Thursday, October 31, 2013

Stats of homeschooling...

Each family homeschools/unschools for a different purpose and reason. In the beginning we decided that while Montana was sick, taking chemo and fighting for his life that homeschooling would be best for him. We didn't want him to be around the germs, away from us in the event he "needed" something and so forth. From that point until now, it's changed. We now unschool all three of our kids and the main reason being that we don't want them in the school system around such negative influences. We also feel that the way we school at home fits them and their needs so much better than what any school can give them. At home we have the freedom to teach religion the way we see fit, they can learn what interests them 100% of the time and they can move at their own pace. Another aspect that we love about unschooling is that when all is said and done.... WE spent more time with each of them and not "strangers".  Not their teachers, friends, coaches but rather their mom and dad. I like knowing that we are guiding their decisions and that it's not peer pressure. I hated knowing that each day, I would only get to be in their life actively for about 4 hours before it was off to bed. By doing this, we are creating memories daily and learning while experiencing life. Obviously, we know we can't control everything they see and hear and they will have to learn alot on their own but this works for our family and we LOVE it!!

Homeschooled: How American Homeschoolers Measure Up
Source: TopMastersInEducation.com

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fort Fun in Newport News.

Today we took the kiddos to Fort Fun in Huntington Park down in Newport News. It's such a nice playground and has quite a few unique and different obstacles for the kids to conquer. I had heard nice things about it and was excited to check it out for ourselves. Overall, the kiddos were super thrilled with it and didn't want to leave... go figure. :) So if you happen to be in the area and need a "cool" place to go or hang out, be sure to check out Fort Fun. It's right on the water and located by the Jamestown Bridge. 






Monday, October 28, 2013

Jessica Oatman Bowtique : sweet bows for little girls

In the past 10 months I've gotten into making and designing hair bows for adorable little girls as well as older women. Many ages of girls wear them and that's amazing.. I LOVE making them! This whole creating and designing hair bows kind of fell into my lap from a friend who has her own shop on Etsy as well. She paved the way, I began and since then, I've never looked back. Being crafty, artsy, and creative is in my nature. Heck, I majored in illustration and graphic design so I hope I can do this, right? :) The response so far has been amazing and I truly feel blessed to be doing something that I can honestly say I enjoy. Thinking of new designs is my favorite but being able to create something from nothing and seeing the final piece... priceless. You can follow me on Etsy at jessoatbowtique.com. See you in the shop! 






Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mountain Biking in Williamsburg...

The kiddos love to bike!! They ride their bikes every single day and now that Myla can ride a bike with pedals we have been wanting to take them to the bike trails at Freedom Park in Williamsburg. Even though Myla can ride a "real" bike we went ahead and let her take her balance bike for comfort. In the end that was a good thing. She was more daring on the bike she has been on for longer of course that made sense. Kenna is our dare devil. She is crazy, and wild and spontaneous and we love her. She is usually pretty much up for anything at any given time. Montana is more timid but still willing to try things and as long as they try, we are happy! This has been a long time coming... mountain biking as a family that is and we look forward to many more trips to the trails. 

Freedom Park has some great bike trails and they've added alot to it. This is also the future home of where the playground will be built in memory of my brother. Fingers crossed, it will be done by the spring and if that's the case... you will see many more photos. :) 









Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Altoid mini take-a-long doll homes

So, I've been seeing some cute mini doll homes flying around on pinterest and of course we had to try our hand at making some. My girls knew exactly what they wanted to make but Montana also wanted one which we had to really think about how to do that. I haven't seen any out there for boys but we had a few tricks up our sleeve. :) They really aren't too difficult to make. It just depends on how detailed you want to be and how you want to make it. Myla wanted a snoopy house, Makenna wanted a lalaloopsy pet house, and Montana decided on a Halo bunker. 

How we did it:
- For each of them, we lined the outside of an Altoids tin with 3/8 size ribbon. I hot glued the ribbon.
- I lined the inside of all with scrapbook paper of different colors and prints. I traced the outside of the tin and then trimmed them down.
- For the girlie homes, I made windows with blue paper and then created curtains with 3/8 ribbon. I then made mini bows adorned with tiny buttons or pearls. I used hot glue for the curtains and regular glue for the windows.
- All of them wanted little beds so I created mini pillows and a blanket out of 1.5 inch ribbon. I sewed them in a bit to make it look "cute". 
- Other than that.... they each decorated the inside with what they wanted. 

Happy house making! :) 






Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tough Mudder : Kentucky 2013

This past weekend my husband, brother, sister in-law and I all competed in Tough Mudder Kentucky. This was my second TM and a first for Chris. I really enjoy competing in these races because I love the atmosphere, the comradare and the desire to push myself to harder limits. It's also a great race to do in memory of my brother and that never gets old. This race, however, was tough. It was cold, it was raining, and did I mention it was cold? ... As in freezing!! The last three miles were rough. I was hurting, my fingers couldn't move and I was just ready to be done. The entire team was ready to be done... to see that finish line. Those last three miles were also filled with the most amount of obstacles and water ones at that. Had it been in the 70's we would have been fine but it wasn't. It more like 45 degrees and the pain had set in. We did it though. We finished, we received our orange headbands and we had hot chocolate waiting across the finish line. I was so happy to see warm clothes and hot food. Tough mudder is an amazing race but it's not an easy one. It's 11 miles of up hill, down hill, jumping, falling, mud, helping others, dragging yourself and having one heck of an amazing time. It's a race that is done to honor those who no longer can. It's a race I do to honor my brother... Sgt Paul Dumont Jr. We never forget.. until next time.








 




Saturday, October 12, 2013

My first hair bow craft show....

So, about two weeks ago, I had my very first hair bow craft show at the Newport News Fall Festival. I've done some photography bridal expos but nothing like a craft show where I actually sold things on hand.... I LOVED IT!! It was a great experience and I had wonderful turnout. This was something where I had NO idea what to expect but prayed for the best. The week before the event I spent most nights up til 1 am trying to produce more headbands, bows and clips. My etsy shop was on hold so I could try to produce as much as I could because I literally had no clue how much I would need. In the end, after the show, I felt that what I had brought was sufficient enough to hold the two day event. yay!! I did, however, end up selling out of a few things and came home on Saturday night to make more for Sunday. You just never know what it is that people are going to like, want, or buy. Some things sold differently than they do online but that was fine... anything is GREAT!!

What I did below with the images was show how my booth was set up and what I did for the layout. I hope it helps some of you with your first craft show!! Happy crafting!








1. I made business cards to hand out to people who wanted more or different items. I also did this to share the fact that I'm online as well so that I can ship international. 

2. I used images of my bows worn on my daughters to show how to wear them and of course how adorable the bows are... as well as my kiddos!  :)

3. I created a sign to let people know that I also create custom items... ex. look for me on Etsy. 

4. Every business needs a banner with their web address!! My banner was created at Vistaprint. 

5. I wanted to spice up my booth and make it unique so I made some "puff balls". Loved them!!

6. For my prices, I created an image that had an example of the bows with prices underneath each. Worked great for the most part! 

7. To hold all my tape, tissue paper, tags, calculator, etc..  I used a big tin tray. It ended up being a tad windy the second day so this worked great by keeping everything contained.

8. Again, I wanted to make my booth "cute" so I purchased some bunting flags on Etsy that matched my colors. I got lots of compliments on those!! Gotta love Etsy!!

9. I brought a comfy chair to sit in that was close to the entire area so that I could always keep on eye on my goodies as well as chat with people who walked by. It also helped contain all my loose stuff while helping others around the tent. 

10. To help with the cash, I wore an adorable apron that was also purchased on Etsy!! I also received tons of compliments on that as well. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to message!! I loved my first craft show and hope to participate in many more in the future!!