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Doll Making for Christmas

If you read my last post you saw that I learned that things can get stressful in December with all of the activities and magic that gets made. Something that is stressful and stress-relieving for me at the same time is making presents. I love making something cute/fun/perfect for one of my loved ones, but often it is very time consuming and is almost always more expensive than if I bought a gift.
Last year I made my youngest daughter a soft Lalaoopsy type doll, that I found directions for at the amazing My Froggy Stuff. I made my daughters best friend from kindergarten a pair of dolls from the Wee Wonderful’s Kit, Chloe, and Louise doll pattern. They were so lovable my older daughter would hold and look at them longingly, but I was so done with making them after making those two.4(We made the little girl a book about the dolls friendship.)
I have two nieces that are 6 and 4. They are the only relatives close that are my daughter’s age and their mom and I are super tight even though she is related to my husband. They are all about each other so I knew I wanted to make them something matchy matchy. Then I found dollie and me nightgowns on sale at Kohl’s… now I just needed dolls so I went to the cutest doll pattern I’ve ever seen… the Wee Wonderfuls Kit, Chlole and Louise pattern. It didn’t cost anything because I had the pattern, fabric and yarn already (I’m like a mini joanns at my house).
Here are some pictures along the way. All the girls love superheroes (my daughters 5th birthday was a superhero party) so I decided to give the dolls a super hero outfit and then save the matching night gowns for a surprise gift.dollmakingIt definitely saved time making them factory style, but I was getting a little crazy at the end. Since the dolls look similar I drew little hearts that said super and their names. Next came the hair and their faces. I sewed on felt circles for their eyes and used a fabric marker for the facial features.doolshairFor three of the dolls I used the directions for Louise’s hair and for my younger daughter I used the directions for Chloe’s hair… if I could redo it I wouldn’t have used the Chloe pattern hair it made a bump in the back. My older daughter’s doll is my favorite because I used two types of yarn and it really looked like her hair.  If you don’t like how you can see the scalp Imagine our life made her wigs differently which is pretty cool.doll4I was sewed out after making the dolls so the clothes are simple. I used knit and fleece so I didn’t have to finish edges. The skirts are just circles like donuts – no elastic – the belts hold them up! And the shirts are all done differently and I couldn’t get any one to really work well. I was just too tired to find a pattern and I didn’t want the shirts to open in the back. The capes are pretty simple and it was fun to make each girl’s different with their favorite colors. I’m most proud of the boots. I used the bottom oval from the pattern and then tried different shapes that would kind of look like boots.bootsI then embellished them with some felt stripes. I also used fabric to make simple masks. You can see one doll has a heart on her mask… I forgot to sew the elastic between the two pieces so I sewed on the heart to cover up the mistake… don’t be fooled – these dolls have so many mistakes, but the eyes of these little girls didn’t notice.dolls2dolls3 doll5 doll3dollsdonesuperdollsI used iron on printable fabric to make the letters on their capes.. and then as you can see I decided to make them little super dogs as side kicks. These four girls are huge dog fans so I thought it would be a nice touch. I used this Scottie dog pattern and made it smaller and then adapted it to make a wiener dog pattern (which wasn’t as easy to make and didn’t come out half as good).superdogsThe dogs being side kicks and all needed masks and capes… totally not worth it except for pictures they were ripped and lost within the first five minutes the dolls were in action.
And finally after they were superheroes for an hour I gave them the matching nightgowns. I’m glad we slept over. I have to alter the sleeves of all the doll nightgowns because these are only 16 in dolls, but the length was fine since it’s just a nightgown. girlsnightgowns

What I learned in December

I just love Emily’s monthly review of what she’s learned each month on Chatting at the Sky – Here’s mine for December.

This December I learned…

1. That the Christmas season is often stressful for Moms as we take on the role of magic maker. One who buys perfect presents, one who hosts great parties, one who creates meaningful traditions, one who makes everyday a joyful dedication to the celebration of Jesus… often leads to one who doesn’t want to wake up in the morning. Around December 15th I stopped trying to do that and tried to become one who is thankful to God for a season dedicated to celebrating His Son. Some traditions weren’t followed (we did try to do it at least more often than my kids bathed… which isn’t saying much), I gave up any idea of well planned out meals, homeschooling was less than stellar, but we did the important things and we weren’t stressed. My girls were troopers as we forgot to read our daily advent reading from Luke 2,  as we had to cancel some advent activities, and as some days we just wrapped all day. We laughed and enjoyed all of the fun things we did do. It really reminded me that I have to simplify… more isn’t better… more causes you to have no room to reflect, to be spontaneous, to feel at peace… Jesus came in a lesser way, not the way of Kings, not the way He deserved, but maybe it’s because He knew that a lot can get lost in all the pomp and circumstance – like the whole reason.

2. The one thing we did do was have our ornament making tradition with all of our friends.  I learned that hosting doesn’t have to be perfect. Every year we put out lots of supplies and glue and sparkles and friends come over, make a donation to a cause and make ornaments. I’m a horrible cook, or at least I have no confidence in my cooking so I’m always anxious about hosting even though I love spending time with my friends. But crafting,  that I’m confident about… and this little tradition is not stressful. It’s messy, and full of yelling kids, and sitting parents, and people meeting new people over the glue dots… it really makes me so joyful. I’ve learned this December that God has given us a way, a way for us to help, to build relationships, to love one another that is different from anyone elses way and they are all good and this is mine. ornamentmaking3.  I learned of an organization in Ethiopia that brings together Orphans and Widows. I love this beautiful picture of family, a beautiful picture of those broken coming together to become whole. It is really so wonderfully simple and powerful in mission. I just wanted to share because this organization like so many others we know of is carrying the work of healing and joy out into the world, but this one is doing it in a whole new way. Please check out Bring Love in .  I really can’t get over the beauty in this. I love this paragraph explaining what they do:

Far and away the most exciting part of the work that Bring Love In does; is creating new families from widows and orphans in Ethiopia. To see a child, taken from an orphanage, once abandoned, but now in a home, with a mother who loves them, it is beautiful, and good all around for everyone-the widow who does the nurturing-the child who so desperately needs love-and the community that benefits from having strong Christian families who live here and grow up to become the future leaders that help Ethiopia move forward.

They train widows who have a love for children and help them adopt the children and then set up a household where they will become a strong Christian family raising up future leaders in Ethiopia, creating strong families in communities, and healing those who have been broken through loss. If you have any last-minute giving to do and you have a heart for the Widow and the orphan consider giving.

4. My father-in-law bought the girls “Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?” It is the cartoon version of the game that every adult aged 30-40 has played at some point in his/her life. We’ve watched 4 episodes already. It’s the only TV we’ve been watching. It is so awesome and the girls are already learning so much. I’ve learned that watching TV together with your kids can actually be a great bonding experience. We are usually fairly strict about TV, they always have to read first and usually for only the amount that they have read and usually I take that time to rest, read email, or just cook or clean. However this time is so precious, I may have to bend the rules. It’s only $5.99 on Amazon !Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? - The Complete Series

5. Did you know that the Mayans developed intricate roadways and that we still aren’t sure how they did it? I learned that little factoid on Carmen Sandiego… but they also said that scientists are working on developing larger more hardy fruit and that one day the fruit will be so big and help feed the world… I guess this was way before we learned of the evils of GMOs.

6. I learned that there is only one sport that I’m better at then my husband and it is ice skating… I need to capitalize on that.

7. I learned that if you continually spout the need for girls to be encouraged into engineering your family will buy your kids engineering toys.  We are going to play with them all and let you know how they are.
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8. The rainbow loom has taught my kids some skills. My 6-year-old received this circle knitting loom for Christmas. She worked on it for almost 6 hours in the car and has about a foot of scarf made, she is doing an amazing job, and I’m beyond impressed. I really didn’t think she’d be able to do it. I love when my kids acquire new skills.knitting loom

9. I have been seeing a lot of talk on pinterest and on different blogs about choosing a word to have as a focus throughout the year – ie.. joy, peace, patience, adventure.  My husband and I talked about it with our girls and said we should try to come up with one together. We have never done this before so we came up with lots. My 8-year-old said, lets each think up three and put them in a jar and pick one out for each month. Brilliant! I love it when they are the ones coming up with all of the ideas.

Happy New Years!

Things I learned in November…

1. The rainbow loom can come apart and you can change the direction of the middle row. If you don’t have a child from ages 5-11 then you might not know what I’m talking about, but my once pretend and building play oriented two girls now spend their break time from homeschooling making bracelet after bracelet. We were watching one of  Ashley’s video‘s (she is the 10-year-old guru of rainbow loom bracelet making) and we couldn’t figure out what we were doing wrong, we couldn’t get it to work. Seriously I was an engineer why can’t I do this??? Then we realized it came apart… I’m happy to say that I’m the one that figured it out and my daughters were ecstatic… but I’m not happy to say that it took me almost an hour. By the way if you are going to get your child a loom for the holidays.. get the real deal rainbow loom, my dad bought the girls the crazy loom (the one you get at toys r us) so they could each have one… it really isn’t as good and can’t do as many things, so they still take turns with the rainbow loom. Also my favorite bracelet is the nautique… it looks like chevron and I love the one my girls made.
rainbow loom bracelets2. You can make your own fonts for free… and it’s easy. Sassy Pants (age 6) is reading up a storm and I love it, but we are still doing several sight words a week. I saw that Moffat Girls (this woman is amazing!) had made a crack the code for sight words with pictures of an object of the sound of the letter (ie. apple for a, bat for b, cat for c, etc!) But I couldn’t use hers because we are working with a different set of sight words and it seemed like inserting in pictures for each letter of five words a week would be hard… but then I found Fontstruct. I created alpha code to use with the girls. The best thing is that it’s a font so I just choose it in Word and type the sight words (you have to hold the shift button down because I only made capital letters) and instantly I have a worksheet. Here is an example of our last sight word list ( sightwordbreakthecode2 ). You can download the font here. Put this file into your fonts folder – well just follow these directions. So you have to draw the font with little squares so the pictures aren’t great… the Y is a picture of a yo-yo even though it doesn’t look like it and the M is an envelope (Mail) but neither were a great choice, but what’s done is done. Remember to get the letters to print out you must have cap locks on or use the shift key. I hope you like it.

2. Girl engineers are awesome and I’m always excited about them. My husband and I have been helping at a local school that is starting a VEX robotics team. We have been having a lot of fun and I take my two girls every time. Unfortunately the whole team is boys, just perpetuating the stereotype that girls aren’t interested in engineering. However, an all girls FRC Team came with their amazing robot to show our team all of the cool things you do in robotics and it was amazing. My girls were enthralled and when they boys saw the robot do a chin up and shoot our frisbees they were amazed. It confirmed my feelings lately that encouraging girls in math, science and engineering is something very near and dear to my heart. I have to admit I was a little bit proud when my 8-year-old asked the team question after question.
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3. I love the card game golf ( I learned two days ago). It’s awesome, easy to learn quick and can be played by my 6 and 8 year old. It will replace our Phase 10 days!
GolfHere is the best explanation I could find, but we played that one-eyed jacks are 0 and two-eyed jacks are 10 but they still cancel each other out. It sounds complicated but is pretty simple when you are playing. As both a teacher and an engineer I think it’s really great to play strategy games with your kids, it helps them think ahead and try and hold several factors and thoughts in their heads at once. It also helps them develop thinking patterns and strategies that may help them in other projects. (We also love blockers, checkers, connect four and blokus and we can’t wait until the get a little older and play Settlers of Cattan and Bonanza).

4. I have learned that I can’t really blog and get stuff done and this makes me sad, I’m up to hearing ideas besides staying up really late like tonight.

5. I love making presents… I learn it every month… it’s my happy place and I hope that I don’t ever stop doing it. I made this pillow and little tiny princesses for my little niece. Lil Blue Boo is so awesome and made a free print out that you can use for a box o princesses… but mine were extra tiny so they are in a minimason jar and I had to set my printer to multiple so it made the print out half the size. I also made her a shirt and a chevron L pillow. I think if I had more time this is what I’d like to do, but I’d have to figure out my own craft not copy one.
IMG_6228DSC_0617[1]DSC_0638[1]5. I learned that I really love young adult literature and the somewhat cheesy movies they inspire. Since I don’t have too much time to read nonadoption related books I listen to them on my phone while running. Audible.com is an awesome Christmas gift to give to any runner’s in your family. I agree with Emily F. I think even though the actor that plays Peeta seems amazingly sweet and adorable, he was supposed to be blonde and bulky…  (Throw huge bags of flour bulky!) I did really like Catching Fire though and going with a big bunch of my friends helps.

6. Kristen Bell can sing. I loved Veronica Mars, and I will go on record saying it was the best tv show of all time. If you have room on your netflix que… give it a try you won’t be disappointed by the quick sassy humor and the thought provoking mysteries to solve. But Kristen never sang in it… but here she is in a Disney movie singing her little heart out and she pretty much rocks. And that group of girls and I will be first in line to see the Veronica Mars movie!!!!

7. There are so many amazing advent ideas out there so this might not be helpful but this year I bought Truth in the Tinsel because I’m really learning this month and the past several that my girls want my time not really for me to set up elaborate activities. It is worth the money to have someone else set it up and enjoy the time together and enjoy the Word of God together.

Homeschool Week #3

I have a friend who rightly so gets annoyed with people always posting the light and cheery aspects of life making it appear through their blog that life is perfect. I hope you don’t think that about us – here in our house homeschooling. I like to post the little things we do in hopes that it might be an idea for someone else, and I like to post it for me to see wow – at least we did something worthwhile this week. So I thought I’d write a bit about the good and bad before we posted some pictures.
The good – We had fun with art and playdough. My youngest Sassy Pants really is coming along with her reading and is getting more brave and I’m excited to start journaling with her this week and start word families (we are going to skip sight words this week to focus on word families). We had lots of cuddles, laughs and books. We had our first science explorer’s class of the year and it was wonderful.
The bad – My house actually looks like a hurricane went through it. I’m slowly realizing that we have signed up for too many extracurricular activities and we are all feeling it. My older daughter Miss Thing is still struggling with the annoyance of seeing her little sister do light and fluffy kindergarten activities while she has some hard work she needs to get through first. We had an online fluency test that pretty much sent us all into tears.  I’m so tired I don’t want to plan extra for really fun activities, but when I don’t it’s never a good day!

Here’s a glimpse at what we’ve done:
IMG_5313We did bubble pop sight word recognition and then some copy work.
IMG_5314We played Teach your Monster to Read and I love it. It starts off with just letter sounds so Sassy Pants was little bit bored at first, but she loved making her monster and all the games after it got a little harder. It’s free, with amazing graphics and a good sound foundation. If you have a preschooler or a kindergartener you should definitely try it out!!
IMG_5339 IMG_5333 IMG_5331We went over spelling and sight words with playdough and then made our 3D shapes… I love Harry Kindergarteners 3d shape youtube video… we are constantly singing it.
IMG_5351 IMG_5352 IMG_5353 IMG_5357 IMG_5358 IMG_5360 IMG_5361We did our spelling words and sight words on paper with white crayon and then the girls painted over them – it came out really pretty and they enjoyed it, then since we had the water colors out I showed them how to use the compass with the water colors – a bit of a fail – I should have taught them first with the compass and a pencil! Then we would just plop blobs of water color onto the paper and blow it with straws… it was a lot of fun. I finished Miss Thing’s compass painting by painting it in… we all really liked our art work and ended that day in great moods… if only I could figure out more ways to do art and school.
CD plant experimentWe are still doing plants in science and the latest vocabulary term was germinate. So we took some old beans we had that we use for counters and are seeing if we can get them to sprout. We also made a little experiment out of it. These two we just put in a cd case with a wet paper towel, but then we took two more and let them soak all day in water and then we will put them in the CD case. We are going to see which sprout first.
sunriseI get up everyday at 6. I do my quiettime with Hello Mornings and study Ephesians. And I exercise. I usually have almost 2 whole hours before anyone wakes up and it really is the most nourishing time of my day. It fills me up so that I can pour out all day… granted a lot of times I’m still not ready for the day, but Thursday night my daughter was up sick all night and I got up just in time to walk with a friend, but no quiettime and came home to awake kids that I was out of sync all day. I appreciate the time by myself before I need to be with others!

Princess Camp

Last summer while Miss Thing (8 years old) was in drama camp, I wanted to do something for Sassy Pants to get her reacquainted with her preschool buddies (Sassy pants is as shy as she is sassy). So we planned a three-day princess camp. Sassy Pants and I probed pinterest. We decided to have each day centered around a different princess (Rapunzel, Tiana, and Ariel.) For the Rapunzel day we focused on art stuff since Rapunzel was a great painter, Tiana we focused on food, and Ariel was a fun water day.  pcpreworkThere was definitely some prep work. We made these adorable cone piñata towers using these instructions. I also made each girl a Rapunzel hair piece for them to decorate and wear. I found that wrapping the yarn around my foot and hand I could wrap it enough times and make it long enough to be Rapunzelesque. I then tied a hair band around the loop and tied a knot, cut the one end and braided. After I got in a groove it only took me about 45 minutes to do all 8 Rapunzel braids. Then the girls and I made frog prince salt dough. We made a simple salt dough recipe and then used this adorable sandwich cutter to cut it out. As you can see, my girls were more than willing to test it out.

The Rapunzel Day was my favorite. The girls were just so excited to all be together it was a whole three hours of giggles and laughs. We met from 9:30-12:30 so I made the girls a snack each day. On the first day I cut paper plates to look like palettes and then put rainbow fruit on it. The girls each shared and traded for what they liked best. In the Rapunzel movie Rapunzel makes Pascal, her chameleon, a dress. I had each girl bring a Barbie type doll and we watercolored onto a mini coffee filter to make skirts. I cut out the hole in the middle and taped the skirts after they were dry while the girls had their snack. The I facepainted each girl and they played dress up for a while. Next they had the tower treats and then they decorated their long pink braids with flowers like the little girls did for Rapunzel in the movie. Day 1 done! pcday1rapunzelDay 2 was our cooking with Tiana day. First the girls colored in princess pictures as we waited for everyone to get there. Then we played the frog jump. We won these little frogs in a Burger King kids meal and I had the girls race jumping them along. Then I had set up an egg hunt and the girls looked for the eggs in the bedrooms upstairs. I put little bits of the cookie recipe in each egg and we all came together to figure out what it said.  After that, I broke the girls in half. Half painted their salt dough frog princes while the other half baked mixed and baked snow white sugar cookies… I know why snow white? The were the only princess cutters I had (by the way the Williams and Sonoma Cookie cutters are awesome.) After everyone finished both tasks the girls made friendship mix. I learned about this from my awesome friend Melissa. Each girl brought something in and they pour it into a big bowl and mix it up. We had twizzlers, teddy grahams, chocolate chips, marshmallows and goldfish… surprisingly it worked. I had made cupcakes before this and they were all done cooking and the girls were able to decorate them. Not the healthiest day!pcday2tianaOur last day was Ariel day. We had a fun and wet day outside. We played hot potato with water balloons. We tried to make giant bubbles. The girls played on the playground and we used chalk to draw fish and then the girls threw water balloons at them to try to erase them. We spent most of the time in the kid carwash that we had made earlier that summer. They were beat by 11 so I put on the Ariel movie while they ate Swedish fish and goldfish. pcday3arielThe whole camp was a lot of work, it was such a blessing to Sassy pants that it was totally worth it.

Games to play in a Pinch

Due to my inability to be still and do nothing I am always making up games to play with my kids. Something to pass the time while we are waiting or to fill in those minutes between dinner and bedtime. Here are two of my favorite Iphone and drawing games that can be played anywhere.

The Ispy Iphone Game

I was sitting in our Senator’s office waiting for an awesome woman to tell me that she can send off our fixed documents to the place to get state sealed so that we can finally get our dossier done. I was watching my friend’s daughter as well as my youngest and we had already been there for 20 minutes… doh what are we going to do? I didn’t want to just give them the phone because I didn’t want them to argue over it so it was in that office that the Ispy Iphone game was born. One player closes their eyes while the other players go and take a picture of something in the waiting room that you are in. This next step is important – make sure they know to take the picture close up and after they go to your picture in the camera roll have them zoom in on it. I played the game with two 5 year old girls. I showed them how to do it with the first one and then they were set. As you can imagine I was the set guesser as they quietly tiptoed around the office taking pictures and then zooming in and then having me guess what the picture was of.  This game can really be played for an hour because they kids really enjoy using the camera and trying to trick parents.
ispyphotogameHere are some of the pictures they took in the office. It looks like you can easily tell what they picture is, but when you go to the picture in the camera roll and zoom out by taking your thumb and index finger and spreading out so can focus just on a tiny part of the picture you took which really does make it challenging.

The Smile Game
This game is best with children from 5-12 when there is a group. I went with my daughter’s girl scout troop to Dutch Wonderland. That place is awesome by the way – the diving show never gets old even though I’ve seen it about a dozen times! We were waiting inline for the monorail and it was hot and we were nearing the end of our trip and we had about 7 or 8 minutes before we got on the ride. I had all the girls smile and I took a close up picture of their smiles. Then we went through the pictures to see if we could guess who is who.
smile-gameSo I’d like to take this time to state that this game was a huge hit with the girls, but it was also a huge momfail for me. In utero I got some type of virus or sickness that affected the adult toothbuds of my daughter and caused her to have large light orange spots on three of her adult teeth that have come in. Needless to say, being an 8 year old girl she is incredibly self conscious about them (and since it was affected during her development she can’t have them bleached off) so having a game where we take and examine pictures of our smiles is a horrible game for her. Luckily a sweet little girl also smiled with her mouth closed so we could guess between the two of them.

Drawing Games – These require access to paper and pencils and the second game needs a little prep work, but all will fit easily in a pocketbook.

The Directions Game
I love this game because it isn’t also good for fine motor skills, it is also great for listening skills, and being descriptive in your words. In this game each person receives a pad of paper and a pencil and each player is told to draw a pretty simple picture, but one that has several parts. I gave out ideas like an animal, something you can ride on, something in nature, a fun seasonal picture, etc. Each player turns their picture over so no one can see it.
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The first player takes out their picture (but it is still hidden from the other players) and the other players take out a new piece of paper and a pencil. The first player will describe the picture to the other members. Here is something similar to what I said “Hold your paper upright  (then explain what that means), it’s a picture of a sail boat with two sails. The boat is sitting in water. The sail on the right has diagonal stripes. The mast has a circle on top.” The player giving the directions can’t look at the other’s papers but can clarify any directions (ie. someone doesn’t know what a mast is.). In the above picture the top left is my 5 year olds, the top right was done by my 7 year old (she’s now 8) and the bottom left is mine and the bottom right is my husbands. In the following pictures I kept our drawings in the same order and the picture with the star is the picture that was done by the one describing to the other players.
directiongame2I’d like to explain this one above. As we were playing my husband was  watching sports. My youngest did a great job describing her dog, and then her dad says… wait I missed it what did you say. Having very little patience she said… Dad it’s just a dog, draw a dog. Where for us she said it’s an oval with a circle head on the left and a curly tail… I think she probably did the best job describing out of all of us, and you can tell by how close my 7 year old and my picture is to the original… my husband’s picture – well that’s an outlier.directiongame4Again there is the hubby not quite listening. I must say that in general my husband is a fabulous listener, but don’t try to give him important details during an exciting sports game. directionsgame1
The Cartoon Drawing Game
I can’t take credit for creating this game. Mine is just a homemade version that my girls and I made of the Game Pick and Draw. We don’t own pick and draw because we made our own, but I am sure that there is no comparison and that you should buy the real deal one if you are interested. I like to draw so making this with my daughters wasn’t too hard, but it might be a little hard if you aren’t super confident with drawing. All we did was take index cards and wrote – head, eyes, ears, nose, eyebrows, hair, and mouth on the lined parts. Then the girls and I drew on the other side whatever it was. I think it’s nice to have a mixture of things drawn from all of us so that they are able to draw the different parts since they drew some of them to begin with. Plus just making the cards was a good hour long activity in and of itself. Then we each get a pad and we start picking cards. We start with face shape and then pick the others. We only pick one set and then all three of us draw the cartoon face. It’s fun seeing if you drew the eyes big or little or how far up you put the nose etc. Here are some pictures of ours.
game2 games1 games3Again I can’t stress enough that we like the game, but we’d probably play it more if it’s professional. Maybe we’ll splurge and get the real deal for Christmas – They even have a video of showing how the creator uses the Pick and Draw game to share the gospel.

I hope those help you a little bit through the summer. If you have an ideas for easy quick games to play feel free to link to them in the comments.

Things I learned in June

Wow, June went by quickly. I really enjoy writing about what I’m learning so I’m going to continue in this self-gratifying post monthly.

1. Their is a reason different and exotic foods aren’t mainstream. I love that Teachmama has her kids try new exotic foods and we’ve done it before, but with little success. But we are 0 and 2 of late. If you’ve ever shopped at Wegmans you’ve probably noticed the section in the produce area that is full of weird looking fruits and vegetables you’ve never seen before except for the plantains. The girls and I like to guess what they will taste like, but then leave it at that. Well I was feeling brave twice this month. First we tried the adorable looking Kumquats. Everything about them is cute from their name, to their size, to their jaunty orange color. How bad can they be… They are gross. The description said sweet outside and tangy inside. They were right the peel actually was a little sweet, but the inside juice was tangy, tart and yucky all at once. Also you find out quickly that they have a seed inside…. what… they tell you that you can eat the whole thing… my 5 year old almost choked. Fast forward to two weeks later and we are there again, but this time a lady that worked at the produce department was talking about the mangosteen and was going to try it, I was interested and went with her. The mangosteen is nothing pretty to look at it has spikes and is about the size of a plum. She took one and gave one to me – you have to crack open the outer shell which is pretty simple, and then you see a peeled grape looking thing inside. I tasted it – amazing, it is a mix between a grape and a plum in taste and there is a big pit inside, but it’s easy to eat around. I’m was so excited, my kids are going to love this I thought, I’m going to buy dozens and hand them out to my friends and be the biggest mangosteen pusher in PA. Then I look… each one of these little fruits that really only yield about two grapes worth of yummy flesh cost $2.99 each. Yup $3 bucks… doh… I passed on that idea.newfood2. I’ve almost given up facebook since I’ve found instagram. But I’d give them both up in heart beat if I had to choose between them and pinterest!
3. There are so many people I want to thank and keep in touch with and I’m not doing a really good job with it… I’m learning that I need to set aside time daily to communicate with others by the written word, and it feels nice.
4. Having my girls help me make gifts is a win, win, win. They get to be creative, they can pick out their friends gifts, and we spend time together. I have a pinterest board called Super Awesome Gifts to make and I have the girls go through it with me and we talk about what the person would want and if we could actually make it. We made these friendship bracelet kits with printables from Eighteen25 and these cute embroidery holders from wild olive (I laminated them and the girls helped wind them).present5. I love taking photos, photoshop, and doing new things on the blog, but it all takes time to learn and I need to limit how much time I devote to hobbies that don’t bring in income, and take time away from the family.
6. This one is definitely the biggest and the one I’ve been struggling the most with. I’ve become obsessed with race. As a mom knowing that I will not be able to offer my son one on one knowledge of what it is like to be African and perceived as African American in society is hard, even now before I know him. I’ve been reading books like I’m Chocolate, You’re Vanilla and Black Baby White Hands. But I find myself being very aware of being in a place and everyone is white. I feel self conscious and worried, about choices we are making and trying to make sure that our son grows up in a very diverse setting where he can see lots of role models that share the same skin color as he does. I really liked Christena Cleveland’s post on idolizing diversity. I love her honesty and the beautiful way that she gives it all to God. Sadly, I’m coming at the topic from a different side, being someone who has always benefitted as being from the majority race – not intentionally and for a long time not even aware of it… but now as our family prepares to become whole through adoption I can’t help to pray that God will please give me the wisdom, grace and understanding to bring up my son in a place where he is no longer in the racial majority . I don’t want him to focus on the difference between him and his parents but at the same time I want him to cherish and love his ethnicity, heritage and culture. I am struggling with feeling inept about how I won’t be able to teach him some things because I won’t have the experience of it. I think that Kristen from Rage Against the Minivan says it so well in this post.

That’s it… well probably some other things… but now they have been forgotten – at least these are in print so there should be a better chance that I don’t forget them.
I’m linking up at Chatting at the Sky – it’s a beautifully written blog check it out.

Father’s Day Card

I’ve talked before about my card club. It’s really a glorified talking club, but it is fun to make cards and get rid of my old scrapbooking supplies since it’s been years since I’ve used them. Last year I made a card similar to this card, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to top it. I don’t think I topped it in humor but I do think these little shirts are adorable, and they use up all of the ugly scrapbook paper that comes in packs that you would never use for anything else.
doubledadsdayJust think that any paper you have that could look like an ugly, fancy, Hawaiian or flannel shirt. I added bow ties and mini buttons to some and long ties and pockets to the others. To make the shirt I followed these directions… and when I couldn’t do it with those directions I watched this youtube video. I made the insert in photoshop,here is the pdf dadsdayinsides , you can print it out and it works for three cards… To make the shirt I used a 12 x 12 piece of scrapbook paper and cut it to be 7.5in x 12in.
card2

Party Preview Post

My oldest – Miss Thing turned 8. It’s hard to believe that everyone was right, childhood really does fly by so quickly.  As I try and put together this post I wanted to start off with some sneak peek pictures.
cake partybagspopcorn random2 randomparty table

Fake Letterpress

I belong to a card club. Not the kind where we play Bunko or Bridge but the kind where we make homemade cards together. There are nine of us and we each make 9 of the same card and then we give one to each other so that we have 9 different cards to use. It has saved me so much money in buying cards and it gives me a wonderfully creative outlet for a useful purpose. It doesn’t hurt that we were all in the Moms club together when our kids were babies and now that most of them are in school it gives us a good reason to still get together and talk and laugh. It is amazing to see the different ideas and techniques used. You can see some of our cards in the pictures below. Every now and then we have an original idea but most things have been inspired or directly copied from something we’ve seen on pinterest.
cardtempe

I copied the design from this awesome card maker and then I used this image for the envelope template and now I’m pretty sure I’m going to ask for that punch for my birthday… it is really the cutest. I got the digital paper for the inside of the envelope at Free digital scrapbooking paper . I had gotten some winter cards at Joanns on clearance so I picked some of the blue ones that didn’t have snowflakes on them. I went with a white envelope instead of the craft brown just because of the color palate and I nixed the ribbon – mostly because I was tired.
Here is a template of the envelopes. (envelope template)
cardtwoBut by far the coolest thing I learned by making this card is that you can print pretty easily on the premade cards you can buy at craft stores using Microsoft word. This is huge for me since I don’t have a lot of stamps so I’m stuck printing on cardstock and then cutting it out and pasting it on the cards… why didn’t I just think of printing right on the card? I found the tutorial on how to do this here.