Monday, September 10, 2018

DIY Chrome Book Sleeve

If you ask her, Frances will tell you that high school is "okay." If you ask me, I think she's doing a pretty good job of getting acclimated. It's a big school and a lot of changes. Her schedule is very different from the types of schedules she's had before. She has "A" days and "B" days and full year classes and semester classes. Looking at it all written down on one page makes me cross-eyed.

One of the things she's been most looking forward to is her new Chrome Book. All Freshman and transfer students get one. She's supposed to bring it to school every day to use and take good care of it. When she graduates, they'll remove all the managing software and she'll get to keep it. That's an incentive to keep it in good shape, I guess. My problem is that they didn't give them any cases to protect these devices. So guess what?! We decided to make one.

You can adapt this to fit any type of device that you want. I'm horrible at measuring things, so I don't have exact numbers for you, but you can still follow this pretty easily. Frances was actually going to make this herself, but she got distracted by a TV show and I wanted something to do!

To make a protective sleeve you will need:
  • Two coordinating fabrics, a few inches wider than your device and two and a half times longer. We chose a regular cotton for the outside and a softer flannel for the inside.
  • Thicker fabric for extra padding. We used a soft felt we had left over from something else. It needs to be the same size as your other fabric.
  • Coordinating thread
  • Buttons
  • Chopstick (optional)
Start by making a sandwich. A fabric sandwich, that is. Put your two fabrics right sides together and then add the padding layer on top. Starting about a third of the way in on one of the short sides, sew all the way around in the shape of a gift tag, leaving an opening so you can flip the fabric right sides out.

Trim your seams and clip your corners, to remove bulk from the edges. Then flip the whole thing right side out through the gap you left.You can use a chopstick to help pop out your corners. Once it's all turn the right way, iron it, especially around the edges to make sure it all lies flat.

Turn in the raw edges from the hole you flipped the fabric through and pin it in place. Starting there, top stitch all the way around the sleeve.This will give a more finished look to your final project.

If you are adding a pocket, make another sandwich like you did for the main body of the sleeve. Sew just the top edge and turn the rest the right way out. Clip the bottom corners at a 45 degree angle and fold the sides and bottom in and iron them to help crease them and get them ready for sewing. Line up the top edge of the pocket with what will be the inside edge of the sleeve. Pin the pocket in place and top stitch it on.

Set your device in the middle of the fabric and fold the bottom up and top down to make sure it will fit in the way you want it to. Make sure you do this with the inside fabric facing out. Pin the edges and sew them up. Then flip the whole thing right side out.

Slide your device inside just to make sure everything fits. Turn down the top flap and decide where you want your buttons. Make their location and then sew your bottom holes on the flap. Add your buttons in the appropriate locations.

Make sure to yell at your button hole foot. That's the only way to make mine work, apparently.
Put your device in the sleeve and the charger in the pocket. Button it up and show it off! You are now rocking high school like a boss!

This month's Blog With Friends theme is "Rock It!" If you want to see how my friends interpreted that, keep reading!

Karen of Baking In A Tornado rocks the kitchen with this Giant Brownie Bowl Party Sundae 
Dawn of Spatulas On Parade rocks the heat with her Tropical Sangria  
Jules of The Bergham Chronicles rocks the outdoors with this Kindness Rocks!Project 
Lydia of Cluttered Genius is rocking the craft world by Conquering the Cricut Explore Air 2 

Part-time working Hockey Mom, Tamara, shows us how to (try to) Rock her busy Life as a part-time working Hockey Mom

Saturday, September 8, 2018

My First Book of Prayers: Book Review

To abide by FTC guidelines, I am required to disclose that I received this book for free from the publisher. If your purchase something linked from this website, I may receive a small commission.

My First Book of Prayers is a darling little board book full of simple little prayers you can read to your child. Or, if like me, you don't have a little one the right age for board books, you can borrow one. :)

I was super excited to review this book because it gave me an excuse to see my friend and her new little one. Her little one is just three months old and at that super cute stage where she drools a lot and is just getting interested in everything going on around her.

Henry loves to hold babies, so he quickly volunteered to read to her while I took some pictures. He did just a great job reading and interacting. It just warmed my heart!

My First Book of Prayers has lovely full color pictures and easy to read prayers to share with your child. These are the prayers that they will memorize first and be ready to recite at meals, at bedtime, and when they want to give thanks.

You can get yourself a copy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or

Friday, September 7, 2018

This Ain't Your Grandma's School

Your “Secret Subject” is: What is your opinion on changes happening in our schools? Transgender bathrooms? Changes in math curriculum? No cursive? It was submitted by: 

I was playing Pokemon with my husband downtown last week. We went into a little "odds-n-ends" type store to look around while we were waiting for other people to show up. The jewelry display by the door caught my eye and I found mood ring fidget rings! They have an outer piece that spins around AND changes color according to your mood! And they were only $1.99!!! I picked up two. Henry and Frances are both fidgeters. Henry likes to have something to keep his hands busy, but often gets in trouble because he gets too busy with stuff. I thought it wold be good if he had something relatively small and inconspicuous that he could fiddle with.

I bought the rings and put them on my fingers to keep track of them. When we got outside I showed them off to our Pokemon friends. One of the guys made a comment about how "if teachers could keep kids more engaged, we wouldn't need things like that." It kind of irked me a little bit. I know there are problems in schools. There are things that I am not totally happy with too, but overall I think teachers are hard workers, doing the best that they can for their students.

I think teachers today are teaching in a very different world than they themselves were taught in. Heck, I was a teacher 13 years ago, and I don't recognize a lot of things. I am aware of the fact that there is a lot of politicking in education, but I also think that most of the changes that have been made are research driven.

Transgender bathrooms? I think that if we can give students a safe place to pee, we should. I feel ridiculous even typing that. A "transgender bathroom" is nothing more than a single stalled bathroom. It's private. I don't care what parts you have; when you gotta go, you gotta go. And lots of kids feel uncomfortable in group bathrooms. Haven't hit that growth spurt yet in middle school? Get made fun of. Puberty hit you earlier than your peers? Get made fun of. Hand-me-downs and thrift store specials? Get made fun of. Fart too loud or smelly? Get made fun of. You know where it's easy to make fun of kids? In the bathrooms, where teachers don't hang out! The younger you are, the more likely the teacher is to be standing just outside the door and checking on things, but she's got two bathrooms to keep track of, plus the group of kids waiting in the hallway. And once you hit middle and high school, those bathrooms can be a free-for-all! I don't care where you pee, just flush and wash your hands when you're done! If kids want a more private place to go to the bathroom, who does that hurt?

Changes in math? Hoo boy! I am re-learning how to factor polynomials and how to use the Pythagorean Theory. With one kid in advanced 6/7 math and one in Honors Geometry there are a lot of days when I feel lost trying to help with homework. Some of it I don't remember and some of it I remember a different way. That's okay. I don't know all the ins and outs of the "new math" people like to complain about, but the process makes sense to me. Instead of having kids memorize facts and formulae, teachers are helping kids to understand the why of math. It's harder and it often looks funny, but it sticks better. The US is pretty far behind in terms of math and science compared to the rest of the world and we've done lots of research to figure out why. This is the response.

Writing in cursive? My kids still had some lessons in it. Their cursive isn't all that pretty, but then whose is? There are some benefits to penmanship and fine motor skills. I get that. But I also understand that we don't write things by hand as often as we used to. Case in point, I'm typing this on a computer. And typing much better than I ever expected to be able to. Because I type all day. And my kids type way more than I ever did in school. Frances just got a Chrome Book, so she's typing a lot of her assignments and sharing them with her teachers in her Google Drive. It's faster, easier, and better for the environment! Kids won't be able to read the Constitution? Google it! I can't read the Bible in the original Hebrew of Greek, but that doesn't stop me from getting my hands on a translation.

There are lots of changes in education (and society). The ones we hear about are often misrepresented and posted by someone with an agenda. Then they get passed along by people who don't bother to look into it and all of a sudden we've got all of Facebook up in arms that no one says the Pledge anymore. Don't get me started on that one!! (My kids all say the Pledge every morning at school.)

I truly believe that teachers are some of the hardest working people out there. They work hard against a multitude of obstacles. They do research, they collaborate, they give up their personal time and money to help our kids. I am eternally thankful for the teachers my kids have had, the education professors I work with, and the pre-service teachers I get to interact with on a daily basis. Take a minute today to thank a teacher! I guarantee you'll make their day!

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 8 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado
The Bergham Chronicles
The Blogging 911
Cognitive Script
Never Ever Give Up Hope
Part-Time Working Hockey Mom

Monday, August 13, 2018

Simplify your School Year

We have a week to go before the kids go back to school. In some ways I'll be spending this week trying to hold on to the last remnants of summer. In other ways I am craving a return to our routine. I've been running the kids around all over the place this summer. Part of the reason is to give them a fun and enriching summer, but honestly it's mostly to keep them occupied because Ken and I both work full-time.

This school year will be an interesting one for sure! We are going to have a kid in elementary school, one starting at a new middle school, and the oldest starting high school. I've already had a taste of the juggle that will be involved with the registration appointments we had last week. It's a fairly small school system, so you'd think they could coordinate things a little better, but NOPE!

I know it's going to be a lot to keep track of, so I'm setting myself up for success by trying to be really organized before we even get started. And when I saw our August theme for Blog With Friends was "Simplify Your Life," I knew exactly what to do.

In years past I've created some other ways to stay organized during the school year: a pencil can for Frances, a binder with all the important information in it, and a cubby system to keep all the stuff organized. This year, however, what we really need is a way to keep all the important dates organized in an easy to see place.

I've used an online calendar app called Cozi for a while now. It's great because Ken and I can both see it on our phones or computers and it syncs automatically. We have now reached the point where the kids need to see what's going on, but don't have ready access to smart phones to check on things.

While we were at Staples doing some school supply shopping, my eyes were drawn to a big dry erase calendar. I chose one that had space next to the calendar to write in, as well as a cork board underneath. I picked up a few other supplies and an idea was born.

I put the calendar in the foyer so it's easy to see as we leave the house. I wrote out the dates for August by checking the Cozi calendar as well as all those stray papers that have been getting sent home lately. Each kid picked out a color scheme and I labeled their events with magnets in that color. I also found some "cubicle clips" that have pins in the back to stick to the cork board and a clip in the front to hold papers. The cubicle clips and the magnets come in the same colors, so each kid can tell at a glance which things pertain to them.

The day after I put this up on the wall and showed it to the kids, Frances came home from her camp and clipped something to my clip underneath the calendar. "What's that?" I asked her. "It's a paper you need to sign for tomorrow," she replied. SUCCESS!!

Need some other ideas for how to simplify your life? Check these out!

Karen of Baking In A Tornado has Skillet Cordon Bleu Dinner. Start with a packaged rice mix, add leftover chicken, ham and vegetables for a quick and simple dinner in no time.

Dawn from Spatulas On Parade presents Parmesan Ranch Chicken. Simple easy recipe that doesn’t complicate our busy lives

Tamara from Part-time working Hockey Mom shows us her KEEP - DONATE - TOSS Buckets. Declutter areas of your house by using the tried and tested method that she calls keep, donate or toss.

Lydia from Cluttered Genius has a Simple (On-a-budget) Laundry Room Update. The house is from the turn of the 20th century, but the decor doesn’t have to be. An easy and on-a-budget update that even *I* could manage!

Jules of The Bergham Chronicles listsEasy Ways to Keep Your Family Organized and on Track. A list of ways to keep your family running like a well oiled machine, especially during busy times.

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