New Blog Header & a Plug

How do people make it through life without a sister? I'm not sure, but I'm glad I don't have to. Mine are Awesome with a capital A. I could list 1,000,000 reasons why, but I'll start with just a few.

First, they both came to visit after we had Baby Brother. Auntie RoRo stayed for 18 days!!! and TK (Auntie Kannon) stayed for 2 weeks. Pretty sure we wouldn't have had Thanksgiving dinner if it weren't for TK and who knows where we'd be without RoRo during those first few weeks.

Also, both sisters contributed to my fabulous new header (I'm allowed to brag about it because I didn't make it...that would be tacky). TK took some great family pics (well, as great as they can get with a 6 week old and a 2.5 year old, right?) and RoRo found a place for one of those pics in the header. I love the colors she used and that snow pic of the farm is my all time fav.

While I'm at it, have I mentioned that Auntie RoRo (aka Rosita Designs) makes custom Christmas cards, invitations, baby announcements and just about any other paper good you can think of? I have? Well, I'll mention it again. And Christmas is COMING (that goose is getting real fat, real quick) so get on it and order some cards from her. Her work is A-MAZING. But you don't have to take my word for it, check it out for yourself!

Rosita's blog

Rosita's website

Oh and one more thing. TK also has a blog and she posted all the fabulous recipes she made while she was visiting us so go visit her and give her some love.

Auntie K's blog

Trying Out Twitter

Yep. I did it. I jumped on the Twitter bandwagon (probably like 2 years too late, but whatever).

Auntie RoRo and I have had plenty 'o' convos about how we didn't understand Twitter, "what is it?", "I don't get it.", "uhhh, what?" And now we've both joined all the little birdies. Sigh. Never say never, right?

So I'm trying it out to see what I think (and see if I can teach myself what I'm supposed to do to actually consider myself a "tweeter" or is it "twitterer?").

Wanna follow me? Click that cute little bird on the side bar or just click here.

Tweet! Tweet!

Tot Preschool: Letter Jj

Tot School
Sweet P is 30.5 mos old

The week of Letter J was our first week without any visitors (isn't that crazy?!). We have a super awesome family and they all came to see us during the month of October (and Auntie K came during Letter K...I'm a bit behind). We had a great time with Letter J and will do more of it during the month of December for the birth of Jesus.

Verse: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Bible Figures: Jonah and Joseph (Jacob's son)


Dotting Upper and Lowercase Letters: I made these (obviously!) for her to dot individual letters and practice listening and following directions. 

J maze from Shannon's Tot School: These are for fun, but she did a good job dotting just the J's! She doesn't go in order of the maze, yet.

Letter J collage: Pink letter J with magazine cut outs and stickers of items starting with letter J. We had lots of Jesus stickers for her to put on this that she was pretty excited about!

Turkey: The Farmer brought home a turkey from work for her to color and she loved it! She wanted to color it for several days in a row.

J is for Jam from A Heart for a Home: She did this with dot markers this week and did great at following directions (numbered coloring).

COAH's J is for Jesus coloring page: She traced the letters on the top and then colored the manger scene. We practiced more with following directions by me telling her "Color Mary's dress blue", etc.

DLTK's J is for Jug: She wanted to use regular markers instead of dot markers for this so she colored in the dots with lines. Sweet P LOVES to color!

Joseph's Coat: See link for details.

Pouring Jingle bells: She LOVES pouring and loves jingle bells so this was the perfect activity for letter J.

Shaving cream: We played with and traced letter J in shaving cream! She loves this sensory activity!

Pouring and using a dropper: One night while I was making dinner, Sweet P poured water and used a dropper to transfer water back and forth between the two cups.

Thankful Turkey: See link for details.

Jonah and the Whale: I made Jonah and the whale out of foam and we acted out the story several times that week. I drew a surprised face on one side of Jonah and a happy face for when the whale spit him out!

Upstairs Shelves: 

Circo Alphabet puzzle
Melissa & Doug Dress-up Bear: Great for teaching emotions!

Fall Sensory Bucket

Other Activities:

Snow Play!: See post for details

Playing on the playmat with Baby Brother!

DIY Gifts for Adults

Aren't homemade gifts the best? We think so. Last year my family tried to do several homemade gifts and here's what I did for Christmas and other times during the year. Some of these might also be great gifts for older children. See this post and this post for DIY idea for kiddos!

Felt Coffee Collar: This was one of my favorite things to make last year. I made 5 of them throughout the year and I just love them. But come to think of it I never made one for myself. Maybe this'll be my gift to me this year!

Felt Monogram Keychain: For anyone with a set of keys! A simple project for felt and ribbon scraps.

Handprint Canvas: This is great for dads, grandparents and moms, too!

Felt Mustaches: Great stocking stuffers for the silly adults in your family!

More DIY Gifts for Kiddos

Here are a few more homemade gifts I made for Sweet P this year. If you try any of these projects, I'd love to hear about it!

Quilted Numbers: Great for counting games. Inexpensive, simple and quick to make. (If I can make them, you can make them). Also good for younger children (no small pieces).

Felt Owls: Easily personalized and perfect for any stuffed animal lover. Inexpensive and fairly simple (somewhat tedious if you make more than one!).

Felt Mustaches: For the kiddos (or kids at heart) in your life! I made these last year for each member of the family. Super easy and super hilarious!

Sweet and Simple Apron: What little girl wouldn't want an apron? Sweet P loves hers (and we hope Blair does too) and it can be used for crafting, cooking and pretend play. This is a simple easy sewing project that doesn't take much time at all and can easily be adapted for adults!

Pumpkin Granola

I think I've mentioned before in this post and this one that we LOVE granola. Store bought varieties are often filled with random ingredients so we make our own. It is really so simple and so yummy. I try to always have it on hand because Sweet P and I both love it for breakfast.

Auntie Kannon is visiting so we decided to be adventurous and try making pumpkin granola! I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but it's delish. Here's what my little helper and I did:

The Recipe: Pumpkin Granola

What you need:
7 to 9 cups of oats
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 c honey
1/2 c pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place oats and cinnamon in a large bowl. Pour olive oil, honey, pumpkin and vanilla in a small bowl and whisk until combined. Pour half of the honey mixture on top of the oats, turn the oats over and add the other half. Combine with your hands (it works better than a spoon) until well coated (this is messy, but OH so fun!).

Dump the oats onto 2 cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, then stir and return to oven. Bake for 7 minutes, stir and return to the oven for 5 more minutes. Oats will be somewhat moist until they dry after baking. Allow to cool completely, stir in raisins and store in an airtight container.

Eat with milk, yogurt or ice cream! YUM!

DIY Christmas Gifts for Kiddos

Looking for simple, inexpensive gifts for adults and kiddos on your Christmas list? Here is a round-up of the gifts I made over the past year for Sweet P, friends and family. Click on the links for detailed posts.

For Kiddos:
Felt Car Mat: By far my favorite item. This is easily personalized for any child on your list, made with a glue gun and doesn't take as long as it looks.

Felt Fish Magnetic Game: I love these little fish and they can be used for so many different learning activities (counting, color matching, etc.). Somewhat time consuming and tedious, but well worth it.

T-Shirt Quilt: Take your kiddos' old t-shirts (sports, etc.) and turn them into a keepsake! T-shirt material is super forgiving and again, if I can make them, you can too. The LSU quilt was my 3rd!

DIY Felt Food: By far the easiest and cheapest gift you'll ever make/give.

Hopefully these homemade gifts inspire you to make something homemade for your kiddos or other kiddos in your life this year. If you haven't noticed, I LOVE felt. It's super cheap and easy to work with (what's not to love!?).

Please comment if you try any of these projects! I'd love to see pictures!

Outdoor Play: Leaf Mazes

The mulberry tree in the backyard lost all of its leaves last night so Auntie Kannon took Sweet P out to play while I stayed inside with a sleeping Baby Brother (it sounds like I stay inside a lot doesn't it?). They came to the back door to tell me about their leaf maze and I ran out to see it. SO fun!

They had created a little path/maze to a pile of leaves and she got a kick out of following the path and jumping into leaves. She and Auntie K also made leaf angels! Such a fun time (even if it was 38 degrees!).

I'm not sure why we are so completely silent in that video (except for the random dog bark), but here's a fun video of Sweet P in action!

What do your kiddos do in the leaves?

Joseph's Colored Coat Paper Bag Craft

Last week when we did letter J our bible figures were Jonah and Joseph. We had a foam craft for Jonah so I wracked my brain for something to do for Joseph. I thought about cutting a flat coat out of construction paper, but wanted it to be bigger than a regular sheet of paper. Then one afternoon while Sweet P and Baby Brother napped at the same time I got the idea to use a paper bag! I've gotta say it turned out awesome!

The Craft: Joseph's Colored Coat

What you need:
A large paper bag
Construction paper
Tissue paper
Glue stick
Any other decorative supplies

I used a Trader Joe's bag, cut it into the shape of a "coat" (looks more like a vest) and turned it inside out so the wording on the bag wouldn't show. I had to tape portions back together, but it worked.

Then, let your kiddo go to town on the coat. We used a glue stick and modpodge for the adhesive. At the end she decided it needed some Easter stickers, but most of them fell off.

As she made it we talked to her about how Joseph's father gave him this coat because he loved him so much.

Don't forget to have your child model the coat!

Vegetarian 3 Bean Soup Recipe

I had 3 bags of beans in the cabinet that each had about a 1/2 cup of beans. As you know, this is not enough for any one pot of beans so I decided to take them all and make bean soup. It turned out really good!
The Recipe: 3 Bean Soup

What you need:
1/2 c dry white beans
1/2 c dry black beans
1/2 c dry pinto beans
1/4 c dry garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1/8 c dry black garbanzo beans (optional)

Cover beans with water and soak overnight. I put them all in one bowl. Drain beans and rinse before putting in pot.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 medium onion (chopped)
12 cups water
4 medium carrots (chopped into coins)
2 large tomatoes (diced)
1 1/4 Knorr Vegetable Boullion cube
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp taco seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add minced garlic and onion. Saute until translucent. Add 12 cups of water and beans. Bring to a boil. Turn down to medium-high and add carrots. Simmer for 1 hour. Add spices, tomatoes and extra water if necessary. Simmer for 20 more minutes.

Top with sour cream and shredded cheese.

We ate ours with rosemary foccacia bread. SO good! It was perfect for a chilly evening!

Thankful Turkey

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His love endures forever." ~Psalm 107:1

This is our thankful turkey!

I made the body and head out of brown construction paper and the other parts out of construction paper and card stock scraps. This is a SUPER easy activity for our whole family to participate in.

The first day I asked Sweet P what she was thankful for and she said "Letters." Definitely something to be thankful for, not what I thought she'd say! (Usually she says one of her friends names.)

The second day I asked her and she said "Mama and popsicles." Melt my heart!

The Farmer and I also participate in this and it's fun to hear what Sweet P comes up with each day. I can't wait to see him full of feathers and we definitely plan on including Auntie Kannon when she comes next week! (Oh and Uncle Ian, too, when he comes after Thanksgiving!)

Tot Preschool: Letter Ii

We had Nana with us for all of Letter I! Even though I think I is a hard letter, we did some pretty fun activities this week. Our whole family got a stomach bug last week so we missed out on our music class, but we made it to library story time. The story time theme was bears.

Bible Verse: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
Bible Figure: Isaac (we read about Abraham and Sarah having Isaac)


Doadot I-maze from Shannon's Tot School: The Farmer and I did this with her and she did a pretty good job. It took her a minute to understand that we were only dotting the Ii's. Also, we told her to dot all the i's so she even did the ones that weren't in the maze.

1+1+1's igloo coloring: This was our first time doing these and she did really well following directions. I'd ask her where purple was, she'd point to it and then I'd say "Can you color the igloo purple?" and she'd coloring the appropriate color. We didn't have orange, black or gray doadots so she used regular markers and she was pretty annoyed that we didn't have a white marker. hehe

DLTK's I is for ice cream dot page: Sweet P is very into coloring lately so we spent a lot of time with doadots and markers this week. 

Letter I island: I had a hard time deciding what she could do for the letter I craft and finally decided on an island. I love how it turned out! She was pretty excited about gluing on the coconuts!

1+1+1+'s Capital I and lowercase i doadot: She loved these pages and especially loved the Eskimo this week. 

A Heart for a Home's lowercase i is for igloo coloring page: She wasn't super excited about this one this week, but she did a good job coloring.

Ice cream sticker matching: I got out her ice cream stickers and she matched the colored cone to the matching scoop of ice cream.

COAH's I is for insect magnet page: We used the magnets from our travel bingo game on this and it was a big hit! We are taking a break from stickers on the dot letters for a bit since she was getting pretty bored with it.

Drawing letter i's: Sweet P spent a lot of time this week drawing lowercase i's on her dry erase board. She is really good at them!

Old Maid pairs: She wanted to play with these cards so we did a match game using the stand up pocket chart. They are regular playing cards so she matched the numbers and letters (A, J, K, Q).

Upstairs Shelves: 
Circo stacking alphabet boxes
Wooden insect puzzle from Gammie
Halloween/Fall Sensory Bin
Shapes puzzle from Target $1 spot

Other Activities:
Felt Ice Cream game: See post for more details.

Felt Insect: We used the pieces from the felt ice cream set, a red pipe cleaner and some googly eyes to create different insects. She wasn't terribly excited about making these, but thought it was pretty funny when I'd make one.

Leaf Play with the Farmer: See post for more pictures.

I is for Pancakes!: See post for more details.

Box play: We got our double stroller and it came in a huge box that Sweet P LOVED. It definitely got a workout with all the playing in it she did!

On Monday Nana and Sweet P went for a 2 hour walk! She played in the dirt at the community gardens and showed Nana the raspberries.

On Tuesday we visited our favorite apple orchard (the one from this post and this post) and Sweet P had a great time on the jumping pillow and in the corn crib.

Friday we took Nana to a teacher resource store and a consignment store. These are 2 of Sweet P's favorite places and she really wanted to take Nana! We got some new doadot markers and a new flag for our school room!

Snow Play

We had our first snow fall last Wednesday and my girl was all about playing in it! The first thing she said after she saw it was "Want to go outside?" I piled on her layers and the sweet Farmer took her out to play in the snow while I stayed inside with Baby Brother (I'd say I stayed in where it was warm, but we lost power that day until 2:30pm).

Isn't she the cutest?!