Summer League Swim mom Survival Guide

SWIM MOM (1)

Updated for 2016!

I love Summer League Swim Season.  These short 5 weeks were our foray into the world of swimming.  Whether your child is just swimming for fun or your child springboards from here into competitive year-round swimming, summer league swim is a time to relax, cheer for your child, and enjoy the summer.

What you need to bring:

  • Team Suit
  • Goggles
  • Swim Caps
  • Towels (I like to have at least 2 per child.)
  • Sunscreen
  • Highlighters
  • Sharpies
  • Cash
  • Water
  • Chairs and/or picnic blankets
  • Snacks that won’t melt (try frozen grapes, granola, or rice crispy treats.)
  • Something to do: tablets, kindles, games, coloring books…

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What you need to do:

1.  Slather on the sunscreen before you leave the house.  Load up.  Don’t forget your team suit, cap, and goggles.  If you need to purchase anything, I always recommend swimoutlet.com.  They are fast and the best prices I’ve found for my kids’ supplies.  When you are shopping, the boys’ suits are called “Jammers”.  The girls’ are just competition suits.  These are my favorite goggles.*

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2.  Arrive at least 15 minutes before warm-ups begin.  Your child needs to check in with his coach.  This also gives you time to set up a spot for your family.  Chairs, blankets, games, ice chests, etc.

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3.  Buy a heat sheet.  You’ll need the cash to purchase a heat sheet.  This is your guide to the meet.  Find your child’s name and highlight it.  Your child will swim more than one race, so don’t miss any.  Also, check the relays.  If your child is listed on a relay, you don’t want to miss it!  Three other swimmers are counting on you!

Each event or race is numbered: 1, 2, 3, etc.  Within each event, swimmers are divided into groups of 6 or 8 to swim heats.  The heats are arranged slowest to fastest.  (The slowest 6 will swim the first heat.  The fastest 6 will swim the last heat.)  Within the heat, the swimmers are assigned a lane.  The fastest swimmers in the heat are in the middle lanes.

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4.  Determine what race, heat, and lane  (R, H, L) your swimmer is in.  Use a sharpie to write the RHL on your child’s arm.  When my kids were little, I wrote on their upper arm.  Now that they are old enough to line up by themselves, I write it on their forearm so they can read it.

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5.  Volunteer.  Swim meets run because of parental involvement.  All clubs need parents to help time.  This is the easiest job.  You just push “Start” on a stop watch when the buzzer sounds and push “Stop” when the swimmer in your lane touches the wall.   Timers sit behind the starting blocks, so these are the best seats in the house!

Some clubs need parents to volunteer to run snack shacks, help line children up for races, or as runners.  Find out where you need to be.

I’ll be honest.  Volunteering is not really an option.  These meets can not proceed without enough help in place and your team’s coach will appreciate all your help.

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6.  Slather on the sunscreen.

7.  Teach your child how to follow along.  Some clubs have volunteers that will call small children to line up.  If yours doesn’t, you need to keep track of which event is in the water.  You child needs to line up 2 events before  theirs.

8.  Drink plenty of water.

9.  Slather on the sunscreen.

10.  Cheer for your child.  You are there to cheer them on, not coach them.  The coach will do that.  And remember, the goal in swimming is not to win.  The goal is drop time.  That means that every time your child swims a 50y freestyle, they want to swim it faster than before.

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11.  Last but not least, slather on the sunscreen.

Updated with a few more thoughts from my friend Angie, a former swimmer and current swim mom and coach.  Thanks Angie!

  • Make a new swim mom friend (sometimes this will become your best friend)
  • Be very impressed with your kids.  Swimming is HARD.  Most moms couldn’t do with their kids are doing, especially in those early May hours when the water is 76 degrees!
  • DQs (Disqualifications) and tears may go hand-in-hand but a hug, a high five, and encouragement to try again are all they need.
  • A 6-8 year old that can do a legal butterfly or breaststroke is a special gift to a summer league coach.  Be very impressed!
  • The true sign of a swim mom is the wet mark that’s left behind on Mom’s dry t-shirt after a hug from her swimmer.

I’d love to hear your summer swim experience.  Any questions or tips and tricks?

*These are affiliate links.  If you purchase through them, you are supporting this blog and helping me purchase my kids’ year-round competition needs.  Thank you so much!

Summer Sewing Classes in Shreveport

Is learning to sew on your Summer to-do list?  Here are my Summer 2016 sewing classes for adults:

Sewing Classes

Learn to Sew with these Classes

  • June 6  9:00am-noon Getting to Know Your Sewing Machine at LSUS
  • June 13 & 16  6:00-9:00pm  Sewing Basics at BPCC
  • July 5 6:00-9:00pm Getting to Know Your Sewing Machine at LSUS
  • July 18 9:00am-3:00pm Sewing Basics at BPCC

The Next Step

  • June 9  9:00-noon What Else Can Your Machine Do at LSUS
  • July 7  6:00pm-9:00pm What Else Can Your Machine Do at LSUS

Patterns

  • July 25 and 28  6:00-8:00pm Learn to Read a Pattern at LSUS

You can find full course descriptions and supply lists by visiting my Learn to Sew-Upcoming Classes page.

I’m excited to offer two Kid’s Learn to Sew Sessions this summer:

Please register for any of these adult or children’s classes by contacting either LSUS or BPCC.  The schools will also provide you  with a supply list.

Sewing Vintage Patterns: 1960

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I have a handful of sewing patterns from my Grandma’s stash. I pulled them out the other day for inspiration and noticed that the sizing on some of them looked as though it might fit me. Jackpot! I decided it was time for me to begin sewing vintage patterns.

Sewing Vintage Patterns

I love seersucker. I’ve sewn up seersucker for many, many babies, but I’ve never sewn up seersucker for myself. It was about time. I decided that the shift in McCalls 9268 would be the perfect match to my navy mini-stripe seersucker.

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Review of McCall’s 9268, copyright 1968 

From the pattern envelope: A-line dress, lightly shaped by center and side front seaming and vertical back darts, has center back zipper. Dress may have short or three quarter length set-in sleeves, and may be underlined. Short sleeved dress has faced and interfaced neck, side front seams may be stitch trimmed. Dress with faced bell sleeves has bias band collar included in neck facing seam. Collar and neck are interfaced.

I’m certain my copy of this pattern is my grandmother’s as it has her name written on the front along with notes about how much 60″ fabric she’d need to stitch it up. The tissue has been cut out and a pattern layout for view A is circled. I decided to make an underlined version of view B.

Pattern Sizing 

One difference in vintage patterns and today’s patterns is the sizing. Most patterns today are multi-sized patterns, because frankly, most of us don’t fall into one size. This pattern is a single size-12 1/2.  It is considered a “half size”.  Here’s how the sizing chart compares:

  • Pattern from 1945, size 12:          Bust-30, waist-25, hip-33.
  • Pattern from 2016, size 12:          Bust-34, waist-26.5, hip-36
  • Pattern from 1968, size 12 1/2: Bust 35, waist-28, hip-37

Those measures are very close to mine, so I didn’t make any changes to the sizing before I stitched it up. Next time, I’ll decrease the bust by about 1/2 an inch. After putting the dress on, I did taper the side seams about 1/2 an inch at the waist.

Don’t let a single size pattern scare you off. If your largest measure matches, you can tweak the rest of the pattern to fit you. For this dress, I knew my hips would fit and with all the other seams, adjusting for the chest and waist was no problem.

 

Details, Details, Details

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Details are key in vintage patterns. A great feature of this pattern is the shoulder dart. The dress has interesting front seams that wrap to the sides. These are similar to princess seams and make the dress easy to alter.

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The pattern instructions have topstitching on either side of every seam. This step is a must as it is a detail that just makes the dress. I top-stitched the center front, the front side seams, and the side seams.

Finishing seams

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I finished my seams the way my grandmother always did. I finished the neck facing with a zig-zag stitch. Then I used my pinking shears on the my seam allowances.

Underlining

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My grandmother tried to teach me that the inside of my garment should be as neat as the outside.

One other note:  I was slightly afraid of lining the dress completely.  This pattern has you baste the underlining and the main fabric of each piece together and then stitching your dress up, treating both pieces as one.  Piece of cake.

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So what did we learn about sewing vintage patterns?

  • Don’t be scared off by single size patterns.
  • Vintage patterns have great details.
  • Put up your serger and finish your garment the old fashioned way.
  • Make the inside of your garment as pretty as the outside.
  • Underlining is easy. And necessary.

Tell me?  How many of your mom’s, grandmas’s, or other vintage patterns do you have?  Have you tried one yet?  What’s stopping you?

Savoring Spring: My Garden

Savoring Spring

Spring is here!  And the weather finally agrees.  The late winter garden is transitioning and I’m savoring spring, the sunshine, and the dirt!

Savoring Spring

These beds have always been my veggie beds.  I started with one bed and it’s just kind of grown.  This year, I’ve added a few flowers to my veggie bed in hopes that the bees will spend some time working in my garden. The bed on the far left is my lettuce bed.  We are eating out of it everyday now, because warmer temps are going to mean the end of the lettuce.  But no worries, I’ve already started my cucumbers along the trellis and planted some green beans among the lettuce.

Savoring Spring

The 16 x 4 and the 8 x 4 have many of my veggies. I’m trying something new this year.  It may work, it may not?  We’ll see.  Since my kale and broccoli are still quite content and producing,  I didn’t want to pull them up just yet.  I’ve tucked in my baby tomato plants in and among them.  My hope is that the greens will shade them until they grow.  In the next few weeks, we’ll eat the last of the greens, leaving plenty of room for the tomatoes to grow.

Savoring Spring

This bed was created about 4 years ago to be my flower bed.  This winter I started adding a few veggies to it as well.  This spring, it will house some squash, some lettuce, onions, and garlic.

Savoring Spring

These gardens are my hobby.  I go out each morning and spend at least a few minutes pulling weeds, watering, and talking to my plants.  But, I couldn’t do it without this guy.  He handles the heavy lifting, the mowing, and the trimming.  Thank goodness!

Savoring Spring

Savoring Spring

What’s growing in your garden? Are you savoring spring in your neck of the wood?

Savoring PlayTime: Nerf Gun Storage

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When you have a boy, you have a mess.  All the time.  Cars, Legos, and Nerf Guns, oh my!  I’m a big believer in letting kids play.  I’m also a very, casual housekeeper, but sometimes, you just have to clean it up! And by you, I mean the boy-child who made the mess.  Here’s our solution to enjoying an easy clean-up after an epic Nerf Gun battle:  an over the door shoe bag turned Nerf Gun storage.

Nerf Gun storage

I picked up this black shoe organizer at the Family Dollar.  You can get them at just about any store and just about any price point.  I doctored ours just a little bit.

Nerf Gun storage

I added an elastic loop over the top right pocket.  A few of our Nerf guns are taller and I didn’t want them to flip out of the pocket.  Here’s how:

Adding a loop to your Nerf Gun Storage bag

You’ll need:

  • 7 inches of 2 inch wide elastic
  • 2 inches of double fold bias tape
  • 2 snap sets
  • your sewing machine or a needle and thread
  • (You could do this with Velcro too, but I wanted the stretchiness of the elastic).

#1  Stitch 2 inch wide elastic (about 7 inches long) over the existing seam between the 2 far right pockets on the top row.  I placed the raw edge of the elastic up against the edge of the right pocket.  That way, the elastic will flip back over the seam. I used a stretch stitch.

Nerf Gun storage

#2 Use a small piece of double fold bias tape to re-enforce the right edge where the snaps will be. I didn’t stitch mine on.  Instead, I wrapped it around the edge and applied the snaps over it.

Nerf Gun storage

#3 Apply the snaps to the right edge so that the elastic can be unfastened, stretch around the larger Nerf Gun, and refastened. I don’t think it matters, but I always apply male ends of the snaps on the underside.

Nerf Gun storage

#4 Apply the coordinating snaps to the end of the elastic.

Nerf Gun storage

 

This Nerf Gun Storage bag was a birthday gift, so I finished it off with a little embroidery.  I was afraid the material wouldn’t hold up to many stitches, so I embroidered a piece of felt and stitched it on the top instead.

Nerf Gun storage

***Adam suggested I edit this to add that our house, the Nerf Gun storage bag is hung up on the wall, not the door.  It’s hung at about 5 feet, so that little ones can easily reach everything.  It is hung on screws that are anchored in the wall.  When it’s loaded, it gets pretty heavy and my favorite 3M strips just weren’t up to the task.  I should also add here that I have no affiliations with Nerf or Lego or even Velcro for that matter.  Just a boy-child and his friends!***

Isn’t it easier to savor playtime when the clean up is something the kids can do?  Now, will someone please tell me how to store all these Legos???

Pocketful of Posies Dress

I love a great dress.  Something easy to wear, something comfortable, something easy to move in, something with pockets!  When I first saw the Pocketful of Posies Dress on Indiesew, I knew I wanted to stitch it up.

I had a little trouble finding a fabric I liked, but when I did, this was the result:

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Oh my goodness!  How fun!  This dress is so much fun to wear.  The pockets are perfection.

Just a few notes about it’s construction:

  • The pattern pieces taped together easily.  I cut a medium.  I probably could have gone a size smaller, but I wasn’t sure.  Except in the arms.  The sleeves are just about right.  Any smaller and I think they’d be too small.
  • The instructions are easy to follow.  I used my serger for most of the construction, but a beginner could do just as well with a stretch stitch on the sewing machine.
  • I cut off about 4 inches in length.  I’m short.  I should have added a little length to the bottom band so I wouldn’t have gathers, but I was out of fabric.  I used every single square inch I had.
  • The neck line is low.  Next time, I’ll raise it about 2 inches.  To do that, I’ll have to modify the front, the pockets, and the side panels.
  • The thick neck band didn’t work for me, so I removed mine and made it half the width.

Hey Y'all! Welcome to my little piece of the South!