...I wonder who that could be...

Each rule is stated in the positive form. Rather than having the rule, "Don't lie," I phrased it in the positive: "Tell the truth." This puts the focus on what they CAN do, not everything they can't.

There are two other rules on our list to target areas where we saw growth was needed (how's that for being positive?). These may change as we grow. For now, they are:

"Be thankful" (which I expanded with-Have an Attitude of Gratitude-simply because the kids think it's fun to say). This rule helps with dinnerertime conversations about not complaining about what's on our plates.

and "Work hard." (this was after Belle finished her school work much earlier than usual one day. I asked her why it normally takes her so much longer, and she said, "I'm lazy." She's five and calls herself lazy! While I'm glad she's aware enough to recognize she was being lazy, I don't want that to be part of her identity in any way.

I love that now when I see a behavior that I want corrected, I can site a rule that they are aware of and "helped" form. They already agree with the rule, so there needs to be little discussion about correcting the behavior. It also is helpful for me to be more consistent with correcting and training my kids.

Enter our New and Improved Family Rules (trumpets blowing)! (with simple verses for when there are discussions)

Obey - Eph. 6:1 "Children, obey your parents..."

Respect Others -Mt. 7:12 "Do to others as you would have them do to you..."

Tell the Truth - Prov. 12:22 "The LORD delights in those who are truthful."

Be Thankful -1 Thess. 5:18 "In everything, give thanks..."

Work Hard - Phil. 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."

{A Bloggy Valentine}

Friday, February 13, 2009

Carey from Life in the Carpool Lane blessed me with a Friendship Blog Award this week! Carey is a mom of two boys and expecting a daughter from China soon! She's also a good bloggy friend!

"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find friends and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships will be propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly- written text into the body of their award."

So I get to deliver a special Valentine to eight bloggin' friends today!

Brandy at The Berry Patch even though since she went back to school
she's been AWOL. She'll be back.
Julie for starting a blog just to keep her friendships growing despite the miles...
Angi, Sammi and Amanda for doing this bloggin' thing with me!
And Alisha at Lisha's Life, Love and Marriage, Amy Jo at The Little Moments and Curdie, even though her blog is private, because both those girls know in the bloggy world comments=LOVE! They make me feel so special!

Happy Valentine's Day, girls!

{Home-made Butter}

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

It really is simple, but in our first attempt I learned a few butter making lessons that I would be more than happy to share with you. Let me say that our first attempt was still successful and resulted in the butter pictured below. But I'd love to save you the sore biceps...

All that is needed to make butter at home is a pint of heavy whipping cream, a mason jar and 20 minutes of arm muscles. Here are my recommendations to make it successful, minus any frustration, on the first attempt:

Butter-makin' Tip No. 1: Let the heavy whipping cream get to room temperature. I read later, that the more sour it is, the less sweet the butter will taste, which makes sense.

Butter-makin' Tip No. 2:-Only pour enough cream into the mason jar to fill the jar half way. I filled it up to the brim (a little butter is good, a lot of butter, better, right? uh, no.). After 45 minutes of arm shaking, I poured half of it out, to let it really shake. It then only took a few minutes of shaking to separate into a round lump of butter and the buttermilk. Shake a few minutes more, pour off the buttermilk for pancakes or drinking, and chill the butter, or use immediately.

Butter-makin' Tip No. 3: (from my fellow homeschooler, Christy) If you want to add anything to the butter-salt, honey, etc., do this just after shaking, before it's chilled and set.

If you're doing this with kiddos, read Winter Days in the Big Woods while passing the jar around!

{A Sweater Makeover}

Monday, February 9, 2009

This sweater was on the pile to be taken to Goodwill last week. I liked it still, but whenever I put it on, I felt it made my arms and shoulders look so big. So I haven't worn it all winter. Angry Chicken's done some sweater make-overs, but she's a professional. Only because this sweater was on the giveaway pile was I able to muster the courage to do one myself.
(please excuse the focus, this was taken after 3 cups of coffee, and I was in a hurry for the thrill of taking scissors to a perfectly fine sweater)

I straight stitched the edges after I cut right down the center, and then washed it, to felt the edges a bit. Add a little Kimba-Made brooch knock-off and viola! Better? I think so, with a pink tank underneath...I think this is my year for cardigans-LOOOOVE THEM! (said in my best Maya Rudolf voice-or was that Cheri Oteri?)

{Perspective counts}

Friday, February 6, 2009

I've had a hard week this week. And for no good reason. Tuesday morning, I woke up, as usual, unloaded the dishwasher, started a load of laundry, handed the kids their pop-tarts, juice, milk, whatever, and continued to follow the demands of the day. And the next day, I did it again. And again. And again.

This afternoon, I found myself physically and mentally checking out by taking a shower. (Baby was napping, Belle and Boo were appeased with fresh juice and a movie) I usually do some good thinkin' in the shower. And this shower was no exception. I thank, and I thought and I thunk. I started out in sea of self-pity. I needed a break, and no one wanted to give me one. But that wasn't fair, and I knew it.

Soon I was led to remember an article I read sometime last fall by a woman who lost two family members in a single week. In an instant she had the overwhelming desire-no- the overwhelming need- to be folding laundry, helping a child with homework, or any other mundane chore that provides the sense of normalcy.

It's all our perspective. My perspective. I need this today. I need to be thankful that all on my plate today is another load of laundry, and feeding my babies. I would love a break from normal today, but normal is good too. I can be thankful for normal.

{Do you make your kids pay?}

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Okay, seasoned parents, tell me this: How old was your child the first time you demanded they repay you for something they broke, or, ehhh, destroyed?

The children responsible for shredding the upstairs bathroom's shower liner are 5 and 3. And currently have no means of income. And yet, the first words out of my smart mouth we're something along the lines of, "You're going to pay for this!"

Come on, don't they know the current state of the economy? And our family has not budgeted for extra shower liners at the end of the month! What were they thinking? Clearly they were not.

Now, one could say that, possibly, as I was the on-duty-parent at the time, that this may have been my fault. One could also not say that. And I would prefer them not to. I was busy. with something very important. very. important.

I was sewing.

And one could say it was because of them that I was sewing. I was sewing a Thank You gift for my mother's good friend, Judy. Judy is the sweet woman who gave me my first sewing machine when I was newly married and wanted to make banners for Jesus. Really, I did. Worship banners. And I still do-want to make banners to be used in worship. But I made one. and it was harder than I thought. So I talked to a woman who led a Banner Ministry for an amazing church in Houston who said she received each "pattern" from the Holy Spirit. I guess I'm still waiting for a pattern.

Anyway, back to a gift for Judy. Judy's daughter just had a baby, so I made a Valentine's diaper cloth and a matching crayon roll for the Big Sis. This is a thank you gift, because Judy always goes above and beyond with Christmas gifts for my kids. And I have yet to send a Thank You note. Really, I am so bad at that. Must get better.

Any ideas for making my kids pay? I mean for the shower liner? Anyone know of a shower liner coupon floating around out there?

{The World of Little House Lesson Plans Weeks 2&3}

Sunday, February 1, 2009

(photo:Kat's Kitchen)

Last week, our little class read Farmer Boy Birthday. Almonzo has a birthday and his mom celebrates with homemade (of course) donuts...so, I thought, sure, why the heck not, let's fry some donuts with 12 kids! Later, I heard some of the mom's talking about the brave little house teacher, and it made me feel better for being a little ovewhelmed once we actually started frying...
We spent the rest of the time finishing up our rag dolls from the week before.

This week we are reading Sugar Snow, while dipping bread in to real maple syrup. Then we'll construct our own log cabins using pretzels, graham crackers, icing and small goldfish cartons. And if we have time, I'm bringing scrapbook paper to make paper quilt squares!

Unrelated:I got some candy!