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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Owl Rice Bag

Guess who showed up on my door step? 

This guy! 
Isn't he just the cutest? 
He's part of a family... 

I seriously love them all.

Amanda of Eleven19 makes them and I was the lucky winner to a giveaway she offered. 
She describes these 9 inch tall hot/ cold compress owls best, so head on over to her etsy shop and check 'em out. Now I've just got to teach my 18 month old that owls say, "hoo- hoo" and not "kaa- kaa" like the neighborhood crows do...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Relaxing Eye Masks

These masks are filled with dry lentils and dried lavender flowers! The comfortable pressure across the eyes combined with the beautifully relaxing aroma of lavender makes them a perfect accessory when catching up on some beauty sleep! They can be warmed in the microwave, or chilled in the refrigerator to obtain a desired comfort. I had fun making these eye masks in different varieties, some reversible and some with ribbon rather than fabric ties- even one with an elastic band!  I'm going to toss one in my over night bag to take to the hospital for that first night, or day when I'm trying to catch a nap, following labor and delivery- probably the lace one; it's my favorite!

Where did I get the idea for these eye masks? Well...

According to all the Joanns sale flyers in my mail box, September is national sewing month. 
Happy Sewing Month Everybody! 
According to Craft Buds, September is Craft Book month. 
Happy Crafting via Craft Book Everybody!

In honor of the fabulously dubbed crafting and sewing month: September, 
I pulled out an excellent book gifted to me by my grandmother:

Not only does this learn to sew book start out slow, walking the reader through understanding fabric, sewing supplies, and sewing machines, it offers step by step pictured tutorials to create a variety of sewing projects! Napkins, totes, belts, pillows, skirts, blouses... It even includes a CD with fun things like pdf patterns and applique designs!
**Edit added 9/30: Upon further exploration, I realize that most of the patterns on the CD appear smudged and jumbled. If you buy this book, save the receipt because you can't make any of the projects without the patterns. Boo. 

I flipped through the pages and came across instructions for a relaxing eye mask. The lesson boasts skill building in stitching curves, filling and stuffing, and using the slip stitch. Ok, so I could use a little practice with the slip stitch... but mostly, I was drawn to this project because I knew it wouldn't take very long and I'd love the result!
I'm also en route to link up this post at the Craft Buds Craft Book Project Link Up! I just think it's fun to participate and admire other crafters handiwork, but I know there are cool prizes up for grabs too. So if you've created something from a craft book, head on over before it's too late so you can play along too!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Breezy Maxi Skirt with Side Stripe

From bedsheets to clothing...

Remember the long skirt I wore in my maternity photo shoot? Here's the scoop and a lil' tutorial too.

My absolute favorite thing to purchase from a thrift store is a bed sheet. With a good washing it is more than ready to use in a sewing project, and I always buy the whole sheet for less than I could have found even a yard of the same material at a fabric store. This particular skirt was made out of two bedsheets, both were queen sized fitted sheets (though yes, I did have a lot of sheet left over) and I paired them with a blue blouse that I also purchased from the thrift store while I was there!

When I set out to make another outfit for myself, I envisioned something feminine; something flattering for my rounding pregnant body (and lets be honest, it isn't just my stomach that's rounding out!) A maxi skirt came to mind, but I wanted to achieve more flow and airiness than can be had with a heavier knit fabric. I am so glad that I had picked up this floral bed sheet a while back! I am so happy with the result.

All you need is two complimentary fabric pieces, or bed sheets and a length of 1" elastic. Here is how I made it (p.s. It was super easy!):

Begin by taking your measurements. 
Measure around your middle where you plan on wearing your skirt. Add 20 inches to this measurement. I measured 32" + 20" = 52"
Measure how long you want your skirt to be. I had my husband help me; he measured from where I took my "waist" measurement above, all the way to the floor over my belly in the front. Add 1 inch for a hem and 2 inches for an elastic casing. I measured 47" + 1 + 2 = 50"

Cut out your fabric pieces.
Cut out a rectangle from your fabric according to your measurements. I cut mine 52" x 50"

Now, take your second fabric and cut it out in the shape of a triangle (except the top is flat doesn't meet at a point) where the top is 10 inches wide, and the bottom is 18 inches wide, and the length is the same as your skirt (50" for me.)

Get ta sewing!
Pin the triangle piece to that of your rectangle piece and sew up both seams, right sides together.

With skirt inside out, create an elastic casing at the top. This is very simple to do, if you're not sure how to do it- there are lots of simple tutorials out there. Just remember to leave an opening to feed your elastic through! Once you've made your casing, insert elastic and finish it off.

Hem the bottom of your skirt. I chose to use a narrower hem in the front of my skirt than for the rest of my skirt so that my baby bump wouldn't make my skirt appear too much shorter in the front.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Joyful Finds: Choir sings a sweet reminder

Brought to you every Monday;
Beginning the Week with a Little Happiness
I had so hoped to attend the Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert here in town last Friday with a friend.  
As it was though, my pregnancy complications rendered the need to stay in that evening.
Picture courtesy of Guide Travels.com
 I want to share my favorite hymn today, More Holiness Give Me
as sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. 
Simply click the song title to view the youtube video of their performance.

How fitting the lyrics for a time like now. My pregnancy struggles often leave me discouraged, self pitying, and short tempered. I often feel as if this trial has been placed before me to help me grow and learn a valuable lesson, but unfortunately I'm not rising to the challenge. How much better would I be if I remembered these lyrics always, especially in seeking, "more patience in suffering," and, "more sense of His care... More gratitude," and, "more trust in the Lord."

More Holiness Give Me song lyrics:
Text and music by Philip Paul Bliss- 1838- 1876

More holiness give me, more strivings within.
More patience in suffering, more sorrow for sin.
More faith in my Savior, more sense of His care.
More joy in His service, more purpose in prayer.

More gratitude give me, more trust in the Lord.
More zeal for His glory, more hope in His Word.
More tears for His sorrows, more pain at His grief.
More meekness in trial, more praise for relief.

More purity give me, more strength to o'ercome,
More freedom from earth-stains, more longings for home.
More fit for the kingdom, more useful I'd be,
More bless├Ęd and holy, more, Savior, like Thee

Mormon Tabernacle Choir Brief History:

"Singing has been an important part of the Mormon religion ever since Brigham Young led his followers west in wagon trains, making sure that musicians were along to keep the pioneers’ morale high and their eyes on God.

The first Mormon choir sang in what is now Salt Lake City soon after Young and his ragged following arrived in 1847. Twenty years later, the now famous domed Mormon Tabernacle was inaugurated on the very same spot.

The acoustically perfect 6,500-seat structure is regularly filled with members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and with visitors, many of whom have become familiar with the 360-member choir and its 11,623-pipe organ through recordings or its weekly radio show. The peripatetic, [traveling,] choir fills theaters and opera houses around the globe, and while they sound nothing less than professional, they’re in fact a strictly volunteer organization... (source.)"

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Lets Blog Hop! Link 'em up!

Welcome to: I love my online friends 'GFC' blog hop!
Lets get ta hopping people!
I am so excited to meet you!

If this is your first time visiting Sewing Our Life Together, welcome! 
I'm Jessica! A wife and a mommy; we're expecting our second kiddo on Thanksgiving. 

This blog is a place to celebrate family and creativity. Feel free to browse the tabs above for something you may enjoy! Every Monday I post about something that inspires me in a series I've entitled Joyful Finds. Throughout the rest of the week, I post the occasional family update, and always something crafty and typically sewing related. I LOVE sewing. 

Thanks for coming by. Please follow along via Google Friend Connect on my right side bar, and if you're interested, please stop on by to "like" my facebook page and follow my pin boards.

I'm going to turn this post over to Tami (the marvelous host that she is.) Here is what she has to say about the blog hop: 
Welcome to the I Love My Online Friends 'GFC' Hop. Last week we had 156 link ups. This week we are going for 180! For more info on the hop and guest hosting, please read HERE. 

Well, are you ready? Let's go hopping! 


1. Please follow your host AND the fab five on Google Friend Connect (GFC). 
  Tami @ The Things We Find Inside
  Rebecca @ Let Them Eat Cake
  Tawny @ Beauty by T
  Sylvia @ Sweet Pea Sylvie  
  Jessica @ Sewing Our Life Together
  Julie @ The Funny Thing Of It Is

2. Link up your homepage and start hopping around. Remember, this is a blog hop, you've gotta do some hopping in order for it to truly be worth your time. When you get a new follower it's always nice to return the favour. Visit their blogs, leave them a comment and/or return the follow.  

3. You are not required to, but it would be great if you could tweet about the hop and/or grab the button and share it on your blog. The more people that see this hop, the more blogs for us to visit and the more followers we gain.
Thanks and Happy Hopping!  
The Things We Find Inside

Childrens Hospitals need our help

I received an e-mail from fellow blogger Marie from Listening Rather than Speaking expressing her desire to raise money for a local childrens hospital. She made a small post about her efforts which can be found [here].

Please keep in mind that I don't know Marie personally, nor am I familiar with her blog. Through e-mail coorespondence, this is what I have learned:
  • Marie was born very blue complected and with two holes in her heart, she wasn't expected to survive.
  • She underwent open heart surgery as a little baby and made frequent visits to her childrens hospital for the next six years. 
  • Marie is very passionate about helping children be healthy and playful and free to run around being silly; not sitting in hospital beds! 
  • Right now, her goal is to raise $5,000 dollars but it'd be a dream to far exceed this goal! 
  • You can find out how to help by visiting her blog post (linked above) she is planning on donating 40% of all proceeds.
One of my favorite things about blogging is the opportunity it presents itself to reach out to so many individuals. I think that what Marie is doing is very sweet, especially heading in to the holidays and I wanted to do my small part in spreading the word. I hope that you all take a moment to hold the children in your life close to you and reflect on the miracle each healthy, little life is!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Baby steroids?!

This morning I spoke to my doctor as my contractions were becoming increasingly uncomfortable and frequent so he prescribed nifedipine to make them stop. We're just hopeful that my already low blood pressure won't drop too drastically while taking it. Just in case I do need to stop using the medicine though and I end up going into pre term labor, I was also asked to come in for the first of two shots of betamethosone (a corticosteroid.)

Betamethosone causes, "an immature fetus's lungs to produce a compound called surfactant. A full-term baby's lungs naturally produce surfactant, which lubricates the lining of the air sacs within the lungs. This allows the inner surfaces of the air sacs to slide against one another without sticking during breathing. Premature infants whose lungs have begun producing surfactant are more able to breathe on their own, or with less respiratory treatment, after birth" (webmd.com). Basically, this shot will "benefit a premature newborn by lowering the risk of:
  • Breathing problems (respiratory distress syndrome) after birth.
  • Bleeding in the brain (intraventricular hemorrhage).
  • Intestinal infection (necrotizing enterocolitis).
  • Death" (webmd.com).
Even though pharmaceuticals make me crazy nervous- anything I can do to help this little guy out, I'll be glad to do it. And hey, maybe my son will grow up to be an incredible athlete with strong lungs because he received little baby steroids while in the womb! It is amazing what can be done for little babies these days! Anyway, it's back to the hospital tomorrow morning for the second shot. I'm eager to make this my quickest hospital visit this pregnancy!

31 weeks- not yet little guy!

Just a quick blurb to say that my pregnancy drama continues! Of course it does. All of these random trips to the hospital and/ or doctors office are really getting tedious! We had quite the scare yesterday as I started gushing blood. But, my awesome doctor got me right in and while they don't have a definite cause for all that blood, (could have been a bursting blood vessel or my bodys way of saying hey stupid carrying that huge basket of laundry across the apartment complex for washing is not included in taking it easy as previously ordered,) he was able to rule out the terrible causes it may have been. Except for one small questionable spot, my placenta showed up fine on the ultrasound. Yep- ultrasound! Not going to complain about getting to see baby again! Little boy is healthy and well and probably oblivious to my own discomfort. He was completely bent in half, playing with his little toes right by his face!
Here is SJ's little face profile with his foot right up there by his head!
Next, I was hooked up to the stress test for a half hour to monitor both babys heart, and my own contractions which- at 31 weeks- I really shouldn't be having. What a surprise to all of us when the monitor showed big, consistent, spiking contractions! Both the nurse and the doc said that judging by the look of them, I should be incredibly uncomfortable. I was oblivious to them. This then begs the question, was my labor with my daughter really as fast as I thought, or am I just lucky enough to not notice labor contractions until I hit transition phase. Anyway, while these contractions have been dubbed pre- term contractions but not necessarily pre- term labor I need to be monitored much more closely because with me not noticing them, I may not be able to alert the doctor in time if I do go in to labor early. I'm so miserable being pregnant that it's hard to see the problem in this, but doctor assures me that it's in everyones best interest to prevent a little preemie from happening if at all possible. Hopefully the worst is over! If contractions persist (and they have- every five minutes all through the night) I will probably be put on a prescription to stop them (eye roll). If the bleeding, which has just about stopped by now, happens again I am to go straight to the hospital where I will not be allowed to leave until I can go 48 hours without bleeding; worst case scenario I will have to spend the remainder of my pregnancy in there! Eeeek. No thanks! Six weeks... just gotta make it six more weeks... and then he'll be ready enough to join the world in a safe and healthy manner!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

18 Months!

18 months old and I...
Baby signs DVDs, Leap Frog Letter Factory, and musicals; Mama Mia is the favorite!
 Baby dolls and strollers, drinking juice and eating black olives, giving kisses, playing at the park, jumping, brushing her teeth and pouring water between cups.
So many words! This past month her vocabulary has really taken off. I think she picks up a new word, or two, every single day! She's learning opposites, can count to three and is starting to form small sentences: "not right now," "here you go." She is always making us laugh; for some reason she has started calling my husband mom and myself Jess. Sometimes she gets confused and she uses the words water and walk interchangeably. Her favorite words get used a whole lot; sometimes just to start a conversation: shower, baby and juice
We love to read books!
Socks, shoes, coat, hat, diaper, ball, flower, horse, tree, more, please, thank you, baby, help, swing, all-done, ball, comb, car, milk and book.
will show you my:
nariz, oreja, ojos, mano, dedos, zapatos and tummy!
Everything outside! The park is fun, walks are great, but ponds and puddles are the best!

7:30 to 8... usually. Now in a toddler bed!
Once a day. (About 12 to 2... 3:00 if we're lucky!)
Operate the tv and dvd player, plays peek a boo, sings in the car.
sizes up:
66 percentile for weight and 95 percentile for height.
 "I know I'm not suppossed to be on the table, but here- 
give me a hug and we'll both feel better!"
"How about if I just sit down then and put some lotion on?"



Monday, September 17, 2012

Joyful finds: Time Our for Women!

Brought to you every Monday;
Beginning the Week with a Little Happiness

I have an incredible friend. Janna blogs at A Pocket Full of Elephants, but I didn't meet her through blogging. I was fortunate enough to live behind her for a time and we went to church together before I moved out of state. Our friendship has grown over the past couple of years and next to my husband, she's the person I most depend on most in my life. She was the first to be there when my mom passed away- even took charge of several funeral arrangements because I sure needed help! She's the lady I call with questions even before I call the doctor! I run my sewing ideas by her, and always shoot her an e-mail when I have a funny story to share. Janna is soon to be a mommy of four kids age 3 and under, but some how she manages this crazy life with so much grace! I look up to Janna and so I've asked her to share a little something on my blog today for the joyful finds post. Janna went to Time Out for Women over the weekend and here is a little bit of wonderful inspiration passed on from her to us! Please join us in learning about how to discover and honor our most authentic selves in 3 simple steps! 

Have you ever taken a time out for you before?   So many of us (new moms especially) feel guilty when we "get away" from our kids and husbands for some "me time".  But, have you realized how you always seem to come back from your time out a much better person (a better mom and a better wife too) ?  Well, I've been needing a time out for a long time.  I'm a mother of a toddler and a 3 year old and I'm ubber pregnant with twin boys.  My husband works full-time, goes to school part-time, and has a very active calling in our church that takes him away from the house at least one to two times a week.  Don't you think I deserved a little "me time"  too?  So, this weekend I took my time out at Time Out For Women.  There were some amazing talks and fabulous musical performances!  I could go on and on about some of the great "take-aways" I received at the event, but I picked my absolute favorite. 

Julie De Azevedo Hanks is a social worker, therapist, mother of four, and musical artist (with 10 cds out), and she's now writing a book about women's emotional self-care.  WOW, right?  I'd love to know how she does it ALL!  Anyhow, her talk was about Your Most Authentic Self.  Your Most Authentic Self = Heavenly Father's Will + Your Will, Unique talents, and Experiences.  I needed this talk, as I know many women do.  Let me start by asking you a question:  Who are you?  What are your interests, hobbies, and unique talents?  When is the last time you did them?  If you don't know the answer to these questions, start by searching what made you truly happy as a child.  Was it dancing?  Was it playing teacher with your siblings?  Was it finger painting or just spending time with your family?  Honestly, I'm still thinking on this.  So don't feel bad if you have to as well.

According to Julie there are three basic steps to honoring and discovering your most authentic self:

Step One:  Honor Your Emotions 
Myth:  I should be happy all the time.
Truth: Having feelings are NORMAL and essential.   There are four basic emotions: happy, mad, sad, and scared.
-54% of 3,000 women that Julie polled said that they found it hard to express "mad" and most said they felt guilty that they weren't happy all the time. Mad is just information, it's what you do with it that matters.  And even Christ felt all the emotions (including mad) so, it's more than okay that we do, right?
-Emotions are energy in motion, it's what propels us to do certain things....or to react.
-Having a full range of emotions will help you develop your most authentic self.  Emotions give us clues to who we are.  What makes us happy?  What makes us sad?  What makes us mad?  What scares us?  Instead of trying to "feel better" or get rid of emotions (like going shopping to feel happy...Julie said this was her favorite way to get rid of emotion), search them out.  Why am I feeling this way?  Get better at feeling and allow yourself to move to where Heavenly Father wants you to go.

Step Two:  Invest in Your Own Growth
Myth: Taking good care of myself is selfish.
Truth: Taking good care of myself is KEY to giving more to others and the Lord.  You can't give anything when there is nothing to give.
-Definition of Selfish: Doing what's in your best interest withOUT the regard for others.
-If you take care of yourself with regard for others, it is not selfish. 
-51% of 3,000 women polled said they don't have time to take care of themselves.  (Ummm, confession: I would be one of those women)
-Question:  If you don't take care of yourself, who does?  Our husbands and friends can help, but honestly, there are certain things only you can do for yourself.
-God wants us to take care of ourselfs.  Emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, and physically.
-So many people give up their authentic selves or what gives them joy.  Don't give up your joy, this is who you are! 

Step Three:  Celebrate the Good In You
Myth:  Acknowldeging my strengths is prideful.
Truth:  Acknowledging and owning my God-given strengths and gifts is a sign of humility.
-Turn your To Do List at the end of the day into a "TA DA List".  Write down what you accomplished.  We don't do this enough.  (Okay, so I didn't get my house clean, but I did spend time playing Barbie's with my two girls and we all laughed together lots today)
-Realize that you are good, focus on what your talents are and develop them so you can share it with others...even if you don't share it, if it makes you happy you can share your happiness with others.

Amazing stuff, huh?  I thought so.  I'm still pondering on all I learned from this weekend.  But I can tell you that before I went to T.O.F.W, I was stressed and definetly needed some time to figure things out....like wrapping my head around doubling the number of kids we are going to have, 2 to 4!  Wowzers!  When I came home, I felt happy and peaceful...full of love for my beautiful girls and wonderful husband.  Are we perfect?  No.  Is that okay?  Absolutely.  Do I want to show my kids who I am and let them know it's important to find out who they are?  YES!  We need to teach our children that it's important to be our most authentic self.

Thank you so much Janna for sharing this with us today! 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Link Party for a Marvelous Monday!

Lets party people! Get ready to link up what you've been creating lately! 

If this is your first time visiting Sewing Our Life Together, welcome! 
I'm Jessica! A wife and a mommy; we're expecting our second kiddo on Thanksgiving. 

This blog is a place to celebrate food, family and creativity. Feel free to browse the tabs above for something you may enjoy! Every Monday I post about something that inspires me in a series I've entitled Joyful Finds. Throughout the rest of the week, I post the occasional recipe or family update, and always something crafty and typically sewing related.I LOVE sewing. 

Thanks for coming by. Please follow along via Google Friend Connect on my right side bar, and if you're interested, please stop on by to "like" my facebook page and follow my pin boards.

And now, I'm going to turn this post over to Julie (the marvelous host that she is.) Here is what she has to say about todays link party:

Good evening, everyone! Welcome to Marvelous Mondays week 11! I hope you all have had a great weekend. This week's co-hosts are:

Julie from This Gal Cooks
Nichi from The Mandatory Mooch
Jessica from My Beautiful Life
* Jessica from Sewing our Life Together *

Be sure to stop by these wonderful blogs and say hello! We cannot wait to see what you have to share this week! Also, if you missed last week's features, be sure to check them out here.
Also, if you are interested in co-hosting during the month of September, please contact me (thisgalcooks@gmail.com) and let me know when you would like to co-host.)

1. A follow of your hosts via Google Friend Connect, Twitter, Blog Lovin, Facebook or RSS Feed is greatly appreciated. 
2  Check out your fellow bloggers' projects. Leave them some wonderful comments to let them know that you stopped by.
3. Link up your recipes, crafts or DIY projects. No giveaways or shops, please.
4. Grab a button. It's not mandatory but it helps get the word out about the party.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Mug Swappin' and Hot Chocolate Recipes

The fine ladies of Yellow Umbrella and Pointing Up teamed up to plan, organize,
and execute a fabulous coffee mug swap between participating bloggers.
This proved to be a fabulous way to encourage socialization in blogland.

I'd never been a part of a blog swap before, but in a way it reminded me of the "secret sister" activities we used to do as girls growing up in church! Or- even the "secret Santa" scheme that can happen at Christmas time, you know when you get to observe someone from afar and then shop for them to buy the perfect, personalized gift without them knowing?! I certainly put a lot of thought into the mug I mailed off to a fellow blogger, the hilarious and devoted Heather of Lawless Life. And... (drum roll)... Here is the mug and hot chocolate I received in a box with little trinkets and goodies - all the way from Georgia!
Thank you so much Anissa! 
Now I can't be too sure, but I think my Anissa is the Anissa from the Chasing Hailey Blog.
Monday, we're all going to be linking up our Coffee Mug Swap mugs over on Yellow Umbrella to showcase our new mug and socialize over the new friendships made. So excited!
I myself am not a coffee drinker though I sure did enjoy the hot chocolate Anissa sent inside the mug! I've also been discovering many other wonderful things to enjoy within a mug. My recent obsession: 
Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Mug!
Recipe here.
I made this the first night (yes, it worked wonderfully with my gluten free flour blend) and grabbed two spoons thinking it'd be a lovely treat to share all cuddled up cozy next to hubby- cute thought huh? In reality I was elbows out guarding the cup; speed eating the gooey goodness because apparently a deep dish cookie is far too good to be shared! 
 Of course, when I feel like a sweet hot beverage without throwing out any and all health goals, I sip this: 
(And, it really is delicious too!)
8 oz milk, heated
1 spoonful coacoa powder
Sweeten with honey
I haven't tried these yet, but here a few hot beverages found via pinterest that I cannot wait to sample!
Hot Chocolate Hazelnut
Raspberry Truffle Hot Chocolate
Hot Vanilla
Pumpkin Spice White Hot Chocolate

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Fathers Art

My incredibly talented husband made his artistic contribution to the baby nursery!
That fabric scrap semi- truck is jaw- dropping- amazing isn't it? He didn't use a stencil, he didn't sketch out his idea onto fabric first, nope- he just picked up my rotary cutter and set to work cutting a little like this and a little like that...
To make attaching it to the wall easier, we ironed interfacing to the back of his design. This held the bulk of the truck together all in one piece. Then, he "painted" his creation onto the wall using the incredible "goo" (home made wall paste) and applied the little decorative details on top. He seriously impresses me.

We were going through some boxes the other day and came across these car and truck drawings that he had made in high school! Aren't they cool?? I think it's awesome that he still has them and aren't they perfect for little mans nursery?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Joyful Finds Series: Perspective

[Joyful Finds Series]
Brought to you every Monday;
Beginning the Week with a Little Happiness

We're more than a jar of rice...

"As we gain a vision of ourselves as the Savior sees us and as we act on that vision, our lives will be blessed in unexpected ways." 
-O. Vincent Haleck  
("Having the Vision to Do," Ensign, May 2012, 101.) 

We are special! 
We are more than we may first appear. 
We are a...
class ring- smart and with friends
pendant- a family member
jewelery- beautiful and unique
money- valuable
We are so much more!
We are special, and our Lord and Savior knows that we are special! How happy and confident we can be if we go forward in life with this knowledge! 
There are so many jars of rice...  There is something special in everyone, and in every situation. Don't let your wonderfulness go unrealized this week; don't let your blessings go unnoticed! 
Have a wonderful week!

*Object lesson inspired by LDS Living.com- FHE: Perspective


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Toddler Fun and Expanding Tri-Lingual Vocab

Hubby's next college semester begins on Monday- fun's over folks. I'll see him again when it's about time to stuff the turkey and trim the tree... What am I going to do all day long with a high energy toddler who just wants to learn and explore and move about constantly? Especially when the weather turns too cold for much outdoor play? Well... I have a plan. We're going back to school too! School in the comfort of our own home, and with sort of a pre- preschool spirit. I've been getting prepared this weekend and I am so excited!
I researched a little on where my daughter should be in her growth and development and brainstormed what I thought our goals should be based on what she enjoys, and what she is picking up on lately. I knew I wanted to include a spiritual aspect as it is important to me that my children know God loves them. And I knew I wanted to encourage her vocabulary as she is really starting to communicate efficiently. We speak English (obviously) in our home, Hubby speaks Spanish fluently, and I am fascinated by sign language- so I thought, heck, lets include them all! Our daughter has picked up on a few already- she knows most body parts in Spanish and many commands in ASL. Among other things, she's always signing socks and shoes when she wants to go outside, and she signs more, please, and thank you as appropriate at snack time. So, I know she can handle it! Next, I compiled a "Fun and Learning" notebook, a color box, and a weekly learning chart to stick on the fridge.
This "learning chart" is simply a piece of paper that I wrote our learning categories on:
Once slipped into a plastic page protector, it became a dry erase chart!
I made little plastic page protector pockets to slide ASL images into and used velcro to attach them to the chart.
I have no intention of forcing my wiggly 18 month old to sit through a formal lesson. I just hope that this chart is a friendly reminder each time I see it of things to reenforce through out the week. Maybe I will point out the letter A when we see it while reading a book, sing the weeks hymn as I lay her down to nap, repeat the word of the week three times (once in English, once in Spanish, and once with its ASL sign) each time it comes up in conversation... 
This weeks color happens to be red. So far, colors are proving to be a very difficult concept for my daughter, so to help her learn red I collected red toys and red household items to put in their very own toy box. 
During the day, I'll try to emphasize red/ rojo when we play with these toys. And, maybe when it is time to clean up, she will be able to help me sort the red items from the rest and place them here in their special box.

This "Fun and Learning" binder is more for me than it is for her. It's a resource tool and also a place to record what we've learned as weeks go by. 
 It begins with our 18 month to 24 month goals, which are personal to our family. But, after much inner debate about receiving reader judgements, I've decided to share them:
1. Nurture spirituality
·                 Become familiar with hymns and primary songs
·                 Introduce scripture reading and regarding the scriptures as very special
·                Become familiar with pictures of the temple, Jesus and President Monson
2. Let her grow up
·                Introduce the idea of using a toilet
·                Transition to a toddler bed
3. Let her be little
·              Activities she enjoys: Stacking, puzzles, knobs and drawers
4. Learning
·                Numbers and Letters
·                Increase understanding of and speaking vocabulary in English, Spanish, and ASL
    - Body parts
    - Animals
    - Clothing
    - Food
    - Colors

Next up in my binder are the resources I used to figure out what the average 18 to 24 month old should be accomplishing. I really recommend the Medline Plus website as I found it incredibly informative, not only for their article on general child development through the years, but also for their specific pages regarding both 18 months and 24 months.   

Then the fun begins! The remaining pages are colorful and will be used to record what we learn as the weeks go by. In the future, I hope to add to my binder pages I could call, "Kids Crafts" or "Recipes for play dough- silly puddy- or science projects!"
 We've dabbled in using Spanish words (palabras en espanol) and ASL signs for a few months now, so I was excited to already get to write a few palabras down in the binder, and to fill the attached envelope on the ASL page with a handful of pictured signs we already use each day!

Well, like I said, I'm sure excited about this project. Nothing like a little bit of focus and organization to lead the way through my first time growing up an 18+ month old! 

I will be linking this post up to a few mommy support link parties this week. Will let you know which ones as they happen, because of course, I can't remember details like that off the top of my head!

In the mean time, I just linked up at Flamingo Toes!
Also linked to: the girl creative,
the dedicated house