Pinterest Challenge- Lego Crayons

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We bought a coupon of silicon molds for my son’s Lego Party last April to make candies and ice cubes.

After seeing this pin on Pinterest, I decided we could use up our broken crayons and create some fun new ones!

We removed the paper and cut the crayons into small pieces.  We set the oven for 230 degrees.  It took about 30 minutes for them to melt and another half an hour to cool!

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Pinterest Challenge- Lego Table

My Pinterest name is genamayo–come follow me!

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A while back my oldest son was complaining about how his younger brothers always had their Legos all over their bedroom floor.  My second son told me he needed a place for his Legos–like “another room.”  Well, that wasn’t going to happen!  But I did find this great pin of a Lego Table on Pinterest!  The original inspiration for her was from Family Fun magazine.

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I found a piece of wood in the garage and sent my husband and son to work on it.  They sawed and routered and sanded and primed and spray-painted!  We ordered three X-Large Gray Baseplates off of Amazon.com, and they used construction glue to attach it to the wood.  I already had the plastic drawers (bought at Target.com).  We decided not to attach the table top to the drawers.  Now, their room stays neater, and the boys have a great place to build their Legos!

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Pinterest Challenge- Fun Reading/ Phonics Games

Our daily “learn to read” time has been growing boring, so I decided to find some games to spruce things up a bit.  Of course, it was easy to go to my Pinterest Learn to Read board to find lots of great ideas.  Here are some that we tried this week!

Hopscotch

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Very fun for the kids.  Toss a rock and hop to the square.  Say the word there!

 

Cootie Catcher

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I put phonograms on the outside that I want them to memorize by spelling:  augh/ough, tion, eigh, and ould.  So, they would say, “O, U, L, D, ould.”  Then, the words in the inside are ones that use these phonograms (such as could, eight, tough, etc.)

 

Dice Game

This was for a paid download, so I created some sheets myself using the words found at Jan Brett’s site.
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Easy!  They roll the die and say all the words in the column of the number rolled.  I made 6 different sheets.

 

And some more to try next week:

Parking Lot Game and Stair Phonics

 

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Pinterest Challenge

Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Pinterest Challenge: Library Crate

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I try to keep on top of when library books are due, but it’s another one of those things that have been a little out of control lately. Last month I found this beautiful crate at a resale shop for $5! It was perfect for turning into our library book crate. I painted the side with chalkboard paint so I can easily see when the books are due. The kids are supposed to keep the books in there when they aren’t being read, and when they are being read they are to be kept in the same room (our family room)!  Hope this saves us some fines in the future!

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Before painting:

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Here’s the pin I was inspired by.

Linked up to the Pinterest Challenge.

I'm Topsy Turvy

And Fox Hollow Cottage’s Pinning Party.

 

Pinterest Challenge- Denim/Flannel Picnic Rag Quilt

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I’ve been wanting a picnic quilt for a long time.  You know, the kind you can just leave in the van and pull out when you want to sit on the ground.  It needed to be big enough for our whole family, so that’s pretty big!  And intimidating as far as making a quilt goes!  I had made a rag quilt with both sides flannel for one of my son’s beds and thought that might be a good way to go.  But I wanted it to be more durable since it would be out in the elements.  Then I saw the ideas for using denim!  I don’t know why I never thought of it before, but denim works perfectly for a rag quilt!  I love the way it frayed.

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I like this pin and someday will probably use my old jeans stash to piece together some squares and upcycle.  But for this project I just bought some denim and cut big squares to be able to finish it quicker.  The top side uses flannel.  I didn’t purchase any more flannel, so the top isn’t as pretty as it would have been if I had planned it out.  But I wanted to use up my scraps.

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The squares are 10″ x 10″.  The seam allowances are one inch, which makes each sewn square 8″ x 8″.   The final dimensions of the quilt are 80″ x 96″. Here are two tips:  use rag quilt scissors to cut the seams (they are spring loaded so you don’t have to keep opening and closing the scissors) and wash the quilt for the first time at a commercial laundromat (it produces SO much lint!).  One other thing I did to save time was not to put any batting in it.  It’s thick enough and certainly heavy enough.  My younger kids can’t even carry it!

This is what the underneath looks like:
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Now, for a picnic!

Linked up to the Pinterest Challenge.

I'm Topsy Turvy

 

Ever wanted to learn how to knit? Try this!

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What’s going on Today?

Well, I have slept through the night (7 hours in a row) the last TWO nights!  I don’t think that has happened in years!  Of course, I’m still so sleep-deprived that I don’t feel any better yet, but maybe if the trend continues. . . .  I’ve felt like I’ve been living in a cloud for so long, it’s hard to remember what it’s like to be clear-headed.  I’m going to try Claritan to help with my allergies–got the doctor’s approval yesterday.  Seven 1/2 weeks until baby’s due date!  Oh, and I really need to exercise today, too.

Today is a pretty easy day, as far as not having too much going on outside the house.  We only have soccer practice this afternoon (for the five oldest) and only if it doesn’t rain.

I’ve decided to try a week of Pinterest-Inspired recipes.  I worked on the menu and grocery list this morning and my wonderful husband is now at the store! Last night we had take out pizza, but for dessert we had Crock-Pot Lava cake.  I tried it with Sucanat instead of brown sugar this time, but it still tasted too “molassasy” for me.  I might see if it works with white sugar next time.

Here are the recipes for the next week, yes a lot are with the crock-pot!:

Tonight: Crock-pot Chicken Parmesan with asparagus and Andes Mint Cookies

Sunday:  Snicker-doodles for after the kids’ piano recital.  Crock-pot Steak Burritos for dinner

Monday:  Eggs and toast (easy, since Dad’s not here.  Bible Study Fellowship night.)

Tuesday:  Leftovers

Wednesday:  Taco Casserole

Thursday:  Crock-pot baked potatoes (easy, swim lessons evening)

Friday:  Homemade Pizza–garlic bread pizza crust

Let me know if you need an invite to Pinterest so you can see these recipes!

This morning I baked bread.  It’s been a while since I got behind on my wheat order.  But I picked up 100 pounds of wheat berries yesterday, so we’re set now!  The kids did their usual morning chores, plus a 15-minute extra Saturday chore (which must be completed before they’re allowed to use any electronic devices.)  The older 2 boys vacuumed the first floor.  The older 2 girls each cleaned a bathroom.  The younger boy and girl “cleaned” the basement.  :)  I’m planning on doing a post on our chores soon.  I also offered a couple of pay jobs this morning.  My 2nd son cleaned out the refrigerator.  Yeah!  I hate doing that!  And my oldest is at this moment cleaning out and vacuuming our big van.

Soon, I’m going to try to head upstairs to sew.  I’m working on my niece’s butterfly quilt and need to finish our picnic quilt, too.

There’s a special price ($4.99) on this GREAT e-book again–until Wednesday April 18!   It’s called 4 Moms 35+ Kids Answer Your Parenting Questions.  On Wednesday, the book will be sold only at the full price of $7.99, until further notice–so be sure to get it now! Use the code “BIGSALE”.
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This 195-page e-book is a huge resource!  And it’s funny!

Here are the chapter titles, and each of the four moms answer these questions:

How do you get your family to church on time?

How do you teach children to be still and quiet in church?

How do you prepare children to be around unbelieving
family?

How do you keep things fair for all your children?

How do you keep your patience in the midst of chaos?

How do you manage outings with only little ones?

Do you ever feel discouraged or overwhelmed?

How do you make sure your children get enough individual
time?

Naps: How important are they? How do you make them
happen?

How do you find time for projects that need to be done,
require focused attention and which the children can’t help
with?

How do you teach your children to do chores?

How do you teach children to be diligent?

Which parenting style is best?

How do you teach your children about the birds and the
bees?

How do you deal with sibling squabbles?

The ebook also contains a master chore list of age appropriate chores, and there are two original printables.

Click here to visit 4 Moms 35 Kids to learn more about the book and to purchase it.  Remember the code BIGSALE!

(Contains affiliate links.)

Pinterest Challenge: Lego Party

I shared some pictures on the previous post of my son’s Lego party. It seemed that all the kids had a great time! Here I’d like to share some of the specifics of what we did. I will tell you that my son made many of the party decisions himself, as well as doing a lot of the work!

The invitation he designed, with Minifigures talking:

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Plates–we printed a lego picture off of the internet and taped them underneath clear plates:

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Pinata. There were a few tutorials for making them, but I broke down and ordered this one off of Ebay:  (See pin here.)

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Lego car ramp:  (See pin here.)

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Easter egg hunt with Legos inside. (We ordered one of those used lots off of Ebay to fill the Easter eggs.):

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Instead of cake we had brownies cut in Lego shapes topped with peanut butter M&Ms to make them look like Legos:

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Treat Bags. We printed the names off the computer and decorated each bag with Lego stickers. We filled them with Lego candies (purchased off of Amazon) (see pin here) and Chocolate candies in the shapes of Lego bricks and minifigures. We used Wilton candy melts (from Joann.com) to make the candies in silicone molds.  See pins here and here.

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Ice in the shapes of Lego bricks and minifigures (silicone molds).

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I have a TON of ideas on my Lego Party Pinterest Board!

I’ve linked up this post to the Pinterest Challenge.

I'm Topsy Turvy

 

Pinterest Challenge- Lego Car Ramp

In preparation for my son’s 10th birthday party, we built a Lego car ramp in our living room. I got the idea from this pin.  My son (ever the engineer) modified the design making the slope less, adding the music stand for the starting gate, and the chair and pillows on the bottom to keep the cars from crashing. The boys will make their own cars at home and bring them to race at the party. My kids have already been enjoying this for a week! They love it!

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Oops–it crashed off the side!

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Here’s a better view of what the whole thing looks like.

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My 3-year-old built this car herself!

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Some of their creative designs:

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I’ve linked up this post to this month’s Pinterest Challenge.
I'm Topsy Turvy

 

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Pinterest Challenge- Ribbon-Petal Flower T-shirt tutorial

 

Ribbon Petal T-Shirt Tutorial

 

I saw this pin on Pinterest last fall, and thought I’d adjust it for a spring shirt.  Here’s what I came up with.  Enjoy our flower t-shirt tutorial!

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Tutorial:

1.  Cut the ribbons all the same length.  Mine were about 6 1/2 inches long.  (Next time I think I’ll make them a little shorter.)

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2.  Cut out the circles.  I used my glue container as a pattern.

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3.  Tacky glue the ends of the ribbons together.

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4.  Tacky glue the ribbons to the underneath of the circles.

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5.  Hand baste the circles onto the shirts.

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6.  Zig-Zag stitch the circles onto the shirts and cut out basting threads.

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Linked up to The Pinterest Challenge.
I'm Topsy Turvy

 

(Contains affiliate links.)

Pinterest Challenge- Framed Starfish

Last month I shared about the decorating I had started in the kids’ bathroom.  I made a new shower curtain and window valance.  My mother-in-law gave me beautiful starfish and sand dollars which I framed with some frames from Joann Fabrics.  The project was inspired by several different pins at Pinterest: one, two, three, and four.
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I’ve linked up to the Pinterest Challenge for this month.  There are some other great ideas from my Pinterest Seashell board that I’ll probably be adding in the future.

I also love the ideas for wall decorating at Lot 26 Studio.

Here are some fun things to spruce up the house for spring:   “Spring showers bring May flowers” and the Poppies wall art is the perfect depiction of that childhood statement. These colorful flowers are perfect for a living room or kitchen and will stay bloomed all year long!   Another reason to adore spring is the birds chirping in the trees and filling the air with music. The Birds On Branches wall decal adds the perfect color and attitude for any room. Who doesn’t love the vibrant colors of the season?  Brighten an office with the Geo Tiles– wonderful colors and designs!  Lot 26 Studio makes a quick makeover because all you need to do is peel and stick!

Currently, Lot 26 Studio is offering 10% off the entire store with promo code BLOOM10.

(Contains affiliate links.  Thanks for supporting I Choose Joy!)

Pinterest Challenge- Quiet Book pages

In January I joined a Quiet Page swap group. Rather than having to complete an entire Quiet Book for my kids all by myself, I just created one page–and then copied it 10 times!  (A Quiet Book is an activity book for a baby/toddler.  Here is my Pinterest board for Quiet Books.)  It was still quite a bit of work. I sewed on 275 snaps at an average of 4 minutes a snap. That equals 1100 minutes or 18 hours! That was easy work, though, just sitting on the couch watching movies with my family or catching my breath in between homeschooling, cleaning the house, and cooking! I’m excited that I’ll be receiving 10 more pages to add to our book soon. Then I’ll be binding the pages together–a Pinterest Challenge to share next month!

Here is the original pin where I found the idea for my page. She includes free patterns! I made a few changes, such as simplifying the tree and fall leaves. (I also spent quite a bit of time cutting out all of the pieces!)  I added snowflakes for the winter tree and made the green pocket larger to accommodate more pieces.  I’ve linked this project up to the Pinterest Challenge.

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Here’s my little guy enjoying it already!  It’s a little hard for him to snap, but it’s perfect for my 3-year-old!

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What is Pinterest?

I had a friend recently ask me this question:  What is Pinterest?  It’s one of the fasting growing websites right now.  It’s a type of social media, but very different from Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

I use it as a way to organize my website bookmarks. Anytime I see something, like a craft, project, tutorial, decorating idea, or recipe that I’d like to try someday, I “pin” it. You’re pinning the picture, but it’s attached to the website where the original recipe/tutorial/etc. is. Once you’re a member of Pinterest you can put a “pin it” link on your toolbar and pin any picture from any site. Or, many websites and blogs are now putting the P or Pin It buttons right there to make it easier.

Where do I “pin” it to?  I’ve created different “boards” that are stored at the Pinterest site.  Picture having a couple of bulletin boards up in your house.  Maybe one is for your dream house.  When you see a picture in a magazine of a neat kitchen layout or color scheme, you tear it out and pin it up on your bulletin board.  That’s what you do online with Pinterest.

The other thing I do now is follow a lot of people who have similar interests as myself, and repin things that they have pinned.  I follow lots of other homeschooling or crafty moms that I don’t know personally, as well as lots of friends.  If they have a particular board that I don’t like, it’s easy to just unfollow one of their boards.

Another way I’ve used it is by searching for a certain topic, such as crochet hats for men or Lego Star Wars party ideas.  Then I can pin those pins onto my boards, too.  Later I go to the websites to read about the great ideas other people have!

I have the Pinterest app, which makes it easy to look through the things those I follow have pinned each day and to repin them using my iPad.

I have found so many great ideas on Pinterest–lots of great recipes that I’ve tried, ways to decorate my house, free sewing patterns, and fun homeschooling experiments!

(Hint:  I rarely look at the main Pinterest.com website page without being logged in because people do tend to pin pictures that are on the verge on pornographic in my mind or contain bad language.  Pinterest does have a rule that pins aren’t supposed to contain nudity.)

If you’d like to join, let me send you an invite.  (Just leave your email address in the comments or email me at gena at ichoosejoy dot org.)  It will get you in a lot quicker than requesting the invite yourself!

Here are the boards I have set up so far:

Animals, Bathroom ideas, Christmas, Cleaning/Organizing ideas, Cookies, Cool Cakes, Costumes, Crafts, Crochet, Decorating ideas, Easter, Fall Fun, Father’s Day, For the Kids, Gardening, Homemade Christmas Gifts, Homeschooling ideas, I Made This, Kitchen ideas, Lego Party, Photography, Printables, Quiet Books, Quilting, Quotes, Recipes-Bread, Recipes-Breakfast, Recipes-Desserts, Recipes-Drinks, Recipes-Slow Cooker, Recipes-Snacks/Appetizers, Recipes-Soups, Recipes to Try, Scripture, Seashells, Spring, St. Patrick’s Day, Tea Party ideas, Thanksgiving, Things I Love, Things to Try, Valentine’s Day, Want to Sew, Wreaths.

And here are a couple of projects I completed that were inspired by pins I found on Pinterest:

Valentine’s Candle decoration with conversation hearts.

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Shower curtain.

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Please follow me!      Follow Me on Pinterest

Also, there is a red “P” below each post on my blog.  If you ever see something neat to pin from my site, just click there to pin it!

 

Funny Friday- Ridiculous Baby Poses

You’ll laugh at this one today.  Visit my friend’s Pinterest board entitled Ridiculous Baby Poses!

If you aren’t a member yet of Pinterest, just leave your email address in the comments (or email it to me), and I’ll send you an invite.  You’ll get in quicker that way than requesting an invite yourself.

Follow Me on Pinterest

Totsy offers moms on-the-go and moms-to-be access to brand-specific sales, up to 80% off retail, just for them and the kids, ages 0-7. Top brands for mom, baby, and child. Prenatal care products, baby gear, travel accessories, bedding and bath, children’s clothing, toys, DVDs, and educational materials are just a sampling of a selection that promises only the best in quality and designer brands.

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Pinterest Challenge- New Shower Curtain

A year ago, my husband began a renovation of the kids bathroom.  The two main changes we wanted to make were to replace the carpet with tile and add a second sink.  Here are the “before” pictures.  He finished his part last year, including repainting the walls a pretty yellow/ gold color and replacing the inner door with a beautiful oak door that he finished.

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So, my job was to do some redecorating.  The shower curtain and window valance no longer matched.  I thought blue would be a pretty contrasting color and decided to go with an ocean theme.  I found this pin on Pinterest, which inspired my design of the curtains.

Here is the finished product, which I linked up to the Pinterest Challenge for this month.

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The Pinterest Challenge
I have another idea for wall decoration which will go in that big blank space next to the window, but those will have to be posted for next month’s challenge.   All my spare time crafting/ sewing for the rest of February will be focused on finishing my Quiet Book pages! I have 220 more snaps to sew on!

Pinterest Challenge: Decorating for Valentine’s Day

I’ve done a little decorating for Valentine’s Day, and of course, one of my ideas came from Pinterest!  See this pin.

Here is my candle globe with conversation hearts.
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This second one would have been fuller with candy hearts, but my kids keep eating them!

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I’ve linked up this project to the Pinterest Challenge.

The Pinterest Challenge
Also, my son made some Lego hearts that are decorating our mantel!

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Here is another cute idea for decorating for Valentine’s Day:

Feel the love this Valentine’s Day with Lot 26 Studio! They are offering 15% off all items with promo code LOVE15.

Give your Valentine the Mirrored Love wall decal with frame and decorative accents. It’s easy to apply just peel and stick. The hardest part will be choosing which photo to display!  Can’t figure out what you want to say to your special someone? Say it with style while displaying the Love Story wall decal which reads “A true love story never ends.” The perfect sentiment for a bedroom, living room, kitchen, entryway, or hallway. Enjoy!

And some other fun ideas:

 

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Crochet

**Don’t forget to leave a comment on the previous post to be entered in the giveaway for the book “Taken”!

 

A couple of years ago I determined to teach myself how to crochet.  My mother-in-law got me started, but I learned most of it through books!  After I got the basics down, I took a class at Joann Fabrics.  Now, finally, I feel that I can look at any pattern and figure out how to do it!  One thing I love about crocheting is that it’s easy to do sitting on the couch watching a movie with my family, it’s portable so I can do it in the car while waiting for my son in band rehearsal, and it’s relaxing.  I have a Pinterest board for crochet if you’d like to see some cute ideas!

Here are some of my recent projects:

I made this ball for my 18-month-old for Christmas.

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Here is a shawl I made for myself using some beautiful bamboo yarn I received for my birthday last year.

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This was first attempt at a sweater.  It was a good learning experience, but was so huge, I gave it to Goodwill!

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I loved making these cute twirly scarves as gifts this Christmas.

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And an iPod cover for my oldest son.
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Here is the yarn I received for my birthday this year (from ebay).  It’s 100% silk, made from sari remnants.  It’s fascinating to work with because it isn’t the same thickness all the way through–and all different colors.  I’m making a purse and will show pictures as soon as I’m done!

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All of these patterns (with the exception of the ball) are from Chicks With Sticks Guide to Crochet by Nancy Queen and Mary Ellen O’Connell.  It’s my favorite crochet book!

After I finish the purse, my next project will be to make an afghan.  I’m going to make 10″ x 10″ blocks, each with a different color and pattern, then sew them all together!  We’ll see how it goes.

 

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Our Week in Review

How do we get school done when there is a very active 14-month-old who has decided he no longer needs morning naps?  Well, it’s not easy!  But he makes us laugh so much!  We call him “Ya wild kid, ya” (from Music Man).

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On Friday the kids decided to do a little art with this pin I found at Pinterest.  Here are their creations.  My daughter on the right lost her tooth, too!
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For our evening reading times, my husband has been reading The Hobbit to the boys and I finished Misty of Chincoteague with the girls.
We also read books about autumn, apples, and pumpkins with the younger kids, as well as doing a lapbook. (More details on that in a future post.)
In history we learned about Stonehenge, so my second son built a model of it out of Legos.

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And we finally went apple picking! We were almost too late this year. I found a great family-run orchard very close to us. We bought 3 pecks! (I’ll share my trick for making them last longer in a later post.) Our apple butter is almost gone, so I’ll be spending some time making more and canning it this next week.

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Finally, I Choose Joy! is now at #21 in the Top 25 Big Family Blog contest. Voting lasts only today and tomorrow. Could you take a moment to vote? Thanks!