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Showing posts from November, 2009

How To: Tips on Keeping your Grocery Budget Down

A recent friend of mine asked about grocery budgeting tips and saving money on food. Here was my response to how we keep our budget down, in a nutshell, with a few helpful articles I've read along the way:

We had a food budget of $60/week and so I have some great tips for you to try out if you wish.The number one thing that helps me/others stay on food budget (and I've heard this from all over) is: Make a Meal plan! Sit down once a week or even once a month or a season and plan menus. I do this every week, but I have seen it online where people do it only 4 times a yeardepending on the season & what food is available then.
Here are some other things that do to keep our budget in check. Some of them can be really hard to change, but if you do change, I promise not only will you save money--you will be eating REALLY healthy, too! :)

Make things from scratch. This can be the hardest change for people, but it really does taste better and I find I appreciate my meal times & ta…

Style School: My second online art class!


Just wanted to let you know I loved my first online art class, Pretty Autumn class, taught by Elsie Flanniganand Rachel Denbow and I've signed up for the next one, Style School. Seriously, check out their blogs, they're SO inspirational in the realm of craftiness! I know I didn't show you a lot of my work....because they are for Christmas presents, you'll just have to be patient!

This next class is all about your personal style & decorating your home with it. These are great classes if you're in an artistic rut! It is co-taught by Elsie again and Leigh-Ann Kieffer, whose blog I've also loved for a long time now. Check out their project listand don't be shy, sign up if you have a chance!
Don't forget to read my second installment of the Alternative Education series, Waldorf Education.

We Choose D: All of The Above. A Series on Alternative Educational Theory. This week: Waldorf Practice.

Next up in our series is : Waldorf Education photocredit

Waldorf Educational Theory really interests me, and I love so many things about it, and yet, there are things I also disagree with. As always, learning provides the opportunity to glean what knowledge you can, and run with it. Now...onto the summary!
It is also known as Steiner or Steiner-Waldorf education after the founder Rudolph Steiner. The term "Waldorf" actually comes from the first school, in 1919, built to represent Steiner's principles on educating children. It was for the employees' children of the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette company in Stuttgart, Germany. The name "Waldorf" has now become the trademark to represent Steiner's alternative educational practice. Waldorf education really seeks a holistic approach to education, involving practical, artistic, and conceptual learning in one big educational ball. I feel it is best known (and mostly stereotyped for) it's use of creativity and imag…

How To: Make a Fun Inspiration Board

Before we moved, we had a tiny 1/2 cork board/ 1/2 dry erase board in our office that was just brutal to look at. The dry erase was always white and blank, and the other half was filled to the brim! I knew we needed something bigger, and lo and behold, one day when we were out taking the dogs for a walk, we found an old, stained, (huge!) corkboard sitting in the trash heap waiting for the garbage men to pick it up. We couldn't let that go to waste! I would figure out what to do with it...
Fast forward to our move and my trip to IKEA, and I came home with scads of their beautiful and cheap fabric, I knew how to fix it. Simple!
cork board staple gun & staplesfabric that is 1.5-2 in. longer than your board (on all sides)hammer (optional)Iron fabric to get all the wrinkles out of it.Lay fabric right side down on floor or table, wherever you are working.Put cork board right side down, making sure there is an even 1.5-2 inches of fabric peeking out of all 4 corners underneath t…

In Review: Eco-Craft by Susan Wasinger


I recently checked out Susan Wasinger's book, Eco-Craft: Recycle, Recraft, Restyle, at my local library and I'm so glad I did! This is a thick hard cover book with tons of ideas on how to bring the most basic household 'trash' items into beautiful and creative work. From the simple idea of fusing plastic bags to shaving half of a bamboo shoot for a beautiful presentation of bathroom necessities, this book was worth checking out. I will probably look at it again after the holidays, and my xmas projects are done, so I can make a number of the things in her book for my home...(I try to not make something for someone else if I've never tried it...I didn't know how to do a lot of these projects!)

Definitely a great read if you are getting into the craft fad & smart consumer responsibilit of repurposing used items around your house! Enjoyand Hop on over to my friend Julie K's beautiful repurposing website for some simple tutorials!

Stayed tuned …

We Choose D: All of The Above. A Series on Alternative Educational Theory. This Week: Montessori Method

I promised my friend RebbeccaI would do a big educational theory post, or rather, the theories I have looked into more....but I just can't fit them all into one post. So here is the first in the series!

I will do a simple breakdown of each alternative education method as I understand them and go from there. There are so many options out there from boarding school to unschool, public school to home school co-ops. As always, I am a firm believer in "Mamma knows best", just to say whatever works for your family is the best option for you and your children. This post is only to show what I've come across, am interested & passionate about, and what we thinking of maybe, 'planning' to do.... doing what we feel is right for each individual child in the child's season of life.

Montessori Method

I've done a lot of reading about Montessori method online and in books and learning what I can by gleaning bits and pieces by people who live a Montessori-influenced …

Movie Review: August Rush


August Rushis a really sweet family movie. If ever I could describe that genre with one movie, this would be it. At times, a bit cheesy without a pre-teen to share it with, and more than once completely unbelievable, it really was a cute movie to watch. I wouldn't have even known about this movie if I hadn't had to watch it for my cinema class, but I'm glad I did. It is one I will want to watch with my own kids when they are old enough, and talk to them about issues such as adoption, poverty, and even what 'destiny' means. This is a great film to help broach some of these tough subjects for a child.

The main character, Freddie Highmore, is an orphan at a boys' home and has a willing spirit and is sensitive to the fact he knows his parents are 'out there' and want him, even though the world tells him otherwise. August "trusts music like some trust fairy tales" and through the sounds of nature, his heart, and even the city of New York…

In Review: Amy Karol's Bend the Rules with Fabric!

Amy Karol, author of Bend the Rules Sewingand popular blog Angry Chickenis kind of the go-to girl for most advanced sewing frustrations. She knows how to do everything. She even sews her own undergarments from old t-shirts! Impressive, I know!
Her newest book Bend the Rules with Fabricwas no exception. It has projects ranging from the lesser known Freezer Paper shirt design to making your own stamps to making a doll representing someone and then making Partridge Family-like band shirts.. One of my favorite projects, though, and the one I am finding most practical to know how to do in my season of life, is the applique projects.
Now, I have to be honest, I already knew how to do this, but I read through her tutorial and followed it so I could tell you that yes, her instructions are superb, easy to follow and clear. It even made me a bit more confident in my applique experience. Here is one baby onesie I made for my sister-in-law's shower with the owls from my art class.
Here is anoth…

Another Playtime at Arbor Day Farm

We love Arbor Day Farm's Tree Adventureso much we try to go every 3 weeks, and although we couldn't make it out there in October due to rain, we are trying to go two or three times in November! Here is a small portion of the walk (ample for ambitious toddlers who want to stroll their siblings, "Me do it!")

Lu's favorite part of the Tree Adventure is this huge wooden xylophone. It even has tree stumps of all sizes for the *ahem* littlest of music makers.

Here's the little lady playing in one of the block area. They have a rectangular blocks area and another (where Ani is, with the stump-ground) of just sliced tree rings & branch limbs cut down to an appropriate size. Before we go there, there was a beautiful bridge built by a future city planner. I should have snapped a picture of it, but I didn't get a chance before Tornado Lu hit the area.

After about an hour there, we realized there is an entire section behind the main entrance building that is an exac…

In Review: The Soloist


The Soloist was a movie I found in a magazine. I just happened to read the short exerpt while online, probably why it showed up in my Netflix queue near the top. I must have put it as #1 until it was uprooted by my ever-documentary-loving husband. :) I am so glad we watched this movie, since there aren't many movies wanting to talk about what homelessness looks like on Skid Row. This is a heartbreaking movie, one that leaves the audience talking after the credits are run through.

If you know me in real life, one of my favorite type of movies are those based on books or true stories. I love watching miraculous events play out that could only be Divinely orchestrated, and this was a beautiful story about just that. I also love movies that really make you think in the end, whether that's about poverty, or humanity, or whatever. If it starts a conversation, it probably struck a chord.

This story starts with the main character (Downey Jr.) who needs a story for his newspa…

In Review: Heaven on Earth by Sharifa Oppenheimer


As far as educational theory goes, I would say I'm a bit of a 'mutt'. I like a little from each practice, to the 'small tools'idea of a Montessorian, to the complete freedom in following the child in unschooling, to the natural materialsof a Waldorf education. I plan on doing an entire post on what I think about each main category I've researched, but now I'll tell you about a great parenting book, although it follows a Waldorf practice.

Heaven on Earth by Sharifa Oppenheimerwas first seen by me on one of my favorite blogs, SewLiberated. Meg from SL is a Montessori teacher and now a stay-at-home mom who has a pattern shopand a book coming out soon. I love her thoughtful full-scale Montessori roomfor her little one, and am very attracted to her mad sewing skills. When she gave a good review, I knew I wanted to check it out, and I'm so glad I did!

Anyway, back to the book. I read this front to back, and quite carefully; whether or not you ascrib…

In-Review: Away We Go


With our recent move, and then a week of the flu, hubby and I have been watching a lot of movies. Some I've wanted to see for a long time now, and some are for our film class (at church) that we are in for twelve weeks. This particular film, I've had in the netflix queue for a long time, but due to my husband having roughly 45,932 films ahead of mine, I didn't get to see it until recently. :)
The movie is about a couple who finds out they're pregnant, only to realize a sense of place in the world is the most important thing for their child. They travel around to different cities and states where they know people, from family to old co-workers in order to find the one place they'll feel right raising a baby.
Away We Go is really quite a funny movie. It has great one-liners and is a satire on modern families and parenting theories in practice. All in all, I really enjoyed this movie, with one exception. I think a lot of people would also enjoy this movie, s…

Our Daily Ritual

Ever since we've moved to our "New House"(!) as Lukka calls it, we saddle up Lukka on Arjax, put Ani in the backpack and go to a great little park that is about a 3 block walk. There is enough space to let the dogs run around like crazy to get their energy out, and it's in the best part of town for fall foliage.
A little glimpse of Lukka riding Arjax & Dad with Ani.
Happy Baby. This little lady loves being outside. Lukka has found a hula hoop and loves to race after it after dad rolls it really far away. So much so that I think we will buy him one for Christmas if someone actually claims this one.
Our mighty dogs love, no need to run like this every day to stay happy. If you can't tell, that powerdog is Atreyu, and we're pretty sure she was mixed with a Greyhound. She is the fastest dog we've ever seen (not a joke!). It is so fun to just watch them run as fast as they can!
What do you love to do over and over?