Friday, February 25, 2011

Slumber Parties!

Something that I love doing with my kids is having slumber parties. The kind where we stay up late, eat snacks, watch movies, make crafts, play with flashlights in the dark, and just have fun. Ellie and I started having slumber parties just after she turned 2. It was a time that I could spend just with her, when most of my time was being consumed with her baby brother. We had our slumber parties about once every couple months (usually on a night when Daddy was working late or busy elsewhere). We often would make necklaces and paint our toenails at some point during the evening. Well, now Parker has begun to join us at our slumber parties. He's been to two of them, I believe. At this point he usually won't go to sleep when it's time, so he ends up in his own bed after lights out, while Ellie and I sleep on the hide-a-bed in the living room. We have had to change our slumber parties a little, to make them a little less girly. But they're still so much fun! The kids look forward to them, and so do I! Tonight we're having the first slumber party in a few months. I am hoping that Parker can stay with us through the night, but we'll see what happens when it's time to calm down and go to sleep. It's going to be a fun night!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My Focus

This afternoon I was able to take a walk by myself. My hubby was home today, after working many long hours over the past few days, and so he stayed home with the kids while I took a walk. It had been a somewhat frustrating day, with the kids disobeying and arguing, and I was feeling kind of low. I decided to take my mp3 player with me and listen to my "worship" playlist. Wow, was that a good decision! Listening to the words of the songs, I remembered (again) how all I really need to do is focus on my Saviour. When my focus is on anything else, life isn't as good. When I take my eyes off my Heavenly Father and put them on myself, even for a moment, things start to crumble. Only when I am focused on God, truly focused on him, can I be the wife and mother that my family needs me to be. When I wake up and say, "Lord, what would You have me do with this day?," rather than just getting up and making my own to-do list, my day has balance. It is such a simple truth, but one that I seem to so easily forget. And today I was so thankful for the gently reminder to keep my eyes on the Lord, to focus on Him.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Love Day!

This past Monday was Valentine's Day, and I think it was the best Valentine's Day ever! Jared had worked the Saturday before, so he was able to take Valentine's Day off. In the morning I did school with the kids and we had a little Valentine's Day party at the end of school. They opened their Valentine boxes they had made with their Grandma, which had all the Valentines that people had sent to them inside. We had some cupcakes and a few candies, and played a game. Jared gave me the most beautiful bouquet of flowers, some chocolates, and a card (which he wrote in!). Then I made the kids a lunch (heart-shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches) for them to eat in the car. We dropped the kids off with a friend of ours, and Jared and I went out to lunch. We ate at PF Changs for the first time, and LOVED it! We had amazing conversation and talked about some of our dreams and goals in life. Then we walked around the mall (I even got to buy a whole bunch of new lotions and perfumes), and drove back to pick up the kids. It wasn't probably the most exciting Valentine's Day in the world, but I felt so loved by my hubby (and my kids). For me, it was the best Valentine's Day!

Ellie's Valentine gifts

Parker's Valentine gifts

One of our Valentine pancakes, cooking

The kids opening their Valentines

Friday, February 18, 2011

Winter Projects, Part 5 - The Rest...

Besides the previously described projects, I am also currently working on painting the inside of our house, a few gifts that are secrets at this point, scrapbooks, and several other small projects. There are always several things that I can pick up at any point and work on, if the mood strikes. I love to have projects going, and usually have at least a few unfinished projects at any given time. But for now, that's about it. I guess I'd better think of something else to start blogging about, eh?

Parker's newly-painted blue room (my project this past week,
along with painting our bathroom)

Winter Projects, Part 4 - Placemats

Another thing I've recently decided to make is some placemats. The kids have their plastic placemats, but we don't have anything pretty to make the table look nicer. So, I am making reversible placemats. Like most of my projects, they are not finished yet, but the fabric is cut. I just need to get some batting (for many of my projects) and sew them up. I am also making a few more sets of placemats for gifts.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Winter Projects, Part 3 - knitting

I love to crochet! It is so relaxing, and even therapeutic. And I've made some neat things. But there are some things that are just better knitted, so I decided that I wanted to learn to knit. I looked up a few "how-to" videos on YouTube, and began my journey. At first it was incredibly frustrating. I just couldn't seem to do it right! But then I practiced a little more, and got a few pointers from my mom. I have only knitted a few rows, and it's really slow-going, but I think I am getting the hang of it. I still can't say that I love to knit (or that I'm very good at it), but I am going to continue to try for a while, and I just may change my mind. Now to figure out something I want to make, using my new-found knitting knowledge!

This is my practice knitting so far

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Winter Projects, Part 2 - Apple Core Quilts

I am not a quilter. I would love to be, but thus far in my life I am not. Yes, I have made "quilts," but they just consisted of squares of fabric machine-sewn together, with batting and a backing fabric, and then yarn tied in each square to hold the batting in place. My grandma makes beautiful quilts. She makes them for each couple in our family who gets married, and for each baby born. And now my mom also quilts. And her quilts are fabulous, too. Quilting has always been on my "someday goals" list, but this winter I decided I might as well start now. So I am making two quilts - one for each of my kids. I am using only scraps from things that I've made for my kids, such as jammy pants, curtains, pillowcases, etc. I am using the "Apple Core" pattern, which technically is not supposed to have any repeated fabrics. However, some of my fabrics I am using twice in each quilt. Because I use so little of each fabric, it will take my a long time (probably years) to accumulate enough fabric scraps to make two quilts. So this will be an ongoing project for some years to come. I plan on doing all hand-stitching, which will also take me a very long time. So far I have just gathered my scraps, ironed them, and cut a few pieces out. But it's a start!

The scraps that I have so far...

A couple of the pieces that I've cut out

The first two pieces I've stitched together (although if you look closely, you'll see that they're not centered very well - this was just a practice - so I will take out the stitches and do them over)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Winter Projects, Part 1 - T-shirt Quilt

I like to do crafts. All kinds of crafts. Sewing, card-making, scrapbooking, crocheting, beading, you name it. And winter-time is the perfect time for crafting. Especially January and February. All the busy-ness of Christmas is over, yet it's still too cold to spend a lot of time outdoors. So usually in January I start several new craft projects. This year I think I've started more projects than usual, and so I thought I'd spend a few days explaining each one.

Jared and I have lots of t-shirts that we no longer wear (mainly staff shirts from our previous camp, but some others as well). We decided that we wanted to purge our dresser drawers, but we didn't want to throw away the shirts. So I decided to make a t-shirt quilt. I cut squares from each of the shirts that we didn't want anymore, and sewed them together to make a blanket. At this point I'm done sewing the top, but I need to purchase some batting and a backing fabric, and then finish the blanket. But here is the top: