Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nine Patch Quilt Guide: Planning

Making quilt can be as simple or complicated as you want. This is a simple 9 patch.
First choose the size of the quilt you wish to make--you can measure the bed you wish to cover, remember to allow if you want to tuck it in.

The next step is to plan the quilt. For example, will a border take up part of the widths or are your squares going to the edge? Will you use biased tape or do you intend to turn the edges under (requiring a few extra inches) to make the edges?

Let's say we're making a 35" square baby quilt. There will be 12 nine patch blocks and 13 solid blocks (some of mine were printed marked 'r' and others where white, hence the markings on my paper). I decided on one 5" border, rather than the two I originally had planned.

I sketch it out on quadrille paper so I can decide upon a pattern.

I decide my finished squares will be 5". I add 1/4" per side (not per width or height), so I will cut 5 1/2" squares. For my 9 patch blocks, I divide 5 (from the size of my finished squares) by 3 (as the patch will be 3 blocks wide by three blocks high) and then add 1/4" per side, for 2 1/16" square. (These sizes are totally arbitrary, just pick the size that works for you--smaller squares require more sewing, but allow for smaller pieces of fabric and more designs.)

large block = x = 5" squared
block for 9 patch = y = x/3" squared + .25" squared + .25" squared

And maybe you thought you'd never have any use at all for basic algebra and geometry after high school!

** I'll post about more steps next week! **

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Some recent gems from the littles:

Gabby, as PawPaw was chasing her with the grilling tongs: "I am not a hotdog!"

Nate, upon seeing the advent candles, "Happy bi'thday, to you! Light 'em!"

Friday, November 25, 2011

Filling the Advent Box

I love celebrating Advent with my family. I love the symbolic candles, the carols, the reminders about what the season means.

We keep a nifty Advent box that my father made for us a couple of years ago. The actual number of days in Advent changes each year, since it begins 4 Sundays prior to Christmas, so our box has 24 drawers, one for each day in December leading up to Christmas.

I made a list of the things that will be in our advent box this year, along with the scripture verse and carol for each day! Feel free to take from it and adapt it as your own. I've seen neat advent calendars made with little gift boxes, match boxes, and even simple envelopes. Most of them match up, but there are a few odd ones--no stories about Christmas cookies or ornaments in the Bible, so those days don't 100% match up.

We bought a tiny nativity set a few years ago and that is where many of our little pieces can from. I also use little bitty ornaments.

(November 27th-Hope (Isaiah 40:3-5))

1-angel (Luke 1:26-38)
Angels we Have Heard on High
2-Mary (Luke 1: 46-55)
Mary Did You Know?
3-ornament we will make ornaments (John 1:1-4)
O Christmas Tree
4-Peace candle (Isaiah 9:6)
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
5-envelope make Christmas cards (Matt 2:20)
Go Tell it on a Mountain
6-Joseph (Matt 1:18-25)
Joseph's Lullaby -Mercy Me
7-crown (Isaiah 9:6-7)
What Child is This
8-movie (Revelation 12)
O Come, All Ye Faithful
9-sheep (Micah 5:24)
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks
10-bow we will wrap presents for friends (Matt 2:11)
Happy Birthday to You (Jesus)
11-Joy (Isaiah 52: 5-9)
Good Christian Friends, Rejoice
12-paper pyramid to represent Egypt (Matt 2:13-15)
Spirit of the Age -Michael Card
13-animals (Luke 2:1-7)
Away in a Manger
14-cookie cutter make cookies (John 1:14)
Deck the Halls
15-shepherds (Luke 2:8-20)
The First Noel
16-rocks to represent the line of David (Matt 1:1-17)
Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming
17-singing ornament we will go caroling (Luke 2:13-14)
Angels from the Realms of Glory
18-Love (Jer 33:14-16)
Silent Night
19-Nativity Ornament (Micah 5:2)
O Little Town of Bethlehem
20-wise men (Matt 2:1-12)
We Three Kings
21-lights (Isaiah 9:1-2)
There's a Song in the Air
22-candy canes (Isaiah 53:5)
Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus
23-star (Matt 2-1)
O Holy Night
24-Jesus (Luke 2:1-2)
Joy to the World

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Two Ain't Got Nothin' on Four

Oh my goodness. Who is this angry little thing that comes out of my normally sweet little gal?

She picks on Kate before they are to get up in the mornings. She refuses to help clean up her messes. She is becoming a full time job on her own. We will get there, but there are days it feels like I'm banging my head against a brick wall.

Yesterday we were walking into the store and she let go of my hand and took off. We hold hands in parking lots. We do not go it alone. So as I was telling her this she wandered off, like into the line of one of those powered wheelchair shopping carts, so I had to pull her back. That made her more angry, so I had to carry/pull her out of the way, as half of the opening of the store was closed off and we were very much in the way. As I tried to tell her what we need to do in public, she covered her entire face with her arms. I marched onward. She stayed put. It was busy. It was crowded. She was hostile. She thought she had won, but girlie doesn't know her Mama. There was only enough snack for two, so she didn't get any. There was only enough dessert for the rest of us. Natural consequences, natural consequences. No grocery store, no special food for you. Don't mess with that laundry folding marathon I had scheduled!

Now, I suppose I better get to the store before there is no food for anyone.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Twice in the past week, I've had strangers hold open doors for me. The kids are getting older and I'm no longer carting a ginormous double stroller with me, but they held the door in common civility anyway. When I thanked the first gentleman, he told that we made his week in allowing him the honor. I missed that when we were in Kansas!

I am trying to teach our children manners. It isn't always easy. People often dismiss us when we try to correct our children's manners. Sure, they are young, but if we don't teach it now, they will develop into big kids or even grown ups without manners. I love to hear Nate say, "Tank ooo," and I'm always proud to see the girls use their manners too. Hopefully as they get a little stronger, they will be holding open doors for the people behind them too.

I have an etiquette curriculum, but I have to say that I think the best thing for their manners lately has been reading the Little House books. Those kids are well behaved, treat each other and their parents kindly, and are sweet loving girls. Maybe we'll re-read these every year!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Oh dear. Evidently I'm not the only person who exploded coffee lately. Every once in a great while I look at the stats for the blog. I was looking at the referring searches--it's fun to see what people (in the most general sense--it doesn't tell me any details about individuals) are reading. People have checked in to look at Cat in the Hat hat cakes lately and turkey crafts. One individual typed in "microwave stopped working after coffee exploded in it." If you've stopped back by, I hope your microwave is working now!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Giving Thanks

Our little Thanksgiving craft from this past week.
Kate wrote her own from the list I scribed for her. Gabby wrote with a bit of help. I wrote for Nate, of course, but he gave me his list too.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


The baby boy is T-W-O! Not sure where all that time went. He's a funny little daredevil and we love his giggles. He's started teasing his sisters and speaking in sentences sometimes.
We had his party yesterday, so it would be easier for my sister to hang out with us.

Here's the little monkey's monkey cake.

We love you little man!

May you grow to be a strong an righteous man, filled with wisdom and love.

Friday, November 11, 2011

It Comes in Threes

So Sunday Nate got that leaf up his nose. Wednesday morning he was pukey. He's had the normal diarrhea that follows that (more laundry). Then today he had a rash. And it kept getting worse. That was the proverbial straw, so off to the doctor we went.

They asked what he had eaten lately, if he used anything new. We ate a normal dinner last night--homemade chicken noodle soup and salad of things I normally put in salad--and nothing unusual for other meals. We ate lots of 'highly allergenic foods' lately: peanut butter, eggs, almond milk, and chickpeas, but all things we eat regularly. I make our laundry detergent, his lotion is the tried and true hypoallergenic he's used since infancy, I have no idea what could have caused his itchy rash.

We're looking at allergy testing at his well visit next week...assuming he is well then. Maybe he's getting it all out of the way now, so he can be healthy, you know, for those terrible twos that are fast approaching.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Almost, but Not Quite

I can't find my Mama Handbook. I seem to have mislaid it the week after Kate was born. I'm trying to look up the sleeping clause, you know the one that guarantees after one of the kids keeps you up puking that everyone will sleep in the next morning. It has to be there right between 'Mama's don't get sick,' and 'Only horrible parents have children who ever act out in the grocery store.' Maybe that handbook wasn't always right after all.

Well, we made it to almost two before the little fellow got his first puking bug. He woke me crying. As I sat up and tried to decide if it was one of those cries that will result in him rolling over and going back to sleep or if he had a dream that required a hug, I heard that sound that parents know.

We lost a few hours of sleep and there have been many loads of laundry, but he is holding crackers and water this morning (and watching Veggie Tales to distract him from his thirst because I'm trying to give him water slowly). Hoping it is over and that no one else catches it!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Little Excitement

Sunday afternoon I took the littles out back to play while Justin was grading exams.

The girls hung like monkeys off of the swing set 'practicing gymnastics.' Then they made up a version of freeze tag in which whom ever was 'frozen' must spin in circles until they were unfrozen by someone, most often Nate, who declared himself unfreezable (or at least who didn't agree to be frozen).

After awhile, Justin joined us with a little football to toss around. We ran, we jumped, we laughed. Then Nate stumbled and went down face first, again. He popped up quickly, but when he turned around he was crying and as I ran to him, I thought I saw a stick coming out of his eye.

I was relieved to find it was actually up his nose. That is until I gave it a very gentle tug and it didn't dislodge itself. I called for Justin, who pulled again, this time out came the 'stick,' actually the stem of a leaf. It had a drop of blood on it. I ran the crying munchkin to the house and we wiped up a bit of blood, but he was completely fine. I really thought we had an ER visit in our future, but was grateful that we got to hang out at the house with him instead.

And to think I was a tad worried about the girls hanging on the swing set and not at all about the little fellow running on the ground...

Monday, November 7, 2011

To Kinder or Not to Kinder

Miss Gabriella and I have been talking over school for next year. I'm starting to write out my list of books to purchase, so I can plan for them (it looks like Kate may finish her math books early, so I'll likely make my order a bit early, sometime in the spring). I need to figure out what books, if any Gabby will be needing too. She has been wanting to 'do' school more formally all year. I've been giving her a few preschool worksheets here and there, but encouraging her to go play, since she has the time.

Here is my quandary. Gabby wants to start kindergarten in the fall. According to the state, she isn't eligible for public school until '13 (By the way, how on earth did we get to a point in time already that I'm having to write 2013?). Of course, we can go ahead with instruction next year, but what to do about the paperwork? Do we call her first grade year kindergarten in '13? 'Skip' kindergarten (since we would have already done it)? Skip a different grade later to avoid confusion? File the papers next year stating that she's in kindergarten and see if the school system kicks it back? At this point it's just a paperwork issue. The last one is likely to be the easiest, but I kind of like not having the pressure of having to follow through if she decides she isn't ready.

I'm completely fine with Gabby taking another year to play and color, but I hate to hold her back because her birthday is three weeks later than her sister, when she so clearly wants to be part of school. Maybe the answer will become more clear as the year goes on.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Family Fun: Mini Golf

We took the munchkins to play mini golf this past weekend. I bought a Groupon a month or so back and we were excited to get to go use it. The weather was nice and the place was deserted (both good for taking a young family of five)!

The kids were a bit less impressed than I expected. They did like the giant pink elephant (and the creepy carrion birds that were roosting near him), but there were several holes that Gabby chose to skip entirely. We had to watch the little guy pretty closely because he was quite interested in the water hazards!

It was a fun time, but we'll likely wait awhile before we try it again...oh and for the record the little guy and I won!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

In case you ever wondered...

coffee can and will explode in the microwave.

I had read a recipe calling for strong coffee. We had regular coffee, so I reasoned that I could drive off some of the water and have the strong coffee required for my little recipe.

I am a reasonable person, so I heated the coffee for a couple of minutes and then stopped, so it wouldn't boil over. I came back twenty or thirty minutes later to heat it again. After one minute and eight seconds the coffee went boom and the microwave stopped (on it's own), flashing :52 at me.

I scrubbed out the microwave around the measuring cup until it had a chance to cool. Then I moved it and scrubbed some more. The inside was sparkling clean, but the big question was, "Will the microwave work after having exploding coffee in it?"

The answer is a thankful yes. I guess I'll forego the coffee milkshake. Or at least think of a better way to make 'strong coffee.'

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


When it is bright (like the lights when he first wakes up): "It's hot!"

When the girls ask, "Am I a princess?" He says, "NOOOO!" and giggles.

All dogs are called, "Toby." That is the name of my parents' Yorkie.