I have a blog? Oh yeah!

All that stuff about opening an etsy shop and staying at home to homeschool my kids? Never mind! Now I work full-time teaching high school English. So, now I don’t craft, don’t homeschool, and do work outside the home teaching other people’s kids. Oops!

Some of my favourite errors so far this year: bob-wire (for barbed wire), Mrs. Dubose from To Kill a Mockingbird is a “morphing addict”, and we do things for “the great or good”. Francophones. Gotta love ‘em.

Seam rippers. For years I have been using them to pick out each little stitch I need to remove. Today, I accidentally realized that they’re made to cut through the whole seam in one fell swoop. So many hours of my life wasted!

I blame my mother.

New kiddo-sized aprons in the etsy store soon. And they’re reversible!

I’ve been crafting lately and put some things up on etsy. Check it out if you’re interested. Right now it’s just some jersy braided headbands and a baby outfit, but more will be coming.

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TeatimeWithMandy.wordpress.com autocorrected = Testy Weight Andy Word Responsibility

Yep, that sounds just about right.

Before I begin, I need to point out that my iPad just autocorrected “homeschoolers” to “homes hookers” and then “homes oilers” and then “homes hollers” before I finally poked it into submission.

Come the Tuesday after Labour Day, our home will become a homeschool. Mr. Teatime (autocorrect: Mr. Testing) and I have decided that for kindergarten this is our best option. The local public school is full day kindy, just around the corner, but has huge classes, a not stellar reputation, and the lunch system is totally screwed up. Z would be sent off into a daycare group with other kids, not from his class, to eat lunch and play outside, and this would cost us about 15$ per week, lunches not included. What?! No thank you.

Our other option is a public school father away, with a better reputation, but Z would be gone from 7-4 every day, and I just feel that that’s overkill for a 5-year-old. We also breifly considered a private school just south of the border from us, and while the school seemed fantastic, just cost of tuition, gas, and the cost of J and S being stuck in the car for 2 hours each day seemed like too much to commit to right now. Perhaps next year.

So, I find myself teetering on the fine line between biting off more than I can chew and being a little too relaxed about this all. I did some googling and blog-surfing to get an idea of a realistic set of goals for the year. Much of this is pulled from The Sunny Patch but I’ve adjusted it a little bit for our particular needs.

Goals: Kindergarten 2011-2012
Language Arts

• Work on fluency in reading
• Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading Phonics Book
• Basic grammar skills: recognize that sentences begin with a capital letter, and end with a punctuation mark.
• Able to write the letters or the alphabet (from memory) and progress to simple words and sentences.
Mathematics:
• Counting out loud to 100.
• Beginning skip counting (counting by 2s, counting by 5s)
• Telling time to the hour and half-hour.
• Simple addition.
• Begin understanding money amounts.
History/Geography
• Read lots of stories, fairytales, and adventures.
• Basic map skills (NSEW, directions, following a simple map).
Science
• Exploration and hands-on experiments.
• Nature walks and time spent outdoors.
• Beginning of scientific method (hypothesis, experiment, observations, conclusions).
• Seasons
French
• As much immersion as possible.
• Have weekly vocabulary words.
• Practice simple conversations.
• Learn some church songs
Readiness/Life Skills
• Pouring
• Making straight lines with a ruler
• Folding paper and using scissors
• Chores: making bed, helping with laundry, clearing and setting the table, loading the dishwasher.
• Answering the phone and placing phone calls
• Memorize address and phone number
• Understand calendar and dates
• Basic money management (10% tithe, 40% spend, 50% save?)

Art and Music
• Rhythm and beat, names of notes, simple fingering on piano
• Lots of fun art projects.
• Colours and colour mixing.

I feel pretty comfortable with my ability to teach all of this, and with Z’s ability to grasp the concepts. I’ll be breaking this down into month-by-month and week-by-week increments and activities as well, to guide us as we go. He’ll also be doing swimming lessons and neighbourhood sports.

Now excuse me while I go second guess our decision for the umpteenth time.

I love to crochet. It’s such a simple craft, but can create such beautiful finished projects. I enjoy knitting, but I’m not enough of a planner to feel like I can truly create with it. I can follow a pattern, but not innovate. With a crochet hook and a ball of yarn, I’m more confident that I can whip up an idea out of my head and get going.

So last week I decided that the boys needed matching pillows on their beds. I was inspired by this post over at The Purl Bee. I loved that it was just a simple square to crochet. I whipped up a square, quickly stitched on a big Z, and now all that I need to do is sew on a backing and stuff it. I love projects that I can finish in less than a week! Of course, it’s been a week, and I don’t know when I’ll actually get around to sewing on a back and stuffing it. But still, it feels rewarding. I’m happy with how it turned out, but for the J I’m attempting next, I’ll break out the graph paper and plan a bit better so I don’t get the funky crooked lines I ended up with on the diagonal here. Hopefully this is a project that will actually get finished.

I found all of these tucked in a side-table drawer in our living room when we moved in. I love them, but have no idea how to display them. Any ideas?

Prying little fingers are always sneaking around over here!


How cute are these?!

Check it out. Vintage Swag. And it’s local!

When we moved in to our house, there was a ton of furniture here. There was a beautiful assortment of solid wood bedroom furniture made by a company called “The Imperial Loyalist”, based out of the Niagara Falls area of Ontario in the 1930s and 40s. We have a double bed with two nightstands, one tall dresser, one shorter one with a mirror, two twin beds, and a lamp. Beautiful, massive stuff. We through one twin bed and a dresser in Z and J’s room, and called it “decorated”. But, it still needed help. Over a year later, we finally got around to doing something with their room.

In the spirit of late-night-infomercial before and after shots, I apparently made the before shots as horrendous as possible:

We slapped up 50$ worth of MDF and called it “wainscoting” and coated it all with some white semi gloss. Leftover hallway paint went up top, and some to-be-remedied cheap roman shades went on the windows. We have lots of decorating left to do, but I have two able-bodied helpers. Z even put up all the wall decals by himself. Could you tell?

I’m absolutely thrilled with how much better the dark wood furniture looks against the white and blue than it did against the existing light yellow. Now we need a larger rug, some higher quality window treatments, and some other finishing touches. My mother is sewing a quilt for the toddler bed. It was supposed to be a baby gift, then a first birthday gift. Now we’re at 2.5 and counting. Maybe birthday #3? There’s also going to be a matching cross-stitch birth announcement to go over J’s bed, framed to match Z’s.

They love it, which is what matters most.

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Out of desperation, I decided to sew Z some pants yesterday. He wears through the knees in about 3 weeks and we no longer have even one hole-free pair. After finding a tutorial for making boy’s pants out of outgrown men’s pants, I was dreaming of all the money I could save. I spent three hours working on some yesterday, only to discover at the end of the process that I made the waist about three times too small. Note to self: next time, pull on the elastic waist of the pants you’er tracing before drawing lines with a sharpie and cutting out the fabric. D’oh.

Discouraged, but excited to have my sewing machine and fabric out, I attempted a little fabric booster seat from another online tutorial. I glanced through it, and got sewing. By this point, 2 year old J had stolen my iPad to play Super Why video games so I was going by memory. As I glowingly strapped my final product onto a chair in our dining room, I was confused. Turns out I sewed the seat on sideways. Oops.

After the kids were in bed I decided to give myself a project that was sure to be successful and gratifying: pajama pants for myself. I grabbed my favorite old pair that was full of holes, and traced and cut away. It wasn’t until I tried pulling them up over my hips that I realized my mad reasoning and rememberizing skillz had struck again. I hadn’t fully extended the elastic waist of my old pants while I was tracing them. Double d’oh. The good news is: when they’re on, they fit perfectly. The bad news is: it will only take pulling them on and off a few times before I bust the side seams with my massive, child-bearing hips.

Sigh. Next time I’m going shopping.

I’m knitting! It’s only taken me the last 22 years to figure out how to knit something besides a square. What can I say? I like to think I’m pretty quick on the uptake.

I made a few Christmas gifts for my nieces and nephews, and a sweater for a friend’s adorable baby.

Now I’m knitting myself a sweater. I can’t wait until it’s done.

I’ve been sewing a bit too. I’m not thrilled with the final products yet — I keep making the waists way too big, and then don’t have the patience to adjust them properly.

There’s something about potentially wearing an outfit that I made myself that seems really exciting to me. And then really dorky. As long as I don’t end up in culottes and a matching patterned top I’m ok, right?

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