Friday, September 28, 2012

Enough Already

Seizing the summer....

Since it is still seizing us...


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What We are Reading

Claire loves to read books.   We read a few here and there throughout the day but our nap time and night time ritual is that she choose 4 books (because she is 4 years old) to read before she goes to sleep.   I actually used to dread story time but now that Claire is a little older, her books are more interesting, thoughtful, educational and funny than they used to be.  With all our reading, Josh and I get pretty tired of the books we have and it seems like we've read every one at least a thousand times.  I am SO thankful for thrift stores when it comes to books. 
Most Goodwill and Savers books are 69 to 99 cents. 

Every time we walk into a thrift store we look at books and we have started collecting a couple different series.  The first series I successfully collected was the Moncure a-z books, number books and finally the short story books.  Claire still likes them but they are a little babyish for her now. Joy will be ready for them when she is about 2.

One of Claire's favorites is the Reader's Digest Weekly Little Animal books.  We have several but there are many more still out there that we haven't found so we keep an eye out for those.   
 Each book has a cute and valuable lesson or moral.  My favorite of them is Kitty's Special Job.  
We talk about what each member's of our family special job is from time to time and sometimes Claire comes up with interesting things that she thinks are her "special job".

Angelina Ballerina is another favorite.  
The books are longer and she is just to the point where she can understand the plots and emotions going on in them. 
We just found one we didn't have yet this week -It was the best one yet, so cute and the story was quite heartwarming.

We recently discovered the Alice in Bibleland books. At first I was highly annoyed by them.  EVERY thrift store has "The Story of Jonah"  I was under the impression that there were 3 or 4 in the series but after I reluctantly bought "The Good Samaritan" and "David and Goliath" (desperate for new reading material) I realized that they are really really cute and well done.  One thing that I don't like about them in that they rhyme so sometimes the words they choose are a bit odd to finish a sentence but I guess Claire is learning new vocabulary that way.  Her favorites are Daniel and the Lions Den, Moses, and Esther.  I have found she enjoys books with peril.  I didn't realize that these Bible stories are quite complex when you explain them to a 4-year old.  Esther is so far the hardest to wrap her head around.
There is a lot of plotting to kill people in Bible stories.  Today we read Moses and she almost cries at this part.
In this picture I asked her if the mother was sad or happy. 
Originally Claire said "happy". We talked about how sad it must have been for her to give away her little baby and we imagined if we had to give away Joy.  

The books are a great way introduce her to many of the Bible stories and as she gets older talk about the concepts and take them to deeper levels.

 I have amazingly been able to find 15 of the 28 books in the series in just a few weeks.  
 We are huge fans now. I am actually surprised that Claire likes them so much, if I ever catch her looking at books by herself, she is usually looking at these ones.

We have found countless classics and just plain fun books as well.
My favorites are Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

Wanted: Best Friend

and Lyle the Crocodile is always fun too.

A while back we got 3 different Winnie the Pooh Adventure books on tape (cd).  She loves them.  They are all about 20 minutes long and I love that she can do them herself.
    Well, those are a few of our recent favorites - we are enjoying this stage of books!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Shorties - A Short Tutorial

A few weeks ago I was talking with a friend and she mentioned how she wished she could find some little shorty shorts to cover her daughter's underwear - it seems as though 2, 3, and 4 year old girls aren't very good at NOT showing off their panties when they wear dresses or skirts.

  I agreed and looked at different options online and decided that those little bike shorts are the best option.  They don't look like diaper covers (that would look strange on a 4 year old) and are long enough to modestly cover gapey, toddler panties.  I decided that I should get some since Claire is so rambunctious at church but had a hard time finding them under $5 and even then I couldn't find the colors I needed. So, as usual, if you want something plain and simple, without butterflies, Dora, ugly colors or monkeys you must make it yourself.

I cut apart a pair of garanimals shorts that I had and used it as my pattern.  Each pair I have made is slightly adjusted.  I think I finally got it just right for Claire.  

If my machine doesn't act up (sewing on knit is not its favorite thing to do) I can turn one of these guys out in about 20 minutes.  Here's how!

I used a TJ's bag to make my pattern now that I got it the way I want.  I cut this white pair out of a cami that I never wore. 
 Pin with the right sides together.
 Turn the shorts so the the seams you just sewed become a seam down the front and the seam down the back.
 Then pin the crotch/legs together and sew.
 Fold the legs and waist over and pin. The great thing about knit is that it won't unravel so there is no need to serge the edges or double fold them over.

Now, in order for the waist and leg holes to retain the stretchiness of the fabric, it is important to use a double needle.  Here is a great explanation and tutorial for using a double needle.  It is very easy.  Here is how I set the spools up on my machine. 
 The thread does tangle but I've never had to affect the stitches.
Sew all the way around the legs and waist, but leave a space so you can thread the elastic through.
I learned after my first pair NOT to use regular elastic. Pajama, knit of this soft fold-over elastic are all fine to use.
Thread it though the waist band casing, sew the elastic ends together and of course close up the opening you had left for the elastic done. 

Done! Each pair cost about 68 cents  since I used only material that I already had.  Then only cost was the elastic.

 Now she has shorts to go with any dress.

 - So jump, dance, run, 
crawl, or roll to your heart's content Claire! 

(Not that you didn't before)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Boston House Progress

 We have been working hard at the Boston house.  We can only get out there on Saturdays but we are still making progress.   Over the course of 2 weekends, Josh and my dad and Bryan took turns using the demo hammer to get the tile floor up.  What a loud, dirty, sweaty, exhausting job that was!
 My dad has spent many hours in the master bath fixing a leak and preparing the shower space for a new shower that is not quite to same size.  He had to jackhammer through the concrete and dig in the dirt under the foundation to get to the leak. There was a pile of dirt as tall as Claire in the bathroom at one point.
 Josh kept busy this last weekend taking out cabinets in the garage and taking siding off the wall in the garage so we can put drywall up instead so it will be up to fire code.  (The garage was a carport that the previous owners enclosed.)  He also mowed and took out the dog run, chain link fence.
The weekend that it rained a lot, my mom and I pulled a TON of weeds.
We got 3 of the tarps full.
We have also been prepping the walls for paint.  Apparently, the previous owners have never heard of bulletin boards and felt a need to hang thousands of things up on the walls with push pins. 
I was hoping the purple room was not as bad as the teal room but it was definitely worse.
 I was pulling a painted-over staple out of the wall in the purple room and it pulled up the paint around it like a little bubble.  I went to pull the bubble off and the paint kept peeling away from the wall!

Before we knew it, the paint had to be pulled off the entire wall!  It slowed us down A LOT.  What kind of paint just peels up like that?  Ridiculous!
Most weekends Josh's parents watch the girls for us which is a HUGE help.  This last weekend though they weren't able to but since the noisy work was done and it was cooler outside we brought them with us.  They played in the backyard and wandered in and out of the house throughout the day.  They were good for 5 hours!  
Then Claire stood on an ant hill and got bit a few times and my work day was done.

Next on the list is painting the inside and installing new windows.