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Tag Archives: Homemade

Summer Bruchetta Sampler Dinner

We’ve had a great deal of heat lately here, ozone warnings, and humidity too.  It’s just too hot for a stew, chili, or any other heavy meal.  Since Jk likes to cook, I wanted to teach her something new, easy, and light for such a day as today.  While grocery shopping yesterday we found bags of bruchetta bread on sale.  When I saw that I thought…”Hmm great snack food for those times when I don’t feel like eating much.”  But after watching Iron Chef last night something else came to me…”Why not teach Jk how to make Bruchetta?”  So tonight after a day of running errands, I decided it would be the perfect time to do just that.  We made Chicken Salad Bruchetta, a simple Cucumber-Garden Style Cream Cheese Bruchetta, Ham-Asparagus and Mozzarella Bruchetta, Tomato-Basil and Mozzarella Bruchetta, and last a Portabello Mushroom-Sweet Pepper and Ham Bruchetta.  At first she didn’t think she was going to like anything but the Ham and Asparagus ones, but as we cooked I had her taste everything to make sure the seasoning was alright.  I wish I could really describe in a few words the look on her face with each taste.  Her eyes widened, then closed as she savored each bite.  Then finally a big smile would cross her face and she would say…”Oh Mom, that is so delicious!”  Needless to say, she didn’t just eat one piece of each type of Bruchetta.  In fact, I quit counting how many times she went back for more after the third time.   Her favorite was the Tomato-Basil and Mozzarella Bruchetta.  My granddaughter, Aubrey, loved helping and her favorite was the Chicken Salad Bruchetta.  My husband and I loved them all, but we aren’t as picky as the two girls are.  Talk about a successful adventure into new foods…this was one!  Here are the pictures of our Summer Bruchetta Sampler Dinner.

Tomato-Basil and Mozzarella Bruchetta

Portabello Mushroom-Sweet Peppers and Ham Bruchetta

Cucumber and Garden Style Cream Cheese Bruchetta

Ham Rollups with Aspargus and Mozzarella Bruchetta

 

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So Much To Do…So Little Time!

 Lately there has been a lot of to-do over an attack on women here in the United States…mostly aimed at Stay-at-Home Moms like me.  The “liberated” women feel we don’t really do anything, and don’t consider what we do as “work”.  In the same way many Stay-at-home moms feel that these liberated moms need to spend more time being  a mom and wife at home.  In the middle are those moms who do both, or have done both…this is where I have fallen in the past. Truth be told, I’ve been in all 3 areas now.  I’ve been that stay-at-home mom, the mom who stayed home that worked part time or worked full time from home, and I’ve been that mom who works full time outside the home.  Of the 3 the two that are the hardest to do are to be a full-time stay-at-home mom, or a stay-at-home mom who has to work part time or work from home at the same time.

When I only worked outside the home and didn’t have to do all the housework, deal with children’s needs all day because they were in school while I worked, or do all the cooking, I had only a third of the responsibility that I have now.  I was able to come home and cook every 3rd night since my husband and 2nd oldest daughter took turns cooking the other 2  nights, or because there was more money in the budget we could eat out more often.  We cleaned house on Saturdays as a family, each carrying an equal share.  With my youngest in preschool while I worked I didn’t have to deal with half the day of her needs, and when we were all home, my husband, older daughter, and I were able to split the time she needed in the evening and on weekends.  Things were a lot easier, and that made working easier.  The downside was I missed many of my youngest daughter’s milestones.  Before this time I had been a single mom, who worked sometimes 3 jobs to support my daughters, and that was hard because I had to do all the cleaning, cooking, and still work while my daughters were either in school or at a babysitter.  I missed even more than.

As a stay-at-home mom, working part-time or full-time work-at-home jobs I carried both my work load and all the normal mom and wife responsibilities.  I worked either in theater and had to take my daughters with me so I could keep an eye on them, or for a while I worked as a home reader for Focus on the Family, which meant getting my daughter off to school, walking to the office, picking up mail, then walking to the office and dropping it off when I was done coding it to go to the proper office, walk home and pick up my daughter at the bus stop, then spend the rest of the day, cooking and cleaning, doing homework with my daughter, sewing, and whatever else was necessary for each day.  I didn’t have a dryer, so I often had to sneak in a load or two of laundry, and hang them on the clothesline to dry.  I often ate no breakfast and snuck in a light lunch of fruit and a salad just to get through the day.  My ex husband didn’t think what I did counted as work, so when he came home he expected me to carry all the house chores including mowing, weeding, caring for the garden, and dealing with my oldest daughter’s need.  He would just come home and sleep or watch sports on television.  I often went to bed at 2 or 3 in the morning when my house work was done, and rose at 6 to get breakfast for the two of them and prepare my daughter for school.  I really never had time to read a book, relax, and I can’t even tell you of one television show or movie that I watched back then.

As a stay-at-home mom now, my cup is full and overflowing!  My to-do list for just this week and next is unbelievable.  Here is what that list looks like…

1.  Do laundry…this is a daily thing with my daughter and husband, even more when my granddaughter is here.

2.  Clean the top floor of the house which includes the home office that I don’t use, 2 bathrooms, 2 bedrooms, the hallway and staircase, and my sewing room.  This means dusting, wiping down glass, picking up toys, clothes, school things, trash that doesn’t seem to make it to the trash cans, cleaning the toilets, showers, tubs, mirrors windows, sweeping and mopping.

3.  Clean the main floor, which includes the kitchen, livingroom, a bathroom, and formal diningroom.  With this there is sweeping, mopping, cleaning the fans and lights, vacumning both the floor and furniture, carpet cleaning, dusting, window cleaning, glass cleaning, counter cleaning, appliance cleaning, cleaning the refrigerator, cleaning out cupboards and the pantry, besides the normal routine of doing dishes, and clearing counters and tables off.

4.Clean the basement, the staircase down to it, and organize the basement closet.  This entails me to do more sweeping, mopping, clearing out things, dusting, cleaning windows, and straightening up all the things that Jk and my granddaughter have played with.  The storage closet has to be organized to make room for emergency supplies, and I have shelves to fix in there that the kids have broken.

5.  Clean the front porch, which entails me to sweep it, wash it down, water the herb garden and cut some of these herbs to dry for use.  No one likes to do this job because of the bugs and spiders that collect on it.  Since I’m not afraid of spiders this has fallen on me.

6.  Sew culottes and shirts for my daughter to wear to camp next week.  I have 6 outfits and a one piece bathing suit to make.

7.  Sew summer clothes for my granddaughter.  Her mom is a single mom, who doesn’t sew, and can’t afford to replenish her clothes for summer and for school next year.  So grandma said I’ll do the summer clothes so that my daughter could concentrate on getting her school clothes.  This is what happens when a father isn’t involved in helping with his child, physically, emotionally, or financially.

8.  I have a stack of books to read and review for 3 different sites, and they need to be done this month.  I’m talking like 20 books.

9.  Cook meals.

10.  Work on crocheted and sewn Christmas gifts for family this year.  This includes about 8 prayer shawls, a couple of ponchos, a couple afghans, 2 quilts, and some fabric books and crayon holders.

11.  Make a couple of dresses for a friend’s granddaughter.

12.  Sew 2 new shirts for my husband.

13.  Homeschool Jk through the summer for things she has struggled with this year.

14.  Shop for groceries, and put them away.

15.  Do Ironing.

16.  Do all the mending for the family, tears, buttons, and hemming.

17.  Clean and organize closets.

18.  Write reviews for two books I’ve finished reading, and submit to 3 sites to publish online.

19.  Watch my granddaughter, entertain her while Jk is at camp.

20.  Get Jk ready to go to church camp next week.  Clean her clothes, sew her clothes, and pack her clothes.

I could go on and on.  This list doesn’t include my  blogging, writing poetry, practicing my guitar and singing, tring to get a prayer shawl ministry at the church, or doctor’s appointments for the family including my own for my health issues.  There is so much to do and so little time to do it in.  In the past I would have conquered this list in no time flat.  I had health, energy, and youth on my side.  But now it is impossible and I have to decide what to put aside.  The house cleaning seems to take the most loss.  My health issues make it difficult for me to do certain things like wiping the floor boards, bending down to clean lower cabinets, and anything else that means bending near the floor or sitting on the floor to do.  No one likes to clean toilets so I have to do that.  I have to keep the fans clean because of my allergies, so that has to be done.  Tubs and shower cleaning are split between Jk and I.  She does her bathroom and I do the other 2 in the house. Jk tries to help, but she is more apt to make messes, than to clean them up.  She likes to do it quick, but not right, which means I have to go back over what she has done.  I find this easier than getting upset with her all the time.  She has really become better at it.  She likes to cook, and so does breakfast, lunch, and sometimes dinner for us, but she is still learning to cook so I often have to help and guide her through dinner.  She has taken over the dishes for me, so that helps.  She does help with the laundry, often changing them over because it hurts my back to bend over to do it.  I fold the clothes, and everyone is responsible for putting their own up.  My husband will help with dinner sometimes and usually makes sure Jk does her chores right.  If I ask he will do some of the cleaning, but usually just gets in my way because he wants to do the things I can do.  But I appreciate his wanting to be helpful, just as I appreciate Jk’s help.

Everyone wants a perfect home, and thinks you should be able to keep it perfectly clean, and that is the way I used to be.  I was almost obsessive compulsive about it.  But with Fibromyalgia and Arthritis I have had to change the way I think about cleaning.  I’ve had to accept that I can’t do all the things I use to.  I’ve had to decide to be happy with a lived in house that is free of germs.  If a magazine or book is left somewhere, I have to be happy with that as long as the table below it is dusted.  If the dog is laying on the carpet, I have to not be annoyed by the thought of it shedding and be happy that I have a new vacumn cleaner made to deal with dog hair, and that Lady is a good family dog who seems to sense when any of us are sick, and who loves to just be loved by the family.  You see I’ve had to learn to give and take, to compromise in my feelings on what is done and how it is done.  I have to take one day at a time, and do what I can in it.  I have had to learn to work on something until my back hurts unbearably, then sit with my feet up and a heating pad on my back until I can get up and work again.  There are a lot of things I need to get done, and very little time to do them in, but I will do what health and time allow me to do.

Being a stay-at-home mom is far harder than any of the others.  I didn’t even include all the things that most stay-at-home moms have to do that I no longer do.  They are taxi drivers for their kids…We have only 1 car so that has been crossed off my list for now.  They are usually changing diapers, caring for babies, toddlers and school age kids at the same time.  They are pulled in a myriad of directions, as they deal with homework for different aged children, cook dinner, deal with sibling rivalry, getting kids to do chores, disciplining, consoling, and loving their children, while dealing with a mental list of things to do to prepare for their husband coming home.  A lot is said about them sitting home eating Bon-Bons and watching soap operas.  I can tell you from experience that this isn’t so.  Most women turn the television on to hear adult voices to keep them sane, since most of the time they are communicating with children and teens who have their own forms of language.  They may eat Bon-bons or other candy, but it isn’t constant, but for that sugar rush that will help them get things done, or because they have no time to stop for lunch or breakfast.  Moms of toddlers are often stopping to be the playmate for their child, to remind those little ones of safety issues with a “don’t do that”, and dealing with naptimes for these little energetic children.  They are rocking babies to sleep, feeding them, and it never stops.

One thing that it is hard to make people understand.  When you work outside the home, you are working 9 to 5, then going home.  Your “work” is done for the day, and you don’t have to deal with it until the next day, and you get paid for it.  Stay-at-home moms don’t get paid a cent for what they do.  Their job never ends even after their kids grow up and leave the house.  A stay-at-home mom doesn’t win rewards, bonuses, or promotions for what she does, and rarely even gets a thank you or any form of gratitude for what they do…SACRIFICIALLY, every day.  They don’t get me time, not even when they are in the bathtub.  I can tell you, children do not care when a mom is in the bathroom for any purpose.  They will not walk in on dad, but don’t think twice about walking in on mom.  I know, because in my house my daughters think that when I’m in the bathroom for any reason, they believe this is the time to talk about their wants, needs, problems, and so much more.  I often say to them…”Does this look like a conference room?”  It’s like they have you cornered at that moment, and they know it is the best time to ask for anything, because all you are thinking about is being alone.  If you add to all this the nursing and doctoring moms have to do, and being the family receptionist, scheduler, and therapist, a stay-at-home mom’s life is pretty full to the point of overflowing.  She is an amazing woman who can change a diaper, repair simple plumbing problems, build shelving, do room design and fashion design, along with a myriad of other jobs at the same time.   She is a chef, an entertainer, a multi-tasker, a personal assistant, and Wonder Woman, all wrapped up in one.  When she goes out in the Job World, most employers don’t even consider what the Stay-At-Home mom has been capable of doing.  They just consider her to be the stereo type of a housewife. and never consider the talent it took to do all she does daily.  The thing is she will be all these things the rest of her life, without notice, without pay, and without thanks.  So the next time you ask your mother or your wife,  to do something…think about all the things she is already doing for you, and show her some appreciation for it daily.  The best way to show you appreciate her…HELP!  Do some of the things on her list and do them right without being asked.  Make a mom night, where she can sit and watch television, while other members of the family cook and clean without her help.  Send her out for a spa day once in a while.  Husbands, take on the kids when you get home, whether outside to play, or inside playing a game, just give mom a break from them.  Also husbands, realize that when you get home and your wife wants to vent, it is because she needs to hear an adult voice, or needs to feel adult love and compassion from you.  She needs to feel that she is loved and appreciated.

If you are a stay-at-home mom, realize your potential, your gifts and talents, and realize what a special woman you are.  The world could not turn without you there in it!

 

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Unnoticed Moms – YouTube

This is a video I think everyone with a mom should see!  I’m not going to say much else except…How many times has what your mom has done for your family gone unnoticed?  For you husbands…How about what your wife does for your family?

Unnoticed Moms – YouTube.

 

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Just a Taste of Jk’s New Homeschool Project

On nice weather days, when I’m having a good day as far as pain goes, my youngest daughter, Jk, and I often try to get out for a walk.  I’ve been trying to teach her a little about photography.  After a few of what we call our “photography walks” she has now amassed a number of photos that she has taken herself.  I decided to take this one step further to the computer to show her how to make the most of her photos, so that she could share a message with her photos that would say something about what they said to her, or what God is saying to us through his creation.  So I found a photo program that would allow her to add text, pictures, frames, and clipart to her photos, or that would allow her to mix photos together.  So this is just a taste of what she has been working on, with the hopes that she will be blogging some of them on her own blog.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

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The Prayer Shawl

This past year I watched as all the things that happened in this world started having an affect of many of my friends and family, even to those in our home right now.  Military budget cuts caused massive layoffs for those working in the military contracting area, my husband, Don being one of them.  For a guy who had worked all his life, including serving 22 years in the military, it was devastating and quite worrying to him, to say the least.  With no federal budget being passed, and very few jobs open in his area of expertise things didn’t look promising.  As a pretty new babe in Christ, having something hit you from out of the blue can be a real trial on your newfound faith.  What made it worse is the way he was laid off.  We had been away at his father’s funeral, and just returned the day before.  He got up that Friday and went into work like usual.  For some reason his key pass didn’t work and a fellow worker had to let him into the building.  He went straight in and began his work day, doing what he knew he was suppose to.  About  2 hours into the day, one of the bosses came walking into the room he worked in, and asked my husband what he was doing there.

My husband looked at him puzzled, and said, “I’m working.”

“I can see that, but why?  What are you doing here today?”  The boss was as puzzled at Don’s response, as Don was at his question.

Don paused, and looked at the boss, sizing up what he must be talking about, thinking he meant why had Don come instead of staying home the extra day after the loss of his father.  Don finally responded, “Oh I just couldn’t set at home today.  I figured it would be better for me to keep my mind busy working.”

The boss suddenly looked down, shuffled his feet, and said, “No, I mean, why are you here today?  Didn’t they tell you that you were laid off yesterday?”

To say the least, Don was stunned!  No one had called, emailed, sent a letter, or even spoke to him face to face.  Not one of the leads at his job had thought to let him know, although they all knew he was gone at the funeral of his father.  Not one even after that tried to explain how it all happened, or the reasoning behind it.  It was months before he  finally found out what all took place and how the failure in communication came about.  Nor did they seemed concerned about their failure, or about how their failure affected Don at that time.

I’ll never forget the look on his face when he walked in that door 4 hours earlier than he usually would.  To say he was downcast would not cover it.  We didn’t know how we were going to get by, because we had just used our savings to travel up north for the funeral, and for expenses while there, and we had to put out most of it before time on a replacement for our refrigerator, dishwasher, and the clothes dryer.  We knew we were looking at some tough times ahead.

Most people would have gotten angry,  downcast, even angry with God.  I knew that with new believers that happens often because their faith isn’t built up to the point of total trust in the Lord.  But for me, it was old hat.  I had been a single mom, who had to trust the Lord to help me through, even to provide for our daily meal at times.  I knew that my God was faithful and if we turned it all over to him, that the Lord would care for our needs during this time.  It was the best gift I could give my husband that day, my love, the encouragement that the Lord would see us through, and a hug filled with all the love and hope I had in me.  Of course the Lord took care of us, for over 6 months my husband was without a job.  The house payment was met, the utilities, gas for the car, medical needs, and even groceries were taken care of all during that time.  God was faithful to care for us, and all during that time we felt his loving arms around us, showing that love and compassion to us daily.  Yet, there were so many we knew going through similar things, and some going through worse things.  What in the world could we do to help so many?

Jesus with a prayer shawl.

It was during that time, a friend said to me, if I lived closer I would be giving you a hug right now, to let you know just how much you are cared for.  I live quite a distance from my dearest friends and my family, so this thought from her was really something that got me through, and it is what the Lord laid onto my heart in showing my own love, care and compassion for others.  There have been so many times that someone I knew was going through something and I wished I could be there to hug them, love them, and encourage than, but I couldn’t physically do so.  I knew that prayer is affective and I could do that, but I wanted to do more, and have them know that I was indeed praying for them and sending them warm hugs and comfort.  That is where the idea of making prayer shawls for my loved ones and friends came from.  Led by the Holy Spirit, I decided to do something that would wrap my love and prayers for them whenever they needed them.  But it wasn’t just about making the prayer shawls, or in giving them.  It was about putting prayer for the person who would receive it, in every stitch and line of the crocheting.  I knew to really be a shawl that would share the love and comfort of the Lord, then the Lord must be in every single stitch.  I knew that my heart would have to be in prayer for the person each time I picked up the shawl to work on it.  I would sit and pray for their needs, their health, their salvation, even the simplest parts of their day, their goings and comings, rising, and sleeping.  I knew during the week or two that I worked on the shawl, I would have to make an effort to find out how they were doing and if there were any special prayer needs.  It became a full out prayer campaign for that one person for the period of time it took to make, and send the shawl to them.  Like most humans, at first it was about what I was doing for someone else, never realizing what the process was doing for me.  Inside me something miraculous was happening, and much like the Grinch whose heart doubled in size when he felt the warmth of love and giving warm it, my heart was growing into a fervant heart of prayer and love.  God was laying something bigger into my heart that is setting me on a new mission for His Kingdom…a prayer shawl ministry for my local church.  It is just in the infant stages, but the urgency in me for it to come to fruition is great.  Each Wednesday our church has a prayer meeting and each week there is a new list of prayer needs for us to pray about, and we literally take each to the alter of God right there on that night.  Some pray by themselves, some pray in couples, and some pray in groups, but everyone prays.  There have been times I went to the altar, prayed with my husband, or by myself, and there are times when I have been blessed to pray with these two wonderful elderly women who are the strongest, mightiest prayer warriors I have ever met.  They don’t miss a name on the list, even if there are a hundred of them.  Each is given the love and prayer that could only come from one who knows how the Lord sees them as if they were the only one in the world. They pour over each name as if that were their own grandchild needing love, mercy and grace, and they come before God’s throne boldly.  That is how I knew I would need to pray for those I would give the prayer shawl to, as if they were my dearest family, and before the Lord boldly and in faith that he would answer each prayer.  But I would also have to pour the love that was in my heart for them into each stitch too.

This whole lesson to me about prayer, planted the seed of this ministry deep into the soil of my heart, and I began seeing that list at church in a different way.  Those on the list for prayers of salvation began to appear as hungry orphans needing food and hope.  The soldiers on our list of Military to pray for, in my heart became pictures of patriots long ago at Valley Forge needing to know that they would find strength and courage through the Lord, and his divine protection upon them.  Those on the list for prayer who had health needs, in my mind, were in a hospital that was filled to overflowing, to the point that there were not enough doctors and nurses to care for them, so would need the care that only a mighty and compassionate Lord, and Great Physician could give them.   The more I saw these mental pictures of their needs, the more that seed grew.  I had no car to go see each one, and my own health issues doesn’t always allow that, or the distance they are away as in our military prayer requests.  But with the help of our church and other crocheters and knitters like me, we could be able to wrap each one in love and prayer, through the warmth of a prayer shawl or a prayer lap quilt.  I’ve been praying about God’s leading on this, knowing that my health was limiting me on being part of the music ministry through the choir.  And God is answering my prayer, as the Music Minister/Assistant Pastor at our church has written me this week that he felt God telling him that we also needed a ministry like this.  For a woman to think so would be as common to me as Jesus appearing to a man first after his resurrection.  But God doesn’t work that way.  Mary was the person during Jesus’ time that people would have felt Jesus least likely to appear first to, and a man who doesn’t knit or crochet in our day and age would be the least likely to feel led to start a prayer shawl ministry .  So I know that this is God’s leading.  The funny thing is, God hasn’t stopped getting my attention about it with just this.  It seems like at every turn around now I’m introduced to someone new in my life, my blogging world, my facebook friendships that is involved in a prayer shawl ministry, or starting one up at their church.  It is like God is opening doors for me to learn more on how to start the one at our church, or sharing ideas with others who are involved in one.  There are times like these that I stand at the garden gate of God’s Kingdom and watch him at work, and I am as amazed as a child looking at the first robin in Spring, or the first earthworm to wiggle through the winter hardness of the soil, or the very first bloom bursting through the bud on an early Spring day.  I stand amazed at the fullness of his plan for me, and at the way he picks, waters and prunes the idea, then opens the doors to let the sunshine down on it, so that it make come to its fullness for his Kingdom.  That is where I am right now, looking at that garden, knowing that I have been planted for a purpose and God is the gardener, helping me bloom into his Will.

Here is a poem that the Lord gave me, to include in with each prayer shawl that I made last year, and with those that will be given in the future.  If you would like to use it feel free to copy it, but please don’t take credit for writing it, this one is of God, for God, from God, and to be used by God.

I will be updating this post with pictures of some of the prayer shawls I have already crocheted, and some I will finish in the near future.  None will be similar, because no two people are 100% the same, and so my heart says each shawl should be an individual too.

THE PRAYER SHAWL

Nothing in this world

Is as comforting at prayer.

Nothing draws us closer

As when the Savior’s near.

As you wrap this shawl

Around your shoulders tight,

May you feel the love and prayers

That have poured out day and night.

Prayers for your happiness,

For joy, hope, and peace,

Prayers that God’s blessings

For you will increase.

So as you wrap this shawl,

And feel its comfort there,

May you always feel assurance

That  the Savior, Jesus, is near.

 

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Spring Wreath

The finished wreath

Today my daughter Jk and I sat down and made a new wreath for the front door.  We wanted

Supplies needed

 

 

something that could stay up throughout Spring and Summer, and we wanted to have it be something we made together.   So we sat down on my bed and decided what we needed and  as we thought of things Jk ran around the house collecting them.  Then Jk started the first step.  She mixed food coloring, hot water and a tablespoon of vinegar together in cups and dyed about a half of a pack of coffee filters.  When she

Dyed coffee filters

was done dying them, she squeezed out the excess water, and piled them onto a plate covered with paper towels, and threw them in the dryer at a low temperature.  In about a half hour they were dry and we were ready to work on our wreath.

Our supplies were:  Dyed coffee filters, pipe cleaners, beads, jewelry wire, 2 colors of ribbon,  jewelry making tools such as wire cutters and pliars,  rubber bands, a store bought grapevine wreath for the base, and paper cutting scissors.

Jklyn started by placing one coffee filter inside another and wrapping it with a rubber band.  She

Filters cut in half and 6 inches of jewelry wire.

then took the scissors and cut the inside coffee filter like fringe to looks like the stemen of the flowers.  Then I replaced the rubber band with about a 6 inch piece of jewelry wire.  We set these aside when we were finished making all that we needed, which depends on your own feeling about how many flowers you want on your wreath.

Next, we cut green and yellow dyed coffee filters in half, then folded each half in thirds.  Then we gathered the wide end together and wrapped it with about a 6 inch piece of wire to give it the shape of a leaf.

Folding the halved coffee filters into thirds to make leaves.

We decided to make a few butterflies out of pipe cleaners, beads and a coffee filter that had been dyed and fan-folded.  We used the beads as the head and tail, by putting one at the half mark of a pipe cleaner and twisting the pipe cleaner to hold it.  Then we inserted the fan-folder coffee filter and again twisted the two sides of the pipe cleaner to hold it.  Then we put the other bead on one end of the pipe cleaner and pushed it toward the filter, and twisted the two ends of the pipe cleaner together once more.  The two ends of the pipe cleaner were then curled to look like antennas.  Jewelry wire was attached to the back of the butterfly to add them when we were ready.  Jklyn also designed her own butterfly to put on the bow out of pipe

A finished leaf.

cleaners and beads.

When we were done making all the flowers, leaves and butterflies, Jk and I were ready to put the whole wreath together.  I started by using the plain green ribbon around the wreath leaving spaces of about 3 to 4 inches for the flowers and leaves.  Then I took both ribbons and folded them to create a bow, and wrapped wire around it and hook the bow to the wreath.  Next we put the leaves around the wreath, and began adding the flowers making sure we mixed the colors up.  Finally we added the bow and the butterflies around the wreath.

This was a simple project and as you can see, it turned out cute!  Jk was excited and barely paused to let me take a picture of her with the wreath,  It now adorns our front door for us to enjoy until fall.  I have to laugh though, because here we are making something that celebrates warm weather and just a few minutes ago they put us under a Frost Warning.  Oh well, when it gets cold I’ll just look at this wreath and be reminded of warmer weather.

Leaves wired to wreath.

 

Bow attached and ribbon wrapped around wreath.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the butterflies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jk with finished wreath.

 

 

 

 

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Handimals…A Very Cute Family Activity

A sign dispaying some of their Handimal family units.

This past Saturday, my husband and I took my daughter Jk, on a homeschool field trip to a  local zoo.  It was a great day that I will blog on later, but for this I want to blog about one of the cutest ideas I saw at the zoo.  It is called Handimals.  Basically you paint your hand and press it onto a piece of paper, or other medium for painting such as canvas, newsprint, or even fabric.  Then with permanent markers you turn that handprint into an animal of some kind.  When I saw this being done at the zoo, my mind started racing 100 miles per minute thinking of ways I could use this idea.  What I loved was that they made family units from these handprints.  They would not only have the children make a handprint, but mom, dad, and even grandparents.  I thought what a wonderful way to teach children about animals and about the family in one project.  I took pictures of their display and am posting them so you get the idea.  My daughter just finished a unit learning about the different types of animals, land, desert, artic, ocean and so on.  In each she learned even more about the animals, whether they were mammals, reptiles, birds or amphibians.  She learned about what made each animal special to their environment.  It was a wonderful way to instill in her how vast and awe-inspiring creation is, and in the same way how awesome God is to have created it down to the tiniest bit of DNA.

Usually with each subject we tackle I try to give her a fun project to work on to share what she has learned.  I want to use the idea of Handimals in a project for this portion of her Science for the year.  I thought maybe a quilt for one of her nephews with Handimals on each square.  Another thought was a family tree with each person represented by an animal.  Since she is so close to being a teenager and loves purses and other girly things, I also thought maybe a totebag or purse that she could carry.  Of course knowing my daughter it will have either a leopard, cheetah, or zebra as its main focus.

With this in mind I’m going to let you join in on my decision on what to give her to do.  Do you have an idea on how I could use these Handimals for a project that a tween would love to do?  Please leave a comment giving your idea.   For those in foreign countries, please write in English.  My German, Spanish and Portuguese are very limited, and as far as other languages, I wouldn’t have a clue as to what you are saying, and I really am interested in your ideas no matter what country you are in.  Thank you!

 

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My First Crocheted Agamaruni Frog

I thought I would try my hand at an Crocheted Agamaruni…freehand, my own frog creation.  This is the outcome, and as you can see it was claimed immediately by my tween.  No… that isn’t a mistake on that long red tongue.  It is a black crocheted fly.  Easy to make, with Spring Green Red Heart Yarn,  scraps of leftover yarn from other projects, and fiberfill.  I can’t wait to get on with my next Agamaruni project.   By Christmas I hope to have one for each of my Grandchildren, but with their favorite colors and animal.

 

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Simple Bling Makeover for a Dress

This is a simple way to add some bling to an old dress to make it perfect for any girly girl.  I had this wonderful red knit dress that didn’t fit me anymore.  It was way too short for me, but the perfect length for my tween.  It needed to be taken in a bit, but I didn’t want to ruin the lay of the knit, so I had to figure another way, especially since she likes her skirt to be fuller and not skin tight.  Problem solved by doing a little gathering pattern at the top using embroidery thread and beads.  To finish it off I added a little bling at the bottom by adding a beaded flower design near the hem.  Using the same beads and some earring jewelry fittings, I made the earrings my daughter is wearing as well to match her newly blinged dress.

 
 

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Beaded Heart Pendant Necklace

Made for one of my older daughters for Valentine’s Day, this mixture of black glass and colored beads were strand on a double over length of beading wire to give a 2 strand affect to the necklace.  I was lucky enough to find 4 of the heart pendants at a local second hand shop, just laying on a shelf together calling for someone to put them to use.  I added a pendant clasp to the pendant to hang it, and a jewelry clasp to the combine the ends of the strands at each end to allow it to be put on and taken off.  It only took me an hour to make, and for the low cost of the materials it was truly a cost affective gift.  What better way to go from my heart to my daughter’s as a reminder of my love for her!

 

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