Wednesday, August 26, 2015

School and Tables

Well we started school this week.
I’ve been pretty nervous about facing home schooling with a newborn in our house. But to be fair, I was nervous thinking about any kind of school with a newborn around. Long ago when we started talking about adding another family member, and we also were weighing out our schooling options for our family -- any and all options of having a five year old and a baby sounded way too hard to me. I didn’t think I’d have it in me to get us all dressed and to school on time, and I didn’t think I’d have it in me to teach. I initially thought we should time having a baby with either our oldest being four or six just so that I didn’t have this particular combination. I was really scared of it.

And well, not counting that attempt we made to start school a while ago while I was pregnant and sick (I stayed too sick to keep up with teaching then), we’ve only done 3 days of school so far. But I gotta say I’m pleasantly surprised at how well it’s gone.

Internet disclaimer: I’m pro-school no matter which way you chose to implement it. I’ve attended school at home, public, and private schools and I think they all have pros and cons, but overall are all good things. So... as I share my happy thoughts on how it’s gone so far in our house, I’m not sneakily implying anything about any other family’s schooling choices -- just sharing my thoughts on ours the last three days. :)  I also know I’m in for harder days, and three days are by no means a big sample size.

Anyway, right now I’m really happy we chose to homeschool this year. (We are taking it one year/one day at a time.) After I got over my first day jitters (why I had those again, even after attempting to start school a while ago, I have no idea) I’ve actually really enjoyed our school time so far. This curriculum seems really good. I haven’t been bored and Jasmine has really seemed to take to it. (We went with My Father’s World. Which is Charlotte Mason based, but a bit more standardized-school-like. It seemed like a nice middle ground to me. And I liked that I didn’t have to try and put the curriculum together myself -- I didn’t feel ready for that.)
I’ve been surprised at how fun it feels to me to watch Jasmine learn. I kinda thought I’d be bored and rushing things. But so far, I’ve actually been quite entertained watching her gears turn.
Ruby naturally wants to play along for story time, song time, and craft time. The rest of the time she heads off to play dolls on her own. Which I think is great.
And I’ve been seriously pleased to learn that (at least for now) Bronson will take an awesome morning nap in the swing giving us plenty of time to learn without baby multi-tasking.
 
This week we are learning about leaves and the letter L.

My favorite perks so far about homeschooling are:
  • Jasmine and I are both very happy to keep our time together at home going.
  • No rushing out the door to class.
  • Getting to keep our baby-moon cocoon intact 
  • Siblings get included
  • No dress code -- I don’t have to worry about postpartum clothes and getting out the door. Bronson can spit up all over himself, and/or me, anytime he likes and it won’t trip us up. Ruby can keep her princess jammies on 24/7 (her clothing option of choice). AND Jasmine takes full advantage of this, as she has so far done school in her underwear (This kid -- clothes just fall off her body at a moments notice.) (Thankfully I do know she will keep them on in public -- she’s just taking the home team advantage here.)
  • Pillow forts in the class room
  • The ability to not worry about missing class. My grandpa is very sick right now, and yesterday we were able to just head out of town to see him, without thinking school thoughts.  We were up WAAAY past bedtime to accomplish this, and I didn’t have to think about how that would affect our next day. I was so happy we had the chance to go see him while we can.


Here’s our class room. 
I was gonna clean it all nice for you, but felt bad to take apart the girl’s newest pillow fort. (I had already taken one apart today for story time. I didn’t think it’d be cool to do it twice.)


Here’s the new shelf in action.
 

If you are curious what’s on here, read this, if not, scroll down.
Top row: I have some pencils and markers, some alphabet stuff in the blue box. The white box has a few boxes of puzzles in it. And then our weekly stash of libary books on the subject matter. (The curriculum gives you a large list of books you can implement this way -- you just have to go check them out from your local library. So far my library has had every one on these lists.)

Second row: The big basket is full of craft supplies.
The file folder is where I keep some extra ideas to keep Ruby busy if she wants to hang out with us more. (Do-a-dot coloring and what have you.) The rest is just kinda stuff I set there today. But it’s my teachers manual, and our alphabet cards.

Bottom Row:Some books for me. Our 100 jars. We add straws each day to count to 100. And the small basket has construction paper and a bunch of extra workbooks (that we had from random grabs at Target etc) incase we wanna throw in some extra work.
Inside the cabinet: my main file box of our worksheets for the year and a few magazines we can use to cut up. And our Cuisenaire rods.


Across the room I kinda just have this spot set up like this for now. It’s just some random craft stuff, coloring books and crayons. I intended this spot to be for them to get out stuff any time of day they’d like.

Here’s our couch where we read for story time. (I got it for $25 on craigslist! And it’s seriously amazingly comfortable. And I like having a crazy flower couch. I really do.)
(The cushions propped up that way are “creating a pool inside there for the mermaids.”)

And Jasmine had been gifted that easel, so I figured it’d be great in the space.
The girls spent reading time as “mermaids” with their tails on that I had made them for Christmas. (Those were a major success! They play in them SO MUCH.)


So that’s that, about school.

Now I wanna show you my living room again.

That table I had bought from target (showed you last week) --- I decided it wasn’t working. So it got returned.
And I moved another table we had to that spot and I love it there.
This is a table from my grandpa who’s so sick right now. So I’m feeling very sentimental over it. I also genuinely think it’s a really pretty table.

I’ve basically been playing musical tables at our house lately. (That one you saw in our homeschool room was acting as our family room coffee table. But I wanted it for a kid writing space. And that started a whole domino effect for all our tables.) As we get the house in order, I keep rearranging side/coffee tables. I hadn’t thought to use this one here -- but it’s perfect!


I told you last week I had binge watched a ton of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” -- and I really fell in love with Joanna’s use of greens in all her designs. So I jumped on that band wagon.

I went to Goodwill and bought some pretty containers. And then I went to Hobby Lobby and bought some of their floral stems of just greenery (while it was on 50% off sale of course!) Bronson tried to be patient with my indecisive self while I figured out which “plants” to buy. (We were both exhausted by the end of that day. But it was worth it -- the greens add so much to the room.)

On the side table I found this black container, which is actually plastic! Kid level + pretty plastic = winning. And for inside it, I bought this pre-made plant blob made for setting into containers at Hobby Lobby. I’m in love with it!

The horse is a $3 goodwill statue spray painted with flat white paint. It’s breakable -- but cheap. So I call that winning as well. (It will probably move when Bronson is bigger, but the girls are great with it.)

The rest of the greens are for over the fire place.
We still haven’t hung that wood carving. So after that I will actually get these containers and plants styled. For now they are just plopped up there. But I still love looking at them, even unstyled.


Side note: I’m not sold on that lamp -- but I forgot we had it (it was hiding in the sunroom’s mess), and it looks infinitely better than the bare toped sliver stick I had in there before -- so for now it’s an improvement that I’m happy about.


I also totally forgot to show you the floor cushions I made at the end of my pregnancy.
Here they are.
Here’s their story:
I had bought another $20 couch off craigslist that I wound up not keeping. But before it was shipped off to the farm (literally -- we burned it at my parents farm) I kept it’s cushions. This actually turned out to be a pretty cool thing as cushion foam inserts cost more than $20. Probably close to $20 per cushion?


To make these I used a cotton woven blanket that I thrifted. And sewed it to an old curtain that came with the house that I didn’t like (I thought the blanket needed something stiff and not stretchy behind it.) I decided to stitch it on with a flower shape. So I drew it with a pencil onto the back and then zig-zag stitched it with navy thread.
It was kinda just a random artistic moment for me spurred on by desperately waiting to be done being pregnant. 

Then I just used three different home decor fabrics I liked that coordinated, to make the edges.
I took apart the old couch cushion covers to make a pattern, and figure out how to make these.

I’m keeping them in the back of the room here. (But YOU KNOW they wind up all over the house, due to pillow forts.)

(I plan to recover that pink bean bag chair -- but I haven’t figured out what direction to go there.)

This room is feeling GOOD!



And moving onto our family room decor events of late….


While looking for inspiration for my bookshelf, I came across this lovely space.
The couch is the same color as our family room couch. (Ours is another craigslist find... $300 for a nice sectional.)
I’ve kinda had a hard time with the color of this couch. (Its tan but can give off a green look in these iphone photos -- the closer up of the arm in the second photo shows the color best.) 
(I promise that someday I intend to take nice-camera photos of my house. Get all pinteresty up in here.) 

I painted the walls in here before we bought this couch and I feel like they don’t quite sync up. But I really like the wall color, and really don’t feel like painting it again.
So when I saw this lady’s room I was so excited. Her walls seem similar to mine (hard to tell, it looks a bit different in every photo.) And her space is so pretty!
I LOVE the black and white on her couch. It totally changes everything. Her living room is also a lot of black and white furniture.
It gives me so much inspiration for our room.
(This space is gonna be covered in toys for the forseeable future, but I still enjoy having a space look good underneath that.)

(Also we are getting better at cleaning up our toys each night -- mostly due to Blake encouraging them, he’s so great. But I took this photo midday while rocking a baby -- hence the mess and lame angle.)

Since I had taken away our coffee table (to use for school) I needed a new one. After a bunch of craigslist shopping and finding nothing. I ran into ReStore on Saturday. (Poor Bronson -- I shopped a TON that day.) And I saw these two end tables and knew I wanted to use them as our coffee table.
They are in need of paint. But I really like them.
They are "ming style” or “chow style” or “kang tables” with those curved legs. (Mine are very likely a crazy 1980’s, maybe 90’s(?)  non-accurate version of them, but who cares, I’m excited about them.)
Normally the legs are more open than these -- but there’s variations around.

Here is some proof that I’m not crazy to think these are cool.

via
Via


I got mine for $30 a piece. Which to be honest, is slightly pricey in my book. (Since it’s $30 times 2.) I like to go big AND go inexpensive with my stuff.  But I went for them at a slightly higher price point because:
  • I have a hard time finding a table that is a nice size for us. I don’t want one that is a typical size -- I want more floor room for the kids. These give me that.
  • I like that there is two -- it gives us more options both for layout, as well as for kid playing surfaces.
  • And these are REALLY sturdy. (Surprisingly so.) The kids (or adults) can sit on them, or whatever to them, and they won’t budge.
  • Also, if I ever wanted to, they would really easily turn into ottomans if I added a cushion to the top. So they can grow with us, if they need to.


I plan to paint them semi-gloss white. I just have to find the time. (Which I feel the urge to SOON!)

In other room news:
I’m also shopping for fabric to try and make our couch cooler with our throw pillows. (You can see my endless rabbit trails I’m going down here.) 
I wanna do something spunky with mix and match. (I also wanna get that black and white in somehow.)


via
(It probably won’t be AS spunky as this picture. But I really like this picture!)

As far as pattern mixing goes...
I thought this was helpful.

So,
we'll see what I come up with!
I’m excited to get this space moving towards done.
I still wanna paint the china cabinet. Likely white.
And a few other tables (side and random other table against the wall) likely black.
And the buffet the TV sits on -- I go back and forth on if I could paint it or not. 

Normally I’m brave about paint -- but this piece is so fancy I just don’t know if I could make that first move. We will see. I mostly want the furniture to stay black and white -- and it’s almost black so, once everything else is painted it might look perfect to me and I won’t need to worry if I should paint it or not.

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