Historic Threads

This past weekend our family was part of a historical re-enactment.  I made {this little project} for my Ellie to wear.  

Why don't we dress our wee ones this way anymore?  I couldn't take my eyes off of her--she was such a doll!

Jay took this family photo of us in "camp."  

I had no idea that dressing up and participating like this would be such a neat {little project} for our family.   It made history so much more real.

Seriously, my little boy looking like this?  Take me back in time!
  In his hand is a jar of cream that he is shaking to turn it into butter.

The music in the camp represented all the different time periods and peoples there.

It made me realize in a new way that music is very much a representation of a people.  That's a {little} something to think on, no?

Though I'm truly grateful for electricity and my laundry room, watching my little ones do the laundry was a sweet {little} treat!

Costumes and dressing up....it puts me right in the mood for Halloween costumes!

And on that note, Jay wants to be a praying mantis for Halloween...any help with that one is totally appreciated.  In the meantime, (since I haven't figure that one out yet) I keep hoping he changes his mind!

A {little} travel...come see Scotland!

I'm over at abc123learning.com today to teach about Movement and Music in Scotland.  

Come do a virtual visit around the world with me and learn with us about Scotland!

abc button

Friday Favorites and Freebies

Happy Friday!  I hope you are ready for some Friday fun!  Here it is:

I am a dancer at heart, so when I saw this idea for a "perfect bun" I had to share it!  I think you will be surprised at how she pulls it off--and she has a nice video to show you how too, yay!  Check it out here.


My little Jay loves to draw.  He is always asking me how to draw things...but I'm not blessed with a lot of talent in drawing, so I'm happy to have found this site.  So much to learn here!

Free Art Lessons

I think this outdoor Twister Game is brilliant!  Get the details here.

Sassy Style outdoor twister game

And finally, a free printable!  I love all the eye charts out there right now.  This one is perfect for Halloween!

halloween eye chart printable chevron

If you were featured today, feel free to grab a button badge from the sidebar.
Happy Friday! 

Blueberry Deluxe Pancakes

Our new favorite pancake recipe is deluxe goodness:
Whole Wheat Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes

 So why is it so deluxe?

Because {this little project} is easy to make
tastes super yummy
and it's healthy goodness for you too!

So don't let that healthy recipe title scary you away.  
{this little project} makes a yummy dinner too!

This recipe works with regular white flour too if you don't have whole wheat flour on hand.

I like to grind my own wheat with this sweat little monster.  If you are looking for a good wheat grinder I can recommend this one:

This grinder was a Christmas gift.  I love using it to make my own breads.  It can grind corn too if you want to make your own cornmeal.

Whole wheat Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes Recipe:

2 cups whole wheat flour
4 TBL cornmeal 
2 TBL sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBL cinnamon
2 beaten eggs
2 cups milk
4 TBL cooking oil
1-2 cups blueberries

Top with yogurt, maple syrup, whipped cream, blueberries, etc!

Combine ingredients together (except for blueberries) and stir until just moistened.  Fold in blueberries.
Cook on lightly greased griddle or skillet on medium heat until golden brown.
Makes 16-20 6 inch pancakes.

{little project tip} if you don't use cornmeal very often, keep it in the freezer and just pull out what you need for recipes like this one.

Savor the healthy yumminess!

Come and see...

This is the "before" photo.   Come see how {This Little Project} turned out!  

I'm sharing an idea for how to celebrate all those "art projects" that the kids are bringing home from school.

Devotional Project

"Great things are done by a series of small things brought together."
-- Vincent Van Gogh

With school starting again, you may be like me thinking about the kinds of patterns you want to have in your home and trying to manage the chaos of many schedules.

I've written before about our morning devotional  and why and how it came to be in our home.  But since that time (February 2009) our children have grown and we've even moved to a new state!  Needless to say, things have changed in the past 2 years.

As parents we know that character development is as essential as anything else our kids learn at school.  But they don't teach as much about character at school as they used to.  Our morning devotional lasts about 5 minutes-it's something we do while we eat breakfast.  {Little} as that may be, I have seen it make a big difference over the years.   

It's amazing how meaningful a few minutes can be.

If this sounds like a {Little Project} you might like to do in your home, 
I'll share some ideas that have worked in ours:

I clip pictures from this magazine and this magazine and put them in sheet protectors.  The pictures are religious in nature, or about ideas I think would be good for us to think about, or about making choices.  I use three ring clips to hold them together because a binder was too big and I wanted to just see one picture at a time.  This sits on a small stand in our dining room.

Each morning we talk about a picture.  I don't prepare this ahead of time.  I simply ask questions like, who is in the picture, what they are doing, what can we do to be like them, etc.  The kids usually kind of take over telling me about it and what they see.  It always amazes me what they see.  Sometimes I feel like they are teaching me!  

We have done this for over a year.  I rotate the pictures over time but have found that it can be fun to go through them again.  After time has passed the kids can go more in depth as they get older and have new things to say about them.  We went through the picture packet we used in the past about 5 times before we started this new system of pictures.

Another idea is to use a photo holder to put scriptures in:

This "scripture album" is also in our dining room.  We say and try to memorize a scripture each week.  For little ones I say a line and they repeat it to me and we move through the verse like that.  The reading kids can try not to look at it as the week goes by.  

I am continually amazed at what little children can remember and learn.  They are little sponges, which is why developing their character from the time they are tiny is so important.  I remind myself that they are absorbing everything.  My hope in our morning devotional is that they will absorb goodness.

"Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise."
-- Alma  
Alma 37:6

One last thing that we have been doing for about the past 6 months is our prayer "list."  

This is a place where we can write down things that are meaningful to them and our family that we want to remember in our prayers.  I got a little dry-erase board from the dollar store for this.  

This prayer list has been really great for helping our kids to learn to pray and give meaningful and heartfelt prayers.  It has also helped us teach them about the world and what is going on in the world--like praying for the people who are affected by the hurricane or recent tsunami. 

 It has also helped them look outside themselves and care for others.  We also keep this in our dining room and the kids can refer to it when we say meal-time prayers.

In our home, the dining room is a gathering place for meals, but also a place we walk throughout the day.  So even though we only spend a few minutes talking about these things the kids see them throughout the day.  I have seen these {little} things make a big difference in our home.

"Small events and choices determine the direction of our lives just as small helms determine the directions of great ships."
-- M. Russell Ballard

Whatever your morning routine, make the {little} things count :)

Party in the Playroom: Furniture Makeover


I always love a good "makeover."  It's so rewarding to see the change from the "before" to the "after" and makes you feel like the work was worth the effort.

That's just how {This Little Project} for the playroom went.  A little spray paint can QUICKLY work wonders.  I had some little chairs and table on hand that we have had for years.  My kids love them, but they were not cute!

I love these little wooden chairs.  They don't tip and they can hold any size kid.  They are super sturdy! But they were this ugly brown color.  The photo shows some yellow paint on them--I almost forgot to take the "before" photo!

The little table was red, yellow, and blue.  Not cute.  And did not match the rest of the playroom at all.  You know something isn't cute when your husband tries to store these in the garage instead of letting your kids play with them!

So...I gave them a nice coat of spray paint...and they look totally different!

And now the kid furniture doesn't mysteriously disappear to the attic or garage anymore!  

Ellie was sure that I made {this little project} just for her.  She sat right down with a cup of cheerios to try it out!

And it looks soooooo much better now in the playroom and with the playhouse.  
I love doing projects that get used.  And this one has a lot of new life in it now :)

So next time you are ready to throw something out, consider a can of paint instead!

Practice Abacus--Abracadabra!

I'm excited to share something we've enjoyed a lot in our home.  {This Little Project} is perfect for back-to-school music practicing too.

It's magic! really!
I call it the Abracadabra Practice Abacus.

You remember what an abacus is, right?  It's kind of an old-school calculator--with the beads you move around to count things.  

Sometimes when I'm trying to encourage my kids with their music practice, we need a little magic to make it all happen--otherwise practicing is no {little project}.  That's where the Abracadabra Practice Abacus comes in.

Each string has a number of beads or beads that spell a word.  Want to know why?

Because: repetition is magic.  

Kids like to do things once. But things don't improve much with one try.  But give it a few consecutive tries and you'll get some nice progress!  It's kind of like magic.

So, on the Abracadabra Practice Abacus you will find places to count 5 repetitions (see above), 4 repetitions, 3 repetitions, and 2 repetitions (rh/lh).  That way there is a fun way to keep track of those repetition and make the magic happen!

Need some magic a your house?  
{This Little Project} might be your magic wand!

To make {This Little Project} you need:

a cereal box

a frame (matches the size of your mounting paper)

1/8 inch ribbon



a piece of paper to mount it on (that fits your frame)

glue stick

binder clips

optional: overhead projector sheet (plastic) 

Directions to make {This Little Project}:
(hint: read all the directions before you start--I'm hoping this makes sense!)

First- cut your cereal box to the size of the paper you are mounting. Glue the paper to the cardboard.

Then decide where your lines of beads will go and mark the paper where the brads will go in.

If you think your Practice Abacus will get a lot of use you may want to put a overhead projector sheet over the top of the paper to mount the beads and brads on.  It's kind of like laminating it.  Use the binder clips to hold it on while you punch the holes.

I punched the holes with my scissors, but a different tool might be nice.

Cut your ribbon lengths at least 2 inches longer than they need to be to go across the paper because you will wrap the brads.  You can trim the extra at the end.

The brad will hold the ribbon in place on the abacus.  First thread it through the middle of the brad like this:

Then wrap it around the brad once like this, before putting it through the hole you created on the left side of the paper.  Spread the brad open on the back of the cardboard to secure it.

Now just decide how many beads you want on that line of your abacus.  
Next thread your beads on the ribbon.

If you have room, you can put a brad in the middle of the paper (not just on the sides) so that you can have two different counters that move on the same ribbon line, like this one.

The RH/LH line we use for when Jay needs to do 2 repetitions of something on each hand.

The reason I did 2 different counters of 4 each like the one below is so that Jay can either count the word out or count with the numbers.  He can also use it for doing 4 on one hand and 4 on the other hand.  It's nice to be able to track how many and it's fun too!

Continue putting brads into the holes you marked until you have the number of counters you would like.

For my Practice Abacus I put the "3's" at the top, then the "4's", then the "5's", followed by the 2 (RH/LH) at the end.

Abracadabra, it's done! 

 Now watch the magic happen at your house as you use your Practice Abacus!

Family Preparedness Project

Some of our projects are just {little projects}.  But I feel like a lot of our projects are more like, " little-by-little" projects.  That's how I feel about our Family Preparedness Project.  

I've shared some thoughts before about {this little project} since it's the ongoing kind.  Since September is National Preparedness Month here in the USA and with hurricane Irene we have a fresh reminder of how life can change very quickly.  Being prepared is a {little project} that helps us all weather life's storms better.  

For instance, I was recently reading about Brandy's experience of feeding her family for two years while her husband was out of a job and how important her pantry became to her.  Talk about pulling on your heart strings.  Wondering how you will be able to feed your children from day to day is a totally different kind of stress than wondering what you might make for dinner.

We moved into our home just over a year ago and I've been so excited to graduate from our DIY pantry to a real pantry!  For Christmas I wanted storage containers for all our dried fruits, nuts, flour, sugar, etc.  Not only does it feel great to have an organized pantry, but it is a rewarding experience to have some extra on hand so we aren't so completely tied to the grocery store.  

If you are new to the idea of having extra on hand, a pantry is a great way to start.  I love having a "mini grocery store" in my home so that if I change my mind on what to make for dinner I don't have to run to the store.  To begin I just bought a few extras of the things our family eats regularly.  With some dedicated shelf space it's not too hard to work your way up to having one month and then two or three months of food on hand in your pantry.  It's a {little project} that will give you peace of mind.  

The world is an unpredictable place but you can make your home feel more secure.  Whenever I wonder about if {this little project} is worth the effort I think of stories like Brandy's.  I want to be able to feed my family if our circumstances were to suddenly change.  And little by little, {this little project} is coming together.

If you are thinking that your family could use a little family preparedness project too, I also want to share with you an article with 1 preparedness idea for each day of September.  Following one or many of the ideas will get you a little closer to your goal.  And with it being National Preparedness Month, now is a great time to begin!