Friday, January 06, 2012

Days for Girls/ My mom

My mother got herself involved in a program called Days for Girls.
She started making kits for girls in Africa and then she ended up going to Africa to teach women how to make kits of their own.

Heres a little about the organisation...

Days for Girls International works to get washable feminine hygiene kits into the hands of those that would otherwise go without. (and are forced to miss school and eventually drop out) We advocate and partner with NGO's and agencies to teach women and communities to create their own. We work to raise public awareness, educate regarding AIDS and preventable disease, and health and safety-- all programs that are saving lives, helping girls stay in school and balancing the scales for women.

New Necklace

 I am into Red Jasper as of late.
Learning about chakras, color therapy and energies....
So, I made myself this set. I love it!

Washable Pull Ups

The Munchkin wets the bed both at nap and bed time. In the first months she was here I threw away 300 disposable pull ups!!!! AWWWWWWW. Now obviously I couldn't handle THAT.
So, I went in search of a washable pull up....and found them here.

If you choose to order these be sure to ask for an extra soaker to be sewn in. We love these. Because they are not loaded with chemicals to kill odor like disposables, they do have a PU moment in the morning. We take them off and drop them directly into the washer. Its not worse than a cloth diaper and they wash up well. We wash in cold only with an eco friendly detergent. I put them outside for a few hours then I leave them by the wood stove to finish drying. They are super thick so they take a full day usually. She owns 6 pair and I bought some recycled soakers for $1 each to add some over night absorption. Big money and eco savings. We are very happy with them.

Maya's tie dye

The other day Maya Rae decided to experiment with some recycled socks and RIT dye. She dyed a few socks pink and purple. When they dried she cut and sewed them into a stuffed monster. Super cute. The dying is a nice new skill for her too.

Warming corn sacks

 So, last week I was in Mama Goose shoppin when I saw a warming rice pack
They are meant to be warmed for 2-3 min in the microwave oven. We dont have a microwave (on purpose) so I went in search of info about heating them in other ways.
 Turns out these rice pillows can be made using corn, barley and other grains and are traditionally warmed in the bread box on a cook stove.
So- that did it. Inspiration!
We just happened to have bought a brand new sack of feed corn for the goats that day. The next afternoon we set to work whipping up 3 pillows. Ours are filled with feed corn. They measure about the size of a sheet of paper. Each is made of white cotton and has a removable, washable pillow case (that washes up nice- Munchkin already made hers It was Maya Raes idea to do the two part back for the case so they would be easily removed. Munchkin sewed hers completely on her own (w supervision). Maya sewed mine while I cut hers out. The cammo is Munchkins, Mayas is the bears, mine is the quilt print. 
We are warming them on a tiny cookie sheet on the wood stove. Just takes several minutes to heat one. They get really warm. They do scorch if left too long! They stay warm for as much as 2 hrs. Munchkin napped with hers on the first day....she was roasty and toasty. When I went to wake her up I could feel the warmth coming off her bed! Awesome!!! For the first few uses they smell like warm bread.

Footsy Jammies

 Maya Rae got all psyched when she saw footsy pajamas in her size in the store.
So, after the play group last week we swung by Target and got her a pair. Of course the munchkin needed a new fluffy pair too. When we got home the first thing they did was to shed their clothes and cozy up in the new PJs. The had a little photo shoot. Very cute indeed!
I remember footsy jammies came around when I was 11 also. This was 1981. Mine were red and white candy stripes in terry cloth with a butt flap and everything. I loved um!

Sock door stop

Heres a little something the munchkin and I made. A new door stop.
Its a recycled sock filled with feed corn and colored with Sharpie.

What is this year of service stuff

My girls have very kindly and brilliantly chosen to do a year of service. Alot of people ask what this is and why on earth they would do this. Its a pretty regular thing for Baha'i Youth between the ages of 17-25. Heres what the web site has to say on the topic.

Baha'i Youth Service Corps

Louhelen Youth International Peace Day
Our youth have tremendous potential and capacity when provided opportunities for spiritual growth and service to humanity. Baha'is believe "A very great responsibility for the future peace and well-being of the world is borne by the youth of today." Through guidance and sacrifice, service and fellowship, cooperation and good-will, we can develop strong spiritual bonds with each other and reverence toward God.
The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the U.S. provides service opportunities for volunteer youths ages 18-25 through its Youth Service Corp (YSC) at several locations around the country facilitated through its Office of Education and Schools. Locations are at Bosch Baha'i School, Santa Cruz, CA, Green Acre Baha'i School, Eliot, ME, Louhelen Baha'i School, Davison, MI, and the The Native American Baha'i Institute (NABI), Houck, AZ. Youth accepted into the YSC have opportunities to develop spiritual, emotional, and intellectual capacities, and to become engaged in community-building through serving surrounding area communities.
"Everyone has a different experience but that experience will be exactly what you need. It’s a time of growth that’s very helpful."
Dory Quinlan, 2007 Bosch Service Youth

What about Elanee

 What about Elanee?
Elanee completed a year of service with Bosch Bahai school. She lived in Ithaca for a while but after having a hard time pinning down a job she came home.
Several weeks ago Bosch contacted Elanee and asked if she'd like to come pitch in for their winter school season. She had a little money and lots of time so she said yes to 7 weeks of service.
She'll be back in Jan.

Whats Vayda up to?

 Whats Vayda up to?
Shes at Green Acre Baha'i school.
I hear from her on a regular basis. She is cooking and cleaning alot of the time.
 She will be coming home for a visit in April and done with her year of service in August.

New Years Cards

The munchkin and I made snow flake cards for some family.
These were the first snow flakes she has ever cut out. She added lots of glitter glue spots.

Math Surprise

On this day caught Maya Rae doing her math in the living room.
"Mom! Heeeeeyyyyyy"

Fun with Dominos

 Recently Maya Rae has been very into dominos. Here is one of her recent experiments.
It worked. I am impressed.

Christmas Day

 Christmas day is another place in our lives that has morphed and changed over the years.
 When Jody and I first got together, I had been doing the secular Xmas experience with my girls. He, on the other hand, had been a Baha'i for alot longer than I and had not been doing the Xmas thing at his home. Their family had gone to grandmas for Xmas but no tree and gifts at home.
 We had both had wonderful Christmas memories from our childhoods.
So, when we married we started doing Christmas with our newly blended family. Well with 6-7 kids and a limited budget that pretty quickly became a problem. We both felt guilty about not being able to reach beyond our budget to 'keep up with the Jones' the other kids in public school. Over time the whole material aspect really began to eat at me. My kids didnt need anything and just feeding the wants momentarily amuse them....was so against everything I believed in. And, the only reason I had been doing this was not so they had happy memories or to build tradition but so that I didnt feel guilty...and it did just the opposite.
 So, about 9 yrs ago I couldnt stand it anymore and I decided that we needed to cut way back. I litterly began by getting a smaller tree. I mean we put our fake tree in a yard sale and got a teeny table top tree... pre-lit and everything. Two years of that and we got rid of the tree all together.
We also cut back the Xmas budget. They kids were getting bigger and past the Santa part so we set a budget of $60, then $40, then $20. The kids got one gift and possibly something inexpensively  hand made. "Strangely" they have been just fine with the adjustment and have really enjoyed the low key...low pressure....happier mom Christmas experience.
 Anyway, so this year we have a new little one in the house who we had to roll into this way of thinking. This was not easy.Her experience has been different than ours. I decided to create an inexpensive recycled gift for both she and Maya Rae. (the only two at home this Dec)
 I bought two kitchen cabinets at a ReUse center. Total $40. I stripped them of the doors and hardware, patched holes with wood putty, put a new front on Maya's and used lewon to create walls. Its all glue, few nails. I added tops (w a support inside so when the munchkin eventually stands on hers it will not crack) and added moulding around the edge.
The rest is just paint. Painting the inside of these was really not easy at all. All those little edges!
 I bought Maya Rae a few lots of miniature furnishings on Ebay.  Her entire gift was recycled.
 For the munchkin I bought all new sets of Ryans room furniture on Amazon at $9-$14 a room.
 This was a big hit. In the end it was neither cheap nore modest....but was well received and will serve them for years to come.
Doll houses wrapped with sheets.

Living Room Fluff

After our trip to Virgina I felt compelled to fluff our living room. We live frugally and most everything we own is second hand. I am totally cool with that but over time things begin to look shabby. We have a hand me down set of furniture in the living room. It it green NOT my thing these days!..... and its getting a little beaten down. I got really frustrated with it because though the set still has some life in it, its not what I WANT. Well I dont have $600+ to spend on a new set so I set out to do what I do best.
 I got creative and fluffed on the cheap!
Above- I bought a bunch of used pillows at the Salvation Army. I brought them home, washed them and recovered them. In all they cost about $4 each. I have seen lesser quality throw pillows on Etsy for $15-$20 each.
 I bought a few yards of new red fleece and made those no-sew throws where you just tie the ends together. Easy and cheap.
 I rearranged varied objects I had that were red like a little throw pillow the munchkin made, a red prayer bear my mother gave to me and zen cards (put under the glass on my recycled coffee table), a scrap of pretty apolstry fabric (put under a photo fram by the lamp), red candles and red covered books. I moved an area rug downstairs from one of the spare bedrooms.
 We had an old but favorite quilty blanket that lived in the living room before. This was a handed down hand me down. Really old, really ratty, really tattered but like I said, really favored. I cut that into large sections. Using the best of the blanket I made 2x2 floor pillows. They cost me $8 each for the giant bags of polly fill.

The kids and the critters love the floor pillows in front of the wood stove.
In the end I was/ am very pleased with the fluff job. The only thing I bought was some new fabric and a few big bags of polly fill. In all I spent around $45.

Still doing the school thing.

Home schooling has really become a regular part of our lives here. Maya Rae says I could never stuff her back into public school and she will never send her kids to public school. She loves the freedom and self led direction of home schooling. These days we have kind of morphed into low key, eclectic, unschooly types. What that looks like is Maya Rae has loose boundaries around her schooling. She does use books and has a formal math program but she is pretty much self directed. She does a set amount of book work each week and the rest is up to her. Its kind of what happens with a junior high level home school kids. They become very confident learners and are easily self directed. Maya is currently into miniature dolls, turtles, goats, fiber arts, dowsing/ energy healing, reading and sentence structure. The girls her age are really into their peers (just like the public school kids) but their interactions bring out the best in each other. Instead of obsessing over their bodies (which Maya cannot begin to understand- she says) clothes and boys, these girls are learning from each other, exchanging hand made items and sharing novels.
Its very nice to watch this transformation.

A zoo in Virginia

 On our last day in Virginia we spent the day at an intereactive zoo.

 Maya Rae is really into tortouses right now so she thought these critters were the best.

 The girls got to feed the giraffe. That was fun.

Virginia for Thanksgiving

 This Thanksgiving we decided to travel to Virginia to see Jody's mother, Grandmommy.
 Grandmommy had not met the munchkin yet and we thought this would be a good time.
 Being that it was an 11 hour trip we were concerned about the munchkin and how she would do. She did great in the car, sleeping most of the way there and back. In VA the weather was amazing. Grandmommy, Uncle Cameron and Aunt Rae live on a mountain covered with trees. This made for a hug play ground for the girls. They spent most of their time out exploring and playing in the stream.

 We all got out for walks in the woods and to a local play ground.
Uncle Camerons family came for Thanksgiving dinner.