Saturday, March 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Ashni!

Today, Ashni is eight years old. Eight. There I said it. This day has been coming for...oh...well, eight years now, I guess. So in eight years this is what I have learned about Ashni:
1. She must eat. A lot. All day. BUT, she's not just an eater. She's a foodie. A fish eyeball eating, balsamic reduction requesting, ingredient tasting, Food Network watching foodie. She loves to be in the kitchen. She needs it. It drives me insane some days (because, honestly, I'm not a fan of the kitchen).
2. She talks. And talks. She always has. She's one of those kids that you can't remember NOT being able to talk. She uses (and has always used) big words, like atrocious and pessimistic. When she was young and would use a big word, we would say, "Do you even know what that means?" It didn't take long before we stopped asking her that.
3. She is enthusiastic about new things. All new things. Except for math. She is incredibly unenthusiastic about math.
4. She will take care of you when you are down (or sick or hurt). She's the sweetest kid you'll ever meet. Granted, she may talk you to death.
5. She is stunningly beautiful. Yes, I know, every parent thinks their kids are beautiful (humor me). But really, her perfect skin and long eyelashes and deep dimples...
6. I love her ferociously.

Today, she is eight years old. And unfortunately, not feeling well. So as she sits, sipping ginger and lemongrass tea, watching the kids' movie du jour, I just want to wish my food loving, non stop talking, over enthusiastic, sweet, beautiful girl a happy eighth birthday.

Friday, March 25, 2011

extended vacation?

Sometimes, when homeschooling, it can feel like everyone else around you has it all together and you are the slacker mom who can't get it together long enough to get a proper workbook page done, let alone plan out an entire week of enriching, educational activities. Honestly, I am having one of those moments. To be truthful, we have been loosely schooling for weeks now. I know, it's something a lot of HS moms do not want to admit. But to be honest I school 12 months out of the year, no summer vacation, no spring break. I get burnt out from time to time. I don't have the luxury of janitorial, cafeteria or nursing staff. There's no sub to step in when I need to take a personal day or have a cold or migraine. I am the teacher, the janitor, the cook, the nurse, the bus driver. I do it all. All day. Everyday. Without fail. Do I feel overwhelmed? Sometimes. But honestly, that comes with the territory. No job is great all of the time. Do I feel like my kids are being slighted? No. This is the time that they are self reliant. This is the time that they ask to do work. BEG for it actually. And I am more than happy to oblige. Do something, anything. Whatever you want. There are gardens being tended, math games being played, books being read, stories being written. There's pretending and sharing and entertaining each other. There's food being cooked, recipes being created, ideas being formed. There's learning taking place all around us. Did I do a lesson of the associative property of multiplication (which is what's on the schedule for today)? No. Did we discuss the Mongolian invasion of medieval Europe? Nope. Are they going to be doomed to a life of crime due to lack of education? I highly doubt it. My motivation will return soon and we will back to our regularly scheduled schooling. Until then, happy learning.

Jena Thinks She's SO Cool

This is a story I wrote for Jena and Ashni back when they were little. My brother just resurrected it and uploaded it on YouTube. It is handwritten and the pictures are all paper cutouts. Thanks for bringing it back from the dead for me, Derek.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Little Girls' Bedroom Spoiler

The big move hasn't officially happened yet, but redecorating the little girls' room is in full swing. (I will post pictures of the whole room once the bigger girls have moved out) For now, I thought I'd share a few completed projects. The little workbench had been successfully turned into "Little Monkeys' Farm Stand" complete with shopping carts and specials chalk board. If you need to drop off some mail on your way to pick up groceries, there's this little mailbox on the way! Once you've mailed your letters and picked up your groceries, it's time to head home to make dinner (or maybe vacuum or take care of the baby). I am still stocking the kitchen with canned goods and such.

We finally got a bookshelf back in the room (we moved it out last year because Bijou and Zion kept pulling ALL of the books off and throwing them around the room). Now all of the books that have been stored are sorted and shelved. The big girls' books went on the big book shelf in their new room. The little house on top of the book shelf is a super simple little night light that I put together for Bijou (who is afraid of the dark). It's just one of those papier mache houses they sell at Hobby Lobby (about $4) and a battery powered LED touch night light with an adhesive back (about $5). It casts great shafts of light from the windows and door of the little house onto the ceiling and walls of their room at night.

This is the little workbench as it was when we bought it. Notice the curious little one trying to figure out what the heck I'm doing.

A couple of wooden boxes we already had and a plethora of felt food later, they have a cute little market stand.

I painted the black sheep painting for Bijou when she was first born. I think it works well here.

In closet playhouse, complete with vacuum for tidying up!

I didn't really have anything to stock the kitchen pantry, so I saved a couple of cans and glued pictures from magazines to the outside. I just used up some stickers we had in the craft cabinet for the words.

The night light after dark. Looks a little creepy here, but it's not creepy in real life.

And finally, my very sweet little Zion in front of her newly organized bookshelf!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Finished Bed...

So our mattress came and the bed is completely assembled in our bedroom. I realized, after I shelved all of the books that we had hiding in the garage, that we really didn't have THAT many books. So now I have plenty of extra storage space to buy more!

The next batch of pictures will be little girls' room makeover...

Monday, March 14, 2011

New Painting...

...that's it. I painted this last month. Just thought I'd share.

Oh, and I got my new mattress, so I will post pictures of our finished bed soon.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

New bed and bedroom changes.

I spent my Saturday cleaning out my garage to make space to build a platform bed for our new king sized mattress that will (hopefully) be delivered this week. Now we don't live the in the biggest house, so with a family this size, I am ALWAYS trying to make things that serve multiple functions. I scoured the internet looking for free platform bed plans (because I'm cheap like that), but didn't really find anything that I liked. Plus, I really wanted somewhere that I could store all of the books that had been taking up space in my garage. So after hours of Google searches, I decided to just design my own. I wanted something really simple with ample storage.

The great thing about this is I could have the lumber cut to size at the hardware store (because, as you know, I do not own power tools) and I put it all together in about an hour and a half. The total cost of the bed with lumber, cuts, sandpaper and wood glue (I had nails already) was about $95. (I will post more pictures when we actually get our mattress and move it into our bedroom)

Our house is going through some sort of spring transformation right now. My mother is moving back to St. Louis to be closer to my older brother, so the girls are separating into two rooms (bigger girls in one room, smaller girls in the other). There are a lot of redecorating projects in the works (which means my entire house in a disaster area at the moment). Here are the bones of my ideas for each room:

Smaller girls room has beige walls and a bare wood bunk bed. They will get their own pretend little town. They will have the play kitchen, the doll crib and clothes in their walk in closet to play house. They will also have a book shelf and the old modern doll house and barn. I just found (for crazy cheap at a church yard sale) a Melissa & Doug wooden mailbox (pretend post office) and a wooden work bench. I am turning the workbench into a farm stand that will be stocked with felt produce. There are a couple of other things that will happen in there.

The Bigger girls' room is green. They will get twin beds and the new modern dollhouse (I haven't taken pictures of it yet). We have a red, antique drop leaf table (that belonged to a relative of my grandmother) that will become their writing table (pen pal letters and such). I also found a vintage, turquoise typewriter (YEEEEE!!!!) at the thrift store in perfect condition. It will go on their writing table. I'm not sure what else I'll come up with as I start putting things together, but I promise to share pictures as I go.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What the fock??

I've mentioned before that Zion has her own little language. Generally, she is full of very sweet little speech impediments and mispronunciations. But sometime I really need her to get some words right. Case in point, she has a REALLY hard time pronouncing the word frog. Not a big deal, right? I mean, how often does a two year old really need to use the word frog in a sentence? Honestly, not often. The problem, you might ask? Well...she says "fock"(Yes, I know we all loved Ben Stiller's quirky name in the movie). Compounded with the fock problem is the random addition of "a" at the end of words (i.e. "me lika juice." or "I'ma back." I think Super Mario had a huge influence on her vocabulary, but I digress). Where is all of this going? I guess I'm pretty used to all the fock talk around here (apparently EVERY picture book has a frog in it somewhere. Who knew?). Well, a couple of days ago, Zion was crouching on the dining room table (naked, but that little issue is a post for another day), and my mother called her a little frog baby - because of the position she was in. Zion thought this was hilarious and figured she would say back (loud and proud) to her grandmother, " ME FOCKA BABY!!" Yep. That's what she said.