Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Laundry Suggestions...Please, I am Begging You!

Okay you guys, I am in search of some serious, life changing, advice.  I have an out of control issue with two loads of laundry... my husband's meat coats a.k.a. meat frocks (the term frock makes me laugh except in this case it makes me cry) and beach towels. You are now probably grossed out by the sound of the term "meat coat" and annoyed that anyone would complain about beach towels. BUT you must try to understand that these two loads of laundry make me want to ball up in the corner, rocking back and forth while sucking my thumb and calling out for my mother.  I can't take it - these loads are never ending.  Let me say it again, NEVER. ENDING. As much as I love the pool (and realize how fortunate we are to have it) I cannot keep up with the towels.  I mean seriously, we have even resorted to the sniff test because the towel has been used and hung up to dry so many times.  Yet, I am no where near caught up on laundry because quite frankly clean underwear trumps clean beach towels every time.  The shorter people in my house have very high standards for clean drawers. :)  I don't get it!  We are not the only people who have a pool and all pools require towels.  How does a mother make it through the summer while allowing her kids to dry off?  And by summer I mean February through November due to the region where we live. Now I have already braced myself that I will not get many suggestions regarding the meat coats.  These coats have practically caused a nervous break down.  A couple of months ago my husband was super excited because he finally found meat frocks (coats) in his size.  They are long white button down coats (picture a very large doctor's coat) which butchers wear to keep their clothes from getting dirty.  He has always wanted them but had a hard time finding his size.  We purchased four of the coats and he works six days a week.  Right there the math is bad and I really just need to order two more coats.  But the number of coats is not the issue.  The issue is what is on the coats when they come home.  I cannot seem to get all of the stains out.  I think the reason is that I am dealing with so many different types of stains (meat, blood, grease, smoke from the smoke house, etc.)  Some stains require cold water others require hot or warm.  But all of the stains are on the same coat!  I looked up a stain removal guide on Pinterest and I think I check off 8 of the various stains listed on the guide.  However, all eight stains had a different removal process. Breathing...breathing...in 2,3,4, out 2,3,4...I can't find my brown paper bag for breathing because just looking at these coats makes me put my head between my knees!.... I have tried using a ridiculous amount of bleach in the water and directly on the coat.  I have tried adding Borax to the water and detergent.  I have tried every type of Oxi Clean and stain remover on the market.  My mother in law even suggested using a bathroom tile cleaner.  That stuff was seriously strong and I was more concerned about his skin peeling off.  But you know what, I tried it any way.  It worked to a point but still the coats did not look 100% clean.  Please give me your suggestions.  I. NEED. HELP!!!!! Okay, so on that note hopefully you will not think I have flown the coo-coo's nest and you will continue to read my little posts.  I am not crazy I am just up to my eye brows in beach towels and meat coats which makes me a tad cranky!  I realize there are far greater concerns in the world but FOR THE LOVE there has got to be a solution to these two types of laundry. Now, I look forward to hearing from you and any suggestions you may have (insert sweet eyes and an angelic smile).

Monday, June 15, 2015

Not Always As It Seems

I love that we have a so many wonderful resources at our fingertips through social media, Pinterest, and blogs.  In fact, blogging and looking at various pins on Pinterest are two of my favorite pass times.  I find both to be inspiring and motivating when it comes to home projects, kid crafts, and recipes.  However, blogs and pinning can also lead to feeling frustrated and low on the self-esteem meter.  I wonder what it was like to be a mother prior to Pinterest and blogs?  Where these things are great for tips and tricks they can also make you feel like you are running a rat race or directing a cruise ship trying to plan the best parties, amazing activities, and keep your home looking like it is right off the pages of Better Homes and Gardens.  Which I should also mention I am helplessly addicted to HGTV!  If it happens to be one of "those days" which may require a lot of chocolate and my emotions may be a bit on edge, looking at Pinterest, reading blogs, and watching HGTV just may end me up in the corner throwing a bit of a tantrum...  What?  Is that normal?  Doesn't everyone feel that way?  You?  No?  Hmmmm..... must just be me.  :) Here's the thing though, you only see what is perfect.  Why would someone blog about the green, unidentifiable, at one time edible, something-or-other in the back of the fridge?  Why would someone pin a picture of the mountain of laundry that just can't seem to wash itself?  Why would HGTV highlight the closet that barely closes because it isn't safe to open it all the way.  It should only be cracked and then quickly closed...for the safety of the family, of course.  Things like this are not fun to watch, read, or write about.  However, I will say that I always feel much better about myself after watching Hoarding:Buried Alive.  :)  Just sayin..... Let me give you some examples:
Example Uno:

This is our beloved Coffee Bar.  We have had it in our home for almost two years and we love it more  each day.  :)  However, it is used every day, multiple times a day.  It is also directly across from the garage door (where we enter and exit the house).  Therefore, it often becomes a catch-all. So, this is a picture of the coffee bar I took for the blog post two years ago.

Below is a picture of the coffee bar as it looks this very moment.  The above picture lives on Pinterest, the below picture lives in the real world.

Example B: 

Another of my favorite projects are the  Distressed Window Seats my husband built.  Let me just say that our throw pillows are just that - they are always thrown on the floor or all over the couch.  I have kids.  Kids do not sit and merely lean against a throw pillow.  They roll, walk, throw, and of course use them as weapons.  

Here is a picture that was used for the original blog post.

We recently bought a new couch which is much larger.  We had to move one of the window seats up to our master bedroom to allow more space for the couch.  The below picture is what the lone window seat looks like right now. :)  Let me just say, we have walked past those throw pillows approximately 62 times today...no one has picked them up.

Again, the above picture lives on Pinterest and the below lives in the real world.

( This is Lucy, aka Lucy - Goosey)

Example - 3

This is a picture I took last week for a post I never wrote (that happens a lot).  I really like to keep fresh flowers on our table behind the couch.  However, it doesn't happen as much as I would like.  Now if I saw this picture on Pinterest and the title was, "Ten Steps to Keeping a House Nice and Tidy", I may assume that the rest of the house looks the exact same way.  I must say that for some Pinners and blog writers this may be true but for me it just simply is not.  I think that for the majority of people that isn't the truth, either.  Or at least that is what I like to tell myself. :)

This is the same table and pitcher of flowers just a few days later.  Because the first picture is such a tight shot, I could have easily cleared the middle of the table, pushing everything to the side, straightened out the cloth under the pitcher, zoomed in and got a beautiful, tidy picture.  

What lives on blogs and Pinterest typically does not live 24/7 in the real world.  Why?  Because we sleep, eat, work, play, learn, live, laugh, and love in our homes and that is what is truly important.  :)

So, if you are someone (like me) who loves to read blogs, pin on Pinterest, and watch HGTV, knock yourself out.  But when doing so remind yourself that most likely their homes looks like yours - lived in.  AND by all means, do not read blogs, pin on Pinterest, or watch HGTV on a day that may require a lot of chocolate.  That girlfriends, is some real wisdom.  I need an emoticon for a snap, snap, snap.  :)

Happy Monday - I need to go clean!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Family Read Along: Indian in the Cupboard

The kids and I just finished our first Family Read Along (or at least that is what I am calling it).  I had noticed when reading to my five year old that the seven and ten year old always ended up snuggled in right next to us.  It never really seemed to matter what book was being read.  If two of us were on the couch, the classroom floor, or one of their beds the other two would stop what they were doing and join in.  It warmed my heart to know they still loved being read to. With that in mind, I decided to try what we call a Family Read Along.  I wanted a longer book, with multiple chapters and few pictures.  I wanted the kids to have to really use their imaginations to bring the story to life.  Pictures are great but then you already have the characters placed in front of you.  It is so much better when you get to decide what each character looks and sounds like.  However, I also needed a book that would hold the attention of both boys and girls and a five year age difference. I was hoping to start with Charlotte's Webb.  We already have the movie and I figured the kids would enjoy the book plus get a kick out of watching the movie.  When we went to the library to check it out, it was currently lost.  So, Plan B was a novel called Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks.  I had never heard of the book but a friend had recently told me how much her son enjoyed it. The library did have the book along with four other books in the series.  They also carried the movie - SCORE!  Now we had a book and we could follow it with the movie.
I told the kids I would read one chapter per day.  Every day after lunch we would sit on the couch with loads of blankets and pillows.  I had so much fun reading to the kids.  They were quite entertained with my voices and accents.  The book is about a little boy who (with the help of an old cupboard and a magic key) turns a small plastic Indian to life.  There is so much adventure and action wrapped up in this children's novel.  Many times I would look up from reading to see the kids on the edge of their seats or biting their nails as to what would happen next.  I loved it when a chapter would end with a bit of suspense.  They would beg for me to continue reading but I would have them wait until the next day (to keep their interest up).  They spent hours acting out what we had recently read, taking on the roles of each character.  I, on the other hand, would have to rub my jaw and drink lots of water from reading with so much intensity.  :) After finishing the book, we watched the movie.  I was curious to see if they would notice how the movie is never quite as good as the book.  They did.  Throughout the entire movie they would chime in with what was missing or didn't seem quiet correct.  I was particularly impressed with the details my five year old noticed.  I had wondered while reading the book how much she was actually retaining.  Sure enough, she was absorbing just as much as her older brothers.
(snuggled in to watch the movie)

We have checked out the next book in the series, The Return of the Indian.  I don't think we will be getting to Charlotte's Webb anytime soon. :) Also, this could be turned into quite the unit study.  You could compare and contrast the different time periods, research Indians, discuss the geography of each character's region, the differences between the movie and the book, build various scenes from the book or movie with clay, draw or paint your favorite part, write a book report, give an oral report, and on and on and on....you get the point.  :) I realize there will be a time when my kids won't want me to read to them.  So for now, I am going to soak it in and enjoy these sweet moments.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

New Paint and Floors

For the last four weeks the upstairs of our house has been a complete wreck.  We have been tackling the project of pulling out carpet and laying floors.  Not to mention, I have been cleaning out our homeschool classroom.  I can definitely say that was not a smart move (tackling both projects) at the same time. Last summer we pulled the carpet in our master bedroom and loft (now the classroom) and laid new flooring.  This time we pulled the carpet and laid the floor in each of the kids' rooms.  ALSO.... we allowed the kids to pick their own paint colors and re-paint their own walls. We have three kid bedrooms and each room had to be completely emptied in order to paint and remove the carpet.  The contents of each room were moved into the classroom which was also being cleaned out. Oh did I mention we have to walk through the classroom in order to get to our master bedroom.  There was no escaping the clutter, mess, and chaos.  BUT WE FINALLY FINISHED!!!!  The walls and floors are done and all that is left is decorating and the dreaded baseboards.  All of the trim in our house is white (which I love) but the new paint and floors showed how dingy the baseboards have become over the last 8 years.  We have moved everything back into the rooms but I really need to finish the baseboards.  Boo! Here are a few pictures of the process. Our oldest son LOVES the color green.  It has been "his color" since he was around two years old.  This shade of green literally looks like astroturf.  I will admit it was a bit scary at first (such a bold color) but the new floors (obviously not pictured) really helped.  We are decorating the room with navy and white bedding.  It took me awhile to convince him that since the walls were green he did not need to have green accents. :)

The next room on the list was our daughter's.  She chose a beautiful lavender shade of paint which she insists is called flounder (like the fish???).  The color has made her room just the sweetest little spot for a girl with two older brothers. 

The final room was our youngest son.  He was not happy about his room being last but it made the most sense with the flow and installation of the floors.  His choice of wall color was by far the brightest.  It is called Pool Party.  Again, just like his brother he felt he need blue sheets, blue bedding, blue decorations on the already blue walls.  What is it with these boys?  They are completely monochromatic!  It took a lot of convincing on my part, but he finally agreed to a grey and white striped comforter and I will probably add a few touches of red.

It was actually a lot of fun to let the kids pick their own colors.  I have a hard time picking paint and typically overanalyze 20 colors before picking one.  We went to Lowes and the kids picked their colors within a few minutes.  It was fun to be so carefree and stress-free about the colors.  For the boys, I figured this may be the only time they get to pick the wall color of their rooms.  One day when they are married they will have to go with their wife's style. :)  

Whenever we have a project we try to take the time and teach it to the kids.  My husband is very patient with them on projects.  I am typically the one running around like a crazy person, anxious and nervous.  However, he takes the time to really teach them the correct skills they need for each project.  I feel pretty confident that my kids (ages 10, 7, and 5) could paint a room (the proper way) and install a locking floor system. :)  But I have also realized that trying to get good pictures while three kids have paint rollers in their hands is not the best idea. :)  

Hopefully we get the rooms 100% finished before school starts up at the end of July.  That is my goal...we shall see!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Summer Activities, Schedule, and Ideas

**Last week I posted our 2015 Summer Schedule.  This is the schedule the kids and I followed two years ago.  If you are looking for some great ideas and organized by days of the week please see the printable below (Make It About Jesus Monday, Terrific Tuesday, Water Wednesday, Teamwork Thursday, Family Fun Friday).  We had a great time that summer and the scheduled worked really well.  This summer, however, the kids are a bit older and we are very content to just hang out by the pool. :)
****Post from 2013 Below*****

As I have mentioned before, boredom and my kids do not mix.  We have just finished our school year and summer has begun!  We started our day this morning with a family meeting during breakfast.  I told the kids about the schedule we would use as a guide for our days, plus activity ideas and reading incentives.  Everyone was on board, especially my oldest.  He loves a good schedule and a neatly detailed plan.  He definitely comes by that naturally. :)  The kids immediately started to follow the schedule.  I was actually surprised at how easy it fell into place.  We have had a great first day of our summer.  I thought I would share some of the ideas I am using as well as other blogs that I use for inspiration.  Feel free to print or use anything you like. :) So, let's get to it, the Summer Time Schedule.  I told my kids that the schedule below was just a guide for our days.  I don't want anyone thinking we can't go against the schedule (that would be my oldest).  After all, it is summer!  I am very aware that I have TV, Ipad, DS, Wii time listed.  I know myself and my kids better than anyone, we need down time.  I am not someone who pretends that I have children who never watch TV, lets get real here. * After clicking (click here to print), you will be sent to a Google Doc page.  From there select "file", then select "download".  The image will download to your computer and then you can print from there.

Moving onto Day of the Week activities.  I am very fortunate to have two amazing bloggers in my life.  My cousin, Jessica (The Almost Perfectionist) and my very good friend, Audra (A Cup of Daisies).  Jessica created a list of 100 summer activities last year that I still refer to often.  Audra showed me how she created themes for each day of the week.  Both blogs are wonderful and I encourage you to add them to your reading list.

Here are some ideas for each day of the week.  I try to always think of cost effective activities.

I have also printed a great reading incentive idea from How Does She.  The idea uses a bingo card and coupons that kids can redeem.  I used it this morning with all three of my kids and they really liked it.  I encourage you to take a look and sign up for her free printables.

The kids have karate, ballet, swim lessons and other activities through out the summer.  I know we will not be able to implement our schedule or activities every day.  However, this gives us structure and fun.  I can't ask for more!