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Sunday, October 11, 2009

finally got a class set up

It has been so long since I have had time to blog! I miss it! Over summer we have experienced so much, some good, some great, but truthfully quite a bit was hard to bear. Thankfully, after some humbling of my heart and through many tears and prayers, life seems to be getting back on track. God is listening, answering, and sometimes putting me back into my "waiting room" so He can work on refining me some more. Refining hurts, but it always serves to bring Him glory and is better for us in the end.

A new pet came into our lives last month. We got a 6-month old black lab/beagle mix named Callie. This happened after both Countess and Teddy Bear died within a month of each other. She is super smart, super sweet, but is a big lug of sorts, a little baby trapped in a big body. Training her is...well...interesting. She is pretty destructive with her non-stop chewing, has a tendency to jump/scratch, and is SUCH a scaredy cat! :) We'll keep working with her and maybe I'll post some photos soon. She'll be a good, loyal dog if we ever survive the first year. Her heart is tender towards us and she bonded with us instantly. I just need some good training techniques and loads of PATIENCE with her. It's like raising a baby again...a BIG one!

I have wanted to hold crafting classes since last year but something always comes up. Well, our church secretary asked me about them and so I decided to hold one at our church. It will be on November 7 at 10 AM at CBC. Please come if you can. Its $5 each and we'll learn how to melt, scent, color, and mold glycerin soaps. Deadline to sign up and pay is October 25.

That's all for now.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Craft workshops Fall Lineup

Crafting classes beginning in September
For the last two years I've held kid's crafting classes at my home on and off. This year I am planning on beginning them again. Its a great time for you to get in a little babysitting/errand time and your child comes home with a unique, hand-made item as well.

They'll be held Monday nights from 7-8:15 PM (barring nothing changes in my son's schedules, such as sports practices). Whether they will be weekly or bi-weekly classes, I am not yet sure.

For children grades k and up in the Warren county area. We'll work with hot liquids in some classes so ask ahead if you are unsure of whether a workshop is too advanced for your child.

Cost will usually be $5 per child per class. Payment is needed at time of drop-off but number of children attending will always be needed in advance so I can have time to order supplies.

Boys are welcome to attend any classes. Some classes can easily become very unisex in the end result as long as I know to plan for boys and make adjustments before-hand.

My plans for fall classes as loosely as follows:


bath tub fun: make bath paint and bath jelly
altered clip board: alter a plain clip board into a beautiful note/photo display


Bottlecap bling: make 2 necklaces from bottlecaps
Decoupaged desk/vanity tray
Sassy initial tote bag
cotton paper casting (use for cards, crafts, etc.)


Mosaic picture frame
alter a brag book/photo album
make a girly wall plaque with hook for hanging items
make "sweet shoppe" clay beads


whipped layered bath butter
"flirty purse" paper album
"Pixie Dust" bath fizz and glitter gel for hair/body

More details to come!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Craft & Create Parties

Craft & Create Parties
Childcare is not exploding as I had thought it would, so back to one of my first loves, teaching crafts.

I am now offering a service to birthday parties, mother-daughter days, ladies days, church events, community clubs, scouts, homeschool groups, etc. called Craft & Create Parties. I will come to your location in Warren county and stay for 1-2 hours, teaching your group a simple but enjoyable craft. This is especially great for birthdays/sleepovers as it frees up mom and dad a bit to just enjoy the party, and lets the kids not only be entertained and busy, but allows them to take home a nice favor to keep.

Please book your party TWO WEEKS in advance to give me time to clear my schedule and order supplies.

All fees must be paid up front and are non-refundable unless in the unlikely event that I have to cancel. If an individual must cancel fees will not be returned but event can be rescheduled OR I will gladly deliver crafts and instructions to your door.

Don't need me to teach for you but you still want to make the crafts? For the same price I will deliver your kits to you with complete instructions (this option may not be available on ALL parties).

I will add new crafts choices over time, but for now I have a list of about 8 group activities from which to choose:

Spa Day (ages 8-adult; we will be pouring HOT liquids) Make at least 2 glycerin soaps, a sugar scrub, and a lip balm--2 and 1/2 hours cost: $10

Soap Making 101 (ages 8-adult; pouring HOT liquids) Learn the basics of making glycerin soaps. Color, scent, and mold your own soaps to take home. 2 hours cost:$8

Blending Bar Party (ages 4-adult) You will take pre-made 2 oz. lotion, perfume, body wash, bath crystal and/or other bases and scent and color them to make your very own unique bath and body products. 1 and 1/2 hours. Cost: $10

Bottlecap Bling party (ages 5+) Turn bottlecaps into pretty pendants and necklaces. Each guest makes 2 and gets a ribbon "necklace". Cost: $5 (silver plated ball chain necklaces or ribbon-cording necklaces an additional $1 per guest)

Scrabble Tile Pendants Party (ages 5+). Each guest will turn 2 scrabble tiles into trendy wearable art. Comes with a length of ribbon to tie into a "necklace". Cost: $5 (silver-plated ball chain necklaces or premade ribbon-cording necklaces an additional $1 per guest).

Glass Pendant party (ages 5+) Guests will make one glass scrabble tile pendant necklace. 1 hour. Cost:$5 each. Ribbon for tying will be provided or for $1 extra per guest your choice of silver-plated ball -chain necklaces or ribbon-cording necklaces will be provided.

Altered Brag Book Party (ages 8+) Guests will be given a brag book type photo album and choices of scrapbooking embellishments to "alter" their album covers with. You'll get papers, stickers, fibers, rub-ons, ribbons, etc. 1 and 1/2 hours. Cost:$5 each

Memory Can Party (ages 8+) Guests will "alter" a new paint can using scrapbooking materials, to be used as a keepsake holder. 1 hour. Cost: $7 each

Brown Bag Album party (ages 8+) Guests will turn a stack of paper bags into a simple album and then embellish it with scrapbooking supplies. 1 hour to 1 and 1/2 hours. Cost: $5

Bath Tub Fun Bucket Party (ages 8+; hot liquids) Kids will make a bath and body paint set, bath tub "jelly", small lotion, body glitter, and soap, and then will put it all in a "bucket" with fun bath accessories. 2 hours Cost: $20 each

As noted above we'll be working often with hot liquids. I will not be held responsible for accidents or spills. Parents or party leaders may need to help supervise if we are working with hot liquids.

Likewise, I am not responsible for damage done due to misuse of products.

When working with children and hot liquids, a small group of 8 or less is preferable, unless there are adequate adult helpers on hand to assist.

You will need to provide adequate space to seat your guests and a good, well-lit work area. Cover your work space with a cloth or waxed paper for easier cleanup.

I have one folding table (which seats about 4) that I will bring upon request.

In the future watch for paper quilling classes, decoupaged wooden initials classes, and soda can tab jewelry classes.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

homemade dishwasher detergent

Lately, I am hearing my friends talking about using homemade, green, inexpensive, effective, and easy-to-make laundry detergent. I haven't tried it yet but plan to.

I found this blog with a recipe for homemade dishwasher detergent:

Let me know if it works! ;)

Friday, July 10, 2009

craft updates

Double Bubble Happy Skin Foaming Whipped Bath Butter

Sweetened, flavored lip balms make great party favors in many flavors kids and adults love

Popsicle-shaped glycerin soaps are fun

For all you Edward and Jacob fans, these lotions are my interpretation of each character's scent

Bottlecap jewelry is very popular with kids right now
I have held crafting classes in my home and at churches. I have attended camps where I was involved in crafts. I have always enjoyed working with crafts in our homeschooling and with our group. In VBS, I have become one of the craft station leaders. Does it sound like I like crafting a bit too much? This is me at TN TECH 4-H Line and Design Camp

A lady at a soap-making class I taught for an FCE club gave me an idea months ago when she suggested how well it would go over at children's parties if I came in and taught a one-hour crafts class. It would free mom up a bit. Take some pressure off the parents to entertain. Give the children a creative outlet while ensuring they each have a nice party favor to take home (how many of those tiny yo-yo's and bouncy balls end up in the bottom of the toy box after only minutes of bringing the goody bags home?).

I liked the idea a lot, rolled it around in my head for a bit, and then promptly forgot it. I was needing to bring in some additional cash flow and had been trying to find some children to keep. I have experience in that arena too, and figured it was a sure-fire job. All of my energy was invested into this, from rearranging the house to passing out flyers. I even had a schedule and handbook ready and conducted a few interviews. For months I've had nibbles but nothing solid. In hard economic times when many have lost jobs already, I am finding more and more that parents who once used daycare services are getting creative when it comes to their childcare options. I have noticed a few daycares who always stayed full suddenly have openings.

I became temporarily distressed. I had a few custom orders coming in from my Etsy stores but nothing huge. Then I went to 4-H camp where another teacher there pointed out that I was the "crafting party lady" to some of the children. I had forgotten all about doing parties! I so enjoy crafting, but even more so I enjoy teaching others to craft. I am no expert mind you, but my love and passion for my hobby spill over enthusiastically to others.With this in mind (and considering most of my life I have spent with children in some capacity), I am going to try this route as a side-line job. I could offer to come over to a local party and teach a craft from a list of kid-friendly possibilities for as little as $5 per child plus gas. I really think this would go over well, considering the crafts would be higher-quality than your typical camp or VBS type crafts.

Once I think on which activities would be best I'll post them here.I still have plans to do my weekly craft classes for ages 8-adult (see previous blog entries for list of potential classes). So watch for all this action soon!



4-H Line and Design Camp 2nd year
I had the priviledge of teaching at 4-H Line and Design camp again this year. Last year I taught about 60 girls how to make lip balms, soaps, and sugar scrubs (MESSY!).

This year the committee chose to have me teach bottlecap jewelry.

I had 4 classes with a total of 80 young ladies who all love crafting!

I couldn't have asked for a better group.
They were polite, attentive, and overall VERY creative.

It is a always a great experience for me.

Can't wait 'til next year.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

In Memory

Countessa Doget
May 1997-June 2009
Faithful friend, loving companion, and guardian
of our children and home for 12 years

Baby Countess and her litter-mate, CoCo, came home with my sister and I. Coco died at age two and after a series of events, Countess came to live with us. She had been with us ever since. The dogs' mother was a golden retriever and the father was a neighborhood black lab. This is a very good mix of dog breeds for their loyalty and protectiveness of children.

Nick and Adrian grew up with her.

She loved to roll in the yard and scratch her back on brisk mornings...she always looked she was dancing.

From pup to Momma Dog to Granny Dog, we watched her fur turn gray, her teeth fall out, and her eyesight begin to fail.

"Granny Dog's" last Christmas

Thursday, June 11, 2009

easy ways to keep little ones busy

As long as your preschooler is supervised properly or beyond the age of mouthing items, sorting Grandmother's button jar contents into an egg carton BY TWEEZER is a great math activity. This kept the Princess busy for quite some time. Older brother tried it for a mere minute or so, declared, "This is just annoying!" and went off to work a brain bender puzzle.
Window clings are great cheap manipulatives. My daughter likes to play with them on the glass coffee table as kind of a matching activity. This one was money.


photos of workbox system and chore charts

I have had a lot of free time on my hands this week thanks to our local youth group having a busy week and my two youngest going to soccer camp. I can't believe how much work can be done with all the kids out of the house for a mere 4 hours!

I was tempted to spend my free time cleaning baseboards or the fridge but then I realized....in a mom's life free time doesn't grow on trees. I decided to have a little ME time instead. After all, dishes and mopping will always be there.

I have gotten to tackle a stack of encouraging magazines I've been hoarding since last year, and made it through three in an evening.

I've also had time to work on some creative organizing for our upcoming school year (I am hoping since I am taking the time to make this year's system pretty, that alone will encourage me to stick with it longer than my record of two weeks). I am very organized on paper but in reality, well...we just won't go there. I'm on a euphoric high right now of being prepared for next year. I choose to remain on my cloud as long as I can.

Okay, now for some updates and pictures for those who may be trying one the variations of work boxes.

I am using the Sterilite clear boxes for my system, one per child. I just can't add in all the shoe boxes and racks needed for this system as the author wrote it. I am using this one-box method from Jessica's ideas at her blog, Color Me Orange. You'll find the link to it in another of my work box posts.

Each child used scrap booking papers and a grid I printed from the work box files to make their own chart. They enjoyed personalizing their charts and picking their papers.

This is kind of how the sheets will look when laminated and attached to the box front. I haven't gotten that far yet. The numbers on the grid will correspond to the numbers I will put on 12 different Manila envelopes using velcro. The grid will eventually have velcro on it too. As the child completes the work inside folder #1, she will take the no. off and place it on her grid. This way all the days work is contained in the box in small, manageable bits, and she can track her progress by seeing how many numbers are done. My son, very visual and easily distractable, will enjoy using it and I hope, will help him stay focused more.

For items too big to fit in an envelope to put in the box, the envelope will contain a note to "play Monopoly Jr. with sis" or a photo card of that item. Timers can even be added to the box. As long as kids know where the items are and have easy access to them so as to not interrupt the flow of the day asking where things are, I don't see why this can't work.

Let me make a correction on an earlier post: the author and developer of the workbox system, Sue Patrick, does not recommend variations on her method without first trying her method as it is written. Then make changes if needed. She is very adamant about using the shoe boxes/racks and filling each box with everything the child needs for the day, down to pencils and crayons. I believe this method works just as she says. But for a large family to buy separate shoe racks and 12 shoe boxes per child might not be feasible for the budget. Likewise, many have space restrictions. Rather than be discouraged because you feel you can't implement this wonderful system down to the "t", take what you can, tweak it, and go with it. If a family can pull just one idea from this that makes their lives and home school year go more smoothly, then in my opinion, what Sue has set out to do, which is to help families work better and more efficiently, has been successful).

My oldest son is pretty focused and self-sufficient, and won't be using the work box system unless we see he needs it.

Instead he'll have this work strip. It is a simple strip made from cardstock with a library card pocket at the bottom. The yellow and blue squares are just index cards cut in half. I plan to laminate the whole thing and use dry erase markers to write the day's schoolwork on the cards. Velcro dots on both the strip and the backs of the laminated cards will help them stay in place, until the work is completed. Then Nick will move them off, one by one, and place in the pocket.

Now, an updated photo of the homemade (revamped Dollar Tree) Antonyms matching games from yesterday. These are the ones that I plan on using the Bendaroos with, in place of drawing lines from card to card to match. For the photo, I've laid pieces of ribbon from card to card, just to give you a better image of what I am talking about:

Not pretty in its current state but I still think my kids will like it. One could tape ribbon or yarn down instead of Bendaroos or glue onto lighter paper, laminate, and use dry erase markers to draw connecting lines.

All this creating has been so much fun I decided to make pretty chore charts as well. I used Microsoft Works to create a table and insert clip art into each one. These too, will be laminated and small pieces of velcro will be added to each box.
I have made chore cards in the same manner, using Microsoft works tables and inserting clip art.

After cutting them out, laminating, and adding velcro, these cards can be affixed each day to the children's charts, rotating chores as needed. As the work is complete and the chore cards come off the grid, the child will see a checkmark, heart, etc, showing. This is an instant "good job!" visual praise. The cards that are completed will be placed in a box or baggie or envelope. Each morning I'll refill the charts according to the needs and schedules of the day.

Fun, games, outdoor play, and spiritual development are also worked into the cards.

W.I.L.D. cards, an idea from another blog, are good to add. W.I.L.D. stands for Walk in, look and do. So you tell the child to pick a room and "Go wild!"

I also added in Mystery Job cards.

This will go on our Do It Door, which I also borrowed from another blogging mom.

This chore system might be an item I eventually add for sale in my Etsy store, with the option to personalize names and change some of the chore cards. All components would come laminated and have velcro already applied. I have to check the clip art and make sure none of it is copyrighted first. :)


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Teaching Tree brand posters

The brand of educational items found at many Dollar tree stores is Teaching Tree. I enjoy these inexpensive aids to our schooling.

My favorite Teaching Tree item is probably the posters. They sometimes come two to a pack for only $1. What's so cool about them is on the back of these particular posters, you get 4 different reproducible worksheets! How awesome is that?!

I got my oldest son an elements poster pack. This is some of what the backs include:

At only .50 a poster with 4 worksheets too-- what a bargain!


revamping Dollar Tree educational items; uses for Benda-Roos/Wikki-Stix

I have been buying some educational items at my local Dollar Tree to use with my schooling this upcoming year and as "fun" activities for my work box system.

One item I bought about 6 of is little matching cards in topics such as analogies, synonyms, chemical elements, US History, etc. You can play matching games with the cards. I thought the cards look too flimsy to hold up for long and also, I wanted to make the game a little more inviting to play.

So I started by photo-copying the cards while they were still attached correctly together. These copies will become the self-checking answer keys.

Then, I went on to sorting the question cards from the answer cards and gluing them onto a piece of card stock. The questions are on one side, the answers down the other but in random order.

I will laminate these sheets and place them with the answer keys, into a pocket folder.

Here's what my kids will like about using them: I plan to add in either a packet of Benda-roos or Wikki-Stix to use to match up the correct cards. Or I may simply put 10 or so lengths of yarn or ribbon into the pocket to use for matching the items. Now you have a sturdy, reusable matching game that uses strings for matching instead of drawing lines.

My daughter has been begging for Benda-Roos, so I will definetely grab some to use for these types of games. Also, they are handy to use for "tracing" outlines of letters or pictures. I have lots of clip art/bulletin board books with large patterns. I can tear out a page (or copy it), place it in a sheet protector, and let her outline the shape with the Benda-Roos.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

What we did over the past two weeks

We had our very first Muffin Tin Monday (except it was Friday). :)
The kids thought it was neat to eat all these little portions from a Muffin Tin. This would be a neat thing to do with unit studies or with Daycare children.

Tree frogs have gotten into our pool and laid eggs. Now we have loads of tadpoles that must be saved before Dear Hubby puts in the chemicals and cranks up the filter.
We spend a few minutes each day scooping the little buggers out and placing them into our homemade pond habitat.
My sons have raised tadpoles before but this is a first for my daughter. Two already have legs and she loves to hold them in her hand.

We went fishing with our cousins at the pond at our old house.

Adrian caught a fish at last year's family fishing rodeo but a cousin let it go before I could snap the photo. I caught it this year.

Ashleigh learned to make her great-grandmother Kilgore's famous and delicious cabbage rolls.

And she tried her hand at pottery. She ended up with a little basket.