Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Learning to Crochet: Do I Really Have to Follow Instructions?

I tell you, this last week was slam packed with activity! The most important and most exciting is we have a new nephew in our family. Liam Bennett Brown was born to my sister and brother in law last Wednesday morning at 12:17. Praise the Lord he is a healthy baby boy weighing in at 8lb 8oz. I have to say he is pretty cute!

We had a Cub Scout activity Saturday night that required set up time Friday night, making a dessert Saturday and then the actual event that evening. In the meantime I have been getting clothes and items ready for a local consignment sale. I finally got all that delivered Sunday and Monday.

Riley woke up Monday morning with a low grade fever, slight sore throat and congestion. We put school on hold for the day so he could rest and recuperate. Then Grandpa called and said they were in town, could they come for a visit Tuesday (today). Of course they could, so I got busy cleaning. We met them for lunch then they came and visited with Riley and I this afternoon. It was a nice visit.

Last week while we were waiting on Little Liam to arrive, my sister's midwife came in and sat down with us. She picked up a bundle of yarn and just started crocheting a baby cap. I watched her and asked her how she started, with intentions of making one for little Liam. So I got started.

As I worked on it and got closer to finishing it I noticed something wasn't quite right. It had a little 'knot' or 'bean' on top and the bottom edge had a wave to it.

So I decided this wasn't right.  I needed some instructions.  I got online and found a video for crocheting a baby cap.  This video has Great step by step instructions which were so easy to follow.  She even slows the video down for you to see exactly what she is doing.  I started last night and finished today.

Much better!  Isn't it amazing what happens when you follow instructions?!  It was easy and didn't take long,  what a fun project!  Hopefully it will fit Little Liam's head!

Tomorrow we will resume school and hopefully be more on the mend.  It is good to be back on the blog, and hopefully back to some sense of normalcy.  There might be some more little baby caps in the near future.  I recently found out a cousin and his wife are expecting twins!

Till next time have a blessed week.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Cleaning Out

I spent today going through baby clothes.  Making two piles, one to sell at the local consignment sale and one to give to my sister who is due any day now (if she wants them...).  It's interesting, I have put this off for a while now, waiting to see if we would need them.  But I think the Lord has something else in mind for the clothing and for us!  Not quite sure what it is for us but it is time to get rid of this stuff.  Someone else can use them.

It is a lot of work, checking for spots, ironing, pricing, sorting, and washing.   Then there is the fun part, showing Riley the tiny little shoes he wore or the tiny socks.   The cute little outfits that were worn to church or out and about.    I remember taking pictures of him in the cute little outfits just so I could remember what he looked like.  Although, thankfully there are times I don't need the pictures to remember!

I could just give everything away...that certainly would be easier.  However, I think this is a good way to bring in a little bit of income.  When I've contributed to this sale in the past I've not made a lot of money but enough to make it worth the effort put into getting the clothes ready.

I have actually been cleaning a lot out lately with the goal of having a garage sale when the weather warms up a little.  In fact when cleaning out from under Riley's bed, I crawled under there the other night to find I had company.  Our 5 1/2 month old puppy, Lady crawled under with me thinking it was a game and covered my face with kisses!  I couldn't get out fast enough!

Cleaning out is a good way to start the new year.  It is refreshing, it helps renew your home, your heart and your mind.  Riley just had a birthday which of course means that new items or toys have entered his room.  This first thing I did was talk to him about what items he could get rid of.  Thankfully he was willing and able to come up with several items that could be sold in the garage sale or the consignment sale.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has a very informative E-Book called Molly's Money-Saving Digest:  MollyGets Organized All in One Place.   They have taken all the organization articles from 2009 and compiled them in one digest!  There are articles on a household inventory binder, emergency  preparedness, couponing, menu planning, gift planning, and much more.  Check it out, you may find something to help you out with your efforts to clean out or purge.

What do you do to purge or clean out?  How often do you attempt this task?  How does it usually work for you?  I wish you the best if you are attempting to purge or clean out.  As Molly Green says, "Evaluate. Prioritize. Organize."

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"I Have a Dream" Speech Challenge

If you saw my earlier post on the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Lapbook and are looking for another idea to help in teaching about Martin Luther King Jr., Jill O. Miles sent me this link to her blog with a great activity.  It's called the Fill in the Blanks "I Have a Dream" Speech Challenge.  Follow this link (or click on her name above) He Had a Dream and scroll down to just before the video of his "I Have a Dream" speech and click on the "fill in the blanks" link there.  She has a nice looking worksheet to print out and use, what a great resource!  Thanks Jill for sharing this with us!

Just Who is A Real Super Hero?

If your child is anything like mine, when it is time to go to bed I think his little mind just starts wondering and thinking of any little question he could ask about anything and everything.  Sometimes I can get the strangest questions at that time.  Although strange they may be, I cherish these times with my son!

Well, last night as I was telling Riley goodnight, he asked about Superman and what was he like?  Where did he get his powers?  Did I know anything else about Superman that I could tell him?  Oh my, was my memory being tested!  I hadn't seen the movie Superman in years, so I had to work hard to remember what I was able to remember.  Then he asked me about Batman and what happened that caused Batman to get his powers.  I was a little concerned that Batman was a little too "dark" of a topic to cover right before bedtime so I put that one off till daytime.

As we were talking Riley asked me, "how do they know where to be all the time and help people?"  I told him I didn't think they were able to be everywhere they needed to be because they weren't able nor were they real.  He told me he understood that they were not real but I could tell that wasn't the type of answer he was looking for.  So I said, "You know Riley, there is a true SuperHero that can be everywhere He needs to be for everyone of His children when He needs to be there."  "Really?"  I said, "Yes, do you know who He is?"  Riley said, "God?"  I said, "You bet!  He is the only one who sees everything, knows everything, and can tackle anything,  He even knows what will happen before it happens.  Can Superman or Batman do that?"  He said, "no."  I told him that it was ok to like Super Heros like Superman and Batman but ultimately we need to remember who the real Super Hero is and that is God.

As we were talking about it, this verse came to my mind (don't you just love it when He does that? :-)):
2Chronicles 16:9
"For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars."

It seems I am being reminded often the importance of giving all of my heart to God and not withholding any portion of it.  Our Bible lessons during school last week focused on Joshua and Caleb and because they gave God all of their hearts He blessed them in their inheritance of the land of Canaan.  He also blessed them in conquering the heathen nations that inhabited the land before the children of Israel arrived there.  Caleb was 85 years old when he acquired his portion of the land of Canaan.  He chose one of the most rough pieces of land available that was already inhabited by a heathen nation.  God gave him the ability and resources he needed to conquer this nation so he could inhabit the land.  At 85 years old!

We later went on in our lessons to hear how the nation of Israel forsook their God and worshiped Idols and married people from the heathen nations.  As a result of their disobedience the Israelite s fell into this vicious cycle, of Idolatry, bondage, then repentance and God would send a Judge to rescue them and bring them to rest.

How often do I hang on to one little piece of something that happened several days ago, or worse yet, several years ago.  Or that something that I deem more important or of so little consequence that God won't know, but He does.  Because I can't let go and lay it at His feet or seek forgiveness and repent I am withholding a part of my heart from my Almighty God, my Heavenly Father who wants to offer me joy, peace, healing and prosperity.  Then I wonder why things fall apart or don't work out quite the way I think they should go.  The whole time I am hanging on to whatever it is He is standing there beside me seeing exactly what it is that I'm hanging on to.  Waiting patiently till I lay it at His feet.  Picking me up when I've allowed it to cause me to stumble.  And then when I've let go of it and placed it before Him, He welcomes me into His loving arms and comforts me like no one else can.

Jeremiah 29:11-13
11'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
 12'Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
 13'You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

He is my Comforter, my fortress, my source of strength, my Super Hero.  I know little boys will look up to and get all excited about Spiderman, Superman, Batman and the Hulk but my prayer is that one day Riley will see God as his True Super Hero.  I'm positive God is not done showing me all He wants me to know about this and my prayer for myself is that I will remember who the One true source of strength, power, wisdom, peace and joy is.  And that I will strive to give him my whole heart.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Lapbook

Well I had said earlier that I would post our progress on the lapbook of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and I am finally getting around to it!

We used the project pack from In The Hands of a Child at CurrClick.  We spent most of the week of his birthday working on it and I was pleased with the outcome.  I wanted to introduce Riley to who Martin Luther King was and what he did and stood for.   I think we were able to accomplish that and give Riley a little glimpse of what went on during those troublesome times.

In putting the lapbook together we learned all about MLK's background, schooling, and his family.  We learned how black people wanted to be treated just like white people and they were not treated as equals.  Of course when he learned how the black people were treated before the Civil War and for many years after, he had a hard time understanding why someone would treat another person this way.  We have always taught him that we are all created equal and God loves everyone so therefore we should do the same.

We learned how hard MLK worked with the American government to give black people the right to vote and Civil Rights.  It was amazing how much love this man showed by walking with his fellow Americans to work during the boycott, praying and singing with them.  What an example he set for our young people to follow.  We read through his speech "I have a Dream" and Riley wrote a brief biography about MLK.  It broke his heart to learn that Dr. Martin Luther King had been assassinated, we both sat there and cried as we read about it.  I think he felt at peace when we later talked about how Dr. Martin Luther King is in Heaven with our Heavenly Father and walking beside Jesus! 

The nice thing about lapbooks is that different components of learning are incorporated.  There were mapping skills, vocabulary words and he had to do a time line of MLK's life.    It was a good learning opportunity that we could taper to our level of learning.  He did a very good job at reading and learning about MLK and worked quite hard at putting it all together.  I was pleased with the way it all turned out and the effort he put forth as well.  I know his birthday has already passed but if you are looking for a good way to introduce or teach you child about Martin Luther King, I would highly recommend the lapbook from In The Hands of a Child.  We finished our study on Martin Luther King Jr. by reading Martin's Big Words:  The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by Doreen Rappaport.

It was a good way to introduce Riley to this very important piece of American History.  We both learned what a great man Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was and how he helped our fellow Americans gain their rights as citizens.

If you are looking for another resource to help teach your children about Martin Luther King Jr. try the "I Have a Dream" Speech Challenge by Jill O. Miles.  Here is her blog:  History for Children: He Had a Dream scroll down and the link to the Speech Challenge is just before the video of his speech. 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Back to the Books Tomorrow!

We have had a busy weekend! Riley turned 8 yesterday! What a little man he is getting to be! Oma (Chris' Mom) came up and my family came over and spent some time with Riley. They all seemed to have a great time! Nerf guns were brought out and Uncles and Aunts and cousins were running and hiding around corners and in closets to not get shot. It was loud but hilarious to watch. Yes, I was a watcher as were Nana and Oma and a couple of my sisters.

Thursday we had Coop classes and that went well again. Riley enjoyed his classes and had a good time. I helped out in the Art class again and also in the Lego Robotics with the 9-11 year old boys. Since I haven't really ever watched that many 9-11 year old's that close, it was interesting to watch the behaviorism of that age group. I also thought, "hmmm, Riley will be there in a year or so, is that how he will behave?"

Friday we went to the circus with some of our school mates! Riley had never been before so he thoroughly enjoyed it! We bought a program which came with a blinking red clown nose. He wore it through most of the program! It was so cute!


Then of course we had the weekend, birthday party, Oma visited and we had lots of rest and down time today. As I went through some of his tests and papers tonight I realized how Riley is possibly in a lazy streak lately. He had made several careless mistakes on both his math and phonics papers or tests. He has been in a hurry and not paying attention to what he is writing or the instructions, leaving numbers off, not reading the signs (whether to add or subtract), misspelled words or with capital letters, leaving punctuation off. Just a lot of little stuff like that that adds up quickly.

Tomorrow is Monday. We will start school and hopefully get Riley back on track this week. I knew he had been rushing to get his paperwork done but I didn't realize to what extent. So I approach tomorrow with determination that we will take our time, do our best and finish our work and I will be watching more. Wishing you a blessed week!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Is that all it took?

Well, maybe I just needed to write about it in order to get it done, or started I should say. The load of clothes is folded and mostly put away. The bonus room is clean and ready for guests this weekend. The living room is straightened. Now all I need to do is finish the rest! I am thankful to have gotten this much done!

I will be able to finish the rest tomorrow with a little bit of help from Riley. We are off to the circus tomorrow morning! I'm excited for Riley, he has never been. It has been years since I have been so it should be fun!

I think I will start the household notebook tomorrow. I can give it a try and see how it goes from there.

Well, I don't have much else to say tonight. I'm tired and will hit the hay. I hope y'all have a blessed day! Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

How Do You Do It?

Well, these last few days have been really busy!  School has gone well I have managed to get some small things for scouts completed.  There is however a pile of laundry sitting on our big chair in the living waiting to be folded for a day now.  I have managed to put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher and wipe off the counter.  I did vacuum the school room today because I was tired of seeing stuff on the floor that didn't belong there.  Lady has managed to chew up just about all of Riley's pencils and leaves all the tiny pieces all over the floor.  Aaaahh the joy of a teething puppy!

Riley was a big help Monday and put all his clean clothes away from that pile of laundry that I did fold then.  Hopefully they made it completely in his drawers!  :-)  We are still learning how to shut our drawers completely in Riley's room!  We have also been looking for a shoe for about a week now.  Still no shoe.

We did get groceries today.  Got them put away and dinner is put away.

You know, I am not a very good housekeeper.  My mother is wonderful at it.  I am not.  Now I suppose I should clarify, I am not a bad housekeeper in the sense that I do not know how to but I just do not do it the way it needs to be done or in a timely manner.  And then to get it to stay that way longer than a day or a few hours?  That just does not happen.

I think I make it harder on myself.  I am a stacker.  There, I've said it!  I stack things.  If I don't know what to do with it, I stack it and save it for later (when I will know what to do with it!).

I ran across an idea that wont go away so I'm wondering if I need to give it a try to see if it would help me with organization and getting some things done.  Has anyone tried a household notebook?  Does it work for you?  The notebook I saw is mainly a financial household notebook.  I like that idea because it also had a calendar that you could record when bills are due and other items in the financial realm.  However, I've been thinking that a place to make "to do lists" or grocery lists, winter and fall to do lists would be a nice addition. I think a chore list would help me some....Riley has a chore list, do I need a chore list?  When I make lists I do well, I take the first thing, get it done and cross it off!  What a great sense of accomplishment that gives me! 

I've noticed that some mom's (who blog) keep lists of chores for themselves.  Or they have designated days that they clean certain things, such as, Monday laundry, Tuesday dusting, Wednesday vacuum etc.  What do you do?  What works for you?

I am beginning to think I need to turn over a new leaf regarding cleaning because I feel like I am treading water sometimes.  Either school takes precedence or we take a day off to clean, and we can't do that once a week.  We'd be in trouble then!  :-)

I would love to hear what works for you or how you handle keeping your house clean or is it a battle for you too?
Blessings to you!