Wednesday, April 30, 2014

10 Years Old and Still So Little

I'm still in shock at how my little baby boy who I rocked in my arms just the other day is now 10 years old.  He's grown up so quickly...but tonight I realized that he is still little too.

Tonight after he was asleep, I went into his room to put a pile of laundry on his desk for him to put away in the morning.  I shook my head at the clutter on the rug and the dirty gray shirt just tossed in the middle of the floor.

But as I started to pick up the shirt, I realized that there wasn't just clutter on the floor.


The gray shirt and camo bandana were blankets for two stuffed animals that Nicholas had placed on his Star Wars pillow and tucked in to their makeshift bed before he went to sleep.  Oh, melt my heart sweet boy!

One of the stuffed animals was his little brown bunny that he got from the Easter Bunny this year.  The other is a little cow that Stuart brought back to him last year from a business retreat in Glen Rose.  Stuart is back in Glen Rose for the same business retreat this week and I guess Nicholas is giving the cow some extra loving because he is missing his Daddy terribly.

He may be 10 years old but he's still a little boy.  Sweet dreams, Nicholas!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is here!

Get The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle--Hurry: Sale 6 Days Only!
By popular demand, 100+ homemaking bloggers are bringing back The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, and it's better than ever!

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is a complete library of great eBooks on homemaking—a truly valuable knowledge base you’ll use for many years to come.

Unlike a library, though, you don’t have to spend years building it up. The Ultimate Bundles team has done the hard work for you, searching the web to find the very best eBooks from top homemaking authors and combining them into one essential collection that you can buy in one simple purchase.


Act now to get the ultimate eBook collection on homemaking at a once-in-a-lifetime price.

Buy the PDF BundleBuy the Kindle Bundle

I'm confident you won’t find a more comprehensive set of homemaking resources anywhere -- and certainly not at this price. Bought separately, they’d cost a total of $698 (not including $200+ in bonuses!). But you can have all of them for just $29.97!

Or, for just an extra $10, you not only get the full set of PDF files, but also a bonus set of Kindle editions, perfectly formatted for easy Kindle reading. This has been a popular request over the years and I'm excited to say it's now available!

I believe it’s the best deal on homemaking eBooks anywhere on the web. But it will only be available for six days. So grab yours before it's gone!

You get ALL THIS in The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle!


This huge wealth of information and guidance will be right there on your laptop, tablet, smartphone, or Kindle, whenever you need it.

Here's what you need to know about the sale:


When? 8 a.m. EST Wednesday, April 23 until 11:59 p.m. EST Monday, April 28

What? 78 eBooks, 2 eCourses, 2 audio files, and 2 printable packs PLUS over $200 worth of bonus products you'll really use!

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Get ALL of these eBooks for 1 LOW Price! One Week Only!


What's in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle? ($698 value!)


Homemaking




Food




Motherhood




Marriage




Faith


Faith {For Kids}




Financial Stewardship




Health & Wellness




Holidays & Special Events






Homeschooling




Pregnancy & Babies




Self-Care




Working from Home & Blogging




What are the Ultimate Homemaking Bonus Offers? ($200+ value)

bonus-images

In addition to all the amazing eResources, this bundle includes the best bonus offers it's ever had. These deals are worth over six times the price of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle. So you’re up on the deal right away!


  1. DaySpring—A FREE 10-pack of Premium Greeting Cards. ($20.00 Value. Standard shipping applies.)
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  3. Redeeming Beauty Mineral Makeup—3 FREE eyeshadows of your choice from Redeeming Beauty. ($16.47 Value. Standard shipping applies - only ships to US and Canada.)
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  6. DizolveFREE 64-load pack of Dizolve Laundry Strips for you PLUS a Free 64-load pack of Dizolve Laundry Strips for food banks. ($25.98 value. Standard shipping [$3] applies. Only ships in the US.)
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Buy the PDF BundleBuy the Kindle Bundle

Remember, this bundle is available for 6 days only, from 8 a.m. (EST) on Wednesday, April 23 to 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Monday, April 28th.

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post. Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

Colonial Activities for Kids: Silversmithing

We have been studying life in Colonial Times.  There are so many wonderful hands-on activities for kids to participate in for this time period.

We just finished learning about Colonial Silversmiths.  We read The Silversmiths (Colonial Craftsmen) by Leonard Fisher from a great series of books from the library about Colonial Craftsmen. 



We learned that there weren't banks in colonial times but that the local silversmith acted like a bank.  People realized that their silver coins were hard to protect because if they were stolen there was no way to prove that those coins had belonged to them.  So many people brought their silver coins to the silversmith who then melted them to created beautiful silverware pieces like platters, spoons, cups, etc.  This made their valuable silver more easy to identify if it were ever stolen.  We also learned about a famous silversmith named Paul Revere who later became famous for his role in the Revolutionary War.

We also watched some videos demonstrating colonial silversmithing as well as different ways to make silver items including silverplating. Here is one of the videos we watched that gives a great demonstration on silversmithing as it was done in the colonial days:


After we learned about silversmiths, we found a fun activity to make our own decorated silver trays in the book Colonial Kids: An Activity Guide to Life in the New World (Hands-On History).  I really love this book for activity ideas!



We obviously aren't going to melt down silver but we took more of a silver plating approach and a added a lot of decorative touches the way the true colonial silversmiths did.
 
We started with some basic supplies we already had around the house - a foam tray, glue, aluminum foil, yarn, and scissors.



We started by making a puddle of glue in a paper plate.  Be careful with this step if you let the preschooler squirt the glue out.  It won't look like enough for her until the whole bottle of glue has been emptied.



Next the kids thought about what kind of design they wanted to make on their silver trays.  They cut some pieces of yard and dipped them in the glue.



Nicholas thought this would be terribly messy.  I told him it would wash right off his hands but he grabbed some sandwich bags from the pantry to use as make-shift gloves.  Good resourcefulness.



He soon learned that his "gloves" were cumbersome and made it harder to grip the yarn so he ditched them and embraced the messiness.



Rachel made a cross with some decorative swirls under it.



Nicholas made a giant letter "N" on his tray.



We let the trays dry for one day then the kids covered them with heavy duty aluminum foil.  


They used their fingertips to gently press the foil into the edges of the yarn to make their design show through.


But as you are helping to pick up after the craft, don't forget about your messy-loving preschooler.  Mine soon decided it was fun to just play with the glue tray!

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

HTML Web Programming Course for Kids {FREE!}


I just signed Nicholas up for a FREE online course called HTML 101: Basic Web Programming.  It is a self-paced course comprised of 14 lessons.  It is designed for ages 9 and up.  

By the end of the class, Nicholas will be able to produce web pages that include style tags, tables, fonts, links, images, and videos.  It is very basic but what a great skill to learn at such a young age!

Computer programming is such a great skill to have because it is applicable in just about every field of study out there.


"Learning to write programs stretches your mind, and helps you think better, creates a way of thinking about things that I think is helpful in all domains."   
Bill Gates, Founder and Chairman, Microsoft
I took several computer programming classes when I was young.  I remember taking a Pascal class over a summer when I was probably in middle school or high school.  I've taken a few other courses since then including a college level class or two at LSU.  While the specific coding languages I learned are not helpful to me as they are obsolete now, I did learn some great information about how computers work and I developed a good understanding of coding in general. I still apply this knowledge today as I write on this blog.

But don't take my word for it.  Check out this video below for insight from some of the leading computer programmers and engineers.


Interested in learning some basic HTML programming?  Click HERE to register for a free 14 class course!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Celebrating Big 10 at Medieval Times

I can't believe my baby boy is 10 years old!  He decided to have his party at Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament.  Before the event, we met up with friends at a local park.  We provided foam swords for their own sword fights then enjoyed some yummy cupcakes.

Birthday boy with foam sword

Rachel managed to end up with two swords and used her dress as a sheath to hold them.


After playtime at the park, we packed the van full of boys and headed to the Dallas Castle.  Stuart and Rachel followed along in the truck.


Party time! We are ready for some jousting!


It was great having such good friends share in Nicholas' special day.  He only invited his closest friends, one of which he has known since he was about 2 years old.

Kids having fun at Medieval Times in Dallas

Of course the food was amazing!  Chicken, ribs, potato.  No utensils needed....just lots of napkins!

Delicious food at Medieval Times

Let the games begin!

Amazing Knights at Medieval Knights

There is a great story line to the show complete with the king, princess, chivalry, good guys and bad guys.

Bad guy at Medieval Times

We were cheering for the red knight.  He had thrown 2 flowers to Rachel.  One of the boys asked to see one of the flowers and Rachel was more than a little upset at how it was returned to her.  Ah, boys will be boys!

Girl upset over broken flower

But our knight was her hero and she ended up catching another flower from him to make it three for the night!  You go girl!

Knight throwing flowers to little girl at Medieval Times

What a cool group of knights!  

Boys and Red Knight at Medieval Times

As always, we had a great time at Medieval Times.  We brought everyone back to the house where the sword fights continued until the boys' parents picked them up.  What a fun way to share your birthday with your bestest buddies.

Happy Easter 2014

Happy Easter!

The Easter Bunny always hides a filled basket for each child downstairs.  But they can't go looking for the baskets until Mommy and Daddy are up.  Here they are running down the stairs to start their hunt this morning.  So exciting!


Nicholas climbed over all the furniture still piled in the playroom from the flood.  He was sure that his basket would be hiding behind the curtain in the playroom.  Apparently the Easter Bunny has hidden it there more than once.  But alas, it wasn't there.  

Our whole downstairs is still a mess from the flood so it was harder for them to tell if something looked a little different.  But Nicholas found his basket under a blanket by the fireplace.


Rachel had a harder time finding hers and even Nicholas tried to help her.  She finally found it on the shelf under the kitchen island.  She was so happy!


The Easter Bunny didn't seem to have as much in the kids' baskets as usual but sometimes even the Easter Bunny can get tired and distracted.


Both Nicholas and Rachel found little plush bunnies in their baskets.  We seem to have a lot of contact with baby bunnies these days so it was perfect timing.


Rachel keeps putting her bunny on her shoulder.  Does she think it's a parrot?


After munching on some candy, we settled down for some Eggs Benedict.  This used to be my children's favorite breakfast but now Nicholas said it has dropped to second place.  Now his favorite is breakfast burritos (which we made yesterday).



Saturday, April 19, 2014

Knight Themed Party Invitations

My son wanted to have a knight themed birthday party so we came up with these fun party invitations to get guests ready for a night of medieval adventure!

Knight themed party invitations {DIY Scrolls}

We started with some basic white card stock paper.  Nicholas helped me tear the edges to add to the look of old parchment paper.

Torn paper for making old scroll party invitations

Next we filled a baking tray with some tea and let the paper soak in the tea for an hour or so.

Tea staining paper to look old

We removed the paper and set it out to dry while we worked on the wording for the invitation.  We used the manual feed on the printer to send our paper through.  Then I used a Distressing Stain used in scrapbooking to darken the edges.  Another way to achieve this same look it to carefully burn the edges of the paper but I knew I'd end up with at least a few burned fingertips so we did it the easy way.

Distressing edges of paper to look old

Next we found some dowels and dowel caps at Hobby Lobby.  Nicholas helped me paint them all gold.


Once they were painted, I used my hot glue gun to attach the dowel caps to the dowels.  Ah, the scroll foundation is starting to come together!


Then I used the hot glue gun to attach the printed invitations to the scrolls.

Nicholas wanted them sealed with a wax seal but I convinced him to go with an elastic band.  Then he decided it needed to have tassels.  Back to Hobby Lobby where we found a spool of red elastic and some red tassels.  


I cut a piece of elastic and glued it together in a circle band.  Then I simple tied the tassel to the elastic band.  They slip on and off the scrolls perfectly!

I picked up some small mailing tubes and we mailed the invitations off to friends.

Knights party invitation

The invitations were perfect for Nicholas' Medieval Times birthday party!