Sunday, December 29, 2013

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Once again, as winter so often does to many of us homeschooling Mamas, I find myself evaluating how the school year is going, wishing it were going better and finding ways to make it better for the spring.  This year I'm not changing much, just adding in Five in a Row to give us a little bit of a direction.  I'm super excited and so are the boys.  I found a great deal on Volumes 1 & 2, and the Bible Supplement along with 19 of the books from another homeschooling mom.  I ordered the download of the Notebook Builder and also signed up for the blog emails so that I could get the Fold n Learns for FREE!  I've already planned out our first week and I'm working on getting our Montessori lessons together to go with it.

We will be rowing Robert Frost's Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening our first week.
This unit is found in Volume 1 of Five in a Row.  

    With this unit, we will have 4 vocabulary words:  Evening, Village, Queer (the real definition, not the slang) and Downy.  We'll be learning a little about Robert Frost, using a Notebook page as our research guide, and reading a few other poems by him.  My favorite is The Road Not Taken, it's kinda a sum of my life!  I'll be introducing my kids to alliteration and poetry.  A few years ago I was given an old set of Childcraft books so we will be using the poetry volume to read other poems through out the week.  We will also be reading other books that we have that relate to snow and winter.  I'll have to post a list of those as I dig through our books to pull them out.  

    For Math, we will be learning about temperature and discussing hotter/colder than.  We will be doing this unit while on vacation in the mountains (we rarely have snow in Louisiana so this unit goes perfectly with our vacation) so we will not be taking our Shiller with us.  We will also throw in a tad bit of geography talking about the equator and how temperature changes the closer/farther you get to/from it.  For science we will do an experiment about the states of matter, Animal Tracks nomenclature cards, What to Wear file folder game, reading the book Snow to learn more about where snow comes from, and also recording the temperature each day to compare when we get home.

    One thing I love about the planning page that I found is that it includes Music, Gym and Cooking.  I don't have any specific music for this unit but if you know of anything that would work, please leave a comment.  I'm really excited about our Gym plans though.  Building a snowman, having a snowball fight and making snow angels.  If it doesn't snow at our cabin while we are there, we'll just go to the nearby ski resort and play in their snow.  We also have some great cooking plans.  Snow ice cream and snow cones.  Yummy!  

     We will be coloring in the state we visit on our map of the US, listing the character traits from our Bible lesson on the character traits Notebook page and also filling out a Field Trip report from the Notebook Builder.  I can't stress enough how great the Notebook Builder is.  It is so full of graphic organizers, report pages, etc.  Well worth the $24 for this download.  I decided to print it out completely and put into a binder.  This makes it easy to plan and make copies to put into my planning binder.  I made the copies that I need for this unit and put them behind my planning page so that when we need that page, it is easy to access.  I will also be including a list of the hands-on activities that we will be using, with instructions and recipes that we will be doing.  If you would like to see a copy of my planning sheet, you can download it here.  

   I will update this post as I go through our other books this week and post a list of related books that we will be using.  Be sure to check back for photos from the week.  It is my hopes that by eliminating several of our weekly activities that occur during the day, I will be able to homeschool much more consistently and also blog about our experiences.  


Additional books about snow/winter/poems that will be available for free-reading time during the next few weeks.  Some are story books set in winter, some are books about snow, some are poems or poetry.  Other books may be added to the bin once I plan for Snowflake Bentley and Owl Moon.  Only the books specifically about snow/winter will stay in the Winter Bin when we finish the unit.  I will note those with a *.  

Hickory Dickory Dock By Annie Simpson
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star By Kate Toms 
The Magic School Bus Wet All Over By Joanna Cole
Baby's Book of Rhymes by Lesley Harker
Poems and Rhymes, a Childcraft book
Wild Weather Around the World by Tori Kosara
Shout!  Little Poems that Roar by Brod Bagert
*Hidden In The Snow by Barbara Taylor
*There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow by Lucille Colandro
*Snow by Marion Dane Bauer
*Bear's Very Snowy Day by Victoria Ball
*Snow Bear by Jean Craighead George
*Copy Me, Copycub by Richard Edwards
*Where Snowflakes Fall by Claire Freedman
*The Mitten by Jan Brett
*Ridiculous! by Michael Coleman
*An Orange in January by Dianna Hutts Aston
*All You Need for a Snowman by Alice Schertle
*Sunshine and Snowballs by Margaret Wise Brown
*Say Hello to the Snowy Animals by Ian Whybrow

Helpful Links:

Biography of Robert Frost with a video:

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Classroom Cleanup and Reorganization

This school year has been a rough one for our family.  We've had foster family visits twice a week, 3 therapy appointments each week, co-op once a week, quite a few court dates, a few extra kiddos for a few days here and there, and a few viruses too.  We've done the bare minimum this school year.  We've done lots of school in the van while driving down the road.  Working on multiplication facts with one and addition and subtraction with the other.  Even with the rough start, I'd say my kids are actually doing great.  They are both still ahead in math, self driven in science, social studies and art, and Elijah is reading beautifully now.  Levi is still learning letter sounds following Getting Ready for the Code and I think as soon as vowel sounds are taught, he will pick up reading in no time.  I wish that I had introduced his letter sounds to him vowels first but lesson learned!

In the midst of all the crazy scheduling, I was having some trouble keeping our classroom clean and organized.  All of our math lessons were together, no matter what age level they were for.  Language Arts the same.  Sensorial the same.  The two toddlers were enjoying their work but the youngest is still unable to put her work away on her own.  That trickled up and no one was putting anything away, even me some days!  Levi has referred to his space as his office since I found his desk at a consignment sale so I decided to take that concept and run with it.  I separated our classroom into offices for me, Elijah, Levi and the oldest toddler.  We have a door between the classroom and the nursery so the youngest can play in there with the baby gate between the two rooms.  Everyone can now work without their work being destroyed by the baby and everyone is once again returning their work to their shelves.  The toddler isn't messing with the work on Elijah and Levi's shelves because he's so happy to have his own work.

Each of them have age appropriate work on their shelves and I have a language arts shelf, as well as a math and sensorial shelf in the center of the room.  As they are ready for a lesson from that shelf, I can move it to their shelves until they no longer need it.  We also still share the art shelf and many materials are available for them to use as they want.  It still needs a bit of work to get the shelves in order but overall, I'm happy with the changes.  Maybe I'll post pictures as I organize the shelves a bit more.  I may even try to weed some things out that I feel we don't need anymore.  It's so hard to do this though with Levi just starting K this year.  The things that didn't work for Elijah may actually work for him.  I may just have to hang on to these materials until I've raised all my kiddos, because you just never know when you might need it.  Yes, I know, I'm a hoarder!

We are making some other changes beginning in January that should allow us to have a much better 2nd semester and also allow me to blog more.  I'd like to start doing a daily or weekly recap and using this as my outlet more so than Facebook.  Being at home all day with young children can be a little isolating.  It's hard to talk on the phone because it's always loud.  I probably annoy my friends on Facebook with my posts about how awesome my kids are and how wonderful or horrible our school day has gone.  Well, I'm about to head to bed.  The kids will be up soon.  LOL!  Good night!  ~Audrey
Elijah decided to build a zoo in the middle of trying to organize the room.  Notice how his zoo completely sectioned off his area?

The toddler is doing a lesson that I've had packed up for a while and decided to bring back out.  He was unable to do this lesson when I packed it up in the summer but can now do it with ease.  Elijah and Levi were enjoying digging through some boxes of coloring books that have been packed up for a while too.  

Levi got excited over a new lesson that I placed on his shelf and jumped right into working on it, skipping over using a work rug.  

The view from the south side of the room.

My office.

The view of the south side of the room.

View from the northwest doorway before we had completed the room.

View of the north-east side of the room.  Our Language Arts shelf and Elijah's office. 

South east corner.  

Finished view from the North East corner of the room.  

Toddler work space.  This is the west wall.

This is the view that you see as you walk up the stairs in my hallway.  It makes me happy to see such a beautiful classroom.  I feel very blessed and fortunate to have a husband that fully believes in me as a teacher for my children and fully supports my desire to have a beautiful and inviting learning environment for them.  

The view from the South West corner of the room.  

This is Levi's office.  

Math shelf that needs a bit of organization.

Sensorial shelf that needs a bit of help.  There are some math materials on this side as well. 

This shelf houses our turtle cage as well as our botany cabinet and unit study library.  The unit currently available is Birds.  We have not begun this study yet, though I've been ready since May.  I plan to do this study in January and study Winter birds.

A closer view of the toddler office.  

A closer view of Elijah's office.  

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thoughts on being a great Mom.....

   This has been on my heart and mind for a few days now.  As moms we often beat ourselves up because of our mistakes but we often overlook all of the things that we are getting right.  Here's my own personal list of things that make a great Mom.  These are in no particular order and all of these do not apply to me personally.  Feel free to add to this list in the comments. 

     Being a great Mom doesn't mean I never yell.  Being a great Mom doesn't mean I don't have bad days.  Being a great Mom doesn't mean I have to be a stay at home Mom.  Being a great Mom doesn't mean I have to work outside of my home.  Being a great Mom doesn't mean I have to homeschool.  Being a great Mom doesn't mean I have to send my kids to private school.  Being a great Mom doesn't mean I have to send my kids to public school.  Being a great Mom doesn't mean I have to take my kids to Disney World.  Being a great Mom doesn't mean I have to have my kids in every after school activity.  Being a great Mom doesn't mean my daughter has to wear a bow every day.  Being a great Mom doesn't mean my boys will always have shoes on when they go outside.  Being a great Mom doesn't mean my house is always, or even occasionally clean.  Being a great Mom doesn't mean my laundry is folded.  Being a great Mom doesn't mean any of these things, so what does it mean?

     Being a great Mom means that I put my children's needs first.  Being a great Mom means that I show my boys how to find a great wife by modeling what that is.  Being a great Mom means showing my daughter how to be a great wife and Mom.  Being a great Mom means that I show my children love daily.  Being a great Mom means that I show my husband love daily.  Being a great Mom means I will take care of my kids.  Being a great Mom means I will protect them.  Being a great Mom means I will shelter them a bit.

     Being a great Mom means that I may not be beautifully dressed, but I'm happy being with my family.  Being a great Mom means that I've learned to accept yoga pants as both pajamas and day clothes because some days I won't have time to get dressed at all.  Being a great Mom means that I probably can't tell you for certain when I last washed my hair but I know the bathroom floor gets mopped daily with a towel after I've bathed the kids.  Being a great Mom means my kids do have socks, they just have to mate them themselves.  Being a great Mom means that I will smell my kids jeans to see if they can wear them again when I haven't washed clothes in a day or so.  Being a great Mom means I will teach my kids to make a peanut butter sandwich on their own at a young age. 

     Being a great Mom means I read to my kids.  Being a great Mom means I pray with my kids.  Being a great Mom means I play with my kids.  Being a great Mom means I kiss bo-bos.  Being a great Mom means I can laugh through the chaos.  Being a great Mom means that I will join in the silliness at times.  Being a great Mom means that I will also create silliness too.  Being a great Mom means I will pick up the hallway for the 4th time today.  Being a great Mom means I will step on a Lego and yell, "Lego" very loudly so someone will come get it to put it away.  Being a great Mom means I will yell, "Lego" again when I find the same Lego on the post at the stairs because someone didn't want to put it away. 

     Being a great Mom means I will share my icecream.  Being a great Mom means I will sometimes wait until after the kids go to bed to have a bowl of ice cream because I don't want to share.  Being a great Mom means I know that an Icee makes everything better.  Being a great Mom means that driving thru the carwash becomes an awesome game of Space Invadors.  Being a great Mom means that sometimes it's okay to have pie for lunch.  Being a great Mom means that boxed cake mixes make great homemade cupcakes. 

     Being a great Mom means I will cut blue jeans off into shorts when they get holes in the knees.  Being a great Mom means I will let them wear those new shorts to play in the mud.  Being a great Mom means I won't think about the water bill while they make the mud.  Being a great Mom means I will join in with playing in the water.  Being a great Mom means I will also join in with playing in the mud.  Being a great Mom means I will have a race with my kids.  Being a great Mom means I will let them win.  Being a great Mom means I will sometimes win to teach them that it's still fun even if you don't win.  Being a great Mom means I could come up with a million more things to add to this list.

     Most importantly, being a great Mom means that I am honest, hardworking, loving, forgiving and caring.  I am loved by those that matter the most, my kids and husband!  I love being their Mom and I love being my husband's wife!    I couldn't have asked for a better life than the one I live daily. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Big Mistake!

   I think one of the characteristics of a great mom is the ability to admit when you've messed up.  Well, tonight I messed up BIG TIME and it had the potential to be really HUGE!!!!  I had all four kiddos with me in the van, Gabe was in his truck and we were meeting at Denny's for dinner.  I got out and started getting kids out when Elijah said he needed to put his shoes on.  At that moment, the clouds opened up and the misting rain turned into pouring down rain.  I had the younger 3 out of the car already so I assumed (we all know what that does) that all would be fine if we walked to the covered area to wait on Elijah. 

   I'm standing there and see Gabe run towards Dusty's (his cousin that was also meeting us) car, then I hear Elijah screaming.  I still have no clue why Gabe ran at this point but I assume (again, I know, I'm bad about that) that Elijah is screaming because we left him.  I NEVER do stuff like that but I assumed that he knows to look for cars and walk safely across the parking lot, especially since I was right there watching him.  Well, I was watching the van, I never saw him.  It turns out that Elijah had gotten done with his shoes and had taken off in a run towards the restaurant, right at the time that Dusty was coming up and about to turn into a parking spot.  Elijah ran smack into the drivers side door of Dusty's car and fell backwards.  Gabe didn't see it happen but he heard the loud thump and couldn't see Elijah.  Elijah was kinda shocked at first and scared to death.  Thankfully God was watching out for my baby in my ignorance and protected him from a potentially bad outcome. 

   When I found out what had happened, my heart sunk into the pit of my stomach.  It was all I could do not to cry right there in front of Denny's.  I feel like the worst mom ever!  My entire family could have been forever changed tonight because I was worried about me and the babies getting soaked.  We've lost a child before and it was devastating.  I would never get over losing another child, especially when it was something like this that could have easily been prevented if I had actually been a little more cautious and stayed with Elijah as he put on his shoes.  He has walked through parking lots with me a million times, he crosses the street on the way to the park on his bike with me watching from behind as I walk with the little ones.  He knows how to watch for cars and I assumed that he would.  He trusts me and assumes that I am going to take care of him.  Tonight he assumed that there wouldn't be any cars coming and he didn't stop to look.  I assumed that he would be safe walking alone.  We've both learned a great big lesson tonight and I hope that in the future I will be much more careful in walking with my kids through a parking lot and across streets. 

   My biggest fear with my kids has always been that one would get run over.  Not sure why I fear this but I do.  Tonight I realized just how easily this could actually happen because of one little act of assuming on my part.  Kids are supposed to assume that their parents are going to take care of them and that the world is safe.  Moms are not supposed to assume that their kids are safe, we are to make sure that they are safe.  I could have waited 2 minutes for him to put on his shoes.  I could have quickly put the kids back in the van to wait instead of walking 25 feet away to get out of the rain.  I am so glad that this didn't happen just 3 seconds earlier or 1 second later.  He could have been in front of the car or  could have hit right at the rear tire as Dusty was pulling into his parking spot.  God had his hand on my Baby Boy tonight and I am so thankful that He did.  I made a huge parenting mistake tonight and one that I cannot easily forgive myself for.  I did something that I never do and it almost became something horrible. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Montessori Trails - Our Montessori Path Through Life: Project-Based Learning

Montessori Trails - Our Montessori Path Through Life: Project-Based Learning

Absolutely love this article!  Note to self:  Learn to step out of the way and let your children learn on their own! 

Some helpful links for those that may be considering homeschooling the Montessori way

I was chatting back and forth through email with another mom from a Yahoo group and told her that I had some great things that I had printed out back when we were deciding to homeschool.  I got the kids occupied long enough for me to dig out the binder and send another email.  These are some really good resources for anyone considering Montessori homeschooling but are also a good reference point for anyone considering homeschool in general.  I hope that all of the links will work, I have not tested them and it has been 2 years since I printed the documents that have these links listed on them.  I would like to include a few other links that I had already sent her: 

Montessori Research and Development (these are the manuals that our family uses).  (Update:  In the summer of 2013, I decided that I was confident enough in my teaching to sell these manuals and venture out on my own.  We started using Unit Studies that seem to fit our family much better, covering multiple age groups with out a lot of work to tailor them to each child.  I just couldn't keep up with teaching to two different levels with different units and I didn't like always repeating units and looking for extra material to add in for the oldest.)

Shiller Math (this is the math program that I wish I had found bf we were in so deep with purchasing Montessori math materials).  (Update:  in July 2013, I decided to switch to ShillerMath.  Our family has really enjoyed the simplicity of using this program.)

Montessori Print Shop (I get tons of materials here, LOVE this site!!!!!)

Here's my message to her with all of the other links:

Okay, my kids are all occupied so I can get this list of links for you. 

Why We Homeschool   (This list of verses is what I found just before we made our decision to homeschool.  Ours was a decision based on finances since my youngest was about to be starting at the Montessori school in the toddlers program.  I still wasn't sold on the idea when I came across these verses.  I rewrote them into my journal as they were worded in the King James version and wrote my own thoughts about each verse.  I prayed over them as I wrote them on that Monday night, all day on Tuesday, most of the night on Tuesday and when I woke on Wednesday morning, I knew that this was for us.  I knew that I could do it and that my kids would fare just fine from my teaching.)

NAMC Homeschool kit (even if you choose not to go with this kit, this site has many great resources on it.)

Overview of Montessori Classroom

How to Create a Montessori Prepared Environment

Montessori benchmarks

Easy one/two word sequence for 3-6

Easy one/two word sequence for 6-9

Sequence and Order of Language Materials  (this site also has S&O of Practical Life and Sensorial).

Sequence and order of Math materials

Great free Montessori downloads, more are listed now than what I found 2 years ago when looking at this site.

I have one document that doesn't have the website listed at the bottom and no mention of where it came from.  I will scan it and email it in a bit.  It's brief descriptions of the 5 main areas in a Montessori classroom. 

Hope you enjoy reading these as I did.  You will do just fine homeschooling!!!!!!  Just remember that homeschool doesn't have to resemble public school or even a Montessori school.  Let me know if you have any questions!  Audrey

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Cleaning out..... Looking Ahead

I'm hoping to post pictures later (if I can locate the camera, which Elijah thinks is ours to share now) but today I am working on cleaning out some things in our classroom (I know, not really part of that cleaning list but since I'm behind, it shouldn't matter much).  I'm finally pulling out the curriculum that we had purchased at the beginning of the school year and getting it ready to sell.  I'm simplifying our shelves so that the boys know just what they need to be working on through the end of the school year. 

I am so excited with how this year has gone for us and I'm excited about the possibilities for next year.  Elijah has already decided on our first Social Studies topic for next school year and I will spend my summer preparing for that.  It will require lots of preparation and prayer because it is such a sensitive topic.  He wants to know about slaves and why people were so mean to African Americans.  We have worked very hard to teach our children love and respect for everyone, no matter their skin color.  Yesterday with tears in the corner of his eyes, he asked, "Why did peach people used to be mean to brown people?"  Someone told him that whites once fought the blacks and made them be slaves.  We've never referred to African Americans as blacks nor ourselves as whites.  The story that he has been told was no-doubt learned from another child that doesn't know and understand our history either.  He and I talked about it for a little bit and I promised that we would study that period of history so that we can both better understand it.  We have read a few books about it in the past and we will be reading much more about it soon.  If you have any suggestions for websites or books that would help in teaching this, please leave a comment below.  I want to be sure that in teaching this, I will teach an attitude of sympathy, love and understanding rather than one of entitlement and hate.  Please be in prayer for me as I work to prepare this study for the fall. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Cleaning Schedule

I haven't forgotten about the 30 day cleaning challenge.  I've just been extremely busy so the basic picking up is about all that has happened this past week.  I will pick it up again tomorrow and hope to get through quite a few days.  We've taken in another foster child and my car is too small for me and all 4 kids so I should have plenty of time at home tomorrow.  We are going to start with Elijah and Levi's bedroom and then move on to the nursery.  I'm hoping to have that finished by noon so that I can send the older two outside during naptime for the littles.  That should give me plenty of time to do one or two other rooms.  We'll see how far I get! 

If you want to follow along, there are some links in my earlier posts of other bloggers that are doing this during the month of April.  Here's where the list originated  It was altered a bit from another list found here  I hope that you will join the rest of us in our quests for a more organized, cleaner and much more calm home. 

The End is Near!

I can't believe it!  Tomorrow is April 15th.  It's nearly the end of the month, which means May is coming, which means that the end of the school year is just a few more weeks away.  In a way, I feel like I should be rushing the boys to finish up this or that but I'm really not that worried about it.  Last year we finished the school year at the end of April because we were just ready for a break.  This year, I have no idea when we will finish but we're not ready yet either. 

We're still studying Knights and we want to do a unit on Birds and also the Water Cycle before we call it a year.  I'd like Elijah to finish his reading curriculum but if he doesn't, we'll continue it next school year.  Who says he has to finish it this school year anyways?  I do have a few more math lessons that I would like him to get through so we will be working on that but again, if we don't make it through them, it doesn't matter. 

We don't have to finish everything this year.  We have taken our time learning this year and have really learned a lot.  We've enjoyed most of the year and we enjoy taking our time as we learn new things.  This year has been a year of many lessons for us and many of the things that we have learned have been real-life things and could never be found in a book.  The boys are becoming much more independent and are learning to take responsibility for their chores.  They are learning to work on school work without me standing over them.  We've worked on many heart issues that have affected our relationships with each other as well as our behavior.  We've learned to open our home and hearts to others that are in need, both through family/friends that have stayed with us for long periods of time and now through foster care.  These are things that will carry my boys way farther than anything they ever read in a textbook.  These are lessons in hospitality, manners, love and respect.  These are the things that will keep our family close through the years and will have a lasting place in the boys' memories. 

As we look to the end of the school year, I won't be looking for curriculum for next year.  I won't be talking with friends (okay, maybe I will listen with interest) and deciding to change directions for next year.  I will be making a list of the things that I need in order to continue school just the way we have been doing it.  I will need to get the next math manual and purchase the materials needed for the first month or two (then I will order as we go).  I will need to have the next Explode the Code books ready for the boys as they are ready for them.  I will need to get Elijah the BJU Reading 2 curriculum to continue working on comprehension skills.   I know what works for us and though it can be tempting to try the things that work well for our friends, I have to stay strong and trust my instincts as Elijah and Levi's mom.  These are little boys.  I'm a boy mom.  We are different and that's okay.  We know what works for us and we will stick to it.  We are blessed to live in the United States where we have the freedom to homeschool and even more blessed to live in Louisiana where we have the freedom to homeschool our own way.  Most of all, I am blessed to have a husband that not only supports me but also encourages me to do things our own way.  This is our trail, our journey.  It isn't an easy one and it isn't anything found in any book.  It's what works best for us!!!!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Day 2: The Bathroom

The instructions for today were to clean your bathroom.  As you can see from my before pictures, the bathroom needed a bit of attention. 

The tub is over 100 years old and is stained pretty badly.  I read some of the ideas and comments on this post from the Money Saving Mom about cleaning the stains.  I decided to try a combination of Bar Keepers Friend and a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.  When you see the after pictures you will see what a difference it made and that I also need to repeat this several times.  The Magic Eraser completely disintegrated though and I didn't have another.  I'm a tad embarrassed to be posting these pictures but it is my house and I am working to get it cleaned. 

I am following along with Mindful Homeschooler and Money Saving Mom as we strive to get our homes clean this month and hopefully set a routine and schedule to maintain our homes once the month is over.

Always behind....

There are a few things that I have come to accept being a Stay At Home Homeschool Mom.  The first is that my house will never be completely clean all at the same time again.  The second is that I will forever be behind on something.  My friend Melissa of Mindful Homeschooler is following along another blogger as she strives to clean and organize her home this month.  I am following along behind Melissa.  One day 1, April 1st, Melissa posted to clean the kitchen completely.  We all know that when we clean the kitchen, there are many things that are overlooked.  We get used to those things being there and we just clean around them.  I spent about 2 hours working on my kitchen on Tuesday night and finally had it cleaned.  It now needs a bit of TLC so that it doesn't get back to the state that it was in.

On that same day, Melissa posted to clean your living room the same way.  Thankfully, my living room wasn't as cluttered as my kitchen and it only took about 30 minutes.  I had to wait until the weekend to work on it though as we have school during the day in the week and at night my husband enjoys relaxing in front of the tv.  I didn't want to disturb him so I've waited until today to work on it.  It didn't start out so bad but before I thought to take pictures, I had already fixed the pillows on the furniture and swept the mess into a pile for the boys to pick up.  You'll notice most of the clutter/disorganization is on the shelves behind the chaise.  Until this past week, we've had a recliner in that spot so the shelves were used as a coffee table.  Not sure exactly why things get tossed on the top shelves but you'll see lots of junk there as well.  Take a look....

  It only took the boys a few minutes to pick the pile up, and then I vacuumed the floor and set to work on the shelves.  I straightened up the books (I have a "Book Organization" project planned for the summer), returned a few things to their rightful home and then straightened the shelves.  I spent all of about 30 minutes from start to finish on this so I'm not sure why I haven't just straightened it up as I've cleaned it.   Those shirts on the top middle shelf (they were the wrong size) they have been there since Christmas,  I actually dusted at the shelves a week ago and just dusted around them.  I know, that's pretty bad and lazy, right?  Well, it's all cleaned now and looks nice.  I do need some help with figuring out how to decorate on those shelves and also need to get my hubby to finish my cabinet doors.  I'm so glad that it is organized now though! 

To follow along with Melissa as she cleans and organizes, please visit the Mindful Homeschooler page. 

To follow along with Money Saving Mom, the one that started it all, visit her page.  There's TONS of great info on her page.  I can't believe I am just now finding her. 

Kitchen curtains are up!

I was so excited to get a call from my friend Jennefer, who made my curtains for my kitchen, to let me know that the other sets were finished.  She did a fabulous job on them and they look great!!!!  Normally I wouldn't be posting this on this blog but since I am posting my progress as I clean up/out and organize my house, I wanted to follow up my kitchen post with the pictures of the new curtains hanging.  I did the measuring but my husband hung the rods, needless to say, I need to move the rods down to the sides of the windows where I measured from because they are a tad short.  I must say though, I kinda like the way that they look being a bit short though.  The small window had the rods hung a little low and they do need to be moved up.  Anyways, that's all for another day though!  Note: photos were taken with my phone so they aren't the best quality. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Just following along....


So, who am I following?  My good friend Melissa at Mindful Homeschooler.  I think she may be following along with another blogger but without clicking over and double checking, I'm not really sure.  In all, what matters is not that I'm following but that I'm actually getting something done around here (and not just enough to get by). 

Those that know me well will tell you that I am always cleaning.  With 3 little boys, if I don't stay on top of things, this place gets to looking like a tornado went through it within a matter of hours.  I pride myself on trying to keep my home company ready at all times.  I fail often but I do try!  I have piles everywhere of things that I need to get done.  I have lots of creative chaos in nearly every room too.  This month Melissa is writing about her journey through cleaning and organizing her home and I've decided to follow along.  She started yesterday with the Kitchen and Living Room.  I started today with my kitchen.  The living room needs a day all to itself in this house!  I took my before pictures while 2 of the boys were eating breakfast, I then ran a load in the dishwasher and tidied up just a bit.  I tidied up a little bit more before dinner tonight and then after dinner I went to work.  I spent about 2 hours tonight cleaning the kitchen. 

I had a cake pan on the counter that has been there for about a month waiting to go back to a friend.  I took it back today (this was partly due to the fact that she's got a newborn baby and I wanted to see him)!!!!  I also still had so much clutter on the counters that just needed to be put away.  Under all that clutter were Kool-Aid stains so out came the BarKeep's Friend and now the counters are back to white!  The floors were less than clean so they got a good vacuum with the stick vac and then scrubbed with the FloorMate (this is the greatest invention EVER!).  Two hours later and I have a sparkly clean kitchen that I actually look forward to cooking in tomorrow evening.  I am so glad that Melissa has decided to challenge herself this month to clean up her house because I might actually get some of my junk cleaned out!  It may take me a bit longer but I will be following along at my own pace. 

Note:  A friend is in the process of making my curtains.  I have one set up already and the others should be ready by this weekend.  I also need to recover the chairs to my table but that too will come with time.  We live in a home that was built in 1910 and our list of things to do is quite long.  We are working on it a little at a time and have made great progress in the 2 years that we've been here.  I look forward to the day that I can say, "We've finished the house," but for now the baby steps are all pretty exciting.