Month: May 2015

A Great Mix of Tim Hawkins Parenting Songs

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If you are a current of past parent of children in the tween/teen stages, you will be able to relate to comedian Tim Hawkins and this awesome mix of his parenting songs.


Winter Mouse Gives A Spring Surprise

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Happy Post Memorial Day Week! This past weekend was the official unofficial start to summer~FINALLY!!! For those of you who live on the East Coast you know that we had a HARD winter and I think we will be savoring every moment of warmth! I think with the first sign of spring we may have still had a small amount of snow in the driveway that was still melting from the plowed piles, but we couldn’t wait to pull out the patio furniture and get outside! We live in a suburb and our backyard is surrounded by a fairly wooded area. We certainly get our fair share of animals: fox, deer, hawks, chipmunks, raccoons, mice, skunks, possums, rabbits, coyote, bobcats…well you get the picture. The mice always seem to be the most bothersome though. They like to nest in the winter any place they think they will be warm and comfortable and they will go to extreme measures to help themselves to any and everything to do so. In the past, they have made their winter home in my central air conditioning unit, munching through wires and pulling insulation out. This year, I thought we were in the clear. Last spring my son and I made a birdhouse out of wood that he had broken during karate tests. In the fall, we discovered that a mouse had made it’s nest and home in the birdhouse. Fine with me, it was away from my house! With spring fever, we pulled all our patio furniture out from under the deck, cleaned it off and set it up. Then we went into the storage box we have had for two years to get the cushions. SURPRISE!!! Upon opening, a sheet of mouse poop. Okay, a mouse was in there, no big deal. We will just clean it out. So we start pulling cushions out and one by one we find they are chewed into and the stuffing is pulled out. Cushion after cushion into a black garbage bag. Then the biggest surprise when I saw a hole on a cushion and poked the outside just to have the mouse come running out and scare me half to death. NOT HAPPY! What do we do, now we are left with four out of ten cushions to put on our outdoor sectional couch. Would you believe it took me a ton of time over a week to figure out what the solution would be? I was ready to buy a new couch, but didn’t want to spend the money again since I just got it three years ago.

This is a picture from an ad of what the sectional looked like when I bought it

I consulted cushion making people and every website that would carry cushions just to find out that there was nothing to match or that would fit or that had the special corner cushions for the sectional. Just as I was about to buy a new set, I decided to order a pair of cushions I’d seen on Lowe’s that has a stripe design. Even though the cushions are slightly smaller than the original, I think it works. We split up the sectional and the original cushions blend well with the new ones. So, here’s to the mouse who cost me $150+ for new cushions. I will enjoy them this summer, I hope you enjoyed your warm home, it was a horrible winter and I’m glad I could provide it for you.

Here it is now split up with a mix of the new and old cushions

Wooden Box Repurposed Into Jewelry Holder

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I love old wood. There’s something about it that immediately attracts me. I don’t know if it is the feeling that I might be holding old history and that it must contain a story or that I just find it intriguing. I have a lot of items in my home that I have purchased that feature repurposed old wood. I’ve picked up boxes, crates, benches, a framed chalkboard and others along the way (see some pics of items below).

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I found an old wooden box at a tag sale for $4, so without a plan bought it. I had it for a while and tried to think of uses. I used it as a purse holder and then a holder for unused picture frames, and then it just sat empty. Finally, I decided that it would make an awesome jewelry holder. I had necklaces hanging one on top of another always getting tangled, some jewelry in a jewelry box and some on a shelf. Now, this could be a place where it is all together and I can actually see it. So I went to Home Depot and got some small nails, a piece of chain and some hooks. This is where the “imperfect” part of my crafting comes in. Home Depot had the chain in silver, but not the nails and hooks, those were only in gold. I didn’t prefer them in gold, but was anxious to get the project done because it was, after all in my mind. I screwed two eye hooks on the back in the center, but towards the end of the box and attached some picture hanging wire. Then hammered two picture hooks in the wall so the box would hang evenly on two sides providing more stability than just a center hook. Then I counted my necklaces and bracelets and screwed in the screw eye hooks and tapped in the nails. I used the screw eye hooks for the necklaces and the nails for the bracelets and then hung my dangling earrings in pairs from the chain. You will see more imperfection if you look closely, I didn’t take time to measure out evenly so some don’t line up, but you can’t even tell with all the jewelry on because the necklaces and bracelets are different lengths. And there you have it….a new jewelry holder and it only cost me $13.00 to make!

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Party Favors and Supplies

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I am in the process of building my Etsy Store! It is a little eclectic right now, but the main focus will be party favors, decorations and gift items. Right now you can find some party favors, invitations, a handmade birthday sign, vintage jewelry and photography on canvas for sale. I am testing the waters, but hope to be adding items on a frequent basis.

Check it out!

Mom Song

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With Mother’s Day still fresh in our minds, I thought I would share one of my favorite comedy routines. It was recorded back in 2007. It is of Anita Renfroe singing to the William Tell Overture what a mom’s life is like in a twenty-four hour period. For me what makes it funny is that it is so true!

Here is the YouTube link to the song:

Baby Quilt

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My friend had a beautiful bouncing boy this past February. I wanted to make her a quilt for her baby shower which was held in December. (If you read my other quilt post, you will see I do have good intentions regardless the outcome of the quilt).

Her room theme was nautical, but it is very hard to find a “cute” nautical fabric pattern. I went online and explored and came up with some fabrics I liked, pieced them together and came out with the first row seen in the screen shot below. Perfect! I tried to figure out the quilt size I wanted and ordered the fabrics. Wouldn’t you know when I got the fabrics and cut all the squares and started to lay them out, I realized how stupid I was! Of course it would not look very much like a patchwork quilt because it would all line up with the same piece in every row. So, I went back on the computer and played around to come up with the second row seen below in the screen shot. Very good, now it will be mixed up and look better.

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Ok, everything was cut and it was time to put together. Do you think I laid everything out? Nope. Just the two rows and then sewed an even amount of rows in the two patterns. Then laid it out to find out it looks like a quilt split down the middle. Ugh! Oh well, I was running out of time. In my defense, it had been a long time since I made a quilt. So I sewed the front together and got the back together and was time to sew the whole thing including the batting. I layered it up, sewed the whole quilt and OMG! When I pulled it out the batting was on the outside. I had to sit down and undo every single machine stitch and then re-sew the whole thing. I finally finished! If you look closely though, you will see that even though I had a nice template, the squares are not all the same size and don’t match up evenly. At least they match up unevenly! Two lessons learned here: 1. Don’t attempt to take on a quilting project if you don’t have the time and focus for it. 2. I taught my kids how to use a sewing machine, they made the pillows in the picture to match the quilt seen below.

I told my friend that the intention anyway was to use this on the floor for playtime and it looks like that’s what they are doing!        

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Bittersweet Baseball- Update

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Well, I can not report on how bittersweet going to Yankee Stadium was on Mother’s Day because I woke up with the stomach bug and couldn’t go : (. My kids and husband still went and brought me back a ball signed by Joe Girardi. Wasn’t the same as being there, but cool! I will have to wait until June 20 when we go to a game which happens to be on Old Timers’ Day. Maybe, just maybe, Derek Jeter will be there and it will be more sweet than bitter!

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On Sunday, Mother’s Day, we will be attending a Yankee’s game. I am super excited because I love going to Yankee Stadium and what a great way to spend Mother’s Day with my family! However, I feel it may be a bittersweet experience knowing I won’t be hearing Bob Sheppard’s voice announcing, “Now batting for the Yankees, number 2, Derek Jeter, number 2”. My husband and I were lucky enough to have met Derek Jeter last June. Everyone thinks I have a thing for him, granted he’s good looking and a legendary Yankee, but my feelings for him are misunderstood. I think I didn’t even understand them until I sat down and wrote him a letter to hand deliver to him at the Meet and Greet last year. Below is the letter:

June 21, 2014
Dear Mr. Jeter,
I want to tell you what an honor it is going to be on so many levels to meet you tonight. I have been a lifelong Yankee fan and for me that runs deep and is special. My father loved the game of baseball and was a huge fan of the Yankees and Mickey Mantle. I have fond memories growing up watching Yankee games with him both on TV and at the stadium and listening to them in the car while I ran Saturday errands with him. Unfortunately, he died in 1993 of cancer at age forty-four and never got to see you play with the Yankees. If he had, he would have instantly become a fan of yours as well. You represent everything sports should. You are a loyal team member, great player, fantastic role model (for both kids and other players) and truly a Yankee legend. Guys like you don’t come around that often, and the Yankees have been lucky enough to be a legendary team because they have acquired such greats. I am so regretful that he never got to see you play, however, I am lucky to have had the opportunity to become a fan of yours at the same level he was of Mantle’s and I know he would have been a proud fan as well.
I have grown up during your career, from a teenager to an adult. I have attended many games as an adult and with my own children. Although my father never got to see you play, he lives on through my family. My son was born on Mickey Mantle’s birthday, October 20 and in 2004, during the fateful Yankee/Red Sox playoff game. I gave birth while the game played in the background. My now nine-year-old son, Luke, plays baseball and it is his choice sport. He loves the game! Thankfully, he has also had a role model like you to look up to. Raising children is a hard job and as a mother, I appreciate the positive morals and attitude for yourself and others that you portray in a world where there is a lot of negative and violence. Your Jeter’s Leaders program is a fantastic social change program. As a social worker and parent, I commend you! We have talked about your Pillars of Leadership and use them as a reference in life and on the field.
You have helped bridge three generations since my children never met their grandfather. You have given them and me the opportunity to love a team and a player as my father did. Meeting you tonight is to thank you for everything you have meant to me and my family! You truly are one of a kind, both on and off the field, and I thank you for twenty wonderful years! You will certainly be missed, a game without your presence will not be the same. My family and I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors!

With honor and gratitude,

Danielle Beerli

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Educational Links

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Here are some of my favorite educational links with descriptions from their “about” page: – Educational Videos

Founded in 1999, BrainPOP creates animated, curricular content that engages students, supports educators, and bolsters achievement. Our award-winning online educational resources include BrainPOP Jr. (K-3), BrainPOP, BrainPOP Español, and, for English language learners, BrainPOP ESL. BrainPOP is also home to GameUp, an educational games portal for the classroom.

In traditional, blended, and “flipped” learning settings, BrainPOP supports individual, team, and whole-class learning. At school and in informal learning environments, our characters help introduce new topics and illustrate complex concepts. Through “My BrainPOP,” teachers and students can keep a record of learning accomplishments through quizzes, game play, and activities. The My BrainPOP suite of features includes access to the Mixer, which lets users tailor assessments to meet all students’ needs, and Make-a-Map, our concept mapping tool. BrainPOP is also a great fit for mobile learning and BYOD classrooms: our educational apps – available on all major platforms – have been downloaded millions of times,and lauded in countless reviews. BrainPOP content is carefully mapped to the Common Core, aligned to academic standards, and searchable with our online Standards Tool. We are easy to use, with no downloading, installation, or special hardware required.

All of our resources are supported by BrainPOP Educators, our hub for free professional development and teacher resources like lesson plans, webinars, video tutorials, graphic organizers, and best practices.

BrainPOP was conceived by Avraham Kadar, M.D., an immunologist and pediatrician, as a creative way to explain difficult concepts to his young patients. Today, we’re used in more than 20 percent of U.S. schools, and are growing internationally. We take pride in our in-house team of educators, animators, and writers, who produce and continually improve BrainPOP, incorporating valuable teacher and parent input. Aiding us is a talented group of educators who serve as our Academic Advisors. We also partner with an array of educational game creators and other education technology companies and organizations. – Teaching resources for purchase and for free

We believe that real teachers create the most relevant and engaging educational resources. Our open marketplace model supercharges resource quality, quantity, and availability.

Bringing educators together forms a powerful community that shares best practices, raises the bar for all, and compensates our best curriculum developers (sometimes spectacularly).

In the end, everyone wins, especially students. And that’s what it’s all about. – Free teaching resources and books for sale

Scholastic (NASDAQ: SCHL) was founded in 1920 as a single classroom magazine. Today, Scholastic books and educational materials are in tens of thousands of schools and tens of millions of homes worldwide, helping to Open a World of Possible for children across the globe.

To encourage the intellectual and personal growth of all children, beginning with literacy.

The Star Quilt

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A really good friend of mine celebrated her birthday this past January. I wanted to do something extra special for her so in between homeschooling, mothering, etc., I decided to make her what turned out to be the most complicated quilt on Earth. I do have some experience with quilting, but I do not like to follow a pattern, I should’ve been the poster child for the “Crazy Quilt” phase. I am not very good at cutting or measuring, or sewing for that matter. Unfortunately, these are the skills one needs to possess in order to make a Country Fair Award Winning Quilt. Who cares, I did it anyway! Here was my inspiration:


Perfectly easy right? I decided I wouldn’t add those red banners and flower baskets and then it would be simple. Plus the colors and patterns would look awesome in her home which is an old farmhouse with a rustic appeal. I went to the fabric store with the picture, bought the fabric, a book on how to make the stars and I was ready to go. Twenty hours and a lot of frustration later, here is what my quilt front looked like:

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Not so bad in the first picture, right? Check out the stars in the second! How could that be? I cut them all out of templates that I measured perfectly. And, oh no, I sewed the longer side border wrong. Didn’t matter, I was determined to finish and from experience, I know that it always looks better when filled and finished. So onward to the finished product. At least the cat liked it! And the bottom picture is on her couch. You can also find a video of her opening it below:

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Luke and Alana’s Quotes

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Some of these quotes occurred during our homeschooling day:

We just came back from San Francisco, CA and Luke was doing a reading comprehension about the Golden Gate Bridge. There were 8 words at the beginning to practice before reading the text so I asked him if he knew what each word meant. When we got to the word “pier” he said, “A place with a bunch of restaurants and shops.” Then I laughed and said, no, San Francisco messed with your brain, thats not what a pier is. Take that away and what do you have? He said, “Oh, a place for the sea lions.”

We are studying the human body and we were watching BrianPop and Tim was explaining the “layers’” of the human body. They showed a figure of a human body and kind of stacked each system (Circulatory, muscular, cardiovascular, etc.) on top of one another. Alana sees this and immediately says, “No wonder I’m always hot”.

The vet called me and said she would like Neptune to go for some more testing. It is going to cost me $500 in a week for the cat. I said, so much for budgeting, I’m trying to get ahead and then it’s always something. Luke said, “Maybe God just doesn’t want you to have a budget.”

A question on the rocks and minerals test was: “Which of the following is NOT a characteristic used by scientists to classify minerals?” (a. hardness, b. volume, c. luster, d. streak)

Alana said, “well, it’s not volume unless they are on the radio talking about rocks. ”

We were in the car talking about Christmas and hannakuh and I said you know Jesus was Jewish. Alana said, I thought god was American.

We were at the local diner for dinner and Luke said do you think Hitler went to heaven or the other place? And then he asked Alana if she knew what the other place is and she said, “jail”.