Thursday, October 11, 2018

2018 Finish-Along: Quarter 4 Goals {2018 FAL Q4}

How are we onto the last 3 months of the year 2018!?! Did you accomplish sewing last quarter?

Guess What?! I Didn't!

I have been so busy with having and taking care of a baby that I did no sewing what-so-ever last quarter. 

That's a pretty decent excuse, right?

I wanted to have Samara's Quilt done by the time she turned 5 (didn't happen) and then I wanted to have done before the baby was born (I was trying to get things ready for his arrival), and my sewing machine just did not come out of it's case. I have Halloween I need to do, so the machine is going to have to grace us with it's space it takes up for the next 2 weeks. Eeek! Thank goodness I am not going to sew 6 people's costumes this year.

On to my wish-to-complete list!

Samara's Quilt

This is my main priority. Gosh Golly, Gee Whiz. It needs to get done. I am such a sewing slacker!

Maybe I can have it done for her for Christmas? Though not as a present since she has watched this long drawn out process. And if I finish it sooner rather than later, I am not holding on to it until then. Maybe it might be nice as a Christmas Eve gift, but I won't wait. Ha! If it is done!

What still needs to be done:
  • finish the last border (green fabric)
  • baste (the backing is a pink minky she had picked out)
  • quilt
  • bind (in a gray and white striped fabric)
  • label

Abacus Quilt

I have not the expectation to get to this. But, just in case.

I need to:
  • cut pieces
  • sew remaining blocks
  • assemble to top
  • border if necessary 
  • baste
  • quilt
  • bind
  • label
Band Shirt Memory Quilt

The Berry Bunch: 2015 Finish-A-Long: Band Shirt Memory Quilt

I am adding this in, though I am sure that I will not complete it (let alone even get to it!) this quarter. I'm debating another border or calling it good (I'm leaning towards calling it good!). The black large notes is a flannel and have since decided against that. The backing will be Jazz Jam from Andover Fabrics. The colors and notes are perfect for this quilt!

I need to:
  • baste
  • quilt
  • bind
  • label

First and foremost is Samara's quilt, since I haven't made her one in her 5 years of life. Poor Thing. Though I have made her more clothes than any of the other children. 

What do you have to finish?


Friday, August 3, 2018

Back to School Wardrobe: Planning {Kids Clothes}

We have been in school for 3 weeks. Already it has been 3 weeks! I am stunned it has been that long. It has gone by so fast.

I was worried about my little one starting kindergarten, and I still am a little worried. She is loving it though! I am sure she feels like such a big girl going to school like big brother.

I'm sad she is spending more time away from the home. I loved having my bouncy high energy girl here at home. But, I am excited she is showing others how awesome she is. And, I do love the fresh start of a new school year. New backpacks, new supplies, new learning, old and new friends. And... Of course... New clothes!

Well, really, in our case it's paring down the wardrobe. You should see all of the clothes the girls have! It's boxes upon boxes of clothes! We have been so lucky to have friends and family give us hand-me-downs. I know we won't be this lucky forever. And, you should see how picky Samara is when it comes to her clothes. So we are going to go through and take out all the things she doesn't like to wear, then go from there. Maybe this might help keep her from changing her clothes 10 times a day?

I've grabbed a few planning tools for capsules and used those to compile a mixable wardrobe for the oldest two. I'm not going to suggest a certain one for you to use. It's more based on personal preference and what works for you. I will go through each one and which one worked best for us.

The Planners/Templates

Have you tried searching the website for planners, templates, and/or printables? It's ridiculous. And, they are all lists to type or write on. I prefer something I can use pictures. My overtired pregnancy momma brains can't comprehend past letters. Plus I love the visual the pictures give to my little ones. Even though my boy can read now, visuals are still nice to have.

Time for School Sudoku Planning Tool. From Free Notion. My first thought is that this might be good for my little guy to see that he can layer button-ups over regular shirts... I will need to do duplicates of this to have enough clothes to get through the week. My kids are too rowdy and play in the dirt, so re-wearing an item for them gets me a little grossed out. I have to do laundry once a week and refuse to do it more often.
4x4 from Vivienne Files. I've been using this one for my capsule, you can read about it here and here.
Harper+Lu's Capsule Planning Template. Mac is one of the awesome ladies behind sew altered style. This template is perfect for getting through the week.

I added a box for notes (so I can type in what I need for the kids. It kind of also turned into a holding place for items as I sifted through.

I am building these with the kids. Especially for the sudoku, they are dictating where to put a garment item. After all, these aren't my own clothes I am wearing. This is for them, and they will be wearing the clothes. Please forgive the quick phone photos. I can't waste too much time when going through the clothes with the kids. Attention spans only last so long...


For his sudoku. I like having the different outfit options laid out for me to see. Samara could care less, she mixes and matches everything anyway. Nikolai, however, has a hard time. If we buy a pair of pants and a top he has a difficult time pairing up those items with other garments. Eventually, they lose their newness and he can filter them into his closet, but it takes a while. I am hoping that seeing this helps that.

In the 4x4 I like that, without having to do multiples, I can have the clothes for the week. I honestly find it funny that we have mostly red and green for my little guy. I had no clue until I filled in this template. I am wondering if it was the season when we purchased the items, or just what we gravitated towards when making purchases.

Harper+Lu ... Another I love without having to make multiple times. It has one extra garment than the 4x4. It gets through the week perfectly. With changing likes for the kids I think this one is better as it doesn't necessarily focus so much on a specific color scheme but more on the items. Though for a true capsule wardrobe everything would pretty much blend together well.

What he needs?
A couple pairs of pants, long sleeve shirts (about 5 to get the full 7: some plain for layering short sleeves), a sweater, and a jacket. Oh, and a new pair or two for shoes! I was looking at his pair currently and it is starting to fall apart! I will wait on these for when the weather cools off. The boy is getting ready for a growth spurt, I'm sure.


You should see all the clothes we got rid of, just from stuff that fits but she doesn't want to wear. This girl is funny. It took us multiple sessions to go through it all. And, we need to do more! She has several shorts I do not want her wearing to school. I prefer a more modest approach to clothes and shorts are hard to find. 

Sudoku for her. I needed to get her other shoes pictured, But she is constantly wearing them! The black pair we picked up when Babies-R-Us closed and we got a few things for the baby too. Her wardrobe is not very mixy matchy capable from the looks of this. I had a really hard time with it.

Her 4x4 back to school. I thought I couldn't make it work. I thought most of her colors would be pink and purple. I was kind of surprised. Just like with Nikolai's. I love seeing the colors my kids gravitate towards!

Her Capsule "prime"

What she needs?
Layering options. We have 5 pairs of bike shorts to wear under skirts and dresses. But she is in need of sweaters. She has a ton, but all of them she refuses to wear and half of them are getting too small. She is going to be in need of a winter jacket, but that can wait. As for pants... The kid has a drawer full of them! Ha! So she is in no need there either.

Perhaps a pair of pink shorts would be good if I can find the Bermuda style at Walmart like the pairs she has been wearing.

Which one?

Given that this is the first time I really have gone to this length for the kids' clothes, I am wondering if it was more time consuming than necessary. We have overspent on clothes in the past, and a lot of those clothes we still have that fit now (like my big guy's shirts. Ha!). 

I think I liked Harper+Lu's Capsule Planning Template best for Nikolai. It fits him the best, and even though he needs some more work mixing and matching his stuff, he gets there eventually after the newness wears off. I guess it kind of is a toss-up between that and the 4x4 from Vivienne Files. I asked him which one he likes better and he says the Harper+Lu's is better.

For Samara, it is a tough call. I also liked the Harper+Lu's Capsule Planning Template but I also really liked the 4x4 from Vivienne Files. Mostly because that girl has a hodgepodge of options.

As time passes I think I would like to cross reference mixability with the Time for School Sudoku Planning Tool

I'm hoping that if I continue keeping up with something like this the kids may be able to, if not do it themselves, at least be able to fill the holes and needs in their wardrobe more effectively later on. Unlike buying things just cause they like them or want them. Such is my difficulty with clothes. Intentionality is a good thing! Right?

Do you use a planning tool when going over what to buy/sew for your kiddos back to school wardrobes? If you do, share the one you use! If not, would you use one or do you think it is too much work?

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

I Don't Like "Rainbow Fish": I'm Not Alone {and} Why We Will Still Read It {Parenthood}

I was first introduced to "Rainbow Fish" by Marcus Pfister for Virtual Book Club for Kids. The library wait for the hardback was forever and a day, so I decided to go with the board book. After all how different could the board book be? That was my first experience with board books being a slightly condensed version of the actual book. My impression of that book was less than thrilling.

Fast forward a few years. Our MOPs group brought back the Book Club for Kids we started my year as the events and creative activities person. The host picks a book, does a craft, and maybe a snack to go with it.  

The recent pick was the "rainbow fish". 

My son is studying rainbow fish in second grade. I realized in some conversation with him that I hadn't read the full story, or there was something I was missing.

I decided to go and experience the book in a new light. So many people enjoy this book. I felt I must have been missing something.

And... I missed parts talking to some other moms.

I decided to find a reading on youtube. We sat and listened to the whole story. I was let down by the story again. 

The artistry is alluring. I understand the want to teach our kids to share. It's the premise behind the type of sharing that drives me nuts about the book. There was more to it and I couldn't put my finger to what I didn't like. 

So I set to trusty Google to see what else others might have said. I can't be alone in my opinion in this over-opinionated cyber world. I found at least 4 (here, here, here, and here) posts. The rest, several pages were art activities for kids. Yet. I am not alone in my opinion of the book. Thank goodness, at least.

1st issue. overly prideful. I have this same issue with Thomas the Train. Yet, kids are like this. We weren't born void of sin, so that's understandable. The colorful fish would flaunt his scales to the other fish even though they wanted to play with him. Now there is nothing wrong with taking pride in god given gifts, abilities, and traits. Yet, flaunting them is not ok. The rainbow fish wanted to know why the other fish turned their backs? Maybe if he made more of an effort to play. It wasn't the fact that he had the scales and didn't share that was the problem, but the fact that he was flaunting them to the other fish.

2nd issue, the demanding little blue fish. Like so many of the other posts, this one bugs me. The rainbow fish had every right to say no to giving away his scale to the little blue fish. It was not asked of him to give a scale away but demanded. We don't demand things in this house. We ask nicely. At least that is what I tell myself and remind my children when they demand. After the octopus said his thing and the little blue fish came back further irritated me. Starting to not be mad because he only wanted one scale. Again, a demand. Not asking nicely.

3rd issue, the other fish only played with him after he gave his scales away. Like another of the posters stated, what if there were more fish and he didn't have enough scales to give to them all? He is essentially buying his friends using the scales? Are those fish true friends? Taken literally, should we harm ourselves for the sake of having someone as a friend?

My husband found it nuts that he wasn't happy until all the fish were the same, with one shiny scale per fish. He claims socialism undertones.

What I wish was that there was more to the growing happier when giving his scales away. More towards the rainbow fish's change in behavior and attitude and less about the fish taking away the scales and playing with him because they have a scale. Don't get me wrong. Generosity and giving is a good thing to promote, it's the premise behind it that bugs me the most.

Now, I'm not going to shun this book from my house.

The best thing about this book? All the room for this book gives for meaningful discussion with the kids. Life isn't perfect. Stories aren't going to present and solve problems perfectly. This book gives so much for us to use with our kids from the behavior of the rainbow fish to the little fish.

I hope my kids will be better than to flaunt something in front of their friends. I hope they don't demand things from their friends or expect their friends to give them something just because they have so much. I hope they know that it is ok to say no to giving a piece of themselves away, that those people aren't going to be very good friends if they demand or expect that.

All those points you can use throughout the book and talk about. We were lucky. My son brought up the book and a writing assignment he had from their study. What kinds of things can you share with your friends? He didn't know. It also happened to be my daughter's 5th birthday and she picked the meal. My son threw a fit because he didn't want to eat it. She picked chicken wings, tater tots, salad, and rolls and he didn't want to eat the bone-in chicken wings. It was the perfect opportunity to talk about the kinds of things that we can share vs. things we might not want to share and don't have to share. Our now 5-year-old chose to share some of her favorite food with her family because it is something she enjoys. My son decided to eat the food despite the bones in the chicken. He enjoyed dinner, and ate more than what my husband and I anticipated. And, he said he had an idea for his writing assignment.

I still don't like the book. It's not a favorite. But we may not have had the discussion at dinner about sharing. I hope that we can read that book and use those disliked elements for developing further meaningful conversations with my kids.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

1st day of School {parenthood}

When you walk your child up to the kindergarten playground for the first time, how did you feel? Excited, sad, nervous? How was your kindergartener?

I think having been a teacher help facilitate my excitement when I walked my first up to the kindergarten playground for the first time. Though this year, with my second, I was apprehensive. So many concerns ran through my head. Will she be ready? Will she follow directions well? Will she learn what she needs to in order to progress to the next grade level? She is such a young kindergartener, only turning 5 three days after the first day of school (meaning tomorrow!). I was not as sure of her starting kindergarten as I was of my first starting. 

It's hard to get over that apprehension. 

Wait. Back up a sec. School started already? It's only July! 

I know that's what you're thinking. How in the world have you started school already when it is only July. Haven't most districts just ended their school year?

We are in a district that sets up a "modified year-round" schedule. We love it. The kids were rowdy and ready to back right when it was time to go back. They missed their friends. They still have the same 180 day school year, but longer fall and spring breaks. If we were to travel, it would work out perfectly.

Still. I let them go despite my own nerves. The kids loved their first week. I was nervous. But as the week progressed I felt much better.

My kindergartener wishes it was full day kindergarten instead of half a day and my 2nd grader? Well, he is a second grader and ready for the weekend to play with his siblings.

The best way to overcome the apprehension? Time. I'm still nervous my young kindergartener will fall behind. I'm worried my play focused 2nd grader will end up needing remedial work in reading. But, only time will tell. I just need to let them be them. It's such a hard thing as a parent.