Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My first (and second) official "Little Blue House" project

We still have quite a bit to unpack and a bit more to move here still, but I can't resist getting the major areas of the house in order, and making them a little pretty while I continue to drudge on with the moving and unpacking.

So if it is not well known yet it shall be soon that I LOVE chalkboard stuff, I put chalkboard paint, contact paper and labels on anything and everything, don't know why it just makes me happy. And don't get me started on the discovery of chalk markers, I get to enjoy the prettiness of chalk boards without the pain of chalk dust, shut your mouth!

If you haven't gathered already my first project or two involved chalkboards! The first was in my kitchen, I knew when we walked through the house that these cabinet doors had to go, they had at least a one inch gap! (the cabinets on the left)

Here it is after their glorious reveal, whomp, whomp, whomp. I was hoping to paint the wall or back of the cabinet but with these fine pieces of cabinetry hanging paraphernalia I had devise another plan.

So after much debate I went with foam core and chalkboard contact paper from Hobby Lobby. It was actually nice and quick, aside from a couple issues with a less than level shelf.
 I haven't quite finalized my shelf selections I am sure they will evolve but in the meantime my kids know where everything goes and I have a nice open shelf to look at.

Project number two has been on my Pinterest board from the first time we looked at this house and I envisioned stairs in my life. A nice little entry way decor just right for a homeschooling family full of kids. I see it being used for reminders, love notes, fun little family things, and of course little hands doodles. It kind of helps make this awkward wall just right for us.

And let me tell you a wall full of hanging hooks is like gold around here, each of my children have a tote bag for each activity: AWANA, American Heritage Girls, Co-op, Library book bags, etc. All of our bags are labeled accordingly now it is just matching them up to the right hooks which is much easier when labeled.
Please excuse the drip marks, chalkboard paint is kind of runny and it got a little out of hand, it also took an entire can for this small wall. We still have an entire house full of trim to cover with some high gloss white to make cleaning a little easier and cover up these first time painters "Oops" marks.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Little Blue House

We have been through a rough year (understatement). Despite every reason we had not to, a few weeks ago we closed on our little blue house, I know it is just a house, but to us it symbolizes so much more. It isn't going to fix our problems or make us whole, but it is a new home in which to make new memories, make a fresh start and it is a place were healing won't be hindered by bad memories. And as an added bonus we aren't throwing our money away each month on a place we don't own and it is less than it cost us to rent.

Here is the best picture I have thus far, I really didn't want the neighbors to think I was crazy doing a little photo shoot with my house, but I don't think they care for us much after the previous owners bad mouthed us (they were apparently unaware that a contract was binding).

It is definitely a fixer upper, but not in a bad, immediate, unlivable way. We have lots of plans and we think this little house has so much potential. I have already officially checked off my first project which I will post later.

We are busy painting rooms and unpacking, and finding crazy half-azzed "handy-work" done by the previous owner everyday. But we are happy with are little blue house and look forward to our own handy work in the future.

So hold on to your seats folks, you are about to be over inundated with endless DIY glory, at least that is my plan!

Next up I will give a you a before picture tour, so you can appreciate my hard work in future posts!

Monday, November 11, 2013


With our lives very much in flux, I have found it hard to jump back into our curriculum, it has been a struggle just to maintain the three R's let alone the fun in depth study of Rome to Reformation. I decided that the extra's can wait till the new year starts and then we will work through the summer. It might be better than taking long periods of time off after everything that has been going on.

Through this little fall/winter break I was planning on focusing when I can on some fun seasonal/holiday studies. I have always avoided the typical public school materials, no offense to anyone I just don't like the typical classroom mentality of certain publishers materials. But one series of teaching materials I really like is the Evan-Moor History & Literature Pockets, I have always enjoyed using these during co-ops and have tried to sprinkle them in our normal curriculum when I can. I like the end product and I like the fun hands-on low stress activities that help make a topic stick.

They have a variety of history and literature pockets, I have used:
Ancient Civilizations
Ancient Eygpt
Ancient Rome
Ancient Greece
Roman & Greek Mythology
Aesop's Fables
Folk Tales & Fairy Tales

This month I am going to try out Life in Plymouth for my 1st & 3rd grader. It is funny because I started homeschooling my two older children first I have always taught them together. I combined my efforts with those two where I could and took special time out to work with my 1st grader. It just occurred to me (sadly) that I will probably be able to increase my efficiency if I focused group effort on my 3rd and 1st grader and then worked individually more with my 6th grader. I am going to try that out over the next few weeks and see how it goes, I am going to spend that time helping my 6th grader really focus on developing her writing skills.

Hopefully this will be a nice slow easing back into a much fuller school day.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Roman Tablet Tutorial

We are in our 1st week of MFW Rome to Reformation. One of the activities this week was to make a Roman tablet like school children used in Roman times. The book gives instructions using corrugated cardboard or in the Roman Empire book they suggested using balsal wood I wanted something a little simpler.

We used $1 unfinished wood frames from Michael's and non drying clay I think it was $3.59 for 4 colors which worked perfect for us.
 My father-in-law cut out some lightweight wood to fit in the frames, I used hot glue to secure them although wood glue may be better I was finishing them up last minute so hot glue worked best for me.

We then gently pressed the modeling clay into the frame and used a playdough rolling pin to make it smooth.

Make sure you save the little dowel used to prop up the frame, we sharpened them and used them as the stylus. We also used old gift cards cut in half to smooth out the clay after writing on it.
The kids decorated the frames with markers and have been enjoying them all day.

The tutorial included in the curriculum is for a diptych or double-sided tablet. You could easily use two frames and drill holes then add twine to make a double-sided tablet. We were originally going to this for the older two but when the little ones saw the clay, I tossed the idea out and just let them each make one.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Confession Time

My name is Shannon and I am not a home decorator.

Despite the fact that Pinterest makes me believe that I am and need to be!
I need to get this off my chest, proclaim it from the mountain tops!

I really care not for the frivolity of home decor despite the envy I feel pouring over home decorating blogs and Pinterest boards.

I don't know how to put a fashionable room together, I don't know what colors go together, or fabric patterns. I like to sew and craft and organize things but not decorate I like to be surrounded by things I love and that serve a functional purpose, I really don't care if they go together. I want to paint my walls but only so I don't have to keep looking at 5 years of art work my children have drawn on the walls.

I want my house clean but not perfectly decorated or put together! I once tried to put a tablecloth, candle and specific stack of books on my coffee table, only to have my smallest children destroy it every time I left the room! This continued for months till folded up the tablecloth, tossed the candle and put the books on the shelf where they belonged.

I had a pretty vignette on top of my entertainment center until one Christmas I got desperately ill after pulling the dust coated decorations down for more festive decor. Two years later it remains empty and I have no desire to redecorate it.

Pictures are the only things I think are worth investing in to hang on my wall.

If you are a home decorator and fill your home with beautiful things, good for you! I probably secretly envy your home and your abilities and I hope your homes make you happy.

I think I am going to find a new approach to making my home a happy place and it has nothing to do with decorating.

Boy I feel better!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Handmade Christmas 2012

So I managed to pull off some handmade stuff this year, despite beginning the first weekend in December. I think I did strike the right balance and I even finished the day before Christmas Eve. Each of the kids got three gifts from us and some stocking stuff (which was really clever items if I do say so myself). For the three gifts I tried to stick to a Gift of Wonder - something they asked for, a Gift of Meaning - something handmade that I thought they would like, a Gift of Purpose - something they needed (clothes, shoes, school stuff).

Cordelia asked for an American Girl doll, which I reluctantly decided to get, for her gift of meaning I made a camping set for her doll. The set included a tent, a sleeping bag & pillow, campfire (that lights up), a working lantern, smore's and all the fix in's, plates & little beverages.

 the colored pencils are made from bamboo skewers and markers and I cut down a small notebook a little smaller.
 I made the plates from canning lids and all the food is made out of clay.
 The lantern is a tea light, medicine cup and a lid to a prescription bottle.
I am going to make a tutorial on how to make the different beverages, they are my favorite.
 The campfire turned out so awesome it is made from a CD, tealight, sand, sticks & rocks.

 And of course a new American Heritage Girls uniform for Cordelia's newest friend.
Cordelia also got a punch of handmade clothes which I will post later.

Trenton got his Avenger Legos, new sneakers and I made him a Lego tray with handles and a Lego mat he can play with his Legos on and store them in when he is done.

This is the state of the tray right now (Trenton and Daddy are building some Avenger thing), but it has base plates on it that he can stick his creations too. 
The mat draws up into a little sack that can be hung up
 And then when he wants to play he spreads it out on the floor, there is even a little clear pocket for him to put his favorite pieces in.

Isabelle got a a few handmade items,  first up was a tire swing painted sunshine yellow for little Miss Hollywood.
 She had this crazy list of stuff which deserves its own post, but in it she asked for a fairy riding a unicorn. Well I found the Schliech Bayala series that had fairies riding pretty horses and unicorns doing their own thing, I decided that would suffice. But really the gift just wasn't complete without a place to play with the fairies. Troy and I built this awesome Fairy Tree House, I had a hay day in the floral section of Jo-ann's getting moss and fungus and bird's nests to complete it.

Piper was fun to make things for, because really she loves everything. She got her Accountable Kids board like the other kids have (she was very excited). She also got another baby doll, this one uses the potty (which we hoped would encourage her) I made her a little diaper bag and filled it with preemie diapers. She also got a little tent to play in and a pretend campfire to roast her pretend marshmallows.

And if you are wondering why I have a astro turf rug, that was on Isabelle's list. I figured I would get some use out of it using it for my pictures.

For their stockings I picked a book for each kid and then filled it with items that tied into the story. Cordelia got Little House on the Prairie, I added cookie mix, old fashioned candies & a jump rope. Trenton got The Adventure's of Robin Hood, a bow and arrow (minus the big foam arrow heads), and chocolate gold coins. Isabelle got a Pinkalicious book that had stuff to do with a lemonade stand and gumballs. Her stocking included pink lemonade mix, gumballs and I added a jump rope.

I really loved how everything turned out this year. I am especially pleased that I stuck to the three things and the kids didn't have any false expectations.  And the stocking book thing is definitely a new tradition.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fall Bucket List

I thought in my quandary of gift giving I would make sure that the kids and I really took time to enjoy the upcoming season. Summer really isn't my thing, it gets really hot and I get really cranky, so in order to draw out the next kind of cooler season I would create a little bucket list of things I don't want to miss.

* Attend at least one Fall Festival!
* Visit the Pumpkin Patch
* Decorate our Pumpkins (we have done glitter & paint in the past that the kids loved!)
* Host Thanksgiving Dinner!
* Decorate for Fall (I never do and my kids have expressed their dislike of this)
* Weekly park days
* Camping
* Hiking
* Beach
* Deleon Springs (Sugar Mill Restaurant)
* Hayride

I also want to participate in this October Photo a Day Challenge
I hope to post here once a week at least with the picks of the day, but don't judge me if I post them at the end of the month.