Wednesday, October 26, 2011

bring it on!

Anyone want to guess what the adult form of croup is? It's laryngitis. I bet you can guess how I know that, right? I have it and it is NO fun. On the up side, I have learned how much my kids actually do hear me when I'm talking quietly. And how, when they're yelling for me from another floor of the house and I can't answer, they will actually come and find me to ask their question face to face, which is so much nicer than being yelled at :)

Today we woke up to a winter wonderland outside! Yesterday was beautiful. The kids played outside with no jackets yesterday morning. Then, today, there's this out my front window:
It seems fitting, then, that my Christmas shopping and sewing has officially begun. The first of my ordered gifts arrived today and I have been plugging away on this year's ornaments! I decided on Matryoshka dolls this time and they are turning out super cute.

It's fun looking back on ornaments from past years.

The sea horses of 2011 (definitely one of my faves):

Boots from 2010:

Cupcakes from 2009:

And the birdies that started it all:

I'm getting excited to get them all out again!! First things first, though, I know. Halloween on Monday, yay! We will be going to our church's Harvest Festival and then handing out all the candy we get there to the trick or treaters back here. I know, tricky Mommy ;) I can't wait to show you how the costumes turned out. I think Buzz, especially, is going to be spectacular :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

family pics and random videos

We got it together enough yesterday to take some pictures of ourselves with my self timer. I really wanted this to happen before all the leaves go away! So, I quickly gathered some outfits and did everyone's hair and out we went. I am semi-happy with how they turned out. The only thing is, something small is wrong about pretty much all of them. Someone's not smiling, or someone's eyes are half shut, or someone is hiding behind someone else. But, that's okay :)

I'll start with my fave...

I super love this one!!! And, my MOM took it!!! Nice work, Mom :)

And, just for fun...

So, if you'd like to help me pick a favorite family photo, I'd love the help :)

Change of subject, but I'm a little excited about this!

Looks like it could be good!! Can it be, a non-teen-soap fro ABC?! Shocker!

Also, I'm loving the lyrics of this song lately. What a great reminder! Do it all for His glory.

And, my latest favorite song (Shane and Shane's new album is GREAT!)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Another plunker

I was looking through the new McCall's patterns online last night because they're on sale this week at JoAnn and just HAD to share this one!
Just in case the humor here is unclear, here's the line drawing photo...
See!? You mean, I can make matching footie P.J.'s for my WHOLE FAMILY!!!! GET OUT!!!!!!!!!! BAHAHAHAHA!!!!

I feel seriously bad for the man on the pattern envelope. He must have felt like a complete idiot wearing that. Can you get any less masculine than man-sized toddler p.j.'s? Just picturing Casey in a set of these has me dissolving into giggles.

On a not-so-funny note, my kids have croup. Booo. We ended up in the ER with all three of them last night. We got home at 1a.m. Double boooo. But, they were treated and are still sleeping--double YAY! Poor babies :(

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Adventures of the Rookie Homeschooler! Online Resources

I do have more actual book-in-hand resources to share, but I have also found some really great free online resources that I've found some very helpful things on, so I want to take a minute to share the wealth with you today :)

First up, this blog is written for children and explores some of the most unique and interesting of God's creatures. It's called I Spy Animals  and the kids and I have spent lots of time there reading fun facts and looking at the amazing photographs. Just today, we were glued to this Jellyfish post. Isn't this AMAZING!? 
What a great reason to talk about God's creativity!

Another great online resource is the free downloads page at  This is a site where teachers everywhere can design and post all kinds of printable materials. You can find anything and everything on this site. Just today I downloaded this Pumpkins on a vine activity and enjoyed making the little book with the girls. 

Which brings me #3: The pumpkin activity was created by Musing of Me, whose blog I subscribe to because of all her amazing printables! Some are free and some are for sale, but not expensive for a whole unit study on a fun subject. 

Another great blog I subscribe to for the same reason is Crazy for First Grade. This is a school teacher, but most of her resources are very homeschool friendly. 

Pinterest has provided some great ideas too! You can find and follow my "Homeschooling" board here
I pinned this jackolantern craft there a few days ago, after I saw them on Deep Space Sparkle Art lessons for kids (a great resource for art projects with basic supplies and searchable by grade). I can't wait to make these next week!
That's all for now! All this linking takes a lot of time :)
But I'll post more as I find them. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Baby Bedding phase 1 complete!!!

I finished the pink bedding for my friend's baby girl, Valentina. I think it turned out really beautiful!
Think she likes it??
Elizabeth picked all the fabrics. She has beautiful taste, this is seriously a bed fit for a princess!

I'm going to get started on the blue set right away, for her little brother. Isn't he PRECIOUS!?

But first, I'm working up a storm on Kelby's Buzz costume. Literally, it looks like a felt tornado hit my dining room table. It's SO much fun, though! :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Better late than never

So, not everything I make works out. Some things end up in the thrift store bag, after sitting in my closet for awhile because I'm not willing to admit that my hard work just doesn't look great on me :) But, I have a small closet, so the things I don't wear or don't love just have to go.

I made this several months ago and until today, I thought it was going to be one of those things.
(Side note, how do I manage to get sun flare like that in my photo when I'm NOT trying??)

I wasn't in love with this top and there are still a few things I'm not thrilled with, but I had this awesome Ann Taylor skirt (a thrift store find) hanging in my closet with no top to go with it and so I put these two things together this morning with a cute tan cardigan over it all and ya know what? I think it's a keeper after all!  Actually, I think I might try this pattern again, but the version with sleeves...and a lower bust line...and in a knit :)

The pattern is Simplicity 2409 and you can read my review of it here.

I made a Cynthia Rowley dress recently (this one) that I plan on wearing this weekend maybe. I've been holding off because I have my eye on some great black boots that are finally on sale and for which I finally received a coupon in my inbox :)

Speaking of Cynthia Rowley's patterns, am I the only person that thinks this latest design is a total fail??
I haven't seen anything this dowdy looking in a really long time.  The top part could be okay, especially that sleeveless version, but the skirt! WHAT? I don't think I know anyone who could pull this off. Heck, the model isn't even pulling it off.  She looks like she's headed to a prairie days festival. And, does any woman really want to emphasize her GUT like this??

I just don't get it. Am I wrong? What do you think?? Do designers sometimes forget to keep what the the average woman wants to wear in mind? Do I sound like Nina Garcia now?? Ha!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Adventures of the Rookie Homeschooler

I think I need a logo for that title--something along the lines of a mom in a super cape, hands on hips and awesome goggles. Yeah? I'll get Casey right on that. Because this won't be my first Rookie Homeschooler post, I plan on making this a series as I learn :)

Some of you have followed my homeschooling journey a little bit and know that I chose My Father's World curriculum this year.  About a month into it, I ditched it almost completely.  I have a 1st grader who is very resistant to text books, repetitive book work and anything that feels purposeless.  Added to that, I found the teachers manuals for both grades to be super confusing. I felt like everything they were actually learning and enjoying were the things I was doing outside of the curriculum and so I prayed for guidance for about a week before reaching an epiphany--my feelings of fear (of failure if I branched out on my own) and guilt (for spending money on a curriculum and then ditching it) were driving my determination to keep using it and those were not good enough reasons to continue making everyone miserable.

So, the moment I told Natalie to put away her handwriting sheet and help me make a party supply list instead (for our first day of Fall party) was the moment everything changed! For several weeks now, she's been getting excited about school, she writes letters, lists and ideas willingly and she loves to read where there's incentive involved.  We came up with fun ways to practice math too. I can expand more later on some of the things that have worked in the motivation/attitude department, but for now, I want to share a few books and resources that I am really loving!

First off, the Core Knowledge series, or other similar books are essential (in my opinion) for the homeschooler who decides not to follow a curriculum or all-inclusive program. Following the guidelines in this book gives me the much-needed reassurance that I am not going to miss something. It also has great read-aloud stories and activity ideas for every subject.

Next is something my sister told me about and I almost immediately ordered, called Literature Pockets.  We got the Nursery Rhymes one, but there are all kinds for all grades and there are even History Pockets, which I really want to try next year.
These are SO much fun! Each week, you study a different nursery rhyme and make a pocket by folding a 9x16 piece of construction paper into a pocket and filling it with the various activities that go along with that nursery rhyme. I try to run with these themes as much as possible too--like when we were on "Little Miss Muffet", we also studied spiders that week, with pictures, facts and videos. The coloring activities are great during read-aloud time.

I have to cook dinner, but I have more favorite resources to share ... Next time, on Adventures of the Rookie Homeschooler!!!! (I hope you read that in your best superhero narrator voice).

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Satin fever

Oh, boy, I finished two of three Halloween costumes this week and I am now officially sick of satin!!! What a pain! It doesn't press, it ravels like crazy and doesn't take well to pinking shears. But, at least I will have one happy little angel and one happy little fairy :)  Also, it's annoying that some costume patterns skimp on finishing.  My kids wear these things way more than just on Halloween, so I take extra care with finishing and preventing raveling!

Kelby wants to be Buzz. No problem. Sweats, felt and hot glue, here I come. No more satin, yes!

In the midst of all this and all the baby bedding that I am plugging away at, I am itching to sew myself some Fall clothes! I got some great fabrics last weekend, but in the mean time, I'm trying to make my Summer things into Fall things.  Here's what I wore to church today:
I made this skirt over the Summer with some vintage cotton. The pattern is Simplicity 2258. The ruffle tee is J.Crew, via Savers, my favorite thrift store :)  The reason I showed you this pic is because I recently found this look on Pinterest...
(From via Melissa Koster on Pinterest)

...and I think I could make the above skirt pattern work for this too. If I widen the sides a little to give it a looser look and add a ruffle at the top with some belt loops? And, how about this pattern (which I already own) for the shirt? Add a cute cardigan and there ya go.

As for Mad Men, there were some good points made in its favor in the comments after my last post :) I just don't think I'm a drama girl. Except for maybe Gilmore Girls, which I loved. But then again, the last two seasons annoyed me a lot. So, give me comedy please and throw in a few fun reality shows like Project Runway or American Pickers (which has me entranced on Netflix almost every night) and just keep the dramatic life lessons away, hahaha!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mad Men

I noticed Mad Men had arrived on Netflix' watch instantly list and so I gave it a shot the other night. I hated it. I think they meant to title the show Adultry because that seemed to be the main premise. I turned it off at the strip club, but not before I noticed with elation that the women in this show are NORMAL! They are curvy and busty and beautiful and even the stripper was probably a size 10 or 12! It reminded me that this obsession with being scrawny is still a rather new one. Maybe having meat on our bones will be back in style soon, huh? Fingers crossed. 

The reason I bring this up is because Mad Men seems to have taken the fashion world by storm. Along with Kate Middleton, the show has managed to bring classy back a little bit and I am lovin' it.  In fact, Banana Republic had a limited edition Mad Men collection. This was my favorite dress:
I don't know what the price was, but it doesn't matter. I'm going to try to make it :)

Speaking of making things, I finally got to go to Denver Fabrics today! I went because I was going to buy fabric for my military ball dress.  Then I had a bit of a reality check. I couldn't decide on fabrics or patterns, there wasn't quite enough of the few fabrics I loved, I don't really know how to work with stretch lace over an underlining and ... well, there's just not enough time. The ball is in a month and among the baby bedding, Halloween sewing and Christmas sewing, I don't have time to make a muslin and a gown. So, I let myself off the hook. I will buy a dress this year and next year I'll start thinking about it MUCH earlier!

I did get some pretty fabulous knits today, though :)  I've been seeing a lot of lace skirts around, like this one:

And this one:

When I found this fabric, I knew it would be perfect!
This photo makes it look kinda gray, but it's actually the same color as skirts in those photos :) And mine will only cost about 8 bucks, ha! 

I also got this knit:
I love this one so much! I'm going to make a long dress with it. I can't wait. 

I got some others, but I won't bore you with so many fabrics until they are actually made into something. Which might be sometime next year, ha!