Friday, September 30, 2011

We like to start 'em young.

Calvin loves hearing his brother and sister play the piano, but what he really loves is getting his own turn!

Twinkle Toes is preparing a piece to enter in a piano composition contest, so she's been scribbling notes in her composition pad off and on all day.  Little sister thought she'd give it a try.

Is that a half-note or a "b"?  Either way, not bad. 

It's been a busy week and tomorrow is Measle's hoedown.  She'll be playing some fiddle music.  The kids are looking forward to it.  Hopefully I'll get some pictures.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

You would never know...

...that this was my sewing room earlier today. 

Now, it's our dining room once more!

Notice the colorful mis-matched cloth napkins.  Let's call my table ecclectic rather than garish, shall we?
Remember how messy this room was earlier today?  So, where did all that sewing stuff go?

Tucked away in my "server".  There's a place for everything and everything is in its place.  Just the way I like it : ).

I slid the sewing machines to the side of my storage closet.  It's still technically a "walk-in closet" so I think this will work.

Now to get some sleep.  Good night All.

I just couldn't help myself.

I was supposed to be re-organizing my sewing/dining room today and I have been, but in the midst of sorting through all that fabric, I just had to give this long-sleeve peasant dress tutorial at Prudent Baby a try.  It took me longer than I thought it would and my Granny had to come to my rescue once, but I did it! 

Heaven forbid my little preschooler not have a new dress to wear to church in the morning.  I wish I had used a knit fabric, but the napkin fabric worked alright.  I'll blame it on the napkins.  I knew I needed to make two more cloth napkins for my mom's birthday lunch tomorrow and that I definitely didn't feel like making 8, so I decided to make two napkins and a little dress.  What do you think?

Now back to my reorganizing project.  I will finish tonight because we're having the family for lunch tomorrow in honor of my mom's birthday.  The sewing room will be a dining room by tomorrow.    It has to be.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Raspberry picking

My mom loves all things outdoors and decided for her birthday this year she wanted us to all go rasberry picking... in New Mexico.  We drove around 5 hours last night and stayed the night in Sipapu at the Lodge.  What an adventure!  Then this morning, after the kids and Nana explored a bit and we ate a huge breakfast, we went raspberry picking at Salman Ranch.

Notice she's chewing as she walks.

Pick raspberry.

Eat raspberry.  Repeat.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Guidecraft Hideaway Country Kitchen Review for TOS

When our older daughters (now 10 and 8) were 2 and 4, we invested in a kitchen set.  My genius of a husband even designed a little playhouse into our upstairs addition. 

While the girls have certainly had their share of fun in their upstairs kitchen, I've learned something along the way.  My little kids want to be in the same room with the rest of the family.  When the big kids and I are doing homeschool, the little ones want to play all around us.  This is what I love about Guidecraft's Hideaway Country Kitchen!  I can set it up in the living room for hours of fun then fold it up and hide it away in our closet under the stairs until next time. 

You can see from these pictures just how cute the Guidecraft Hideaway Country kitchen is.  The little clock has movable hands and our 8 yr old daughter (not shown) loves making it tell the exact time. 

Our little future chef is showing you in the picture above how much storage there is underneath for food and pots and pans.  And of course, I love that the food doesn't have to be strewn about the floor.

When you're ready to fold the kitchen up, lift the cook surface up and flip up the metal bars that normally lock the cabinet in place. 

After you flip up the lock bars, you can lift the bottom piece up and the cabinet easily collapses inward.
The Guidecraft Hideaway Country Kitchen is designed to be stored flat on the floor, for instance underneath a bed.  Our little ones want to play in the living room with us, not in their bedrooms, so I store it upright in our closet.  In order to do this I use a piece of tape on each side to secure the countertop to the back of the cabinet.  I've stored it this way multiple times (with fresh pieces of tape each time) and have not had any problems with the countertop falling or with sticky tape being difficult to remove.  This has worked great for me, making it super convenient to move the kitchen from the closet to living room and back again each time.

I absolutely LOVE our Guidecraft Hideaway Country Kitchen and my 8, 5, and almost 3 year olds have played with it a TON.  My genius husband, whom I mentioned before, put it together without problem, but did say that the screw casings (or whatever they're called) could be easily stripped and that if you don't know what you're doing (like me) this could be a problem.  He also didn't think it was well-made enough (particle board) to cost $200, but I do think you have to consider convenience as well as craftsmanship.  The point of the kitchen is to be transportable, not heavy and bulky.   Our kids have played with it lots over the last month and we haven't seen any signs of wear and tear.   I did lose the bolt that is supposed to go in to keep things together when in the "play position".  The bolt comes out to fold the kitchen up and I lost it the first time I did that.  I should have taped it to the kitchen since our junk drawers are black holes.  This is a problem with me, though, not the kitchen.  The kitchen has held up fine without the bolt.  It's probably a safety feature to insure that the kids can't fold the kitchen up on themselves.  Luckily, my kids aren't interested in folding it up, but only in playing with it.
The Guidecraft Hideaway Country Kitchen is available from Guidecraft for $200.   It is recommended for ages 3+.
If you have little ones that like to be in the same room as you when you're cooking or teaching school, then I HIGHLY recommend this kitchen.  The convenience and portability make it worth the $200 in my book.  And if you've ever been in the middle of doing school with your big kids only to realize that you haven't seen your little one in a while and then walked in on a scene like this...
Somebody got into lipstick.
Somebody got into pasta.
... then you NEED this kitchen.


Please check out the other TOS reviews of the Guidecraft Hideaway Country Kitchen.

Disclaimer:  I received a free Guidecraft Hideaway Country Kitchen to write this review.  All the opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

If at first you don't succeed...

I'm a really slow learner when it comes to sewing.  I think I'm just going to have to make every mistake in the book.  Hopefully I won't make many of them twice!

I've made Calvin four pairs of elastic waist pants and made three different mistakes on three pairs!!  The first pair I made Calvin, I sewed a large hem too close to the bottom so that the hem can flip down and show.  I need to re-hem them.  The second pair I made, I somehow managed to have the pants right side out when I made the elastic casing so it's now wrong-side out.  That must have been a late-night mistake.  Oh well, his t-shirts cover it up : ).  The third pair, I got the tanks right side up on one leg and upside down on the other one.  This is something I was careful not to mess up on the other pairs, so I'm not sure how I did it on this one.  Finally, the fourth pair turned out pretty good. 

Calvin's third and fourth pairs of pants.

I made big sister a pair of pajama pants this afternoon and I think they're perfect.

The moral of the story... if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.  Or in my case, try, try, try, again : ).

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Peppers, pickles, pajama pants, and packing lunches.

 I think we're all set for pickles.

Can he really only wear them while sleeping? 

Six, count them six lunches packed and ready for tomorrow.   Now that I'm a children's leader in CBS, I have to pack lunches for all my kids every Wednesday.  Whew!  I'm already exhausted and tomorrow isn't even here, yet.  My friend Noelle at Triplesmiles told me about Easy Lunchboxes, so I thought I'd give it a try.  The divided trays mean no ziploc baggies and there's room in the cooler for an ice pack, drink, etc.  And the best part- they come in 7 colors- we made it just under the line.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Before Five in a Row Review for TOS


Prince (5) and I have LOVED Five in a Row (volumes I and II) by Jane Claire Lambert, and I had actually been considering whether I should buy Before Five in a Row for Queen, who will be 3 next month, this year or wait until next year.  When the opportunity arose for me to review Before Five in a Row, I jumped at the chance, and I'm so glad I did.  If you love FIAR, you're sure to love Before FIAR!

The idea behind Five in a Row is to help your children glean something new each time you read a certain story to them.  Five in a Row includes a multitude of lessons covering the subjects of Social Studies, Language Arts, Art, Math, and Science for each of 20 carefullly selected children's books.  I love that I can pick and choose which lesson or lessons I want to cover on each of the 5 days in a row that we read the book.  I will tell you that my 5 year old son can easily locate Sri Lanka on a world map thanks to FIAR.  (My 5 yr old son was recently encouraging his 8 yr old sister to try to find Sri Lanka and he told her it's just below India.  She said, "Where's India?"  I'm really wishing I had done FIAR with her.)


Before FIAR shares the same philosphy as FIAR, but is geared for children ages 2-4, who may not be quite ready for the lessons presented in FIARBefore FIAR will be a fun way to get your preschooler ready to start school, whether you decide to homeschool them or send them to Kindergarten.

Before FIAR is organized in two parts.  The first part of the book is composed of lesson plans for 24 children's classics such as Goodnight Moon and Blueberries for Sal.   (Click here for a complete list of BFIAR titles.)  The lessons cover a variety of subjects important for pre-schoolers such as colors, patterns, rhyming, memory, sequencing, and problem solving to name a few.  Some of the big kid subjects like Math, Science, and Language Arts are represented, too.  Bible lessons including Scripture verses are included for each book, as well.

The second part of BFIAR is a rich parent's resource of creative ideas for learning readiness.  This section of the book is full of games and activities you can do with your child to help get them ready for reading and also help with their gross and fine motor development.  Activities for bath and kitchen time, an introduction to the arts, and more are included in this learning readiness treasury.

One of our goals as parents is to give our children the gift of a love of reading.  My husband and I love books and we want our kids to love books, too.  Before Five in a Row is a great way to nurture a love of reading in your preschooler. 

My little preschooler with some of her BFIAR books.

Ha, ha, ha.  Those monkeys are so funny!
You can purchase Before Five in a Row through FIAR's partner Rainbow Resources for $35 (just the lesson plans) and the literature pack for $97.50  which inlcudes the 19 books currently in print ($149.95 would be retail for buying all the books separately).  I bought the literature packs for both volumes I and II of FIAR and highly suggest going this route.  I was able to round up 7 or so of the titles for BFIAR (mostly from our shelves), but was disappointed that our local bookstores didn't have more than 3 of the 24 books!

We have loved FIAR so much!  I love the accountability to keep reading the same book until we've really soaked in it.  I love FIAR's Christian worldview and how they encourage biblical character development.  And I love that my kids are enjoying learning from living books, not from dry, boring textbooks.  I highly recommend Before Five in a Row for guided reading with your preschooler.  And I hope I get the chance to review Beyond Five in a Row soon : ).


Please check out the other TOS reviews of Before Five in a Row.

Disclaimer:  I received no compensation for the writing of this review other than a free copy of Before Five in a Row.  All opinions expressed in this post are my own.


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I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.