Make your own portable writing center

writing center

Oh darn, my step by step is on my lost camera…… WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, it’s super simple.  Get a metal box (for sturdiness), newspaper, and mod podge.

Tear the newspaper into little bitty squares.  Mod podge it all over.  I wrote a letter for the top modeling proper letter writing form.

I added a frequently written words cards.  It included things like people they write to, things they talk about a lot, and extra space to add more words.

I also included clearance stationary I’ve been picking up at Michael’s.  I wait until it’s in the 50 cents or less bin for a pack of 6-8.  They care more about quantity than quality.  I plan to eventually add in some address stickers and real stamps to let them mail cards to their grandparents.


And now they’re running around writing letters.

God loves hearts

Happy Chocolate Sale Day!

10 Commandments heart

Okay, so that started yesterday, and is actually the reason for this post.  I wanted to alert you to a cool item for teaching your kids the 10 Commandments that I made.

I blogged about it at my NEW BLOG, PEG DOLL BIBLE STORIES, where I’ll primarily be putting up my posts about what we’re doing to learn about God’s Word.  But occasionally I’ll post them here too still.



Supplies: giant chocolate heart, foamboard or posterboard (I used the thinnest layer of foamboard, if you do that you need a thicker box, like as in one designed to hold 2 layers of candy), various red tissue paper and red or pink scrapbook paper


1.  Trace your box onto your foam board.  When you cut it out, cut just inside the lines.  Check to make sure you can easily take your heart in and out of the box, for me I needed to trim my heart a little.


2.  Trace the top part of your heart and divide it into two.  This will let you make the pieces for the Commandments (sorry, I have no pictures).


3.  Start putting your paper on using mod podge or something similar.  I figured out that tissue paper works best because it adds the least bulk.


4.  Check to see if it all fits in your box.  The second time through it did for me.


If you go to 10 Commandments Activity, there’s a printable for your kids to make their own version.

A Valentine’s Present for your husband

Last year I made a “Year ‘O Dates” for my husband.  I had intended to repost it earlier this year so people would have a fun idea to make for their husband, we’ve been enjoying them, when we remember them.  We actually have one coming up in a few days (provided no one’s sick, we’ve been the house of plague the last few weeks).

I used many of the ideas from Love Actually and adapted a few of my own to things we both enjoy (which I can’t share because that’s one of the ones we haven’t done yet).  I also saw The Home Teacher has a Date Night post up today.

I’m brainstorming some ideas for this year, it’s going to take some doing because it’s hard to top that one.  I have all sorts of ideas in my head, but haven’t been able to figure out exactly what to do for it.

What are ya’lls plans for Valentine’s Day?  Any fun suggestions?

PS: I’m tired of being sick or having people in my house sick.

Special moments: Mommy and Princess tea party

Princess and I got a special treat, we were invited to a Mommy and Me tea party birthday party.


The doll is from SWAK Embroidery (also available as a pattern at You Can Make This), and I have easily made 20 of these, several as gifts and several for my kids.  You can see other versions of Batman, Superman, Princess, and costumes, and an Iron Man one which I can’t find a picture of easily on the blog.  I have requests for about 6 more, including a duplicate of this doll so Princess can have her own version of her friend (oh and another one to look just like Princess).


All set for the party.  Both of us in boots and dresses.



Colonial America: natural dyes

So, a few weeks ago we set about learning how the colonists made their clothes and got the different colored cloths they got.


We gathered some different items that had been suggested and boiled our materials for 30 minutes or so and pulled it all out.



Then we pulled it all out and separated it out into the different fibers and observed them.


Do you see what we discovered?  Here’s what we used: blueberry tea, red onion skins, yellow onion skins, and cayenne powder.


What did we get?  Brown, brown, blue-tinged brown, and brown.


We also discovered that canvas dies quite well.  The tight woven cotton did not, the bubble gauze cotton (very loosely woven) did, and the wool roving also took the dye well.


So, has anyone used a natural die and gotten a color aside from brown?

Fun quick tip for deocrating

I used dishwasher detergent to clean my sink.  It’s great because the bleach in the detergent helps get rid of the stains in my sink and scrubs it all out, but ever since we switched to using the tabs of soap for the dishwasher I didn’t have it as much (we switched to the tabs because the kids could put those in and not overfill the soap dispenser).

So, I bought a box of it and filled an empty spice container with the soap ready to be poured onto dirty sinks.

But it looks ugly.
Solution:  Prettify it.  Yes, that is a word.
Supplies: spice bottle, mod podge, paintbrush, scrapbook paper (mine is from a scrapbooking calendar)
It’s super quick and easy.  I just cut the paper down to size, and then painted mod podge all over the container.  After carefully aligning it I put it on and then put some more mod podge over the top.

Super duper easy!

History, no really it is

Remember where I talked about “If You Give a Homeschool Mom and Idea,” and many of you asked if I ever did the project?


Well, more than a month later it’s finally finished.  This is why I rarely do multi-step projects where you have to wait longer than say….. 5 minutes before doing the next step.  I forget to do the next step.  Sad, but true.

Supplies: canvas, ribbon, a pot of strong tea or coffee, typing paper, casserole dish



1.  Crumple up some paper.  Then flatten it out and dip it in the tea or coffee.  Leave it there for about 30 seconds or so.  I think the longer you leave it the darker it gets.  But, I couldn’t get the kids to leave it long enough to test.




2.  Repeat this over and over and over again.  After each page is completed lay them out to dry.  If you can lay them out in the Texas heat they dry in less than 5 minutes.


But, there’s also a very good chance the wind will blow them away…….


Then you get some exercise as you chase the papers all around the yard.




3.  Cut a piece of canvas roughly 9”x12.”  Cut a ribbon about 2 feet long.  Put the ribbon down first, lay the canvas on top of that, and finally lay your papers for you book on top of that.  Then draw your sewing line.  I just measured half of the paper and drew a quick line with sewing chalk.




4.  Now run it through your sewing machine with the biggest stitch your machine will do (just so that you don’t end up tearing the paper).  I backstitched at the beginning and end, but you don’t have to.


You could do this by hand, but have you ever sewn through paper?  It hurts, and is ridiculously hard.


Now in theory you could use this to write a first-person point of view journal.  But, not my kids.  No, they immediately seized them and started writing ghost stories.  Princess started drawing large numbers of Princesses and ponies.