Sewing Stuffies With Kids

After hosting a Sewing Camp at my house, my kids get super inspired to sew something after all great projects the girls make. So, even though I am tired after sewing with six girls, we set to work! My kids explore sewing books for further inspiration, then settle on a project. Next they pick out fabric, and cut out all their pieces!

Here is what my son came up with!

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I just LOVE the personality of his pillow bear!!! The eyebrows were not part of the original pattern, but when you make your own, you can do what you want! So hear he is with brows!

Peanut made a stuffed dog, no surprise there!

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It was a must, to sew up a puppy using flannel fabric that had dogs on it! She seriously can’t get enough dogs! Her bed is full of them!

My oldest Mia Moo joined in Sewing Camp. Here are some of the things she made this year!

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A new throw pillow for her room, a draw string bag for little things and a oversized bag for overnights!

So far I think we have done well adding more sewing to our life!

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California History: Geography

As some of you know, I absolutely love to study and read about history. So when I was asked to teach California History at our campus day I said, “yes!” How could I not, after all I was going to have 2 of my kids in the class!

So, for our first project I decided we should all get familiar with the geography of California. After all, everything the we will be studying will be about our state. So here is what we did!

I invited all the parents in class to get a large pizza box, you can ask any pizza restaurant for a large box and they will gladly give it to you. Next I gave each student an oversized print out of California to cut out and trace in their pizza box. After that we made salt dough to create the California, keeping in mind the valley’s and mountains.

Here is our recipe;

2 cups AP flour

1 cup salt

Add just enough water to make cookie dough consistency. If it is sticky add more flour.

Your child should easily be able to shape the state of California on his or her own. I had many class helpers to help me mix in class, however there were a couple kids who didn’t get a chance to make theirs in class. So the were able to finish at home. Just like my son.

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Looking good!

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Don’t forget to add your mountains and the central valley!

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After almost 2 weeks of letting the salt dough dry, we started to paint the different regions by color.

Yellow paint, for the Central Valley( Salinas, San Fernando and Los Angeles Basin)
Green paint, for coast and forest ares (includes entire coastline and Sierra Nevada)
Brown paint, for Desert areas (Mohave and Colorado)
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We just used kids craft paint for this project, nothing fancy.

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No to to let the paint dry!

Later we added the main rivers, lakes, the Pacific ocean and the neighboring states.

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After this was all dried, we waited a few weeks before we came back to this map. We waited until we started talking about the Missions. At this point, we made little flags with all the missions and hot glued them on the map in the location they are built in California.

What we did after we printed my list was snap toothpicks in half and tape the names on like flags. All 21 missions.

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Here is another view.

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The only thing we didn’t do at this time, was write the name of the states neighboring California and the Pacific coast. But we did add them later.

The pizza box made it easy to transport from class to home, and then from home to class. The toothpicks snapped in half made closing the pizza box doable. But if something gets places on top of the pizza box some of the toothpicks will stick to the top. We had that happen to one of our maps.

I hope you enjoyed our California History project and I would love to see pictures if you decide to make one for your homeschool lesson.

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“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Genesis 1:28

 

Homeschool Goal #4

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Another fun homeschool goal is more time in the kitchen! Yes, homeschool goal #4 is teaching a real cooking class to my kids. It’s one thing when they follow a simple cookie or muffin recipe, but to learn real knife skills, food safety, what is the difference between braise and Saute, what is a pan sauce, etc. That is the goal for this school year. Setting aside some time to make a meal from picking out your ingredients and making a main, side and vegetable dish.

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Plus, dessert! Which for many is the best part! When I say dessert I mean, let’s take advantage of the fruits of the season and make a fresh fruit tart, a rustic gallete or 100% homemade ice cream sandwiches! Cooking should be fun and a way to bring us closer together as a family as we work in the kitchen together.

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Another bonus, is teaching them this skill can be used to serve others in our community or neighborhood. If a sick neighbor needs a meal, they can make one. If they are at a friend’s house and they notice that helping hands are needed, they can with confidence lend a helping hand. It is the beauty of learning to serve just as our Lord Jesus came to serve and not be served. We are to be hands and feet.

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“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:5-8 NKJV

Homeschool Goal #3

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Continuing my list, #3 homeschool goal for the new school year is to spend more creative art time with the kids.  Doing lots more hands-on art projects for science and history. Plus working on some themed paintings.

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There truly is something soothing about putting on some classical music and breaking out the acrylic paints and canvas and just exploring colors and shapes. It’s also the best medium to teach kids that things don’t have to be perfect. Sometimes painting is just the opportunity to express our feelings, whether be color choices or by brush strokes. It really can be a therapeutic process. I know I thoroughly enjoy it, and absolutely love watching children paint on canvas. Kids truly love receiving a canvas to work on. They feel so proud, honored, and mature for the opportunity to work on them.

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I love watching their expressions when I set up our art space.

The best part is teaching them how to take constructive criticism. I know this is a huge challenge for many of us. We can get offended or hurt. But this has worked as a discipline in our house, so that we can work to improve  ourselves without taking offense (no this has not been seamless of course). Plus, learning just because someone has some feedback, it does not mean we should or have to take it. Then the bigger part is how do you respond to someone’s criticism, without being rude or angry. That is tough, even for adults. As for me? Absolutely, it can be difficult!

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Oh, the blessing this provides for more teachable moments, for them and for me.

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I hope you find the time and to courage (as it can be sometimes) to add more art time to your routine.

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“Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

 

Homeschool Goal #2

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Here it is,, a cool crisp morning and I sit here with windows open and a light blanket on my legs. A quiet moment while I enjoy my morning tea, and think. Yes, I do a lot of that. I am thinking of ways to continue to simplify my life. To enjoy my time with my kids, and be present. So, what does that mean? Well, I know when my quiet time is over, when my son comes down the stairs with a couple card games in his hand. He loves to start his day by playing a simple games with me. Then, my oldest Mia Moo will come downstairs and watch. She doesn’t usually want to join in, but likes to sit under a blanket too.

Finally, the Peanut comes downstairs clutching her two stuffies, Almond Butter and Hazelnut. Why nut names? I don’t know, she’s just a little nutty herself. Once she arrives it is time to eat breakfast. I usually have something in the oven to eat, after all, they all love a hot breakfast.

This is a typical morning in our house. I must say, that I love it. It’s leisurely, peaceful, and makes my heart happy. This is what I want our school year to be, together, peaceful, and me 110% present. Not worrying over the next thing that has to be done! I need a school year to breath. So, we will begin with a leisurely summer. For me, a big part of making that happen is getting my hands dirty and study and observe summer beauty with the kids.

Which is perfect for my Peanut! She is my nature smart girl!

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We are genuinely taking the time to learn about the plants that grow in our area, studying seeds and making them grow into a garden, taking walks on local trails and looking at nature with a naturalist eye. Including art by sketch what looks interesting or beautiful. Learning to take great pictures in nature or wherever we go! Organic learning, if you will, of God’s creation.

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We are visiting the library to enrich our learning.

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We are also preparing for our walks and our nature observations by making some nature journals. It’s wonderful to sit together to sew up the pages and make a craft out of it.

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Then once we done, we pack a snack or lunch and get outside! Whether on the trail or visiting tide pools, it is awesome to be together and just observe!

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Then we take the time to do a little sketch.

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I hope you find the time to be peaceful and present with your kids this next school year.

In Christ,

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“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” Ecclesiastes 3:1

 

New School Year, New Goals: Goal #1

 

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Here we are at the end of May and it is time for me to finalize goals and plans for our new school year. Let me start with goal #1. One of our big goals for my oldest 2 kids (who are 8 & 10) is to read the Bible in a year. I am super excited about this! I will be joining them so we can have discussions on what we read. They will use their Bible journals to record things that stick out or that they remember the most. This does not replace our Bible study time, it comes right along side it to encourage more time in the Bible. Something we can all use, right!

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As a homeschool mom, I have the privilege to truly embrace Deuteronomy 6:4-9

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Oh, the beauty that is in those words! This is one of the reasons our family homeschools, now I wish I could say I was perfect at doing what this verse says everyday. But I don’t, I fall short. Never the less, that is the goal! Since I am being mindful of this verse I have started putting together a schedule for my children to read thru the Bible. Since we school year round, with the new year beginning in June, it makes sense for our Bible reading schedule to start June 1st. Including a schedule for a morning reading, for “when we rise up”, and and evening reading, for “when we lie down”. Plus a little box for your child to check when he/ she is done. My kids like to check things off and feel accomplished for the day. The best part it talking about it at the Breakfast table and then with daddy in the evening.

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I will be posting these 1 week before the new month begins. Here is the month of June.

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“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2

Our Homeschool Year Comes to an End

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The day has officially arrived! This day marks the end of our school year! I must admit, it was the toughest homeschool year I ever had. It had nothing to do with my teaching my kids at home, but it was the outside commitments that had me running hard this school year. So, I am feeling considerable relief from the stress that has been lifted from my shoulders.

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Don’t get me wrong, it was a good school year. The challenge was I decided to write my own California History curriculum for our campus day class. So I took information from various California history books and married them together as unit studies. Covering everything from California’s geography and Native Indians to Modern day California. I even included live books to read and even wrote my own study guides to go along with them. It was a ton of work, but it was work that I enjoyed, because I love history. Now, that the school year is done, I will go back and make adjustments to my California history units and refine them. That way they are ready to go the next time I teach California history.

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All in all, I think the biggest challenge and joy was putting together a slide show for each unit. As I began to stockpile old photos, I continued to dig deeper into that part of history reading learning more and more. But, I would need to stop and refocus my attention to what I was suppose to be doing.

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And then there was sewing class. A fun class with 7th grade girls all the way to 11th grade. I worried over picking out projects they would like and wear. I wondered if they would even like my ideas! You know what! They did! They loved the projects, and loved my ideas. I adored each moment I was able to inspire them! I loved hearing from moms, sharing that their daughters made all their Christmas presents on their sewing machine and thanking me for giving them the confidence and the excitement to create something with their machines. I am humbled to know that I was able to do that. What a gift the Lord has given me to share, just a portion of his great creative skills.

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All this to say, that I was not as present as I should have been for my children. Life this school year was busy, too busy to really enjoy my children and teach them the way I like to teach. It is long past the time for me to slow down. Remembering to pray before I make a commitment. As I was reminded by my pastor Carl Fletcher two weeks ago on one of his sermons. I need to be sure I am doing what God wants me to be doing. The top items on that list is serving my husband and my children. I must remember that it is okay to say “no”, and say “yes” to more time with my kids.

All in all, it was a blessed school year. Plus, I now will have a ton to share. After all, I have started 19 post that need to be finished!

In Christ,

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