Monday, March 30, 2009

Diary of a Room Makeover: Coming Out of the Closet

That is what's coming out!

March 30, 2009
I started the room make-over today. I told the girls the plan and they were very excited. They have both expressed some concern over not having "their" room anymore, or their favorite colors on the walls anymore and each time I respond the same way.

"OK. You can keep your room like it is and we'll make the new room later." (And I mean that...there is no hurry.)

"NO! We want the new room!!!!" they always respond. Fine. By the time we finish this makeover they won't even like the same colors they did back when we painted their rooms 2 years ago. It'll take that long, believe me!

So step one is to clean out Little Bit's closet. We started that today. Her closet goes SO far back on each side that when we first moved in, I stored mine and S's extra clothes there. Today I pulled them out and guess what? They don't fit so much anymore. Off to the resale shop or donation site!

Next I have to get all the toys out of there and then we will paint the inside of the closet a nice bright white. I say "we" because there is NO WAY I can squeeze myself in that closet! I'm sending in the little ones. Here is a picture of one side of the closet to give you an idea of how deep it is. There is a matching side just like this.Even the closet poles go back that far. Not that you can reach those clothes. Which is why I finally pulled clothes out today that had been there 2 years. Not the greatest design. The shelves on top go back that far too. No telling what's up there! I'll have to do some real acrobatics to reach all that stuff. I guess that's why it was full of junk when we bought it. The people knew it was there....they just couldn't reach it!Here. I'll throw Little Bit in the closet for some perspective. That's why the girls will be painting part of this closet.

Here is a picture of the front of the closet. The doors are mirrored and fold back out of the way. I wish I could say they were closed most of the time, but they aren't. The room looks really nice when they are closed.

See? I cheated and just painted purple on the part that showed. This time I'll do better...I promise.

I'll keep you updated. Unless I get stuck in there. Then I'll have one of the girls bring the laptop to me.

picture source


Folks, we have GOT to finish school up! We've gone at our own pace all year long and I have really enjoyed that....but....we need to finish 3rd grade sometime BEFORE 4th grade, you know?

This week we are in the middle of science fair stuff (our first) and trying to get lots of school done. I implemented the Workbox System last week because I think it will be just the ticket to help me get school done for both a 4th grader and a Kindergartner next year. (Carisa has some great links in her posts here.)Adding that one more student in is going to take some adjustments on our part! Of course, we really aren't stopping this year as we have in the past. We decided to school year round at a slower pace this year and all I can say is, we seem to have perfected the "slower pace" part.

Also, I continue my quest for a clean house. It seems the whole family is in agreement that they would like to have a tidier home and most of all to be ready to invite others into our home at any time. So, if we all agree on that...then it is my job as keeper of this home to make sure we accomplish that. I felt pretty inspired by this site last night. Can't wait to read a bit more and attack Little Bit's closet today.

The girls have started karate classes. S always had concerns about them taking karate because he didn't want any Eastern religion creeping into their lives. But we have some Christian friends who teach karate and at the end of the lesson they do a little talk, work on some Bible verses, and pray. We are very pleased. Sweetheart is always 100% sold on any new activity and has been very excited. Little Bit, on the other hand, was scared to death--even though she is in the same class as her sister and another little friend. It only took one class for her to decide she loved it! She punches with the wrong hand, looks over at us, and smiles. She's learning a lot. *cough cough* Tomorrow they get their uniforms!

Well, I need to get busy. I just wanted to let you know why I've been scare lately. I'll leave you with a picture of Sweetheart's science fair activity. It's a small scale of how far the planets are from each other. That's her at the end by Pluto. Each paper clip--are you ready for this?--represents approximately 9 million miles! Our God is BIG!!!!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Very Grateful

Thank you Great Granny Grandma for this award! I love being called "Creative" and even more so with a creative spelling! :) I will think about who I want to award after I've had a chance to wake up!
And all that creativity I have? That's my excuse for how my sewing room looks (and I'm sticking to it!)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Amazingly, It's Not a Children's Book

I don't read much. I'm not one of those literary blogs with lists of things I plan to read this year.

Wait! I read the back of the Bisquick box this morning.

Every now and then I make time for a grown up book. I have found the MOST INTERESTING book ever!!! It's called A Medieval Home Companion--Housekeeping In the Fourteenth Century. The original manuscripts were written in the late 1300's by an older husband (maybe in his fifties or sixties) who had married a 15 year old bride. This instruction book was written to help her know all about running a home and conducting herself as a wife. He knew she might be widowed young and need some help, as she was an orphan.

The translator/editor did mention that "in deference to modern sensibilities" she left out a lot of the passages about wives obeying and being humble to their husbands. I thought that was a shame, as I would have liked to read the thinking of that time period. Still, I think there will be enough to read about it.

I am not very far into the book at all, but I am so intrigued by it. One section is about the wife needing to be sure she is respectably dressed. He encouraged his young bride to not be like some women who walk around with

"their heads appallingly elevated, like a lion, their hair sticking out of their headdresses, and the collars of their shifts and dresses overlapping--walking mannishly and conducting themselves before people indecently and without shame."

Interesting. I wonder what this poor man would think of women today!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Moving Day

They packed up all their things that would fit in the wagon.

Ah, this is the one. The house with the sign out front.

It's a fixer upper.

Oh, you don't think so? HA! It's a decorator's dream! Sure, it's a nice dollhouse... but it's such a blank slate.

They moved right in and went to bed. They were so tired!

There is so much work to be done.
What's that you say? You're going to remodel?
A hand-me-down dollhouse is SO exciting!!! Just look at this face!

They've been playing for over 3 hours with it now. Non. Stop.
A sweet friend gave it to us. Which Little Bit deserved because she very unselfishly gave away her baby dollhouse a few weeks ago to a little girl at church. Anyway, I'm very glad this blessing came her way.

Have you seen The Year of the Dollhouse? It's total inspiration. (Just look at all they did!) Not just for the little things we can do to the dollhouse....but the relationship we will build in so doing. Very wise, that woman.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I Went to Buy One Book

Sweetheart is in a book club this year. My friend Carrie started the book club and it has been a really good thing for us to do this year. We don't meet every week, but we have a lot of fun and we have read several really good books that I'm sure we wouldn't have read had it not been assigned. The kids get together, discuss, do some activities, eat a snack, and at the end of the book there is usually a movie. We pick 'em like that.

So we needed to buy Sarah, Plain and Tall for book club. I was going to head to Barnes and Noble to get it. Of course, Little Bit wanted a book too so I said she could have ONE--if it was cheap. And then I went to the park with a good friend and she was headed to Half-Price Books after the park. Duh! Why didn't I think to check a used book store?

When we got home I called a local used book store and yes, they had 3 copies. Wow! I'm going to save SO MUCH MONEY. Right?

This represents THIRTY DOLLARS we spent today!!! I'm not complaining. We got some really good books! Some are for school, some are just for fun....all of them are goign to be well-read. There was SO much more I could have gotten too. Good thing we stopped here.

This made me think about something I heard about the other day. Have you heard of Paperback Swap? If you are homeschooling, or just really like getting books, you should look into this. I think I'll be signing up. It's free!

Fitness Friday: Half the Battle Is Mental

I do not consider myself to be athletic. I have never played any kind of sport. I asked to play sports when I was in elementary and my parents said no. I think they didn't want to invest the time/energy/money into sports. Whatever the reason, I never played any sports.

S played football from the time he was 5 years old. Just look at his tiny tough self all dressed for a game! His mom signed him up for sports after she and his dad divorced so he would have some positive male role models in his life (coaches). He was good at it and played football through his sophomore year of high school. He finished high school playing basketball. He also ran track, played on the church softball team a few times....oh, and fished his whole life. Is fishing a sport? Anyway, the point is, he considered himself athletic. Sports were something he did.

I, on the other hand, took bowling in college.

So needless to say, I don't view myself as athletic. It's not part of who I am. I was lying in bed this morning thinking that is why I have had so much trouble adding exercise to my life. It's not something I have ever done.

Nor did I really NEED to when I was younger. I was super skinny all my life. I gained some weight after marriage like everyone does I suppose, but it was those precious babies that took me over the edge. (I never recovered either) Seeing myself in vacation pictures this week has made that really clear.

When Fitness Friday first began, I lost some inches. Changing your eating habits really will make a difference in weight. (health too--but I'm thinking about weight today) I've read every single Fitness Friday post that you all have written. I know how you are all exercising. I see your weight loss tickers. I just haven't been able to jump on board. It's a habit I have never, ever had.
But it's time. I have to start seeing myself as someone who exercises. I have to become an exerciser. I saw some pics of a friend on Facebook who has lost 27 pounds. I've got to get going.

It starts now.

I know we are taking a break---but here I am posting. So, if you posted too...sign on up.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fitness Friday: An Easy Meme

You can just answer in the comments if you like. I just wanted a place for folks to link up if they had written an update on their fitness progress.

I'm feeling very motivated this week and I have eaten a lot of salad and fruits. Also, I have limited myself to one coke a day. I'm very proud of that! I really lost my motivation there for awhile, but I can't afford to! Summer is coming and I want to enjoy myself and have energy to play with my kids and look good at the beach! (provided there IS a beach after Hurricane Ike)

Here's the quick question today. If you could have any personal assistants (money is no object), who would you hire and in what order of importance? (personal chef, trainer, hair/makeup person, accountant, etc.)

Breaking It Down

Brenda here. Taking a break from cleaning the girls' rooms. While I'm working, I'm thinking about all the different tasks involved in this big room change we are planning to undergo. Obviously, we are not going to be able to "take a weekend" and get these rooms completely done. This is a project that will have to be worked on little by little until the big day when S completes the lofts....and then things will need to be ready to go!

So here are the jobs I could do here and there as I have the time....

1. Pick out fabric for the bedding.
I have made a decision. Rather than worry with the hugger comforters, I am going to make blankets for the girl's beds. I have made several blankets for children who were having surgery and one for a baby shower and they are terribly easy to make. I will just measure and make sure they are just the right size for covering the mattress with a bit left over to tuck in. They aren't as puffy as comforters and in Texas, they will be all the covers that are needed 90% of the year. In cold months, we'll just throw another blanket on top of them at night.

2. Sew curtains. I am good at this kind of sewing. Once I have the blanket fabric picked out, coordinating curtains will be a breeze. There is only one small window in the room.

3. Oh the blankets. Picking it out isn't enough.

4. Paint the inside of the closet. When we moved in I painted a little bit of the closet purple (just the part that shows when the doors are open) so that will need to be gone over. The whole inside of the closet needs to be painted but I'm not even sure that's possible. I'll get some pictures of this closet for you later and you'll see why. But that's an easy job. 1 hour tops.

5. Sew/find pillows for the beds. Sweetheart loves horses. Little Bit loves dinosaurs. I explained to them that we will not have theme bedding in this new room. So, pillows with their beloved animals will do the trick. Pillows can be changed out easily.

That's enough thinking for now. I don't want to make my head hurt. Hope you are having a good day whatever you are doing!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Well Look At That!

Two years ago last Thursday I started blogging.

Two years!

Before that, I hijacked the article section of our church's weekly bulletin every chance I got. If one of the ministers didn't turn in their article in was time for the "mystery author!" I had a lot to say.

Also I hijacked husband's blog (which is no more) that he had when he was part-time youth minister at our church. Cause I had things to say.

And finally, husband suggested I get my own blog. Which I did.

And so far, I haven't shut up.

So it's just like real life except it involves more typing.

And also, these cuties?

They looked like this back then.

Monday, March 9, 2009

When Your Service Area Feels Small

I'm thinking about this verse today....

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. 1 Thes. 4:11-12 (bold mine)

I certainly have enough to do around here without worrying about anyone else today, Lord. I can read my favorite blogs without getting caught up in the comments section, I can take care of the people inside these walls without burdening myself about how I should be sharing the Gospel with everyone outside of these walls, and I can work. I need to work around here Lord. There is so much to do. Will I ever get caught up? Will I ever get the things that need to be done...done?

I can do all this and know that perhaps my life is winning the respect of outsiders who do not know You. I will be mindful of my example and my life even when I am doing laundry...and dishes...and picking up 476 items off the floor every single day. I will be mindful of the example I am setting for my children as well, as I try to do these things with a good attitude, and a loving heart.

I very well may spend the greater portion of my life standing in my laundry room, and kitchen, and kneeling down running bath water, and reading school work with little ones....

I may never be a foreign missionary
I may never write a best selling book
I may never lead an exciting women's ministry

I don't even know that I want to do those's just feels like the great portion of my life will be spent right here in these 1400 something square feet.

And that is OK. Because You are here with me. And You have chosen to bless me with an amazing husband to help, beautiful little girls to train and love on and cup is overflowing for sure.

Help me relax, Lord. Help me know that I may NEVER get done. That You may ask me to be here tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that---still doing the same things. Don't get me wrong, Lord. I KNOW how blessed I am. I am THANKFUL to be a homemaker, a wife, a mother, it's just that...

well, why do I feel the need to "get done." Where am I planning to go when all the laundry is folded and put away? What am I planning to do when the kitchen is clean and stays that way for more than 10 minutes? What is it that is so urgent I feel the need to rush through all the "have to dos"? What is it that I could be doing which is more important than taking care of this home and this family?

I really have no idea.

One day things will be different. The girls will grow up. Lord, if you are willing, my husband and I will retire together one day. Things will not stay like this forever.

So I will sing with my children. I will cut their food into funny shapes. I will enjoy Curious George while they still do.

I will iron, and cook, and fold, and clean, and praise Your name.

Most of all, I will quit acting like it's all a big nuisance that is getting in the way of serving You.

Because that's just silly now that I think about it.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Diary of a Room Makeover--Things I Know For Sure

I don't know much, but there are 2 things I have decided on for these new rooms. First of all, let me explain that the loft beds will go in the room that is currently Little Bit's room because it is bigger, and Sweetheart's current room will then be sort of a "rec room." You know, toys, movies, fun stuff.

So, I thought that there was special bedding for loft beds and top bunks. Regular comforters are not going to work at all because you can't tuck them in around all the rails that will be there. I don't know exactly what the loft beds will look like yet, but this will give you an idea of the rail/comforter problem: (picture source)

So I did some research online and discovered that the bedding I want is called a "bunk bed cap" or "bunk bed snuggler" or "hugger comforter". Good to know. What it means is they have elastic on the bottom 2 corners so they stay hugged around the mattress at all times and you just have to tuck the rest in. See?
(picture source)

I also discovered that they are expensive. But I want them.

The other thing I know is that I like dots and circles. I want to do this on the girls' new bedroom wall.

That's pretty much all I know. So, anyone know of a good picture tutorial for how to make those hugger things?

Fitness Saturday: The People Who Are Really On Top of Things Version

It's not coming together ladies. I think we all agree we need a break.

NOT from our fitness work---just from posting.

We shall resume in a few weeks.

Until then......................KEEP working toward your goals! KEEP praying for each other.

If you did write a post, please let us know in the comments so we can visit you.

Thanks for understanding, everyone!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Diary of a Room Makeover

Edited to add----Oh man! I just realized lighting is an issue too b/c with the girls up on loft beds, a ceiling fan is out of the question! So, I'll add that to the list.

March 6, 2009

We have decided to re-do the girls' rooms. S wants to build them loft beds and put them in the same bedroom.

This stresses me out.

So I have decided that planning is what is needed. And research. And lots of thought. And then I'll be ready for this big change.

Here are a few things I have to decide:

  • what colors the rooms will be
  • what will go in the closets
  • how clothing storage will work
  • how toy storage will work
  • what would be best under the lofts (desks for sure, what else?)
  • how to make each girls' space her own
  • how to make sure the room will grow with them
  • the bedding...oh the bedding. More on that later.
  • when we will make this big change

Whew. I'm tired already. I'm bringing you along on this journey because confused people love company. Isn't that a saying? Well, it should be.

And there will be lots of links in this series (which will be sporadic for sure!) because I know how this works. Later, someone will google search "redoing children's bedrooms" and they are actually looking for real live information people. NOT 25 posts of me whining that I can't decide what to do.

So I'm going to try to be helpful to others WHILE whining. Sound like a plan?

Good. I'm so glad we settled that.

Fitness Friday: The Saturday Version

I need another day!!!! Have you ever been there?

Oh wait. I think I already know the answer to that. :)

Please forgive me. If your post is ready to go, Mr. Linky will be ready to go late today or early tomorrow. I've got to take care of this house and family and school and I'm just not ready with this assignment right now.

Thanks for all your patience.

Also, since we've dwindled down to 4-6 entries per you think we should take a break until after Spring Break is over?

Thanks Ladies! See you soon.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Around Here...

  • I have a self-imposed assignment to get something around here in order for Fitness Friday. That needs to happen today, obviously.
  • I have jumped on board to participate in JulieMom's challenge too. Hey, anything to get my house in order is good.
  • We are picking up hermit crabs today for the girls. Their first pet (besides fish). They are beyond excited. We were going to go buy some on Saturday, and then one of the mamas from our homeschool group posted an e-mail about how they wanted to get rid of some in exchange for some sewing. Perfect! Thank you Lord.
  • We are thinking about putting the girls in one room again. Little Bit is having trouble sleeping and they would do better sharing a room again for a few reasons. THIS time S wants to build them loft beds. That would give each girl her own space, give tons more square footage to the room, and I think they would really love them. Since they both want to be on top "next time we get bunk beds." And that is not possible--so, loft beds.
  • That thought of putting them in one room is stressing me out because I feel like I JUST finished decorating both of their rooms. In reality, we've been here almost 2 1/2 years but also in reality, I JUST finished the quilt for Little Bit. Of course she can still use the quilt, won't match anything and that's killing me.
  • I want them to have a matching "sister room" where they have similar but different comforters on their beds. I want to make them a really cool room. But then, what do I do with their current comforters? And I have to take down the curtains and make new ones. And re-do the lamps. And re-paint the mirrors.
  • And I LOVE doing that stuff---I guess it just seems a shame to undo their current decor. So I'm trying to put off the room change as long as I can. Why does stuff like this stress me out?
  • And it would be so cool....because we could turn Sweetheart's old room into a toy room/reading room/art room very-cool-space.
  • Maybe I just need to spend some time dreaming and planning all this. I think the idea is growing on me the more I type.
  • Hmmmm.
  • And I have a thought....which is more important, being a keeper at home or doing ministry outside of the home? What about when you have to choose? For example, our church has had several ministry opportunities lately in which you sign up for a 2-4 hour time slot and go serve. When these activities are not appropriate for the kiddos, I stay home with them. I have a problem with getting childcare for the kids, so I can go serve. I'm supposed to be the keeper of this home, watching over the home...and how can I do that if I'm not at the home or with the children? If it's something we can do together, GREAT! But what about when you have to choose?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Completing Dinosaur World

Here is the first post on Dinosaur World.

Well, it's finally finished. I set everything up and took pictures while Little Bit slept in our bed so when she wakes up in the morning, it will be a nice surprise for her.

A few things I did that I did not take pictures of were, I sprayed clear shiny stuff on the shoe boxes to keep the paint from getting all scratched off. I believe my spray can was actually ceramic sealer, but it worked just fine. Also, I used a steak knife to cut a cave in one of the boxes.

Now, I got the other half of my butcher paper out and painted a blob of water where the waterfall would be. I lined the boxes up on the paper to see exactly where that was first.

Then I painted grass and flowers on one side of the paper....

and across the way, I painted brown to look like dirt or sand. Oh, and some hot lava flowing is always a good thing. I got tired of painting so I just wadded up a paper towel and "sponge painted" the rest. It's, uh....sand. Yeah.

And tonight we watched the original Land Before Time movie, so I had to add some black sticky tar also, since they get stuck in that in the movie.

So here is everything set up to play with. Little Bit had already gathered the rocks and we already had the toy dinosaurs, trees, and volcanoes from a set she got for Christmas.

Want to stop and have a drink?
Watch out! Don't step in that hot lava!

See? You can hardly tell the difference!!!!

I love it. It's worth it too because she will have so much fun with it. When it all gets torn up, and she's can all be recycled.

And it's a heck of a lot cheaper than Playmobil.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Making Dinosaur World

I believe I've mentioned about how Little Bit, age 5, is very into dinosaurs right now. MOST people who would be interested in making "Dinosaur World" for their child would probably be the mother of boys. But not me. I'll be installing Dinosaur World right across from the sweet pink and white baby bed and play food.

Dinosaur World came to me while I was reading this book to Little Bit the other day.

She found the book at the library and this picture just captured my imagination.

I could make that, I began to think. And since no one was there to talk me out of it...I proceeded to do just that.

Do you have a dinosaur loving little one at your house? Perhaps you would like to make a dinosaur play world too! First, we painted two shoe boxes brown.

These will be the rocky mountainy type things. They will also work for storage of all the plastic dinosaurs. Don't even bother with the bottom of the boxes because they won't show.

Now, we will start on the backdrop. I bought plain old ordinary brown paper at the teacher supply store and cut it in half lengthwise. Half will go on the wall and half will go on the floor.

I sketched some mountains across the paper with a pencil. (Read: I drew triangles) Then I started to paint the sky. The first strip across the top I painted plain old red. Then, for the rest of the sky I just dipped my brush into the red, then the yellow and brushed it on. It turned out....guess what? Yes! Orange!

And the yellow is streaked in there sometimes. There is no magic to this. I didn't mix the paint at all--just keep dipping in both colors and slap it on there.

Here is a better look at my mixing method. For the mountains, I used a blob of black and a blob of white. Am I using too many artist's terms for you? First, get some black.

Then get some white.

Then dab your brush in the middle and...

paint those mountains. Are they looking a little too black? Dab more white. A little too white? Dab some more black. can't mess this up. It's for a 5 year old.

OK. Now the book shows one mountain is a volcano. So, paint some lava on there with your red. Oh, and I forgot to mention it, but I was using plain cheapo poster paint from WalMart.

Now your volcano needs smoke in the sky. I grabbed this napkin I had used to wipe my paintbrush on and wadded it up. I then dipped it into my grey paint from earlier and blotted it on. Didn't that come out cool? I didn't even plan that!

Then I just painted everything under the mountains with brown tempera paint.

Had to add a sun.

Now, when your boxes are dry you will need to add a waterfall. I let my 9 year old do this. Then I went back over her lines with really thick blue paint on the brush and let it run down a bit and dry that way. So that it looks like water running down the mountainy thing.

And here is where I made my first mistake. I started to touch up an area of the box with the brown paint. What I forgot was...I had mixed the brown with white when we did the first coat, so now this touch up was WAY too dark. So, I just started dabbing dark brown everywhere and wiping it around with a napkin.

Eh. It's not too bad. Rocks aren't one shade anyway. It's for a 5 year old.

There you go. Tomorrow we'll finish this up. There isn't much left to do. Now get crackin'! Your sons (or daughters...ahem) will love it!

Fitness Friday Assignment--Spring Cleaning

Since it's nearly springtime, we should be thinking about getting organized! It's more fun if we do it together.

Your assignment this week (you can post about it on Friday and sign up on the Mr. Linky) is to organize something in your home related to your fitness goals. Here are some examples:

1. Clean out your pantry or refrigerator. Stock up on healthy snacks or organize things in such a way that you can eat healthier. Or cook more. Whatever. Oh, and chunk some junk food.

2. Organize your bedroom so you can have a restful place to sleep at night. Add a candle, soft light, new curtains, soft pillows. Something. Shop your house and see what you come up with.

3. Go through your dresser drawers and get all your work out clothes together and easily accessible. Throw out scruffy clothes.

4. Create a workout space in your home that you will use. Get rid of the couch potato area! :)

You can probably come up with better ideas. Take before and after pictures if you are able. If not, be prepared to share with us what all you did to arrange your life to aid your fitness goals.

See you Friday!