Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Sale!

Everything in the shop is now on sale! Soaps as low as $0.70. All Cards Sets are $2 with FREE domestic shipping and all scarves are $5 also with free shipping! Custom Orders are even 10% off!

Head on over and check it out! Cross off that Christmas list without having to elbow your way to the register!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Five Educational Toys You Already Own

Educational toys seem to the be the big thing for awhile now. People shell out large sums of money for toys that are supposed to make their kids "smarter." Well, here are some toys that you already have, or can make very cheaply to help your little one develop important motor and cognitive skills.

  1. Paper and crayons/pens/markers/pencils/chalk. This cannot be understated. The act of drawing not only helps a child learn important motor skills for penmanship, but it also engages both sides of the brain. Most of us can see how the act of creating an image helps the creative half of the brain. However, it also helps the analytical. The logical, analytical brain is figuring out dimensions, shapes, lines, and proportion. It learns that if it wants everything on one page it has to space it right. Some research also suggests that allowing children to free draw then talk about their drawings encourages communication and social skills, as well as helps to develop emotional intelligence and self-reflection.
  2. Wooden spoons. Most of us have a few of these at home. Buy a cheap pair just for play or give your little ones older ones that have been washed (be sure to check that they aren't splintering). Wooden spoons can be used to teach motor skills by using them as bats or hockey sticks and hitting soft balls around the room. They can also teach rhyme and basic math/counting skills by using them as rhythm sticks. If you have a large number of spoons/forks/spatulas you can use them to teach sorting, counting, and even early division skills.
  3. A Sheet or Towel. These can be used to teach basic math skills such as fractions. (Fold the sheet in half, then in half again. Now you have fourths.) These are also great at teaching deductive skills and visualization skills. Place a favorite toy or common household item under a thin sheet or blanket. Have your child feel the item and guess as to what it is. You can also give simple clues such as color or use. This is an important cognitive skill that helps with problem solving and creative processes.
  4. Family Photo Albums. Use your family albums to teach a variety of topics and skills. The topics you can teach are as varied as your photos. Teach about seasons, families, religious events, geography, history, the possibilities are endless. You can also use your family photos to tell stories and teach sequencing. Put photos together and make your own story book. Kids love to hear about people they know. How neat would be to hear of the story of how Grandpa defeated the evil army to come home and marry Princess Grandma? You can also have your child tell you the story of the photo. Have them come up with the craziest possible story behind that photo of you and your roommate from college. This type of storytelling not only focuses on creative skills, but on emotional intelligence, social skills, and empathy.
But wait, I said five educational toys, didn't I? The last educational toy is certainly not least. In fact, the most important educational toy you already own is your brain. You don't need a computer game or dancing doll to teach your child their ABC's, just sing it with them. They don't need to watch special programing on television or have a collection of made-for-babies DVDs. Go for a walk with them and point to things and name them. Then have your child spell T-R-E-E and B-I-R-D and F-L-O-W-E-R. Soon you can have them counting the trees and telling you the types, what season they bloom in, what fruit or nuts they make. And you know what? All it costs is your time. 

I know we are all very busy people, but if you really want your baby to be a genius or straight-A student, they don't need special books or learning programs. They need you. Get into the habit of seeing every moment as a learning experience and play with your kids. Your son may not solve all the mysteries of String Theory, but he just might turn out to be one pretty awesome kid.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Season of Gratitude

Today is my first payday in over two years. I am so lucky to have a job, especially one that I like (or think I will like, I haven't really gotten started on my own just yet). My office also officially becomes my office today. I'm a real professional now... or something. :)

I just thank God that He's given me this opportunity.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Etsy Update

I started my full-time job as a service coordinator this week. It's been crazy busy, but I love it so far. However, that doesn't mean I've neglected the shop. I did have to miss Art Walk due to my back hurting, but I plan to be at Hickory Street's Open House this weekend!

First on the list of what's happening: I have a Tumblr account now! You can find me here: I've just barely gotten it started, but I hope to build it up in the coming weeks. Don't forget, you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pintrest, too!

Blog Features:

I'm honored to be featured in this awesome blog post. If you're looking for Christmas gift ideas and stocking stuffers, check it out:

New Listings:
I've added larger listings for custom orders as well as a bunch of new soap shapes, colors, and introducing new Lemon Verbena scent. The Lemon Verbena reminds me of Lemon Head candies and is incredibly fresh smelling.

Owl Soap

  • First on the list of new: I've put up listings for orders of twelve to twenty-four favors for various soap shapes. When you purchase one of these listings, you get to choose your color and scent(s). This is an easy way to plan for any upcoming parties! (Link)
  • Tree Frogs: A great impulse buy or stocking-stuffer! (Link)
  • Pair of Owls: Two adorable owls for your washing needs! These guys are in the new Lemon Verbena Scent and would be a great way to get a little sniff of this fresh scent. (Link)
  • There are two sizes of ladybugs for all you ladies out there! (Trio of Mini-Ladybugs) (Single Larger Ladybug)
  • I'm also proud to introduce you to Tulip Soap. This soap has real tulip petals within the bar. (Link)
  • Also, a bright blue, Sandalwood bar is now up in the shop. This color just brings a smile to my face. (Link)
Coming Soon:

I'm thinking of focusing the shop on just the soaps and letting the scarf listings expire if they don't sell this holiday season. This means that there will be many more soaps going up in the shop in the coming weeks. I've got many shapes, colors, and scents you haven't seen yet and hope to create more listings for larger party orders as these soaps make such awesome favors and gifts!

Featured Treasuries:
I've been blessed by the number of curators who have chosen to include my items in these awesome treasuries. I encourage you to check them out for some great gift ideas!
Curated Treasury:
Here are some amazing animal photos for you to ponder.

Thanks so much for your support everyone! I reached 101 items today! I really appreciate all your support and encouraging comments. 

Season of Gratitude

Today I am grateful that I got to see my Kindergarteners again. I was sick two weeks ago and then hurt my back so I had missed two Sundays. I loved getting to sit with those little ones and have them tell me about school and how Harry Potter 3 is so scary and that guy with the weird nose is creepy. These little ones keep me young, give me joy, and just make life better.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Season of Gratitude

Today I got to shadow the service coordinator who I am replacing. Her husband's in the military and they're moving for his new station, so she's leaving on good terms. Her goal is for me to meet most if not all of the 40 or so people on my case load before she leaves. We met probably about 15-20 today.

These are some of the sweetest people ever. Today I was hugged more than you can imagine (plus one guy tried to kiss me, but I ducked that one) and was told that I was "a very pretty lady." The woman I'm replacing told me that it's hard for her to say good-bye to some of the clients, and I can see why. Many of them tugged on my heartstrings today.

For those of you who don't know, this week I started a job as a Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Service Coordinator. The people in my case load have various levels of disability ranging from highly functioning to non-verbal persons.

One thing I know will come of this new position is a renewed gratitude. We often take our health for granted, but even more, we take for grated our basic functioning. I don't think about how lucky I am that I can walk normally, can work, can talk, can make my choices regarding what I wear or eat, and in general, can interact with my environment.

Obviously, I don't know what it would be like to have some of the impairments that my new clients have, and I know that they are receiving the best of care to provide the best quality of life possible; and if not, it's my job to make sure they do (and I will take that responsibility very seriously).

I guess what I'm grateful for today is that God has given me the opportunity to have these forty or so people in my life and the amazing blessings that I know will come from my friendships with them.

Remember to take time to listen...

Found this on a friend's Facebook:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Season of Gratitude

I have a really awesome husband. Just so you know. He may not be the most touchy-feely guy in the world, but I always know that I am loved.

That's all for tonight. :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Season of Gratitude/ Prayer Request

I start work today! I'm really excited and hopeful about the positive changes this will bring to our family. However, I hurt my back last week (hence not so many posts these past few days) and it's still hurting. I would appreciate your prayers for healing.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Etsy Update

It's been a busy week as I've been trying to get ready to go back to working full time while also preparing for the Christmas season and upcoming events. Here's a rundown of all that's new in the shop this week:

New Listings:

  • Yellow star ornament in the style of the other yarn ornaments, in a traditional bright yellow. (link)
  • Hufflepuff Book Scarf perfect for any Harry Potter fan! (link)
  • Christmas Tree Soap: A set of five small christmas tree soaps in Vanilla scent. Perfect for holiday parties and guest bathrooms! (link)
  • Thumbprint Soap: No rope needed! This soap bar has a small indent on the top to make it more easily held. (link)
  • Bath Salts: My last jar of bath salts in stock. These are orange and scented with an invigorating blend. These make a great gift for you or someone else. Read in the description for more information about sea salt soaks. (link)
  • Chunky Soap: I love this soap! It has such a unique look. (link)
  • Grey Bar: A perfect gift for a man or woman, this simple bar is elegant and useful. (link)
  • Sleeping Kitten: A puuurfect addition to any little girl's room or gift for mom-to-be. (link)
  • Elephant: Perfect for a jungle nursery, or just to add a little whimsy to your daily routine! (link)
  • Dragonfly: Pretty in pink and lovely for any little girl. (link)
Purple and Pink Chunky Soap when held to the light.
Coming Soon:
Keeping it simple this week, ladies and gents: I'm trying to get more of the soap inventory into the Etsy shop, and continuing to work on some knit items. I'm not sure how much will get done, but once I get the new schedule figured out, I'll get back on track.

Featured Treasuries:
Made Treasuries:
Social Media Links:
I'm practically everywhere now. Follow what you'd like:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Just a reminder..

Photo on 2011-11-03 at 13:33.jpg I may love Christmas, but let us not forget Thanksgiving on the way!

I've seen many gratitude posts on Facebook and Twitter. Let's all take some time to be mindful of our blessings this month!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Season of Gratitude

Today I am grateful that we cut Simon's nails. As some of you know, he has a bit of an aggression problem. We think it's linked to the fact that he ate some crafting supplies as a kitten which acted like a neuro-toxin and left him with an occasional tremor. We think he might just be a little brain damaged which leads to more aggression.

All that to say, he's been pretty aggressive the past few days, and we couldn't figure out why. Well, when Philip got home from work he noticed that Simon had some fuzz stuck in a claw. We then looked, and saw that his claws had gotten pretty beat up. Our apartment has cement floors and they do a number on his claws. When we saw how bad they were we decided to trim them up. Simon hates getting his claws trimmed, like most cats, but afterwards he was an angel.

He's been sweet and rubbing up against us, wanting to be petted. He's laid down in our laps, and actually wants to play. The poor thing was just trying to get us to pay attention to his feet, and we didn't know it. Finally, he's feeling better, and I think my arms and legs might get some time to heal.

Hail To The V

I just love this commercial. Let's use it as a reminder to care for ourselves. Get regular check-ups and cervical cancer screenings! Show yourself some love.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Season of Gratitude

Philip had the day off today, which is very uncommon (having a weekday off). We had a really good day. Did some shopping for Christmas items and got a new game he'd been looking forward to. We also looked at some apartments that we might be considering. We're just not sure if we want to move at Christmas time. It's been a really good day. It was nice to be able to just have a day together.

Drug-Free Halloween in Abilene?

So, apparently there was a station at Abilene's Boo at the Zoo where this sticker, all with other anti-drug/anti-drinking posters and stickers were handed out to the children:

Then, there was a public outcry. This sticker is accused of being inappropriate for children, inappropriate for the area, and somehow promoting the use of Meth.

Here's my take on it: When I was in elementary school, I think maybe fourth grade, the DARE program had a puppet show. The puppets told us about how drugs were bad, and the affects of different drugs on your body. I remember in that puppet show being told that LSD never truly leaves your body. Once you take it, it doesn't wash out. That puppet show was 15 years ago, and I still remember it.

Things like this are intended to help children remember the message. Nothing on this sticker is wrong. Meth will make you a "twitchy idiot" faster than you will realize you have a problem. If this sticker keeps one kid from taking Meth, it did it's job.

As far as this message not being needed in Abilene:

"Statistics have shown that their are approximately 5,594 marijuana users, 2,449 people abusing prescription drugs, 916 cocaine addicts, 416 people using hallucinogens, 233 people that use inhalants, and 51 heroin addicts who live in Abilene, Texas.
It is estimated that 166 people will be killed by tobacco, 32 people will die from alcohol, 6 lives will be lost to illicit drug use, and there will be 6 deaths due to intoxicated driving this year in Abilene.
There will also be close to 706 people arrested for drug charges and around 535 DUIs in Abilene this year." (source)

From the Texas Department of Health and Human Services's Drug Facts Among Youth 2010:

  • Use of methamphetamine (speed, crystal meth, ice, or crank) was first reported in the 2008 secondary school survey. About 3.0 percent reported lifetime use of methamphetamine in 2010, down from 3.5 percent in 2008. However, the past-month use of methamphetamine remained stable at 0.8 percent during the past two years. 

  • 4.8% of High School seniors have tried Meth in 2008. 2.9% of Ninth graders, and 2.3% of seventh graders.

Drugs are a problem. This sticker should upset you. It should upset you because there are people out there who will give and sell Meth to your children. However, if you throw this sticker out and never talk about it, you are simply contributing to the problem. That might sound harsh, but if you don't talk with your kids about drug use, I know a really nice guy on the corner who will tell them all about drugs, but that might not be what you want them to hear.