Tuesday, February 28, 2012

World Traveler

I absolutely must tell you about this! I'm sure most of you are familiar with Highlights, but we recently got an offer in the mail for their Top Secret Adventures kits and I signed us up for the trial. WOW, this is fun!! We finished our China adventure this week and subscribed to receive more right away! The girls looooooved it and for homeschoolers, it is rich with teaching opportunities. One could build quite a unit study around it. We had just learned about China in ancient history, so that made it even better. We practiced math skills, reading, writing, history, geography and more, without Natalie really even realizing it, muahahahaha! ;)

Basically, you're a spy trying to figure out clues to a mystery by working through a series of puzzles in the workbook. And the guidebook is very nicely done, a keeper, for sure! Older kids could do these themselves, but since mine are younger, we worked through it together.
Here's a few of the suspects. Pretty funny :)
Anyway, a very well-done product from Highlights! Just had to share.

While I'm on the world traveling topic, enjoy a new favorite from Andrew Peterson :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

toys and toilets

When Casey leaves town for awhile, I find it helpful to have some new (to us) things to keep the kiddos busy :) My friend Mary and I went to Savers a few nights ago and I scored some cool toys and tons of books for the kids. My best score, though, was this awesome marble track building set. Natalie literally played with this every waking hour yesterday!

These are not cheap. I checked. But, mine was 3 bucks. Nice!

On to my own new toy :)  I have been dreaming of a serger for a long time. I started to get back into sewing clothing last Spring and have felt the absence of a serger keenly ever since. A new one, or even a used, newer model was out of the question. They are crazy expensive! So, I started looking for old, since I am still SO happy with my 1970's Pfaff sewing machine. Well, I found one. She's about 20 years old and sews like a dream:

I paid just under $200 and couldn't be happier! I think it's kinda cute that my machines match too ;) I've made a few things on it already. A top that I'm not thrilled with and a nightgown that I really love. I'll share soon.

Annnnnd, Casey and his Dad and brother were super busy in our upstairs bathroom over the weekend!! We've been wanting to start tackling some house projects and decided the 43-year-old lineoleum and toilets upstairs would be a good place to start. The toilets we had were harvest gold and avocado green, indicative of the era! The new ones are white. And chair height--very important to Casey ;)  Here's an in-progress photo. I'll save the full reveal until we have moldings!

A lot of work and a big mess, but totally worth it! Even though the construction dust has Layla completely covered in hives!!!! At least, that's my best guess as to what caused them. Poor baby :(

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Boy Babies!

I have had three friends have baby boys recently!! Last time I made a pair of baby shoes I thought to myself, "I'm okay with never making another pair of these again." I needed a new go-to baby gift than the shoes and taggie blankets, so when I saw this free pattern, I knew I'd found it.

Behold, the "Bapron":
I made mine reversible:
I know it has not always been easy to find super cute boy stuff--fabric, clothes, anything. Well, times have changed! There are SO many cute boy options now, don't you think??

These were really easy (although making bias binding is not that quick of a process) and a huge hit!! One sweet friend has not actually received hers yet, but I'm hoping to get them to her soon!

Now, brace yourself for extreme cuteness. When the new McCall's patterns came out, I could not resist this one. It's adorable. It has every element that a baby could want--soft minky fabric, ribbon tags, knots, etcc... My babies would have adored a lovey like this!!
I made the alligator for baby Gavin. Sooooooo cute.

Annnnnnd, some totally unrelated photos of my cute boy :)
Aren't legos just the best toy ever?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

New Look 6104

Well, I'm excited, because this might be the most store-bought looking top I've ever made! After the new line of New Look patterns came out, I snatched this one up because I had a gray and white stripe that was perfect for it!
I faked the button placket. I tried it on with the front pinned closed and didn't have to struggle at all to get it on, so I sewed that puppy up, rather than deal with button holes and that annoying gap that usually occurs with button down tops. 
You can read my review of New Look 6104 here

Friday, February 3, 2012

Snow Day

What to do on a snow day when it's the same as all the other days -- only you can't leave the house? I knew all that beautiful weather we've had lately was just a teaser. I knew it would dump on us soon. It's February, after all! Casey was supposed to drive home from Nebraska today. Not happening. But, he might be able to fly out tonight instead. That would be nice :)

Anyway, Casey has lots of trips scheduled in the coming months. One of the things no one tells you when you start homeschooling is how isolating an lonely it can feel at times. Combine that with Casey's absence and I have had some desperate-for-adult-conversation days in the past few weeks! However, I think often "loneliness" is just our giving in to feelings of self-pity. Dwelling on it, feeling sorry for ourselves. When I stop thinking of this time alone as an affliction and start thinking of it as a God-given period of calm and solitude, then it's much easier to see it as a gift and just embrace it! So, I can be thankful for ths time in my life when I don't have many commitments and can stay home a lot and get things done.  Plus, we're never really alone, now, are we?

One of the things I've been doing to occupy my evenings is catching up on scrapbooking (as if that's possible, ha!) Here's what I've made recently:

Happy Snow Day to you! See, there's something you don't get in the South. Ha!