Recreated Dress


One of my favorite sewing projects was this dress I recreated for Petra this past weekend. This was originally a lady’s dress (from Forever 21), size L, that I found at Goodwill and fell in love with – knowing it would be perfect for Petra and easy to transform.

Pleased with a $2.99 purchase I brought it home and began the very simple transformation. It was sleeveless at purchase. All I had to do was pin it to the right width on Petra and sew a seam down the side of the dress. Cut off the excess fabric. And then use the excess to make two straps.

She loved the result, as did I. But I think I loved even more that it took less than 30 minutes total time – including trying it on twice, cutting, sewing and ironing.

Overall this was a really good idea considering her taste in clothes. She prefers long dresses; the longer the better. And she also likes tighter fitting clothes; for instance she doesn’t usually want to wear baggy shirts. This dress fit both requirements. And I had a very happy four year old, super pleased with having a new dress for a wedding.

ImageImagesewing, goodwill, dress

Geography Unit 1 – Planet Earth

We spent a good two weeks on this unit of study. I thought we would move through it faster, but we were in no rush and there was so much to talk about. We are reading lots of books, checking out lots of maps, and just talking about what is happening around us. Some of the activities I am having the children do will be used to compile a lapbook. I’ve noted those as such in my notes below.

I’ve been checking out a ton of books from the library based on the subject matter. I’ve continuously had almost 50 books checked out at any time over the last 4-6 while we have been working our way through geography.

The one thing I have most benefited from is learning how best to search our local library catalog for resources to help with the unit studies. I thought I knew how to use a library, but I picked up a few tricks to finding things at our local library and it has made the world of difference. Using the power search, looking only in children books, and searching by specific topics has been incredibly helpful. But also our library has a few weird ways of storing things and this was helpful to know as well.

I would say the unit study was an overall success. When we are out and about the children run over to look at maps we might see around, and they are much more cognizant of the fact that there are other lands and countries. They understand that if we go to see Aunt Jenn and Uncle Gregg then we will need to take a plane because there is an ocean separating us.

Here they are checking out the map at Leon Sinks Geological area.

We also got off on some wonderful, child-led tangents. After the hikes we took in the mountains to see waterfalls, Petra became fascinated with the large waterfalls in other countries. We took a day to learn and talk talking about Victoria Falls and Angel Falls – and we even went to the computer to watch videos on these places. She found this video about devil’s pool at Victoria Falls most fascinating and said she wanted to do this.

We have followed this unit study with a unit on aquatic biomes – oceans, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, swamps and more. It has been a natural progression, especially since the earth is ¾ water. We are finishing it last week  (for the most part – I could have spent 5 months on it) and I will try to post on it next week.

Here’s a few photos of some our activities – biome cards, paintings of earth, cut/color/paste compass rose, and passport books.

Here is a general outline of what we learned about, the books we used, as well as the other activities we incorporated into our learning.

Unit 1 Planet Earth – Maps, Globes, Weather, Continents, and Biomes

Maps and map legends
Compass Rose – Understanding direction
Globes, and how the earth moves around the sun to create the seasons
Topography – Different regions and climates, mountains, volcanoes, etc
Equator – Warm and Cold regions
7 Continents – Name and Identify on map
4 Oceans – Name and Identify on map
Biomes – how weather affects the world around us and creates different biomes, review of the main biomes
Weather – identify the weather each day, learn about the water cycle
Look at a picture of the earth from space – the white in the picture are the clouds

• What color is the land on the map? What color is the water?
• Find an ocean. What is its name? Do you live near or far from this ocean?
• Find an island. What is its name? Is the island north or south of the equator?
• Find a country. What is its name? Do you live in this country?
• Find some land. What color is it? Is all the land on the globe the same color?
• Find the equator. Do you live north or south of the equator?
• Find the country you live in. What is its name?
• Find the North Pole.
• Find the South Pole.
• Review on map where you and other friends and family live – talk about distances, how would you get there (boat, airplane, car, etc)

• We colored a world map with the continents and oceans
• We labeled, cut, and colored a compass rose (lapbook)
• We drew maps of each child’s room. I actually drew them while they watched and they had to figure out which room was which. (You could also draw a map of your neighborhood)
• We cut out and pasted pictures of different biomes and discussed the different weather in each region that creates each biome, and the animals that live in each
• We created a passport for each child’s lapbook that we will use to record each country the “visit” as we continue our geography lessons –
• We went outside and found north by holding our right hand toward the east and our left hand toward the west
• We painted a simple picture of the earth – tracing a circle, using blue paint for the water and green paint for the land

We made volcanoes in our backyard with baking soda and vinegar
We created a cloud (condensation) in a jar – experiment from Raindrops and Rainbows by Rose Wyler
Rain collections and measurement
Rainbow creation

Here are some ideas for music to incorporate
It’s a small world
Our Earth Inside Out

Most of these movies we rented our library and for the most part I let them watch them in the car
• Weather for Children – All about Climate & Seasons
• Sid the Science Kid: Weather Kid Sid
• Animal Atlas: Animal Mysteries
• Disney Nature Planet Earth
• Nations of the world with Anamaniacs can be found online here.

As the Crow Flies: A First Book of Maps by Gail Hartman
Everybody Cooks Rice by Norah Dooley
Everybody Bakes Bread by Norah Dooley
Hottest, Coldest, Highest, Deepest
People by Peter Spier
What is a biome? by Bobbie Kalman
Raindrops and rainbows by Rose Wyler
Blast-off to Earth! : a look at geography by Loreen Leedy
Calabash Cat, and his amazing journey by James Rumford
Who lives here? : Animals of the pond, forest, prairie, desert, mountains, meadow, and swamp by Dot Barlowe

We spent this time learning animal names in French. “eFlash French” has been a helpful iphone app in learning our animals names in French. I’ve mostly stuck to learning the French so far using phone apps because I can get ones with audio – as opposed to just reading a book and having no clue on how to say the word.

Raw Day 4

I’ve been raw or nearly raw for 4 days now. The first day I was about 85% raw, and then I’ve been closer to about 95% raw the last two days. (There are some things I don’t eat raw like cocoa powder, and I had some hummus today on my veggies – but I made it so at least I know what went into it)

Interestingly, I’m not the least bit hungry anymore.

The first few days I was ravenous several times throughout the day. Not to mention the horrible headaches from caffeine withdraw.

Now, all is well. Except I’m actually feeling bloated. I think it was the plateful of raw broccoli I have consumed the past couple days. I’ll be staying away from broccoli for at least a few days – but at least I know what makes me feel stuffed.

The meals so far have been delicious. I have had green smoothies, a kale salad, raw veggies with a tahini/lemon dip, chocolate bark (which is basically a healthy candy), lots of cantaloupe and watermelon, not tuna pate, carrot juice, spiced blueberry cobbler, and more.

No complaints here.

I forgot to weigh myself this morning, but yesterday scale showed that I was beginning to lose weight.


Swim Like a Fish

We added a new responsibility to the children’s chore chart – “Swim Like a Fish” – because swim lessons started this week for both Petra and Jasper. This is the first time they have had swim lessons and so far it is a hit. Jasper is already our little fish. He will jump into 3-4 foot water, and swim back over to the side underwater. He’s been jumping in by himself since he was a baby. Here is a video of him at 19 months old jumping in and dolphin kicking back to the top.

I looked for swim classes for him last year – but no lessons are available for children under the age of 3.

Petra and Jasper are both very much enjoying the class. They are 3 children in the class total – which I am thrilled about. However it is slow going. I am thinking that at least Jasper will be taking more classes throughout the summer since it’s a sport he appears to enjoy and excel at naturally. In the meantime, they are hitting the pool early, following directions (yay!) and swimming like little fish.

Raw Food Diet – 30 Day Challenge

I woke up yesterday morning and decided it was time to try and go 100% raw again. I am tired, I feel like crap, I’ve gained weight ~ and as far as I know this is the best solution. Last time I ate raw I felt WONDERFUL – so good I said there would be no reason to ever stop. So that’s it, I’m back to raw.

 Anyone up for joining me on a 30 day raw food challenge?

One of things I enjoyed last time about eating raw was learning how to prepare different foods. It’s a treat to learn how to combine nuts and fruits in a way that creates something completely different than the normal SAD diet. Or to blend up some homemade salad dressing that is simple and nutritous.

I posted the following paragraph after I finished a 30 day raw challenge in 2010.

On Sunday, I completed my 30 day raw challenge, and I am so very glad I did it. The last two weeks have absolutely flown by. I had no real issues with cravings, sickness, tiredness, etc. In fact, I feel like I started to benefit from the diet change. The benefits I saw over the last month included: 13 total pounds in weight loss, flatter abdomen, less bloating and less of that yucky heavy full feeling, better facial complexion (in fact I think the dark circles under my eyes are disappearing), more energy, and no cravings! My blood sugar feels completely level at all times, I don’t feel like I go through highs and lows through the day, and I generally feel younger all over. You can read the rest HERE.
My goals this time are:
  • Increased energy
  • Feeling better
  • Weightloss

If you aren’t familiar with the raw diet, think fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds – none of which are cooked. But if you aren’t familiar with the diet you probably aren’t familiar with all the amazing meals you can create with these foods. So check it out, there is a ton of information online. It makes it easier if you have a blender, a food processor, and a dehydrator – but these are not required.Warning: don’t get caught up in thinking you need fancy equipment, foods, or supplements. Keep it simple and you are more likely to be successful.

Some of my favorite foods include: flax seed crackers, nut bread/crackers, almond milk, smoothies, desserts, nut balls, nut pates, and of course cocoa.

If you don’t feel like you are ready to commit 100% for 30 days, consider 1 meal a day or some alternative. However, when  you commit to 100% you will learn a lot more about raw foods and how you like them best. I’ve also found that if a completely drop the cooked food from my diet my pallete changes and I enjoy the flavors of the raw food more. In addition, to have any resulting weight loss I need to be close to 100%.

So, is anyone with me? It’s just 30 days – and the benefits will be well worth it.