Art from Recyclables

We have a saying in our home: “We don’t play with garbage.” Generally speaking, this applies to everything – paper trash, cans, “real” garbage, and anything in between. Around Christmastime, though, the older boys started turning paperboard boxes (think cereal) into sculptures. Munchkin started this trend with several models of the Eiffel Tower. He gifted some of them to neighbors, attached a piece of  yarn to the top of one to put on our tree as an ornament, and made a bigger one for Will’s home office. (Somehow, I’m missing pictures of the Eiffel Towers, unfortunately.)

Then Seahawk got in on the game. He made a model of the Space Needle, which now resides in his dad’s office as well.

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Finally, Munchkin made one of Big Ben.

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Since they finished the famous landmarks, they’ve moved on to making other things – primarily Star Wars ships (that’s what I’m told they are, anyway; not being into Star Wars, I don’t really know). They’ve purchased aluminum foil to make their creations “shiny,” and even though it’s messy, I like seeing their finished products.

They’ve done a really nice job with these sculptures. It’s really neat to see their creativity flow so well.

Blessings,

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Picture of the Week: Snow Ballet

It’s not actually snowy where we live anymore, but these pictures show a really fun time that Small Fry and I had back when it was white. We’d just finished building a snowman together, and he wanted to practice some of the ballet moves that Seahawk had taught him (before he’d started taking his own class, which began in mid-January). It ended up looking like he was just doing jumping jacks. But he was having a blast, and that’s the most important thing!

Snow Ballet

Have a great weekend.

Blessings,

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Review and Giveaway: The Garden by Kari Jobe

I’m not a huge music person, but I knew that when this opportunity came up, my husband would be very interested – he’s a huge fan of Kari Jobe. I was right, and since this is more his forte than mine, I’m going to let him take over the official review portion of this post. First, though, allow me to give a bit of background.

The Garden by Kari Jobe CD Review and Giveaway #flyby #thegarden

(From the vendor)
Grammy nominated Kari Jobe is the premiere female worship leader in Christian music. Coming off her last live album, Majestic, which featured the worship anthem Forever and radio hit I Am Not Alone, Kari Jobe has returned to the studio to record her new album, The Garden, full of brand new worship anthems for the church and for personal reflection. Finding inspiration from life’s joys and hardships, Kari leans into the firm foundation of Christ through it all.

And now, here is Will’s review.

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As Wendy mentioned, I was excited for the chance to get an early copy of the new Kari Jobe record. I’d first come across Kari Job after watching a Michael W. Smith video, and I liked a duet they did so much, I purchased his Sovereign album on vinyl, gave it to my dad, and purchased myself a second copy. While I work, I often run YouTube playlists of her Majestic live shows in the background and I purchased the Majestic Revisited album, which also gets steady play. It’s a tragedy that she hasn’t had a vinyl release yet. I’d be first in line.

This record is very different from Majestic Revisited in tone. I put this one in my player the moment it arrived, and listened straight through, then went back and listened again while reading the liner notes. This album is a lot more lush than the last album, but also a lot more subdued feeling. When I read the liner notes, I understood why:

The Garden is written from a place of lament. Kari Jobe writes that the album was crafted during a season of heartache and that the purpose of the new material is to shine a light on God’s goodness in our moments of despair.

This is unusual in modern Christian pop music, which tends to shy away from lament and focus on more radio friendly themes. Michael Card has commented on this as he notes that much of the scriptures are laments, and he wonders why Christian music neglects this. He’s not the only one to point this out. Fivethirtyeight.com did a complete breakdown on the blissful tenor of most Christian music which was eye-opening for me. Sometimes you don’t notice things until someone points them out for you.

Christian music used to have more laments. Rich Mullins would sing of the bittersweet nature of life and heartbreak. Keith Green would often sing of trials and sadness, especially of those he loved who shied away from God. Twila Paris’ Warrior is a Child comes to mind as another example.

These days it’s not as common.

So, from that side of things, I think the album serves an important purpose in the current music scene. But, with that in mind, it’s not a happy sounding album. If you’re looking for a pop album full of catchy songs, this is not going to do it for you. It’s not that kind of album. It has a lot of beautiful instrumentation, and Kari does a great job with the vocals. From what I’ve seen of her live shows, I can imagine that the road show will be amazing. She knows just how to stage things to really connect with certain emotions. But, these songs are not your traditional pop fare. It’s epic feeling, but there’s not a lot of hooks going on. These songs won’t get stuck in your head.

Some art (books, movies, music) catches your attention immediately. Others take a bit to get into and fully appreciate. But, sometimes, the investment pays off and you find that they become your favorites and become part of you in a way that most things never can.

This album has that potential.

If you’re looking for something a little more mature, and different than your typical Top 40 fare, put this one on. Give it more than a surface listen. Keep it in your player for awhile. The album is about The Garden. Give it time to grow.

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If you’re interested in having your very own copy of this CD, enter the giveaway below. The only requirement is to enter your email address (for contact purposes; I’ll never add you to any lists). The other options are for bonus entries only.

Blessings,

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Legal stuff:

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Specific Links for this album:

Book Club: Beric the Briton

Book Club with Lori

Regrettably, I didn’t read this book. I gave it a try, but I just couldn’t get into it; it wasn’t my style at all. I encourage you to head over to Lori’s blog and read her thoughts, though.

For the March edition, we will be doing “freestyle,” meaning that Lori and I won’t be reading the same book. I’m going to be reading The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, which Lori decided was too intense for her. I’m not sure what she’ll be reading. In April, we’ll be posting about John Grisham’s new book, The Whistler.

Happy Weekend!

Blessings,

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The Liebster Award

Have you heard of this? It’s a blog award that one blogger can give to another one, and my friend Wren, who blogs with her sister at Finch ‘N Wren, has bestowed this honor upon my lowly little blog here. Wren and I were members on the Homeschool Review Crew for three years (she’s moved on to other things for 2017), and she is nothing short of a delight. I hope you’ll head over to her blog and check it out.

So what does it all mean? Just that Wren thought I was deserving to be recognized. That might not sound like a big deal, but it feels like quite the honor to me, and I truly appreciate being thought of for this award. As part of the award, I’m supposed to answer some questions here on my blog, and then I get to nominate other bloggers for the award. I’ll start with the questions and move on to the nominations at the end 🙂

Do you have pets?

No. Previously in our marriage, we’ve had cats, frogs, and fish, but never more than one at a time. For now, Will and I have decided that we’d rather have children than pets, though.

If you could do one thing over from your past, with the knowledge you have now, what would it be? 

This is hard because I feel like I’ve had a pretty good life. I can think of two things, one pretty serious and one that falls more into the “fun” category.

Fun: I wish I’d learned to knit long before I did. I only learned this craft 10 months ago, and it’s by far my very favorite thing to do, hobby-wise.

Serious: As a teenager, I would’ve been nicer to my dad. My parents divorced when I was small (5), and we did whole “visiting every other weekend” thing with my dad. As I aged, I started visiting him less and less often. Now that I’m an adult, I can see that the way he behaved was simply the only way he knew to show his love, and I didn’t fully appreciate it or him. Seeing him as a grandfather to my boys has been really rewarding, and I wish I’d had the wisdom to treat him better when I was younger.

What are your three favorite comfort foods?

Mashed potatoes, beef roast (not pot roast, though), and pizza

Do you prefer ebooks or regular books?

Ebooks, so long as I can read them on my Kindle. If they’re just PDFs that have to be read on the computer, then regular books. And I know that this is an unpopular choice, but allow me to explain. I do most of my reading while lying in bed at night or nursing a baby, so it’s easier to read if I can hold the book (or “book” as the case may be) in one hand rather than having the weight of a traditional book to deal with.

The exception is children’s books. Those should always be printed.

What is your favorite piece of jewelry and why?

My wedding ring for what I hope are obvious reasons 😉

What is your number one tip to make the mornings easier?

Go to bed early enough that you can get up before your children. I find it ideal to have some kid-free time in the evening with my husband and some truly alone time in the morning while everyone else is still asleep.

Also: cereal for breakfast. We need to be fed, but that doesn’t mean a complicated meal every morning. Quick and easy keeps things moving smoothly.

How did you choose your blog name?

I wanted something that was more about “me” than about a specific genre of blog. I don’t fit into a mold – I write what’s on my mind. My blog is about my family, not a certain niche, so I didn’t want a name that would force me into writing things that I wasn’t passionate about. I spent months trying to come up with something, and the only thing I could I liked was “Ladybug Dreams.” That, however, was taken (though not be an active blogger), so I tried to come up with other things I liked as well and failed. I finally mentioned to my husband my “problem,” and he came up with making it Daydreams instead of Dreams. That was available, so we jumped on it.

Fun fact: if you type in “ladybugdaydream.com” or “ladybugdream.com” you’ll find me. My husband was insistent that we buy all the related URLs we could think of (that were available) to make it as easy as possible for people to find me.

What made you decide to homeschool? 

This was something my husband and I talked about way before we even had kids. Other choices were never an option for us; we knew that we were going to have kids, and we wanted to raise them ourselves, not send them away to day care or public school. We had them because we wanted to be around them, and homeschooling was the best way to assure that connection.

Do you do meal planning by the week or month? Or not at all?

Usually weekly, but sometimes I’ll do 10 days at a time. It all depends on how the budget is lining up. When I meal plan, though, I don’t do a “Monday we’ll eat this, and Tuesday it will be that.” I make a list of 7 lunches and 7 dinners, and buy the foods we’ll need to prepare those meals. Then when it’s meal time, I cook whatever sounds good from the list. This method works really well for us because I’m able to budget the food dollars, but we’re also not stuck in a “the menu says meatloaf but I’d really rather eat fried chicken” situation.

Do you have a favorite book or movie that you just can’t imagine never reading or seeing again?

Book, not that I can think of offhand. My favorite author is John Grisham. I never miss any of his books, but I don’t have a specific favorite. Movies, there are a couple. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the Gene Wilder one) and The Wizard of Oz come to mind. Also the Harry Potter series, but I don’t watch those very often anyway. I might miss them if they were gone, though. Same with Twilight.

5 Random Facts about Me

  • I don’t wear pants. In fact, I don’t even own any pants except for my pajamas (and I do wear those).
  • I’m surrounded by males. Besides my husband and four sons, I have two brothers (no sisters) and three father figures (dad, stepdad, and father-in-law).
  • My beverage of choice is distilled water. I buy it in one-gallon jugs. I’d consider tap water except our town has hard water and it’s gross to drink.
  • My preferred way of planning is with a monthly calendar. I have a regular sized one on the wall in the kitchen and a small one on my desk near the computer. This keeps me on track for things like reviews I have to write here on the blog and all of our family’s appointments.
  • I have small feet. My shoe size is 6.5.

Paying it Forward

As I mentioned earlier in this post, part of this award is to pass it on to other bloggers. I contacted several that I thought would be deserving, but it’s been several weeks and only one replied, so I’m going to move forward with just the one honor. I’m honoring my friend Annette, who blogs at A Net In Time. She’s on the Homeschool Review Crew with me, and is always very encouraging to the other homeschool moms on our private forum. She’s a fellow boy mom, but she has just one son. Her blog is a wonderful place full of reviews, faith based posts (hymn studies, poems, devotionals, and more), and their adventures in homeschooling. I’m thrilled to be able to honor her with this award.

Thanks again to Wren for thinking of me for this award. Please make sure to visit both her and Annette when you leave here.

Blessings,

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Pie Crust Cookies

Pie Crust Cookies Ladybug Daydreams

When I make pie crust from scratch, I always end up with scraps that aren’t really good for anything, but they seem like too much to just throw away. I came up with this easy treat to solve that problem, and my kids absolutely love these “cookies”! Simply cut the extra dough into pieces – you can use cookie cutters, but I don’t bother; I just run a pizza cutter over it to get unusually shaped squares. Then sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar and bake for about 10 minutes at 425.

Enjoy!

Blessings,

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Easy Knitted Teething Ring

When you have a baby, teething is just a fact of life. There are loads of commercial teething toys you can buy in all different sizes, shapes, and colors. You can get the kind that are filled with water and kept in the fridge, or just some that are textured for babies to chew on. When Dragonfly was teething as a young baby, I was in the middle of making cotton washcloths. The skeins of cotton yarn didn’t work out to all get used up evenly for the washcloths, so I decided to use some of the extra to make teething rings. It was really easy; here’s how I did it.

Teething Ring ~ Easy Knit Pattern

Make an “I-cord” (instructions to follow) in whatever width and length you like, then sew the two ends together to make a ring shape.

In case you’re not familiar with an “I-cord,” this is a technique developed by knitting master Elizabeth Zimmermann, and it creates a wonderful cord that you can use for a plethora of things – as a belt for a cardigan, as a drawstring inside any garment that requires one, or as I’m demonstrating today, as a teething ring for baby, among many other things.

The phrase I-cord is short for Idiot Cord because Mrs. Zimmermann thought that any “idiot” who knows how to knit would be able to make one. All you need is some yarn and two double pointed needles (DPNs). The technique is very easy: cast on your desired number of stitches, slide the stitches to the other end of the DPN, knit across, slide down, knit across, and repeat the sliding and knitting until your cord is the desired length. The sliding (rather than turning the work) requires you to pull the yarn across the back of the work, and as you continue to add to your cord, this pulls it closed into the cord shape. What you end up with is a round piece of knitting that is stockinette on all sides. It’s very attractive, and very easy to work.

For my teething rings, I used 100% cotton yarn. This is what I use for washcloths, and it works really well for the teething rings for a few reasons. First, cotton yarn has very little stretch. There’s virtually none, actually. This means that the ring maintains its shape. Second, it freezes and thaws well, which is really important for a teething ring. Finally, because it’s an all-natural fiber, you don’t have to worry about your baby putting it in his mouth. And if you use organic cotton yarn, even better.

So, what you do is create an I-cord using your desired number of stitches on whichever size needles you like. I used four stitches on a size 8 needle, but there’s really no right answer here. Find a size needle you’re comfortable with (remembering that bigger needles will make bigger stitches and vice versa) and make your I-cord any thickness you like by adjusting the number of stitches you cast on. Make your I-cord at least 8-10 inches long. Longer will give you a bigger circle; shorter, a smaller one. When it’s a length you like, bind off, knot your yarn leaving a long tail, and then use that tail to sew the two ends together. Wash your new teething ring, then get it nice and wet and stick it in the freezer. If you make several of these, you’ll always be ready to offer one to your baby when his poor gums need it. They thaw quickly, but even the texture seems to help babies, so that’s okay.

Blessings,

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Picture of the Week: Sweaters for Elephants

I came across this article earlier in the week, and it was something I definitely wanted to share because elephants are my absolute favorite animals. So for Picture of the Week this week, I’m sharing something that’s not about our family…

India is going through quite the cold snap, and one of the elephant refuges is concerned about their charges. To combat the cold, they’ve enlisted the help of some local ladies to knit giant sweaters for the elephants. What a cool thing to do!!

 

There are even more pictures, as well as good information, in the article I linked above. I encourage you to check it out.

Blessings,

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Knitted Christmas Sweaters

It’s a little deceiving to call them “Christmas sweaters,” because they’re not designed in a Christmas motif. But they are sweaters that I knitted for Christmas gifts, so I’ll stick with Christmas sweaters.

A lot of these pictures are straight from my Instagram account, so if you follow me there, you may have seen these already. But I want to share them here as well.

For almost all of them, I used the same basic pattern (Flax by Tin Can Knits). I made some changes to several of them, though, for a couple of reasons. First, I wanted to add some interest for myself as the knitter. I didn’t want to knit the same exact pattern a billion times in just a few short weeks. Second, I wanted the siblings receiving the sweaters to not have them be identical (except for the color), so I made minor modifications so each one would be unique.

Here are my projects:

flax-for-dad

This brown one was made for my dad. It was the first one I made, so I followed the pattern exactly as written. It’s an adult size S/M, and I used 5 hanks of yarn, each one of which was 100 grams. I had a little bit left over, so it didn’t use up the full 500 grams. Because Seahawk is about the same size as my dad, I had him be my model and “tryer-onner.”

flax-green-fair-isle

This green sweater was my first foray into fair isle knitting. I’d knitted three of the sweaters “plain” by this point, so I was ready for something a bit more challenging. The size for this sweater (a 6/8, for my 6-year-old nephew) had the exact same stitch multiple as the Color My Cowl pattern from Very Pink Knits, so I decided to put that pattern into the middle of the sweater. I think this was a really good introduction to fair isle knitting, and I’m really pleased with the results. The colors in the actual sweater are better than the picture conveys – it’s a nice forest green for the main color and lime green for the embellishments.

Purple Sweater Flax Hack

The purple one was made for one of my nieces. I was nearly done with sweaters by the time I’d made this one, and I was very interested to see what the Flax design would look like with a garter stitch panel down the sides of the sweater as well as on the sleeves. While I won’t come right out and say I was disappointed with the result, it wasn’t exactly what I’d had in mind. Also, in my naivete, I had no idea that garter stitch doesn’t line up properly when knit in the round, so I had to do some research and fiddling to get the side that was the “beginning of the round” to not look awful. I only moderately succeeded.

20161223_155455The orange one was the last sweater I did, and I was ready for something really challenging by this point. I find a knitted seed stitch to be rather beautiful, but it’s one of those things that always eludes me. I’ve done it before, but I always mess it up. There’s absolutely never been a time when I’m knitting seed stitch and I look back at my work and realize that several rows back, I’ve got some ribbing instead. I thought that perhaps my difficulty lay in the fact that I was knitting seed stitch flat (back and forth), and maybe it would be easier to work the pattern in the round. I was right. It wasn’t foolproof – I spent over an hour one day reconfiguring several rows of stitches to correct my mistake – but it was a lot better. And I learned that properly done seed stitch is very beautiful.

Apparently I don’t have pictures of the others, which is unfortunate. Here’s the lowdown on what I made that’s not pictured:

  • A Flax sweater as written made in lilac colored yarn (purple with a hint of blue) for my 8 year old niece
  • A Flax sweater in yellow without the sleeve texture and with a blue design around the bottom of the waist and sleeves for my 7 year old niece
  • A Simple Baby Pullover in dark blue (not quite navy) with “transportation” buttons and extended sleeves for length for my 2 year old nephew
  • A Flax sweater as written in Tide Pool colored yarn (blue with a hint of teal woven throughout) for my 4 year old nephew
  • A Flax sweater as written in white and brown variegated yarn for Small Fry
  • A Flax sweater as written in “bird’s egg” blue yarn with the edges (neck, waist, and wrists) made in leftover brown from my dad’s sweater for Dragonfly

And a few more that I found pictures for on my Ravelry page:

A Simple Baby Pullover as written in the same bird’s egg blue as his other sweater (also with transportation buttons) for Dragonfly – this one is his favorite! The picture was taken before I added the buttons.

A Dexter vest (sleeveless, v-neck) in orange for Small Fry. This was my very first sweater ever, and I chose it because I was terrified of the prospect of knitting in the round or adding sleeves to a sweater. I had no idea how that would work, so for my first time out, I just avoided it!

A Kangaroo Pocket sweater in charcoal for Munchkin. This is the one and only sweater of “mine” that’s been knit in pieces and sewn together. While I know that some patterns benefit from this technique, I do prefer the single piece, in the round style better.

Not all of those were made for (or around) Christmas, but that’s the complete list of all the sweaters I’ve made to date. I’m taking a bit of a break from sweaters for the time being, but I’m excited to get back into them soon. Next up, something with long sleeves and a v-neck for Seahawk. 🙂

Blessings,

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