Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mrs. Smarty Pants or Get A Clothing Plan Woman!

Last year around Dec, I grew tired of the group of old, ugly, this-makes-me-feel-like-a-whale, uncoordinated items that were hanging in my closet. This led to a massive search for a wardrobe plan. I finally chose www.missussmartypants.com as the best bet for my moolah, and subscribed for 3 months. Armed with her great guidelines for my figure, and her list of what a basic wardrobe consists of, I hit the shops. No, not the mall, nor yet the outlet mall, but the local thrift shops. I was able to pull together a well-coordinated wardrobe on a limited budget in about 1-2 weeks. I still lack the “little black dress” But I’ve never found one that seemed to fit, and wasn’t too skimpy. If you are interested in revamping your wardrobe, check her site out. The info I received is applicable across all the seasons, and I saved it on my computer for future reference. Well worth the $10.

A few tips that seem to be my own personal downfall,
1. Avoid prints (ahh, no wonder nothing matched)
2. Aim for less ironing, (can’t wear it if its buried in a pile of ironing)
3. CAMISOLE!!!!!!! A nice long one to cover any gaps… (downeastbasics or shade clothing, OR motherhood maternity has a great one, super stretchy in all the right places. (Even my not-at-all-expecting friends buy them there, I haven't tried them yet) you’ll need at least 2, Two in white and Two in black or brown would be better
4. Knit skirts can be VERY nice for around the house… just don’t get the tight clingy ones.

I went to the stores about 4 times, and had a blast. I was very thankful that God allowed me to find most of what I needed at the thrift stores, because the very next week, while shopping with my sister, my husband called my phone to let me know that all the employees at this work were being cut to minimum wage, plus a small commission. I quickly returned the fancy new shoes I had picked up on sale, and zipped home. God has been so gracious to us. Despite budget cuts and hubby’s new job that paid less than the old, but more than the minimum wage, I was able to feel good about the way I looked without going broke. His timing is ever perfect.

So, in conclusion, take a look in your closet and remove the things that don’t fit and those things that you feel ikky in. If you have a bit o’ cash, subscribe to missussmartypants, invest in some happy clothes, and enjoy the ride!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Happy Homeschooling….

Well, I have been teaching my son at home now for the last year, and we are now officially in 1st grade this year. He tends to drag his feet and take waaay too long to do just a few simple pages of homework. I was blessed with a couple of homeschooling magazines from a friend, and found a USEFUL IDEA. The article was on teaching your child to be a self starting student, and had a few different ideas based on age. I decided to try one, and schazam! The boy got his schoolwork (5 subjects) done in only one hour. Without complaining, or being reminded to keep working. The amazing trick? Give him a checklist of what must be done. He read it, grabbed his books, came zooming in to do the mother supervised portion, and whipped through the handwork in record time. Amazing! Why didn’t I think of that.....? Now I just need to add his daily chores, and we’ll be sailing along joyfully. This lovely trick has worked to a lesser extent with my 4yr old. She cannot read yet, so I drew pictures for her morning routine next to the items. She loves her list and has been known to carry it around the house as she faithfully completes her duties. Ahhh…. the joys of small successes!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Women's Work

POETRY ALERT!!!! I like this and wanted to share…

Woman’s Work
Poems of the Home life- American tract society, published 1872

Darning little stockings
For restless little feet;
Washing little faces
To keep them clean and sweet;
Hearing Bible lessons;
Teaching catechism;
Praying for salvation
From heresy and schism-
Women’s work.

Sewing on the buttons;
Overseeing rations;
Soothing with a kind word
Others lamentations;
Guiding clumsy Bridgets,
And coaxing sullen cooks;
Entertaining company,
And reading recent books-
Women’s work

Burying out of sight
Her own unhealing smarts,
Letting in the sunshine
On other clouded hearts;
Binding up the wounded,
And healing of the sick;
Bravely marching onward
Through dangers dark and thick-
Womens work

Leading little children,
And blessing manhood’s years;
Showing to the sinful
How God’s forgiveness cheers;
Scattering sweet roses
Along another’s path;
Smiling by the wayside,
Content with what she hath-
Women’s work

Letting fall her own tears
Where only God can see;
Wiping off another’s
with tender sympathy;
Learning be experience
Teaching by example;
Yearning for the gateway,
Golden, pearly, ample-
Womens Work

Fresh grave in the valley-
Tears, Bitter sobs, regret;
One more solemn lesson
That life may not forget.
Face forever hidden,
Race forever run-
Dust to dust a voice saith-
And a woman’s work is done.

I want to switch out the last verse though… too sorrowful and weepy for my taste.
My version:

Fresh grave in the valley,
Peace, and joy won
Triumphant with her Lord in heaven,
Legacy passed on,
Transformation completed,
Race finally run,
Yippee! a heavenly voice sayeth,
And a women’s work is done!

Now I just need a Bridget and a cook! Oh, wait, aren't they my dishwasher and crockpot?
Happy working y’all!

Staying joyful, even when you don’t feel like it.

The past two nights I’ve been up from around 2 till 3 or 5 am, and I’ve been going over our budget during the days. Blech! Needless to say joy isn’t exactly easy right now. I know that I need to set an example for my kiddos, and get my work done. The double espressos have helped. (homemade) But the giant double bags still linger beneath my eyes. So, I am gathering some encouragement from the web. YUP! I have a few blogs (see sidebar) that I read and they help me keep my heart and mind straight, and the Joy of Christ in my home. So, if you are struggling, you might find a site or two that helps your attitude and check them often. Read the word often, pray without ceasing, and don’t forget the coffee!!!!

PS… Friends help too! I had a friend drop by unexpectedly today, and cheer me up with a red candle! This was SO kind. It is neat to see the love of Christ spread out from other people and really wonderful to get encouragement from someone else. Thank you so much for bringing the joy back to my heart today!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Thrifting Joy...

Here is another one of my thrift store specials. The red vase adds the perfect touch to my yellow with red trim kitchen. My sister bought this for my birthday and only paid about $2 for it. I picked up the flowers at the Dollar tree for about $2. I love red and my handsome hubby bought me a empire red KitchenAid mixer one year for Christmas. Now I just need some red candles to keep my kitchen bright!

Sewing something sweet....

Jo came over today to sew. She does not like sewing and has not really sewn much, so it was a long day for her. Here she is cutting out fabric. I like to sew, so I will share a couple of my favorite sites for sewing stuff. If you have a hard to fit figure, pattern drafting software is nice but expensive. WildGinger.com has a great pattern drafting software. If you can use standard patterns though, there is a lot less to learn about. A Dress A Day is a great blog with lots of neat info and ideas using vintage and unique fabrics. Youcanmakethis.com has boutique style patterns for all sorts of children’s items including twirly skirts, appliqued Tshirts and accessories. Their patterns are about the same price as a fancy commercial pattern, but in my experience the instructions are much better. For commercial patterns I keep a running list of pattern numbers I want, and when my local JoAnns has a 99 cent sale, I buy them all. You can go to the manufacturer’s website McCall’s or Simplicity and see the whole pattern envelope before you go to the store. This save a TON of time searching through the paper catalogs. When you are sewing a pattern for the first time, it is sometimes useful to sew up a test. Many people say to buy muslin. I just use old sheets (if I have them.)

I like to make my home more joyful by sewing small things for my kiddos. They love to have something that Mommy made. It is also nice to whip up a tablecover. To make a tablecloth, just buy enough fabric length to cover your table, and hem the edges. If you have a larger table, just be sure to buy 60” wide material. I also enjoy making quilts to top off the table. Just don’t use a very special one for your kiddos lunch meal!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Candles and hazelnuts…..

My latest house blessing consists of two glass vases free from my gleaner’s exchange closet, a bunch of free hazelnuts, one tealight, super cheap, and a few leftover pinecones. The total cost was less than $1, but the impact was huge. I had to use two matches taped together to light the candle because it’s too far down to reach. The pinecones were leftover from my yearly bag of cinnamon scented cones that I buy at Walmart every fall. They cost about $4 and last all winter, so they are quite a bargain. Candles make such a difference in the home atmosphere. When I light them, the whole house feels warmer, and I feel like I need to keep the rest of the house clean to match them. :-)

A Fall Birthday.....

Here we are in the dripping dreariness of a northwest fall… Rainfall is more like it. So how do we keep the sunshine burning within our hearts and homes? For me the answer is candles, glass vases full of hazelnuts, and a well organized closet.

My sweet sister, who has a MUCH better feel for home d├ęcor than I do, gave me a lovely gift this year for my birthday. A well organized closet! I was complaining (oops) about my dark and crowded bedroom, so she came over and totally revamped the feel of it in one fell swoop. The very old, and uggo dresser was removed and all of our clothing is now on hangars and in the closet. This opened up the whole room in an amazing way. No more running into the dresser in the middle of the night, not more digging through drawers looking for something to wear. It’s now all visible, and easily accessible. This took Jo about 1 hour, and I will be grateful forever!