Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Can I Blame This Rambly Post on the Cord Too?

It's been 3 days since I was all, "Hey! I'm gonna share frugal recipes with you!" and now I have been missing the cord to the camera and cannot upload the photos in order to write the next post in that series.

And then Sweetheart woke me up at 2:30 am to tell me she didn't feel well. Like 101 degrees of not well.

But I did get a lot of housework done today.

And I finished my chair for my new black and white homeschool room. Hey! Wouldn't you like to see a picture of that too?

Stupid cord.

Now on to some cushions for the girls' chairs and then I want to start planning for the school year. Right now I'm just in the "thinking about things" stage. Such as how I realized that we fell into a very bad habit of eating our lunch in front of the TV last spring and how I don't want to do that this year. It isn't that my kids watch bad things on TV, because I'm actually very picky and careful about what they watch. It's more about all the things that TV prevents from happening. If we ate together at the dining room table we could, I don't know....TALK or READ. Those would be good things. We'll reserve lunch in front of the TV for Fridays. I can usually find a video or something from the library to go along with what we've been studying.

In other news, I am loving At first I thought it was kind of a bother because you never know when someone is going to request one of your books and running to the post office is a bother. (You don't have to do it that way, you can purchase postage online and just drop it in your mailbox but I haven't done it yet.) But now that school is almost here and I have ordered school books with my credit points for FREE---I'm loving it! All for getting rid of some books my kids didn't want anymore.

Really, I'm ready for the schedule that the school year gives us. Oh my word, I just looked at a calendar and realized that there are only 2 weeks until I plan to start the year!!!!! I better get going on that planning and SOON!

Also, I've been doing my Motivated Moms planner pretty well for a while now. However, I have noticed that some things are not coming up on the to do list like I need them to. For example, where is "wash inside pocket of denim skirt with peanut butter and scrub with nail brush to remove gum that was washed in pocket"? I haven't seen that on on the list, and yet I found that very thing in need of doing today.

But I did clean the oven like the list said to the other day. I know that I did because when I turned on the oven to make empanadas and smelled something funny it was THEN that I remembered how my organized self had sprayed oven cleaner the day before and forgot to wipe it off.

Come to think of it, I haven't looked for that cord in the oven yet....

How's your week going?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Homemade Laundry Soap--Three Months Later

Back in April I posted this about making my own laundry soap.

Can it be possible that I have been making my own laundry soap for that long? I had no idea! I have used at least 4 Fels Naptha bars, so that means 4 batches. I need to make one in the morning. I still have PLENTY of Borax left in the original box I purchased back in April. After this batch I will have to buy more Arm and Hammer Washing Soda BUT we used it for something else and that is the only reason we are almost out.

Boy, talk about savings!!!

I'm totally rounding here, but all this means that I have washed my family's clothes for 3 months for a measly, what? Fifteen bucks? I can't really remember how many bottles of fabric softener I've used but that's a pretty good estimate. And this savings will continue as I still don't need to buy some of the ingredients.

I've found out a few things along the way:

1. WalMart sells refills of fabric softener that come in a cardboard container (like a milk carton). They are cheap and you just pour them in your fabric softener bottle.

2. I dilute the fabric softener. I don't use the Downy Ball anymore because we got a new washer and it's a front loader (clearance aisle baby!). So I just keep a little cup of water on top and after I pour fabric softener in the little drawer, I give it a shot of water. No, I have no idea the measurements.

3. If you have a "high efficiency" washer, this is going to save you money, because it doesn't foam up. I have not once purchased high efficiency laundry detergent.

4. Yes, you can use vinegar instead of fabric softener and that would be really cheap. I don't know how that works exactly but you could find out easily.

5. Honestly, the Fels Naptha smells good. I like how the kitchen smells after we've made a batch of detergent. But the fabric softener smells wonderful!!!!

6. I started throwing the grated Fels Naptha bar into my old blender and it works great. Then I mix it with the other ingredients.

Now that we feel all empowered with making our own laundry soap, S and I have gone a little crazy making some other things. If you are needing to cut the budget a bit---may I suggest giving this a try?

I'll share about those other recipes this week as well! It'll be a FRUGALFEST!!!!! :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Diary of a Room Makeover: The Important Stuff

July 24, 2009
How long have I been talking about redoing this room.....6 months? Oh well. Here's the update: I found fabric for the bedspreads.

The whole make-over depends on the fabric and this doesn't look anything like what I originally pictured and yet we all like it.

The girls wanted green (Sweetheart) and blue (Little Bit). I think they had in mind light spring-y green and royal blue, but when we found this fabric, they both said they liked it. And it has the dots/circles I wanted. Check that off.

Now, the way sister and I designed the bedspreads was to use trim of a different color around the edges to make it long enough to tuck in all around the bed. Oh, I should mention that loft beds are in the distant future. Like maybe, Pluto distant. And we unbunked the beds. But still there is an edge all around to tuck the bedspread in so that is what I plan on them doing.

Sweetheart's will be trimmed in the olive fabric and Little Bit's in the turquoise. (Didn't I just paint over turquoise walls?) And yes, sister made me another stellar "pattern" for making the bedspreads.

Anyway, it was VERY HARD finding the right paint color! Lowe's did not let me down though and I found the perfect color. It is called Homestead Resort Moss. The darkest color on the paint chip was La Fonda Deep Olive and it perfectly matches the olive in the dotty fabric. So, I went 2 shades lighter. I love it! It looks very sophisticated. This color will not be outgrown. It's not "little girly."

Unfortunately, it required 2 coats. But it was so beautiful when we got done!

So, the next step is putting the room back together so the girls can sleep. I had to take the closet door off there to shove a dresser in the closet. The other dresser is in the hall and so far only 2 people have walked into it.

So let's check off my goals, shall we?

1. Pick out fabric for the bedding.

2. Sew curtains.

3. Sew the bedspreads.

4. Paint the inside of the closet. That would be in the play room now.

5. Sew/find pillows for the beds.

It seems pretty clear to me that lots of sewing is in my future.

And now I think you can take a long break before you see one of these updates again.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

And Then There Was Progress....

There is primer on the walls of the girls' room!The shelves are organized!!!! (But blurry)
Most things are in place in the homeschool room. By the way, that kitchen stool will NOT be serving as my chair this year. That project is up and coming. Can you see the black and white fabric peeking out on the table there next to Little Bit's foam seat cushions? All upcoming projects. Next week. Next week.
Our school room is on the right immediately after you step into our house. This is the first view you get. I have plans to improve on that, but they will have to wait.

So things are cracking along finally. Is that even a saying? I feel very motivated to get done because I am already itching to start planning the school year. We got our last bit of curriculum the other day so now I'm really ready to sit down and get organized. But first, the month of the house must be completed.
You will receive updates tomorrow on my progress! I know you can barely wait. Try....TRY to contain yourself.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Month of the House is Crashing Fast!!!!

I said July would be about the house. August is for planning school.

It all seemed so simple.

Well, I have rearranged 3 of the rooms in this house. I have purchased the fabric to sew bedspreads for the girls' beds. There are not that many more days in the month and I still want to:

1.Paint the girls' room. This will happen on Friday as sister is coming over to help. Oh the logistics of doing this. Dressers in the hallway. Girls sleeping in the playroom floor. Everything torn up for 3-4 days. YIKES! Oh and I should probably choose a paint color before then.

2. I'm not painting the playroom right now because it's fine. Really. Who even sees the walls with all that crap in there anyway?

3. Clean out the playroom closet. Remember those laundry baskets of toys I need to go through that I shoved in the closet? The Organizing Fairy has not paid my home a visit and they are still sitting there. The nerve.

4. Sew bedspreads for the girls' room.

5. Decorate the girls' room. Hang stuff on walls. Hang curtains. Get a rug that matches. In my spare time.

6. Finish the homeschool room. The shelves are looking great but the table is....well....not visible at the moment. And there are stacks all over the floor. I've got lots of stuff to get rid of and no idea where to send it. Anyone need some homeschool stuff?

7. Plus there is a bit of decorating to do in there. The girls' chairs need to be painted. At LEAST I need to put cushions on the seats. Little Bit needs a really big cushion so she can see over the table at least. If I had unlimited funds, I'd get one of these chairs. But she's probably going to have to settle for 2 foam cushions stacked and covered in fabric remnants. And I have a chair project for myself too.

8. And I'd really, really like to clean up the laundry room and sewing room before school starts.

I know I don't HAVE to get all of this done. But, but, but.....I really want it done. I'm really fun before we go out of town too, trying to make sure every last little thing is done. I never do, by the way. But I drive everyone crazy trying.

Little Bit is VERY ready for Kindergarten to start. She spends her spare time writing and drawing in notebooks. She has, on her own, sounded out all kinds of words this week. Sunday she wrote:

Pretty good, huh? Just imagine what she'll be able to do with, you know, instruction. Because please remember this is the child who refused to do any school work for the better part of last year. Not sure I'm ready for this one.

I will be back later with pictures of the progress over here. I'll borrow my dad's camera just so I can show you all the wonderful things going on. Perhaps that will motivate me to finish off the month of the house?

We'll see....

Sunday, July 19, 2009

At The Top of the List

As I am planning for next school year......

I must remember this.

It's an oldie, but a goodie. I found this link I had sent to a friend via e-mail a few years ago. I am so glad I re-read it.

And somehow I lost her blog along the way. SO glad I re-discovered it!

Friday, July 17, 2009

What I Remember

My college roommate spent the night at my parent's house with me.

I woke up with a HUGE pimple arising on my chin. We iced it all day to keep it at bay.

My room was really clean because we had already moved my stuff to the apartment.

A lady from our church did my mom's hair, my mother-in-law's hair, S's Nanny's hair, all the bridesmaid's hair, and my hair for the wedding. She was busy that day.

S went fishing that day and I implored his friend's wife to make sure he wore sunscreen so he wouldn't look like a lobster in the pictures. All she had was Water Babies.

The lady doing the reception showed up on crutches and also with a wheelchair in tow. I had doubts.

My college roommate and I caught a glimpse of the groom's cake just before we started getting dressed. We hoped it wasn't finished. But it was.

The colors were teal and peach. I thought it was the most beautiful thing in the world.

I was kind of sad I couldn't have a bridesmaid dress. I loved them so much.

We got dressed in the 2 year old's Bible classroom.

The wedding wasn't at our church because our church was under renovation.

I had to pee after I got the dress on so my friends held the dress up while I perched on a 2 year old sized potty. There was much laughing. And there are pictures.

I sat on a little chair and spread the dress all around to keep it wrinkle free before it was time for me to go out. The hairdresser finished my hair and told her 3 year old, "Tell Miss Brenda bye and we'll see her in a minute!" Her 3 year old then proceeded to walk across the front of my entire dress to come hug me. No one could even get a word out in time, but she didn't leave any muddy footprints on it. Whew!

I remember thinking that I was missing the whole wedding. So much happened before it was my turn to go in.

Finally, as I was waiting in the foyer for my cue, I caught two friends coming in late. They were kind of embarrassed.

My mom had told me that our preacher had gotten something in his eye while mowing that day. I tried to figure out which eye it was the whole time he was talking.

I don't remember very much of what he said.

We lit the unity candle and then forgot to blow out the individual ones. Can you say Unclear on the Concept?

Anyway, it was 16 years ago and I still love talking about that day.

The day I married my best friend. The day God chose to bless me with this man for my husband.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Removing Cheese From the Bathtub

I can't wait to see what Google searches direct people to this post!

Never let it be said that you cannot find a wealth of homemaking tips here at The Family Revised. Today: How to Remove Cheese from the Bathtub.

So, first of all, your 5 year old child will need to announce that she is no longer sitting in a booster seat at the dinner table. Even though when NOT seated in a booster seat, the table hits her in the neck. I guess it makes shoveling food easier.

Then you will need to attempt to clean the booster seat before storing it, decide it is too gross for a mere wiping off, and take the booster seat to the bathroom.

After running some hot, soapy water, set the booster seat in the water to soak. And, this next step is imperative: leave the booster seat there all day while the water slowly drains out the tub and forget that you ever put it there.

Then you will go to run bathwater for your children and notice that grated cheese (and numerous crumbs) has apparently floated from the cracks and crevices of the booster seat and settled on the tub and dried.

Call for your 9 year old to bring you the Pampered Chef scraper from the kitchen. Begin scraping cheese from the bottom of the bathtub. Act like this happens every day.

If your sister happens to walk in and ask what you are doing---just tell them you learned a really great homemaking tip on my blog.

And maybe they won't crack up laughing at you like my sister did.

What? Like she never scraped cheese out of the bathtub?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bullets Are Called For

  • I tore the homeschool room up last week so that we could rearrange. I got all the furniture in place and I really like it. I am not a fan of having things in the same place for a whole 'nother year. HOWEVER, now I am left with my not-so-favorite part of sorting through stuff and piles and crap.

Oops. Little Bit just fell off the couch while inside the laundry basket. She's OK. I imparted motherly words of wisdom, "Laundry baskets are for clothes, not people."

  • Where was I? Oh yes. So I spent the weekend Googling images with "homeschool room" "homeschool space" "homeschool organizing" etc. There are WAY more pictures online now than there were a few years ago. And here is what I learned: Shelves make or break a room. I saw some of the most horribly over-loaded shelves and they just ruined the whole space. I know we need these things as homeschoolers, but yikes! So, nerd that I am, I have begun a Word document with a 6X5 table in it to plan what will go in each little cubby of our shelves. I am getting rid of a LOT of stuff too.

  • I bought fabric for the bedspreads in the girls' new room!!! This means I can choose a paint color and actually START the room makeover!!! I am so excited! I still have to get batting and muslin for the back of the bedspreads, but the fabric for both beds was only $26. I thought that was pretty good.

  • The toy room is done for now, but I have to admit I shoved 2 laundry baskets of "stuff" in the closet. Those need to be dealt with this week and probably will result in many trash sacks going out the door. A lot of it is just little pieces that go in other baskets. It drives me crazy. I am so good at doing the big stuff, but when it gets down to the last little bits I just lose all interest.

  • So yes. I have torn up 2 rooms of the house and not finished either one.

  • We are having a Read-A-Thon today. We will throw blankets, pillows, cushions and such on the floor and read until we are blue in the face. I am such a great mom.

OK fine. It's because we checked out our usual allotment of library books last week and I have YET to take them out of the trunk of the car. And they are due tomorrow. Thus....a Read-A-Thon!!!!!

Hope you all have a great start to your week!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sorry Ladies!!

No Fitness Friday this week. I am swamped. I meant to get on here all week and let you know that, but it never happened.

Honestly, I don't know when I'll get back on track with it. Nothing's wrong....I'm just consumed with other things right now called, you know.....LIFE. :)

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Changing Faces of the Parties

Our digital camera died. I know I've already whined about that to you, but that isn't the point of this post.

The point is, I needed to get some pics off the memory stick and while doing that, I found a smaller memory stick that originally came with the camera. And there were pictures on it!

Turns out it was Sweetheart's 6th birthday party. She looks so little to me.

Am I a master party planner or what? Look at that ladybug game Mama came up with. Pin the spot on the ladybug. I think it was Sweetheart's idea and she couldn't have been more delighted. Sharpie, red posterboard and black construc.....well, I won't give away all my wonderful party secrets.

Really, our birthday parties have fallen into a formula around here. There is cake and presents and decorations of course. There is a collection of whatever (Wiggles, dogs, Curious George.....) on the fireplace. There is the ever-present HAPPY BIRTHDAY banner. There is a pin the tail on something game. There is a craft. The kiddos have been really easy to please so far.

Plus we haven't had a friend party all out bash in a long time. See, we have built-in party guests in the form of cousins. Plus when you get all the family over here there isn't much room. But Little Bit might need a friend party this year. She's never had one. But then she doesn't need a lot of gifts either seeing as how I'm just now hacking the path through the toy room and getting rid of things right and left. That's another topic.

But back to those birthday guests. They have changed a bit over the years.

Look at the bald babies!!!
Look at Little Bit's chicken hair here at her 2nd birthday. I don't know what was up that day, (besides her hair) but I slicked it down 2 times before the party and it kept popping up. Can you see it?
Gnat, Sweetheart and a friend at her 7th party.
What a difference one year makes. These two are crazy.
Fast forward several years to Little Bit's 5 year old party. Now everyone has hair.
We might need to work on manners.
And I cannot believe that soon we will celebrate Little Bit's 6th birthday. Sigh.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Aiming For the Ideal

Several months ago I ran across this blog and was inspired by these pictures of her homeschool room.

Oh how my heart stopped.

That room! If only I had that room!!!! What wonderful things could I get done with a homeschool room like that?!

Of course, I am blessed to have a room in our home that we can use for school. I KNOW that a great many folks do not have that luxury. What do I have to complain about?


And then I read this where Cheryl wrote about her ideal homeschool.

I realized I have been planning for the space I have, not the way I really want things to be. Why have I been limiting myself in this way?

No more. My ideal homeschool would have:

1. a table big enough for all of us with all of our supplies in neat little containers in the middle where everyone can reach them.

2. a corner with soft pillows to read in.

3. an organized area for arts and crafts (painting, etc.), an easel, a place to hang pictures to dry, a place to clean up.

4. both carpeted and hard areas of flooring.

5. a cozy place to read together with maybe a lamp and quilts nearby.

6. bookshelves that face outward (like these) and maybe a table to set up a display of our current theme.

7. areas to hang up work.

8. lots of shelves and cabinets to store things in--some hidden from view and some open.

9. tons of paper all stacked and ready to use.

10. access to a TV, DVD player, CD player, computer, etc.--lots of media.

11. areas to spread out on the floor or table.

12. an area for the girls to play school with their dolls. :)

Hmmm. What else? I'm still thinking about this and likely will add to my list in a few days. I have to work to NOT picture our current homeschool space while I dream. It takes effort!

But here is the kicker: now I have to figure out how to get as close to my ideal as I can.


1. we have a great table so I just need to shop for some containers to go in the middle.

2. The girls have a reading corner in their playroom. I can add some pillows there!

3. I can find a place to get all the art supplies in one place instead of scattered in different locations throughout the house. Wouldn't that be great? I can add wipes, hang a clothesline, and have our folding easel nearby for the girls to set up when they need to. I'll have to think about the best place for this, but it would be SO NICE. It might end up being in the coat closet, who knows?

4. We have a rug on laminate flooring. Done.

5. Our living room lamp is right by the box of blankets and the couch. Done. (but I might like to add a little lamp in the homeschool room too!)

6. My husband can build bookshelves for me. Time to start sweet-talking. :)

7. I can get a small bulletin board to hang up for work display. Actually, husband could build that too if needed.

8. I can clean off the shelves we have and move non-school books to our bedroom. Some shelves can be covered with curtains.

9. I have been looking at one of these paper holders for paper. Nice!

10. We have media all over the house. Some of it can be moved to the homeschool room for easier access.

11. Haven't figured out how to create more square footage, but I can rearrange.

12. If I rearrange there might be room for this. We'll see.

I think the lesson is to start thinking about what I'd like to see in our homeschool space and then find ways to get that--even if it's throughout the house, INSTEAD OF thinking, "well, this is all the space we've got so...."

We probably can have more of the things we want in our homeschool space if only we would think out those things ahead of time and THEN work on making them a reality. That's what I'll be trying to do this year anyway!

What about you? What are you dreaming of for your homeschool space?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Diary of a Room Makeover: Tweaking

OK--so I've been looking for fabric for the girls' bedspreads for the new room. I have to have fabric so I can pick the paint color. July has been named "The Month of All the Painting" as sister and I plan to paint 2 or 3 rooms this month. I can't paint until I find THE fabric. Not exactly sure what I'm looking for. The girls picked light green and royal blue. What do you do with that?

But we've made one teensy tiny little bitty change. We'll be decorating the OTHER room. Yep, we switched the rooms this weekend. It's a sickness. We have good reasons I promise. And it really didn't take me all that long to adjust the plan seeing as how I've made zero progress on said plan.

Have you ever seen someone write endlessly about something that HASN'T EVEN BEGUN TO HAPPEN? Proof I can talk about anything.

So, the girls are now in Sweetheart's old room, beds unbunked and very happy. The larger of the 2 rooms, Little Bit's old room, will be the play room. And golf club storage. And bookshelves will be in there. And a little TV/DVD combo area. It's a rec room, really, only minus the shag carpet and pool table.

I bet you just can't wait for a "Diary" post that shows actual decorating. Won't that be neat?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Fitness Friday: The Linky Edition

ACK!!!! I'm not ready!!!! Husband is off today and it totally didn't seem like Friday and I flat didn't get ready in time!!!!

I'm going to go ahead and throw up the Mr. Linky for those of you who remembered what day of the week it was. I'll be back later with my actual post. Sorry!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I Should Have Just Read This First

I'm reading a really old book this week. It was written in the 80's and as much as I hate to admit it, that was a really long time ago. I think it was written when I was in high school.

When I first began thinking about homeschooling, I researched a lot. I read a lot of books. I read a lot online. I studied scripture. I took notes. I'm a nerd.

I came to a lot of conclusions and the book I'm reading this week is like a big 'ol summary of everything I decided back then. I could have saved time had I read this book!

The book is The Christian Home School by Gregg Harris. Father of Josh Harris. Father of Alex and Brett Harris.

One thing I liked was his thoughts on John Holt's philosophy of unschooling. I read Learning All the Time back then and something just didn't sit right with me while I was reading. I mean, I kind of agreed with some of it.....and yet. What what is? I finally decided that a Christian homeschool would be orderly and disciplined because those are godly characteristics. Unschooling doesn't seem like either one of those things to me. Feel free to disagree with me. Mr. Harris had some thoughts that really put into words what bugged me about that book. He said it very well.

He also had the best definition of "delight directed learning" I have ever heard. Now THIS I agree with. He said that all the necessary things in life were also made pleasurable by God. For example, we need to eat--God made food taste good. We need to see--God made us see in colors. Procreation? You get the idea.

Learning is also necessary and God made it to be pleasurable. Our children should enjoy learning. We should try to make things fun and delightful for them. Of course, they won't love everything they have to do...but neither do we need to operate under a "learning takes pain" philosophy. He also talks about how much our children will learn when they are delighted with something and how we can plan accordingly. The difference is the parents are still in control. He said it really well.

I'm not quite through reading, but I can't believe how much of what I'm reading was exactly what I was thinking about when I first started this journey. What other homeschooling books are must-reads out there? I think going back to thinking about all this is a good thing to do on summer break. It's helping me set my mind on next year and remember the reasons we are doing this.

So, any book suggestions for me?