Monday, July 30, 2012

Yellowstone Vacation was Great!

12 days, 3366 miles through 7 states, with 3 kids 5 and under!  Most people called us crazy, but we did it anyway.  We had an amazing time!  Of course, we had tantrums and melt downs, but mostly all three kids were good.  Here are a few of the 731 pictures we took!  Above is Caleb riding a horse in South Dakota, I couldn't believe he wanted to, I was so proud of him (it's a miniature horse though!).

Rebekah in the Badlands.  We were there in the evening, which made for a great picture.

Mount Rushmore in the evening.

A picnic on a huge rock at Sylvan Lake in the Black Hills, South Dakota.

Devil's Tower in Wyoming, the kids wouldn't pose for me.

Caleb and the mud volcano in Yellowstone.  

All 5 of us looking at the camera, even if we're not all happy...  The waterfall and canyon in the background was my favorite spot in Yellowstone!

Old Faithful did not disappoint.  We met some friends from our church here too, they were also on vacation.

We did a lot of hiking, which included stairs!  The kids loved following all the trails. 

Yellowstone is full of hot springs and geysers.  The hot water is perfect for different colored bacteria to grow in.  Kinda gross, but cool looking.  Kevin's favorite part of Yellowstone was the hot springs and geysers.  

Another view of my favorite canyon, beautiful!

We climbed down 328 steps to get this close to the waterfall.  Amazing, but then we had to climb back up!

This is Joshua at the waterfall!  He's asleep!

We stopped at Toadstool Park in Nebraska too, it was an out of the way place in the middle of nowhere, but neat.  

Rebekah thought she was so big getting to climb on all the rocks. 

That's our trip in a quick glance.  I'll do a separate post about how the kids stayed sane in the car later, so watch for it.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Jean Skirt!

I finished this jean skirt for myself yesterday.  (I had to take the picture myself too, which is why it's a little wonky...)  I found the jeans at Goodwill for $7.  Actually, it was a pair of capris, so that's why the fabric in the middle is a different color.  It's just leftover jean scraps.  You can make your own using my Jean Skirt Tutorial

Friday, July 20, 2012

Getting Ready for My Father's World 1st Grade

I have been busy getting ready for 1st grade!  I am using My Father's World again this year.  (Click on homeschool links above to read all about our Kindergarten year).  I love this curriculum and plan on sticking with them all the way through, unless it stops working for us, of course.  The best thing about it, is that it weaves the bible into every subject.  Caleb will even be using a Bible Reader to practice reading, and will be copying a new psalm every week to practice handwriting.  I chose to use Rod and Staff Preschool with Rebekah this year, and then she will redo MFWK next year. 

The picture above?  It's a math activity for 1st grade.  The teachers manual recommended using a square of fabric, 8 x 8.  Of course, I didn't want it to fray, so I sewed two squares together and top stitched them.  Sewing and homeschooling combined, perfect!  This is a math game to help him understand addition better.

We're planning on starting our year in August, so stay tuned for more about our homeschool!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lengthened Little Girl Skirt

Another up-cycled skirt for Rebekah!  The picture below is the original skirt, which was just a little too short.  I had some khaki corduroy scraps left over from a skirt I made myself, so I cut them up to make strips to add a few inches.  It's hard to see, but on the original, there is some brown lace on the bottom.  I used my seam ripper to take that off the original, and then sewed it back on the bottom of the new addition.

She liked her skirt, although she picked a red shirt with a pink heart on it... not quite matching, but I let her go to the library with it on!  Some fights just aren't worth picking!

She wouldn't cooperate for a good picture, but Joshua did!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Corduroy Pants to Skirt with Ruffle

This is one of the most adorable skirts I've ever made for Rebekah!  My sister-in-law gave me some pants that her daughter outgrew, green corduroy with horses all over.  The knees were worn, so I just cut them off and turned it into a skirt!  (See this tutorial)  Since I cut it above the knee, I thought it would be a little too short, so I added a brown ruffle, which adds about 2 inches.  The perfect skirt to wear on our wild west vacation!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Strawberry Muffins - Dairy Free

Rebekah and I made strawberry muffins today.  Rebekah is allergic to dairy, so we made these dairy free.  I adapted a recipe I found on allrecipes.  They were delicious!  (I used frozen that we picked.)

Strawberry Muffins
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup soy or almond milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup chopped strawberry (mine were frozen)
1/2 tsp vanilla (maybe more, I spilled a little...)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Oil a 12 cup muffin tin.
2.  Mix all dry ingredients and set aside.
3.  Combine all wet ingredients, beat lightly.
4.  Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix.
5.  Fold in strawberries.
6.  Fill muffin tin with batter.
7.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until done.
8.  Let cool and enjoy!

Rebekah wanted to take a picture of her muffin too, so here it is:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

New Swimming Skirt for Rebekah

Rebekah's swimming outfit needed an update!  You can see the original here (doesn't she look little!), and my outfit here.  I bought a swimming shirt and short set last year for her and then added some white swimwear fabric onto the shorts to make it a modest skirt.  The problem was that she grew too much!  The waist of the shorts still fit her, but she needed some more length, and I wanted to get a colored fabric since you could see right through the white fabric once it got wet!  Last night, Rebekah and I went to the craft store and she got so excited over this pink Hawaiian print!  It matches the shirt better than I expected it to (the white shirt in this picture is not her swimming shirt, see old picture).  As for Caleb, his shirt still fit him, and I found a light weight nylon pair of pants at a garage sale, so that's what he wears now.

I used my trusty seam ripper to take the old skirt off.  Then I laid it on my fabric and cut it about an inch wider, added an inch on top, and about 4 inches on the bottom.  I cut it free hand since it's impossible to write on such stretchy fabric!  It was so simple to sew.  Using a ball needle, I just sewed the side seams, then folded the top over the waistband of the shorts and sewed around it.  Since this fabric won't fray, I didn't fold it under at all.  Then I quickly hemmed it and it was done!

While I was sewing, Rebekah cut the scraps and taped them onto her puppy to make an outfit.  This wasn't quite the finished product, you should see all the fabric taped to her now!!!

Caleb had to get in on the action too when he got home!  I also hemmed this pair of pajama pants for him.  Don't look too close, one of the legs is about an inch longer than the other... opps.  But it's pajamas, so I didn't care.  I had to hem up 7 inches, and I didn't want to cut it so he can grow into them.  

Have you seen the new Simple Joy Crafting Facebook Page?  I'd love for you to join! 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Short Sleeve Shirt with Lace Trim

This is the last of my long sleeve turtlenecks that I up-cycled.  (Petal Shirt and Ruffle Cardigan)  I cut the sleeves and the turtle neck off to make a standard short sleeve shirt.  Then to add some femininity, I added some lace trim around the bottom.  It was so easy, took maybe 15 minutes.

What do you think of our (Kevin's) pot garden behind me?  We have lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, beans, herbs, and one zucchini plant that's not doing much.  The kids like picking the fresh produce and eating it right away.  I couldn't believe it earlier today when Caleb took a bite out of a pepper and then ate the whole thing!  (It was a gypsy pepper, so not hot.)  

Are you having a great summer?  The heat finally broke here and we enjoyed the park this morning with friends.  I've been spending a lot of time preparing for 1st grade!  I plan on starting school again in the beginning of August, if I can get myself organized enough by then!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Back of the Seat Mini Van Organizer

Have I mentioned we're taking a trip to Yellowstone this summer?  I have been on a mission to organize the mini van!  Everything usually just rolls around the floor, but I'm tired of that!  Here's one of my solutions.  It's an organizer that goes on the back of the drivers side seat.  I used velcro to attach it to the handle, and then added a tie to go around the seat (you can see it just above the bottom pocket).  I am in love with this already!  So many pockets to fill!  What's in it?  So far, bug spray wipes and bottles, sunscreen, a swim diaper for Joshua, plastic grocery bags, zip lock bags, napkins, a small first aide kit and an Epi Pen for Rebekah.  The bottom right pocket is empty right now, I'm sure I'll fill it before our trip.

Can you tell it's upcycled too?  I started with a pair of khaki jean pants and a neat flower skirt, which is a little heavier than regular cotton fabric.  (Thank you Susan!)  The top pocket is just one of the back pockets of the skirt.  I used a zig zag stitch to sew it on.  I also had some brown bias tape in my stash.

I found several examples of car seat organizers on Pinterest, so if you need an exact pattern, I recommend going there.  I just winged it, and it turned out just how I wanted it.  What do you think?  Do you have any suggestions on what to put in that last pocket?

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