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simplicity, Charlotte Mason homeschooling, Old World inspiration, Oriental dance, style & beauty

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sewing with Grandma

Homeschooled children are very resourceful. They are full of Ideas. Big Ideas. Beezy had been wanting to learn to sew for quite some time. Last week she found a turquoise, glitter dot fabric remnant left over from a belly dance costume piece and decided she wanted to make a dress for her Rapunzel doll. I told her that if she really wanted to learn to sew, someone who knows how to sew should teach her! So I called my grandmother, whose skills are of a master seamstress level.

When I was a belly dance student in Columbus, we made patterns for a practice skirt with newspaper. Since Grandma suggested practicing with an old piece of fabric first, but I couldn't find any rags that would work, I gave her the newspaper idea. This was my only contribution. Well, I also brought her other Barbie dresses for ideas, and Beezy chose a general style from those.

Grandma decided to do the skirt and top parts of the dress separately, so she traced the bottom part of the gown on newspaper and cut the pattern. The original dress was all one piece with a single seam, so that was how she designed the new skirt. She cut the glitter dot fabric around the pattern, turned it inside out, and pinned it in place. Since I had no pins, she used needles. Then she basted it. I would never have thought to do this! I probably would not have thought to pin it either. This is why I hired a professional!

The needle was threaded, doubled, and the ends were knotted together. I then had the pleasure of watching my grandma patiently teach Beezy to sew! "Little stitches, little stitches," she repeated. She did not insist on perfection but guided her grandaughter to reasonably good results. Beatrix's look of pride and joy when she finished was priceless! Grandma decided she needed to take the doll and fabric home to figure out how to design the top part. She said that she hadn't made doll clothes in many years, and it is not an easy thing to do. So how awesome is that! On another day she will bring it back over for Beezy to finish.

A day or two later Beezy fixed a big hole in one of her stuffed animals. (She had been asking me to do it for months!) All I had to do was thread the needle, knot the ends, and place a pin to hold it together, and she managed very well to take care of that problem herself! This is the beauty of homeschooling. Teachers are everywhere; you don't have to do it alone. And most importantly, my daughter has another beautiful memory with her great-grandma to treasure forever.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Manna for the Temple: Have a Cup of Tea!

Today is the third day of Lent, which means it is my third day without coffee. Boy am I tired! I gave up coffee because I don't like how it makes me feel. It is certainly not personality enhancing! For awhile I even drank espresso with soy milk, which made me instantly hyped up and impatient. But it tasted so good, and it cleared my morning cobwebs quickly. However, praying for patience in my homeschooling efforts and then drinking espresso kind of defeats the purpose, and in addition to serious jitters, my stomach never felt good.

Facebook friends warned me that I would get a headache, but as it turns out, I was going to have one anyway, since the beginning of Lent coincided with my monthly visit from Heavy Aunt Flo. I had at least given up the espresso and was drinking plain old coffee, so the withdrawal wouldn't be so bad.  Besides, Lent is a time for going into the desert for 40 days with Jesus, so a headache is only a little thing from that perspective. It isn't supposed to be easy; one is supposed to sacrifice something. And hurray for me, because I don't have to give up meat on Fridays--I'm already vegetarian!

My goal is to treat my body better, as a temple of the Holy Spirit. While I wasn't excessive in my coffee drinking, it did cause me physical discomfort, and I want to have energy in a more natural way. I want to feel good! (I also want to give up 10 pounds for Lent, which means healthier eating and more exercise.) Still, I want a hot drink in the morning, even in the summer. So with what have I replaced the coffee? I'm going to give a review here of three types of tea that can all be purchased at vitacost.com, which has less expensive prices than you will find in health food stores. Vitacost is a great place to find all kinds of natural and organic products, including vitamins, shampoo, skin care, toothpaste, beauty products, and food.

Organic Ginger tea, from Traditional Medicinals, promotes healthy digestion and is caffeine free. Ginger is also good for respiratory health. It has a strong flavor and is naturally invigorating, so it will pick you up and soothe your stomach, with no jitters. Ginger tea works great for morning sickness, too!

Yerba Mate Royale, from Wisdom of the Ancients, is sweetened with stevia, which is an herb and a healthier alternative to sugar. Yerba mate tea is classified as a nutritional supplement, energizing you with 196 active compounds including vitamins, minerals, and more antioxidants than green tea. This is good, because I can't stand green tea. Yerba mate has less caffeine than coffee or black tea and does not cause the nerve rattling effects. On the box it says, "Licorice Pepper (Piper fulvescens) is the English name we have given this rare rainforest herb." Isn't that lovely? This one is also organic.

Women's Energy tea, by Yogi, helps balance hormones. This is a dong quai tonic, a root extract also known as "women's ginseng." This organic tea also contains juniper berry, cinnamon bark, orange peel, ginger root, fennel seed, chamomile, dandelion, anise, stinging nettle, orange oil, stevia and black pepper. This is a great tasting tonic for any time, even when you are not being visited by Mean Aunt Ruby!

If you already drink tea, now you have some new varieties to enjoy.  I encourage you to try these teas for energy and healing, and for a few quiet minutes to relax and savor a hot drink to pamper yourself. Make it a sacred time to fill the well, that will invigorate you to get up and going again. Whether in a dainty China cup or a handmade pottery mug, have yourself a cup of tea!