Press "Enter" to skip to content

Our Well Crafted Life Posts

Our fall play table

Our daycare baby is no longer joining us, so it’s just my little Miss and me during the week now. I’m excited about the opportunity this gives me to focus solely on her needs and development.

She started pulling up and standing last week so I’ve made a few changes around the house. The biggest one in the playroom is that I pulled the play table out from the wall giving her access all around it. I have added to our collections fall-themed books and toys and arranged them all around the perimeter of the table. I put our autumn leaves in the middle so she can see them but not reach them/eat them.

Here’s a peek at our fall play table!

You’ll probably recognize a lot of the resources from our fall story time, and we’ve added to our collection with books from the library and a library book sale!

I’m hoping the change will entice her to start cruising around the table as she chooses the resources she would like to engage with.

(The music is “Raccoon and Possum” by Dan Zanes. Thanks Spotify!)

DIY Sensory Blocks

My little one loves things that make noise when she shakes or bangs them. So this idea I found on the A Crafty Living Instagram account seemed like the perfect DIY toy for me to make for her. Olivia used plastic specimen jars with screw on lids like these. I was all set to order some when I remembered the growing pile of used baby food containers I’ve been collecting from my daycare baby’s lunches. Add some rattly materials from around the house and this project ended up costing $0.

107b840a-cb0e-45d2-b32f-fd5e7a38fe99-20690-000009325cb7c4eb_file-1

To make your own you will need:

  • Plastic containers small enough for little hands to hold
  • Small objects that will make a variety of sounds when shaken
  • Strong glue

Directions:

This was a pretty straight forward project. I went around the house and through my arts and crafts supplies and found a variety of small items I didn’t mind no longer having access to. Some ideas include: googly eyes, buttons, bouncy balls, coins, polished rocks, silly bandz (remember when all the kids had to have these?), dried beans, jingle bells. I tried to find items in a variety of sizes and materials to make a wide range of sounds when she shakes them as well as providing visual stimulation. I had enough to fill 15 containers. I removed all the labels, washed them out, and made sure they were completely dry.

img_7590

(You may notice there’s only 10 pictured here. I added five more after she enjoyed them so much and I found some tiny jingle bells at LIDL I just couldn’t resist. So it did end up costing $.79 after all.)

img_7599-1

Then I glued the lids on and let them dry with a book on top to make sure the lids were on tight before I gave them to her. They were pretty much an instant hit! She loves to shake them and listen to the different sounds and to knock them over just as fast as her daddy or I can stack them up.

I posted a video on Facebook and a former college professor of mine described them as a “perfect example of freely chosen and personally directed play.” So there you go!

If you try them I hope your little ones enjoy them as much as my little miss!

All the best,

Rebekah

PS, the amazon links are affiliate links.

Autumn Storytime 

I love books! I always have, and I love sharing them with children. When I was a nanny one of my favorite activities was a trip to the library for storytime and a bag full of books to bring home.

Because we have another baby in our home we are not able to get out and about right now. And unfortunately our library is not within walking distance, so storytime is up to me!

Repetition is the key to learning, and little ones love to hear the same stories over and over so I will usually use the same five books for a whole week. If one is a favorite I will keep it in rotation longer.

I don’t mind if the babies crawl around and play during storytime, they are still listening and they always come close for the books they love. Having said that, I do have a few tricks for holding their attention. Besides the obvious, picking age appropriate books and reading animatedly, I like to alternate stories with songs, often tied together, to keep babies engaged. I use props when I can and lots of motions! (Recently I’ve been using ASL as much as possible for my motions and have learned a lot from Tiny Signs.)

So here is a run through of our autumn-themed storytime from this week to give you an example:

  1. I always begin with a gathering song. “Open Shut Them” is my favorite.
  2. Peek-a Who” the babies love this one and I let each of them get a good look in the mirror at the end.
  3. This leads nicely into “One Little Owl” I used figures from our wooden forest animal set for this as well as the ASL sign for each animal.
  4. Next was “Leaves” a new favorite of mine. I used dried leaves we collected during an afternoon walk and dropped them carefully into my lap behind the book because babies grab things so quickly! (I’m thinking about getting some silk leaves so I can let the babies play with them.)
  5. So then I had the leaves ready to go for the rhyme “Five Little Leaves” which both delights and frustrates the babies as I whisk the leaves behind my back after letting them fall one by one. Seriously, I think I need to get those silk leaves!
  6. Quickly into “Fall” my little one’s favorite as she loves to feel the squirrel’s fur.
  7. When everyone is done touching I hold it open to the pumpkin page, bring out our mini pumpkin and sing “Five Little Pumpkins.” (I don’t like witches so we sing “there’s a shiver in the air” instead.)
  8. Next up, “The Busy Squirrel” I do the ASL sign for each animal. At the end I fall asleep too…
  9. And go right into “Hop Ol’ Squirrel” using my teeny beanie baby squirrel. (I have two complete sets of these and while they didn’t make me rich, they have been great fun for my little one.) I make the squirrel do all the actions I sing about, until he’s inevitably snatched by little hands for a snuggle.
  10. The final story is one sure to bring everyone back to the circle, “Baby Loves Fall!” The big flaps are just the right size for little fingers to lift and if I’m feeling particularly patient I will let everyone have a turn.
  11. The final song is “Dingle Dangle Scarecrow” which is short and sweet. I point at the scarecrow page from “Baby Loves Fall!” as I sing and shake my hands and feet like a scarecrow.
  12. Another round of “Open Shut Them” and then our stories end!

So not every storytime runs smoothly. This week we had one day where everyone pretty much engaged the whole time and we made it through all the stories. We have varying levels of success. But such is life. I just keep reading as much as possible.

How about you? Do you have any favorite fall books for little ones, or tips for story time with babies and toddlers? I’d love to know.

All the best,

Rebekah

PS, the amazon links are affiliate links.

Later that day…


So here’s the thing, when you’re not getting enough sleep sometimes it’s hard to keep things in perspective. It’s also especially important to care for yourself in other ways like eating well and finding even a bit of time for things you enjoy and trying not to spread yourself too thin. I’m not always the best at that last thing. 

I had rushed out the door this morning hungry and a bit frazzled and the whole thing (as you know) crashed and burned. Yes, I had had two breakfasts, but it was after 10:00 and I had been up since 4:00 and what I had eaten was a bowl of instant oatmeal and two pieces of toast. No protein, no fruit, just carbs. The reason I woke up at 4:00 before the baby? I was hungry. 

Then the not spreading yourself too thin. It probably wasn’t the most important thing to make it to the moms’ group when my house was a mess (which always stresses me out), I needed to go to the grocery store (but had a haphazard list and meal plan for the next week at best), and the baby and I had both had a rough morning. I realized this on the way and decided to just do the grocery shopping but I would’ve done better to stay at home a little longer. Let the baby nap in her crib, and either rest myself or tidy the kitchen. Either one of those options would’ve helped me feel better when we did head out.

So, lesson learned. (Maybe, hopefully.) After something to eat, a little nap, and some snuggles we’re both happier. And really, truly, and utterly I wouldn’t trade being my little girl’s mama for anything. Not even a full night’s sleep. 

My morning so far…

Woke up at 4:00 am, Baby shortly after. She ate for an hour and a half.

After breakfast with my husband I tried to go back to sleep for a while with said baby. She wasn’t interested. We both cried.

Cup of tea and second breakfast. She had more milk and fell asleep just long enough for me to almost get a whole shower in. Went through every ¾ sleeved top in my closet trying to find one that fits now that I’m nursing. No luck. 

Made it out the door with the kitchen still a mess just at the time the moms’ group we were going to was starting. Decided en route to skip it this week and just get the grocery shopping done. 

Currently parked outside the grocery store trying to decide what to do now that the baby fell asleep pretty much just as we were turning into the parking lot. May have cried a second time as I’m just a bit too tired to cope well with even small upsets at the moment.

Over my years as a nanny I’ve told so many moms so many times how much harder their job was than mine. I had no idea how right I was.

Last night at our house

2:00 am

Baby: I would like some milk please.

Mama: no problem 

2:45

Mama puts Baby back in bed. Baby doesn’t sleep, she plays.

3:15

Mama: maybe if you have more milky you will sleep.

Baby: no thank you. 

Mama puts Baby back in bed. Baby plays. Mama googles natural shampoos for oily hair and puts some in her Amazon cart.

4:00 

Baby: I’m tired of being by myself.

Mama: would you like more milk?

Baby: yes please

4:15

Baby, asleep, is put back in bed. 

Mama goes back to bed.

5:30

Alarm goes off.

Mama: nope

6:00

Baby: I’d like some milky please.

Mama: seriously? … ok

Baby has a little milk and goes back to bed. Mama, tired, goes about her morning.

8:00

Baby: good morning!

Mama: good morning, I’m so happy to see you!

Mother culture 


We are planning to homeschool our children and being the person that I am I have already started digging into preparations. I’ve been listening to audiobooks and podcasts and following lovely Instagram accounts all pertaining to homeschooling. I may have even purchased some materials.

One of the things I’ve come across in my research is the term “mother culture.” It has to do with making sure your own cup is full so you have a source from which to give to your family. The two main things that fill my cup are reading and knitting, so I have been trying to make even just a little time each day for these pursuits.

I’ve been giving the babies “free play” time each day. By that I mean that for about half an hour I am not doing anything to entertain them, and while I am sitting with them and paying attention to them, I am keeping my interactions to a minimum. This gives them time to move, explore, and concentrate how they would like and me time for a little knitting.

When my daughter was tiny I could knit while she was in my arms. Around 3 months she grew too heavy for that to be comfortable, and quickly too easily distractable to even attempt it. So I mostly played on my phone while she ate. Recently I discovered that in the evening when she is sleepy and pretty focused on eating I can read while she eats. Amazing! So a bit of time for reading a real book, not just listening to an audiobook while doing something else has been created as well. I just wish I had thought of this sooner!

I would love to know how other mamas find time to feed their own souls.

All the best,

Rebekah

PS, this book is lovely so far! The Blue Jay’s Dance by Louise Erdrich (affiliate link)

Baking day

So I had some bananas that were too far gone for baby food and a hankering for baked goods. I usually use the most delicious family recipe to make banana bread but with some seriously dreary weather (the edges of Irma) I wanted something a little more fall-like. A quick perusal of the Smitten Kitchen website and I found her Jacked Up Banana Bread. Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and I had all the ingredients. Perfect! I did not jack mine up but I did add ⅓ cup each walnuts and chocolate chips.

​I used a handy trick I learned from the Great British Baking Show (my favorite contestant ever, Martha) to fill my muffin cups. Perfect every time! The recipe is supposed to make one loaf and it perfectly filled 12 muffin cups which is less than my usual recipe, but just the right amount for my husband and me.


These really hit the spot!

All the best,

Rebekah

PS, this post contains affiliate links.

diy playsilks

Playsilks, some of the most beautiful open-ended toys with the most versatile and longest lasting lifespans. All the things I look for in choosing toys and I really wanted some for my little one but the pretty, hand-dyed ones I found on Etsy were cost-prohibitive for us right now. So I did a little google search and found some tutorials on how to dye your own. I ordered silks from Dharma Trading Co. and the rest of the materials I had on hand. After reading through several posts this is what I did:

IMG_5683

Materials:

Directions:

  1. Wash the silks. I washed them with my regular laundry and hung to dry and I carefully cut off the little tags. (I always wash on cold with a natural detergent.)
  2. Soak silks in hot tap water with a bit of vinegar to prep. I allowed each silk to soak as I dyed the one before. (I did not change out this water.) IMG_5722.jpg
  3. In a large pot you won’t mind possibly getting stained combine equal parts hot (nearly boiling) water and vinegar and a generous amount of food coloring to achieve desired effect. (The amount of dye bath you need is determined by how many silks you are dyeing at a time and the size of the pot you use. I used two cups each, but should’ve probably used more as it was hard to cover my entire silk the dye bath was so shallow in the big pot I used. I didn’t measure the food coloring, just eyeballed it. The only color I wish was a bit more vibrant is the orange, but I can always dye it again to make the color stronger.)IMG_5729
  4. Let sit on low heat, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes or until the dye is absorbed. (I added more coloring as needed to the dye bath by clearing the silk out of the way before pouring it in. When a secondary color needed more dye I mixed it in a glass, added a TBS of water/vinegar from the pot to check the color, and then added it to the pot.)IMG_5736IMG_5737IMG_5738.jpg
  5. Rinse in cold water until it runs clear. (My water ran clear from the beginning, the color didn’t run at all.)
  6. Change water/vinegar for each new color. (I changed for each “set” of colors. For example, I did red and then added yellow and red to the same water to do orange, but changed the water for yellow and green and then again for blue and purple.)IMG_5742.jpg
  7. Dry in the dryer. Iron if you wish.

Notes: some tutorials suggested using gloves to keep your hands from getting stained. Because my dye bath was so hot I used kitchen tongs to stir and move my silks until they were cool enough to handle. My hands were not stained at all. My pot is stainless steel and also did not get stained. You don’t have to worry about using a special, non-cooking pot if you use food coloring like you would with acid dyes.IMG_5770.jpg For my rainbow silk I measured the first 10” section and then just eyeballed it from there. I used metal clothes pins to pin it to the sides of the pot so only the section I was dying at the time got in the bath. I was also very mindful of keeping the edges rolled up and out of the way of my gas stovetop. I rinsed it in between each color and I was careful to rinse down towards the already dyed sections, just in case, even though my dyes didn’t actually run.fullsizeoutput_1f75 This was a really fun, easy project and only took a little over an hour from start to finish to do all seven silks. We have had lots of fun playing with them already!

All the best,

Rebekah

PS, this post contains affiliate links.

Hello and welcome!

I’m so glad you’ve stumbled on my little corner of the internet. In my first post I want to take the opportunity to introduce myself and share my heart for this blog. Most of this content can be found in the “about me” tab in the future.

My name is Rebekah, I’m a 30-something wife and mama. My husband Tony, my daughter, and I live in the piedmont triad area of North Carolina. We love our home state and our dream is to move to the mountains one of these days. Speaking of dreams, that is largely what this blog will be about, our journey towards achieving the dreams we have for our family. I want to document our journey in a way which helps to grow my husband’s network marketing business and inspires others on a similar journey.

My hope is that a public documentation of our journey will provide accountability as we seek to live our lives with intention. This will be the primary focus of the blog. I also hope to help build a customer base for the products we use and believe in which we sell through Amway. This will be a secondary focus of the blog. There are many families and individuals seeking to provide extra income, or work towards a full time income, through network marketing businesses and I hope sharing our journey with Amway will be helpful and inspirational to others on a similar journey.

As a new wife and mother with a bit more than the usual life experience brought to these relationships I would like to share my journey towards creating the loving and beautiful home I envisioned for my family for so many years. Having worked with children professionally before becoming Mama, I hope to offer a unique take on motherhood to my readers as we love, nurture, and educate our children. At the moment I also do family childcare which allows me to stay home with Little Miss and still help with the family budget.

My interests, hobbies, and quirks that you may hear about from time to time include:

  • Reading, personally (for pleasure and growth) and with the little ones
  • Knitting, oh so much knitting!
  • Other projects, crafts, and handwork
  • Cloth diapers and other ways to “go green and save green”
  • Frugal but healthy meal planning (the struggle is real)
  • Shopping small and local on a budget
  • DIY in general, esp for home decor and things for the little ones
  • Our plans for home education and learning through play and everyday experiences
  • The activities I do with my baby and our childcare little ones
  • How on earth do mamas juggle all this?! (Help! I need to hear from you!)

In order to protect our children’s privacy I won’t be using their real names and you won’t see pictures of their faces here or on my public Instagram account. I love Instagram! I hope you’ll follow me there too, but I will say that I am not a photographer and my pictures are all taken with my iPhone. I just can’t add another hobby right now, and even if I could it would probably be spinning or canning. I’m on Ravelry, Pinterest, and Twitter as well (username for all three is flutterbysong) but I’m not very active anywhere but Instagram.

So I hope that gives you a good idea of what you’ll find here and I hope you’ll join me on the journey. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time and I’m going to do my best to make it fun around here!

All the best,

Rebekah

PS, it turns out there’s a bit of a learning curve to getting the technology to work well. I hope you’ll have grace for me as I figure this all out!