Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hymn Books = Musical training= Worship

I made an interesting observation the other day in church...For every parent who has ever complained about the lack of funding in schools for the arts, including music,there are other places we have forgotten to look!

Just to clarify my post…. in my area, the majority of churches no longer use hymn or song books, but read the words to songs off of a screen at the front, typed on a computer and projected. The music all comes out different, because a lot of the “worship leaders” also can’t read music, and write the guitar chords over top of the printed words that they figure out by listening to the song on a CD or Youtube. They play by chording on the piano or by ear or with guitars only. But with no Lead notes or time signatures to go by, the rhythm changes, and sometimes even what notes the words are placed with. Our church uses the screen mostly, but all the worship leaders read music, and so far they aren’t into modern choruses. But when we do use the books now, the congregation too often gets lost trying to follow the lines in the hymn book.
If people want to complain about no music class in school, they should be upset with churches that remove the use of hymn books as well!
When you take the hymn books out of church, you remove a sound teaching resource from your childrens grasp. I know, I know, we don't stand up at the front and give theory lessons with it, BUT you learned to read music as a graph, even if you didn't know the names of the notes, and you learned to look for D.S and FINE  and Coda and knew to go back to a place on the page and where to finish, even if you didn't know the Latin terms.

We sang a song on Sunday from our hymn book, and only those trained in music knew how to read the song, as it had all these symbols in it, yet when I was a youngster, most people knew how to follow that same music.
My God is a God of order and clear direction. Printed words with no musical direction can be chaotic. It hinders us from feeling unified, because a chorus sung in one church is sang differently in another, which makes people more self conscious when they sing at a church they are visiting. I've even heard different worship leaders within the SAME church sing the same song differently.

I was talking to a local church leader who was proud that they talked their church out of the hymn books. "Get their noses off the ground (out of the books) and looking up for worship.   Where does it say to look UP for worship? We are to look up for our help and strength.  We are to lift our hands, but I was always taught we should bow in worship, and Hymn books had us pointing in that general direction.

( KJV  references to bowing in worship- Gen 24:26,48,52  Ex 4:31, 12:27, 34:8  2 Kings 5:18  1Chor 29:20  2 Chor 7:3, 20:18, 29:28-30  Neh 8:6  Job 1:20 PS 22:29,  95:6  Dan 2:46  Matt 2:11, 28:9,  1 Cor 14:25,  Rev 4:10, 7:11)

2010 Olympic Torch came to town!

Pictures say it best! It was a great night, but so bitter damp and cold.  I brought home frozen icicle children.  But we had front row seats and the children had an amazing experience.

Torches on our faces

Rings too!

and don't forget the Maple Leafs
"RBC" Jessica Paints                                                                 
                                                                                                       Miners Lamp
                                                                                                     "Security" flame

Flag Mascot

VeryCold Dancers...(No envy from me!)

Jason Crone - Torch Barer

                                                              My Very Cold Crew!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Testing, Testig 1,2 3......

Finally! I have been unable to access blogspot for some time now.  Every time I  tried to log in Firefox and Explorer would crash!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Felted Soap on a Rope

When I was a little girl I always knew what I was giving my daddy for Christmas....Soap on a rope! And every year he would look surprised as he opened my gift, and proclaim it to be perfect!
Well, this year he's getting...FELTED soap on a rope (as are a few other men on the family Christmas list)

Crochet Felted Soap on a Rope

1/2 a ball of worsted weight felt-able wool yarn
Crochet hook size 6.00 mm
1 bar of soap (I used Zest)


Ch 7 st
Sc in first st from hook to end. 3 sc in end st. DO NOT Turn Work. Sc back down the other side of your chain with 3sc in last st. Crochet  with sc in the round until "bag" is barely big enough for the bar of soap to fit into sideways and have open edges meet.
With a sl st, grab a loop from opposite sides of the opening and with sl st close the bag all the way with the soap inside. Slip st to the middle of the  bag "top" and chain 40 st and join again to the top of the bag.
End off and tie in.

Now the fun part!


You need a sink of hot water that you can just barely stand you hands in and a bucket of cold water. If you have a wash board, pull it out, if not use a VERY fine food grater.
Submerge the soap in the hot water and be sure it is good and wet. Then start rubbing the soap in your hands to felt the fibers. Dip in the cold water to rinse suds and repeat with a dip in the hot water and scrub.
Use your wash board/grater (or a rough surface)to scrub the fibers into felt, following the hot bath /cold dip method, until you are satisfied with your felting.
Lay flat on a towel to partially dry, and then hang from a towel bar to finish drying completely.

Make little tags and wrap for a gift!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Advent Wreath

Here is our own evangelical version of the Advent Wreath.  Enjoy!

Advent Wreath

We use the wreath to remind us that God has no beginning and no end. He is eternal

Psalms 90:2

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

We use Red candles instead of the tradition candle colors to remind us of the wounds on Jesus back, that Christ suffered for us that we would be able to receive eternal life.  And we use a white candle to represent Christ’s purity and our cleansing.

Isaiah 53:5
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Psalm 51:7b
…wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Week 1/Candle 1

Prophecy Candle

The Prophecy Candle reminds us of the Promise God made to the Israelite people that God would send a Savior for the world. There are over 300 prophecies in the old testament of the coming Savior, and each one was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 7:14
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Matthew 1:18-25
18 ¶ Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

Memory Verse:

1 John 4:14
 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

Week2/Candle 2

Bethlehem Candle

God prepared a place for his Son to be born. The Bethlehem candle reminds us that we need to be prepared.  We need to prepare our hearts for Him so that we will be prepared when he comes back for us.

Micah 5:2
But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Matthew 2:1
1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

Matthew 25:1-13
1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

Memory Verse

2 Timothy 2:15
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Week3/Candle 3

The Shepherds Candle

The Shepherds candle reminds us that we are to worship God.  The scriptures say it best

Luke 2
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Memory Verse:

1 Timothy 1:17
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory, forever and ever, Amen

Week4/Candle 4

Angel Candle

The angel candle reminds us that we are to announce Jesus to the world.

Luke 1:30-38

30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Luke 2: 9-14
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Memory Verse:

Mark 16:15
And he (Jesus) said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Christmas Eve
Center Candle
Christ Candle

The Christ Candle celebrates Christ’s birth and his resurrection. It also celebrates Faith,  Hope and Love and Joy.

1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
12 ¶ Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

16a And not as it was by one that sinned, (by one) so is the gift:

John 3:16

16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Man-ly Button Neck Cuff (Scarf)

I needed a mans scarf  with provision for a small amount of yarn.  So OF COURSE I made up my own...

Man-ly Buttoned Scarf


1 Skein of wool
size 10 knitting needles
2 Large buttons


Cast on 23 st

First row knit across

Second row: Slip first st knit wise, K, P,K,P across
Third row: Sl first st knit wise, Knit across.

Repeat row 2 and 3
Repeat row 2

Buttonhole row:  Slip first st knit wise, k4, yo, k2 together. K across until 6 stitches remain on needle. Yo,  k2tog, k to end of row

Repeat row 2 and 3, 3 times (for a total of 6 more rows after the button holes)

Beginning with a Slip on the first st on every row, knit every row until the scarf is long enough to fit around the neck  and overlap under and past the button holes by one inch.

Block if necessary and sew on buttons to match up to buttonholes.  Done!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Gift Tags?!

What do you do when you have the presents wrapped and then realize you have no tags? You feel stupid for one minute and the run to the craft cupboard.

We made our tags from printer  business card stock cut in half length wise and glued on sequins from the bead box to decorate. They turned out very pretty, and under the blinking lights of the Christmas tree they sparkle!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Together Again

Grandma  is with Grandpa again today. And with tears I can rejoice that they are with our Father in Heaven. I am sure they are both sing robustly at the foot of Gods throne in worship.

 Mary Helen (Fisk) Tremain Dec 26th, 1924 - Dec 11th, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What does a homeschooler do on a Snow day ?

Have recess outside like any other day!  It's not snowing ice, so we went outside to play in the snow.  We walked down to the river for some untouched open space to make snow angels.  The snow is too powdery for snowmen, but great for rolling down hills and tromping through.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dance Recital Tonight!

And the children did so well! The Happy Tappy's were cute as buttons and Mrs Clause and her elves were toe tapping great! The children love their Canadian Step Dance teacher Kelly Maw.

Here's a BIG THANK-YOU for all the training and hard work and fun we enjoy every week !

If you're happy and you know it tap your toes!

Are we on yet?!

Shuffle step step ,Shuffle step step...
(you can just see the gears going!)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Red Advent Candles and Candy Canes

I went to buy the advent candles for this years wreath, and COULD NOT find the right colors. We were at a dollar store looking again one day, and could only find 4 red tapers and a white pillar for the center. I sighed and announced to the children that the red would have to do for this year and went to the till.  We were walking back to the car and my oldest son, 5, was tromping along in his  big winter boots, looking pretty aimless when he had a thought. "Mom" he said, it doesn't matter that the candles are all red.  They remind us of the stripes on Jesus back when he died for us, just like the candy cane story"
Isn't that something we should also remember at Christmas, that Jesus was born so he could die and be our Savior?
DS was talking about  a poem they learned in Sunday school

Look at a candy cane, what do you see?
Stripes that are RED like the BLOOD shed for me!
White for my Savior who's sinless and pure!
J is for JESUS, my Lord. That's for sure!
Turn it around and a staff you will see--
Jesus my SHEPHERD, is coming for me!
                       - Unkown

Maybe we will do red candles every year!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.....

Every year I put it on my to do list to create a manger scene safe for little hands. We have a porcelain set under our tree that the children are good about being gentle with, but I would love to have one they can really play with. Well, I still haven't made one yet, but DD and I have enjoyed making this wire wrapped Mary and Joseph and baby together using this technique. We didn't make boots of clay and we used pipe cleaners and embroidery floss. And I couldn't find any plain wood beads, but I love these paper mache beads we found. DD is very proud of them, and at the moment they sit in their own little  stable we found at a thrift store.

I try hard not to focus on the commercialism of Christmas, and I love the idea of celebrating advent, to prepare our hearts to meet with God on a personal level as we celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25. Focus on the Family has a wonderful page about advent with readings and family based activities to do as we prepare for Christmas.
Whether you are a Christian believer or not, make sure you  take some time to ignor the hussel of the season and focus on the gifts of friendship, neighborliness, family and love this season.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Nature Play Mat.

I have a hard fast rule that I won't spend more than $10 out of pocket on a friends birthday gift.  DD has a dear, sweet friends Birthday to go to tomorrow and we just finished the gift.  I SWEAR I only spent $10....I just happened to add to it with some busy sewing fingers and my scrap bag and supplies on hand!

I made two more of my  little travel dolls, a picnic blanket and a play mat from discounted fabric at Walmart
:o( sadly, we too are loosing our fabric department ) and purchased a small set of doll house dishes and a draw string bag at the Dollar Store.  I also made a tiny frog for friends little brother to play along with. The joy of this mat, is that it is also a tied blanket quilt with batting in it, and a game!
(DD doesn't know it, but she's getting one of these for Christmas! )

When I can figure out a better way to link PDF's I intend to post all these as  patterns.  But for now, I hope you find it an inspiration in these pictures!

I purchased 1 m of green and 0.8m of blue soft suede velvet and 1 m of quilt batting.

I trimmed 3 inches off of the width of the blue fabric and cut the batting to fit.  I layed down the green and then the batting and then the blue and cut the green  2 inches larger all around than the blue to become the binding.

I had a handful of polyester felt squares and gold embroidery thread on hand.  The Flowers are silk flowers removed from the plastic stems and a yellow circle of felt was sewn into each one. Each lily pad and flower has a letter of the alphabet embroidered in the center, (The flowers are the vowels).  I sewed them onto the blue and then I folded the green up double over the blue and pinned into place. I sewd it by hand onto the blue and went around a second time, hand quilting through all layers.

Each lily pad used two strands of yarn to tie the quilt for the quilting. I frayed them to make them look like flowers.n On the back, they look like little "Forget- me- nots" where the dolls can have a picnic together on their picnic blanket

Nature Play Mat/ Blanket

Enjoy a picnic with your dolls on one side and a swim in the lake on the other.  Or wrap it around tight to keep warm on a cold day.  But this is not only a fun play mat and a blanket, but it is a game as well! On the pond, you will see each lily pad has a letter of the Alphabet.  The set of dolls or frogs become your playing pieces and the lily pads and flowers become your squares.


How to use the triangle die

Roll the triangle dice and then pick it up from the point on the top. Tip it over and look at the number that is on the flat bottom and that is the number of spaces you jump.

Games to Play

Depending how old you are, you can play the alphabet game in so many ways.

If you are just learning your lettersroll the die and jump the number of squares. Name the letter you land on correctly! If you don’t name it correctly the first time, you miss a turn.

If you are learning your letter soundsroll the die and jump the number of squares. Name the letter and it’s sound.
 For example:  The Letter  (S) says “sssss”.
If you are wrong, you will miss a turn though. And remember, if you land on a vowel, it has two sounds.  If you get both sounds right you may take a second turn!

If you are reading, roll the die and jump the number of squares.  Name a word that starts with that letter. If you are spelling, spell that word correctly. If you are wrong you miss a turn. At your next turn, spell the word correctly before you move the dice to move on.

The first person in any game to reach the letter “Z” wins the game!

 Beanbag Toss Game

Decide how many tosses each person gets. Toss a doll, and which ever letter the doll lands on, follow the directions in one of the games above minus the die.
Make a point system if you wish:

1 point if you land in water but name a letter close by and follow directions,
2 points for landing on a lily pad and following directions
3 points for landing on a flower and following directions

Keep score on a chalkboard or paper, and at the end of the tosses, add up the score to see who has the most points

Cleaning Instructions.

Dolls and Frogs are made of Flannel and filled with rice. Wash surface with a damp cloth if needed

Mat/ Blanket is made of plush fabrics and should be surface wiped with a damp cloth, or immersed in a tub of luke-warm water and a mild detergent and hung to dry to be freshened. Do not iron.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Simple Play

Here is a repeat of my article for Novembers Frontier Gazette that I thought was worth saying over here as well!

Simple Play
The Christmas fliers have been out in abundance over the last two weeks, full of talking toys, computers and remote controlled cars. Even the doll houses have lights that works and sound cards that make the family talk! Wii and it's games of virtual imagination are big on the scene and what toddler wouldn't like a tractor with flashing lights and real motor sounds?

But what I long for as a mom is a house with home grown imagination and occasional moments of piece and quiet!
Mary and Laura had very simple play toys, made from the natural resources around them or toys that imitated adult responsibilities.

Here is a little list of toys and games that I find quiet, educational and fun for my children.

Wooden train set - we have a battery powered plastic set, but for children under 5, it is difficult to put together, trains crash as they run at different speeds depending on the battery power, and the pieces break when a parent accidentally steps on one hidden under the laundry.

Our wooden set though.....fits perfectly with any building block set, can be cheap or expensive (Thomas verses store brand) and can be put together in any order by any set of cute chubby fingers that is willing to try!
I always enjoy hearing the gentle "chugg chugg whoooo" from my littlest family member

Cloth Dolls - I get so tired of dressing Barbie for the umpteenth time, because her limbs are so stiff for DD to get her dressed. Rag dolls, Waldorf inspires dolls or cloth and wire dolls such as doll house dolls or the Pony club or Only hearts are "girl shape" inspired and easy for young fingers to dress on their own. One rag doll can become a baby, a sister or a best friend at play time, and can be as much fun as any barbie if given with a generous wardrobe. (Oh!! Look at this link!!)

Books - The window to the imagination, almost any kind will do! Finding books that are age appropriate and easy to read for the child is a good idea. But also having books that you can read as a family can inspire great moments together. Offer to read a new book to a child in your life!

Paper, Ribbons, Scissors and Glue- My childrens favorite Holiday gift is when Uncle B raids the dollar store paper and craft department. I personally avoid paint and markers, but I have no issues scrubbing up glue off my table! I have had some very interesting pictures, creatures and "items" created at our table from little ones imaginations without prompts or suggestions.

Just Like Mom: (or Dad!) - Let your children help with chores by providing miniatures of your tools, such as little aprons, small squirt bottles with vinegar and water, little dusters and mini cookie cutters. Let them use playdough when you're baking.
I am all for plastic work tools and hard hats as well, so they can be fixers like Dad.

Out door Fun- Today we had our first snow, and there are two snowmen in my yard! The sleds are out and the skates cleaned up, ready for the local rink. In the fall they made pretend camp fires from pruned scrub, pretended to be birds in nests with the leaf piles. And in the summer they spent hours throwing rocks in the lake and building sand castles and motes. And last spring the loved jumping in the puddles and planting and watering seeds in the garden. There is always lot's to do outside, even without buckets of toys. Head outside and explore and see what Mother nature has left for us to play with!

Toy Tip: Let the batteries wear out and don't replace them! If a toy can be "used" without the batteries, leave them out and let the children start using their own imaginations again.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Advent Calendar Videos

This will change to a new video everyday, Come back and watch up to Christmas!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Button Collar Scarf Pattern

I made a wonderful trade with micandme from Ravelry and obtained some beautiful homespun wool yarns. I've been busy as a beaver knitting it up into Christmas gifts, and I made one up for myself! I had a small skein of super bulky in gray that was so soft I couldn't resist it.  But there was only 35 yards. What to do?!
Here are my results.

Button Collar Scarf - Pattern

Super Bulky Yarn - 35 yards
size 7.5 mm knitting needles
1 large button
contrasting scrap yarn to make tassels

Cast on 10 stitches
Stocking stitch for # of inches to fit around neck loosely  + 1/2 inch ending with a purl row.
Knit 4, yo, knit two together, knit to end
Do 2 more rows of stocking stitch and cast off.

With a contrasting yarn, make tassels and sew them across the end with the button hole and 3 inches across the bottom of the scarf. (the button hole should be on the top half of the scarf)
Block  scarf to stop the edges from rolling
Sew on a large button to match up with the button hole

(These tassels were made by looping on long pieces of home spun yarn through the weave of the knitting and unraveling them)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Creamy Asian Carrot Soup

I made up a new carrot soup recipe the other day, it vaguely resembles one I saw online but this one has no cream in it and more pantry ingredients. It also uses peanut butter (weird, but delicious!) which you can omit if there are allergies.

Creamy Asian Carrot Soup

3 cups of chopped carrots
4-5 cups water
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 tsp celery seed or 1 stalk celery
1 tsp garlic powder or 1 clove garlic crushed
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes ( I used our pizza seasoning herbs with pepper flakes)
Bring to a boil and cook until carrots are tender.
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp peanut butter
Puree all ingredients in a blender or with a hand blender in the pot
Add 1/3 cup of milk (we use rice milk) with 1 Tbsp of cornstarch mixed in. Put back on heat and stir constantly until it thickens a little. Serves 4-6

Bread Maker Jam: Mango Orange Raspberry

I made jam in my bread maker today! I figured it was time to use up some of the frozen fruit I had in the freezer from summer smoothies. We ave been eating a lot of Tea biscuits lately and this jam is just perfect!

Mango Orange Raspberry Jam

2 cups chopped mango pieces
1 1/2 cups raspberries
1 cup sugar
1 pkg orange Jello

Put all ingredients in bread pan in order and set to "jam" program.
Let sit when cycle is done for 15 minutes before removing from bread maker.
Spoon into jars and freeze until ready to use, or put in a hot water bath in Canning jars to seal.
Makes 2- 8 oz jars

Note: if using frozen fruit, partially thaw before starting.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"I'll teach my child 100 words....."

There's a book I love reading to the children called "I'll teach my dog 100 words" It's a fun book to read, but it does make me think about our responsability as parents to our children.  How much easier life sometimes is when our children learn to talk!
You will see a new sidebar link, for a site called Pawz for Words. It is our new "School" project! We have been learning ASL as our second language componant, and I have seen so many wonderful things come from it.

So here's our plan. Over the remaining school year we plan to learn, and post 100 ASL words to this site in our dictionary. DD wants to practice photography so this is a great chance for her to do so. And the boys are excited about being a part of the "cast" in our video clips!

We have named our ASL puppet Leopawz, and he is the sites mascot and official hand signer!
The site has a Video/Photo dictionary, Links to resources, helpful hints for learning and a blog where I intend to post games and activities, kids crafts and new words once a week. We even hope to post a few Sunday school songs  and Awana Cubbie bible verses to the dictionary as well!

So if you have ever had interest in teaching a baby, toddler, preschooler or school aged child sign, I believe this will be a great place to start! Pawz For Words

(We plan by Sunday night to post the entire alphabet and babies first 5 words into the dictionary.)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

ASL /Homeschool Puppet

I was looking up puppets for a Little House project and I spent some time admiring professional puppets.  They look like so much fun! We have a few at home that we play with, and they are great for story telling and role playing. And as I was web browsing I saw some puppets that were two handed-one for the mouth movements and the other fit into a shirt sleeve that was on the body of the puppet and into a gloved hand. It really helps to animate the the puppet.
So my gears started working and with the puppets I had seen, including a puppet on Dr Wonders Workshop, and the desire to add a new activity to our ASL learning I came up with Paws. You don't need a working mouth for an ASL puppet, but two working hands!

He is an over sized 20" stuffed animal that I bought at the thrift store, a size 6X boys long sleeve jersey shirt and a pair of fleece gloves. (You could use stretchy gloves from the dollar store as well) All those supplies cost me a whopping $3!

Here are the directions....

1 large cuddly stuffed animal of choice (make sure there is a forehead and a mouth area and a chin area on the head, sounds crazy, but trust me! Round headed animals are the easiest)
1 long sleeved shirt that fits the animal (don't worry about extra long arms or length, just have a pleasant fit around the body and neck. Make sure that you can fit your forearms into the sleeves and your hands past the cuffs.)
1 pair of fleece, nylon or stretch knit gloves. (Thick heavy gloves or chenille gloves don't work because you can't shape signs with your fingers well enough)

Tools Needed
stitch ripper 

a strong all purpose thread in the color of the shirt and the animal

hand needle
sewing machine


Prepare the Bear (or other stuffed animal like our lion):Carefully with your stitch ripper, remove the arms of your animal and then with your needle, whip stitch the body closed. (I know, a sad thing to do.  That's why we didn't pick a toy from our own toy boxes) Set aside and pick up the shirt.

 Armholes: Carefully cut the back seam of the shirt arm that runs from the shoulder to the under arm along the seam. Roll and pin the now cut and open area into a hem and sew all around with your sewing machine.

Hands: Sew the gloves by hand to the inside cuff of the shirt. Stretch the gloves and cuff with your non sewing hand inside of them as you sew the two together around and along the shirts natural hem. This way you know you have enough stretch to get your hands through

Shortening and lining the shirt: Now here comes the tricky to explain part.... the shirt will probably be way to long for the puppet, but you are going to use the extra length to create a liner so that you don't have stray fur or color popping out of the arm openings as you use your puppet.

- From the shirt bottom, fold the shirt up inside itself until the bottom hem at the side seam reaches the shoulder seam right by the neckline. With your needle and matching thread tack the shoulder/neck seam and bottom hem together. Repeat for second side.

- Lay the shirt flat on a table inside right, and with the bottom hem still tucked up inside,  even up the fold around the bottom and pin all the way around

- Sew around the shirt 1 inch up from the fold edge. This makes the shirt look like it's hemmed.

5. Place the shirt on the puppet. With a needle and thread tack the shirt (at the same place you tacked the shirt at the neck) to the top of  where you whip stitched the arm holes together. This would be the shoulder of the puppet. Do this on both side so that the shirt won't be removed. The remaining tucked up shirt fabric is just left alone, unless you find there is too much bulk, then you could tack it in various discreet places to the puppet.

6. Now have fun! Go to Paws To Tell You or SigningSavvy  to learn some ASL alphabet and favorite words (manners like "please" and "thank-you" are good preschool signs to start with)
Place an arm down each sleeve and place the puppet in your lap. Keep your elbows tight to your side as you move the arms of your puppet. (or it will look like a puppet gone out of control with dislocated joints!)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

GF Rice Bread Recipe

SO I went to the store last week to buy GF bread for the boys and was shocked to find it went up a whole dollar, to $7.69 a loaf. YIKES!! So I really went to work this week trying to work out my own recipe.
I have a favorite Honey Oatmeal bread that I make for DH and DD and myself, so I have been experimenting with it and researching other 5 star rated GF breads. A lot of GF recipes call for eggs and cake style ingredients, which really doesn't help keep the cost of making the bread down. But I have now come up with a "standard pantry ingredients" recipe that my son declared today was better than the store bought. I make mine on the dough setting of the bread maker and finish it in the oven.

GF Honey Oatmeal Bread

1 1/4 cups warm water
1/4 or 1/3 cup honey
2 tsp GF yeast
(dissolve honey in water and add yeast without stirring. Let sit for 5-10 min, even if making in a bread machine)

Add in order:
1 cup quick oats oatmeal
1 tsp salt
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp Xanthan Gum
2 Tbsp skim milk powder
2 1/2 cups GF Flour mix (that has no xanthan gum)
1/2 chickpea flour

mix and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until you see an increase in size by at least half it's original size. (double would be a great achievement though!)
Punch down and knead into a loaf and place in a greased bread pan.
Place in a pre-warmed oven (no more than 150 F) to rise for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, until it fills the pan. DO NOT remove from oven, but place a cookie sheet on the oven rack above the loaf and turn your oven up to 350 F. (you can remove the pan once your top element goes out)
Bake at 350 F for 20 - 30 min until golden.
Remove from oven and brush top with butter and let cool some before removing from pan.

Monday, October 12, 2009

New Scarf Pattern

So I am so far behind in ...(???!?!?! life in general?!) I am just starting to catch up with my emails and projects I started in June. To anyone waiting on me,  I am SO SORRY :o( Email me with a reminder.

This weekend was Thanksgiving weekend here,as well as my SIL birthday.  I made 2 pies, to lots of buns, an applesauce cake and a giant birthday cookie (Pizza pan sized) Some how  I had time to designe a quick gift for her on Saturday to give to her today. I give you another free pattern......

Bethany Scarf

Made for a Canadian October, I designed this for my SIL birthday. I completed this scarf in 4 hours.

1 ball 3.5 oz/100g Bernat Satin (worsted weight yarn)
J hook
Needle to sew in ends

ch - chain
dc – double crochet
dcdec – double crochet decrease
st - stitch

Bethany Scarf Directions:

Make a ch of 42 leaving an 8 inch tail on each end. Cut yarn from skein and ravel into a ball to use later.

Row 1 :ch 4, dc in first chain (makes first loop) ch 4 turn work
Row 2 :dc in same chain as ch4, skip next stitch ch1, dc ch 1 dc in next st, ch4 turn work
Row 3:dc in same chain as ch4, skip next st, (dc in next st, ch1) dc ch 1 dc in last dc, ch4 turn work
Row 4-9 :repeat row 3, adding a dc at each end (as row 3) and dc ch1 in each stitch across (6x's)
Row 10-11: dc ch1 in every dc across
Row 12: repeat rows 4-9
Row 18-19:repeat row 10-11
Row 20: 3:dc in same chain as ch4, skip next st, (dc in next st, ch1) dc ch 1 dc in last dc, ch 45 turn work.

Attach set aside yarn to the opposite side of your row from your hook and chain 41 st with your J hook and end off.

(Where gray is your scarf and black is the added yarn )

Row 21: dc in 4th chain from hook, skip next stitch ch1, dc ch 1 dc in next st, complete across, including across the added chain. dc ch 1 dc in last st, ch4 turn work.
Row 22:dc in same chain as ch4, skip next st, (dc in next st, ch1) dc ch 1 dc in last dc, ch4 turn work
Row 23-26:repeat row 3, adding a dc at each end (as row 3) and dc c1 in each stitch across (4x's)
Row 27: dcdec in next 2 dc, ch1. dc ch1 across until 3 dc remain. dcdec in next 2 st, dc in last st. end of and tie in strings.

The tassels on mine is made of artisan mohair in the same color as the acrylic/wool blend to add some texture. The strings are looped in half, pulled though the open work of the scarf along the diagonal edge and then pulled through the folded top and pulled tight. Tassels are cut in varying lengths.