Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Staying Organized with School!

I know many of my friends have already hit the pavement running their kids back to school but we do not go back till after labor day. Even though I am basking in the last days of summer at the beach, I did want to share some strategies that work in our household to keep the school papers, schedules and items under control. I guess the first thing I will say is we have a launch pad at out front door with hooks for every backpack. We will be homeschooling this year for the twins but we have always expected our kids to immediately unpack their bags. So many parents tell me their kids will not do this......Ummmm......yes, they will. They do it everyday at school folks.  Kids are sneaky and tend to think you are not very wise at times. They like for you to believe that they just drop them randomly on the classroom floor but  they have a certain spot they must put them, just ask them about it. Teach them the routine and have consequences ready for when they do not. Stick to your guns about this. (Every teacher will confirm this and has totally got your back on this one).
Some people store them in baskets or a shelf beside the door, I have hung them on the back on dining room chairs due to lack of a foyer before. I suggest you find whatever works for you and your house but every backpack needs a home. Trust me, your mornings will go so much smoother. You will love your life after implementing this strategy.
Once our children unpack their bags they must put everything that I need to sign or
read in my mailbox. I managed to pick these up at Family Dollar a couple of years ago for $3 ea and gave them each a coat of black spray paint so that they match my decor. ( I know they need to be repainted, it was on the to-do list this summer, hmmm....not sure what happened)
Before I had these , I stacked 5 letter trays on the breakfast counter. Whatever you decide to do, the goal should be to create  a mailbox for each family member. Once they put things in my mailbox , I read and sign at my convenience (usually after they are in bed).
The rule is it will be waiting in their box to pack up in the morning. I do not sign things thrown at me in the morning. Oh.... Too bad, too sad is all I can say about that. I know it sounds harsh but my job is to teach them responsibility. Very seldom will a teacher or an employer forgive procrastination or disorganization from your child. Your child will never admit it but they would rather learn this lesson from you than another adult.
Ok I am starting to preach, time to move on........
The maiboxes hold 4 different colors of  pocket folders. Each folder contains info that we must keep for reference or projects. This works really well especially if you seem to constantly misplace things your child brings home. For example we have folders for school, sports, goals&projects, and extacurricular activities. If they bring home info about an upcoming field trip, we put that info in the school folder. Lets say they have a game schedule & a snack roster for soccer, we put that in the sports folder. The goals and projects work well for items concerning long term projects or goals that your child needs to work with over a period of time. The other thing that I do is to transpose info into my calendar colorcoded for each child as items come in such as dates and times for certain events. The hard copy is always stored in their mailboxes so all parties involved can retrieve the info as needed.
The last thing I will talk about today will be the Homework Baskets we created for each child. Our children do not do homework in their rooms. Well I take that back, my eldest son just started last year doing homework in his room at his desk. He is 14 and very organized with his homework (Of course I am sure it has everything to do with all the systems  and organization I taught him along the way *LOL*) The reason we created Homework Baskets was very simple. When they sat down to do their homework, it always seemed I was asked the same thing. I need a pencil.... where is some graph we have a sharpener... I need a stapler....can I use your scissors. Ok I believe you have got the idea. Seriously, you would have thought they were nowhere with me when we bought supplies during the tax free weekend! Well, each child got a basket with the following in it: Pencils, pens, sharpener, scissors, glue sticks, markers, crayons, graph paper, bookmarks, tags, hi-liters, clips, calculator, ruler,colored pencils, index cards, erasers, a dictionary  and notebook paper. They also have a 3 ring binder which usually contains relevant information to their grade level studies such as mathematical charts, spelling rules, maps,etc. The only thing we do now is restock it every sunday night from the supply closet.
 I have found this helps with homework a great bit. If you have more than one child doing homework, make your children some study corrals. These are very easy to do. I used science fair project boards cut in half, then spraypainted and trimmed out with duct tape. We have found them essential  for our boys. It puts the focus where it needs to be.
My desire is that these tips will help you and your child have a great year......of course now I need to still figure out how to organize some homeschool items since this is all new to me. Just when I had my systems down so well, now I must go and change them to fit this new adventure in our lives. Have fun organizing!

I will be linking to:
Someday Crafts - Whatever goes Wednsedays
733 A Creative Blog - Sugar and Spice Weekly Party

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Just a little raggy!

I will make this a quick little post because to be honest I am just slap worn out!
Remember my last trip.....oh how wonderful and glorious it was..... Well not so much with this one. This has truly been a long day for this household. It seemed as if all parties were in a "mood" and then the traffic did not help. But enough of my ordeal.
Let us move onto something a little more interesting. I gave you a peek of this bib I made for Jamie yesterday.
I actually saw a burpcloth sewn like this and was very intrigued by the effect.
After making the burpcloth I thought I would try the same effect on a bib. I made the front side with a pocket and it is reversible. The reversed side is this cute jungle print.
 Overall  it was a neat project  to work on and I was very pleased with the ragged edge. Let me just add  that they are super soft too which is always a nice bonus for a baby. 

I hope your weekend is turning out great. Hopefully I can share some nice beach pics tomorrow. Maybe, just maybe I can report that the "mood "has left this household.
That would be nice, right?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Do you remember the Photo Letter giveaway I had a couple of weeks ago? Well Jamie was our winner and she chose the word "HOME". Now I did not know at the time but when Jamie was chosen as the winner, she had been through a horrible day. Her home was flooded downstairs. She had come home to find about 2-3 inches of standing water downstairs. Okay here is the kicker.....Jamie was pregnant, has a 20 mo.old child and her husband was out to sea at the time. I felt so sorry for her. I am sure most women can recall how emotional you are that last month anyway, and then the stress of taking care of everything by herself. I am sure it was all just a bit overwhelming. I was glad that she had won and made me feel as if maybe I was able to give her a little bit of sunshine that week. 
After choosing her colors of earthtones, this is what I created for her........
I found a qoute about home or families to embellish each letter with.
 From the colors she described to me that are in her living room, I believe it should play off well together .
I really love this patterned paper on the M that she chose. It blends everything just perfectly.
Anxiously I am waiting to see a pic of them hanging with Jamie's favorite photos clipped on them.

Jamie gave birth to a boy shortly after the giveaway so I decided to make her a little something for the baby too. She had no idea I was doing this but I just could not believe everything she had been through those last few weeks of her pregnancy. I wish I could have done more. Plus I love making baby stuff! Here is a peek at it but I will tell you more about it tomorrow.
 Have a great evening and do not forget to enter the Halloween Bucket Giveaway if you have not already. We choose a winner Sunday evening.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What a Treat!

While I was visiting family last week, I received such a treat. You may recall the post I did about Birthday Traditions. Well the ladies who created those designs at Embroitique really liked what I did with the designs so they featured me as the guest blogger this week. Be sure to check  out their blog. They have the coolest designs for machine embroidery. I have already made a wish list for anyone who wonders what I want.....

For those of you who do not have an embroidery machine, I suggest you still check them out because they have great patterns you can use to create some adorable items with your sewing machine.

Since I received a treat this past week, it only seems fair to offer you a treat too. So I have another giveaway........ this time I will be offering a Halloween bucket.  Here are a couple we have created :

To enter, just leave a comment telling me what kind of Halloween Bucket I could personalize for you. You can have some bonus entries by following this blog, like our facebook page or post our giveaway on your facebook page. Just make sure you post a comment for each entry.  You have till Sunday @ 8pm to get those entries in. Good luck to all!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I am back!!!!

I had such a great time visiting my family. The days went by too fast and left me with the feeling we would never get to do all that we wanted to do while we were visiting. However we did get to just about everything we had planned. I do have  a couple of things to share with you though.  I managed to make these cute little hair clips while I was visiting
and these sprinkler covers
and this cowboy bib with my new sewing machine(YAY!)
My mother gave me her sewing machine a couple of years back to work on a project. I always had the intentions to give it back so I returned hers and brought home this sweet little machine....
It is awesome! 50 different stitches!! My mom and I played with it a bunch that first night , we tried out so many of the stitches and NEVER could decide which is our favorite. They all were so neat! It is an easy machine to thread and use also. The ease of it reminded me of my Brother embroidery machine which is why I now have my eye on a Brother Serger.
I  really like their machines so far. Happy Stitching everyone!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Going home...always a joy!

Well I finally was able to head back to my hometown to visit with my parents, family and friends. I love going home but I do not always enjoy the trip and adventure that comes with traveling with 3 boys down I-95, then I-20 during the hot months. Guess what though....... It went well!
Actually better than I could have ever imagine. It really shows how much my boys have grown and mature . I can remember when we lived in NC just about 4 hours away from my hometown, that trip would take us almost 6 hours due to the constant things children throw out at you when you are traveling. I am sure you know what I mean. Most moms have been there before.....Are we there yet?, How many more minutes, I need to use the bathroom, I am hungry, he's touching me, MOM tell him to stop, I dropped my book or toy or WHATEVER. The list could go on and on.

This trip however was pleasant... they laughed, they sang, played trivia and they talked.Not just with each other but with me too. We had our quiet moments also like when they read or played their DSi's. It was a wonderful moment for me. Great satisfaction washed over me realizing we had moved to another aspect in our lives and gave me a glimmer of hope of what is to come in the future with my three boys.

I hope you enjoy your family this week as much I plan on enjoying my family! :-)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The right equipment

I have come to the realization that the right equipment makes the difference  between an easy job and a challenging job. Take for example this lovey I made for a Bunko friend of mine to give as a gift.
I love the colors she picked out. We did two different textures of minky on one side and a blue satin material on the back. I have to say that just cutting the minky fabric is challenging  It was a devil of a time to get 4 squares that were exactly the same. By the time I finished cutting it, I knew my next purchase would be a rotary cutter, mat and templates. Well.... no sooner did I make that decision before another came crashing into me. Sewing the minky material is not a picnic either. You definately need a different foot for your machine to make gliding the material easier. I quickly understood why my grandmother was not happy when I chose to make a jersey knit dress for my home ec.  project. Her words came rushing over me how some fabrics creep and crawl, how I would be wiser to use a different fabric since I was learning how to sew. Even though it was challenging, I was pleased with how the lovey turned out for Will.
With all the insight I gained from this project........ guess where I will be this weekend?  If you guessed Joannes purchasing a rotary cutter and mat with my coupon, you would be right! I can only imagine how well it will turn out with the right tools.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Birthday Traditions

Birthdays are a very special event in our house. I always try to have parties for the boys so they can celebrate with friends but the selfish side of me really does not like to share that day with the world. We tend to celebrate birthdays at our house with just the family and then we have their party a couple of days later. We always try to start that day off with a special breakfast for the bithday boy with a place setting and banner set for the king.  We have used the same place setting and banner for years now. The one time I did not put up the banner, they were clearly put out with me. (it went up , right fast, I must say) The whole day  we follow their lead. The day reaches it climax when they receive their Birthday Letter, dinner and dessert.

The Birthday Letter is a coveted piece of paper that the boys look forward to every year. It clearly recaps their birth story, how much we love them, and the most anticipated gift......their new priviledges. As we introduce their new priviledges that have arrived with another year of life, we also explain the new responsiblities that go hand in hand with these priviledges.  For example, this past year the twins were given the priviledge of a later bedtime but with the responsibility of completing new responsibilites around the house. It has become a wonderful tradition that we believe is helping us shape our boys into responsible men.

Now to get the boys excited about the Birthday Letter when they were younger, we developed the Birthday Blastoff which is actually a countdown to their birthday. We start our countdown on the fifth day before their birthday. The Birthday Blastoff consist of 5 pockets  leading down to the final birthday pocket that has the letter in it. We have always just given a Hershey kiss with a note or picture of their first year. As they have gotten older we have added trivia info about their birth year.
Every day they love to hear about their birth and of course the chocolate certainly sweetens the deal. It is a fun way to celebrate another year of your childs growth. It also gives you a wonderful opportunity to share with them how much you have enjoyed watching them grow.

My dear friend has a spunky little princess that is about to have a birthday in a week.  A pink and purple crown for Sophie seemed to be the perfect thing to make for her. Plus, I was able to make it with my embroidery machine. I have to say it turned out absolutely wonderful!! More than I could have ever imagined.
After completing the crown, I realized this was something that would be treasured for years, so I decided to add to the collection. I made her a banner of Birthday Pennants and her very own Bithday Blastoff to celebrate this momentous event in the future years to come.



I hope Sophie and her family grow to love this tradition as much as our family has through the years. Knowing that Sophie may not have a great appreciation of all of these items at such a young age, I decided to toss in a book she might enjoy at the moment too. I figured a little instant gratification would be greatly appreciated by this 4 yr. old.

I am curious what kind of birthday traditions do you have at your house?

I am linking these birthday traditions to:
733 Blog - Sugar and Spice Weekly Party

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Photo Letter Winner!


Thanks so much to everyone for the lovely comments and spreading the word about the giveaway. I greatly appreciate everything.  We do have a winner. It was comment #8 that was left by Jamie. Congratulations Jamie! Please contact me by email, to discuss the design and delivery of your letters. As soon as we finalize your design, please give me up to 2 weeks to complete and deliver them to you. I am sending all of you that participated in the giveaway a 20% off code that you may use in my Etsy store as a big thank you!

I wish I had more to share with you but actually I am feeling a little under the weather today. It seems I have caught a summer cold so I will just leave you with a couple of pics of some letters I made for the nursery of my friends daughter . These are for Daphne and her brother Elijah. I love the colors Crystal picked. They coordinated and complimented each other so well. Of course we did this when she planned on them sharing the room but now I believe she is planning on putting Elijah in his own room. Either way, they are so pretty. I can not wait to see them hanging up.