About Sarah @ Ours Forever

Lover of colorful families, Jesus, coffee, second-hand anything, and sweets.

Bathrobes

These were made quickly and out of desperation.

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There could be lots of explanation here, but lets just leave it that our mornings are early and bathrobes are easier than multiple trips up and downstairs.

I bought two fleece blankets from the thriftstore and used a bit of fleece I had around.  They aren’t exactly the color combos I would have chosen, but the girls are pretty thrilled with them and Favor even learned how to tie a bow with them.

IMG_5923I sort-of traced their rain jackets for the pattern, but I lengthened the front openings, and made the hoods a few different ways, and hoped they would work, which they mostly did.

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Photos were taken (quickly and in bad light) in front of our (unclean) chalk board wall!

Kindergarten

Faith and Favor started Kindergarten last month.  To be honest, the jury is still out about how we like it.  But, before I get into that, let’s just talk about how darn cute they are in their uniforms!!!

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School is a massive change and adjustment for any kid, but I honestly think it’s even bigger for Faith and Favor, who are still getting used to life in a family and speaking English.  That said, I’m amazed at what they’ve learned over the last month and the perseverance they show when life gets challenging.  Kids really are astounding.

Faith and Favor are in different classes, which I think has been really good.  Favor’s self confidence has grown tremendously and I think that’s hugely in part to her having some time away from her outspoken sister.  Last year, Favor cried weekly when she was dropped off at preschool, but this year we haven’t had any before school tears.  At first, we had a lot of after school exhaustion tears, but we’ve developed a rhythm and our afternoons are [relatively] stress free.  We do the same thing in the same order every day and they usually do really well with it.  Our ritual is to: change into play clothes, jump on the mini trampolines for one song, eat a snack, and begin homework.  The jumping is great because it gets some of those pent up wiggles out while also releasing endorphins.  We try to make the snack a high-protein snack with some sugar/fruit as well.  This picks them up quickly, but sustains them for awhile.  We tried watching a TV show before homework, but it turned into tears when the show was stopped, so now its a post-homework reward.

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The school (a public Charter) gives a ridiculous amount of homework so we’ve had to make some boundaries there.  The people-pleaser in me really wants the girls to complete their homework every day, but we have to learn to protect the girls’ emotional health over their academic growth, so we’ll stop homework after a certain amount of time, even if it’s not complete yet.  And, let’s be honest, this is Kindergarten.  You’re not supposed to have homework…or really even learn anything.  In my opinion, Kindergarten is for getting used to school!!!

That said, we’re going to press on.  I think there is a lot of growth potential and we have a lot to learn as parents of Kindergartners.  Overall, we’re really thankful that our girls are going to an excellent school that is only 3 minutes from our house.  We love the administration and we’ve seen lots of positive growth and independence in the girls.  Kids are always capable of so much more than we think!

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Rory, Ransom, and I also have a great time on our own.  Two kids are so much more manageable than 4, so I feel like I can actually have a social life now that the girls are in school.  The three of us have a blast together. 🙂

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A Tinkerbell Birthday


I recently posted about how Rory could hardly handle the anticipation of her impending third birthday. What we didn’t tell her was that her birthday party was happening about 2 1/2 weeks before her birthday.

IMG_5262She decided quickly that the only kind of party she wanted was a Tinkerbell party.  Last year’s party was a loud, busy, and crazy book swap party which was a blast.  This year, I wanted to have a smaller party for two reasons: First, Faith and Favor do much better in calmer, more controlled environments and second, I wanted to put a lot more detail and thought into this year’s party so I knew it would be easier with fewer kids.  We ended up going with a cousins only party.  It was still plenty crowded and lots of fun!

When Rory decided on Tinkerbell, the first thing we did was put the invitation together.  Jonathan wrote a great limerick (another one of his superpowers that nobody knows about) and I designed the card using my Silhouette software (best Christmas present ever!!!).

IMG_3484All of the guests were given fairy costumes when they arrived.

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The birthday girl, of course, was given an extra special fairy dress.

I sewed circle skirts for the girls following this tutorial, and I made a fairy “cloak” for our lone gentleman guest.  I made the wings from kids’ wire hangers and white tulle.

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IMG_5284IMG_5256IMG_5341 IMG_5365I made Rory’s dress pattern from tracing a tank top…and just kind of guessed along the way.  The scariest part was that I surprised her with the dress, so I couldn’t try it on her as I went.  Thankfully, it fit just as I had hoped.

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The day was full of fairy activities.  We made fairy wands and fairy houses.  The houses were definitely a hit and took a lot more time than I anticipated.  I was amazed that all of the kids were really into it.

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I initially planned to make a fairy house as an example for the kids.  I never got around to it, and I am SO GLAD I didn’t do it.  The creativity that comes out of kids is outstanding and I would have squelched it with my realistic and organized fairy house.

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And then the food.  I love themed party food!!!!!

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The “cookie cake”was a hit. It was definitely a time intensive process, but totally worth it.  I made vanilla French macaroons with a chocolate ganache filling.

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We also made “toadstool mushrooms” (marshmallows dipped in colored white chocolate), Jonathan carved Rory’s name in a watermelon (yet another superpower), and no fairy party is complete without ants on a log.

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We sang happy birthday, Rory was thrilled, the kids were entertained for the entire party, and nobody cried (that I can recall).  It was a birthday miracle.

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Happy 3rd Birthday little Rory!

Camping with Four Littles

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We went to a wedding in Iowa City at the end of July and decided to break the 13 hour trip up into two days.  Being unemployed and all, we opted for a $17 camp site stop over rather than a $90 hotel.  Plus, some of the best memories come from crazy things like this!

We decided on Mammoth Caves in Kentucky.  It was on the way, is a national park, and was recommended over the Ozarks by a couple of friends on Facebook.  We made sure to arrive early because we’ve camped enough in the past to know that setting up a tent in the dark is miserable.  The girls “helped” daddy set it up while Ransom and I got tickets for the cave tour.

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Check out this tent we borrowed.  Isn’t it amazing?  It actually had three different rooms and you can stand up in it!  (And isn’t Ransom’s little mini tent adorable too?)

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We took the cave tour that afternoon so we could get an earlier start the next morning.  Jonathan loved the tour.  I on the other hand, felt slightly underwhelmed; maybe because I was wrangling kids instead of listening to the tour guide.

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When we got back to the campsite, we got dinner together.  Jonathan went into “jungle boy” mode (recalling his 2 years living in the Peruvian jungle) and found us some wood and lit a fire.  We went simple and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows.

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We stayed away from graham crackers and chocolate and just went for the marshmallows.  Our kids didn’t know the difference, and the clean up was much easier for  us.

Ransom observed from a safe distance and was entertained by his sisters.

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Rory would roast a marshmallow, bring it to me and trade me for an unroasted marshmallow to eat.

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The girls went to sleep when it got dark and actually slept really well.  Of course, we woke up at the first light of day (5:15 I think) and probably woke the rest of the camp site up too.  Through yawns from mommy and daddy, we snuggled up in our warm clothes and ate pancakes I packed the day before.

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We also had an up close visit from some local wildlife.  The girls didn’t think much of it at the time, but now it’s the first thing they mention when talking about our camping trip.

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Really, we had a blast and would definitely do it again.

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For those of you thinking about camping with kids, here’s what I would recommend:

  1. Reserve a site close to the bathrooms and water.  We went to the bathroom like 1596 times and it was great that it was just a short walk away.  (Close enough to get there quickly, but not so close it smelled.)
  2. Pack a travel potty.  We borrowed one like this that you can attach disposable liners to, but you could even probably use a potty training potty. It’s great for those middle of the night potty runs.
  3. Pack simple, non-messy food.  We grilled hot dogs that were pre-cooked, avoided the chocolate part of smores, and ate pre-prepared food in the morning.  If it was a longer camping trip, we’d probably pack more food to cook, but we were just trying to have fun–not be hard core.  The kids just loved camping and eating outside.
  4. For the really little ones, bring something for them to sit in/lay on.  I wish we would have brought our Bumbo, but Ransom did great just hanging out in the stroller the entire time.
  5. We are also completely crazy about the kids PeaPod Sleeping Tent.  It’s been recalled, but if you can get your hands on one, I highly recommend it.  It’s enclosed, protects from mosquitos, and packs super tiny.  It rocked our world in Uganda and hasn’t failed us in America either.

Has anyone else camped with kids?  Any other recommendations?

Paper Bunting Tutorial

I love finding creative ways to usher in new things.  Whether it be a new home, a brand new year, a new season, or a new baby, I want to welcome it with expectation and excitement, and usually something crafty.

I had the pleasure of helping to throw a baby shower for a good friend of mine. As a little project during the shower, we made a Prayer Bunting for her son.

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I searched tons of stores for good paper and fabric, but ended up with a booklet of square scrapbooking paper from Target.  I just cut the paper into triangles and left them with a Bible at the shower and asked the guests to write a note, prayer, verse, etc. on the back of the paper at some point during the day.

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Then…wait for it… I sewed the paper together.  It’s that easy, and yes, you can actually sew paper.

IMG_2644I did a longer length stitch and zero width.  I also made sure not to overlap the triangles so the bunting would be flexible when hung.  (Sorry for the dark iPhone pictures.)

IMG_2645I added a few blank triangles to the bunting as well in case anyone wanted to add to it in the future.IMG_2646

And there you have it.  It’s definitely as easy as it looks and probably doesn’t even require a tutorial.  Cut, write, sew.

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Do you like how awkwardly this is taped to my attic wall (which happens to be missing paint and has instructions for the window AC taped to the wall)?  I need to work on my tutorial photos.  Oh well, you get the point.

Also, make sure you let the mama-to-be know that she is in no way obligated to actually decorate with the bunting. The thought is awesome, but no one likes to cramp their nursery  decorating style.

Thanks for reading!

Thankful

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Friday evening, after three long months of waiting for parking clearance for the coffee shop we’re opening, we were given approval to move toward the next step of permitting.  This process should have taken 1-2 weeks rather than 12, and both Jonathan and I have faced an incredible amount of anger, frustration, sleepless nights, and downright fury over the situation.  But, when Jonathan got the approval email, rather than feeling flooded with relief, I immediately heard a very clear voice in my heart saying, “This time was a gift to you.  Do not be filled with relief that this season is over, but be filled with thanks for all I’ve given you through it.

The past five months have not gone as planned.  We would not have sat down and decided that I (our only source of income) would become unemployed 2 weeks before having a our fourth child.  We wouldn’t have decided to spend almost a year paying rent on a commercial location before opening, taking a paycheck, or earning any money.  We didn’t plan them, but they happened.

But the truth of the matter is that these past few months, though painful and challenging, have been so very good.  I came across this verse the other day and it stopped me dead in my tracks, taking my breath away.

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” -1 Peter 1:6-7

You see, these last few months filled with challenges and unknowns have been a gift.  We have been sanctified, purified, strengthened, and made genuine in ways we never would have been had our life gone as we had planned and expected.  The sweetness of trusting God, the freedom found in that trusting, and the excitement of experiencing His faithfulness  over and over again is so worth it.

Perhaps there is still more fire to come.  I don’t know what it looks like, but I do know where my heart’s desire is and where my joy is found.

I am thankful.