Saturday, June 22, 2013

Our Schoolroom in the Master Bedroom

In our previous house we only had 3 bedrooms, a living room dining room and small kitchen. I realized we were blessed, but it was hard to figure out where to put the school room. We decided since the Master bedroom was huge we would use that. We had just moved from an apartment where the Master was huge and we also had the sewing closet and shelves with all sorts of things in it. We just wanted the Bedroom to be the bedroom in this house. The kids shared a bedroom
So here are the pictures :)

South and east wall in school room. All books now have labels and are organized by subject!! Except picture books- they are in bins at the bottom of the shelves with easy kid access(and labeled with a pink doot for picture books!)

Workboxes on the left in the closet and part of the Montessori shelves on the right. Going around the room from the bookshelves and cubbies picture counterclockwise

 A close up of our workboxes and number. The numbers are on the boxes when the work is to be done and put on the door when the box is done. Done with numbers=done with school!

We have since moved, but this is one example for how to make a school room in a small space. This home was 1000 sq feet.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Summer boredom taking over yet?

In our neck of the woods, public school has its last day today. But I know many other places have been out for a while.  And quite often after we have finished homeschool in the morning and the kids aren't into some cool project, I hear these, words, " I'm bored, there's nothing to do."

I saw this on Facebook and thought it was a perfect thing for any time of year, when my kids tell me the dreaded, "I'm bored".  For years I have followed that sentence with, "Then I have a chore for you." Which immediately ends up with a child running away and finding something to do- it may not be productive, but chores in this house seem to be the dreaded disease int his situation :)
I really love this and am contemplating printing it out and posting on the bulletin board for quick reference when I hear those words! :)
I'm also contemplating making some cards for each letter as a grab bag for uncreative kids, but that project might take forever and not get used, (because I want to make it cute- perfection monster!) or end up knocked over and scattered throughout the house. So I will keep ruminating on that idea :)
What is your response to those dreaded words?


Parenting concretely Part 1

We all want to be the best parents we can. Various things that life thows at us make it difficult. Life these days is going at mock speed and sometimes our kids lose out because of it. I just read two articles that I REALLY enjoy. 

In all my studies of human interaction, these pinpoint and make it simpler for parents to better. And doing better is so subjective, so here are some concrete ideas, that come from the first article. The second article is deeper and will take at least 1-2 more posts to get through :)

These come directly from the synopisis of the podcast over at Power of moms:

1) Children need a minimum of 8 touches during a day to feel connected to a parent. 
If they’re going through a particularly challenging time, it’s a minimum of 12 a day.  This doesn’t have to be a big deal–it could be the straightening of a collar, a pat on the shoulder, or a simple hug.
(2) Each day, children need one meaningful eye-to-eye conversation with a parent. 
It is especially important for babies to have that eye contact, but children of all ages need us to slow down and look them in the eyes.
(3) There are nine minutes during the day that can have the greatest impact on a child.
  • the first three minutes–right after they wake up
  • the three minutes after they come home from school, and
  • the last three minutes of the day–before they go to bed.

I love these, because I can pick one and do it for a week or more and have it become a habit. I have seen all 3 of these make my children happier and feel more secure. When life gets crazy and you need to get back to basics this is a great place to start. 

So full of impact, but not hard to do. What every parent who is exhausted and worn out needs- simple effective parenting tips :) Love it!
I have no doubt, that if you talked to Christ, He would look you straight in the eye, touch your should or hug you. These are tips to better parenting and to parenting in a Christlike manner. That's a win-win :)


Monday, June 17, 2013

Habit and the grocery list

I once read A poem titles "Who am I". It stuck me at the time and it strikes me now. Of course I had to google it and find it.

Who am I?

I am your constant companion. 
I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden. 
I will push you onward or drag you down to 
I am completely at your command. 
Half of the things you do you might as well turn 
over to me and I will do them - quickly and 
I am easily managed - you must be firm with me. 
Show me exactly how you want something done 
and after a few lessons, I will do it automatically. 
I am the servant of great people, 
and alas, of all failures as well. 
Those who are great, I have made great. 
Those who are failures, I have made failures. 
I am not a machine though 
I work with the precision of a machine 
plus the intelligence of a person. 
You may run me for profit or run me for ruin - 
it makes no difference to me. 
Take me, train me, be firm with me, and 
I will place the world at your feet. 
Be easy with me and I will destroy you. 
Who am I? I am Habit

So what exactly does this have to do with groceries you may be asking yourself after reading the title of this post. Well I will tell you. If there is nothing else that is habitual in our lives it's the need to eat and buy food. We need to eat and we need to eat regularly  This can become an automatic routine or a great burden. I have tried to follow a meal plan and depending on life circumstances I do quite well. However right now, we ar ein flux. It'shard to tell week to week what people can eat, so doing a monthly meal plan- or even two weeks can be hard. In stead I make sure we have the food we can eat on hand and  then I know I can make meals out of those foods. For now it works.
 However, in order to make it less of a burden and start to work on my own grocery habits I have this awesome spread sheet that a dear friend made for me. It's an excel spread sheet that calculates the price of groceries. This way I list the 3 grocery stores I usually go to, each item that I do buy (over time) and the typical price. Then I can decide on a meal plan (or not) and I can see what I usually have on the list (either from last time or a saved list). I can adjust it according to my budget. I consult my cabinets and I know what I need to stock up on and what can wait for another week. Since I'm doing this on the computer before I'm in the store, I an be pretty confident that, I know what we have and that if I follow the list I will stay on budget. All I need to do is adjust the # of each item and not only does my grocery list change, but my store total and total food budget change. It's FABULOUS!  I can plan easily what I want to spend. I typically save $20 for the kids to choose healthy food that are in season. they each get one pick and so do I. It keep us (the parents) rewarding their good food choices and it also helps to keep the food budget more from spiraling out of control!
I hope to be able to share this table soon. I haven't yet figured out the best way to share documents that aren't cumbersome, so I will check out some options and try to get the file up. In the meantime, sleep well and be happy, you have choices in this world! What a marvelous thing

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Dana Top

I joined a sew along for the Dana Top by Scientific Seamstress 
I REALLY like the style and have eyed the pattern for a while, but it's a tad too low and wide for my taste. I kept seeing people post the finished Dana tops and I decided I had to try.

 I am still fussing with the size. I usually run a Medium/Large and I made a Small.  People had commented that it ran big. Unfortunately for me- I went a tad too small. I'm going to try my hand at another that is a bit bigger.  Here are the two I've done. One more is in progress and I hope to get another done with the modifications that would make it a go to pattern top for me.


Suburban Basic Tee

I was privileged enough to be a tester for the Suburban Basic Tee by Terra's Treasures. 
This was my first time working with knit and it went together EXTREMELY WELL! It was soo fast too! 
I'd say it was an hour and a half with kid interruptions from cutting out to finished project.

Great pattern and it went together quickly!


Sewing follow up!

I DID it!! I made a TON of kids and doll clothing! Sooo incredibly excited about it! I was in a stashbuster contest on Facebook with Elie inspired.  There's aren't the best pictures since I only have my iPod as a camera currently. Here are a few of my creations:
 Modified for a straighter skirt

Carousel Girl

 Mini Carousel Girl for a matching set :)
Jazzy Girl with slight modifications

Carousel Girl modified to a shirt

Dancer and Mini Dancer matching sets
Patriotic dress a Combo of The carousel bodice and Hopscotch Girl bottom done patchwork style.

Another version of the  Patriotic dress Combo of The carousel bodice and Hopscotch Girl bottom, using knit this time

That is about most of what I was able to get done in May. I did a whopping 27 items! Whoa! That's a first for me- even when I have sewn shorts for the girls it was closer to 15 items. Supper excited I was able to get so many done!
I will post the rest of them shortly!
What is the most you have sewn in a month?


Sewing weights DIY

I am so of proud of this project! Fast and easy and done! I had seen this idea on Pinterest here and thought that using weights instead of pins would help a ton decrease my sewing time and increase my desire to sew. I like the sewing part and the finished product in sewing. The cutting is necessary, the pinning is a necessary evil in my mind.
When I had a sudden need to go to the Hardware store to grab a part for the toilet, I saw the washers nuts and grabbed them  I bought 8 for $4. I bought the largest they had!  If you got them used at a yard sale or had them around, this could be a free project.
nuts + scrap fabric + glue = new fabric weights for $4.00 out of our pocket :)
I made double the fabric weights for HALF the price amazon is charging! Their price is $10.5 for 4!
Amazon price per weight- $2.71
My price per weight- $0.50
Savings of $2.21!!

I may grab some more next time I'm at the hardware store- occasionally I am short a few, or transferring them from one pattern piece to the next. I love their usefulness and how fast they went together! The tutorial I linked above has you glue them with hot glue on the inside before and after I did see the need to do it int he beginning- just tucked it in and  I haven't gotten there yet for the end and they work just fine! I'm sure next time I pull out the glue gun, I will get it done.
Fast, cheap and useful! Yay!


Friday, June 7, 2013

What's for dinner?

The age old question of what to feed your family has stumped many a mom including me. Add in our food challenges(no dairy, nuts, peanuts and gluten) and it gets super complicated. That is if I don't plan ahead. I am the QUEEN of half planned life and ideas. But I'm ok with that. However I am trying to improve and do somethign about it. It doesn't always happen. But like man y things in life for me I get sparked by a random request on fb for some thing. This time it's dinner ideas.

Our family may be going on the GAPS diet sometime soon. In the meantime I want to clean out our cabinets and use up everything that's non GAPS. However, I have specific diet right needs right now so I have to balance it all out. As much as I try to similify our lives- it seems I have to do it out of complications ;)
Because I am happiest with life on routine, I wanted to make up some ideas of easy go to meals. I'm not a great schedule girl, but routines- like dinner lists and such make me happy. ANd you know what they say- A happy mama makes for a happy family :)
So here is my list of meals I will add to. I may figure out how to make it a post and add to it. But since blogging currently isn't the #1 thing in my life, it may not happen.
 SO here are some friendly meals at our house:
black bean burgers
burgers (grass fed beef)
Hot dogs- gf, dairy free, nitrate free, preservative/dye free
roasted veggies
Goat cheese and zucchini pizza crust
GF Bisquick pizza crusts
Butternut Squash Pizza

Lentils burger

Chicken strips- dip in egg (or water) and roll in a mixture of- coconut flour, dash or two of cayenne, onion and garlic powder, and a dash of salt.
Fish sticks (same recipe as above- but you have to use the egg and I add mustard powder

roasted chicken- pioneer women style
Egg bake casserole(with sausage or bacon)
Oven Baked Pancakes

Crock pot:
Roasted chicken,
chicken and rice dump,
 Potato Bar Crock pot style,
 Meat for tacos- either a cheap roast or chicken breast, put salsa on the meat and let it
Ground beef hash- ground beef and cocnut oil fried up and put it over rice with veggies. Sometimes I make a gravy :)

So that's my mind dump. If I remember I may even get to linking the recipes with these :) Now wouldn't that be fun and an awesome follow through for me. And then again- real life may interfere intercede!  : )