Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cardboard Playhouse: Day 2

I added some fun details to the playhouse today. I decided against making curtains because I want to make sure enough light gets inside, but I did use some tulle to make a screen on one window. I was going to screen the openings at the top, but it just didn't look nice (so we will have to just deal with the bugs). I will, more than likely, make a little mail box over the weekend to put next to the front door. So, here's the playhouse at 99% finished (and the cutest residents EVER).

The lovely red door for good luck!

My fairly crappy version of some cherry blossoms on a tree. It's not that I can't make cherry blossoms, but I had an impatient toddler helping out. So they just became random blossoms on a naked tree.

I wanted to add something fun to one side of the house. It is a little minimalist without the bakery and post office. I personally enjoy a little minimalism but...

...look how cute it is when there's a little postal employee hanging out the window!

And how could anyone pass up the sweetest thing I've ever seen in any bakery EVER!?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cardboard Playhouse

I feel like I haven't made anything for a long time. Maybe I just needed a break from the constant mess that seems to follow me when I make things. Whatever the reason, I felt the need to make something today. It just felt like a project kind of day. We started the morning with the girls bedazzling a couple of pairs of jeans. When I was a kid, I used to LOVE to cut daisies from fabric and sew them to my jeans. So, it was like life came full circle today watching my girls embellish their first pair of jeans. After they were sufficiently fancified, they headed out to transfer some of their plant into real pots and I sat down to design a little playhouse for Zion.

(I still haven't made the fabric playhouse for the big girls, but I feel like my sewing machine and I have such an on again, off again relationship that we are not ready to take on a large task together. Maybe we should consider counseling.) I make a lot of different things for the older girls, but haven't really had the chance to make anything special for Zion. My plan was to make a small playhouse for her that was just big enough for her (to keep her older sisters from taking over). Thanks to our local Sears appliance store, I acquired 5 very large, very sturdy pieces of cardboard. They were about an inch thick had a honeycomb type core, which makes them VERY sturdy.

I like the way it turned out and Zion LOVES it. It is definitely bigger than I originally anticipated, so technically, the bigger girls can play in it (but I think I will make it three years old and under area). The plan is to be able to move it from the garage, to the backyard or front yard depending on where the rest of us are. It weighs almost nothing, so it's very easy to move. I will keep a blanket to spread beneath it in the grass (to prevent the backyard itchies). I will add some details to the outside of the house, attach the front door and probably make some curtains.

I made just some simple line drawings on the inside for the different rooms of the house. I may do something a little more detailed later on, but this works for now.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Golden Compass

My big girls are in love with all things related to The Golden Compass. We've listened to the entire Dark Materials trilogy and they've just discovered that there's a movie. Thanks to Netflix, we've watched the movie several times over the past few days. I have to say, without some very pertinent information that you get in the book, the movie was rather confusing. So much so, that I didn't even remember that I saw the movie when it first came out on DVD a couple of years ago. I didn't get it at all then. It's a much better movie once you've read the book and can fill in the gaps.
Jena was devastated to find out that there isn't a movie for the Subtle Knife or the Amber Spy Glass. She's decided that she wants to make those movies. I wonder where she plans to find armored bears in Mississippi...

We took a little Golden Compass quiz (which the girls were very excited about). They did a good job. I will have to come up with a quiz for the other two books. These kids love taking quizzes (I'm not sure where they got that gene from).

Friday, May 21, 2010

Raw Diet: A Premature End...

So, I've officially ended my raw food diet and no, it hasn't been thirty days. I am officially a quitter. BUT, in my defense, I a:) still had to cook three meals a day everyday for the other five people in the house who weren't going raw. I know that's probably a cop out, but it is what it is. b:) I am still nursing the baby which meant that I was either eating all day long or my energy was just zapped (which made me snappy at everyone else). c:) Well, I went to New Orleans on Monday and honestly, who can go to New Orleans just eat raw food. Really? I'd say I made it two and a half weeks, which isn't really bad considering that I haven't even attempted a raw diet since before I had children (about 10 years ago). I'll try again soon, I'm sure.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Spring Cleaning: School/Dining/Craft Room

I know after my last burst of spring cleaning, I said I would work on my living room. I did actually get my living room/office space in order, but I figured since I don't have any before pictures of the room, and after picture would be rather anticlimactic. So instead, I am sharing our school room (which is also our dining room and my craft space). I posted pictures a few months ago when we started 2nd and 3rd grade. This is what it looked like before. That blue furniture served its purpose, but I was SO sick of looking at every time I walked through the dining room. It has found a new home in the garage.

This is what the room looks like now. It's so much more open and the kids have been getting to a point where they do not work well sitting together. Instead of working, they are either playing or writing notes to each other. (Really, you guys? You're passing notes in a homeschool class?) This way they have their own work space to do independent lessons and we can still come together at the dining room table for group activities. I save jars and other glass containers because I love them for storage. I decided to keep small items that we have lots of (i.e. crayons, erasers, paper clips and chalk) in them. I feel so much better about the space now.

My craft space is still a work in progress. I have a massive amount of craft supplies to try and organize in this shared space. This is my progress as of this weekend.

I got this book at the Salvation Army a few weeks ago. I'd say it's from the 60's. I thought the cover was hilarious, but it does have some pretty cute projects in it.

Who knows where the spring cleaning will take me next, but I'm leaving for a child free, over night trip to New Orleans in the morning, so no more cleaning until at least Wednesday!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Ballet Drawings

So I was asked to do some ballet inspired drawings to have at the girls' ballet performance. Ballet art is not really my thing, so I scoured the internet for some ballet inspiration and did a few drawings. Here they are (I did take them out of the sketchbook to display).

I found it where???

Today has been a CRAZY day. It started out like any other, until I remembered that I couldn't find my wallet (which I discovered yesterday while attempting to pay for some stuff). Unfortunately, I didn't remember this until 3:30pm while I was out dropping some things at Salvation Army. Now, I keep my entire life in my wallet (which I understand is not the best idea, but I like to know that I have things with me when need them). The bigger girls were performing in Sleeping Beauty with their ballet school and had casting call at 4:45. So I had to rush back home and tear up the house looking for luck. The last place I remembered using it was Walmart. So I rushed over luck. Check Goodwill just in luck. Maybe it fell out of my bag during dress rehearsal yesterday. Check the theater... no luck. So now I'm super frustrated (I hate losing things) and the kids need to get their makeup and hair done and I still have to mat the drawings that I volunteered to have for sale (I also hate rushing). Long story short, after a second time of tearing up the house (and the garage and the car), I was encouraged to check the trash (thank you mother), just in case. Lo and behold what do I find at the very bottom of the kitchen trash can? Yep, that's right. We can all thank my VERY helpful baby (who enjoys throwing trash and apparently wallets away) for making my afternoon a nightmare. Thank you, Zion.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

New(er) Play Kitchen for the kids

So, I might be a little obsessed. I'm not sure why. Maybe I was deprived of a fabulous play kitchen when I was child and have repressed that memory and it is resurfacing as this play kitchen obsession that I seem to have. Who knows. Anyway, I found this kitchen at our local Goodwill on Sunday (yes I spent my Mother's Day at Goodwill). I forgot to take pictures before I took the doors off the microwave and oven. Ooops.

(I'm thinking that this is pretty much what the one I bought would have looked like new. It's very.....pastel.)

Granted, it already pretty cute, but I'm not really a fan of cutesy things. So, I decided to put my style into it. A couple of cans of spray paint, some new hardware, a little creativity and a jar of Mod Podge later, this is the new kitchen the kids have in their room. I had a piece of wood cut at Home Depot to make a refrigerator (that part was missing when I bought it). This kitchen was much more expensive from start to finish than the last one. This one cost around $50 total (I generally like to keep my projects under $20 because I'm cheap). Now I just need to replenish the felt food supply.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bijou Talks....and TALKS

All of my girls are very talkative (well, not the baby, but she couldn't get a word in if she wanted to....). I have to say that Ashni and Bijou are by far the most talkative in the house. They are the kids that I don't remember ever NOT talking. Ashni has always been full of deep. insightful, probing questions (as well as bad jokes and goofy perspectives on life). We've learned that Bijou, at three years old, will continue to talk even when she needs to inhale. This means that there are little snippets of her sentences that are inaudible because she is talking while breathing IN. Here is an excerpt of our conversation at 7 o'clock this morning:

I come out of my bedroom carrying the baby. Bijou is laying on the living room floor, fully dressed and wrapped in a blanket.

Bijou: Good morning mommy. I was a big girl while I was asleep!
Me: You were a big girl while you were asleep? Well that's good.
Bijou: You only have on one sock mommy. That's funny. You have on one sock, Daddy has on two socks, Me and Zion don't have on socks. I thought I had shoes on in my bed, Mommy, but I didn't. It was just my feet. I wore these clothes for pajamas. These are my pajamas. Can you make me some breakfast.
Me: Yes, sweetie, I'll make you some breakfast in a little bit.
Bijou: Can I have oatmeal? Or waffles? I can eat waffles because I have these teeth. (smiles really big and shows me her teeth) When I was little I didn't have these teeth (points to her molars) and when I get bigger my teeth will get wiggly. They're going to get wiggly, Mommy, and then I am going to pull it out. It's going to bleed when I pull it out. Ashni pulled her tooth out and then she used a towel and showed me her blood. And that wasn't nice. Nope, that was mean. Right, Mommy? That was mean.
Me: She probably wasn't trying to mean, Bijou.
Bijou: Showing me her blood was mean.

The conversation goes on. Actually, the conversations never stop. She talks like this ALL day. It has become background noise in the house. I've gotten so used to the non stop talking that when she's asleep, I feel like I need to turn on the TV or something just to get the noise level back to normal (I don't do that though, I really appreciate the quiet when I can get it).

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Every morning I am awakened by Ashni (my seven year old) coming to get the baby for some early morning play time. Today, in exchange for the baby, I was given a lovely Mother's Day note written in yellow crayon.

It says (because I know it's hard to read): Todays the [day] for you. I like all the t[h]ings you do for us. Now you do not have to do that stuff. Happy Mothers day.

Gotta love that kid! Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Wooden Block Upgrade for the Kiddos

Our house has an abnormal number of wooden blocks. I think it may be some sort of obsession on my part, but I'm trying to get it under control. It's one of those toys that the kids play with, but not often. So I decided to give some of the plain blocks a little makeover. Here's what I came up with.

I added very simple architectural details with black sharpie. Nothing too complex and there wasn't a lot of emphasis on straight lines or perfect circles.

Maybe the blocks will get a little more use now. They did, at least, play with them this morning.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Accidental "unschooling"

Well, I wouldn't say that what I'm doing in unschooling (mainly because I think unschoolers are WAY more involved than I feel like I have been for the past few days). I really just can't seem to get myself motivated to do any traditional schooling. It happens every time the weather gets warm. Since we moved here and have to readjust to seasons again, whenever the weather gets warm I just don't want to sit in the house and talk about ancient civilizations or memorize multiplication facts or write paragraphs or talk about adverbs. I want to hang out, take trips, feel the sun on top of my head. We've been doing just the bare bones of school lately. I've renewed my library books on ancient Greece three times because we have yet to finish the unit. I figure if the girls do some math, write pen pal letters (with correct spelling and grammar), read for a GAZILLION hours each day, take care of their plants, play some games, listen to books on CD, pretend and draw some pictures, then we've had a fairly productive day. I know we will get back into the regular routine....eventually.

Raw Food: Day 4

Okay, so I caved today. I just really did not want to eat anything that we had in the house. Does that make me a wuss? Maybe, but I just really needed a sandwich. So, I had one. I have to admit that as much as I wanted that sandwich it wasn't very good. I don't know if my tongue has gotten used to different flavors already, but that sandwich was WAY too salty. I'm sure it tasted the same as they always do, but it just wasn't tasty at all. It was filling though and I haven't been hungry since (that was around 1 this afternoon). Even after this short period of time, it is strange to not be hungry almost eight hours after eating. For the past few days I've eaten something every couple of hours (a salad, a piece of fruit, a smoothie, juice, something). I do feel less like I need some cooked food now. So tonight I made hummus. I soaked the chic peas over night instead of cooking them (or using canned which is usually what I use). At some point I will get hungry again and that hummus will be calling my name!

Monday, May 3, 2010

A few of my favorite things...

I love finding great things at the thrift store (or on the side of the road or in the trash or in my grandparents' basement). I keep a shelf or two on my bookshelf just for all of my random things that I love. My current favorites are these...

The awesome fan is something I got from my grandmother years ago. It's one of my most prized possessions. It's really loud, but it still works (we don't use it because of all of the small fingers in the house that could be potentially lost). I got the little Japanese kokeshi doll at a thrift store in St. Croix a few years ago. That wooden bullet thing is a set of nesting dolls just waiting on me to make up mind about what I'm going to paint on them (I will make up my mind eventually). The little blue bottle of tooth powder that I bought at my next door neighbor's garage sale (there's still some tooth powder in it). I really love old cameras and I found this 8mm Revere at the Salvation Army for $3. It weighs a TON and still works! The metal "ORTH" is a broken piece of a sign that I found in a parking lot. My "stuff" shelf changes fairly regularly as I find new stuff, but this is what it consists of today. Oh, the portrait in the background is the first one I painted of my husband and the little 7UP photo was taken by a friend.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Raw Food - Day 1

Okay, I have to admit that I am not totally prepared for this upcoming week of raw food. My monthly trip to Whole Foods is not scheduled until next week, so I foresee the next few days as being challenging. I do know that the first few days are rough. All I can think about right now is how delicious a cheeseburger would be, or fried fish and fries, ooh or four cheese tortellini, or.....but this is not helping anything. So I should just recap what my meals consisted of today (which is a more productive subject).

Breakfast: Strawberry smoothie (a BIG one)
Snack: apple, raw almonds, green grapes
Lunch: A big mixed green salad with spinach, tomato, avocado, pumpkin seed, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and almonds. I made a dressing with garlic, raw almonds, a little water, nutritional yeast, olive oil, sea salt, black pepper and a touch of red pepper. The dressing was DELICIOUS!
Snack: orange
Dinner: (which I actually haven't had yet) Fruit salad with apples, raisins, fresh coconut and banana with a peanut dressing.

As much as I love fruit, my day was fruit heavy today and I feel a little ODed on sugar. I'll have to work that out. We'll see how tomorrow goes...