Thursday, February 25, 2016

On Doing Vacations Well

What are some of your happiest memories from your childhood? Chances are they include vacations. Vacations are times when families stop their usual routines and go somewhere to spend quality time with each other. Vacations can come in so many different packages - about as varied as the people enjoying them! But sometimes vacations are times of conflict too. How do we do vacations well?

My husband and I have completely different goals for our vacations. Steve likes (and needs) to rest. He needs to get out of town but after that just give him a pool chair, a good book, and a chance to nap and he's a happy camper. Me... well, I am a do-er, an explorer, a go-getter. I hit a new place and I want to find out its history, go to its museums, discover the outdoors by hiking or biking. As you might guess, we've had a few arguments along the way, I'm ashamed to say.

After many years, we finally figured out how to do vacations well - so that both of us are getting what we need and want out of a vacation. I've learned to enjoy doing nothing ... it feels pretty good to just stop, rest, close my eyes, or read a book, paint, or simply talk and dream about the future. And after Steve has had a couple days of doing the turtle thing (you know... climb into his shell to recharge his batteries), he's ready to engage. He also enjoys the museums, the hiking and biking and exploring. I just need to be patient as well as to be willing to do things like shopping or swimming by myself. The kids were great company when they were growing up but they can't always go with us anymore.

The important thing is to take a vacation!! Stay within your budget and means but I highly recommend getting away once or twice a year to refresh your family, your marriage, your well-being.

And now for a refashion...

I like to collect shell pieces at the beach and turn them into necklaces or earrings. Here is one that I did:

I combined 3 shells here, and attached a crab trinket. First I carefully drilled holes through the shells with a dremel tool, and then hooked the jump rings so I could easily get a chain through. I also treated the shells by polishing them with wax.


Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Power of a Parent

Wow - we parents have a lot of power. We may not really realize just how powerful we are when we're rearing children. Children are quite helpless when they're very young. They are at the whims of their parents, who have the capability to crush their spirits or hurt their bodies.

Wow - parenting is already a daunting task and I've just thrown a fast one that's sure to discourage the most capable and confident of parents! But really... how seriously do we take our role as parents?

I hope... VERY SERIOUSLY. Why is it, though, that people get serious about being trained in their education, their careers, their life skills like checkbooks, finances, driving cars, and even cooking but when do they (we) get trained in parenting?

This is why I think parents would be better equipped to train children when they are PROACTIVE. Plan ahead by reading books about the next stage of childhood, talk with seasoned parents, attend parenting classes at the hospital, your church, your community.

Finally, realize the negative behavior in your children can be changed. It is within the POWER OF A PARENT to correct bad behavior. So for example, if your child has picked up bad language or really any bad habit, use positive reinforcement to correct that. We would put out pennies for a child who was too busy to use the bathroom, and any time she would need to change her panties we took a penny away. At the end of the day she kept any remaining pennies. Very quickly she learned to pay better attention to herself!

Parenting is a humbling task that takes wisdom from the Lord. I prayed (and still do) for wisdom each day in raising my four lovies. I often prayed for creative solutions to problems. Changing behavior doesn't need to be frustrating, or seemingly impossible. Use the power the good Lord gave you to direct a child into making good choices! They need you to help them so much.

And now for a refashion...

Here's a pretty sleeveless that I've had for years... always was way too big for me.

Nothing like just taking the time to make it fit better. And of course a hem that is more up-to-date!

And for those of you interested in seeing my son with his birthday bow tie... here is that promised pic!

 If you missed the tutorial here it is:
bow tie tutorial


Friday, February 5, 2016

Bad Manners Night

Training children to exhibit good behavior includes proper etiquette and manners. This is best done when the family is gathered around the dinner table. From an early age children can be taught to say please and thank you, put their napkins in their laps, chew and swallow before talking, etc. I'm a big proponent of eating dinner together. It's during dinnertime that families talk about their day and really connect with each other.  It's also the best time to reinforce table manners and etiquette. As the kids get older it's more difficult to guard that time, but it's so worth it.

Here's a crazy idea that we did a couple of times during dinner... that in a fun but crazy way we taught good manners. We had a dinner called, "Bad Manners Night". By allowing all rules to be broken we made a case for why manners were important in the first place. As you can imagine it was total anarchy. Feet were on the table, hands were in the rice bowl, burps were expelled, and of course it soon descended into a food fight. So be prepared for a mess!

Do you know which family dinner they remember best? Yep... Bad Manners Night. It was crazy fun, messy, but certainly got our point across.

And now for a refashion:

I found a ho-hum but very cozy sweater at Goodwill for about $4:

 I decided to experiment with making a cardigan. So I cut up though the middle, but a little off-center.

The I cut off the cuffs and sewed the cuffs together to make a long facing for one side of my cardigan, where I will place button holes.

I cut off the collar, zig-zagged the edges (which gave it a wavy curl), added buttonholes and buttons.
The buttons are vintage. I love buttons!!