Sunday, May 15, 2016

Lions and Tigers (No Bears), Oh My!

Lion and Tiger Paper Plate Craft | Apples to Applique

Recently we finished up a unit on wild animals; always a favorite with young children! We did some shared writing, listing wild animals on one side of the SmartBoard and pets on the other. The kids were very creative coming up with all kinds of different animals. One of my kiddos was excited to add "tapir" to the list of wild animals, saying it is his favorite animal. He knows all about it, where it lives, what it eats, etc. Keep in mind I teach Pre-K, so this is astounding!

Another student was sad that we wouldn't add "dinosaur" to the list of pets. He insists he has a pet dinosaur. We also hesitated over adding that to wild animals, since dinosaurs aren't around anymore. After some confusion and discussion, we decided that we were really talking about animals we could likely see in a zoo, although that answer didn't really satisfy anyone.

What did satisfy all of us was this darling craft! The kiddos got to choose between a lion and a tiger, which added some great oral language about colors and stripes and what on earth a "mane" is. One kid called it the lion's beard, and I liked that description. Kids have such a way of putting things.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Headed to South Africa!

I am so excited to announce that I have the opportunity to travel to South Africa this summer! I am going on a trip called Women of Strength with the missions organization Amor. I will be working with women from all over the world to build homes and minister to children who have lost their parents to AIDS.

I have taken 6 missions trips with Amor before, to Juarez Mexico, Puerto Peñasco Mexico, and the San Carlos Apache Reservation. I absolutely love working with Amor, because of their focus on providing sustainable change for the people they minister to. They partner with local churches in order to have the biggest impact possible.

I've never gone somewhere as far away as Africa, and I'm excited and a little nervous. Because of airfare, this trip is significantly more expensive than my previous trips. I still have a long way to go with my fundraising, so I'm asking everyone to share this link and to please consider supporting me as I minister to the beautiful people of South Africa.

You can give directly here:
https://www.amor.org/support-amber-hock

Thanks for your support and prayers!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A New Direction, and Why I Quit Blogging

It's crazy to realize I haven't blogged in almost 2 years! I had no intentions at the time of quitting cold turkey and dropping off the face of the blogging earth... But life happened. When I wrote my last post, I was early into my pregnancy with my second child, and I was very sick and tired...plus chasing a one-year-old around. Any downtime I had I was trying to rest, so I decided to push blogging back a week...then two...

At first, I felt guilty, like I was letting my readers down. Then, I started feeling some sweet freedom. I didn't have to post new content; no one was making me. And I had so many other things going on in my life. On top of the toddler and pregnancy thing, we had just moved 600 miles and two states, back to our home town, and both of us started new jobs.

Soon, I stopped feeling guilty and even, *gasp*, forgot that I "should" be blogging. It brought some relief. I realized I had started to get very jaded with the whole blogging world. I had read every "how to grow your blog quickly" post and article by all the big bloggers out there, and yet my blog grew verrrrry slowly.

I had originally envisioned gaining a community of readers organically, but soon learned that just doesn't happen in blogging, except for rarely. There are all these blogging groups where you leave comments on their new stuff and in return they'll leave comments on your new stuff, just to trick search engines and algorithms into thinking your blog is more popular than it really is...I was over it. It all seemed so fake.

I was also tired of all the over-posting. As a small-time blogger, it was frustrating to hear that I should be posting every day or two, because I tried hard to provide new, original content with every post, and that takes time. I wasn't just copying recipes from other blogs, I was creating my own! Yet so many big bloggers are just copying the recipes of other bloggers (giving credit, of course) and posting it as new content on their own blog. How many posts does the internet really need about making the same batch of brownies? Millions, apparently. There's just so much of the same thing out there; it's hard to find DIY/cooking blogs with truly original content anymore. Everyone has mod podged a picture to a canvas, everyone has made some form of pumpkin bread, everyone has painted some piece of furniture a terrible color to give it "new life" (and very clearly date it, just like the avocado countertops of the 70s and blue floral wallpaper of the 90s, in ten or fifteen years people will find lime green dressers and bright pink end tables at thrift stores and say, "that's so 2016").

Then there are bloggers who really don't have new content, but they feel like they have to post every day, so they just spiff up their old content and repost it, or post a dozen things that are really the same...like a blog I saw once where they had about ten posts on how to make homemade play dough, all the same recipe, but each post had a different scent or color. You really need a separate post for those simple variations to the same recipe?
(Did I mention yet that I was jaded?)

So, after my unintentional break from blogging, I decided I was done. I have contemplated writing this post for about a year and a half, but just never felt like it.

I have decided to keep my blog around, but change the direction of it. I'll update it every once in a while with stuff I've done in my classroom, or to share something cool I've just listed in my TPT store, but that will probably be the extent of it. There may be weeks or months between posts, and I'm okay with that, because finally, I'm just blogging for me.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Western Party: Food Labels {Free Printables}

FREE Printable Food Labels for Western-Themed Party | Apples to Applique #party #cowboy #cowgirl #western

 

It's amazing how simple little details can really "make" a party...but man, some of those little details get expensive! There are hundreds of darling printables out there for sale, but all those costs add up! You all know I'm a crazy DIYer, so for my daughter's western-themed first birthday, I designed these printable labels for the food we were serving from the chuck wagon (aka food table).

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Two-Minute Tuesday #11: DIY Bandana Skirt

Welcome to Two-Minute Tuesday, where I share quick tips, tidbits, and ideas.

Last Tuesday, as part of my on-going series on throwing a cheap and easy DIY Western Party, I shared how to make these cute and easy invitations for 50 cents a piece.

Today, I want to share with you all how I made the bandana skirt my daughter wore for her first birthday party.

Quick and Easy DIY Bandana Skirt | Apples to Applique #sewing #tutorial #western

This skirt was so quick and easy, I was finished in under an hour--hence the inclusion in Two-Minute Tuesday. :) Honestly, a good portion of that hour was spent rethreading a serger I wasn't super familiar with, so I bet you could knock this out much faster than that!