Saturday, September 28, 2013

Chill OUT (Jar)

Today was one of those days that almost made me want to turn in my mom card and declare, "I'm done." Hehe. I don't often have those days as a mama, but being sick when the husband is at work all day long (and night, too!) can usually push me to the edge. All I wanted to do was sleep or at the very least, lay horizontally and moan pitifully at the world. Lily and Sage were good for a while, but as the day wore on, they got progressively stir crazy. After about the 100th time of Sage swiping every single thing off the table or Lily getting upset because she was told no, she couldn't watch another episode of Cake Boss, this mama had reached the end.

So what do I do when I'm going bonkers and my kids are going bonkers and we're all driving each other insane? Why, we get creative and craft something of course!!! Especially dour moods call for especially sparkly projects. Frustration, you have met your match in this household. I present to you, the "Chill Out Jar."

Some of you may have seen this on pinterest under similar names such as the Time Out Jar. We've actually used this quite a bit over the years for Lily when she gets stressed or upset, but the last one started leaking and it's been about a year and a half since we've had one in the house. 

Basically, it's like this. The jar (plastic bottle in this house because Sage likes to throw) is full of colored water, a bit of glue, and a crap ton of glitter. You shake it, you zone out on the sparkly swirliness and poof! Your mad gets gone real quick. Fun for all ages, too. Sage zoned on it, Lily took a turn, then I got distracted while I was taking pictures. 

Lily helped me pour the glitter and count the food drops. Most important jobs, you know. I came up with the quick little poem for the side and used my trusty label maker. The poem had the added benefit of covering the bits and pieces left over from the bottle wrapper. Creative laziness, no? Sage shook the crap out of it to test it. Success! 

I know in the past this has been a life saver with Lily when she had her tantrum phase. I'm sure it will work with Sage muffin too, but if not, it's still good. After all, it's a  homemade toy that reaches both ends of  the 8 year age gap between my kids. That's a lot of win in my book. Plus, sparkly.

If you would like the instructions to make your own Time Out/Chill Out Jar, you can visit here. There are bunches of recipes on how to do this, but According to L is my favorite because who doesn't want to say something looks like "glitter poop" at least once in their life? Also, she shows pictures of her kid using the jar over time as proof it works. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

PONY PARTY 3: AppleJack and Bronies!

To read PONY PARTY part 1: Rainbow Dash, click here.
To read PONY PARTY part 2: Fluttershy, click here.

I think I fell off the world. Ugg. Right straight into homework hell. If you don't know what homework hell is....can I come live with you? I have been doing ecology studies, statistical analysis, spanish for hours, coming up with exciting lesson plans, writing partially ranty history papers about colonialism.... whew. I'm ready for a break. Good thing I get one in about 8 weeks! (college student problems....)

To add a bit more stress, I'm sick. Not quite "OMG! I'm DYYYIINNNNGGG!" sick, but pretty close. So forgive me for taking too long on doing the big reveal on AppleJack. I'll catch up! I've got to finish a pony this weekend to stay on schedule. I can do this!

Remember how I told you there are MLP fans called Bronies? Well, Now I can say that I know they are really real. There is a Brony club on my college campus. Haha. I was at a school club function today and was amused by the several guys I saw sporting pony shirts. After a time, it was explained to me. Apparently, they just took donations of MLP merchandise and toys to give to kids in need. Cute right?

They have posters all over campus and I had to snap a picture as proof that they exist!

Anyway, I am thinking after I get through all of Lily's ponies, I may make a few to contribute to their next toy drive.

This week's pony is Applejack. She turned out adorably. I love her hat. I nearly forgot her tail ribbon, but my dear, sweet, darling husband reminded me. I told him I didn't think that was correct and he had to start an episode to show me otherwise. Haha, he watches too much of that show with us girls. The poor guy.

I attempted to be artistic here and put a picture of an apple with AppleJack. I'm not sure it worked like I saw it in my head, but whatever. She is so cute! I would have liked to get her freckles on her face, but it was not working out. I will probably try again because it's bugging me.

AppleJack marks the halfway point. I have Rarity, Pinkie Pie, and Twilight Sparkle left to go. I'm really trying to talk myself out of also throwing Princess Celestia in there... because I have to sleep at some point. I'm a sucker for crochet, as you know, and I have started taking a few Christmas orders here and there... which tickles me to no end. People are starting to pay me for what I would do for fun! 

Lily's party is in full on planning mode. She wants a princess pony pizza party. Say that fast. What exactly that is has yet to be determined, but I'm assuming it means costumes and MLP at Lily's favorite pizza joint. I'm hoping to find someone local who can make her cake. I think it would be adorable to have a pony cake too!

Wish me healthy thoughts, luck, and no homework for the next couple weeks, okay? That way I can CROCHET ALL THE THINGS.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Dealing with back-to-school stress.

Most of you have heard me talk about my daughter, Lily. She's the one who says stuff like, "Mom, I love you, but we've GOT to talk about this cake I'm designing." This girl picked me flowers as she pranced home from school today. She doesn't mind playing superhero in public. Just the other day she and I had a conversation where she explained to me that there are only seven albino zebras in the world. She knew that because she reads the Nat Geo Kids magazine from cover to cover every month. My newly minted third grader (small heart clutch here) has just completed her second week in school. Usually, back to school means a few tears here and there as she adjusts to the new schedule. This year though... this year has been the worst yet.

 There's some new policies in place at her school and others which will be more strictly enforced. For instance, the tardy rule states that students must be standing with their classmates by the time the bell rings to be escorted inside. You're not in line, regardless of bell, you're tardy. Last year, Lily walked in, went to her room, and sat down. Tardies mean you go to the office and get a red slip to take to your teacher. The behavior plan has gone school wide and it's complicated. I'm all for color charts, since I'm about 7 months away from being a teacher. Really, though? SEVEN different colors? Isn't that a little much? I'm not really complaining, just concerned at some of the things other moms are saying.

Lily already has three tardies. She stops to talk to the crossing guard every morning after. She walks to the door while looking at whatever catches her fancy. She very nearly meanders her way to class. It's not because she doesn't like school. It's because she's easily fascinated by the world. Lily came home earlier this week in tears. Not just a few minutes and then the upset was forgotten. She was sobbing. "Mom, everything's different and I don't know how to do the right things. It's all so different, even the kid who bullied me last year doesn't bully me anymore."

Oh that broke my heart. If Lily is upset that she's not getting bullied, I know this is serious. How do you handle your child's pain? How do I teach her how to be responsible, to realize that change is inevitable, without making it sound like I'm mad at her for struggling?

"Mom, I'm so overwhelmed. I just want to cry."
"I don't want to be tardy, I just want to be absent."
"School isn't fun anymore."

The last one, more than anything else, worries me. It's kept me tossing and turning at night. I absolutely love learning. I love nerding out on how the world works. I like being able to answer random trivia questions. I love being in the classroom and I have a slight obsession with school supplies. I am 28 years old, and I still get a thrill when I see I got an A on a paper or a test. It's not the grade, it's the satisfaction that I've done well and I've achieved a new level of knowledge. I want all of this and more for my daughter. I have buckets full of pride that I'm considered a good student. If nothing else, I want my legacy to her to be that love of all the things there are to learn in the world.

She's arguing with teachers. She's crumpling her homework. She yells at her sister. She yells at me. She's pushing limits. While it is easy to get frustrated at first and angry at her, I can't. I can see the pattern. She doesn't feel any control. She's hurting.

I'm probably blowing this whole thing out of proportion. What mama doesn't do that when her kid is hurting? I've been at a loss as to how to help her avoid that anger and frustration so that she can get back to enjoying school. I tell her that it will be okay and she'll get the new schedule down. I tell her that the new color system gives her more chances to be good instead of bad. I tell her that she's a smarty pants and that she should be proud of herself. I tell her that third graders have more responsibility than second graders, which is cool because that means they get to do fun, new things. I tell her not to worry.

I have asked other parents for advice and read various articles on the internet. I've thought about the strategies I've learned for teaching when I have my own classroom. I've gathered a  few ideas on how to help Lily get back to her normal, happy self. Some are to spark her curiosity and get her excited about learning new things. Others are geared towards shifting schedules and setting a new routine.

1) I am going to take her to our local museum. She loves that place.
2) I'm going to find some cool science experiment we can do at home. I'm thinking rubber eggs or maybe even rainbow daisies. She'd get a kick out of flowers turning colors.
3) I'm going to get adjust bed time and wake up time. We'll leave 10 minutes earlier in the morning so she doesn't get another tardy.
4) We'll go pick out a new book.
5) I will talk to her teacher and her counselor and her principal if I have to so they are aware of the stress the environment at school is causing my child.
6) We'll take a break before doing homework. In the past, we always do homework right after school. I'm thinking she needs the break. It may not work out, but we'll try.
7) I'm going to revise and update our rewards and behavior rules at home. We have had the same ones on the fridge for a year now. It's time for something fresh.
8) I'm going to give her more choices. Even if it's just what we have for dinner or what song we should listen to on the stereo, I'm giving her the opportunity to feel like she has control.

Any other suggestions? I would love to hear your own experiences and how you've handled your child's stress. I don't think there can ever be enough good, heartfelt advice when it comes to making your babies happy. Thanks for struggling through this with me. For those of you who have offered advice, thank you. Sometimes parents need reminders that they're doing the best they can.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Crocheted Owl Hat GIVEAWAY!!!!!

I'm so happy that fall is nearly here. In Idaho, that usually just means "early winter," but it's still my favorite season! I love layers and scarves and hats and boots and pumpkin EVERYTHING.

Since it's almost hat season, I've decided to do my first GIVEAWAY!!!!! 

For those of you who have been asking for one of my crochet creations, this is for you! I will make a one of a kind, specially for YOU owl hat. And by the way, before you say adults can't wear them, let me say, pfffft!  These are SUPER cute no matter what age! 

Use the giveaway entry form below. There are a couple things you need to do to enter. 

1) LIKE Jubilant Jessi on Facebook. You can use the nifty box to the right of this post if you need.


2) Leave a COMMENT on this post telling me what two colors you would like your hat to be if you win. Also, please tell me the size you would like. I can make this hat to fit anyone, from newborn to adult. The choices are yours! 

If you want some extra entries, you can pin any image from my blog onto Pinterest or share the post on Facebook. Each time you share the post, you receive an additional entry, but only once per day please.

That's it!

I will randomly select a winner on September 19th, 2013. The winner will be notified via email and on Facebook. Once the winner is confirmed, the hat will take 2-4 days to make and then it will be on it's way to you in the mail!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, September 7, 2013

PONY PARTY Part 2: Fluttershy

To read PONY PARTY Part 1: Rainbow Dash, go here.

There ain't no party like a pony party..... 

I have about five million pictures of horses and ponies on my camera right now. There was a TON of horses at the fair. (I'll post my annual fair report in a day or two.) So the pony party has moved beyond crochet! On a semi-related note, I am pretty sure I could train a mini horse to be my next dog. I would never need to mow my back yard. I could take it on  walks and put it in sweet little outfits... ahhhhhhh. Dreams.

Aren't merry-go-rounds so pretty? I love the details and the slightly terrifying faces on the horses. They're not as cute as this week's pony for Lily's birthday project extravaganza though!!!

Here's Fluttershy!

She's so soft and the colors, though not my usual bright favorites, turned out fantastically. 

If you remember, I'm using the pattern from AcrylicSheep on etsy. She's got some great pony creations on her ravelry. I also found out that she has all the cutie mark patterns for FREE. I was really impressed because they were so simple. Time is of the essence with this project so I'll have to save all the cutie marks until the end. I just think the ponies look incomplete without them! That is also the kind of detail Lily will notice.

I was planning on finishing Pinkie after Rainbow Dash, but I got my hands on the yellow yarn first. I crocheted all the smaller pieces first and the head and body later. It made things go quickly. My biggest problem is convincing myself not to rush through. Two done, four go!

I still say Lily is going to be extremely spoiled, don't you agree?

I shared this post at Hooking on Hump Day!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

My first GUEST POST!!!!!

I'm so excited to announce that I've just done my first guest post at The Pink Lab!!! Heather is a fantastically inspiring lady who is using her crafty skills and message to motivate the world. She's so successful, she's going to pull it off too!!! As a part of her Motivational Week, I was invited to write about the moment that changed my life forever. Go read it! I'm so proud to be a part of such a great week!

Click here to read my post, Jubilant Life at The Pink Lab!!!!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

PONY PARTY Part 1: Rainbow Dash

Christmas came early!!

Look what I got in the mail yesterday.

Aren't the colors pretty? A little scattered, I'll admit, but that's because I'm working on my latest project.

Lily's birthday is a little over a month away. She'll be 9 years old. 9 YEARS OLD. Every year I do this. I wonder how the heck she's grown so fast. Then I cry about it a little.  

Lily l-o-v-e-s My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. We watch it all the time. We have conversations about the "mane six" characters. My husband can quote the characters. I'll admit, I am a bit of a pony geek too, it was one of my favorites when I was little. 

I had the idea brewing to make her the ponies as a birthday gift, but had no idea how to pull it off. So I did a bit of searching and found out that MLP crochet is actually a pretty popular activity. Who knew? There are some gorgeous patterns and plushies out there. I bought a few because they were so cute. (I don't normally buy patterns, but the madness overtook me.)

AcrylicSheep on etsy had the pattern that I decided to actually use. Look at her adorable ponies!!!! 

Find this picture and the pattern here.

They're small enough to realistically do all six and the pattern gives you instructions for all the pony accessories! I may have become a pattern-buying convert. I'm so excited! With my first week of school out of the way and homework already piling up, I need quick and easy. This fits the bill without sacrificing cuteness or the end product. I love that I can do any pony from the show with this pattern. I may have to add in one or two extra if I have time. Lily would die if I could pull off some of the other characters like Princess Celestia or Princess Cadence. (For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, I apologize. I guess I should have put up geek warning sign at the top of this post.)

I've started on Rainbow Dash first. She's one of my favorites. 

The pattern was very easy to follow. Since this is my first attempt at amigurumi, I'm extremely pleased with how little Dash turned out. 

I'll post each pony as I complete them so be prepared to see lots of pony pictures over the next month. Next, I think I'm going to work on Pinkie Pie. 

Did you know that there is enough guy fans of this show that they have their own "BRONY" convention? Isn't that kind of awesome and goofy at the same time? Girl fans go by Pegasisters. The things people come up with these days! Very clever...I do love wordplay.

What do you think? BEST PRESENT EVER, or what? My kids are so lucky to have me as a mom. Hehe. It's a good thing I'm pretty humble about it.  *wink wink*

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