Friday, December 16, 2011


Gabby's take on the rubix cube:
"It's the color block that I need to fix."

Gabby, when Nate took a piece from our Little People Nativity set:
"Nate stole Jesus!"

* * * * *

Nate now believes that upstairs is 'up hill.' So we hear things like:
"Come down da hill!!!"


"She's up da hill."

Then there was, "Daddy take offone dindow." Which turned out to be "Daddy opened the window."

And also, "Biaper"

"Say 'd', 'd', diaper."

"D, d, biaper."

* * * * *

Kate, as Gabby was chattering away:
"Stop talking constantly! Stop chattering! Stop gabbing! Stop talking!!!"

[Pot, meet kettle.]

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Twelve Days

I read a post over at Passionate Home Making that I was really drawn to. I love presents and giving them. Justin and I are on a fairly tight budget so that I can stay home, so there aren't a lot of frivolous purchases made. I saw the 12 days of Christmas idea and really thought it would be impractical, but then I started thinking about how to pull it off. After all, there are things I buy anyway that fit some of those, and some inexpensive extras that could stand in for some of the others.

Unlike the original Twelve Days, I am not repeating so we won't have 12 partridges, or 40 golden rings, or the like. And I'm also sure my sister is laughing because I can not stand the song, but it was just too good of an opportunity to pass up!

I haven't finished this little activity yet, so here's what I done so far...let me know if you plan to do this for someone in your life too. Justin isn't usually all that interested in gifts, but he has gotten excited to see what I have waiting for him each afternoon, so it has been a lot of fun for us both. Some of the things are very practical every day things or even things I have coupons for, but it makes sure he knows he was thought of, and that's the point, after all.

1 Sugar Free Coffee Creamer,

2 Bags of Popcorn,

3 Cans of Low Sodium Soup,

4 Razor Refills,

5 T-shirts,

And 6 Diet Root Beers (in the glass bottles)

* It can be hard to find items sold in groups of 7, 9, and 11, so you might want to save some homemade or creative ideas for those days!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Nine Patch Quilt Guide: Quilting

Lay your backing material, cut a smidge larger than your finished quilt top, face down.

Next top this with the batting.

Then place your pieced quilt top (face up) on top. Be very careful that all of these pieces are perfectly flat. This helps to keep your quilt from puckering.

You then pin your quilt with quilting pins--huge safety pins that can pass through the three layers easily.

You can machine quilt (long straight lines are easiest, but you can get as fancy as you imagination allows
or that your machine will do for you),

followed by knotting the loose ends: sew the loose threads through to the back and knot with it's match on the back side.

Alternatively, you can knot the quilt. To do this, thread your hand stitching needle with several pieces of embroidery floss (not standard thread) in a coordinating color. Tie a knot on the top of the quilt and trim it, allowing an inch and a half of the floss to remain, as decoration and to keep the knot taut.

The very last step is to finish those edges.

The first option is to use bias tape (choose wide double folded tape in a color that coodinates with your quilt). Cut all of the edges of the three layered quilt to be exactly the same. Turn the end of the tape under to cover the raw edge. Fold the tape over the edge of the quilt and pin it with straight pins. When you get to the end of one piece of tape, just repeat the steps.

At corners, tuck the tape to help it form the turn. A simple straight stitch will secure the tape and close up your edges.

The other way to handle this it to fold the backing fabric over the batting

and then fold the front of the quilt in.

Again, use straight pins to hold it in place, then stitch over the edges with a machine or by hand.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December Busy-ness

I've been a busy little bee, but not much I can write about. It is the time of year for secrets! Miss Kate and I have been busy sewing though. I haven't taught Gabby how to sew just yet, but she's helped with some ironing for one of our projects, supervised of course. It is nice to have them actually start to get involved in the gift making and giving this year.

We finally got our tree up. Justin and I put up the tree on Saturday evening with lights and beads, and the kids got to help us put the ornaments on after church on Sunday. I love our tree.

It is full of ornaments I made growing up, that the kids have made, that my students gave me when I was teaching, and ones that Justin and I have collected or been given over the years. There are ornaments that represent our alma maters, our hometowns, and the children's first Christmases.

We also have some of my grandparents' ornaments, though those and the glass balls my parents gave us shortly after we were married are tucked safely away for when the kids are a little older and have some plastic stand-ins for now.

And now it is on to baking...treats for a Christmas party, homemade fudge (okay, that's not baking!), and of course there will be Christmas cookies!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Nine Patch Quilt Guide: Piecing

This is the second in the series of three posts in making a Nine Patch Quilt:
(click here for planning)

Stitch with the right (pretty sides together).

(Stitching 2 three square tall strips)

I piece the nine patches in strips of three blocks and then piece the three strips together, making a 9 patch block.

After all my blocks are made, I put all of the blocks in piles according to the columns in my plan.

I make each column.

Then, I piece each strip together to make up the widths of the quilt.

The final part of the quilt top is to add the border (which is totally optional).

After the top is finished, be sure to trim up all the loose threads and be sure all the strips are fully attached.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Happy 90th!

My Grannie is turning 90! The kids and I had the chance to celebrate with her and some of the family yesterday.

(Five Generations)

She raised six children, has 11 grandchildren, 19 great grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren, not to mention all the other people who call her Grannie too.

She's seen a great deal in her 90 years and we are fortunate to have had her with us for so long.

Happy Birthday Grannie!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

About a Visual Latin Give Away

Justin and I decided we would like to teach the kiddos Latin in elementary school. We figure it is the basis for many other languages (including ours), so it would help in language study. I've also heard it helps in decoding a lot of vocab on those SAT and GRE exams or in med school (to which my husband groans), so it will be a nice information set for them to have there too.

I have not studied Latin, so I have been looking for a couple of good Latin programs to choose from that don't require the teacher to know Latin. I had been leaning toward Latina Christiana, but thought I would take a peek at some other reviews of Latin programs at Cathy Duffy's Homeschooling Resources Review site. I happened upon Visual Latin earlier this week and watched a sample with Kate. I think she needs at least one more year of reading before we start the program, but I really liked it. It is video based, so she can see the written words while she hears it (and I can too). Hey, if I win it now I'll learn it ahead of her.

When I checked my email this morning, I found they are giving away some copies of it. So if you are interested in getting your hands on a course in Latin, here is the link to the contest.

If you tweet, blog, etc, etc, etc... you can get an extra entry.

Friday, December 2, 2011


When I find Nate standing on top of the dresser we keep the TV on (thank you Daddy for attaching it to the wall!!), Kate says, "Boys, if you can't hear them they are probably taking the house apart!"

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Critic

We have read through all of the Little House books. The girls adored them. They routinely play "Laura and Mary." The stick horses have been renamed Prince and Lady after Almanzo's horses. The baby dolls are often stand ins for Carrie or Grace. We hear words like 'wraps,' 'milk pail' and "Nellie Olsen."

It is absolutely lovely.

After the last book was returned safely to the library, I thought I would give them a real treat. I checked out the first episodes of Little House on the Prarie, the TV show. "But Carrie's hair isn't golden. Why doesn't Pa have a beard? Pa never worked on Sunday! Why did they lie?!"

"Kate, they didn't lie, they just added more things to make a show."

"Why would they do that?!"

"The books wouldn't be long enough to last all the years the show was on TV."

[An incredulous look]

I wonder what she will do when she sees how Eponine is virtually written out of the Les Miserables movie, how they had to abbreviate Little Women to make it fit, and don't get someone else in this house get started on the Lord of the Rings!