Wednesday, January 29, 2014

DIY Slippers

I've kind of been moping around lately because I didn't have any slippers, thinking vain thoughts like, "Why doesn't the world give me nice free slippers?  Can't it see my toes are cold?"

Finally I had a day of recovering from an illness, my feet were cold and I wasn't going anywhere, so I just made myself some slippers.
 They're a little frumpy, but they've grown on me (hard to stay mad at fleece-lined slippers).

I made them following this tutorial.  I made them out of old cord pants, and scrap fleece.  I had to make some adjustments, because I didn't exactly follow the instructions (why? what do I always have against instructions?).  I traced my foot as directed, then gave it an extra 1/4" all the way around, I thought for the hem.  I guess now they're reinforced and stronger, but they'd be more slick and ... aerodynamic... if I had followed directions.

Oh well, next time!  And there will be a next time.  They really came together quite quickly, and I'll definitely be making another pair!  If you want a pair, just trace your foot and send it to me--I'm on a roll!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Morning is Tops

Can I read to you one of my favorite stories?  It comes from Arnold Lobel's "Grasshopper on the Road." (warning: it does say the s-t-u-p-i-d word.  Sorry)

Grasshopper walked quickly along the road.
He saw a sign on the side of a tree.
The sign said MORNING IS BEST.
Soon Grasshopper saw another sign.

Grasshopper saw a group of beetles.
They were singing and dancing.
They were carrying more signs.
“Good morning,” said Grasshopper.
“Yes,” said one of the beetles.
“It is a good morning. Every morning is a good morning!”
The beetle carried a sign.
“This is a meeting of the We Love Morning Club,” said the beetle. “Every day we get together to celebrate another bright, fresh morning. Grasshopper, do you love morning?” asked the beetle.
“Oh yes,” said Grasshopper.
“Hooray!” shouted all the beetles.
“Grasshopper loves morning!”
“I knew it,” said the beetle. “I could tell by your kind face. You are a morning lover.”

The beetles made Grasshopper a wreath of flowers.
They gave him a sign that said MORNING IS TOPS.
“Now,” they said, “Grasshopper is in our club.”

“When does the clover sparkle with dew?” asked a beetle.
“In the morning!” cried all the other beetles.
“When is the sunshine yellow and new?” asked the beetle.
In the morning!” cried all the other beetles.
They turned somersaults and stood on their heads.
They danced and sang.
“M-O-R-N-I-N-G spells morning!”

“I love afternoon too,” said Grasshopper.
The beetles stopped singing and dancing.
“What did you say?” they asked.
“I said that I loved afternoon,” said Grasshopper.
All the beetles were quiet.
“And night is very nice,” said Grasshopper.

“Stupid,” said a beetle.
He grabbed the wreath of flowers.
“Dummy,” said another beetle.
He snatched the sign from Grasshopper.
“Anyone who loves afternoon and night can never, never be in our club!” said a third beetle.

“UP WITH MORNING!” shouted all the beetles.
They waved their signs and marched away.
Grasshopper was alone.
He saw the yellow sunshine.
He saw the dew sparkling on the clover.
And he went on down the road.

– Arnold Lobel, ‘The Club’ in Grasshopper on the Road (New York: HarperCollins, 1978), 8–16.

I love mornings.  At least, I think I do. I think I could make cuts for the Beetles' club--but it would have to be after 10:30 if I'm bringing the kids.

In theory, morning is the best time to get stuff done, meditation is best in the morning, scriptures and everything else is best done in the morning.  Abraham's school starts pretty late in the morning, so morning is also a great time to spend with the kids, when they're at their best.

Then (and you know the story) we stayed up late last night because of abc, and then we didn't have a great night because of xyz.  We thought we had a lot of time this morning, but where did it go?  Somehow we're in a rush again.  I also like my children, as early as possible, to take responsibility for their own things.  That meant that every morning was a big nag-a-thon, with me begging my boys to stay focused and please get your backpack/breakfast/shoes, etc. I could foresee a lifetime of morning madness without some order brought to it.  

So, I finally sat down and made a list.  
I framed the list and put it in the kitchen, where it's easy to see and remember.  I was surprised to see that there was quite a bit for the little guys to remember every morning. The list has helped a lot.  It's much easier to just say, "Finish the list, then you can play!" than get after them for each little thing. We still haven't tapped morning's potential, but we've begun to see it!

What has helped your morning or get-out-the-door routine go more smoothly while not doing too much for your children?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Last of the Tomatoes

Yesterday I ate the last tomato from our garden.  
The last garden tomato, posing regally by the garlic.
I had a bountiful harvest, which especially picked up towards the end of the growing season (the first frost being around the middle of October).  I had tons of green tomatoes that I didn't want to give up.   
So, I picked them all, and let them ripen around my kitchen and dining room.  To my surprise, nearly all of them ripened beautifully (if not quite so sweet as garden ripe tomatoes).  I did go through them periodically to remove the ones that had gone bad, and towards the end I was putting them in salsas and sauces rather than eating them straight, but hey!  A tomato's a tomato!
It's something I'll definitely be remembering for next year.

What was the best lesson you learned this year in your garden?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Charity Never Faileth

Instead of doing lots of big goals in many different areas this year, we decided to have "Charity" be the theme for the year, with small goals coming from the definition in Moroni 7:45 in the Book of Mormon.  There are 12 attributes listed in the scripture (if you combine "rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth), so there are enough to do one a month!  
I made this printable so we can have it up all year as a reminder of our goals.
Every month in Family Home Evening, we will introduce the new topic and make corresponding personal and/or family goals.

January is "suffereth long."  We define this mostly as patience, and, living in a family we have already had plenty of opportunities to practice!  So far, it has been really fun.  Our kids are young enough that they still go along with all this stuff without complaining :)  We each picked one thing we had to practice being more patient with, wrote it down as a goal, and did some fun role playing.

Do you now or have you in the past had a scripture theme for the year?  Do you make goals as a family?  How has it worked out for you?