Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My Quilts

The sewing itch has grown to a quilting itch.  I love sewing and quilting and haven't had a chance to do much since we moved.

I have been mulling over the idea of making a quilt for myself.  I have yet to do that!  I have made Nate one, which we use now, but that's not quite the same thing.  Plus, it is a quilt perfect for a cabin, not what I had in mind.

This is the quilt I made for Nate:

My kids have crib quilts that I've made for them as well.  Check out Laura's quilt here: Laura's quilt.



Benjamin's quilt


Jeremiah's quilt

I made my brother a t-shirt quilt after he moved out east.  You can see it here.  Ever since I got it done and my sister saw it, she has said she wanted one.  She gave me a bunch of old t-shirts a while ago.  That will be my next project; then I can get started on my own.  I've been collecting pink, orange and yellow fabrics to get some ideas.  It's definitely time to get cracking!

Watch for updates...hopefully not too far into the future!

Blessings,




Monday, July 30, 2012

Up-Cycled T Shirt Dress

I have got the itch to sew again.  I found this yellow shirt in my closet that I didn't really wear anymore and decided to up-cycle it into a dress for my 13 month old girl.  I got this idea from my friend Caitlyn who has an awesome blog at www.hesowedshesewed.com.

This pink shirt is exactly like the yellow one before I started cutting it up!


I used a 2T dress as a pattern, lying it on top of the dress and pinning around the edges.


This is the post-pinning, cutting, unpinning, turning inside out and re-pinning picture.


I sewed the bottom hem first, then sewed the side seams.  The arm holes were sewed last.

I added some blue lace seam tape and a little red flower.  It covered up a little stain I found, plus made it a little fancier.


Here is the back.



My little model.  It is a little big, since it's a 2T, but she'll be wearing the dress until it no longer fits!  Jeremiah thought it was beautiful!


This whole thing took me about an hour and a half.  It would have taken me less time if I hadn't sewn the arm holes closed the first time...oops.  But now I won't forget about them!!

Blessings,




Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Getting Back to Healthy

I have had sick kids.  Laura, my 13 month old, has been breaking in 6 teeth.  She's had a fever, been cranky and of course the runny nose.  She finally started to get over it when the first 2 teeth broke through.  That was the cue for Benjamin to get sick.  He got a fever and strep throat.  The antibiotics he was on made his gums swollen and start to bleed.  It was a miserable few days.  Poor little guy cried every time he chewed, swallowed, flossed or brushed teeth.  We ended up taking him to a dentist, who not only didn't help, but also gave him a fright.  Uff.  On day 2 of Benjamin's fever, Jeremiah ended up getting a fever and vomited.  He was out of sorts for about 2 days and then recovered back to his old self.  Benjamin is on the mend.  His gums have finally stopped bleeding.  He got prescribed a "magic mouthwash" to help with the pain and inflammation.  It has helped immensely.
In these type of days, I lean on God for strength, endurance and perseverance.  It is hard to have patience when I'm tired.  All the more reason to turn to Him!
Blessings,

Friday, July 20, 2012

Family Time

Weekend Project #5: Color Dinosaur Pictures!

We always have to take time to play and be a family.  We enjoyed coloring pictures together!  Laura was napping, which was unfortunate she wasn't with us, but fortunate that she wasn't throwing crayons all over the floor and ripping pictures away from people.


Nate and I really got into making our dinosaurs colorful.  :)


Jeremiah's dinosaurs were scary!  "This red will make mine scary.  So will this blue!"  


Benjamin colored one picture, then got a little bored.  He grabbed the Vtech - MobiGo Touch Learning System and played some games with us at the table.  He did decide to color again after a few minutes.  :)

I'm realizing that my kids are growing up fast and every moment is precious.  I want to have fun and enjoy them.  More importantly, I want to lead them to Jesus.  What better way than to show them love!  

Blessings,

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Garage Mayhem

Weekend Project #4: Organize the Garage

Nate was in charge of this one.  I get stressed out looking at "the corner."  It is mayhem.  We have tried finding things in the mountains of boxes and bins, but it is nearly impossible to find anything.  It was time to start the task.


Laura had to, of course, be right in the thicket of the work.  She can be quite the "helper."  (I use the term "helper" VERY loosely!)


Nate started by assembling the shelving system we bought (ON SALE!).  It was super easy to put together.  


He also used an app on his phone to make an inventory list of everything he was putting away.  I was impressed!  He always does a good job, but he really hit it out of the park on this one.  He labeled the boxes to correspond with the lists on his phone.  Next time we're looking for something, we can track it down by his phone.  Awesome!


 Nate did get it organized and everything put away that would fit, but decided he wanted to get a workbench as well, so it isn't completely finished.  Once we get the workbench fit in, we'll be able to get it done!  

Blessings,

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Backyard Storage

Weekend Project #3: Backyard Clean Up

Our backyard has been kind of a mess.  The patio area isn't huge and we've managed to fit our large patio table, 6 chairs, a zero gravity lounger, a water table, 3 hoses, a slide, grill, miscellaneous yard tools and toys all in the small area.  It hasn't been pleasant.  When Nate's parents came to visit, they brought an outdoor storage chest they bought at Menard's per Nate's request.  You can see how small the patio area is below.  It was a bit crowded!


We put the kids in charge of filling it up with their toys.  It also helped clear out a few boxes from the garage too!  It worked out great!  And we know that it is waterproof.  We have had a ton of rain and it has been dry inside.  Perfect!


To take care of the hoses, I screwed some yellow hooks into the fence and hung two of them up.  Now we don't have to move them when Nate mows either!  



We cleaned up our outdoor living space with just a little organizing, storage, and handy work.  Now we can enjoy God's creation without tripping over toys to get to our chairs!  

Blessings,

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Planting Our Lemon Tree

Weekend Project #2: Our New Lemon Tree

Nate and I love the idea of having fresh fruit at the tip of our fingers.  My parents have an apple tree in their backyard and we have helped take some apples off of their hands when we lived up North.  Now, we are not so fortunate.  When we go to Home Depot or Lowe's or any store with a garden center, we always walk by the fruit trees and dream.

We finally decided to buy a lemon tree!  Yeah!  I'm super excited to have one.  We bought one of the patio citrus fruit trees.  It came in its own little planter, but we decided to transplant it into a larger one before the tree got too big.  We have to have it in a planter since we are renting our duplex.


We bought a large planter and Nate drilled 3 holes into the bottom for drainage.

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I got Jeremiah outside to help me pour the dirt into the planter.  We had fun getting a little dirty!


 We bought a plant with 3 lemons growing on it already.  I teased the roots before planting it and made sure it was well watered.  Planting this makes me miss having my own garden.  I love gardening and landscaping.


Now the fun part is keeping the bugs and animals away from it, and waiting for the lemons to ripen!  


Blessings,

Monday, July 16, 2012

Restarting Our Christmas Cactus

This week, I'm going to be posting about the projects we got busy on this weekend!  We finished almost ALL of them!

Weekend Project #1: Saving Our Christmas Cactus

We have a christmas cactus that is well over 100 years old.  We got it from Nate's grandma in Montana.  She has a green thumb, and that is an under statement.  The cactus has been kept alive from cuttings and restarting it.

Our cactus was doing really well in Minnesota.  It was blooming and looking great.  Since the trek down south, it hasn't been looking so hot.  First of all, we didn't have room for it in the house, so I had to keep it outside.  The shock of moving from 70 degrees to 90-100 degrees really affected the plant.  Secondly, we have been getting a lot of rain lately and I have forgotten to pull it under the overhang.  That could have been avoided, if I would have been a little more responsible.  Lastly, there are a lot more insects outside than inside.  Enough said.  :)

Here is what the cactus looks like now:


I'm lucky I got any cuttings off of this at all!  It was completely brown at the stem and the cactus leaves were just falling off.  I was able to get a few cuttings with some branches on them to hopefully get some roots growing.

When I take cuttings, I look for bright green leaves with a "Y" in them.  You can see one clearly in the picture below.  I always take more cuttings than I'll need, to ensure I get at least one or two cuttings with root growth.  I placed my cuttings in a small glass filled with just a little bit of water.  The glass is sitting on my kitchen counter, next to the window so it can get sunlight.  It should take a few days for the roots to start.  I'm hoping to have a positive update for you next week!


Blessings,

Friday, July 13, 2012

Thankful I'm Not a Hoarder

On Wednesday nights at church, we've been watching a video series called "The Blessed Life."  It is preached by Robert Morris at Gateway Church.  It is a great series about tithing and giving your first fruits to the Lord.  I am enjoying it.

He talks about the importance of giving back a portion of what God has already given to us, our first fruits.  If we give our first fruits, God says we will be blessed.  If we do not, we will be cursed (Malachi 3: 6-12).  It should be easy to decide whether to tithe or not.  Yet, it can be a struggle.  Nate and I have been receivers of God's blessings, in more ways than one.

As I was walking around my house last night, I was upset that it was already a disaster zone.  I had spent the day picking up, vacuuming and mopping the floors.  Yet, my kids had turned it upside down in the matter of minutes.  I looked and Nate and said, "It is ridiculous this place looks like this!  It's awful!  I can't stand it!"  As if on cue, the television commercial that started playing was this man crawling through his house, over mountains of stuff, and then sleeping on his "bed" that was a sleeping bag surrounded by walls of clutter.  It was a preview for "Hoarders."  Nate and I both looked at one another and started laughing.  "It could be worse," was his response.  God knew that at that moment, I needed to see that my house isn't really that bad.  It made me thankful that I have a roof over my head, a comfortable bed to sleep in, and just enough room for our family.  I may think I want a bigger, beautiful home, but we are doing just fine where we are at.  God will provide us with exactly what we need, when we need it.  We just need to be open to hearing his voice and following him.  

There is a lot to be thankful for!  Have you taken the time to thank God for all He has blessed you with?  

Blessings,

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Irish Healer: A Novel by Nancy Herriman


This is a little review I'm writing, just because!  I read this book while driving on all of our recent road trips.  I tried not to spoil the ending.

It is the story of an Irish woman, Rachel Dunne, who flees from Ireland to London in 1832.  She leaves because she was accused of murdering a child she was caring for.  She has turned her back on God, because she thinks he has turned his back on she and her family. London is not home, but she takes refuge with a doctor, James Edmunds.  She is hired as his assistant to help pack for his move to the country.  He is fleeing from his own demons, one being the death of his wife.  James doesn't know if he can trust God anymore.  Rachel ends up helping him by sitting for his patients, the one thing she vowed she would never do again.  When cholera hits London, Rachel and James' lives are flipped upside down.  Rachel has to try and overcome her fear of helping patients again and James has to try and save his daughter's life, whom he has only seen a few times, while she battles cholera.  Can they overcome their fears, trust one another, learn to love and rediscover their faith?

This is a christian historical fiction novel.  I love this genre of books and have read many, so I have a broad knowledge base to go on.  Overall, I would recommend this book to read.  The characters weren't very complex, but were easy to fall in love with.  I did feel like the love connection between Rachel and James suddenly appeared, though.  There was not a lot of interactions or conversations between the two and before you knew it, they had feelings for one another.  It seemed abrupt.  Besides the surprise connection, the book was a good love story and kept you hooked at the end of each chapter.  I would read it again.

Enjoy your summer reading!

Blessings,

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ice Cream in a Bag

I had heard of ice cream in a bag, but had no clue how to make it until my mother-in-law visited.  This is super easy to make and pretty healthy too.  You can also have you kids help you make it!

You'll need:

1/2 cup milk (I used 1%)
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Pint sized zipper bags
Gallon size zipper bags
Ice Cream Salt
Ice


In the pint sized bags, mix milk, sugar and vanilla extract.  Seal.  Fill a gallon sized bag 1/2 full of ice and 6 tbsp salt.  Put the small bag in the larger bag and seal.  Shake the bag for 5 minutes.  Then enjoy your ice cream!  


We had our boys count out 6 tablespoons of salt.  A little bit of school in everything!  I recommend wrapping the gallon bag in a towel for the shaking part.  It gets awfully cold!  And if you are wondering if you can double the recipe in a small bag, Nate tested it for "scientific" purposes and found that you can.  It works just as great!

Blessings,



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Twins vs. Rangers

We went to the Twins game in Dallas this past weekend.  It was a lot of fun!  Nate and I both loved Dallas.  It felt good to be in a big city where there was road construction, stop and go traffic, interstates going every which way, great shopping centers and lots and lots of things to do and see.  It was fabulous!!  (If you can't tell, I REALLY liked it!)

We checked into our hotel on Friday and went to some relatives in Frisco.  We enjoyed dinner and a walk to feed the ducks at a nearby pond.  The boys kept throwing the bread and hitting the duck, rather than near him.  I didn't blame the duck for swimming away!  But the fish did like nibbling the bread and the boys went nuts watching it disappear.

Saturday morning was swim time at the hotel pool.  Low and behold, Benjamin, my 3 year old, turned out to be a little fish!  He put on his life jacket and went to town.  After about 30 minutes, he was cruising the pool all by himself.  We didn't let him get too far out of our reach, but he did not want our help.  "I do myself, Mama."  Jeremiah, my 5 year old, was not so keen on getting in.  He has had multiple swim lessons and still doesn't like to get in the water.  Nate and I took turns swimming with him, but he would have a fit if he even thought you were you thinking about letting go.  He did warm up a little at the end, but he would prefer to stay on dry land.  Laura sat in her little floaty-boat and loved being pushed around.  After swimming, we grabbed lunch at Dickey's BBQ (fantastic!).  We headed over to our relatives to drop off Miss Laura before heading to the game.

We were super excited to go to the game, especially to see the stadium.  We had seats in the upper deck behind home plate.  They were awesome seats, even being up so high.


The boys made it to the end of the 3rd inning before starting to complain about wanting to go home.  We headed off their boredom by getting food and pointing out Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau every chance we could.  Who would get bored watching them??


We were definitely part of the minority in the crowd.  Everywhere you looked, you saw a Texas Rangers hat or t-shirt!  Nate and I did cheer for both teams, being Texans now, but we were most definitely louder for the Twins!  We will be fans no matter how great or not so great they do.


The Joe Mauer eating Cracker Jacks.  


This was before the game started, before we were surrounded by Texas fans! They were all very nice to us, in case you are wondering.  The couple next to us were real friendly.



Benj being Benj.  He was dancing to the music and enjoying the game!  He had a blue tongue from his blue cotton candy.  We kept the boys entertained for 3 innings waiting and watching for the cotton candy vendor to come our way.

We did do a little school time, watching the flags and deciding which way the wind was blowing.  There is always something to teach your children, no matter where you are!


I had no idea the Cowboys stadium was right across the parking lot from the Rangers ballpark.  It is a pretty spectacular sight, even though it's for the Cowboys.

The Twins did not beat the Rangers, but we did have a blast!

Sunday was another relaxing day at the pool with lunch at California Pizza Kitchen.  We said goodbye to Grandma and Grandpa Davis after a week of fun and then made the drive home.  

Nate and I would definitely go back to Dallas, maybe when the Twins come back in August!  Fun awaits us!

Blessings,

Monday, July 9, 2012

Back from Break

I should say that I'm back from vacation last week.  I took a mini break to enjoy family time and some road trips.  But the fun can't last forever...wait, it can!  I love blogging.  Stay tuned for the blog to keep rolling!

My Homeschool Planner

I have big news.  We have bought a new printer!  I'm pretty excited.  We have been out of ink for over a month and my husband didn't want to buy ink when we could get a new printer that was faster and better for a little more money.  I agreed, but it wasn't happening.  I finally told him we needed one.  How was I going to make decorations for Benjamin's Golden Birthday party?  So now we have one and I'm printing and planning up a storm!

I finally compiled my entire planner.  I have all the pages I know I will need.  I'm sure more will pop up, but for now, this is what I have:


While our printer was out of commission, I designed my own cover.  I drew this picture and colored it in with pastels.  It was really fun to make.  I hadn't drawn in quite a while!


My first page is my 2012-2013 calendar year.  I outlined holidays and other important days in red.  I got this calendar from www.calendarlabs.com.


I bought these dividers at Walmart.  I like that they have pockets for my brainstormed ideas.  :)

The first section is a year around schedule with the number of weeks and days in each month I'm schooling and my weekly schedule.  I haven't filled in the weekly schedule, as I'm still working out details.  I don't like being confined to an hourly schedule, but it's good for me to have a general guideline of what is the usual schedule for the week.  I know my kids need routine.  

The second section is an attendance record as well as a Teacher and Student schedules.  Again, I'm not sure if I will use it, but I do know I will need to set aside time for each child as well as teach them together.  It may help to know what needs to be done together and separately.  


My third section is the monthly calendars and my meal planners.  I got the monthly calendar from www.FreeHomeschoolDeals.com (pictured above on the bottom page) and my meal planner from www.NoOrdinaryMomentsblog.com (pictured above on the top page).  I have my year planned out for school, just need to get the details written down.  Menu planning will get done next.  


The fourth section is the actual weekly plans.  I have a plan for my kindergartner (pictured above, printed from www.donnayoung.org) and a plan for my preschooler (pictured below, printed from www.1plus1plus1equals1.blogspot.com).  I have started to fill it in; just need to finish it all up!


In the fifth section, I placed preschool and kindergarten standards, just as reference guides for me.

The sixth section is random print offs I have yet to laminate or place in a clear pouch.  

The last 2 sections are empty for now!

It is a lot of work, but it is fun to get everything printed, planned, organized and ready.  I'll follow up with the unit plans once I get them completed!  

Blessings,

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