Christmas 2016 {Simple Woman’s Daybook #27}

Outside my Window …
The snow is melting and it is warmer than it has been the last week.  4 degrees is COLD.

I am thinking…
I have so much more I want to do before Christmas and next week, but I am not going to stress over getting it done.

I am thankful…
For my husband, my babies, and a minimal Christmas.

In the kitchen…
There is bone broth in the crock pot, dishes in the sink, chicken and rice on the stove.
I am wearing…
Workout pants and an oversized T my husband gave me that is. so. soft.

I am creating…
So many things, 18″ dolls with clothes for the girls, hopefully a buck deer for the Mister, a pinafore for Lexie, more PJ pants for Mister, and a baby gift for our new niece.

I am going…
to visit a friend this afternoon.

I am wondering…
if the kids are going to like their homemade gifts.  Bunnies for Lexie and Coralie, a deer for Ila.

Homemade Christmas 2016

I am reading…
Raising Real Men (yep, still working on it. It’s great, I’ve just been spending every extra waking moment on sewing)

I am hoping…
2017 is as wonderful as 2016.

I am looking forward to…
Our family vacation to Branson!  We haven’t been on a family vacation in so long, just us!  I can’t wait.

I am learning…
I don’t like the cold anymore. I am already ready for spring.

Around the house…
It is a disaster (this happens when I sew) … the tree is down because it started drying up so early and was painfully pokey, there are boxes of Christmas decorations in the living room (extras) because I can’t put them in the garage, because IT is filled to the brim with amazon boxes and gifts from family, but I don’t want to take the decorations downstairs because I will need to put away what I do have up, in less than 5 days.  Laundry isn’t done, diapers aren’t washed, it is really just a huge mess.  *I think I will go hide in my sewing room now*

A favorite quote for today…
money cant buy happiness

One of my favorite things…
The appropriate answer here seems to be sewing

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Finish projects, pack for Branson, bake for Christmas, clean the house …

A peek into my day…
See above image of Christmas gifts …

Simple Woman {Daybook}

Preparing for Next Year’s Homeschool: PreK 4/5 Curriculum Choices {2014/2015}

curriculum choice 2014/2015 Sonlight

Well, for years months and months I have gone back and forth over what we will use for our curriculum next fall.  What curriculum, what style suites us best, what will keep Lexie’s fire going, her passion for learning; what will also work for Max so we can reuse some materials, etc.

I have also had to consider what will be easiest to fit into our life, with baby #3 due in September of this year.  =)

As you know I have mostly decided on a classical/Charlotte Mason education style for our family because it just fits us (and our love of the outdoors, learning, and books); but I have also been contemplating joining Classical Conversations.  There is a community not too far from us that a dear friend is also a part of.  I really enjoyed the open house I attended and Lexie did AMAZING sitting in the room with me for the 2 hours we were there.  However, I just don’t know if we are ready for it yet.

love the Charlotte Mason approach to learning.  It encompasses everything I believe about education and family uniting.  It is Biblically based, and literature rich (so is classical education).  It is truly where my passion for learning and educating my children comes full circle.

Charlotte Mason is also what I see in my children.  I see Lexie loving books- asking questions about everything we read; wanting to know more and making connections from her books to her world.  Max is beginning the same process- he didn’t love reading books at first, but at about 13 months old, he became obsessed with them, just like big sister.  When I sit on the floor, he will bring me a book and say, “boo-k,” turn around and plop into my lap.  He then proceeds to open the book and I will read.  He really likes for me to take his finger and point to everything in the picture and say its name.  He loves reading.  And that tells me he will also love learning.

I want to keep their fires burning, but I need to do that in a way that will fit our young family’s lifestyle.  As a busy mom of soon-to-be 3, there won’t be much time for the intense planning that a combined classical/Charlotte Mason style education can require.  So in the fall, (well, really in January probably) I think we will begin with Sonlight’s P4/5 curriculum.

Sonlight P 4/5 includes: read alouds and language arts, science, Bible, rediness skills, beautiful art books and studies, and introduces world cultures.  One thing I love about classical education is it begins history at the beginning.  So children not only learn there is much, much more to their world than just their immediate surroundings, but they also learn where it all began.  Sonlight does an amazing job of choosing wonderful children’s literature and living books to teach every subject, which is where the Charlotte Mason style comes in.  Another point I love is that Sonlight is fairly adaptable.  You can supplement with as many books as you’d like, whatever math you prefer (although they sell a few great curricula), and you can make it work with just about any style of education, if you really want to.  Their book list is what has driven their popularity for years, but as more and more families have used it, the more it has become known for being a wonderful core curriculum.  (no, this is not a review and I am not being paid to say any of this!).

We already have a phonics/reading program we will use, which we haven’t started yet.  I chose All About Reading because it is so child friendly and hands on, which I think will be fine for Lexie (as I am mostly sure she has a photographic memory) but I know will be great for Mister, because he is my 100% tactile learner.  We will use this with our Sonlight, along with Saxon or Horizon’s math, and a few supplemental activities in science.

I have many friends ask me about two things :1) homeschool curricula and options and 2) converting to a healthier, real food lifestyle.  #1 is mostly why I am writing this post.

I tell you, I cannot wait to get started next year.  We might begin in August, to get a head start, then take off in September-Christmas with the baby coming, holidays, etc., then start back in January.  Or we may just begin in january and go through part of the summer…  I know me, and I know Lexie, and chances are we will not want to take that much time off.  We both crave structure and our learning time together, so I imagine we will get back to it pretty quickly.

One thing I am really looking forward to is not having to plan and print every thing we do in this season of life.  Right now, I am using a printable curriculum (that we both love) and we are doing Five in A Row which is Charlotte Mason style, but requires all the planning be done by the parent. So it requires a lot of time on my part.  Sonlight has done most of the work for me, meaning I can enjoy my time teaching, learning, and snuggling, all three of my babies this fall.

So, I have to get busy filling orders in my etsy shop, since that is how I plan to pay for this curriculum!  haha  If you haven’t noticed I haven’t been writing much lately.  There is a two fold reason for this. 1) The first trimester of this pregnancy has kicked my butt!  Between the extreme nausea and exhaustion, I am just now catching up on household duties! and 2) I have been very busy making baby blankets in my etsy shop.  I keep saying I am going to slow down, finish my drapes for the kitchen, and make a few dresses for Lexie, but so far that hasn’t happened.  Hopefully soon!

So Much Happening-life update

Wow- sorry I have been MIA lately. We’ve had a lot going on around here in the last 2 months, this month being so hectic!

As you read, we were all sick with stomach bugs last week. The weeks before that we were drowning in party preparations, chicken coops, and packing for a mini vacation. But, it looks like things will be a tiny bit more laid back in the weeks to come.

All my free time has been spent sewing! I finally got my sewing machine out after a ( …. 6 year?) hiatus, but didn’t start really enjoying it until the first of this month. I’ve been sewing Lexie some cute dresses and just finished some toddler bibs for a friend’s son’s birthday, which is this weekend! I got a serger for my re-found hobby! It is amazing- it’s this one: Janome Juno 3434D serger I can now have those really great-looking, professional seams on anything I create. And I can do rolled hems! I am very excited about that. I used the rolled hem on a ruffle top I made for Lexie, and it’s so pretty. Anyway, so I am excited about that. I have made her 3 dresses and a top, just in May. It’s rather addictive. I am currently working on dress #4 and plan to have it completed tonight or tomorrow at nap time. =)


The chickens are doing great! The 5 Rhode Island Reds are such sweet baby girls. One is extremely feisty, and I think she runs the roost for them (Tessa). Also, I think maybe Dolly is a girl after all, but am still waiting for confirmation on that. 😉
Saturday I went to Bismarck and picked up three 12 week old barred rocks. We named the nicest one Elmo, the other two can be a little crabby towards the babies. They’re not far enough in age or so much bigger than the babies that they hurt them, but they do peck and chase them some. They’re still working out the pecking order, but there have been no injuries, so we’re good.

Yesterday, we hung them some cabbages to play with, and they’ve literally destroyed them. haha They’ve been having a big time. Chickens are like kids- when they get bored they start making trouble with they others (pecking, bullying, etc). So you can add things to their run, like cabbages, to keep them interested and busy. It’s funny to watch them boxing the cabbage.


I am almost 26 weeks pregnant now- 26 weeks on Sunday. The baby has decided he likes my ribs as much as Lady did.


But we’ve been going to kettlebell classes twice a week and yoga on Wednesdays. Now that she will be done with school next week, I will probably go to yoga more often which I’m really excited about. The baby seems to like yoga; he shifts around and kicks a lot during the class.

We go to the doctor on the 6th for a regular appointment and my glucose test *blah* Then it’s appointment every 2 weeks until the last month. I just can’t believe we will be at 30 weeks so soon. Of course it still seems so far far away, but sometimes it is just flying by.

Running update, pictures, and videos

Sadly I did not meet my goal of 72 minutes on the 10K course.  It was closer to 77 minutes.  =/
And while that isn’t as terrible as the first time I ran the race 2 years ago, it is not nearly as good as I’d hoped.  But, I can say it was a terrible run.  We went to eat after church and I did not realize it was 12:30 when we left- I had to run at 1:30!  So I had an immensely full stomach, I was sore from the run Thursday (or maybe Tuesday’s mountain run?) and I was dehydrated …  so overall I was not prepared for the run Sunday afternoon. I also experienced theses stupid side-stitches in the first 2.5 miles.  I don’t know what’s going on there, but for the last 2 weeks in the first half of my run, the cramps are so bad they takes my breath away.  And what sucks, is if it weren’t for the cramps, I’d have no problem running!  The cramps are caused by not exhailing enough of the CO2 out, so you’re supposed to breathe into the cramp and exhale as much out as you can.  And I do that.  Or I try to do it, and yet the cramps are so terrible.  But after I get over the first incline on the mountain and get to go down hill for a few minutes, they usually go away and stay gone until the end.  I wish I could just avoid them all together, since I have the hardest time in the beginning anyways.

I do think this year I will warm up before the race, just a jog around the parking lot or something, so my muscles aren’t dying that first mile; the first mile is always the worst.  After that my body feels pretty good and I can keep going okay.  I am hoping that since I had a hard time and walked a TON on the practice run Sunday, that on my real run I can shave off a few minutes, maybe even 4 minutes.  We will see…

So there is that update.  On to what you really want to see and read about ….

Yes. Yes.  This is a video of Lou.  It was a video of Lou, but it says it is too long.  So, there is no video today.  Sorry.  =(  I know, she’s cute.  And luckily, about two days after her daddy was home from his trip, the tantrum stopped and she became my sweet girl again!  YAY  

Let’s see … updates on Lexie.  Oh yes!  She ate her first grilled cheese sandwich today.  Of course she loved it!  Which surprised me a bit, since she doesn’t like maccaroni and cheese?  But anyhow, she liked it. She also said “Thank you” without me saying it first!  AND, she drank out of a straw (finally!).  So, when we went to Walmart, I got her a sippie cup w a straw to drink her milk from-she loves it!  Now we need more, because only one will not get us through the day.  Oh, and she pointed in her book and said “frog,” and when I asked what a bird says, she said “tweet tweet!”  haha  So dang cute.

For my newest sewing projects I am making her a bib, and sleep sacks.  I still need to get her a new sleep sack w a zipper, but I found a tutorial to make them from men’s shirts!  So, like I used one of my brother’s dress shirts, cut out the sleep sack shape and sewed it together- tada!  Instant sleep sack.  Only problem is it’s not quite big enough for her now .. it would probably have fit about 3-4 months ago.  So I am going to save it for the next baby.  And I’m not sure that JTom has any bigger shirts that are old/worn enough for me to cut up into a sleep sack.  We gave most of them away when we cleaned out the house for Lexie’s arrival, and then again when we were going to move …

Oh, that reminds me.  We aren’t moving!  YAY- I mean, one day, yes we will build on our lot.  Or at least a lot.  But right now, we are staying put.  And this makes me happy, because I LOVE our location, our home, and our yard.  I mean, it is an older home and we do have a lot of work to put into it, but I am looking forward to it.  JTom has already put new shelves in my pantry- WOO HOO (I will post pics later)- and the fireplace is ready for its first fire.

Oh yea … the fireplace.  Well, that is another story.  It’s old (duh) and needed some fixin’.  It needed a new chimney cap on the roof, and it just so happens that our chimney, of course, is an odd shape.  So you can’t find a chimney cap for it just anywhere … for a decent price.  So JTom rigged one.  We hope it doesn’t blow off during a storm.  =)  Then, we needed glass doors to A) keep it warm in the house when the fire goes out, and B) protect babies from fires.  So, those are ordered and on their way.  We also had to get a rack for the wood inside the fireplace.  Whew- yes, it all added up to a whopping $500+ dollars (thank you cleaning business) and I just really, really hope it pays for itself in utilities over the next five years .. because it was my bright idea.  

And since it was my bright idea, I get to man the fire.  FYI: I know nothing about building and keeping fires burning in chimneys.  I still need fireplace tools, like that poker thing and a shovel, I guess?  And we need a big bucket to keep the wood in, I suppose.  I know they have those at TJ, my favorite store of all time.  Guess those will top our Christmas list.  I’m not sure what else you need for a fireplace, but any tips or ideas are welcome.  I really know nothing about fires in chimneys.  I know lots about bonfires.  =)  Fuel, matches, and pallets … pick up trucks and beer.  Wala, you’re done!  But I don’t think chimneys work like that …

After our doors get here and this project is complete, I will start saving for the bigger project.  That would be the kitchen wall.  We are taking out the wall between the kitchen and living room/dining area.  I cannot wait!  The biggest part about that is we will have to redo all of the kitchen walls when we open that section up.  This wouldn’t be a problem except there is old wall paper that’s been painted over.  Actually, I think it’s just been primed over; I don’t think the problem will be taking the paper off … I believe the problem will lie in taking the sheet rock off with the paper.  =/  And if that happens, we will either texture the walls, or just put up new sheet rock.  We will see.

The good thing about redoing the walls is that I can finally make the kitchen OURS.  It’s the only room in the house that has never been touched.  After we complete the walls, I will start saving for the floors, we desperately need new floors in there and the entry way.  But I am thinking there is original hardwoods under the linoleum, and I would LOVE to refinish them, even if they don’t match the rest of the house perfectly; I think it would be neat and add character.  =)  I don’t want to redo the counters- I mean, I do … but I don’t want granite.  I clean granite in houses and condos every week.  The glare and speckles drive. me. nuts.  I have a hard time seeing with glares anyway because I have a stigmatism in both eyes … and I know that seems silly, but when you can’t see to clean your own counters, it will drive you bat shit crazy.  So not granite for this girl.  EVER.  But I wouldn’t mind eventually having some new counter tops.  But I really don’t mind the blue too much, even if it is dated.

Actually, before we do the floors, I will probably tackle the cabinets.  I’m going to start small in my bathroom so if I mess up it’s not a huge deal.  but I want to paint them an antique white and then distress them.  I have been looking up how to do it, but I’m really confused.  It’s one of those things I need to see someone else do in front of me step by step before I can do it myself.  But I think that would TOTALLY change our kitchen and make our house the chic little cottage I am going for …  bit by bit I will get there.

And this brings me to the other topic, last one i promise. BABIES.  Some of you know we were going to start trying for a new baby in September and… we’re going to wait.  =)  Not what you were hoping to read (family), I know.  But since we aren’t moving any time soon, we want to get the house remodeled/updated a bit more before we have a new baby.  We can work during those 9 months, but I don’t want all that pressure and then have a house that isn’t complete.  Plus, if we get it done now, when we decide to move, it’s DONE and we don’t have to deal with it ANY MORE!  So … that’s that.  A month worth of updates in 6 paragraphs or so.

Now, here’s your favorite part: a few pics of the baby from this week.  Some are pretty hilarious.

yes, that’s her leg. She finally passed out for her morning nap.

sweet girly face

those curls …




silly face

pretty face- I promise I did not do this to her hair.

“help, please, mama”

playing with her farm

Hooded Bath Towel Tutorial

After making Lou’s lovie, I tried making a hooded towel.  Oh my, how simple it was!  I did look up a tutorial for this project, because it wasn’t as simple as “piecing together,” it involved cutting things.  I’m not good with cutting things without instructions.  I should probably go back to Kindergarten …

So, I did look up a tutorial for the hooded bath towel and you can find it HERE.  It was SO easy! There is also another tutorial, that i actually like even better for the hood of the towel, HERE.  I don’t care much for the hand corners on her version, but I think making the hood might be easier, and look neater.  Of course, had I used bias tape or ribbon on my edges, it would have looked neater anyway.

Here is how it turned out:

Clearly it isn’t pretty and my stitches aren’t quite straight- After talking with my very crafty sister in law tonight, there are a few things I would have done differently.  I would have been sure to use the finish side of the hand towel for the top of the hood, instead of the cut side.  I also would have sewn the two right sides together, instead of doing it one on top of the other (which is what was suggested on the tutorial, so I did it her way).  Mind you, it looks much better in person and clearly it is functional, but in being a perfectionist, I would have liked it to look a little nicer.  Also, if I had fat (2-3″) ribbon, I would have sewn that on the edge of the hood (hand towel) before attaching it to the body towel.

Again, if you know how to sew a simple stitch using your sewing machine, OR by hand, this is a super easy crafty activity and makes a wonderful gift!  The VERY best part of the whole thing is I got these very nice, large thick towels on clearance at Home Goods for under $8.00!  You can make two towels with one hand towel since it is cut in half, so wala- a nice baby gift under $20!

Taggie Lovey Tutorial

Today I made Lexie a few things using my sewing machine.  I am a beginner when it comes to the sewing machine but I have been doing small projects and hand sewing here and there since I was a little girl. Before purchasing my machine I did loads of research into what is the best sewing machine, to make sure I got the right one, and I love it! When I was about 8, my Memaw and I went to Walmart where she bought me my very first sewing kit!  I still have this kit and use all parts of it!

With the help of my mom I have learned how to do some basic sewing with my machine.  (which is actually her ancient Kenmore machine that is wonderful.  They do not make them like this anymore.)  It only has a few stitches and some other features I don’t know how to use yet, but it is one tough mother!  =)

This post will be a short tutorial on how I made Lou a “taggie lovie.”  Since these things sell for $15+ a piece in the store I thought I would try to make them.  They are only a big wash cloth with some ribbons stitched on the edge!  Right?  I did not look up a tutorial for these, because I figured the instructions would be more confusing than just trying to piece it together.  I was right.

I started with two pieces of fabric, (I am unsure of the size because I just eye balled it, but a 12 x 12 square is probably pretty close), placing them right sides together.  In the picture I have folded back a corer of the top fabric so you can see the right sides are facing each other.

Then I cut my ribbon at different lengths so I would have different sized “taggies” around the edges.  I just used what I had laying around my craft room, but you could use all sorts of textures for the “tags” themselves.  You can also put the rattly material in the middle so it makes noise for your babies.  I didn’t have any so I did not include that with mine.

Next, I looped my ribbons and pinned them to the material.  Here is where it gets tricky..

Like I mentioned, I did not look up a tutorial because I thought it would be easier to figure it out myself, than to read instructions.  I think I thought correctly.  =)
Once you loop your ribbon for the “taggie,” you pin it with the LOOP facing towards the center of the fabric, not sticking out from the edge!  Place the ribbon between the two pieces of fabric, with the loop towards the middle.

Here is a “taggie” shown between the two pieces of fabric.  See how the loop goes inward, towards the middle of the fabric? 

And here is that same “taggie” where it is pinned.  The cut edges of the ribbon go towards the edge of the fabric.  When you turn it right side out, only the looped part of the ribbon will show.

Next stitch around the edges, removing the pins as you go.  Be sure to leave a space wide enough to turn your material right side out.  After you turn it the right way, simply fold in your open edge and stitch it up.  After it was turned right side out, I went along the entire outside of my lovie in a zig zag stitch so it would A) hold together even better and B) look nicer.

My first one did not look anywhere near as good as this one..  And this one isn’t perfect.  Like I said I am a beginner with my machine, but this was such a simple project I think any beginner can do it!  Good luck and please comment with any questions!

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