Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New Curriculum

So, one thing I haven't talked about much on this blog is the fact that we homeschool. This year is the first year we are doing with an actual curriculum and I'm excited. We got the pre-k 4/5 Core from Sonlight and some supplies from Discount School supply. This year we will mainly focus on literature, art, and learning our letters and numbers. I've been organizing and getting everything ready for us to start next week. Here is my hutch in my kitchen that I use for our homeschool cabinet. We have books, games, art supplies, and puzzles in there right now.

I also wanted to include some review for a few of my favorite purchases this year.

Organic Crafts by Kimberly Monaghan, totally awesome. While some of the projects are to advanced for L, there's a ton in there for me! There are recipes in there to make your own paste, glue, paint, tye dye, clay, etc. I think this will remain a part of our collection for many years to come, I'm sure I will still be using it when I have grandbabies. Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook by Joyce Lankester Brisley a sweet story book from a time less complicated then our own. It's about a sweet little girl who lives with her mom, dad, auncle, aunt, grandma and her grandpa. She is smart, cute and quite loveable, a joy to read.
Is A Blue Whale The Biggest Thing There Is? By Robert E. Wells. Teach purportion and relativism to a child of 4, totally awesome. A Very fun read, even for mommy.

Yoga Kit for Kids by Imaginazium, not a book but cool. It comes with 25 great cards showing Yoga poses as animals. If I hadn't found this I would have made it myself. L loves doing yoga with me, so what a great way for her to get attive on rainy days.

We got many other great books, but so far these are my favorites may have to do a few more "mini-reviews" as the year progresses.

We're Back!

Back from camping and we had a wonderful time. I even managed to craft while I camped. L loves her little knitted hat and it was nice to have something to do during the car ride and long evenings. Staying in a cabin was so much fun, nighttime parenting was so much easier there then in a tent. We all agreed that 3 days was just not long enough, next summers trip will have to be much longer. You wanna know what the best part about it was? NO BEARS! Last year we had a bear rummaging through the camp site ALL NIGHT LONG and if that wasn't bad enough it was to cold and we hadn't prepared for that so even if I could have slept I couldn't, you know?
We spent a lot of time at the lake and even took a paddle boat out just me and the Mister. We peddled on out to an island to jump off a rope swing. I forget sometimes that I'm young and should still be doing things like that and not just sitting on the shore watching children and knitting. Unfortunately I didn't get any good pictures, I was so involved with having fun that I kept forgetting my camera at the cabin! When I was out there I kept thinking "this would make a great picture", at least I snapped a few at the end.

The Lizard my little brother found in our sink

P trying out her bed
This is P when about to head home, just beat.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Divided Time

Not a whole lot to report around here, it's the slow going of working on unfinished projects. My time has been divided up by working on L's birthday present, knitting dishrags (which I won't bore you with pictures of) and getting ready for this weeks camping trip. However I did get to take some good pictures at the park this week of the girls playing so I thought I might share a few of my favorites.

Now this is a little out of focus and not the best picture, but how could I resist. She is squatting down to reach into her snack bag. Too funny.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fighting Perfection

My moms birthday was yesterday and for some reason I waited until the last minute to finish everything. This is totally not my style, I'm usually the nerd finishing up her crafty homework weeks before the test. Maybe it's because I have control issues or maybe it's just because I like to avoid the stress of having to cram it all in at the last minute. For me procrastination usually robs me of the fun of the event. I find myself stressing and agonizing over details when I would much rather be sitting back and enjoying the fun. Anyways, due to intimidation of both the project and my mothers reactions I ended up putting off finishing her present, wrapping it, and baking a 3 part cake from scratch, and making dinner reservations until the day of. This is how I found myself making a cake at 7 am in my pajamas and my hair badly in need of a flat iron.

As the day progressed I saw myself in an even more unflattering light. L was having "a day", she was cranky, sassy, bossy, and while trying to use all my patience of the various birthday tasks of the day I didn't seem to have enough for her. In trying to obtain perfection for someone else, I ended up falling flat on the face of mine.

When I was an adolescent one of the things that bugged me most about my mother was her need for perfection. The view from the outside always had to be different from what was on the inside. If the inside was shinning then let em' in, but dull and dusty was when you had to shut the doors. While others were rebelling with drugs and curfews I rebelled greatly against the ideal of perfection. Anything I could do to burst the bubble of what everyone wanted to see.

So in today's disastrous events I was reminded of what I used to be about. The ideal that perfection is never what it seems and to truly be happy you have to be anything but perfect.

Here is her cake, in all it's imperfect glory. It did however recieve rave reviews from everyone, although it wasn't really my cup of tea. Everyone really liked the purse I made her, which I didn't get a change to take a picture of before I wrapped it. My mom turned 45, and I do believe she had a great time. For a mother of 8 children she doesn't get a whole lot of fuss over herself , but I hope yesterday let her know how much we all care.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

"I am the Champion"

So, last night after 4 hours straight of continues work I finished my tedious task. Twenty denim dollars are now waiting to be shipped out. By the end I was exhausted and a little loopy and may have sung "I am the Champion". Again, if I ever talk about wanting to join another large scale swap and please tell me I'm crazy.

As a reward to myself and to my incredibly patient hubby we will be having a wonderful summery weekend filled with BBQ, swimming and fun. So I'm off now, but I leave you with this adorable picture of polka dot fabric I recently purchase from JoAnn's for a measly $1.99 a yard.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Why is that when one is overwhelmed with things that need doing, it is exactly the things that one can't bring themselves to do? I've been working on those dollars for a swap, like I mentioned before and I am just SO sick of them. I tend to get swept away with ideas and become so excited about them that I forget everything else. I should have been thinking about how much I LOATHE repetitive crafting, how my wrists can't handle to much strain, or how I would like to be enjoying the last bits of summer instead of spending countless hours on tedious works. Whoa as me, if only I could run away. In a way I kind of did run away today (and yesterday) I spent hours that I should have been producing mass amounts of play money, making Ls birthday gifts. Her birthday isn't until October, but what can I say I got inspired. Here is the crown I made her out of felt. It's all cut out and stitched free hand (except the main crown piece. I think I want it a little sturdier though so when she goes to bed tonight I will sew another layer onto the back. L spent the night at her Nana's last night, so I got some lovely alone time with P this morning. We snuggled and played and I got some great pictures of her as we were heading out the door. You can really see her snack bag in action here.

Unfortunetly I must get back to reality and back to my tendious task....

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Wonderful Summer Weekend

This summer has been hard, with all the wild fires here in northern CA. There has been no summer swimming, barbeque's, long lazy days drinking lemonade and standing in front of a fan. Instead we have had evacuations, asthma attacks, and high air conditioning bills. I was never much of a summer person until it was taken away I felt slighted, it was unfair that everyone else was out swimming, camping and staying out late watching the stars. This weekend was one of the few exceptions that we have been blessed with.

M and I took the girls out to the Fore bay with Ms parents and they swam and played for hours (please note that the dress pictured in the last post is not a beautiful shade of red). We brought a picnic of PB&J's, chips and homemade salsa, blueberry fig bars, and watermelon.
We found some beautiful shells, one of my favorite things about that place is the fresh water shells and all the bird feathers that you can collect. When I was a little girl I just loved to bring my sand pail and seeing how much "loot" I could bring home.
As for the "crafty" part of my weekend I got 10 out 28 of my denim dollars done. These are made with a pair of old jeans of my father that I dyed green, and an old grayish pair of pants of Ms. They were very cheap to make, just $5 for the dye and $2 for the embroidery floss, although the price tag is a bit heavier on my hands. Ow, why oh why did I think it was a good idea to hand sew two layers of denim together? These are for a natural play food (they can play grocery store with these) that I'm participating in on Mothering and they are also for L for Christmas.
M made the best homemade salsa I've ever tasted on saturday, it's the fermented salsa recipe from Nourishing Traditions. We made 2 batches and fermented one and just put the other right in the fridge. We haven't tried the fermented one yet, but the other batch was SOOOO good. We probably spend about $7 and made 2 quarts of salsa. We got most of our ingredients from the Farmers market (local and mostly organic) and put it in recycled spaghetti sauce and applesauce jars. How green is that?! Pictured is only HALF of what we made, we actually ate a whole jar between yesterday and today.

Friday, August 8, 2008

An outting of a different color

The whole Bella Pepper family went on a fun outing last night shopping and to the Farmers Market. We had a blast and stayed out way past the girls bedtime. I wanted to get a few more pictures of the Market, but it was so crowded that it was nearly impossible. All the fruits and veggies had about a dozen people around them and I had to send my hubby in to get us our produce. I did get a lot of good produce, the "Apple Guy" was there, so named for his delicious Organic Gala apples that he sells for ridiculusly cheap. At 3lbs for $2.50 M has promised to make an apple pie for me out of the extra bag we purchased. We also got enough stuff to make loads of fermented salsa. This is P and I smiling for M.
There was a really cool ceramics booth there, where they let the kids make something. Here's L giving it a try. She had a lot of fun, but wasn't to happy with how messy her hands got. The look on her face was priceless when she finished up and looked down at her hands with disgust and little bit of confusion.
M bought me this super cute dress at Target. The only one they had in my size was white, but I just loved the shape of it, so I figured I can dye it myself in a color I really love (I wasn't horribly fond of their color choices any way). So for about $23 (dress) and $4 (dye) I should have a really beautiful piece to add to my wardrobe. It really is much cuter in person the picture doesn't do it justice, neither does the color (or lack thereof)
Here's a close up of the bodice, I just love the pleating and the shape of it. Now all I need to do is pick what color to dye it. I'm not really a pastel kind of girl, I was thinking more of a jewel tone although it's a little scary not doing a test swatch. I'm afraid of going for emerald green and getting a forest green. I would LOVE to make it Sapphire or cobalt, but again I'm scared of ending up with a navy....hmmmm.....what to do......

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

$1 for Breakfast

I'll pay for breakfast if it's only a dollar....

Man, these were so much fun! I cut out everything except the cash freehand and it turned out great. I now have a bag with 3 eggs, 4 Bacon's, and 3 more pancakes left to hand sew and that is totally exciting to me. I find hand sewing very therapeutic, and we have a long car ride coming up when we go camping. The play food is for the girls' Christmas stocking and the cash is for the cash register of course.

I spent the day cleaning the kitchen and then baking bread and homemade pizza and you know what I got for it? I super messy kitchen, that's what. I truly hate dishes and how am I supposed to have the great zucchini bread bake-off with such a mess in the kitchen? If I make wonderful homemade bread and dinner from scratch is it to much to ask that it magically cleaned by elves by the time I wake up? I think not.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Make New from the Old

It was yard sale weekend for the Bella Pepper family, it was hard, dirty, and time consuming but we made it through. We made enough money to pay for most of our camping trip near the end of August(yay!). We had a lot of my moms stuff in the sale as well, so I manage to fish out some old denim skirts and dresses to re-purpose for other crafty things.

So my relax time after all that craziness was spent making some cool new things:
These are some coins that I made out of an old pair of my fathers jeans. I still have a few more to make(ran out of black thread) and they will go inside the wooden cash register we are getting L for Christmas. Yes, I did say Christmas.
I made this purse today out of an old denim dress and a scrap of fabric from my stash. It's not quite finished yet, it needs a butt0n and I plan to make a denim rose to go on it as well. This is going to be for my moms birthday which is only 2 weeks away.
This purse is smaller then the last and for a friend of mine. It's made out of an old dress and a denim skirt.

I've just started to get into making things out of old clothing, but I have to say that it was very fun and challenging. I love that I was able make some wonderful new presents for people I love out of practically free material. I can see a lot more of this in my future. I need to go scour the thrift stores looking for old wool sweaters so that I can felt them and make play food from them (If anyone has some of these let me know!). I joined a play food swap on Mothering so I've really got to get to work on that!