Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My Favorite Crafts

List It Tuesday

I thought I would start with my favorite crafts. I love crafts. I always have. It is really hard not to go crazy at the craft store or office supply store. In no particular order:

  • Re-purpose-ing, now also known as up-cycling. I love jars, especially. Empty jars, especially big ones from Costco nuts or Mayonnaise. I usually remove the old label and sometimes, if I use it to contain a gift or something, I will glue on a new label I cut out of scrapbooking paper. I use decoupage glue so that it becomes waterproof, then I can write on it with a a permanent marker. Kids love getting a jar full of random things for their birthdays. I love repurposing other things too. I totally want to make my daughter a play kitchen out of an old night stand or something soon, but I don't think we have the room for it right now.
  • Sewing. Again, I especially love to sew gifts. There is nothing that says "I really put thought into your gift" like a home-sewn craft. Of course you have to get really creative, but with Pinterest, these days, there are lots of free patterns and ideas. Lately I have made hand-sewn cards in a kind of applique style.
Mother's Day Cards, machine sewn applique
Baby Shower Gift
One for Big Sis and one for Baby Sis
  • Cross stitch. I don't know why, but I like counted cross stitch. I love how the pixels you put on a canvas eventually meld to reveal the big picture. I don't have a lot of time to cross stitch but it saved my sanity when I used to work and had a lot of downtime and after my surgery two years ago I couldn't do anything and cross stitch helped me pass the time, plus I made everyone's Christmas gifts by hand that year.
Geeky Cross-Stitch I made for my husband on Father's Day
It means "there's no place like home"
  • Scrapbooking. I have NO time to scrapbook, nor do I have the budget, but I love to do it. I am still working on my wedding album (we have been married seven years) but I did finish my daughter's baby book. After I finish my son's baby book I will probably just do digital scrapbooking. I have an album for every year saved on my iPhoto, ready to order when we have the money to order it. I have some scrapbooking supplies but I use them for card-making, repurposing and random projects more than I do for scrapbooking.

  • Cake Decorating. I always make my children's birthday cakes, and sometimes my nieces' cakes, but I really love adult birthday cakes too, which tend to have a "flavor theme" instead of a cartoon character. I like making desserts  or my husband's work too because they are always very appreciated. I make gluten-free and regular cakes. I took a cake decorating class on a whim back in college and it has paid for itself many times over.
"Boots" Cake

"Thomas" Cake
  • Organizing. (Is that a craft? sure it is!) You can't tell by looking at my house but I am in a constant state of "getting organized" so it must be a craft! I love bins and those cute little photo-organizing boxes. I love dollar store plastic bins too, especially if they are different colors. I love binders and lists, so I keep my lists organized... in binders. Apparently I have a type of ADD (without hyperactivity) which I have compensated for by making lots of lists and keeping obsessively organized, but it works, so I'm embracing it. 
  • Cooking. My addiction to office supplies is only overshadowed by my love for cooking tools. I sold Pampered Chef for a while, mostly to get all the discounted stuff. They have the best quality kitchen tools, many of the ones I have I got before I got married and they are still in great condition. My kitchen would not be complete without my Kitchenaid Mixer, however, which is indispensable if doing any gluten-free cooking.
  • Photoshop Elements. I recently discovered Elements. It was given to me as a gift but it took me a year to really sit down and figure it out. It really takes a project to inspire you to learn a new program, otherwise the skills are all just theoretical. I'm still playing with it but is really handy for making business cards, logos and cute
  • Homeschooling or Kids Crafts. I love preparing and organizing crafts for kids to do. Luckily my kids (and their friends and cousins) love to do "projects"--as we call them-- and I get to do this for get-togethers and birthday parties. I used to do daycare and this was the funnest part. Now I'm homeschooling and my precocious 3 1/2 year old loves to paint, craft and cook too. Eventually I will teach her to sew and decorate cakes if she wants to learn, but these days we do a lot of theme crafts to make learning fun instead of a chore. Right now I enjoy designing my own curriculum around her interests. Some people call it "unschooling" but that sounds so unstructured compared to what we do, I like to call it Intentional Learning. 
Painting with Pudding

Mixing together the Play Rice we dyed with food color.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lying Liers and Their Lies

I have always been fascinated by body language. It might be the introvert in me, or maybe I just like people watching. I have read books like "Your Body Doesn't Lie" (about applied kinesiology) and I am fascinated by Metalists. I don't believe anyone can "read minds" but I do believe some of us can spot visual cues more naturally and intuitively than others.

I recently watched a TED talk about How to Spot a Liar. The speaker, Pamela Meyer, says that many times we are willing participants in a lie. At first I thought she was a pessimist, but the more I thought about it there more I guess it must be true. If it is true, though, that people lie as much as she says we do, then I guess I understand why I seem to fail personality tests because "nobody is that honest". REALLY?? I beg to differ. I must be more honest than the average person, but I consider myself to have plenty of tact and I choose to use diplomacy and redirection rather than flat out white lies, but technically I guess that is lying by omission. Or whatever?? I am often just wanting to avoid hurting someone's feelings.

So it made me sad. That we lie to each other. It is part of our culture. Does it have to be? Is it true that we perpetuate this in our society and that we are often willing participants in the lie? We look the other way, so to speak, or even lie to ourselves and acknowledge the lie as truth, then why do we do this? Does it serve a purpose or does it just add to the confusion of the thread of reality that we claim to hold on to? What is important here?

Lies do not matter as much from people who don't matter as much to you so I have to examine it from the perspective of a loving and trusting relationship. That of spouses, maybe. Meyer says that spouses lie more to each other than people who are dating. WOW. Ok, lets assume that it's true. Why is this the case? I guess it depends on the people and what they are lying about.

If a lie is self-serving and to protect one from the consequences of something they have done wrong, then lying is bad. Sure, white lies are still lies, but do we want truth or do we want kindness? If the truth is not kind, and you really love a person, are you going to tell them the truth or are you going to be kind? Do we fault people for wanting to be kind? Do we fault people who tell the truth even if it hurts? We can't have it both ways.

In friendships we cannot keep friends if we are brutally honest all of the time. Nor can we keep from annoying people if we say "that's not true, you just said that to be nice" all the time. It is hard for a perceptive person such as myself to accept lies. I thought it was because I wanted honest interactions, but maybe it is OK to accept kindness too. If I have to choose, I would choose kindness from those who I know love me.

"But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; 

but the greatest of these is love." -- 1 Corinthinans 13:13

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Family Hike and Science Factory

We started off our week with a family hike. Blueberry has taken an interest in our point and shoot camera so I have been showing her how to take pictures with it. She takes pictures of flowers, people and her toys.

Looking for acorns

Showing me the acorns she collected

 During Nonna's visit this week we took advantage of the nice weather and opted for a day at the park. Blueberry needed to get outside.

 The Science Factory preschool program has started. We are lucky to have friends to go with this year.

He always falls asleep in the carrier.

We made a butterfly out of construction paper, then she painted it Rorschach-style with multiple colors. She has a lot of watercoloring experience so putting a "big blob" on her page was something new and different. Here is the result:

My smart, thoughtful, kind, cooperative, witty, funny, and beautiful little girl.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Apples, Apples, Apples

Can you guess our theme for the week? Blueberry knows the letter A but we love apples, so we repeat this theme in the fall.

Some of the projects we did this week are:

Stamping with Apples

Apple Taste Testing

Gala were Blueberry's Favorite

Ten Apples Up On Top, by Dr. Seuss

I have an apple punch so we do many projects with them. For this one I printed a picture of Blueberry at the bottom of a page and as we read the book she glued more apples on top of her head in the picture. She wanted to do it again the next day so it must be fun!

Here is our Smiley Tiger

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Blueberry and her Bible

Blueberry has started asking me to read her Bible Story Book to her. We got her a "beginner bible" (early reader) with activities and discussion points. The idea is to get her in the habit of doing devotions. I was not taught to do devotions as a child and honestly I am still learning to make it a regular habit. It touches my heart when she brings me her Bible Story book.

After every chapter we talk about the story. Though the discussion points in the book focus more on "obeying", my discussions focus more on Love. The Father loves us no matter what and these people obeyed because they were loved by God and they trusted that God knew what was best for them. God rewarded them for obeying but he loved them no matter what.

At the end of the story of Moses, one of the questions is "Who should you obey?" There are four pictures under the question. They are labeled "Mother", "Father", "God", "Bad Friends". We talked about that, but then I asked her "Which of these loves you?" She was smart enough to figure out that people who are "bad friends" must not love you, and that Mommy, Daddy and God love her and want what is best for her, so that is why they tell her what to do sometimes.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Seventh Anniversary

For our seventh wedding anniversary we took our children out to dinner. We have a date planned for next weekend, but it is important for us to share this celebration with our children. We had so much fun at Buffalo Wild Wings. (No, we aren't insane and our children are not perfect, but they are pretty awesome!) That place is perfect for taking the family with little ones because everyone is loud and the wait staff is super friendly and even interact with them.

As I sat there enjoying the company and the tasty wings, I reflected on how when we got married seven years ago, I couldn't imagine how great my life would turn out. I feel no "seven year itch" and I am as in love with my husband as I was seven years ago, if not more. My children are fun and bright and did I mention fun?? We have our ups and downs but overall I have no complaints.

My husband and I acknowledge that neither one is perfect. Perhaps it is our humility that holds us together. Definitely our love for each other. Forgiveness on both sides. Some things that have brought us together have been our struggles so when we are told to be thankful even for our struggles, it is because they are there for a reason. We are imperfect that we may show forgiveness and grace to each other. Those are opportunities to truly show love and devotion.

Things are getting better. Our family has gotten bigger. Though parenthood was in our plans, even we could not imagine how amazing it would be.

This coming May we will have been together for 10 years and though it doesn't seem like it could possibly be that long, I can't imagine my life without him.

Fall and Football

Last week we officially started homeschool. Of course, when you homeschool, you don't really ever stop. Any minute you may find a learning opportunity. Learning is fun at our house. When Daddy comes home and asks "What did you do for school today?" the answer is, and should be "nothing, we didn't do school today." At least I think that is true for preschool and kindergarten. In reality we are always learning, always curious, answering questions, solving problems.

So my biggest project for last week was making this calendar to learn the days of the week and months of the year. We also learned songs to help us remember months and days. The days of the week are from The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which is one of Blueberry's favorite books. She loves to move the sticky arrows every morning.

Our theme for the first week was Fall and Football. She traced fall words and we did some football themed activity pages. She also did a lot of workbook pages and we made cards for grandparents and great grandparents who are Packer fans.

Little Tiger likes to sit and play with toys while I do school with Blueberry.

We had a playdate with a friend. We also did a lot of playing together at home. 

Little Tiger is very ambitious and is wanting to stand and walk. He takes very large, deliberate steps when we support him across the floor.

On the weekend Blueberry finally was able to purchase her "My Little Pony Magazine" that she has been saving up for with her chore (we call it a cooperation chart) money.