Another sewing project

Eric's shorts

When my grandson saw the blue dress I was making for his sister, he asked if I could make something for him.  I told him I would.  I found this material and thought they would make some cute shorts.  I still need to put the elastic in at the waist and hem them, but otherwise, I think they look pretty good considering I never used to be big into sewing. I showed these to my grandson and he likes them.  Phew!

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Sew, I have a new project

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I love the super simple projects.  I love to sew, but with my schedule, I don’t always find time for all the projects I want to make.  With these pre-smocked dresses, “they” make it so much easier for the “I want to sew, but, don’t have a lot of time,” crowd.

All I have to do is put in the seam, sew on the straps and check the hem, and my granddaughter will have a cute sundress for the summer.

I am so grateful that my mom taught me the basics about sewing when I was a kid.

But, I’m sure if she could see me now she would be saying, “I told you so,” between her fits of laughter.

You see, she wanted to teach me to sew, but I was a very unwilling student. I had absolutely zero interest in learning to sew.

My mom was very talented and even with eight kids, constant housework, and endless errands, she always found time to sew. She made matching dresses for me and my sister, pajamas for all eight of us, placemats, curtains and a wide variety of household items. She made doll clothes, and costumes for variety shows put on by our church.

(Side note: In her spare time mom also ran a dance studio, where she taught tap, ballet and acrobatics. Before she got married, she was part of an acrobatic dance team. She and her partner danced in Vaudeville shows all around the states. So, after she got married and had kids she opened her dance studio. When the church wanted to put on a show, her studio provided the acts.)

My older sister willingly paid attention while my mom taught her to sew. But not me. I wanted nothing to do with it.

But mom insisted that I learn the basics anyway. I “suffered” and learned how to make some simple projects like aprons and placemats, some even good enough to enter in the county fair and win a ribbon.

As an adult, I am so grateful I learned the basics. I was able to make some clothes for my kids and household items for our home. I have been able to make blankets and other necessities for many baby showers.

And now, I am able to make clothes for my grandchildren.

Thanks, Mom!

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Thinking Outside the Box

I provide full-time day care for my grandson and before/after school care for my granddaughter.  My grandson has one of those mid-fall birthdays, and so he wasn’t eligible for Pre-K since he missed the end of September deadline to be 4.  So, I do my own Pre-K program with him.  I use workbooks as part of our program. Yesterday, he was working in one of his workbooks and started doing a maze.

He came up to a “dead end,” and I told him he needed to find another way.

And that is exactly what he did.  He took a marker and started to draw on the page.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Drawing a bridge,” he replied.

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The battle for space

My original plan for today was to go to work.  But I had an unexpected day off due to high winds in the DC and surrounding areas.  The weather team on TV said stay home if you can.  Schools closed for today.  I like to use bonus days like today for doing things I don’t get as much time for during the week.  I used to try to make myself guilty by saying, “You should be…”

But I don’t do that anymore.  I decided that if I had been at work I wouldn’t have been able to do the “should be doing” project anyway, so, when I find myself with an unexpected day off here and there, I use the day for reading, blogging, or working on a crafty type of project I’ve been meaning to work on. Sometimes I organize a space I have wanted to organize.

So, today I was sitting on the couch, watching a gardening show and reading some magazines that had been neglected lately.

Not used to me being home, the cat zeroed right in on the bonus of having me home and he curled up next to me on the couch and fell asleep.  Little by little, I noticed my section of the couch was getting smaller and smaller and the cat was stretched out and sound asleep.

I looked over at him and thought, “Where have I seen this before?”

Of course I knew the answer.  It’s called parenthood and now grand-parenthood.

Just like it is with kids, the cat eventually won the battle for space and I got up off the couch and we, me and the computer, moved to the table. The cat briefly woke up from his nap and looked at me with the most innocent expression, as if he was wondering why I left. Like kids, he stretched, and taking full advantage of the extra space, he sprawled out, and went back to sleep.

I don’t really mind too much, though.  In time I know the cat won’t be there to steal the space and just like it happened with my kids, my grandchildren will eventually be grown with lives and kids of their own.  Someday I might be sitting on the couch alone, and I will be longing for the days when my kids and grandkids wanted to snuggle with me on the couch. Those days of being squished off the couch or bed will be a happy memory for me to enjoy.

And that is why I take bonus days like today and instead of worrying about what should be getting done, I spend the day doing what I enjoy, even if that means I am being squished off the couch.






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Downsizing, our way


With 36 years of marriage under our belts, my husband and I are in the process of downsizing and we  just moved to an apartment. That brought back memories of the first time we lived in an apartment back when we were newlyweds.

Bob was active duty in the Navy at that time and we lived in Jacksonville, Florida.  After living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan from the age of 12 until 21 when I got married, Florida was beautiful, but the heat was a shock to my system. But, it didn’t take me long to adjust to the warm weather and soon I came to love warmer, more balmy temps.

That first apartment was just a basic apartment.  One bedroom, big walk-in closet, one bath.  Small dining room, small kitchen and medium-sized living room. It was on the first floor.  We had a small cement patio that looked out onto a pond that was surrounded by grass and bordered on one side with trees.  It was a nice view, especially in the fall with the color on the trees. Ducks wandered freely around the apartment complex and it was fun to look out the window and see the ducks swimming or waddling around the grounds.

I loved walking to the pool in the summer months.  And every night after dinner we went for a nice stroll.

One thing that apartment didn’t have was all the “stuff” we have since accumulated over 36 years.

The Navy saw to it that we moved a “few” more times and over the years we bought or rented several houses. With each move, we acquired more and more “stuff.”  Each new house offered a new corner here and a new corner there to be able to add stuff that we thought was necessary at the time.  Our houses grew as we went from being a couple to a family of four.

The last house we owned had five bedrooms and three bathrooms.  Soooo….after being married for 36 years, we had a house filled with lots of “stuff.”

But, now was the right time to downsize.  At first it was hard to put things in the “get rid of” stack.  Gradually it got easier and easier.  Now, I love finding stuff to get rid of.  Feels good.  Makes you feel as if you have lost a few pounds.

First, we create a  “get rid of” stack.  Then we start breaking that stack down into categories.  They get marked as either “Donate,” “Sell” or “Throw away.”

The big step is to actually get rid of the stuff.

We pack up the stuff marked for donation and bring it to whichever organization we chose and bring it there.  Next, we take the stuff marked to throw away to the dump and then we try to sell the other items.  If it doesn’t sell after a certain period of time, it becomes a “donate” item and we donate it.  In the end, the stuff I thought I wanted is  gone and it makes me feel good.

The first time we got rid of stuff I felt as if I wanted to skip through the house.  It’s so rewarding to look around the house and there is no clutter.

And now, we will settle into our new apartment, with less “stuff.”




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Creative Kids

I love that my grandchildren both are creative.  My granddaughter seems to be especially creative.  All you have to do is leave supplies out, crayons, washable markers, paper, scissors, tape, glue, etc. and they will create!

Today, my granddaughter has spent a good portion of the day creating paper houses for her toys, stuffed animals and dolls.  She has been drawing the pieces and then cutting them out and taping them together.  I love it.

Earlier today, both kids were creating puppets from brown paper lunch bags.  I just love the ideas they come up with.

After making puppets, they colored some more bags and then pretended it was Halloween and went around the house with their Trick or Treat bags and took turns being the one who gave out the treats and then the one who said, “Trick or Treat.”  The one who was giving out the treats just grabbed whatever toy or stuffed animal was nearby and put it in the bag.

I love to plan fun things for them to do, but also love to just let them go and think up their own fun.  That really is the best!


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I recently completed a six week continuing education course, “Teaching Preschool,” and earned a certificate.  Loved the class.  It was packed with information that will come in handy as I plan things to do with my grandchildren over the summer.

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About a week ago we used air dry clay and created Easter eggs, baskets, and bunnies.  Today the kids are painting their clay creations.  They love to paint and always do such a great job with their creations.

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Easter Art Project

I love how my grandchildren colored and decorated these pictures for Easter–such bright, vibrant colors!  I just handed them the pictures and the supplies and they did all the rest on their own.



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This and That


Well, there has been a little bit of a gap between posts.  I’m trying to get back on track with all my blogs.  Time sort of has a way of flying by and all of a sudden you realize how long it’s been since you’ve seen some friends and family, especially the ones that live far away.  You blink twice and kids are grown.  And it’s no different for me with my blogs–I blink twice and next thing I know, I haven’t posted in a long time.  I was going to school for a while and that ate up a lot of my time and on it goes—life.

Anyway, I’m trying to get better with my blogging.  I recently posted to my other sites and now I am getting caught up with this one.

I see that one of my posts here was that Norah had a birthday and she was just turning two in the post.  Well, now our little granddaughter is 4!  And her little brother, Eric,  is already 2  1/2!  Talk about time flying!

I have been the full-time day care for both kids for about 2 years now.  Since I taught at daycare centers before, I dusted off my memory, pulled out some lesson plan books and started taking care of the kids.  They are 18 months apart, and are on two different developmental levels, which made it a little challenging at first to plan activities.  But now that Eric has caught up to Norah quite a bit, it is a lot easier.

I use workbooks with the kids to help teach basic concepts such as the alphabet, numbers, counting opposites, same and different, and so on. We also are creating our own alphabet, numbers, color and shapes books.  We go over the concept–the letter, number color or shape of the day and then add the page to their books.

We read books, sing songs, use  flannel boards for songs and stories, and do all sorts of art projects and some science.  I think our most interesting science projects are when we find bugs, birds and squirrels outside to study.  They also love to look for interesting rocks, flowers, pine cones, acorns and other gifts from nature to study and bring home for their nature boxes.

Some of my favorite art projects to do are when we create pictures for holidays/special occasions/seasonal.  I love to give them a variety of textures and objects to paint with  and use for gluing projects.  We use items such as sand and rice mixed with paint, noodles, buttons, ribbons, glitter, even favorite snack foods such fish and animal shaped cookies and crackers, pictures.  And they get plenty of time to do their own creating with paint, coloring, Play Doh, blocks.

I love to watch them at free play when they make up their own games and their imaginations seem to have no end.

We do some cooking and they love that.  So do I.  I always loved to cook and bake with my own kids, and now I get to share that fun with my grandchildren.

And we go outside.  There are very few things that keep us inside.  Unless we get a torrential downpour/storm, extreme cold or extreme heat, we go outside.  We jump in puddles and piles of leaves.  We look for worms and other bugs and draw “chalk pavement pictures” in the driveway.  They ride their bikes, swing and play in the sandbox.  We build snowmen, make snow angels and go sledding in winter and splash in the pool in summer.  We have a red wagon built for two and sometimes I pull them in it and we explore the neighborhood.  We wave to neighbors, watch the small wildlife and are thrilled when the horses at the neighborhood horse farm are outside.

So, in other words–I keep them busy!


In other news, we moved recently.  It was hard at first trying to downsize, and get rid of things I didn’t think I could get rid of. But finally I got the hang of learning to throw things away, donate or sell and it wasn’t as painful as I thought!  Getting used to a smaller space was hard at first, too–but now I like it!


We’ve done some traveling over the last couple of years.  I had slacked off with my travel blog, too, so all of our trip journals aren’t posted there.  But, I did add a couple of posts recently.  Our most recent trip was a one day trip to two places I have had on my Maryland travel bucket list for a while.  We saw Gunpowder Falls State Park and a small city near Baltimore called Havre de Grace.  I just posted some pictures on my travel blog, Maryland Skis Travel.

You see, I have a goal of one day seeing all 50 states. I’m not counting just driving through a state on my way somewhere else.  I want to actually see each state.  I want to explore each state’s landmarks, some of the cities, the parks, and so on.  Every state has something to offer for visitors to see.

I’m not sure I will meet that goal–but I plan to try!

I decided to start by exploring “my own backyard” — Maryland.  Then we will move on to our bordering states.  Of course I have seen bits and pieces of some other states.  But now I want to really get moving with this goal and see them all!



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