Thursday, December 30, 2010

Girls' Bedroom Makeover: Almost Finished

The girls' room has been put together for a few days now and they love it! We decided to go with a soft gray since it was neutral and will be suitable should this ever become a boys' room. I picked up these three bedspreads last summer at Goodwill. I love the clean lines, yet whimsical patterns. A splash of pink never a girl, either.

Being that we needed to allow each child to incorporate her own personality, we allowed them to each pick their own color of sheet, bedside table and storage cube. Next we took some very ugly Goodwill lamps, applied some spray paint and custom decorations. Each lamp is so reflective of each girl. They also chose a black frame lined with some scrapbook paper to go above their beds. Now they can write on the glass a new message every day.

I think the room has become all that we wanted it to be. Simple. Grown up in places. Girlie. Easy to clean. Organized.

There's still a few things yet to be done. I found this great write-on calendar on clearance and then talked down the price further due to an imperfection (which I quickly fixed with a sharpie). I'm on the hunt for a medium sized coffee table that I can paint light pink to store more storage cubes under. It would be a great place for the younger girls to color and play.

This dresser is in need of a coat of paint and some love. It's been in the family for years and I think it's shape and scale are perfect for the room. The Goodwill mirror will hang above it. I'm debating about whether or not it should be painted as well.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Girls' Room Makeover: Part 2

When it comes to kids' beds I've learned a few lessons over the years.

1) Beds are not only for sleeping but for storing trash, library books, legos, socks and anything else that may find it's way there by intent or by accident. In the worse case scenario even food might be discovered. Therefore, if a child is to truly clean under her bed it must be located away from the wall and be lightweight enough to move (preferably on her own).

2) A child will only be able to make their bed if it is achievable. Many pillows and sheets will deter any child from success. Therefore, a medium weight comforter is sufficient.

3) Children are naturally attracted to bouncy beds. Don't give them a box springs and suddenly the bed ceases to be a trampoline. Besides, I'd much rather spend the money on a better quality mattress than on and cheaper set.

4) Headboards bring out the artist in a child. It's not only a perfect surface for creating art work, but also for displaying other things like gum and stickers.

On my quest for beds I found myself drawn to this simple design. IKEA has several similar bedframes. This one ranges from $115-$179.

With the help of a handy husband, we made our own using this pattern. We bought the materials for the first bed at Lowe's for just under $50. Then we went to Menard's where the lumber was on sale and spent $40 for the remaining two beds. It took Sean about 2 hours per bed. Well worth the effort!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Girl's Bedroom Makeover: Part 1

The three youngest girls have been waiting patiently for their time to have a bedroom makeover. It's hard to believe that it's been two years since we undertook the older girls' room.

We quickly learned with the older girls that because their bedroom was decorated, organized and just the way they planned it, they became unnaturally motivated to keep it that way. This quickly grew into a habit and now it is the rare occasion that I have to ask them to clean their room. Love it.

The younger girls need this sort of motivation more than they know. Though their room is large, they fill it up quickly. I knew it was going to be a challenge to blend their tastes as well as their dispositions into one space that would make sense for all of them.

Miriam, 10, is an ultra organized, easy to be around, athletic, no frills kind of girl. She likes to read, knit, listen to music and write.

Elizabeth is a fun loving, creative, vibrant nine year old. She likes to collect items because they hold sentimental value to her. She's kind of stuck between enjoying all the things a young girl loves and yet wanting at times to be more grown up.

Then there is Rebekah, 6. What can I say? I think that Rebekah would be happy to live in a box with a big stack of paper, markers, tape and scissors. She is always making something (and then leaving it all over the floor). This girl needs structure and yet room to explore and discover. She still has some dressing up and Polly Pocket playing to do, too.

Thankfully, I like challenges.

I've been collecting items since this summer and now we are in the construction phase. I regret that I can not find my before pictures of their room. Imagine this: yellow walls, multicolored flowered bedspreads and lots of stuff. I gave away their beds this summer to a family in need, so they've been sleeping on their mattresses on the floor since. It is definitely time for a change.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Winter Days

As much as I would prefer to sit barefoot on my front porch sipping iced tea each evening while watching the kids run through the sprinkler, there are a few things I look forward to each winter.

Hot tea
Enthralling books
Quiet snow
Long baths
School delays
Time to imagine and create
Homemade soup
Family and friends
Cozy covers and a snugly Sean
Birds at the feeder
Bundling up the kids and sending them out to play

What do you enjoy most about winter?

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Little Tea and Dancing

The other day I had one of those days when nothing went according to my schedule. I had planned to stay home with the kids all day and do nothing except attend to matters here. Alas, it was not to be. When I came home tired and harried, I found the downstairs cleaned up, classical music playing and a cotillion of sorts taking place. They had set up a tea party and were practicing their dance steps. They never cease to amaze me.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A New Season

We have our second teenager in the house! Last week our Lydia celebrated her birthday and we swept her away for a few days to Nashville, Tennessee. As only God could provide, Sean had a conference at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center. It was the most amazing hotel I had ever stayed at and it was especially delightful to share it with Lydia.

The pictures don't do justice to the beautiful gardens and waterfalls.

We were talking on the way and realized the only time we've spent with Lydia alone was when she was born and then last year when she had swine flu which meant she couldn't stay at the grandparents with the rest of the kids. There just are not many opportunities like these when in a family of nine. But when they do come along, these times are especially precious to us all.

We spent much of our time working through Passport To Purity. Let me just say, this was much easier the second time around! It thrills my heart to enter into this next phase of our relationship as mother and daughter. I know how much I leaned on my mom for information and wisdom regarding relationships. Many a late night was spent talking in the dark car in the driveway. She was always open, honest and approachable. I want to be that for my girls.

I was encouraged this weekend to be more mindful to pray not only about the purity of my children, but about the purity of their future spouses. There are countless traps and obstacles young people face, for sure, but our God has not left us defenseless.

We had some free time to explore the hotel, swim, get pedicures, watch movies....

Our trip ended with a special dinner with Sean. He gave her a purity ring, a symbol of our commitment to pray for her and to help her navigate through these teenage years and beyond. And, according to her dad, she is to wear it every time she is with a boy she likes.

This girl loves her dad.

When we arrived home the kids could hardly wait to shower her with their gifts. Align Center

How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word. Psalm 119:9

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Teaching One Another

Perhaps one of the most enjoyable things about having children is observing their various strengths and gifts. I'm continually amazed at how different they are and yet how well they compliment each other. They are not perfect by any means, but learning to live and choosing to love each other in the midst of imperfection is what family is all about.

Recently, I picked up this book for $3 off the clearance rack. I had aspirations of actually engaging my kids through art. Little did I know what a treasure it would be! Within a few hours Lydia had all the kids involved in an art lesson. She was so encouraging every step of the way and the results speak for themselves.

Rebekah (age 6)

John (age 4)

Joseph (age 7)

Monday, November 22, 2010

If you give Monica a reason....

(like 55 guests for Thanksgiving)

She'll HAVE to clean out the pantry....

There she'll make the earth shattering discovery that the dryer does in fact eat collar stays. Mystery solved.

Next, she'll empty the room and remember the flooring that never got finished.

She'll decide that instead of cleaning the worn out white vinyl, she'll just tear it all out.

Then she'll realize that she in fact does not have enough flooring and make the first of many trips to the store...

where she'll be told that this particular product has been discontinued.

No worries, because she'll figure out the next best thing and be satisfied with that.

But then she'll remember the can of paint her mom gave her....

and she'll have to paint the whole room.

After the floor is scraped and cleaned and mopped and primed...

she'll do the best she can to place the tiles.

Tired, though she is, she'll go off to work for twelve hours and return home to find that her thoughtful husband installed a new shelving system.

Now the laundry might actually get folded in this room instead of on the couch.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Blog in Summary

It is interesting to see this season of my life in words. The words used more frequently are larger while others seemingly fade into the background. Altogether they paint a fairly accurate picture of my life at the present.

It is convicting in to consider how the words I write and speak reflect my heart.

"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14

Just enter your blog at this site and create a word picture of your own.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Resources for Learning

Recently I ran across a most useful website to supplement our learning at home. neoK12 is a collection on useful online videos, educational games and images. There is even an area where the student can create a report similar to a power point with all of the information right there on one site. Thus far, I've been impressed with the content and the amount of time saved since I no longer have to search the web for appropriate material.

It's great when one is learning about seeds, another about India, and another about light, I can point them to this site to explore and see for themselves. Besides that, I can "reward" a certain young man for his reading with a few short clips about asteroids. What could be better?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Living Life

I think this is my longest stint without blogging. I often have ideas for posts, but no time or energy for the follow through. Life has been full and good. Here's a glimpse of our typical week.

While Lydia takes a Classical Conversations Class (composition, logic, government), the rest of us head to the library to complete school. Why is it that school goes so much smoother when we aren't at home?

I love teaching this boy how to read.

Timz Attack has revolutionized multiplication at this house!

Tuesday: John, Rebekah and I go to BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) in the morning and then everyone is off to a Homeschool Gym and Swim Class and then to an after school art class.
Wednesday: Home day. I usually work in the late afternoon at the hospital.
John keeping busy while we have school.
Thursday: Homeschool Group. I'm teaching this semester a class about the body to the first and second grade classes. Love it! I hope to post my lesson plans soon. Lydia has violin/strings in the afternoon.
Friday: Home Day. I might work or Sean and I try to go on a date.
We went to see my lifelong friend, Carrie, as Miss Hanagan in Civic Theater's Annie. She was MUCH meaner on stage.

Add into this mix Sean's travel,

Hannah's volleyball schedule,

field trips,
We took an overnight trip to Spring Mill State Park and the working pioneer village there.

Anderson's Orchard. The tradition is that whoever is small enough to fit on my lap gets to "drive" the car through the orchard. Always a highlight.

and various other things that come up...

Walk for Kaz. A fund-raising event that provided 100 beds to the orphans of Kazakhstan.

Me and my beautiful sister, Barbara. We joined Hannah's choir and saw the Broadway production on Mary Poppins.

After all of that now I don't feel so bad about not blogging.