Last summer, we took a fabulous road trip through the northeastern part of the country.  We hit Ohio, Pennslyvania, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Massachusetts,  Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia.  It was an amazing trip.

During our time in Vermont,  we drove by this little shop coming and going from our condo.  It was so charming so we had to stop!


We picked two kits:   “Felt-a-Ball” and “Spinning with the Drop Spindle”.  Today we were finally brave enough to attempt to make the “Felt-a-Ball”.  I think the all-day…I mean…all weekend…4″ rain event helped motivate us.


The first ​step was to pull out the wools and make strips. The center was built using the biggest bit which was the brown.  The Blue-green​-purple wool became the outer layer.IMG_6629

Once the strips were done, it was time to start the ball. You just start wrapping it up forming a ball as you go.   The tighter the ball the bigger the odds that it will be able to bounce when it is done.


Once she got the ball formed, she did the same thing with the other color. Once all the wool was on the ball.  It was time to put it in a soapy water bath to start the felting process.

Thirty minutes of rounding and shaping the ball…


Fifteen minutes in to it Hope started to worry…were they going to go together.
Finally…success….A little soapy, but it started to stick together.
After thirty minutes, tada…a ball

Now it just has to dry. Hope is now angling for 2 more kits so she can use them for juggling balls.  “Mom, They would be perfect!!!”

If you want to try your hand, here is the website.  http://www.singingspindlespinnery.com

If you are a homeschooler, she has some fabulous kits that would give the kids an interesting Hands on History project.

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Typical Homeschool Day

With the craziness of the Christmas season, I got a wee bit behind in grading.  Hope and I decided to do a massive math grading session to get her caught up.  It was determined by Hope and Locke..the massively spoiled beagle….that my bed as the perfect spot.


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Pinterest Fail!

When we did the Charlie Brown Program at church, I thought we could do two ornaments.  One for the older kids and one for the younger ones.  The older kids would paint Charlie Brown and the younger ones would make “Charlie Brown Trees”.

Pinterest led me down a path…It looked so easy…..until we did it.  Now, I will admit I made a classic mistake.   It looked so easy I thought, “We’re running out of time.  I don’t need a prototype.”  I learned a valuable lesson.  You ALWAYS need a prototype.

I was also amazed that the kids could not tie a granny knot to save them.  They were clueless.  Luckily, they pressed on and had fun but there were no “Charlie Brown Christmas Trees” produced.

Over Christmas, we did a massive re-organization at home.  We moved the boys’ room and did some serious decluttering.  During the process, I discovered the bag of “trees”.   I decided to save the ribbon for future projects, but when I took a closer look I decided to see if I could revamp them.

Here is a picture of tangled mess.


Upon closer inspection, I noticed with a little unwrapping and reknoting, the little trees could be saved.


To make these, here is what I did.  I started with ribbons all cut to the same length.  The length depended on how big your trees were.  In the lesson learn category, I should have used a shorter ribbon.  The longer ones worked fine, but there was a lot waste.

The key to making these trees is to tie a tight granny or square knot.   Once you tie the tight knot, make sure the ribbons go perpendicular to the stick.  To get the tree shape, just spread out the ribbons and trim them to the shape you want.

The moral of this story is with a bit of patience this Pinterest fail turned into a success.


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Cleaning Time

This Christmas break we have been doing what it seems like everyone has been doing.  We have been cleaning.  With my older guys away at school, my younger boy was too nervous to sleep on the other side of the house from us, so we bit the bullet and moved rooms.

It has been a complete and total mess.  Luckily, we are on the other side and finally the mess is clearing.  We still have two rooms to attack, but the beauty of moving is you really do go through all your stuff.  I was amazed at how much stuff..no really junk…let’s be honest…it was junk…we were able to get rid of.

On the last big clean day, I gave the kids their assignments and we all got to work.  I was so proud.  They were so quiet.  It was obivious they were taking the tasks serious until I heard the gleeful feet of three kids running to the bathroom to check out thier work.

This is what you do when your momma thinks you are cleaning.


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Nature Studies Christmas

This year at the co-op, I am teaching a Nature Studies class for K-2 graders.  I wanted to do something for Christmas but at the same stay with the nature studies theme.

Pinterest came to my rescue with this cute star ornament – “Twiggy Stars” from fabyoubliss.com.  I never was able to access the site it kept coming up with a database error, but a picture was all that was needed.


We started the class with a nature walk to find the sticks.  We talked about how plants and animals get ready for winter as we searched for the perfect sticks to break up to form our star. Once we got the sticks, we went back inside and started our project. The kids broke the sticks to the size they wanted and then I hot glued them together.

I brought in a mountain of yarn from my stash and the kids proceeded to start adding color.  All the kids had to do was add a knot and start wrapping.  They turned out really cute.  Each and everyone was different.  I was amazed at the diffences.  Some of the kids stuck with one color and others went hog wild.

One tip I have is be prepared to re-glue the sticks. Some of the boys were over exuberant and wrapped them too tight. A quick dab of glue fixed it.

Hope got in the thick on things and surprised me with this as a Christmas present.


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Favorite New Ornaments

Every year we add a new ornament…really ornaments…to our tree.  The last couple of years, they have been homemade ones.  Over the next couple of days, I am going to highlight my favorites.

In honor of our deep love for Charlie Brown and the miracles of Pinterest, we found our first one.


Hope made a Charlie Brown Ornament.  It was pretty easy.  For this one, we just spray painted a clear ball tan…this was the closest we could find for tan… and then added his features.  The features were done using a black acrylic paint.  We used a clear ornament, but any ornament would work.  It would be a good way to recycle an old ornament, you just don’t love anymore.

Just to make sure that everyone knew who he was, we added this note.


We loved it!  Plus it was really easy to do, so we had our Mission Madness kids create a bunch for presents  for  the church staff members and volunteers.

Every year, we stress to the kids how important the staff and volunteers are and how we should show our thanks to them.  This dovetailed in nicely.  The kids watched “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and then painted the ornaments.  Our lesson was all about being thankful.

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Love this

I was shopping at Hobby Lobby yesterday checking out the sales when I stumbled on this sign.


I loved it.

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