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September Holidays (And a Few Ways to Celebrate Them)

September is back to school month.

But because I am even worse than the kids I dread school starting all summer long. Anddddd…..right about now I could use some holidays and reasons to celebrate….so, let’s get to the list of September “Holidays”…
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The September Holiday Calendar of Events:

1.  Labor Day

2.

3.  Skyscraper Day

4.  Newspaper Carrier Day, Eat an Extra Dessert Day

5.  Cheese Pizza Day, Be Late for Something Day, International Day of Charity

6.  Read A Book Day

7.  Grandparents Day, Google’s Birthday, National ADD Awareness Day

8.  International Literacy Day, World Physical Therapy Day

9.  Teddy Bear Day

10.  Sewing Machine Day, Swap Ideas Day, TV Dinner Day

11.  Patriot Day, 911 Remembrance

12.  National Video Games Day, Chocolate Milk Shake Day, Banana Day, Stand Up to Cancer Day

13.  National Peanut Day, Uncle Sam Day, Defy Superstition Day, Positive Thinking Day, Fortune Cookie Day, International Chocolate Day, National Iguana Awareness Day

14.  National Pet Memorial Day, National Cream Filled Donut Day

15.  Make a Hat Day, 8 Track Tape Day, International Dot Day

16.  Mayflower Day, Step Family Day, Collect Rocks Day, Mexican Independence Day, National Play Doh Day, National Guacamole Day

17.  Constitution Day, International Country Music Day

18.  National Cheeseburger Day, Rice Krispie Treats Day

19.  National POW/MIA Recognition Day, International Talk Like A Pirate Day, National Butterscotch Pudding Day

20.  International Eat an Apple Day, National Gymnastic Day, International Coastal Clean Up Day

21.  International Day of Peace, Miniature Golf Day, World Gratitude Day, Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play

22.  Elephant Appreciation Day, Car Free Day, Dear Diary Day, Family Day, Ice Cream Cone Day

23.  National Voter Registration Day

24.  Rosh Hashanah, National Cherries Jubilee Day, National Punctuation Day

25.  National Comic Book Day, National One Hit Wonder Day, World Pharmacists Day

26.  Johnny Appleseed Day, Love Note Day, Shamu the Whale Day, Save the Koala Day

27.  International Lace Day, International Rabbit Day, Family Health and Fitness Day, National Hunting and Fishing Day, National Museum Day, National Public Lands Day

28.  National Good Neighbor Day

29.  Confucius Day, International Coffee Day

30.  International Translation Day

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First of all, yes, I think it’s ironic that I am posting the list of celebrations on the only day in the month where I haven’t listed a holiday.

And secondly, September really does have a great mix of solemn occasions and wacky dates to observe.

But today, because I need a pick me up let’s talk about the weird…

The 10th:  I think we should be able to just sew all day and then eat TV dinners.  (Which really would work out well….not making dinner would give me more time to sew :) )

The 15th:  I think I’m only going to listen to music that would have originally been distributed on 8 tracks.

The 18th:  No explanation needed.  Dinner is served.

The 22nd:  I’m going to take my family to get ice cream….real ice cream…good ice cream… the stuff that has to be muscled out of the container and not squirted out of a machine.

The 24th:  !!!!  All Day!!!  Every post!!!!!!!  (There’s going to be a whole lot of yelling going on.) !!!!!!!!!!!

The 25th:  I want to make a whole danged soundtrack for this day that includes forgotten gems like:  Whoomp! There it is!, Tainted Love,  I’m Gonna Be (500 miles), Don’t Worry Be Happy, Gangsta’s Paradise, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Funkytown, Pass the Dutchie, Come On Eileen, Iko Iko, and Pump Up the Jam

And now I can’t think of anything else except for one hit wonders….She’s Like the Wind….I Wanna Be A Cowboy….so….I am going to sign off for the day.

I hope your month is fantastic!

-liZ

(And if you can think of any other one hit wonders…feel free to leave them in the comments…you know you want to….)

 

25 Ways to ask your teen how was school today

25 Ways to Ask Your Teens “How Was School Today?” WITHOUT asking them “How Was School Today?”

On Wednesday I posted 25 ways to ask your kids “How was school today?” without asking them “How was school today?” and the questions came from a list that I made to ask my own children who are in elementary school.

But all of those questions are geared toward elementary school aged kids….and I started to think…if I think it’s hard for me to get school stories from my 10 year old boy now what is it going to be like 5 years from now?!?

And then I remembered that I know what its going to be like.  I taught either junior high or high school for almost a decade and I get that communication with that age group is an art.  BUT when you get dialogue, engaged dialogue with a teen it’s never disappointing, it’s guaranteed to be interesting, sometimes it can be very enlightening, and it’s ALWAYS worth the work.  ALWAYS.

So tonight my husband (who also teaches high school) and I sat down and made a list of 25 ways to ask your teens “How Was School Today?” without asking them “How Was School Today?”…in an effort to get some sort of engaged, interesting dialog…even if it only lasts in that brief time in between them texting friends…

25 Ways to ask your teen how was school today

#1.  Where in the school do you hang out the most?  (Like a particular hall, classroom, parking lot, etc.)  Where in the school do you never hang out?

#2.  What would your school be better with?  What would your school be better without?

#3.  If you were a teacher what class would you teach?  What class would be the worst to teach?  Why?

#4.  What was the coolest (saddest, funniest, scariest) thing that you saw today.

#5.  Tell me one thing that you learned today.

#6.  If your day at school today was a movie what movie would it be?

#7.  Besides walking to their next classes, what else do people do in the halls in between classes?

#8.  Who do you think you could be nicer to?

#9.  What is your easiest class?  What is your hardest class?  OR  What class are your learning the most in?  What class are you learning the least in?

#10.  If they played music in the halls at school what would everyone want them to play over the loudspeaker?

#11.  If you could read minds what teachers mind would you read?  What classmates mind would you read?  Whose mind would you NOT want to read?

#12.  If today had a theme song what would it be?

#13.  Which class has your favorite group of students in it?  Which class has the worst group of students?

#14.  What do you think you should do more of at school?  What do you think you should do less of?

#15.  What are the top 3 (or 5) things that you hear people say in the halls?

#16.  What do you think the most important part of school is?

#17.  Tell me one question that you had today…even if it wasn’t answered….actually, especially if it wasn’t answered…

#18.  What class has the most cute boys/girls in it?

#19.  If an alien space ship landed at your school who would you like them to beam aboard and take back to their home planet?

#20.  Who did you help today?  Who helped you today?

#21.  If you could be invisible for the day at school what would you do?

#22.  What part of the day do you look forward to?  What part of the day do you dread?

#23.  What would you change about school lunch?

#24.  What classmate is most likely to be arrested, made president, become a millionaire, be in movies, let loose a flock of wild chickens in the library, etc.

#25.  If you had to go to only one class every day which class would it be?

#26.  Tell me one thing you read at school today.

#27.  If your day at school was an emoticon which one would it be?

#28.  What do you think your teachers talked about in the faculty room today after school?

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Ok, so I know there were a few more than 25…but with teenagers…we all need all the help we can get! :)

Good luck with those teens and happy conversing!

-liZ

*NOTE:

I don’t have teenagers of my own but I’ve worked with my fair share of them….and one thing that I’ve found is that when you want them to open up just sitting them down and asking questions isn’t really effective.  BUT, if you….say….trap them in the car…and talk to them while you are driving…and they don’t have to make eye contact… they are more willing to offer up more information or ask more questions.

This also happens while you are working with them on things like making dinner, folding laundry, rearranging furniture, etc.  You can casually talk and ask questions without making them feel like you are grilling them.

When I taught school sometimes I would make up work project jobs to do with students that I was worried about just so that we could have some heart to hearts while scrubbing desks or cleaning out closets.  It sounds lame, but I’m telling you, it works.

 

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A Flower Dress.

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Every year it seems I am squeezing in a last minute First-Day-of-School dress.  Maybe it’s the fact that I procrastinate because somehow I am wishing that summer would stay forever…..I miss the carefree summer days already.

So, at 11 pm the night before school started I was finishing up the hem of the dress…and had it pressed and hung up just in the nick of time for the next morning.

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25 Ways to ask your kids how was school

25 Ways To Ask Your Kids “So how was school today?” Without Asking them “So how was school today?”

This year Simon is in 4th grade and Grace is in 1st grade and I find myself asking them every day after school, “So how was school today?”.

And everyday I get an answer like “fine” or “good” which doesn’t tell me a whole lot.

AND I WANT TO KNOW A WHOLE LOT!!!!

Or at get at least a full sentence.  So the other night I sat down and made a list of more engaging questions to ask about school.  They aren’t perfect…but I do get at least complete sentences…and some have lead to interesting conversations…and hilarious answers…and a few insights into how my kids think and feel about their time at school.

25 Ways to ask your kids how was school

#1.  What was the best thing that happened at school today?  (What was the worst thing that happened at school today?)

#2.  Tell me something that made you laugh today.

#3.  If you could choose who would you like to sit by in class?  (Who would you NOT want to sit by in class?  Why?)

#4.  Where is the coolest place at the school?

#5.  Tell me a weird word that you heard today.  (Or something weird that someone said.)

#6.  If I called your teacher tonight what would she tell me about you?

#7.  How did you help somebody today?

#8.  How did somebody help you today?

#9.  Tell me one thing that you learned today.

#10.  When were you the happiest today?

#11.  When were you bored today?

#12.  If an alien spaceship came to your class and beamed up someone who would you want them to take?

#13.  Who would you like to play with at recess that you’ve never played with before?

#14.  Tell me something good that happened today.

#15.  What word did your teacher say most today?

#16.  What do you think you should do/learn more of at school?

#17.  What do you think you should do/learn less of at school?

#18.  Who in your class do you think you could be nicer to?

#19.  Where do you play the most at recess?

#20.  Who is the funniest person in your class?  Why is he/she so funny?

#21.  What was your favorite part of lunch?

#22.  If you got to be the teacher tomorrow what would you do?

#23.  Is there anyone in your class that needs a time out?

#24.  If you could switch seats with anyone in the class who would you trade with?  Why?

#25.  Tell me about three different times you used your pencil today at school.

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So far…my favorite answers have come from questions #12. #15, and #21.

I actually love questions like the “alien” one (#12).  They give kids a non-threatening way to say who they would rather not have in their class, and open the door for you to have a discussion to ask why, potentially uncovering issues you didn’t know about before.

And the answers we get are sometimes really surprising. When I asked question #3, I discovered that one of my children didn’t want to sit by a best friend in class anymore — not out of a desire to be mean or bully, but in the hope they’d get the chance to work with other people. 

Sometimes we just need to figure out the right kinds of questions to ask our children….some questions may work better for some kids than others.  That’s how it is with my own children.  But I want to know what is going on in their lives and how I can help them.  So….I will continue to ask…and ask…and ask…

And, as my kids get older I know that I am going to have to work harder and harder to stay engaged with them…but I know its going to be worth the work…

-liZ

NOTE:  Because these questions were geared for elementary school aged children I have also made another list for teen age children that you can find here:  25 Ways to Ask Your Teen “How Was School Today?” without asking them “How Was School Today?”

Three Easy Baby Blanket Tutorials

The gift giving season and cold weather will be here before we know it so today we have a baby blanket roundup for you that we shared awhile back over at Mama Says Sew.  All three blankets are easy to make, handy to use, wash well and are perfect to give (and to receive!).
Sooooo….here’s the roundup:
Hello!
I’m liZ (one of the two Elizabeth’s) over at Simple Simon and Company and I am super excited to get to hang out on Terra’s blog today.  We think Terra is nothing but wonderful and were so excited to be invited to be a part of her series.
We think that when babies are concerned you can never have enough baby blankets!  So today I put together three super easy baby blanket tutorials that any one can make!
We promise all three are super easy to make and fantastic to use!
Thank you again for inviting us over here today Terra!
-liZ
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Sewing Saturdays with Simple Simon and Company

Welcome to another Saturday….where we get to see what you have been working on!  We started Sewing Saturdays because we love the sewing community and we wanted another way to share and what other people are sewing.  sewing-saturdays-image

I am currently working on a quilting a quilt that I randomly had the idea to make yesterday instead of doing my housework. Straight line quilting is fun!  I put this sneak peek up on Instagram yesterday (we are @simplesimonandco if you want to follow us) and then I pressed it really well, basted it with pins, and I am off to quilting.

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Now it’s your turn!


Skirting the Issue Drawing Names

Skirting the Issue Final Numbers, Drawing Winners, and Sincere Thanks

As I write this I am sitting here curled up on my couch in my ratty old pajamas and eating Riesens (love these things).  It’s after midnight so everyone is asleep and the house is quiet which means I have some time to all to myself to think.  So before we get to the winners from the drawing you are going to have to indulge me for a minute.

Almost 5 years ago when Elizabeth and I started this blog we didn’t know all the places it would take us, all the fun we would have, how much work it would be, and how much we would love every minute of the journey.

These past few weeks as I’ve read your emails and opened your packages I’ve felt so blessed.  I’ve been surprised at how much I feel like I know you ladies even though most of us have never met.  As I handled many of the items you made each skirt told me a little something about you….from the pattern and fabric choices to the construction…each piece captured a little portion of the maker and it was a sweet experience to be able to sort through them.

So many of you ladies have touched our lives and we feel like you are our dear friends…we talk about you like you are here with us…what you write in comments or in emails…we think about you and we appreciate you.  And we want you to know that we are so thankful for all of your love and support…you truly enrich our loves and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Again this year we feel like Skirting the Issue was a terrific success.  Every year we hope to have 100 skirts donated for foster care girls and every year we have been able to exceed this goal.  This year was no exception.

This year, after counting all the skirts that have been made and donated…our grand total is:

664 skirts

That is a lot of skirts!

So many in fact that we are going to split up all the ones that we received and share the wealth by giving them to several different foster care closets.  And that my friends, is awesome…

Now…on to the drawing….for every skirt that was made a ticket with the makers name (or number if you were in the linky party) was put into a giant tin and yesterday Elizabeth and I drove down to one of our favorite stores (Hey Hey Provo Cotton Shop!!!!) and had the fabulous ladies there draw all the names for the prizes.

Rochelle called the prize and then Teresa drew out a name and then I wrote down who won what and all the while Elizabeth snapped photographs.  (It was fun…next time I think we should video it…we were all nervous and excited as every prize and name was called…)

Skirting the Issue Drawing Names

So without further ado here are the winners of our drawing:

The winner of the Babylock Elizabeth Sewing Machine is…….

Babylock Elizabeth better picture

Moana Burns!

Congratulations Moana!  I use this machine almost everyday and I LOVE it…and not just because of it’s name! (Although “The Elizabeth” is a FANTASTIC name :) )

You are going to love this machine!!!

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Babylock was also generous enough to send us to send us 2 boxes of delicious MadeiraThread to give away to 2 of you as well!

Madeira

And the winner of the boxes of thread are:

The ladies from Skirt Fixation

and

SJH Original

Congratulations ladies!!!

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The Fat Quarter Shop (who we LOVE) supplied us with two $50 gift certificates to their fantastic online shop and the winners of those certificates are:

Julie Summers

and

LaVee Kawakami

Congratulations ladies!!!

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Next up is a gift from another long time friend that has been with us for years. Riley Blake Designs:
Riley Blake Seaside Fat Quarter Bundle

And again this year they are giving away 2 of there adorable fat quarter bundles.

The winners of these bundles are:

Jeanette Parker

and

Jennifer Nagel

Congratulations!

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The Ribbon Retreat Logo

 The Ribbon Retreat is one of our favorite companies in the entire world to work with….and they are giving away two $35 gift certificates to their online store.

And the winners of these two certificates are:

Elaine Roundy

and

Karla Hundley

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And last but certainly not least we have a $50 Sewing Box from Pick Your Plum

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And the winner of this prize is:

Welcome to Emmaville

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Then finally Elizabeth and I wanted to add to what the sponsors had given so we have put together a little surprise package just from us and the winner of that package is:

Terra from Mama Says Sew

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We appreciate all of these sponsors who have all been so generous.  Each one of them have been outstanding to work with (year after year) and we are so lucky to be able to have their support.  They really are terrific companies.

With that said….I think that officially wraps up another year of Skirting the Issue…

Thank you again…how glad we are that we have been able to cross paths with all of you kindred sewing sprits through this little speck in cyber space….keep coming around…we enjoy your company.

-liZ