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Get Your Handwriting Made Into a Font!!!

January 28, 2012

If you are interested in turning your handwriting into a font, I have the services for you!

 

Get your handwriting turned into a font

 

Get your handwriting turned into a font

 

Turn your handwriting into a font

 

Turn your handwriting into a font

 

It’s as simple as submitting a handwriting sample, and getting an awesome font delievered within 48 hours to use in scrapbooking, letters, promotions, etc!

It’s all “Morse” to me!

January 18, 2012

We don’t see my Dad near enough. But, we got to spend  a day and a half with him earlier this week when he came to stay over, and it was wonderful! The boys adore him, and having all that 1:1 time with him was great!

Dad has been a HAM radio operator for many  years ( KM5K ), though not active now. He helped us set up our Morse code key switch rig – so that we could practice giving and receiving Morse code on our way to our ham radio licenses. It’s Connor’s big science project for the year. Our Tae Kwon Do Grand Master is also a HAM radio operator and drew the plans for us for a dual rig, that we modified to be single for our space  (he also took the radio Dad had given us that had been in storage many years and cleaned it up for us and tested it out to make sure it still works, and is mentoring us through this). We still need to mount these parts onto a piece of plywood to make them sturdier and easier to move from the table to its storage area, but that’s easy-peasy for me to do this weekend.

Testing out the buzzer

 

testing the switch

 

The final rig

This is a 9v battery attached to a doorbell buzzer, attached to a  hacksaw blade that is sitting on a ‘ledge (or a Lego piece) to make it spring, attached to a drawer nob connected by a screw, and a screw is mounted into the wood base, connected back to the battery. When the circuit is closed between the two screws, you get  a buzz. So you now have a key rig to practice Morse Code. We made this for about  $15. We already had the wood scraps on hand, and the Home Depot Electric Department manager gave us the wire for free when we told him that it was Connor’s science project for this semester – he was pretty impressed with the project.

 

Tuning in the HAM Radio

Once we got the rig set up and began working through our first group of letters, it was time to get the radio set up and tuned up. Dad taught us how to work through the bands, listening for other CW (morse code operators), and how to find where they are located. We’ll have a map available to begin marking our contacts (just listening in now until we get our licenses). We’ll probably set this up more permanently in our office so that we can have a full space to write, code and have our microphone available, and mount the map to the wall.

Aiden finally got to have his own 1:1 time with Dad later in the afternoon to go out and show off his sling shot skills:

See what I can do?

 

Some advice

 

WOW! That really worked, Grandpa!

These are moments I treasure watching the boys with their grandparents, learning from them, making memories with them, and seeing all of our parents showering the boys with unconditional love and watching the boys radiate in that love. It’s a wonderful gift from God that we can still have these kinds of moments.

….and all I got was this eyepatch!

January 13, 2012

The old joke – Mom and Dad went to ____ and all I got was this crummy t-shirt?

We lived it this week, sort of.  I took the boys for their first eye exam last week. Neither have shown any reason to need to get their eyes checked earlier – no squinting, no issues reading, no light sensitivity. Little did we know…

Both boys loved seeing how ‘alien’ they looked with these:

Connor got an all-clear…

Aiden, however, was diagnosed with Amblyopia (not to be confused by strabismus which is the crossing of one or both eyes). It is basically a deficiency in how his eye focuses, and then how the brain reads those images that it gets back. It is typically referred to as ‘lazy eye’, but it is just an anomaly where his eye  has no physical reason why it cannot focus, it just doesn’t. The optometrist said he’s too old to expect good results (typically, an eye matures around the age of 8 or 9), but that we should patch him – just get a play patch from  the toy section. That’s all we got from her. Oh..and the fact that his eyeglass prescription would make him look like a cyclops, so be prepared. (yes, a slight bit of hyperbole there, but it is just about all we got from her). When I would ask questions, she wasn’t forthcoming with more than, it’s just him, he’ll learn to live with it.

He had to have his eyes dilated, which was an experience in itself. The boy does NOT like knowing pain is coming, and she started out saying, “I have to put these water drops in your eyes and it’s going to hurt.” Yep  – that was a smart move. She couldn’t have known that about him, but it’s not necessarily something you want to say to a little one to prepare them for what’s coming. It took both of us holding him down to get the drops in, and he was really mad at me the rest of the day.

We got an eyepatch for him from the pharmacy and had him wear it all weekend. By Sunday, I was ready to tackle this thing that was effecting my boy.  I read and read and researched, and just wasn’t happy with the information that was given to me by the optometrist, when I was reading that there was more hope online. So on Monday, I spent a couple of hours on the phone between insurance companies and trying to find a pediatric opthamologist, and we had an appointment on Wednesday!

He was happy to get to look like a pirate. We’d been looking at different patch options, and he really did just want to stay with a plain patch because the rest looked so baby-ish. No Spiderman, no Batman, but the  camo did intrigue him.

What a difference that appointment made!  Dr. Davis of Pediatric Opthamology was wonderful with him, didn’t ask a lot of questions, didn’t make him look at teeny tiny letters ad nauseum, had some fun photos for Aiden to focus on while he did the exam. At one point, he said, wow…the boy has a lot of  astigmatism. Turns out..it was wicked, all right. He has different variations of it in different areas of his eyes, making it really hard to find where the refractory points are to get a good indication of how bad the amblyopia really was and how to correct it. So Aiden had to be dilated again, but this time with a child’s prescription of medication, and the Dr. was quick as lightening.  After more exam, and letting Aiden take control of the machine to adjust the focus points, Dr. Davis pronounced that yes, he does have amblyopia, but it wasn’t the worst case he’s ever seen, and he could be corrected to 20/40 from his 20/100, and that just wearing proper glasses would be therapy enough, he felt. We’d come see him in three months to see if there was any improvement, and if there wasn’t much, we’d start patching therapy. If we wanted to go ahead and patch a bit each day, he wouldn’t tell us not to, but he really feels the glasses will be enough.

So we went right out to Lenscrafters to get his glasses – and tada! The first thing he said when he put them on, with a HUGE grin on his face – I CAN SEE!

(and as we told everyone – that’s not a bad haircut, that’s a decent haircut on a boy with a bazillion cowlicks that never lets his hair lay the same way twice).

Isn’t he just the cutest thing ever? He picked out these glasses, himself. You can’t even tell he has a strong prescription in one eye! I’m so grateful God gave us the opportunity to seek out a second opinion and find out how to help him better. We’re looking at patching for one hour each afternoon to give him a little eye exercise, but will wait til the exam in April to go forward with anything more once we find out how he’s progressed.

So – the moral of this story is nothing, really. Get a second opinion. Sure, we could have taken the boys in for eye exams earlier, and we might have caught this earlier and begun treatment earlier. But Dr. Davis said this may not have cropped up until the last year or two. Not being in a traditional classroom setting, we wouldn’t have seen him squinting to read the blackboard, and because he showed no other signs like not being able to read street signs when he was driving, he wasn’t tripping over things as if he had no depth perception, and he was doing fine in school, and reads really well, nor did he ever express to us that he was having problems seeing, there was nothing to signal that there was an issue.  And sure, I do wish we’d gone in earlier, in hindsight. But it wouldn’t have ‘cured’ him – it would have just given him a little more treatment time. For now, we rejoice that it wasn’t worse, thank God for the intervention and trust that treatment will improve Aiden’s eyesight, and never rely on a megamart optometrist, again, for something significant :)

Happy Hanukkah – the Dreidel Game

December 20, 2011

Happy Hanukkah!

Tonight, at sundown, begins the 8 days of celebration called Hanukkah, for those of the Jewish faith. Our family finds ourselves connected closely with the faith, seeing our Christianity as an extension of the Jewish faith, and one way we teach our children about the Jewish faith is to participate in observances to help them embrace it.

Hanukkah (or Chanukah) is a celebration of the Festival of Lights, a symbol of rededication and miracles.

From Judaism 101:

After years of oppression by the Greek Government, two groups of Jewish people banded together to revolt against the oppression by this government (which had placed a Hellenistic priest in their temple (a non-Jew being in charge of the temple), forbid the practice of the Jewish faith, and required a pig to be sacrificed on the altar (non-kosher). (…read more HERE)

“According to tradition as recorded in the Talmud, at the time of the rededication, there was very little oil left that had not been defiled by the Greeks. Oil was needed for themenorah (candelabrum) in the Temple, which was supposed to burn throughout the night every night. There was only enough oil to burn for one day, yet miraculously, it burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of oil for the menorah. An eight day festival was declared to commemorate this miracle. Note that the holiday commemorates the miracle of the oil, not the military victory: Jews do not glorify war.”

You can read  more  here:  http://www.chabad.org/holidays/chanukah/default_cdo/jewish/Hanukkah.htm

 

One of the observations of Hanukkah is the Lighting of the Menorah and readings that come with it, as well as a dreidel game for the children. A dreidel is a top with 4 sides, each side with a different Hebrew letter representing the phrase: A Miracle Happened Here.

The Dreidel Game

Using markers (chocolates, raisins, beads or use a point system if you don’t want to use actual objects), place 2 markers per player in the middle

Spin the dreidel

  • nun – do nothing
  • gimel – take everything
  • hay – take half
  • shin – put one in
When someone collects all the markers (or gets to a predetermined point level), the game has been won!

 

If you want to print your own Dreidel – or use one as a wrapping box this week – Heather Roselli @ Sweet Shoppe Designs has this great printable:

Here is a simple printable from Enchanted Learning .

Typical treats for Hanukkah would include Latkes, Donuts and Applesauce

 

 

Looking for a unique Teacher gift idea?

December 12, 2011

It’s the time of the year when people begin getting twitchy and nervous about what kinds of gifts to give their children’s teachers. You know they probably will smile and say thank you, but one more I ♥ the Teacher coffee mug or Apple for the Teacher plaque might just send them over the edge.

 

Here is a really unique gift for all of the teachers you need to buy from – all for around $10-15 dollars, depending on if you buy a print or a cursive font service for them. They’ll be able to use their own font on newsletters, handouts and letters home to parents, or for their own personal scrapbooking!

 

Each purchase includes a printable gift card you can give to the teacher with instructions to tuck inside.

 

Help your child stand out in this unique way this Christmas!

 

Darcy Baldwin {fontography} @ Sweet Shoppe Designs.

Christmas Advent Activities: 25 Days of Books

December 1, 2011

One of my most special memories of the Advent Season (which I haven’t done for a few years and need to bring back !) was 25 Days of Christmas Stories – each day one of the children would get to unwrap a special Christmas book and we would read it together. Each day, there was a surprise in store, not knowing which book it would be. Our books range from preK  to pictures books to activity books to adult-led reading books. The last book to be unwrapped was our Bible where Daddy would read the Christmas Story on Christmas morning.

At the end of November, I would pull out our Christmas book box (yep – we have a box just for that), and wrap each of the books and put them in a basket by our tree. I got the books from used bookstores, from friends, and collected over time. They always, and I mean always, point to the true meaning of Christmas for us. No Rudolph books or Santa books (well, except a book on the story of St. Nicholas). We get enough of the secular Christmas in our lives, and these are special times to instill in the children the true meaning of Christmas.

What are some special Christmas activities that you treasure with your family?

Free Christmas Printables – Grocery Shopping Lists & Recipe Cards

November 28, 2011

Christmas gifts from the heart are so special. It’s one reason why I believe so many people do homemade gifts – it’s love and time and talent that we give each other that is meaningful, useful, and (in most cases) wasteless. So, for those of you doing gifts for the season, here are a couple of recipe cards and shopping lists that can be used to share with your loved ones or used for yourself.

Click on image to begin download

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You can use any photo editing program to line your shopping lists up on, print out a bunch of copies, bind or box them and give them as gifts, or just use for yourself during the holidays. The recipe cards can be used to give to friends and relatives when they ask for the recipe of the homemade gift you gave them. Or..print out for yourself to create your own special holiday recipe book for those special recipes you treasure as a family.

If you want links to more Cyber-Monday giveaways, visit my Darcy Baldwin {fontography} blog !

I also  have a free printable Christmas Wishlist here