Thankful Thursday: Free Patterns

Thankful Thursday: Free Patterns

Lately, my pregnancy induced insomnia has been teaming up with my crafters obsession to create some late night sewing parties.  I mean ‘crawling into bed at 2am and still not being tired’ type of insomnia.  I’ve had a couple of those nights recently and have decided that I may as well make the most out of them and get going on sewing up a few new pieces for Junebug’s wardrobe.

Currently, I’m compulsively combing through the blogs of some awesome designers with some SUPER cute little girls and some SUPER cute sewing patterns and tutorials.  These designers have patterns for sale as well as FREE PATTERNS!

I have to admit, I LOVE free stuff. Love it. Free patterns make my heart all fluttery and ok, seriously, it may be a problem.  These ladies are enabling me.

BUT SERIOUSLY.  When your kiddo gets excited when there are new clothes for her to wear in the morning, and says “Oh my goodness” in her sweet little voice and twirls around in her little dresses….. you cant help but to want to keep getting different fabrics and patterns and sewing until the wee hours of the night.

Junebug and I did a photo shoot yesterday with her newest pieces.  She’s just so proud of them, and so am I!  I’ve never been a pattern follower (for knitting or for sewing)… things just magically somehow came together when I would wing it.  But these free patterns and tutorials have been a lifesaver.  There’s very little guesswork involved (unless it’s a self drafted pattern- which I haven’t attempted yet) and they turn out sooooooo perfectly because their instructions are AWESOME.

So this Thankful Thursday, I’m thankful for the ladies that have put in their time and effort to provide these tutorials and patterns for us crafty mommas who love to sew for their littles.

Check out these amazing ladies!

http://shwinandshwin.com/

http://www.craftinessisnotoptional.com/

http://www.livingwithpunks.com/category/tutorials/for-girls/

Here are some photos from our little photo shoot.  Obviously not professional level by any means of the imagination, but at least they were done one a REAL camera, not with my nonfunctional cell phone camera! (Seriously, I have to stop dropping my phone. I swear that’s the problem)

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I do apologize for the fact that some photos are sideways, as they weren’t edited before I put them up due to trying to beat the nap clock.  I will try to do edits tonight after Junebug goes to bed.  By the way, the pink dress…. Yeah, it’s a JUNEBUG dress.  That’s literally the name of the dress.  How appropriate!?  She’s likely going to wear that dress to our family reunion this weekend, unless I have another insomnia/craft obsessed night before Saturday and whip up a cute little sundress out of this super cute hawaiian print pillow case my aunt found for me.  I think that’d be fun.  Great, now I’ve just given my evening away 😉

Toddler Tuesday: A Peek Into Tot School

Toddler Tuesday: A Peek Into Tot School

Yes, I’m aware it’s Wednesday (surprisingly 😉 )  However, hubby needed the computer last night to do homework, so that trumped blogging in my book.  Plus, I got to sew, so I’m not complaining at all!

I FINALLY got fresh batteries into my good camera (it’s about time) and took some shots of what we’re up to this week for Tot School.  We’re learning about farms, and Junebug is totally a fan!

Our current Tot Trays include: Cow Lacing Card (Dollar Tree), 4 piece cow puzzle, C is for Cow coloring sheet, Farm Nomenclature Card Matching, Clean and Dirty Animal Sorting and Size Sorting Animals.  We have a sensory bowl set up with dried black eyed peas, a shovel and Little People farm animals.

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Here’s a few photos of Junebug playing with some Tot Trays and her Sensory bowl.  She LOVES doing the Nomenclature card matching.  She’s getting really good at matching things on the first try, which is awesome!  The sensory bowl was also a hit (until she started dumping the dried peas all over the floor) and was “feeding” the animals “num num num”.  So sweet!

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Here is what our current set up looks like (minus the artwork, since she hadn’t done any yet at the time that we had taken photos).  We have our new alphabet and weather charts up.  We love the new weather chart!  The printable that we had been using for a couple weeks was just a photo of the weather, was tiny hand was hard for Junebug to participate with.  I’ll store that one away for later on when she’s a bit older.  This one goes really well with our weather song, since she can see the letters as we’re spelling out what the weather for the day is.  I wish it were in lower case letters, but beggars cant be choosers, especially since it came from the dollar section at Target 😛

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We received our Catholic ABC’s curriculum in the mail this morning and Junebug was ALL about it.  We were outside playing and she snatched the book from me, plopped down in the grass and started reading to me about Jesus.  Apparently she’s going to be in charge of the Catholic portion of Tot School 😉  Tentatively, the plan is to cut out themed calendar time and art activities for Mondays and replace it with the Catholic ABC’s curriculum, since Mass will be fresh on her mind from the day before.  I then plan to incorporate parts of the Catholic ABC curriculum into our normal Tot School schedule.

How do you incorporate religion into your tot’s daily schedule?

Xoxo Megan and Junebug!

Thankful Thursday: Helpful Hubby and Target Visit

Thankful Thursday: Helpful Hubby and Target Visit

Hubby has been taking classes towards a safety degree for work. He also has been shooting with an archery league after work some days. He’s a busy guy… Leaving for work around 5am and coming home after 5… He’s such a rock star at helping me with the cleaning when he’s home 🙂

I’m so grateful for his help, especially while I’m pregnant. Days get long, backs and bellies get sore, toddlers don’t cooperate… So having help is so nice 🙂

On another note, for those of you who are doing home school or tot school, the dollar section at Target is a goldmine for school stuff right now! Calendars, posters, weather charts, pocket charts…. I had to control myself, the excitement of a new selection, especially school stuff, was just what I needed after a hard week.

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We ended up getting an alphabet chart, a weather chart, flag flashcards, kinetic sand and burlap letter stickers to use for practicing letters. I’m pretty pumped cause I’ve been looking for an alphabet chart at every Dollar Tree I can find when I’m out and about with Junebug 🙂

I’m excited to try out the kinetic sand with Junebug, especially since its beach week! She was awesome at the doctor visit today so I got her a special treat 🙂

Xoxo Megan

Toddler Tuesday: Catholic Icing

Toddler Tuesday: Catholic Icing

While setting up Tot School for Junebug, I’ve been trying to incorporate religious materials, activities and prayer into our daily schedule.  One visit home, my sister in law told me about a website called Catholic Icing, that she had heard that some of her Catholic mom friends use to find fun ideas for their kiddos.  (Catholic Icing Website)

Turns out, they have a curriculum book that follows the liturgical year and includes songs, art projects and activities.  I talked to hubby and we decided to take the plunge and make our first official home school purchase.  Today, weeks later, I finally have actually made the purchase and we should receive our new curriculum in 1-2 weeks.

My plan is to continue planning as I have been, picking up on Junebug’s interests or relating our week of study to something that we have recently done (ie- we spent the 4th of July on a beach, so this week is Beach Week).  I then plan to incorporate projects from the Catholic ABC’s curriculum into our weekly lesson plans so that she’s getting religious education in there too.

Right now, we start our calendar time with our Prayer Sticks (Spiritual Sunday: Prayer Sticks and Theology of the Body) and if we’re lucky, one of our printable packs for Tot Trays will have come from a Christian blogger and will have a scripture excerpt that can be printed out with cute little graphics that match the theme for the week.  The blog 1+1+1=1 (1+1+1=1 Website) has been a good place to find these.  Junebug loves them and has been asking me to repeat the scripture multiple times before moving on to a different part of calendar time.  We’ve been putting these into protective sleeves and taping them up on our calendar board.

I’ve been searching for my camera cord and still haven’t found it… so it looks like today is the day I bite the bullet and go out and buy AA batteries to go in my BIG camera so that I can take nice pictures for my posts again, vs making all of you suffer through the dark, shadowy, weird line through the picture, images that my cell phone has been taking lately.  I’ve been trying to document all of the tot trays I put together for each theme we do so that I can share what we’ve been up to during our new adventure with Tot School.  Since we don’t have a full weekend planned out for this weekend, I’m hoping to get a Frugal Friday post up about some of the purchases I’ve made lately for Tot School so you guys can get a feel for the materials we’ve been working with 🙂  Tot School doesn’t have to be expensive!

Back to my cleaning list I go!

xoxo Megan and Junebug

Thankful Thursday: Family and Friends

Thankful Thursday: Family and Friends

It’s been far too long… again…

Summer is so incredibly busy for us and I actually forgot I had a blog.  Mommy brain? Pregnancy brain? Summer brain? (one of those has to be a legit reason lol)

After spending 5 months in a new town in winter, I was starting to get homesick for the life our little family had left behind. I still miss things, like the convenience of going shopping and not having to drive a half hour to get places, having my friend, Kelly, live 5 blocks away and going on summer walks with her, the whoosh of the highway in my backyard (yes, I know, I’m crazy… it’s like a white noise machine for me after growing up with it)

I’ve welcomed summer and what feels like a new life here in our new town.  I’ve been seeing my new friends more frequently and I feel like there is something going on every. single. weekend.  (Which is good and bad I guess)

A lot of our summer craziness has been spent with family and friends- Junebug’s second birthday, camping on the weekend, festivals, etc.  I’m definitely thankful for that!  We may feel a little stretched and sometimes come out of a weekend wondering if we got to relax at all, but seeing family and friends on a more regular basis has been good for me.  I think Junebug is definitely soaking it up.

So, I’m sorry if I’m gone more frequently… I’ll try to be better!

If I’m don’t, well, have a great summer! 🙂

xoxo Megan

Make It Monday: Big Girl Room Decor

Make It Monday: Big Girl Room Decor

We never have really decorated Junebug’s bedroom. Mainly because we have been moving around and haven’t truly settled into a home. This is our third home since Junebug’s birth nearly 2 years ago. Since I seem to be nesting on and off I decided to take advantage and make some decor for Junebug’s bedroom. The piece I’m sharing today is the only one I’ve gotten completed, although I still need to get a photo frame and a newborn photo of Junebug’s to complete the project in its entirety.

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I found a cute nursery photo that I’m using for inspiration for Junebug’s room (and will add coordinating decor for the new baby should we end up putting them in the same room).

I saw in the photo a cute wall display using the baby’s initial and newborn photos in coordinating frames. I picked up a letter C and some lilac colored acrylic paint at Walmart and got started.

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I found a matching scrapbook paper and gathered my materials.

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I painted the edge of the letter with the lilac paint.

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I applied a thin layer of mod podge and laid it on the white side of the scrapbook paper.

I carefully cut around the letter using an xacto knife.

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After flipping it over, I added another thin layer of mod podge to the top, to protect the paper from wear.

I plan on painting a plain frame with the lilac acrylic paint and putting one of Junebug’s tutu newborn photos in the frame and then hanging them on the wall together. She wore a purple tutu in her newborn photos so that’s what I’m basing her “color” off of. I have a pink tutu made for Pumpkin if baby is a girl, so I will do pink decor and a pink letter for a girl. A boy will get a teal frame and wear a onesie with a teal tie or suspenders added to it for newborn photos.

The goal is to make super chic princessy type decor for Junebug. She is all about princesses, but I don’t really want to put actual characters in there so her room can grow with her. I can’t wait to make more decor and actually put things up in her room! 🙂

Xoxo Megan

Toddler Tuesday: Tot School

Toddler Tuesday: Tot School

Hi friends,  as I mentioned last week, I’ve been placing my focus on Tot School set up in the past couple weeks, so I’ve been less active here on Life’s Tiny Graces.  I hope you haven’t missed me too much!  If you did, here’s a LONG post to make up for my absence! 😛

When hubby and I first started dating, he mentioned that he wanted to possibly do home school with his children.  When we got engaged, and I joined Pinterest, I started looking further into the concept of home schooling and what that would mean for me and for our family.  I came across a term I’d never heard of before and pinned a few things on it to go back and look at later.  This term came back up recently while I was looking for activities to use with Junebug (24 months old).  The term was Tot School.  Being a former daycare teacher, I liked what I was seeing and decided to give it a shot with Junebug and see how she liked it.  I’ve been following the blog 1+1+1=1 for a lot of my ideas and to learn more about Tot School, since she and her kiddos were the ones to coin the term.  http://www.1plus1plus1equals1.net/  She’s got a TON of awesome information and a bunch of great printables that I’ve been using to get our Tot School running.

So far we’ve done a full planned out week (Pond Theme) and she loved it!

Since Junebug has shown a TON of interest lately in babies, I thought a Baby/ Baby Animal Theme would be perfect to study next.  Here are some of the activities that we played with over the weekend!  We hadn’t even officially started the week and she was head over heels for all the new stuff we had out!  We’re pretty relaxed about Tot School, and since it’s not really about teaching, per say, as it’s about learning through purposeful play, I think that’s perfect.  We are pretty intentional about doing calendar time in the morning and talking about the weather, but Junebug finds that fun, so we have incorporated it into our day.

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(Yes, she’s in her Elmo jammies for these pictures- she couldn’t wait to jump in and play and I wanted to try to get a photo of the first time she played with each of the Tot Trays)

Junebug had a blast coloring in the tracing sheet.  At nearly 2, she isn’t quite ready to trace letters, so she just free colored the sheet, which is absolutely perfect.  I told her what it said (A is for animals) and which animals were featured on the sheet and that was perfect for her interest level.  She loved matching the baby animal cards to the ones on her Tot Tray.  She got a bit frustrated because the pieces kept sliding around, so I ended up putting some magnets on the back this morning and she was much happier with it the second time around.  I love her focus and curiosity about which animals were on the cards.  The third activity I definitely had to help her with, but she was super excited about it and wanted to do it again.  It’s hard to tell from the photo, since they’re all together, but this is a set of two piece puzzles with an adult and baby animal to match.  I purchased this a few years ago when I was putting together my teaching week for my Early Childhood Education classes.  It’s got several different matches, but I pulled out the pairs I thought she’d be most interested in and can pull out more pairs as the week goes on to keep that Tot Tray interesting.

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Here are some of the other activities and Tot Trays we have out right now.  As I mentioned yesterday, Junebug’s Gramma B got her a set of baby doll sized baby items which included this little car seat and bounce chair.  Junebug had both her babies in them and enjoyed sharing them with her friend that came over to play yesterday.  It’s so much fun watching her share and take turns.  I’m hopeful that she’ll be a great big sister once Pumpkin comes!  The bottle Tot Tray is by far her favorite Tot Tray yet.  She loves scooping the little bottle toys into the real bottle and then dumping them back into the bowl.  She played with this for quite a while over the weekend and has gone back to play with it several times.  Junebug has enjoyed matching the babies with the adults with the table top game.  She thought they were super fun because they’re on popsicle sticks.  She loved looking through her newborn photos and identifying Momma and Dada and herself 🙂  In my “lesson plan” I have a shape and color for the week. This week is the color red and the heart shape. The last Tot Tray is a one to one correspondence exercise where Junebug scoops one heart shape into each section of the ice cube tray. Junebug has been favoring using her fingers for this type of activity. I think its easier for her to control how many pieces she gets this way.

I have other Tot Tray ideas for this week’s theme and will pull them out if Junebug happens to lose interest in any of the activities that are on her school shelves.

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This is our current Tot School set up in Junebug’s playroom. I used a shoe rack that I purchased at a rummage sale for the shelf.  I keep our current themed books in the blue basket and have the color and shape of the week taped up behind the shelf.  Any artwork for the week is displayed behind the shelf.

I’ve been working with Junebug on how to use the Tot Trays (picking up the whole tray, keeping the pieces together, cleaning up and putting it back on the shelf when she’s finished playing) and reminding her which books need to stay in the blue basket.  She’s been really good at remembering for the most part, but I sometimes find little bottles and plastic hearts in funny places around her playroom 🙂  We’ve also been working on making sure she remembers that the top shelf of the tall bookshelf next to her school shelves is for Momma’s stuff.  I store art supplies that I don’t necessarily want her to have full access to, theme planning binders and my lesson plan book up on that shelf so it’s handy if I have a free moment in the day to plan.

I picked up some spray paint that is close in color to the basket and plan on spray painting all of the metal trays at some point.  It’s been pretty rainy lately and whenever I happen to think of it when I have time, it happens to be raining.  I’ll get them done eventually.  Right now it makes it easy to clean if Junebug happens to color off of her sheets.

We’re having a ton of fun learning about Tot School and exploring how our own set up is working for our own little school.  I cant wait to see how it continues!

xoxo Megan and Junebug