, pub-8087192757053655, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Director Jewels: July 2013

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Lincoln's Reading Corner July 2013

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The summer started off with a lot of reading, thanks to the summer reading program at our library. We read dozens of books in June, and had reached the point where Lincoln actually asked to read books multiple times a day. Then...he destroyed several library books and reading took a significant hit when all of our library books were promptly returned. We've read books here and there throughout July, but are still having issues with Lincoln leaving them scattered around the house and then walking on them. We'll keep working at learning to care for our books properly and hope that the love for reading continues to grow along the way.

1. My First Book of Things to SeeAgainst my better judgement, we decided to keep a couple of the new library books Daddy brought home for us this month. This book has lots of common things in a child's world and Lincoln loves to point out the baby animals, trees, flowers, stroller, bikes, clock, ice cream, and more.

2. My First Book of Things to Learn. Similar to #1, this book features animals, colors, shapes, numbers and more. Lincoln spent fifteen minutes reading it with me one day last week - and in Lincoln time, that's impressive!

3. World-Class Wings.  We snagged this book in the Target $1 spot. It's based on the upcoming Disney Planes movie - and if you can get past the fact that it completely spoils the story, it's a cute little five-page read.

4. Hug! A cute book with magnetic arms that kids can use to hug each page, this one has been a hit with both kids.

5. My Book of Letters. Another Target $1 spot find. Lincoln can correctly identify the letters B, I, and N most of the time. No idea why those are more important than any others! Somewhere around here, we have a matching Minnie Mouse colors book, but it has disappeared.

Have you read anything fun with your toddler lately? I'm always seeking new books for our collection! If you're looking for more reading ideas, you can check out all our recent favorites here!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Who Needs a Sidewalk Anyway? {Summer Bucket List 2013}

It has been a summer of fun firsts. Some, like milkshakes, have been more successful than others - like the sprinkler fail and zoo train fail. I included drawing with sidewalk chalk on our bucket list because it was something I remember loving as a child.

Andrew found some sidewalk chalk holders on summer clearance last week, so we decided to give them a try.

Lincoln was kind of surprised when we let him run around the front yard (normally he's confined in the backyard where there is a fence). He wanted to hold all of the different colors of chalk and kept Daddy busy running around the driveway, the neighbor's yard, and the sidewalk.

He colored on the driveway for a few seconds. Then grabbed the chalk, started shouting the colors ("BOO! GEEN! RED!"), and started coloring on our front staircase. He tried to draw on the car and some of my drama set pieces in the garage. And he spent the next twenty minutes just running around like a wild child.

This little princess had been a super grump all morning, but she was pretty happy once we went outside! She just played with a bucket and tried to scoot off her blanket. One of us stayed by her all the time to ensure she did not face plant in the driveway.

The sidewalk chalk adventure was only a semi-fail. I think he enjoyed it. We'll keep practicing - and maybe next summer our driveway will be perpetually covered in hopscotch and drawings of superheros.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Little Purple Knitted Blanket

I learned to knit when I was about ten years old. I've honestly lost count of how many projects I have completed. I haven't experimented much beyond the basic knit and purl, which means most of my projects are pretty simple.

I've made baby blankets and shoes for friends. For several years, I donated tiny caps, shoes, and blankets to the Ronald McDonald House for preemies. I made a handful of full-sized quilts, the most obnoxious of which was designed in "Anastasia" colors - red, gold, and purple. It's really something. 

But I digress. Since having kids, my knitting time seems to have seriously declined - but I was still determined to create blankets for Lincoln and Addie. I managed to make two blankets for Lincoln before he was born - one small and one large. I started knitting a girly blanket before I was even pregnant with Addie and worked on it throughout my appointments. I finished it around week 36 of pregnancy. It is pink and green and really big. Part of me wanted to be content with it, but I really felt that she needed a purple blanket too.

So, even though she was due soon, I started making a little purple blanket.

And it only took eight months to complete. Since Addie arrived before my 39 week appointment, there was not a whole lot of time to work on it before my hands were occupied with a newborn.

My knitting time these days is almost exclusively when I am a passenger in a car. I miss the days of long road trips when I could knit half a baby blanket in a few days!

It's a great feeling to have finally finished this one. It's definitely one of my favorites. I used the Basketweave Blanket from Knit Baby Blankets!, which has been my go-to baby blanket pattern book for years. The corner-to-corner blanket is my specialty - no pattern needed anymore!

Lincoln seems to think that all the "blankies" in our house belong to him. He was trying very hard to help me set up the photo shoot.

I already have a new blanket on my needles - but this one's a gift. I'm hoping it doesn't take me another eight months to complete!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead {Summer Bucket List 2013}

I can't believe I've lived in Kansas City my whole life, but it took me over 26 years to visit Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead! This "little" 12-acre gem is designed as a turn-of-the-century family farm and features close to 200 animals, a schoolhouse, a fishing pond, and so much more. We didn't even scratch the surface on our visit - I can't wait to take the kids here as they grow older. As a child, I would have had no shame in wearing a full-scale prairie costume just to take some photos in the schoolhouse!

We went on this adventure a few weeks ago when a lifelong friend of mine was in town for a visit with her family. We brought my mom (hereafter referred to as "Grandma") as well - I knew that I would need extra hands!

We visited the farmstead in the morning hours - it was warm outside but not scathing. Lincoln and Addie rode in the stroller for about the first ten minutes. We stopped to look at chickens and cows...and then Lincoln spotted a "TRACKEY" - aka tractor.

Well, the world just about came to its literal end, so I agreed to let him get out of the stroller and walk over to look at the massive tractor with a "do not climb" sign fastened firmly to it. He was not pleased at my trying to keep him away from it, but eventually we moved on anyway. He flat-out refused to go in the petting zoo with the rest of our group. So instead, I took him over to a tiny little track where kids were riding on these tiny little tractor-bikes.

Um, cutest thing ever?

He really doesn't understand bicycles yet, so I had to push him around the track. There was not a line of people waiting for a tractor when we had our turn, so he was able to go for several rounds.

I will just let you use your imagination as to the fit that was thrown when I had to remove him from the tiny tractor. Let's just say sharing is not something in the grasp of his comprehension yet.

After letting him run off some (more) energy on the huge playground, we met back up with our friends. Lincoln - of course - never quit running. For probably another hour, he ran back and forth on the alphabet stones (calling them "twoooooos!"), and across this little crayon bridge, and in and out of the playhouse. Over and over and over.

Little Miss Addie decided that she had scene enough flowers and animals and promptly crashed on Grandma's shoulder. She took a nice long nap!

Lincoln was bribed to be still for a few photos with snacks.

I love that my mama lives only ten minutes away from me and can come with us on adventures!

My dear friend Holly and her daughter Margo, with me and Adelaide. I've known Holly since we were about Lincoln's age. There's something special about a friend that's literally been there your whole life!

We did eventually learn that Lincoln thought feeding the goats was really fun! He was all about the food - he would take one pellet at a time and come running back for more. When he ran out he would shout "TURN! TURN!" at the dispenser until I put in another quarter to release more food. And, he tried to put the food back in the dispenser several times.

But once we were out of food, he went right back to running. No time to rest for my busy boy!

Deanna Rose is free Mondays-Thursdays and only $2 on the weekends. I know we will be visiting more often! If you're in KC, plan to take your family to the farmstead soon - you will love it!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

DIY Fat Quarter Hanging Clothespin Bag Sewing Tutorial

I decided a couple months ago that I wanted to give cloth diapering a try. If you cloth diaper, you're probably thinking - what's wrong with you that it took 2.5 years to consider this? If you don't, you're probably thinking why mess with what's obviously worked thus far? I've been doing a test-drive on some cloth diapers for several weeks now, and I think I am hooked. That, however, is a post for another day.

While researching cloth, I learned that one way to preserve the life of your diapers (and reduce your overall diapering cost even more) is to avoid using the dryer whenever possible. The sun is magic when it comes to lifting stains, and everything seems fresher when air-dried. So I bought a package of clothesline, strung it up on my deck - we're high-tech around here - and started using it to hang up my clean diapers.

And within about three minutes, I was super annoyed with clothespins.

There is nowhere to put them that is safe from a child's reach, and the last thing I needed was to fish a clothespin spring out of someone's mouth. I needed a solution and I didn't feel like purchasing one and waiting for it to arrive - so I decided to just make one! If you aren't the crafty type, this one looks nice!

Since I haven't sewn much of anything since I made our Christmas stockings, I found it exciting to dig around in my craft room. I didn't have a pattern and wanted to whip up something quickly. I have a little obsession with buying fat quarters because they seem to be available in the cutest fabrics - so I pulled one out of my stash and set to work.

DIY Fat Quarter Hanging Clothespin Bag Sewing Tutorial

Supplies Needed:
-Fat Quarter
-Lining Fabric (14"x21")
-Trim (if desired)
-Clothesline or other cord to use as drawstring
-Sewing Machine

Note: I used 1/2" seams on this project.

1. Unfold fat quarter and press flat. Mine measured at about 18.5"x21.5".

2. Cut fat quarter to approximately 14" x 21". Cut a piece of lining fabric in the same size. Set aside the remaining 4.5" x 21" strip.

3. Fold with right sides together (making the size approximately 14" by 10.5") and stitch the 14" open side and bottom together. Do this with both the fat quarter fabric and lining fabric. Turn right sides out, trim seams, press.

4. With wrong wides together, insert lining into fabric, matching seams. Pin along upper edge, baste.

5. If desired, add trim to one side of 4.5" x 21" strip. This is the top edge of the bag. It will be folded in half, so you want the trim on just the outside. Make sure to pin at least 1/2" from the edge to avoid catching the trim in the seam.

6. Fold under the untrimmed edge of the 4.5" x 21" strip and stitch a very small hem. 

7. Fold the long side of the strip in half, making it approximately 4.5" x 10.5". Stitch edge together, leaving a 1" gap on the trim side (this is where the drawstring will be inserted).

8. With right sides together, match seams and pin strip onto bag. The trimmed edge should be the edge that is pinned. Baste.

9. Unfold strip so that all right sides are facing out. Fold the untrimmed half of the strip down inside the bag, covering the seam. Slip-stitch strip in place.

10. Cut long piece of clothesline. Use safety pin to thread through casing, tie knot, then thread the knot into casing. This should enable you to use the clothesline in something of a drawstring fashion.

I actually made mine slightly different - I did not leave a gap in the side seam of the trim piece. Instead, I left two gaps when slip-stitching and ran the clothesline through both holes. This gives me a great drawstring feature, but I don't love that I can sometimes see the raw edges, and that the bag hangs a little funny since the clothesline runs from the inside of the bag. I'm not sure if any of that makes sense - but all of it to say, if I made another one, it would be in the fashion described in the steps above!

So that's it! This project probably took me about two or three hours to complete - but my time is always divided! If I had been able to just sit down and sew from start to finish, I'm guessing it would have taken an hour, maybe an hour and a half.

Do you use a clothesline? What's your clothespin solution? Let me know if you make a bag of your own!

Wordless Wednesday: Bubbles & Water

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