Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Up-cycled Quiet Books for my Twins

Today is a very special day in our home. Today Loty and Nora turn 4 years old. Their day bought the things on their list but I wanted to make them something special, just from Mom. I've been seeing a lot of quiet books in my craft ideas so I decided to make one or two. I'm going to add to them when I get a chance but for now I just have  the one page. It took me about 4 and a half hours to complete these two covers and two pages so I'm figuring about one to two hours per page depending on how involved you are going. These books would also be good for a baby gift, toddler gift, or educational purposes.

What you will need:

card stock
thicker card stock of cereal box front and back
odds and ends from your stash
hot glue gun /or needle and thread
buttons or beads if you want
Velcro (I used whatever I had on the throw out clothes)
helpers if you have them around

Card Stock

cereal box


gluing the material onto the cereal box for the cover
of the boy one

I am using zip ties right now for the binding.
I cut off the extra at the end and put a dab of hot glue on that
to keep it from scratching anyone. but you could use whatever you
want or even glue or sew them in by hand.

The outside of the girl one. I used an old t-shirt that we
didn't ever wear and a mini from another outfit.

Zoi helping me with the details. 

This is the inside of Loty's book. Zach drew the David for me
 and Zoi came up with the idea for what to put on the page.
Here are the smooth stones for Loty to button on to
the buttons. What I did was cut around the button wholes
that I had on an old boys church shirt and Zach colored them with
a brown marker.
This is the inside of Nora's book. sorry the pictures
 did something weird. Zoi drew the girl. We wanted the
girl to have decent underclothes so we drew them to her knees like the old days.
 She even has a crown if you can see it.
a little closer

This little pouch is on the back of the page for holding her

Here are some of her things.  I used some upholstery fabric for two
of the dresses. Then I used an old chip bag for the crown,
shoes and necklace. She even has a sash.

The outside of Loty's book (front).

outside (back)
You can make them with material or with felt but I decided to make mine with recycled materials from the things that we had to throw away or give away. I found that t-shirts work really well for the pages a lot like felt. It is going to be fun adding more as we go.

Page Ideas:

velcro shapes and colors
a barn with animals in it
pond with ducks
peas in a pod

Have you ever made a quiet book?
For instructions on: Making Paper Crowns 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Staying On Top

I struggle to stay on top of my house work. I know you can't believe it but its true. Yesterday, I came across a post that gave me some incentive to think about the house work in a different way. She mentioned that if you stop and think about what exactly is bothering you about your house and then tackle that thing or even just find something that looks really bad and clean that one thing until it looks great then you will see what a great improvement you have made and encourage yourself to go on. Its like fuel for your weariness or gas for your "want to."

Then she had the audacity to post a picture of her refrigerator. She didn't understand that my refrigerator had issues. I mean she hadn't seen that the bottom of my refrigerator was broken and that my husband had taped it together and it really was barely together at all and looked really really nasty because everything in the world had been spilled on it since the last cleaning.

So what did I do about it? Well, of course I started taking out all of the food and was going to wash it down real quick but real quick wasn't happening. So my oldest son Zach found the off switch and we turned it down for a bit while we proceeded to thoroughly clean its walls and floor. Actually, the kids Zach, Nora, Zeke and Zoi cleaned on the sides and bottom and door while I cleaned the drawers and shelves and repaired the bottom area with hot glue so that it would look better and work better too.

Thank you, Imperfect Homemaker, for being my inspiration this week. I think I need inspiration every day. (smile) Thank you God for leading me to this woman's blog, You knew just what I was needing for that hour.

Here is a picture of our refrigerator after the overhaul. We feel like every time that we open the refrigerator an angelic choir sings. It is my happy spot. So white so clean.

The kids said its just like brad new accept it has food in it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Self Cleaning-Glass Jar Aquarium (Post A)

I have finally started working on my glass jar aquarium. I have made use of a pickle jar (half gallon) and I have also improved my children's other bowl aquariums for their rooms. Little by little we will get it all done so I thought that I would spread out the posts so you could watch with me what I am doing.
     First you need to find a 3pc DIAMOND HOLE SAW - CORE DRILL - Set - 1/4" + 5/16" + 3/8" at least that is what I bought from Amazon.com. I bought a set so that I could decide what size I wanted to use and I am glad that I did because the bowl tanks that we have also have air pumps in them and I can go back later and drill a smaller hole for the air hoses.

First find a jar that you want to reuse and make sure it was only used for food or another non-toxic item. Then remove any stickers from the outside of the jar and clean with rubbing alcohol to remove the glue.
Most of these pictures were taken in our bathroom sink but later we decided that the kitchen sink was better because you could more the faucet to where you needed it.

What you will need:

Jar or fish bowl
drill and diamond hole saw bit
filtered water
and tap water (for drilling)
safety glasses (when drilling)
rubber gloves (to guard against glass particles)
kitchen sink
hole to match your drill bit size (hose should be O.D. outside diameter measurements just ask your hardware store)
rocks or decorative tank jewels

Add a towel to the bottom of your sink or basin

Run water over into the sink to collect the small particles of glass that will fly .
(Loty's and Nora's hands inside and out)

We ended up pouring water over the hole (don't put water on the drill itself just the drill bit-it can kill you)  to get it to the right area.  Zeke was glad to help with that.

Tip your drill on its side and make a small dent and then drill straight down
applying a very small amount of pressure. Before long you will go all the way through your glass.
Yeah, our first hole. Lonnie did this one for me.

This is the hole that I made. I decided to fix the bowl fish tanks that my children have on their dressers.
There isn't any cracks at all. It just looks like it because there was a glare. 

Now all they have to do to clean their tanks is to pour filtered water from a cup into the top  and
wait for the dirty water to come out into a cup below. The water that comes out can be used to water your house plants.; its a great fertilizer

You want to put your hose in and secure it before adding your water.

The pickle jar so far.

We are planning on doing some more to the jars. We want to put elbow fittings into the tubes so that they are going straight down. I want to cut of the top of the pickle jars so that they look more like they are made for an aquarium. Then we want to put some smaller holes in the back of the bowl tanks so that the air hoses can be more hidden.

Here is the original version. Mine is more simplistic.

For the next post:

elbow fitting to math the O.D. of the hose
tubes to match the air hose
Drill bit to match the air hoses
Special tool to cut off the top of the pickle jar

Have you ever tried to do something Like this? If you try this please let me know.

For the plastic version of this project- DIY Self Cleaning Aquarium


Friday, September 14, 2012

Update on DIY Self Cleaning Aquarium

Update on Fish tank:

 To clean the sides of the tank just get a little tooth brush and scrub the sides and the straw. This will keep the algae down. Then pour about a quart of water in, little by little, to remove the mess that comes up from stirring up the rocks on the bottom and the algae from the sides. I have three small guppies in the tank and they are happy enough to have birthed a baby while in this tank. I may have to move the baby if it turns out to be a larger guppy but for now it is fun to watch the baby grow.

 Has anyone tried my idea?

Follow the link to read more about this project and how to make your own DIY Self Cleaning Aquarium


Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Sourdough Starter

I was asked just today where my starter recipe was so I thought I woudl respond with another post to tell about that.

Starter recipes are all over the internet and keeping them going is fairly easy. The thing is, you have to keep them at the right temperature and no warmer or bad bacteria will grow and ruin your sourdough starter.

If you see any color of dough besides your dough color that you already have such as green, blue, black on the inside of the jar or the inside top of the lid then you know something went wrong.

You can not leave your starter jar in a temperature above 80 degrees. So that means that you don't want to set your thermostat close to 80 because that will be living dangerously. Or if you do make sure that you are intermittently putting your sourdough into the refrigerator to cool. It hard for me to do this because its good to have your sourdough up to room temperature before you add it to your recipes and I use it almost every day. So I try to keep my thermostat between 75-77 degrees, so that I can keep it on the counter top. If for some reason I have it warmer I will refrigerate. Also it matters where you keep it on the counter top. Do not keep it next to your stove. The heat may kill it there as well.

Sourdough Starter:

1 cup of white wheat flour
1 cup of water
1 tsp of apple cider vinegar

Add equal amounts of flour and water every 8 to 12 hours until it is bubbly (in my house that is about 3 days)
Make sure that you have fed (added to) your starter 3 times in these 8-12 hour periods before you use your starter. I usually just add a table spoon or so of each flour and water after the first cup. There will be a little extra water or hooch they call it above your starter and you can just mix that in or pour it off as you choose it is healthy and won't hurt your starter at all. It is the alcohol that is produced from the fermentation and cooks out during baking.

I hope this answers all of your Sourdough questions. I am no expert but I want to share what I know.

Have you ever made sourdough starter on you own?

Here is another recipe I have used before with success, How to make Sourdough from Scratch.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Overnight Sourdough Bread

Overnight Sourdough Bread (2 loaves)

 7 cups of white whole wheat Flour or the flour of your choice
 1/2 tsp. yeast 1/2 cup to cup of sourdough starter (depending on how sour you
 want the taste)
 2 tsp. salt
 filtered water (sourdough can't live in chlorinated water)


1. Add filtered water until dough ball forms and is sticky but not watery into a large bowl maybe extra large         I used a really large plastic chip bowl
2. Leave overnight to sour with plastic wrap over the top of your bowl.
3. Pour half of the mixture out onto a floured surface. Flour top of dough and fold one time on each side.
4. Place your oiled bread pan right beside your dough and get under your blob of dough with your hands and drop it into your pan it may look funny and feel funny but that's o.k. the kids will like handling it.
5. If your dough has risen really good and is already even or higher than your pan then go ahead and bake if not you can warm your oven and cover your bread with plastic wrap and leave near your oven to rise.
6. Bake when the bread is even with the top of your pan or higher on 350 for 45 minutes or until your fork comes out clean. Allow to cool and cut into slices. Add some butter or cheese etc. and enjoy!

I'm just curious, has anyone been helped with their health problems with sourdough bread? We have. Sourdough is great for keeping eczema at bay.


School and Life All Mixed Together

Our schedule for school in the evenings is going pretty good and Daddy is working hard on his brilliant new chore chart system. I was so proud that he brain stormed, came up with this idea and started making it happen. Our house is slowly getting back to where it needs to be organizationally. The dogs are back outside except at night I finally got the shorter tie out for a large dog from Amazon.com Hannah was alright inside for a little bit and then she began to get stir crazy. Petmate 1700-Pound Break Strength Tieout Cable, 10-Feet

 I have now scheduled to have the boys spend 15 minutes each with Hannah playing with her. Then I have Zena love on Lyle the Kindly Dogling because she loves him the most. I have learned that we switch field trip days when we have a, Home School Library book club day, we do that once a month at the beginning of the month at 2pm in the afternoon. Therefore, we make up the school day on Friday and skip that weeks field trip. Things are poppin all around us. My dear husband was able to preach at church last night and I felt compelled to primp up the girls into little processes and a queen (Nora likes to be a queen NOT a princess) Here are the pictures I wanted to share with you.

Sleeping Princess Zoi 

Zena Princess

Almost done

My wonderful husband at work

Nora the Queen 
What about you? Have you settled on a workable schedule? If not, don't be afraid to try different ways of arranging your day. Ask God where and how and when things are to happen and He will guide you. If you need help from your husband ask God for that too! I did and look what God has given to me:) God is so good. Just try him. Maybe you don't have a husband to depend on. Here is a great article about Single Mom Homeschooling.   God knows who you are and He knows your heart to teach your children at home.  Reach out to God and He will show you the way!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Laundry Basket to a Trash Can

Today I was looking into how much it would cost to buy a large trash can the size of my laundry basket that I have been using because I needed a lid on the basket I have because we have had out big dog in the house and she has decided to check out everything that we put into the trash. Then of course she doesn't return anything back to the trash can and I have to do it and dirty my hands.

$9 trash cans

fitted with card stock

all done!

This is what I found while looking. Very expensive trash cans, $50 and up. I even found one that must have been a work of art for over a thousand dollars. So I went back to the plastic laundry basket. I went out and bought the cheapest tall standing basket that I could find with a lid. Then I took some card stock and covered the inside holes so that nothing would catch when I removed the trash bag. It was great only about $10 total project done.

Ideas for keeping it fresh:

tape dryer sheets to the lid
install a  air freshener  to the lid.
here are some different ones that I found AIR WICK Stick-Ups Air Freshener: Fresh Waters,
Munchkin Arm and Hammer Nursery Fresheners, 5 Pack,  

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