Saturday, March 31, 2012

Thanks for celebrating with me!

Wow it has been a busy month! I stepped up my posting and had my first ever giveaways. I know I have had fun this month and I hope you have enjoyed it too. I have learned a lot this last year; about blogging, time management, computers, photography (I think I'm getting better), keeping first things first, and how to type one handed with a toddler on your hip!

I want to thank one special person who has been very encouraging to me. She is someone I have never met, or even talked to on the phone. But she stops by my blog on a regular basis and leaves me a comment. Comments are very encouraging, they let you know someone is reading you! Bloggers work hard to take an idea from conception to a complete post with photos.

This person, Susan Adcox, has encouraged me more than she can know. I want to say thank you Susan for your input. It has meant a lot! By the way, Susan is also a blogger and she really knows her stuff! Her blog is a grand parenting blog, Grandparents, and I hope you will stop by. It has all kinds of information related to being a grandparent today. Susan asked me to write a piece about sewing with your grandchildren, and at the bottom of her home page you will see a picture of a sweet girl (my oldest grand daughter) holding a heart princess wand with the caption Grand Crafts. Click on it to read my post there. 

Also I should mention the man of the house here, because he has to listen to me talk about my blog, complain about our old computer, do errands for me because I'm blogging and don't have time to do them. And, he also reads every post before I publish it to make sure I edited correctly and most importantly, that it makes sense when it's read! Yes, grandma brain is an issue around here some times :) Thank you darlin!

Thanks so much for stopping by, I appreciate you all so much! And now I'm going to go take a break; for a minute or two.... maybe three :)

Copyright© Family Home and Life 2010-2012 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Best of……#2

Here’s my take on some of the things I have pinned on Pinterest with the links.
A pincushion from I Can Find The Time placed on the sewing machine is a real time saver, at least it is for me J  It’s one of those ideas that made me say, “why didn’t I think of that!”

For my pincushion, I threaded a ¼ inch ribbon through my 2 ¼ inch steel yarn needle and pulled it through a pincushion I already had. (I put a couple of adhesive velcro tabs behind it to keep it still when I used it) Then I simply tied the ribbon around the sewing machine so I didn’t need to make anything.

Sandbox table? I loved the idea of having a sandbox for the kids but didn’t like the price tag of one or the room one takes up on my small patio. So, without the table, this container, 46 qt with a lid, works just as well. Why didn’t I think of that?!

Another kids craft hand print giraffe; they are all over the place, but here is the link to the one I copied.
A picture Chore Chart from The Idea Room. Above is our chore chart; my granddaughter drew the pictures of her chores, one for morning, one for night. I wrote on each picture what it was so we would know what it is, she knows of course. She put the sun and blue sky on the bottom for the morning chores, and stars and a moon for the night ones.

An idea for plastic bag storage using a coffee can from House of Grace had me rummaging around under my sink looking for a place to keep this holder. Then I realized I already had the perfect bag holder under there; a couple of big flower vases, one with a large opening now doubles as my bag holder. Now I don't need to add one more thing to my under sink storage area.

Copyright© Family Home and Life 2012 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mason Jar Solar Light

I love to use Mason jars in all kinds of ways. I found solar light lids you could buy online to make a solar light out of a Mason jar. I thought that was a great idea but when I wanted to purchase one they were out of them. I went online and found some tutorials on how to make your own but I really didn't like how they looked when finished. They had the solar unit sitting on top of the lid and it looked, well….. it didn't really look like a Mason jar anymore. I wanted a solar lid that still left my Mason jar looking like a Mason jar. So, I explained what I wanted to my husband and he made a solar lid for me that fit inside the jar, no big thing on top of the lid!

                     *Join me for my new link up party, Wow Us Wednesdays.*

First we bought outdoor solar landscape lights, these were on sale for $2.50 each, woo hoo! This is a smaller light, and it fit inside a small mouth jar lid (2 ¼ inches). Of course you can use the larger size for a larger jar.

My husband dismantled the light, only the silver top where with the solar panel is used for this project, and the clear plastic diffuser if you want it.  He measured the solar panel opening, made a template from card stock, and marked around the template on top of the jar lid. Then he made an X from corner to corner. He says using a pencil would work better for a more true line; we used a marker for this photo so you could see it.

Placing the lid on a cutting surface, and with a box cutter he scored the square, then cut into the X starting from the outside in. The lids are soft thin metal so they cut rather easily though it took several cuts before it began to cut through. Once it cut through, he bent the flaps down (to the inside of the lid, this way sharp edges are not on the top of the lid) making sure it created a fold on the scored line around the outside of the square. Then he bent the flap back and forth until it broke off.  Obviously whenever a box cutter is involved with a project you must be very careful to not cut yourself. Do not cut towards a finger, and the edges of the cut lid will be very sharp! Use gloves please! I'm sure there are other ways a lid could be cut, perhaps with a dremel tool grinding wheel?

with diffuser

                       without the diffuser

Now all he needed to do was Super glue the solar panel to the bottom of the jar lid with the opening over the solar panel. With the ring on and the light in the jar, it still looks like a Mason jar! Place the lid in the sun a few hours to charge it and enjoy your light.  

This is a fun idea; use these instead of candles on a table or for outside where a breeze might blow a candle out. How about a night light on a camping trip? Or line a walkway for a special occasion? I thought I would have some fun with it and experimented by placing photos inside of the jar.

I printed these cropped pictures on transparencies in roughly the same size as the inside of my jar, 3 by 10 inches. (I had it done at Kinko's, 75 cents each) I found that a picture with a high contrast of light and dark (like the top pic) worked best. But I also found that printing on regular paper also worked well as it became transparent with the light behind it. I liked the whimsy of the picture of strawberries inside the jar too. Wouldn’t these be great as a centerpiece for a dinner party or night time wedding reception? It would have to be dark enough for the light to be seen of course.

 Copyright© Family Home and Life 2012 All Rights Reserved

Friday, March 23, 2012

Repost of One of My Favs

Below is a repost of one of my all time favorite post, Warning! Junk Mail can be Dangerous! under the label ‘Life’s Like That”. It was one of the very first things I wrote when I first started this blog. So, since I am celebrating this month and want to have some fun with it, I wanted to repost this one, because it is funny! Now it is a little embellished, just so you know!

I had a $10 coupon for a chain department store that came in the mail. It was about to expire so I went to the mall to shop.  Now I never shop at the mall. I really don’t like shopping all that much period. I know that those coupon’s are just a way to get you into the store. But I put my coupon in my purse and determined ahead of time that I will stick to my plan of action: buy 1 or 2 items, perhaps a blouse, maybe some socks, take a quick general look through out the store and get out of Dodge with the budget still in tact.  I don’t want a talking to from the man of the house about spending too much money again.

I arrive and begin my search starting around the perimeter of the store to my right.  About middle way some items catch my eye and I stop to browse and select a few things in my size.  Continuing on and I come to the shoe section and I skip right over the new stock of regular priced items and head for the discount shelf.  Oh the cutest little pair of sneakers, in my size too, covered in graphic art in loud colors and some bling. But I decide they are way too young for me.  Don’t want to embarrass my kids.
I find a few more things then look for a dressing room.  First thing I notice that I need my hair done.  My roots are way grown out.  It needs to be cut too, perhaps a deep conditioning; looks a little fuzzy. I try on a couple things before I find something that fits right. Darn all that left over Halloween candy anyway.  I ‘m gonna lose a few pounds this year if it kills me.  I know, I’ll see about getting a membership at that new women’s exercise place by the hair salon.  The next 3 items look great and I can’t decide which ones I like the best so I decide I’ll get all 3 because after all I have that coupon.
I start meandering towards the check out when I see another discount rack of things in my size.  Such pretty colors out this season! I don’t think I have any of those colors in my closet at all.  I pick out a few more items and head back to the dressing room.  More things fit so nicely and it’s so hard to find clothing that flatter's a ‘fuller’ figure.  Well I don’t shop often and these would go well with the 3 blouses I already have. 
I finally make it to the checkout and hand my coupon and debit card over to the sales girl who hands the coupon back to me because it expired yesterday. Arrrggg…… what to do? Well I just spent all that time finding all this stuff; I can’t just walk out now can I?  I pay for it and start digging in my purse for my phone.  I look up the hair salon number and call for an appointment. Good news! She has an opening later today.  I tell her I want the works, color, conditioning, cut….and heat up the wax.  My mustache is showing, and let’s get the eyebrows too ok? Pedicure, manicure, you have time for that today too?  Sure why not, great!  I’ll come early in case you can get me in sooner.
I drive toward the salon and stop by that new women’s gym, they have the greatest work out equipment you’ve ever seen. It’s just amazing the things they come up with these days to keep us looking good.  Membership? You bet give me the platinum package honey, I just came from shopping at the mall!
That evening I arrive home with a bag of take out for dinner because I didn’t have time to cook with shopping and all.  Honey Bears BBQ, a favorite of the man of the house.  Good thing too, because I don’t think he’ll notice my new hair do, or my fuzz free face.  He’ll pay no attention what so ever to my pink nails or smooth heels.  He will notice the shopping bags, and I’m hoping the delicious aroma from the little one will make him forget to ask me how I spent my day. :)
So you see, those coupons that come in the mail, hold them by one corner and watch it carefully as you carry it to the nearest trash receptacle.  Dispose of it quick because one trip to the mall could cost you more money in ways that you can’t even see coming.

Copyright ©  Family Home and Life 2010-2012    ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Monday, March 19, 2012

Felt Cupcakes

I was looking for ideas for a birthday gift for my about to be 3 year old grand daughter. She loves to cook with mom so I started my gift plan with an apron. But that wasn’t enough of a gift  I thought, so I looked around for something to go with the apron. How about felt cupcakes? They are all over the blog world so I started looking around for a template I liked. Soon I was on felt cupcake overload and hadn’t found anything I thought would work for me.

So I made my own template and then made four cupcakes using felt. It was a lot of fun too! I decorated them in different ways then reused a cupcake holder from the store to put them in. Don’t they look great? And they are easy to make.
To make a cupcake, first decide how you want to decorate the top. Cut out the cup cake pieces, the top, middle and bottom. Decorate the top before stitching it to the cup cake body; stitch the sides together first before adding on the top. I made a running stitch around the edge of the top and gathered it to fit the cupcake body.

Then, making my stitches go from the cupcake side into the top and out seemed to be the easiest method for me. Stuff tightly and then stitch on the bottom.

For some styles you may not need a cupcake top as the frosting may become the top. For this one I cut a strip of felt about 3/4 inch wide, folded in half, then using a running stitch I gathered it to make it ruffle and stitched it to the cupcake top.

For this style,

I cut a strip about 1 1/2 inch to 1 3/4 inch wide and about 2 feet long. I cut 7-8 lengths of yarn for stuffing, and wrapped the felt around the yarn and stitiched it closed on my machine. I then hand stitched it together into a spiral without stitching it to a cupcake top, then connecting it to the body of the cupcake.

I had so much fun making this birthday gift. I am very pleased with how it turned out.

I linked this project to Singing Three Little Birds, Craft-O-ManiacHandy Man, Crafty Woman, Sew Much Ado,  Skip to my Lou, Under the Table and Dreaming and Keeping it Simple.
**Join me Wednesdays for Wow Us Wednesdays link up party.**

Copyright ©  Family Home and Life 2010-2012    ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Love Heirloom

When I was a young mom I had an idea of what I wanted to teach my kids about life, how to live, and to be good citizens, good neighbors; and of course about right and wrong. I remember when my first child flew from the nest and feeling frantic because there was still so much I wanted to teach them, and tell them. Somehow in the busy day to day living there hadn’t seemed to be the time to get around to it all. But I couldn’t go back and have do overs, I had to accept that I had done the best I could with what I had and hope that how I had lived would be the best example for them after all. I think it turned out alright. I have responsible, independent children who are well liked and exceptional employees for the companies they work for. They are all good parents, and yes, I am very proud of them!
So now I am a grandparent and I love my grand kids with a love I didn’t know was possible. I still have a strong desire to teach and instill in my second generation offspring skills, mindsets, abilities and moral values that I wanted to give to my kids. If I am not careful the time will speed by never to be again, lost, the teachable moments that could have been. I am guilty of being caught up in routine, busy with the daily feeding, cleaning up after, and scheduled nap times of my grand kids. But I want so much more than that! I must find the time now, before they are too big and have too many activities to spend that time with me.

How will I do it? With the end result in mind. What do I want my grand children to know about their grandmother? What will they learn from me? What did they like most about time with me?

When I decide that then I will know where to begin and I can break it down into little pieces, scraps of memory, that they can take away with them. And someday when they remember back on their time with me, they will have these little scraps, moments to thread together. I hope that these scraps of moments will be beautiful as a whole. I hope there will be useful patches that help them when they need it. Pieces of happy loving times that bring them comfort. A quilt of memories of remembered love from a grandma who gave them the best she could with what she had at the time. Something they can cherish, something they can pass on to their children as a sort of heirloom of love.

Copyright© Family Home and Life 2012 All Rights Reserved

Monday, March 12, 2012

Kids Art From Recycled Art

What to do with all those paintings the kids make? You know they ones they don't want you to throw out but are not nice enough to keep? How about making a mobile out of them?

We started with several dry paintings and some colorful magazine covers and a two inch circle punch. (The magazine pages where too thin for the punch to work well) I let the kids work with the circle punch until they had enough of that fun.

Then we picked out the best circles and lay them out how we wanted them all in rows.

Next we cut a length of string making sure to have a good amount left at one end to hang it with. The string was laid across the circles and drops of glue dripped onto the string and circle where they connected in the middle. We pushed the string down in some places to make sure it had good contact with the glue.

While the glue was drying we went outside and found a few small branches and painted them. After all was dry the circles were tied to the branch for a recycled art art piece!

Linked at Made by you Monday.

Copyright© Family Home and Life 2012 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Best Of…..

Do you love Pinterest? Wow, it’s an eye candy smorgasbord! If I’m not careful I spend my post writing time looking around Pinterest. There are some really talented people in this world and I have been happily pinning left and right. For those of you who are not on Pinterest, I invite you to follow me. Click the red 'Follow me on Pinterest' button in the left column there for an invitation to join. You will love it!

There are some things that really catch my eye on Pinterest that I want to try for myself. So today, I am giving you my version of the best of Pinterest. These are just a few things I thought were easy, practical, and great ideas for kids activities.

This first one is called a Discovery Bottle. Looking at the image you really don’t need instructions; the link attached with the photo didn't take me to the post about it but here is the link anyway, I want to give proper credit; Second Story Window.  I made my Discovery bottle by gathering small objects and photographing them. Then I put the objects in a peanut butter jar and filled it about half way up with rice. A print out of the objects put in a plastic sleeve, and a water erase marker makes a great activity for kids.

This one is from an idea for a nature scavenger hunt. I made one for indoors by taking photos of things around my house for the kids to find. This one can be tailored to the age of your kids, simple or hard depending on what you take your photos of. I printed them out (I didn’t name each item though you could) and I slipped mine into a plastic sleeve so it can be used with a wet erase marker then reused another time. Here’s the link for the nature scavenger hunt at Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational.

There are all kinds of crafts you can make with kids hand prints on Pinterest but here are three we tried and they turned out good. For St. Patrick’s Day, a leprechaun from The Crafty Crow, a thumbprint four leaf clover from Meet the Dubiens, and a caterpillar from Navy Wife, Navy Life. (Oops! I forgot to make copies of the caterpillar before I sent them home to mom)  
And last, using the bottoms of plastic bottles dipped in paint as stamps for flowers on paper. I found out quickly that the shape of the bottle bottom has everything to do with how well this works. I tried three different bottles and they all had concave bottoms so the imprint did not look so great. However, I placed the paper on a towel and had slightly better results. So before you try this one, have a good look at the bottle bottoms! The lid serves as the flower center, and you can play around with the pattern and make different types of petals. Believe me, Valerie's turned out a lot better than ours! Check this one out at Inner Child Fun.



Copyright© Family Home and Life 2012 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Jewelery Organizing

I had a big jewelery chest on a stand that had doors that opened on each side for necklaces and drawers down the middle. It was a great jewelry box but it took up a lot of room. At one point I had my husband take the stand off it and then sat it on top of my dresser. Well, we recently remodeled our closet and no longer use dressers to store our clothes. I have to say I like the new closet so much better. My small items are in cloth bins and everything else is on a shelf or a hanger.

But what to do with the jewelry chest now? I have an antique dresser that I kept but I didn't want the jewelry chest sitting on that.

So I emptied a drawer in the dresser, found some plastic ice cube trays and other plastic bins, and put all my jewelry in that one drawer. The ice cube trays stack nicely on top of each other. I love this new arrangement because I can see everything at one glance instead of opening all the different drawers and doors. I worried that my necklaces might get tangled but that has not been a problem at all. Also without the jewelry box out on a dresser top it looks better too; less clutter.

 What do you think?

I linked to Made by you Monday at Skip to my Lou, and Tip Me Tuesday at Tip Junkie.

Copyright ©  Family Home and Life 2010-2012    ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Easy Beginner Sewing

This little one is 3 yrs old and this is her first sewing project.  I put a loosely woven cloth into an embroidery hoop and let her color on the fabric with crayons.
With crayons I made dots on the fabric for the needle guide, turned it over and made dots on the back by holding it up to the light. I carefully marked the back with dots in the same place.

I threaded a needle with yarn, put a knot in it, and let her go. She did a great job with only a little guidance. It was a very positive experience for her and she was happy she was allowed to sew with her older cousin. Later she will add more stitches to it.
The cloth kind of looks like linen, sorry, I don’t know what it is called but it has a loose weave that makes pulling the large needle and yarn through it easy. The needle is a steel yarn needle that is 2 ¾ inches long. It has a point that is not very sharp.

Always think safety! Stay in one place and sit down when you sew. No walking or getting up while sewing your project. That way if you lose a needle you will know where to look.
If you allow kids to use pins, count them out only a few, and make sure they are all in a pincushion at all times when not in use. When sewing time is over, count pins and needles to make sure none were lost.
Don’t leave little ones unattended ever, and you do the cutting for them until they are old enough to use the scissors with caution and wisdom.

An embroidery hoop makes handling the material much easier for inexperienced hands. The dot needle placement guides I made on the fabric take away the anxiety of those first few stitches and helps them understand how to try to make stitches even and uniform.

Reader’s Choice Award

If you nominated me for the Reader’s Choice Award for best Grandparent Blog, thank you! I appreciate that so much.  However, I was not in the top five nominations for the Reader’s Choice awards. But there are five very good blogs who are. Have a look at them and vote for your favorite here at About.Com Grandparents.

Copyright©  Family Home and Life 2010-2012 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread Repost

Welcome to March! It’s my blogoversary month and I am going to celebrate the whole month!  To kick the month off, below is a repost of one of my favorite things to do with my grandkids; make bread. I wanted to repost this recipe because it is such a great one. So easy and the kids love to help. It's also very delicious, no kneading or waiting for it to rise. Just mix and bake. Enjoy!

*Join me for my link up party, Wow Us Wednesdays.*

Here's my girl helping me last week. Look how she has grown! Oh, those funny marks on her neck? They are those kids stick on tattoos.

Here's the repost of the orginal post below with out the pictures, or click here to see step by step instructions with photos. Click here for a printable recipe.

Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread
In a large bowl mix together well;
2 cups of all purpose flour
2 cups of whole wheat flour
1 ½ cups oatmeal ( I like Old Fashion style rolled oats)
1 tsp of soda
1 tsp of salt
2-4 tbs of sugar, depending on your preference, we add 4 tbs.
1-2 cups of buttermilk

After mixing dry ingredients add 1 cup of buttermilk. Stir; the dough will still be very dry at this point. Gradually add more buttermilk until you have a soft wet dough that starts pulling a way from the sides of the bowl as you stir. Sometimes I need to add up to another whole cup of buttermilk.

Butter the sides and bottom of a loaf pan; then using whole wheat flour, liberally flour the pan leaving a generous amount on the bottom. Dump the dough into the floured pan, level the top with your spoon. Wet your fingers with water and smooth out the top a little. Don’t over wet the dough!

Now sprinkle a spoonful of whole wheat flour and a spoonful of oatmeal over the top. Make a cut down the center of the wet dough with a serrated knife. In my picture I forgot this step, (my assistant didn’t remind me either :) and it still turned out fine.

If you would like a more rustic style loaf, then use a cast iron skillet or baking stone instead of the loaf pan. Don’t butter, but liberally flour and then dump the dough on top of floured surface. Keep the dough in a mound ( do not flatten it out) while rounding and smoothing with wet fingers.
Bake in a preheated oven at 400° for 50-60 minutes. Cool 5-10 minutes in the pan then remove the loaf and put it on a cooling rack. After you have baked this bread, you may want to increase or decrease your baking time for next time. Now wasn’t that simple? Give it a try.

I linked this post at some of these linky parties.

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