Thursday, August 29, 2013

Being Affiliated

A keen eyed reader might notice a few changes that have been going on around here.  Yes, I'm monetizing this blog.  I never intended to try and make anything from this blog, but with a couple posts that I've written going viral or semi-viral it seemed a good time to switch tactics.

I've decided to add a few Amazon adds to my side bar, continue using Amazon Affiliate Links within my posts and if you look up you'll see "The Book Store".  By clicking on "The Book Store" you'll be take to my Amazon store where I'm collecting all of my favorite books and things that I've shared about on this blog.  If you used any of these links, the store or the advertisements to get to Amazon.com and then made a purchase (which could be the item from the link or something completely different) I get a small percentage of the sale price.  For full disclosure I currently make between 6 and 6.5% on each item sold.

I do not want my readers to feel pressured to purchase anything I link to on this blog.  I know what it's like to have to make careful financial decisions and purchases and I do not want anyone feeling pressured to support me through these things.  It's just a bonus for the time I spend here and the traffic that I send to Amazon.com.  I will always be supportive of finding books, toys and other items from your local libraries and secondhand.

But please know that if you do choose to make a purchase that I deeply appreciate it and I'm thrilled every time I see someone purchasing a book that I love.  The money that I make is currently being squirreled away to be used for holiday and birthday gifts and that allows us to free up the money we'd save towards Christmas and Birthdays and put it towards other things that help our family grow and thrive.

Last, but not least I want my readers to know that everything I link to or promote on this blog is an item that I personally use or read and recommend.  I am not being paid to sell you items that I have no attachment to, rather I'm getting a small kick back for recommending things that I can put my stamp of approval on.  If you see something turn up on my side bar or in the store that seems questionable please don't hesitate to inform me so that I can look into and resolve the issue.

In the future I may plan on expanding thru other affiliate programs, but please know that the sole purpose of this blog is not make money but to connect with you and if I ever feel that advertising and affiliate programs get in the way of this I will sacrifice one before the other.

Thank you for your support as Molly Makes Do grows.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Guest Post for Carrots for Michaelmas: 7 Tips for Clothing Kids, Cheaply, in All Seaons

Today I'm Guesting Posting over at Carrots for Michaelmas about how to clothe your family, cheaply, in all seasons as part of Haley's "Growing a Family" Series -


In Iowa most people will tell you that we have Five Seasons.  Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring and Mud.  Winter lasts about 5 months of the year, Summer takes up 4, you get about a month and a half of Fall, and about a day and a half of Spring.  The rest is Mud and it comes and goes as it pleases.

It’s not uncommon during certain parts of the year to wake up to frost on your windows, run the air conditioning in the car during the day and have to turn on the heat at night.  Sometimes I wish for the less seasonal climates of my southern friends in Florida or Arizona, but then again I honestly have no concept of Christmas without the chance of snow so for now I’ll be staying put.

If you live in an area with crazy seasons you’ll know clothing your kids appropriately can be a little daunting so I’m here to share 7 Tips for Clothing Kids, Cheaply, in All Seasons (even Mud).

Monday, August 26, 2013

Simple Tasks

When I was a child I thought there was nothing more important than being remembered in a text book.  I wanted to be that important.  I wanted to be remembered and revered for doing something vastly important to society like curing cancers or inventing cold fusion.  It was all go big or go home.

I'm now entering my thirties and it's safe to say that I won't be finding a cure for cancer or the energy crisis any time soon.  It turns out that is not where my talent's lay.  The world might not remember me, and I've come to find that that is okay.  I do not care if everyone remembers me, as long as a selected few remember me well.

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Years ago there was another woman of no real great importance.  She had a husband with whom she struggled and mother in law who did not make her life easy.  She oversaw a household, went to church and was active in her community.  She also had a son who gave her great troubles.  She was much like many women before and after her and would have slipped, unrecorded into history, except for that that troubled son would go on to become one of the most well known Catholic writers in history and through his writings she changed the world.

She was the inspiration for the life he would eventually lead and the words that he would write.

Sometimes it's easy to get caught up with our own desires, particularly the desire to leave a lasting impression on this world.  There are days when washing dishes, doing laundry and rereading stories seems the furthest from world changes acts.  Yet none of us knows what the scope of these little, ordinary acts will be.

Today let's not worry whether or not our names will be in the papers or known throughout the country.  Instead, let us focus on what is at hand - our actions, our trials and our perseverance - for no one knows how much their simple tasks might change the world.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Monica and tomorrow that of her troublemaker of a son, St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church.







Wednesday, August 21, 2013

School Books for the Non-School Year

It's the beginning of the new school year for many and how exciting is the new school year?  It was always my favorite time of year - I have a thing for fresh school supplies.  I mean what was more exciting as a child than a new 64 pack of crayons and getting pick out that years folders and note books?

This year my challenge is not to do school.

My son is at home more now that we've changed up our schedules, he only goes to "school" (daycare) about 6-7 days a month and the rest of the month is spent with one or both of his parents, with a couple afternoons at GaGa's house.  He's 2.5 and with his birthday that means we've got 3 years before Kindergarten - plenty of time to do "school" in any form so I'm trying not to get ahead of myself.

If I can brag (for clarification) he already knows his Alphabet, shapes and numbers up to about 15 - so we must be doing something right.

But, in the spirit of the new school year I wanted to jump on the bandwagon, because even if we're not doing school we want to make sure our home is encouraging a love of learning even at a young age.

The Plan 

The plan in simple - just to have a lot of fun and find the teaching moments in our regular day.
We plan on slowly working our ways through the projects in the books throughout the year while working on colors, shapes, letters, numbers, etc.

The Books
We've added two books into our regular rotation for this year.


 


First Art has about 75 different activities and recipes for craft projects that are easy to do at home.  The great thing about this book is that the author made a code system so you can see if it's a Messy Project, Outdoors, a Quiet or Noisy Activity and the amount of Adult Preparation Needed.  The Chapters in the book are "Primarily Paint", "Hands on Dough", "Making Marks", "Sticky Business", "Great  Impressions" and "Fun Stuff for Toddlers and Twos".  A quick trip to the grocery store and art supply store will give you most if not all of what you need for these activities, and most of it you probably already have.


Teach Me to Do It Myself is probably my favorite Montessori at Home book I've come across so far.  It's perfect for our age right now, so if you're child is a few years older you might not get as much use out of the book.  The great thing about this book is that the book is divided up into sections like Practical Life and Sensory Work and within those sections the activities are put in the order that the child should master before moving on to the next activity.  The author included a printable section so you can more easily do some of the activities without having to purchase more Montessori items.  I find this particularly helpful as someone who won't be homeschooling 100%.

Chapters in this book include - "Life Skills", "Developing the Senses", "Language Development", "Numeracy Skills", and "Science Skills".  As I mentioned each chapter has about 20+ activities that start with the earliest development and get increasingly more challenging.  For example "Numeracy Skills" starts with Sorting into Sets and ends with Addition, Subtraction and Introducing Money (each a separate activity).

What I enjoy about this book is that it's geared toward a parent, home educator or professional setting up their own preschool and doesn't start out with lists of those expensive Montessori materials for sale.  In fact, most of the pictures seem to be of homemade materials.

There's one book I feel happy to recommend even though our copy is back-ordered for the moment.  Too many friends have given Twenty-Six Letters to Heaven: A Catholic Preschool Curriculum glowing reviews.  Since we're not starting any type of formal preschool this year I plan on using some of the activities and the book lists to round out our days, but without any formal organization.

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It seems like a rather short list, but like I said we're keeping it simple.  In fact, I shudder to even suggest were schooling at all - if there's one thing I don't think little kids need it's more "school".  We want encourage a love of exploration and discovery right now and for the next few years.  There will be a lot of time to play, many trips to the library, walks outside and asking and answering questions.  He'll spend enough time in school eventually.


This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links - if you use the links on this page and make a purchase I get a small percentage of the sales.  Any money earned goes towards supporting my family and please know that I only link to items that I personally approve of.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Cloth

I had some time with a sewing machine yesterday.  It was mainly to work on a big project - making an outfit for Henry for his Uncle's wedding in October.  It felt good to make a paper patterns, cut fabric and have a stack of "will be clothes" fabric sitting next to me.  I'll share more of this when the project is a little further along.

I used the opportunity to knock out a few more projects too.



A pillowcase out of some train flannel that I've been saving for awhile.  I think I need to make a couple more special pillow cases, they're quite nice.

And what Henry calls our "wipes".  A while ago I won some cloth wipes at a giveaway - I'm not a fan of using them for diaper wipes, but I love having a pile of soft tissues around the house for little noses.  With my husbands allergies we go through a lot of disposable tissues during allergy season. 

 We made the switch to cloth napkins, slowly, over the last year or so and the idea of going cloth for even more in our home had been on my mind for a while.

So I picked up some flannel in the scrap bin at the fabric store, sent them thru the wash dryer and cut them into squares.  I had some fun with my mothers fancy sewing machine giving them fun edgings since we don't have a serger.

 

I wish I had had the camera handy when I was sewing; Henry was quite interested in what was going on and proudly reminds me that "You made these" when he sees the wipes. 

By getting the fabric from the remnant bins I think the cloth tissue project cost about the same as a box of tissues, neither remnant was more that 1/2 yd., and we got about 21 squares total.

I'll pull out some baskets from the closet today and set up some in our living and family rooms and see where it goes from here.

It felt so good to get my hands on fabric and sewing machine - I've barely sewed since leaving the theatre 3 years ago and I do miss it.

Did you get crafty with anything this weekend?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Max and Martha

Today is the Feast of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, the Catholic priest who gave his life to save another prison in his concentration camp from death.  The story goes that after a prisoner had escaped ten men were selected at random to die of starvation in reprisal for the escape.  He suffered for two weeks of starvation before dying of lethal injection.

************

Somewhere else in Europe at this time a young woman named Martha was being hidden in a barn.  She and her family had been rounded up and loaded into a cattle car to be transported to a concentration camp some time before hand.  Most likely this Jewish family from Kisvarda, a suburb of Budapest, Hungary were taken to one of the large and well known camps.  On the way there Martha realized what was going to happen to her and her family, she pleaded with her relatives to escape with her, but they refused to risk being parted from one another.  She alone, jumped from the cattle car and escaped into the woods were she was hidden in a barn until the end of the war. 

When she returned home years later the only thing left of her family was a ring hidden under a floor board and her.

There were many people like Father Kolbe in those years who gave or risked everything to save people like the woman on the train.

I know this because the woman in the story is my Great-Great Aunt, who is to our knowledge, the only surviving member of our family living in Hungary at the time of World War II and today I wish to add the person or persons who saved her, though we do not know their names, to the collective memory of the brave souls of that era.

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If for any reason you have come across this story, the fragments of it that I know and it sounds familiar to you please do not hesitate to contact me - Molly W. - mollymakesdo@gmail.com .  We would love to know more about our family the Lichtschein and Schwartz's of Kisvarda, Hungary and the family who saved my Great-Great Aunt Martha.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Little HolyDays: Feast of the Assumption

First off, I fail at celebrating Holy Days when it's not cold outside.  I'm still wrapping my head around the idea that there are religious holidays in the summer.  Maybe you've been following Sarah @ Two O's + More and have been doing a much better job getting your celebration on than we have.

First things first - Holy Day of Obligation and that means get thee to church!



 "See the beauty of the daughter of Jerusalem,
who ascended to heaven like the rising sun at dawn."
~ Benedictus antiphon of the Daily Office

What Is It:
  • August 15th is the day we celebrate Mary being taken up to heaven, body and soul.  It's known to be the oldest celebration of Mary.
  • According to tradition roses and lilies were found where her body was to have been laid to rest.
A Few Thoughts:
  • Just as we're promised to be raised in the end, I love the idea of Mary - complete in body and soul - being reunited with her Son.  I can only imagine how happy the day of her death must have been in some part of her mind.  She must have known what it would mean in some little way - that she was going to see her child again and this year that idea is so bittersweet to me. 
How to Celebrate:
Prayer for the Assumption of Mary - 
 Father in heaven,
all creation rightly gives you praise,
for all life and all holiness come from you.
In the plan of your wisdom
she who bore the Christ in her womb
was raised body and soul in glory to be with him in heaven.
May we follow her example in reflecting your holiness
and join in her hymn of endless love and praise.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.
This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

In Solidarity

This is a post in Solidarity with some of my lovely blogging friends.  We were inspired by Mandi's "What Real Motherhood Looks Like" and we've all been hit with something in the last week - illness and life changes. 

This is the first week of my husbands new schedule.  He's work 4 days in row, not getting home until after 8 p.m. at night after working 10 hour days.  It's taking some getting used to - trying to figure out how to do everything when I can be up at 5 a.m. and without a reprieve for about 15 hours and keeping the house on point is not high on the list right now.

So I give you my non-instagram, non-pinterest worthy life right now. 




And for the sake of everyone's delicate senses let's just forget that I have a bathroom while my toddler is potty training.

Let's just be honest, there's a stack of clothes as tall as that toddler on our bed right now that needs to be put away, my carpet is beginning to believe that the vacuum cleaner is just for decoration and I'm about to start my 8 out of 9 stint at work tomorrow.  We've got a a weekend trip to Minnesota coming up in a few weeks and I need to find time to finish baby projects, make wedding clothes and so much more!  There have been melt downs and shouting and a quite a bit of doubting if I'm meant to be the mother of more than one child with my temper flaring up as my hormones are still balancing out after the MC.

This is what my "real motherhood" looks like right now and that's okay.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Novel Idea

It's no secret I enjoy talking about my son.  It's true that, as a 2.5 year old, he often tests my limits past the breaking point, but I'd rather not talk about that on a regular basis.  I'd rather tell the store of the funny thing he said last night or adventures we had at the library.  I'd rather talk about the fun things we're planning for a Halloween costume or a Christmas tradition.  There's a lot to do with young children and sometimes I feel like I'm in the minority for enjoying any of it.

I was talking to a co-worker the other day about the fun things we had done the day before and she was surprised at the enjoyment of it all.  Granted the girl is still rather young; at an age where most young people can't imagine focusing on anyone but themselves.  (No judgement there - I went through that same phase myself.)  However, it was shocking at just how shocking the idea of enjoying time with ones children was to her.  Here was a girl who'd only been told by adults and peers that children were nothing more than soul and fun sucking little minions.

Her eyes widened as I told her how much fun it was to have a reason to watch all the Disney movies again or to spend an hour perusing the children's section at the library.  I told her that it really can be fun spending the afternoon at the park or making a complete mess in the kitchen while making cupcakes.  I told her that having kids, though they take time and energy and responsibility, gives you the excuse to be a kid yourself again and she was amazed.  No one had ever talked about enjoying their children with her.

I understand - not everyones parenthood journey is all sunshine and rainbows, in fact no one's is.  But isn't it saying something when a generation of young adults has never been told that kids can be fun?  We should be telling our teenagers and young adults that kids are a lot of work because it's the truth and they need to know that's never a walk in the park.  But, we should also tell them that every now and then between the whining and the diapers and the attitudes and the time -  there are walks in the park

And afternoons at the swimming pool.

And nights in bed with an endless stack of all the best kids books you had forgotten you had loved.

And rainy days with a stack of movies and a bowl of popcorn.

In the end the idea that you can enjoy your time with your children shouldn't be such a novel idea.
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