Thursday, May 28, 2009

friends for my friends

A few weeks ago, the girls in my Wednesday night preschoolers class asked "Mrs. Kim, do we have any baby dolls to play with?" I had to say no, we didn't. So what does a teacher/out of work toymaker do when her class perceives a need? She gets busy and makes some dolls, of course!

As you can see, they are quite imperfect. To save time, I stitched their facial features with different stitches on my machine, which is somewhat unpredictable. But the girls played and played with them last night, and seem to really like them. This pattern is from a vintage sewing book, but if you'd like to make similar dolls you might want to buy a pattern from Bit of Whimsy Dolls or visit this site for some free patterns (scroll down - there's all kinds of patterns there).

I made the dolls blankets out of some leftover fabric, and just pinked the edges so it wouldn't ravel. The girls have informed me that the babies need bottles, though, so I guess I'll need to find some. Have to take care of my kiddos! :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

don't try this at home

If you've read my profile, or know me at all, you know I very much dislike cleaning. Especially washing dishes. I have been known to put pretty much anything in my dishwasher that will fit, and hope for the best. So far the biggest disaster has been sand toys. (Trust me - even if they look like all the sand is off, it's NOT.)

Recently I've bought salad greens packaged in clear containers. They look like plastic, but the label says they are made of corn. I liked the size and shape to store some of my craft things.

So I put them in my trusty dishwasher.

Here's how that went:

So after much laughter, I revised my list of things to NOT put in a dishwasher:

1. Cast iron
2. Sand toys
3. Containers made of corn

Please feel free to adopt my list as your own.

Friday, May 22, 2009

and now two years ago...

it just doesn't seem possible that a year has passed since this post.

I've always heard that "time heals all wounds". I guess maybe time heals some wounds. It might make a few more bearable. But there are some that never, ever go away. I prefer God's work over time's work any day, though.
Here's me and Ron, I don't know exactly when, but I was probably 13 or 14. It's supposed to be like the "American Gothic" painting, but it was always hard to keep a straight face around Ron.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

In the mood for a carnival?

Here's something fun this morning - I've recently found out about a "blog carnival". It happens every two weeks, and a different blog hosts each time. Today it's at Momspective - go check it out! (I'm the last one on the list, hint hint!)

Monday, May 18, 2009

New resource!

When the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) made it too costly and complicated for me to sell (safe) children's items, it broke my heart. But to add insult to injury, it seemed that no one around me even knew what was happening. I know I am not alone, for many other small businesses have suffered the same fate. But I don't think I've ever talked to a person IRL who was even aware of this new legislation. The people I contact through the internet are sometimes unaware, but often have believed the misinformation and myths that are circulating. And some misguided souls actually think these burdensome new laws are good, and will actually make children safer!

This is why I was so glad to hear about a new website: Its purpose is to inform those who have not heard, and to give correct information to those who might think the CPSIA does not affect them as a consumer, or apply to them as a business. It also gives resources for affected businesses, libraries, thrift stores, etc., and ideas on how everyone can take action!

Friday, May 15, 2009

on yard work and child rearing

We had yard work to do today. Let me enlighten you as to what that means here. Our house is less than 2 years old; before that time, this property was completely undeveloped forest. To build the house, we cleared an area for the house and the yard out in the middle, and left trees all around. Apparently said forest did not get the memo that a house and yard would be here, and it no longer needed to fill that particular spot. It is a constant battle to keep the wilderness within its bounds. Don't get me wrong, I love natural landscaping, and we are far from formal; but I have no doubt that if we just left it alone, within a couple of years we would not be able to find our house.

During the day today, somewhere between shovel and saw, it occurred to me that this process is much like raising children. I had a conversation with a friend this week about the effort involved in turning our children into socially acceptable human beings. I love conversations like that one, because they motivate me to revisit my own beliefs and check how I am implementing them in my own life. After our talk, this scripture came to me:

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.
Proverbs 22:15 NIV

There are a couple of things that might be lost in translation here - first of all, the word "folly" in this instance does not mean fun, or imaginative, or anything we might use it for today. Here it means something more like foolishness, slothfulness, vanity, wastefulness. One need only read the book of Proverbs a bit to understand the meaning. Second, "rod of discipline" does not mean a tool to beat or spank a child, but more like a shepherd's staff, used to nudge a lamb back on the right path to keep it from danger.

So how are yard work and child rearing anything alike? Our mission here has been to keep the wilderness out of what we call our yard. Much like keeping "folly" out of the heart of your child. If we leave children to their own devices and do not rein them in for their own good, we do them no favor; in my book, that is neglect.

One thing we must do in both cases is choose our battles wisely. It is futile, to me, to try and keep every single kind of weed out of my yard; I draw the line at poison oak. I am on a mission to get rid of it here. Likewise, a child who hears "no" all day, every day, will not respond when it really matters. And if you choose your "no" times carefully, you will be in a better position to make each one really mean "no".

Another part of choosing battles is knowing which things look innocent at the beginning, but will become a problem later. I see a lot of unfamiliar wildflowers here, and often leave them, even in my garden, just because I like them. But later, when they go to seed, they tend to take over. Much like those things your children do that are so cute to begin with, but one day you may wish you had nipped in the bud.

Besides choosing battles, you have to plant good things. I planted some flowers around my little garden to attract beneficial insects, and within 20 minutes there were butterflies there. We also planted some Zoysia grass recently because of its resilience and its ability to crowd out weeds. Similarly, I've found that if I catch my girls doing good and give them appropriate praise for it, that goes a lot farther than anything negative I might say to them.

If you need a place to start with your children, I would highly recommend:

Monday, May 4, 2009

Lookin' out my back door

And yes, in fact, there is CCR playing in the background.
I love this place. :)