Monday, November 14, 2011

An Attitude of Gratitude

What's that new art work on our wall? Nothing yet. But in the course of the next few weeks I hope it turns into a masterpiece.

And I hope as we write or draw pictures of what we're thankful for, we remember how very much we do have. Because as I told Claire as we started this project during Evan's naptime, I'm happiest when I'm thinking about all the things I have, and I'm saddest when I'm only thinking of things I don't have. We did a thankful tree like this last Thanksgiving, and it was so fun to see it grow and to even invite others to add a leaf as they came to our house. So while all the leaves outside are falling OFF the trees, we're adding leaves to our tree inside, one blessing at a time.

We did a Family Home Evening lesson on gratitude a couple of weeks ago, as some members of the family have a hard time with whining when they are given things that aren't quite the way they wanted them. And since then the catch phrase in our house has been "attitude of gratitude" -hilarious coming out of the mouth of a 2 year old.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


I HATE holey jeans, and I think that patches look silly. Like most people, I would prefer to be able to replace my children's pants when they start showing wear, but, even shopping at resale stores, that has become an impossibility for my budget. So, here I am, trying to figure out how to patch jeans, but make it look alright.

First, I went through my scraps of fabric, looking for boyish, and girlish ones that were heavy enough to stand up to some wear and tear. Then I got creative with the shapes I cut out - flowers for the girls, parallelograms, triangles, and diamonds for the boys.

The other thing I hate about patching is that my children's pants legs are too small to fit on my sewing machine - so it either turns out looking funny, or I could rip open a seam to spread it out and use the sewing machine - or I can hand sew it. Ugh!

This time around, though, I had a day when I was mostly confined to the couch anyway, due to pregnancy issues, so hand sewing at least gave me something to do. I got out my cross-stitch thread and picked some complimentary colors. Using three strands at a time, I stitched all around the shapes. Oh, I almost forgot.... I used spray adhesive to stick the patches to the jeans until I got them sewed on. It should come out in the first wash, and was a lot easier than trying to pin them on.

Here are some pictures of the finished product.

Friday, November 4, 2011


I have just finished cleaning the baked on mess off of my stove after the last round of canning. Every time I do this, I wonder about the sanity of the project. Sure, we have boxes of applesauce, tomatoes, green beans, apple pie filling, grape juice, and peaches. But how much would that really cost if I just bought it at the grocery store?

Especially if you have to purchase the produce, canning doesn't make sense economically these days. Here are a couple of reasons why I still do it:

1) Some things you just can't get at the store. Homemade grape juice and applesauce are so much better than the store bought variety. It's worth the extra effort, at least at our house.

2) If I don't factor in time, it really does help with the family budget. I'm going to be home with the kids anyway, why not use some of that time to do something productive - and hopefully teach the kids to be productive, too!

3) I love having a garden, and gardening automatically leads to canning.

4) I have lots of wonderful family and neighbors who love to give us their extra fruit - how could I say no to that?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fun Halloween Costumes

This is more for next year, but I'm pretty proud of our family costumes, so I thought I'd post some pictures.

This year, we became beekeepers (one hive in our yard, and one in my father-in-law's), so we thought we'd have the kids be bees and Mom and Dad would be beekeepers. That worked out pretty well, except that I never got around to making a second beekeeping outfit for myself (Dad wore the actual beekeepers jacket).

I got over-sized t-shirts on sale, and we spray painted them, using 2x4's to make the unpainted rows. Next time I think I'll try brush on paint, but it worked. They already had black pants/tights and shoes, so that was a done deal. For the head gear, I splurged at Michael's for the girls antennae, but our son thought they were too girly. I could have sworn he told me he didn't want antennae, but the afternoon before we were to don the costumes for the first time, he tearfully told me that he did want some, just not as a headband!

Fortunately, we happened to have some yellow pom-poms and brown pipe cleaner (black would have been better, but it worked). I used a hot glue gun to stick the pom-poms on, and he was happy. In fact, his antennae stayed on much longer than the girls did!

For wings, I remember that we had three old pair of dollar store fairy wings in the Halloween bin, so out they came to be spray painted along with the t-shirts. Certainly better than the cardboard cutouts I had envisioned!

Over the past week, those costumes have been worn at least 6 times. Taking them trick-or-treating together Monday night was a blast. Times like these make me happy to be a mother!

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