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Sunday, September 16, 2012

A stitch here, a stitch there

Last year, Chris's cousin Kelly asked me to make her a teeshirt quilt featuring all her college & highschool shirts. Since she lives in Indiana, I waited until we met up in Florida on family vacation this summer to give it to her. Kelly picked out all the fabrics online last fall. I had a great time making this quilt, and I can't wait to make another one! I saved all the shirts I bought at concerts over the past two decades, so I'm really excited to put that one together as a Christmas present to myself (:

I didn't take as many pictures early on in the process, but here are the ones I snapped when I remembered to grab my camera. This first picture is after I cut all the shirts into squares, and sewed the pipping on. To get the perfect square each time, I used a square ruler which I bought on Amazon last fall. I loved how easy it was to make every shirt the exact same size. I chose to get Kelly's name embroidered at the bottom since it was such a personal quilt, and I chose the collegiate type font since they were all school shirts! I *love* how the embroidery turned out!

The front panel of the quilt all sewed together, before I added the outer border.

After I added the outer panel to the original front side, I added a layer of batting and a panel of fabric to the back. I sewed that all together and attached a grey border around the edges to complete the look.

I just love this quilt!! Kelly is lucky it has her shirts on it, I might have kept it otherwise, Ha!

Another project I worked on recently, was a Halloween dress for Abs. As soon as I saw the idea on Pinterest, I couldn't wait to make my own variation! Abigail was SO excited to see her new 'ghosty dress.' Whose do you think turned out better?? (;

Last, but not least, is a tote bag set I'm working on for two sweet sisters. They weren't finished by the time I took pictures, but don't you just love these fabrics??

As always, stay tuned for more sewing projects (:

Weekends in the Fall

Going to school five days a week has been such an adjustment for all of us! This year we made the switch to afternoon classes, which basically demolished naps at my house. We already knew we were in the minority having a 4.5 year old and 3.5 year old who still napped... but those naps allowed our kids to stay up a little later, and spend time with Daddy when he got off work later during the week. No naps means our kids go to bed at least an hour earlier than they used to, so time with daddy is a hot commodity. Our weekends have become a precious time together as a family, so we're trying to spend every moment we can together. It's been awesome!

A few weeks ago, Chris' grandma on his Mom's side (Memaw), celebrated her 80th birthday. While she was in Dallas, we celebrated with Chris' Dad's Mom and sister, and that weekend we traveled to Houston to celebrate with Memaw's family. The party was at a park/pavilion area down in Baytown, so there was a nice breeze and awesome cloud coverage that kept the weather tolerable. All of Abigail & Brody's cousins on daddy's side were there to celebrate with us!

Memaw & Abigail trying on party favors

Chris' family on his Mom's side

All the big cousins... Madden & Peyton, Lily, Abigail & Brody

Myself & Chris

Last weekend, we went to a community picnic at Windmill Playground in the city my husband works in. The park at this particular place is unique, in that it was a community build park, so my husband got to work on it and help build parts of it! We love taking the kids there, and last weekend they were able to use the splash pad for the first time (it hadn't been open the other times we were there). Our kids are close in age to Chris' boss' kids, so we found them and let the kids play and eat together at the park. Abigail and Trey walked around holding hands the entire time, yikes! (: They were all so sweet together, it was nice to catch up with the Webbs!

Trey & Abigail <3

Brody, Trey, Chandler (back) & Abigail

Sweet Mommy + daughter pic of Allison & Chandler

On the way home, we heard the train coming, so we parked and let the kids climb on the back of trailer to watch it go by. Beautiful sunset!!

THIS weekend, we went to Daddy's softball game on Friday night, which is always a blast! He didn't play ball over the summer, so it was our first game to attend since last spring. One of Abigail's friend's dad got to sub, so they kids also enjoyed cheering for Mr. Dougy (ha)! Team Mojo played a great game, and pulled off another W, 15-6. Go team Mojo!!

Abs & Brody cheering on Daddy & Mr. Dougy

One of our favorite things to do on a Saturday is explore new parks in the area. This weekend, we ended up at Limestone Quarry park in Frisco, which is my new favorite park. The city park is adjacent to the neighborhood park, which are both connected to a hike & bike trail. The community park is multi-level and set into the ground, and features public art work and built in stone benches for story time. It is so lovely, and I can't wait to go back again!

After playing at the park, we enjoyed a picnic outside before taking the kids over to a Real Bookstore in Fairview to pick out some surprises!  ARB is a big, local bookstore with an incredible children's section. The kids love to go there and play, look at books, and pick out something to take home (of course). The store has lots of kid sized tables to play on, floor mats to lay on, and most importantly, an oversized chair to cuddle up with your little brother read.

Next weekend the family is heading to Seaworld for the FIRST TIME!! We are so excited to take the kids to their first theme park. I can't wait to share it with you (:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Princess month part 2

Over the summer, we continued with our home school monthly units, so in June we focused on Princesses & Pirates. It was so much fun to have two themes intertwined with one another, which were both an easy follow up from our fairy tale month. As you know, I base my themes around the sensory bins I want to make, so since we had two themes I created two sensory bins for the kiddos to explore!

Pirate sensory tub:

 Princess sensory tub:
My goal was to make these two tubs as complimentary as possible, yet still incorporating the themes. the bases for the two boxes are beans (top) and rice mixed with confetti (bottom). For the pirate box, I burried change from my wallet in the beans so the kids could dig for buried treasure (like in one of the boxes I picked out for pirate week). 

[This was a HUGE hit, and my daughter ended up digging for buried treasures all summer long. On family vacation in August, my Aunt Brenda videoed Abigail digging for coins on the beach -- too funny!]

Both boxes included jewelry (plastic rings and bracelets) for the kids to find and wear, as well as small figures and toys that represent the different themes. The pirate box included two foam swords I found at the Target dollar spot. I was really excited that one looked like a "knight" sword and one resembled a "pirate" sword. [Side note: With each unit, I purchase one of the DK Eyewitness books that match out theme. This month, the Pirate book was a HUGE hit, especially when the kids were able to match the foam swords to real swords in the book.] One of my daughter's favorite elements from the princess tub, were the 'jewels' scattered throughout the confetti rice. She was able to use her plastic tweezers to dig them out.

Here is a close up of some of the features of the princess tub:

Another element of our classroom, that I update each month to match our theme, is our writing/activity station. When the kids come into class, they can sit down here and work on their first work sheet of the day while I'm getting everything started to begin class. Once their worksheet is finished, they can play with anything from the activity box, as long as they use all the items appropriately (don't use markers on yourself, stickers stay on paper, etc). The kids LOVE this box, and the beg to come in the classroom during non-school time just to explore new items in the box. Here are the goodies from princess/pirate month:

One of my favorite activities we did during June was learning how to fill out invitations & how to use them. During the first week, we talked about princess manners and politeness. During this lessons, we learned about letter writing and invites & thank yous. I had found some Disney Princess bday invites clearanced out a few months back, so I grabbed them up since I had already stated planning this unit. We talked about why we 'invite' people to parties/events, and we also talked about wording: To, From, Time, Date, Place, etc. I let the kids fill out sample invites, and we worked on spelling and hand writing. 

They had so much practicing all their new skills! Of course they both got really excited about their upcoming birthday parties - okay, by upcoming I mean 8 & 10 months away, but still. It was a fun, quick introduction to written manners. 

I hope you enjoyed reading about our adventures in Princess & Pirate month!! Stay tuned for our ocean unit!! I'll give you a hint... we use LOTS of sand (; 

Friday, September 7, 2012

First day of school!

Today concludes the first week of school for Abigail and Brody, and we couldn't be more proud of our kiddos! Abigail started Pre-K on Tuesday, and she went to school every day this week. Brody started on the same day, and went to preschool on Tuesday and Thursday. On Wednesday Brody started his speech therapy at the Early Childhood School, which he will attend twice a week. Both kids were happy when I picked them up each day, so that makes me feel really good. We are so grateful to be apart of such an amazing preschool community.

Here are a few pics from the first day of school:

Over the weekend, before preschool started, we asked the kids a couple of questions so we could remember what they were like at the beginning of Fall 2012. Here are their answers:


I weigh 38 pounds.
My best friend's name is: Brody, and all my friends are my favorite.
My favorite thing to play is: Barbies
My favorite color: Purple & Red
My favorite book: My Garden by Kevin Henkes
My favorite t.v. show: The Lorax or Barbie movies
My favorite food: Tacos
When I grow up, I want to: Be a mommy and an Olympian
Something I really like: Dressing up like a fairy
Something I really don't like: Bugs flying around in our yard.
My favorite thing about myself: That I like to hiphop dance.
Something I want to do this year: Ride my bike & be happy & play with my friends.


I weigh 37 pounds.
My best friend's name is: Abigail.
My favorite thing to play is: Thomas the Train, Cars, Superheros
My favorite color: Purple
My favorite book: Monster Book by Ed Emberely
My favorite t.v. show: Cars
My favorite food: Corn Dogs
When I grow up, I want to: Be a football player... No! A teacher.
Something I really like: Gymnastics... doing cartwheels.
Something I really don't like: Flies (Brody likes to 'shoo' them away)
My favorite thing about myself: I like to play with cars.
Something I want to do this year: I want to learn how to fly.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The month of the fairy tale

Welcome to the month of the princess/knight/castles/pirates/dragons and all things fairy tale related month! I have been waiting for this month (and the next few months coming up) since I started home schooling. This month in particular I have been planning for a while now. I just hope we have enough time to do everything I have found/came up with!

Since I home school both my daughter and son, it was important to me to make this month about more than just the princess. I saw a super cute idea breaking down the elements of a fairy tale, and although it was a little too old for my preschoolers, it was a great place to get started for our month. I like to plan out our month but weekly themes, so here are the four I came up with:

* The Knight & the Princess: I'm going to go ahead and be honest and say that my daughter knows every Disney princess and their stories by heart. When asked, she can tell you which couples go together, their individual "color schemes," their movie star buddies, the ever romantic songs that go with each story, and why each and every princess is her favorite. I'm not upset by that. I love Disney. I still know every single song by heart and would love to fly on a magic carpet and don't even get me started about Rapunzel's golden locks of hair I wish I could grow. However; I wanted to use this month as an opportunity to talk about the other aspects of a Princess as well, such as their strength, inner beauty, manners, and courage, while still using some of my daughter's 'best friends' as role models - just in a different light. I also chose to do knights instead of the 'Prince' because I wanted to talk about protecting people, standing up to bullies, and strength.

* The castle and the dragon: I think it's important to talk about housing and habitats, and this was a wonderful opportunity to talk about different countries since our country isn't home to castles that are centuries old. It can tough to talk about big ideas like countries and continents with kids this age, but I believe that the only way they learn is.... to learn. If you keep putting stuff off because the concept is difficult to explain or whateverthereason, you'll always make excuses... at least that's the case for me. For that reason, I have tried to push myself this year out of the "age appropriate" excuse when I can and just go for it. Either they get it or they don't. So, we are talking about England, France, Ireland, and Scotland this month- one country a week. I added dragons to this week theme b/c I didn't have anywhere else to put them, and I had a really awesome dragon to put in the knight sensory box!

* Pirates/the concept of "the Villain": The villain concept was a something I have been waiting to talk about with my kids, mostly because bullying is such a pressing issue in schools - and our country - these days. It's starting younger & younger and it's important to talk about this kind of stuff. I decided to take the positive, pro-active approach to this topic, for the same reasons we focus on good choices & good behavior instead of bad choices/bad behavior. Here are a couple books I chose to read during this week:
Have you Filled a Bucket Today? By Carol McCloud
Best Friends by Steven Kellogg
And then I also have some other pirate books, such as Shiver Me Letters & The Night Pirates.

Another special thing we added in this month was a couple days where we focused on Saint Patrick's Day, and Ireland. Stay tuned for my special St. Patty's day blog post, which will feature some themed art projects, snack food, and even a special guest at our home school!

Thanks for reading, y'all!
Friday, March 16, 2012

Brody's loves: Age 3

Last weekend my beautiful baby boy turned three years old, and I only cried one. Okay, that's a lie, but lets not dwell on the past..............................

Here is my sweet Brody's loves at age 3

Brody at 3 years old: 20 Questions

1. What is your favorite color? Pink!

2. What is your favorite toy? Cars!

3. What is your favorite fruit? Watermelon!

4. What is your favorite tv show? Dora

5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Hot dogs

6. What is your favorite outfit? A shirt! (do you like to wear pants?) Noo... (Do you like to wear shorts?) Noo... (Okay, moving on).

7. What is your favorite game? High-five/Too Slow

8. What is your favorite snack? Poptarts

9. What is your favorite animal? A Snake, "SSSSSS"

10. What is your favorite song? Dora dora dora the explorer (And then he stared singing and dancing until the entire theme song was over).

11. What is your favorite book? We're Going on a Bear Hunt

12. Who is your best friend? Abigail

13. What is your favorite cereal? Cereal bars

14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Swing!

15. What is your favorite drink? Milk

16. What is your favorite holiday? I'm 3!

17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Ladybug!

18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Cereal bars!

19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Hotdogs

20. What do you want to be when you grow up? Batman (It's good to have goals).
Thursday, February 9, 2012

Abigail's loves: Age 4

Abigail at 4 years old: 20 Questions

1. What is your favorite color? Purple

2. What is your favorite toy? Barbies

3. What is your favorite fruit? Bananas

4. What is your favorite tv show? Scooby Doo

5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Peanut Butter and Jelly

6. What is your favorite outfit? A play dress and my running shoes

7. What is your favorite game? Backyardigans on my Leapster

8. What is your favorite snack? Scooby-doo bones (cinnamon graham cracker cookies)

9. What is your favorite animal? A cow

10. What is your favorite song? Itsy Bitsy Spider

11. What is your favorite book? I'm A Big Sister

12. Who is your best friend? Ava & Emily and my cousins Lily & Olivia

13. What is your favorite cereal? Cheerios

14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? play (what do you like to play) with our house (plastic toy house)

15. What is your favorite drink? Tea

16. What is your favorite holiday? Santa (You mean Christmas?) No... I mean Santa.

17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Bella bear

18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Blueberry Bagels

19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Spaghetti & Hotdogs

20. What do you want to be when you grow up? A choo-choo train master

" Mom, I need you to type all the things I say."
"I like playing with my cousins, and I love my grandma. And I like the moon. And I like my momma. And I love my brother, Brody. And I love Brody's new train set. And I love toys. And I like t.v."
"What do you like on t.v.?"
"Every movie."
"What else do you want me to type?"
"I love coloring. I want you to type huggin'. I want you to type crayons. And can you type pictures?"
"What kind of pictures?"
"I like that picture, of Lily and Trevor."
"So you like the pictures we hang up in frames, around the house?"
"Mmmm hmmm. And I love tapping (like tapping her feet). And I love music. And I love going inside my new tent."

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Since I'm a mean AWESOME MOM

Since I'm an awesome mom, I asked for a lot of educational gifts for the kids Christmas and birthday presents. And because kids are dumb, they have no idea how much they are learning while they are playing.

One of my favorite things from their lists, were dot markers and books to go with. We pulled them out a couple weeks ago, for the first time, and they LOVED them! My daughter uses these at phonics for 'writing' the letters of the day, but she was so excited to use them at HS for art time. I have been feeling like our art time has gotten a little stale (read: whatever I'm able to grab and put together in 2 minutes), so having these was a nice way to 'shake' things up a bit. SO fun!

Another other fun thing we got for christmas, was a lacing set. Another way to practice lacing is with beads & string. Or macaroni & pipe cleaners. The important thing for us, is changing up how we utilize the same concept and skills. Also how I approach it. For example:

Me: Hey, daughter, do you want to take some beads, and lace them on a string, and work on your fine motor?
Daughter: What's fine motor?


Me: Hey! Lets make a bracelet! 
Daughter: YEAY!!! 

See? Told ya kids are dumb.

We've also had a lot of fun with pattern blocks & boards, of which I asked for two different kinds since my kids are two different ages. For my younger one, I asked for the beginner set, and for my older one, a more advanced set. The beginner set has been great for shape & word recognition, since the boards are mostly common animals and scenes in our every day life (flower pot, duck, etc). The set for my daughter has also been a hit, though it requires some help, as the pieces move as you place them, since there are no grooves on the board (like the beginner set). Sometimes I think M&D make these "learning toys" to help parents practice their patients!

I saved my favorite learning toy for last, because I can not be more in love with this toy! The V Tech USA Explore & Learn Map is awesome.  One of the reasons I wanted to home school - aside from the obvious reason of the kids' benefit - was that I wanted to do a "Me on the Map" unit which I have read about on various blogs and teacher sites. One of the first things I picked for our class room, in fact, was our map quilt that we use for circle time (you can read about our classroom, here). There are so many awesome ways to use this map, and until we do our map unit, the kids have enjoyed playing with it in the living room during family time. Also, since their dad is a super nerd, I mean a Planner, he's enjoyed it as well.

Stay tuned for my winter themed activities, art projects, & book posts, coming soon to a blog near you. Make sure you've subscribed to the blog so it's easier to keep up with us!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Our Winter Sensory Box

With the holidays, family in town, and my daughter's birthday, the blog has taken a bit of a break over the last couple months! We, however, have not! Home school has been going great, and we are still keeping up with it all the time. Okay, fine, we took a couple weeks off in December, and maybe a day or two with the start of 2012... but that's it. I swear.

My last post was our October sensory box, so I thought I would start this one with our Winter sensory box, since the kids have been enjoying it for a while now! I had a lot of fun with this one. I usually start with a colored base of beans, or rocks, or something that they are able to "dig" through to find the other things I've placed in the box.

I didn't do that this time.

First, I wanted something that was big and white as the main piece in the box. I also wanted to introduce a texture we haven't had in our sensory box before. Luckily, I have three craft stores right in a row in my town, so I was able to find this awesome piece of faux fur! 

The other things I wanted to focus on were objects that belong in winter: animals, colors, etc. I looked through the books we had, and decided on penguins, snowmen, the color white, and SNOW! I was able to find some adorable little figurines that were the perfect size for the kids' little hands. I liked that the trees had 'snow' on them, and that they were pine trees (which stay green during cold weather, were as other plants do not!). I also got snowflakes; I found some that were made of felt and were flat, as well as plastic ones that are beads - both flat and three dimensional. The other purchase I made was a white craft feather that looks like it belongs on a flapper hat! The kids have enjoyed using this feather with different activities over the last month.

Wintery white beads & a little tree with 'snow'
Little winter figurines: Penguins, Snowmen and trees
A white, winter feather

The only thing not pictured was the book, Frosty the Snowman, by Jack Rollins. We have read it about 48 times now. Yea! (:

That's all for now... Stay tuned for more wintery theme projects, words, worksheets, art fun and more! I promise to blog more if you promise to keep reading (: