Monday, October 14, 2013

Pinspiration Day 2: Mayflower Baby Blanket


My inspiration, this pin

In February, I became an aunt to an adorable little boy named Eli. I didn't finish my version of this blanket until he was two months old or so, but it was made with love. =)

I made my blanket with Red Heart's "Banana Berry." I love the color, but it just wasn't soft enough for me. Next time, I'm using baby yarn. My sister likes this blanket because it gave him some texture to hold onto when he was learning to roll over, crawl, etc. (Baby blankets are surpisingly slick.)

I love this pattern. It was more complicated than other crochet patterns I have tried, which was fun because it gave me a challenge and allowed me to grow as a crocheter.

Here's how mine turned out: (Sorry for the grainy pictures - my camera finally pooped out on me)



Look at that beautiful shell border! And the intricate treble crochet design! I love how the colors work together. It's perfect for a boy baby blanket, without being too cliche.

This pin, and many others are available on my Baby Ideas board. If you want to follow me, click the Pinterest link to your right. =)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Camp Corner 3

It's time for another camp corner! I really love my job at a child center, and through my experience with kids, it want to share with you new (or remind you of old) ideas to use with your kids as you teach, as you work as a summer camp counselor, as you work at a daycare, etc.

Toddler Activity
Music! At the child center where I work, we have a box of toddler-appropriate musical instruments that we pull out every once in a while to entertain them. These things include different tambourines, clackers, bells and other items that work easily with toddlers. Most children are content to just explore the combination of sounds that can be made, but you could also help them create basic rhythms, or sing along to their rhythm.

Toddler Tip
While I don't think Baby Einsteins is exactly an "Einstein" material, it does provide a great background and/or distraction for toddlers. If you have a distraught toddler, try sitting down with them with a Baby Einstein on. Describe what is happening on the screen in a super happy and excited voice. "Oh look at that! Is that a baby? What is that baby doing? That baby's playing with bubbles, how silly! *Gasp* Look there's a cow! Uh-oh, he got milk all over his face..." The positive tone combined with the video and one-on-one attention is usually enough to calm down a toddler.

Kids Activity
It's fall! Which means lots of fun fall activities. =)
I improvised a craft using supplies in our supply closet, which vary contantly

Materials needed
sponges
scizzors
construction paper
washable paint
trash bags and/or table cloths
paper plates

What to do
1. The sponges we had were already conveniently bat shaped. I also cut off the corners of one to make it a pumpkin. Cut the sponges into any shape you want.
2. Lay out trash bags or table cloths - trust me, paint gets everywhere when painting with children!
3. Pour paint. I used construction paper to pour my paint, but paper plates would work better. I put out a purple "plate" with a bat sponge, a black "plate" with a bat sponge and an orange "plate" with a pumpkin sponge.
4. Provide children with construction paper and let them stamp away! Add paint as needed to help "ink" the sponge stamps.
5. Once dry, children can a details with crayons or markers.

Kids Tip
If you're looking for a quick boredom buster in the classroom, use Youtube to find a kid appropriate "Just Dance" video. It gets out the wiggles, and is entertaining for the children.

Product Spotlight
Spot it!

 I love love love this game. This game is super versatile and can be played by children ages five and up. (I even enjoy playing it as an adult!) This is probably the only game that survived summer camp this year, and that was used on a regular basis. It is only basically a deck of cards, so you don't have to worry about losing dice, pieces, marbles, etc. Plus, the cards are circular, so they can't accidentally get mixed into "Uno". The case itself is pretty darn sturdy (a metal tin) and was rolled and kicked across the gym multiple times. I think it was even used as a hockey puck once. The game is easy to pick up and I suuuuper recommend it. For any age or classroom or group or family. =)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Sippin' Saturday

It's been a while since I've posted one of these! I have three drinks to share with you today. Hopefully in the future, I'll have even more. =)

This week, my family and I headed up towards Prescott and Cottonwood and enjoyed camping, hiking and kayaking. We needed more food for our last day of camping, so we headed into town to the latest grocery store. And since my mom's attempt to make coffee on an outdoor grill didn't go so well, we got Starbucks too.

I got a salted caramel hot chocolate. I've been trying to cut back on caffeine, because in general, it's pretty bad for me. But oh. my. gosh., this drink was amazing! Take Starbucks' hot chocolate (slightly more savory than normal hot chocolate) plus caramel, add whipped cream on top and then a sprinkle of sea salt. And, the way the whipped cream is placed, you get a chocolate/cream/salt flavor in every sip. I will definitely be back for more. Mmmm. This is great for those of you who love salty/sweet combinations like me. (Chocolate dipped pretzels, sea salt chocolate, salted caramel...)

Love, love, love kayaking

McDonald's Hot Cocoa

This was a treat on the way home. We all stopped by McDonald's to get some coffee or cocoa - at a much cheaper price than Starbucks! Their hot chocolate is creamy and sweet. It seemed very milk based and was absolutely delicious.

Starbucks' Chocolate Chai

Starbucks came out with this drink this week, and I had to try it. I love Chai Tea Lattes (hot, of course) and hot chocolate, so I figure this would be a big hit.

Source
This quote from Friends sort of sums it up for me. Chai - good, chocolate -good, chocolate plus chai - not so much.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Camp Corner 2

It's time for another camp corner! I love working with children and I've worked at many different summer camps, child care centers and I will be student teaching this semester. This section is devoted to introducing you to new (or reminding you of old) ideas to use with your kids, as you teach, as you work as a summer camp counselor, as you work at a daycare, etc.

Toddler Activity
Parachute games. With toddlers you want a small parachute. You can do little activities such as shaking the parachute fast, shaking it slow, making big waves, making small waves, "flying" to the sky, lifting it all the way up, etc.

Toddler Tip
To easily wash toddler/infant toys, throw all of the non-battery operated toys into a mesh bag and wash the whole thing in a water/sanitizer solution. This works so much quicker than washing little things by hand! Then, just lay the toys out on a towel overnight, and they should be dry by morning.

Kids Activity
Car-lot. This is a super popular game among our kids at camp. Even if not every child understands the game, they still enjoy running back and forth across the gym. To play, have all children line up on one end of a gym or field. Give them a couple of options of cars they can be, for example, limo, motorcycle and jeep. Pick a couple of children to be "it." Children who are "it" stand in the middle of the gym. Then, call the car types one by one. When the child's car type is called (or "car-lot" is called, and all children run), they run across the gym and try not to get tagged. Children who are tagged must sit where they are - they become "speed bumps" who can tag other children passing by, but they cannot move from their spot. The last child(ren) standing win. This is a great game to get kids moving.

Kids Tip
Engaged kids are kids who aren't getting in trouble.

Product Spotlight
Speed Stacks
These huge cup stackers are a ton of fun and are super versatile. As you can see from the picture, they are quite large, which makes them fun for the children to use. They can be used to make castles and pyramids. Children love seeing how high they can be stacked, and then knocking them down. You can also use them as baskets/buckets for throwing games. If freely set out for a child's use, they also become hats, seats, peg-legs and basketball "ice-cream cones." Unfortunately (as my kiddos discovered) they don't work very well with the "cup song."

Have a great week!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Camp Corner 1

I've decided to start a section of my blog called "camp corner." I love working with children and I've worked at many different summer camps, child care centers and I will be student teaching this semester. This section is devoted to introducing you to new (or reminding you of old) ideas to use with your kids, as you teach, as you work as a summer camp counselor, as you work at a daycare, etc.

Toddler Activity
Bubbles! Toddlers love playing with bubbles, chasing them and popping them, or just watching them fall. Bubbles can usually cheer up a forlorn toddler. Just be sure to have a towel nearby for bubble "juice"!
Source
Toddler Tip
For the toddler room, make sure there's two (or more) of each toy - two scooters, two play telephones, two baby dolls, etc. This solves a lot of problems, as children this age do not always understand the concept of sharing.

Kids Activity
Friendship bracelets! Children of all ages love this, even the boys. They can make bracelets or keychains or anklets or whatever they please. When teaching children this craft, I always begin with the twist friendship bracelet. Then I move on to stripes, then chevron, and then hearts and more! Make sure to stock up on friendship bracelet string/embroidery thread - it goes fast!

Kids Tip
Make sure that if your daughter is wearing a skirt or dress that she wears shorts too! Chances are she will be rock climbing, using the monkey bars, doing cartwheels, dance routines, etc. Plus, its just a good rule of thumb.

Product Spotlight
This one just cracks me up: 
Chicco Rocking Eggplant
Source
It's a rocking eggplant! It is designed for toddlers, and it allows them to sit and rock - on a giant purple vegetable! Older kids also enjoy it too - they use it to scoot around in a weird, flying eggplant sort of fashion. Also, this large plastic vegetable also has a face with a nice friendly smile. And a stem that is removable for some unfathomable reason.

Well, that's all I've got. More Pinspiration coming your way soon!


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Pinspiration Day 1: The No-Equipment Workout

My inspiration, this pin

The article it links to provides seven different exercises that only require the use of a wall (hence, the no-equipment workout). The article claims that by doing these every other day, you can lose two pounds a week. I can't verify that this is true, but I can tell you that it's an intense workout. My sister and I (I'm out of shape, 21, and my sister is in track, mildly in shape, 15) tried it, and here's what we found:

1. Sit-n-sculpt - This one was effective and I can tell I'll be sore tomorrow. It worked out a very large amount of my muscles, but was still possible with me being a bit out of shape.
2. Side slimmer (pictured above) - This one wasn't even possible for me and my sister could only manage it for maybe two seconds. Yikes.
3. Climb the wall - Another impossibility, for both of us.
4. Arm-Flab Fighter - Looks funny, but fun and hopefully effective.
5. Pike Position - Is this possible? For anyone?
6. Booty Bridge - Another excellent exercise. You can really feel it after about ten reps.
7. Pumped Up Plank - Possible in the modified version. I could only do it for 30 seconds, but I'll work my way up there. =)
8. Burpees - These let you finish the workout with your heart pumping like crazy.

I wasn't able to do the entire workout, but I feel like I accomplished a lot in a little amount of time and with no equipment needed - no sneakers either.

This pin, and many others are available on my Fitness board. If you want to follow me, click the Pinterest link to your right. =)



Sunday, June 2, 2013

30 Days of Pinspiration!

June is going to be filled with 30 posts of projects that were Pinspired. Look for posts one and two tomorrow, since this weekend was crazy!


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Useful Technology: whenisgood.net



While I'm getting my crafty posts together, I thought I'd share with you a resource I am always recommending to people. It is extremely useful and I'm always surprised when people don't know about it.

Today's feature is: whenisgood.net

Here's basically how it works - say you need to have a meeting (for a group project, committee, bible study, get-together, etc.) and you want to find a time that works for everyone.

Go to whenisgood.net and click on "new event" (or create an account at this time, it's up to you.)

You'll see a screen that looks like this.
You will eventually send out a highlightable version to those you want in your event. Here, you get to configure what they see - do you want them to see different hours? look at one by half-hours? only have it for a week, or weekend? And don't forget to name your event!

 Tip - to highlight a whole row, just click on the date at the top!

So... this is a sample of how I might configure it.

In the picture above, I am only wanting to hold my event those four days and I only want it to happen sometime between 9 am and 5 pm.

Then, click "create event"!

They give you a code you can use to view your results - this is important!

Next, send the code to your participants. They will get an e-mail, and then have the option to select when they are free. I don't like to use Outlook, so I usually just copy/past the hyperlink into my own e-mail host.

This is what your e-mail recipients see. Then, they get to select when they're free.

This person, for example, appears to be free all day Tuesday and Thursday, but only 2-3 on Wednesday and 9-10 and 2-3 on Friday.

So, now you wait for responses. When you're ready to schedule the event, return to the website and check out your results. Don't forget the code!


This is what you see! Green slots are times that everyone is available. The red dots represent how many people are unavailable. In this example only one person is unavailable at 9 on Tuesday, but three are unavailable at 5 on Friday. This makes it easy to find alternative times if neccessary.

Tip: If you're having trouble scheduling the event (maybe there are no green slots) you can also exclude some responses. They are listed to the left of the page in order of freest to busiest. So you can eliminate your most restricting person to find a better time. This section also allows you to view individual responses.

So there it is! I love this and it is a great and easy tool for any type of group meeting where you want to easily see where everyone is available - the website does it for you!




Monday, May 20, 2013

Another Update!

Life has been super crazy lately! I "graduated" college (I still have to student teach), I started a new job, I moved back home, my sister (and adorable nephew) moved back in town and so much more. I still plan on getting this blog up and running in June - so be prepared!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Finals Week Stress Relief!

If you need some stress relief, be it from finals or whatever, here are a couple of ideas!

1. Write a blog post. Sort of like I'm doing now. Haha. =P
2. Play a cute game - such as Chuzzle, and adorable fuzzy-ball match-3 game.
Source


or on Facebook, try Jelly Glutton - another match three with adorable animations.
Source
I know, a lot of match threes, but it's mindless, which means stress-relieving.

3. Check out HappyCavy.com. It's a website devoted entirely to everything guinea pigs. Including a blog, a photostream and live webcams of guinea pigs! Cuteness!

4. Watch youtube vidoes. Such as this one:


or this one:


Have any other videos, games or other stress relievers? Let me know in the comments! Good luck on finals!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Updates!

Sorry it's been so long since I last posted! I have one more month of class before I walk in graduation and I student teach next semester. Hopefully you'll see a lot more of me in the upcoming months.

So here are some goals for my blog that I'm already working towards!

June 2013 - 30 days of Pinterest projects. I'm going to complete thirty things that I've pinned on Pinterest! A crazy undertaking, but I want to feel like Pinterest actually helps me to be productive.

July 2013 - 30 days of crochet! I want to feature 30 different crochet projects from many different sources. I'm working hard to get them all done!

August 2013 - I'm going to debut a new line for my Etsy store, which will include 25 crocheted items, along with separate listings for their patterns. Hopefully, I'll be able to do this!

In other news, my friend introduced me to an awesome website - lang-8.com. The site allows you to practice writing in whatever language you are learning (in my case, Spanish) and have your entry edited by a native speaker. You can even get suggestions like, "this is correct, but you would never hear anyone say that..." and so forth. And you get to edit entries in your own native language. Which means I get to learn a new language and help others learn mine!

My goal is to write a post a day to improve my Spanish. I found this wonderful Pinterest board with many, many wonderful ideas for writing prompts.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Reading Wednesday: Destined by Aprilynne Pike

Never pick this book up if you are planning on getting a good night's sleep! I couldn't put it down and read practically the whole thing in one sitting. (And stayed up past when I should have gone to bed). This is the final book in the "Wings" series and it was just as amazing as the first three. Seriously, if you need a good read, pick these up. The book kept you hanging on the whole time as it follows Laurel, Tamani, David, Chelsea and their whole gang of friends as they fight to save Avalon.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Mac and Cheese

To find a recipe for today, I just went onto Pinterest and found the first recipe I had all the ingredients for. I came across this pin, a recipe for revolutionary Mac and Cheese.

Mac and Cheese

This pin (and many others) can be found on my Recipes to Try board.

Ingredients
1 cup noodles
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheese
Salt to taste
1 small squirt mustard

1. Place milk and noodles in a saucepan, bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook for another 20 to 25 minutes until noodles are soft. Make sure milk doesn't boil.
2. Remove from heat. Add cheese and salt. Cover and let sit for five minutes.
3. Add mustard and stir before serving.

Notes: I would recommend using sharp cheddar (or any cheddar), and not a random cheese mix like I did. The original website also recommends using Dijon mustard instead of normal mustard, I just didn't have any on hand. For more suggestions and such, use my pin to check out the original recipe.
The Music of Life: Tasty Tuesday Mac and Cheese

The Music of Life: Tasty Tuesday Mac and Cheese

Sorry about the quality of the pictures - my camera died, and these are from my iPad. (Which I love! I just doesn't have a super great camera/)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Funky Friday: To the Zoo Baby Frame

Congratulations to my little sister - she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy! Little Eli was born almost a month ago, and here is a gift I made for my sister to celebrate.

Here's the pin that inspired my project:
Baby Frame


This pin, among others, can be view on my Baby Ideas board.

I loved the poem, but not the frame, necessarily. Plus, I think the one I made fits better with my sister's family and my first nephew. =)
The Music of Life: Funky Friday To the Zoo Baby Frame

Materials needed:
Wooden frame (you can find these at Michaels for $1)
Acrylic Paint
Pre-made wooden animals/figures
Glue
Card stock
Paintbrush

Directions:
1. Paint frame. For me, it's easiest just to squirt a blob of paint directly on the frame and use the paintbrush to spread around. Saves having to use a paper plate. I chose blue, since my sister was having a boy.
2. After paint has dried, arrange pre-made wooden figures on the frame. Glue on.
3. Type up and print out poem. I printed it on card stock so that it would be more rigid and  fit well in the frame.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Go Lumberjacks!

Nothing much to post today - but it's game day, so go lumberjacks!

The Music of Life: Go Lumberjacks!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Reading Wednesday: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

This book was amazing! I read the entire thing in a 24 hour period because I just couldn't put it down. The author does a brilliant job creating and voicing the two very dynamic characters. This book follows a Hispanic gangster, Alejandro, and a preppy cheerleader, Brittany, both with secrets and home lives very different than you would imagine. If you're looking for a good read, pick this up!

(Caution: Does contain some PG-13 material, including language and sex).


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Reading Wednesday: The Sweet By and By by Sara Evans, Rachel Hauck

I love books by Rachel Hauck, so I've been trying to read any book of hers I can find. She writes Christian chick literature. (Which is sort of like normal chick-lit (or chick-flicks), but Christian). I really enjoyed this book. It was intriguing and kept you wondering what had happened in the past and what was going to happen - the book switched between flashbacks and present tense, so you unravel the characters' pasts as you move forward in the story. This story follows Jade as she reconciles with her past and moves forward with her future. Jade owns a vintage shop (as in a store that sells vintage items) and is about to get married. But some things from the past are about to get in her way.


Friday, February 1, 2013

Funky Friday - Crochet Mobius Strip Scarf

The Music of Life: Mobius Strip Scarf

I recently decided to crochet an infinity scarf for my friend for Christmas. But (I'm fairly sure at least) infinity scarves are just normal loops. So I decided to make a mobius strip scarf. What is a mobius strip, you ask? It is a plane that only has one side. Which means that if you run your finger down one side of this scarf, you'll end up where you started and you'll have touched both "sides" of the scarf. So it's great for math geeks and those who want to be fashionable!

Materials needed
2 skeins of weight six yarn (I used Hometown USA: Grand Rapids Green by Lion Brand)
Size P Crochet hook

Directions
(I don't normally write crochet patterns, but this is pretty simple, so hopefully they make sense. Comment me if you need clarification!)

Chain 155
DC in 6th chain from hook, chain one *skip 1 chain, DC in next chain, ch 1. Repeat from * until last two chains, DC in last chain. Ch 4, turn, repeat from * across. Do this three more times.

You should end up with 5 rows of waffle-looking squares. Now, take your scarf and make an "0" with it. Before connecting, twist one end. Sew ends together, sew in ends.

Voila! I hope you enjoy this!

The Music of Life: Mobius Strip Scarf

Linked to:

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Costa Rican Fruit Salad

I'm not sure if this is a real thing, but I had it multiple times while I was in Costa Rica. It is super easy to make, and my family really enjoyed it a lot. It is a sweet, refreshing, flavorful dessert. (In Costa Rica this was called "ensalada de frutas", or, "fruit salad.")

Ingredients
1-2 cans tropical fruit
     (Or, fresh chopped pineapple and papaya)
1 box of strawberry jello
1 tub of vanilla ice cream

Directions
1. Prepare jello ahead of time, so it is solidified when it is time to serve.
2. Scoop fruit on one side of the bowl, scoop jello on the other side of the bowl and scoop ice cream in the middle.
3. Eat! Enjoy!


The Music of Life: Costa Rican Fruit Salad
The original version, taken at a restaurant in Costa Rica
The Music of Life: Costa Rican Fruit Salad
My version
Linked up at:

Weekly Summary 4

New posts:

This week's new products:


The Music of Life: Tresemme Dry Shampoo

So apparently, this stuff will trick your hair into being not-so-greasy if you don't have time to shower that day. I've only tried it twice, but it seems to be working pretty well so far.


The Music of Life: Twist Knitting Needles

Twist knitting needles. I've never actually knitted before, but someone gave them to me as a "learn how to knit" gift, and I looooove them. Hopefully you'll be seeing them in my etsy store soon.


The Music of Life: McDonald's Sweet Tea

This isn't new, but is one of my secret loves - McDonald's sweet tea. I grab a large (huge!) one before every road trip I take. And it only costs me a dollar. =)

New Etsy Listings
None this week because I am taking a vacation in the Phoenix area. But I'm brainstorming lots of new ideas, so keep your eyes open!

This time last year:
The Music of Life: Lemon Bars

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Sippin' Saturday - Chai Tea

This is the easiest (and one of the most delicious) drinks ever. You need Chai tea concentrate and milk (of your choosing, I use skim milk).

Step 1: Acquire concentrate
The Music of Life: Chai Tea

Step 2: Pour concentrate
The Music of Life: Chai Tea

Step 3: Pour equal parts milk
The Music of Life: Chai Tea

Step 4: Nuke
The Music of Life: Chai Tea

Step 5: Enjoy
The Music of Life: Chai Tea


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