Cute Boy Ties

I will not make a habit out of sharing other people’s tutorials, but this one is adorable and works really well for our family! I originally found this tutorial here, so I will not reinvent the wheel, but here are some result pictures:

And here is a picture of him only wearing a diaper cover and tie, its not an amazing picture…I appliqued some triangles from the tie fabric to the bottom.

I used a tutorial for the diaper cover as well, but I didn’t bother printing out the pattern. I just tried to copy it the best I could (I figured the elastic would be forgiving). I made it a little small and I had to re make it, but since it only takes about a half  hour, I didn’t mind.

The tie also takes about a  half hour, and since my family and I travel to speak in churches, we need a LOT of ties for little one. Okay, we don’t need them, I like them. I like them a lot. My son finds ways to loose the ties we buy him, I don’t know how, but they disappear faster than socks!

One day, when I spend time in my home, I would love to sell them (mostly because I love sewing for other people). Opening an etsy shop is out of the question though because I do not feel like dealing with international shipping. Maybe Namibian boys wear ties to church, who knows?





  • Adorable Diaper Cover (
  • ^I don’t knit or crochet, but this is also cute ;)

Full Coverage Nursing Cover

I made a new nursing cover for a friend today! Since it’s not my design, I’m not sure that it is right to write a tutorial, but the tutorial I used is here (I need to learn how to make links!).

The materials required are:

2 coordinating fabrics

Elastic (I used 1 inch but the tutorial uses 1/4 in)

Boning (I used 12 inches)




Sew the bottom panel to the main fabric

Sew the front and back panels together with a french seam

Sewing the boning and elastic into a casing at the top. I used pen to mark the place I intended to leave open for threading the elastic (on either side of the boning)

Finished product!

To be honest, this project is so easy you hardly even need directions! If the Lord give me more children I will be making one for myself!


Childroom Makeover

My daughter, 2 years 6 months, has turned into quite the tornado! We have done our best to teach her to play in her bedroom, for short periods of time, but in ten minutes she is capable of removing every item off every shelf, empty every basket, turn over her big toy box, pull everything out of the dressers, take her sheet off, dump out her shoes, and move her brother’s bed. It was like she was destroying the room on purpose instead of playing in it. We do our best to have our children go to beds with clean rooms, so cleaning EVERYTHING she owned everyday was getting to be too much.

I pushed everything on the ground to one spot for cleaning. My husband and I have only bought them like three toys in this entire mess.

I never intended on my children having so many fancy toys, but since they were virtually all gifts I kept them. So instead of purging and donating the vast majority, I purged and put 2/3 of the toys into the closet. I did not get and ‘after’ picture, but my kids loved the new set up so much they spent their afternoon playing with toys they forgot they had. It was WONDERFUL. I have no idea how children think, but for some reason, having less toys out made them focus more on individual toys and less on mess making. Things were still where they belonged when they were finished playing. Complete transformation.

We are not home very often, but every few visits home we will rotate out different toys and books to keep their interest peaked and the mess manageable.

Maybe some parents are so much more amazing than I am that they can teach their children to play without making too much of a mess. (if that’s you PLEASE tell me how you do it ;) Since I’m not that amazing, I’ll just teach my children to help me clean up the messes they do make.

Tomorrow, I tackle the clothes…

Should I Teach My Child to Share?

I read about a woman who did not teach her children to share. The very thought of the idea surprised me! EVERY child is supposed to share, and every child centered TV show emphasizes sharing in some form. In short, her intentions were to teach her children that they should not get things just because they want them and that people have a right to what belongs to them.

Sometimes sharing has its consequences ;)

Those principles in and of themselves are good ones, but, when dealing with children they CANNOT be taught exclusively. After reading the entire article I realized that I do practice similar philosophies. For example, I do not force my children to relinquish their toys to pacify the jealousy of a sibling. I do not allow my children to take from the other child and I do not force my children to share because I do not want to reinforce selfish behavior on the jealous siblings’ part. I make my children wait until the other is finished.

I do encourage sharing by suggesting the child share. It is my goal to teach my children to be self sacrificing and kind but those kinds of behaviors must be modeled and taught, not forced. In matters of obedience and gratitude my children do not have a choice; a good attitude is always expected and that kind of reinforcing benefits them into being little blessings. This is not so with self-sacrifice, I believe that a child forced to give something up with only desire to cling to it tighter. It may even teach them that they can demand rights to another child’s toy. After all, it worked for Johnny.

If my son were to try to take my daughter’s stuffed dog my goal would be to teach him to be grateful for what he already has around him. My words to my daughter would be something like, “You have two animals, do you think you could give on to JJ?” or “It would be kind of you to share with JJ.”

In my experience, a child who waited patiently for something was more grateful and had a better attitude upon receiving the object in question. On the other hand, a child who is forced to hand over a toy is tempted to have a wrong attitude and retaliate by demanding rights in another way while the child who ‘wins’ does not even have the proper attitude to enjoy his prize.

I’m not saying we should not teach our children to share (I believe we should!) . Children should share, children should be kind; but it is not in their nature and we need to be sensitive about how we handle their emotions. We need to consider what they are learning when we encourage certain behaviors. Whatever mindset is being addressed to your four year old is going to come up again when they are sixteen, the only difference is the object in question. Whatever compass or mindset you want your teenager to have must be considered while they are yet in preschool.

Practically speaking, I am curious how other parents handle sharing. It is difficult and comes up a LOT with mine! From what I learned, the most important thing is to handle similar situations the same way every time.

Life with a Purpose

Ever start something and have no real purpose in it? Maybe you walked into your kitchen this afternoon and had no needs to meet; you probably walked right back out without accomplishing anything.  There are many small things I could mention that we do everyday that really have no purpose, things we do without a desired result. I do not wish to dwell on the insignificant matters of our day-to-day life, but the life changing events like marriage and parenting.

Not everyone, but most every adult is in a place in their life where they are either preparing for marriage or are already married.  But why?

There are the Biblical reasons, emotional reasons and family reasons for marriage that apply to everyone. Whatever the reason that leads people to get married, my question is: What is your day-to-day purpose of your marriage?

In my missions and church planting classes I learned that before beginning any new ministry it is important to first write a purpose statement. After realizing your purpose and intentions, then, every action and decision should aim to fulfill that purpose. What is your purpose statement for your marriage, or for raising your children, or for waking up in the morning?

When my husband and I were dating we had a discussion before we began considering marriage. We both had goals of going to the mission field and had to ask if God could use us better single or married. There are advantages to both kinds of missionaries, but even this kind of purpose statement is not what I am referring to. Every morning you wake up, what would you like your marriage, or parenting, to accomplish that day?

I have my own ideas of what I want to fulfill in my marriage commitment, and I am not even going to begin to tell you what is a good idea to strive for. The truth that has been running through my mind is that we can handle things as they come, or we can filter our actions and reactions through a purpose. The sad reality is that if we just take things as they come then life will just happen to us. My desire, as an individual is to live my life ON PURPOSE.

Do you have any specific parenting or marriage goals? What are ways you bring your family closer to meeting them?

Every word, and action should bring me closer to my marriage or parenting goals. It is a lofty ambition and I often fail, but I have come to realize that a good marriage, and raising God honoring children does not happen on accident!


Potty Training in Three Days

Around my daughter’s first birthday she began to hate having dirty diapers. As soon as she had a dirty diaper she would bring me a new one and say, “biaper.” This window only lasted about three weeks and then she no longer had concern over her dirty diapers. But it got my brain turning. When does a parent begin potty training?

I did  TON of research (albeit mostly on the web) as to the different methods, the averages ages  of: different people groups, decades and countries. This is what I learned in a nutshell:

1.  Many cultures use a method of potty training that requires attachment style parenting and these children learn to hold themselves for short periods of time before 6 months of age. I have met parents who have successfully used this method and it is mostly called infant potty training or elimination communication.

2. The average American girl was potty trained by 2 1/2, the average American boy by 36 months. (this average seems to changed the last year and a half to average 36 months for BOTH boys and girls)

3. The average child (no gender specification) in 1950’s was potty trained by 18 months.

4. Modern advisers suggest waiting until your child speaks in sentences and can play make believe to potty train, or waiting until your child takes the lead.

My thought and decisions on the above:

1. I travel for a living and cannot possible do elimination communication. When I move to Namibia, I will try it if I have more children since I will be using cloth anyway.

2. ALL my 6 siblings were potty trained BEFORE their 2nd birthday so I was not going to let averages guide my decisions.

3. The American people are no less intelligent now then they were 60 years ago so I set my goal to be 18 months.

4. I already decided that modern parenting experts are silly and create stressful household situations, so I decided against their advice.

I found precious few old fashioned advisers online but many older women who would talk and this is my story after following their advice.

Our little family had 10 days we were scheduled to be at home last fall. That was the longest bracket of time we were to be home close to my daughter’s 18 month milestone. I decided to train then. Before the day approached I bought a wonderful travel potty ( When the day came, I rolled up my carpets (and was VERY grateful to have tile floor!), and let my daughter wear dresses sans diaper.

We went NOWHERE. I began on Monday so we could attend church on Sunday and my husband would be at work during the process. When my daughter woke up I took off her diaper and told her she was a big girl now and that she was no longer going to wear a diaper. (I NEVER put another one back on her either). I immediately put her on her seat and she was SO proud to have her own ‘chair.’

No success on the first attempt.

We read, played and just cuddled on the floor near her potty and she held it. And held it. And held it. For like 4 hours. She knew she was naked and when she was unhappy about it I knew it was time to go. I put her on the potty. She did not go. When I stopped looking at her, she crouched in the corner and started peeing. I CALMLY and SLOWLY picked her up and put her on the potty and said, “pee pee on the potty,” with a positive tone of voice.

This happened MANY times the first day with one or two successes. I felt like she did not really mind peeing on the floor and that she would never get it.

The second day was likewise with close to 50% success. I NEVER scolded her, NEVER freaked about the mess. NEVER moved her quickly or roughly. I would have rather her completely miss the potty than to be afraid to go.

On day three she was at about 80% potty trained (on day four she had 2 accidents but 13 full successes)! We began on Monday and I brought a potty trained girl to church nursery on Sunday. The next 7 days we had a lot of accidents while we were out (mostly because she learned to pee on the potty but was not used to having to wait to get to a bathroom), but I was NOT going to put her in a pullup and by the end of 10 days she was over 90% potty trained (one ever other day or so).

And then we drove about 5,000 miles that month. It was not easy traveling with such a child, and she had a few accidents in her carseat (much more inconvenient when far from home btw!) but all the laundry and stops off the Interstate was worth it.
At first she peed ALL the time. This was understandable because she was used to just peeing as soon as it hit her bladder, but after about 2 months she began going less and then not more often than I go.  After the first month accidents were very rare.

Did it take a TON of effort? Yes. Was it inconvenient? Most definitely! Would I do it again? Yes.  It is harder work upfront, but then  instead of changing a wet or dirty diaper, I am sitting a toddler on a potty. After the first month it is no more work to have a potty trained child than it is to change a diaper. In all actuality it may be less work.

French Seam Tutorial

I made my daughter a beautiful Easter dress last spring with an adorable ‘duck’ print. She only wore it once or twice before the washer completely ate at the side seam. I usually make cotton and cotton blend dresses and even though I’m supposed to zig zag all raw edges, I didn’t used to. I never had a problem with it, until the Easter dress incident.

That was when I stumbled upon the idea of using a french seam, and let me tell you it finishes so wonderfully!

Here’s how it’s done:

1. Using a little less than half your seam allowance (the total seam allowance should be at least 5/8 inch) sew the 2 fabrics RIGHT sides together

2.  Fold the fabric inside out putting the raw edge snugly inside. You may even want to iron it so it does not bubble. Sew a new seam that encases the raw edge.

Now you do not have to worry about fraying edges! This is great for children’s clothes as it enhances the durability.

I suggest forgoing french seams on bodices where the raw edges are going to be in a lining because the seams would be bulky (and you may even break a needle) if you had to sew 2 french seams together ( but please, learn from my mistakes and zig zag your raw edges ;).

If this is something you have not tried, please do, it takes your projects to a level that even store brought items fail to achieve!Image