Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Today, I’m counting my blessings and sharing them with you.


I’m thankful for…

Bright green honeysuckle vines and the anticipation of their fragrance filling our place.

Spring rains that are followed (I hope) by warm days.

Friends so special that time and distance can’t diminish the bond.

A mother-in-law, truly cherished, cherishing time with her grandchildren.

Good blogs, good books, and the folks who share a bit of their life with us through them.


What are you thankful for today? Hope you’ll share the blessings by leaving a comment.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What We Are Watching…

~Choosing media with our kids~

I wasn’t sure if we were ready for STAR WARS. There’s a lot of fighting and some pretty gory stuff, not to mention a pretty complicated plot. We gave it a try anyway, and I’m so glad we did. Even my youngest was interested in these wonderful old movies. And Sarah… My Sarah loves these movies and especially Princess Leia. In fact, I heard her in her bed the other night, humming herself to sleep with the STAR WARS theme music. Crazy.

I tend to be pretty protective of my kids’ media exposure. While I don’t worry about the occasional questionable movie or program (we can always discuss it later), I do worry a lot about the programs that become favorites. Kids tend to study movies and programs, watching them again and again. I want my kids to have great heroes. I want them to learn good things.

So, is it crazy that I’m totally fine with the fact that my kids love movies like STAR WARS and old episodes of The Dukes of Hazard?

The fact is, my kids are not allowed to watch most children’s programming. ABC’s Saturday morning programming (mostly Disney) is strictly off limits. We don’t do Sponge Bob and we don’t do lots of other annoying shows (sorry to the Sponge Bob fans out there). I’m not a totally mean mom. We do watch a lot of the Disney movies and I don’t freak out if the kids watch a kids’ program I don’t approve of at someone else’s house.

I suppose I see it as being a lot like the food we eat. I want my kids’ diets to consist mostly of good, nutritious foods. Educational TV is great. And honestly, despite the violence, I would list STAR WARS in this category of great media. The main characters (male and female!) in the movies are good. They fight evil. They are smart, brave and courageous. They are heroes. I’m okay with movies that contain heroes and the fight of good versus evil, even if they do end with a bad guy getting cut into pieces with a light saber. And you know, my kids seem to do just fine with that, too.

I don’t freak out about my kids eating a bit of junk food from time to time. It’s life. I wouldn’t want my kids eating candy and drinking pop every day, though. I wouldn’t want them watching a lot of the shows on TV every day either, even if it is programming that is aimed at children. Shows that feature incompetent parents, teenagers and pre-teens who whine and/or spend their time trying to fool their parents, or characters who are rude… Well, we don’t watch those shows at our house. There just isn’t anything redeeming in those characters or in the plot lines. That kind of TV is junk. It serves no purpose and has no value.

It goes without saying that some TV and movies are just plain poison. I don’t watch much prime time television and have very little interest in most of the movies that are out in theater. You know the types of shows I’m talking about. I would be horrified if my kids were allowed to view media like that.

Just like choosing good foods for our kids, choosing media for our kids is hard. It would be so easy to go with the flow and let the Hannah Montanas and the the Sponge Bobs of the media world keep my kids busy. I could buy that Happy Meal with the cool but questionable toy and be the “best mom ever,” instead of insisting on a Sad Meal (dollar menu and a water).

I could do that.

Actually, I probably couldn’t. ;)

Anyway, all this makes me wonder.

What are your favorite kid’s movies/programs and why?

What are your “No we’re not going to watch that” movies/programs?

Which shows annoy you the most?

Have you ever seen your children picking up bad habits from the shows they enjoy?

What are your family’s rules about media?

Can’t wait to hear from you.


** By the way, these opinions about media are mine. You might share them, and you might not. Hope you don’t take it too personally if we don’t see eye to eye. ;)  Hope you’ll share your views here, too. All respectful comments are appreciated, even if they are different from what I’ve expressed. It’s good to stand for what we believe in and share it with each other in respectful ways. It’s okay if you don’t agree with me.  ;)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Playing Hooky

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We skipped school today.

Not a single math paper or reading assignment was done.

Not a crayon was touched.

I didn’t even drill math facts in the car on the way to the store.

Totally truant.

We’ll just call it a mental health day, or an “everyone is way too tired and at each other’s throats to arm anyone with pencils, scissors, or glue sticks” day.

You ever have those kinds of days?

My littles were too pooped to produce great school work. I was too tired to find an ounce of patience. My house was too dirty to be ignored any longer. A week that includes two nights of car shopping, one late night watching Star Wars, and one long road trip will do that to a family with 4 littles.

Sometimes, we just need a catch-up day.

Catch-up days are one of the perks of homeschooling. Kind of like a snow day without the snow.

I do track our attendance and we expect to finish our school year in mid May. I’m not sure which day, and I’m totally okay with that. I like flexibility. It’s a must when home-schooling in a household that includes toddlers and pre-school aged children.

So, to my other home-school friends out there….

Do you take catch up days from time to time? How often do these free days come and under what circumstances do you choose to call off school for the day? Do you feel guilty when you miss a day? Looking forward to hearing from you!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Slice of Life

The best storyteller I know…

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telling his great-grandkids stories

of roosters he knew, pranks he pulled,

and days gone by.

A little slice of life that is pretty sweet.


I’m sharing this “slice of life” with my friends over at…


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Today, I’m thankful for…

This really cool, rustic box my mom gave to me. I have some really great ideas for it’s future.

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Two giant piles of gravel, hours of fun.

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Pretty brown eggs.

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A porch full of mud boots.

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Sweet kiddos playing in the woods.

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Count your many blessings and feel free to share a few of them in the comments. :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kindergarten Preparation

Knowing my past life as a classroom teacher, my sweet friend sent me the following question in a message a few weeks ago.

Hi Fatima!
I've been doing preschool at home with ***** and I will continue it at home for 4 year old preschool instead of sending her somewhere. I want to make sure I have her ready for kindergarten. Are there any resources, books, websites you would suggest I check out?
Thank you!

There are many milestones and curriculum guidelines I could have pointed to. but my answer was a bit different.

Here is what I think about kindergarten prep…

Honestly, and in my own personal opinion...
Don't sweat it!
Make sure she can say her ABC's and recognize most of them. Help her learn to count and understand that you are counting individual things.
Most of all...
Let her explore her world. Let her dig in the dirt. Let her play in the sudsy water in your kitchen sink with some measuring cups. Take her to the zoo and go to the state parks to explore the world together. Let her help you cook the pancakes for breakfast. Sit down at a table and paint a picture together just for the fun of it. Set out a jar of buttons and see what kind of neat games she comes up with, sorting, stacking, counting, crafting. Read good books together. Pray together. Go on rainbow hunts on rainy days. Fish in a mud puddle. Leave what my kids call "bear prints" by letting her kick off her shoes and walk through a puddle on the deck and then examine the cute little feet prints that are left behind. Plant some flowers.
Explore and have fun. Kindergarten will come and these days will end, assuming she goes on to a traditional school. These are the days of wonder and wandering. Live it up. Help her see the world in all it's beauty. Her love of learning will be shaped by the curiosity and joy she finds right now.
Oh, and let her get bored sometimes. It's good for the imagination and for the soul.
And love her.
That is all. ;)

So here is my question for my dear readers.

How are you preparing your little ones for the grand adventure of kindergarten? Do you have some kind words of advice or encouragement for my friend? Hope you’ll share with us by leaving a comment. :)


My littles on a bug hunt back when Danny was still pre-school age.

I’m sharing this post with my friends over at…image

My Little Man

I love this little guy, my little Cowboy Dan.

Cowboy Dan picking flowers

He picks me the most fascinating bouquets.

Then, he sticks them in his back pocket while he tucks in his shirt.

Dan w flowers in his pocket 

I couldn’t resist this picture. It’s a momma thing.

I just have to remember to clean out his pockets before I wash those jeans…


Hoping this brings you a smile, like it did me! :)


I’m sharing this with my friends at…


Monday, March 21, 2011

A Little Extra Fabric

I’m loving the purse I made last week. The fabric is bright and sunny, and the purse has plenty of room for whatever we need when we go to the park or the library. I  love the pockets for my sunglasses and phone, too.

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For those who are wondering, the pattern can be found here.


Such an easy bag to make! I made my straps and the binding around the top the bag out of the same color of fabric I used for the liner, and the pockets from the same fabric I used for the outside of the bag. It worked out very nicely, I think.

I did end up with some extra fabric, though.

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My largest scrap piece was the entire width of the fabric by about 6 1/2 inches. I just had to do something with it! A wallet for my new purse seemed right.

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I experimented with lots of folds, until I got it just right.

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I cut a piece of batting to line what would be the outside of the wallet.

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I marked and cut a holes for the magnetic snap.

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I stitched about 1/4 of an inch from the edges on both sides.

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Making your own binding is easy. Just fold the fabric in half and iron, then open it up and meet the two sides along the middle line and iron again.





The tricky part is getting the corners just right before you stitch the binding down.

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Almost done, now.

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After I stitched the binding, it just seemed to be missing something. I grabbed another scrap and did a quick gather to make it ruffle and then stitched it onto the front of the wallet. That’s a little better.

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And the finished wallet…

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Well, it holds my money and the many cards I have to carry around with me. It isn’t perfect, but it was fun to make from my scraps.

Sewing without a pattern… What a wild and crazy life I lead! ;)

Try it. It’s fun!


I’m sharing this post with my friends over at…



Saturday, March 19, 2011

Easy Breezy Purse

I enjoyed Thursday night very much. Eric was out in the garage taking the rear brakes on his truck apart and the kids were sleeping in their beds. Well, actually the boys were sleeping on their floor. Don’t ask me why, ‘cause I don’t know. Anyway, with everyone happy, what’s a girl to do?

I fixed a cup of tea and headed to my neglected sewing room. I’d like to tell you that I cleaned it up and made it serviceable. The would be a lie. Actually, I moved everything off the old desk I use for sewing and called it good. Don’t judge me. ;)

I cranked up some good music and got to cutting and sewing. This is what I ended up with.

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The pattern and materials came from my favorite fabric store, Holly Hock. I had been looking forward to putting this together for weeks.

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It has nice pockets for my sunglasses and my phone. I love how the straps tie on to these nifty grommets.

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It’s so much fun learning to sew. I have lots left to learn, but with each project it gets a little easier and a lot prettier! This purse was very easy, and I finished it in one night. I learned to make straps in a new way and I had a lot of fun making pockets. The grommets were intimidating, but actually very simple to put into the fabric.



It’s so nice to find a few hours of free time.

**Find a link to the pattern and check out what I made from my fabric scraps at this post.


I’m sharing this post over with my friends over at…

30 Days


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thankful Thursday

*A little side story for you today. Last Thursday’s thankfulness was sidetracked when I tried to post to my blog and the computer crashed, and not just a little crash. I was frustrated, worrying about pictures that may be lost and money that may need to be spent to replace a computer or hard drive. It was time to go shopping, so I loaded the crew into the van. On the way to town there were warning lights flashing at me in the dashboard (most long standing problems). You know, I got to feeling pretty sorry for myself.

At the first store, I did something rather out of character and bought the kids candy. At the second store I was not sympathetic to their pleas for some cookies. They were so heartbroken and quite ugly about it. I thought to myself (and may have reminded them out loud) that it did no good to act like a brat, crying because enough is never enough.

Then I got home to unload my groceries. I watched as the refrigerator filled near to bursting open. I carried lots of food stuff to the pantry and watched it fill up. Of course, it hit me and brought me to my knees then. I was the one who was acting like a brat. I may not have had a crying temper-tantrum on the outside, but on the inside I was pure ugly that day. We are so very blessed. I let a few small things distract me from all the blessings in my life for those hours. So, I’m back on track now, and very, very thankful.

Today, I’m thankful for some simple but wonderful things…

The food that fills my pantry.

The refrigerator full of milk and eggs.

The spinach growing in my garden.

Banana bread in the oven.

Finding thankfulness in my heart.


What are you thankful for today? I hope you’ll join in by leaving a comment or a link to your blog. It’s amazing how listing a few things that you are thankful for will change your attitude. ;)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Weave Your Own Rug

I found the coolest project over at the Moda Bake Shop.  It’s a rug you make by weaving long pieces of fabric together and then tacking them down. It is finished with a non-slip rug backing and turns out just beautifully.  It looked like the perfect gift for my mom.


It also looked like too much fun to resist.  So, I picked up a jelly roll (long, pre-cut strips of lots of different kinds of fabric) from my favorite local fabric store. Oh, those ladies at Holly Hock are so nice.  I just love to shop there!

I made a few changes to the pattern to make it work for me. I think it turned out great!

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The non-slip rug backing I used is actually the stuff you can use to line the shelves of your cabinets. It was the perfect size!

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I can’t wait to give this to my mom!  Hope she doesn’t see it here first. ;)

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What a fun and easy project! It would be a great way to use up some fabric scraps, too!

Next up on my sewing table is a fabulous fabric purse that features grommets and lots of pockets inside. I can’t wait to start on it!

What are you creating right now?

I shared this post with some great friends over at…

Make it Yours @ My Backyard Eden   image monogramThe Trendy Treehouseimage

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Little Paintings for Littles

Painting with littles is, let’s be honest, dangerous. There’s all that paint, and all those little fingers. Somehow, they manage to get paint in so many places! A little paint on the back of the chair they are sitting in, a little on the apron of the table, a splotch of paint on the light switch in the bathroom, and of course a lot of paint in and on the sink.

Mess aside, painting with littles sure is a lot of fun.

I found a great idea the other day for painting little paintings with little ones.

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I love the idea of using small pieces of paper because it means the kids only need small drops of paint. Using the leftover birthday party plates for this works great! They are the perfect size and easy clean-up means a lot when there are 40 little paint covered fingers at your kitchen table!

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The project called for using small painting instruments. I gave the kids cotton swabs, toothpicks, and paperclips.

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It’s such fun to watch them work and concentrate.

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A few easy tips make painting with littles a bit easier.

~A bit of painters tape (that blue kind that you use to tape off the baseboards) works great to attach a bit of newspaper to the table to protect the surface.

~Even better, invest in a cheap vinyl tablecloth that serves as your table cover just for arts and crafts (mine finally wore out completely and so a new one is on the list!).

~When finger painting with little ones on a table that is a bit expendable or very easy to clean, get the paper just a little damp before you put it on the table. The paints will glide on smoothly and the paper will stay in place.

~Buy only the primary colors of red, blue, and yellow, as well as some black and white. Let the kids mix their own colors. It’s great learning and it’s much easier on momma to keep up with the paints!

~Have an area ready for drying the paintings! A bit of newspaper on the kitchen counter works great.

~When the painting looks great, offer a new sheet of paper and move the completed work. Left on their own, small children tend to just keep adding more and more paint until the whole thing looks like mud.

~Label the paintings as soon as they dry with the child’s name and the month and year. Display them for awhile and then file away the best of the best in a special box or drawer.

~Let the younger kids leave the table when they are ready. I find that the attention spans of my little group fall in line with their ages. I do follow the rule of, “once you wash your hands, you are done.” Otherwise, I end up running around like a crazy woman trying to be everywhere at the same time.

Have fun painting! Don’t be afraid to sit down and join the kids. Painting is a lot of fun!

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A bit abstract, but it is very pretty and colorful!

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I think the glass doors to my porch were made for this kind of display!

Have fun!