Archives for October 2013

Costume Creativity

This week we had the privilege of watching our older girls perform their ballet routines that they have been working on in their weekly ballet classes. Since this parent viewing day is so close to Halloween, all of the students were supposed to wear a costume. This posed a bit of a dilemma for us since although costume wearing is a regular occurrence in our house, we have one tall girl who no longer fits into most of the costumes that our fun costume bin contains…

We needed a new costume, and we thought we would think outside of the box a little and use things that we already had in the house to make a bumble bee costume, which it turns out that our daughter loved! What can’t you make with a little duct tape right? Here’s her fun costume:

Homemade bee costume

 

What did we use?

  • The yellow stripes are taped onto her black leotard with yellow duct tape
  • The wings are made from a cereal box that we painted and glittered up, elastics were added for wearing
  • The antennae we made by attaching pipe cleaners onto a headband with yellow pompoms hot glued onto the tops
  • We made the stinger by cutting a toilet paper role and forming it to the correct shape, and then covering it in black hockey tape. We used a black ribbon to tie this onto her back

Simple right? I just love things that are homemade. I hope this inspires you to use a little costume creativity this year!

Thanks for reading,

Karen

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25: 4 & 5

Suppertime Stress – a Solution

Suppertime was getting to me. My two older kids get home shortly after 3pm, and I want to intentionally connect with them each day when they get home. We’ve got commitments and activities happening a few nights a week which means that supper has to be ready at 5pm so that we can all sit down together each night – something that is a priority for us. This meant that I was feeling the stress of wanting to play and connect with my girls and the necessity of having supper ready on time, and not just anything ready for supper; something yummy and nutritious… this was driving me crazy!!! I realized that I needed to come up with a better solution than just frantically preparing supper each night.

A couple of weeks ago I spent some time writing a three week menu plan that involves four nights of slow cooker meals a week (which are used on our busiest nights). So far, this has been AMAZING. My only deadline is getting the food prepped and in the slow cooker before it needs to start cooking, sometime between 9am and 12pm. The afternoons at our house have been stress free and fun! I can just enjoy the kids and rest easy knowing that supper is already taken care of. And, I have been able to try out some new recipes which have turned out really well. We have decided that we love our slow cooker. I have decided that I never want to look in the cupboard at 4pm again trying to decide what to make… because although I was fairly consistent with making a menu each week, I wasn’t consistent enough. The problem was that each week I went through the work of making a menu again and again. Why was I doing this unnecessary work????

Slow cooker in action!

Does this all sound too simple? Here are the main things that have eliminated suppertime stress for me:

1. I have a menu for every day of the week, that I never have to change or come up with again, unless I want to
2. I now know exactly what groceries I’m going to need for each meal, making grocery shopping much easier and exact
3. I can get all my food prep done in the morning, when I have more time to do so
4. I can get all the supper prep dishes done early in the day, eliminating piles of dishes after supper
5. I even have time to make a salad or add a steamed vegetable to the meal, if I want to, and if time allows
6. I have more time with the kids, and while I’m enjoying them I am not feeling torn about what I need to be doing!

Did you know that “families that share mealtimes at least four times a week see improved communication and healthier eating habits?” And interestingly enough, “children of families who regularly have dinner together also develop a protection factor against all important risk behaviors (focusonthefamily.com).” Sitting down for a meal together as a family has been a priority for us since we’ve been married, but knowing these things solidifies our commitment to do so.

What do you do to make the time before supper stress free? Has anyone tried making meals in advance for the month and freezing them?

Thanks for reading,

Karen

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25: 4 & 5

Yard Sale Find + Sweet Potato = Custom Curtains

Last summer I found some great curtain panels at a yard sale – nice and thick, neutral colour, great price. I had been wanting to update the curtains in our dining room, but not wanting to spend much money doing it. I knew when I found these panels that I would be able to do something creative to make them fun and unique. I got to work looking up how to paint designs on fabric with textile paint, as well as thinking about what kind of pattern I wanted to use.

I settled on a simple pattern that I repeated all across the panels with a design that I cut into a sweet potato – one potato for the main orange design, and a second potato for the small white diamonds. For the paint I used acrylic craft paint mixed with a textile medium by Martha Stewart that I picked up at Michael’s. The textile medium makes the paint permanent and washable, perfect for this use.

Materials for the curtains

I spread the panel out on top of an old drop cloth on the living room floor, and got to work stamping this bold graphic pattern onto the first panel. 4 Hours later I was done the main orange pattern…. did I mention that I did this on my hands and knees? And that I ran out of orange paint with only one panel done? I called it a night at this point, happy with how the first one was turning out, but not sure how I was going to get more matching orange paint to use on the  second panel when I didn’t have the time to drive an hour back to Michael’s before my sweet potato dried up….

The next day I decided I would just have to try and find the best colour match that I could at the local store that carried a small selection of craft paint. It wasn’t a perfect match, but after an hour of mixing colours I got it pretty close. A few hours later I was done the main pattern on the second panel.

Orange pattern done

Some friends have asked how I mapped out where I put each stamp, and I honestly didn’t do much since I wanted it to have more of a relaxed look and not be too rigid. I simply did one line all across the top, and then a line down the left side, and then just eyeballed the rest of them trying to get them fairly straight.

A couple of more late nights after the kids were in bed, and the panels were done! I will never do this again. Maybe a section of curtain, or a stripe… This took way longer than I had imagined it, but now that the curtains are done, I do love them.

Completed curtains

Amazing what you can do with a yard sale find, a sweet potato, and a little imagination!

Rest for the Weary

Today was a much needed day of rest. For a few days, my husband and I are in Southern Nevada surrounded by the Mojave Desert. The quiet is remarkable and a balm to my soul. I was feeling the stress of life and it was affecting me physically. As much as I tried to give this up to the Lord, I think what I needed was rest.

Today I had a nap. This was glorious, and felt amazing. Even inspiring. God created us to work, and then to rest. We have been on the go for too many weekends in a row and this time away is just what I needed. Today I was feeling tired, and with no housework to do, no kids to engage, no work to do, I felt the freedom to just rest.

Earlier in the day a new friend and I went on a long walk with a gorgeous mountain view. Our walk was wonderful – it was filled with the aromatic smell of the rosemary shrubs lining the sidewalk, small lizards scuttling from bush to bush, beautiful birds flying about, and dry desert air.

Hiking the beautiful land beckons and plans are being made to explore the Mojave Desert surrounding us. For me there is nothing that inspires more than being in the quiet and beauty of God’s creation. It’s calming to my soul. It’s where I feel so connected to my Creator.

May you also find rest from the noise and busyness of life. May you rest in the One who created the heavens and the earth.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11: 28-30.

Thanks for reading,

Karen

the view of the mountains

The gorgeous view from our backyard.

 

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25: 4 & 5