Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Easy Valentine Idea

Looking for a quick and easy Valentine's Day idea for school Valentine's Day parties look no further!

I used Photoshop to create a punny card that says "I THINK YOU ROCK" and then I added candy rocks ordered from an LTD catalog to little bags I ordered in bulk from Amazon a few years ago. 

And that's all there is to it! 20 Valentine's in 5 minutes!

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Monday, February 8, 2016

Felt Wands - perfect for a Valentine gift!

My youngests love language is sequins and sparkles so when I saw these wands on Pinterest I knew she'd want to make them for her friends at preschool. I printed out the text and she'll sign her name to them before tucking them into the pocket. 

I'm not anti-candy, but I do gravitate towards things that aren't gone in two seconds. I hope these wands bring hours and hours of joy to the little girls in Elsa's class.

Want to make some for your kids? Here's how:

First visit this blog for the original source of information and instructions. Below I have shared photos of my version for reference. 

I opted not to paint the dowel rods, but I did sand them down. My dowels are 10 inches long so I would have enough materials from 3 dowels for the 10 wands I wanted to make. Our local hardware store sells this thickness for less than $1.50 each.

I used Elmer's school glue to glue on the fiber fill. I let them dry overnight. This step is important for keeping the dowel secure in the wand.

I cut out three stars per color and sewed sequins on the front of the pocket using a color that matched the sequins as much as possible. I Googled 'star clip art' and printed out a template of a star that was the shape I wanted.

The purple sequins are dark so I used a darker thread for that part and a lighter thread for stitching the pieces together. 

I preferred to hand stitch the three stars together from the top of the star around to where the dowel is inserted instead of using a machine. This allowed me to put sequins right up to the edge of the felt. 

Don't forget to insert the dowel before you close up the bottom! 

That's all there is to it! This isn't a fast project, but it is a portable one which is nice for the down times waiting for school pick ups. 

My 11 year old's Valentines for his fifth grade class took 5 minute to print, cut and assemble for 19 kids so it all balances out in the end! I'll share his final results next. If you have a child that wants a more boy themed valentine then you'll want to check them out here.

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Where is the Bear family now?

From 2008 until the spring of 2014 we lived inside a campground/park as the caretakers. Sam was 4 and Julia was 2 when we moved into the caretaker house. By the time we left Sam was 9, Julia 7, and our BabyBear, Elsa was 2 1/2. 

PapaBear and I decided that the time had come to find a better work/family balance and that meant a ginormous step of faith because we didn't have housing lined up when we resigned our post. 

Through some emotional twists and turns we ended up staying with family for three months before we moved into the house God had picked out just for us. It wasn't my first choice, but He closed the door on my dream home and opened the window to a property that was destined to be our forever home and turned out to be a perfect fit for our family in every way.

We have a huge garden, four apple trees, grapes, raspberries, and over 100 different flowering perennials growing in our yard. It feels a bit like we got to bring the country to town with us!

We live on almost an acre lot in the center of our sleepy little Midwestern town. We downsized from a 3,000 square foot farm house to a 1,600 square foot rambler and feel like we have MORE room than before. It helps that we offloaded 2/3rds of our possessions so we could fit everything in storage! 

Our kids love having neighbors to play with and easy access to school, church, and parks. I fill my gas tank once every three weeks in the summer because we walk most places. 

I continue to work at building my book design business and help authors who wish to self publish, couples who want wedding albums made, families who don't have time to make family albums, and companies who need help with marketing materials. PapaBear works 15 minutes from home and we finally have time to attend games, concerts, take vacations, attend school programs, and have relaxing weekends together instead of trying to figure out how we can be in four places at once like we often had to do at the park.

Will I change the name of my blog now that we aren't raising our kids in a campground anymore? 

That's a fair question and one I can easily answer even after almost two years of being out of the campground lifestyle. No. 

Living in a campground was an incredible opportunity and one that has shaped who I am today. If it weren't for the sacrifices we made to make park life work I wouldn't appreciate the life we have now. To this day I still think about how thankful I am when May rolls around and we can look forward to warmer weather instead of dreading the 50 extra hours a week we would add to our schedules. 

On a nice day we can go for a bike ride to Dairy Queen as a family and not have to leave someone behind to cover the office. That might seem like a trivial thing, but I can't put into words how precious a little margin in our lives has become. We made some great friends and have wonderful memories from our campground days, but that chapter has ended and we look forward to new memories and new experiences raising our cubs in our new place. 

So welcome to the new BearCountry! I am so glad you stopped by for a visit! The coffee is always on, the garden always needs weeding, there is always a crochet project in the works, and we will always be thankful for the blessings in our lives!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A return to blogging

When Instagram came on the scene it was so much easier to post there and slowly but surely my little corner of the Internet got covered in layers of dust - so much dust that after three years I didn't think it could ever be found under the multi generations of dust bunnies!

A friend asked me yesterday if I had a blog and I mumbled something about yes....a long time ago....that little spark of a conversation and another discussion with a client about mobile blogging got me motivated to try the ten different password options so I could try to log back into my Campground Cubs account. It only took four tries and I was in!

Will I jump back into blogging full time? I'm not sure.... I'm a busy mom who runs a business. We left the campground almost two years ago, but the margin the move to town created in our lives is so precious to me that I guard that time very carefully.

I've picked up some new hobbies, learned a lot, thrown some fun birthday parties, and taken about 30,000 photos since my last post....I have the content to share, but there are still only 24 hours in the day. I'm going to do my best to pop in more often! It is good to be back! 

Up next.... Updated 'about me' for the Bear wouldn't believe how much everyone has grown! 

School Spirit Beanie Crochet Pattern

Beat those winter blues and cold winds with this a FLEECE lined brimmed hat! It seems like everyone is wearing a beanie these days - me in...