Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ariel Dress Tutorial

Now that Halloween is over with, maybe I can get this post finished. A week or so ago I posted a teaser pic of Munchkin in her Ariel Costume, and promised a tutorial, so here it is.

I started with an extra large pink t-shirt and half of a twin sized (I think) sheet.

 The t-shirt got pinned and sewn together in the front and back (this t-shirt had a logo on it which meant I didn't get to choose where to sew to take the body of the dress in some.)

(She is wearing pink long-sleeves under the t-shirt).

 I didn't really take pictures of the skirt-making process, but essentially, I just added a piece of elastic in  the center (long-wise) of a piece of sheet, so that an equal amount hangs on the inside and outside...I did this both to make the skirt a little fuller and to help with the sheer aspect. I actually also sewed a tube into the middle of the skirt that you could stuff with Wal-Mart bags or something to give the skirt even more fullness.

Here, you can see that the skirt is actually separate from the top. I chose to make it this way so we could change things up some if we wanted to, and she could wear the skirt with something else.

I also put elastic in the sleeves...I was in a hurry, so I cheated a bit. I just cut a slit in the sleeve hem and threaded elastic through, then cut another slit (because of the seam) and sewed the ends together. So, if you turn the sleeve inside out, you can see part of the elastic, but I am not worried about that for a costume. If this was for daily wear, I would have done the elastic properly just for comfort.

To ruffle the front of the t-shirt, I just accordian-folded the fabric in the middle until it was the right length and put a few stitches to hold it in place, which allowed the edges to drape down nicely like Ariel's dress does.

Here she is after we sprayed her hair with red hairspray. This was after the party, so the hairspray is already wearing off.

And a beautiful Ariel pose for the camera!
And there you have it!  I'm sorry I didn't take more step-by-step pictures. Unfortunately, with a 2-month old, I was interrupted often and forgot that I hadn't already taken pictures of the step I was on. Let me know if anything is unclear, and I will do my best to clear it up. Thanks for stopping by!

Check out my link party page to see where I am linking.

Illustrating with the Paint Program

Have you ever been caught off guard by your child learning from something that you thought was a waste of time? (Or not necessarily a waste, but not something you thought they would learn from). My daughter learns from the paint program on our computer...and not just art and mouse manipulation etc. She draws scenes and makes word bubbles and writes in them. She will ask me occasionally how to spell something, but mostly she does this all on her own in her "free time." It is amazing what a child who loves learning can find to learn from. Here is a scene she drew in paint last week.

This one she did all on her own without asking me how to spell anything. I am extremely proud of it because she spelled phonetically and did her best. Her creativity with the paint program is what inspired me to try illustrating the books I am writing for her using paint.

I normally do not have problems being creative...or at least, not until I make up my mind to be creative. When I do that, my mind becomes a blank slate, and I have lost the slate pencil!  So, when I decided I would write my own phonics readers for my daughter...I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to quickly write several little stories. As phonics readers go, they can be very boring, especially the word family readers like I am writing. Here is my solution: nice pictures which go along with the words. Okay, so nice might be a stretch, but these are created in paint using a regular I think they are pretty good. Here are the first 2 pages of my book (I am still working on illustrating the rest). 

Dan ran. Jan ran.

Dan and Jan ran and ran.

I would appreciate any feedback. What do you think of the illustrations? Would they make a child more interested in reading my book versus another (word family -an) phonics reader with black and white illustrations? All constructive comments are appreciated...please no meanies!

Check out my Link Parties page for a list of all the parties I link to each week.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What does Home-School Look Like?

Of course home-school will look different for everyone but here are a few pictures of what it sometimes looks like at our house.

I drew this picture on a slate in the old schoolhouse at Silver Dollar City. We always visit the schoolhouse when we go to SDC and if we stay for the history lesson I count that as school work. Actually, you might be surprised how much you can learn at a park like Silver Dollar City especially if you plan for learning.

Munchkin working on her phonics while laying on the couch in her room.

Here she is using my Joy of Signing book to teach herself how to finger spell the word cat. 
(This time she is in my room).

Curled up in a chair at the dining room table working on a test.

Catching up on some work in the car.

Driving a pedal tractor at the corn maze. Sure, some of this was PE, but she also learned about problem solving, maps, and orienting in the maze, animal tracks as part of the kids activity, and she had a good time too!

There are many other pictures of what homeschooling looks like in our family, this is only a small sample. Sometimes we even sit at the kitchen table and use it to do our work...

Our day is not highly structured; we do not have a certain time to do history, a time for math etc. This may change when  I start teaching Midget and Munchkin both, but with just Munchkin in school this works for us. We do try to at least have some routine though...we eat breakfast and try to begin school right after breakfast with a break for morning chores, then back to school until lunch. If we haven't finished school work by lunchtime, we will work on it more after lunch, but normally we use the afternoons for creative things. We cook together, play or ride bikes outside, write letters, do puzzles, read, play games, or sometimes we have activities in town with the home-school group. 

Believe it or not, her "screen time" has actually gone down since we started home-schooling (Even with all this "free time.") She has seen that learning can be fun and spends much of her "free time" reading simple books or writing notes and letters. I love the change in attitude towards learning that I have seen since we began homeschooling.

Check out my link party page to see where I am linking .

Monday, October 28, 2013

Post-It Note Clue Hunt

When I decided to begin this adventure of home-schooling, I knew there would be days when I didn't feel like doing "normal" school work, and days when Munchkin wouldn't feel like it either. That is the beauty of home-school...if you don't want to do school on Monday, you can add it back in on Saturday, or do a little extra each day to make up the difference. When we do fun activities, it gets Munchkin excited about learning, and we wind up way ahead of the game. (When this happens, we normally do not take days off, but save our days off for when life gets in the way or when we want to do something different on a "school day."

One such activity that Munchkin has really enjoyed is the Post-It Note clue hunt. It takes a bit of prep work, but it is definitely worth it. I wrote all of my clues on Post-Its and hid them around the house...each one leading to the next.

I used sight words and words that could be easily sounded out so that she could follow the clues with minimal help from me. This clue said "Dad is the man to see."

So she figured out that she had to get her next clue from Dad.

The "Look on the flag" clue led her to this one. She is doing first grade work this year and still learning to read, so we were focusing on short vowels and sight words. 

"Look under your bed"

She gave me the last clue each time she found a new one so that she didn't get mixed up. All together, she had to read about 25 sentences to get to her prize at the end.

We even took the game outside!

"Look in the back of the big red truck"

Munchkin loved her prize. This was something we had already planned to buy her, not a prize just for this game. She enjoys the game whether she is playing for a big prize or a dollar store prize...or even just a hunt to find a stuffed animal she already owns.

Enjoying her bean bag chair!

Sometimes she even gets to sit in her chair while we do lessons or read together. Also, we have used this game for math facts as well. To do that one, I wrote a problem on the first sticky note, then the answer on another...and a new problem on the back of the answer to the first one. She was only doing math facts up to 10 when we did that hunt, so I used 3 different colors of sticky notes and wrote "change to green" etc when the next answer was going to be on a different color. (So we did all pink, then all green, then all blue.) Again we had about 25-30 sticky note problems.

Hope you enjoyed this learning activity. Check out my Link Parties page for a list of all the parties I link to each week.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

"Ye Who Are Weary, Come Home"

How many times have we heard those words? "Ye who are weary, come home..." Personally, I'm certain I have heard them hundreds of times, but never before have they affected me as they did tonight. I was on my way to church listening to my Alan Jackson CD Precious Memories, when the song Softly and Tenderly starts playing.

I was singing along as always, minding my own business when suddenly those words connected in my mind to Rebekah (my sister passed away almost 5 years ago.) It just hit me that she was "weary." I know she must have been; so tired of battling her cancer, weary of the hospitals and chemo and radiation, tired of the pain she was in and of not being able to communicate with her family. I had never before put this song into this context, so many times I felt instead that we were robbed; that she was stolen from us before her time.

I know she would not have wanted to leave her family behind either, but when God called her to "come home," I believe she answered that call as one of the "weary." And when she got there, I know her burdens were lifted and she was able to look down on her family with a smile, knowing that we all are in His hands! She no longer knows sorrow or sadness, she is with her Maker, she is with family members who have gone before, and she eagerly awaits the day when we are called home to join her. And there will be great rejoicing.

The sudden understanding that she was one of the weary really impacted me. She did not leave her home, she went to her Home! Here are two of my favorite pictures of her--total opposites in terms of her appearance, but both beautiful in their own way.

Beautiful picture of my sister when she was healthy.

Another beautiful picture of my sister after cancer and it's treatments changed her outward appearance. Inside, though, she was still the same beautiful Rebekah that we will always love and never forget.

Thank you for reading along and letting me share. If you knew her, you will never forget her, and if you didn't, I just hope this post touches you in regards to someone you do know.

Check out my Link Parties page for a list of all the parties I link to each week.

Scavenger Hunt Sunday Oct. 27, 2013

I am just joining the scavenger hunt, so some of my pictures I will admit are not from the last week, but I will try to do better next week. Here are my interpretations for this week.


This is a t-shirt and old sheet I turned into an Ariel dress for Munchkin. (Tutorial coming soon!)

My Mood Today

Youngest midget snoozes away on home-school field-trip.


It was getting dark when I took this picture after the cannons fired during Civil War Days at 
Columbus-Belmont State Park.


When youngest midget was welcomed into the world in August. (Also, credit for this picture goes to my Mom, I was not in a picture taking mood at that point).

 Depth of Field

Taken from my viewpoint on the Nina reproduction ship, looking towards the Pinta reproduction. 
(Home-school field-trip).

 I hope you all enjoyed my photographic interpretations. I will try to do better this week at taking them during the week.

Check out my Link Parties page for a list of all the parties I link to each week.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

DIY: Star Wars Baby Wicket Ewok Costume

Buying a costume for a baby can be very have to consider many things:
  1. Will they keep it on?
  2. Will it irritate their skin?
  3. Will it fit in their carseat safely?
  4. Will it be warm enough or cool enough for the weather?
  5. Does it look adorable?
  6. Can I afford to spend $$$?
Making this one myself, from things we already owned and he had already worn answered most of the above questions for me. Scroll down for the "tutorial."

I hesitate to call this a tutorial because, well, there isn't much to it, and I didn't take step-by-step pictures, but here it is anyway! First, I found brown pants and long-sleeved onesie...I had to turn the pants inside out because the feet had monkeys on them (hubby complained you could see the pants tag, but I was carrying him anyway, so it wouldn't show...otherwise it could be cut out). The onesie actually had a picture on it also, but it was (mostly) covered by the hood (you can see just a smidge of it in the pic above--again, if I had been worried about this, I could have used a safety pin or double-sided tape to keep the hood taped down). Then I found another onesie in red that would fit comfortably as a hood and turned it inside out so the picture on it wouldn't show and put it over his head, making sure the sleeves were tucked in. The tag is printed on that onesie, so it does show, but didn't bother me...I later realized that if I had put the tag under his chin, it probably wouldn't have shown at all. I also originally had planned to sew (or pin) on some fuzzy ears, but that didn't happen either. After all, he is 2 months old...he was clean, dry, warm enough, not too warm, and completely adorable...what more can you ask...?

Check out my Link Parties page for a list of all the parties I link to each week.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Columbus Ships Nina and Pinta Home-School Trip

As promised, here are some more pictures of our home-schooling adventures. This was a trip we took with our home-school group to see the Nina and Pinta reproductions--they are a floating mini museum and the tour guides are very knowledgeable and informative. Here is a link for anyone interested...they tour all around the U.S. (anywhere the ships are able to sail) The Nina is the most historically accurate Columbus ship reproduction ever built.

Munchkin walking towards the Nina. This ship is the one actually built to the scale of the original and with tools like what they would have used in Columbus' time.

Here, the kids are listening to the tour guide tell them about the shore boat on the Nina.

View of the Pinta from shore. This ship was built a bit bigger than the original scale, and built with more modern tools as well if I am remembering correctly. All in all this was a pretty fun trip with the group, though it got a little warm before the tour was over (we went in early September). 

This is my view of the Pinta from the deck of the Nina. I like the perspective here with the beam above me showing in the foreground. I need to play with these pictures some, because I know they would look nicer with some editing. I'll have to remember to do that in all of this spare time I have.

I do occasionally find snippets of spare time; it was in one such snippet that I wrote the following poem. (Inspired by how crowded I felt surrounded by the other home-schoolers...which our guide informed us was about how many sailors would have been on the deck.)

Standing hunched:
Ceiling too low.
Feeling bunched
As others crowd close.
We all want to see.
There floats a ship;
What once was a tree.
Covered in pitch,
Black in the night,
The moon and stars
Might be their only light.
Aboard the Nina,
Columbus' favorite ship,
I look toward the Pinta
Glad I didn't take this trip.
Three little boats
On the ocean so large
Wind in the sails...
Sailing so far.
But to where and to what?
West to the Indies...
But what if they got lost?
I wonder if they were scared.
I would be...wouldn't you?
Unwashed bodies
All crowded close.
No bathing for months...
That would be gross!
Long dangerous journey 
On a ship so small.
It's a wonder they lived,
Any one of them all.
But lived they did, 
And made history too!

There it is...hope you enjoyed it. I am planning to try to write poems about historical events, people, or places to make learning about them more fun and perhaps a little easier. This one was more for fun and my own amusement...and to sharpen my poetry skills hopefully.

Check out my Link Parties page for a list of all the parties I link to each week.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Home-School Headache

I am sure I am not the only one who feels this way, and certainly it is not limited to home-schoolers, but Munchkin has been driving me nuts today. Our routine was changed this morning due to needing to drive a-ways to do some shopping, and only having time to do it first thing in the morning. Sometimes these changes in routine don't bother Munchkin at all, but today it really threw her off. We are still doing school work and it is after 6pm.

Actually thinking back over this week I am thinking maybe she and I need a short break from school. There is a part of me that feels like to give her a break I am only rewarding her bad behavior from the past few days, but I think maybe we are just both a bit burnt out right now. If nothing else, I plan to change up the type of work we are doing...she has a mental block about having to finish her workbook work every day, but has no problems with we may do a worksheet or two. Honestly though, we may just go ride bikes and play at the park in the morning. She chooses activities in the evening that include learning, and begs me to let her read to me or do sight word flashcards or play games (that just happen to be educational). I wonder what the weather will be in the morning..?

To cheer myself up, here are some pictures of what home-school occasionally looks like for us. These are just teaser pics, I hope to post a bit more about what is going on in each picture in the next few days/weeks, as well as posting more pictures from that day.

Which picture do you want me to talk about first? Leave a comment or I can just pick one!

Check out my Link Parties page for a list of all the parties I link to each week.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Time to Blog!

The title of today's post has a double meaning: 1. It's time for me to get back to blogging, and 2. I finally found some time to blog!

Midget said "In your dreams, Mom!" as he woke up early from his nap just as I finished typing my first sentence. So here I am typing one-handed while feeding the baby with the other. I have made up my mind that, while I am still job-hunting, I am going to try to find the time to blog a little bit daily about our lives, which currently consists of eating, sleeping, diapers, home-school, church, job-hunting, and an occasional sewing project. Ahhh the luxurious life of a mom! (Loads of sarcasm intended).

Big Sis is doing her schoolwork as slowly as possible this morning. However, I managed to make a few phone calls and send an e-mail to organize some field trips for our home-school group, so I am feeling as though I accomplished something today at least.

I'll leave my post short and sweet today as I am needed to help keep Sis on topic with her school work.