Saturday, October 27, 2012

Out on the town

It's October...and I love it!  Tonight was the annual Fall Festival in our downtown area.  Another fun thing about living in a small town.  People decorate the lamp posts with pumpkins, hay, scarecrows and more and make everything so festive.  There are booths set up and people giving out candy.  It's a lot of fun for the kids and parents and the weather couldn't have been nicer. 
It also means that it's time for me to come up with some costumes.  It would be easy to just go to the store and buy some...but I guess I'm too cheap for that : ).  I also like to come up with stuff on my own if I'm able to.
 Here's my a bag of jelly beans : ).  I got the idea off of Pinterest.  I had a big Hancock fabrics bag, so I cut out some leg holes, covered up the Hancock's logo with some typing paper and wrote "Jelly Belly" on the front.  Then I filled it with little blown up balloons : ).  Easy and it only cost me about $1 to do it!  Everyone thought she was so cute, too...including me!
 My little Darth Vadar ran into some storm troopers while we were out : ).  The big one just happens to be Mr. Mike, one of Isaac's Sunday School teachers and the other one is his son.  Pretty cool!
 And here's my little crew.  The little man in the back is a dino...passed down from big brother.  Glad it fit so good!
Here we are...the entire Daniel crew!  Daddy couldn't resist wearing his GA Bulldog hat and shirt...very festive.  And appropriate.  I think it helped because the Dawgs did great tonight!  What a game! 
Happy Holidays!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sew fun!

Ok...I couldn't resist the play on words : ).  I've been thinking and thinking about potential sewing projects for weeks now.  Mentally I settled on making a big floor pillow for Sophie. Let me preface this whole project idea by saying I'm a thinker.  Not that my thoughts are especially deep thoughts...but my mind is always going.  It could be thinking about the order of how I should do things to make the day go smoothly, thinking about how to cook a meal so that everything comes out around the same time, or, lately, what kind of project my limited sewing skills could handle.  I think I get a little overly-optimistic sometimes...making plans to do more than I can really do on my own.  Oh...I'm also determined.  When I get something in my head...I pretty much can't settle until I've at least attempted it.  To support my need to be crafty, I read an article the other day that said something about how doing a craft project helps stimulate your brain in a good way...and gives you some nice, peaceful feelings (I think it said that last part...hmmm).  A craft project was needed in my life.

Pinterest was consulted...and I saw many, many things I wanted to do.  The pillow stuck out in my mind, so I researched.  I compared different projects and tutorials, settling on a combination of a few things and trying to make something pretty and easy.  Off to Hobby Lobby we went and I picked out some coordinating fabrics.  I love fabric.  If I buy the fabric, I feel like I'm in the first stage of commitment.  Plus it's fun looking at all those bright colors and matching them up.  I's bad.  After buying the stuff I got back to my Mom's house (where I'm recuperating from surgery) and got some paper and drew out how big I wanted the pillow to be, using the sophisticated method of finding one of those neck things you can put your keys on and putting a pencil at the other end and using it as a compass : ).  I made sure I had enough fabric to do the backing, then by folding my circle in half, then fourths, then eighths, I determined how big I wanted one piece of my fabric "pie" to be.  I added on some to the sides for seam allowance, and cut out one triangle piece to use as my pattern.  Then I cut all my pieces out for the front of my pillow.  The cutting and measuring took quite a while, so I didn't start sewing until the next day.  Mom had to help me get started, but once we got going the front part went fast...and it wasn't too hard!  Then I made a button with a button kit mom had and sewed it on the top.  Putting the back on was a little tricky because I wanted to put piping in.  The piping was pre-made, but the tab on it was kind of small, so it took some careful sewing.  We had to go over it a couple of times to get it right.  But...the finished product was great!
 pillow pieces cut out
Finished! : )
Today...the day after the pillow project was done, I was determined to make some cute little ties for Seth and Isaac I had seen on Pinterest.  I followed the links to this tutorial that includes a pattern you can print out.  This was a fun and not too difficult project!  I used some of the leftover fabric from the pillow project.
 front of the ties
The back...I love the little bit of green peeking through!
Aren't they cute!?  I was proud that I t did these all by myself! : )  Getting the boys to wear them will be another story! : )
Now to figure out what project to do next! : )

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Eight Years and Going Strong~

Looking at this picture, I can't believe my dear husband and I have had eight years together.  It was a beautiful day on October 16, 2004...very similar to the day we're having now.  Blue skies, a nice temperature...I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day!  Just feeling the breeze blow through the open windows where I'm sitting right now brings back memories of that day.  But as I look around the room I see the evidence of eight years of life that have happened since that day in October...a little baby laying down playing with a burp cloth, my Sophie girl walking in the room asking why it's so cool in the house, and Isaac hanging out with his big sis.  And here I am...recuperating at my parent's house from my third surgery this year. 
When you walk down the aisle on your wedding day, all bright eyed, full of excitement for the future you're entering into, you don't know the road the Lord is going to lay out for you.  For me, it's been a road filled with adventure, excitement, joys, sorrows, hardships, and challenges that I never imagined.  Would I change anything?  Not at all.  I have said and done things that I wish I hadn't, but through those experiences I learned more about myself and have been given opportunities to repent and receive grace, which I needed to do to grow.  Another reason I wouldn't change anything is that through all of our hardships, God has brought my husband and I closer together.  Our faith and trust in the Lord has grown as well.  God has provided for us through the times of plenty and of want.  He's taught us to go out on faith together and we've seen His blessings.  We've been able to go on mission trips together, travel to fun places, and spend days recuperting in hospital rooms.  There have been "blah" days, sad days, and days we could hardly contain our joy.  I know the Lord brought Joe and I together to sanctify us, draw us closer to Himself, and experience a relationship that He brought together and has blessed.  I am so thankful! 
The Lord has been good to us.  This has been a tough year for us in a lot of ways, but I also think I've seen the Lord's goodness and provision this year more than any other.  May the next years continue to grow us closer to Him, to each other, and be blessed!
I love you, dear husband!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Learning about Japan

 Last week was a little different for us because we had a field trip planned for Thursday.  I knew that the kids would be learning about Japan at the field trip, so I thought we would do activities about Japan at home.  We started with Allen Say's book "Grandfather's Journey".  This book has beautiful illustrations and tells the story of a man who travels from Japan to America and sees the land, meets people, but becomes homesick and travels back.  The story continues through a couple of generations in this man's family.  The first day we read the story we just did a color sheet I found here of traditional Japanese dress.  The second day we put star stickers on the places that grandfather traveled in the story.
 The third day I found an idea on doing a poster on landforms here.  The lesson suggests using different types of materials to do the poster, like cardboard, foil, etc.  I wanted to do that, but I just ran out of time (plus I was a little tired) to gather the materials.  Instead I just drew out the landforms with a permanent marker as best I could and let the kids get their watercolors out and paint.  It turned out great!  Now it's hanging in our school area and the kids can look at it in the future when we talk about landforms.
 Thursday we had our field trip at the Georgia Children's Museum in Macon.  It was so neat!  They had so many fun things for the kids to do on their own...playing with plastic fruits and vegetables, lots of dress up things, bubbles, blocks, and more.  Our guide gave us an informative powerpoint presentation on Japan.  He also taught the kids the "rock, paper, scissors" game in Japanese, and read them a story that takes place in Japan.
 Some of the kids playing the game.
 Then another guide taught the kids about the Japanese tea ceremony.  The kids got to taste some green tea.  It was neat.
The last part of the field trip was craft time.  The kids were able to draw and paint cherry blossom trees and Japanese caligraphy.  Overall, I would say this was a great field trip! 
Some other neat things you could do with Japan and "Grandfather's Journey" that I didn't get a chance to do are:
*A study on family trees and make your own family tree
*Talk about birds (the grandfather likes songbirds) and do some bird watching (here is a link to a free printable bird pack...with games, handwriting exercises, math activities, etc...all birds and very cute!)
*Cook some Japanese sweets (here is a link to some recipes)
*Make some origami (a link to some easy origami ideas)

We really enjoyed our week!  Next week I won't be planning a theme because I will be having surgery on Wednesday.  Please keep me in your prayers...that the surgery will go smoothly, that I won't have any complications, and that the months to come will go well.  I have to say, even in the midst of hardship God has been SO GOOD to us!  I am so grateful for His special care and provision in so many ways.  Our family...and church family...have ministered to us and helped us throughout this year.  We have been blessed.
May God bless you in the coming days!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Do I have the patience?!

 I absolutely LOVE these jelly roll floor pillows.  I think they would be adorable for the kids and so great for sitting on the floor while watching tv, reading, playing games, and more.  I can think of so many great ways to use them!  They're a really big size, too.  Perfect for my girl and my growing boys.  I saw some other floor pillows on this blog that only used one yard of fabric.  Then I saw this pillow and was in love.  This mom who writes the "Living with Punks" blog has so many cute and creative ideas!  How does she do it?  I want to know.  Because I want to do it, too!

The "Punks" blog linked me to a tutorial on how to make the jelly roll pillow, step by step.  Here's the link.  It's neat because it tells you how to use your scraps to make another, smaller, pillow.  I like that idea.  I think they would be so cute in my girl's room!  Two made with fabric to match the boys' room would be so cute, too. 
So all this is really awesome and makes me want to have some.  The only I have the patience and endurance to complete just one of these pillows...not to mention 4.  I'm not really sure if I could do it
: (.  #1...I have very little experience sewing.  This was obvious to me once again when they were throwing out words like "selvage" and had tools like a cutting mat and some kind of roller looking thing that would cut the fabric.  I have a pair of orange-handled scissors and a sewing machine I don't know how to good.  #2...I have three kids 5 and under.  Enough said on that one. #3...I'm about to have surgery next week...what am I thinking?!  #4...I just tried to cut two strips myself...and I feel like giving up already...not a good sign.  The odds are against me...but I still REALLY want to do this project.  I would have to go use someone's sewing machine (Mom?) and really buckle down to get one done.  I'm hopeful.  *pause* Just finished cleaning up the baby and and the "big boy"'s potty maybe I'm not as hopeful as I was 10 minutes ago. 
We'll see! ; )