Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Katie's Baptism

Yes, I know I'm almost a week late posting this, but it was a busy weekend. Our youngest, Katie, was baptized Saturday, and we enjoyed having so many of our family there. Unfortunately, we didn't get any group picture before everyone left. At least I remembered my camera and took a picture of Katie on her special day. Congratulations Katie, and we're glad you made the decision to be baptized.

Monday, June 28, 2010


I'm always willing to share a great, easy giveaway I find. If you've ever heard of Scentsy, you know what a great idea it is to have a flameless candle scent. I absolutely love them - and wish my daughter hadn't broken my warmer. Well, here's a chance to win one. Check out the Scentsy giveaway at Tatertots and Jello.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Baby by Stevie Guest Giveaway

Check out this giveaway for the cutest baby ties I've ever seen.

Baby by Stevie Guest Giveaway

Monday, June 21, 2010

6 Hours Sewing

I've found a lot of fun projects lately, so gave some a try today. First, I repurposed an old pair of jeans into a new bag. Sorry I can't remember where I saw the idea.

Next up, this fun little bag which took me ~10 minutes. The tutorial I found says it's "no-sew" but I serged the raw edges first so it wouldn't fray. You can definitely skip that step. When I finished, my daughter wanted one, and she chose the fabric left over from decorating her room. I also made 2 others, one for a friend, and one for my younger daughter, who wanted it to be a doll carrier for her "baby." All 4 took me less than an hour from start to finish, including choosing the fabric, cutting it, serging, and tying them all together.

And see this cute little shirt she's wearing? We cut off the sleeves that came past her fingertips, and made it more "summery". The best part was getting the shirt for free. Our church holds a clothing exchange each summer. One day, everyone brings all the clothes they and their family have outgrown, and the clothing is sorted, folded, and put out on tables by the church leaders. The next morning, we come get any clothes we need. I outfitted both my girls with pants, dresses, and skirts for the next year, as well as found a shirt and tie and a pair of shoes for my oldest.

One last thing, I wanted to share this newest favorite sewing staple. I found this sticky roll of measuring tape at the fabric store, and knew it would come in handy. This is what I have left after putting 3' on my sewing table (handy for cutting elastic when I'm in the middle of a project), 3' on my cutting table, and 4' on my craft table.

And yes, I did say 6 hours of sewing. But in addition to the bags, I also cut off and hemmed 3 pairs of pants (for my shorty youngest), cut off another pair of pants and made them shorts, hemmed the sleeves on that white shirt, and sewed another shirt together I've had cut out for a few months. Too bad my girls both went through growth spurts - the shirt won't fit them for long.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Katie's 8!

My baby is 8! Today is my youngest's birthday.

We started by surprising her with Grandma and Grandpa coming over for breakfast. This is a treat, because I don't usually fix breakfast. Between school for them and me, and me being a night owl, we've turned into a cold cereal kind of family. Well, I drug myself out of bed early to fix eggs and bacon (and Grandma brought cinnamon rolls!), but Katie was already up. I think she was excited it was her birthday.

Gifts followed food, and we called the party done (so Dad and Grandpa could get to work).

We finished the day with Katie's choice for dinner: lasagna, cheese toast (french bread with garlic and parmesan) and salad. And since we weren't having a party tonight, I skipped the cake and we had pie for dessert instead.

Now the kids are "camping out" in the backyard, and it has been officially dubbed the "best birthday ever!"

Monday, June 14, 2010

Wardrobe Additions

My girls were seriously needing some dresses and new church clothes, but our budget is tight. So, I dug out this navy material that was supposed to be Christmas dresses 3 years ago. The results? Two beautiful girls with nice dresses.

Then, I figured they needed more, so I whipped up these skirts and found the shirts to match real cheap at Wal-Mart. I thought it was going to be hard to find the right colors to match the material, but lucky me, these are the "in" colors this year. They both have one, but K's shirt is pink.

I LOVE how these skirts turned out, and I didn't even use a pattern for them. Just made 'em up by my little ole self. I've seen a bunch of girls wearing them, and decided they'd be easy enough to copy, so with their waist and leg measurements, I just made them up.

Well, I had some other bits of fabric, and got carried away. So, I ended up sewing some more. . .

Well, I didn't stop there, although that's all I have pictures for right now. No wonder this past semester was so busy, I spent tons of time sewing (really, it was to keep my sanity).

Now, I need some new great projects . . . Any suggestions?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Awesome Author

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Letter assignment

To Whom It May Concern:

It has come to my attention that our students, and my children, are required to watch Channel One programming each day during the school year. I remember Channel One being introduced when I was a student myself at Pleasant Grove Junior High. What I don’t remember, is anything but news. I am currently taking a class on media at Brigham Young University, and have learned that Channel One is not just news, but contains at least 2 minutes of advertising directed at our students each day.

As a parent, I don’t let my children watch advertising on television. We don’t subscribe to any cable or satellite television, so are unable to see those commercial messages that come with it. I thought Channel One was a fairly adequate substitute for the news my kids don’t watch at home. But I don’t want them learning anything extra. Our world is too focused on commercialism already. I know they will see plenty of advertising in the world, but I try to mediate the effects it may have. I don’t think it appropriate to target children with extra advertising every chance possible, especially in a setting where I, as their parent, have no say in what they see.

I would like to see Channel One removed from our schools. If children don’t watch regular television news at home, news stories that need to be covered as current events can and should be covered in regular classes. And children still have access to news at home via internet, parents, and peers. We don’t need more advertising. And if there are worthwhile benefits to having Channel One in schools, parents should be made aware of what is being shown and have the ability to decide what is best for their own children. Please consider that like all curriculum, parents should ultimately decide what is best for our children to learn.

Thank you,

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Upgrades and Replacements

Just a little thought about the effects of media . . .

For a while, I've noticed an attitude in my children that if something breaks or gets lost, it's no big deal, we just get a new one. Now, maybe I've been quick to replace some things, but I try to be careful with my "stuff" and take care of the things I (and we as a family) have. My kids are just careless. They leave things out, drop stuff anywhere, and don't care if something breaks (unless yelling at a sibling that it's their fault). We've had bikes, rollerblades, and a scooter stolen because they got left out on the front lawn. We've ripped and cut clothes, doll clothes, towels, and even couches (to see what was inside) without thinking about how that would ruin the item. And what's worse, my kids are so quick to say 'I don't like this anymore, I want something better,' or a different color, or a different model. Just today, my daughter threw her hairbrush on the ground in a fit of anger, then calmly came to me and said, "Mom, my brush broke. I need a new one."

Now, I understand that some children in the world do get upgrades whenever they want. That last years clothes can be tossed because they're out of style. Or that they don't have to take care of their stuff because they can just replace it if lost or stolen. But I don't live like that. I haven't raised my kids to think that way, either. We struggle financially, and I try to be as frugal as possible. I love this saying my grandma used to quote: "Use it up, wear it out, Make it do, or do without." So why are my kids so thoughtless and selfish in these matters?

Well, sitting in my media class, I keep thinking of examples in the media (mostly TV and movies) where this happens. I've never seen a show that promotes taking care of our belongings. You don't see many characters that have to worry about finances and can't buy the new things they want. Those characters and those attitudes are rare, they're the exception. But in Real Life, look how many people are struggling financially. Look at the economy, and tell me we couldn't all learn to be a bit more frugal. I'm not saying it's all TV's fault, but television has become such a big part of everyone's lives, that children have started to believe that what they see is the way life really is. Sometimes, it makes me wish for a simpler life.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Favorite Books

What are the best and favorite kids books? It's easy enough for me to make a list of my favorites, which are mostly YA, but what are kids reading? And what about Middle Grade books? Well, I've got a perfect sample right here at home, so I asked them.

My youngest, age 7, favors Junie B. Jones. She's a spunky little girl who we follow through her early elementary school adventures.

Both my middle and oldest kids listed Fablehaven (the series and single books) by Brandon Mull as favorites. They've read them multiple times, and are always wanting to tell me about it or read me lines. I keep having to remind them "no spoilers" because I haven't finished the series yet.

In addition, my 10 year old likes Eclipse. She's begged me for years to read the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer, and I finally let her start (although she did read Eclipse w/o permission). I asked her to clarify if she was favoring the series or just Eclipse, and it's just Eclipse. I'll throw in my 2 cents as well. Many people don't like New Moon (the second book), but give it a chance. I definitely think it captures the most emotion, and I do think it shows Bella and Jacob's relationship better than Twilight showed Bella and Edward's. But, Eclipse is also my favorite of the series.

Lastly, my teenage son recommends The Ranger's Apprentice by John Flanagan. It's a series favored by a lot of boys, featuring Will, who starts as an apprentice to a Ranger, an elite soldier in medieval society. Fighting and coming-of-age, falling in love, making mistakes - all captured in a believable male character.

I know it's just a few, but those are our favorites. And to end the list, my favorite. I think this is one of the best series written in the last few years. And, as a social commentary, I think everyone (old enough) should read this book: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The last book in the series, Mockingjay, gets released later this summer.