Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Great Spanish Site for Kids

Many of you know that we homeschool our kids.
I am always on the lookout for great new learning tools, and I thought I would pass this one along!
The site is called Online Free Spanish and is just  the cutest website ever! 
Even if your kids aren't schooled at home, this is a great resource if you are wanting them to learn Spanish. 
It is fun, colorful, simple, and interactive and a perfect start for beginners {even I like it!}.
There are lessons, activities and printables.
Here is a quick peek at a few of the subjects that they cover:).
My kids have really been enjoying Online Free Spanish  . 
It has been a really easy way to incorporate beginning Spanish to our curriculum.

Have a wonderful Tuesday!
It feels like Spring here!!


~Julia

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chocolate Applesauce Cake


You should make this...you really should!
It is the perfect treat! So moist and slightly crumbly.
The applesauce makes this cake absolutely delightful and healthy....right?
It would make a lovely Valentine's gift for friends or neighbors and is quick and simple to make.

Chocolate Applesauce Cake

1/2 c. butter, softened
2c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 eggs
*1/2 c. sour milk {buttermilk}
4 TBS. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 c. applesauce

Cream butter, oil, and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla and milk. Beat with mixer until just blended. Mix dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture. Beat until blended. Add applesauce . Spoon batter into a 9"x13" greased pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes. Test with fork in center to see if it comes out clean. You may need a few more minutes, depending on your altitude.

Cool, and top with powdered sugar.

*If you do not have buttermilk, you can substitute 1/2 c. milk with 1 tsp. vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes:).

Enjoy!

~Julia

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Valentine's Tags

I love tags...I think I am slightly addicted to them. 
This Valentine's tag was super simple to make and cost next to nothing:).
Fabric, manila tags, glue stick, ribbon, and a sewing machine are all you need!

To make, just cut a heart out of fabric in your desired size.
Tack it down on the tag with your glue stick.
Sew around edges, then sew around the edges of the tag.
Add ribbon...that's it:).




We have used these in the past as Valentine's for the kids' friends...just add a message to the tag!
They also make a nice addition to a gift:).

~Julia

I am linked here.

Layered Heart Valentines


We are really starting to anticipate Valentine's Day!
How about you?
Today we made a little time to put together a few of the many Valentines we will need.
I wanted the kids to be able to create on their own...let their creativity flow.
I used whatever we had on hand and cut different sized hearts to layer....paper, ribbon, burlap, lace, newspaper, shredded easter paper, buttons, and tissue. 



We used a glue gun, but glue sticks would work fine, too:).


I like a little ruffle, so I used a pencil to roll up and curl the edges.



Here is one that Lily made.


Hope you have a great weekend!

~Julia

I am linked here.  

Sunday, January 16, 2011

How to Slipcover a Notebook

I can remember covering my text books in grade school with brown paper to protect them from wear. 
Throughout the years, my Mom and I would come up with more creative solutions like wallpaper and thick wrapping paper. 
It definitely added a bit of style to otherwise drab book covers:).

I still like to cover books, and here is a fun way to spice up a typical school notebook.


I love having something a little out of the ordinary and this simple fabric cover is a great beginner project.
This tutorial is laden with pictures, but the project should only take about 30-40 minutes.

Here is what you will need:


a composition book or other notebook
{I prefer a stiff cardboard cover}

about 1/2 yard of fabric {you won't use it all}

about 1 yard of coordinating ribbon

1/2 yard of lace or trim that is about 2 inches wide
 {mine is off of an old sheet}

needle and thread

hot glue gun


First, cut the fabric you are using at least 1/2 inch wider than your book {as in above picture}.

Now, for the length, you will need to open up your book and overlap the fabric to the inside cover....like the picture below. 
Make sure that the fabric is overlapping 1/2 inch longer than the inside cover.   


See how I am leaving a little room to hem?
You will want to measure and cut accordingly on the back cover.


Next, hem each side.


Using your book as a template, fold long edges down so that they are exactly the width of the notebook.


Press them with an iron.
You will use this as your guide when sewing.


Now, we will attach the ribbon and pencil holder.
Fold the fabric to the inside cover...about where you would want it when finished.


Close the cover and place the ribbon about half way down.
You are going to use it as a tie, so make sure that at least 1/3 of the ribbon is left as a tail to the right of your book.
 I hope this picture gives enough detail.

 Pin the ribbon in place.
Next, sew a spot for your pen or pencil that is exactly 3/4 of an inch wide.
I used blue thread so you could see what it should look like:).
My "pocket" is about 1 inch from the left side of the notebook.


I will show you how to make the little flower at the end:).


Find the center of your fabric and mark it with a pin at top and bottom.


With right sides together, fold sides to the center...leaving about 1/4 inch gap in the center.
Pin, and sew together.
 Use your pressed fold marks as your guide of where to hem.


It should look similar to this photo after you have finished sewing. 
Turn inside out, making sure corners are at a neat angle.
Press with your iron.


Here is the slightly tricky part...inserting your notebook.
Fold your cover in half, so that there are two pocket openings showing.


Close your notebook covers together just like this...



Now, just slip the front and back covers into their slots.


And close your book.
I like this style because it has a really tight fit.



Tie your ribbon around and cut to fit.
Leaving a little more room is better than not having enough.


On to the little lace flower!

Before starting, make sure you have your needle and thread ready.

Take one end of your lace and pinch together a couple of folds, like this: 



It should kind of resemble this on the opposite side.


Hold the back side by pinching fabric together and holding it in place.
I call this the "stem."


Keep slightly folding and pinching fabric together, as you work in a circular motion. 
Around and around until you come to the end of the lace.
There is no right or wrong way to do this....so each flower will look unique!
Just play with it until you have the look you want.
Here is how mine came together...




Your "stem" will get thicker and thicker.



Tuck the end of the lace underneath and fold into the "stem."
Next, while holding the base or stem, run your needle and thread through the center a few times. 
Take the excess thread and circle around the stem.
Tie off in a knot.



The underside doesn't have to be pretty or perfect.
 No one will ever see it!


Hot glue your finished product on your notebook.


This project makes a wonderful gift and is so very simple to make.


Enjoy!


~Julia

I am sharing HERE.

Prayer Journal

I feel this way every January...

like there is a fresh new day ahead of me just waiting for the simple pleasures that life has to offer.


I love the prospect of creating an even better tomorrow for my family and starting down that road to becoming a better person, mother, friend, sister, wife, and daughter.

Too often, though {and I know I am not the only one out there} I start off exuberant and at a running pace in January.
 By March, I am jogging.
 By June, I am slowing down to a walk. 
And by October, I am inching my way at the speed of a slug.


How about you?

So, this year I am determined through the grace of God to change that pattern.
Instead of rushing into things, I am taking baby steps. 


I need simplicity.


I need flexibility and I am determined to be OK with "good enough" and NOT perfection...because, well, I'm not perfect.


I have finally come to the conclusion that as a mother, I need to take small moments to achieve my goals, rather than a whole day.
Spending time with my family and enjoying the blessings everyday are far more important and lasting.

My first goal is to make more time with the Lord.
Only through  Him I can become the solid, content, and loving person I desire to be. 
I want to be His light and a beacon of His love to those who need it most. 
I want my family to be passionate for Christ.

To help me make this goal stick {it takes 21 days to form a habit}, I started a prayer journal.
Every morning I am trying to spend 15 minutes with God and write in that journal, as well as read the Bible and a devotion. 
It is a wonderfully refreshing tool that gives you concrete evidence that


 GOD ANSWERS PRAYER. 




Do you ever pray for something, and then forget to thank God when He answers?


I do. 


I read about the idea years ago from Emilie Barnes. She is one of my favorite authors.
I read through most of her books when I was first married and they really changed my perspective.

Here is what you will need:


a notebook
tab dividers


 That's it!




Each day of the week you have a different topic to pray over. Place tab dividers at each new heading in your notebook and label accordingly:


Monday: Family


Tuesday: Finances 


Wednesday: Friends


Thursday: Husband


Friday: Yourself


Saturday: Country and School


Sunday: Sermon Outlines and Missionaries


Of course, you could totally make up your own topics for each day. 
This is just the outline that I use because I feel it covers everything important in life.


Remember to date you entries and when a prayer is answered write it down!
It is really encouraging to look back at what God has accomplished for you and through your life.


Your journal can be simple or extravagant.
I just covered a Steno notebook in fabric and sewed a pocket for a pen.
It is very simple.



I keep my journal in a pretty basket along with my Bible and favorite devotional books. 
My "prayer basket" rests on my night stand next to our bed.
I wake up and can quietly take it to where I am praying that morning.



I am also praying with the kids before school starts and reading a small devotion with them.
I want them to also begin the habit of putting God first and foremost.
Beginning the day with prayer is a wonderful thing.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


I hope you are all having a great start to the new year!


I have to leave you with a quote from a sweet, sweet person...Anne Marie at
Na-Da Farm Life


She sums up beautifully what it means to live in Christ.







Freedom isn't the ability to do what you want.

Freedom is the ability to do, what you ought to do...

and this year, don't get bogged down with worries and anxieties....enjoy your life!  Have fun! 

But do the right things morally.......what's best for your family.......

leave yourself behind and follow Him with abandonment......He knows the way.......

life can be SO HARD sometimes, but let it go...........

Isn't that wonderful?

Thanks Anne Marie!





~Julia



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