Monday, April 14, 2014

A Bunk Bed Sheet Solution

If you've ever tried to make the beds on a bunk bed you know how much of a pain it is. Trying to clamber around on the mattress while simultaneously pulling sheets down around the edges is a real trial of my patience. Trying to get pukey sheets off the bunk bed is even worse!

Then, once you've got the bed made it comes untucked every other day and has to be fixed all over again. My little girls simply can not manage the big mattress and get the sheet tucked under the back side. My oldest has resorted to sleeping on top of her perfectly made bed and just putting a crocheted afghan over herself. Then all she as to do is fold the afghan, but it's sure a waste of nice flannel sheets!

I finally came up with a pretty good solution to solve this problem. I recalled my sister telling me about special bunk bed sheets you could buy that had the top sheet and fitted sheet hooked together somehow- and the whole thing zipped off or something. But those are expensive and the likelihood of finding nice flannel sheets in cute patterns like the girls have is slim.

So, I did the next best thing. I sewed the flat sheet to the fitted sheet along the back and bottom edge. Ta-Dah! Instant fitted sheet. I'll try to show you with a few pictures so you get the idea.

 First I'm showing the top bunk with the extra sheet hanging down. It's really long for some reason. The first thing I did was cut off a bunch of excess, leaving only enough to tuck underneath and sew down.
This shows the mattress from the bottom bunk with the fitted sheet put on and the flat sheet laid over the top at the right place. This is where it would be tucked underneath the mattress. Make sure you have enough sheet hanging over the other edge before pinning this in place! I set the sheet exactly where I wanted it while the mattress was still on the bed and then carefully stood the mattress on end to pin the back.

 Here you see that the fitted sheet in under there.
 Here's my line of pins going down the edge of the bed. Make sure to only catch the fitted sheet and flat sheet- not the mattress or any mattress coverings you have.
 After you've got just the long edge pinned, go sew that together on your sewing machine. This is pretty easy if only the corners of your fitted sheet have elastic. If the whole edge has elastic like mine did you'll have to battle the elastic the whole time. I had to make sure it was stretched out straight as I sewed. From this picture you probably can't tell much of anything. Oh well. Just be careful to sew only when the fabric is flat and smooth for a section.
Once you've got that edge sewn down put the sheets back on the mattress and pin down the area at the foot of the bed. (That's where I had to cut off excess sheet.)
When you sew this you'll want to sew from top to bottom and along the side. Like this:

---------> along that one little piece going left and right
V   Down this way along the foot of the bed too. Hopefully you can see that in the picture below.

Then put it on the bed and be amazed at how easy it is to make the bed now!
You can see that the fitted sheet is on top and perfectly lined up where it should go.
 I still have to help them put the pink blanket on top sometimes. Below you see what it looks like if I make it- obviously not the work of a 6 year old. ( :
But, she can grab the pink blanket and just lay it over the top pretty well most days. I think sewing one more thing on there would make it too bulky too wash- it would probably unbalance the washer. Also, I use this pink blanket with both their winter flannel sheets and their regular summer sheets, so I can't sew it onto just on of them.

I am thinking of sewing large buttons on the fitted sheet- 3 along the long back side. Then I could put buttonholes in the pink blanket and just button it onto the sheet! I'll let you know if I get around to that.

By the way, this bunkbed is wonderful! I have found it to be very sturdy. I ordered it from Amazon and got it delivered free to my front door. I pulled the boxes inside by myself and put the whole thing together myself except for the very end when I needed another person to help get the two ends attached to each other. I love that you can still fit long, flat boxes underneath to store items. The most important feature is that an adult can sit on the bed without hitting their head on the top bunk! That was one of the main things I was looking for. I wanted to be able to sit on the bed next to a child to talk to them, etc. Or for family prayer at night when I'm too pregnant to sit on the floor comfortably.

Try out this method if you have bunk beds and let me know if it works for you!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Slippery Spray Can Solution

Do you ever try to use a can of no-stick pan spray and find it slipping out of your hand because the can is greasy?

I'm often using it one handed while holding a baby or because my other hand is covered in flour or dough. A big reason I might be holding it one-handed is because I'm holding the pan to be sprayed in the other hand (over the sink).

It can be really difficult to hold a large spray can like that, especially when it's slippery with stray oil.

I finally took a minute to stop and try to fix the problem one day and came up with an easy solution!

Duh! I just slipped a wide rubber band around it and it gave me enough grip to spray a muffin pan one-handed quite easily. YAY!

Don't you just love simple life hacks?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Serious Question for Homeschoolers

I have a question for other homeschooling families. Now remember, I homeschool- this is my 2nd year. It's something I believe is right for my family right now and I'll continue to do it unless that feeling changes.

But there's one question about homeschooling I NEVER see a satisfactory answer to. It's the most dreaded word in the world of homeschooling.


Now, most homeschoolers will go on and on about how a public school classroom is probably not a very good place to gain proper social skills. A classroom of kids who are all the same age isn't terribly diverse and is usually ruled by the most popular kids. (Of course you can go through public school and come out totally fine socially, and you can also go through it and be completely destroyed by it.) 

I'm not trying to say that what I want is for my kids to have a social experience like what is offered at the public school. It's fine I guess, but not what I think is IDEAL. 

Now, homeschoolers will always say, "Oh your kids can be in sports, community classes, library time, homeschool co-ops, scouts, activity days, field trips, etc. You can be over socialized when homeschooling!"

Yes, yes. I understand that. Here's the problem. I can't get out of the house!  And you know what, most of the other homeschoolers I know don't either. 

We like to SAY that there are so many social opportunities out there in our communities and it's easy to be a part of those things. But from what I see, the reality is that we aren't taking part in it. 

It is ridiculously hard to get out of the house and participate in those things if you have to take ALL your kids with you- especially if you have a large family with a big spread in ages. How do you help your tween get to a music lesson, your middle ones to a soccer practice, and the youngest ones to a play date? YOU CAN'T!! 

Unless you sacrifice other things, like spending much time together as a family, eating healthy, home cooked meals, getting your main school work done, etc.

We currently do our school work in the morning, have lunch, put little boys down for naps, and then we're here until about 4 when naps are over. 

So, that leaves maybe 1-2 hours to do anything before I have to be home fixing dinner. Because everyone in the world seems to think it's a good idea to start evening activities, concerts, etc. at 6:00! 

Doesn't anyone else eat dinner at 6 or 6:30? Why would I want to be at an activity at 6? My husband doesn't even get home until then! 

Anyway, ranty ranty ranty.  

I just don't see how there's time go to and DO things. By the time you get everyone looking decent with shoes on and diaper bag in the car it's taken 20 minutes. Then you have to drive across town to "X" thing, wait around with all the other kids who are bored and whiny, and then drive back home an hour later. Then it takes another 20 minutes to get everyone inside, their things put away and settled in. Really, it takes more like 1 1/2 to 2 hours to do a 1 hour thing outside of the home. And then there's no time left to make a healthy, homemade meal and have everyone sit down together and eat it before someone has to run out the door to something. (Scouts, RS activity, etc.)

Thus, we almost never go anywhere or do anything.

Honestly, homeschoolers of the world. Do you REALLY get out? Do your kids actually get to meet different people or varying ages? We like to say, "Oh, our kids know how to socialize with people of all ages!" What is really meant is that the kids socialize with all their siblings of various ages. That's all very nice, but it doesn't teach you how to talk to people who think completely differently than you do. 

Honestly, HOW do you help kids (and yourself!) learn to talk to people of all nationalities, religions, family backgrounds, etc.? I don't think you really can actually. I don't think it's something you have much access to until you are grown up and say, go on a mission, enter the workforce, attend a college and live with assorted roommates, etc. 

Anyone have ideas for how you can really socialize with different people (not just your own family) when you homeschool and have lots of small children? Or even if you do public school. Your child's public school classroom most likely isn't very diverse unless you live in a big city or something. Is there really anything you can do to prepare a child for the vast array of people in this big world?

How do you even get out of the house and participate in local activities when you have little ones napping, dinner to put on, kids to put to bed, etc.?

 The final question is, does it even matter? Does your ability to socialize depend more upon your personality than how many social events you participate in? 

I am terribly shy and anxious around people. Can't help it. Always been that way. No, public school didn't fix it. I don't like having people over for dinner, or kids over for playdates. I don't like parties, sports, etc. The only thing I REALLY like to do with other people is play music and I like it best when we are playing and not talking! ( :  

I don't think there's anything that can "fix" me and my social problems. I think I'm super awkward around new people, especially if we think very differently about things like religion, moral issues, etc. Is there really anything that can be done?

So, if anyone, homeschooling, public schooling, or whatever has any ideas, I'm all ears!  



Wednesday, March 26, 2014

How to Remember the 12 Apostles

In my church we have an exciting event coming right up. Our Semi-Annual General Conference! And this weekend is the first part of that which will be a meeting for all girls age 8 and up. That's an interesting change for this year and we are thrilled at my house because my oldest JUST turned 8. She's really excited to go with me to hear our leaders speak to us.

I was trying to do a Family Home Evening lesson on preparing for conference and I wanted to go over the 12 apostles. So, I checked out and found lots of fun ideas for conference prep. There were even some recommendations for how to put the names of the apostles to simple songs to remember them! Some seemed more awkward than others. My favorite was to the tune of "If You Chance to Meet a Frown." 

Packer, Perry, Nelson, Oakes,
Ballard, Scott and Hales.
Holland, Bednar, Cook, Christofferson,
Anderson makes 12.

That gives them all in order of seniority I believe and is really easy to remember!

So I'm a Little Slow with Projects

My last post showed how slow I was at getting some pictures up on the wall. This post is about yet another slow to be done project.

You see, I wanted to make each of my kids a quilt. No idea why this is so VASTLY important to me. The world isn't going to end just because I didn't make the 3 year old a quilt! Anyway, the 2 girls each had a simple tied quilt but my then 2-year-old didn't. I wanted to get it done for his 3rd birthday. Well, that came and went and it never happened. So, with his 4th birthday looming I finally, FINALLY got the blasted quilt done!

It shouldn't have been so hard. My lovely younger sister made a quilt for her little boy. I looked at it and said, "Cute! Get me the pattern, tell me what fabric to buy and I'll just make one exactly like it and not have to even think!" So, lovely sister helped me get the fabric, she gave me the pattern and instructions and off I went. Until I tried to get started and realized I'm a total spaz at making quilts. The only pieced quilt I ever made was one I blogged about here and here. Basically just an easy jean picnic quilt. No biggie. I just blind tied it to make life easy.
But my sister's quilt was hard! She cut out all these little pieces and ironed them on and stitched around them and then had to do all kinds of crazy contortions to piece it together. Check out her quilt:
 Well, after ages of not getting going on the project my sister had pity on me and cut out all the little cars and got them ironed on for me. Whew. She's the best!

I have spent the last several weeks forcing myself to finish this quilt. I have stayed up late every night listening to a chemistry course** I'm taking or TED talks and sewing my heart out. Here is the final product at last!
 It ended up very different from my sister's, but still very cute. In the end, I didn't piece it. I just bought a piece of black fabric, laid out everything, pinned it in place, and zig-zagged around the edges. Oh well! I see a real pieced quilt in my future, but right now that ain't happenin'.

I even squeezed in time for a little pillow to go with it because I had an extra piece. So cute!
The best part of all this was when I learned my sewing machine could do a blanket stitch! I would NEVER have gotten this done if I'd had to stitch around all those little pieces by hand like my sister did on hers. Thank goodness for sewing machines eh?

My machine stitching.
 My sister's hand sewing.
Whew, so glad to have that done. And it's Mr. Car Man's birthday this week so I barely made it in time!

Have you made any pieced quilts? How do you find the time?!

** The chemistry course I am taking is FREE and can be found here. It's not so much chemistry as it is learning about general food and health science. "A course that offers a scientific framework for understanding food and its impact on health and society from past to present." It's SUCH a good class. You can do as much or as little of it as you want. I mainly just listen to the videos. The professors crack me up. They talk in "professor speak" and don't even break a smile, but they are totally telling jokes. It takes you a minute to realize they were just kidding! There's even a whole section about CHOCOLATE! I have a few friends who I know would be interested in THAT!

I think one of the reasons I really like this class is that their conclusions about health and what food to eat, etc. are right in line with what I already live and believe. It all lines up quite well with the Word of Wisdom. ( :


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Seven Year Decorating Project

So a long time ago I lived in a lovely house in Brigham City, Utah. We had it built just for us and were able to pick out a lot of what went into the home. I went through every house plan the architect had until I finally narrowed it down to one, then I re-drew the upstairs completely. I'm THAT picky! Or to put a positive spin on it- I wanted to be organized and efficient and I made our house be just that. ANYWAY...

We only had one child when we moved in. I wanted to have her baby room decorated but it had to be pretty generic and not so cutsey that you couldn't stand to put a little bit older child in there. I figured we'd put babies in that room for years and years, so it would be worthwhile to decorate it that way. (I'm not real big on one gender, themed decorating that will just have to be changed out in a few years. I'm too ferociously practical!)

So, I put together a few ideas for decorating this room and with the help of my much-more-talented-at-decorating sister we planned out what to do.

Then came the best part. We had a family party to decorate the baby room! It was a GIRL party, so 2 of my aunts, my grandmother, my mother and my 4 sisters came to help. I gotta tell you, that was SO MUCH FUN! You really should try it for the next family member who is expecting their first baby. Have a baby room decorating party and celebrate babies and womanhood and have all kinds of girly fun!
 My Grandma and older sister sewing ambitiously.
So, here's how it turned out:

 I love the toile curtains. The fabric is SO cute! I liked having curtains instead of closet doors because we turned the inside of the closet into a changing area.
 Here you get a good view of the darling picket fence we nailed around the room. Isn't it cute? I also love the little birdhouses hanging in the corner and the bits of fabric hanging on clothespins as a window treatment. was such a cute room. Sadly, our lovely house is long gone to us and I still miss it. Sniff. Sniff.

In our current house I have used most of the stuff from our previous baby room to decorate, so it's somewhat similar. But now I have added something that was always missing in the above baby room. You see the big huge blank wall above the crib? That was meant to hold some darling pictures that my grandmother embroidered, but I never got them framed and put up!

So, FINALLY after all these years I got my very talented brother to make the frames for me as a Christmas present for last Christmas. I bought cheap-o picture frames at the thrift store and saved the glass to use in these frames to protect the embroidery.

Here is the final product:

The photos aren't great, but you'll get the idea...
 The pictures have since been re-hung to be farther up the wall from the baby!

 I made a mistake when I planned this whole thing out. I didn't leave room for a mat around the edge! Gulp. So, I just took bits of fabric that were leftover from decorating the room and stitched it around the pictures. It's a little uneven here and there, but it's the best I could come up with. I think it turned out OK and it saved the project from languishing in a closet any longer.

 My grandmother made this little wall-hanging years ago and it's always been part of the baby room too.

 This one is in the kids' bathroom.

Aren't those darling? I'm so glad we finally get to enjoy them.

Want to know how to get something cute like that on your wall? Well, I don't have a step-by-step for making frames. Sorry. No doubt someone on the internet could tell ya!

All I did for the pictures was trace the pictures out of a vintage coloring book my mom had saved! I just traced them in light pencil or with washable fabric marker. Then I made a copy of each picture from the coloring book and colored over the lines of the picture with colored pencil to indicate which color I wanted where. Then I just sent them over to my grandma and she was happy to do an embroidery project for me. ( :   Someday I'll have to learn to embroider, but I just don't seem to have the patience for hand sewing. Blech.

Anyway, I thought this was so cute and would be fun to share. It really gives the room a special touch and is so meaningful because my grandma stitched the pictures.

Beyond that, I had so much fun when we first decorated my baby room so I wanted to share that idea. Has anyone else ever done a family baby room decorating project?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

100th Day of School

We had our 100th day of school a while back and I wanted to share what we did. (We school year round so our 100th day is probably not close to the 100th day of public school.)

I'm usually pretty strict about doing real school work, but every now and then we just have a fun day with easy worksheets and such. It's certainly nice to take a break now and then and just be fun and silly together.

We started off by creating the number 100 with legos.
 Mr. Car Man wrote 100 inside the outline I drew on a Magna-Doodle.
 We did a few fun worksheets like this and this. Mimi is displaying her dot-to-dot number octopus.
 We did THIS exercise sheet which instructs you to do 100 bits of exercising!
 We played a dice game where you made tally marks according to the number on your die. We rolled and rolled until we reached 100 marks. The baby and toddler LOVED helping to roll the die.

 We wanted to do a "treat" but I'm not into doing a big sugary treat for every single fun school thing you can imagine. So, the kids just got 100 Cheerios to string on a necklace. Despite the lack of sugar it was a big hit!

 Good for those fine motor skills.
 Cute babies love to help and steal the Cheerios!
 We finished up with coloring some 100 glasses. We found that it worked best to just tape them onto sunglasses so they would stay on. Then the kids watched an episode of Arthur where Elwood city turns 100!

It was nice to take a day off from the usual grind of schoolwork and do something unusual.

Did your kids celebrate the 100th day of school whether at public or home school? Any fun ideas to share?

My tip is, just do a simple google search for 100th day of school activities, printables, games, etc. and you'll find everything you need!

I put this fun day together in a matter of minutes with items I already had on hand and the kids had a blast. You don't need to go out and buy a bunch of supplies, spend a wad of cash, or whip up fabulous sugary treats in the kitchen. Just take a trip around the internet, grab a few fun ideas and go for it!

Thanks to all the great people out there who share their 100th day of school ideas.
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