Monday, September 14, 2009

Make your own Nursing Cover





With baby #4 due to make an appearance any time now (I pray, walking and being as big as a house is so not working for me) I wanted to have one of these. I am a frugal person. Didn't plan it. Not the fault of the economy, just how I have always been. If I can make it (or think I can make it/do it) I will give it a go.

These nursing covers are uber popular right now. I know I will be making one as a baby shower gift coming up in a couple months. I see them everywhere. The park, church and even in the grocery store. I wanted one too! But not for $30 plus. Yikes!


I made mine from Alexander Henry's "Sweet Cherries" fabric. I have admired this fabric for quite a long time now and even though I am having a boy I wanted something that was for me. Very rarely do I make anything for myself so this was perfect. Armed with my 40% off coupon I went to Joann's and got what I needed. Yipee! I was so excited. Smiling ear to ear. I used the tutorial found here. The directions are straight forward, easy peasy. I like that. It was my first time sewing in months (since I found out I was pregnant really) but it eased me right back into it. Like riding a bike. Now I am working on skirts and crib sheets. The materials you need are really low key as well, 1 yard of fabric, 2 1" D Rings, and boning. The boning I was able to find at wally mart one day for under $3 so I snagged it from there.


If you make one, I would love to see it. I think these things are so great. I am one of those moms that refuse to have to go and sit on a toilet to nurse my baby but I like some modestly as well. I cannot wait to use this when this little guy makes an appearance. Much better than a receiving blanket being draped over us.







Friday, August 28, 2009

Better than a new pair of shoes....almost


For ten years now I have admired these mixers. While I did not get one as a wedding gift (because my parents had given us some beautiful china my dad had aquired while he was still in the war) I have always wanted one. But the cost. Well while at wally mart to replace the badly depilitated computer we have that is ready to keel over and die, hubby went down this aisle. And I am so glad he did! We got her (yes, her) yesterday, he unpacked her for me last night, and this morning she had her first maiden voyage. Yes, I am a dork. I'm okay with this. Hubby's only request is that I make him some brownies. Done. Now I am going to get down and make some bread. Oh yum, smelling the brownies and homemade bread in the same day. I'll blame it on pregnancy cravings.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I'm being featured

as well as some other great artist on the Helping Others Street Team Blog. Otherwise known as HOST. A group of etians who come together to help others that are in need in various different ways. Go and check it out here and learn more about what HOST is all about.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cowl Pattern for sale




Just a heads up that I have listed my cowl pattern for sale in my shop.


You are welcome to sell the finished items as long as a link and credit it given to me. However I did work hard on this pattern and scrapped a lot before I was able to achieve the elegant drape and warmth I was looking for so out of respect, do not sell the pattern or give it out for free.


You can find it here.

Early Christmas Shopping


Here I am ready to have a baby pretty soon and it strickes me that Christmas (!!!) is almost here. I have started to crochet, knit and sew presents now because I know I will not get it done after Matthew has come.
So today I have added that knitted chunky thick cowl/neckwarmer to my shop for anyone else who wants to start shopping early. I have been working on this for a couple weeks now in between other projects. I looked forward to it. Why? Because the feel of this cowl is amazing. I loved having my hands on it. (yes, i'm slightly obsessed) I love these things! Not only are they awesomely stretchy so I can wear them over my shoulders if I want to, but they are so warm. However you can confortably move it away from your face ( I hate turtle necks because they are so restricting) when inside some place warm. It's like being hugged and feeling all cozy, enough to fall asleep. YUM. I love it, and winter and reasons to wear this. :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My First PDF Pattern for sale


So this is what I did today. I got a convo from someone interested in a pattern for this Lovie. Now I asked her to give me a week to make sure I could transfer it to a PDF format. But then I said why not start tonight. I am feeling pretty good, little Matthew is not kicking me into sickness till it is his time to come out. So going into my huge binder of written crochet patterns, I started in. Yeah, I finished! Whoo Hoo. If you want to check it out you can find it here: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=29419511

And that cute little model.....my littlest one (who by the way is excited that she is going to be a big sister before Halloween).

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Breast Doll ever?

I watch my kids play house and of course they have those little baby bottles where the liquid disapears as the baby "eats". It is natural and causes no concern for me to watch them do this. Now here is an interesting twist to playing house. A spanish toy company has come up with a doll and apron with daisy nipples for this kids to wear to mimic breast feeding. Is it wrong? Is it right? I am not sure. I breast fed all my three kids and plan once again to breast feed this one. I have watched my kids take their dolls and place them at their breast to feed. Now ,while I am pregnant my 2 yo will take one of her babies and shove them in her shirt. Then tell me she has a baby coming out. I think it is cute. If you want to read more about the article and breast doll you can find it here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tools to make Etsy selling easier

Some days it is harder to get the photos and the listings done. Not to mention the tags. And how to you know that your tags are staying up to date with what is currently on Etsy? In walks the tag finder tool from craftweasel.com. Enter one or more tags and craftweasel will actually search Etsy for items with those same tags. Not only that, it will then nake graphs and suggest related tags that might be suitable for your items. Is that not total awesomeness! Go and check it out and see how you like it.c



http://craftweasel.com/

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Where can I find free knitting patterns?



So now you got all these great expectations to knit. If you are any thing like me it starts to become an obsession. I have found that the best places to look are the library (if you want a book) or the internet. Here is a list of some places to get Free Knitting patterns. Some like Lion Brand, you will need to become a member so view them. I have never had a problem with spam emails from any of them.



Happy Knitting!



http://www.lionbrand.com/content-knittingPatternIndex.html
http://elann.com/freepatterns.asp
http://www.knittingpatterncentral.com/
http://www.bernat.com/search.php?pst=k&advps=y
http://www.knittingdaily.com/blogs/patterns/default.aspx- must join
http://www.straw.com/cpy/free_pattern_yarnssort.html
http://www.knittingonthenet.com/
http://www.anniesattic.com/free_pattern_day/index.html
http://www.joann.com/joann/catalog.jsp;jsessionid=B3CTPF5FNO0YEP4SY5EFAFJ50LD3OUPU?CATID=cat3593
http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEwinter08/patterns.php
http://www.garnstudio.com/lang/en/kategori_oversikt.php- clickon the american flag
http://www.berroco.com/pattern_library.html
http://www.ornaghi.it/modelli_en/logged.htm
https://www.ravelry.com/account/login- MUST JOIN
http://www.dailyknitter.com/patterns.html
http://www.craftbits.com/viewCategory.do?categoryID=NED-
http://www.bevscountrycottage.com/patterns.html- you have to search around, but they're there
.http://www.allcrafts.net/





Do you know of others out there that are great? Share them with us.

Monday, August 10, 2009

An old craft revisited and shared


For years I have owned a couple pairs of knitting needles. Determined that one day I would be able to knit as well as crochet. This was not to be. I would try and try and try and I would mess my tension up so badly that I would end up with some kind of mess that looked as though I had tossed my yarn to a cat to bat around. It was okay, I always had my crochet to go back to and I LOVE to crochet. Truly I do. I dream about different yarn color combinations and yarn textures as well as what I could make and for who.

Now here I am pregnant with my 4th child and having to spend more time resting then I want to, hubby's orders. After reading the Twilight Saga twice, my thoughts once again drifted to those knitting needles nestled safely with one of my many piles of stash yarn. ( I'm an addict for yarn, but it's ok I tell my hubby. I like my addiction just fine. ) During one afternoon at nap time I settled myself in with YouTube, yarn, and needles. Whoo Hoo! Victory. Tension was perfect, no dropped stitches and I made myself an over sized washcloth. Used it right away as well so no pictures were taken to share. I liked everything about it. Maybe even more than my crochet ones. The texture, the flexibility. I could not keep my hands off if it. So battling the skin condition of a teenager with this pregnancy, I decided to make a face cloth as well. A rectangular one to use with my bar of soap. Love it! Soaps up beautifully and feels so so good on my skin. Now I am making some granny smith apple green ones for my shop. Really liking green this summer.

My kids naturally wanted to know what I was doing so I got brave and decided I would try to teach my 9 yo. Previously she had wanted to learn crochet but just picking up the hook seems to send her into panic so that will be revisited when she is older. Bracing myself I showed her how to cast on. Amazing! She did it. No tears, no frustration, just wonderful enjoyment of the fiber art. What a gift I felt I was giving her. Then we moved to learning the garter stitch. She is now working on her first washcloth, pink of course, after having made a scarf for one of her barbies. Now she has had to frog this project 3 times so far but has kept with it. Then one day on youtube someone said a nursery rhyme that use to be used to teach kids to knit. Brilliant. Now she says this when she knits and she is doing marvelous. In walks in my 5 yo and 2 yo. They have learned the nursery rhyme as well. The 4 yo is still learning to hold her needles and the 2 yo holds on to them with mommy. My little chanters. This is such a fun adventure to be sharing with them. My 9 yo came up to me the other week. "Mom, I really like having this time with you to make stuff. Just you and me." Smiling I chocked back tears. Still my baby after all. I am pretty sure I would have been crying anyway, pregnant or not. I am so blessed.

So here is the nursery rhyme that now echos in my house instead of cartoons. :)

In the front door,
Around the back,
Take a peek,
Out comes Jack

This is used for the English version of knitting. I do not know if it would be the same for Continental. I think it may be easier for kids to learn English first.

As a side note. My 9 yo who frets at the hook wanted to learn how to do a provisional (invisible) cast on. Daddy (yup, the man is amazing and constantly blows me away. I love it.) stepped in to help her watching youtube with her to learn as I was also learning it. I wish I would have had the camcorder on.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Crochet provisional cast on for knitting

I recently came upon a pattern that called for a provisional cast on. A what?! Yeah that is what I said and I found some really great tutorials online that showed how to do it. However they did not show me what came next. Okay great, I got the done and so now how do I add my main yarn onto the provisional? Here is the most helpful link that I found to do it and I hope that you find it helpful as well. It takes you from doing the crochet provisional cast on right into knitting your first row. Easy peasy!

Crochet Provision Cast on

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

How color effects your etsy store

I found a very interesting article today that I think is worth sharing. It is called 'The Psychology of color' and it is worth a read. Here you can learn how different color combinations can help or hurt your online selling image. It's a quick read so enjoy!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Free lunch for kids at Ramona Elementry

Who doesn't like a free lunch? If you are in the Ramona area and have kids that are hungry ages 1-18, then you can stop by Ramona Elementry located on 8th street (near the Chevron station), from June 15- July 24. Click here to see what their menu is. Lunch is served from 11:30 -12:30 Mon-Fri. Adults can also get a bite to eat for $3.
We are going to go and try this today and see how it works out.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Argh Matie!

This was fabric I had inititially bought to make a tote bag (and I still may with the remaining fabric) but it was was too fun to not make an apron for it. I am sure this is something that my sister would like. I know I would enjoy this while crafting or cooking. Even a teacher during a pirate themed craft could find this fun. This is a popular apron style that I sell locally to the various resturants in town. They are fun, different, and made with heavy duty fabric so they last. Straps are generously long so you can tie them in front. Right now I am pregnant and I am thankful for longer apron straps. Especially since my belly seems to hit the dirty counter before my cotton washcloths do. LOL

Monday, June 1, 2009

Hot Hot Hot!

A great new little apron for work, crafts, or your next vendor show. This is a popular design that is sold time and time again in person. Check out more here

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

An Alternative to wasteful cotton balls

So soft and absorbant these make-up remover pads will be a favorite! Not to mention you will be doing a part in being enviromentally friendly. I currently have a set of these in my shop ready to ship out in an Ecru color but they can be made in any color that you want. All you need to do is ask. You can check them out here: Set of 8 Ecru make-up remover pads

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cream and Brown crochet baby lovie! New today


I just added this in my shop today! It is a popular design and between my two shops I had customized 3 of these. Two of them were to match a blanket I had made for a little boy using the same pattern. It now happily lives in Texas with a little boy who I am told adores it. That there is better then any feedback I could hope to have in my shop!

My littest one is my model today. She completely took to her role as well. We had so much fun and then as reward for all her 'hard' work, we had a grand time playing at the park. Dos Picos park is here in Ramona, CA and it is the best one, my favorite anyway. Ducks to feed, updated play equipment, fishing, hiking, etc. As an added bonus the sprinklers turned on while we were there! Go for it kids! They all had a blast and so did I.

What a blessing to be able to stay home with them. The sacrafices we make out weigh any material object that more money could buy us in leaps and bounds!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Making a chore a little nicer with color


These are new today in my shop. I have been working on them this last week and finally finished them for their photo shoot. I am so excited about these. I love when a crochet project can get me excited and these do. The colors just make my senses wake up! I am going to make a set for me to use in the house too. Oddly enough the ones I use are dark colors or white or ecru. These ones are so much more exciting! If you want to read all the great things about going green using crochet cotton cloths then check out my new shop at http://www.4lilmonkeys.etsy.com/

Monday, March 23, 2009

Home-school Mondays, Finding a schedule that works

I remember when I use to do daycare I had a schedule. I followed that schedule precisely, mainly because it worked for the kids. I look back now and wonder why it seems as though it was easier then with six kids ( including grocery store trips with all in tow) then it is now with 3! And then in a moment of clarity I realized that I don't have a schedule now. So what? Who needs a schedule. I don't have state workers (since I was state licensed) dropping in at what ever time they wanted. I don't have parents coming in for interviews and my kids know what they can play with and cannot.
So why is it harder?

Back then I was dressed and the house was ready by 7:00am the latest, every morning Monday through Friday.

7:30 Breakfast cooked
8:00 Breakfast clean-up and wash kids hands and faces, check diapers
8-9:00 Free play
9-10:00 story time and talk about or act out the story
10:00 snack
10:30 clean up like before and then outside to play in the back yard till lunch time
11:30 Lunch
12:00 Clean up and get ready for nap time
12:30(45) - 3:00 Nap time
3:00 Change diapers, brush hair and play inside
3:30 Snack again
4:00 Free play or watch tv till parents come to pick them up

See, scheduled. And it worked. It was amazing. I look back at it in awe at how well those kids behaved. So why can't mine have days that go as smoothly? I don't have a schedule. A schedule is important not only to me but also to my kids. Kids thrive on a routine as well - it is comforting for them to know what’s next in their day, even those things they don’t like.

So here is what I am hoping to accomplish as a schedule. Lots of things can run us off the road so to speak. So now I am going to attempt to drive myself out of the ditch.

6:30 Get up and shower
7:00 Get Pumpkin up and have her get dressed and feed the rabbit, wake up
rest of kids
7:30 Breakfast
7:45 Make sure snack is packed for Pumpkin
8:00 Take Pumpkin across the street for pre-school
8:15 Get Princess and Peanut started on chores for the day while I clean up the kitchen
9:00 Start third grade home-school or have Princess start on her "Daily works" folder if I am not ready. This consists of at least an hour of work she can do on her own. More on that next week.
10:00 Snack time, they just think better if they stay fueled
10:30 Home-school lessons till it is time to go and get Pumpkin
11:30 Walk across street and get Pumpkin
12:00 Lunch time
12:45 Peanut and Pumpkin go down for a nap
12:45 Princess continues home-school, I clean up from lunch then go and help her/teach lessons
2:30/3:00 Peanut and Pumpkin are awake
3:00 Outside to play or a trip to the park to play and feed ducks
5:00 start to make dinner, kids are done for the day


I think this is do-able. I am following pretty much what we do. There are just some time constrictions. Also this helps me to see when two activities are to be done at the same time so I remember to tell Princess to go and work on school work. Ideally she would just know and she would remember to do it on her own rather than depending on her pregnant mom. Alas. She is a kid. lol

So what is your schedule? Do you have one? Share it. Maybe we can help to make each other's more efficient.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cooking with the kids Crockpot Meatloaf and Potatoes

Okay so this weeks post is not really cooking with your kids. I mean, if you wanted to they could mush up the ingredients and that would be a lot of fun for them. Mine love it! But this is more a cooking and getting to spend more time with your kids (or napping) and having a wonderful dinner.

With three kids, home-school, a business to run, dance classes to attend and another baby on the way is it any wonder that I actually own two crock pots? I love my crock pot, also known as a slow cooker.

So here is the recipe to share this week. Yummy Meatloaf and potatoes

An easy one-pot meal from the slow cooker.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds lean groud round or chuck
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped ( You can reduce this if you want, go by sight and what your family likes)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons seasoned salt ( like Mrs. Dash or just use Sea Salt which is what I use)
  • 1 cup cracker crumbs or fine dry bread crumbs ( I use 1 slice of bread)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 envelope brown gravy mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 to 8 small potatoes, halved or quartered

Preparation:

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except potatoes. Shape into a loaf. Place in Crock Pot. Place potatoes at the sides of loaf. (If potatoes are peeled, wrap in foil to keep from darkening.) Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours.
Serves 6.

Now I must say that I have never liked what has come out of my crock pot when it was cooked on high. I always cook on low. The funny thing is that my husband always seems to forget this when he comes in to help. But he is always the one that listens and will put it back on low. :)

Also as a side note. If you are worried that your kids will not eat the veggies that are going in, substitute some of them. I love to add corn to mine. I also find that when I dice up the veggies ( as long as they are not watching ) they will eat them and not say a thing.

I will be wanting to use my crock pots more often as I get closer to my due date. Does anyone have a fabulous crock pot recipe book they would like to recommend? I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Home-school Mondays I love cable

I have limited the channels that my kids can watch and where they can watch them and for good reason. Once what were safe children channels are now popping up with crude music videos with crude language between shows ( I kid you not!).

So why do I love cable? Because there are shows there that teach. Shows such as 'How it's made' and 'Rhino Rescue'. Currently we are watching Rhino Rescue together. It is heart wrenching and sad and happy all at the same time. More important it gives my kids a sense that there is more than just them and their immediate world, and to help where they can. They become aware of the just how lucky we are to live in America. Of the importance of following rules and the devastation that can occur when rules are not followed such as with poachers. It is a good lesson. It helps them to grow. It helps to further teach compassion and want to make a difference. That is why I love cable. Even though you will find my tv off more than it is on during the day. :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Banana Current Bread


Being pregnant, is has not been easy lately to find food that my stomach is okay with. Sometimes all I have to do it look at it to know it will not be good for me to eat. Then I saw a picture of this Banana Current Bread and I could smell it cooking already! Is is a sweet simple snack the provides calcium, fiber and folate that my kids will eat. It also provides me with some important nutrients during pregnancy. It was a win win!



SERVES: 10
PREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOK TIME: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse (kosher) salt
  • 3 large, ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup dried currants
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Coat a 9-inch-by-5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Whisk together first seven ingredients (all-purpose flour through salt) in a medium bowl; set aside.

Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in flour mixture and mix well. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 30 minutes; then fold a piece of aluminum foil in half and place loosely over bread to form a tent. Bake 30 minutes more, or until cooked through. Cool for 10 minutes in pan; remove from pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Home-school Mondays


With this pregnancy, more and more I am learning to slow it down. So what does that have to do with home-schooling? Everything.

More often then not our studies can get rushed and that really benefits no one. Not my patience, not her patience, not the attention that my other two girls need, and certainly not her retaining what she is learning. Life when she leaves me will be fast paced enough. This pregnancy has hit me with morning sickness as it is well known if you have read my blog before. But I am grateful for it. Yes, you read that right, grateful. It is making me slow down and since I have things have gotten much easier. Easier to clean the house, home-school two kids, run my business and visit the family I should be visiting more often while I can.

So that is my home-school tip for the day: Remember to slow down and smell the play-doh.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Home-school Mondays

Boy am I late! Here it is 5:00 and I am just sitting down to the computer and realize that I have not done a posting today! From the pregnancy books I have read, I should be better after the 1 trimester. Here's hoping.

My home-school thought for today is nothing new and it includes all of your family. Get everyone involved! If you are reading about the Gold Rush with your third grader then you can also read about it to your pre-schooler and toddler at the same time. Now my pre-schooler I can actually make up questions tailored to her. My toddler gets more excited if there is an art project that we thought of to go with it. She will tend to stick it out more. I am finding more and more that I like it better when I can do lessons that involve everyone and I really believe that it benefits the little ones. They get to see their sibbling behaving like a student and peanut here below like to raise her hand to answer questions. She will usually mimic what one of her older sisters said as an answer. It is so cute.

Home-school......it's a family thing.

Friday, February 27, 2009

New in Shop

I must admit that morning sickness has kept me from posting as I like to and made it even more challenging to get things in my shop as well as to get our schooling done. Schooling comes first, but I was able to get two new things in shop this last week.

They are a set of Kitchen Dishcloths. One cloth is a traditional square shape and the other is round like a pin-wheel (at least that is what it reminds me of). I love the round pattern, it is so unique. Each set took me a couple hours to complete and was nice and relaxing to make. One is in a rust color ombre and the other is in a spring color ombre, nice and bright.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Home-school Monday's

My princess sometimes has a hard time with reading sometimes. By accident we discovered that she enjoys reading tremendously as long as she can have her rabbit, Handsome, with her. I must admit that at first I did not believe she would pay attention and would be messing around. What a wonderful surprise to see that this helps to keep her keep her concentration not to mention Handsome loves the petting and being read out-loud to.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Home-school Mondays Using what interests them

I write this as Pumpkin pictured above is recovering from pneumonia so it will be short. Every parent knows that bribery can be a great motivator. Some have mixed feelings about using it. I was the same way. My kids were just going to do what I asked of them because I asked it. LOL. Yeah that worked so well.

I like to use 'earned time' for getting tasks done. For example my eldest daughter who is 9 has a hard time staying focused in her studies. I write out the weeks lesson plans ahead of time. She gets to mark off the subjects completed for visual satisfaction and for every page completed front and back she earns 2 minutes of computer game time. So far this is working, for how long is any one's guess. Her rewards have changed over the years as we have schooled. Use what interests them and you will have success!

Friday, February 6, 2009

New in Shop for the American Heart Association

Every minute, someone's mother, daughter, wife or sister dies from heart disease and stroke in the United States. As many of you may know February is National Heart Awareness month, so in honor of this the Helping Others Street Team (HOST) is sponsoring this challenge, the Heart to Heart Feb HOST challenge, and it is open to everyone on Etsy who would like to participate, not just HOST members. Profits from your listing sale MUST be donated to the American Heart Association.

Above is my entry item. It is an Overlapping Hearts crochet bookmark. This bookmark is made using 100% mercerized cotton. Bookmark from top to tassel is 20" long. Each heart is approximately 1" long.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Cooking with the kids - Valentines Day Ice Cream Sandwiches

This is the recipe that I was planning to have this week. I was going to make it and photo it and get the kids rating as well. Then my 4 year old got sick. We rushed her to the ER because we thought it was a complication from her swallowing the connect 4 piece on Jan. 11. We had yet to see it 'leave' her body. Afraid she would need surgery (what we were told was an option if she got sick from it), I got nothing done. However my baby girl at sometime (probably at night) got it out and all she has is a stomach bug, thank you god.

Here is a link to Valentines Day Ice Cream Sandwiches. There is no picture which is a shame, I love pictures. If someone makes it before me and gets a chance to post one, please do.

Enjoy!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Home-school Mondays One fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish


Home-schooling is fun!

For my 4 year old we bought some rainbow goldfish. As you can probably guess from the title they are perfect to teach some skills with.

Sort into color groups
Count
Add
Subtract

EAT!

Finding things to make home-school fun makes it easier on everyone. Think outside of the box. Have your kids come up with ideas. They may surprise you on what they come up with as tools.

Friday, January 30, 2009

New in shop

Honestly I went to the yarn store for a completely different color. I found it there too, but while I was leaving the isle to check out (I swear, really I was, sorta) I spotted this variegated yarn. Oh, La, La! I had to have it. It really is much prettier in person. While crocheting at the dance studio every woman there loved it. I had been itching to use this yarn and it turned out so good. No buyer remorse here.

So this is my newest item in shop this week. One of my pretty shells washcloths accompanied with one of my famous Spa Facial Scrubbies. The color is called Rosa Patine. I loved making this set. It is available for sale in my shop for $6.00. Pair it with some soap and you can make your own Valentines Love Basket.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Featured on a blog

I have been featured on a blog! How exciting. I would love if you all could go and check it out. She is a fellow Cast Team member on Etsy and has a wonderful store herself. Here is the link. http://suerunyondesigns.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cooking with the kids (Monkey bread)

I like to tell my kiddos that they are monkeys. Some days this seems true with them running around and bouncing off furniture. So naturally when my sister shared the recipe for Monkey Bread with me, I had to make it with the kids. I changes it some from the first time I made it and I will include that here. Monkey Bread Time: LOL, you know where I stand with that and cooking with kids Ingredients: 1 Gallon size bag (food storage or ziploc will do) 1 (12 ounce) package of refrigerated biscuit dough I found a 16 ounce of Pillsbury home style biscuit dough in a can

1/3 cup white sugar ( I used the next size up 1/2 cup and left it out to add more later )

3/4 Teaspoon ground cinnamon ( I used 2 tsp and left it out to add some more later)

2 tbl. spoons and 2 tsp of margarine/butter

1/3 cup packed brown sugar ( I used 1/2 cup)

Something that is not in the original recipe that I used it vanilla extract. I use a generic store brand. I use this because the first time the outside of the dough tasted good but the inside was bland. I cut up the biscuits into fours and poked holes in them. The I let them sit in some vanilla extract. I did this first so there was enough time to soak.

Cooking:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 9 or 10 inch tube pan. I used my bread loaf pan, never actually measured it and it turned out fine.

2. Mix white sugar and cinnamon in plastic bag. Take your quartered biscuit pieces now. Out 3-4 in at a time and shake them (kids loved this!) Arrange pieces at the bottom of your pan. The sugar and cinnamon coating started to get pretty weak towards the end so I added more in. Just eye ball it. You know what your family likes.

3.In a small sauce pan, melt the margarine with the brown sugar over medium heat. I can be impatient so I used high heat and stayed there to stir it. Boil for 1 minute (this is when I turned the heat down some). Pour over the biscuits.

4.Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a plate. I put the plate on top and flip it all together.

DO NOT CUT! Take all the fun out of it for your kids to pull it apart. This will stay delicious for 2 days. I kept mine in the microwave and when we wanted more, I nuked it on high for 1 1/2 mins.

Lessons learned: As I home-school I think there is a lesson in everything. Here my kids first learned how to take turns. The older ones also learned compassion with the fact that there was also things that their little 2 year old sister could do. They learned some more math skills with measuring out the ingredients and home-economics with using the stove top (with me watching and ready to take over if needed) and the oven. You could even teach how to estimate here. Have them guess how many pieces there are in all and with that you could also do fractions. See lessons just start coming out! Of course there are times when the only lesson that needs to be taught is spending time together and the memories made. My best childhood memory is making popcorn balls with my mom and while we waited, dancing the tango in the kitchen.















Sunday, January 25, 2009

Home-school Mondays

MIA

Today's normal post for home-school Monday's will be MIA. We are on a lovely field trip to the Birch Aquarium. I have taken the camera and I am hoping to be able to share photos of our trip with you all in a Tuesday post. Until then, take a gander at a favorite of this house, Alphabet pancakes. They are a lot of fun and with the hands-on factor, it really help kiddos get into the spirit.

A popular web site lately for our pre-preschooler as she is starting to really master both upper and lower case letters, Starfall. I appreciate how it also includes the letter sound and is very user friendly. It is used as an award for pumpkin. Once she spends 20 or so minutes on upper and lower case flash cards, 1-10 number flash cards and the days of the week song, she gets time on the website. She has yet to grow tired of it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New in shop

I actually have two things that are new in shop this week. The first is an ecru colored washcloth / dishcloth set in a pretty shell pattern. There are three in this set. Several factors insipred this set. I love the color ecru. It goes with every kitchen or bath decor I have ever had. Secondly these are so much thicker then the ones that I can buy at Walmart. I like the deals I can find there but for as long as those things last (not long around here) I would like to have some crochet cotton ones. The longest I have had one last me, and I used it in the kitchen on dishes, stoves and oven cleaning mind you, was 5 years. Last is the design. I was crocheting a cardigan for one of my daughters and it used the shell pattern. I loved how delicate it looked whole still being close enough together for warmth that I decided to try it as a washcloth pattern. After some tweaking of it, I love how it turned out.

The second thing that is new (today) in my shop is some glittery star earrings with gold glitter. Naturally with three girls it was a matter of time before something with glitter made it to my shop. These earrings were completely insipred by my two eldest daughters, youngest still likes anything. The smiles on their faces were so big and bright. Made my heart swell up and my eyes water to see how thrilled they were. I know, sappy mom here but hey, my blog, my sappy moments. LOL

Well that is it for what is new now. I am working one a rose patine colored yarn for a Spa Facial scrubby and Pretty Shells Washcloth (1). I will be selling these as a set as well.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Etsy seller spotlight!!!

With Valentines Day fast approaching there are some cool things to be found on Etsy. Especially the Schooling At Home Estians Street Team .

Maybe you are a dad looking for something special for the two women (or more) in your life. What a thrill a mom and daughter would get to be able to wear matching necklaces! I know I would be over joyed to receive this. My daughters would also think it was 'so cool'. Little girls are always looking to dress up like mom. Or perhaps your daughter is close to her grandmother. What a wonderful way to show their bond. With this necklace set they will be able to. I have ordered a pair of earrings from MomPotter before and those are still my favorite pair of earrings!

Cooking with the kids (recipe included)


With a little patience you can cook with your kids. Just make sure that you have age appropriate tasks for them and there will be nothing but smiles (and some good memories).

I was craving some Green Bean casserole so that is what we made. For this you really need to have fresh green beans. I tried it once with canned and then swore I would never make it again! Don't be afraid of fresh food. I know it is easier to pick up the cans of veggies at the market but really it is cheaper if you do it yourself. For example: These greens need to be cleaned (ends snapped off) and halved. Right above them for $2 more there they were already done. No thank you. I have three kids and a husband to feed. I can do the work myself.

So now that you have your green beans you are going to need some assistants.


Here are mine. So cute!

Now at first I was going to have red here help snap the ends off the green beans but that proved too difficult for her. So I snapped them off. I showed her how to properly use a knife and she cut them into halves. Her 2 year old sister here got the halves and put them in the measuring cup and later the coliander. They had a blast and so did I. We then dragged a chair over to the sink and they each got a turn washing the green beans. Red got a pot to boil the green beans in and we set the timer for 10 minutes. In that time we cleaned our mess and then put the scraps in a bowl for the compost pile out back ( I still need to make it though ). Check your green beans maybe at 6 minutes to see of they are fork tender. As soon as they are, drain. Ready to eat or in our case use in our recipe.

Green Bean Casserole (can also be made the day ahead and reheated, i'll tell you that later)

Time: LOL You are cooking with kids. It'll take longer but taste better.

Ingredients:
2 cans (10 3/4 ounce ea) of Condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 Cup Milk
2 tsp. soy sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper. Taste better with freshly ground pepper corns
8 cups cooked green beans (we did that above)
2 2/3 cups Frenches Fried Onions

Time to put it all together!

Put the soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper, beans and 1 1/3 cups onions in a 3 QT casserole dish. If you are making this a day ahead omit the onions.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 miutes or until it is bubbling. Stir the mixture and top with remaining onions. I like to put them on the outside perimeter
on the dish. Again if you are making this a day ahead omit the onions

Bake for another 5 minutes or until the onions are a golden brown. I had the assistants watch through the oven door and 'tell' me when it was done. I still set the time though because with littl ones you never know who will hit who first. I would end up forgetting that I was cooking. Bad I know.

Now you are done! This is a great recipe to do together. With homeschool and my own buisness
it can get hard to carve out the time. Planning ahead, even if it is that morining and only for that day helps. I like to set goals of what I would like to accomplish for the day rather than a To Do List. Just a play on words that makes a difference with me.

Okay now for if you make this dish a day ahead.....

You have just taken it out of the oven. I like to put it on my wire cookie rack to cool. Let cool to room temp. Cover will alum. foil and put in fridge.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Take alum. foil off . Now stir in those 1 1/3 cups of onions. Replace alum. foil losely over your casserole dish. This will help keep the heat in. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until bubbling. This way you know it is heated through. To cut down on cooking time you can set it for 15 mintues and at your halfway mark, stir it. When bubbling, add the remaining onions. Cook for additional 5 minutes or until they are golden brown. I almost think it tastes better this way.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. It really looks like a lot of work went into it when in reality it didn't. It is great for a homeschool lesson. Little ones can count the green beans, use them for addition, subtraction. They can also sort from big to small and group like ones together. Older ones can use them for muliplication and divison. They can also use the measuring cup. Sneak the lessons in whenever you can. Cooking is a great way to do it.Here is peanut mixing the ingredients before we add the green beans. She is an expert at this. :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Getting your monies worth


When you are in buisness for yourself every dollar matters more. You want to make sure that you are spending them the right way. If you have your own website then you want to know where people are finding you, what keywords are they using and when they are coming. If you have sold on Etsy for any length of time then you have probably heard of Timothy Adams Designs .

Once again he has come with some awesome advice and help for his fellow estians. Check out his latest blog entry here. There he will show you (great tutorial pics) how to go in and actually see when as in what time your site is getting the most traffic. You will able to manage when to list, relist and make some noise about your store on twitter, the forums or wherever you do it.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Home-school Mondays It's more than just books

I admit that at times it seams like we do a lot of book work, at least that is what my 9 year old says. So when she starts to get overwhelmed we switch to home economics. Some days it is cooking, like with the Cherry Chocolate Fudge and other days it is making things for Barbie! You can see by the smile on her face that this is really fun. Luckily I have an online store that I sell items I sew. That makes for plenty of scraps of fabric. Perfect size for a young seamstress to create with.

There will be days when you will need to get the work done. Just make sure that you leave a little time in there for something else too.

Making a web banner using your own pictures

** Picasa will not let you resize to 100. Only the 760. I would recommend that you resize your picture(s) that you want to use to 100 before hand. You can do this by using picnik.com , keep proportions when you do this so that picnik will not distort your picture(s).

Another way you can do it is to keep the Picasa window open, insert your banner to your shop. If if need to be cropped some more to fit then go back to Picasa and do that. The former way seems like it would be the easiest to me but there are your options.

Good Luck

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is something that I have always wanted to do. However I did not have the fancy expensive programs to do it in. And with this economy, I would rather try to do it on a free program. If you have read my blog for anytime you know that I have an Etsy store. I wanted to make a banner that used my products and looked nice and sharp. Here is how I did mine.

First download Picasa. It is free and it is here.

Here is the banner I made.

First step is to select the photos you want on your banner. When they are all collected in the selection tray (you can just click on them and they should show up there), click the collage button in the tool bar at the bottom to your right. Make sure to select the ‘Picture Pile’ type of collage so you can drag the photos into just the right order. Don't worry about them being the same size as you will be cropping them. Just make sure that you have them how you want them. Another cool thing with Picasa is that if you wanted one to be crooked you could do that.


When you finish, hit create collage and close your collage. You have a new picture. Next is to crop it, using the ‘manual’ size setting, into a banner, short and wide. Hit Apply when you have it cropped how you want. Now you can add writing if you would like also.


Here it is after cropping and adding some writing. Last step is to go under File and Export to folder. This will make a Folder in My Pictures just for your banner. When you export it make sure to size it to 760 for Etsy.


Your done! Aren't you proud of yourself?

Maraschino cherry Easy Microwave Fudge

I just made some of this yesterday and cut it out this morning. It is kid approved for yumminess. It get my mom stamp of approval because it is fast and easy and can be made with the kids.

Microwave Easy Fudge:

1 can Eagle Brand condensed milk
3 cups chocolate morsels
8x8 buttered pan
2 tsp. vanilla
Maraschino cherries

In glass bowel put in condensed milk and chocolate morsels. Microwave for 5 minutes on High. Take out and stir till smooth. Add cherries and vanilla. Mix. pour into buttered 8x8 pan. Let set over night. Cut and enjoy!

See told you it was easy and your kids and you will love making it!


Here is another take on it. If you do not like vanilla or cherries.

1 can Eagle Brand condensed milk
3 cups chocolate morsels
1/2 stick butter
Nuts (optional)

In glass bowel microwave first two ingredients on high for 5 minutes. Take out and stir, then add the butter and microwave for 5 more minutes. Take out and mix in nuts if desired. Place in buttered 8x8 pan and place in the refrigerator over night. Cut into small squares or whatever size you want and enjoy. I think these would also taste good with some shredded coconut mixed in.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

An apology

I have been lacking in posts lately. I hope to be able to post at least 3 times a week.

This last week has been challenging. This last Sunday my 4 year old swallowed a connect four piece, still pending on if it will come out without surgery. There was an ambulance ride were I was able to reconfirm that yes, I do get severely motion sick. At least the gurney was large enough for my daughter and myself when we got to the ER.Then my husband caught a stomach bug and we were back in the emergency room ( without the ambulance ride) for dehydration. I am sure that the hospital is in love with our insurance company. Just wanted you who read to know I am not purposely flaking on posting and that next week shall be better. Until then, I have two sale sections set up in my store. One is 40% off and the other is 50% off. Check them out here.

New Items



I love how these earrings turned out. Earrings are a new thing in the shop of Rachel's Aprons. Resonably priced with excellent workmanship so that you can get something for yourself or a little gift without breaking your wallet. It really cannot get better than that. I am excited to be adding them. I hope that you enjoy them.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Home-school Mondays Thinking outside the box

Thinking outside the box.

While I was doing a Geography lesson with my 3rd grader I noticed the 1,000 mile stare coming from her. Not only that but I had two little ones that were being anything but quiet. Being as they are not big fans of T.V ( I am probably to blame, I don't watch to much of it myself), watching a movie was out of the question.

And then it hit me. We HOME-SCHOOL! Duh I know, but seriously. Who says we have to look at the pictures in the book. So we made the lesson out of blankets, some strategically moved couches and chairs and a fold out table we use when camping. Not only did we get rid of the boredom but we also were able to include the little ones. I was able to see what my eldest was learning because she was teaching it to her 4 year old sister. They were learning and they did not even know it. I love home-schooling.

So don't be afraid to think outside of the box. If you are new to home-schooling then break away from the traditional teaching done in the class room. Make it fun. Do crafts to teach the subject or find a way to lead it to something they love. And they do not have to be expensive supplies wither. Markers, crayons, glue, and some huge thing of construction paper from Walmart will make them happy. For example, my 3rd grader loves sharks. The whole gory mess of them, eww. But it was a great way to do math drills. Addition, add sharks. Subtraction, have sharks eat other little fish. You can draw pictures of it if you want but for her it was enough just to think of those numbers as sharks and this is something that we are carrying in to multiplication and division. While multiplication will take longer for her to retain she loves division.

Friday, January 9, 2009

New Apron Fabrics


My creation
Originally uploaded by Rachels Aprons

Flowers for spring, hearts for love and skulls for the funky in you.

These are available as custom aprons for you.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hump Day Sale

As I am having a massive savings sale in my shop already I am not going to post one item for sale today. Instead go on over to my shop. On sale are things for facials, the kitchen, the bathroom and even for the crafter or craft show person. Sale will be ending this Sunday 11:00 pm PST.

As for today I have listed a new Wristlet Key Fob for the Cheerleader in your life. Check it out and give someone a useful personalized gift.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New in shop

A Key fob for the handyman (or woman) in your life. You can purchase it at my Etsy shop. I will be listing a new one everyday until I have them all listed. Some that I have are soccer, princess, several polka dot ones, baseball/softball, over the hill, and other measuring tape ones with different backgrounds. If you are local to me then you can find them for sale at Ramona Locksmith located behind the Chevron station on Main Street. You may even find my hubby behind the desk.


Here is my hubby. LOL I love the picture they did.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Homeschool Mondays

Ideally I would like to be able to share something of my homeschool experience every Monday. Of course with a buisness to run, three kiddos, a home, and homeschooling it may be more of a dream then a reality. But hey, here we go.

Alphabet Pancakes.

I woke up one morning this last week thinking of how I would make school more exciting the coming week. Especially since we are coming off of a two week break for Christmas.
I have a preschooler and a third grader here at home and as much as I can I have been trying to integrate their studies together. Reading of stories is easy to do as well as sight word practice, especially when I can get them to play 'school' and use the flashcards that we have. It is fun for them and they retain so much more than being lectured to. Lecturing is boring anyways. I much prefer hands on.

Still trying to master letter sounds with my preschooler and spelling words with my third grader, the idea of Alphabet pancakes was born! My kids loved them! A my preschooler was so happy to reach on the plate and pick letters. She had to tell me the sound and a word that began with the sound before she could eat them. With help of course. S, my third grader, got to spell words. The spelling of words is going to take some pre-planning on your part. Or you can throw in some home economics and have your child make the pancakes.Just make sure that you supervise as needed. As you can see from the picture below, S is Shiloh. Her eyes twinkled to see her name spelled out in pancakes.
I shapped the letters by spooning out the batter but if you have one of those cookie pressers (a tube one) then it would be so much easier to do.

Huge Sale

I am having a sale till 1-11-09 11:00 pm PST. See my sections to find all the items that are 40% off and see my Christmas section for items that are 50% off.

www.rachelsaprons.etsy.com