Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Kids Everywear Consignment Sale ** My FAVORITE!!

kidseverywear button

I can't lie, consignment shopping can really make my head spin.  All those random clothes stuffed into a little room.  It can be quite overwhelming.  Because of this, I am very picky when it comes to consignment sales.  And of course, I have a system which you can learn about here.  That was 3 years ago and I still follow a system very similar.  And you know what, I still go to the same consignment sale (going on 5 years now). Why?  Because it's well organized, open and easy to walk through.  The staff is friendly and the clothes are plenteous.  I don't feel overwhelmed in a huge loud room because each section of clothes has it's own storefront.    I depend on this sale!  There is no way we could afford to clothe our family without it.  And guess what?  It's coming up soon!  So make sure that you don't miss out on the Kids Everywear Consignment Sale.   Check out to get more information about shopping dates and sale dates (it doesn't get much better than 75% off!!)  They also offer early admission by bringing in gifts for charity.  Who doesn't want to get good deals while helping those less fortunate?  That's a win-win for everybody!  Happy Shopping!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Grandma's Quilt

What do you give to the Grandma that has everything and needs nothing?  A nonagenarian that has lived a full and blessed life that you just want to show some love to?  Why, a meaningful quilt!  
My Grandmother LOVES owls, even way back before owls were cute.  But she doesn't need a bunch of owl stuff. She doesn't cook, so she doesn't need mugs or salt & pepper shakers.  So when I saw some cute owl footprints on Facebook a few months ago, my brain started working.  What I came up with was an owl footprint quilt made by her great-grandchildren.  There are 10 cousins, with some families still growing, so I made a 12 square quilt.  I had each cousin stamp their feet on the color quilt piece their choice (in fabric paint) to make the shape of an owl.  I ended up making a different foot print than the picture I saw, but I think mine is so much cuter!   Each square is cut to 12.5 inches to allow for seams and big kids feet.  I stuck hole protector stickers on their heels when I painted their foot and removed the sticker to stamp them to make the eye holes.  I used fabric markers to make the beaks and the branches, but I'm sure you could even applique some felt too.  

Then I carefully laid them out on the floor to make the right color balance.  I grouped the squares by family and age order, while balancing the amount of colors. So there is no huge pattern since each child chose the color of their square.  

Next I pieced the squares together with some super cute owl fabric I found.  12.5 inch strips on the sides and a long strip on the tops of the squares.  

I quilted the blanket by sewing in the ditches of the squares, so it's not very "quilted."  The fabric on the back is another owl pattern, but with bigger owls and still based in brown.  I finished the quilt of with a red binding that I think really brings it all together.  

Of course, she won't get the quilt until Christmas, but I'm sure she is going to love it.  It will be a great accent piece for her living room!  

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Top 7 Reasons Why I Love Working with my Husband

Let me clarify, I don't actually work with my husband.  My husband is a Nurse on the same unit in the hospital that I work as a Nursing Assistant.  We never work the same shifts, but we do work with all the same patients and co-workers.
Working outside the home has never been a life goal for me.  I have enough to keep me busy at home.  I like it that way.  Josh likes it that way.  But we have goals, and I need some sanity outside of the house.  Thus we came to the agreement that it probably wouldn't hurt for me to get out of the house a little bit and make some money while I was at it.
I knew that teaching wasn't an option for me.
I love children.
I love working with children.
I do not love working in the classroom setting with children, at least not in a paid position.
So we started discussing options.  The decision was made for me to return to school and train to be a CNA. I ended up loving it way more that I thought I would! I applied to many different units at the hospital, got interviews with two units and eventually chose to work on the same unit as my husband.

Side note:  It's probably not wise for all married couples to work together!

So what have I noticed in the past couple of months as a working woman, specifically with my husband?

Here are my top 7 reasons Why I Love Working with my Husband (in no particular order).

1.  It gives me a greater appreciation for his job as a nurse.  My husband is almost a different man at work.  He is organized, smart and manages his time.  He delegates tasks and makes sure he is informed about all the illnesses he deals with.  Not that he's not most of these at he says, "Why would I be when I know you can do it for me!?"  It's neat to see all the hard work that the nurses do everyday and know that this is what my husband has to deal with full time. I understand now!  And I'm sure the same goes for him.  He's an awesome dad, but now he's working even harder at home when I'm away.

2.  It makes logistics easier.  Balancing both his and my schedule can be a little crazy sometimes.  Are we each able to get enough sleep?  Who has the kids?  What's going on this week?  Can I pick up an extra shift?  Everything is all organized in one place, on one team that understands our situation.  We can both check each other's work schedules and easily plan around each other.  It would work out if I was on a different unit, it's just so much easier that we're on the same one.

3.  I'm ok with him working at home.  Before I started working I never really got frustrated when he had to work at home, I mean, not really frustrated....maybe a little....  While it does getting tiring after a while, now I know exactly what's on his plate.  Or at least I have a connection with the patients on the unit, so I know that if he is working at home, that means he's helping the patients, and they mean a lot to me.  And that's ok.

4. We get to work as a team, separately.   Josh and I have not always been known to be the greatest team players. I have to say, being married for 10 years has definitely helped, and having 5 kids.  We've kinda been forced to play nicely or fail.  Working separate shifts allows us to play nicely on the nursing team, but not have the awkwardness of working at the same time.  I mean, what if I messed up?  What if I thought he was a jerk that day?  We don't need that stuff on the unit!  This way none of our home-life baggage is brought to the work site.  Not that we ever disagree...

5.  He keeps my work load balanced.  Anyone who knows me knows that I tend to go head first into things, many times without thinking and most of the time overwhelming myself completely!  Josh knows exactly what my job entails and what is normal for my position.  So he knows when I come home with some crazy idea for something to help with a patient, he can tell me to stop or go ahead with it.  He helps me regulate my work load so that I don't drive myself crazy.  After 10 years of marriage, I trust him.  I know that he's looking out for my best interests.  So if he tells me to calm down or back off, I know I should listen.

6. He helps me problem solve.  Healthcare is a new job area for me.  My degree is in education.  Although Wake Tech absolutely prepared me for my job, there are still minor skills specific to our unit that I am thankful for Josh's wisdom.  He's able to tell me what he's observed other NA's doing that might work well for me.  I am able to ask him specific questions about taking vitals or other basic cares that I know he will give me an honest answer to.  I like my job to be efficient and helpful to the nurses, so it's nice having a nurse at home with me that I can ask questions to make sure I am doing a service for the nurses and not being a hindrance.

7. We have the chance to provide better care for our patients.  That's what it's all about, right? We want our patients to get the best care they can.  Having both the perspective of the nurse and nurse aide, we can both advocate in different areas for the patients.  This results in more complete care.  I think the patients enjoy joking about us at our expense as well, which results in higher morale for the patients, and for that, I don't mind being the butt of jokes!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Preparation for Dormition

Dormition will always hold a special place in my heart.  It was on the Feast of Dormition two years ago that our family joined the Orthodox church.  Especially fitting for new converts still a bit uncomfortable with the Theotokos!  I've grown a lot since then!  
Fasting seasons are a bit harder to teach to my little ones since they don't observe the same fasting guidelines that Josh and I do.  They would rather not eat meat in the first place!  So when I saw this cute countdown board on Pinterest, I knew it would be a great way to show my kids that we are preparing for something really special.  Besides, who doesn't love a good countdown!?  
My original idea came from here, but of course, when I got to Michael's there were no felt pieces the size that I needed.  Since I had my 3 babies with me, I used my quick creative juices (complements of the two cups of coffee this morning) and came up with this idea.  The concept is to add a new flower to the board each day until Dormition.  The board is made of foam, which I taped to the wrong colored felt board I was going to use to make it stronger.  I took pipe cleaners cut to about an inch long and poked them through the foam (before I attached it to the felt board).  I curled them around so they would stay in place with the hopes that they would look like the center of a flower.  Each day we will stick a new flower on the board.  The foam flowers I found just happened to have a hole right in the middle, and they were also on sale, Win-Win!  As you can see, I also mounted a color print of the Icon of the Dormition as well as the Troparion.

On the back of the board I taped the Bible verses found on the above link.  There is a scripture to read for each day of the fast and the actual feast day as well.  This way, everyday when we put on our new flower, I can quickly reference the reading for the day.

We will also be doing some celebrating on the Feast.  I will blog about that as well (Lord willing), but just in case you want to prepare ahead of time....  We will be coloring icons of the feast, listening to our Theotokos songs from Gigi, making blue flowers from tissue paper for our icon corner, hopefully playing with some hand made manipulatives, and we will most definitely be feasting that evening to celebrate not only Dormition, but also our 2 year Orthoversary!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Feast of the Transfiguration

Training my children to know and fall in love with the Lord is my main goal in life.  There are many things that I want to teach them in this life, but if I fail in this area, I have failed completely.

Lately I have been collecting some resources and tools to help me in this lofty goal.  There are so many beautiful opportunities in the Orthodox faith, after two years, I am still learning how to take advantage of this in my home.

With no better time to start than the present, today we set out to fully celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration.  Yesterday I spent my day cutting and laminating this Liturgical timeline for our wall.  It has all of the major feasts and also the feasts that are important to our family (like our Patron Saints).  I really wish I could remember where I found the exact link to the pictures you see on my wall, but I can't remember where I found them, but you could always print some off from here.  Although, the cute ones I found have scripture for each Feast and an activity.  Google search, I bet you can find it ;)

Our timeline of the church year
So we started off our day by reading our daily Gospel from the Daily Reading App while eating breakfast. Of course it was the passage from the Transfiguration.  After I cleaned up the table, I made copies of the Icon of the Transfiguration from my new book A Way of Life:  Introducing Your Child to the Orthodox Faith (of which I can't seem to find a good link, unless you want to pay $125 on Amazon).  They also include a simplified version of the story that I read while they colored.  We also listened to the Transfiguration song from the CD Celebrate the Feasts by Gigi.  It's always nice to have a good song get stuck in your head for the rest of the day!

Our church celebrates most Feasts with a Divine Liturgy in anticipation the evening before (unless it's on the weekend).  So we snacked on some blessed grapes as we colored too!

Based on the suggestion from Following a Sacred Path by Elizabeth White, we took a walk outside around our neighborhood to find things that change to help us remember that Transfiguration means change.

A bird egg
A ripe tomato


more tomatoes

Flowering trees
Our raspberry bushes

And while I was Googleing around trying to find links for the timeline, I stumbled upon this great activity!  A Transfiguration Box!  This beauty will be great to pull out each year for the kids to play with.  My three oldest girls helped me work on this during nap time.  We have:  An icon of Moses and Elijah, a playdough Mt. Tabor, a cloud that reads "This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well please.", a ray of light, stick figures on Peter, James and John, the icon of the Transfiguration and the Troparion.  Makayla was very bothered that there was so stick Jesus, so if you want to make a Jesus, that probably wouldn't be a bad idea!

  And finally, once I thought I was done, the girls asked if they could paint. Since we had already made a big mess, I figured 'Why not?'  So here they are, painting.

 One out of three actually completed the icon.  Their friend came over while they were painting and Makayla was able to correctly explain to her about Transfiguration.  Success?  ABSOLUTELY!!!