Archive | October 2013

Patching Jeans II

Yep, a second post about patching jeans. The way my kiddos seem to tear through knees requires a lot of creative sewing to keep coming up with new ways to make the jeans wearable. Plus they have learned that this is a great way to personalize their clothes, so now they have requests about patterns, shapes, and stitches!

DSCN4006Step 1: Make the basic patch. I cut pieces of off old jeans that are still good and use these as the base for patching the kids clothes. These mostly come from the lower legs of my husband’s old jeans as that is usually the best material left. Cut this good denim into a circle that will cover the entire knee area. Think of the way a suede patch is on the elbow of a jacket. This is what you are going for.

DSCN4005Step 2: Reinforce patch and add a pattern. Using scrap fabric (i.e. “good” parts of a shirt that has been ruined) cut a circle the same size as your denim base. I tend to use blues, reds, and yellows for the boy, and purples, pinks, and teals for the girls as these colors match most things in their wardrobes. Using fabric glue, attach the decorative fabric to the denim base. Allow to dry 24 hours before continuing.

DSCN4004Step 3: Attach the patch to the jeans. I use fabric glue for this. Make sure you get it good around the edges and give the glue 24 hours to dry.

Step 4: Embellish! Depending on if you have boys or girls, the shapes might change but I usually stick with hashes, stars, and twinkles. You can use embroidery thread for this or if you are like me and never have that around, just quadruple up the thread through the needle. Use a pencil to draw on any shapes you DSCN4002don’t feel comfortable doing free-hand with thread. Secure everything well with knots on the back. I also add a dab of fabric glue over the knots to help hold them. The embellishments look cute and also act to hold the patch in place.

Saturday Project: Sofa (or Chair) Arm Table

couch_arm_tray_9-386x540I must confess that during football season, much of our weekend (plus some Mondays and Thursdays too) family time and some meals happen in front of the TV (Gasp!). All 5 of us love football, and we totally understand that the players, coaches, and refs can hear us yelling our suggestions. Because of the time we spend watching football, there are drinks and snacks in the living room. And, inevitably someone (I have no idea who, cough-cough) tries to use the chair or sofa arm as a table and a drink or plate goes toppling to the floor. I have long wanted an “arm table” but many that you can buy are either cheap, ugly plastic, or just too expensive. I suspected that making one would be fairly easy, and it turns out I was right. has posted instructions for making a couch arm table. A few simple steps and we now have tables to help limit the spills during football games. Now if I could just stop using my arms to make my point, maybe we could cut out all the spills!

BONUS TIP: These make great gifts for any sports or movie lover. You can paint or stencil to personalize to decor. You can also make these for kids with fun stamps that fit each child’s personality.

Jobs for Hire

kids chores clipartAround our house we have many assigned chores. We use to keep track of everyone’s responsibility charts and the kids are expected to do all their work every day. However, there are often some jobs that come up that are not scheduled and don’t have to be done weekly. For example, we don’t need to rake leaves or pick up sticks out of the yard every week. When these jobs come up, some of the time the kids are expected to help without pay simply because they are part of the family. But there are other jobs that we are willing pay the kids to do. For example, the baseboards need to be dusted/wiped down about once a month. I hate doing this chore and am more than willing to pay the kiddos to do it.

Enter Extra Job Cards! These can printed and then the job is posted on the corkboard attached to our family calendar. The first child to claim the job and do it well gets paid.

TIP: If you use extra jobs can also be added there. We have found that the cards get more attention. We also add the job to the children’s online profiles and that is how the actual pay is given.

TIP: Print on and laminate! You have an instant dry-erase card that you can use over and over.

To Crust or Not To Crust

thI used to fight my kids about eating bread crusts. We paid good money for that bread, and you will eat it all! We also used to pay good money for bread crumbs for various breading and other recipes. One day it finally hit me that the crusts my kids hate to eat could be turned into breadcrumbs, thus saving us that expense. Here is how we do it. When a child has a sandwich and doesn’t want the crusts, the rule is that the crusts must be cut off the bread before any sandwich items are put on. This keeps peanut butter and salami out of our bread crumbs. We keep a zipper bag in the freezer and all bread crusts get tossed into that zipper bag. Once a month I take out all the crusts and any other small portions of unused bread that we have stashed in the freezer and make breadcrumbs. I shred everything in the food processor, adding various seasonings as I go. Then I place the bag of breadcrumbs back into the freezer until I am ready to use some. I can scoop out as much as I need for any recipe and the rest stay in the freezer.

Saturday Project: Fabric Tool Caddy for Chairs

Chair_FullFor those of us who home school or who do any crafting, you know finding a spot for your or the kids items that are regularly used can be a challenge. Wouldn’t it be great if your pens and scissors, or the kids pencils, crayons, and rulers, were all handy right on your chair? Today’s project gives you just that! The folks at Creating Keepsakes have put together this video tutorial for making your own fabric tool caddy for  chairs. Think of all the fun fabric patterns you could use to keep yourself and the kids organized!

Pastor Appreciation Month

pastor-appreciationOctober is Pastor Appreciation month. This is a great time to show your pastoral and church staff how much you appreciate their work. Here are some suggestions of ways your whole family can show your appreciation:

  • Write a note. Too often today all our communication is electronic, and for pastor’s it is often full of “suggestions” for ways they can improve and change. Have each of your family members take time to hand-write a note to the pastor or leader who works with them (Children’s, Youth, Small Group Leader, Lead Pastor, …don’t overlook staff and volunteer leaders who pour into your lives).
  • Food. Everyone enjoys a treat. Consider bringing in lunch for your church staff (pasta and salad is an inexpensive way to feed even a larger staff). Make breakfast for pastors and leaders on a Sunday morning (just let them know ahead of time so they don’t eat before getting to church). Bring in cookies, a cake, any sweet treat to the church office as a surprise.
  • Night out. Give a gift card to a local restaurant or movie theater. If you know the pastor or leader well include babysitting their kids. Or give money or pay directly and include a homemade gift certificate for a night of babysitting with a youth from your church with whom you know the pastor or leader will leave their kids.
  • Make a gift basket. Check out these suggestions for Father’s Day and Teacher Appreciation gifts. Many of these would also make great Pastor Appreciation gifts.
  • Include a gift for the pastor’s wife and/or kids. These family share their husband and father with the whole church. Because of that he misses out on a lot of family activities like kids’ games, school performances, family dinners, etc. Remember to show appreciation to the entire family. That will communicate your love for your pastor to him as well.
  • Go in with others from the church and provide a larger gift. A weekend away with hotel and food paid for, a cruise to the Caribbean…depending on how many other families can join you, you may be able to give a very nice trip to your pastor.  If it is just a smaller number of families pooling money together, look at more get-a-ways, including bead & breakfasts, and exciting things to do or see within a couple of hours of your town. Sending them away to another town nearby will save you some money, but allow them to truly get away from the spotlight of the congregation for a few days.


Change Your Attitude on Chores

daily choresChores…laundry…cleaning…these words make most of us groan. If we are honest, even if we love a clean and tidy home, the actually work of these things is not our favorite thing. And if we have children, our less than enthusiastic approach to housework and home management can translate down to whiney kids who don’t want to work around the house. So what are we to do? Do we pretend to love the chores and scold our kids when they don’t? While we do not tolerate whining, is grudgingly performing tasks at hand enough obedience? I think not.

My goal is teaching all my kids, and especially my girls, the details of cleaning and home management, as with any teaching that happens in our home,  has always been to create capable, competent adults with the greatest chance for success in the world. We want them to go out, be successful in whatever God calls them to do, and come back to visit, but not to live!

So how can my attitude about chores affect their success as adults? It is simple…If I teach them to dislike work at home, that attitude is contagious and soon they will dislike all work. The Bible is very clear that we are to do all things as though we are serving the Lord. Colossians 3:17 tells us “And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” 

We are to work in the name of Jesus, giving thanks as we go. How would your house be different if, instead of complaining that there were dishes to wash or floors to mop, you took the time to pray, out loud and with your kids, thanking God that you have dishes and floors that need to be cleaned and praying for those that don’t?

Changing our attitude in this one area, our chores, can change the whole tone of our homes!