Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My Blog Has Moved To Wordpress!

     Since I'm mainly using my phone for internet now, it became hard to post here from my phone. Sadly I had to make a decision to move over to Wordpress. I am in the process of moving posts there and updating them. I will still leave this blog up because I noticed a lot of people had pinned posts and I don't want the information to go down. The Facebook Fan Page is already switched over with the new blog's info, I won't be creating a whole new page. My blog is now on Twitter as well, though I am still getting the hang of using it. The link for the blog is now: http://livecreatebelieve.wordpress.com/. Posts go up a couple times a week whenever possible. So head on over and follow me there! :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Homemade Felt Horse *

     My daughter loves all things horses. As I was going through old emails to clean out my newsletter folder (yikes!) I found an email showing an activity involving sewing buttons on a felt pillow for children to practice doing buttons. Now I feel it is very valuable for children to learn tasks like that, but I think it's a bit silly to waste materials when you can just give them a button up shirt on a hanger and let them practice. My daughter learned how to use buttons by doing it herself on her clothing. She's gotten faster at in in time and I saved on materials. I like some of the Montessori concepts, but some of them can be accomplished with items already in the home. For the green me that is super important because I don't like to waste things. So I decided just to make her a felt animal, and horse was the first option that came to mind. I found a picture of a horse online with a good body shape for tracing, printed out the picture and then cut out the horse.

    Next up I asked my daughter what colors she wanted her horse. She chose pink for one side and yellow for the other. So I laid my horse paper on the pink felt and traced it with the head facing right (I took the picture above before switching it around), and then traced it on the yellow paper with the head facing left. This way I could put the sides with ink on them from tracing facing each other on the inside.

    After I had traced the horse on each piece of felt I cut them out. I put them together with the inked side facing in and trimmed any areas I needed to so they would match almost perfectly.

     I picked out green and yellow thread, my daughter's two favorite colors, and did a little of each while sewing the horse up. I didn't do anything fancy, and I sewed it all by hand. I prefer to sew some of her projects that way because I enjoy sitting down and spending time relaxing while I sew. She sat next to me doing school work - domestic bliss!

     Since I didn't have any fluff on hand for stuff the horse, I improvised. I took some old sock and cut them into strips and squares to use for stuffing. It didn't really need to be super soft since she's going to play pretend with it more that cuddle with it. I used two of the ankle socks for women. They worked out nicely and I love reusing things!

    There were smaller areas such as the legs that were easier to stuff as I sewed, that way I wasn't trying to fill them from one top opening. So I stuffed the legs and then sewed the tail, and I stuffed that as I sewed as well. And as I sewed up the back I stuffed the horses bottom and stomach. This just made it easier since I wasn't using something like fluff, which is much more pliable.

     This is the pink side of her horse, fully stuffed and all sewed up! She absolutely loved it! :) I think my daughter prefers the toys I make her and her wooden toys over anything else. The yarn dolls I made for her get lots of use still.

     And this is the yellow side of the horse. I love how it turned out honestly, and it really wasn't that hard. You just need two paper size pieces of felt, scissors, thread, a needle, stuffing and a print out of the animal shape you want to do. She's already asked me to make her more animals so I'm looking forward to that! :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Homemade Chunky Soup

     I love making homemade soup. Not only is it simple, but I can load it up with my favorite veggies for a super nutritious meal. And I can make it in bulk! That's the really great thing - I make a big pot full and save the leftovers for lunches and dinners later on. There is a reason I save all the glass jars we end up with. :)

     This time I made a thick soup using a can of cream of mushroom soup I had in my pantry mixed with water, though I used less water than required. I used the big can, so it's double of the little ones. I also added one big tomato diced and the juices from as I cut it. I also chopped up two small potatoes and three full size carrots. I took 4 pieces of kale and ripped them apart and added them to my pot. Last I added a little salt to taste, some garlic powder and a little onion powder. I can't seem to cut onions without the crying and burning eyes so I stick the powder. I heated to medium heat for a while and then switched to lower heat when it started to boil a bit. I'm sorry I didn't keep better track of the time, I just kept an eye on the pot while washing my dishes, stirring occasionally.

     I had enough to fill two bowls for dinner, one tall glass jar which holds two servings, and 4 single smaller jars. That's a lot! This way now I have at least 6 meals from one pot. These are great on days you lack energy and want something quick, and even better on days when you are feeling a bit run down. You can add some cayenne pepper for a little kick as well, or for folks in my state - green chili. I don't add anything spicy to ours because my daughter isn't a fan of spicy stuff and I'm really not either. But again, as with any of my recipes you can tweak them to your liking! :) 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Nature Walk

     Tonight my daughter and I took a fun nature walk to a nearby store. We could have easily driven, but it was much more of an adventure walking. My daughter is five so she can't go for hours on end, but a half hour walk is fine for her. We stopped to enjoy the view several times because we have such lovely sunsets here.

     We stopped to look at interesting plants and my daughter asked me to take pictures of ones she liked. The area we walked is very much like a desert so we got to explore desert plant life and find beauty even in such an environment.

     We saw some interesting insects as well, but sadly most were moving way too fast for me to get a picture of. One of our first bug encounters was with a black beetle who seemed to really like putting his rear up whenever we came near. My daughter thought this was so hilarious! We then talked about why bugs do some of the things they do and why they are the colors they are.

     Our walk wasn't too hot today thanks to a very nice and soft breeze. Yesterday we went earlier in the afternoon when it was much hotter and minus the breeze. So it was nice today to get to feel the wind on our skin and through our hair while we enjoyed the sites around us. It definitely made some of the plants look neat as well.

     One of the precautions we have to take walking through that area is to watch out for sticker bushes and for cacti. My daughter kept reminding me to look at the ground to make sure I didn't get poked. We take a short cut through this area because it's more enjoyable for her than walking on the sidewalks. It was fun looking for cacti and comparing the different kinds we found.

     The best thing about our walks is the time together. We get to share in something, be active, and relax together. She had fun climbing up dirt hills and then going back down "skiing" in the dirt as she called it. I enjoyed seeing joy from my child's eyes and showing her different things. I have to say, even just walking boost my mood and how I feel physically! With our busy lives it's so hard to make time for things like a walk, but it's beneficial in so many ways. My daughter got a real life outdoors homeschool lesson, totally unplanned today. We both got valuable time bonding together as well as good exercise. It was a great break from my day of business, stress, and so many things to do. I'm thankful for those little moments I get to escape like that, especially with her. I am working harder at making time like that for us each day, to relax and enjoy something stress free together. It really does benefit all involved! :)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Homemade Piggy Bank For Saving, Spending, Giving & Investing

     So in my search for fun learning tools for my daughter, I stumbled across a bank that has compartments for saving, spending, giving, and investing. What a neat idea! Sadly they are plastic, which is not worth the risk in chemicals or toxicity. So I decided to make my own for her. :) The nice thing about items you make yourself is you can customize them as you like. All you  need it a container like a box, scissors, a razor blade, tape, paper to decorate it, a couple pieces of velcro and permanent markers to label it.

     I decided to make ours out of a box I had saved which was a good size. So we ended up with four compartments, though I'm not sure how change a child saves can be used for investing... I started off with a box that I cut with two pieces that open on the top to get access to the money when needed. I used clear packing tape to keep the sides together as I needed.

     Next I took some of the extra pieces of cardboard and cut strips to go inside to separate compartments. Again, I used tape to help secure them where needed - to each other and to the sides and bottom of the box.

         Now comes the fun of customizing! My daughter loves horses so I took a horse calender she had that got ripped down and used some of the pictures for decorating the sides of her box. I simply cut them to fit and taped them on with clear tape. I covered all of each picture with tape to keep it from getting damaged by being ripped or getting wet. Contact paper just does't stick as well for me.

     Now for the two top flaps I left to open and close to access the money, I decided to use a piece of my daughter's art work for a personalized touch. Again, I cut the paper to size and was able to use just one paper for both flaps. And again, I covered them in clear tape.

     Next I took a razor blade and cut four slots in the flaps over each compartment I made. It was much easier and quicker than using scissors, and I trimmed off any excess cardboard with scissors when done.

     To keep the two flaps closed, I cut a small but thick piece of cardboard and covered it with another small piece of her artwork left over. I covered in it tape, and then added two pieces of velcro to each side on the bottom. Then I put it in the middle of the box, evenly in the middle of each flap. This way the velcro provides easy access when needed.

     And lastly, I took four different colored permanent markers and let my daughter decide which slot would be for which, and then labelled them as such. We spent our afternoon counting money, putting what we could in rolls, and separating it into the different sections. My daughter has such a giving heart so most of it went into the giving slot for her to send to help save wild cheetahs. :)

     This is a very simple and reasonably quick project, and it's so much cheaper than buying a pre-made bank, which seem to start at $30 and up! If you make one for your child, let me know how it goes and what you used! :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Whitefish Fillets with Baked Vegetables

     Today's lunch was simple and delicious! As always, I get the urge to create and take a basic recipe and make it my own. I thawed out 3 whitefish fillets in cold water, but you can do them overnight in the fridge if you want to prepare ahead of time. First preheat the oven to 425 degrees while you prepare the food. In a small baking dish, 9x9 I believe, I combined 2 tablespoons of olive oil, some garlic powder (I stink at mincing and dicing fresh garlic), a sprinkle of salt to suit our tastes, and maybe a tablespoon of basil, mixed with two tomatoes that I diced, 4 pieces of dino kale torn up into small pieces, and about 1 1/2 cup of broccoli cut up. Don't add the fish yet. Once you've combined the ingredients in the pan, place it in the over to cook for 15 minutes. Take it out, add the fish, and cover it with the veggie mix. Cook for another 7 - 10 minutes and voila! An absolutely delicious meal! It tasted amazing and was kid approved - my 5 year old ate it all. :)

     I love that it's quick and simple to make, and very healthy. And goodness was it tasty! It honestly surprised me how great it tasted. The flavor was wonderful and it was a great combination together. In all my meals I try to get in a variety of healthy and yummy foods. The great thing about a recipe is you can tweak it to suit your family and make it your own. Happy cooking!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Awesome Marriage Apparel Website!


     For those of you who are proud to be married or proud of your spouse, you might enjoy this site! I discovered it today through a Keeper of the Home post and I have to say - I love it! The idea is wonderful and unique, and it encourages people to be proud of their marriage and their spouse. While I am not married... yet... I love the idea and wanted to share it with ya'll. It's called Union 28 and the clothes range from shirts to sweatshirts to hats to kids wear. They have items for men and woman which I think is so neat. Some of my favorites are the black zip up hoodie sweatshirt that says, "My Husband Rocks" and the red winged t-shirt that says, "I Love My Husband." They have some cute clothes too! So check it out and see if you like any of what they have to offer! :)